Black Friday Give Away a Signed Book

Green YearI hope all of my American readers didn’t eat too much yesterday and that you had a very Happy Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

I promised a cool giveaway this week and waited until Black Friday so you would be in the mood for a real bargain. For me, nothing would put me in a better mood than winning a new, signed copy of a book!

Among the sea of books out there telling you how to go green, there is Jodi Helmer’s “The Green Year,” one of the best books I’ve ever read on the subject. I like it because it takes “going green” in baby steps, giving the readers an idea of small things we can do, while also providing the overall picture of how it would help if more people followed the suggestions.

Last week, while going through my books, deciding which ones to donate to the library or trade back at the used bookstore, I picked up my copy of “ The Green Year.”

It’s well read, but gently used, as I treat my books like the prizes they are. “Hmm,” I thought, “Should I offer this as a giveaway on the blog?” It took me only a second of thumbing through it again to know it was a keeper, I couldn’t bear to part with it. I contacted Jodi, who offered to give away a signed copy of “The Green Year” to one of my lucky readers. This would be perfect as a holiday gift, but I think you might want to keep it.

It’s great for both the person who has been green minded for awhile and also those wanting to learn about more small ways they can help the environment. I learned a lot from it, for example:

  • Did you know that by removing your screensaver from your computer that you would save 90 watts of power? Putting it in sleep mode only used 10 watts, compare to 90 watts of power it uses when using a screensaver.
  • Your plastic shower curtain is probably made of PVC, which can emit harmful gases that cause cancer and diabetes. You might be breathing in toxins everytime you take a shower. Nylon shower curtains are much more environmentally friendly and are washable.
  • The electric can opener in your kitchen uses more power than you think. Jodi suggests switching to a manual can opener. Electric ones also take more resources to make and more space in the landfills. Did you know if everyone in the U.S. switched to a manual can opener, it would save 648 million kWh of power?

So, here’s how you can register to win. It’s easy. Just make a comment on this post related to any of the posts from this week. It could be a suggestion you’ve found to help you go green or why you would like to win this book. You do have to make the comment on this post between now and before my new post on Monday. I’ll put the names of commenters in a hat, draw one lucky winner for the book and announce it with Monday’s post. Good luck and have a great weekend!

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46 Responses

  1. Holly Campbell says:

    Hi Kerri!

    Just read your article in MEN this morning and wanted more! I’m so pleased to see others who embrace living small. I’ve added your website to my favorites so I can check back regularly. I’d be interested in your drawing for Jodi’s book. I’ve often thought of writing something similar. I’m on our green team at work, a Master Recycler in our community & I try to influence family & friends. I always try to convey that the movement towards sustainable living habits is the baby steps we take so I’m pleased to hear Jodi has written a book to convey that message. I’d be interested in reading it (won or not) and learning more that we can do.

    Keep up the great work!

  2. Amy says:

    Hello Kerri!

    I found you though the Tiny House Blog just this morning… I cried… My Hubby and I moved into our little home (abt 365ish sqft) just south of Mountain View, March of this year. It wasn’t our choice to live in such a small place but we were going to soon be homeless if we didn’t do something. I’m having a very hard time adjusting. There are so many non-issues in a larger home that become big issues in a small home.

    Anyway, Since I’m here I’m trying to be greener but I must admit that I’m horrible at it so if you would please put my name in that hat of yours I’d be thankful. From the sound of it that book would be a helpful tool here.

