TWEET TWEET TWEET

4:59 AM:  Just outside our open bedroom window, a bird awakens and decides to greet this glorious new morning with a never ending TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET.

5:03 AM:  His neighbor joins him, and the two happily welcome the new day with the never ending song of TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET.

5:09 AM:  I get up and shut the window.

5:26 AM:  They stop! Though now that I’ve been listening to it for almost a half an hour, I think that I can still hear the never ending TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET…even though I have a pillow stuffed over my head.

5:34 AM:  They start back up.

5:45 AM:  Screw it, I’m awake. Might as well get up.

Because that damn bird wouldn’t shut up and I couldn’t go back to sleep, I decided to do some research on who the hell makes that kind of never ending racket for so damn long. Turns out, it might be a common warbler. This guy.

18402162175_a1780a2530

Cute, isn’t he? I’ll tell you when he’s not cute. At 5 o’clock in the morning. Who knew something so little could make so much damn noise!

I’m not sure if this is him or not, but I have seen these birds around. Want to hear what the never ending TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET TWEET sounds like? I found this description of a common warbler and it sounded pretty accurate. When I played the little clip of it tweeting away, I was pretty sure I found my guy.

Screenshot 2016-04-27 10.56.08

Now this is not the first time I’ve had a bird violate my sleep. Back in 2012, we had a midnight warbler who kept me awake for nights on end. I wanted to kill that bird for its loud and rapid “Ah-Ahh Ah-Ahh Ah-Ahh” over and over again. I went back to read the post about that damn bird and although they have different songs, it sounds like the same bird again! I know it’s not the exact same bird, but the same kind of bird.

So much for sleeping with the windows open. I hope I don’t hear him and his buddy again tonight.

Update: I wrote this last Wednesday. I’ve heard those birds three more times since then.

Another Update: He now has a new friend. I recorded the two of them singing together for your listening pleasure.

Easy Ways To Conserve Water

Tracking Pixel

If you live in California, you are probably feeling the effects of the drought. I'm sharing 5 easy ways to conserve water that you can start using today!

If you live in California, you are probably feeling the effects of the drought. Just take a look at the lawns in our neighborhood and you’ll see that people are trying to conserve water by cutting their watering time. While it helps to make a difference, there are so many other ways that you can conserve water! I’m sharing 5 easy ways to conserve water that you can start using today. A big shout out to Scotts® for sponsoring this post so I could share some easy ways to conserve water that are working for us.

Easy Ways To Conserve Water

Don’t use the toilet as a trash can. Did you know that every time you flush, five to seven gallons of water is wasted? So if you blow your nose and flush the tissue, you just wasted a ton of water. I’ve even gotten to the point where if the kids go “Number 1”, I don’t scream and yell if they don’t flush.

Install water-saving shower heads and take shorter showers.  Water-saving low-flow shower heads or restrictors are easy to install and worth the cost. If you’re not ready to go that route, cut down on shower time: a four-minute shower uses approximately 20 to 40 gallons of water! Limit your shower time to the time it takes to wash and rinse. If you shave in the shower, soap up and then turn off the water while you shave.

And don’t let the kids play; shower time is not fun time.

Only run your dishwasher and clothes washer with full loads. Sometimes you have to do a smaller load, I get it. If you do, make sure to adjust water levels to match the size of the load. And remember, Energy Star rated washers use 35 – 50% less water and 50% less energy per load. So if it’s time for a new washing machine, you may want to consier an Energy Star rated one.

Turn off water when brushing your teeth. I’ve always done it, but the kids are the worst at letting the water run! Teach them to wet their toothbrush and turn the water off. Then brush and when they’re ready to rinse, turn it back on.

Lastly, cut down on the time you are watering your lawn and WHEN you are watering. Your lawn may not to be watered daily, or multiple times a day. An easy way to check to see if you need to water is to step on your grass. If it springs back up, it doesn’t need to be watered.

When you water is extremely important as well. Water during the middle of the night or early in the morning. Don’t water if it’s windy or raining. Make sure that you adjust your sprinklers so you aren’t watering your driveway and sidewalks…and whaterever you do, PLEASE DO NOT use your hose to clean off your driveway or sidewalks!

If you live in California, you are probably feeling the effects of the drought. I'm sharing 5 easy ways to conserve water that you can start using today! Especially by using Scotts® Everydrop ™!

