Is Going Green Good for Your Home Resale Value?

The term “going green” can be somewhat nebulous, encompassing a vast scope of activities with varying levels of impact on the sustainability of our tenure on this planet. Some people recycle used bottles and cans and call it a day while others purchase hybrid or electric vehicles. And some hardcore individuals even go so far as to make sure that every aspect of their existence does less to harm the environment (from energy consumption to socially responsible buying of only locally produced goods). So when you ask questions about the effect of “going green” on the resale value of your house, the answer will obviously vary. That said, there are many benefits to adopting an eco-friendly attitude on the home front and one of them may be an increase in your resale value.

In truth, it depends almost entirely on what you do and the cost (initially and over time) that you absorb. Installing solar panels may well show a return on investment, but considering you could spend as much as $50,000 on a system that will power your home, you might not necessarily see the value of your property increase enough to cover your expenses. Of course, alternative energy is a good selling point in that the utility bill will be lower than other homes (or nonexistent), potentially saving the new owners a substantial amount of money over time. But like many pricy upgrades, you’ll be marketing a home that runs on green energy to a certain segment of consumers (who may well be willing to pay more for the privilege).

But you don’t have to take such a huge gamble with your expenses in order to go green. Although marketing an all-green home to particular buyers with deeper pockets to match their ideals is one way to go, it is definitely risky. By taking smaller steps to make your house more eco-friendly you can appeal to a much larger group of buyers while adding value and still keeping your own costs low. And there are plenty of ways to do so.

Water conservation is a big bonus in any home (not only saving our precious supply of clean water, but also lowering the utility bill) and it doesn’t have to cost you a lot. Low-flow toilets can be had for about the same price as the regular fare and you can often get a rebate from your local DWP by sending in receipt of purchase (as much as half-back). Plus, you’ll have toilets that use half the water with every flush. You can also consider installing a tankless water heater, which heats water on demand rather than keeping a tank heated day and night. And if you really want to go the extra mile, install aerated faucets (with sensors on taps that turn them off automatically). You may be surprised to find that adding air actually improves your water pressure, and all the while you’ll be using a fraction of the H₂O you normally would. And of course, you can always install a system that pumps recycled water to your lawn.

Of course, this is just one example of how you can make your home more environmentally friendly without exorbitant costs, and these upgrades will almost certainly allow you to up the sticker price when it comes time to sell. The best changes are those that are simple, inexpensive, and provide added value to the new homeowner. So do your research and curb your spending if you want to get more out of your green home when you’re ready to turn it over to a new family.

About the Author

Sarah Danielson writes for Justin Doyle Homes, a custom home builder in Cincinnati since 1976 offering luxurious homes for every lifestyle.

Mom” joined the Gardein™ Party and is taking the Meatless Monday challenge, which has been a ton of fun! Finding a solution to “what’s for dinner” has never been easier, thanks to the many options offered by Gardein™ (garden + protein)! Make this your “Meatless Saturday!”

Spicy Beefless Skewers

Ingredients

1 pkg gardein beefless tips
8 wooden skewers
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
4 garlic cloves thinly sliced
3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
1 tsp orange zest, grated
1 tsp sriracha
1/4 tsp miso paste
1 tbs brown sugar
1 ct red pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1.5” pieces
1 ct yellow pepper, cored, seeded, cut into 1.5” pieces
1 ct green pepper, cored, seeded, cut into 1.5” pieces
1/2 cup mayonnaise (vegan options available)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp miso paste

Preparation

Soak skewers and thaw beefless tips for 15 minutes.

Puree cilantro, garlic, soy sauce, orange zest, sriracha, miso paste and sugar in a food processor and set aside.

For the dipping sauce….

Combine mayonnaise, lime juice, soy sauce and miso paste in a bowl and mix well.

For the Kebabs….

Thread beefless tips and peppers on each skewer, alternating.

Coat grill rack with oil, heat grill to medium high heat and cook skewers until the peppers and tips are caramelized and hot, while brushing both with cilantro soy sauce, approximately 5-7 minutes.

Serve with dipping sauce.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Gardein™.*

Be one of FIVE lucky winners this summer – Elle Naturals is giving away five sets of their fabulous all-natural lip balms on Tiny Green Mom! For those unable to head to a tropical destination on vacation, Elle Naturals lip balms will whisk you away, if even for a moment, with their island-inspired flavors, like Mango Butter-Coconut or Acai Butter-Raspberry! Lovingly crafted by hand from some of nature’s finest ingredients, such as sweet almond oil, aloe vera extract, silky soybean oil, and soothing vitamin E, you will quickly tuck your new lip balms into every pocket! From July 22nd – August 5th, 2011, you can enter to win daily on Tiny Green Mom!

