Friday, May 30, 2008

Thought for the Weekend

Now for this weeks edition of "Thought for the Weekend". Something to mull over and make you think this weekend.

Who said this?

"He who knows what sweets and virtues are in the ground, the waters, the plants, the heavens, and how to come at these enchantments, is the rich and royal man."

Remember, no cheating and looking this up on the Internet!

What famous essayist said this?

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Web Business Advice

There is tons of advice on everything web or business related out there, all you need to do is ask, and people in general will help.

Case in point. This week I took it upon myself to ask several in the blogging community for advice on my blog. Nothing special, but just asking for help with the layout. Since I don't know an Html from an Xbox, I have been struggling with some basic formatting here.

Let me tell you, what a response I got. I had about 20 people leave me comments or messages on their opinion on everything on my web site. I'll admit I have a LONG way to go, but I have already made several changes, and have ideas for many news ones. I even received three links to web sites with free blog layout templates (I think the person was really trying to say I needed to change my template). Here is a list of free blog layout templates:

My point really is this....what I have found in my brief time blogging is that there IS help out there, for whatever your issue is. Whether it is web SEO advice, or marketing advice, or free blunt comments on your blog, our different ways to promote my business, people in general are willing to give a helping hand. Most of the advice out there is for free, and people are willing to give it out, all you need to ask. It only takes a little time and persistence.

I have personally learned a tremendous amount in the last month or so by reading, chatting, and asking for advice. What a great community this is!

Help is out there, all you need to do is ask for it.

Has anyone else has this experience?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

4 Steps to Breathe Easier

Did you know that the air we breathe indoors can be one of the most hazardous things to our health? It can be up to 10 times worse for you than the air outside. Microbial pollutants like mold, pet dander and plant pollen can combine with chemicals like radon and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to create a pretty toxic environment in your home; since we spend an average of 90% of our time indoors and 65% of our time inside our homes, that can add up to allergies, asthma and worse.

Everything that comes in to our homes has the potential to be harmful to our health; this includes things from the building materials and elements that hold our homes together to the furniture we sit on and the paint that goes on the walls. Indoor air pollution can be bad, but it doesn't have to be.

Here are four easy steps for better air quality indoors:

1) Open those doors and windows! Maintaining proper ventilation in a house can help air quality tremendously.

2)Use Green Cleaning Products. These can help you cut way down on the toxins that YOU introduce into your home. Face it, that clean smell from clorox or fantastic.....those are chemicals which are BAD for you!

3) Use a good Air Filtration System. Lets face it, we can't get rid of all of the carpet, bedding, and wall insulation in our house. This Air Filtration System eliminates all three of the major forms of air pollution: particles such as pollen, pet dander, dust, and cigarette smoke; microbes such as mold and bacteria; and gases and odors.

4) Keep Pesticides out of your garden and lawn. These can easily be tracked back into your house and create fumes in your house.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Do your part and Go Green

I ran across a certain web site called Creative Citizen today. It is an action based "wiki" site which allows anyone to post, search, share or refine eco-friendly solutions to a more sustainable living. The online community is devoted to three principles:

1) Creative Solutions - Search, Add, Refine & Comment on Creative Solutions for More Sustainable Living

2) Community - Connect, Collaborate, Understand & Grow -- Tap in to the Power of the Collective

3) Global Effects - Many Small Acts have Big Effects, For You and The Earth

There are lots of little how-to items on there for doing your own part in helping the environment. My favorite! Definitely a site to check out!

As always, you can do your own part by Going Green in your own home! Eliminate those toxic cleaners in your house. Click on the hyper-link and find out how.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

I just wanted to write a quick post to commemorate Memorial Day and those who are currently serving in the military here and overseas. Particularly those who gave their life in service of their country defending our freedom. I can think of no greater honor than that.

I am posting a picture of Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknowns here in honor of this day.

Do you have anyone who you know who either is or was in it the military? Please comment and let us know about them! Honor them by telling us the great service they did for their country.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Thought for the Weekend answer

Ok, so the answer to who said, "When the well's dry, we know the worth of water." was Benjamin Franklin.