Here’s my favorite watering tip: use Scotts® Everydrop ™ water maximizer for lawns and landscapes. EveryDrop™ is a water maximizer for lawns and landscapes that’s designed to help move water into the soil,  even in dry, hard-to-wet soils. Our houses were built on clay, so to say our soil is dry and hard to wet is an understatement. But by usingEveryDrop™, we are now using 25% less water and our lawn and landscape is healthy and hydrated.

While it’s ideal to apply the granuales in late spring before the summer heat hits, I didn’t get to try it until last month. All you do is set and fill your spreader so each pass is 5 feet apart. One cup covers about 185 square feet, so unless you have a huge yard, 1 bag should last you quite awhile. Then reapply every 4 weeks. That’s it! Everydrop’s™ unique formula is designed to help move water into the soil to reduce the wasteful runoff and pooling that occurs without it.

If you live in California, you are probably feeling the effects of the drought. I'm sharing 5 easy ways to conserve water that you can start using today!

Well-fed lawns and plants are more efficient at using water. Feed your lawn and plants with Scotts® and Miracle-Gro® because both products will allow you to make the most of all the available water so that you have to water less frequently, and it keeps your grass green and landscaping looking great! (Tip: Gerbera daisies are drought tolerant and stay happy look how pretty mine look thanks to Scotts® Everydrop ™!

If you live in California, you are probably feeling the effects of the drought. I'm sharing 5 easy ways to conserve water that you can start using today!

For additional details about Scotts® Everydrop ™ and to see a demonstration of how the products works please visit: www.scottsmiraclegro.com/california. For more tips on living green, check out my posts on green living.

What easy ways to conserve water do you have to share?

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Scotts® EveryDrop™.

Spring Gardening Fun For The Whole Family!

If you’ve been reading Mommy of a Monster for awhile, then you already know how much we like to garden. We love to plant things and watch them grow. We love to eat tomatoes that we’ve grown ourselves. We like to weed, and water, and take care of things. We love all of it! So I thought I’d do a round up of spring gardening fun for the whole family since spring’s right around the corner!

Spring Gardening Fun For The Whole Family!

Start a family hobby today! It's the perfect time for Spring gardening fun for the whole family! I've got lots of tips and ideas to get your garden going!

 

Start a family hobby today! It's the perfect time for Spring gardening fun for the whole family! I've got lots of tips and ideas to get your garden going!

Want to attract birds into your backyard? Well you’ll need to make our DIY birdseed pine cones! It’s definitely an outside project because it is messy, but it’s easy and fun to do.

 

Start a family hobby today! It's the perfect time for Spring gardening fun for the whole family! I've got lots of tips and ideas to get your garden going!

Do you grow peppers in your garden? I grow jalapeños and habeneros, and once…long ago…ghost chilis. They are HOT!

Start a family hobby today! It's the perfect time for Spring gardening fun for the whole family! I've got lots of tips and ideas to get your garden going!

Did you know that you can regrow celery, garlic, and green onions? I’ve got all the details for you. It’s easy and will save you money!

Start a family hobby today! It's the perfect time for Spring gardening fun for the whole family! I've got lots of tips and ideas to get your garden going!

And you can regrow red onions too!

Start a family hobby today! It's the perfect time for Spring gardening fun for the whole family! I've got lots of tips and ideas to get your garden going!

The kids love to help in the garden! Here are tips for gardening with kids, and also an easy way to start seeds.

Start a family hobby today! It's the perfect time for Spring gardening fun for the whole family! I've got lots of tips and ideas to get your garden going!

Did you know that you can easily compost in your own backyard? It’s not stinky or yucky, and it’s super easy to do!

So hop to it! It’s a great time (here on the West Coast anyways) to start getting some seeds started and getting your backyard ready for new flowers and veggies!

Looking for more spring gardening ideas? Check out my board for Gardening on Pinterest.

Happy Earth Day! 10 Easy Ideas For Living A Sustainable Life

Looking for easy ways to go green (AKA ways to live a sustainable life) that you can start doing today? I've got 10 simple, inexpensive ideas for you!

Happy Earth Day! It’s no secret that sustainable – or green living – is important to me. I wouldn’t even begin to try to tell you that our day-to-day lives are 100% sustainable, but as my About Page says, I’m trying to live a little greener everyday. I even have an entire category here on my blog devoted to sustainable living.

I’ve written about simple ways to go green before…back when I started my blog in 2010 I wrote about ways to go green without breaking the bank. And again in 2012 I wrote about simple ways to go green (other than recycling). In between that I’ve written a few times about Seventh Generation and all the good they do for the environment and for us green consumers. I’ve written about composting and gardening, two of my favorite and easy ways to a sustainable family life. And I’ve written lots more. And with the exception of the solar panels we have on top of our roof, none of these sustainable ideas were expensive to do.

