Sunday, September 30, 2007

Green Apples

This morning the Wanna-Greenies took an early morning trip to Whole Foods (Pip: "Get up, Mommy." Me: "But I need my beauty sleep." Pip: "You're already beautiful, Mommy." Me: "Ooooooh, thank you, Pip!" Pip: "Now get up." Ooooookay.).

As we swung through the produce department, I happened to notice the selection of apples. Every type of apple was from California and New Zealand. California and New Zealand? Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it apple season, especially in our neck of the woods? Local apples were practically rolling off the tables at our Farmer's Market. Conventional apples, which Whole Foods carries, were hanging heavy from the branches up in Boston. Could it be that the only apples suitable for sale at Whole Foods were from a minimum of 3,000 miles away? I'm all for organic, but what about local?

{Now, I think I've determined that first three posters who need freezer paper. Miss Kitty, Mom Go Green and Fabricio...if you need/want freezer paper, please contact me with your mailing address.}

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Farmer's Markets Redux

I really love the word redux. Redux, redux, redux.

Anyway, I digress.

Ever since reading Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and ever since Green Husband, Sprout, Pip and I have been attending our local farmer's market on a semi-weekly basis, I have seriously become in tune with what is in season and what is not.

It's actually turned me into a little bit of an in season/out of season snob, but I'll come back to that.

If you buy your produce at a farmer's market, you really cannot help but become acutely aware of a particular fruit or vegetable's growing season. Say, "Nah, I'll wait 'til next week to pick up blueberries for freezing."? Sorry, Charlie. Next week they'll be gone, done, outta here. Or you can be like me and say, "This is the week I'm making that peach cobbler!" Uh, hate to break it to you but we've moved on to pears. It's pear season, baby!

This week, in my neck of the woods, we're just starting the apples, the zucchini is in high gear, and the smaller pumpkins for soups and baking have finally made their appearance.

What are you "up to" in your region?

So this all makes for an interesting experience when I go to the canteen at work and they are serving...asparagus. Now, I love asparagus, don't get me wrong. But it is September and there the asparagus lies. So I loudly proclaim while standing online, "Asparagus? Where the heck do you get asparagus this time of year?" It is astonishing to think that most people in that line don't realize that it is not asparagus season in the Commonwealth, or even the District, or even The Garden State, or the Bay State or the Live Free or Die state!

For me, for now, I'll stick to our farmer's market...and see what next week's season brings.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Farmer's Markets and Larger Markets

shhh. it's computer-free friday. you never saw me here. let's just say i wrote this post last night and am simply posting it now. yeah, that's the ticket...

Yesterday, for the first time in, oh, ever, I had lunch with my sister-in-law. No kids, no husbands...just me and my SIL. As she would say, "How fun is that!?" We met near her place of work, and because our lunching establishment was steps from a major mall, after we air-kissed goodbye, I, shall we say, hit it.

Since I've been married, I've probably only been to a shopping mall a handful of times (as opposed to the other mall which we hit quite frequently). This compared to my young, care-free, budget-busting bachelorette days when I would probably Metro there twice a week after work.

As I walked off my lunch and stopped in the many, many, many shops, I could not help noticing that my new status as a Wanna Greenie has changed my mall-going experience.

The noise
- From the music in the stores to the people talking on their cellphones, I never realized just how noisy a shopping mall can be. It was quite overwhelming at first and then, of course, it becomes second nature to read a magazine at the bookstore while listening to Burning Ring of Fire (which happens to be one of my favorite songs, but that's not the point!).

The lights and lack there of - In addition to the aural bombardment was the visual bombardment of lights and spinning things and window displays. Don't get me wrong. There are times when I absolutely LOVE visual and aural bombardment - walking in Manhattan is one of my all time favorite activities. Fifth Avenue feels energizing to me - the mall does not. Maybe it's because I don't have New Yorker about to run up my heels if I don't pick up the pace, but perhaps it's because of the lack of natural light and a purely artificial environment.


