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Special Announcement: Green on the Green

It’s about time we start this season right — venturing outdoors again under blue skies. When the dismal gray of winter finally lifts, so do our moods! It’s time to start working a little bit of green back into our lives, don’t you think? (Spoiler alert: Read to the end!)

I’m looking forward to getting outside after such a long winter (you have no idea!). A great opportunity to do so is Central Ohio’s own eco-conscious community event — Green on the Green. This is an annual event held each May on the Historic Village Green of Downtown Worthington alongside the popular Worthington Farmer’s Market. So, mark your calendars. It’s right around the corner.

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Let me tell you a little about this event. Green on the Green began as the brainchild of friends Karen Ferris and Kate Midnight, both of Worthington. The first event was held 8 years ago in 2010 and arose out of a desire to bring eco-conscious businesses and organizations together in Central Ohio. Karen and Kate felt strongly that these companies and organizations could partner to bring area adults and families an awareness of healthier, less environmentally impactful ways of living.

So much has happened since 2010! As the community response grew over the years, so did Green on the Green. This family-friendly event features a wide variety of activities for kids of all ages, including interactive live music, drawings for free products and services, food sampling, demonstrations, games, educational activities, and a petting booth with small animals, to name just a few. This year, Green on the Green will be held on Saturday, May 5, 2018 from 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM.

I had the pleasure of sitting down over coffee with Karen Ferris in February. She is particularly excited about the lineup of exhibitors, many who return every year, that are locked in for this year’s event. For 2018, here are some of the exhibitors you can expect to see:

• Animal Rescue Organizations
• Educational Organizations
• Fitness/ Outdoor Pursuit
• Food Companies
• Handmade/ Locally Made
• Holistic/ Natural
• Local Groups
• Recycled/Upcycled Products
• Native Plants
• Organic/ Chemical-Free Products
• Recycling/ Composting
• Renewable Energy Companies

GREEN HAVEN LIVING IS EXHIBITING AT GREEN ON THE GREEN!!!

We invite you to visit us at the first Green Haven Living Pop-Up Shop. Whether you are an eco-conscious connoisseur or someone who just wants to have something new and fun to do with the family, come on out and enjoy the day! We are featuring product lines from 12 highly eco-dedicated brands. Our products cover a lot of ground from carefully selected bath and body and candle lines to home décor, jewelry, and garden! We are going to have so much fun introducing this to you!

For more information about the event, visit this website to learn more, as well as practical tips for living an “eco-friendlier” lifestyle.

Wait — you didn’t know Central Ohio was home to so many great eco-friendly organizations?! If you want to see just how green we are, take a look at the myriad companies and organizations who embrace the commitment to sustainability at The Big Green Guide.

Happy Spring!
Angie

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A Different Take (Warning: Cliffhanger!)

Last year, I spent a lot of time in the handmade gift section of a wholesale market. The purpose was to find the creme de la creme of eco-conscious gifts that offered differentiation from the mass-produced alternatives currently found elsewhere. Honestly, it’s not always easy to find both eco-conscious and highly unique.

Nevertheless, I prevailed! I found myself wandering into this visually stunning booth after catching a sweet citrus-y aroma. There were a number of others standing there just as curious as I was. I caught the eye of a woman with blond hair as she excused herself from another conversation. She walked over and with her super-polite Southern accent, asked, “May I offer you a hand massage?” I shrugged “Sure. Why not?” as I was wondering how hand massages have anything to do with candles.

I came to find that I was meeting and chatting with Kara Sherritt, founder of Creative Energy Candles, who developed a very different take on a candle.

From a very young age, Kara was fascinated with candle wax and would often be scolded for dipping her fingers in it. That fascination never disappeared through adulthood and eventually became a passion for her. Kara’s creativity took over as she began thinking of ways it might be possible to create a candle that was also nourishing to your skin (dippers rejoice!).

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Ever the purist, it was important to Kara that the candle recipes included natural, organic ingredients. She experimented with those recipes, and Creative Energy Candles was born. These are candles that contain only the most nourishing skin-loving ingredients, such as organic soybean and coconut oils. Rest assured that you will not find traditional paraffin-based candles here! Nope. Even her fragrances are all-natural.

