Monday, December 26, 2011

The Recycler Has Struck Again!

I've been working at cleaning my house today. The funny thing is, I don't just throw stuff in the trash anymore, I recycle! I actually consolidated two Christmas wrapping crates to one, just by taking out all the old tissue paper (wrinkly old stuff, really) and putting it in an old paper gift bag for recycling. I'm bad about this consolidation thing, though. I will find things that can be recycled, but still have stuff in them, such as lotion bottles, and empty them, just so I can recycle the bottle. I also take this time to go through those bags and piles of papers, separate them, and recycle what I can, shred the rest.

Somebody stop me! Actually, don't. It's good for me to clean up and get rid of stuff cluttering my little house.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Slide Downhill from Thanksgiving to Christmas!

There is always that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas that I really begin thinking that I should just lock my door and sleep for a while. This year is especially inviting to that thought. It just makes me so tired thinking about it. I can understand why Daylight Savings Time was invented. I get up in the dark and come home in the dark. I am really just ready for bed at 6pm. I force myself (sometimes unsuccessfully) to stay awake until at least 11pm, just so I don't wake up at 3am (I also have a bad habit of only sleeping 5-6 hours on weekdays). All the "events" in a holiday season just seem to get in the way of that lovely sleep time.

My mom's birthday sometimes falls on Thanksgiving, as was the case this year. I love my mama, so it was wonderful going to the Dallas Arboretum and having a late lunch/dinner at Eno's Pizza Tavern in the Bishop Arts District on the Wednesday before. As an educator, I get the whole week off for Thanksgiving Break, so I'd had plenty of rest up until that point. It was really a beautiful day...much like spring than nearing winter, so it was very stress free.

Then, Thanksgiving hit. Sometimes being around family really stresses me out. I can handle being around a lot of people at once...I work in a school, so I am constantly around people all of the time. But sometimes I just get a little stressed out being around family. They expect so much more of me than I am willing to give. It might be because I am around 90 teens who only expect me to listen to them that makes it easier to be around them. When it comes to actually having a conversation, sometimes I just kind of freeze up and can't think of exactly what I want to say. I hate that about myself sometimes. It makes me just want to take a nap and get away from everyone for a while. Sometimes I do just that. This year I successfully did not.

Then I had to clean my house for my dad's visit/decorating for Christmas. I get easily distracted by different issues in my house and this time was no exception. I have several (it's a lie...probably 15) boxes that have been packed up for about 3 years from several non-moves I didn't make. So far I've been able to live without those items packed up, which probably means I don't need them. I really want to de-clutter, but it's so hard when you are a collector of various "things." I envy those nice, clean lined houses with only a few very choice items on display. I don't think that style is in my DNA. I try, but I still go over the top! So...I successfully emptied out about 7 of those boxes, swept, dusted, changed sheets on the guest bed, and put away my Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations...and promptly got my Fall Crud attack that Saturday. I'm still working at getting rid of that.

This Fall Crud has also taken it's toll on my spirit. I haven't been able to go to yoga (not good to downward dog when  you can't breathe and snot is running all over the place), which has hurt me in more than just my physical well being. My mind just isn't in it right now. I don't think anyone really realizes how much missing just one yoga practice can hurt you. I certainly do. It's like any other workout. You miss one, it becomes increasingly easy to miss more. Today I actually have had to choose going to yoga over going to a district librarian holiday party. The spirit of the party might be good for me, but I need my yoga spirit back.

And...I still need to decorate for Christmas. I finally got all 12 of my decorations crates out of the garage last night! I spent most of last week being sick, feeling like crap, and sleeping (I gave in), so the 5th of December was my mighty move in of Christmas. I didn't take any of it out of the boxes, but at least it's now in my house. It is just tough for me right now. I don't know how to explain it, but I just am not there yet when it comes to Christmas. Hopefully today, after my yoga practice and dinner, I can get some of that "magic stuff" out, put on the Charlie Brown Christmas CD (and Bare Naked Ladies...and Squirrel Nut Zippers...because I'm well-rounded like that), and get into the mood for this next round of holiday daze. I still have 19 days, though...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Save Money by Not Wasting Food (Waste Not, Want Not?)

I try my best, but even if I have a fully stocked pantry, I sometimes want to eat out. With the Thanksgiving holidays coming up (and my Mom's birthday!), I've worked very diligently to actually cook what I have at home, and use the leftovers for lunches when in a pinch. I'm loving the extra chicken curry and green chili that I pull out of the freezer when I need something fast and warm! Just cook some brown rice (Texmati, of course, going local!) and it's all ready to go for the next day.