The cr@p, my gosh, the cr@p - I could not help but critique the quality of the goods sold at the mall. Of course, there are some very high quality, and even eco-friendly goods, but the majority of "stuff" was pure junk, especially the clothing. I can't tell you how many times I put back a shirt or piece of "jewelery" thinking...I could get something better for a third of the price at the thrift store or something even more beautiful than this handmade on Etsy. I would never have considered these options before becoming a Wanna Greenie.

How has becoming a Wanna Greenie changed your shopping mall perspective...if you still go them?

Oh, and while I was there I just happened to stumble upon the Apple store, and yes, I will be getting a MacBook - thanks for all your recommendations. I am a little nervous about making the leap from PC to Apple, but I think I can deal. Can anyone tell me how much memory their MacBook has and if that is sufficient for their blogging/surfing needs? Also, can you tell me what type of external hard drive you have for backing up all those adorable baby pictures you've stashed away on your C: drive?

Have a great Friday, everyone. And remember. You never saw me here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

We've Been Leaded Update - The Mattel Matter

You may remember my post in which I waxed poetic (not!) about Sprout and Pip's lead Dora and Diego figurines.

After carefully packaging up three sets of Dora and Diego-related items, I shipped them back to Mattel headquarters (no, I did not drive there and demand that they look through the toys themselves). According to the paperwork, if all the items were determined to be lead-affected, I would receive a rebate check for over thirty dollars.

Yesterday, I received a check in the mail from Mattel. For six dollars. On the one hand I was relieved. That meant that Mattel did not think my stash of NickJr. treats were all bad. But on the other hand I was a bit peeved. Mattel had my stash of NickJr. treats and I had six dollars. But, I shrugged my shoulders and let bygones be bygones. I was trying to wean myself from the plastic anyway.

Today, when I returned home from work, there was a box waiting for me, return address: Mattel. Inside? All my Diego and Dora paraphenalia that Mattel had evidently deemed safe for consumption. I'm not trying to defend Mattel, but heck, the look on the faces of Sprout and Pip when they saw their Diego Field Journal and Diego Artic Rescue was priceless. I thought it was pretty decent of Mattel to ship the items back. I'm just sayin'.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Before I go any further, I have several housekeeping issues that I must address. No, not my housekeeping! Housekeeping in general (what is the origin of that phrase and why is it always used at conferences when they want to start by telling you where the bathrooms are or when the breaks will be?).

Maybe it's because some of my readers are from places where there isn't a lot of hunting, but I have received several emails telling me that freezer paper is probably as rare as gilding in their particular neck of the woods. a public service, the first three people who let me know via comments that they cannot find freezer paper will receive a box of Reynolds Freezer Paper courtesy of moi. (Hey's your opportunity to shine. Email me.) If I've already offered to send you some, no need to comment. Now SusieJ and Because I'm Me already know I'm a office-ally challenged, so plan for those Christmas freezer paper projects! Just kidding. I'll send them out this weekend, so please comment by midnight EST, Friday, September 28th.

Moving on. My computer is dying. I have a Compaq nx9010 and I can barely hear you guys because the fan is so. loud. The fan is on all. the. time. That can't be good. My laptop has served me well for over five years now and considering I won it in a raffle (read: free but for the price of a ticket), I have been uber-happy with it, especially the huge (by today's standards) keyboard. It served me well during two bouts of bedrest and has helped me kick off my very lucrative blogging career (oh, gosh, I'm so funny).

But, I now get more mysterious error messages than ever whenever I boot up and speaking of booting, it really can take between 7 to 10 minutes from the time I hit the "on" button to the time I can actually start typing. I don't want to jinx you Baby, but Compaq nx9010, I just want to give you the rest that you deserve. (But not before I download all the baby pictures I've been foolishly saving to my hard drive). So, (do you see where this is leading?)...what laptop do you use? Would you recommend it? Should I make the leap to Mac? And...I don't suppose there's anything Green about a computer, is there? Bamboo space bar? Perhaps to go truly green I should just take my laptop in for some TLC?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Back To Green...Back To Reality

I have certainly gotten a bit off-topic what with my freezer paper tutorial and my philosophising about all things Massachusetts. It's not from lack of material. There are so many green things going on that it's just a matter of deciding where to begin...

