Try It Tuesday

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This past Saturday was Earth Day! Did you do anything special? If 90’s cartoons taught me anything, its that we only get one planet; we need to take care of it (and not just on Earth Day)! So today’s Try It is all about upcycling, reusing, and reducing waste!

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I did two different projects this week re-using what some may deem as “trash” but I saw its potential to be something better!

For my first project, I took the empty M&M minis tube Huff the Tot had just devoured and cleaned it out:

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Then, I wrapped it in some a-DORK-able Duct Tape:

Voila! I was done! Seriously, that’s it. Now I have an awesome pocket container to take places when I don’t feel like carrying a purse. This would be great for trips to the beach/lake, festivals, concerts, or just a night out on the town (though, I have two kids so the chances of me getting to go to any of those places is pretty slim!). But still, look at all that this thing holds:

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Plus, there was still room! You could pop a chapstick tube in there and maybe even some compact feminine hygiene products!

For my next project, I used an old coffee container:

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I cleaned it out, took the label off, and cut an “X” on the lid:

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Then, I used a chalkboard sticker I bought the day after Christmas and bam! Instant bag dispenser!

You don’t have to put bags in yours! You can decorate/label it any way you want and store just about anything in there. The possibilities are endless!

 

Here are some more links for recycling crafts!

Make Your Own Bath Bombs with K Cups

Tin Can Crafts

Bag Weaving with Old Plastic Bags

Altoid Mint Tin Upcycle

 

 

Do you have any favorite eco-friendly crafts? Share in the comments below!

New Year’s Resolutions

Last year, I regaled you all with my resolutions goals for 2013. I think I kept many of them (except the whole “stress less” one…its kind of tough to do that when you’re preggo or when you’ve got a newborn in the house). But I do think I did pretty well (even though there are still books on my classics list I have yet to get to).

This past year was a big year for me (and Huff the Hubs). I got promoted, became a mother, traveled to London, and FINALLY got my book 100% finished.

My sister that teaches fourth grade and I were talking about New Year’s Resolutions. She said she doesn’t really make resolutions, but she is going to talk to her students about it when they return to school. She showed me an awesome project she’s going to do with them:

I may color mine.

I may color mine.

For each number, there’s a direction:

For the 2: Name the two best things that happened in 2013.

For the 0: Name something you want to STOP doing in the New Year.

For the 1: Your one wish for 2014.

For the 4: Four goals for 2014.

Two best things that happened in 2013:

1. Hermione.

It was literally one year ago today that I found out I was pregnant. I was shocked, obviously. Mostly because I didn’t think it would happen so fast. It was a whirlwind; scary at times, but its been so worth it.

Don't I make cute babies?

Don’t I make cute babies?

2. Getting out of debt.

Huff the Hubs and I had been aggressively working toward getting out of debt from the moment we got married. We both had student loans we needed to pay off and were very serious about taking the shackles off. And we did! Our reward? London, baby!

Hands down, best Abbey ever.

Hands down, best Abbey ever.

Something you want to stop doing in the New Year:

Worrying.

I feel ya, Dr. Cooper.

I feel ya, Dr. Cooper.

I’m a worrier from way back. And, if at some point I’m not worried about something, I worry because I’m basically waiting “for the other shoe to drop”. I hate living like that. I’m ready for some peace of mind, yo. I have been to counselling and I’ve read some good books (like this one!) and its really helped me A LOT. But I still wake up in the morning terrified of the potential bad the day could hold. I want to wake up in the morning feeling excited about the possibilities, not terrified. So that’s the goal: STOP. FREAKING. WORRYING.

Your one wish for 2014:

Health.

Well said.

Well said.

I don’t just mean physical health. I mean mental health (i.e., the stop worrying thing), emotional health (keeping my mood up), spiritual health (spend time with God each day and not because I feel like I have to), relational health (making sure my marriage, familial relationships, and friendships are nurtured) and environmental health (be more mindful of how my choices affect the planet, its people, and animals).

Four goals for 2014:

 1. Lose the baby weight.

Either way, I'd be happy.

Either way, I’d be happy.

Before I got pregnant, I was working toward maintaining my weight and maybe even dropping a few pounds as my clothes weren’t fitting me as well as they had been (holidays and all), but then I found out I was with child and weight loss went on the backburner (as it should have). Now that Hermione is 4 months old, I’m healed and recovered from childbirth and my milk supply is established, I’m ready to work on losing those last 9 pounds of pregnancy that are sticking around. And, to be honest, I’m not too concerned with the number on the scale. I’m more focused on how I feel and how my clothes are fitting me.

