10 Easy Ways to Go Green at Home

Thank you to Direct Energy for sponsoring today’s post and helping me share some of the ways we’re making our home a little more eco-friendly #DEsmarthome.  As always, opinions are 100% my own.

Around our home, we’ve made small changes that make a big difference to the environment and, in turn, our wallets. Growing up in the country created a strong connection to nature for both my husband and I. Our moms were composting long before that became the “cool” thing to do, and reducing, reusing and recycling were just part of farm life. Now, many years later, we embrace being eco-friendly and try our best to leave the smallest footprint on the environment as we can.

Think it’s hard? Not really. It’s about making simple changes both inside and out…

Easy Ways to Go Green at Home

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Early Spring Gardening: Starting Seeds Indoors

Happy first day of Spring! Have you started thinking about gardening yet? We’re still getting snow around here (in fact there’s a blizzard going on right now), so digging around in the dirt and outdoor planting won’t happen for a while. But, I have started the process of planting seeds indoors.
 
Starting Seeds Indoors

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A couple of weeks ago, I was at the dollar store and came across a pack of tiny peat pots. Organic produce has become very important to us, especially in the past couple of years, and I thought I’d try growing some of our own this season. In the past, I have tried starting some seeds indoors. Some turned out, while others were a flop. After doing some research, I’m hoping the changes I made this time around will lead to success.

So far, I’ve sowed two types of basil, chives, spinach, lettuce and rosemary in organic potting mix. I plan on showing you progress updates over the next few weeks (hopefully all good!).

If you’re looking for tips for starting your own seeds indoors, I recommend checking out Starting Seeds Indoors by Organic Gardening. It goes into detail about which containers to use, the best potting mix for starting seeds, sowing, and more.
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Winterizing the Yard and House- Just in Time!

How was your weekend? Saturday was absolutely gorgeous outside, and we were able to pack away the last bit of outdoor stuff and pick up a bunch of leaves. If you haven’t invested in a leaf blower vac, I highly suggest it (well, my husband does since he’s the one who actually uses it!). Not only does it make the job quicker and a whole lot easier on the back, it also shreds the leaves meaning less bags. Sunday we woke up to rain that quickly turned to snow, so I was happy to have my outdoor pillows and ceramic pots tucked safely away. If you read Friday’s post where I kicked off the Holiday Countdown for 2013, then you know I have one item checked off on my to-do list- “Winterizing the yard and house”- yay!

 

Snowfall on Front Porch

 

If you haven’t gotten around to winterizing yet, may I suggest you visit Good Housekeeping for yard prep ideas and Canadian Living for house prep ideas.

One thing I still want to do is change our thermostat to a programmable one. Because I work from home, we don’t adjust the temperature lower during the day unless we’re leaving for a while. However, lowering it at night even a degree is probably a good idea to save on energy costs. Do you do this already?
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My Lavender Garden…Oh the Possibilities!

My lavender garden may not be like the amazing fields of Provence, but it has definitely grown from the tiny plant I started with a few years ago. I have always been drawn to the beautiful color and aroma of this herb, and I fell in love with it even more when I found out just how calming it could be.
 

Lavender Garden

 

Up until this summer, I’ve only clipped a handful of lavender sprigs here and there to fill a small vase or two for the bathroom or my bedside table. However, as more blooms than ever began to emerge in the last month, I decided to experiment with some of the other ways to use this herb, and thought I’d share some of my favorites with you.

When I stumbled upon this lavender lemonade recipe on Eat Yourself Skinny, I knew it was something I had to try. It’s not only pretty to look at with the sliced lemon, but tastes refreshing and delicious too (even with a bit of vodka)!

 

Lavender Lemonade Recipe
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What I’ve Learned About Caring for Outdoor Succulents

While I was at a local garden center back in May, I was drawn to the section of tiny succulent plants and couldn’t leave without picking up a bunch. At first I shoved all nine in a wooden crate for my outdoor brunch tablescape, but it didn’t take long for the plants to outgrow their temporary living quarters. Eventually I was able to find the perfect pot to transfer them into, and I’m happy to report they’re thriving in their new home located on our front porch.

 

Caring for Outdoor Succulents

 

I find succulents to be one of the easiest plants to grow indoors, but there are a few tips I’ve learned along the way to make sure they stay happy and healthy outside as well. I’m definitely no expert in succulents (or any plant for that matter), but so far I must be doing something right since these cutey-patootie plants are alive and well.

 

Caring for Outdoor Succulents

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