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Okay, back to the hand massage for a sec. I’m embarrassed to admit that attending this market in the dead of winter meant that my hands looked like crocodile skin. What I enjoyed the most is the lasting, hydrating effect the oil from the candles produced without being greasy. The scent was very light, and let’s face it, Folks — I was sold.

And now, for my shameless plug! Creative Energy Candles will be sold at Green Haven Living. The candles come in various scents and make unique, versatile gifts for just about any occasion. And they certainly won’t break your gift budget!

Wondering how you might be able to purchase one from our eco-boutique? Wait until you read next month’s post! You just might find out!

Stay tuned!

Angie

 

Note about this post: Photography Images © Joshua Aaron Photography.

Why 2018 Has To Be THE Year

We’re back! Our Winter Market was intense, but successful. We searched high and low to find an amazing assortment of eco-friendly products not offered in our area. And we, by no means, left empty-handed!

Our plans for 2018 are shaping up beautifully. We are so excited to bring this to you.

A beautiful new relationship was forged with another family-owned and operated furniture maker. This family and their company leaves no stone unturned. Environmental considerations are a cornerstone of every facet of their operations and product. From recycled packaging right down to the design and finish of a piece, the details (and the people behind them) are what’s important.

We had the chance to speak at length with the matriarch of the company who provided us quick, yet thoughtful answers all the way through our vetting process. She and a member of her sales team left us with the impression that our companies are every bit aligned in what we value. We are very excited to begin working with them.

We met with many, many vendors this year — many of them are those who we know and have become trusted friends with over the last few years. Their excitement about their new products for the year is contagious! And it is with good reason, as these people are innovators, problem solvers, and artisans. They never cease to amaze me with their creativity and the passion they bring to their work.

Expect to see highly durable and trendy items for every room of your home — your kitchen, your living room, your bedrooms and baths! Great care has been taken to find products with renewable materials (where possible, produced with renewable energy sources). Many of these items are made of a recycled material or a discarded product in its next iteration.

And finally, a small preview (😉) of our gift and accessory finds at the market. This includes our bath and body collections. But first, my disclaimer: there are tons of people claiming to make natural products out there. As someone with dry, highly allergy-prone skin, I have gotten pretty skilled at “reading between the lines” on the labels. The products we’ve chosen are selected for their plant-based ingredients, including the fragrances used. Only the most nourishing, hydrating, and wholesome products have been chosen for our customers. Let’s point out the fact that we have chosen companies who are highly transparent about their products. Did I also mention I have personally tried every bath and body collection we offer?

Our gift and accessories also include jewelry, stationery, candles, art, books, and the list goes on of everything else we’ve been blessed to find!

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hile we contentedly recover from jet lag this weekend, I am left with one thought. We need to secure the right storefront for Green Haven Living LLC. This has been our biggest challenge so far. I want to ask you, our support network, to please collectively send up a prayer, a wish, a good vibe that we find our new home at the right time and in the right location. Maybe, just maybe, there is strength in numbers.

The Scheu Family is so excited AND READY to bring this remarkable retail brand to you. 2018 has to be THE year!

With gratitude,

Angie

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Soup’s on!

Bbbbbbrrrrrrrrrrr! ❄️

We are amidst one of the coldest winters in my recent memory. There were a couple of days last week that teased us with temps in the 50’s, but we are now back to single-digit lows.

I know in my last post, I promised to cover my trip to the Winter Market. However, the cold has inspired me to post one of my very favorite dinner recipes instead. On frigid nights like this, there is absolutely nothing better than a piping hot pot of Italian Wedding Soup on the stove.

So, I’ll share my personal recipe with you. This is a very easy recipe. It also happens to be a very healthy, nutrient-dense soup that is still hearty enough to leave you feeling warm and satisfied. My kids have no idea how good it is for them — and they love it!