    Mountain View, AR

    • Kerri says:

      Welcome, Amy! I’m meeting so many wonderful people in my own backyard here that I wouldn’t have had a chance to get acquainted with otherwise. I’m glad you found your home, but sorry you’re having a hard time adjusting. We’ve had some real issues too, mostly related to just being homesick and missing our friends and family. However, living small is a different lifestyle and takes some adjustment. Hopefully, you’ll get some tips through the blog here. Your name is in the hat.
      Thanks for commenting and if there’s anything I can do to help, feel free to email me at

  3. Becky says:

    I am not sure what happened but when I responded it switched my response to “Baggin It”?!? Would like to read the book though. Thanks, Becky

  4. Billy Payne says:

    Hi Kerri , found you and your website through Mother Earth News . We loved the article on your “little house” and things you do to conserve . We have been “recyclers” for many years and are always looking for new or better ways to help save our planet . Thank you for having this site ! – We will be reading your blogs for a long time ! Thanks again , Amanda and Billy

    • Kerri says:

      Welcome, Billy and Amanda. Glad you found the site and happy to have you here! Feel free to chime in anytime with suggestions of your own.

  5. Bj says:


    Found your website just one week after closing on my own “small” world. I bought a 8X12 ft cabin sitting on 3 acres in the Ozarks. Cabin is unfinished on inside, so I have been looking at all the little ideas for maximizing the inside. I look to move in this summer.
    Having already downsized once going into college (from 2400 sq ft to a 25 ft travel trailer), I know I am up to the challenge of a bit more paring.
    Count me in on the contest for the wonderful book! Thanks for being there to guide us in our searches!

    • Kerri says:

      Welcome, BJ and congratulations on your new cabin. Where in the Ozarks might you be?
      My one suggestion when finishing your cabin is lots and lots of built-ins.
      You might find the Tiny House blog (link on my site) very useful. Lots of great building suggestions there.

      • Bj says:


        I will definitely use lots of built ins…my one weakness is books! I probably will have to build a separate small building for them!

        The cabin is not far from Cabool in Missouri. Not too far from you. I was up this week putting in insulation so I could stand to sleep “in” without freezing!

        Like you, I prefer green,but it is not always allowed in given my budget (teacher salary only stretches so far!)

        Keep up the encouragement. I hope to move up into the cabin this fall if I can get a job in a local district.

        Thanks for everything you do!

        • Kerri says:

          Oh, yes, I know Cabool. Sounds like we’re going to have to plan a get together of small house lovers here in the Ozarks sometime.
          Books? My downfall too. 🙂

  6. Susan says:

    I’m another one that read about your website from the Mother Earth News…what a great article and am really enjoying your website. You are a very creative writer. Will be looking forward to Monday, Wednesday and Friday blogs. Like others would love to see more pictures of your home and floorplan. I have been decluttering a 1800 sf home since my 4 kids have moved out and would love to downsize to about 600 sf. I think it would be easier for me than my husband of 40 years.
    Thanks for sharing you life with all of us.
    Best wishes

    • Kerri says:

      Welcome, Susan. I’m glad you enjoy my writing and have found the site helpful. I’ll share a secret with you – it’s been much easier for me to declutter than my husband. 🙂
      Thanks for stopping in and I’ll look forward to hearing from you again.

  7. Sharon D says:

    Hello! I devoured your article in M.E.N. and came straight to the site! We live in a tiny rental house and I was despairing at the thought of how to incorporate everything…you’ve given me some ideas! I’m about to tackle the ‘overstuffed house’ problem once again. Now, if I can just get the granchildren to cooperate…! Thanks for your insights!

  8. Bill says:

    Just finished reading your Firsthand Report in MEN. Congradulations on a very good article, its always good to read how others change their lifes and make it work. Also, very few of us can do what the Begleys do but as long as we try every little thing adds up. Look forward to visiting your website and becoming a regular reader of your blog.

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Bill, thanks for stopping in and for your words of encouragement. Having people like the Begley’s is a wonderful resource, but I see how people feel overwhelmed with the whole going green initiative.
      Look forward to hearing more from you.

  9. Dave says:

    Wondering if your small house plans are available?
    Working set….Was wondering if you all did the building or a contractor..

