6 Tips to Saving on Heating This Winter

Winter Brrr… we’ve been in a freeze here the past few weeks, as in snow from before Christmas still lingers on the ground, a rarity here on the front range of Colorado. Sure, we get plenty of sun, but once darkness falls and the temp drops even further, I find myself asking SoulDaddy all too often how soon we can move to the beach.

The irony is that I used to ski 120 days a year in the cold with never a chill. Now, I get cold just walking the dogs for 30 minutes and find myself hustling home to huddle by the fire.  Continue reading

What’s Your Carbon Footprint?

You hear the words “carbon footprint” tossed around often these days, but what exactly is it and why does it matter? To put it simply, using coal, natural gas or oil for electricity, heat or transportation releases carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. These daily carbon dioxide emissions make up your carbon footprint.

Too much CO2 from our daily activities hurts the planet’s climate according to many sources, including the Sopris Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Aspen that focuses on preserving ranch land, keeping community intact in the face of changing land-use patterns, and working with Western leaders to develop a region-wide blueprint for livability.

This organization has taken the time to calculate the amount of CO2 used in three basic areas of daily living: (1) Home Energy; (2) Travel and Recreation; and (3) Food, Drink and Work. Comparing the numbers in each of the green, yellow and orange areas illustrates the power of the choices you make every day. Continue reading

Tricks for Healthier Halloween Treats

It’s getting to be that wonderful time of year, when leaves take over lawns, pumpkins fill porches and – at least in my house – cotton ball ghosts decorate the refrigerator. Unfortunately, it also means an influx of Halloween candy coming your way soon.

We don’t eat any alot of candy in our house, though I do keep a stash of dark chocolate on-hand in the freezer at all times. And truth be told, I’ve picked up three bags of Halloween candy already. However, I blame that entirely on (1) a great coupon and (2) the need for M&M’s to bribe encourage a certain stubborn red-head to use the potty.

Hey, whatever works, and work it does. Healthy as I am, I’m not above a morsel of chocolate in return for a wee bit of pee. Yes folks, this is a desperate SoulMomma.

But I digress. Ever since said red-head has entered our lives, I find myself more and more against the huge mass of high fructose corn syrup and other junk/chemicals/additives that accumulate on and near October 31. Just looking at it tempts my thighs to expand and my blood sugar to rise. Not to mention what it does to our kids. Continue reading

How to Avoid Arsenic in Rice

Sadly, two new reports from Consumer Reports and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show worrisome levels of arsenic in rice and rice product including breakfast cereals, rice flour, rice pasta, rice cakes and crackers.

Yes, this is the same arsenic people have used for centuries to commit murder. Continue reading

Natural Garden Pest Control

It’s been a trying week. I’ve come home from work in a good mood only to look at my garden and instantly go on a war-path.

From this angle – it looks great. Everything is growing well, including our tomatoes and eggplant, both of which have flowers, as well as our green onions, herbs, and peppers with two babies getting bigger every day.

From this angle, not so great. The culprit? Earwigs, also knows as pincher bugs. Ew. And look what they did to my zuchini and basil in four days:

Continue reading

Joining the Compost Revolution Easier than You Thought

I hate to waste, I love to garden, and yet I only started composting this spring. I can’t honestly say what took me so long to join the revolution, but now that I’m on board, I’m hooked!

It’s easier than you might think and with the abundance of fruit and vegetable scraps hitting your kitchen these days, there is no better time to start. Play it right, and you can have fresh “black gold” in time for the fall planting season! Bonus: it ‘s cheap! Continue reading

Non-GMO Shopping Made Easy

Photo courtesy of the Daily Green.

You may have heard a lot lately about Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). The term has hit the mainstream thanks in part to a current proposal on California’s November ballot to begin labeling food made with these genetically engineered (GE) or genetically modified (GM) ingredients, both of which are one in the same.

Don’t let the impact of this legislation and grass roots initiative be lost on you. It is a giant step towards increasing food safety in the U.S. Continue reading

Get Your Green on with Potted Herbs

I was discussing my garden plans with a friend recently when he confessed that he too really wants to grow something edible. The caveat: he lives in a flat downtown (read: no yard) and his balcony space is super limited. My advice: start with a few potted herbs.

Who says strawberry pots are just for berries? My mint loves its multi-level home, and is especially suited to a pot because it will take over a garden if not contained. Oh, and it’s key for those summertime iced teas and mojitos!

Continue reading

Walking and Wagging

I admit it. I am a chronic dog walker. That’s partly due to a natural inclination to keep moving, but mostly because, well, our dogs don’t give me much choice.

Baylor, the older and larger of our two, is an 11-year-old Border Collie/Aussie Shepherd/Blue Beeler. I got him for free off a ranch in Steamboat Springs when he was just 12 weeks old, and he is in constant motion, even in his twilight years. Lou is nine and we rescued her from a shelter when she was about a year-and-a-half old. She’s considerably more calm than most Aussie Shepherd mixes I know, and her favorite trick is to lie down and ask for belly rubs, even mid-walk. Continue reading