If It's Yellow Let it Mellow...

...If it's brown flush it down. Catchy little rhyme and a good way to help out the environment. My family and I have been practicing this for about 3 weeks now and I have to say I've learned some things about how to make this little diddy work for you:
  • Don't do mellow yellow when it's very hot outside and your upstairs is warmer than the rest of the house.
  • Carefully explain the concept to anyone using the potty under 8 in the home. My 4 year-old lets everything mellow - Eww.
  • Be prepared to clean the toilet more often so it's important to have your environmentally friendly cleaning solution on hand. I like Borax and white vinegar.
  • You may chose not to mellow all day. All night when usage is down - cool. All day, not so much. Try 3 -4 flushes a day, beats the 400 my toddler puts it through.
  • Doing the mellow is a great way to figure out if you and the rest of your family are getting enough water.
  • Invest in a toilet lock if you've got a little one who believes in putting all things movable in the toilet. It's one thing to fish it out of relatively clean water, a whole other thing to go fishing in hour old pee.
  • No mellowing when guest come, I don't care how environmentally friendly they are, they don't wanna share pee with you.
So how bout it folks - should I call you Mellow Yellow or grossed out?


Experience Columbus Going Viral

Experience Columbus is launching a new ad campaigned designed to get the buzz out on all the great things there is to do in Columbus.

With a new, quirky, less stuffy series of ads, the campaign is designed to highlight what is not in Columbus including Sasquatch, the Eiffel Tower and the Pyramids.

Of course, coming off the Messin' w/Sasquatch popularity for Jack's Beef Jerky ads, the stand out funny ad is the "I didn't catch Sasquatch in Columbus, but I did everything else."

There's nothing better than gathering a bunch of bloggers, giving them the scoop over traditional media and throwing in some YouTube video to get the campaign to go viral.

Some bloggers in attendance were concerned that leading with the negative may turn off some Columbusites. What do you think? Are the ads edgy, funny or corny?

photo credit: terreece clarke, screenshot of new "notincolumbus" website set to launch this weekend.


Green Cleaning...

We had a garage sale this past weekend which was our opportunity to get rid of our junk while preventing it from landing in the 'fill. We made a little bit of money, but got rid of a whole lotta junk. Which led to a massive cleaning project that is still going on.

It's amazing how much junk a family can collect and it's even more amazing how much dirt hides behind the junk. Mixing up big batches of cleaning solutions got me feeling all Mother Earth. No one likes to clean but my kitchen floor? Honey, you can literally eat off of it. My 14 month old does.

Cleaning Solution Recipes
Vinegar and Salt. Mix together for a good surface cleaner.
Baking Soda. Dissolve 4 tablespoons baking soda in 1 quart warm water for a general cleaner.
Baking soda on a damp sponge. Baking soda cleans and deodorizes all kitchen and bathroom surfaces.
*courtesy of Clean and Green

Non-Toxic Cleaning Kit


Getting Around By Private Plane - In Columbus...

Cindy McCain was recently quoted in an interview saying the only way to get around Arizona is by small private plane. See interview here.

That is amazing. Here I thought cars were the main mode of transportation. I can just imagine Columbus' take. Instead of Hummers you'd have gas guzzling private planes buzzing the lowly "car driving" peons.

Parking in the Short North would be a bigger nightmare and I won't even go there on traffic going out to the 'burbs. Instead of a three car garage being the height of suburb chic, it would then be a three plane garage.

Let me stop before I give someone ideas ;0)


Green Grocery Shopping...

Gotta get groceries and I gotta get greener - "Green Groceries" this week feels like an oxymoron. I stopped on the way back from Liv's karate class to pick up a few groceries. It was easier to stop at Aldi's instead of taking the extra time to go into Walmart, get seduced by EVERYTHING and end up spending two hours instead of 20 minutes.

Aldi's is apparently not into greening the joint up. All of the fruit and veggies were in plastic containers. The peppers, tomatoes, no veggie was left untouched. Then I spent two minutes feeling guilty over eggs. Are these local? No. They're in styrofoam. Should I still buy them? Is there anything I can do with styrofoam? What crafts?


In the end I got what I needed. Spent 69 cents more on organic tortilla chips and used my cloth shopping bags. I have a feeling grocery shopping is going to be accompanied by a hippie in hemp waggin their finger at me on one shoulder and an a-hole in a Hummer with endangered polar bear-covered seats on the other side.

