Wednesday, December 19, 2007

100 Mile Diet

I find the concept of the 100 Mile Diet very interesting. I would have to make a lot of adjustments in the way I eat, shop, cook and think. Might be a challenge worth pursuing - I can really only see benefits from eating locally.


When the average North American sits down to eat, each ingredient has typically traveled at least 1,500 miles—call it "the SUV diet." On the first day of spring, 2005, Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon chose to confront this unsettling statistic with a simple experiment. For one year, they would buy or gather their food and drink from within 100 miles of their apartment in Vancouver, British Columbia. Since then, James and Alisa have gotten up-close-and-personal with issues ranging from the family-farm crisis to the environmental value of organic pears shipped across the globe. They've reconsidered vegetarianism and sunk their hands into community gardening. They've eaten a lot of potatoes. Their 100-Mile Diet struck a deeper chord than anyone could have predicted. Within weeks, reprints of their blog at thetyee.ca had appeared on sites across the internet. Then came the media, from BBC Worldwide to Utne magazine. Dozens of individuals and grassroots groups have since launched their own 100-Mile Diet adventures. The need now is clear: a locus where 100-milers can get the information they need to try their own lifestyle experiments, and to exchange ideas and develop campaigns. That locus will be here at 100MileDiet.org—turning an idea into a movement.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dear Santa

My friend Kelly shared this with me today . . .

Dear Santa,
I've been a good Mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor, sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes:
I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze; but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store. I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy. If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music; a television that doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals; and a refrigerator with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the phone. On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools. I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog. If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container. If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family. Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is ringing and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold. Help yourself to cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,
MOM

P.S. One more thing...you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my children young enough to believe in Santa for many years to come.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Crafty Christmas



Hey - this stamping thing is so much fun!




Wait a minute . . . something is not right here?



Where exactly is my ink?



Now, that's more like it!




Meg's finished product - she did such a good job!




One of Davis' finished products . . . I thought we were creating a Christmas tree and I thought Davis thought we were creating a Christmas tree . . . BUT . . . . apparently not the case. When we were finished Davis exclaims - "that's great mommy - we made an arrow so the people will know which end to open"!




A couple of my finished products. I just stitched up two pieces of felt, added some embellishments and created a clever closure flap and TA DA a couple of handmade gift pouches.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Etsy

So I may have shown up a little late for this party, but this site is terrific! I was searching for stocking stuffers for my kids that didn't come from a "big box" store and found them here. Makes me wish I was a creative, crafty person!

Etsy is an online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade. Their mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Their vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice:
Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

That's a Wrap

I love wrapping beautiful packages with coordinating paper and ribbon! In years past, I would ignore the leftover wrapping paper (I couldn’t very well show up two years in a row with the same paper) I would set out to find the cutest, latest greatest pattern and matching accessories . . . sounds ridiculous I know, but I also know I’m not the only one out there with this little obsession! This year my packages will look a little different . . .. I am attempting to wrap green, not the color green, but the eco-friendly kind of green. Even though my gifts won’t make as big of a statement as in previous years - they will make less impact on the environment.

It is estimated that Americans throw away an additional 5 million tons of trash - 25% more than usual - between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. Much of the additional waste headed to the landfill during the holiday season comes in the form of gift-wrap and packaging. Good reused or reusable alternatives include:

* Old maps, sheet music or colorful ads from old magazines
* Baskets
* Reusable tins
* Scarves and handkerchiefs
* Leftover fabric or fabric gift bags
* Lightweight wallpaper
* Pages from a child's coloring book taped together
* Last year's holiday paper
* Pictures or advertisements from magazines and catalogs
* A plain box decorated with leftover glitter, paint, markers, etc.

No matter what, I promise I will not buy any new wrapping paper this year. I may dig into the rolls from years past, or I will get creative with the kids and deliver the prettiest presents ever!

I know I said I wouldn’t buy any new paper, but I reserve the right to buy natural fiber raffia ribbon in place of synthetic ribbons . . . I have to have ribbon, right?


Sources
http://www.thegreenguide.com/doc/117/wrapsody
http://www.kidbean.com/regiwr.html
http://www.ecologycenter.org/factsheets/holiday_tips.html
http://www.naturalpath.com/natural_living/use_free_and_eco_friendly_wrapping_paper_this_holiday_season
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/11/28/HOG4TFP1C.DTL
http://www.thegoodhuman.com/2007/11/26/use-free-and-eco-friendly-wrapping-paper-this-holiday-season/

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bittersweet Snow




Snow has been part of the background during significant events in our lives. Snow began falling as I began labor with Ellie and blanketed the ground when we brought her home two days later. The day before I was induced with Kate, Bob spent hours digging us out so we could drive to the hospital. When all was said and done he may have been more tired than me and came close to missing her birth - he is the only person I know that can fall soundly asleep sitting up in a hospital chair! The days surrounding the girls' memorial service and funeral were covered in snow, which was probably a big inconvenience for a lot of people. Bob gently reminded me of the role snow had played in our lives up to that point and somehow it seemed to make sense.

