Monday, January 31, 2011

Mtuzi wa Samaki & Yemarina Yewotet Dabo

I am loving all the international food recipes we have been trying lately.  I was really intimidated about cooking international foods but it isn't as hard as it sounds.  Both of my African dishes turned out delicious and I am proud of myself for trying them.

Mtuzi wa Samaki is a Kenyan dish of white fish in coconut curry.   We served it over Jasmine rice and it was very yummy.  We love curry dishes and the way it engulfs our house in a delicious aroma.  The recipe called for white fish, so we bought sustainably caught cod fish.  The fish guy at the counter helped us find the right kind of white for the recipe!  I always tend to strike up a conversation with the fish department employees when buying fish.  I have learned a lot from them about different types of fish and how to cook it.  The Kenyan curry recipe also called for coconut milk.  I decided on the "lite" coconut milk, to cut the calories and fat content down a little.  We only used a tablespoon of lemon juice because we didn't want the lemon to take away from the curry flavor.  I highly recommend this recipe.  Don't be intimidated like I was, it is always good to open up your horizons to new things!  For the recipe- click here

Yemarina Yewotet Dado is a Ethiopian honey bread recipe.  I can't say enough good things about this bread.  YUM YUM YUM!  We really enjoyed this bread, even my 100 pound yellow lab enjoyed it when he stole a piece from the table.  What a stinker, but I am glad I could share.  I really enjoy making bread.  I think I get this from my mother, who baked bread my whole life and taught me how to do it the right way.  There is something very therapeutic about kneading bread for 10 minutes straight!  One of the best smells in the world is the scent of fresh baked bread.   I want to bake some bread just talking about this!  I would not change a thing about this recipe and I will make this over and over again.  Try and enjoy it!  For the recipe- click here.

Here are some pictures from the Ethiopian honey bread.  I missed taking pictures of the curry dish because dinner time tends to be a very busy time of day for us, so taking pictures was forgotten about.  I baked the bread during the day which allowed me more time to take pictures and to use the natural light from the windows.

Ha...trying to take pictures and pour at the same time!
I hand grounded the coriander.

Happy cooking,


"The best of mankind is a farmer; the best food is fruit."    - Ethiopia Proverb

Friday, January 28, 2011

January's One Small Change Wrap-Up

My December One Small Change, of getting rid of junk mail is starting to show that it is working.  You should see how slim our pile of mail is everyday.  It is amazing!  We still have random junk mail coming, and I will immediately call or email that company to get us off their mailing list.  It feels good!  I urge everyone to do the same.

My January One Small Change was supposed to be three small changes but I found out a little fact that shocked me, so it went down to two.  I focused my small changes on recycling this month.  I wanted to take steps to recycle everyday household items that we tend to throw away.  So I researched how to recycle light bulbs and batteries.  I hate throwing these things away and knew if I did some research I could find out how to recycle them.   While doing my research I found that you can not recycle household incandescent light bulbs any where in Oregon, other than the florescent kind.  I hate throwing away all these light bulbs!  Maybe I need to think of a crafty way to reuse them!  Any ideas? 

We use a lot of batteries in our home between cameras, flashes, toys, and electronics.  Every type of battery we use has chemicals inside of it.  The worst chemicals you can find in some batteries are lead, cadmium, and mercury.  I know that sending any type of battery to the land fill will lead to these chemicals getting into our soil, air, groundwater, and surface water.  So my goal is to make sure these batteries stop going into the landfills.  So this month, I grabbed a glass jar and set it on our desk and this is where all of our dead batteries go.  Come to find out, my husband had been keeping a stash of old batteries in a drawer, knowing that they can be recycled.  I love that we share the same goals and how in sync we are with our thoughts!   I did some research on where I can take household batteries to recycle.  I started at the Portland Metro website (awesome organization & website!),  they have a tool that tells you where you can recycle all different types of household items.  This tool will definitely be put to use by my family.  It then directed me to Pride Recycling Depot, which will take up to 1 quart of batteries for free.  SOLD!  This Monday I will be taking my batteries there and I will continue to do this every time that glass jar fills up.  And what a fun learning field trip for my son and I!  I am curious to know where the batteries go after Pride takes them, so I am going to ask them when I drop it off and report back to you all! 

