Thursday, November 29, 2007


Now that it is officially the holidays, I have been in a baking frenzy. With lots of pumpkin and plenty of apples from the North GA mountains, I have been whipping up lots of winter yumminess. I thought I would share these seasonal recipes with you. They are perfect for all the extra fall fruits and veggies you have lying around!This beautiful and just slightly sweet dessert was absolutely delicious. I have made it twice. It is also great for brunch or breakfast. Thanks to Anna for this great fall recipe (it is her Nov. 2nd post...I can't get it to link correctly, for some reason)!

These pumpkin-apple muffins with streusel topping got raves from the kids and adults alike. I substituted applesauce for the oil. They were moist and sweet and absolutely delicious! Plus, for those who are interested, these are dairy free!

This butternut squash pizza on a homemade pizza crust got mixed reviews. If you like somewhat unusual food, I would recommend trying this. I added a little balsamic vinegar to the roasting squash and onions, and I thought it was good. I would recommend cutting the squash very thin. It was good with white wine. A handy little tip I learned to peel butternut squash is to stick the whole thing in boiling water for about four minutes. This will make it much easier to peel.

My most successful recipe over the last few weeks has hands down been the pralines. They were soooo yummy and just a hair off from the River Street Sweets version (and believe me, I have done lots of "research"). I think substituting heavy cream for the milk would probably be the ticket to achieving Praline nirvana. :)
DRAWBACKS TO SIMPLE LIVINGOne hazard of compacting is that, occasionally, a stray toe may freeze in the thrice-handed down footed pajamas.
SERIOUSLY????When we were on vacation earlier this month, I purchased groceries so that I could cook most of our meals. I only needed a little butter, so I bought a half size. The little mini butters were so cute! They were each half a stick size. What killed me was the advertising on the back of the box.I can see it now...poring over the different butter options in the supermarket...reading the back of this butter of relief spreading across my face. "Whew, no more cutting or rewrapping my butter!! What a relief to remove THAT stressor from my life!" :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

REMEMBERING WHY I HATE SHOPPING...Today I went to Bi-Lo with my three boys. This was the first time I have stepped foot in a chain grocery store since the beginning of August. I have been putting off going, but there are a few things that I am unable to purchase at the IGA, produce stand, or discount foods, so I finally bit the bullet. I quickly remembered why I don't go to big grocery stores anymore. It was kind of comical though. It was like country mouse visiting the city. We were all wide-eyed. I felt like such a dork...I was simply in awe of all the choices!! How did I forget about that in the last four months?

I steered clear of the produce completely. I am committed to shopping seasonally (we are eating lots of apples, potatoes, butternut squash, and greens right now, as well as items I have canned, and beans) and locally, so I get all of my fruit and veggies at the produce stand.

I was only there for five things but I kid you not, I was there for the same length of time that it takes me to get a week's worth of groceries at all three places I shop COMBINED. My children were throwing cookies and chips and candy bars into the cart like little mad men. They were insane!! But I couldn't really blame them, I was fighting the same feelings. I felt totally out of my element and a little panicked. It was very strange. The sheer magnitude of products was overwhelming. Over and over again, I would find myself getting sidetracked by all the items I suddenly "needed". Numerous times, I would pull myself away from a display, chiding myself to stay on task.

I escaped an hour later, with eggs, diapers for Landing, whipping cream, block parmesan, yogurt, butter, and sugar...and $40 poorer. While I would love to come back without children, when I have time to peruse and enjoy all the choices, for my regular shopping, I am definitely sticking with the mom and pop places!

*image from ineedahermida on

Monday, November 26, 2007


Meredith, at Like Merchant Ships, is the guest blogger today (and every monday) at Frugal Hacks. Go check out her great series on frugal giving (cheerfully and creatively). She has SUCH good ideas! Today she talks about creative packaging and it is chock full of inspiration for the holiday season. My favorite post in this series is when she goes through a holiday Pottery Barn Catalog, and comes up with great ways to copy them for much less (or free!). You can find that post here.

Friday, November 23, 2007


Today is Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year!! Will you be out shopping today, buying your Christmas gifts, or will you be observing the Buy Nothing Day?

This will be the first year of my adult life (other than the years that I had a newborn) that I am not out fighting the crowds at Toys 'R Us, Wal.Mart, and the Mall. I have never been a big shopper but have always loved Black Friday to get me in the Christmas spirit. This year, I am going to get in the mood a different way, and so far (it is 9:15 am, usually I would have already been shopping for 4 hours), I don't miss the shopping experience at all!

