Thursday, August 30, 2007


It's nice to travel the blogosphere, but it sure feels good to come "home", check the links of my favorite bloggers by hand instead of relying on Ye Olde RSS, and make a few comments here and there. It's why I starting blogging in the first place.

Green Husband has been documenting a few changes happening around these parts. I hope you enjoy a few photographs. Tomorrow is Computer Free Friday. Until the weekend!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Cancel Your Paper

This was kind of a light dawns on Marblehead moment for me (does this expression make any sense to anyone living outside of Massachusetts? But I digress...).

Every Sunday we get the paper delivered, but we literally live about a half a mile from at convenience store. It's not a very pleasant walk, as it involves some asphalt and standing on a exhaust-laden street corner while waiting for the light to change, but no ifs, ands, or buts, it is a very doable walk.

So yesterday when my newspaper renewal notice came in the mail, I canceled the newspaper in the hope of getting some much needed exercise on Sunday mornings.

And no using the car to get to the store and no using someone else's car to get the paper to my house! There. I snuck in some green again. Damn, I'm good.

Check out the dozens of other great ideas at Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Rocks in My Dryer. Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Yoga for kids redux

Ever since I first blogged about yoga, I have stumbled upon many great kid-related yoga resources.

The first, of course, is my friend Katy's new online shop LotusPad which carries eco-friendly yoga mats and straps made to fit the yogini in your life.

Then, while researching for my "real" job, I came across a new book called Storytime Yoga: The Treasure In Your Heart: Yoga and Stories for Peaceful Children. Written by (Ms.) Sydney Solis, it goes hand-in-hand with her unique concept for teaching children the benefits and joy of yoga. As her Storytime website describes, she "retells classic wisdom tales from around the world, and children act them out with yoga poses! Or children learn to tell their own stories and fairytales and script yoga poses with them!" This sounds like a great technique and one that I would love to try with my children. Has anyone participated in her classes or has anyone read her book?

The stars keep aligning so it was no surprise really when I saw an article on children and yoga in the latest issue of Washington Parent. First there was the most beautiful cover featuring the most serene-looking child as introduction to an article by Gina Roberts-Grey entitled "Young Yogis Balancing Mind and Body". It covers the basics of yoga for kids including the risks and many physical and emotional benefits of yoga. It also features several quotes by Baron Baptiste of Cambridge, Massachusetts (my old stomping grounds), a well known yoga instructor and author. Which...

Perfect transition! The wonderful folks at Barefoot Books, also of Cambridge, Massachusetts, were kind enough to send me a copy of Baron Baptiste's wonderful book, "My Daddy is a Pretzel: Yoga for Parents and Kids". As is with virtually all of the Barefoot Books I have seen, the illustrations, here by Sophie Fatus, are colorful and vibrant and feature people of all backgrounds and ethnicities. Throughout the book yoga poses that relate to a parents occupation are featured and the text assists both parent and child in safely trying stretches such as The Triangle Post (Trikonasana), The Plow Pose (Halasana), and eventually, of course, The Pretzel Pose (Marichyasana). My three year old son tried all the poses and had a great time doing so. This book is also great for inspiring his highly sedentary mother (eh hem) to get up off her duff.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Blogging Buttons

You've seen them, and perhaps you have some: those cute little buttons that you can add to your sidebar to show that you support a cause, have received some props, or that simply let people know what you're all about. For some reason they're downright addicting and collecting them brings me back to elementary school and those coveted friendship pins.

I have recently added several buttons to my blog and I wanted to digress from my usual tom-greenery to mention the meaning of mine.

The first button is my "Computer Free Friday" button designed by Wise Craft's husband and kindly made available to the masses. This Friday was the first Friday I implemented this "rule" and to be honest, it was quite liberating. I used my computer at work obviously (I don't want to be "Computer Free Because You've Been Fired Friday") but when I got home, nothing. No frantic checking of email, no quick updates to my blog, and no visiting virtual friends. But this was okay. I spent time with my husband, my children and a neighbor without feeling The Call of the Computer.

