Reduce Unwanted (Snail) Mail

I know you just *love* email from BigKidSmallCity, but you might be  sick of all the junk that fills your real mailbox.  I have enough clutter in my house that I do not need 5 new credit card offers each day.

I’ve been researching ways to cut down on the trash delivered to my house.  Here is what I’ve found:

  • Register for free at Do Not Mail HERE 
  • Opt out of credit offers HERE
  • Keep you name off of mailing lists HERE
  • Receive only the catalogs you want HERE 

How do you get sticky beach sand off your kids? With baby powder!

If you were in Galveston today, you may have seen a sweet baby rolling around on the beach and his mom shaking her head, wondering what on earth she was going to do with her sandy boy.  Well, that was my family and here is what I did.

Baby James had wet sand everywhere.  I tried to wash him off with some drinking water, but the sand was still stuck.  Lucky for me I had seen someone at the playground use baby powder to solve this problem.

It turns out that baby powder (or corn starch) absorbs moisture and allows the sand to just brush off.  It works quick and leaves skin soft and smelling good.

I liberally applied powered all over James and am happy to report that it works just as advertised.  The sand just brushed off.  I then used it on my feet.  And my husband’s feet.  And then all over Joe and Brooke. I think I will start buying baby powder in bulk.

If I worked for a baby powder company, I’d make this my summer campaign theme.  It’s amazing.



Joe’s First Job at 4 Years Old – Trash Can Curbside Service – 25¢ Per Week

My husband and I both work at the computer all day long.  When Joe asked us why, my first answer was to tell him we were making money.   I could see the gears turning in his brain, wondering how we were printing money while sitting at our desks.

I explained a little bit more about my job, but quickly realized I would need to show him that when people advertise their skills, get hired and do a good job, they get paid money for their efforts. 

Not too long afterwards, I  saw an article in Family Fun Magazine about a family who was looking for a first job for their son and came up with a garbage can service.  The boy, age 7 or 8, was rolling out trash cans and pulling them back each week for 25¢/house.   I talked it over with Joe and we decided that this would be the perfect job.

Over the course of a week, we talked about how we would start his business and advertise his services.  We also talked about how once you start a job and people depend on you, you need to reliably do your job, even when it’s not convenient.  Joe did not shy away, and my husband and I were willing to commit our own time, so we decided to move forward.

Joe helped to create his flyer.  He drew the trash can and I helped him type the text.  Starting small, we printed out 4 flyers and headed to our neighbor’s houses.  We left the flyers in the mailboxes and soon had our first customers.  Joe spoke to each of the neighbors himself to understand where they wanted their trash cans and when he could pull them in and out each week.

Soon it was trash day and Joe and I headed out to do our new job.  Joe felt very important pulling out the trash cans and was ecstatic when he received his first quarter.

Each week he has been placing his quarters in a jar.  We’ve been counting them and talking about what 4 quarters can buy and 8 quarters and so on.

A good lesson came this week as the ice cream man pedaled down the street.  Joe was desperate for an ice cream bar but we told him we did not have the money.  He insisted that he had “money” and pulled out 4 quarters.  When we explained that ice cream cost 6 quarters, he quickly understood why we could not buy the ice cream.  At first he insisted that he would get ice cream the next week, but I suggested that he save his quarters until he had 12, he could share ice cream with his friend.  And just like that, he had a goal and was determined to save 12 quarters.

We are about a month into our  job and all is well.  Joe is learning valuable lessons and the time commitment is not a burden for his partners (aka his parents).   As time goes on, we’ll keep you updated on the adventures of Garbage Man Joe!

How do you find your City of Houston Trash, Recycle and Heavy Trash Days? Plus City of Houston Official Holidays.

Updated July 2016

Friends – This post was originally published in 2012 because trash days and heavy trash days can be hard to find on the city’s website.  This website is NOT a city website and is meant to help Houstonians.  It is NOT the official resource.

If you are having trouble finding your trash days, leave a kind comment and I can try to help.  If you want the official answer on trash days, call 311.

Wondering where to find your City of Houston Trash, Recycle and Heavy Trash Days? Go HERE and look for your zip code.  For the holiday trash pick up schedule, go HERE.

What is your heavy trash/junk trash, tree waste day?  As for November 2015, Tree Waste is collected during ODD numbered months and Junk Waste is collected during EVEN numbered months.  Tree Waste months are January, March, May, July, September, and November.  Junk Waste months are February, April, June, August, October and December.

The week they are collected during that month depends on your zip code.  This is where the search gets a little tricky.

  1. Go HERE to the “My City Houston Map Viewer”
  2. Accept and use the Application
  3. Select the thumb tack on the right side of the screen
  4. Type in your address and submit
  5. Press “Solid Waste Schedules” button to view the schedule date.  It will say something like “1st Wednesday”… which is the 1st Wednesday during a Junk Waste month.

Did the garbage truck miss your block or your house? Did they leave a huge mess? Call 311 and they can send a truck back to your street.

Cinderella Cinderfella Project – Discovery Green – Saturdays in March, 10:00 – 2:00

Saturdays in March, Discovery Green will be collecting donations for the Cinderella Cinderfella Project, Inc. They will be collecting formal dresses, shoes and other “wish list” items to give a memory of kindness, caring and friendship to high school seniors with emotional, financial and family challenges. Wish list items include: snacks, gift cards, new make-up, perfumes & colognes, aftershave/shaving kits, hairspray, shampoo/conditioner, ladies evening shoes (high heels-strappy), glitzy jewelry, evening bags, and toothbrushes/toothpaste/mouthwash.

