Thursday, October 25

FlatOut Bread + gift card giveaway!

Remember how much fun we had with the FlatOut pizza bread?

Now YOU can get in on the pizza-making action, too!

I'm giving away the very same awesome prize pack our family received, PLUS a $50 Wal-Mart gift card!

Let me tell you how great those spreaders are for smoothing out pizza sauce AND for digging the last tablespoon of peanut butter out of the jar. So great. 

Check out (they have LOTS of great recipes), find them on the facebook, and tell me this: 

What is your favorite kind of pizza? 
And don't say pepperoni. 
You can do better than that.  

I'll notify the winner as soon as the giveaway closes! 

**I was not compensated for this post. I'm just excited about being able to give cool stuff away, and I love the folks at, who facilitated this giveaway.**

Friday, October 12

Family Movie Night with FlatOut Pizza Bread

Nights at our hive can be chaotic at best, and an all-out wild rumpus at worst. Since I work a few nights a week, we all relish in the nights when all five of us are together for dinner and bedtime.

This week, we had an extra special dinner time, thanks to FlatOut Bread and The Motherhood.

"It's a good day when UPS delivers carbs to my door

FlatOut & The Motherhood sent us a box of fun goodies and three Thin Crust Artisan Pizza Flatbreads to try: Rustic White, Spicy Italian, and Heritage Wheat. 
We had only three instructions: make it fun, make it ours, make it a family movie night!

We went to The WalMart Store and stocked up on pizza toppings, drinks, and ingredients for a TOP SECRET DELICIOUS DESSERT, and found a heckuva bargain in the entertainment section. The Dr. Dolittle 4-Pack of movies was $9.99. Ten dollars for four kid-friendly movies! (WalMart online has it listed as $32. Do not pay $32.) I certainly did not also buy a five-dollar "4 Movie Marathon" for myself. 

I forgot to take pictures of the actual pizza assemblage, but let me say, it was easier than I'd anticipated with all three Bees buzzing around the kitchen. 

This is how it went: 
pre-bake pizza for a few minutes
top flatbreads with whatever your li'l heart desires
ignore the pitiful pan
bake for a few more minutes
remove from oven, refrain from nomnomnoming right then
let cool, wrangle your children
use awesome pizza cutting tool
plate, and enjoy while watching Eddie Murphy's wacky animal shenanigans. 

I swear, she really did love it.

In fact, we've had pizza several nights this week. They were that easy and delicious. 
Flatout has TONS of recipes on their website, but these are some of the ones we came up with:

Rustic White flatbread
Pizza sauce
Shredded mozzarella 

Rustic White flatbread
Leftover spaghetti meat sauce
Shredded cheddar cheese

Steak Night:
Heritage Wheat flatbread
No sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Fajita beef strips

Cheese Lover's:
Heritage Wheat flatbread
Alfredo sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Grated Parmesan 

Momma's Fave:
Rustic White flatbread
Alfredo sauce
Shredded mozzarella
Leftover grilled chicken strips

And then. THEN.
I made the super awesome secret dessert pizza.

Two sticks unsalted butter + one cup light brown sugar

Cover white flatbread

...then I stopped taking pictures because I got too excited.


When the caramel sauce looks delicious and not-yet-boily, take it out of the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips over it, wait 5 minutes, smoosh chocolate all around, wait some more incredibly loooooong minutes while it cools, break into pieces. EAT. EAT. EAT.

Also, don't tell anybody that I made matzo candy with flatbread. Mmmkay?

We loved the FlatOut bread, and loved coming up with new toppings. The kids loved "helping" with supper, and I loved that they actually ate it all.

*old-hat-by-now disclaimer*
FlatOut sent me their bread and some other small fun things. The Motherhood included a WalMart giftcard to purchase food and Movie Night treats. Everything I wrote is my own opinion and is true. Except the RomCom movie pack. I totally bought that. 