For those of you that are local to the Portland area and looking to recycle household items that they don't pick up curbside, go to Metro's website.  For everyone else who isn't local, is a great resource and can lead you to your local recycling centers. 

My other small change was signing the Oregon Ban the Bag petition.  In Oregon we are urging our state legislature to pass the Senate Bill 536 that promotes the use of reusable bags and bans the use of plastic check out bags.  These petroleum made, plastic check out bags are one of the greatest environmental horrors that we face today.  It contributes to the large amount of plastic that is found in our oceans and garbage around our streets, hurting our wildlife.  It also requires 12 million barrels of oil a year to make these bags.  YUK!  Please sign this petition! 

Thanks for reading my really long One Small Change blog.  I had a lot to say this month, I guess!  Next month I kind of have a big project that ties in with my One Small Change. I also signed up for a local tree planting and a SOLV street clean-up for the month of February.  I will write all about my February changes this weekend.  If you would like to read why I joined the One Small Change, click here or to join the campaign click here

Be well, friends,


“Don’t blow it - good planets are hard to find.”  -Quoted in Time Magazine

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Valentines Sneak Peak

It is way past my bed time, but I wanted to share a little sneak peak on what I am creating this week.  I got all my materials last week and when my little man is asleep, I am able to work on it.  I will post my finished project this weekend.  This project will also turn into a photo challenge I am going to enter.  Two in one!  YES!  I got the idea from an awesome craft blog, which has inspired me since 2009.   I will post the link with my final project!

Before pictures:

Happy crafting,


“The world is but a canvas to the imagination.”  — Henry David Thoreau

Menus and Nutrition for a Mama

As most of you know, I am considered a "pescatarian."  Which means, I don't eat any kind of meat except fish or seafood.  As my husband, jokingly says, "don't label me."  It is not a label to us, it is a lifestyle.  We have chosen as a family for health and environmental reasons to not eat meat.  It has been 6 years with no meat for me and about 10 years for my husband.  So this means, when I am pregnant, I really have to pay attention to my diet and make sure I am getting all the nutrients I need to help this precious little baby grow inside of me.  The BIG thing....PROTEIN.

Protein plays a very important role in helping to grow a little baby.  The amino acids that make up protein is what helps build cells in the baby, the development of the baby's brain, and builds a healthy placenta.   So, being a "pescatarian" I have to really pay attention to how much protein I am getting and eat the right foods.  As a pregnant mama, I need 70-80 grams of protein a day.  That is a lot when you don't eat meat at every meal.  Yes, eating fish helps with the protein but I have to limit my intake of fish to twice a week because too much fish or seafood can be unhealthy in a pregnant diet.  So I have to be creative with......beans, brown rice, tofu, whole grains, green veggies, leafy greens, eggs, any kind of dairy, peanut butter, and other nuts.  It has been kinda fun finding different ways to get some protein.  Usually my snacks include cheese, yogurt, pb & j sandwiches, a glass of milk, etc.  Those all help my protein rise.  On top of making sure you are getting enough protein, eating a very well balanced diet from every food group is SO important. 

How do I even keep track of this all?  That was the hardest part for me in the beginning of my first I started a "protein chart" with my first, and I continued with this pregnancy.  I want to share this with you, in case, there is a pregnant mama out there that wants to keep track of their protein or diet.  I bought a dry erase board for my refrigerator.  On the board I have a few different boxes that say...water, protein, veggies & fruits, dairy, grains & bread, fish & beans, and exercise.  I use tally marks to track everything on a daily basis.  Protein- I tally every gram of protein I get that day.  Water- I tally every ounce of water I drink.  The food groups- I tally every serving I eat.  Exercise- I tally every time I exercise that day.   Does this all makes sense?  Here are pictures to better understand....

I love it!  I love being healthy and knowing I am doing everything to help my little bean grow!