First, leave a comment below to let us know why you would love to win the Elle Naturals Lip Balm Giveaway!

To obtain extra entries:

Follow Tiny Green Mom on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Leave a comment on another Tiny Green Mom post. Leave a comment below with the name of the post you commented on. This is only valid for one entry.

Visit Elle Naturals on Facebook. Please leave a comment below to let us know you have stopped by their page to learn something new! This is only valid for one entry.

Blog about this giveaway. You must have a link to this giveaway in your blog post. Please leave a comment with the link to your blog post. This is only valid for one entry.

The Elle Naturals Lip Balms Giveaway ends on August 5th, 2011 and is open to the US only. Please leave your email address in each comment, and make sure to leave a separate comment for every each and every entry that you make so that they will count for you!

Thank you! “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom can’t wait to announce the 5 winners of this fabulous giveaway!

Healthy Teeth = A Happier You

Staying healthy is all about making wise decisions and keeping in tune with your body. Failure to do either of these things can cause people to get sick or deal with unpleasant consequences. While these life lessons prove true for any part of one’s body, they are certainly present when it comes to a person’s dental health.

Teeth are an item that people rarely think about until they experience some discomfort or pain. Then, the under-appreciation of healthy teeth is quickly realized. The good news is that many dental problems can be avoided by simply being aware of the problems that could exist and then taking regular action to counteract them. Such is the case for impacted wisdom teeth.

Impacted wisdom teeth are a very common occurrence that many teenagers and adults experience. Wisdom teeth are often referenced as “third molars,” and they are the last adult teeth to develop, usually appearing between ages 17 and 25. Often, there is not enough room in one’s mouth for these teeth, and the lack of space causes them to change the direction of their growth, which results in them becoming trapped, or impacted.

The good news is that these impacted teeth can be detected relatively quickly either through symptoms or dental X-rays. Common symptoms might include pain, redness or swelling around the gum line, sensitive or bleeding gums and/or a headache. Still, some people may have impacted wisdom teeth and experience no symptoms at all.

To monitor your dental health and ensure that your wisdom teeth are not impacted, it is encouraged to visit your dentist every 6 months for a dental checkup. Regular X-rays should be taken at your visits, and these will offer clear insight on whether your teeth are growing appropriately.

Put simply, healthy teeth make for a happier you. By visiting your dentist regularly, you’ll be well on your way to a stronger, better smile.

About the Author

Patrick Toms DMD is a full-service Gainesville, Georgia dentist. With certified IV sedation dentists on staff, Patrick Toms DMD is proud to offer a variety of dental procedures, such as wisdom teeth extraction, in the comfort of their own office.

*Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Two ingredients make this glaze a snap this summer! Keep both handy for a quick meal fix when faced with leftover grilled chicken or pork – it will kick things up a notch instantly!

Balsamic Glaze for Chicken or Pork

Ingredients

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
1/4 cup Bolthouse Farms® Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Preparation

Mix the balsamic vinaigrette and the Bolthouse Farms® Balsamic Vinaigrette on medium high in a pan and stir constantly. Reduce the heat as the sauce thickens to a syrup-like consistency. Remove from heat. Pour over Chicken or Pork and serve!

*Recipe courtesy of Bolthouse Farms®. Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tone, moisturize, and keep blotchiness at bay with Alba Botanica™‘s Natural Even Advanced skincare line this summer! For busy moms chasing little ones all over the splash park or community pool this summer, this eco-fabulous line is extremely appreciated! The Natural Even Advanced line harnesses the power of the ocean by utilizing a naturally powerful Marine Complex to stimulate, hydrate and nourish skin cells for a more even appearance.

This exciting new vitamin-rich Marine Complex also helps to even the complexion and improve the skin’s appearance, while mineral-rich marine extracts provide nutrients and moisture to stimulate cell regeneration for healthier and more balanced-looking skin. Your skin will literally drink in the benefits of the Natural Even Advanced line!

To learn more about the Natural Even Advanced line, or the other planet-friendly & natural products from Alba Botanica, visit www.albabotanica.com.

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Mom” had the recent opportunity to interview Tereson Dupuy, a smart & forward-thinking mom who developed a modern cloth diaper called FuzziBunz®to help ease her son’s discomfort from severe diaper rash. Founded in 2000, her ideas launched the reinvention of cloth diapering that you see today – with FuzziBunz at the forefront!

An Interview with Tereson Dupuy, Creator of FuzziBunz®

Tell us about your eco-inspired company!