Wednesday, October 3

Healthy Obsession: Baby Alpacas and Heifer International

On the morning of September 8, 2012, my life was forever changed. It was the day I discovered... alpacas. 

SavannahB I just had a serious Kristen-Bell-baby-sloth-meltdown moment over a baby alpaca. IT'S THE CUTEST THING I'VE EVER SEEN I WANT ONE I AM DYING. 
pstrack @SavannahB You do know that alpacas spit, don't you?  

SavannahB @pstrack Alpacas are too cute to spit.
Alpacas became my favorite thing. 
I went a little alpaca crazy. 
I might have told my beloved son that alpacas are cuter than his is.  
I'm not ashamed. 

Look at this face, y'all!
How do you not fall in love with that?

 SavannahB I've narrowed my big birthday gift options down to three: 1) new tattoo, 2) new iPhone, 3) new BABY ALPACA.3:51 AM Sep 10th  

SavannahB ALPACAS! "@Heifer: Fun Fact: Alpacas' exceptionally soft wool provides families w/ fine material to make blankets, ponchos and hats."1:26 AM Sep 14th 

My friends even tolerated my crazy got in on the fun:

 AdenaJ @SavannahB Happy, happy birthday! Did you see the baby alpaca I left in your backyard? 
 kellimarks I just got an order for a llama cake. That could sort of look like an alpaca, right @SavannahB 
KamosMom "And to put it simply: Alpacas are pleasant looking and Llamas look like they’re constantly judging  
That's a baby alpaca! In a coat!

And then, a famous, funny, and fabulous author inadvertently got in on the action: 

SavannahB You guys! I'm not alone!! “@altgeldshrugged: Someday I will own an alpaca... I just wanted to put it out there to the universe.”4:05 AM Oct 2nd

I mean, seriously. It's a little out of control. Luckily, there have been some ways I've lessened my insane need for BABY ALPACAS IN MY BACKYARD OMG. 

First, was this: 
YOU GUYS. My momma mailed me a baby alpaca for my birthday!! on Twitpic
My mother mailed me a baby alpaca for my birthday.

Then, there's this:

@Heifer: Read how Heifer alpaca projects address nutrition and climate change vulnerability in Peru: 
Look how cute and helpful!

Heifer, my all-time-number-one-super-favorite non-profit, was tweeting about alpacas. And! That article was written by Little Rocker and all-around awesome gal, Brooke Edwards.

Because, sadly, I can't have a baby alpaca in my backyard, I have to settle for gifting one to someone else- someone who will actually benefit from alpaca ownership, someone who won't (or, maybe they will), squeal whenever they see their alpaca.

Heifer's Knitter's Gift Basket!The Knitter's Basket includes four of our fuzzy friends that are keeping Heifer partner families warm all around the world. Your gift represents a llama, an alpaca, a sheep and an angora rabbit – four animals that provide families with ample wool and endless opportunities to build a better life.

Every Christmas, I give my kids some honeybees, because, well, duh. This year, I think I'll add some alpaca action to the gift. I can't buy an entire Knitter's Gift Basket ($480), but I can buy a share ($48).

Come back here tomorrow, because I'm giving away some chicks (how often do bloggers get to say that?),and you'll also get a look at a very cool new interactive gift-giving option from Heifer. 

Thursday, September 27

Unicorns and Grownup Jobs- A Conversation

A few days ago, the Bees and I were cleaning up around the house. As it is physically impossible for us to clean in a quiet house, I had our Dance Party Clean Time Music playing. 
The Girl, who had previously been rocking fully out, came to whisper to me, "I need to add a thing to the list. I want to be a singer" The Girl has  a very detailed list of what she'd like to be when she grows up. Top of the list: Veterinarian. There are five things she'd like to be, and the bottom four rotate, but pet doc is always number one. 

I told her being a singer would be a great career choice. She paused, then asked, "Mommy, what do you want to be? When you're done, you know, being a mom?"

Oh, sister. I'll never be done being a mom, but someday I want to be a writer.