As I alluded to briefly in a previous post, the Washington Post's Color of Money columnist Michelle Singletary holds an annual Penny Pincher of the Year contest in which readers are invited to submit their best ideas for frugal living. This year, Michelle was looking for Green penny pinchers and green penny pinchers she did receive.

Third place winner was Amy Haden of Scottsville, Virginia who manages to bring home over 50 pounds a week of discarded coffee grounds, banana peels and other compost-fit contributions from her place of work. Both her chickens and her garden benefits.

The second place winner was Shirley Orth, an nurse from Del Mar, California, who decided that the one time use of an emesis basin for holding IV supplies was a complete waste "disposing over 500 of these per month". Their solution came from the IV tubing packaging itself: it included a small tray which they now reuse in place of those pink, plastic basins. A while back I posted on this very topic and so did my blogging friend over at Mom Go Green.

The grand prize winner was Tom Sponheim of Seattle Washington, who evidently visits coffee shop restrooms. A lot. But he is merely to adjust the water level in the toilet tanks! Tom estimates that during one particularly productive rounding, his "three or four hours of work would result in a savings of about 500,000 liters a year of water."

Freezer Paper Tutorial - HallowGreen

Happy Sunday, everyone.

Today's freezer paper tutorial is going to have a live-blogging element to's football season and Green Husband's team is playing today. Need I say more. Hopefully the tutorial will be complete by 4:00 p.m. EST (read: post naptime). In the meantime, I'll be posting in dribs and drabs.

Also, please note. I am not a crafty person. I cannot take a good photograph to save my life. Please be kind. :)

Supplies...darn cat.

This morning we happened to do sponge prints of pumpkins, so I've decided that that will be my stencil. Here's my pumpkin that I will cut out and trace onto freezer paper. You can trace something directly onto the freezer paper - I would have used the sponge pumpkin, but it's already covered in paint! LOL!

Now don't forget to save any little scraps that you cut out (in my case the pumpkin's eyes, nose and mouth). Those are used to mask the paint. Also, my picture is symmetrical so it doesn't really matter which side of the freezer paper I trace my image. If you are concerned about what part of your image appears on the right or left side of your finished product, don't forget that the shiny side of the paper needs to go face down on your fabric.

My image is now ready to be ironed onto my son's t-shirt. Because these aren't exactly keepsakes for me, I've used an orange t-shirt that I know isn't going to make it another summer season. Placing the shiny side of the freezer paper down, carefully iron on all your elements down using low heat/no steam. You can just put a towel under the t-shirt if you're worried about the heat. I'm not so worried.

Ironing tips: You don't really need to "iron" per say. Just press the iron down flat on the paper for a few seconds until the freezer paper fuses. Remember: where ever you have paper there will be no paint.

Now, here is the important part which I learned the hard way last time. Go slide something between the two sides of your fabric if your fabric has a front and a back (like my t-shirt). I'm using this Sunday's Post magazine. It's the home addition and I really can't afford anything in there anyway. If you don't do this, the paint may seep through the fabric, causing the front and the back to stick together while drying. Hence, the hole in the back of my son's shirt last time when I tried to separate the two.

Pick up your brush and apply a very thin layer of paint to your image. You can work from some paint you squirt out right onto your fabric. You do not need to glob it on, but you want to make sure you get right up to the edge of the freezer paper, so don't be shy...paint right over the paper.

I can already tell that I've used a bit too much paint (it's acting uber-saturated) and that one of my "floating" pieces was not ironed down well enough so I'll probably have some paint seepage under there. Que sera, sera, eh?

Now. Lay flat and put somewhere where the paint can get nice and dry. And, note to self, do not leave it where the cat can sit on it again. My paint brand says to wait 24-hours. Bummer. The one I used before said 4.