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Italian Wedding Soup

Meatballs:

1 lb 93% Lean Ground Turkey

1 egg

1/2 cup whole grain panko bread crumbs

2 cloves garlic, minced

2-3 T. Chopped fresh parsley

2-3 T. Chopped fresh basil

2 tsp. Dried Oregano

2-3 T. Grated Parmesan Cheese

Sea Salt / Pepper

Mix well with your hands and form into small meatballs. Heat 2 T. Olive Oil in a Dutch Oven and cook meatballs, turning frequently until browned on each side. Repeat until all are cooked and set aside. These freeze really well too.

Soup Ingredients:

1/2 sweet white onion, chopped

8 c. Low-Sodium Organic Chicken Broth

1 small zucchini, puréed

4 oz. whole wheat Ditalini pasta

1 egg, lightly beaten

1.5 cups baby spinach

Sea salt, garlic powder, and pepper

In the same pot, cook onion over medium heat for about 1 minute. I use a blender to combine a small amount of broth with the zucchini and purée until no zucchini chunks remain. This is a great way to incorporate some extra nutrients without changing the taste of the soup. Add broth, zucchini and meatballs and bring to a boil for about 5-10 minutes. I use low-sodium broth so I can control how much salt is in this recipe. Now is the time you’ll want to season with salt, garlic powder, and pepper to your liking.

Next, reduce the heat to bring the soup down to a simmer. Add your pasta and drop your lightly beaten egg by spoonfuls into your simmering soup. The egg will be cooked almost instantly and adds a beautiful, very traditional texture to the soup. Once your pasta is cooked al dente (about 7 or 8 more minutes), turn the heat off and add your spinach to the pot. Stir until wilted.

We like having our soup with a crusty Italian Bread and fruit. It is a nice, fresh one-pot meal that doesn’t take long to make at all.

I sincerely hope you enjoy!

Angie

Resolutions…And Stuff

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy New Year! As we travel north to celebrate Christmas with family, I am pondering the ways I want to set my family and myself up for an awesome 2018. I have to admit, the whole process is giving me all the good feels!

The trick is…how do I keep the momentum going THROUGHOUT next year? It’s too easy to lose the motivation when we can’t see the forest for the trees. Yes?

Alright. I’ll share my short, but sweet list of resolutions (…and stuff real, busy people can actually accomplish) with you in the hope that it’ll inspire you to do a little pondering too.

Here we go!

1. Maintain Good Health

  • Schedule SUMMERTIME annual check-ups and vision appointments for ourselves and the kids (helps when the kids are out of school).
  • Download and use a meal planner (like this one).
  • Angie: Sign up for a weekly weightlifting class.
  • Plan our 2018 Vegetable and Pollinator gardens.

2. Maintain Our Sanity

  • Create a tentative 2018 “time off” schedule with Darren, so we have an occasional day off together.
  • Finalize plans for the Las Vegas Market trip in January.
  • Agree on and pencil in a non-working vacation for July or August.

3. Build Financial Stability

  • Modify our budget and spending plan in January.
  • Meet with Financial And Tax Advisor in March.
  • Angie: Re-align and consolidate investments and retirement funds with my personal values (I chose a company called Aspiration) by the end of March.

4. Enrichment Goals

  • Darren: To master his new position (he got promoted! yeah!) and to complete a Data Innovations or Network Plus course by December 2018.
  • Evelyn: To continue her training as a pitcher in softball with one-on-one instruction beginning in March.
  • Sophia: To enroll in a dance class over the Summer.
  • Angie: To complete a Marketing course, a Business Tax course, and to run her first 5k in 19 years!

5. Open Green Haven Living, LLC

  • Find the right location for our family business.
  • Attend market in January and update inventory plans for an exciting product selection for 2018.
  • Modify our “Store Launch Checklist” for 2018.
  • Continue networking with fellow merchants and supportive partner organizations throughout the year.

6. Presence and Kindness At the Forefront

  • Every month, visit someone we don’t see often enough.
  • Angie: Spend more time with my best friend and find more ways to support her business (Allison’s Challah).
  • Angie: pay for someone else’s drive-thru order at least once each month.
  • Angie: Continue the rotation of lunches and dinners with my beloved BioScrip and Elmer’s colleagues.
  • As a Family, choose our charitable cause and donate time and/or money in November.

