Cars Powered by … Algae?

I love to read stories about creative people coming up with new, amazingly innovative ideas that improve the modern standard of living but also where the manufacturing process is kind to the environment and utilizes renewable resources. One area today that requires serious innovation is the area of battery production.  Not only do today’s lithium-ion batteries come from limited, non-renewable resources, they present disposal challenges as acid leakage from used batteries threatens to pollute the environment. Enter Maria Stromme. ...more

Menu Plan Monday

This week is exciting because it’s a four-day school week! The St. James Art Fair starts on Friday, and it’s such a big deal for Louisville that the schools close for it every year. (Not only is the art fair generally awesome, but it complicates bus routes, etc.) We usually go, but I think this year we’re going to stay home and relax. Breakfast: -Zucchini Bread (From the Freezer) -Oatmeal ...more

Cultivating a Childhood Love of Reading

I can’t remember life before I fell in love with books. My childhood home was packed with books: on the shelves, on the tables, in baskets on the floor. Long before I actually learned to read, I had books spread out all over the house, waiting for those moments when my mom would sit down next to me and open one of them. Books were magical things; I felt that way then and feel that way now. One of my most important goals for my children is to instill in them a deep love of reading. Granted, Simone is only two, but I think we’ve done a spanking job so far. Here’s my approach. I know my mom (and even both my sets of grandparents!) used these tactics too. ...more

Frugal Almost-Meatless Meals: White Beans and Ham

I don’t make this dish a lot, but that’s only because it makes so much that I don’t have to: we almost always have several dinners’ worth of it in the freezer. It’s also a great money-stretcher, since all of the ingredients are really inexpensive. I can’t remember now where I found the recipe, but it’s the perfect meal for a chilly day, because it simmers on the stove for a long time and makes your house smell absolutely splendid. I like to serve it with biscuits or cornbread. ...more

What I Read: August and September 2011

As promised, here’s what I read in August and September of 2011, with occasional commentary where merited. Numbers start at 79 instead of 1 because that’s where I left off in my reading so far this year. ...more

September 2011 Goal Review

Here’s how I did on my goals for September! 1. Stay in Our Grocery Budget AND Continue to Eat Healthfully. Well, we didn’t stay in our grocery budget. We overspent by about $20. But, I’m pleased to note that we generally ate very healthfully, and at least we have a LOT of food in our pantry/freezer right now to show for our overspending. When we consistently eat at home, I have much higher standards for our meals. We picked up takeout on a busy night last week and Jason and I both kind of regretted it. 2. Continue With My Morning Routine. Meh. I did pretty well with this during the beginning of the month, but not so much toward the end. I need to work on it. ...more

Sept. 28 #wclw chat – How to get more blog comments

Is there anybody out there? That’s what it can feel like if you blog religiously without getting much – or any – feedback from readers. Because face it, we all love comments. Part of the satisfaction of blogging is knowing people appreciate what we do. But getting readers to leave comments can be tough. And you have to be careful what you wish for: the comments you get might not be the ones you want. The next WordCount Last Wednesday live chat will look at blog comments – creating posts that cry out for interaction, making it easy for readers to leave theirthoughts and tackling the equivalent of blog hate mail. The chat takes place this Wednesday, Sept. 28, at 10 a.m. Pacific time. Use the Twitter hashtag #wclw to participate. Here’s the agenda for the chat: 10 a.m. – Sign on and introduce yourself. ...more

Reminder: #wclw chat today – How to get more blog comments

Want more comments on your blog? Or need a way to deal with readers who leave nasty comments? Join us today for the next WordCount Last Wednesday live chat, where we’re discussing blog comments – how to get more of them and how to tackle bad ones. As a special treat, we’ll be joined by writer Laura Laing, who learned a thing or two about comment backlash after a USA Today Weekend review of her new book, Math for Grownups, included some factual errors that caused an online dustup. The chat takes place today at 10 a.m. Pacific time. Use the Twitter hashtag #wclw to participate. After introductions, we’ll answer the following questions: ...more

Turkey Veggie Sloppy Joes

Are there recipes in your file that take you back to your childhood? My mom and nanny made sloppy joes a lot when I was growing up. But we didn't call it sloppy joes, we called it barbecue. I find that the word barbecue means different things to different regions. In my neck of the woods, barbecue and sloppy joes were the same thing. ...more