So tomorrow, or whenever, simply and carefully peel off the freezer paper. You can use a pin or a paper clip to gently get under the paper instead of marring the image with your fingernail.

Follow your fabric paint's directions, but it's best to wait at least 72 hours before you wash it...kind of like those perms of yesteryear.

The kids are stirring... I hope you enjoyed this tutorial; thanks for waiting. I can't wait to see what creative things you come up with - I could sure use some inspiration in that department!

Go 'Skins!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Green Jokes

I am still feeling a bit harried by my trip up North. Leave it to a vacation to make you feel like you need a vacation as you try to play catch-up at work and at home. I am juggling (like all of you are) several presentations for work, a poster session for an upcoming conference, checking in with my blogging buddies, and tentatively beginning a new journey down a new path: freelance writing. I enjoy doing all of these things but do ya think that locking my keys in my car is my brain trying to tell me something? Fortunately Sprout and Pip were not in the car with my keys and at least I don't have to worry about canning peaches like Daring Young Mom. Read her post - it's a keeper. And, to top it all off I'm still on laundry load number three, dudes.

Here are some posts that are in the hopper:

More DC Greenery, including the winners of Michelle Singletary's eco-friendly contest and the upcoming Green Festival.

Miss Kitty et al.: Gather yee supply list...this weekend will be The Great Freezer Paper Tutorial. Remember, I'm no expert but if I can do it, you can do it. Trust me. Halloween images are perfect for freezer paper projects: lots of spooky silhouettes.

Some magazine round-ups: Yes, my addiction to the glossies is serving me very well. Allow me to crunch the numbers for you. It really is a DUTY to go through all of these magazines looking for green tid-bits. It's a tough job, but somebody, SOMEBODY, has got to do it. Let it be me.

And, my goodness, I almost forgot to write about the title of my post. Good thing I read it to remind myself! Wouldn't you think by now there would be a dearth (is that a word?) of Green Jokes? I mean you'd think any joke that relies heavily on the number of people needed to screw in a lightbulb would just be ripe for so good old-fashioned CFL humor. Any one?

Tomorrow is Computer Free Friday! See you on the flip side!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Books We Love: Leaf Jumpers

Phew! The Wanna-Greenies are back from a whirlwind tour of Massachusetts, visiting Green Nana and Green Gramps, and I've got a lot of catching up to do. I'm looking forward to visiting your blogs and to posting about the latest and greatest in greenery.

We did a lot of fun stuff while in the Bay State: The New England Aquarium, Lookout Farm, and lots and lots of walks and hikes. I also have two observations to make about the inhabitants of my former place of residence: 1) I don't care what the actual statistics are, and Starbucks can disagree with me all they want, but these people love their Dunkin' Donuts. That's all I'm sayin'. 2) These people (again with the "these people") we say, kind of into the team logo apparel. We are talking there must be a Red Sox hat, t-shirt, or sweatshirt for every man, woman, and child in the Bay State and they are all wearing them at once. Love that team pride!

While we were in Boston, we also had the opportunity to visit with artist and illustrator, Leslie Evans at Sea Dog Press. She is busily working on a new book called Winter Trees, published once again by Charlesbridge Press. It is a companion book to her previous award-winning tree-tise (hahaha, oh gosh, I slay myself) Leaf Jumpers. If you have not seen this book yet it, you should really make an effort to find it in your local library or bookstore as it is the perfect time of year for this perennial favorite.

Using the same hand-cut linoleum block print and watercolor technique that she used for her Acrostic series, she illustrates in autumnal colors the different leaves from our favorite trees. Along with author Carole Gerber's rhyming narration, you cannot help but want to gather up your own pile of leaves to crunch through. In the interest of full disclosure, this book happens to feature my two cousins, but hey...I'd love Leslie's work anyway!

I hope you enjoy Leaf Jumpers, no matter if autumn leaves fall in your neck of the woods or not! And who knows...Leslie, if you're reading this...maybe you'd agree to be interviewed for a future Gift of Green post!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I work with a funny group of people and when I say funny I mean funny ha ha not funny weird. So when they invited me to join their funny bunch at Dinner Done, I jumped at the chance.