Looking back, I can’t say I accomplished everything I thought I would in 2017. BUT, I managed to accomplish so much I didn’t know I would accomplish to begin with. We have had a few bumps in the road, but overall, 2017 has been a year in which I can look back with gratitude. I am employed in a temporary role with an employer who is 100% supportive of me and my desire and efforts to start my own business. I’ve managed to lose 30+ lbs since June. My parents are settling nicely into a charming new home, and Darren’s promotion….this list can go on and on.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve got some stuff to load into my calendar. Stay tuned for my late January/early February post highlighting our Winter Market trip. Your feedback will be needed!

Thank you all for your continued support and encouragement in 2017 and beyond! I wish you only the best in 2018!

That’s All, Folks!

Angie

What’s Going On?


Helloooooooo, November!

It’s hard to believe 2018 is less than two months away. For me, it’s hard to believe that the years go by as quickly as they do. I fully expected that we would open the Green Haven Living storefront this year and throw myself fully into realizing this remarkable brand. But, that didn’t happen.

The search for a storefront has actively continued. We have inquired about, met landlords, and walked through a number of different buildings this Summer and Fall, but for various reasons, none of them were the right home for Green Haven Living. Oddly, I am finding myself okay with that because it is paramount to the success of this store that we identify the right location with the right square footage, rent, foot traffic, amenities, etc.

Interestingly, my husband, my parents, and I all had personal goals we set out to achieve in 2017 aside from opening the store. My husband sought to break into a new career direction after years of formal study. Now, it seems plans are in motion for him to move into a position more aligned with those studies. My mother and stepfather have worked tirelessly this year to downsize into a new home. Their current home (beautiful!) was in contract within hours of being listed. And even more amazingly, they found a gorgeous patio home had come available the same week. Perfect timing. If all goes as expected, they’ll move next month before Christmas. As for me, I had set some health goals, which I am progressing with very nicely. I felt strongly that my transition into entrepreneurship needed to include an overhaul on my health habits and physical strength. So, I set out in June to improve my health in all facets and continue that journey now. So, the question that keeps coming up for me is, did I need the time and flexibility to support my family and myself through all of these very positive changes before my path shifts to opening the store? Did we just need more time and space to enable these things to happen? Maybe. But for one thing, 2017 certainly has not been idle. I would describe it much more accurately as transformational for myself and my family.

For now, I have continued working as an internal and external Human Resources Consultant for multiple companies to make ends meet. In all of my “spare” time (LOL) I continue refining plans for Green Haven Living. My aim is to keep this brand in launch-ready mode at all times! And the search for the right storefront and home for this Company is just going to have to take longer. When all is said and done, I believe there will be a tremendous payoff and that much more appreciation for this long journey.

If you would like to be notified about ongoing Green Haven Living news and updates as well as relevant topics we feel are important to share with you, please enter your email address below to “follow” this blog. We generally post monthly, so this definitely won’t overwhelm your inbox. And as always, your comments, ideas, encouragement, and feedback are welcome anytime!

My continued “thanks” to all of you for your ongoing support.

Angie

10 Days to a Healthier, More Sustainable Home

October has arrived! Fall is my favorite season. The leaves are turning beautiful fiery shades of orange, yellow, and red. We’re setting our sights on all things pumpkin, cinnamon and apple. This is a time for bonfires, hayrides, and walks through the forest to see who can collect the best leaves.

As the temperature starts to drop, we’ll all start spending more time indoors. Maintaining a healthy and sustainable environment inside your home is important this time of year. Below is a checklist to give you a running start.

Day 1. Rid your home of hazardous waste. Franklin County residents can drop off hazardous waste products with SWACO’s permanent collection facility at 645 E. 8th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43201. Accepted waste products include: batteries, flammables, gasoline mixed with oil, oil-based paint, motor oil, stains, thinners, varnishes, bleach, lawn chemicals, insecticides, and more.

Day 2. National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day is October 28, 2017! Drop off your unused, unneeded dry prescription medicines at your local law enforcement locations. Participating locations in Central Ohio are: Dublin Police Department (614-889-1112), Grove City Division of Police (614-277-1710), Reynoldsburg Police Department (614-866-6622), Westerville Division of Police (614-901-6860), Whitehall Division of Police (614-237-6333), and others.