I know a lot of people will say: “You had a baby, be proud of that!” And I am. But I also don’t feel like myself with the extra weight. The holidays with its endless mountains of sweets and the stress on our schedule has made me push my health to the wayside. I want to get refocused on my health. Plus, my clothes are still tight and I’m too cheap to buy new ones—ha!

2. Stop the “fat talk”.

Thanks, Abey.

Thanks, Abey.

Sometimes, without even thinking, the words: “Gah, I’m so fat!” will come pouring out of my mouth. Or, “I can’t wear this, I look fat!” will pop into my head as I look at my reflection after picking something out at a store that looked cute on the rack, but hideous on me. I know it may seem hypocritical to say I want to stop the fat talk in the same blog post describing my desire to lose weight, so let me make myself clear.

I want to stop the negative talk.

I don’t want Hermione to talk to herself the way I talk to myself. I want her to be healthy, to enjoy being active, to eat good foods, and feel confident in who she is. How can she do that if she doesn’t have the proper role model? I want to be an example of being healthy and fit while still loving who I am and being proud of my body.

3. Put down the devices.

Put down the phone!

Put down the phone!

Every night before I fall asleep, I do the same thing: pick up my phone and look at Pinterest or Facebook (or both) for about 45 minutes. Huff the Hubs will say something to me and I’ll grunt in agreement or say, “That’s cool” even though I’m not paying attention.

When I go places with people, a lot of our time is spent with them or me (or both!) on our phones, looking at pointless stuff. I want to get into a habit of putting the phone down, looking people in the eye, and actually listening to what they’re saying (gee, what a novel concept!). I don’t want to be a slave to my phone (HtH already calls my phone “my kidney” because I can’t function if I don’t have it).

4. Finish my 30 by 30 list.

Really, a lot of my goals are on my 30 by 30 list. I am determined to finish that list by the time I’m 30. I know some stuff may be difficult (like going to Italy with my sister) but you better believe I will work my hardest to get those things knocked off that list! I’ve already signed up for the OKC Memorial Marathon!

Sack up, Jess!

Sack up, Jess!

 

Do you have any resolutions? Goals? Reflections on the past year?

I hope you have a safe and happy New Year! (And please drink responsibly!)

Hug a Tree?

Climate change.

Global warming.

Hybrid.

Eco-friendly.

If you’re like me, you hate buzzwords like these. They’re annoying and used waaaayy too much. When I hear someone utter these words, I automatically shut down. It’s like talking to a Music Snob. The other person seems incredibly pretentious and makes you feel like you’re constantly watching that commercial with the crying Indian.

I used to think that people who were all about saving the environment were nut jobs; the same people that thought they’d get to ride a comet because they donned identical Nikes, and those that drank the Kool-Aid down in Jonestown. Now, however, I’m not as judgmental.

Don’t get me wrong, the folks that live in houses made of plastic bottles and drop a deuce in a compost heap still make me cringe, but I feel like I better understand where they’re coming from.

Since Katrina, I’ve noticed a lot of strange weather happening. There was the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Haiti. Then another off the coast of Japan. Hurricane Sandy practically destroyed the East Coast, and there was a freaking tornado in ITALY!

Now, I’m not a scientist or anything so I don’t know why all of these crazy weather events are taking place, but I can’t help but feel like maybe we should all do a little more to help the environment. I know we can’t stop things from happening, but maybe if we took better care of what we have, it wouldn’t be reacting so violently.

Even if it’s just as small as using reusable shopping bags rather than those plastic or paper bags. (And seriously, it reusable ones are SO much easier to carry up a flight of stairs to my apartment! Plus, most of them I got for free!)

Some may think that I’m getting into a hippy-dippy, New Age way of thinking with my belief that we should help the Earth.

I’m not.

I’m actually feeling this conviction because of my faith in God.

If someone you love gives you a gift, you want to make sure you take care of it, right? You want to keep it safe and protected and not let it get dirty or messed up. You do this because you want it to last a long time and show the gift-giver that you’ve valued what they gave you.

The same goes with the planet.

God created the world and everything in it. He made it for man and woman to cultivate and take care of. He didn’t give this to us so that we could dirty it up and destroy it. He wants us to value it; to keep it clean and protected.

He also created us to love him and care for other people’s souls as well.

So, maybe drive your Prius as you go downtown to pass out blankets to the homeless this winter or use your reusable bags to buy groceries for a needy family. Take care of the planet and its people.