I could have left, I could have dragged both kids to Walmart up the street, but that felt like a waste of gas. Of course I could have gone to Whole Paycheck, I mean, Whole Foods waaaaay on the other side of town and spent $40 in gas getting there. Why are all of the health stores in the burbs?

The Good:
  • I remembered the cloth bags
  • Saved gas by going to a store along the way home
  • Bought one organic product
The Bad:
  • I bought eggs in styrofoam.
  • I bought grapes encased in a plastic habitat.
  • Got a little pissed at the Earth, the Man and my wallet.
The Lesson: Keep trying and petition Aldi's for a better selection of green products.


Milk-labeling rule upsets Organic Trade Assoc.

Two trade groups have filed lawsuits challenging a new Ohio rule on milk labels. Apparently the Organic Trade Association says the changes violate free speech because the law requires milk labels that advertise the cows were not treated with bovine growth hormone must have a disclaimer saying the government has not found a difference in the milk that contains the hormone.

Read the article here: Milk-labeling rule brings lawsuits

This is a setback for those who are trying to convince consumers to be more concerned about where their food comes from. It boils down to cost really. If the average consumer is weighing the difference between the more expensive organic milk versus store milk on sale and they see the label saying the government says there's no difference I'm afraid price will win out.

I find the wording of the label convenient: there's no difference in the milk. But it doesn't say there is no difference in how the milk may affect the consumer. Nice one lawyers.

What do you guys think? Will the label discourage some consumers or is the "trust your government's oversight" argument losing it's authority?

two headed cow image courtesy of Barcroft Media


Columbus Punishes Residents for Recycling

For most Columbus residents this is old news, but it still irates me and I'd like to talk about it. Why on Earth did Columbus City Council vote to end subsidizing for the recycling program?

We recycle faithfully, admiring how we'd have to go two - three weeks before we could put out a full trash bin because of most of our trash being recycled. Then I hear that the council has voted and instead of paying $20 for 4 months of recycling pick-up, we would now have to pay $8.25/month!


Supposedly the program wasn't very successful with few taking advantage of the subsidized service so they cut it and replaced it with...Nothing. I honestly didn't see much advertising going into letting residents know the service existed. I wanted to start and went digging for the info on the city's horrid "city Web site." (Would it kill 'em to add a little design?)

Beyond the huge price hike, cutting the program has left people who are concerned, but unwilling or unable to pay for the increase. With gas sky high those of modest means are watching every dollar.

We now pile our recyclables into our car and drop them off at a city drop-off point on the way to our daughter's karate class. But there are plenty who aren't dedicated like us. They'll just quit...

A program Columbus should look to is what crazy Carty Finkbeiner has going on in Toledo, Ohio - residents are charged if they DON'T recycle.

Trash Rates Have Toledo Seeing Green

"When the current fee went into effect, the Finkbeiner administration predicted the rate of recycling would increase from 17 percent to about 40 percent because of the $2.50 monthly savings.

Thirty-eight percent of people are pledged to recycle while only about 28 percent currently do so, said Bill Franklin, the city's director of public service.

City officials said there has been resistance to the change, but think the new fee could alleviate that.

"My neighbor takes my papers over to Kroger's and that's what I've had most to recycle," Ms. Wumer said. "The rise in price to $10 was too much, so I have to do it."

"The recycling pledge cards that will entitle residents to a discount on the new $5.50 monthly trash collection fee have been flying out of stores and libraries where they were put on Friday.

"The kits went out as fast as they came in," Nancy Goldsmith, office coordinator for The Andersons at Talmadge Road and Monroe Street, said yesterday.

City Council last month established a $5.50 monthly refuse fee, with a reduced rate of $3 for people who pledge to participate in curbside recycling."

One of my reasons for refusing to move back to Toledo is that Columbus is far more progressive than my hometown. And now To-dol-leedo is blazing past us in this area. What's up with that Mayor Mike?

What ways are your city encouraging recycling? What successful programs do you think may work with Columbus?


I'm Going Green and So Is the Blog!

My family has always been environmentally aware, before it became in vogue I banned my mother from using Styrofoam and as we were fiscally challenged (wink,wink.) we always saved things for multiple uses. We saved cooking oil and bar soap pieces. We reused aluminum foil and Ziplock bags and don't even ask me to recall those long days of hanging clothes outside on the clothesline.