Congratulations to lostparentdiary for answering correctly!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Thought for the Weekend

I apologize for my absence this week. I have been visiting my parents on the event of their 50th anniversary and have been quite busy either helping them, travelling, or helping prepare for their party.

OK, so second installment of the thought for the weekend about the environment. Who said this?

"When the well's dry, we know the worth of water."

Hint, it was a Founding Father. No cheating by looking it up on the Internet!

Everyone, enjoy your Memorial Day Weekend.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Share Your Knowledge

OK, so being the Green Entrepreneur that I am, I am always looking for new web site that I can use that might be beneficial to our company. Maybe they have a new tidbit of information on it or a cool way to layout your blog or what have you.

Well, today a ran accross Squidoo from the WAHM site. She has great resources on it for anyone (even WAHDs) that is trying to increase their traffic to their site or online marketing or whatever.

Its an interesting concept. Instead of continually updating your blog on a daily (or ever other day for that matter in my case) basis, its more of like a one-pager of information about anything you want to Squidoo about. For those of you who are passionate about being Green, you could include tips about Green living. For the Stay-at-Home crowd, you could write about tips for staying organized for the new stay-at-homers. When I went on there today and did a search, every topic under the sun had a Squidoo "Lense" as they call it. Everyone is an expert at something they claim on the site.

One really interesting possibility is that it has the potential to drive traffic to any site that you want to target, whether it is your blog, or another web site you promote or what have you.

A VERY cool feature of it is that there is the built-in ability to donate any proceeds you get from your site to charity. How cool is that?

I do not claim to be a Squidoo expert at all. But, I think I will give it a try and see how it works and what it does.

Has anyone else used Squidoo at all before and what results did they see?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Go Green by Going Smaller

I read a recent article in the paper about how houses in a certain city in my State were getting bigger each year.

I live in the Denver Colorado burbs and the article in question is about the "mansionization" of homes in Boulder County Colorado. Over the past 20 years, the average new-home sizes have grown from about 2700 square feet (which is about average for the country) to MORE THAN 6000 square feet. 6000 square feet average for a new house? Wow!

At first glance, I must admit that I was a little envious. What was I doing wrong so that we could not afford something like this "average" house? I took a deep breath and remembered that the choices we made and continue to make keep us away from things like this and my wife and I are glad we are.

Kudos to you if you own a large home and like it. I think if it works for you, then more power to you.

My wife and I have often discussed this and we decided years ago to live in a more modest home, for these reasons.: when you own a larger home there are thing that go along with it other than just size, all of which affect the environment. It costs more to heat, it takes more time to maintain, it takes LONGER CLEAN (although all of my friends who live in houses like that don't do any of their cleaning themselves), longer to care for the lawn (same thing....most that I know who own houses like this have someone take care of their lawn for them), and of course the big takes more STUFF to fill it.

All of that takes energy, raw materiels from the environment, and eventually you end up with stuff that just goes into the dumpster to get more stuff.

Now we hardly live as paupers. We have a smallish home in a nice newer neighborhood, great place to raise the kids and such.

However, probably the biggest advantage of us living in a smaller home has been that it has afforded us the lifestyle that we currently live in right now. I could leave my job and switch places with my wife without any real economic downside to it. No huge worries (OK maybe one or two) and she could go back to work and I could work her business she started and take care of the kids.

I guess its all about making different choices, chosing to live with less, having less of an impact on the environment, and enjoying ourselves while we do it.

Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Thought for the weekend source

The person who said, "There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country." was Teddy Roosevelt, our 26th President.

Congratulations to Kevin S. for guessing this correctly.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thought for the weekend

OK, so I am a big fan of quotes from famous people. I think we can learn a lot from people who have been successful. Now the measure of success can be many business, politics, social causes, at home.

So, I wanted to start something where I put either a quote or picture on here to give you some food for thought for the weekend.

Here goes my first one. Who said this?

"There can be no greater issue than that of conservation in this country."

I'll give you a hint. It was a President of the United States who said this.