To start off the holiday season, today I am going to be cleaning and decluttering my house (while blasting the Christmas music!!), so I can start with a clean slate when I get out the Christmas decorations tonight or tomorrow. After I get my house clean, the boys and I will head to my parents house to pick up pecans. Tonight, the hubby will build a fire and we will have popcorn and hot chocolate or cider. We will snuggle up on the couch and read books about Christmas and talk about our plans for the holiday season.

Tomorrow we will go buy our Christmas tree from the produce stand and begin decorating for the holidays!

Here is an interesting website called oxfam where you can buy gifts for friends and family (100% of profits go to fight poverty), or you even give a cow to a family in a third world country, as well as many other things. Check it out. There is a cute video on there too about those awful gifts that we all inevitably get (singing fish, anyone?).

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My friend, Amanda, directed me to this petition (click the button on the left to go to the site) to buy handmade for Christmas. I absolutely love handmade gifts. I am beginning to hate retail shopping and the consumerism that surrounds almost every holiday we celebrate, particularly Christmas. For years I have gotten up early (like three am!) to be the first in line for the day-after-Thanksgiving sales. No more! I have taken the pledge!

There are so many wonderful reasons to give handmade gifts (either made yourself, or purchased). I won't reiterate them all here, but do check out the website. If you have never checked out Etsy, you must. A word of caution though: it is very addictive!!

I am planning to give my 5 year old a digital camera for Christmas. It is $35 and will be his main present. Though I will be purchasing it new, and it (obviously) won't be handmade, I think it is the eco-friendly choice b/c it will eliminate the disposable cameras and film developing, which he has enjoyed in the past. Other than that though, I will be giving homemade gifts -or- items purchased second-hand.

Here are a few ideas I am mulling over for different people on my Christmas list.
Children: -pumpkin pie play dough
-Book making kit
-Sock puppet kit
-Baking kit
-Coupon book for different activities to do together (movie, museum, picnic, etc)

Family/Friends (women):
-Dinner Kits (basket full of pasta, french bread, block parmesan, sauce, bottle of wine)
-handmade soap
-gift certificates (etsy, house cleaning, childcare, etc.)

Family/Friends (men):
-homemade cheese and a bottle of local wine
-Gift certificates (Ebay, car wash)
-Homemade Deer Jerky

Hmmm...that is all I have come up with so far. Any other ideas?

Each Christmas, my family draws names. We do this because there are five girlfriends, my hubby, and our gift-giving has become expensive. We have always had a $50 limit. This year, we have agreed to scrap that and do something less expensive and more fun. We are going to do a White Elephant with a $5 limit. I think it will be a hoot to see what everyone finds for $5 and it will be much more about the experience and time together, than the presents. We are going to use the money (normally spent on expensive gifts) to give to a charity or a family in need. I am really excited about it.

For more homemade gift ideas, check out Martha Stewart for some beautiful Christmas presents.

Above all, I want the gifts I give to be a true reflection of my love for the recipient. I want to really avoid the stress of "I have to buy xyz person SOMETHING!!!" The season of gifts should be a reminder of the gift of God's son, and with that, salvation. This year, I don't want Christmas to be about corporations making a buck...reeling me in with their slick marketing and their enticing sales and 2-for-1's. I want to spend more time reading to my children in front of the Christmas tree, baking, being thankful, paying it forward in simple ways, and giving out of a heart that is full of joy. It isn't easy and it doesn't come naturally, as much as I wish it did. It takes consistently being intentional, gently reminding myself of what my priorities should be. It is counter-cultural and it takes focus. However, I think it is worth doing and as the wife and mother of our home, it is up to me to set the tone. It is just another baby step in the quest to becoming more Christ-centered...more "other" focused in a "take care of #1 world".

What better time to practice contentment, generosity, and a lifestyle of simplicity than Christmas? While I do think it is important to give gifts, to spend time and effort and (sometimes) money on presents for the people in our life...I need to spend just as much time cultivating an attitude of cheerful giving so that the gift isn't an empty symbol but a true reflection of my heart. I think giving homemade gifts will help me do that. By nature, handmade gifts will require a slowing down, a thoughtfulness, a selflessness of time and energy. Whatever your gift giving method this season, I hope that it is a time of joy and renewal for you.