Dinner Done, in case you're not familiar with the company or the concept, is one of a number of franchises that allows you to prepare a number of meals at once, on site, that you then take home and freeze for later use.

I began the process by logging on to Dinner Done's website and selecting eight meals I was interested in preparing at our group's upcoming session. The selection of entrees usually changes by month and you pay a fixed fee for either eight or twelve selections. In my case, my eight entrees were going to cost me about $154.00. Each prepared entree, they claim, feeds 4 to 6 people.

I arrived at Dinner Done at about 7:30 and met my six co-workers who would be joining me that evening. I think the limit was 15 participants, so the other attendees appeared to be another group of friend or co-workers. You are handed an apron, your list of selected entrees, told to wash your hands, and the food prep. begins immediately. But wait...what do I mean by food prep? This is the beauty of Dinner Done and other joints like them. Everything is already prepped for you. In a rather industrial but cozy setting, if that makes any sense, are about 12 stations that provide everything you possibly need to make a particular entree (okay, if I type entree one more time I'm going to have to hurt myself...synonyms anyone?). So, for example, I started off by making Bourbon chicken. As soon as you approach the station, a helpful Dinner Done staffer hands you a bag containing all the chicken you need, already conveniently cut to size. Then, following the posted directions, you prepare the marinade and the chicken itself. Every ingredient is pre-chopped, sliced or diced AND the measuring utensils of the correct size already been placed each ingredient. No matter how untalented you are at the culinary arts, this method is absolutely fool-proof - you consult the steps posted above your work station and just keep on keeping on, omitting, decreasing or increasing the amount of ingredients depending on your particular tastes. When you're finished, you place the uncooked, prepared food in containers, depending on the serving sizes you want to cook at some future date, take them over to the wrapping station, bundle them up, slap a label on the e-word which lists cooking times, place them in the industrial freezer until you're ready to go, and one hour and half later...voila. Dinner done. For many, many days (at least in our house). We had the Bourbon chicken for dinner tonight and it was yummy.

So why am I posting about this on my Gift of Green blog? As I left there, I couldn't help but wonder if this process was very green at all. Here are some of my conclusions.

The Anti-Green:
-Right off the bat, the number of containers used was absolutely obscene. Granted you are packaging things up for the freezer which I guess, if you were an organized person like me (not), you would be doing this at home too. But I don't think most of us would use disposables to freeze portions? I don't know; I'm not a cook-one/freeze-one type of person.
-Who knows where this stuff is coming from. I was worried that the quality of the meats would not be up-to-snuff and that we'd be using questionable ingredients, but the place we went to was extremely transparent in that when an ingredient needed to be replenished they just popped open some huge container of a name brand item sitting in their immense pantry and that was that. However, I'm guessing none of this stuff was organic or even local.
-I love hygiene. I'm all about food-safety. I was very pleased to see how clean and spotless this venue was and how responsible all the attendees were as well. Responsibility came at a cost, however, and that cost was single use plastic gloves for food-handling. Maybe you use these at home when you cook - I don't.

The Green
-Although I cannot vouch for local or organic, it appears to me that the menus change monthly based on what is in season. Perhaps they use this strategy to keep pricing down. Not sure.
-Can't something green be said about what was basically a communal kitchen? Huge cans of beans, gigantic vats of soy sauce, gob-stoppers of spices (okay, I'm reaching on that last one). This method has to cut down on the number of tin cans floating around, would you say?
-Maybe I'm reaching here, but the hour and a half I spent preparing at least two weeks of meals for my family will definitely allow me more time to spend with my family. Now, when I get home, I basically just heat (cook) and serve, and I do know that everything was made with fresh, all natural ingredients (although, as I mentioned, I cannot really vouch for the meat products themselves, or the salmon fillets for that matter).

