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Earth Day will be celebrated on April 22 and Kitchen Counter Chronicles recently blogged the ABC’s of Raising Eco-Friendly Kids.  As parents isn’t it our duty to leave our planet in better shape for our children and grandchildren?  What better way than to instill strong eco-values in our kids at an early age.

Thirteen year-old Gregory received an iPhone for Christmas.  His mother Janell Burley Hofmann gifted that phone along with this contract of use.  Janell offers her son words of wisdom along with terms and conditions, such as never take pictures of your private parts (that will come back to haunt you) and never text/email anything you wouldn’t say to that person’s face.  I am book-marking this for the future!

My days wouldn’t be complete without reading Yoonanimous.  Whether it’s her hilarious telling of ski day with her kids or the lack of romance between her and her husband, Yoonanimous is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud.  Her recent trip to Vegas with her kids had me firmly believing that she and I are living parallel lives on the opposite sides of the continent.

Nathalie sent me 100 Ways to be Kind to your Child by Creative with Kids and it serves as a touching reminder that connecting with our children is the most important job that we have as parents.  Kindness can get side-lined when tired gives way to irritability and incessant whining takes it toll but listening to that long-winded explanation of my this Ninjago guy is better than that Ninjago guy, shows that you care.  I printed off the list and keep it at my bedside to remind myself to slow down and be more present.  Numbers 90, 91 and 92 should be my mantra.

Because it’s Friday and because it’s snowing here (yes, still!), let’s end the week off with a laugh.  Check out the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer.  What’s so funny, you ask?  Read the reviews!

 

Earth Day: Small Changes

You know the expression, “Look after the pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves”?  I kind of feel that way about green living.  It’s not a perfect analogy since the earth also needs some very big changes, and some of these may require some serious dollars.  But on an individual level, living with a light footprint can be achieved by making small changes, none of which is so momentous in itself, but which cumulatively can really be impactful.

Making even small green steps still takes intention though, and especially if they take time they have to be put on the agenda to materialize.  So I was glad to participate a couple of years ago in One Small Change, an upbeat (if short-lived) online challenge seeking people who would commit to make one small earth-friendly change a month from January to April (and presumably some would continue on from there).  I chose as my four commitments:  caulking our drafty house, learning to make yogurt, baking my own yeast bread, and making my own laundry detergent.

How did I do?  Well, my husband (I didn’t help) did a not bad job caulking the house (there’s more we could do).  I made a single batch of homemade yogurt and baked a single loaf of bread.  I had some difficulty finding the ingredients for the laundry detergent so I didn’t make it.  My performance was very average, and it was a little undignified how I raced to accomplish my challenges just shy of the deadlines.

And yet, every little movement we make in one direction helps to create momentum.  I didn’t know it at the time of my mediocre small change outcomes, but two years later, I am making almost all of the organic yogurt my family eats.  We avoid a lot plastic tubs, and the money that then stays in my pocket I can direct towards the more earth-friendly purchases.

And last week, I went to do the laundry and discovered our detergent tin was empty.  Five minutes later, I had mixed together a double batch of homemade detergent with natural supplies from the closet with my kids in tow, and then I went back downstairs to put on a load.  Just safe biodegradables into the water stream and minimal paper packaging.

Have we caulked the rest of the house or do I bake all our bread from scratch?  Nope.  But there was still positive movement from that voluntary online challenge, and I’m glad I tried it even though it was hardly a wild success at the time, because each green action we take lights a spark.  Not long ago, yogurt and laundry detergent making once seemed daunting and kind of “out there” to me but now I know the recipes by heart and making them is a matter of course.  And these small changes ready me for more.

Which leads me to a couple of new green ideas to implement in the next couple of months.  First, I’ve got to do something about the bread.  What we buy from the store is made from whole grains but has a million ingredients and I’m annoyed every time I get it because I don’t really know what  I’m buying and yet I’m supporting it with my money.  My foray into baking yeast bread showed that I don’t (yet) enjoy it enough to make my own, but I’m close to buying a breadmaker or at least eating less bread in favour of other whole grains.

There is also a fresh jar of yeast in the cupboard that I want to use for making our own pizza dough because I’ve been buying that too but don’t want the preservatives.  My boys would enjoy making it and I love cooking with them, so I’ve got some incentive on making that work.  Who could argue with homemade pizza?

And I’m going to start buying these eggs laid by hens that are raised humanely at a local farm.  And by the way, this sweet cafe that sells them has the best croissants and scones in Toronto, I swear.

Do you have one small change you could make this month, or maybe next?  Pray tell.  Here’s a list of possibilities if you need some inspiration.

And Happy Earth Day to you.  Wishing you a great weekend.

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

While I am certainly not in the exemplary green league of Green Style Mom, Mindful Momma or Happy Simple Living, I am aspiring to be more of an environmentalist.  I may not always make the best choices but since becoming a mother, I am more mindful of the impact my choices will have on the earth.

I was a child when the Reduce, Reuse, Recycle movement took hold.  My teachers would hold up items from the trash and the class would call out in chorus “garbage” or “recycle”.  We then took those ingrained lessons home with us, bundle together with “Never say yes to a cigarette!” and “Just say no to drugs!”, we taught our parents the three Rs with the verve of a religious zealot.

Twenty-five years later, I obsessively dissect packages.  The plastic cover deposited into the “gray bin” and the cardboard backing into the “blue bin”.  All food materials, and compostables make their way into the “green” bin.

Yesterday Nathalie made reference to Mrs. Draper and how her ignorance depicted the general attitudes of a generation.  If ever there were a T.V. mom who embodies the principles of RRR it would be Mrs. Walsh.

Just like the 902010 matriarch, I pick through the washroom garbage before collection day to ensure toilet paper rolls find their way to reincarnation via the blue bin.  I just hope that my garbage sorting, doesn’t uncover any sordid details not meant for my eyes.

As Earth Day approaches, I have made my own green resolutions: to walk more, to line drying the linens and to replace all of the plastic food storage containers with glass.

What commitment can you make to honour the Earth?

Video credit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=42HO2yqSAzQ

Photo credit:  www. ewswa.org

Theme Week: Becoming A Greener Parent

On April 22, Earth Day will be recognized around the world.  To the naysayers who oppose the environmental movement and celebrating Earth Day, I repeat the Native American proverb, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”

There is an inherent responsibility that we each have to this planet and unfortunately due to the abuse over the past century we have a lot of clean-up to do to restore this great gift that has been bestowed upon us.

This week 4mothers will be discussing how little changes in our day-to-day lives can have a positive impact on environmental change.  If nothing else, our actions we demonstrate for our children will help to re-shape the way society views environmentalism.