FuzziBunz was inspired by my son, Eden, who as a baby suffered from severe diaper rash. When the doctor told me the chemicals in disposable diapers were irritating his skin, I switched to cloth. When I found that cloth diapers were hard to use and icky, I decided to invent a modern cloth diaper, now known as FuzziBunz! FuzziBunz can prevent thousands of diapers from just one family from entering our landfills!

How do you choose to go green in your own life?

We recycle when we can, compost everything, use environmentally responsible chemicals and of course promote reusable items as much as possible over anything disposable!

Guilty green pleasure?

On occasion, I will use paper plates, but I am always sure that the plates can be recycled when I’m through with them. Another guilty pleasure I enjoy is shopping at Whole Foods. It’s a bit expensive, but I feel more green when I shop there and I can’t resist all the great “green” stuff!

Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?

Don’t let naysayers get you down. When I first started by business people told me no one would want to go back to using cloth diapers. Boy were they wrong! If I had listened to them, there wouldn’t have been a modern cloth diapering movement like there is today. So I tell sprouting business owners to stick with their ideas and don’t listen to naysayers – think positively and attract positive energy. It works!

Car Trip Tips: 5 Ways to Entertain Your Children

Traveling the country by car is a time-honored tradition that has a place in many people’s memories. When children are passengers, planning entertaining past times is recommended. Where adults can sit for hours and look at the scenery, children’s attention span require more stimulation.

Having a theme for the trip may help in choosing some of the games. Choose an environmental theme and look for ways to incorporate recycle, reduce, and reuse ideas and actions throughout the trip.

Search for environmentally friendly games online that can be printed and put these into a binder for each child. Make up a game that brings attention to an environmental problem, like counting plastic bags seen alongside the road. Then talk about ways to fix the problem.

Whatever games are chosen, just make sure they are simple, easy to access and cover a variety of interests. Include group games and individual entertainment. Also, before leaving for your car trip make sure the car is safe to make the trip and has proper travel car insurance. Following are five ways that children can be entertained on a car trip.

5 Car Trip Tips for Children

1. Digital Distractions

Music and books are a good way to while away some time and get the children involved. To save some money, make a trip to the library.

Pick out one or two books on tape (or CD) that the whole family will enjoy.

Select music that is enjoyable to sing along to or just to listen. Have the kids compile their own mixes for the trip.

Don’t forget the movies if you have a computer or car with this capability.

2. Games Galore

Games are fun because they can entertain and educate. Mix it up and have a variety of games from which to choose.

License plates can be an ongoing game. Keep a list of how many different states or countries each person calls out first. The person who has the most at the end of a trip stage will get some type of prize.

Call out vanity plates and see who can interpret what they say the fastest.

Paper and pencil games can consume some time. Put together a binder of different games for each child. Have some that require interaction with another person and some that can be done alone. Some suggestions are Hangman, it’s a great way to practice spelling and guessing, Tic Tac Toe is just a simple and fun past time, or print out crossword puzzles from an online source.

Miniature sized board games are easy to pack and may bring some lively competition to the back seat. Look for magnetic boards to keep small pieces from being lost. Old time favorites like Checkers or Backgammon are easy to set up and come in magnetized versions. There are other favorite games available, just search the Internet for your favorite ones.

Alphabet games are easy and can get the kids to enjoy some of the scenery. Decide what items will be used to complete the alphabet; some suggestions are license plates, town signs, or billboards.

3. Amazing Attractions

When planning the trip look for funny or interesting roadside attractions along the way. Not only is this a way to take a bathroom break and stretch, it can provide some laughs too. This will require veering off the highway to some less traveled roads, but it can be worth the time.

4. Candid Cameras

Have a picture contest. Using either cell phones or disposable cameras, have the kids take pictures of the trip. After the trip compile the pictures into a photo album and personalize the album for each child. This can become their personal travel log for years to come. The roadside attractions will always be remembered with this pictorial record.

5. Quality Quiet

Having pillows and blankets available will allow for some quiet time. Encourage taking a nap or doing something by oneself. Offer these quiet activities:

  • Listen to music on a personal player.
  • Read a book.
  • Play a game.

Most of these suggestions cost very little money but will require some time to plan and put together. By packing a game bag, everything can be contained and easily found when needed. For some of the individual activities make a bag for each child so they can access their personal items when they want.

Encourage each child to keep a travel diary. They can make entries about what they have seen, funny things that happened, and general thoughts about the trip. Put these together with the pictures they have taken and they will have their own personal travel keepsake. Another great travel trip would be to rent an RV. An RV allows for a different type of vacation and a special treat for the children. Just make sure your RV is properly covered under RV insurance.