Further down the page is my "War is not healthy for children and other living things" button sponsored by Another Mother for Peace. I'm not sure what political persuasion you are but no matter. I think we can all agree that war is not healthy for children and other living things, yes?

The next button is part of my Team WhyMommy rallying cry against inflammatory breast cancer, a disease that has personally effected members of my own family. Click on over to Toddler Planet if you have a moment. WhyMommy's chemo is taking!

The next button was quite an honor to receive, considering it came from the above mentioned WhyMommy. She wrote some awfully sweet words about me too - blush, blush. So, it's pay forward time and I gladly do it. I am "awarding" this button to three bloggers who have been especially generous to me since I began this blogging journey. I don't think I need to explain much more than that...their blogs say it all. Thank you...

SusieJ - A beautiful writer and a generous soul
SaltandChocolate - A recent find and a total gem
In the Key of Life - A cozy read and consistent comment-replier

And finally, is that adorable Farmer's Market button from Veggie Venture - any plans for your 2008 graphic?

Have wonderful weekend, friends.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday: Green Magazeeeen

I am a magazine junkie. My all-time favorite is Family Fun but give me a Woman's Day, People, Washingtonian, Kiplinger's, Martha Stewart, Cottage Living, Good Housekeeping, Kiwi, Southern Living, Sunset, Designer/Builder, New York, Journal of Light Construction (okay, my husband's read), Washington Parent, Yankee or [Insert Name of Magazine Here] and I'm all over that puppy.

I just love the way the cover of a magazine screams: Get Organized! Cook This and That! Have More Sex! Make This Elaborate Structure Out of Fruit!

Yet, if I indulged my magazine habit every time I went throught the checkout line, I'd be one broke puppy.

So here (are you still with me, because I am getting to the good part) is what I do. I am a member of a secret neighborhood network that takes magazines we have just about devoured in the 3.24 seconds since purchasing them and we swap them. Yes, my heart does a little pitter-patter when I arrive home from work and see a bag of like-new mags sitting on my front steps (unless it has been raining. then I cry because they are wet). Any magazine that you have impulse-bought, or subscribe to, or stole from your doctor's waiting room (I am told this happens. I do not do this) can be added to the bag and passed along. It's very informal - you can tear out pages, keep the entire issue, give the entire bag to your sister-in-law who is taking a transatlantic flight because the bottom line is that none of us really have time to read all those beauties so we take what we can get. And, have I mentioned how Green this is? Why, I bet you didn't even know I was sneaking in some Green. As painless as sneaking zucchini into muffins, eh? (I do not do this. I am told this happens)

Works for me! Post what works for you at today's Works for Me Wednesday hosted by the fabulous Rocks in My Dryer.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Traipsing Tuesday - Adventures in Wanna Greening

Yes, you. Call it what you will, but yes, you there. You have been engaging in activities that could be classified as Green. [Insert this cute invisible button onto your page - sorry!] Our second Traipsing Tuesday spies:

The Homely Year. Okay, I have absolutely no idea what a skint is and can't calculate the true value of five pounds, but she haunts sales and charity shops for items such as the ones pictured. And an interesting take on Farmers Markets UK vs US style. Visit The Homely Year and while you're there, drool over the photographs.

Knitting Iris. Is it just me, or am I the most boring-est mother ever? I mean, when was the last time you took your children to the scrap metal yard? But, scroll down, scroll down, scroll's the outdoor sculpture/wind chime/thingies that really caught my eye plus a recommendation for the Incredible Indoor Outdoor Book which evidently is as hard to find as...well, me in a scrap metal yard, but sounds absolutely fabulous.

Okay, I'm cheating here a bit. I have heard of The Angry Chicken. I can no longer remember where I heard about her first but TAC keeps popping up more and more. Angry Chicken this, Angry Chicken that! Blah, blah, blah, Angry Chicken blah, blah, blah. What could be so great about Angry Chicken? Oh. Neeeeevermind. Here's her post on Not Made in China - she makes her own toys. What kind of mother am I?! SOB! I'm loving The Angry Chicken dammit.

Are you sensing a theme? I think these bloggers may be on to something - recycle reuse reduce, thy name is crafty people!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Feeds Me! ~ An Appeal to the Blogsphere

Dear Friends. Okay, is it just me or is subscribing to feeds the most confusing thing ever?! I see a blog I want to subscribe, I look first to see if they have a +google reader button - if they do, I add the blog to my reader. Okay...but some don't. So I've subscribed to Bloglines...therefore +google reader no go to bloglines. Bloglines, yes, subscribe. SO (are you still with me?). No +google reader button? Go to Bloglines. No Bloglines...go to this Feeds (control J thingie) on my toolbar. I get a message saying that a feed has been added...but when I go to the feeds list under my "favorites" nada. Where are all these feeds going? Then there is and Technorati?! I mean, should I be needing to go to so many feeders everyday?! HELP, Blogsphere, HELP!


Feeling Feedless

We now return to our regularly scheduled blog already in progress.

But before I go silent for the rest of the day...can someone else please tell me how I can contract my Index so it's not taking up the entire freakin' left hand sidebar?

That's all. Really.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Links to Like: Children's Health Environmental Coalition

Great lead from Green Gramps and Green Nana - they were looking into eco-friendly options for cleaning the wall-to-wall carpeting in their breakfast nook and stumbled across the Children's Health Environmental Coalition HealtheHouse website in their travels.

Roll your mouse over the CHEC's virtual house to see what products in what rooms may be harmful to your families' health. For example, explore a child's bedroom to learn about how you can make your child's bedding less of a harbor for allergy and asthma triggers. Choose water-based art supplies to minimize noxious fumes and to avoid solvents and heavy metals.

Under their House Rules tab simple graphics and minimal wording still manage to successfully address the problems we face every day from the proper way to renovate our homes to the safest way to clean them.

And yes, as Green Gramps and Green Nana suspected, steam cleaning can be a safe option for cleaning your wall-to-wall carpeting so long as you follow some basic guidelines.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

A Green Works for Me Wednesday

Today I'm joining my first blog carnival: Works for Me Wednesday hosted by Rocks in My Dryer! Every Wednesday, bloggers post a teeny tidbit describing something that...well, you guessed for them.

Of course, I have to stay true to my blog's niche (love that word) so let me share a way in which I made my daughter's recent birthday a little big greener. On the invitation I expressly asked that attendees bring regifted gifts only...and as I've mentioned before, Sprout could not have been happier with what she received: tons of books, a pair of pink crocs, some new toys that our neighbors had received as gifts and had never opened, and some cold hard cash, which I guess is cheating a little bit, but hey...that's a regift wouldn't you agree? Sprout was happy and so was I knowing that we received some perfectly good toys that were just no longer the toy a la mode for our family and friends.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Traipsing Tuesday - Blogs That Make You Go...Green

Since I started blogging 63 posts ago, I have made some fabulous, albeit, virtual friends - all fellow wanna-greenies, most of which are doing much better at this green business than I am. They are my daily reads and their links, for the most part, are to the left under Links to Like.

But lately, as I've been traipsing through the blogosphere, I have found many other moms who, while they don't call themselves "green", are trying some very green ideas indeed.

Hmmm...this may call for a Gift of Green Award! (Cute button needed?) Here are this week's five unsuspecting "winners" and their greenesque posts - (but you know you are all winners, don't you?).

Everyday Mom - for reading, like so many of us are, "Last Child in the Woods" and for making a yummy soup from her local farmer's market scores.

I'm An Organizing Junkie - We all like to get organized but if you're like me, you get the feeling that you *must* go out a purchase new junk to organize our junk! Laura's post appeals to both the organizer in us and the wanna-greenie when she suggests a great way of recycling cereal boxes, cracker boxes or tea boxes in order to...well, there I've gone and said too much already. Check her out!

Big Binder for a week's worth of recipes that are Farmer's Market friendly!

Fast Times @ Homeschool High tackles two topics of interest in one post - ways for homeschooling folks to integrate some paperless strategies into their lesson plans and daily routines.

and finally,

The Adventures of Benjamin Zane - these people started their own organic coop for Greeness Sake! Yowser!

Congratulations and I look forward to seeing who else is greening it up for nexts week's Traipsing Tuesday.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Ins and Outs of Arts and Crafts Supplies

Specialized Information Services, a division of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health has developed a new website, Keeping the Artist Safe, focusing on the hazards of arts and crafts materials.

This site provides links to evaluated sites focusing on a variety of topics such as schools and art materials, information on specific art materials, standards for art materials, and regulations and policies.

Portions of this website are also available in Spanish.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Update: Sprout's Dora Goes Green Party!

Back in July, I blogged about Sprout's upcoming birthday party and asked for suggestions on how to make it a bit greener. Since my post, Mom Go Green put up a nice summary of her little guys birthday party and included the ways in which she greened it up and ways she did not. I thought it might be helpful if I did the same. The adults outnumbered the children who ranged in age from one to 10.

The Green:

Sent out electronic evites instead of paper invites

Asked attendees to please bring re-gifted gifts only. This proved to be quite a success and Sprout couldn't of been happier with what she received: books galore, a hand-me-down pair of pink crocs which she wore to bed, a baby doll with full set of clothes and assorted accessories, a visor to keep the suds out of her eyes during bathtime and a LeapPad caterpiller. Sprout also received some cash (very green wouldn't you say?) and a very special figurine from her Grandma and Granddaddy.

Green Husband made the cutest decorations based on Tiffany's comment. We took old maps, traced a circle with an old, scratched CD, used adhesive glue to glue the map onto the side of the CD with the title (leaving the rainbow-y side showing), and then hung them in our front window using ribbon. Map would have been proud and we finally found a use for all those unusable CDs!

All food was homemade. Not in MY home, sillies! I can't cook, remember! In the past I've ordered the cake and food platters from our local grocery store. The food was yummy, but the packaging was absolutely out of the control. This year, I made the cupcakes, my sister-in-law iced them, our neighbors brought a yummy casserole to feed all, and I kept the coffee brewing. We even had mimosas! In addtion, right before the party, I ran out to the farmer's market and bought fresh peaches and chocolate crossiant to add to the mix.

And finally, are you sitting down?, no gift bags for party attendees. Nobody asked me where they were and no one gave me the evil eye for not having them. There. I said it.

The Un-Green

Beside basically having an event where everyone drove to and we emitted carbon just by being, I would say the biggest un-green-ness of it all was still the paper products. I am a sucker for the themed parties, as I've mentioned before, so all the paperware was Diego and Dora-related. I did wash all of the plasticware, however, to use again. I did not go overboard on decorations and only bought three things to hang - if I had been more creative, those probably could have been done at home too.

All in all, it was a very happy birthday. Wouldn't you say, Sprout?

Sunday, August 5, 2007

More on the Mattel Recall

Okay, today I found more items in my home that are on Mattel's recall list. On closer inspection of their website, I see that the vouchers they are sending...after you send them the lead-based toys back, are not valid for purchase of licensed items. Guess what "licensed" items are? Diego/Dora and Sesame Street items...precisely the items that are being recalled. That seems like adding insult to injury, doesn't it?

Saturday, August 4, 2007


Is it time to try yoga again?

I ask myself this question because the last time I tried yoga it was over six years ago. I found the class I took to be anxiety-producing. So many people, crowded into a basement room with no natural light, the instructor either never walking around or when she did walk around, I felt tense wondering if she was going to correct me or not as she passed by...and if she didn't correct me when she passed, wondering if I was just being left to my own devices or if I was doing just fine. Do you see why I left after the third class and never came back?

But lately, I have been giving yoga second thoughts. I have been reinspired by a number of things. The first being a new book that was added to my library's collection. I've mentioned it before, and I still have it checked out! It's "Healing Yoga for People with Cancer" and I have just fallen in love with this book - every detail, from the words, the photographs, the tone. I'm just reading it through right now and have started with relaxation pose (which I am now realizing after reading Jenny's latest post on EatWasaFeelGood is officially corpse pose). I highly recommend this book (from my novice perspective) for beginners; it's not just for people living with cancer.

Secondly, my children are really enjoying yoga. I think it is time I investigated some yoga classes for them, or, if anyone has any recommendations for DVDs on yoga for children, I would appreciate hearing from you. I think it would be a wonderful activity for the entire family, even Green Husband is on board. If you haven't already, take a look at the new online store, LotusPad, now open for business. Katy is one of my oldest friends and she is another very mindful momma who has some adorable yoga products specifically for kids!

Third, I need some form of exercise, some discipline, something to work at and yoga is of interest to me at this point in my life. I am also interested in pilates. I was never an aerobics/weight machine/treadmill kind of gal, and I now know that walking, pilates, and yoga are more my style. SusieJ once recommended this DVD on her blog, Shiva Rea - Yoga Shakti, and it has gotten some excellent reviews online as well. I think it's time I give it a try as well.

I welcome your thoughts and suggestions.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Book Review: The Other Mother by Gwendolen Gross

Don't even ask me how I got there. I think it was Roughly Speaking, and then someone named Allison, and then...before I knew it I was lucky enough to have a brand-spankin' new copy of Gwendolen Gross' new novel The Other Mother in my hot little hands.

It was fitting that I read this book (over the course of two nights - finally finishing it up at midnight which, by the way, is *way* beyond my normal falling asleep on the couch time of 8:30 pm) after I had just spent a week at home with my two children. Being a full-time work outside the home mom, I got a teeny taste of what it's like for SAHMs - only since it was technically a "vacation", I didn't really have to worry about doing stuff like oh, grocery shopping or cleaning or getting s**t done. So I really was able to empathize with both Thea and Amanda, the co-protaganists (if that's a word) of this, Gross's third, book.

The book takes place in a suburb of New Jersey where Thea, a stay-at-home mom of three, welcomes the very pregnant Amanda, a book editor in Manhattan, to the neighborhood. It is autumn and there is a ominous feeling to the book right from the very first page. It's the kind of feeling you get when you hear rustling in the autumn leaves and turn around quickly to see who is following you. The tone of this book is definitely not a light-hearted one and as Amanda copes with the birth of her new baby and a disorienting relocation to Thea's house, you can feel the tension and the suspense build with every page-turn. Together with the other characters, both dead and alive, in the novel, Thea's two daughters and son, Amanda's husband and her mother, Thea's husband and her childhood friend Tia, Gross builds a world in which self-doubt combined with self-discovery make for complicated and tenuous relationships: between mothers and daughters, girlfriends, spouses, and even co-workers.

The jacket of The Other Mother reads, "A gripping story that takes both sides of the mommy wars" and while I will agree that the book is gripping, I would argue that it is less about the mommy wars and more about two women (the book is written in first person narrative and chapters alternate between the two women) who question their own decisions just as much as they question each other's decisons. If you are turned off by the "mommy wars" debate, I would still encourage you to read this book; I did not find it divisive at all, in fact, I found it to be a very thoughtful book -- at its conclusion your may find you are thinking less about "the other" and more about yourself. Towards the end of the book, the character of Amanda recalls a moment in time when her mother, teaching her how to tie her shoes in a way that was different from the way her father had shown her, says, "Sometimes different methods work for different people." Tying shoes, living your life. There's something to be said for that.

In bookstores August 7th, 2007

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

We've Been Leaded

I was planning on kicking back and visiting some blogs tonight when a small notice on caught my eye. Lead paint in toys. Again. Only this time it affects us. REALLY affects us. Why? I think I have only mentioned about a thousand times that Sprout is ga-ga over Dora the Explorer. Hence, we have about a thousand Dora-related items. Several of them are on the list. The recall list.

I feel guilty because here I was thinking that I was buying a treat for my daughter. Something that she really loves, and I was, instead, inadvertantly poisoning her. Some of the toys are a bit worn now, meaning, yes, some of the paint has flaked away. I am just thankful that she did habitually put them in her mouth. But when I think of the hours, HOURS, that she has played with these toys, it makes me sick.

Diana from Big Green Purse, at the time the Thomas the Tank Engine series was being recalled for the same exact reason, told us that it was time to stop buying toys from China. I wish I had listened to her advice.