On to our menu for the week!  Last weeks meals were awesome and our African dishes were delicious.  I am preparing to write about them in the next two days.  I am continuing my interest in cooking international foods and trying a Jamaican dish this week.  I am excited to try it!  Our last weekend got a little mixed up with our meals, because I was feeling under the weather.  So I moved a recipe to this week.  No biggie, we roll with it.


MONDAY- Spinach and Lemon Orzo Pasta (We used only one lemon.  It probably would have even been fine with a half of a lemon.) 

TUESDAY-  Baked Spaghetti with roasted broccoli and homemade tomato sauce.

WEDNESDAY-  Homemade pizza with homemade dough!  (A family favorite)

THURSDAY-  Baked salmon, mashed potatoes, and steamed garlic broccoli

FRIDAY-  Leftovers and a big green salad

SATURDAY-  Jamaican Curried Shrimp & Mango Soup served with brown basmati rice

SUNDAY-  Broccoli and Mushroom Quiche and a green salad.  (We love to make quiche and to eat the leftovers for breakfast!)

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

Happy cooking,


"Children and mother never truly part.  Bonding in the beating of each others heart." -Charlotte Gray

Friday, January 21, 2011


My husband and I don't usually do things the "normal" and expected way and that included our honeymoon.  We paid for a lot of our wedding celebration and being a new family, we didn't have a lot of money to go on an extravagant, fancy honeymoon.  And to be very honest, I am so glad we didn't!

We decided to drive down to San Francisco and join our favorite musician, Michael Franti, celebrate his annual Power to the Peaceful Festival.  This was by far one of the most memorable and amazing experiences of my life!  We got to see Franti play three times and meet him personally during our stay in San Francisco.  The festival was three days long full of music, yoga, workshops, food, and forums.  On the last day of the festival, Michael Franti held an intimate gathering at the San Francisco's Herbst Theatre.  This gathering was a Celebration & Global Action Forum with the organization, CARE, which he is an ambassador for.  The celebration included workshops on what we can do as individuals to stop poverty, defend girl's & women's rights, and fight global hunger worldwide.  The day ended with a reception and an intimate acoustic concert by Michael Franti, where we were able to meet and speak with him briefly.  He even signed his childrens book for our son. It was such an eye-opening and motivating experience. This celebration introduced us to the organization CARE and I instantly new I wanted to learn more about them.   I have been wanting to write about CARE, since our honeymoon and finally after a year I am doing it. 

Since our trip, I have followed CARE through their websites and have desired do more for this organization.  CARE is a humanitarian organization fighting global poverty.  They have a special focus on working with poor women because equipped with the proper tools, women have the power to help families and communities escape poverty.  They have many campaigns within their one organization.  One that I am drawn to and hope that I can be apart of one day is Mothers Matter.  Mothers Matter is a campaign that helps educate pregnant mothers and keep them safe during labor in poverty stricken areas.   They provide educated midwives, doctors, and doulas to these areas to help reduce the high percentage of maternal mortality while maintaining the respect and honor of their cultures.  They help educate and build strength in these mothers, so they have a chance to have a safe and healthy pregnancy and labor.  AMAZING!  I really hope to work with this program one day or one just like it.

Pregnant mamas and giving support during labor is a passion of mine especially mamas that come from poverty.  They need support just like everyone else.  That is why I am so drawn to this organization and why I write today about them.  The other campaigns are just as amazing by providing education, resources to help adapt & avoid climate change, tools to protect and educate against AIDS/HIV, and resources to allow women to start small businesses throughout Africa. It is an amazing organization that works globally and might even be in an area close to you.  I have connected with some of the individuals who work at CARE and they are sending me an "action kit", which will provide me with tools to be able to help spread the word of CARE.  Which is the point of my post today. They need advocates, volunteers, donations, and voices from so many.  I hope that this can inspire some of you to check out their website. 

Links (You can help, just by clicking.)

