We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow the earth from our
-Native American Proverb
We have been treating the Earth like we don't live on it.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nasty Minds at Greenpeace

Suitably Despairing has a funny video about Forest Love. Check it out. And then go get your sig other!!!

Been Busy

Since my kids went back to school I feel like I need to get things done. (And have breakfast with friends, hee hee.) So if I am not up to date with my posts this is why:

I have all my bills lined up to pay for next month, I am never early. We don't actually have a lot of bills personally but my husband owns his own biz and we have more bills coming from that direction.

I went shopping without them for a food processor. I finally broke down and bought one to help process all the zucchini that I have. And help with just cooking in general. I debated buying it used or looking on freecycle but I got the heeby jeebies thinking about whether someone else cleaned it correctly. So I bought it new.

I answered everyone's comments they left. If I didn't give me shout out and I will get to you. Don't feel like your pushing me or being annoying, just do it. I try to answer everyone. Thanks for stopping by.

I am a girl scout leader and still have not turned in my financial report. OUCH!!! It was due a month ago. If anyone out there is familiar with Girl Scouts you would know that I am in deep doggy doo doo! I think we get punished and not get to sell cookies or something. I am so scared to turn in the report and get yelled at by our area treasurer. Anyone have some good excuses?

I needed to catch up on my episodes of "Jamie at Home" on Food Network. I especially liked the one with him making Zucchini Carbonara. It looks so good. I think he is so cute. He cooks great dishes straight from his garden while in his garden.

My "office" (our 4th bedroom) needs to be cleaned desperately! I will try to do that after posting.

I need to get my scouting butt in order. I love my scouts, girls and boys, but there is a lot of planning involved if you want an enriched program. So if you don't see me at times on the blog-o-sphere I am scouting.

My kids start football and cheer leading Friday. And it is intense for 3 months. Many practices, and games starting in September. It is so fun to watch them and I get very proud of their accomplishments but, wow, it takes a lot of your time.

I will get back to posting my green thinks soon. I recently bought Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv and I am enjoying it so much. I'll give you an update soon. Or if you read it leave me some feedback but please no spoilers.

And lastly, I need to catch up with friends. They are my rocks. Morning get together are a must!

And did I mention maybe seeing if my husband is still around after my whirlwind love affair with keeping busy? We have our time at night and watch The Mole and Mad Men together. If you watch The Mole I think the mole is Nicole. We made bets at the beginning of the season who the mole was going to be and I guessed Nicole. My husband guessed Paul. Too bad Doug, you lose.

Thanks for putting up with my long-winded catch session. I gotta run.

Be Green.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Green & Clean Thinks I'm Keen

If you could have seen me this morning I was doing a little dance to celebrate making Green and Clean Mom's Top 100 list. I am #8!!! She likes me. And it feels so good. It makes me feels that my blog is doing it's job: a way for me to communicate my green journey to readers and make green bloggy friends along the way. Thank you G&C! You can see the post here. And here.

And here.

Ane here too.

Be Green (and Clean)

Oh, Freedom

As you know my kids started school yesterday. So my new found freedom warranted some free time for me to go shopping! Not for a new purse or shoes but for fresh food. All summer I refused to take my kids to the farmer's market or farm stands because of the gripping -when are we leaving, how long will we be here, I'm hungry. I took them a couple of times in the beginning of summer and that was enough for all of us. (Don't get me wrong, they are great kids, but I think they know if they gripe I won't take them. They like to work mom over, ha ha.) I can't think when they gripe. When I shop for food I need to think of how long the potatoes will last, how many apples to buy or do I really want eggplant.

I was so happy to be able to go to Smith Family Farm about 10 minutes away. I hadn't been there yet this season and I was pleasantly surprised at how much they had, and I bought most of it. (The next couple of days will be eating, baking, cooking and freezing for me.) My goal today was to start storing local produce for over the winter eating. I bought corn to freeze, and potatoes, onions and garlic to hide in a dark dry place. After I bought those I found some awesome heirloom tomatoes that almost look too beautiful to eat. (Below) Some huge blackberries that melt in your mouth. (Above)(I thought berry season was over.) And apples!!! Apples in summer! And here, it is so hot. (You will have to forgive me, I don't remember the names of the apples or tomatoes and I know that can be important. I'll go back next week and find out.) I also bought some lemons, nectarines and pears. I scored today and I am happy.

Be green.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Back to School Already?

Yes, it is true, today was a sad day for my kids. They started school. The weekend was characterized by happiness to see friends, sadness to leave the Wii behind to start a regiment of homework and studying and anxiety over whether the teacher will be nice or mean. And that was just me, I don't know how the kids felt.

Just last week we received our school supply list so on Friday we rushed to Target, of course with my green radar on. I convinced my kids to reuse last years lunch boxes. My son will reuse his backpack but my daughter refuse to have Little Pony again so she got the Littlest Pet Shop backpack this year. I warned her that she was stuck with this backpack until it falls apart on her but I know next year she will want something new but then she will have to choose a more sturdy and eco-friendly one that will last for years. I know that these are not the greenest choices but I am torn between buying an expensive recycled, organic backpack for a 7 year old who may not like it and refuse to take it to school or Littlest Pet Shop that she will use to store everything for school, sleep-overs and car rides. Both of them did not want to buy new clothes for the first day of school, that not only saved the environment but my wallet.

