Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Master Home Environmentalist Volunteer Program

Today, will be my third class from the American Lung Association's Master Home Environmentalist volunteer program or MHE. I learned of this program about 3 years ago and have been looking forward to attending this 10 week training program ever since.

I joined this program for many reasons, one of which is the training I could gain to help others improve the health of their homes. We have been working to increase the health of your homes for years, this training will expand our knowledge and resources.

So far I love the program, of course I am a bit of a learning nerd, but that aside the MHE is a fantastic program. Tonight, our classes will be on Toxicology and Lead- very interesting! Last week we were learning about biological pollutants and moisture. You can see why this is all so much fun-seriously!

In the coming weeks, I hope to give you additional tips and ideas for your own homes. If you would like to learn more about this program check out www.alaw.org.

Hope you are all loving rain, we sure got a lot yesterday!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A long overdue desicion- no training wheels.

This spring, Dallas and I are taking our training wheels off our business. Most of you know 90%+ of our business comes from word of mouth, return customers or just people who meet us along the way. Our phone book adds maybe give us 3-4% of our work. Every month we send a check to a company in Iowa for that add. The folks in Iowa don't know anything about us, our business or even our community.

Why do we keep the phone book adds? I know it seems crazy. I guess it's because that's what most businesses do. Each year when we meet with the add companies it feels like no one will ever call if we don't have an add. You would think after 19 years with our great clients/referrals we would know better, but still it seems like we are jumping without a net.

This year we decided we are not going to renew any more phone book adds. We'll stay listed in case you need to find us. But we are going to focus on our strengths, making our business as personal as it is.

It feels a little like peddling your bike for the first time without training wheels. Once you get over the panic of no little wheels to hold you up, its kind of exciting and exhilarating. We might as well have fun and take a little risk-which is probably no risk at all. This is just a decision long over due.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

3 ways cleaning can make our homes unhealthy

Why do we clean? I know this probably sounds like a stupid question, but ask yourself why you clean.

I know our days are filled with a million things- thinking about why we clean is not exactly on top of our to do list. It's not that I think you should just sit around dreaming of cleaning or the philosophy of cleaning but here are three little thoughts that might be worth a minute or two.

3 ways cleaning can make our homes unhealthy

1) Using too much cleaner and accidental leaving behind cleaner residue...
        Over cleaning, spraying your cleaners and not rinsing leaves chemical residue everywhere-
        This residue can mix with other cleaners, get on our pets and kids and become our dust...

2) Using too harsh, toxic or aggressive cleaners in normal cleaning
       These restorative cleaners can be dangerous to our health and the health of our surfaces
       Most cleaners sold are more of what I would consider a restorative cleaner
      When we expect fast results- we get restoration cleaners

3) We are so rushed for time or focused on the task we may not notice how we are feeling
      Scratchy throats, sinus pressure, stiff backs, strong fumes, tight shoulders...
      These little tell tale signs often go unnoticed- until...

I believe our primary focus of cleaning should be health:
     The health of our families and pets
     The health of our surfaces
    The health of whoever is doing the cleaning

Cleaning is important and vital to the health and well being of our families and homes. Maybe spending hours thinking about cleaning is out of the questions, but consider giving it at least a moments thought.

Wishing you a healthy and happy home,

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Top 4 pet tips in designing and caring for your home

Yesterday, I was watching Reggie. He is our 16 year old English Shepard Dog-with very arthritic back legs. He was trying to stand on the hardwood floors in our bedroom. Reggy's back legs were shaking and sliding out from under him.
He reminded me about the importance of our pets as we design and care for our homes.

Here are my top 3 pet tips:

1) Consider your pets when you pick your flooring. Too slick of surfaces may be hard for your pet to get footing. This lack of traction is hard on old hips.

2) Don't leave cleaning residue behind on your floors.
Pets walk on floors and later lick their paws.
On occasion- I have even seen ours licking the floor.

3) Be aware of any pesticide or herbicide used outdoors.
These chemicals often get tracked back indoors.
As your pets run around outside they may nibble on the grass and later lick their paws.
4) Be careful with your toilet cleaning. Dogs love to drink the cool water out of our toilets. Unfortunately, most toilet cleaners are pretty toxic. Use safe cleaners, rinse completely and leave the toilet seat down!

Thankfully, most of our home flooring is slate. Reggie has no problem with the slate floors.
We also don't leave cleaning residue behind and our gardening and lawn care is organic. Now, we just have to take care when he comes back to say hi in our bedrooms with the hardwood floors.

p.s. this info also applicable to our whole family not just our four legged members.

Wishing you and your pets a healthy and happy home.