Happy caring,

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.” -Mother Teresa

Monday, January 17, 2011

Menus, Becoming a Doula, and Remembering

I feel empowered,  I feel amazing,  I feel like I made the best and biggest step towards this amazing journey I am about to embark on.  My first class in my doula program was perfect!  I went into this not knowing what to expect.... and within 5 minutes of being in the class I knew I was in the right place.  I was following my heart!  I have some big dreams with becoming a doula.  I eventually want to see my dream become an organization that would provide prenatal, labor, and postpartum support to mamas who are low-income, poverty stricken,  non-English speaking,  incarcerated, or single mamas who don't have much support.  My motto.....Everyone deserves a doula!

I have had many people ask me what a doula is.  So for those of you who don't know, here is a definition according to the DONA website....."A doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth."  Many studies have shown that when doulas are present in birth, labors have fewer complications, babies are healthier and will breastfed easier.  Helping mamas with pregnancy and birth seems to come natural to me and I am beyond ecstatic to follow my heart with this natural dream.

As we speak of dreams, today especially, but also every single day we need to remember one of our peacemakers, Martin Luther King Jr. and his dream.  As we remember, we need to realize why it is important we bring even more peace to this world.  It is important that we can reach out to our fellow humans no matter what color, sex, religion, race, sexual orientation or economic status.  I know there is a lot to be done in this world to achieve peace, which is why I practice compassion.  In order for us to make big strides, we must start small.  If everyone did little things to practice compassion...our world will slowly become a more peaceful place.  We can do it!

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."  -Martin Luther King, Jr.  

On to our menu of the week.  I am wanting to learn how to cook more global and international foods, so this week I am trying out a couple African recipes.  I am going to dedicate a whole blog post to these recipes with pictures and my experience.  Stay tuned!


MONDAY:  Dinner out with my family.  Salvador Molly's!  YUM!

TUESDAY:  Skillet Tuna Noodle Casserole

WEDNESDAY:  Mtuzi wa Samaki (white fish in coconut curry, from Kenya.) with Yemarina Yewotet Dabo (Ethiopian honey bread). 

THURSDAY:  Veggie Fajitas

FRIDAY:  Homemade Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese

SATURDAY-  Spinach and Lemon Soup with Orzo

SUNDAY-  Leftovers and a big veggie salad

For more meal planning inspirations, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie every Monday.

Happy cooking and peacemaking,

"Let us turn our thoughts today to Martin Luther King
and recognize that there are ties between us, all men and women living on the Earth.
Ties of hope and love, sister and brotherhood, that we are bound together
in our desire to see the world become a place in which our children can grow free and strong."

-James Taylor- 'Shed a Little Light'

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Little Word of the Year

After much thought, I have finally decided on my little word of the year and finished our special intention list with my husband.  Just like last year....I had to take some time to reflect and meditate on my amazing year and what I wanted out of this new year.  I am excited for this new year!  I am more motivated, feel more at peace, and ready to face some amazing changes.  I know this year will bring more learning, more growing and more reasons to celebrate life and this earth. 

So my little word of the year....the word that I believe will sum up my 2011 year....the word that will be my guide.....the word that my little family will all practice together.....the word that I believe is strong and powerful.....


Compassion. Noun.  Sympathetic consciousness of others' distress together with a desire to alleviate it. 

This definition is part of the reason why I chose this word because I want to bring more compassion into our household this year.  Since I was little I have always felt a desire to help others in need and I have carried that desire into my adulthood.  I want to do more for others and I want to teach my children about compassion and helping others in need.  With that being said, personally, I feel like I need to twist the definition of compassion a little.  I don't feel that compassion should be limited to just people with distress.  I feel that we should bring compassion to all living things....trees, animals, all human beings alike.  It is important that I do my best to bring peace to this world and teach my children the same. I feel that compassion to all living things is the best start towards peace.  So this is my little word of the year.  I am excited to start doing things with that word in my mind.

My husband and I wrote our intentions list and hopes of this promising new year.  We are using my intentions list/blog from January 2010 as a guide because we want to carry our ideals into the new year (with some slight adjustments and new additions).