A writer.

Like... you want to go somewhere?

Not a rider, a writer. That's my dream.  Then I busted out in song (because that's how we do, yo. We're the Randomly Singing people who annoy you in Target. Sorry.). Channeling my best Mandy-Moore-as-Rapunzel:

"I got a dream, I got a dream, I just want to write a book that you can reeeeead!"

About unicorns?!
be still my Lisa Frank heart

Um. Well. Maybe

If you don't want to write about unicorns, Momma, you could write a non-fic-tion. That's when you tell it like it is. 

That's exactly right! I could look into nonfiction. 

Ooh! You can take prictures of things like bumblebees. You looove taking prictures. 

Do you think I could be a writer?

Yes! You could also write fiction. Do you know what fiction is? A fiction book is a thing that you can write that you make up all in you head with your imagination. Things like unicorns and dinosaurs. 

{for the record- we are not of the religious nor scientific persuasion that believe dinosaurs are fictitious. Though when you're six, you've got automatic license to lump unicorns and dinosaurs and dragons and dodo birds together, I guess.}

So, when I'm a writer, what will you be?


Oh, yes. That is true. 

Momma, can you write, "My daughter will have a lot of jobs. Like being an artist... being a doctor that looks at skeletons... I'd really like to be a mommy... or maybe be a food deliverer to stores {then she whispers, "that's my new one."} and of course... being an animal protector."

Yep. I just wrote it all down for you. 

Thanks, Mommy. Also, don't forget the unicorns.

Oh, girl, I'll never forget the unicorns.

Then we went back to dancing.
my little Rarity gif

Wednesday, September 12

Sending off the Second

August, 2009

August, 2012

When B the First went off to kindergarten, I had a lot of words about it. 

B the Second started school this year. I have an equal amount of words for her departure from my nest, but they're all still stuck in my heart. Most days, I'm ok with two-thirds of my brood in someone else's care. Some days, I am not. Other days still, I wish all three of them were somewhere else for eight hours a day. 

My small Ladybug is not so small anymore. At her 6-year checkup, the pediatrician said she falls in the 80th percentile for weight, and the 85th for height. She's a big girl now. A brave girl, a precious, sweet, heart-stealing girl

She's the anchor of my days, more than anybody else is. She's solid where the rest of us are fluid. She's still when we buzz about. At the same checkup, the doctor watched B the Third whizz-bang around the room, then looked at B the Second sitting patiently, legs crossed at the ankle, back straight as a rod, and said, "She's the one who keeps you sane, isn't she?" 

And now she's off beginning her life. 
Full of courage and kindness and frosting.


Thursday, August 30

Famous Relations: The Marys

This morning, my friend Sarah sent a tweet:

Indeed, on this day in 1797, my great-great-several-great-something-or-other-by-way-of-her-husband, Mary Shelley was born. My father's father's people (the Shelley folks) are of English and Welsh descent. Somebody, some decades ago, somewhere in Eastern Tennessee did some digging, and realized that we are related to English Romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley- and by extension, his Frankenstein-writing wife, Mary. 
We Shelleys tend to write our novels whilst looking
wistfully off into the middle distance,
wearing fancy little off-the-shoulder numbers.

Thinking about Mary Shelley always leads me around to thinking about Mary Sawyer, my other Famous Mary Relation. You may never have known her last name, but I guarantee you know her. Every person who was ever a kid in America after 1830 knows Mary Sawyer. You probably know her best because of her pet: a little lamb

Mary Had a Little Lamb Statue Part 1 Pictures, Images and Photos
photo credit

My mother's father was a Sawyer from New York. In his thirties, he fell in love with a Southern belle and spent the rest of his days living below the Mason-Dixon line. I have never been north of the Mason-Dixon line (except for a layover once in Cincinnati), but I hear there are Sawyers I'm related to all over New England. Mary Sawyer, whose little lamb so famously followed her to school one day, is one of them.