    • Kerri says:

      Hi, Dave, We just found the house plans and I’m working with my site guru on getting them posted, possibly within the next week. They aren’t professional plans, my aunt did them on a computer program. We also hired a builder. We were lucky to find two quality builders here – one for the house and one for the office.
      One piece of advice though, do not hire an unqualified friend or relative to be the project manager (our house ended up facing the wrong direction) and don’t try to build anything from 300 miles away! Still, we love our little house. Thanks for the visiting and thanks for the interest. Stay tuned…

  10. Alexandra says:

    Delighted to see all the interest your book giveaway produced! I run a green bed & breakfast on Cape Cod, in the beautiful town of Wellfleet and blog about same.

  11. Donna Sue says:

    Hello Kerri, I haven’t yet read the MEN, but will shortly. I have been enjoying your posts at the Tiny House Blog. Thanks for promoting being green and living small!

  12. Keri says:

    Another ‘Keri’ here although different spelling! 😉 I found your awesome blog via Mother Earth News; I look forward to future posts! As I read your older posts, the one that struck me the most is the “Not So Big House.” I accidentally found this book at my local library and was immediately engrossed. I only wish I found this book before we built our house. =/ However, we will make do with what we have and make adjustments as needed to make it more livable. Our biggest problem is a lack of storage space within our living quarters. Sure, we have a basement but I rather that it didn’t become a catch-all for stuff that needs to be stored. We really need built-in bookshelves and cabinets so we will incorporate the ideas from “Not So Big House” into our modest-sized house. Thanks for this great giveaway! Although we are pretty “green,” we could always learn more tips! =D

    • Kerri says:

      Welcome, Keri. So glad you found the blog, and thanks for reading the M.E.N. article. My goal for our little house is to put in more built-ins. Finding a competent carpenter and getting the money are both challenges for us. Hope to see you back!

  13. Paula V says:

    Hello Kerri,
    Like many of the other people leaving comments, I found out about your blog through the Mother Earth News article by way of the Tiny House Blog. I enjoyed reading about your shopping bags. It seems to me like the “green” bags they sell in the grocery store are very flimsy. I have been investing in the heavier canvas ones. I hope I can get 20+ years worth of use out of mine!
    My plans are to move into a small house in about 8 years. Your discussion about hunters has given me something new to think about. I am not certain I could tolerate that kind of behavior for several weeks every year. I will need to rethink a few things as far as location.
    I look forward to reading your blog. Thanks for the book giveaway. I am trying very hard to get rid of stuff while also not buying more stuff but this book sounds like it would be helpful to have around.

    Paula V

    • Kerri says:

      Welcome, Paula! Great to have you here. We’re celebrating the last weekend of this hunting season tomorrow! YAY! The thing I worry about most here is the inability to fence the property. I have two large dogs who, for the most part, stay here. They do sometimes wander in chase of a squirrel or rabbit. We’ve heard so many stories here of dogs being shot during hunting season. We have to hold ours hostage, especially on the weekends. Leash led walks on cold mornings is something none of us look forward to.

  14. Hi Kerri,

    Looks like your traffic is building as you continue to help green the world. I love the screen saver tip from Jodi’s book. Never knew that. Count me in as a contestant.

    You know I’ll be back.


  15. Willa says:

    I just found your blog via the Tiny House Blog & am looking forward to reading about you in MEN- I am moving to MO to build on my 10 acres, just a few more years til retirement so I should be ready by then. Blogs like yours really help keep me on track!
    Please count me in for the book give-away,

  16. You think you know all about being green; you are, after all, the greenest person in your neighborhood. But then you find a blog like this and you realize everyone has something to learn.

    Count me in for the book give-away. I know I don’t know everything!

  17. Barb Vatza says:

    I love going and being green.There are things I’ve been doing so long I never realized they are now considered ‘green’.We gave up the electric can opener years ago..The unhealthy shower curtain curtain was replaced with the ‘hotel’ type,it can be thrown in the washer and dryer.I’d love the book as there is and will always be new ideas or old ones we didn’t think of before.I love the Begley’s too and recommend reading his book too.