Day 3. Replace your incandescent bulbs with CFL’s. CFL’s are more expensive to purchase up front but are more energy efficient, last longer, and save you more money in the long run.

Day 4. Handle your yard waste responsibly. Ideally, you should leave your fallen leaves on your lawn to decompose naturally over the winter. This allows important nutrients to filter back down into your soil giving your lawn a natural boost come Spring. Fallen leaves will also become winter habitat for wildlife. If you want nutrient rich soil for your garden in the Spring, you may also use leaves and grass clippings to create a compost pile. If you must dispose of your yard waste (brush, grass clippings, leaves, etc.), Kurtz Brothers, City of Columbus Com-Til Facility, and Ohio Mulch offer free drop-off for Franklin County residents.

Day 5. Get that compost heap working for you. An easy, low maintenance way to do it is using an old metal trash can. Check out this article: Composting the Easy Way.

Day 6. Replenish your cleaning supplies with environmentally sound alternatives. You’ll find these are easier on your wallet too! Use reusable containers (spray bottles and used milk jugs) to make your own. A mixture of 1 part vinegar to 1 part water makes an effective glass cleaner. An easy all-purpose cleaner can be made using 2 cups of water, 1/4 c. Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap (vegetable-based) and 20 drops of essential oil. We like the refreshing effect of mixing 10 drops of orange with 10 drops of peppermint oil.

Day 7. Have a technician out to service your heating and cooling systems now. Don’t wait for winter! Properly functioning systems work more efficiently. Even better yet, shop around for eco-friendly air filters!

Day 8. Bring houseplants indoors, or take some time to select new houseplants that purify your indoor air. Lady Palm, Wax Begonia, Spider Plant, Boston Ferns, and English Ivy are all recognized for these properties!

Day 9. De-clutter. Gently used clothing and household items can be picked up by National Kidney Services of Central Ohio. Call 614-351-2900 to schedule a pickup. Unwanted furniture will be picked up by the Furniture Bank of Central Ohio by calling 614-545-3838.

Day 10. Tackle the allergens. I know the cobwebs and dust bunnies make great Halloween decorations, but….ewww. Use your vacuum attachments or held-held vacuum to rid your home of them. A quick sweep through each room of the house will do the trick! Another allergen-lurking item to tackle is our pillows. Throw 2 of them in the wash at a time with an extra spin and drying cycle.

This short list should go a long way in helping you achieve a cleaner, healthier indoor environment as we head toward our cooler seasons.

Angie

10 Ways To Embrace the Good Life Right Now

Most of us think of August as the unofficial last month of Summer. A time when the kiddo’s head back to school, new routines kick into gear, and the evenings are jam packed with sports and academic functions galore. It’s easy for those of us “adulting” day-after-day to grieve the end of the slower, laid-back days of Summer. Am I right?!
Read on for 10 great ways to embrace the good life right now. It’s not too late to enjoy what’s left of the season.

1. Sunday Dinner. Involve your whole family in planning a special Sunday dinner. Each person gets a job. Take your time and focus on the quality of conversation while you fix and enjoy your meal.

2. Take a Trip Down Memory Lane. Get that shoebox of old pictures out and make it a point to label each with names and dates on the back. Or take a drive through your old neighborhood.

3. A Drink on the Porch. Go ahead! Brew some iced tea or pour some wine. Sit on the porch or patio…maybe even watch a storm (as long as it can be done safely, of course).

4. Watch the Clouds / Sunrise / Sunset. Lay down on a blanket and try not to close your eyes!

5. Dedicate an afternoon to your favorite hobby. It’s okay to find a sitter for some alone time if you need it.

6. Day Trip. From Central Ohio, it’s a short trip to such destinations as: Hueston Woods, Roscoe Village, Clifton Mill, Yellow Springs, Milan, Malabar Farm, Old Man’s Cave, etc.

7. Backyard Camping. Put up a tent, a portable grill, and bring some great campsite stories. Don’t forget the hot dogs, pie irons, and s’mores.