Most of you probably know that the month of April is Earth Month, and today, April 22nd happens to be Earth Day. What the entire month really boils down to is spreading awareness about sustainable living. The best thing about sustainable living is that many of the things that you will do to be green will cost you less than not going green! Being environmentally-friendly is not just good for the earth and your soul, it’s also good for your checkbook.

Most people think about going green and automatically think recycling. But there are so many little things we can do in our homes that take little time, effort, and money to do but that will make a huge difference in the long run. These simple things will help reduce landfill waste, help keep our air cleaner and will also help preserve the earth for our children and their children. A sustainable life doesn’t mean changing your lifestyle, that it will cost you a fortune, or be difficult.

And speaking of children, I even wrote about how I teach my kids to live green like The Lorax. It is so important to help them understand why it is important to save the earth and to live a sustainable life where you can. Help them understand that what they do (good or bad) impacts the earth. If you make this a part of their everyday life, it will become second nature to them, and that can’t hurt anybody!

So I’m going to give you 10 easy sustainable ideas that you can start doing at home today. These require little effort and won’t impact your daily schedules or rituals. Some of them you might already be doing, but if not, why not pick a few and see if you can incorporate them into your family’s lives? The earth will thank you for it!

Looking for easy ways to go green (AKA ways to live a sustainable life) that you can start doing today? I've got 10 simple, inexpensive ideas for you!

You Can Live A Sustainable Life! Here Are 10 Ideas To Get You Started

1.  Plant an herb and vegetable garden. Have the kids each plant a veggie or herb of their own that they will be responsible for. They’ll enjoy watching the garden grow, and will look forward to eating what they made grow.

2.  Turn off the TV and other electronics when you leave the room. Turn off all the lights, too. In fact, don’t turn on lights at all until absolutely necessary. Just open up those curtains or blinds and let the sunshine in.

3. Wash laundry in cold water instead of hot. No, washing laundry in hot water really does not get your clothes any cleaner. And if you have room in your yard or home, allow clothes to air dry. My board on Pinterest: Make Your Own Cleaning, Beauty, and Household Products has several suggestions for even making your own laundry detergent. And psst! Try my recipe for the world’s best shower cleaner…2 ingredients, and you probably have them both in your kitchen right now.

4. Stop using disposable water bottles! Buy some BPA free reusable bottles for your family to use. Not sure why this is a big deal? Check out The Story of Bottled Water – a short film that will really make you think about the water you get in those plastic disposable bottles.

5. Stop using disposable shopping bags. You can make your own or even buy them (they are inexpensive) at your favorite store. If you do use disposable bags, make sure to reuse them. And don’t throw them away! Make sure to recycle them when you are all done with them.

7. Switch all your lightbulbs to CFLs. You don’t have to replace all the lights in your entire house all at once. Start with the room you use most often and replace the bulbs in that room first. Next month, replace another room’s lightbulbs. Keep going until you’ve replaced them all.

8. Pay your bills online.

9. Make your own household cleaners. There’s nothing that vinegar and baking soda can’t clean in your home! These cleaners are so inexpensive to make and work just as (or even more) effectively than products you buy at the store! Ask Anna recently shared 40 Vinegar Tips and Tricks that are worth checking out. And I recently shared Sophie Uliano’s (author of Gorgeously Green) recipe for making natural all purpose spray that literally takes about 2 minutes to make (I haven’t bought all purpose cleaners in years!).

10.  Make your own compost bin and start composting. It’s easy (and not stinky)! I’ll teach you all about composting. It’s one of the first things I started doing that lead me towards living a sustainable life.

Now it’s your turn to share…what simple things do you do to live a little greener?

How To Compost: All You Need To Know To Get Started

Let’s talk compost. Why? Well here in So Cal it’s time to start thinking about spring gardening, and an important part of gardening for me is composting; it is so good for your garden, plants, and trees! I know, I know…when you hear the word compost you might automatically think bad smelling decaying piles of nastiness. And for people who don’t know how to compost, that might be the case. But if you compost correctly, you will never smell it.

Before we get into how to compost, let’s talk about compost in general.

If you have ever considered composting, now's the time to try it! This explains everything you need to know on how to compost, as well as links to additional information.

What Is Compost?

Simply put, composting is nature’s way of recycling. Compost is decayed organic materials that can be used as a plant fertilizer. Things like egg shells, banana peels, food scraps from veggies, cardboard egg cartons, some paper products (like junk mail and newspaper), the lint from your clothes dryer, hair, and more can all be made into compost. By following some simple rules, you can create your own compost at home and return nutrients back into the soil in your garden and yard.