So who said this? Leave a comment and guess. No cheating though! You can't look up the answer on the Internet anywhere!

Longevity and Healthy Aging (Part II)

This is the 2nd part in a series from a lecture I attended on longevity and healthy aging. In the first part, I discussed how having a long life does not necessarily correlate to having a healthy one.

Here are some facts about Americans:

- We have excessive calorie intake.
- 27% of adults are obese
- 61% of adults are overweight
- Here is the disturbing statistic.....9 million kids over the age of 6 are obese

The Center for disease control published a study called "Obesity Trends among U.S. Adults between 1985 and 2005." Go look at the link with the maps associated with will be stunned. There are state by state trends on obesity and it is very startling. In the last 20 years America woke up and was fat.

Why is this particularly important? Because of the impact on kids. A typical child born in 2000 has a 30-40% chance of developing type 2 diabetes.... Also, in a previous blog, I mentioned that if things do not change, this generation being born now will be the first one in the history of humanity that will have a shorter life expectancy than the previous one.

There are three social dimensions to how these obesity trends relate to kids:
- More of a trend of have two working parents and therefore more fast food being consumed in the sake of convenience.
- PE programs are being removed from school.
- There are more vending machines in schools selling non-nutritional snacks (largely to help get more $$ back into schools to with ever increasing budgets).
- The physical layout of communities has changed. We are driving more and more and walking less to places.

Interestingly, there are also problems with how our food supply and how it is structured in the United States. We have large government subsidies for foods that are high calorie, low nutrient value (wheat, corn, etc). In fact, we used to define malnutrition based upon caloric intake instead of like now which is nutrient based.

So what can we do about this?

For adults, there are great nutritionally based weight loss programs. In most diets, we restrict our food intake and as a result lose protein in our diet and loose muscle. That is why your weight boomerangs back after we go off of a diet. Not on this one though.

For kids, turn off the TV, offer healthy snacks, and kick the kids out of the house to play. Here is a great kids vitamin supplement to help ensure they get all of the nutrients they need.

In the next blog on this lecture, I will talk about specific recommendations from the National Institute of Health on healthy aging.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions on healthy aging? Please comment!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

When Kids Make You Proud

Ok, this morning definitely had a proud parent moment.

My 7 year old daughter (the one in the picture with my wife) has been taking piano lessons for a while now. Usually, we have to struggle and argue and fuss to get her to practice. Its only 15 minutes a day that her teacher requires, but some days, we just don't the energy to argue with her to get her to practice.

In fact, we just inherited a stand-up piano from my wife's aunt. We thought that this would make her excited to practice, it helped a little for the first few days anyway......

The last two months of practice has been trying. My wife took piano for years and was able to sit down with her to help her practice. However, I have no musical skill whatsoever (except in the shower of course). So, I can't exactly help her out with piano practice.

Until this morning. Very proud parent moment. My daughter woke up on her own and was immediately asked by her younger sister to come play for a little bit. Her response was great, "No, I can't I have to practice my piano now."

Did I hear that correctly? Moments later, I heard her practicing....WOW!! Maybe we have turned the corner a bit on this issue? Only time will tell. Definately a proud parent right now though!

Now, I would have missed this if I was not staying at home. This moment definitely re-enforced the decision for me to stay home with the kids and and work on our business as well. I've missed so many of these moments in the past, I feel I need to make up for them. Only by having our business could we make up the difference between my former salary and my wife's current salary!

Here is to moments like these! Has anyone else ever had these kind of moments?

Monday, May 12, 2008

My baby steps into On-line Marketing

First let me tell you that I am in my infancy for on-line advertising. I only started going on-line for any form of advertising all of three weeks ago. This is not an "how to" right kind of blog today, but more of a "how do you" or "its harder than it looks".

My wife started, and has been highly successful, at networking and word of mouth advertising for her business. I'll call it that, but really what she is wonderful at is developing relationships and helping people out, using our business as a vehicle for that. I've always watched in amazement at how she can just strike up a conversation with a new person and end up helping them. She is a natural chatter and definitely has the "law of attraction" thing going for her.

