Thursday, December 30, 2010

People are Getting It!

So nice to see in our community that people do care!
I loved watching my oldest separate all the paper &
cardboard that could be recycled from Christmas gifts .
 I didn't even have to tell her or remind her!
Wrapping and packaging from each relative's house
we visited was repacked out and stowed in the car.
Then we made the trip out to the recycling center
and saw a container full of more wrapping paper!
Thanks community for remembering to be good recyclers!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Save a Stray and Share your Love!

We rescued a puppy 2 weeks ago, who ended up being really sick and after having her only 3 days had to put her to sleep. I had my 3 yr old with me and it was a heartbreaking and learning experience. Morgi was a trooper and we sent Luna to heaven with a hug and a kiss good-bye. We snuggled at home and I fielded all sorts of questions. We decided that she was a lucky dog, because for 3 days she was loved and adored.

Undeterred, we headed back to the rescue for her littermate. Affectionately known as Peppermint, aka Pepper, she is spunky & wild and in very good health. The girls miss Luna, but love that we were able to save 2 dogs, even if one was for a fleeting moment.
Pepper is a boston terrier mix and she looooves her new brother Timbo!
If you're thinking about getting a pet this holiday season (or any season in general) consider adopting one from a rescue. What better way to share your love? It keeps the pet population down, you aren't promoting puppy mills or buying from pet stores and you get to save an animal from an uncertain future. Woof!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Greening up the Gingerbread House

We thought this was so cute! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A New Take on the Old Twist-tie!

My ever so creative mother forwarded me
this idea in an email for our blog.

While we all KNOW that we shouldn't be
buying things that come in plastic bottles,
the inevitable does happen. 
And so we recycle them! 
But we also all KNOW that the tops on
plastic bottles do not get recycled. 
So what to do?
Try this ingenious idea!

Cut up a plastic bottle and keep the neck and top, as in below photo.
Insert your repurposed plastic bag through the neck
and screw the top to seal the bag.
Voila! You're a recycling, reducing, reusing pro!

Friday, October 1, 2010

From Jar Lid to Spoon Rest

This one's a no brainer! 
We don't own a spoon rest, so we are always looking
for something to set our utensils on while cooking. 
So we started using the tops to spaghetti sauce jars,
pickle jars - any jar with a wide mouth.
So easy!

Friday, September 17, 2010

I've Got A Walnut Brownie Brain!

A song post from Meira:
The Fox, The Crow and the Cookie
A new favorite in our house!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Happy Friday!

Even the smallest actions count!
Have an action filled weekend!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wanna Feel Good? Try some Feelgoodz!

The other week I read an article on lamenting the plight of a newly formed eco-friendly flip-flop company not being able to sell their flip flops, all because of the nasty BP oil spill.
So I skipped on over to their website, Feelgoodz.
I LOVED what I read about the company and the flip flops
and bought a pair for myself!
They are SO comfortable, 100% natural rubber,
fair trade, and 100% biodegradable.
What more could you ask for in a flip flop?

Here’s a condensed excerpt reposted from For the full version hop on over here:
“Last week, we told you the story of Feelgoodz, an ethical flip flop startup whose major summer order had gotten stuck in BP oil spill-related madness in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Whole Foods wasn't able to sell nearly the number of pairs that they had planned on, and Kyle [Berner, owner of Feelgoodz] was left unable to repay the loan, jeopardizing not only his company, but Drop the Chalk, the education software nonprofit who was supposed to get the next loan.
“Less than a week later, with the help of the community and an assist from Groupon, FeelGoodz has sold almost its entire summer line, and will be able to repay the loan.”
“It is an amazing testament to the power of the internet to help people form rapid and spontaneous communities of support. Finally, it's a powerful demonstration that this community cares not just about rallying against companies doing bad, but about supporting companies out there trying to do good.”

So hop on the bandwagon, do a little social good, and go get yourself a pair!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Friday Food Frolic! Garden Pesto!

The basil is plentiful in our garden at this time of year,
so I thought I’d share our favorite pesto recipe.

Basil Pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
½ cup grated parmesan cheese (optional)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts or walnuts (optional)
2 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse leaves and add to food processor.
2. Add olive oil. More or less depending on how thick you like your pesto.
3. Add garlic and cheese.
4. Add pine nuts/walnuts.
5. Add salt & pepper to taste.
Sometimes I omit the nuts & cheese and it tastes perfectly fine that way, too!
Tip – spend the $$ on quality pine nuts (don’t buy any from China) or you could end up with pine mouth!

How to preserve all that extra basil? Try:
Rinse the leaves and spread them single layer on a screen
Tie the stems together and hang upside down in a dry, airy place.
Once the leaves are completely dry, crush them up into spice jars.
(Be sure they are completely dry or they will get moldy - yuck!)

Half make the pesto recipe,
by blending just the basil and oil.
Freeze into ice cube trays
then transfer to an airtight freezer container.
Each ice cube holds about 2 tablespoons.
You can freeze the entire pesto recipe, too, if you want.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Surprise for ME!

So I've been talking and talking about how I need to switch to loose leaf tea over tea bags.  I drink mainly herbal & decaf tea and haven't been able to find them loose in my area.  I tried searching online and couldn't make up my mind with all the brands & choices.
Then lo & behold! I go to  my car at lunch and find this nifty little treat on my seat! (Left by my not-so-keen-on-being-green hubby!)
Brewing a cup right now, back at my desk!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

19th Annual Midwest Reggaefest

Every year we venture forth to the Midwest Reggaefest in Ohio.
Three days of primitive camping (read no running water or flushing toilets) and three days and nights of reggae music. Our two main reasons for going are 1) we love camping and
(they even played at our wedding almost 12 years ago!)
This year I was so happy to see that the campground has implemented and pushed recycling at the stage, quarry lake, playground and campsites. 
It was so nice to only have to pack out paper recycling!
Each year I make the little ladies outfits for when PLUS plays.
Last year was dresses with band's logo,
this year skirts and custom shirts!
C is for Carlos & P is for PLUS Band!
Every year that we've camped since Meira was born,
it has rained at some point.
But the best part of the rain is when the sun comes out and we see this:
What a great end to a day full of music, dancing, and fun!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Follow up to the Kleenex "Rant"...

...with a great post from "It's Starts With Me" blogger Danielle! Click below to read all about buying recycled vs. non-recycled paper products.

It Starts With Me: 90 Years: "That's how long it takes to grow a box of Kleenex Brand tissues. Back in 2005, my father in-law started talking to me about buying recycled..."

Monday, August 16, 2010

Disposable Bathroom Hand Towels??? What??

The latest in eco-friendly designs - NOT!
Complete with a gimicky song for the kids!
My hands are gonna be clean
When I wash and I dry with mommy and sing
This song that's exactly two clean hands long
Warm water and soap and bubbles that shine
A Kleenex® Hand Towel that's mine all mine
And a song that's exactly two clean hands long
No yucky old towel's gonna ruin my day
I dry my hands the Kleenex® towel way
So if you're a fan of clean hands too
Roll up your sleeves and I'll sing with you.

How DIRTY are we in our OWN private bathrooms
that we need a new paper towel to dry off
with EVERY time we wash our hands?

Join me in boycotting Kleenex (and Kimberly-Clark)!
And let them know what you think of
their new product by leaving a comment here:

Mama Earth Thanks You!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Monday Words of Wisdom

"The only person you are destined to become
is the person you decide to be."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Yummy Blueberry Buckwheat Muffins!

Blueberry Buckwheat Muffins
1 ¼ cup buckwheat
1 c whole wheat flour
1T baking soda
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup vanilla coconut milk
¼ cup applesauce
1 cup blueberries
¼ cup agave nectar

Mix dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients.
Blend both together – batter will be thick & lumpy.
Spoon into greased muffin tins (makes 12).
Bake in 400 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
I eat mine with a little Earth Balance spread on them!
Paper liners will stick to the muffins.
And I like to use Bob’s Red Mill Buckwheat Cereal
and grind it a couple of times in the food processor
before baking with it.

Friday, July 23, 2010

My Garden Green

We've spent the last two years, tearing up turf and creating our own little secret garden.  The best part about it is that it needs little watering.  We've planted mostly perennials & native plants that go with the flow and hardly ever need a drink from us. Hopefully we will be installing our homemade water barrel this weekend. Talk about your water conservation!
And to top it off - the birdbath & chair are rescued from the trashman. 
More to come on the homemade water barrel!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July!

Wishing everyone a safe and fun 4th of July!
Looks like my posts will be tapering off as summer hits Ohio full swing.  Us Northerners know how short the good weather is around here, so the little ladies and I are taking full advantage. 
Which means 99% outside time for us and 1% computer time for me the next few months!
It's this time of year that I'm always reminded how proud I am to be an American.  To have the freedom to say what I want, protest when necessary, and as a woman the liberty to go to school, vote, and work.
And I'd like to say THANK YOU to all of our military.
Whether I believe in the wars or not, it is because of these brave
men and women that we are and remain free!
Off to the parade we go!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Some Weekend Fun with Jason Mraz

Another request of Lady Morgana's! One of our most favorite musicians on EARTH! A stellar artist and even greater activist!  Hope you all have a Sunshiney weekend!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

From Recycle Bin to Playland!

One of our favorite playgrounds in our area!
It's such a great, concrete example for kids. 
Who knew something so fun could be the end result of recycling!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Mirror Mirror on the Wall

Nine years ago today, I gave birth to the little girl I had waited my whole life to have.  She's fiery and wild and sweet and shy.  We share this crazy sisterly bond. We look the same - she has my hands and my feet and my body.  She is wildly imaginative, insanely athletic and has the most incredible grace about her.
In all her years on earth, I have only been sad on two of her birthdays. Her fourth, when I was so sure that she was going to be an only child and that my baby was now on the brink of becoming a kindergartener.  And this year. NINE. Nine years has gone too fast. She has been my light and my rock, my best friend and my biggest challenge and in NINE more years, she will be graduating.  This is the halfway mark of raising her.  I am halfway done. And for some reason it makes me sad because I am not ready for her to grow up and move on. (and yes I know nine years is a long time!!)

So my darling Meira, this post is dedicated to you,
my magical, beautiful first born daughter.
Happy 9th Birthday!
I can't wait to spend our day together!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Remembering Joe

Two years ago today, we lost my husband's best friend of 20+ years in a motorcycle accident.  An 80 year old woman wasn't paying attention when making a left turn and turned in front of him. 
He died instantly and our lives changed forever. 
He was an uncle extraordinaire, loving godfather,
and life long brother.
i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet) i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you
here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart
i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)
                                 ~ee cummings

Monday, June 21, 2010

Eating Green While on Vacation

A little food for thought...
For this post, lets just talk about food packaging.  It's something I've been thinking about not only for vacation, but in our daily lives as well.  My husband and I both work full-time.  We have two little girls, the oldest who chooses to participate in soccer, ballet, & gymnastics.  Our nights are crazy and sometimes (though I cringe at the mere thought of where the food comes from) we get fast food for dinner.  My girls are good eaters and Meira loves to get a salad, apples, juice box and sometimes fries.  I think they switched Morgi at birth because she likes a plain old hamburger patty, apples and milk.  You can get this typical combination of foods at pretty much any drive-thru.  But once I read about how a fellow blogger was able to get rid of her garbage service, I started to take a serious look at our habits.  And wow, fast food really fills up the can FAST!  So I thought I'd throw out (ha ha) some tips on how to eat out a little greener, especially on vacation, when not cooking is part of the fun!

Think about the containers.
Can they be recycled? Does your community/hotel recycle their number?
Do the kids meals come in paper that you can recycle? What about what the food is wrapped in?

Think about condiments.
Pack bottles of mustard/ketchup/salad dressing for the trip and decline the packets handed out at the drive-thru.

Think about utensils.
Again, pack your own reusable silverware.  Pass on the plastic wrapped plastic forks,etc. If they toss them in, hand them back. It gets easier the more often you do it!

Take it one step forward.
Does everything need to be packed in individual bags? Think kid's meals.
(And do they really need the plastic TOYS?)
Condense the food order - have the kids share nuggets, drinks, salads, etc.  Sometimes it's actually cheaper to buy adult size and split it.
Think about what the food comes in, from each place.  Qdoba puts practically everything in something plastic, Taco Bell is all wrapped in coated paper, Burger King/Mc Donald's use lots of paper bags and boxes, Chipotle wraps in aluminum foil - catch my drift?

The picture above is a lazy Friday night dinner.  Had I made it myself, I'd have 2 less pizza boxes, 1 less breadstick box, 1 less plastic salad container, no packs of dressing or utensils or non-recyclable marinara sauces.  But as far as trash choices go, it's almost fully able to hit the recycling bins.  On the road, it's the lesser of evils.  At home, I'd be better off mixing up my own dough and chopping up our own salad. It's always good to know where your food comes from!

So have fun on vacation, but don't forget that you can still make good environmental choices when eating on the road!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Words of Wisdom ~ 06.16.10

This time it's in a favorite tune of ours, per Morgan's request!! Enjoy!
Jack Johnson performing "The 3 R's."

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Choosing a *Green* Hotel

Something new is happening in the world of hotels.  A little process by the name of LEED, which stands for "Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design," that was dreamed up back in 1998.

It's a 3rd party rating systems that certifies companies based on these criteria:
Location and Planning, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation and Design Process & Regional Priority.

When we went to Gatlinburg, we stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, which was the 1st LEED certified hotel in the town. (click on the underlined words to read in depth the extent that this hotel is green). 

What we saw in the hotel were:
recycle bins inside & outside the rooms,
dual flushing toilets
recycled toilet paper
as well as, thermostats for the rooms, and the request to reuse your bathroom towels. One more tip from us is to skip maid service - do the sheets & blankets really need to be cleaned so soon?!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Beauty of the Smoky Mountains

While we have the lush valleys all around us where we live in Ohio, I am always in awe of the mountains. Smokies or Rockies, small or big, they are just breathtaking!  So here's a little photo stroll of our recent trip to the mountains. Enjoy!

coming up next: greening up your vacations!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Take a Pledge!

(courtesy of my young preschooler!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Eco Tip of the Week - Ban The Paper Goods!

So you've nixed the plastics, now it's time to phase out the paper goods, too!  As your supply starts getting low, it's time to start looking for cloth/fabric replacements.  As for paper plate substitutes? Use your dishes or grandma's china!

Or try some of the following ideas:
**Look for sales after holidays on cloth napkins and hand towels.
**Shop secondhand stores.
**Peruse local garage sales.
**Check with mom (or dad), it's amazing what they find in their linen drawer!
**Make your own napkins out of fabric remnants.
**Make your own towels out of old t-shirts & thermal shirts.

The forests will thank you!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Almost Vegan Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

These are by far, my most favorite cookies. Everytime I make them, I tweak the recipe even more!  They are great raw and even better cooked! They make a quick & healthy breakfast or afterschool snack. To up the protein, you can substitute a little flour for a couple spoonfuls of protein powder (my kids can always tell, so I usually skip it).

Spiced Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup 50/50 Smart Balance Butter Blend**
1/2 cup Agave Nectar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tbsp. wheat germ
1 cup coconut*
1/4 cup crushed pecans*
1 cup oats
1/2 cup multi-grain oats
**substitute the butter blend and you'll have a full-on vegan treat!

1. Beat on medium speed until blended: butter, agave, baking powder & soda, cinnamon, cloves, and vanilla.
2. Beat in flour & wheat germ.
3. By hand, mix in: coconut, pecans, and oats/muli-grain oats.
4. Press into a 9x9 pan OR
5. Make into 1 inch balls (pack like a snowball!), press flat and place on cookie sheet.
6. Bake in a 325 degree oven for 9-11 minutes. 
7. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Oh the PAIN of poison ivy!

Right now my oldest is dealing with the awfulness that is poison ivy. On her TOES! Flip-flops and woodsy areas don't always mesh well, even if it is in the middle of a city, during a festival, on a well-trodden foot path.  Poor thing!

So we thought with summer starting, now would be a good time
for a post on poison ivy! If you’re anything like us, you spend a lot of time outdoors.  And if you’re one of the unlucky 50% of the population who is allergic to poison ivy, then you have a good chance of having to deal with the itchy ooziness of it at some point this summer.

Here’s what you can do if you’ve been exposed:
The first line of defense is to heavily rinse the area with water immediately.
Then rinse with rubbing alcohol.
Do not use a washcloth or it will just spread the urushiol oil all around.  Urushiol oil is the toxin in poison ivy & oak that causes the blistery, itchy rash on your skin.

Next, you have a few options. Keep trying until you find one that works.
1) Drying agents: use until the oozing stops.
    *Calamine lotion (Zinc & Iron Oxides together)
    *Zinc Oxide (think baby bum ointments/some sunblocks)
    *Witch Hazel
    *Baking Soda
    *Colloidal Oatmeal

2) Oral Medicines: an added measure for if the itching gets awful.
    *You can try Chlor-Trimeton (chlorpheniramine maleate)
    *or Benadryl (diphenhydramine hydrochloride)
~~~just remember both can make you VERY sleepy!!~~~

**edited to add - what worked best for us this week was frequent foot soaks in warm water & baking soda and spraying the rash with a white vinegar & water mix.  Great tip from my sister-in-law!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Are You My Mother?

The House Finch eggs have hatched!
I noticed mama bird was sitting a little higher than normal,
so when she flew away we snuck a peek in the nest.
And this is what we saw!
Mother Nature at her finest!