Thanks to my loving husband, I'm phasing out Ziploc baggies!

For Christmas, Alex bought me a couple of reusable sandwich bags. I take my lunch to work most days, and we already use gladware, Tupperware and reusable silverware. I had already begun using gladware for sandwiches and those types of things, but every now and then, I'd need a plastic baggie. Well, those days are gone!

Just one of these reusable sandwich bags replaces thousands of plastic baggies during its lifetime! They are food-safe, non-toxic, and PVC- and phthalate-free. This one should be hand washed with soap and warm water and then hangs dry.

I'll use these for awhile, and then see how they meet my needs. The site Alex ordered from, reusablebags.com, has many different kinds of sandwich and snack bags, not to mention reusable bottles, sacks, and pretty much anything else you could want.

Sayonara, plastic baggies! I'll be a new woman in 2010!


Now That's a Wrap!

I'll admit it. I'm a bit frugal. In fact, a friend yesterday called me a miser. It's not that I don't like spending money. Trust me, I've got the TJ Maxx shoe department delivery schedule memorized. However, Alex and I save a lot of our income. There are retirement accounts and house and emergency funds that get a boost every month. Our desire to save money reveals itself in various ways. A lot of times, it even helps the environment.

Since Alex and I have been married, I'm proud to say I have bought nary a gift bag nor sheet of tissue paper. How? We got tons of gift bags when we got married, and we get them at each birthday. I stock up. I smooth out tissue paper, fold it and slide it into a zippered bag that I think at one time a shower curtain or sheet set came in.

You can start your collection of gift bags and tissue paper this year! (It really is quite exciting.) After the presents are opened, as someone comes around with that big garbage bag, quietly gather the bags, tissue paper and even bows! Bows are a bit harder to keep from squishing from year to year, but a little tape does wonders!

I also save Comics out of the Sunday paper. Well, we don't subscribe to the paper, but if I ever get my hands on one, I pull out the Comics first. My Granny Bea used to wrap birthday gifts in the funnies. What a great idea!

Can you think of any ways to reuse or repurpose items for wrapping or gift-giving in general? I would love to hear your ideas in the comments!

Merry Christmas!


It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

We got our Christmas tree last weekend! It seems like every year around this time, people wonder which is better for the environment: A real tree or a fake tree?

We went out to Volunteer Tree Farm, just about 10 minutes from our house. You can find a local tree farm by visiting the Christmas Tree Farm Network. The whole experience was great. We ran from tree to tree to find the first-ever Rogers live Christmas tree. Alex cut it down with a hand saw and we toted it back to the barn. We even got free hot chocolate and hot apple cider!

But what about fake trees? Isn't "reuse" one of those "go-green" mantras? The National Christmas Tree Association represents real tree growers and provides a chart of the pros and cons of buying a real tree versus a fake tree. They probably aren't biased, are they?

The American Christmas Tree Association, on the other hand, represents artificial tree manufacturers and boasts that fake trees are used year after year and can save you more money the longer they last.

While artificial trees may save you some green, it's important for going green to remember that most tree farms plant one to three trees for every one that is cut, and after the holidays, they don’t end up in a landfill like artificial trees eventually do. Artificial trees are made by using fossil fuels. The plastic, when it eventually ends up in landfills, takes years to decompose. A real tree is a renewable resource and can be recycled into mulch.

The bottom line: Go for the actual tree and try to support a small-scale, local sustainable grower if you can.

More Christmas tree resources: