Thursday, July 31, 2008
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.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
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.
Ane here too.
Be Green (and Clean)
Monday, July 28, 2008
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
- Processed Chlorine Free (PFC free) or Totally Chlorine Free (TCF)
- No Bleaching
- Corn starch or soy not plastic
- Acid free
- Look for recycled post consumer waste (PCW)
- Reclaimed wood
- No PVC (vinyl)
Friday, July 25, 2008
- Naturally Savvy has tips on how to stay green during tough economic time.
- California has the first-in-the-nation statewide green building code. TriplePundit has it broken down for you.
- Can you make a recycled raft?
- DIYLife has great ideas to enhance your staycation.
- Beijing is pledging to recycle half of Olympic Waste.
- Is your granite countertop radioactive?
- Plenty Magazine shows your true greenwashing.
- Can you make a recycled raft?
Have a green weekend.
Thursday, July 24, 2008
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
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.
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
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.
Monday, July 21, 2008
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
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
- Jeanne Haegele, better known as Life Less Plastic, is in Time Magazine. Wow! Her story of trying to live without plastic and message of the hazards of plastic went main stream. Great job Jeanne! Greenies everywhere are proud of you!
- Enviro-rafting with the Sierra Club. The greenest way to get to the river and what is the greenest gear out there.
- Pollution and danger wash up on New York beach after Juy 4th celebration.
- Next time you come to California fly into Fresno Yosemite International. The airport now runs 40% of it's operations on solar energy. Treehugger: Solar Power Array Installed at Fresno Yosemite Int'l Airport. SFO (San Francisco) has solar also.
- The Daily Green helps you choose a green college.
- Debate nanotechnology with Plenty Magazine.
- Big Green Purse gives you the low down on greener electronics via Greenpeace.
Click here to reduce 1 pound of carbon. Care2.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
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.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
New Wearable Feedbags Let Americans Eat More, Move Less
I saw this over at Greenpa's blog. Funny.
- 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.
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 baby cantaloupe.
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.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Friday, July 11, 2008
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
(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.)
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.
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
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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pack your own homemade food. It is healthier, cheaper and better for the environment. Check-I made zucchini muffins (surprise, surprise, more zucchini)
- 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.
- 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.
- Use your own bags. Check.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Did I miss anything? Feel free to add more tips on how to be green while on vacation.
Monday, July 7, 2008
(I didn't want to announce that we were leaving this last weekend on my blog. So I apologize for not posting and commenting. )
Friday, July 4, 2008
Thursday, July 3, 2008
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.
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.