As you may have read before I took over "her" business when I quit my job and it became "our business". I figured that since I had been a "big bidnezz man" in my previous life, I would have no problem escalating our business to the next level. A little professional networking and some marketing of our website and things would fall right into place. After all, I was a professional...I knew how to make things happen.

Well, things couldn't have been further from the truth in this regard. While I've had moderate success networking and marketing, it has not nearly taken off like gang busters like I thought it would. I have learned alot in the last month and am implementing some new ideas. However, once again, I have new found admiration for my wife and what has an continues to accomplish.

So, my question is, are there any suggestions on how to get things moving in this arena of on-line marketing? There are a innumerable blogs and sites to go to, but I am looking for suggestions from those of you who are more experienced at this.

Suggestions anyone?

Please check out our business at the following link!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother & Daughter...Happy Mothers Day

Instead of a long post about my wife in her day, I decided to post my favorite picture of her and my oldest daughter. It was taken a few years ago by an amateur photographer, and I had to scan it to get in on here, but I just love the image of them together! I'm not sure why it is my favorite of them two of them but it is.

The actual picture is posted on the sidebar of the blog here. I'll keep it up for a few days to celebrate Mothers Day.

To my wife, Happy Mothers Day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Longevity and Healthy Aging

The other night I attended a lecture from a visiting professor from my alma matter Cornell. He is the Director of Nutrition at my ole school. Every once in a while, my local alumni club puts together events, one of which every year is a lecture given by a visiting professor from our school.

The topic in question was on Longevity and Healthy Aging. He talked about what studies have show on how to achieve them and what the relation is between the two.

His first point was that Healthy Aging does not necessarily equal Longevity. You can have a long life without having a healthy one.

Case in study he quoted..the name escapes me right now, showed how a reduction in caloric intake can directly increase ones lifespan. A 30%-40% reduction in caloric intake can increase ones lifespan by a marked amount. Instead of consuming the recommended 2000 calories, take this down to 1400 calories. All body functions (metabolism, etc) are optimized at this calorie level. No one has figured out WHY this works, but it does work. Somehow the burning of calories shortens life span.

However, that same study noted that while those people lived longer, they were always tired, showed signs of depression, irritability, and continued to be hungry! They clearly were not living healthy!

An interesting point was that our genes are NOT accustomed to having food in abundance. Throughout most of our history, humans have NOT had an ample supply of food. Therefore, we have evolved to survive and thrive without massive amounts of food. The typical American diet has WAY TOO MANY calories in it! More on that in a later post.

He then went on to quote that there is an organization, calorie restriction .org, that promotes a calorie restricted diet. A study of some members showed that their cardiovascular system was typically 16 years younger than those not on their kind of diet. It also showed that these people were always hungry, felt depressed, tired, and irritable.

His main point here was that with a calorie restricted diet, while it may increase your longevity, you DO NOT get enough of the proper nutrients to live healthily!

Clearly, we are meant to receive all of the proper nutrients which is extremely hard to achieve with the typical American diet.

Why am I posting this? I want to encourage everyone to live a healthy full of energy and happiness. Go green inside and out!

One of our site affiliates is the #1 natural nutrition company in the world and has exceptional nutritional supplements. I know I have used them and have noticed a huge improvement in energy and general mood. You can take a look at their stuff here. Or, click on the link on the side bar titled "Healthy for You".

I'll post more of this lecture in the next few blogs. Healthy Aging might be a little dry for some, but its an extremely important topic which I feel people need to know about!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Fields of Green (Part II))

Continuing sage of my coverage of the group of baseball players Gone Green! I'm covering this as two of my biggest passions (baseball and helping the environment) have combined in this fine group of gentlemen. Go SAWX!!

Of course its cool to find other guys interested in the environment!

This is how the prescribe to get to "1st Base"

First Base: Hitting a seeing-eye SINGLE up the middle!
Recycle! Get the whole family to participate!

