{organic adventures}

Our first Urban Acres pick-up was this morning.

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The goal in joining the co-op was to get inspiration to try some new foods and recipes. I’m calling our first day a success. I tried Korean melon for the first time and fell in love. It’s like cantaloupe but a bit firmer.

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I used some of the beets, onion and greens for a salad for our dinner. I love shredded beets on a salad. And I made chicken marsala tonight for the first time. It was really yummy. Between our Urban Acres produce and the additional ingredients from Whole Foods, we ate all organic and almost all local. And it was delicious.

{less TV = more life}

We finally broke up with cable after months of talking about how much richer our lives would be without the distraction of TV. Richer in time not wasted and in literal financial savings. Less is so much more.

Now we still have Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime subscriptions so it’s not a TV-free life. Still. It’s so much better than paying insanely high fees for hundreds of channels, many of which we never watched.

Miles requested Elmo and Thomas today and I found both online easily. Zach and I have watched some awesome documentaries on Hulu we might never taken time to watch before. And it’s so much more interesting to see real people. Not people performing for reality TV, but actual reality. You know?

The next TWC bill we get will be about half what we were paying, maybe less, because we only kept Internet. We are putting part of the savings toward a co-op membership. Hooray for local, organic produce. Our first Urban Acres pick-up is this weekend. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to support local farmers and businesses and to try new recipes with my family.

I have a feeling we won’t miss that cable subscription. We will be too busy with real life.

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a tidy stroll

We decided to go for a long walk yesterday to enjoy the weather before the big freeze arrives. After we had been around the neighborhood a few times, Zach stopped to get a bag. He said he was tired of seeing the same litter day after day.

So we paused occasionally while he cleaned up the street. Miles watched from his stroller and cheered when Zach picked up each piece. Yay for a cleaner planet!

I can’t tell you how many times I must have walked past some of the things he picked up without even noticing them. Do you pick up trash when you see it? I think I’ll start bringing a bag on my walks. Just in case…

Don’t mess with Texas, y’all!

True Food Kitchen is magically delicious

Zach and I are kind of in love with True Food Kitchen in Dallas.

True Food Kitchen's squash pie

We went for our “date night” after trying it a few weeks ago for lunch. The first time we visited, it wasn’t especially busy. The service and food was awesome. We decided to come back again for dinner sometime.

It was much more crowded Friday night, of course, but well worth the hour wait. (I think we only actually waited 45 minutes.) Zach enjoyed an Old Fashioned while I tried the Medicine Man. I had sneezing fits all afternoon and evening, which magically ceased halfway through my drink. Medicine Man, indeed!

True Food Kitchen menu

The Panang Curry was so delicious the first time we visited. So I ordered it again. I know, I know. I’ll try something different next time. Maybe. Zach ordered the Miso Glazed Black Cod. I had no idea cod could be that good, y’all.

For dessert, I ordered the Squash Pie with coconut whipped cream. It. Was. Amazing. The pie was perfect and the coconut whipped cream kind of blew my mind. Be still, my dairy-free heart. Zach got the Chia Seed Pudding.

True Food Kitchen entrance

I know so many people who say they want more health-conscious, food-allergy-friendly restaurant options in Dallas. I hope True Food continues to do well. Actually, I hope it does so well they open more locations in the area. Perhaps one in Addison? Fingers crossed! Now if only we could afford to eat there every week.

weekend reads #5

Weekend reads is a regular roundup of bloggers and their awesome sites. I sometimes get overwhelmed with all the new blogs I want to check out. This is a series of weekly posts, which features blogs I already follow as well as ones I’m just discovering. Let’s get started!

It’s easy being green right? I don’t know about you, but I find reduce and reuse much easier than recycle. I want to blame the inconvenience of recycling in my suburb, but it really comes down to personal responsibility. So I won’t blame the city.

I should be better about recycling. But being green, in my humble opinion, isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor. Even if you just make a few greener choices a few times a week or month, that’s better than nothing.

No eco-snobbery from me! I admire those who are super green, though, and that includes loads of bloggers I’ve discovered. Three cheers for these three green bloggers!

Alicia’s blog keeps it simple, green and fun. If you’re in Dallas, you should totally check out Alicia at one of the local craft shows sometime. If you aren’t in the area, you should check out her super fun Etsy shop.

She can make all sorts of magical things with paper. And she always has great eco-friendly recommendations. I love her back to school recs.

Her Texture Tuesday posts will make you want to get outside and enjoy nature and her Eco Monday posts share lovely eco-friendly products you will be happy to discover.

Jen and Joey live in Canada and strive to reduce their family’s impact on the environment. Jen is the primary blogger for the site. The posts offer tips, reviews and challenges.

I particularly like the post Jen wrote about focusing on reduce, reuse, recycle. (Maybe because it makes me feel better about my own tendency to do well with the first two and not so much with the last one?) There’s plenty of life in these posts too. Like her 101 in 1001 post which is essentially a really long to-do list. And y’all know I love a to-do list. I happen to have an ongoing list that looks similar, though less organized.

The reviews are great on this site and I love the rating system. I was happy to see that Method All Purpose Cleaner, something we have used at home, got four leaves. Yay!

Amanda writes about green and healthy living on her blog. For me, her levels of greenness are mostly things I can only aspire to so far. Composting? Yes, sign me up. Menstrual cups? Yikes. I had no idea that was even a thing. (More power to you, ladies. I’m not sure my eco-friendliness is quite that friendly.)

This is a seriously green mama. I love her post about Rock Candy Life shower curtains. I hate the weird smell of traditional plastic liners that seems to linger for weeks. I’m so happy to find there’s another option. And it’s eco-friendly!