So, we are at Target and so are 50 other parents from our school district. I'm having quasi panic attacks because I don't like shopping especially with crowds. Five minutes after we get there I was wishing I could shop online. But that would be expensive. I need to get out quickly. Most everything is inexpensive. Crayola crayons 24 pack, .22. Gluesticks, 2 pack .20. Lined paper, .15. These ended up in my basket. But what about green? I headed to the enviro friendly section. Paper, recycled, sustainable, 2.49. Enviro glue sticks, 1.79. You do the math. What am I going to take home for my 7 and 9 year old to loose-half-way-through-the-year-to-have-to-replace? (If you remember, I was taking a huge leap of faith buying my kids Sigg bottles for school.) The cheap stuff. Buying green is not always a clear cut choice for me. Especially with the deep discounts on school supplies, I still spent $155 on school supplies. Some of that is donated to the classroom for sharing like gluesticks and Sharpies.

Well, I messed up this year while shopping for green school supplies but you don't have to. All of you that have another month until school starts do your shopping and research now if you want green products. Here are articles and online stores to help:

The Green Guide Back to School 2007

Office Depot-Your Greener Office

Staples Eco Easy Section

Green Apple School Supply (pretty good prices and good selection)

Sierra Club's Back-to-School Tips

Green Earth Office Supply ( I looked everywhere on their site, not sure if this is for resellers? Try it.)

Care2 Best Cool Green School Supplies

Reusablebags.com for backpacks, lunchs bags and reusable bottles

A few guidelines:

  • Buy used or use from last year
  • Buy in bulk
  • Give eco-friendly to your teacher, maybe they too can get the green message
  • Put up your gentle used stuff in Freecycle or give to the Salvation Army (they'll pick it up.)
  • Buy with a green buddy online, it helps save on shipping cost
Look for:

And I found this little cutie at Think Green. It is a stapleless stapler.

Be Green.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Finds: Staycations,Greenwash your Drycleaning, Olympic Recycling


Have a green weekend.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Off to the Lake

My kids have 4 more days until they go back to school. Yes, they go back Monday. I am sad yet eager for them to go. Sad because this is the end of the summer of sleeping in, being lazy, playing Wii, watching iCarly and having so many adventures. (Camping, zip line, gold panning, movies, boating, gardening.) They are going into 5th and 3rd grade, getting big and that makes sad. My son has already started to pull away from mama like most boys do, yet he can't fall asleep unless I tuck him in. I am lucky I have a daughter who aims to kiss and hug me whenever she can. I know that may go for a while also but she is a girl and I can relate to her. I love them both so much and have had the pleasure of staying home with them to enjoy every moment.

But did I mention I am also anticipating my freedom again! For 5 whole hours a day, Monday through Friday, it will be quiet. The teachers have them and that is good time to be a woman with thoughts to myself again.

To end the summer break the kids and I are going to a Lake Chabot for some water fun and exploring today. I read they have paddle boats, I have never been in one. They also have bike and hiking trails so I will bring my trusty outdoor field guide I bought recently to help identify the flora and fauna. It should be a relaxing warm, adventurous day until the ride home in the infamous Bay Area traffic. I tried to see if we can get there by public transportation but I am confused. We'll see. It looks like I have to transfer 3 times, is it worth it?

I'll let you know how the day went, with pictures.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Goodies at the Goodwill Store

I was inspired by Beth at Coming Up For Air to go thrifting.

I haven't been to a thrift store for about 7 years. And the only reason I went 7 years ago was to look for a Halloween costume for my son and I was unsuccessful. Well, I lied, I guess the the Half Price Bookstore I frequent can be thrifty, some books are new and some used.

There is a small Goodwill store about 7 miles from me. I walked in and remembered the first reason I don't shop used- the old and musty smell. Once I got past the attic scent I headed straight for the books. This helped me to ease into the whole used shopping experience again. Books are ok to buy used, people don't mind, but most people frown on buying used clothes. (Reason #2-wearing some strangers clothes-yuck! I personally stay away from used underwear, t-shirts and socks.) I found 3 books, some silly chapter books for my son and Are You There God, It's Me Margaret, all for $1 each. For those of you on the male side of the hemisphere, AYTGIMM is reading right of passage for 12 year old girls. Although my daughter is a wee 7 I will have the classic waiting for her when it is "time".

Next I headed over to the linens area. The reason I came to Goodwill was to look for cloth napkins. Over at Going Green with Burban Mom she has challenged her readers to give up paper napkins. (She also has a Yahoo Group for more in depth discussion, I just lurk right now, hee hee.) I sneezed (reason #3 I haven't shopped thrift stores in a while-I am highly allergic to dust.) my way through blankets, pillow cases, sheets and table clothes to find no cloth napkins.

Then I ventured to the clothing. This was the hardest part for me. Touching, let alone buying, some strangers clothing! The thought of sanitizing everything ran through my head constantly. I found some shorts, they were too small after I tried to get them past my thighs in the dressing room. A little relieved but also flustered, I went to the children's area. I shuffled though a pile of clothes on a table to eventually find 2 very cute denim jackets for my daughter. I have to admit, I was looking at the tags. Anything I knew that was from Target, Kmart or Walmart was not taken only because I know they are cheaper made clothing that even at $3.99 I would be wasting my time and energy. One jacket was from Limited Too and the other from Papaya. I tugged on them for rips at the seams, checked for discolorations and missing buttons. I was proud of myself. I know these jackets were probably $50 each new and I paid $3.99 for them.

I also picked up some computer software games for my daughter to help her learn spelling for .99 each.

