Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Gift of Green's Clothesline Challenge 2008!

Oh my bloggy friends, it is SO good to be back.

***Update - The Bloggy Button is here!! Steal away!***

While I am still busy finishing up my young adult literature class and still working away on a new writing project, that crunch time feeling is less so, and so my bloggy break has come to an end!

Well, for all those of you who have been waiting on(clothes)pins and needles, today I am announcing the start of Gift of Green's Clothesline Challenge 2008!! One of my oldest and dearest friends, Sue, has designed an adorable bloggy button for your site - as soon as I can figure out how to bleepin' resize it I will add it to my sidebar for you to steal.

The Clothesline Challenge will run for three months: May, June and July. And your attention please! Your clothesline need not be a traditional line hung between posts in your backyard! You may use your shower curtain rod, your banister, your apartment balcony.

There are three Line Levels: Novice, Intermediate, and Advanced. Chose your Line Level based on what you think you can accomplish over the next three months.

Novice: Using a clothesline (or clothesline-related product) gives you the chills. You have bad memories of a towel burn you got from a crunchy sun-dried towel. You'll give it a try, pledging to dry 10% of your wet laundry (1 item out of ten per load or one load per ten loads) on a clothesline or CRP.

Intermediate: You've been itching to formalize your clothesline (or CRP) and here's your chance. You want to rig up a better system, whatever that may be, and see how much you can save on your energy bills by cutting out the dryer. You pledge to dry 50% (5 out of ten items per load or 5 loads out of ten loads) for the duration on a clotheslines or CRP.

Advanced: Crunchy towels don't scare you! In fact, bring them on! Crunch builds character! In fact, you are running out of space to hang all of your fine and not-so-fine washables. You pledge to dry 90% (9 out of ten items per load or 9 loads out of 10 loads) for the duration on a clothesline or CRP.

To sign up for the challenge, leave a comment stating your Line Level and the type(s) of clothesline(s) you have (just out of pure curiosity on my part). I will post a list of participants on my sidebar linking to your blog (or just your first name and state - whatever you prefer).

Caveats? Can't think of any at the moment. There will be some fun clothesline-related giveaways and lots of links to help you on your non-dryer journey. Stay tuned for more posts related to Gift of Green's Clothesline Challenge 2008!!

Thanks for visiting! It's so nice to hear from you again!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bit o' Bloggy Break

Due to the final stretch of my class, a writing project, and the usual demands of Springtime, I will be taking a temporary blogging break until May 1st.

Coming attactions:

JOIN! Gift of Green's Clothesline Challenge 2008!

LEARN! How I am fairing as a Compacting Mama (hint: Coffee is my weakness)

ENTER! For a chance to win a copy of the Holistic Moms Network new cookbook!

READ! How I taste-tested yummy pizzas sent to me by a company I love: Kashi! (It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it!)

WATCH! As I post actual pictures of myself wearing entirely thrifted outfits!

COMMENT! from now until then on how you are and what you're doing! I want to know!

Until May 1st!

~ Amy

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

That Bicycle I've Been Promising You...

Thanks to a head's up from Green Gramps, Transplanting Me, Anglophile Football Fanatic, and Blessed with 4 no longer have to worry about that bicycle *only* built for four.

As Green Gramps 'ku'd:

To save on gas, Green
Schwinn is not your best bike bet.
Conference moves me

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Road Map to Holland - A Mother Talk Review

Whether you have a child with Down syndrome or not, read this book...

If you have ever battled the instinct to flee - to run from your family and from the mess you think you have created, read this book...

If you have ever been stunned into silence and vowed next time you will know exactly the right way to respond, read this book...

If you need to be soothed by descriptions of the natural world, read this book...

If you have ever needed to forgive yourself, read this book...

We have all had experiences that are worthy of writing about and we do on on blogs, in our own private journals, maybe a short story later stuffed in a filing cabinet, a poem, a 5-7-5 haiku. Jennifer Graf Groneberg's new book "Road Map to Holland" is one of those rare books where the writer has both a story to tell and the talent for telling it.

Way back in September of 2007 I blogged about the lack of children with Down syndrome in the popular media and highlighted a story written by Groneberg in BabyTalk magazine. In Road Map to Holland: How I Found My Way Through My Son's First Two Years With Down Syndrome Groneberg deftly weaves the story of her family (older brother Carter and his younger twin brothers Avery and Bennett, her husband Tom) into a book that also educates; subtlety letting the reader know what Down Syndrome is all about, translating the alphabet soup of medical acronyms, and touching on the books, websites, and guides that serve as her own personal road map.

Her descriptions of the NICU, the struggles to breastfeed, the trips to and from the hospital, never feeling settled there or at home all rang true to me - Pip only spent 9 days there, but many of Groneberg's feelings mirrored my own. Some of the most moving parts of the book are her descriptions of moments of release: letting go, acceptance in increments, life going on.

Finally, helpful chapter notes, a list of resources and a glossary add to this love letter to her own family. I recommend this book for public libraries, hospital libraries, and consumer health libraries, wherever they may be located. This book would also make an excellent choice for a health care professionals' or medical students' book group.

Learn more at the National Down Syndrome Congress or the National Down Syndrome Society.

This review brought to you in partnership with MotherTalk.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Haiku Friday: Gas is $3.54 a Gallon

Dear Schwinn: Please send me
a bicycle built for four.
Gas prices are up.

Congratulations to Carrie of It Matters to This One! She is the winner of Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic by Sea Dog Press owner and operator Leslie Evans!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Today's the (Gulp) Day for Compacting!

Intergalactic Rose and I are taking the two month plunge together: we have both decided to join Mamas on the Compact for two months of not buying anything new. So here goes...my pledge for the next two months:

Beginning April 1st, 2008, I pledge not to buy anything new. The purpose of this pledge is to save money, to learn to be satisfied with the possessions I already own (and to take care of things I do own so that they last longer), and to distinguish between what I "Want" and what I "Need".

Strategies for avoiding the "Wanna-haves" include not browsing on shopping websites, flipping quickly through the pages of my magazines that extoll the next best green thing to buy, rewarding myself with several trips to the thrift shops, and reviewing my bank account balance!

Here are my exceptions (with forbiddens noted) for the months of April and May:

Food (coffee shop coffees, restaurants, buying lunch at work, and "energy bars" are strictly forbidden)
Medicine & Doctor's Visits
Feminine Hygiene Products (I am really, really sorry all of you Diva Cup fans)
April birthday gift for Great Grams
Anniversary Present for Green Husband (must not be a "thing" however - can be something like admission to the butterfly exhibit - if I were to do that.)
New shoes for the children (I'm sorry - unless they are used snow boots or dress shoes, I don't do "used" shoes. They mold to the wearer's feet over time and basically become customized. I predict that both of my children will jump a shoe size over the next two months!)

I think that is it! Gulp! Let the Compact begin!

{This pledge is cross-posted over at Mamas on the Compact}