Our wishes and hopes for 2011:
  • That we live in the moment and be present with everything that surrounds us especially our children.  We don't want to miss a beat with our kids for they will be all grown up before we know it.  Everything else can wait, while we enjoy our kids now! 
  • To continue to stay peaceful and respectful to all living things
  • That we see the joy in all things
  • To continue to be a guide, to nurture, to protect, and to unconditionally love our son and our new little one!
  •  To love and be kind with all of our hearts.
  •  To show our children all the beauties of the world.
  •  To continue to love each other unconditionally with respect and understanding.
  •  To always remember to cherish the relationships we have with those who do love and support us   unconditionally.
  •  That our passion and love for photography continues to grow in our business.
  •  To have a healthy pregnancy and birth.

Our list of intentions for 2011:
  • Staying fit through this pregnancy and after.  Continue my love for yoga and meditation.
  • Continue our journey of sustainable, organic, healthy, local foods. 
  • Start our 2nd year on our farm with some amazing friends, growing organic produce together. 
  • Continue our goal towards buying a house. We want a house on some land so that we can have a little farm, grow some wine grapes, and build a photo studio.  We have extended our goal to 2015, knowing that realistically it will probably take that long since we are putting some traveling ahead. 
  • Continue my long time process of organizing and rearranging our home and life. 
  • Begin the studying and research of homeschooling vs. public schools for our son. 
  • Tour a couple of Co-op Preschools.  (This will help with the research above.)
  • Becoming a doula. I am starting my doula traning program this Sunday.  :)  I have a strong passion for wanting to help women with emotional support, encouragement, and wisdom throughout labor, birth, and the postpartum.
  • Continue to build our marriage and family with communication, understanding, respect, appreciation, and love. Raising our children in this environment is important to us.  
  • Continue saving! 
  • More travels this year!
  • To learn how to knit and crochet. I am hoping my Aunt will help me with this. 
  • To use my sewing machine more.
  • To show our appreciation to our loved ones more!
  • To continue to work towards finishing my schooling.
  • Continue the need to help others especially the smallest ones.  And teach my children this importance.
  • LIVE sustainable and green!  We are taking steps towards a greener earth and living as sustainable as possible.  Upcycle and recycle!  
  • To keep our house peaceful and full of love! 
Of course, I will be using my little word of the year, compassion, to achieve every one of these. 

For years to follow, I will use my 2010 intention/hope list as a base with adjustments on what is new in our lives.  I like that it's a good refresher for the beginning of each year!  It is time to wrap up the amazing past year, and welcome the promising new year.

Happy New Year to you and yours!  May 2011 fill your hearts will all sorts of love and peace.

Be well friends,


"If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.  If you want to be happy, practice compassion."-Dalai Lama

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Pay It Forward....

I had a whole different plan for what I wanted to write about on my blog today but when I read this story and learned about the fundraiser, I knew right away I needed to change my plan for today.

I stumbled upon Kelle Hampton's blog late last night.  She is a photographer and a mama of two little girls.  Her youngest little girl, Nella,  was born with Down Syndrome.  Her blog is her journal of the challenges and blessings she faces as a mother with a child with down syndrome.  Grab some tissues before you read her blog for it is amazing, touching, and inspirational.  I will be a long time reader of this blog! 

Kelle's story also grabs at our heart just a little bit more because my husband's youngest brother has down syndrome.  Brigham faced some health challenges when he was a baby and Dr's said he could expect only 15 years of life.  He is now healthy and very high functioning at the age of 21.  He has accomplished more than any 21 year old I know.  He has sang the National Anthem at the National Rodeo in Vegas, at the Salt Lake City Bees game, his high school football games, a motivational conference, and many other public events.  He has met the President of the United States of America, the Governor of Utah, and the whole BYU football team. He and the Attorney General of Utah are on a first name basis!  He has been the homecoming king and a motivation to almost everyone he has met.  Brigham brings so much spirit and inspiration to any situation he is involved in and  I feel lucky that he is my brother in law and that we are a part of his journey!  He absolutely makes our life richer!