Amanda has written several posts on cloth diapers. I admire parents who go that route. I’ve known a few who attempted it, but didn’t stick with it throughout their child’s diaper days. Am I the only one who wondered how exactly those green moms and dads were washing cloth diapers? She’s the mom of three young children, so there’s plenty family-oriented content for new parents and young families to check out.

I love her simple and straightforward tips for choosing safe cleaning products. I may never reach Amanda’s level of green living, but I certainly have learned a lot from her posts and discovered some great products.

If you write a blog I should know about or have a favorite you would like to recommend, contact me. If you’re interested in writing about three of your favorite blogs, let me know and we can talk about setting up a guest post.

I heart The Lorax

I finally got to see The Lorax and I loved it. The movie is adorable. I heart all things Dr. Seuss, but this film was so visually stunning right from the beginning. I want one of those trees!

I’m not usually a fan of the music in children’s movies but this one was better than most. Some of the song breaks were a bit long for my taste, but the singers at least sounded good and the lyrics were clever.

Those little bears and birds were hilarious. If you’re still a big kid (like me) you should rent the movie. It’s a fun one. And the message is great too.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,
Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – The Lorax

baby food jars + craft supplies = an easy upcycled DIY

There are thousands of small items in my studio. Little craft items I need to store usually end up in a Ziploc baggie or one of several mismatched boxes.

Now I’ve got awesome upcycled containers that function better and make it way easier to find what I’m looking for. All these baby food jars needed was a good wash and a coat of spray paint on their lids.

I especially love these for the tiny letters I use to make custom notebooks for my shop. Rather than searching for ages to find the letters I need, I’ve split the letters (a-d in one jar, e-h in another, etc.). Talk about a time saver!

The jar of brads may be the prettiest one in my collection. I just love that it’s so easy to see what’s inside so I can quickly get to what I’m looking for.

Ask your friends with little ones to start saving baby food jars for you for your projects. This works with larger jars too. Your pasta jar can hold ribbon, crayons, paper scraps, etc. What is your favorite storage solution?

a tiny plantable diy + some thank yous

How sweet are those tiny thimble plants? My mom made these after seeing something similar on Pinterest. Here’s how to make yours:

1. Drill a hole in the bottom of your thimble(s) so the water can drain.

2. Add dirt and a tiny plant or seedling. My mom just plucked what she suspects are weeds for these. (That probably means they’ll be easy for me to keep alive, right?)

3. Place in a window, at your cubicle or wherever you need a tiny touch of green.

I also want to send out a thank you shout-out to my dear MEND friends for the flowers that arrived today.

And another thank you shout-out to Michelle, Brennan and Evey for the flowers they sent. Beautiful!

Our house is now full of pretty plants and flowers. Hooray!

clearing out the clutter

I have a rule about bringing new (non-food/non-cleaning) items into my home. For every one thing I take in, two things have to be donated, recycled or tossed. It helps tamp down my inner clutterbug.  I’m not sure where I got this rule, but it definitely works to keep things in perspective. I’m much more hesitant to buy something on impulse when I know I have to get rid of at least two things in exchange.

I don’t have an exact count on how many books I got rid of today, but I definitely got rid of more than two for each one that I kept. And I brought in six new articles of clothing this week, but managed to shed more than 30. Hooray for clearing out clutter!

The cleaning fairy (aka mom) came over today to help me clean out a bookshelf and finish cleaning out my closet. My doc says I’m not allowed to do too much, so the cleaning fairy did all the real work.

I didn’t get before shots, but let me just tell you the bookshelf was a disaster. It was not just packed, but literally overflowing. Stacks were piled beyond the shelves onto a big storage tub in front of the shelf. Not a good look.

Now it’s all cleaned out and lovely.

The wall beside the built-in was blank and boring. As we pared down the piles, we came across a stack of frames and decorative items from places Zach and I have visited. Luckily, the cleaning fairy brought her hammer and nails so we were able to hang hand-painted plates and a tile from Italy, Holland and Portugal. She also put up a framed wedding invitation. (Zach and I celebrate our fourth wedding anniversary in less than a week!)

All the books rounded up from the shelf are bound for Half Price Books. There is one huge tub and two Whole Foods bags filled with novels, biographies, unused art journals and a few photo albums. It’s a big haul and I’m very thankful Zach will be able to take it in for me. It looks pretty heavy.

Completing the closet clean out was a much quicker endeavor. I sent three Whole Foods bags with my mom to be dropped off at Goodwill. And now there’s so much more space in my closet. It was a good day of getting things organized and getting rid of clutter.

10 eco-friendly Etsy shops you’re going to love

It’s easy being green, especially when you browse all the lovely green shops on Etsy. In this roundup, I’m featuring 10 shops that specialize in eco-friendly items for mom, dad, baby and home.

Butter Design Lab – pillows, linens and more made from rescued materials

MamaMade – eco-friendly goods for home and family

La Alicia – décor, purses, jewelry and more made from magically folded reclaimed materials

Regal Cottage – quality goodies for children made from vintage, organic and Eco-felt fabrics stuffed with 100 percent recycled post-consumer plastic bottles

ReGeared – clocks, keychains and more made from reclaimed wood and recycled bike parts

Imagination Kids – handmade, eco-friendly wooden toys

Rikrak – handmade and eco-friendly stockings

LEFTright – organic bags, baby clothes and more

Urchin bags – seat belt bags, wallets, iPad cases and more

Gray Works – cutting boards, stools, tables and more using locally and sustainable harvested or salvaged hardwoods