Peaceful & Serene Woods
I just love this picture, it is a couple of years old now, but still one of my favorites. I distinctly remember yelling at my kids “hold each other’s hands and pretend that you like each other just long enough for me to take this picture!” Nonetheless, it just soothes my soul to look at it. This is a piece of property that, as soon as the weather warms up, we head to almost every weekend in the summer. The first few trips down are always a lot of work to repair and clean up what has happened to our spot over the winter. There is always a lot of dusting, vacuuming spider webs, re-stocking what we are low on, yard work, firewood chopping, etc. but one of the biggest, and most depressing jobs is garbage clean up.
Typically in the summers on the weekends I go for long walks and always take a garbage bag with me to pick up trash on the road that leads into the cabins. This first trip I am cleaning up about 9 months worth of trash that has accumulated during the off-season. All I can figure is that this trash must be thrown from car windows, as there are very few residences along the road. Are there really still people who do that? And why do they eat so much fast food and drink strange drinks in cans? I bet you didn’t know you could buy something called Chelada which is a mix of Budweiser Beer and Clamato in a can…..yummmm….all of the interesting things I pick up out there!
I hope that if there is a place that is close to your heart that you do your part to keep it clean this summer. Take your kids with you, I do, and maybe you will even snap one of your favorite photos in the process. I know one thing for sure, my kids will never throw trash out a car window….and will never grow up to drink Chelada!
Our Campfire Troop Planting Trees with the Nature Consortium
In Honor of Earth Day we thought we’d challenge ourselves (and our families) to choose several environmentally friendly activities to commit to doing this month. We’ve listed the ideas from our own brainstorming session below and hope you’ll join us in choosing a few to do at your own homes and in your own communities.
- Head to a neighborhood park to pick garbage. We did this last year and each of our children picked up an entire bag full of trash.
- Volunteer for an environmental cause in your community. You will see us at our children’s elementary school assisting in the “compost patrol” making sure all the food scraps end up in the correct bins and not the trash. We will also be volunteering at the first annual Sports Swap in our community, a great way to recycle outgrown sports equipment that someone else can use.
- Make a donation (small or large) to a cause that is near and dear to you. Our company will be helping to purchase stainless steel flatware for our children’s school to eliminate the plastic sporks that get thrown away after a single use.
- Participate in “Give Your Stuff Away Day”, the world’s largest giveaway. Check out the details here www.giveyourstuffaway.com .
- Add a 4th element to the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle triad – Maintain. Work on taking care of what we currently have rather than throwing away and replacing at such a high rate. For a great story about the overconsumption of “stuff” in our country watch www.storyofstuff.com . It’s great for older children too!
- Whenever possible make purchases from local merchants for the month of April.
- Do some crafts with the kids using recycled materials. There are some great sites out there to help you find ideas, here are a couple: http://familyfun.go.com/crafts/3-things-to-do-with-egg-cartons-841066/ http://www.kinderart.com/recycle/
- Commit to walk or bike for any trip under one mile for the month of April (unless it is a complete downpour which it often is this time of year in Seattle).
- Choose a reusable option whenever there is one available. ReUsies Reusable Snack and Sandwich Bags are a great solution to those single use plastic baggies!
- Take the time to read and talk to our children about the environmental messages in some of the great children’s books out there. We love how some of these were written in the 1970’s before “being green” was even popular! The Lorax by Dr. Seuss, The Wump World by Bill Peet, The Water Hole and Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base.
Seems like a long list but really most of these things don’t take much effort and can have such a great impact! Check out our great little Earth Day Video – thanks to Captive Eye Media!
There seem to be two types of moms out there. The first mom is thrilled with every developmental milestone -she can’t wait to not be tied down with nursing anymore, she cheered when her kids were finally out of diapers, and threw a party once her kids were finally in school full-time. The second type, which I tend to be, mourns each of these changes. I feel like their childhood is racing by and I’ll never have it back. I’ll be the poor sap with tears in my eyes next fall when my youngest heads off to kindergarden! There is, however, one thing that I couldn’t be happier to say goodbye to – check it out, it has been living in my family room for two years…
The Rescue Hero Mess!
My son finally agreed to part with this thing on Saturday and you can imagine how excited I was. I instantly started thinking…who could I give this to? I might even have to pay somebody to take this thing off my hands as most moms I know wouldn’t want to move this into the middle of their living room. That’s when I remembered Freecycle.org. I hadn’t used it before but went to their site and quickly found a group where I live. I set up an account and by nightfall was waving goodbye to this big pile of plastic. I knew it was going to a good home and not the garbage dump.
If you haven’t used Freecycle yet I highly recommend it, this is their mission statement:
“ Our mission is to build a worldwide gifting movement that reduces waste, saves precious resources & eases the burden on our landfills while enabling our members to benefit from the strength of a larger community.”
In short, it is a site that you can go to and list something you have that you no longer want, but that someone else in your community might be interested in having. What a great idea!
Do you ever do something and wonder why on earth you didn’t do that years ago? I had an experience like that last week when I sat down and made some cloth napkins for my family. Keep in mind I Do Not Sew!! I got a hand me down sewing machine from my mom over a year ago and finally took it out of the closet for this simple project (ok, not so simple for me – but for the average person). I realize the paper napkins we had been using did go into compost and breakdown, nonetheless we were still creating garbage we didn’t need to be. I let each family member choose their own pattern (truthfully I chose my husband’s for him, he chose to skip that fabulous trip to the fabric store) and I made four for each of us. We each end up using our own napkin a few times before washing – really they don’t get that dirty at every meal. It’s been a great solution, one more thing I don’t have to run out of and remember to pick up at the store, less waste, less garbage too! Just like ReUsies have taken the place of our plastic baggie waste, now my little napkin project has taken the place of all of our napkin waste – hmmm makes me wonder what I should tackle next… I challenge each of you to do the same, like me you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it a long time ago!
This is going to drive me crazy for the next year…see that white spot, yep a plastic bag! There is no way to reach it I just get to stare out my living room window at it for a LONG time. I know this because we had a plastic bag stuck in a tree in our backyard once and it took over two years to finally break away. Did you know they say that every piece of plastic we’ve ever used in our lives is still in existence in some form on our planet because it takes thousands of years to break down.
It used to be a nice view!
new ReUsies styles
The other day I took my kids skiing and when we got home I was telling my husband about the number of people who wear helmets skiing now. It seems that kids are just about 100% in helmets and adults (like me) that grew up wearing only hats are about 50%/50% hats to helmets. I was mentioning that once our generation is through the pipeline I bet everyone will be in helmets now since that was how they are being raised. At that point my 5-year-old said “just like when we are grown up there won’t be garbage anymore because now kids compost and recycle”. Keep in mind this comment came on the heels of attending the compost training at his big sister’s school – nonetheless we can always hope.
Cedar Grove Composting (http://www.cedar-grove.com/) came out and did a training of the students at Lafayette Elementary in Seattle yesterday. The students, on the Green Team, will go back to their classroom and teach their peers about what to throw in the new bins that will be showing up in their cafeteria next week. The woman who did the training had a great teaching tool from Seattle Public Utilities, an on-line game the kids could play - the kids loved it (although you might want to mute the music!)