So in the name of Nella, Brigham, and all the other sweet down syndrome children and adults in this world, I ask you to be apart of this fundraiser.  Kelle Hampton has started a fundraiser through the NDSS (National Down Syndrome Society) in honor of her baby girl turning one this month.  The NDSS mission is to raise awareness to Down Syndrome and to create a culture that fully accepts and includes the individuals with Down Syndrome.  The NDSS also puts on a walk fundraiser in cities throughout the US in awareness for DS called The Buddy Walk...I have been involved in the one in Bend in 2008.  You can find her NDSS fundraiser page here.......Nella's ONEder fund.  Even $5.00 will make a difference.

Here is Kelle's blog and post about her fund........Pay it forward
Here is her story of Nella's birth...........A birth story   (grab a tissue)

 Enjoy a video of Brigham (my brother in law) meeting the entire BYU football team. 

Love, peace, and understanding....


"Children remind us to treasure the smallest of gifts, even in the most difficult times." - Allen Klein

Friday, January 7, 2011

3 + 1 = 4

This new year is bringing us a new beginning and a new adventure.  In the beginning of the summer we will be welcoming our new lil bundle of joy to our family.  I am due June 29th and we couldn't be more excited to be expanding our little family.  I am now 15 weeks pregnant and growing my baby bump every day.  In fact, when I first found out I was pregnant at 4.5 weeks, I swear my baby bump showed up right away.  My body new exactly what was it was saying "Oh yah...I have done this before!"

Being a mother and having a growing, loving, amazing family has always been my dream.  I am happy!!!!  Happier than I have ever been with myself and my life!  I absolutely love everything about being pregnant.....the excitement yet nervousness when finding out, being tired, my lovely lady bump, having this amazing little person growing inside of me, helping to create life, bringing a little one into this beautiful yet scary world, striving to be the healthiest I ever have been in my life, meditating with my mind and my little baby inside, having my husband and son rub my belly and give kisses to the baby, and all the extra love I already feel.  It is an amazing feeling!  I could be pregnant 20 times over again.  NOT joking!  :)  Though I am beyond ecstatic about being pregnant  again, it also brings me nostalgia and sentimental feelings. This will probably be my last pregnancy.  Though Drew and I want to continue to grow our little family, we have decided that there are a lot of babies and children out in this world that don't have families.  Someday, way far into the future, we want to adopt another child.  This will be in years to 5 or 6 years maybe more but it is something we have always talked about. 

So I am cherishing and soaking in EVERY single feeling and moment in this pregnancy.  I am going to embrace it all, even the days when I am feeling like poop.  So I may write and talk about this pregnancy a lot.....bare with me here.  We are hoping to have the baby in a birth home or at our own home.....that is if our insurance comes through for us (which is a whole other topic).  I am yearning to have an out of hospital birth and hope that it can happen.  We have started a relationship with a wonderful midwife at Alma Midwifery and hope that we can continue that relationship.  We will be doing lots of hoping and wishing that the insurance company does the right thing.  Happy thoughts only!

We want to continue with the "A" names just like the rest of our little family!  So we are in search of more "A" names.  Do you have any suggestions?  Feel free to leave a comment with any "A" names you may think of!

The last time I will probably see my feet for few months!

Be well friends,


"I loved you before I knew you." ~ Unknown

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Menus and Holiday Treats

You are all probably sick of seeing holiday treats or holiday related pictures but I wanted to share some treats I made this holiday season.  I didn't take pictures of all of them and didn't get to all of the things I wanted to make but there is always next holiday season.  This holiday season I only made homemade food related gifts.  I have a desire to make more homemade household items......clothes, tableclothes, hats, scarves, blankets, bags, napkins, etc. I was hoping to be able to make some of those items this holiday season but oh man.....did time fly.  I lost track of time and didn't get to some of the things I wanted to do.  This year I feel more dedicated.  I have a sewing machine that I have used very little and I want to start getting more use out if it.  So I will be working on making some fun things this year and writing all about my adventures making them.