*This image from

Monday, November 19, 2007


My computer is back and better than ever! When the lovely Apple Computer people installed my new hard drive, they also gave me an updated running system, and so I have more bells and whistles than ever before! Yay!

While my computer was at the "hospital", my family went on our first ever, family vacation to Dillard, GA. That fun little trip will get a post of its own soon, but for now I am busy unpacking, cleaning the house, canning applesauce, putting up pumpkin, and preparing for Thanksgiving.

I read a great article today on simple ways to reduce our plastic use, which I thought you might be interested in. You can read it here. As you may know, plastic can only be recycled once, maybe twice, if at all...while glass and metals can be recycled endlessly. While recycling is great, it is always better to use that "R" as the last resort of the three (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). It is better to use less plastic, reuse what you do use, and recycle last.

Being on vacation for a week really opened my eyes to some habits that we (my family and myself) have that I didn't notice in our normal environment. Some things became more difficult while away (cloth diapering, recycling, etc.) and really tested my conviction about these things. For example, keeping the heat turned down, even though I knew that we wouldn't have any financial responsibility for blasting the heat...I had to do it on principal alone (and as much as I hate to admit it, the frugal aspect of it is as strong a motivator for me as the reduced environmental impact). Also, our vacation week was the first week I did 100% cloth diapering. I had no disposables at my, well, disposal. The difficulty for me with cloth diapering has been the mental hurdle...knowing that disposable is available and is oh, so convenient. I will talk about some of the other challenges and observations of being green on vacation in another post, but I did want to mention it.

Also, I just finished a GREAT book, entitled Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I highly, highly recomend it. Part scary statistics* about food, part inspiration, part recipes, and part recount of the Kingsolvers year of eating locally, I couldn't put this book down. Crunchy Chicken has a book group discussion going on now, if you are interested. This is definitely one that I will be buying, and will reference many times. After reading this, I am even more excited to start my square foot gardening in the spring, as well as to try my hand at making cheese. Wouldn't homemade cheese and a bottle of local wine make a great Christmas gift?

Anyway, I will be back soon with more random thoughts but for now I must get back to all these apples that are waiting for me in the kitchen!

*If you want more scary statistics about the food that we consume, particularly meat, check out The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan. I am about halfway through, and I can't believe what I am reading.

We have two winners for my (belated) 100th post give away!
First, the winner of the Square foot Gardening Book is Amanda Myers. Amanda, I will bring this to you next time I see you! :)
The winner of the Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Dryer Sheets is Jessica Miglarese! Jessica, if you will email me your updated info, I will get them right out to you!
Thanks, everyone, for participating!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

GREEN CHRISTMAS GIFTSEveryone is starting to think about Christmas shopping and here is a great resource for eco-friendly gift ideas. Of course, the most earth-friendly thing to do is to make something homemade from found materials, or to buy second hand, so that a new item doesn't have to be produced out of new (or even recycled) materials, which of course, uses lots of energy, gas, etc. But, if that isn't an option for some people on your list, then the above site is a great resource.

The best (but not always easiest) way to be eco-conscious is to simply want less. Practice contentment. The less we want, the less waste we create, the less we spend, the less negative impact on the earth. Being content with what we have, where we are, is not only eco-smart, it is a biblical principle. Paul says, "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want." Philippians 4:12

Even when we practice cheerful frugality during the year, it is easy to get carried away during the Christmas season. I began struggling with feelings of inadequacy ("I will never be able to make my house look like that for the holidays!" and the "gimmies" a few weeks ago when the first holiday Pottery Barn catalog arrived! As I learn (in new ways, every day) to have a heart of thankfulness, I am also looking for new ways to be creative with what is around me, either in my closets or in my yard. It is fun to find inexpensive ways to decorate my home for the holidays, or to make things that will be enjoyed by others. The most important thing I want to remember during the holiday season, is to set a tone in my home (what is that saying about mother's and people being happy? If mama ain't happy, then nobody's happy? Something like that...) of contentment, thankfulness, and generosity. I want to point my children toward Christ...not toward their wishlist or the presents under the tree (though there is certainly a place for that, and yes, I will give my children gifts for Christmas).

So, what traditions do you practice with your family during the holidays? How do you decorate frugally? What gifts are you planning for friends and family? What is your biggest struggle during the holiday season? Please share some of your thoughts and insights with me. I love to hear new perspectives and great ideas from others!