But as more information comes out on going green and the ways each family can do their part I find that as I've gotten older I've lost my green edge. Don't get me wrong, I don't feel a day over 28, but as a 31 year-old wife and mother of two I can see where convenience has won out over the planet.

Disposable diapers, paper towels and driving all over the city for various activities has taken over our lives, yet as gas prices rise along with the seas I find myself going back to my environmentalist roots.

I'm chronicling my journey and along with information that is specific to Columbus and Ohio I will, of course, include info on national news developments as well as tips, ideas and anything else "green."


Cougars and Kittens Out in Force for Sex In the City Premire In Columbus

Way out on the west side of Columbus WNCI, Vitamin Water and Mercedes Benz held a preview showing of the new Sex in the City Movie. I got to be there to review the flick for Kids-In-Mind.Com.

There was a red carpet, a young chick in a really little dress that she had to keep pulling down was taking photos and they were passing out Vitamin Water. I didn't get my photo taken nor did I get a comp water. I'm not sure if I wasn't cool enough, and as a journalist I am supposed to refuse perks, but I'd still like the option - dang!

Anyway the movie was great, you'll have to wait and see it for yourself, no spoilers here! The best thing about the event last night was of course the people watching. With a half-hour plus to kill before the movie started I got a chance to see women pour into the theater.

There were more heels than sneakers running around the theater. It's like everyone got a memo - and yes I had on my pumps too. Not too often I get to bust them out on a Tuesday for a non-business related function. Carrie would have been proud. There were also tons of designer bags as women channeled their inner "sex." The best thing is that there were women of all walks of life in attendance.

Oh there were the fashionistas of course, those whose designer jeans were made for Manolos. Available in both young and middle-aged versions, these ladies either clopped (young) in their heels in groups of 4 or 5 or glided (middle-aged) with their long-time girlfriends as they scoped out the best seats in which to swoon over Mr. Big.

There were also a couple pairs of mom jeans, women who know the joys of extra butter on their popcorn (my kindof women) and oddly enough, mom and daughter crews.

I don't know about you, but sitting next to my mother while Miranda and Steve get it on is not my idea of fun.

As a fan of the show, I do catch it occasionally after the girls are in bed and have gotten used to the sanitized version. I forget how in your face the sex can be. It was a little jarring. But those ladies have got some confidence I tell you what.

Strangely, there were a bunch of scenes in which the boom mic was clearly visible in about 10-15 minutes of the movie. The color was off and the crowd kept giggling during high drama scenes because you kept seeing that darn fuzzy mic.  I hope this was just the preview version.

We were treated to a feed from the NY premire and Kojo just reconfirmed how damn annoying he is. Between the fawning and the sweating and the poor interviewing skills. Urgh, Yuck and I'm embarrassed for him...Bleh

Have you seen the movie? Are you going with your girlfriends?


Sex in the City Premier in Columbus Tonight

So normally I'm not so great at the hip happenings in Columbus. I pretty much ignore anything I don't have a sitter for or appeals to the booty-shaking, video queen crowd. You know, if I see a gigantic butt with a bottle of Absolute super-imposed over it while touting the party of the year, I don't even pause, however tonight I'm in on a pretty cool event.

The Sex in the City movie prescreening is tonight and I've been asked to review it for Kids-In-Mind.Com. One of the cool perks of being a writer I have to admit. The great thing about Kids-In-Mind is we offer unbiased reviews. You get the facts - whether there is swearing, and what words, how many times, any sex or perceived sex, and other issues that regular reviews may not cover.

Anyway, I jumped at the chance to see the movie and then my editor let me know it was an "event." Dang, no jeans and t-shirt then huh? Well, the raggedy, uncool, I'm -going-to-bed-after-this jeans and t-shirt that is clean enough to leave the house , but not a fashion step forward... So now I have to figure out who I'm going to channel - Samantha? Charlotte? Miranda? Or Carrie?

Well as there are no designers beating down my door to give me clothes I'm going to spend a few minutes checking InStyle.Com and coming up with something - I'll post what I figured out.


$3.99 a Gallon Gas, Big Kids Sale and Other Weeked Notes

Gas is officially at the watermark where experts predict a decline in demand. I've been in "lower demand mode" for months now. Our family drives one car and plan our route according to everyone's needs. We make sure we think ahead, putting snacks and all the day's gear in the car.