And, there you have it. My literary and folkloric heritage, wrapped up in nice little Mary packages. 

Friday, August 17

How to Spend Your Time Waiting in the School Pick-up Line

School starts again on Monday. I'm still avoiding the issue as much as possible, despite the new backpacks, supplies, school clothes, and packable lunch foods I spent a million dollars on this. And despite the fact that The Girl and I spent a solid two hours on Tuesday picking out twenty outfits for her to wear to kindergarten. Yeah. Avoiding school. Mentally, at least.

One thing I've been thinking about lately is the pick-up line at school. There's a fine art to the timing of the pick-up line. Our school lets out at 3:10, and I've seen some parents line up at 2:15. No kidding. I, on the other hand, am often leaving my house at 3:07, speeding the 1.5 miles from our casa to the school, then catching the tail-end of the waiting line. It's far more nuanced than that... but those parents parking at 2:15 might have the right idea after all (provided they are picking up all of their children, and don't have a wailing DestructoTot in the backseat).

Because I'm a super helpful kind of gal, I've made a list for you guys about how to spend your time waiting in the school pick-up line. I call it, "How to Spend Your Time Waiting in the School Pick-Up Line." Brilliant, no?

How to Spend Your Time Waiting in the School Pick-Up Line:

1) Watch the sweet baby kindergarten kids careen around the playground, bashing up their knees and noses. But don't use binoculars. Because that's creepy.

2) Read a book.

3) Heck, write a book. This lady did. So did this one. (And so have Sarah Pekkanen and Jodi Piccoult, among tons of others, I'm sure.)

4) Take a nap.

5) Balance your checkbook. (Wait. Are we the only people left with actual checks in actual checkbooks?) 

6) Clean out your earwax, get the gunk out from under your nails, pluck your nose hairs. (Err, nevermind. I don't recommend doing any of those things in the carpool line. Save it for your own home, weirdo.)

7) Rock. Out. I don't know about y'all, but there's not much I love more than a good Rock Out (except, maybe #4 on this list). Our Toyota Camry, grocery-getter, sensible-person-car that it is, has one heck of a speaker system. There is absolutely zero shame in my game when I roll all the windows down and jam to Beyonce or Dave Matthews. There is only a little shame in my game when I roll all the windows up and jam to Tupac or Lil Weezy (Seriously. Windows up. That kind of music is only for grownups. Little kids cannot possibly appreciate "Dear Momma" like I can.)

8) Catch up on Words With Friends. A bazillion points if you can get *pseudoantidisestablishmentarianism.*

9) For real. Take a nap. You deserve it. Those kids are about to get in your car and be ALL UP IN YOUR EARHOLES!

Got any good ideas on what to do in the pick-up line? Lemme know here in the comments or on the ol' facebook!

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with
Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment
in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the
views of the Toyota.

Friday, August 3

Mission Possible: Reaching the Teachers

It's no secret that my home state typically ranks low on the educational scale when compared to national statistics. Arkansas is home to some phenomenal schools, and to some of the poorest districts in the nation.
I was given a copy of Eva Moskowitz and Arin Lavinia's book, Mission Possible: How the Secrets of the Success Academies Can Work in Any School.

Per the Amazon book description: Strategies for making the schools we need that work for all kidsEva Moskowitz (the founder and CEO of the Success Charter Network in Harlem) and Arin Lavinia offer practical, classroom-tested ideas for dramatically improving teaching and learning. Moskowitz and Lavinia reveal how a charter school in the middle of Harlem, enrolling neighborhood children selected at random, emerged as one of the top schools in New York City and State within three years. The results of the Harlem school were on a par with public schools for gifted students and elite private schools.
  • Describes what can be accomplished when students and adults all work to focus on constant learning and performance improvement; DVD clips are included for illustration
  • The Success Academies have been featured in two popular and widely distributed documentaries, Waiting for Superman and The Lottery
  • Details the Success Academies' THINK Literacy curriculum, which produces dramatic results in kids reading and writing skills
In addition to providing strategies and lessons for school leaders and teachers, Secrets of the Success Academies also serves as a guide for parents, policymakers, and practitioners who are passionate about closing the academic achievement gap.