*This image from sentience on
TIME FOR A GIVE AWAY (or two!)!!

Apparently, it is a momentus occasion when one reaches the 100th post of his/her blog. Somehow I missed this, and this post will be my 109th post. No worries, though...still time to do a little celebratory give away! Now, because I am posting in the man shed, and am not sure how to download pictures onto this computer, I am just providing links to the items I am giving away.

The first is a book I picked up at a yard sale recently. Actually, I picked up two of the same book at said garage for me, and one for you! I am really excited to read it. It is a book on square foot gardening. I am not sure if the book I am giving away is this exact edition, but it will be similar. I hope to begin square foot gardening in the spring. I have read that it is a very effective, simpler way to garden. I am looking forward to growing some of my own food next year...maybe one of you will be inspired to also, after receiving this book!

The second give away is for Mrs. Meyer's Clean Day Lavender Dryer Sheets. These are much more earth-friendly than conventional dryer sheets, smell great, and are really expensive when purchased retail ($8!). I picked them up at the local Discount Food Store this morning for a mere $2. I love that place! I don't use dryer sheets, but seem to have a weakness for earth friendly (or cutely packaged, if I am being honest) cleaning products. So, when I saw them, I knew I had to get a box to give away here!

All you have to do to win, is leave me a comment on this post sometime between now and next Saturday night (a week from tomorrow). I will then select two winners at random (I will use the very scientific method of having my 5 year old select two numbers between 1 and the highest number of comments) winner for the book, and one for the dryer sheets. You don't need to specify which item you would like to be entered to win, you will be entered for both. I will ship the items to the winners the following week!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

ENERGY REDUCTION CHALLENGEThe weather dropped considerably last night, into the mid 30's. It is supposed to be that cold again tonight. I did turn the heat on before going to bed last night. I turned the downstairs unit to 62, and the upstairs unit to 60 (since heat rises). All the beds are layered with down comforters and quilts. The boys have been padding around the house all afternoon in warm footed pajamas, since we were home to stay and it is fun to be in snuggly clothes. I have a fire going in the fireplace, more for ambiance than heat. We have been eating warm foods all chocolate and tea, chili, cheese toast, oatmeal.

At night, since I am not turning on as many lamps, I am achieving the cozy atmosphere (I love in the fall and winter) in other ways. Lighting soy candles, playing music on the ipod docking station, having a fire burning, sipping hot drinks, etc. Instead of turning on the tv, I will grab a book (out of my HUGE stack), and cozy up by the fire with a quilt.

The boys are going to bed earlier, since the time has changed, so once they are in bed, around 730-8, the rest of the evening is spent quietly, reading, talking, ironing, planning the next day, etc.

I have not changed out the rest of the bulbs to CFL's...I am only going to continue to replace them as they burn out, which is what I have done in the past. I don't think it is more environmentally conscious to discard perfectly useful things, to replace them with "eco friendly" ones. Doing so just creates more waste.

The things that I have done to reduce our energy use this month are:
-quit using the dryer (I am now hanging out about 90% of our laundry on the line outdoors. My indoor line came today, so I plan to install that tonight and hang the other 10% there).
-Turning off extra lights (If we aren't in a room, the light isn't on).
-Unplugging appliances and electronics when they aren't being used.
-Doing things in batches. When I do use the dryer, I try to use it for all the clothes at once. Same with baking. I try to use the oven/stove to cook everything in one fell swoop, rather than turning it on and off throughout the day.

As with my other experiment, my goal (besides the financial gain) is to become more aware. Aware of the choices that I make, both good and bad, that affect our family, our community, and the environment at large. Aware of our habits, our decisions, our lifestyle, our conveniences. Already, in the first few days of this month, I have become more tuned in (in ways that I was previously unaware of) to our carelessness with our resources...basically just throwing money down the drain. I am learning to take responsibility for the fact that my choices, even small (and seemingly insignificant) have an impact.

I don't know if I will be able to cut our energy consumption in half this month or not...but I am sure that it will be considerably reduced, and more importantly, I will be further challenged to be a (cheerfully) frugal steward of the resources with which God has given to our family.