I did end up at Home Goods to find new cloth napkins. I know they are not used or organic. But I could have searched the internet for organic, pay a hefty price then have them delivered to my house (hello, carbon footprint) or I can go on the way home to Home Goods, buy them discounted and use the napkins until they fall apart on me. And, yes, I could have made them from old linens I had in the closet, but I am simply not that crafty.

Happy Thifting...

Carl Pope Discusses the Sexuality of Our Nat'l Parks

Carl Pope is the executive director of the Sierra Club, which has recently been under attack for partnering with Clorox (also here) for their Green Works line of cleaners. On July 21, 2008 he was a guest on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. If you are not familiar with the Colbert Report, the show spoofs Republicans. It can be quite funny at times.
In the interview Stephen Colbert asks hard-hitting questions like "Are you in with the pocket of big caribou"and "have you gone all the way with a tree". They also discuss which parks are straight, bi or gay.
The clip is 7 minutes long but really funny. Enjoy.

If you have trouble viewing the above video it can also be seen here.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Meet the Trellises

Last week in "Attack of the Monster Tomato Plant" I contemplated making my own trellises for our bean plants. Well, I did it. And actually, it was easy. I went to Home Depot and for less than $10 bought some bamboo sticks to make 2 trellises.

The first one resembles a teepee. I thought about the Native Americans that lived in teepees while making it, wondering if I was using the proper technique. How silly that my mind wonders that way especially about the past. (You should see it when we visit old west towns.)

The second one goes up against the fence to support my bean plants that are potted. I hope these grow as healthy and large as its brothers and sisters in the garden.
The bamboo should last almost forever. It was funny, after I bought the bamboo I couldn't help to notice that the tag said "made in China". I got a little annoyed. Can't anything be made anywhere else? Then I thought, doesn't bamboo grow in China? Then the made in China would make sense. I don't know. I haven't shopped in so long for anything but groceries I forgot to do my research. And I really didn't have time, the beans needed some support ASAP.

I hope it wasn't too late for trellises, only time will tell.


I have a bad habit of surfing the net. I have been doing it for over 10 years now. If I didn't surf the net I would be at a bookstore or library reading backs of books. So needless to say I have a plethora of sites and blogs I am bursting to share.

I found One Green Generation a while back. I scan her blog for goodies that I like, just like I normally do. On July 10th she posted a great resource called a "walkabilty score". You visit the site, Walkscore.com, type in your address, the map pops up and you get a score between 0 and 100, 0 bad & 100 great. The score translates into how walkable your area is. Meaning, how many resources you have within walking distance. To me that is relative because some people walk further than others, I take my bike. My area scored a 46 because a grocery store, Starbucks (of course) and a park are within walking distance. That score is higher than I thought it would be but low for walkability. There a many factors taken into place and you can view them here. This is a great resource for greenies looking for a place to live. Check it out.
What is your score?

Monday, July 21, 2008

100 Things You Should Know About Me

It is tradition to post 100 things about yourself on your 100th post. So here is the list:

1. My name is Allison

2. I am an Aquarius

3. I was born in January (you can't know the year)

4. I love the outdoors

5. I am trying to be as green as can be with a family

6. I was raised Catholic

7. I went to Catholic private school until I was a sophomore in college

8. I have a Bachelors degree in Anthropology

9. I wanted to be a CA park ranger (but had kids instead)

10. I am a stay at home mom

11. I have been married for 13 years

12. I have a great husband

13. I have 2 great children- 9 yo boy and 7 yo girl

14. I live in California

15. I love whales

16. I am an optimist

17. I love my solitude

18. I really don't like the beach, its too sticky on your skin and sand sticks to peanut butter

19. I am terrified of heights

20. I hate roller coasters (heights)

21. I love Yosemite

22. I drink coffee with soy vanilla creamer

23. My favorite drink at Starbucks is Grande Mocha Non Fat Iced No Whip

24. I love Baskin Robbins Rocky Road ice cream

25. I value my friends but you wouldn't know it because I never call them

26. I want to learn to Scuba dive

27. I have gone zip lining

28. I like photography but still haven't learned how to use my camera's functions

29. I am 5'6"

30. I could stand to lose a couple of pounds

31. I sneak food into the movie theatre

32. I love Star Wars

33. National Lampoon's Vacation is my favorite movie

34. I have been watching One Life To Live for 21 years

35. I love reading but I am a slow reader

-----Whoo, this is getting harder.----

36. I like Diet Pepsi

37. Lunch is my favorite meal

38. My favorite color is red

39. I grew up as the only Caucasian in a predominantly Mexican private school near Los Angeles

40. I have one younger brother

41. I Love Disneyland

42. I love being a Californian

43. I have scene Phantom of the Opera 3 times, once with the original cast

44. I drive a small SUV but I am a truck girl at heart

45. I hate when my feet are dirty

46. I love to blog and read other blogs

47. I had a crush on Chad Lowe as a teenager

48. I played softball as a kid

49. I want to learn to play the piano

50. I love being a mom

---Half way there----

51. My favorite book is The Giving Tree

52. I love hamburgers

53. I eloped with my husband to Vegas and we got married

54. If I could find the right tattoo I would get one but I haven't

55. I had my tongue pierced for 10 years (it's closed now)

56. I graduated from UCSD

57. I love eating cereal

58. I am a leader of a cub scout den

59. I am a leader of a girl scout troop

60. I learned to waterski at 19

61. Someday I want to see the Northern Lights

62. I am a member of the Sierra Club

63. I love Ben and Jerry's Fudge Brownie

64. I don't paint my nails

65. I can't remember my real hair color

66. I believe in God

67. I believe in Jesus

68. I believe in the Holy Spirit

69. I didn't realize that I put all the religious snuff near that sexual number. Hee Hee. (That is still about me, it shows my state of mind.)