What Does Compost Look Like?

If you have ever considered composting, now's the time to try it! This explains everything you need to know on how to compost, as well as links to additional information.

photo credit: normanack via photopin cc

People always ask me what the compost looks like once it’s ready to go back into the ground. It looks like soil – it’s a dark brown color, crumbly (like fertilizer you might buy at the gardening center) and smells like a forest floor…it smells earthy and natural, not at all stinky. It actually smells good.

Compost Pile, Bin, or Tumbler?

You have a couple of different options when it comes to how to compost. You can either start a compost pile or you can buy a compost tumbler or bin.

Start A Compost Pile
You can start a compost pile in your backyard if you have room. If you live in the suburbs and the houses are built closely together with small yards (like ours) or have small kids or animals that get into everything, starting a compost pile might not be an option. Eartheasy.com has a great article on how to start a compost pile.

Buy A Compost Bin or Tumbler

If you have ever considered composting, now's the time to try it! This explains everything you need to know on how to compost, as well as links to additional information. This is the route I went when I bought my first composter.

Compost bins are enclosed on the sides and top, and open on the bottom so they sit directly on the ground. I had a spot in my backyard that is on the side of the house and that is where we set up the Garden Gourmet. It was inexpensive to purchase, easy to set up, and large enough to make a ton of compost.

Little did I know when I bought it, compost bins make it difficult to turn the compost (you have to use a shovel or rake and really get in there), so it can take several months to produce compost. I ended up taking my compost bin apart after a year or so just because it was such a pain.

If you have ever considered composting, now's the time to try it! This explains everything you need to know on how to compost, as well as links to additional information.A tumbler, on the other hand, costs more than a bin, but is much more user friendly. You simply turn the tumbler a few days a week and the composting process is much quicker. The Envirocycle Mini is the tumbler that I have and use now. It sits on the patio and the kids enjoy putting scraps into it and turning it. Bonus: you also get compost tea out of it!

How To Compost

Now that you have your pile started or your bin or tumbler set up where you want it, you can start composting. You need a combination of things to make compost.

1. Stuff High In Nitrogen: Things like live weeds (before they develop seeds), leaves, and grass cuttings, chicken, rabbit or pigeon manure, fruit and veggie scraps; coffee grounds and tea leaves and tea bags (I remove the staple), and plants.

2. Stuff High In Carbon: Think of this as the “fiber”. Dead leaves, plants and weeds, old flowers, hay, newspaper, paper.

3. Air: The air circulating through all of the decaying materials will help your compost not smell.

4. Water: Your compost bin or pile should always be damp like a wrung-out sponge. You can add water directly to your compost, but keep in mind that the “stuff high in nitrogen” will also add moisture to the compost.

And now it’s time to start making some compost! What can you compost? I mentioned some things earlier, but there are many, many more things you can add in. TLC has a list of 75 Things You Can Compost, But Thought You Couldn’t that is worth checking out. And word to the wise: if you are going to compost egg shells, they take forever to break down. I suggest breaking them into tiny pieces before adding them to your compost.

I have this cute little ceramic compost pail in my kitchen that I put all of our food scraps in throughout the day. I dump the pail into the compost bin once a day. But you don’t need a fancy pail – if you are dumping your scraps once a day you could just put them in a covered container, or just dump them as you go. It’s up to you.

There are also things you can NEVER compost! These are things that will make your compost stink and also ultimately can also end up making the fertilizer toxic. Meat products (including fat, grease, oil and bones), feces except those mentioned earlier…urine is okay, believe it or not, used cat liter, colored paper, weeds with seeds (or else weeds will grow again where you use the compost) and limes (the acid is horrible for the delicate balance required to make compost). And if something is toxic or is not biodegradable, don’t try to compost it!

But don’t just start dumping stuff into your bin or pile! You’ll need to create a balance of the right stuff. For more tips on how to layer your scraps, check out this post by Organic Gardening.

It takes some time, but sooner or later you’ll have beautiful compost that you can scoop out of your bin, tumbler, or pile and spread around your garden.

So there you have it! Now you know how to compost and just how easy it is. If you love to garden you should definitely consider trying it – it’s nature’s natural way of recycling!

Do you also love to garden? I have some tips on gardening with kids in the garden, how to regrow onions and plant onion sets, as well as tips on how to regrow celery, garlic, green onions, and red onions. You can check out my board all about gardening on Pinterest, too!