    • Kerri says:

      Thanks for stopping in, Barb. You’re one of my heroes with green anyway. You’re one of only four people I know with a hybrid car!

  18. Paula says:

    I found your blog through Mother Earth News. I grew up in a tiny house in the 70’s and understand your frustrations! My husband and I recently bought a mid 50’s ranch from the original owner. The house has all its original colors, fixtures, tile and cuppboards and is in beautiful condition. We aren’t going to change a thing. It would be a shame to send all that beautiful craftsmanship to the landfill so that we can be “fashionable”. We’d rather spend our money on our kids anyway! Best of luck to you!

    • Kerri says:

      “Retro” is in again anyway, Paula! 🙂 I do think there is so many better things to spend money on. Thanks for stopping by and hope to see you back here. 🙂

  19. Ken Fish says:

    Hey Kerri,

    Just got my latest issue of M.E.N. from the mail(it was late) and read your article “MAKING THE MOST OF A SMALL HOME”. That very way of life is what I’ve talked with my wife for a long time. This was the first time of reading any of your articles, I immediately came to your website which has inspired me even more. Being very close to exact mid-60s, and out of work not by choice now I’m very ready to downsize my life. It is stories like the one you and your husband Dale are living that just makes me want to do it so much.

    As others are telling you, I also would like to know more details about your house. Since my occupation before layoff was a mechanical designer, if a CAD file was available I could even look at it on my computer in detail.

    Again, thanks so much for your website which my wife and I both will continue to read and enjoy in the future.

    Best Regards,
    Ken Fish
    Willow Springs, NC

    • Kerri says:

      I feel your pain, Ken. My husband is a mechanic and he was laid off from a large recreational boat manufacturer last year. He is working again, but we’ve taken a big hit in income.
      Anyway, I’m glad you found the blog and will get those plans posted ASAP. If you email me at I can see if I can get the larger, more detailed file emailed.

  20. Heide says:

    Hello Kerri,
    Just found your website…..just recieved our copy of Mother Earth in the mail this morning, and your article was the “must read first” for me!! You see, we are planning to move to an antique cabin sometime in the coming year—432 sq. ft.–two of us with our small child. You can be sure I will be perusing your entire site, gleaning all I can as we make this transition! We are glad to know it CAN be done…..we keep looking at all the “stuff” we have acquired over the past 25 years and wondering if we can!! It is feeling really good to be getting rid most of it.
    Keep up the good work!!
    Springfield, MO

    • Kerri says:

      Welcome, Heide – we’re almost neighbors! I’m anxious to hear more about your cabin. Will it be on one of the lakes?
      You CAN do it, just take it one step at a time. We still have a lot of stuff, but my mind has been racing all day at how to purge some more.
      Thanks for stopping in and reading!

  21. Jenna Martin says:

    Your blog is one of those that inspires me on a regular basis. My husband and I have decided to declutter and move toward a more simple lifestyle. Part of that is to move into a smaller home. Following your blog has helped tremendously! Thank you.

    Tarpon Springs, FL

  22. Kerri says:

    Hello, Mary, Thanks for reading the M.E.N. article and finding your way to the blog. The way you are spending Black Friday sounds perfect to me. 🙂 Enjoy the time with your family!

  23. Mary Toney says:

    Hi Kerri!
    I read your article in my sisters copy of Mother Earth News. I love your little house! I am in the process of a divorce and have been uncluttering my house getting ready to move. I am amazed at how much more time I have for the important things in my life since I have less “stuff” to maintain. I enjoyed browsing your website this morning as I thought of all the Black Friday shoppers out there who will bring home bags of “stuff” and expend so much energy trying to find a place to put it all. I myself will enjoy a day with my sister and my son, and later a dinner with my brother whom I have not seen for many months.
    Kudos to you for your wonderful blog!
    Best holiday wishes,
    Mary Toney
    Carroll, IA