8. A Date with a Book and a Blanket. In the back yard or under a tree at the park…

9. Park Explorers. Give each kiddo a sheet of paper and have them write down or draw their observations at the park. You can sit back and take in the scenery.

10. Visit Someone You Love. They’ll be thankful, and you’ll never regret the time well spent.

More important than checking off the to-do’s is the quality time and memories with those you love! So, enjoy it!

See you in the Fall!

Angie

Turning Wood To Water

Happy Summer! I hope wherever this post finds you, you are taking some time to slow down the pace a bit. The year is going by quickly — we are already more than halfway through 2017! Now is the time to enjoy life, the sunshine, and the important people that surround you.

Speaking of important people, I thought we should switch gears a bit for this July post and shine a light on a couple that has been a part of this story. Almost a year ago, I traveled out west to attend several trade shows that were happening the same week (you can read that post here). There are literally thousands of prospective vendors to vet out, and I had carefully marked on a map which ones I wanted to spend time talking with. So, I sat down at a table in one of the showroom corridors to figure out where I was headed next.

Out of the blue, this guy comes over and asks if he can share a table to eat his sandwich, and I gladly obliged knowing seating during lunchtime was becoming hard to find. He introduced himself as Cliff and asked my name and what company I came from. I told him and explained that I owned a soon-to-be retail shop that focused exclusively on eco-friendly home goods and gifts. His eyebrows went up as he casually said, “Oh, well, my company happens to create eco-friendly products.”

For the next hour, my mother and I chatted with Cliff and his wife and business partner, Jan, in their showroom. I was deeply impressed with Cliff’s artistry and how his wife’s executive background compliments his in the day-to-day operation of their company, Recherche Furnishings. You’ll want to pronounce that REE-SHARE-SHAY. So, let me share with you the story of this award-winning, family-owned company based in North Texas.

Recherche Furnishings began as a custom wood furniture manufacturing company in 2010, but it evolved into its present line of rustic home decor when a friend of Cliff’s asked to borrow his nail gun in 2014. When his friend returned his nail gun, he brought his old fence pickets with him and gave them to Cliff. Using the old fence pickets, Cliff created a rustic wood picture frame that became the prototype for their popular “Naturals Reclaimed Frame” line. Each one stays true to the reclaimed/recycling theme, as each frame backing is produced with recycled cardboard. Further, drink tabs are cleverly repurposed as the wall hanger on the back of each frame. To date, thousands of frames have been sold keeping thousands of pounds of wood, cardboard, and drink tabs out of landfills.


Since that time, people across the US have sent in drink tabs, saved old cardboard, and called in when fences have blown down in storms. The collection of these reusable items will continue as long as people continue to demand eco-friendly products. For their accomplishments, Recherche Furnishings was awarded the 2015 Keep Texas Beautiful Business of the Year and was a finalist for Keep America Beautiful for their environmentally sound practices and products.

For me, one of the most awe-inspiring aspects of this company was learning their efforts to give back don’t stop there. Through the “Turning Wood To Water” campaign, 10% of reclaimed wood product sales are donated to a local charitable organization that drills water wells in Africa, ensuring the availability of clean water for those communities.

Recherche means elegant, extravagant, or one-of-a-kind in French. True to their name, Recherche Furnishings has created beautifully unique and multi-functional products. In 2015 and 2016, they expanded their lines of decor to include rustic reclaimed flags, key holders, angels, magnets, ornaments, and rustic cut metal. Better yet, every item is made right here in the United States.


During some tough moments on the journey, Cliff and Jan have offered incredibly thoughtful words of encouragement and support. I am convinced that meeting Cliff and Jan “by chance” a year ago is part of the divine plan as I work my way down the path of opening this shop. I am deeply grateful for their partnership, their friendship, and very much looking forward to showcasing their brand at Green Haven Living.

See you soon.

Angie

Sustainability: Our Story

The idea of “environmentally friendly” didn’t come front and center for us until a little less than a decade ago. But I was somewhat passively aware of it long before that. My household is proof that you don’t need to live off-grid to embrace this idea. Small, every day habits by regular people add up!