70. I had post par tum depression after my son was born

71. I like car racing

72. I like margaritas

73. I don't like cooking

74. I have never seen a real tornado or hurricane

75. But I have experienced small earthquakes


76. I have never been on a cruise

77. I have voted both Republican and Democrat

78. I have never skinny dipped but would like to with my husband

79. I love river rafting

80. I have seen the sun set at the beach but never rise at the beach

81. I like to bake (that's not cooking, right?)

82. I don't like talking on the phone but if you call me I can talk for hours

83. I am very frugal

84. I love car trips

85. The only international place I have been is Mexico

86. I have horrible allergies in the spring

87. I am a bad judge of character, I guess I trust everyone

88. I was born in the year of the Boar

89. My second favorite movie is It's a Wonderful Life

90. I pay bills late

91. I am a procrastinator

92. I wouldn't want to be rich, just my credit cards gone

93. I have never been arrested

94. I have had one speeding ticket when I was 18

95. I love Taco Bell

96. I hope my kids have a cleaner earth than I did

97. I am proud to be an American

98. I respect my flag

99. My family is everything to me

100. I love life

I did it! Actually I can go for another 100. Maybe for my 200th post.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Reuse and Recycle

As you all know we took some weekend trips this summer, we stayed in motels and camped. When my family vacations in that manner we always buy the little boxes of sugary cereal. Before you catch me being ungreen, this has been a tradition since I was a kid. We take a vacation from nutrition, at least for breakfast. I always cringe when I buy the little boxes, the cereals have almost no nutritional value, they are full of sugar, they waste natural resources, should I continue? But like I said, it is a tradition.

You all know the saying, "Reduce, Reuse and Recycle". Well these little boxes take out the reduce part. But my daughter, who is 7, figured out a great way to reuse. See below, isn't that cute? She actually took about 6 of the little boxes and made a little pet condo but I think she converted it into something else because I couldn't find it. And when she is done we will recycle. She also took the egg carton for storage use.

Click here to reduce 1 pound of carbon. Care2

Friday, July 18, 2008

Here I Go Again...My My...

Don't blog me now, I'm at the movies watching Mama Mia! Sneaking in popcorn and maybe sangria. Woo Hoo!

Click here to reduce 1 pound of carbon. Care2

Friday Finds: Plastic, Rafting, College

Be Green.

Click here to reduce 1 pound of carbon. Care2.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Attack of the Monster Tomato Plant

My garden would take over the yard if I let it. Everything there-tomato, zucchini, watermelon, and cantaloupe-all look like they could eat a small animal right now. (Watch out, Maggy!) This is literally my first garden. (Well, like I have stated before, this is hubby's garden, with a few exceptions, I just eat the fruit of his labor.) We grew a garden years ago before children and I had nothing to do with it because I saw the dog pee on it one time and that was it for this city dweller. We rented for years and didn't bother with a garden, except for a failed one I tried. Darn my brown thumb. Then we bought this house almost 5 years ago but just this year started a garden. Wait, I apologize, we grew tomatoes at times. But I really have never seen what zucchini, tomato, cantaloupe and watermelon could do if you gave them space.

My mouth is watering over the prospect of homegrown cantaloupe. It is my son's favorite. We have 6 right now in the plant and they are all about 4" in diameter. So cool! The watermelons I find are still babies. Last week I ate the first green bell pepper to come from my garden, I made it with chicken for fajitas, mmmm. You all know what's up with my zucchini, I have tons and can't keep up. My husband pulled 2 of the plants out earlier this week, but that still leaves us with 3, more than enough. My parsley, oregano and thyme are doing great, they must like the heat while in the shade. But I need to harvest my basil, it is flowering and I am worried that it will taste bitter. We have one struggling tomato plant in a pot, it has cherry tomatoes, and one huge tomato plant in the back of the garden with 3 green Roma tomatoes. Oh, and then we have a pepper plant yet we don't know which peppers are growing on it. It came with the bell pepper seeds but they don't look like bells. I don't know when to pick them and if they are hot.

I just realized this morning, and hubby realized last week, that my beans need a trellis. What? I don't know what I'm doing. I looked at pictures on the internet and got some ideas. Not so hard. I'll head to Home Depot later and buy some bamboo polls and make myself a trellis. The lazy, cheapo (sorry, frugal greenie) in me tried to find scraps in the garage first but they were too short. Darn! I'll post pictures of my trellis later, maybe.

On the down side, something is eating my bean plants. And I have no idea what is is? I put coffee grounds around it but whatever was eating it didn't care and helped itself to the leaves anyway. That makes me question if it is snails and I don't see tracks.

I loved growing a garden this year and I have learned a lot. I was sad in the beginning of the season because I thought this would be the last time we grew a garden. We went through a lot of work to design our back yard and had hopes of planting heat tolerant plants and flowers. But my husband told me just a couple of days ago he wants a garden again next year! Woo Hoo! We may scale it back a bit, maybe 2 zucchini plants and we may try to grow more in huge containers but we'll have all winter to plan that out.

I only posted a few a my garden pix, please see my sidebar slide show for more.

Ge Green.

Click here to reduce 1 pound of carbon. Care2.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Going Campaignin'

Just one more for today, I am in a funny mood. This video is from JibJab.