Twenty years ago there were only 1,000 curbside programs in the U.S. Today there are more than 10,000. The rate of recycling has doubled during the past 15 years. But still... ONLY 32% of us recycle!
If we increase the recycling rate just 10 percent for aluminum and steel cans, plastic and glass containers, newsprint and corrugated packaging, we would save enough energy to provide electricity to 1.8 million Americans for an entire year.

Here’s a clear mental picture of what adding Recycling to our line-up can do?!

Recycling really improves the environment! Check this out... recycling:
-Prevents the emission of many greenhouse gases and water pollutants
-Saves energy
-Supplies valuable raw materials to industry
-Creates jobs
-Encourages development of greener technologies
-Conserves resources for our children's future
-Reduces the need for new landfills

As always, you can see what you can personally do by Going Green in Your Home!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

My kind of Business Man

I wanted to relate a experience I had the other day regarding a particular business man and the impression he left me.

I've been marketing a particular "Go Green" product package to Realtors as thank you gifts. Whenever I have moved and bought a house (I moved 10 times in 11 years in the Army), I always got a thank you gift. Something usually like a fruit basket or flowers and always unexciting.

Well, an associate of mine recommended that I put together a "Green" thank you gift for Realtors. It would be a unique gift that would definitely stand out. It was full of non-toxic, biodegradable cleaners and other stuff from my business. What is the last thing that people think of when they move in and what is the first thing they do? Clean-up before they move their stuff in! Why not have them do it in a green and non-toxic way? That kind of gift would definitely make the realtor stick out in a buyers mind.

Anyway, I had set-up an appointment with one individual to have him look at this gift for his business. 9AM sharp on Tuesday.

Well, as it turned out, on Monday came around and I absolutely needed to take my daughter in for something the next morning. Couldn't get around it. There was no way I was going to be able to help my daughter AND go to that appointment I had set.

Now, in my previous life as a "Big Bidnez" man, cancelling on anything was extremely frowned upon. Damn the consequences.

One bad experience I had was when I missed out on the end of a small project because the deadline had moved on me.....a month before it was due. I had plans to go see my terminally ill mother across the country and I was not going to change them. I had made arrangements for a colleague of mine to cover down on the project for me and nothing was going to be missed.

As a result, I went on my trip, and caught a huge amount of flack from my boss for it. That is my impression ....up until now....on how businesses operated unfortunately. Another straw that drove me to leave corporate America.

Anyway, I called him expecting to get an extremely negative reaction from him. But, I had to take care of my daughter so I needed to re-schedule. When I talked to him and explained the situation, he said something that I will remember for a long time, "Ahh don't worry, family always comes first. If that wasn't true with you or anyone else, I would absolutely not be interested in doing business with you or them!"

Wow!! So instead of coming out with a horrible feeling, I felt elated and confirmed that I am doing the right thing being a SAHD/WAHD.

Kudos to this guy. I still haven't met with him to cover the original appointment, but I would do anything he asked and will refer all the business I can to him!

He is definately my kind of business man AND I am going to remember the statement he made!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fields of Green Team

This is a group of former major league baseball players who have teamed up to help promote environmental causes. The Fields of Green Team, led by former All-Star Darrell Evans (anyone who is a baseball fan from the 70s and 80s remembers him) includes other players like: Johnnie Lemaster, Mike Torrez, Kelly Gruber, Bill Lee, Gary Matthews, Gary Lavelle, and Butch Hobson.

In an interview on this site, Darrell Evans talks about the goals for this group and site:

1) He saw that most environmental issues were driven by women, he and several other former major league players were concerned about how we were handing our planet to our children so they decided to group together as guys and do something about the environmental future of our planet.

2) Raise $$ for green causes.

Wow, unbelievable, two of my biggest passions in one, baseball and the environment!

They also have a store where environmentally sound alternatives are marketed for everything from clothing to appliances.

Go and check out the site!

As always, if you are looking for ways to do your part in cleaning up the environment, please check here for great items!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Healthy Child Healthy Home

Recently, a great organization Healthy Child Healthy World, did an independant evaluation of our Go Clean cleaning products and endoresed them as being safe for kids.

