Friday, September 17, 2010

Back to School -- The Green Way

So I got off track a little this year, but I am BACK! And as I re-commit to our family's green goals, I looked at how I pack my kid's lunches. Last year, we used a lot of Ziploc. I know. I know. Terrible. But this year, I committed to using reusable containers.

The cost can be prohibitive, however. I went to The Container Store and almost choked. But I didn't give up. Yay for Target! How happy was my son when he saw his favorite buddies decorating all of these containers! He loves his lunches. And I loved the prices. I got the water bottle and the snack containers in the Dollar Spot. It was $2.50 for the water bottle and large snack box and $2.50 for three of the small snack containers. Can you beat that? I can't even get a single box of Ziploc for that!

Now the large thermos cost about $15 but that equals less than a month's worth of juice pouches. So for those of you like me, trying to be green while keeping green in your bank account -- check out Target.

It is easy to think that it is expensive to live green. I know that I have to make tough financial choices all the time. I would love to buy all Organic. Right now, that is not a possibility. But that doesn't mean that I can't be green in other ways. And I am excited to say that this solution is not only eco-friendly but is actually CHEAPER in the not-so-long run! So I say Yay! Yay! Yay!

Check out my friend, Erin. She is out there inspiring the world to be more green. In fact, she inspired me enough to get this blog back going and to write this post!

Go Green

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Baby Steps

So, I have recharged and recommitted. Today, I began the journey again with baby steps. As I was cleaning out my kitchen and dealing with trash and recycling, I actually took the time to sort through the trash and retrieve items that could be recycled that weren't. Not a pleasant task, necessarily, but eye-opening as I filled another bag for recycling that would've ended up in a dumpster. Pretty cool, huh? Baby steps. That's all they are. But every journey starts with them.

Friday, July 23, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

Kermit was not kidding. See what I did to these plants?
See, I posted last over three months ago. Why? For a lot of reasons, but most of all, because I felt like a COMPLETE failure. So here is my list of confessions -- I started using paper towels again, I keep forgetting to take the shopping bags I bought, and as you can see... I am a vicious plant killer!
So I was embarrassed and stopped writing. And then I realized -- maybe I am not alone. Many of us start out with all sorts of wonderful ideas and loads of commitment. But then life's difficulties tire and dishearten us. And at least in my case, I started getting lazy and falling back into bad habits. Has that happened to you?
Well, I'm admitting it and I am going to try to get back on the ecological bandwagon. I know that for many of you, this comes naturally. But I did not come from a conservation-based history. I am fighting a lot of years of habit. So, if this is second nature, please share your thoughts. If you, however, are more like me -- let's take this journey together. I'll encourage you if you can encourage me. And with each baby step, we can make huge strides toward a healthier home for ourselves and our children.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010

This blog is dedicated to our family trying to live more lean and green (though hopefully not mean!). So a quick review of the first four months of our project. Successes: I am happy to report that we have had a paper towel dowel sitting empty for several weeks now. We are using cloth towels almost exclusively. My daughter is only using a single pull-up for bedtime. She is doing great on the potty (with the occasional accident) and I think that has been helped by using cloth. What cleaning products we have bought have been green products and we have worked with the kiddos about turning off lights and water. Finally, we have started our patio garden, including utilizing containers from our coffee to create larger planters.

Areas to improve: I want to use more homemade cleaning products and we have still been eating from boxes more than I want -- for us or the environment. Finally, I think that we still create more trash than we should. I am looking into a small composter that won't stink us out of the apartment. We could then lessen our trash and fertilize our new garden.

So that's our Earth Day Update. I try to think of it as a marathon, not a dash. Every little change we make matters. I'll keep you posted!!!

P.S. Check out my Earth Day Post on my other blog, 38 and Growing. I am supporting Heifer International. It is a wonderful organization that supports the planet's health while fighting hunger. If you want to help me buy a cow, please click here.

I Support Heifer International

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Here We Go!

Remember I told you that we got Sesame Street starter seed kits. And I told you they were fun and colorful and cute... well here they are. And here we go. These are the pictures from our planting day which was a couple of weeks ago.

We are growing watermelon (Cookie Monster blue ), orange sun peppers (Bert & Ernie orange), garden beans (Oscar the Grouch green), tomatoes (Elmo red), and pumpkin (Abby Cadabby pink -- my daughter's favorite). The kits come with stickers which really got the kids eager to participate. The boxes are supposed to make mini-greenhouses. We'll see what happens. We are very excited!

Remember all great things start small. And here is our start. Follow-up pictures to come!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring Clean Out

Well, those of you who follow my other blog know that my family has spent the last week sick Sick, SICK! So we did not start our garden even though I got the cutest Sesame Street container garden set. I mean REALLY cute -- I will share this with you when we are able-bodied enough to embark on that brave new world.

After having been so sick, however, I was inspired to clean, Clean, CLEAN. And this included my pantry. Out with the expired food. Which I am ashamed to say was a lot. But you now what is scarier than a pantry full of expired food? Finding "food" without expiration dates! How is that possible?!?!?!