Going Campaignin'

Saddle Me Up and Give Me a Feedbag

New Wearable Feedbags Let Americans Eat More, Move Less

I saw this over at Greenpa's blog. Funny.

Ingenious Home Remedies

My friend sent these to me and, quite frankly, they make sense to me.
  • Avoid cutting yourself when slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold the vegetables for you while you chop.
  • Avoid arguments with females about lifting the toilet seat by using the sink.
  • A mouse trap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.
  • If you have a bad cough, take a large doze of laxatives. You'll be afraid to cough.
  • If you can't fix it with a hammer, you've got an electrical problem.
  • Final thought: Some people are like slinkies-not really good for anything but they bring a smile to your face when pushed down the stairs.

Update on My Green Life

Today in my neck of the woods it should only reach 90 degrees. At that temperature I don't need to turn on the A/C. I am glad for that. My husband makes fun of me because I like the heat and have acclimated to it over the years so in the Spring and Fall when we get 75-80 degrees outside I put my sweater on. (He's from Michigan and I am from Southern California, HUGE difference in weather.) He makes fun of me that I can't handle the "cold" weather. But I still wear my sweaters. So today I will wear my tank top and shorts and maybe get my butt up for a bike ride.

I may not be there yet...but I'm closer than I was yesterday.

As for the rest of my life, I am truckin' along, not achieving the green state I wanted to be in at this time but still working on it. As things run out I replace them with more earth friendly counterparts. Like my dish soap, dish sponge, or fabric sheets (many people use vinegar, I like baking soda in the rinse). I use Trader Joe's dish soap (pictured above), my dish sponges are natural vegetable fiber and no more fabric sheets. As for other household cleaning I use vinegar and baking soda as I run out of Comet, Windex and Fantastic. Sometimes I wonder if these products have had a negative effect on my health through the years. What's done is done and now I can make better choices for my family.

My dryer is lonely. I haven't used it for weeks. In my last post about hang drying I mentioned I don't hang socks, underwear or heavy jeans. Well, that stopped. Everything gets hung now. The socks are not crunchy but underwear are (that didn't sound good, "crunchy underwear", I'm washing them). The clothes almost dry as fast as a dryer would do it when it is 100 degrees outside.

My baby cantaloupe.

In other news, I had to tell my children no apples yesterday at Trader Joes, even organic. Those little gems were coming all the way from New Zealand and Chile! Talk about a huge carbon footprint on something I can substitute with our own fresh cantaloupe (from the backyard, woo hoo!) or make a smoothie from the fresh fruit I picked earlier in the season. I have, for the most part, cut out bananas too, they all come from way down south like Costa Rica. Don't get me wrong I have nothing against those countries, as a matter of fact I envy Costa Rica, they can eat bananas carbon free!

This last week I went to get my haircut with my hairdresser I have used for years. She has always made comments that I need to deep condition my hair. This time she made comments about how soft my hair was. She asked me what was I doing. I told her I wash it every 2-4 days depending on my activity level and rinsed with a solution of apple cider vinegar and water. And combined that with better eating habits. She was impressed. We always discuss more natural ways of managing your hair. She is a hairdresser at a nice salon so she has to sell the products there but she has learned over the years I don't buy them.

And last, but not least. Call it a small victory, but my husband agreed to no more buying individual water bottles. He drives more than I do and would easily grab one on his way out but he agreed to use a Sigg bottle or anything we have in the cupboard with a top.
Be Green.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


I've Gone International

This morning I woke a bit early. I don't know why, maybe because I have had enough AOS (ass on sofa) that my body and mind thinks it is well rested. So what did I do? I went straight to my blog, of course. Did my last post go to my reader? Did anyone leave a comment? Yes and no, respectively. Did Robin posts? She hasn't in a while. How about Beth? Will she write about her garden or her VW today? And Fake Plastic Fish, how much plastic will she report? How is Crunchy's "lawn"? What new product will Green and Clean Mom write about today?

Those are the blogs I check everyday and so many more my blog roll would burst! I have become to rely on each of these women for guidance through the green maze. Anticipating new green information. Each one with their own style, some poetic, some factual, most are funny. This is my blogosphere and it is only 5 months old and I would miss any of them if they left.

I was amazed this morning to find that I too have faithful readers. I rarely check my detailed analytical reports, I mostly check to see if my readership still exists, is my blog feed working and move on. To my surprise I have gone international! That is so awesome! Hello Canadians! Hello UK! Hello China, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Singapore and Argentina! How are you green? Do you have blogs I can read? Do you have tips for me on how to be green? I am so glad to see people all over the world here. And, yes, most of my readers are from the US, mostly CA. Hello to you too. Maybe some day we can meet for lunch.

Thank you all for visiting! It means a lot to me that you find my blog interesting enough to stop by. Say hello one day. I would love to here your take on the environment and green products and gardening.

Be Green.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Greener Water

We recently spent some time in the local Sierra Nevada mountains along the American River. I love this river. It is so beautiful. The clear water rushing along meeting up with boulders to form rapids of white water. The plastic bottle floating near the lost sandal.

During my visit I noticed quite a bit plastic and aluminum garbage floating along, minding its own business, probably hoping to meet up with its compadres in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Oh, the environmentalist in me cried and then picked up as much of it as I could. (Picture a mom with her friends and their kids carrying beer cans up from the river. Not a good sight. But we did it.) When I got back I started to wonder where that river flows and is anyone helping to clean it up.