Bottom Line: In my experience Dinner Done saved me time (and cooking angst) and has provided my family with a variety of tasty meals. On the green side, Dinner Done and other places of its ilk probably won't be making the top ten list of ways to go green.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Five years ago today was the start of a very long and painful journey for members of my extended family. It's not my story to tell, so I will just share a poem I remember from that time.

I'm dancing.
I'm leaping.
I'm skipping about.
I gallop.
I grin.
I giggle.
I shout.
I'm Earth's many colors.
I'm morning and night.
I'm honey on toast.
I'm funny.
I'm bright.
I'm swinging.
I'm singing.
I wiggle.
I run.
I'm a piece of the sky
in a circle of sun

--Rebecca Kai Dotlich from Lemonade Sun: And Other Summer Poems

Works for Me Wednesday: Take Paper Home from the Office. Really.

If your children are like mine, you know that they go through paper, nevermind. Anywho, they use a lot. In a previous post, I suggested an easy way for those work-out-of-the-home-moms to obtain a paper stash while recycling at the same time: take home all that "used" paper from the office.

Fortunately, my department at work does not simply toss all those non-confidential rough drafts, "oops" and "I thought you were going to change the toner!"-type mistakes. We take the "used" paper home, flip it over, and feed it through our home printers or let our kids use it as scrap paper. We even take some to our daycare provider. I say, 50% of that paper isn't used, baby!

For more fancy-pants ideas, head over to Rocks in My Dryer's Works for Me Wednesdays.

Monday, September 10, 2007

DC Greenery

The DC Metro area may not be the first place you think of when you're looking to go green, but amid all the traffic and hot air there is plenty of greenery to be found. I will be bringing your attention to more eco-conscious events and news items to help you get your green on while you're fighting that beltway madness.

Wendy Reiger, an anchor from the NBC's channel four has been blogging for some in The Green Room. Her posts are thoughtful, genuine, and surprisingly candid (who knew she eats hamburgers to combat hangovers?)

Green Festival 2007 is coming to Washington, DC on October 7 & 8 and I couldn't be more excited! The program still looks to be under development and, is it me, or does the list of presenters seem a bit academic? I can't put my finger on what exactly who I'd like to hear from, but I get the feeling that much of these presentations will be way over my little dull-witted head.

I missed it. I missed The Green House at the National Building Museum. Luckily their companion website gives me a glimpse of the good stuff, but I'd love to hear from any of your local-yokels who actually, as my son says, got your fanny over there .

Ain't public libraries grand? Arlington County has, what we call in the librarian-trade, a pathfinder on all those wanna-greenie resources. These resources were evaluated by librarians, who are probably one of the most annoyingly thorough people on the face of the planet (I can say that - I am one). Have you ever tried to ditch a reference librarian? It's almost impossible. But I digress.

Oh, and I think I'll be taking Sprout and Pip to visit Fairfax County's green fire station. I'm assuming the trucks will still be red.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Get Hip to Hybrids

I am seriously behind. I promised Miss Kitty, whoever you are my dear, that I would post a freezer paper tutorial this weekend and it looks like that is just not going to happen as it is now Redskins season. Do I need to elaborate? Hopefully tomorrow, Miss Kitty, as I am eager to do another image, this time for Sprout.

Another reason I am postponing my freezer paper tutorial is that many moons ago I promised Because I'm Me... a post focusing on resources related to hybrid vehicles. I am interested in this topic myself as I am seeing more and more on the road. So here we go.

Hybrids: Hip or Hype? Discuss.

One of the first places I would start for a general overview on greening your car, is Their How to Green Your Car page does not focus solely on hybrids, but does include a lot of useful information and links to additional websites. has a rather dense fact sheet on hybrid-electric cars which may contain some information of use to you...if you can wade your way through it. Guess I'm just of the Sesame Street generation. They also have a matrix (what happened to the word "chart"? what exactly is a matrix? why does everyone use the word matrix? am I the only one who hears that word and thinks "Keanu Reeves"? but I digress) highlighting the greenest of the green for 2007, with the Toyota Prius topping the list with a whopping 60 MPG city driving.