Reaching today's children is harder than ever, no matter the socio-economic bracket they fall into. As the daughter of a teacher (my mom is a former elementary classroom teacher, now an English as a Second Language facilitator), I have seen first-hand how teachers are held often held back from reaching their own potential, much less boosting the kids' performance.

The Mission Possible book doesn't hold the magic answer that will provide each kid with perfect test scores. It doesn't give each teacher an infallible lesson plan. What it does, is tell the story of a school that came from behind, and ended up in front of the pack... and how every classroom has the potential to create educational superstars- both in front of the teacher's desk, and behind it.

I am giving away a copy of Mission Possible. You don't have to be an educator to win. You can be an involved parent, a concerned citizen, or just a really nice person. I'd encourage you to find a dedicated teacher to gift this book to. After all, school will be back in session sooner than we think!

To win a copy of the book, simply leave a comment here, or on my facebook page telling me about the best teacher you've ever had.

*I was compensated for this post, but all opinions are firmly my own*

Thursday, August 2

Pony Royale + Princess Party time! {giveaway}

This post is sponsored by Pony Royale. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

A few weeks ago, four huge boxes arrived at my house. We're big fans of boxes around here, so when I wouldn't let the Bees peek inside, they were not amused.
Then the cupcakes were delivered, the accessories bought, and the girls (and twenty four princess ponies!) came to play.

The little girls:

The big girls:

The shy girls:

And the happy girls: 

My sweet Ladybug was actually terribly sick and missed half of the party. When she realized there were ponies on the line, she perked up for about an hour.

Nineteen little girls, from seven months to seven years old came to our Pony Royale party, celebrating the launch of a fantastic new line of toys.

Pony Royale, a new toy line starring beautiful princess ponies, brings a fresh new approach to princess play in the fashion doll category.  Pony Royale combines favorite play patterns - hair play, fashion play and nurturing play – to give children endless hours of open-ended creative play with a fun and easy fashion system. The full collection features 12 Princess Ponies, all with the ability to mix-and-match their manes, tails and fashion pieces.
The twelve Princess Ponies are pony action figure dolls with names, personalities, and changeable hair and outfits.
  • With two Pony Royale dolls, make over 60 fashion styles!
  • Each pony comes with a jeweled birthstone blaze
  • Two sets of Change-It-Up Hair and hair brush included!

At first, I was skeptical of the ponies. No lie. I don't need anymore princess stuff in this house. I try not to feed my girls the princess party line, but somehow, they buy it all anyway.
These pony princesses are... excuse the terrible pun... horses of a different color. The emphasis of the Pony Royale world isn't so much the fact that they're princesses, but that it really is open-ended play. There is no agenda within the Royale parameters. There are no villains, not even any Princes Charming. Each pony comes with a "map" of the Pony Royale kingdom, an extra "pony weave," as my super classy husband called it, and some pretty awesome accessories.

The only real drawbacks I saw with the ponies are those cute accessories. They're teeny. Like, pinky-fingernail-size-teeny. Easily lost, teeny. Choking hazard, teeny. But, if you have a designated space for the ponies, and keep them away from teeny babes, it shouldn't pose problem.
(And there's a pretty awesome dressing carousel that is available to hold all of the ponies' accessories and extra hair. Secret shopper tip: The ponies are the same price ($14.99) online at Target and Toys R Us, but the carousel is $10 cheaper from Target. However, Toys R Us offers extra "change it up" fashions.)

The girls loved the ponies. I loved that they were unique (12 ponies = 12 different birthmonths, birthstones, colors, personalities). I especially loved watching my little Bee girls playing together, instead of fighting over identical toys.