My own story actually began when I was about 9 years old. My family had relocated to a new school district, and I made a group of new 4th grade friends that liked to create “clubs” for ourselves to belong to. We were quite an enterprising bunch! I remember a club we created called the “A’s Club” since our names — Amanda, Ashley, and Angie — all began with the same letter. Then, Jenny joined our group, so we couldn’t be the “A’s” anymore.
A kid’s book came into my possession at some point thereafter about ways to “Save the Earth”. It intrigued me because I couldn’t fathom why the Earth needed saving. And how could one kid save the entire planet? I read the book from cover to cover in less than a day. Hence, I suggested we create the “Earth Club.” The club was short-lived, however. It began and ended with me adopting an endangered manatee on behalf of my fellow club members. 😊

Fast forward to the Great Recession. My husband and I welcomed our first baby in 2008, which for many of us, was the toughest year of the Recession. Thankfully, we both remained employed during that time, but our wages were frozen at a time when the value of our home plummeted and our expenses were increasing very quickly. In some ways, we felt trapped. No way to move without a huge loss on our home, and no pay increases to count on to help plan for our expanding family. For about 2 1/2 years, it was an enormously stressful time for us.

So, we started looking for ways to save money. Over the next few years, we got serious about growing as much food for ourselves as we could. We started making enough apple sauce to last us all winter from a single apple tree in our back yard. I taught myself how to pickle cucumbers and do basic water bath canning.  I started making anything I could — baby food, cleaning products, soap — for our family myself instead of buying them at the store.

For me, gardening rekindled a relationship with this glorious planet on which we live. The more I read about gardening, I found that more questions arose. My instincts drew me to organic gardening specifically because it just made sense to me that the less “messed with” our food is, the better it is for us. It just tastes better too!

< i>Above: This is the garden where we planted sweet peppers, hot peppers, tomatoes, cukes, and smaller squash (like zucchini). We use natural pest deterrents like flour and African marigolds.< a href=”https://greenhaveneco.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/img_8849-1.jpg”>Above: We use this longer bed for larger plants like pumpkin, winter squash, and watermelon.< a href=”https://greenhaveneco.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/img_8804-1.jpg”>Above: This planter contains 15 strawberry plants.<

ver time, we started honing our footprint in other ways. Energy Star appliances…eco-friendly insulation for our 100+ year old home…low e glass replacement windows…a programmable thermostat to better control our energy bills. We generally have only 1 or 2 small bags of trash per week due to our weekly visits to the recycling bins in our township. This list is not exhaustive, but we do have plenty of other large and small scale projects on deck.

The current phase of goals pertains to the inside of our home. We are in the process of getting rid of possessions we no longer use. We are trying to teach our 2 children to value experiences more than physical belongings (that one remains a bit of a struggle!). As we replace items and simplify the inside of our home, much consideration and preference is given to solid quality, renewable materials, non-toxic finishes (impact to the air quality inside our home), and how it will eventually be disposed of (cradle-to-cradle). We will share progress updates in future posts.

We are striving to continuously learn how to do better, and it’s exciting to see the array of smart, innovative new eco-friendly products introduced to the market in the past several years. It seems the best is yet to come!

We want to hear from you. Please share your favorite eco-friendly ideas and products in the comments section! Are you actively working to live in a more sustainable way? Please tell us how!< a href=”https://greenhaveneco.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/img_9055.jpg”><<<<<<<

Good People Helping Other Good People

Since my last lease opportunity fell through, I’ve thrown myself into continuing to work through the nitty gritty details of how this shop should run. Technologies, systems, processes…it’s all gradually coming together after months of researching options and costs. Decisions are being made.

But a day came last week where I felt like I needed a break. I needed to “zoom out” so to speak (as opposed to “zoning out”). When I need to think and regroup, I take walks. When I worked at Elmer’s, I would try to walk a couple of laps around the parking area each day. My most productive thoughts and creative ideas came out of those walks over the years I worked for Elmer’s, so I paid a visit to that same parking lot that day. I certainly didn’t expect that walk to reaffirm for me every reason I chose to create this company in the first place.