Car trips really can be a lot of fun for the entire family. When planning games and places to visit get the children involved. Have them choose the theme and then let them find games that have something to teach about the topic. This way it really is a family trip from start to finish.

About the Author

Jennifer is a freelance writer for a website that is able to compare car insurance for free! She loves helping families find new ways to travel. She also makes sure that families are properly insured when traveling. When she isn’t helping people with traveling and insurance, you can see Jennifer running trails around her neighborhood.

*Image: Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net.*

Creamy, dreamy and superb as an appetizer at your summer soiree, this raw-some dip goes well on homemade flax seed crackers! Dig in!

Creamed Spinach Dip

Ingredients

1 lb. Spinach chopped in food processor with “S” blade
1-2 oz. of dehydrated almond meal

Sauce

1 ½ oz. Lemon Juice
5 oz. Water
1 ½ C. Pine nuts (Soaked and Rinsed)
1 ½ Cloves Garlic
½ T. Kelp Powder
1 Pinch Cayenne
1 Tsp. Oregano

Preparation

Blend ingredients in sauce thoroughly until creamy.
Mix sauce in with spinach to desired texture.
Put in bowl and top with shredded yellow squash.
Sprinkle top with dehydrated almond meal.
Enjoy this dip with the flax crackers or your choice of vegetables.

Flax Seed Crackers

Ingredients

5 Red Peppers
3 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
½ Red Onion
3 Stalks Celery
3 Cloves Garlic
1 Tsp. Garlic Powder
3 T. Chili Powder
1 Pinch Cayenne Powder
2½ C Flax Seed
5 ½ C. Water
1 C. Ground Flax Seed

Preparation

Soak flax seed in water for at least 3 hours.
Set Aside.
Blend remaining ingredients and add to soaked flax seeds.
Mix in ground flax seed.
Spread out on a Teflex sheet.
Score to desired size of crackers.
Dehydrate overnight then peel off the Teflex sheet.
Dehydrate again until the crackers are crispy.

*Recipe and image courtesy of Ken Blue, Executive Chef.*

About Ken Blue

After graduating from the Hippocrates Health Educator program, Hippocrates engaged Ken to assist the head chef for one year. He soon assumed this pivotalrole and has since enriched and expanded the repertoire of delicious, nourishing cuisine served to our guests and visitors. As one time proprietor ofhis own award winning vegetarian restaurant, his executive culinary skills werewell recognized before coming to Hippocrates. Monthly, Ken offers classes ongourmet living food preparation for the general public.

Get in The Zone™! Now is your chance to keep that svelte summer figure long after the leaves have fallen from the trees this Fall. Enter to win Dr. Sears’ Zone™ Nutritional Bars & Shakes, which allow you to feel fuller longer on fewer calories. The nutritional bars are available in 5 scrumptious flavors, Roasted Peanut, Sweet & Salty Nut, Iced Oatmeal Raisin, Cocoa Crisp & Chocolate Fudge. “Mom’s” favorite is the Cocoa Crisp! The bars contain no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup, and boast 16 grams of protein and 5g of fiber per bar! The meal replacement pre- or post workout recovery shakes are available in Chocolate, Vanilla, Cherry Vanilla, Orange Creamsicle, and Strawberry flavors, and can be mixed with milk, soy milk, water, or even blended into a smoothie!

Want to win a sampler pack of Dr. Sears’ Zone™ Nutritional Bars & Shakes? From July 20th – July 31st, 2011, you can enter to win daily on Tiny Green Mom!

First, leave a comment below to let us know why you would love to win the Dr. Sears’ Zone™ Nutritional Bars & Shakes Giveaway.

To obtain extra entries:

Follow Tiny Green Mom on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Leave a comment on another Tiny Green Mom post. Leave a comment below with the name of the post you commented on. This is only valid for one entry.

Visit The Zone Diet on Facebook. Please leave a comment below to let us know you have stopped by their page to learn something new! This is only valid for one entry.

Follow The Zone Diet on Twitter. Leave a comment with your Twitter name to let us know that this has been done. This is only valid for one entry.

Blog about this giveaway. You must have a link to this giveaway in your blog post. Please leave a comment with the link to your blog post. This is only valid for one entry.

The Dr. Sears’ Zone™ Nutritional Bars & Shakes Giveaway ends on July 31st, 2011 and is open to the US and Canada only. Please leave your email address in each comment, and make sure to leave a separate comment for every each and every entry that you make so that they will count for you!

Thank you! “Mom” at Tiny Green Mom can’t wait to announce the winner of this fabulous giveaway!