I managed to keep one pony box intact (oh, you guys. the plastic and cardboard was a-flyin' when all nineteen girls finally got to rip into their treasure!), and am giving away Sienna.

Sienna's birthmonth is May, her birthstone blaze (the jewel on her forehead) is an emerald.

Leave a comment here or on chasing my Bees' facebook page, after checking out all twelve ponies at, telling me which of the ponies you like the best! (It just so happens that my fave is Sky, September's pony, the smart one with a sapphire blaze. Surely no coincidence that Sky and I share a birthmonth.) 

Visit the Pony Royale website for more information. Pony Royale are available starting in at Toys R Us, and select Target stores. Be sure to check out Pony Royale’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter!

Tuesday, July 31

He's a Camry Man

It's no secret to those closest to my husband that he is a meticulous person. He is organized and efficient, and he takes great care in his appearance and the appearance of his hearth and home... and car. (In short- he's my polar opposite. Lucky we attracted each other, huh?)
When I asked him to write a little something about his Camry, I had no idea how deeply connected his is to his car. Now I wish he'd write love notes about me this way....


Like a glove...
prints of this photo available on here on etsy

When you play sports, namely baseball, you play with a worn, well used,
oiled, trustworthy glove.  A new glove is nice but it has to be formed
and fitted to the user before it really takes on the characteristics of
the player.

So goes it with one's Toyota Camry.

When I got my first Toyota Camry, I was a young husband and a young
father of two priceless gifts.  Due to this eye-opening experience, I
needed a new vehicle- one that was suitable to carry my precious cargo.
I had a moment of silence with my truck (ok, I did name her), after
all, it was my first-ever post-parents purchase.  
I started the dreadful car-shopping, dealership-dealing, and gut-wrenching hunt for the perfect family vehicle.  At every dealership I went to, I would slowly drive the lines of vehicles looking at each one carefully as if I were a Marine Officer inspecting his command for the first time.  I was all the while
keeping in mind the safety of my little "troops," and looking for style too.  
I had never owned a Toyota, but from talking to other fathers and friends I had heard of the safety (check), the affordability (check- diapers are not cheap), and the durability (double check, the baby has to drive something in 16 years) of this brand.
After what seemed like two years of grueling torture (reality- 5 days), I
came across a stylish, safe, and affordable vehicle that I could see
myself driving (with two car seats of course).  It was a charcoal gray
Toyota Camry with room in the back to keep little legs from kicking my

After running it by my wife (her approval is essential) we took the plunge and bought our first family car. 

I admit, at first I was quite up-tight about having no sippy cups, and no gold fish in the car (let's be honest though- if you have kids, you have no rules like that if you want to drive more than 2 miles).  The Camry handled nicely and was comfortable, and like my baseball glove, it started to take on the characteristic of the player(s).  
The spills in the car marked the various road trips and could be laughed about by the "do you remember that" conversations.  The outside faired about the same... teaching young ones to ride bikes in the drive way is probably not the best idea.  The dings and stains add character to my Camry.  

My Camry is uniquely adapted to fit me- a father.  It is a worn, well used, oiled, trustworthy car that fits me like a glove.
When the time is right, I will pass her (ok, I named this one too) on and start the (this time short, because I know which Toyota I will get) car buying experience. And next time it will be new glove, but "old hat".

Jeremy Butler is a husband to a fabulous lady (who didn't laugh at his
no-goldfish-no-sippy-cup rule, even though she knew better), and father to three wonderful messy (wouldn't-have-it-any-other-way) children.  He is a
former Marine and baseball player (now its church softball!).  He
commutes 40 minutes each way in his well worn (glove) Toyota Camry,
which fits him just fine.

photo courtesy of Toyota 


{ ed note: I found a very cool app from Toyota: the Camry Commute. You can log your daily commute, track your points, and win prizes like $500 gas cards, movie tickets, Pandora radio subscriptions and more! And you don't even have to own a Camry to use the app. You're just a whole lot cooler if you do rock the Cam. :) }

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment in exchange for participating. The opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of the Toyota.