It just so happened to be a beautiful, crisp, sunny morning — 70 degrees or so. Perfect. Canadian geese were traversing the parking lot with 9 goslings in tow. It was mostly quiet except for an occasional car coming or going. There are more trees than you would expect for the parking lot of a corporate building, some of which have finally grown large enough to shade various parts of the lot. You can hear the birds in them. Let’s just say it’s easy to appreciate nature in this kind of setting.


All of a sudden, a landscaping company pulls in, and I began to notice things differently. The gas-powered mowers and trimmers cutting everything to “perfection”. I tried to avoid the clouds of gasoline fumes and dust as I walked my final lap. The young man with the sprayer was applying weedkiller to the perfectly mulched beds. Another one was scooping chemical grass “pellets” — not seed — onto bare spots while wearing protective gloves.

And then, I began to notice how perfect the grass was. Too perfect. It took me back to a 4th of July celebration a few years ago, where we had traveled downtown to watch the fireworks. My daughters were rolling down a small hill in the grass over and over much like I did as a child. By the end of the evening, their backs, arms and legs were covered in itchy, red abrasions. Someone had sprayed lawn chemicals on that grass, and now my children were exposed to that. There were no signs…no cautionary measures whatsoever. I washed them off in a bath tub full of warm water and baking soda while they cried. I felt terrible, and it angered me. I don’t remember ever having to worry about chemically-treated grass when I was a child.

As I continued my walk, I couldn’t help but think to myself, “What the h… are we doing?!” as I have wondered so many times before. We are trading our health and wellbeing for a cosmetically perfect “environment”. You see, these chemicals end up in our ground water, our air, our soil. No, they don’t completely break down. It is affecting our health, that of the rest of the creatures we share this space with, and this beautiful Earth that was formed to sustain all of us.

If you look at the pictures attached to this post, you will see what I saw that day. Chemical runoff from the spraying and the discoloration over time of the sealed blacktop…perfect, weed-controlled grass, plus plenty more issues are visible that I haven’t mentioned here.

My family (including myself) has been affected by human-caused pollution too many times and in more ways than I can count. Several years ago, it got me thinking about where we spend most of our time and where we have the most control over these factors. I can’t control every decision or every impact on our environment, but I can control what comes into my home and what happens on the land I own. Our homes are and should remain our safe haven after all, shouldn’t they?

Recognizing these issues exist, there is a small, but quickly expanding market for eco-friendly home goods. And, it is quickly expanding for good reason. That’s why I want to focus my livelihood on supporting the makers, artists, and creatives who support these ideals. I have spent almost 2 years searching high and low for these people and understanding how they are upholding their values. These are people who are, like me, deeply concerned about our environmental impact. I want my shop to resonate with people in a different way and show people how to make more deliberate purchase decisions in support of these small family-owned businesses who are reversing our environmental impact in some way.

Maybe, in our lifetime, it’ll be possible to celebrate the achievements and progress we’ve made to combat pollution, waste, deforestation, and many of the other widespread, very real consequences we are already seeing. But right now, each of us can start small…in our own homes and on our own land. You can do your part to support your local environmentally-friendly landscaping companies, contractors, organic farmers, publications, and of course, eco-friendly “mom-and-pop” shops like Green Haven Living. To quote a good friend and former colleague, companies like ours are, “good people helping other good people.”

Onward!

Angie

P.S. Some practical tips for your home exist in this post from January: Clean Design.

A Business Update

Hello Friends,

April came and went, and as of yet, I’ve not been successful in finding a home for Green Haven Living. I’ve managed to come very close, but disappointingly, our prospects have fallen through.

In the meantime, there are numerous family members, suppliers/partners, friends, former colleagues of mine, and many excited future customers cheering us on. I am truly not one to easily give up on this dream. GHL will offer new options for furnishings, decor, and gifts in Westerville and the rest of Central Ohio. And, by extension, we will be supporting organizations that are environmentally and socially aware. There is a lot of goodness in that!
So, I continue to find strength in those of you who offer words of support and encouragement. I never imagined there would be as many of you as there are, and I am humbled by that. I sincerely thank each one of you.

Stay tuned for more updates!

Angie

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