I have to say that this was eye-opening. When I started my journey over at 38 and Growing, I realized that I was living my life unconsciously. This evolved into my husband and I looking at our personal health, our family's health, and our contribution to the world's health. We were floating through life doing the "easy" thing, not necessarily the good thing. Well, there cannot be any good thing about food that doesn't expire -- either for our bodies or our Earth!

My eyes are open. I am aware. I cannot pretend otherwise. And that is good. I am going to have to learn to shop differently. I am going to have to work harder at preparing the food for my family. But it's worth whatever time and effort are involved because I'm worth it, my kids are Worth it, and this planet is WORTH it!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Starting a Spring Garden

Well, next week is Spring Break for my kiddo and we are expecting beautiful warm weather so we will finally be starting a garden on our patio. I want to get the kids involved -- I think that it will be very valuable for them to see the work that goes into growing their food and I am hoping that they may be more willing to eat green things if they have an investment in them.

I found a great website that is dedicated to container gardening for beginner gardens. I'm very excited to get started. Do you have any great advice for a beginner? What vegetables would you recommend to get kiddos involved in?

I'll keep you posted. Maybe I'll have some pics to share.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Confessions of a Clorox Wipe Junkie

Okay. I admit it. Prior to this project, I was a Clorox Wipe Junkie. I used many, Many, MANY wipes on a daily basis. Well, since the new year, I have tried to clean up my bad habits and I include this as an ugly habit. I have come to dislike using so many chemicals around my children and who knows how many pounds I have contributed to the landfills with wipes alone! SO what's a girl to do?

I started with using cloth wipes a lot more (in place of paper towels, as well) and while not as convenient, I realize how much I was wasting so I am happy to do this ... most of the time. But here's the secret. I am a bit of a germophobe. And the cloths and sponges sometimes scare me. There are times, I want to wipe and throw away. Just saying.

I went on a search and I found Seventh Generation's Disinfecting Wipes. I checked out their website ( and I learned a lot. They use recycled paper products and disclose all their ingredients. In these wipes, the active ingredients are Lemongrass & Thyme.

The wipes are definitely more expensive but they do have coupons on their site ( They cleaned well, though to be honest, I did not like the odor. I can abide it, however, because I do feel better for using them (and I will probably use less with the smell). Less chemicals. Less waste.

So, I am a reformed wipe user. As to Seventh Generation, I was impressed enough by their philosophy that I am going to try more products. I will keep you posted. Are there any paper/household products that you love?

And in the name of full disclosure, Seventh Generations does not know I exist. I went to the store and bought the wipes and I found their website on the back of their bottle. So I hope that makes it all clear. :-)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Coming Out of the Desert

Hi everyone! Well it's been over month since we came by for a visit. Sorry about that. We had a tremendous loss to our family and well, Cold Comfort Living fell off the radar, But we're back! We'll be getting back to sharing our green goals -- successes and failures, thumbs up and thumbs down. So if you're in the "neighborhood"... drop by. We'll be here.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I Asked and Nancy Answered

The lovely Nancy at Away We Go ( posted this yesterday which answered so many of my questions. Funny small world! So here is that post. Check out her site. It is a witty look at motherhood and she is a green mommy! :-)

Clean Green Recipes

You will notice that many of the ingredients for the following products are the same. These products were what people used to clean and disinfect before the industrial revolution. Your own Grandmother may have used some of these methods in her own home. These products are easy to make and use. They are very inexpensive, and harmless to children and pets.

Anti-Bacterial Spray- Add 20 drops of lavender or tea tree oil per every 2 cups water in a spray bottle. Spray areas and allow it to sit for a few minutes before wiping up.

Sink Scrub- Make a paste out of Baking Soda, a squirt of liquid soap, and a couple of drops of lavender or tea tree oil. Scrub and rinse.

Un-clogging a Sink- Pour 1 cup of Baking Soda down the drain, and then follow it with 3 cups of boiling water.

Rust Away for Tin or Aluminum- Use ½ of a potato dipped into salt, and scrub.

Copper and Brass Polish- Ketchup. Allow it to sit on the metal for a few minutes, and then rub with a soft cloth.

Silver Polish-white tooth paste

Oven Cleaner- Make a paste out of equal parts Baking Soda and liquid soap, and a little hot water. Scrub

Oven Clean-up for Fresh Stains- For liquid spills use salt. For greasy spills use baking soda.

Window Cleaner-Combine 3 TBSP. Vinagar to 2 cups Water in a spray bottle. Spray and wipe clean with news paper.

Furniture Polish-Combine 3parts Olive oil to 1 part Vinegar in a jar. Shake well before using. Massage into furniture using a soft cloth.

Carpet Stain Spray-Combine 1 cup Vinegar, 1 cup Water, and ½ cup Baking Soda in a spray bottle. Spray /Dry/Vacuum

Fresh Carpet Stains- Cover the stain with a heavy coating of salt. Allow it to absorb the stain and dry. Vacuum up.

