Sunday, January 29, 2012

Weekend Project - Building Terrariums

Hello from the Hive!  (the totally over winter hive!)

This weekend in an effort to get some relief from cabin fever, we built terrariums to bring some green life indoors. We are planning a garden for the spring and Ella asks everyday if we are going to plant something so I thought this would be a great project to pacify our green thumb until warmer weather arrives.

Here is what you will need:

Glass container(s)

Rocks, polished stones or gravel

Potting soil

Some articles I’ve read recommend using Gardener's Charcoal (this acts like a filter to prevent bacteria as the soil drains); we couldn’t find it, so we didn’t use it.

Plants: mosses, ferns and tropical plants or a mix of succulents (I’m not positive, but I believe you should do one or the other and not mix succulents with other plants due to their different water and climate needs)

(Dax was a bit disappointed he could not eat the plants...or the dirt!)

First, select your container. Your container can be closed or open at the top. You just need to be able to get your hand inside. I like a completely closed container  because I like the idea of mimicking a little eco-system using condensation. I am using these glass canisters that I rotate things in and out of seasonally. Here they are at Christmas with my vintage ornaments.

Next, layer the bottom of the container with stones, then charcoal, then soil. (you can mix the charcoal and the soil before putting it into the container as well) These layers should fill about a third of your container.

Next, add your plants. Start with the tallest plants and fill in around them.

Lastly, add your moss as ground cover. You can then add any decorative items you would like (figurines, sticks, rocks, etc.), spritz with water, cover and enjoy!!

(I underestimated the height of my container on this one, it will be left open)

Do not over water! Use a shot glass or mister if unsure.

No direct sunlight, plants can fry!

Happy planting!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This is Captain Planet, This is Me and This is How We Met...

Newspaper article from my first television debut on "Kids Beat" with the host and Captain Planet himself!

If you are familiar with the Real Housewives series on Bravo then I assume you are familiar with the lovely ladies of Atlanta. As a former resident of the ATL I can’t help but watch this show just to see the sights of home. On last week’s episode, resident housewife NeNe Leakes is invited to the home of Laura Turner Seydel also known as the “EcoManor” for a Captain Planet Foundation Fundraiser. Seydel is the daughter of Ted Turner, the creator of Captain Planet, my hero!! This episode took me down eco-memory lane.

(Note: I’ve never met Ted but I was behind him one day in traffic and I did dine on sushi next to Jane Fonda one time who waved politely as I gawked! I miss Atlanta!!)

Back-story: (because Captain Planet and I go way back)
It was eighth grade and I joined the eco cub at middle school. I also became heavily involved in community environmental projects through my county Clean and Beautiful Commission. As I moved on to high school, I organized projects and recruited volunteers for cleanups and I ultimately was recruited for the Governor’s Children’s Environmental Advisory Board; a major honor for a 14 year old! I had the opportunity to meet Captain Planet, share my concerns as a kid about the planet and really make a change in my community at the school age level. This is where my love of the planet began and has continued to blossom. (I was even awarded the Environmental Student of the Year, among several other awards) 

Now 20 years later, I try to inspire my students as well as my own children to take care of the planet, just as Captain Planet inspired  me!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Little Things We Do

At the start of each new year I am always  filled with ideas and thoughts of what I want to change or improve on in my life. Committing to being a better protector of our planet is an important decision to make.
Committing to a life of green doesn’t mean you have to become a tree huggin', granola (although, I think I would take that as a compliment). You don't even have to start wearing patchouli! You can start making small changes that together can make a big difference.
Here is a list of little things we do around our house that take very little effort. 

I have always used a handkerchief instead of tissues. The fibers of the tissues irritate my allergies and handkerchiefs are reusable! I like to collect pretty vintage hankies and save my packs of plain white ones for cold and flu season! :) (anyone recognize my very first hankie? 1979 Hello Kitty Little Star Twins!)

Egg Cartons
I use egg cartons a lot  for organization of small items. Here I’ve used some in my jewelry box to organize my earrings. I also use them to store ornaments or packing breakable collections when moving.

Bag Trash Can
I too, forget my cloth bags in the car at the grocery store and end up with tons of plastic bags. I take some back to the store and the rest I save for trash bags. This is our kitchen trashcan that uses shopping bags. Because of its size, this small can also forces you not to put anything in it that can go in the recycling or compost bins.

Fruit Crates
I love fruit crates! Here I used a large one as a recycling bin for newspapers and mags and then I have clementine crates all over my house organizing anything from kitchen linens to vitamins. They are compact and stackable!!

Drying Rack
I use a drying rack to dry our cloth diapers as well as some delicate laundry. I put the rack outside in the summer and near a heat vent in the winter!

Old to New Crayons
My daughter can’t keep from breaking a crayon to save her life and I can’t stand 100 tiny pieces!! Ahhh! As a compromise we melted down the pieces in a silicon ice cube tray and made her new heart shaped chubby crayons! (theses are harder to break too!)

I love jars!! I save jars from everything (ball jars, soda, juice) and use them for decorating, lighting and storage!


(this is a solar powered lid with a bulb that fits most jars to create jar lights!)

Rechargeable Batteries
We have kids therefore we go through a TON of batteries. We use rechargeable batteries as much as we can. I have to admit that rechargeables do not work that great for large items such as a massive baby swing; but for remotes, small toys and flashlights, they are great!

See, we haven't gone mad around here!! We just do a little here and there and it all adds up! Take a glance around your home, I bet you are greener than you think!