And then, well I'll be darned, did you know that Consumer Reports now has a Greener Choices: Products for a Better Planet website? Among the dozens of fascinating topics covered, green cars (Did you know that Norway does not allow type of "green" designation applied to cars - their philosophy, no matter how fuel-efficient, there's nothing green about a car. Period.) Once again, the Prius tops their list of picks.

Then Mom Go Green (the first blogger to ever link back to my site. sniff, sniff) posted a while back on the status of green minivans. Maybe she'll give us an update in a future post. No pressure, MGG.

Finally, there is The Hybrid Center, brought to you by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Check out their Comparison Chart (notice they do not call it a Comparison Matrix. Interesting) where you can "Compare the stats and features of selected hybrids with other hybrids and non-hybrid references."

I suppose the first car I would test drive is the Ford Escape (although as a mom that name makes me laugh. Kidding. Not. Kidding.), because I am tired of having to bungie cord a relative to the roof of my four-seater every time I pick them up at the airport with the two kids in tow. On the other hand, I think I'll just drive my current 1995 non-hybrid into the ground. Nothing says "I'm stickin' it to the man" like no car payments.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Top Ten Things About Massachusetts That Get A "Huh?" In Virginia

Today I got a comment from Audrey at Pinks & Blues, who not only, along with her mom and sister, have their own fabulously fun site, but is also a regular contributor to the New England Mamas blog, which I have just spent hours, er, several minutes, perusing. Gosh that site brings back memories - so here are the top 10 references that, when I use them here in Virginia, people don't have a clue about what I'm talking about. So please indulge me as I venture off the Green Path and instead take a trip down memory lane.

10) A Raspberry Lime Ricky - What was summer without one?

9) Regular Coffee - You order a regular coffee at D & D and it came with milk and sugar

8) The Importatude of The Blizzard of '78 - Snow days + February School Vacation = SWEEEEETTT!

7) Wicked - No, not the book. Or the musical.

6) Peanut Butter and Fluff - Surely this was not invented in Massachusetts {update: well, I'll be darned it was!}, but from the reaction I'm getting down here in Virginia I'm guessing it did not originate south of the Mason/Dixon Line.

5) Radiators - If you have never heard a radiator clanging as the water heats up, you don't know what you've missed. Same goes for using a radiator key.

4) Bubblas - Yes, those things. Where do you get a drink?

3) Lobster Rolls at McDonalds - Was this just a dream?

2) Triple Deckers - I have never, ever, seen a Triple Decker anywhere by Massachusetts. Granted I don't get out much, but people here tend to think I'm referring to a sandwich, so that can't be good sign.

and the number one thing Virginians look at me funny about:

1) Jimmies - Need I say more?

Down (Syndrome) With Love - A DC Metro Mom Post

I was at Babies 'R Us today picking up some essentials and I grabbed the September 2007 issue of Babytalk, a cute freebie on "straight talk for new moms". This month's cover model was an adorable 10-month old seated in an outdoor swing, wearing a cozy cable knit sweater and some multi-colored pants, bare feet catching some air, mouth wide open in that "look at me I'm airborne'" smile we're all familiar with. The baby happens to have Down syndrome and the accompanying story is "A new song: Parenting my son with Down syndrome isn't a trial; it's a joy" by writer Jennifer Graf Groneberg.

Flip to page 6 and the Editor-in-Chief's column, written by Susan Kane, is a definite eye-opener. Kane writes,

"Back in 2001, Babytalk was the first national parenting magazine to feature a baby with Down syndrome on its cover. The accompanying article, on the benefits of early intervention, earned us our first National Magazine Award nomination. I figured we had broken a barrier, and I waited to see which magazine would put one of these beautiful children on its cover next. Turns out, it's us again."

Could this be true? Ten years gone by without another national parenting magazine featuring a baby with Down syndrome on their cover?

While I have seen children with Down syndrome and children with special health care needs featured in everything from magazines to shopping circulars, it is striking to me when I do see photographs of these children. Striking not because they have Down syndrome or are in a wheelchair, but striking because it makes me realize how infrequently these children are included in our every day reads.