I had a plan to never let the tank get below 1/2 and my husband's has blown it. Today we're close to E and after saying six times "We should stop and get gas," I've given up. This is the man who has a Kung-Fu grip on his wallet yet I've gotta remind him to keep it cheap?! Sheese. I believe he really thought it was going to go down again. Now it's $4. So now instead of a $10 fill up at $3.79 we have a full tank fill-up at $4.  Grrrr....

Big Kid's Sale at Jewish Community Center!

I look forward to this sale every year and every year something else gets in the way of me going. Not this year buddy! I'm on the hunt for a bike trailer so I will be there, before we run off to church, cash in hand. Well, what's left over from the gas fill up.

Gently used items for kids sized 7 and under including clothing, bedding, toys, books, furniture and other baby gear are going to be available. Columbus mommies take note - especially those soon-to-be new mommies - used kids stuff is the best!

Most new moms want to buy things that are still "fresh & clean" for their precious little ones. Phooey. Girl, I wasted money on baby gear my children wouldn't go near. Neither girl liked the bouncy seat that Daddy had to have. The spinning saucer? Three months tops, then they were off and crawling. Why pay full retail for three months?

The other great thing about used kids stuff is that parents are desperate to get rid of it. So much kid junk accumulates over time, in order to save ourselves from being buried, we look for other hapless victims, I mean parents, to push the stuff off on. So go on out to the sale, maybe I'll see you there!

Jewish Community Center, 1125 College Ave, 9am - 1pm


Papa John's 23 Cent Pizza Mess...

Visions of 23 cent pepperoni and dough danced in their heads as people stood for HOURS outside of area Papa John's yesterday waiting for their cheap pizza. A rouge Washington area Papa Johns insulted LeBron James the other day with naughty tees displaying the words "Crybaby" along with James' jersey number 23.

I missed the insult and didn't know a thing about the pizzas until I got an email from someone from my moms group. So immediately I hopped on the phone thinking I'd order about 10 and freeze 9. It would give me an excuse to try that new vacuum sealer from Reynolds see - gadgets, I love 'em. No answer. As a matter of fact, the phone would go straight to busy signal. That should have told me...

So in addition to other things I had to do yesterday I decided to swoop by the area eatery and scoop up a couple around 1:30; after lunch and before school and work lets out. Well, you can tell the nature of the economy when children, parents, teens, and adults line up for cheap pizza and wait for hours. There was no end to the "rush."

I had ten minutes max to give to the whole event and with 9 minutes left I decided it was useless to get out of the car, wade into the sea of humanity waiting, especially when I saw people letting others in line in front of them.

Oh no, I've been to Cedar Point and line cutting is a one way ticket to fights. Later I checked the news and it was as bad as I thought or at least the media made sure you got a good dose of the naughty things that happened.

So Papa Johns - are they that clueless? Did they really think in a world where gas has skyrocketed to dang near $4 a gallon that they'd only get a couple hundred people or is this a marketing ploy gone wrong?

Did you get any pizza? What kind of deal would make you stand in line like that?

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Skybus Screws Passengers - Join the Club

It's interesting that so many people are put out by the Skybus collapse. They are shocked by the nerve of a company to allow people to board a plane, go to a destination and know they have no way home.

But really, isn't this just par for the course when it comes to American companies and their ability to work over the masses?

Enron, the old Savings and Loan fiasco, big oil companies making billions in profit while families make a choice between food and gas...I could go on and on.

As I've watched things unfold over the weekend my heart just broke when I heard about a couple who bought their grandchildren tickets for all of them 12 or 13, I believe to meet in Florida this summer to have a reunion. That of course is now impossible. The poor kids, what a great Christmas gift and the poor grandparents. All grandparents want to do is see their grandkids smile and now they have to tell them the bad news - 12 or 13 times. Nice.

Business experts have said all weekend the company's model was weak, stupid, out of step with other successful models. So if everyone knew this why did so many political and business leaders fall all over themselves to get in on this?

My real question is - what kind of "Golden Parachute" does the executive board have?

If you haven't already - weigh in. What's your thoughts on Skybus' collapse?