Wednesday, July 25

Surprise Poop

It's been a long time since I've been on the internet, talking about poop. As The Bunny stops pooping on herself matures into a charming young lady with model toiletry skills, I've used the #pooptweet hashtag on the twitters less and less often.

Though I didn't document it (you're welcome. seriously.), the last two days have been, well... explosive.

For a solid 48 hours, B3 has been simultaneously driving up our water water bill with all the toilet flushing, and depleting our wet wipe stash with all the boo-hiney wiping.

She's been poopin', y'all. So much that on three separate occasions, she has yelled, "Ope! Surprise poop!" and run to the bathroom.

I thought it was a stomach bug, or that she'd eaten something terrible (it's summertime, which pretty much means anything goes in the meal/snack department 'round this Bee hive). I was right on only one of those counts.

Tonight during the girls' bathtime, I heard my husband yelp. He didn't holler, and he certainly didn't squeal. I'm pretty sure he yelped. Then, like he does, he Instagrammed something. (I can't talk about it. He refuses to tweet. He only lurks on Facebook, but Instagram? He's got hot Swedish stay-at-home-moms liking every one of his weird, random photos. I can't talk about it. Lawd.)

You know what that is?

That's a bar of Irish Spring, friends. With a bite taken out of it.

So, mystery solved. My daughter is a soap biter. And, apparently, a soap eater. 
When I texted my BFF with photographic evidence that B3 was not, in fact, suffering Montezuma's Revenge, she wrote back:

Y'all are going to have to find an alternative punishment when she gets to cussin'. 

Lord, may we never see the day. 

Tuesday, July 10

The Greening of Toyota

When I got to visit Toyota Motor Sales' 130-acre national campus in June, I (somewhat naively) thought it would be one giant car sales lot, staffed by leering old white men, and furnished with cracked plastic chairs. 

photos courtesy of Toyota

Instead, I was greeted with a state-of-the-art, highly advanced technological and environmentally aware company headquarters.

From the minute we TWIN members were ushered into the building, we were treated with respect, and got to know the spirit of kaizen, a Japanese term meaning, "continuous improvement."

There was kaizen everywhere at Toyota. Many of the people who spoke to us about the business were veteran employees- several of whom have worked for Toyota since before I was born. Each of them were enthusiastic about their job, and about what Toyota is doing today.

One of the things that impressed me the most was a handout highlighting some of the environmentally-efficient aspects of the entire Toyota campus.

  • Photovoltaic solar panels on the roof of the South Campus provide enough energy to power 500 homes annually. (I don't know what, exactly, photovoltaic means, but that's a lot of power.)
  • Drought-tolerant landscaping saves roughly 5 million gallons of water each year, which is enough to take 200,000 ten-minute showers.
  • In the Information Systems Data Center, 100% of the electronics are recycled. Over a decade, Toyota diverted 3.3 million pound of e-waste away from landfills.
  • Reusable steel containers are used to transport automotive parts at the Parts Distribution Center, instead of cardboard boxes and wood pallets. This innovative program annually reduces wast by approximately 2.7 million pounds. 
  • Even the cafe on campus is eco-friendly: plant based plastics are used for food containers, flatware, and bags to replace petroleum-based products, and leftover cooking grease is converted into biofuel. 
  • The Ionator, a tool that electrically transforms water into a powerful germ-killing and chemical-free cleaning agent, has replaced chemical cleaners. 

These are just a very few ways Toyota is environmentally-conscious. It was a great experience to see such a large company going above and beyond when it comes to eco-business.

To me, they are a great cornerstone for other companies to point to, and be able to say, "let's do that, too."

Disclosure: I was selected for participation in the TWIN community through a program with
Clever Girls Collective. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post, or payment
in exchange for participating. The bullet points are directly from Toyota material, but all opinions expressed herein are mine, and do not reflect the views of the Toyota Company.