The river originates further up stream near Lake Tahoe from ice melt and eventually, after a few reservoirs, dams, a delta and a bay, the water ends up in the ocean. That is a long journey, let's estimate 250 miles. There are a lot of stops along the way but it is very possible that pollution from up river could end up in the ocean. While sitting on the bank of the American River you don't think of the Pacific Ocean and its wildlife. You are thinking whitewater rafting, fishing for trout and swimming. I thought of both locations. How do the locals keep their our watershed clean? And thus help the clean the ocean environment.

A watershed is a drainage basin where water from rain or snow flows down in the form of streams, rivers or creeks toward a larger body of water, i.e. the ocean or bay. What happens upstream effects downstream. Many people don't realize that. I didn't until about 5 years ago when I heard about the Marsh Creek Cleanup.

Every year on the 3rd Saturday of September our city holds the Marsh Creek Clean Up. It is a collaboration of the local city, sponsors like Home Depot, the Resource Conservation District, Friends of Marsh Creek and citizens to clean our Marsh Creek. Every year it grows in volunteers and you wouldn't believe what we pull out of the creek. One year our Cub Scout Pack pulled out a shopping cart. How sad is that? Chairs, sofas, car parts, batteries, fishing line and everyday garbage gets taken out of the creek. I always wonder how it gets there.
I don't need to tell any of you how to keep the waterways clean, I know you guys are green, but unfortunately we need to clean up after others. Please help clean the rivers, lakes and ocean and spread the word.

The Marsh Creek Clean Up corresponds with California Coastal Clean Up Day. Now I made it very easy for anyone living in California to help clean our waterways. Visit the site above and sign up. They will send you info on who your local organizer is.

You can also check with the Ocean Conservancy for clean up locations near you. There is a link for international volunteers there also. Or simply google " 'your body of water here' clean up". For example "Mississippi Clean Up" gave me Mississippi Coastal Clean Up, which is on September 20th this year. Also search for your local Department of Water Resources, they have a lot of information.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the American River has quite a few friends friends to help clean it up. The American River Parkway Foundation organizes a clean up. And here is a large list of Sierra Nevada and national environmental links also.

One bad note about the clean up. Ask what happens to the trash. Do plastic bottles get recycled? Where do aluminum cans go? If the organizers say to the dump, that is not good enough. Try to convince them that much of the trash floating in the ocean is from landfill garbage that got airborne. And we know you NEED to recycle those items. A couple of the articles I noted in this post address that issue. But don't give up, we all know every little bit helps.

Resources and Reads:

Algalita.org - Marine research Foundation

Floating Fecal Funship - Not all garbage comes from the land.

Friday, July 11, 2008


I am going to take a little break, just until Monday. I am a little overwhelmed with stuff. Nothing bad has happened in my life, thank God. I have been in front of this computer too much lately and have abandoned my family. Even the dog begs for attention. I was so glad to get back to my Google Reader on Monday and then didn't leave my chair. I feel the week has been a blur.

I have been so attached to this computer that I haven't been green. My Diet Pepsi challenge was thrown out the window, now I need to start over again. We have ordered pizza because I didn't make dinner. And definitely haven't been making local dinners. I haven't been watering my veggies and now my basil is dead. (Hell, it is hotter than hell outside. This whole week it was over 100 degrees outside. I'll blame he heat.)

I am angry with Blogger too. Or is it Feedburner? I don't know. My feed is not posting and when it does it takes its time and I don't know how to fix it. I have looked everywhere and have found no solution.

So I am taking a break. Tonight I will actually go to bed with my husband instead of 1 am. (You know what he'll what. :-) ) I should get my butt up and ride my bike. Yah, that's what I'll do.

Have a nice weekend. And I'll be back Monday.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

CFL's Love Home Depot

A Little Greener Everday posted today that Home Depot is taking CFL's to recycle them. Spred the word.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My New Day Cream

(I had written up a post about how great my new Burt's Bees Day Creme is. And how much better it is than the lotion I previously used. Then I remembered, after I bought Burt's Bees, to do my research at the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep website. And I found out they scored the same! They both received a 4 out of 10 on a hazardous scale. 0 being not hazardous, 10 being highly hazardous to your body. Well, I tweeked my post a little but here it is.)

My Oil of Olay day lotion finally ran out. So I went out and bought Burt's Bees Carrot Nutritive Day Creme. I trust Burt's Bees brand so I didn't do any research for a new day cream for my face. I just went to Long's and bought it. After I bought it I found out the EWG gave it a 4 out of 10 hazard rating. That's not horrible but I think I can find better. But I will use it all up before buying a new cream.

When you open the jar you immediately smell the the ingredients. It is not a bad smell, somewhat neutral, just natural. I am used to the artificial smells of lotions that manufactures think we want to smell like. The texture of the cream is thick and smooth. When I went to put it on my face I was a bit worried that the cream would not dry enough and make my make-up float. It did not, I am very pleased and relieved to say. What was surprising to me is the color, it has an orange tint. I mean it is a natural carrot cream, so it has beta carotene as an ingredient. You know, the stuff that makes your skin orange. But you need to eat quite a bit to have that happen. But what if you use it everyday? Will my skin turn a tint of orange? I doubt it, but it sure did cross my mind when applying it this morning.

Overall, so far, I am very pleased with the creme. I have pretty normal skin, slightly oily on my forehead and nose. This cream blended nicely with my skin. It doesn't make it feel greasy or dry. I think it works all day.

The only draw back is that I wanted a day lotion/creme with a sunscreen it it but if you want all natural then you can't have sunscreen. Something about nano-particles in the sunscreen being absorbed into your skin. Here is an article from the Green Guide about it.

