Mr. Eco Incognito says: Use Your GI Bill to Grow Greatness

Squids and Devil Dogs, take heed. When you’re driving out the gate for the last time and wondering, “what am I gonna do next” the best answer is to use your GI Bill. I know how you feel. I took a summer off before deciding my life direction and while I did enjoy sitting by the pool browsing the job market, I never would have thought that a program like this was available. The G.I. Bill will give you the opportunity to do a little hard work at the school of your choice in order to move closer to your next career. I just found out about a unique program in Pennsylvania that only takes one year and gives veterans accelerated training to fill the needs of the agriculture industry. Click this link to learn about the certificate in Organic Agriculture Education from Delaware Valley College:

gi bill

Here’s your chance to spend a year along side some good people who know the value of an honest day’s worth of work. Being from Kansas and growing up with a love for the outdoors, I would have jumped at the chance to get this certificate after getting out of the Navy. Sure they’ve got expert teachers and a well-rounded curriculum, but we all know that the best part is going to be getting your hands dirty all day during the summer. After taking the classes, you’ll be ready to lead the farming industry. Pennsylvania is home to many farms and a growing population of people who are seeking healthy food. This is the perfect place to learn how to grow a successful organic crop and then enter the market as a leader.

The best part is that the VA pays 100% of tuition plus a generous housing allowance for a living stipend. Ditch the BDUs for a pair of dungarees and go back to your roots. Help things grow and take some time to think. You deserve to find something great after all your hard work. Why not grow greatness yourself?

Mr. Eco Incognito Takes on The Ultimate UpCycle Challenge

Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

It’s time to unveil my project for the Ultimate Up-Cycle Challenge being sponsored by the Philadelphia Home Show and Habitat for Humanity. In case you didn’t see it coming, I turned a big old worn out dresser into a rockin’ manspired bar. It’s even complete with some sweet swag from Victory Brewing Company. That dresser was a beast. She’s still heavier than sin and she looks really good. It’s hard to see her go, but good to know that the proceeds from the auction will go to the Habitat for Humanity. So I have to ask… What would you pay for my bar?

victory beer label bar

A few weeks ago, we shopped the ReStore for a piece to upcycle. It took me a while to decide on the best project since there was a lot of inspiration in the store. I settled on a huge dresser because I’ve always wanted to build a bar and that thing had really good bones for the project. I started by separating the top and bottom. Then I had to saw down the base since it was taller than I expected. I took apart the shelving from the original base unit and reserved the fixtures. Next, I faced the side that was the back of the dresser with hardwood flooring to make it the new front of the bar. I spray painted the ledge black and added some storage for the bartender. Finally, the top of the bar has a sheen lacquer over a carefully planned collage of Victory Beer Labels.

Check out all the pictures from the process on pinterest:

This is a bar that I’d be proud to keep in my man cave. It’s made from items that otherwise could have ended up in a dump. Hopefully people will see the potential in old furniture and get inspired to recreate from my project and the others in the Ultimate Upcycle Challenge.

ultimate upcycle challenge

Mr. Eco Incognito Takes on The Ultimate UpCycle Challenge

A message from Mr. Eco Incognito…

Ultimate Upcycle ChallengeI’ve got one week to tackle my newest challenge. Just got selected to compete in the Ultimate Up-Cycle Challenge being sponsored by the Philadelphia Home Show and Habitat for Humanity. My project will be displayed and then auctioned off at the Philly Home Show. They gave me 100 bucks to purchase an item from the ReStore and then re-purpose it. I went in there with an open mind and left with a truckload of supplies for my newest project.

There are a few reasons that I want to make this piece great. First of all, I want it to look like anything else that would go into my home. When I design for my family, things have to be the best. Period. It’s also pretty cool that the funds they raise from auctioning it will go back to support the Restore. The other important thing is that I want to show that some of the best designs are recycled projects. I just look for things with good bones and go from there.

Now that I’ve got my dresser, I’m going to tear it apart, turn it around, add in extra pieces, and build greatness. Help me out by voting for my project when the contest goes live and I’ll continue to serve up fresh DIY inspiration. Plus, you’ll make my wife happy. Thanks guys.

Check out the progress on Pinterest:

Mr. Eco Incognito’s Apocalypse Guide

mr eco logoTo say that I’m excited for the apocalypse would be the understatement of the year. I know a lot of people are growing gardens and hoarding supplies in preparation, but I’m ready to get mobile and rogue with my family. We’re talking backwoods, survivor style, no excuses, take charge living. It’s time for big girl panties, ladies.