Freshly fallen snow makes the world feel so quiet and still - Bob and I will forever be connected to snow and will always be reminded of all these memories when the first snow of the year falls. Today was a good snow day - I'm sure there will be many more to come!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Quality Time

Opportunities for one on one time with my kids doesn't come often and when it does I realize how much I ache for it.

As much as I would like to hand-pick the time, my quality time with Davis came this morning between the hours of 2 - 5am. He had an upset stomach and systematically (like a mother experiencing labor contractions) threw up every 11 minutes over a 3 hour span of time. Although it sounds like a miserable experience for both of us, it was one of the sweetest times I've ever had with him. He was so brave and patient - we read books and played on the floor in between "sessions". We caught up on the day and talked about our plans for Christmas. He thanked me for taking care of his hiccups (his name for throwing up) and finally after hours fell asleep in my arms on the floor. Davis isn't still often so I held him for awhile and watched him sleep . . . . I realized there is something very special about being needed and being able to help your children feel better. It makes you realize just how important being a parent is and one on one time with your children can come in strange ways so be prepared.

PS For any family members looking for ideas for Davis' Christmas . . . he could use some new sheets!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Toy Safety Info

As your are enjoying your holiday shopping and marking off items on your list your kids' lists, check out ToyInfo.org to make sure your purchases have not been recalled. This site is very helpful and contains safety information and recall information on tons of toys.

Parents Play an Important Role:

Along with industry and government, parents have an important role in toy safety. As a parent, you should always:

Buy Smart:

  • Check age grading and all toy packaging labels to make sure the toy is appropriate for your child
  • Avoid toys with small parts for children under age 3 or children who mouth toys
  • Look for toys with sturdy parts and tightly secured joints
  • Shop at a reputable retailer, one you know and trust
  • Inspect the condition of second-hand toys and make sure you have the original packaging and instructions
  • Batteries in toys should be firmly attached and not accessible to children
  • Listen to toys with noises before purchase to make sure it's appropriate for your child

Read the Label:

  • Labels and instructions on packaging can give excellent guidance for safe purchasing decisions

Organize and Supervise:

  • Follow instructions for toy assembly and use
  • Supervise children as they play
  • Be a good role model and set an example for safe play
  • Keep toys with small parts away from children under three and from children who tend to mouth objects
  • Avoid all toys with sharp points or rough edges
  • Keep toys in an easily accessible storage bin with a removable lid
  • Repair or discard broken toys
  • Teach older children to keep their toys away from younger siblings.
  • Keep a separate toy chest for older children whose toys may contain small parts not suitable for their younger siblings.

Monday, December 3, 2007

There are no words . . .

It has been four years since we lost our daughters, Ellie & Kate. Everything about that statement is unbelievable.

I am healing. My heart lives in a place where sadness meets joy. I am blessed with a marriage that provides me with incredible strength and love. We have been given the gifts of Davis and Meg who bring us much joy and hope. There are things I struggle with – there are pictures of Ellie and Kate that bring me to my knees and there are memories to painful to recall, but I know that I am growing… through adversity we grow in faith, we grow in strength, and we grow in love.

"There are no words" is a phrase I've heard a lot - I used to agree until I read a passage that was shared with me by my friend Sarah Batley from Carol Kent’s When I Lay My Isaac Down. I know these words - I have felt them, cried over them and spoken them to others - these words are true and helpful for anyone who has experienced any sort of pain:

"There are some tragedies that are too big for a heart to hold, and they defy any description that makes sense. Time weaves its way through the shock, the hurt, and the inexpressible feelings, and one day you discover that in the process of daily survival, you have instinctively made decisions (good and bad), defined your theology, formed an opinion about God, and determined that you will either curl up and die emotionally or you will choose life."

"The terrifying but truthful fact is that, in choosing life, you realize it will never match the kind of life that was in your carefully thought-out plan for your future. It will force you to view people around you differently. The brokenness will challenge you to new levels of personal compassion. It will melt your pride, diminish the importance of your carefully designed agenda, and it has the potential to develop an unshakable faith that defies rationality."

We can not always change our circumstances, but we can allow our circumstances to change us in a positive way. God has given us the ability to make choices and to choose how we react to all situations. I choose to live.