I've been getting quite a few great ideas from The Chew, where I have found that my well stocked pantry is actually pretty well stocked! Tonight, I am going to make what looked on tv like a wonderful tomato and blue cheese soup from this recipe. I can't wait, and the best thing is, I already have everything in my kitchen to get this dish made.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Why is it so hard to recycle?

The post title is a bit deceiving, but that is because I am a compulsive recycler! If it can be recycled, I recycle it. If it can't be recycled, I try to figure out why and how it can be alternately used. I guess that would lead one way to my question: why are there things that can't be recycled? Many things can be repurposed, but what about those that are just not accepted in any recycling program. What do you do with those things (like non-CFL lightbulbs that have burned out...I don't replace them with CFLs until they do burn out, but what do you do with those?). Again, not the topic at hand.

What I actually want to address here is why other people find it so hard to recycle. I guess it may just be because I am organized (I have bins in my kitchen labeled "paper" and "plastic, glass, can"). It's just not that hard to dump everything into a bin outside and set it out by the curb. It becomes harder for people who do not have curbside recycling, but it can be done with just a little effort. That's the problem. It does take a bit of effort to recycle and some people are just lazy.

I work at an urban high school and see first hand how thoughtless students, faculty and staff alike can be. A recycling container can be two feet from them, yet they will wad up paper and toss it in the trash. They don't even think about it. I'm pretty sure it is just because they are not in the habit of doing it, but why is that? It's second nature for me to recycle and I've been doing it for over 20 years. How does the current generation not have this habit?

This is just something that has been bothering me because if 16 and 17 year-olds don't see the benefit of recycling, where are we going to be in 20 years when they are my age?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

It's Halloween Night and what is the treat for the Trick or Treaters at the Rock House: Kettle Corn!

It's not just any Kettle Corn, its "All Natural," because only the best can be given to my little Goblins, Ghosties, Witches, Fairies, and Spidermen! 

Poor Henry had to go to bed early, though. His favorite trick is to bark and scare all the Trick or Treaters away!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Chilly Weather...Chili Weather?

The weather here in Texas is getting quite chilly lately. It is late October, so for the rest of the world, temperatures in the 40s and 50s are not unusual. They kind of are here in Texas, though! Thursday night, while trying to avoid the crazy up down run score of the Rangers World Series game (which they lost, then lost the Series on Friday...), Mom and I decided that it was time for the first fire of the season. To the left is that fire (very bad cell phone photo, but still looks cozy!).
I am going to admit something that someone who has had a fireplace for 10 years should never admit: every year my first fire totally smokes up my house. I usually smell like I've been barbecued when it is all over with. Thursday was no exception! One log was just a little too large, so the fireplace did not get hot enough and the smoke began billowing out. Oh well. It was still nice and warm, even if we couldn't breathe!
Today, while avoiding a trip back home after having lunch with my cousin and his family, Mom and I decided to stop off at the farmers market (not really one that has local products, but it's not too bad). I looked over towards the bell peppers and had an epiphany: tomatillos= Green Chili! It was the only item for the wonderful New Mexican Green Chili recipe sent by step-mom Sharon that I didn't have. I purchased 16 of them (sounds like a lot, but they are tiny little suckers) and will be making a big pot in a few hours. I will even be using up some pork loin that I cooked last year and stuck in the freezer (I hope it's still good!?!). If it works out, I'll post pictures and recipe tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Well, time does fly when you're not blogging!

It has been well over a year since I posted my last blog entry. I've been keeping up with my green things, though, and have even added a few more.

I still:
Recycle, use my drying racks as often as possible, garden (finally did a fall veggie garden this year--more on that later!), use as many natural products as possible, use reusable female products during "that time," and try to cook at home for as many meals as I can.

I did start something new last summer and have had great success with it. I now use reusable coffee filters. At first it was kind of a pain. You have to empty the filter, let it dry, empty any grounds holding on, then soak as much of the coffee out as possible. Then, every few uses, you have to boil a pot of water, add baking soda to it, and sterilize the heck out of them. You then find out that you did not get as much coffee out of them as you thought (the water turns a horrible shade of brown...much like coffee!). I originally purchases 3 of these filters, so every 3 days I had to really work at cleaning them out. I'm not sure how much money I've saved...the initial cost was $4.49 each, plus $6.99 for shipping (total= $20.46). I know a whole heck of a lot of paper filters can be bought for that much. I've been saving paper, though!

Today, in honor of my first entry in 2011, I purchased 4 more. This time it was like I didn't even spend any money at all, though. I used points earned from one of my credit cards to purchase them on Amazon. Love those points! is a photo of what I'm talking about: