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!