City of Houston – Rain Barrel/Compost Bin One Day Sale, Food Day Houston and Permanent Electronic Recycling


From the City of Houston: Rain Barrel/Compost Bin One Day Sale, Food Day Houston and Permanent Electronic Recycling

Rain Barrel/Compost Bin One Day Sale

On Saturday, October 22, 2011, from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., Houstonians can buy rain barrels for $55 (a $120 value) and compost machines for $45 (a $100 value) on a first come, first served basis at Minute Maid Park, Parking Lot “C” corner of Texas and St. Emanuel, Houston 77003. Parking is free.

Rain barrels are used to collect and contain groundwater from rooftops, which can be used for watering gardens and lawns. Rainwater conserves water, improves air quality and saves money. Compost bins are used to store and assist the decomposition of various materials to be used to fertilize garden soil. Composting enriches soil, deters erosion and contaminated soil, prevents pollution and saves money.



Food Day Houston, Wednesday, October 26, 2011, will showcase local healthy, sustainable food initiatives in a fun and educational celebration at the City Hall Farmers Market, just outside of City Hall, 901 Bagby, Houston 77002.

At 11 a.m., Recipe for Success Foundation will host a Local Food Throwdown featuring celebrity chefs from the Recipe for Success Chefs Advisory Board.

At noon, Urban Harvest will host a Lunch-In, a large community lunch. Bring your food to the Reflection Pond to participate or buy your lunch at the Farmers Market from one of the 35 local vendors who participate weekly at the market. The event will take place rain or shine.

At 1 p.m., the City of Houston will host a Food Day Town Hall meeting just below City Hall steps, featuring a panel discussion focused on inspiring ideas and solutions to advance the local food movement.


Permanent Electronic Recycling

The City of Houston’s Solid Waste Management Department and CompuCycle have partnered to provide a permanent electronics recycling drop-off site for Houstonians to recycle their electronics responsibly at the CompuCycle building located at 7700 Kempwood, Houston, 77055. The partnership also provides monthly one-day collection events on Saturdays at three neighborhood City of Houston recycling centers.

Recycling electronics keeps potentially harmful materials, such as mercury, cadmium, lead and cathode ray tubes out of the waste stream and the environment.

Permanent drop-off site:

The permanent location is 7700 Kempwood, Houston 77055 in the Spring Branch area. It is open Monday – Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Once a month drop-off sites:

The monthly Saturday electronics recycling will be held 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the:

. Kingwood Metro Transit Center (1st Saturday of the month)

3210 West Lake Houston Parkway, Houston 77339

. Ellington/Clear Lake Neighborhood Recycling Center (2nd Saturday of the month), Highway 3 @ Brantley Road, Houston 77037

. Center Street Recycling Center (3rd Saturday of the month) 3602 Center Street, Houston 77007

Electronic Items accepted:

Personal computers, servers, keyboards, mice, laptops, game consoles, monitors, small kitchen appliances, memory chips, hubs and routers, printers, copiers, scanners, fax machines, projectors, rechargeable batteries, cable boxes, car batteries, telephones, cell phones, PDAs (personal digital assistants), tape drives, hard drives, cords, cables and cameras.

In addition to electronics recycling, all four locations are drop-off sites for common household recyclables such as paper, plastics, aluminum and glass.


Costume Drive for Child Advocates – Whole Foods – 10/5/11 to 10/15/11


Wondering what to do with last year’s costume? How about donate it to local Houston kids in need? Whole Foods is collecting costumes at all store locations from 10/5-10/15. Bring in your clean, gently used or brand new costume to be donated to Child Advocates, Inc.


Make Your Own Foaming Hand Soap

clean, cleaning,mom

Did you know that you can make your own foaming hand soap with just any soap and water? Well apparently I should not have bought the pile of Bath and Body Works foaming hand soap last week… especially since Brooke uses half a bottle a day playing (she says cleaning) at the bathroom sink.

Next time I’ll just make my own… Go HERE to see the simple steps.

How do you get your kids to help clean up?


My kids are not overly helpful in cleaning up their toys. They will do it, but it there is an awful lot of complaining.   However, my kids are very interested in sweeping and scrubbing and wiping and… Now, my kids did not come with a manual, but letting them use chemical cleaners is probably not on the list of “ok things to do”, so I’ve started using some green cleaning products.



To scrub the tub, I make a baking soda – water paste and let the kids scrub like crazy.  They think it’s fun.  I think it’s ingenious.  At the end, I pull out the vinegar and let them see the volcano of bubbles. After a quick rinse, and maybe throwing the kids in the clean bath tub, I give myself a pat on the back.

What kid friendly cleaning ideas do you have?


I do love Chick-Fil-A.   I did not grow up with one, so I’ve been making up for that for the last 10 years.   I love the food, I love the clean play area, I love that they come to your table and ask to refill your drink and I love that when you say “thank you”, they say “my pleasure”.   I also like that with the kid’s meal, you can trade the toy in for a free ice cream cone. My kids love the ice cream, I love that I don’t have more clutter around my house.

Speaking of clutter clean up, the Chick-Fil-A at 59 and Kirby is still taking school supply donations. The kids and I loaded up our free Office Depot backpack with all the penny supplies we’ve been collecting from the office supply stores, and took it over. My son was very pleased to be helping out other kids.


As a bonus, the kids got to play at the play place while I sipped on my iced tea (free with the coupon in the holiday calendar purchases last year).  And of course, the employees were very polite and refilled my drink, at my table, 12 times while saying “my pleasure”.