This past week I was going to focus on finding ways to cut down on overall water consumption.  Some areas were obvious - take shorter showers, run the dishwasher when it is full, and don't water the lawn.  I think the area that I am the most wasteful of water is when I clean the kitchen (a neverending task!).  I figured out that if I put warm water in the sink, I can use that water to wash the counters, rinse dishes, and then finally use the water to mop the floor.   I also tried brushing my teeth with a small amount of water - this one was easy - I find that I am just lazy on this one! 
This week:

11)  Fill the bird feeder - with the weather changing, it is fun to watch the birds coming and going.  Yes - this is an extra expense, but it also simplifies life a bit.

12)  Quiet - this one is tricky in a house with teenagers.  It seems that there is always a television or iPod going somewhere in the house.  I am going to make sure to have at least an hour a day at home without extra noise distractions. 

13)  Cleaning house - I am actually better at doing a fall cleaning than a spring cleaning for some reason.  My goal this year is to only use all natural cleaning supplies.  I also add Thieve's oil to my cleaning water which is a great natural disinfectant.  I use baking soda on my carpets to freshen them up.  Vinegar and water is a great all around cleaner.  This can be used to freshen the dishwasher and washing machine, also.  Have a great fall day!
In Minnesota, this seems to be the last week of farmer's markets.  I was amazed by how much produce was still available.  As an update as to how I am doing with past changes, pretty well!  I made applesauce, froze some peppers, bought spaghetti squash, and I am using farmer's market honey, lip gloss and maple syrup.  The one thing I haven't attempted is baking with fresh pumpkin.  There is still time! 

7.  One thing I thought of with the farmer's markets, is that it is a great place to make connections for grass fed, organic meat and eggs.  I found someone who delivers eggs weekly to my school at a very reasonable price.  It is worth asking at the farmer's market if they do any deliveries.  I am slowly moving into finding options for organic meat, as well as actually cutting down on our meat consumption. 

8.  A great option for a meatless dish is to make a big serving of rice and beans.  I use a wok, and make it a one pan meal.  I start with coconut oil, and then cook the rice.  When it is almost done, I start adding beans and any vegetables I have on hand.  I love spinach, broccoli, lots of onions and garlic, peppers, celery, and anything else I can find.  A big batch can provide a few meals at a reasonable price, and I don't even miss the meat, because the rice and beans provide the protein.  I add different seasonings each time.

9.  I am trying to think of changes that I don't do on a regular basis that I can incorporate into my routine.  This week I cam going to be more conscience of the water that I use.  I know that I am using more than is necessary.  I am going to keep track of my water use this week, and see where I can cut back.

10.  This is my all time favorite recommendation.  I follow this one completely.  I go to the library a couple of times a month.  This saves me thousands of dollars a year on book purchases, because I love to read.  I like to go online and request books that I see at stores, or that have been recommended to me.  I also do searches on nonfiction topics I am interested in to request.  The great part of this is that I get an email when the books have arrived at the library.  I usually have over twenty books checked out a time.  They usually can be renewed up to nine weeks.  Many times I will scan through books, and decide to just return them to the library.  This is a great money saver.  How many times in the past that I would buy a book, and end up not reading it.  It also cuts down on clutter to not keep books around the house.  If I really like a book, I tend to check it out numerous times from the library, rather than buy the book.  I also get books on tape to listen to in the car.  There are also DVDs and CDs available for check out.  This tip is also great for the environment - save a tree - use the library!  Have a great day!  Shanna