Win an Earth Day Gift Package!

Tomorrow is Earth Day but that doesn’t mean you can’t observe Earth Day every day and Frugal Family Life and Walmart ElevenMoms have an Earth Day Gift Package to help get  one of you started on the right foot. Worth an estimated $130 retail the package includes a selection of Clorox “Green Works” cleaning supplies, White Cloud “Green Earth” paper products, and Tide Coldwater laundry liquid, a Brita water filtration pitcher and a Bissell Little Green carpet and upholstery cleaner.

The Green Works cleanering products are 99% plant and mineral based but can take on tough cleaning jobs with ease, they smell great, and are less harmful to the environment.

Tide Coldwater laundry liquid was designed to allow you to get all of your laundry clean without wasting energy using hot water. Depending on what statics you look at 70 to 90% of the energy used to wash a load of laundry is spent on heating the water. By washing everything in cold water you save energy and save money.

The White Cloud “Green Earth” toilet paper and paper towels are made from 100% recycled fibre but feels soft and cushiony like regular premuim paper products do. In the words of my teenage son “finally you got toilet paper that doesn’t feel like sandpaper!”

The Brita pitcher is something we’ve used in my home for years. Instead of buying cases of bottled water we use the Brita water filtration pitcher to filter tap water for drinking water. This saves us money (we estimate over $200 in yearly savings over buying bottled water) and it means a lot fewer plastic bottles that need to be recycled or worse, that would end up in a landfill.

Used with a portable stainless steel reusable drinking bottle (we have several sized from 500ml to 1 litre) we always have fresh filtered water on hand to drink at home or to take with us. The pitcher itself is dishwasher safe (top rack) and fits easily into the refrigerator without taking up a lot of space.

Last and certainly not least is the Bissell Little Green carpet and upholstery cleaner. The Bissell Little Green is made with PVC free tanks and hose, parts manufactured from 100% post consumer recycled materials  and the carton contains a minimum of 75% recycled materials. The cleaning formulas contain no heavy metals or optical brighteners and are phosphate and dye free.

Part of living Earth Day every day is taking care of the things you own so they’ll last longer. Using a product like Bissell’s Little Green to clean spots and spills from carpets, rugs and upholstery is a great way to do that. We’ve used older versions of the Bissell carpet and upholstery cleaners over the years and consider them a must in any home that has pets, children or clumsy people like me who are constanty spilling coffee!

So now to the good part – the giveaway! One lucky Frugal Family Life reader will get a chance to win this Earth Day Gift Package. The contest is open to residents of Canada and the United States and you have until April 29th to enter. The rules are simple:

  1. You must be subscribed to the Frugal Family Life newsletter with a valid email address. The sign up form is on the top right of this page.
  2. You must follow me, @merlene, on Twitter.com
  3. Tweet the following on twitter: Win an Earth Day Gift Package – Including Bissell Little Green carpet/upholstery cleaner & much more http://bit.ly/NAhWm #11momsgreen
  4. You must comment on this post with a way you live Earth Day every day. Please make sure to let me know your twitter name and the name you signed up for the newsletter with so I can validate your entry. That’s it! Good luck!

This giveaway is sponsored by Walmart and the various manufacterers listed above and is subject to Frugal Family Life’s disclosure and giveaway policy. Some of the other ElevenMoms are running Earth Day giveaways too. Check out each of their blogs for more chances to win!

Update: The contest is now closed. The winner will be selected through Random.org and will be notified by email. Winner will be announced on May 1, 2009.

Cutting Out Caffeine

Coffee Love

Coffee Love

I love coffee. I mean I LOVE coffee. Really. Beginning my freshman year of high school I have been a die-hard fan and total addict to the Goddess of Caffeine.

The smell.

The warmth in your hand as you clutch the cup.

The rich, strong flavour of a cup of strong black coffee. Mmm….

And yet…

I know that it’s not the best thing for me. Oh sure there are reports and studies that say caffeine is good for you. And there are studies and reports that say caffeine is bad for you. Either way, it’s time to break the chains of addiction once and for all.

I’ve become, over the years, a slave to addiction. I got to the point where I was making my coffee really strong, drinking it black, an average of two full pots per day. I was using coffee (and have been for 20 years) as a substitute for food, water, nutrition. It was nothing for me to be awake for the first 10-12 hours of my day existing on nothing but cup after cup of strong black coffee. I’d eat my first (and often only) meal of the day at supper time with the kids. My body has been in a constant state of famine as a result and I don’t eat much and when I do it’s not usually anything healthy.

Oh and you don’t want to be the man, woman, child or cat that stood between me and my and coffee. Trust me on that. Hell hath no fury like a woman who’s not had her coffee! Except…

Well, I’m the one coming between me and my beloved coffee. Once and for all.

So how does a twenty year, two pot a day, “jet fuel” strong coffee addict let go? Slowly. Carefully. And with a plan.

I can’t do the “cut out a cup a day” sort of thing. When you drink 2 pots a day you never really pay attention to how many cups you drink… just whether your cup is empty or full.  So here you have it…

Merlene’s Caffeine Addiction Solution:

  1. Start gradually cutting back your “allowed” hours for caffeine. Today maybe say.. No caffeine after 8pm. Tomorrow will be … No caffeine after 7pm. And so on. Get it so that you stop your caffeine intake one hour earlier each day until you are within 2 hours of your usual first cup of coffee. Once you’ve reached your quitting hour switch to water for the rest of the day. Every time you have an urge to pour yourself a coffee (or a Coke or whatever caffeine beverage is your downfall) replace it with a glass of water.
  2. Now you can take note of how many cups of coffee you have your first hour or two of the day. At this point you are going to cut back half a cup a day.  Until you reach the half cup per day point.
  3. If you’re anything like me… that “cup” you’re drinking from is HUGE. Now you’re going to move to a smaller cup. And half a cup of that.
  4. The next day you should finally just quit once and for all. If you think you need one more day  fine… but you’re at 1/4 cup today. That’s 1/4 of the small cup, kiddo… not the huge mug you’ve been used to.
  5. That’s it. You’re done with daily coffee. With daily caffeine.

Once you’ve been caffeine free for a week or two you can start having it again in very limited quantities. Consider it a reward. Have a cappuccino with friends on the weekend once in a while. Have an espresso and biscotti after Sunday brunch. Just don’t’ fall back into those old habits of daily caffeine. Keep substituting water for you daily caffeine and you’ll be healthier and happier in the long run.

And don’t ever suggest I switch to decaf. I might have to stab you in the throat with a stir stick. Just kidding. Sorta.
(Up until last week I was averaging a can of ground coffee or a pound of coffee beans per week. This is also a frugal post – I’m going to save at least $20/month on coffee and filters!)