Carpet Freshener- Sprinkle the carpet liberally with Baking Soda, then add a couple of drops of essential oil of choice. Allow it to sit for an hour or so, and then vacuum.

Mold and Mildew Cleaner-Add 2 tsp. Tea tree oil to 2 cups water. Can be used in a spray bottle or in a bucket.

Whitening Method for Laundry-Soak white overnight in a bath made of 1:10 parts white vinegar: water, rinse in clear water and then wash in machine.

Laundry Soap-Combine 2 cups of grated soap (Octagon) to 1 qt. of boiling water and stir until the soap is dissolve completely. Pour into a large bucket and then add 2 cups of Baking Soda and 2 cups of Borax. Stir well then add 2 gal. Of clean water. Stir, and then add to containers. Shake before using. Add ¼ c. to each small load of laundry. ½ c. per larger loads.

Fabric Softener- Add 1/4 c. White Vinegar and 3 drops of Lavendar oil to the final rinse.

Away We Go

Thanks, Nancy! You rock!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gone Too Long

Lest you think that three weeks of green living swept us away, I've been out sick. And we are still recovering. I must say that I think a mother of a potty training two year old who has the flu (or flu-like mess) deserves a medal of valor. Or at least a Girl Scout style merit badge. Maybe I will start a Mother Scout troop so we can collect colorful and cool badges. But I digress.

As I said I have been away due to illness but we have continued our efforts in lessening our footprint. We've become concerned with our cleaning products. I know that there are many "green" lines out there but it's hard to distinguish between marketing and actual quality green products. So we have considered going old school -- vinegar and water, baking soda, bleach and water, etc. (I love the British show, "How Clean is Your House?" and they use a lot of homemade cleaners.)

Does anyone have any thoughts on this? Any green products out there worth our time and money? Let me know what you think.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Working on It... Next Question

So thanks to everyone who has already followed me over here and started chiming in with advice. It is exactly what I had hoped for.

As to my dumping the Pull-up challenge, I am starting to investigate the cloth options for night but in the mean, I found these pods that go into the training pant.They supposedly help teach with a cold feeling -- I've seen no evidence of that -- but they are very absorbent and a useful tool for running around town and sleeping. I know that it is not a completely disposable-free option but it is certainly smaller than the pull-up so I think we are improving. Even if just a little?

So here's my next question. I want to start a little garden on my patio. Because I am in Texas, our winter weather is relatively mild most of the time (ignoring this bizarre Arctic push we are currently experiencing) so I've been told that I don't have to wait for Spring for hearty vegetables. Any suggestions? Are certain plants easier than others? I have read some on-line but I was hoping for real life experience. I am also curious if anyone has tried the herb garden in a box set and or the "As Seen On TV" hanging tomatoes?

So thanks again for coming round. Each week I will try to institute an improvement for our family and the environment. And my husband wants you to know that the fun stuff is coming soon.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

First Step

First, let me apologize in advance to those who you who are already well along the green path. While my husband and I have not been totally ignorant of the environment, we have mostly done the easiest things, e.g. taking recycling to our apartment complex's station and using cloth shopping bags more often than not.

What we have not done is use cloth diapers. I admit to being ignorant of the advances on this front and thus shunned the very idea. (Please, don't judge. I'm learning.) My daughter is potty training now. I have decided that not only are the disposable pull-ups not earth-friendly but also slowing her progress. So today I am stating that I am done buying pull-ups. So now I need help!!!!

I have cloth training pants for home but what do I do at night and when we go out? I have a few remaining pull-ups that I am saving for these times but what do I thereafter? I bought a couple of pairs of terry-lined rubber pants but they are very bulky. Any suggestions? I know that there are cloth diapers out there but I don't know where to start at this point. So I am counting on you, green mommies everywhere. Help me keep my pledge to be done with littering the earth with my daughter's accidents.

If you know of specific products, websites, whatever that will help, please share. I look forward to your insight. :-)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Welcome to Cold Comfort Living

We are a young, busy family who live in an apartment in the city, yet we want to lessen our footprint, lower our costs and get healthier. We also want to be in the outdoors more and in front of the tube less. In other words, we want to step back and get off the grid some and get back some control over our lives. We think that we may not be alone in this desire. But is it possible? What can we do realistically without moving to the country and starting a farm? That is what this blog is about.

As the Mom, I will try gardening on my patio, cook from recipes more, boxes less, and keep the budget in line. As the Dad, my husband will try products -- both for life in our apartment and for outdoor living. So if you know a product for camping or living more green, please share it. If you have a product that you want reviewed, let us know. Warning: we will be brutally honest.

We will blog about our attempts (and failings) at living more green, eating better, and overall enjoying life more without going broke. We want to make a dialogue. Help us learn. Learn from us. Let's grow together. Let's make 2010 the year that we all did just a little better.