As for the score of 4 at the EWG's website, I was a little shocked and concerned. A 4! So what is wrong with Burt's Bees Carrot Day Creme? Well, reading the report it looks like the big concern is the frangrance used in the product, it was scored an 8! That is really high. The report states that the fragrance can cause allergies and it is a neuro and immune system toxin. Well, that doesn't sound good. (I knew my mama nose was right when I became sickened by fragrances after having babies.) The next concern was the tocopheryl acetate. My take is that it is toxic to your skin and organs. But it scored a 4, which is pretty low. All the other ingredients scored fairly low.

And what about the Oil of Olay scoring a 4? Well, it scored high, 8-9, in fragrance and DMDM Hydantoin. The DMDM Hydantoin has toxins and comes with quite a few warnings and violations. I think the this lotion received a lower rating because the EWG regards UV sunscreen as good because it helps to deter skin cancer.

There are other factors to consider. Burt's Bee's does not test on animals and the signed the EWG's Compact for Safe Cosmetics. Oil of Olay may test on animals and has not signed the Compact. Also, Burt's Bees came in a handy dandy reusable glass jar. Olay, #5 plastic.

So in conclusion, I'll stick with my Burt's Bee's Creme for now. And look for something without a frgrance for next time. I did look in the EWG's Face Lotion Datbase and my head is spinning. There are 1000's. So if anyone has a good face cream let me know.

Argh Part 2

So the pictures are back up. Good.
My last post was listed on my blog at 11:46 AM, I did a resync with Feedburner around Noon and my Google Reader rec'd the post at 1:10 PM. Maybe it is working now.
Sorry to bore you but I am quasi obsessive with some issues.

We'll see how fast Google Reader gets this post.
In the meantime enjoy some useless facts and random images.

*Bats always turn left when exiting a cave.
(Click on this one to see it larger.)
*No word in the the English dictionary rhymes with "MONTH".
*By partially filling saucers with vinegar and distributing the saucers around a room, you can eliminate odors. (Us Greenies knew that one already.)

*The first known contraceptive was crocodile dung, used by Egyptians in 2000 B.C. (I guess if we really need to go green??? Ha Ha)

*Can you name all the Seven Dwarfs? Don't you cheat!

*Stressed is Desserts spelled backwards.

*Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell.

And Lastly:

See you on the other side.....

ARGH! Blog issues!

I am having blog problems and until I fix them I don't think I should post. First off, my RSS feed through Feedburner is taking a day or more to post it in readers. I use Google reader and yesterday's post is still not on my reader. This is a huge problem for me. I think I know the problem, it has something to do with the XML or HTML, but I don't know how to fix it. Secondly, my pictures on my blog are not showing.

What is up? Does anyone have the same problem?


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

A Greener Vacation

My family spent our 4th of July weekend in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in a town called Murphys. We had a great time but being green on vacation can be a challenge. For starters, if you are a die-hard greenie vacations are mostly out of the question unless you ride your bike to the destination, sleep under the stars and catch/hunt/pick your own food. We did none of that and most people don't. So how do you manage to be greener when you are gone?

  1. While in the planning stages try to go local. Explore the mountains or beaches near you. In most parts of the world there are beautiful and exciting places right in your back yard. Check. We went 2 hours away.

  2. Look for lodging that follows green ways. Search for "ecotravel or green vacation + your state/country". I found Green Orbitz and the Gaia Hotel. For more adventure try Manaca, Ecotravel, and Ecosummer.

  3. Before you even leave turn off and unplug appliances that you will not need on while gone. Turn off the heater/air conditioner, turn down the water heater all the way, turn off the computer and its peripheral appliances, unplug clocks and smaller appliances, you get the picture. Turn down the frig a bit-you won't be opening it so the stuff will stay cold. Check-except the frig, I forgot.

  4. Take the train or bus. If you don't, load up as many people as you can in the most fuel efficient vehicle you have. Check.

  5. Pack your own homemade food. It is healthier, cheaper and better for the environment. Check-I made zucchini muffins (surprise, surprise, more zucchini)

  6. While there follow the same green rules you have at home-recycle, short showers, A/C at a minimum, walk or ride your bike, shop local. Partial check-I didn't think this one out. I didn't recycle nor take shorter showers. But we walked when we could and the A/C was off when it was not needed.

  7. Bring your own eating and drinking implements and use them as much as possible. Partial check-I brought bowls and utensils for breakfast cereal in the motel room but didn't take them with me to restaurants (that was a hard decision, I didn't want to be the "organic, green freak".) And we brought Sigg bottles but opted for plastic bottles instead. I feel bad about that, next time I will know to bring a huge 3 gallon jug of water and refill my bottles.

  8. Use your own bags. Check.

  9. Ask the maid to not come. Hang your towels and make your own bed or not, your on vacation. Check. Except my friend spilled her soda on my bedspread one day so we had to call the maid to change it.

  10. If you eat out, eat everything on your plate. Can't do that, share or order smaller quantities. And try to find locally grown and/or organic. Check. I ate it all and gained weight, ha ha.

  11. Refrain from needless spending. Don't buy single serving snack foods. Before you buy a souvenir, do you really need it? Is it made from and of a renewable resource? Partial check. I am cheap so most souvenirs are out of the question. I do buy magnets for my frig. We take pictures for souvenirs. As for snacks, I am guilty of being non-green so I won't go into details.