*Image from sadalit on

...So much for your input on the Christmas gifts. I am glad I asked you, because I had been planning to give granola in mason jars...but that choice came in dead last, so it looks like it is either vanilla extract or gingerbread biscotti w/ white chocolate icing. I think I will do the biscotti because I did the vanilla a few years ago.
I gave some of the biscotti to my friend, Charlotte, a few weeks ago, in honor of her fabulous new teapot and loose leaf teas, and she said it was yummy (and she would tell me if it wasn't). I plan to package them for Christmas the same way I packaged hers. Wrapped in brown butcher paper (that I bought a few months back at the Discount Food Store for $1 a roll), tied with red string, with a cute label attached. I am going to pile them in a basket by my kitchen door for guests and neightbors that come by during the holidays. Thanks everyone for the opinions!

My beloved Macbook has crashed for the second time in two months...gone are all my pictures and files. :::Sigh:::
So, for the next few weeks, I will be posting from the hubby's man shed. I will have to dig deep to find inspiration among the Kodiak signs and the stuffed fish, though I do appreciate the hub's hospitality. :)
Usually, I am on my laptop, either on the couch in front of a roaring fire in the evening, or in my cozy bed, loaded up with featherpillows and comforters I am sure you can understand the depths of my despair. Ok, I am being a little dramatic, it isn't that bad. The man shed is only about five feet from the kitchen door. And it does come furnished with a mini-fridge, rug, and lamp, to cozy it up a bit.
Anyway, if I am a little short on postings and pictures over the next few weeks, now you know why.

Monday, November 05, 2007


Brin, over at My Messy, Thrilling Life had a great post today that I highly encourage you to read. You can find it here. In today's posts she talks about missing out on the little blessings and moments of life while we are anticipating the big ones. I know I am guilty of that. Many times I get so caught up waiting for the "exciting" things, that I completely skip over the small, ordinary moments of beauty in my life. Friday afternoon, which I blogged about earlier, was a marvelous, simple afternoon because I forced myself to stop running and rushing and DOING and to just enjoy being with my children, on a beautiful afternoon, with no agenda. Don't you think we miss out on the richness of life, when we are rushing around, trying to mark off things on our to-do list?

Sunday, November 04, 2007

free dating sites

Just for kicks, according to this website, my blog is appropriate for people of all ages. No foul language, adult humor, or nudity here! :)
PRODUCT SHOUT-OUTMy friend, Jessica, was asking me if I liked my recycling bags and my answer was such a strong "yes!!!" that I thought maybe I would give them a little bloggety shout-out. :)

I LOVE my recycling bags. I have had them for 2+ years and they are great. I love them because they are lightweight, can be hosed down if they get dirty, have handles for easy toting, are color coded, have interchangeable labels (the labels also have a picture, which is great if you have a child that doesn't read yet), hold a lot, have velcro to connect them together (if you like), and are just really practical. They come four to a set (bottles, paper, cans, and compost). I have a separate container for compost, so I use them for glass, plastic, paper, and metal.

They are $22 and worth every penny. Plus, they have free shipping!

Friday, November 02, 2007

BOUNTYMom and I spent the day yesterday canning tomatoes purchased from the local produce stand. It was so nice to see all those rows of glass jars full of fresh tomatoes ready to be made into lasagne, or chili, or some other such yumminess. I am really moving away from canned goods. After reading about that rat's head in the can of Allen's green beans (purchased at Wal.Mart, no less)...I am really wanting to be involved in as many steps of my food preparation as possible. Plus, there are no additives or preservatives...just fresh tomatoes.

The day after Halloween, the pumpkin stand in town was giving away all the leftover pumpkins. I drove over and filled up the back of the mom-mobile. Some of the pumpkins were priced at $17 apiece!! This was the sweet hookup.
I might have gone a little overboard. I am seeing lots of pumpkin pie, pumpkin bread, toasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin soup, pumpkin butter, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies (?) in our future! Hmmm. maybe I should revise the poll (on the left of this blog) to include something with pumpkin? :)
LOVELY FRIDAYToday was a fun filled Friday! After spending the morning at Biblestudy, I rushed home to have a quick lunch with my childhood friend, Lydia, who was in town for the week-end. It was great to see her and spend a few (quick) minutes visiting, before rushing off to bookgroup.

At our monthly bookgroup, we discussed last month's mystery, The Thirteenth Tale. It was a great book, and I highly recommend reading it. Apparently, there are lots of things that you don't pick up on in the first reading, so you have to read it twice...I didn't do that. No biggie, I am used to being the one who doesn't read between the lines. It is what it is. :)

This month's selection (non-fiction month) is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which I am so looking forward to reading. It has been on my amazon wish list for a while now, so I can't wait to get started on it. Kuddos to you, Mrs. Louise, for this pick!! Plus, crunchy chicken has been leading a book discussion on this book, so hopefully I will have lots of insights from there, as well.

