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Organic Farming Offers Greener Christmas Trees

A crisp November morning just days before Thanksgiving offered the ideal time for a winding drive into the Southern Appalachians of Western North Carolina. With clear skies and sunshine overhead, I passed by sections of national forest filled with hardwoods and tall evergreens that were skirted by mountain laurel. At around 3,200 feet in elevation […]

Continue Reading By on November 22, 2010 in Christmas, farm, green, organic, tree

Wooden Deck Bench

Here’s how we added a simple wooden deck bench to the deck. My husband finally put down his chainsaw and started using the miter saw for his next bench project.  He customized this pine bench for a little space on the edge of our deck. He used 4 x 4s for the legs, 1 x […]

Continue Reading By on November 20, 2010 in Friday with Kray, woodworking

Green Cleaning Party

I can still smell a hint of the essential oils from this weekend’s Green Cleaning party in my kitchen. My dining room table is sparkling from the natural furniture polish that Sue and Kathy made for me. I am challenging my husband to trade the nasty can of phony lemon-scented polish that he loves for […]

Continue Reading By on November 15, 2010 in frugal, green, green cleaning, thrifty

Rustic Poplar Benches

I love these rustic poplar benches! It seemed like a tragedy that a beautiful poplar had to be cut down in our front yard.  But, safety necessitated it.  Limbs had started falling from the dying tree.  My husband salvaged much of the remaining solid wood into a half-dozen benches. He used his chainsaw to carve […]

Continue Reading By on November 12, 2010 in Friday with Kray, outdoor, woodworking

Smart Moms on Christmas Consumerism

I wanted to share more with you from my conversations about Christmas consumerism with two smart moms. The surprising thing these two moms have in common is that neither one has Santa leave gifts on Christmas morning.  Their diverse personal reasons for that had little to do, they said, with consumerism. Assistant University Professor Shannon […]

Continue Reading By on November 11, 2010 in Christmas, conscious consumerism

Ready, Set, Shop!!!

Ready, set, shop! Here we are, two and half weeks away from Thanksgiving — several weeks longer until Christmas — and we’ve already been served a full helping of holiday marketing. Did you notice how quickly the red and green candies replaced the aisles of candy corn and other Halloween goodies at local stores? Haven’t you heard […]

Continue Reading By on November 9, 2010 in Christmas, conscious consumerism, frugal, thrifty

Rustic Wooden Bridge

We’ve developed a renewed appreciation for the little foot bridge that my husband built a while back.  It spans a small drainage ditch along a short forest path on our property. During trick-or-treating festivities, he dressed as a troll and handed out prizes to the kids after they answered his riddles and math questions.  The […]

Continue Reading By on November 5, 2010 in Friday with Kray, outdoor, woodworking

Holiday Sugar Substitutes

I’m guessing I’m not the only mom out there who strategizes between Halloween and the Christmas season on how to minimize the damage from candy.  I’m always looking for holiday sugar substitutes, and I don’t mean artificial sweetener.  I find myself eventually throwing away bags full of candy that I’ve hidden from my children at […]

Continue Reading By on November 4, 2010 in eating better, Scrappy Sprouts