Why is that? Is it because statistically most parents do not have a child with special health care needs? Is it because magazines and retailers fear that some consumers will be "put off" by the inclusion of children who do not look like them? I truly do not know the answer to these questions, but I do know that there are over 350,000 people in the United States with Down syndrome and that number not only includes babies and toddlers, but also young adults and adults who, guess what, can be savvy consumers too.

If you have never read "Welcome to Holland", a brief essay written by Emily Perl Kingsley, one of the brilliant minds behind the creation of Sesame Street and the mother of a son with Down syndrome, I highly recommend you do. In the meantime, I commend Babytalk for featuring a child with Down syndrome on the cover of their September issue and hope that others will follow suit. It would be wonderful to see these child on the cover of our glossies just 'cause and not because October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month or because of a Down syndrome-related feature.

If what the Editor of Babytalk writes is true, and I have no reason to doubt her, what will the next 10 years bring?

{Down (Syndrome) With Love was originally posted by moi on DC Metro Moms}}

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

WFMW - Organic Milk and a Not-So-Green Baggie

Ah, WFMW... Today's theme WFMW over at Rocks in my Dryer is Brand Loyalty. What brand names always work for you?

I have said it before, and I will say it again. My secret un-green shame is Ziploc bags. I love how they seal, I love how they repel water, I love how they come in so many cute sizes. As that wacky woman Molly Shannon played on SNL used to say, "I love 'em, I love 'em, I love 'em."

So, let me try to redeem myself by trying to get some green back into the conversation. I just cannot bring myself to buy non-organic milk for my children. My favorite (and it also happens to be the least expensive) brand is Whole Foods' 365 1% milk. Not very sexy, I know. But I am loyal to it.

Monday, September 3, 2007

ARRRRRRRRR - T. Rex in Freezer Paper

I. did. it. I did a craft. It came out reeeeee-ally well. Perhaps you think I am bragging. Well, I kind of am because, if you must know, I do not have a good crafting history, shall we say. I have started about a dozen "hobbies" and usually give up. But in my, ehem, old age I have finally learned that nothing is accomplished without hard work and some massive mess-ups. So after learning about freezer paper here I became inspired. I did this while the kids took naps and if you want to, you can too. Here it is...T. Rex in Freezer Paper:


See my freezer paper tutorial here!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Green Things to Do in a Library

So this evening I was meta-dating my metadata and saw that someone stumbled on Gift of Green by googling "green things to do in a library." Hm. Never thought of that. But, as a librarian and as a wanna-greenie it got me thinking. So, your wish is my command whoever you are:

The Top Five Green Things to Do in a Library

1) Check out a book - yes indeed this is probably the greenest thing you can do period. Borrow a book instead of buying it and you are saving on paper, ink, transportation, printing, and not to mention you are saving cold hard cash.

2) Drop off your used books, magazines, DVDs, and audiocassettes - libraries use them mostly at book sales as library fundraisers, but drop off a relatively brand spankin' new copy of a popular work and that might by *your* donation sitting on the New Books shelf.

3) Use the Internet - How is this green? Oh, who knows. If the library is your only source of internet-access then I suppose you are probably saving yourself from the onslaught of junkmail that usually comes once your ISP has you in their grip.

4) Attend lectures and workshops - I am fortunate to live in a county with a great library system. You can learn how to knit, get help on starting your own small business, or learn English as a second language. From the Green angle you can bring in that leaf with the weird fungus on it for the Master Gardeners to take a look at or attend a lecture on winterizing your home. Love the lectures - and they are FREE!

5) Elect to receive all your overdue notices by email - Forget the waste of receiving your overdue notices by snail mail (I am told that people receive overdue notices - of course I know nothing about this and no I am not one of my library system's largest "contributors" when it comes to fines) have those bad boys sent to your email account and you'll never return a library book late again. Cough. Cough.

What kind of, ehem, green things do *you* do @ your library?

[This post is cross-posted on BlogHer]