  12. If in doubt follow the rule of the nature. "Take only pictures, leave only footprints."

So you can be green while gone from home, it just takes some planning and forethought. But what about fireworks? Yes, they are bad for the environment on many levels. Without even turning on your green thinking cap you know that anything that goes up must come down, right? I doubt anyone picks up the firework debris. And anything that burns is usually bad for the environment, right? Fireworks, as anyone knows, are highly combustible and let off all kinds of pollutants. Chile Chews wrote a short post on 4th of July and you can find pollution details about fireworks here. By no means am I saying get rid of fireworks, I would honestly hate for that to happen. But if there are safer, more enviro-friendly ways to celebrate then lets do it.

My resources:


Did I miss anything? Feel free to add more tips on how to be green while on vacation.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Great Weekend

(I didn't want to announce that we were leaving this last weekend on my blog. So I apologize for not posting and commenting. )

We had the best weekend! We spent 4 days in a small town named Murphys. What a charming little town it is. Murphys, like many towns in the Sierra foothills started as a gold rush stop for miners. Now it is known for its beautiful historic downtown and wineries.

The weather was perfect. We were invited to a friend's cabin for dinner and had great bar-b-q, spent time with wonderful friends, we swam, we shopped, we fished (well, my husband and kids did), we ate great meals. We met a burro named Clarisse. And that was all in the first 2 days.

On Saturday we went to a Ironstone Vineyards for music and fireworks. The wine was great, the music was rockin' and the fireworks were spectacular.

The fun didn't end there. Sunday we decided to visit Columbia State Park. Just down the way from Murphys, it too is steeped in gold rush history. We panned for gold but only came up with small pieces of turquoise and garnets. My daughter loves her little gems though. We bellied up to the salon there and drank sarsaparillas.

And on the way home we all (3 families) went zip lining at Moaning Caverns. Oh my! I am so scared of heights but I was not going to let the day go by without trying this! (And my 9 year old son did it first, who was I to chicken out when he can do it.) I went tandem with my son and it was an experience I will never forget.

I had a great time this weekend. But going overnight in an unfamiliar place is hard on your green conscience. Does the motel recycle? How do I refill my Sigg bottle? Is that organic? Can we walk there? Where can I keep left-overs? Is there a Starbucks? (oops, that's not green, but I still want to know.)

In my next post I will let you know my ups and downs of trying to stay green in Murphys. And I don't mean "Irish" green either. Although, as you can tell with the name, Murphys is very Irish.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Thursday, July 3, 2008

OLS Week #5

I rarely eat eggs for breakfast, I am a cereal and coffee gal. But I was craving some over-easy eggs (or as my brother would say when he was a boy, "eggs lookin at ya") and toast. I was lucky enough to have some eggs left over from Shelly's Garden. And the bread I made the night before. The ingredients for the bread are not local but making it is. And a parsley sprig from our garden for photo effect. (I did eat it after.) Simply Good.
That was my local meal for the week. Next week I will probably be eating zucchini from our garden. Does anyone have a good zucchini recipe?

Yah, Thursday

I made it! No Diet Pepsi yet. Yesterday I ended up making myself some Blackberry tea, added a little sugar and chilled it. It was yummy. And my spirits are better today because tomorrow is 4th of July. We will be celebrating it with friends and I can't wait to eat, drink and enjoy a great time.

I tried some new things this week that are helping me be greener. I baked my own bread, finally. I hung my clothes outside. I froze a lot of zucchini. Kept the A/C off. And I made zucchini muffins.

I baked the bread with King Arthur's Organic Whole Wheat flour (from Trader Joe's, of course) and used the recipe on the back of the flour bag (minus the nuts, my family would complain.) It was a dense bread but had a very good flavor. Isn't it pretty? This was my first yeast bread. I started it in the bread maker on the dough cycle, took it out, let it rise, then put it in the loaf pan and baked it. The house smelled really nice. I think I cut the slices too thick for sandwiches but we still ate it. Remember, if you bake fresh bread at home refrigerate it so it doesn't mold, there are no preservatives in it. (Beth, I went to the website for the bread recipe you directed me previously and it is gone.)

I started hanging my clothes outside. I hang everything except underwear, socks and jeans. I don't have a clothesline but I have 2 clothes racks like the one pictured to the left. It is warm, dry and breezy during the day here so they were dry lickety-split. They smell better than putting the clothes in the dryer. I saved my house from heating up. And I didn't use about 3 hours worth of dryer time. Not bad.

This is what happens when you leave unattended zucchini for just 2 days. They are worse than the kids! Notice the pen next to the largest zucchini. This is why you will be hearing me talk about which zucchini dish I made-AGAIN. I froze much of it. I shredded, chopped and sliced for a couple of hours. The shredded zucchini is flash frozen for a couple of hours then packed away using my new handy dandy Foodsaver. Any other types of cuts you need to blanch first, cool, flash freeze and let the Foodsaver do its work. Zucchini is juicy and that disrupts the sealing process of the Foodsaver so flash freezing it keeps the juices at bay. I am all ready to make soup, breads, cakes and casseroles this winter.

Thanks to Crunchy Chicken I am trying to cut back my A/C. I never officially joined her challenge but I am trying to follow her guidelines. I can say, so far it hasn't been hard. We are only in the mid to high eighties this week. It was hard to keep it off today because I made zucchini muffins. I used the same recipe from my mother-in-law but subsituted 1 cup of regular flour for 1 cup whole wheat. You can't tell the difference.

If you live in the states have a wonderful 4th of July and if you don't you can still have a wonderful 4th of July.

Be Green