Columbus City Schools Out of Snow Days

Well, while the rest of Columbus school children get to hang out one more day on the sledding hills, my daughter had school today. I didn't see her school on the closed list and called on a lark. Surprise, surprise they answered the phone! Nothing like the promise of 3 uninterrupted work hours to get a momma moving. She was dressed and ready to go in forty seconds flat :0)

You have to understand, I was sick all of last week, then my 10 month old came down with the yuckies and finally my husband. An opportunity to get something done is just too exciting.

Unfortunately for the majority of Columbus school children, they will have to keep on pins and needles and hope mother nature doesn't decide to dump more winter weather between now and next school year - they are all out of snow days. Now, any more snow days will result in make up days, usually at the end of the year. Yikes! A longer school year? Your kid just shuddered and not from the cold!

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Multi-Tasking Extremes and Columbus Happenings...

I'm a proud member of Mocha Moms of Greater Columbus and we are having our annual Sweetheart Soiree on February 9th. It's always a great time and the mochas have been hard at work getting things ready.

For those of you interested in our event here are the details - email me if you want to buy a ticket, but act fast, deadline for sales is Feb.1st!

The Fourth Annual Mocha Mom Sweetheart Soiree -

This year's theme is:
"A Magical Mocha Masquerade"
Dinner, dancing, casino-themed games and a silent auction is sure to make this a night you won't forget!
Tickets are $35 for singles, $60 for couples.
Formal attire is requested, black tie is optional.
$50 cash prize for the best mask!!

**A portion of the proceeds from this year's Soiree will support Mocha Mom's scholarship program and CHOICES, a local charity that provides shelter and support to victims of domestic violence.

Mocha Moms is a support group for mother's of color. Most of our moms are stay-at-home moms, but others work full-time, part-time, own their own businesses.

Also, those who purchase a table will receive a complimentary champagne toast. Please see me for more details!

The funny thing is I always remember a gang of people I could invite right before the deadline so I've been busy getting out invites and hitting up people's MySpace pages. Is it just me or does everyone and their mom have a MySpace page?

Anyway, the next to do item is making a mask for my husband and myself. I thought about ordering it but alas, my creative bug jumped up and won't let me so I'm hitting the craft stores this week.

So in addition to several work projects, getting tax things together, getting a sitter, planning one of my best friends' wedding in another city and finding some fabulous shoes, I'm attempting to create a Venetian mask. I think I'm allergic to short to-do lists...

Any other multi-tasking mommas out there?

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Mayor Coleman Wears LSU Jersey...

Our mayor had to settle up a bet so he broke down and wore an LSU jersey to the council meeting.

I'm seeing these bets are only fun when we win.

I for one refuse to bitter about our loss. I'm disappointed like any competitor. But, I remind myself that once again we got to the national championships. That's nothing to sneeze at. I am am also comforted that most of our homies are coming back for another year. I am disappointed by Vernon Gholston leaving. Not only is he a great player, but he looks damn good in his undershirt.

No, I'm not revealing any secrets, I've never met young Mr. Gholston, I've just seen them warm up. Whoo hoo! Ah well..


My March Primary Info Arrived, The Power of the American Vote.

The big square envelope arrived the other day in the mail. My information for the March primary. The primary that is the first step in electing a new president.


Something so simple, in such a benign package, has the ability to affect the world.

It's not ego driving my thoughts, in fact I wish it wasn't so important sometimes. Especially when you look at the dismal voter turnout rate for primaries. But no matter who we chose, and who is elected president, that person will be our representative to the world. That person will have to grapple with the war, the rippling aftermath of the Bhutto assassination, global warming, Middle East peace talks, etc.

I'm really struggling with who to choose. Who is going to represent the country well? Who is going to speak for all Americans and not just those who donated, or those who think the same as the candidate, or those who will get them re-elected.

There is not one candidate who has all the answers. But there are some with some really great ideas. That's why a president has advisors, wait, let me correct that. That's why a president should have GOOD advisors, the kind that tell the truth. Then everyone can put their heads together and come up with good solutions. At least, that's my impression of how it should work.

Readers, all I ask is that you vote for someone. Think carefully, look at the person behind the curtain, not the one with the smoke and lights, to reference The Wizard of Oz.

The one thing I ask is NO MORE "C" STUDENTS! Seriously, if there's ever a time to have someone who excelled in history, math, science and government class, this would be it.

You wouldn't let someone who barely passed accounting do your taxes, why would you let someone who's proud of being barely average run the country? Think about your dumbest, but functional friend, now think about them with the codes to nukes - Exactly. You should be scared!