October 28, 2012

How much water do you use?

I just finished writing an article on OEIC (our energy independence community) on sustainability of cotton versus man-made materials and it got me thinking about how much water we use daily. Ok, you're saying, I use it for cooking, showering, and watering the lawn... Right, but did you know that it takes over 700 gallons of water to produce 1 T-shirt? Or how about nearly 1800 gallons of water for one pound of beef?

Clean water is a disappearing resource. We are all responsible as stewards of our planet to educate ourselves on the true cost of our choices.

Check out this interactive way to learn about water use courtesy of National Geographic!

May 5, 2012

Decorating our living room

We have moved in this house for more than 2 years now, and we are still trying to make it our "home" by personalize it and finding furniture and other items to decorate rooms. I want to share with you our progress with the living room, which had come a long way from an empty room to where it is now.

We refinished the hardwood floor and then moved in at the beginning of 2010. We came with a mission style coffee table that we got at an antique store somewhere near Ithaca on a road trip some years ago. When we had visitors, we would use our black metal folding chairs from Target as seating. There was nothing for window dressing. The walls were all white, and there was a prominent wall next to the stairs that had an old style wallpaper.

Living room when we moved in; after floor was refinished

The wall on the right of this picture had wallpaper that we removed (this was Dec. 2009)

February 16, 2012

Finding A Great Nanny

Photo by: healingdream
When it was time for me to go back to work, Micah was 4 months old and I wanted him to be safe and well cared for. After all, daycare is comforting since they are usually licensed, and many eyes are watching. But I didn't like the 4-1 baby to caretaker ratio that applies for all babies under 18 months old. Since I was going to work part-time, we decided that hiring a nanny was the best option for us. But how to find someone we trust?

Having someone work in home can be a bit intimidating to say the least. Will she be honest and trustworthy? Will she treat my child like her own? Will she be experienced enough to make the right judgement calls?

Fortunately, we had fantastic experiences with the nannies we've worked with. Here are the steps we took to identify and build relationships with our awesome nannies:
  • Use a site like Sittercity or Care.com to browse nanny profiles. Sign up and contact nannies you are interested in, about 1 month before you need services to begin. It typically costs $15-$30 for a monthly subscription in order to access their contact information. It's free to browse though. I would cancel the subscription when you've found someone you like.  Don't forget to also ask friends for references of great nannies they know or have worked with.
  • Setup phone and in-home interviews, call references. See how they interact with your baby. Ask relevant questions regarding ages of children they have worked with, tasks they are comfortable performing (feeding, changing diapers, laundry, cooking, etc.), hourly/weekly rates. 
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