This web site and organization is a leading national non-profit organization dedicated to creating healthy environments for children and families. They have lots of resources and hints and tips on their web site not only for having healthy homes, but how to handle day to day family stuff.

Apparently, the founders of this web site have their own tragic story of personal loss on how their own child was lost due to cancer and the link to toxins in the home. They originally opened up a fund to support scientific research on the risks to children from environmental toxics. The founders personal story can be seen here and is a must read for all of us concerned about our kids and the environment.

As a parent, I think it is an important topic that we must all become educated on, if only for the safety of our kids.

So, go check out their web site and check out the safe home cleaning products they endorse here.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

What do you do? (Part II)

I've been asked on numerous occasions, "Do you really do that?" I find it an odd question but understandable. Most people do not realize that one can be a SAH parent AND be in charge of our own business. I''ll address those two topics in the next several paragraphs.

In terms of being a stay at home parent, I my wife and I have always thought (least for me and my wife) that if our life situation allowed, that one parent be there when the kids are at home. Its just part of what we wanted to be as a parent team when we first started thinking of raising a family. Now this I know is only true for our situation, and not true for all families. Some very successful families have both parents working full-time outside of the house. I tip my hat to them, I know my wife and I couldn't manage that. So, when the situation came up that my wife was going back to work, I didn't think twice (OK, maybe twice anyway) about staying at home with my kids. Its just part of what we do as a family. Or a solution to a problem so to speak. Both of us found it rewarding in different ways at different times.

In terms of being in charge of ones own business, well I'll definitely say that you have to want to do it. No bones about it, you gotta want to work at it. There is definitely alot of work involved, but there is an equal amount of reward as well. I don't mean entirely financial reward either. I greatly cherish the fact that I am the boss. How my business does is a direct reflection of how hard and how smart that my wife and I work at it. I've worked for other people and is not my cup of tea. I loved it in the Army when I was in charge, making all the decisions, calling all the shots.

What I am involved in now is a unique opportunity to both be a SAH parent and run my own business. It allows me to work on it when the kids are either at pre-school, or over at a friends house, or down for a nap or asleep for the evening. When they are awake, my focus is on them and what my family needs and wants.

I will tell you that for myself, I have found ample opportunity to work if as a SAH parent. You've just gotta decide to give up a few things. For example, I can't remember the last time I watched TV. Not interested in the least in it, except for the news and weather probably.
Being organized is key. Don't get me wrong, I do enjoy other things as well. I ski, exercise, jam out on video games once in a while, love going to baseball games, hang out with my kids, etc. I just make the best use of my time that I can.

I'll admit what I do is not for everyone, but the rewards can be great. You can be there for your family, AND run your own business. I still coach my kids soccer team, drop them off for school, take them to piano, help them with their homework. Instead of leisure time, I work at my business. It's an awesome life in my opinion. Fun being there for my family AND having something myself.

I heard this somewhere and I think its a great quote. You have to create the future you want, it wont come to you by thinking about it! That's what I'm doing, creating the life I want and I love it!

Jolly Green Dad

Thursday, May 1, 2008

So what do you do?

"So what do you do?" is the common question when you are meeting someone casually for the first time. Until recently, I could always reply, "I'm an Army Officer" or "I'm a big important exec at XYZ corporation" or something to that effect.

However, recently I have been a little perplexed as to how to properly answer that question. I stay at home with my kids and work an awesome business that my wife i wonder, how do I answer now?

I guess many people go thru some sort of questioning like this whenever they go thru a big life change like I did. For the most part though, I always imagined I would always be a "Big Bidnez Man" or something along those lines.

I guess what I have come to the realization of is that its not about a title or anything like that, but about who you are and what you care about and how you help others that is important. I truly cherish the fact that I am staying at home with my kids now and have given my wife the opportunity to pursue her career goals. I'm also very appreciative of the fact that I am working with a wonderful company.

So...I guess my reply to the question is now, "What do I do? Well, I'm the Jolly Green Dad."

Jolly Green Dad