Then, I spent the rest of the afternoon swinging my boys on their new playset, bouncing on the trampoline, lying on the ground, looking up at the leaves. And it occurred to me. As much as I get frustrated, and tired, and much as I sometimes just want to change my name and run away to a tropical much as I CRAVE a little quiet (yes, Charlotte, the kind that roars in your ears!), I am living exactly the life that I had hoped to live. A simple life with my husband, my children, and my happy little house. And today was all I could want in an autumn afternoon. Time seemingly suspended, for a few moments. Taking mental snapshots of laughter and sunshine and twinkly eyes and dirty faces. I live for these moments. When I force myself to leave the housework and the to do list and just BE. Not wanting, not expecting. Just living, simply. Content.
It was a good day.

*Image from lu2shoot on

Yay! Remember that retractable clothesline I was talking about in my last post? I found it on ebay! You can see it here.

It is eight feet long. I can't decide if I should hang it in the bathtub, like at the Westin, or if I should hang it in my laundry room. My laundry room has a slate floor, so drips won't be a big deal and it would be convenient to take items right out of the washer. On the other hand, it would be kind of in the way to have laundry hanging in there, since it is a small room. If I hang it in the bathtub, drips won't be an issue, and the clothes won't be in the way, but I will have to carry the clothes in there, and the line won't be as long. Any opinions?

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I had so much fun doing my social experiment, that I have decided it is time to challenge myself to something new. This challenge will last for two months as well, from November 1st-December 31st.

I am going to attempt to cut our power usage in half.

The power bill came in the mail today. Last month (October) we used 1456 KWH of energy. I am not sure how that compares to others with similar geography, home size, lifestyle, etc. but it doesn't really matter. This is a competition with myself. It will be exciting to see how much control I have over our finances and dependance on creature comforts. You might scoff that I am beginning this experiment in November in South GA, that I am copping out, since the weather is great now. Duly noted. However, my goal is to cut my usage in half from LAST MONTH...not from how much we use it in the summer. So, put that in your peace pipe and smoke it. :)

Here are a few ways that I have thought of that I can reduce our electricity. Please feel free to leave me a comment with more suggestions.
-Turn off the lights. Easy. Don't leave lights on in rooms that we aren't in.
-Utilize my clothesline more. I am using it about 40% of the time right now. I can easily use it more often and this should have a big impact, considering that dryers are one of the most energy-guzzling appliances in the home. The Westin in Savannah had a neat retractable clothesline in the shower. It was a small aluminum one that was very minimal and really cool. I am going to look into one of those for my bathtub, for rainy days.
-Turn up the temp. in the fridge and freezer. Foods don't have to be frozen at the very coldest temperature. I have turned my fridge and freezer thermometer to the middle of each range. I did this several weeks ago and my food is still cold and/or frozern.
-Buy solar night lights. Right now, we keep the hall light upstairs on all night for my afraid-of-the-dark chidren. This is an easy switch.
-Change out the remainder of my regular light bulbs for CFL's.
-Leave the thermostat off. It has been off this whole week. With the windows and doors open, we get a great cross breeze. Once it gets colder, we will put on warmer clothes instead of automatically adjusting the thermostat. Put warmer bedding on the beds.
-Use other elements to bring heat to the house. After I bake something in the oven, I can leave the door cracked to let the hot air out. Same with the dryer.
-Turn off dormant electronics. Anything that has a red light (standby mode) is sucking energy, even when not in use. I will be more mindful about cutting off the power strip, rather than just the appliance/electronic itself. Also, chargers still use energy, even if they aren't charging anything, so I will be unplugging those when not in use.

If I am successful in this challenge, I will not only be saving 728 KWH of energy each month, but I will also be saving our family approximately $63 a month. Add that to the $200 I am saving each month from my social experiment, and I have just "found" $260 extra each month! With that money, we can pay off our vehicles more quickly, or, according to Dave Ramsey's Mortgage Calculator, apply it to our mortgage and cut 12 years off our home mortage, saving over $80,000 in interest!

Anyone interested in doing this new challenge with me? Come on, it will be fun!

*This image from ajft on