Here are some of the items I baked/made this year:


Spiced Almonds

Christmas Sugar Cookies with my aunt, mama, and son!

Chex Mix (no picture)
Butterhorn Rolls (no picture)

Here is our menu for the week:

MON:  Homemade veggie pizza with homemade dough

TUES:  Tofu and Vegetable Stir Fry over brown rice. (Bumped from last week since we had a last minute change.)

WED:  Vegetarian Hot Pot and leftover stirfry

THURS:  Spaghetti with homemade tomato and veggie sauce.  Fresh garden salad

FRI:  Dinner at our good friend's house.  We are making something for it but not sure what yet.

SAT:  Out to dinner with good friends from out of town.

SUN:  Black Bean Burritos

Happy Cooking,


"Happiness is homemade" -Unknown

Monday, January 3, 2011

December's One Small Change- Stopping Junk Mail

I am bringing One Small Change back into my blog world.  We have taken steps throughout the year to lessen our carbon footprint but I haven't written about it.  Now every month, I will be writing about the changes we will make each month to make a positive green impact for ourselves and this beautiful earth we live on.  Please check out my blog from last Feb about why I am doing One Small Change or the actual One Small Change Challenge Blog

Oh the grand annoyance of junk mail.  How many times do you open your mailbox and it is full of unsolicited junk mail?  Sometimes you get a bill or an actual letter from someone.  I am sure that everyone would agree that receiving this huge amount of junk mail in our mailbox daily is a nuisance.  On average, an American adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail per year, most of it unwanted.  According to the EPA, over 50% of this unsolicited junk mail ends up in landfill annually.

Here are some pretty shocking statistics:
  • More than 100 million trees are destroyed a year to produce junk mail.
  • The junk mail industry uses 10-24 BILLION gallons of water each year.
  • Creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars.
  • You waste about 7-8 months of your life dealing with junk mail.  What a waste of time!  
So with the New Year approaching, our family took steps to get rid of this nuisance, not only to help in saving our planet but also to save time and to stay organized.  Here are the steps we took in the month of December to get rid of this grand annoyance!  Please use these steps to get rid of your junk mail as well! 

1.  I started with the DMA and this is the first step before anything else! Visiting DMAChoice will help you remove your name to more than 3,600 companies.  They want to help you choose what mailings you receive by customizing your mail preferences.  

2.  Pre-Approved credit card offers by far bombard my mailbox more than any other kind of junk mail.  Yuk!  I went to to remove my name from the 3 major credit report companies.

3.  We don't receive magazines at our house but we do receive lots of catalogs. Everything you see in a catalog, you can see online at the companies website and save tons of paper and trees that way.  I contacted the catalog companies personally to stop from receiving their catalog and also went to Catalog Choice.  (This site is similar to but each cover some different areas.)  Catalog Choice helps you find and choose the catalogs you don't want to receive and a BIG helps you with getting rid of phone books!  Phone books being left on my door steps in big plastic bags is seriously one of my biggest pet peeves!

4.  With any other unwanted mail, I have started personally contacting those companies that send me junk mail.  We get lots of unsolicited mail from local insurance companies and they come for both my husband and I.  It creates a lot of junk!  So I personally have started calling each company and eventually I will get to each company!

Well until all these steps start working for me, what can I do with all this junk mail??  Here are a few things I have done in the past and plan to do until the junk mail all goes away:
  • Recycle it!
  • Compost it!  Most paper you can compost.  Avoid the glossy paper and any paper that has any kind of plastic on it.  Put it in the shredder and it is easier to break down in the compost bin.
  • Package it!  If you mail a package or need to store breakables in a box.  Crumble it or shred it for sustainable package material.
  • Craft it!  My son and I can do lot of crafts with unwanted mail and paper!
I am excited that we have done this as a family and welcome everyone else to try this as well.  It will be such a relief to get rid of a huge annoyance and take a step towards a greener planet.

What is your small change? 

Peace, Love, & Happiness,


"Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realize we cannot eat money." - Cree Indian Proverb