If, miraculously, you manage to survive the first 30 minutes, this is my advice for living through the rest of the madness.

Tips for surviving the Zombie Apocalypse:

10. Pre-Apocalypse: Watch Zombieland. It has a lot of really good pointers.

9. Apocalypse Offense: Never aim at something you don’t intend to shoot.

8. Apocalypse Babies: Put kids in a backpacks.

7. Apocalypse Transportation: Travel light.

6. Apocalypse Companions: Do not expect to make friends. (Use wife as bait.)

5. Apocalypse Laundry: Jump in a creek.

4. Apocalypse Food: If you don’t know it, don’t eat it.

3. Apocalypse Sleep: Take shifts.

2. Apocalypse Shelter: If it’s clear, it’s yours. Have an exit plan.

1. Post Apocalypse: Stay out of my way.

The Trash Man

mr eco logo

A Message from Mr. Eco Incognito…

For some reason, my bone-headed wife thinks that because she told me several years ago how much she hates the trash that she is exempt from this chore for life. I think that’s total horse sh*t, but luckily her green nonsense has backfired and bit her in the ass. Recycling, reusing, and rewashing are keeping me from rewalking to the trash can and I’m all for that.

The first thing on her eco-agenda was cloth diapering, which was totally cool from the start. Easy enough to wash out the diapers and throw them back on the kids. Major plusses include not buying diapers and not having permeating poop fumes from the trashcan. Things got a little dicey when she took away my paper towels. At first, I was not on board, but I gave in to make her happy. We gave it our best shot and did manage to cut back a lot. They are still a necessary evil for bacon grease, though.

Next up came the reusing of every piece of trash imaginable. Am I really supposed to believe that she’s going to make a craft out of an oatmeal container? Come on, Pinterest, give me a break. I have to sneak quite a few things out to the recycling bin behind her back to keep the house from becoming her eco-hoarding haven. Again, I’m still happy I don’t have to haul the overflowing trash out on a daily basis.

Did I mention the craziest part? She finally realized that taking out just a little trash is really not all that bad. Looks like someone may have finally grown into her big girl panties. Our friends suggested the next step on the eco-agenda should be experimenting with reusable trash bags and composting. Not sure I’m ready to take the plunge on that one because we have a small yard. Any advice on how to make that work?

Lessons from Aunt Jeannette

My namesake is one of the best Moms I know. She loves all children, encourages other Moms, and sets a great example with her own family. When I was a child, we called the time I spent with her “camp.” Now that I’m a Mom, I think of it as Motherhood Bootcamp. Aunt J does everything right, to the fullest extent, and offers helpful lessons to anyone she meets.

She’s conscientious about not being wasteful, but she’s also a resourceful consumer. On the eco-friendly spectrum, she is poised somewhere near the middle. Her cleaning and cooking methods are easily adaptable. Plus, they always save time, money, and energy so I would encourage you to use them in your own household. You’ll often hear her say, “I am the cheapest American” with pride. It’s a family mantra that she passed along to me. By being cheap on the day-to-day home operations, you can loosen the purse strings when it counts. A generous gift to a child is a much better way to spend money than an item you would throw away. By the same token, enjoying a meal outside of the home beats paying full price for groceries any time. She has shown me that you can have it all even if you don’t have all the money in the world. Prosperity through creativity can yield a very happy home.

As the lucky recipient of some of the wealth of her knowledge, I have hand picked my favorite tips to share with you!

Helpful Household TIps

Helpful Household TIps

Being Green isn’t Just for Moms

Mr Eco Incognito

Mr Eco Incognito

  A message from Mr. Eco Incognito…  

Guys, if your wife has been sucked into the whole green phenomenon, there are lots of ways that you can and should get on board. My wife has gone crazytown with being green, but the kids are awesome so I guess some of it is working. I have to keep her in check a lot and the best way for me to do that is to help along the way so that she knows I’m trying to work with her. Women don’t have to do all the work when it comes to saving the environment.

Here are a few easy things you can do while she’s busy:

Season her skillet

Use her eco-cleaning crap every once in a while

Move the permanent poop cloths (cloth diapers) through the laundry

Suck it up and wear the baby (Bonus: the kid hides your “post-partum” gut, too.)

Salvage building materials to reuse

Clean up with cloth towels instead of paper towels as much as you can

Get the kids dirty

Shave less often to save razor blades (comment deleted by moderator)

Rinse out and recycle beer cans

I hope you feel more eco friendly just from reading the suggestions. If you are ready to tackle one of these challenges but don’t know how, leave me a comment and I’ll teach you how to work some green magic in the house.