Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Over The River...

After all the excitement of Halloween and all the Halloween movies and songs and poems,  before all the Christmas decorations, movies and songs,  there is a little know holiday of Thanksgiving.  It borrows most of it's decorations from the generic "Fall" category with the exception of adding Turkeys and cornucopias.  It only recently got a big movie--Charlie Brown being the only one prior.  It only has one song I can think of--Over The River and Through The Woods, which I believe is actually based on a poem by the same name.  I'm very loyal to Thanksgiving, not allowing myself to listen to Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving and not putting up any Christmas decorations until Thanksgiving is over.  I feel it deserves that kind of respect, being that it is it's own holiday.  Maybe it's because my birthday is so close to Valentine's day and I understand how being connected, if only by proximity, to a bigger holiday kind of overshadows you.  So tomorrow is the big day.  In years past I've made the big meal and hosted at my house.  It was fun and made it seem a little more eventful than just driving to someone else's house, eating, then going home.  This year we're driving to Cleveland to Uncle Rob and Uncle Steve's new house for Thanksgiving.  I'm taking my traditional pumpkin pie made from a fresh pumpkin, which is a good thing to bring in the car on a longish trip.  We're all excited to see  the new place so it makes this Thanksgiving a little extra special.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Baby O Designs

I went to a Quarter Auction this weekend to benefit my kids' school.  It was a lot of fun and I got out of the house--always a plus.  The best part was I found this great new business-Baby O Designs.  The owner had a table at the auction, and her son, the "O" of baby O, was there as well.  I know him from Ellie's class and when I went over to say hi to him I was absorbed with his Mom's products.  She makes all kinds of unique items for babies, toddlers and kids.  Her website has examples of things she makes, but she'll also do custom products.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vegetarianism: A How-To Guide

Vince's preschool teacher was asking him if he ate meat (I'm assuming it was in reference to the Thanksgiving Feast they're planning for next week.)   She knows that I don't eat meat and I was so impressed that she thought to ask him if he did.  He does, but isn't really sure about it.  He's always asking, "Is this animal?" when I make steak for Evan and he gives Vince some.  He gets mad sometimes and tells me to stop making animal.  I'm not really sure how to approach this with him.  With Caden, I opted for the shock method--explaining exactly where the food came from and the process it goes through to get to your plate.  He quit eating meat for a few months in Kindergarten, but decided to  it wasn't for him.  It was the pepperoni that did him in.  Anyway, I started talking to Vince's teacher, Stephanie, about meat.  She said her family doesn't eat much meat anymore, just chicken.  She said they've discussed becoming vegetarians but are worried about--can you guess??---protein.  I was impressed that she was concerned about the soy content in "fake" meats which is a good thing to worry about--when you eat a lot of it.  So, I've decided to talk about how to transition to a vegetarian diet--again.  I know lots of people like the idea and would like to try it, but don't really know HOW.  I also know people who would like to incorporate MORE meat into their diets, but are limited by the number of meals in a day. Steak just doesn't lend itself to a snack.  So here goes:

Thursday, November 14, 2013

My Brain's A Mess--Focus

I've been horrible about blogging lately.  It's on my to do list every day, and it just seems to get pushed to the bottom.  I feel like when I do blog it's kind of random and not very green, which is, after all, the whole point of writing the blog.  So in the midst of thinking about this move and renovating the new house and functioning on a day to day basis with my four kids, I'm having a hard time keeping a little place in my mind to stay focused on my greening mission.  When I get overwhelmed, I do two things.  First, I follow the directions on my wall.  Pause, relax, breathe.  Then I quote my mother's adage that she always said to me when I was younger, "One thing done and that done well, is a very good thing as many can tell."  So since I'm losing my focus on living a greener life (I DID almost buy the book Raising Goats on my last trip to Lowe's.  Now THAT's living green!) I'm going to pick one thing, and do that well.  I always focus on food and cleaning so I'm going to pick something a little different this time.  Since it's Thanksgiving, the time of year for being thankful for what we have, I thought I'd keep that in mind when trying to be greener.  Reduce, REUSE, Recycle.  I'm going to look at reusing in our home.  Now comes the list.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Snow Day!

It started last night.  I could see the flakes floating down in the glow of the street light outside my house.    This morning it covered the ground, blanketed the rooftops and defined all the tree branches with a white outline.  The first snow of the season.  I love it so much!  There's something so magical about the first snowfall.  It's like and old friend you haven't seen in months.  Of course by the time spring rolls around you're exceedingly sick of that old friend, but in November there's nothing like big fluffy flakes, soup for dinner and a cup of tea (or a Gingerbread Latte because by the time the snow falls I'm sick of Pumpkin Spice!).

Vince has already been outside.  Being the little brother, he's never without a hand-me-down winter coat and boots so he was all ready to play in the snow--except for the snow pants.  Not sure what happened to Caden's old pair, but since he's a GIANT he was able to wear Ellie's.  Let me tell you--my kid was looking GOOD in his orange coat, pink snow pants and red boots!  Olivia was content to stay inside, which is good since she doesn't go out unless I go out and as much as I love the first snow, I love to watch it from inside, not outside.  Jack was my wild card.  He was born in March in Alabama, then came to Ohio at the end of April so I was pretty sure he'd never seen snow before.  With his short coat I was afraid he'd hate it, but I was so WRONG!  He ran like a wild man out there!  Around and around the yard, leaping and bouncing.  It made my morning (and Olivia's too- she LOVES "Jack-Jack") to watch my little boys having so much fun in the snow.

The best part about this first hit of cold is that I get to use my new furnace.  It still smells a little new, like the first time you turn it on after it's been off for awhile.  I'm excited to see how my gas bills change  this winter with the newer, more efficient furnace.  Of course, we won't be finishing the winter here at this house, but that will be interesting too, since our new house is a different kind of heating altogether--steam.  I've heard that steam is the most efficient heat and I'm excited to see if that's true.

So if you're in my neighborhood, enjoy the snow, if you're in LA, for example ( :) Cecilie!) You'll have to make do with a picture.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Recipe Friday: Pumpkin Seeds

I thought for SURE I had posted this before, but I don't think I have.  I think one of my favorite fall foods is pumpkin.  I LOVE roasted squash and pumpkin seeds are SO GOOD!  It's such a pain to clean all the pumpkin goop off of them, but they're so yummy it's worth the work.  I think they almost taste BETTER because they ARE so much work.  I never remember how to roast them so every year I have to look it up.  It's really easy, but that oven temp stumps me every time!  So here it is, in case you're also searching for that same recipe.  And once you get the seeds out, roast the pumpkin and puree it--you're halfway to pumpkin pie--my SECOND favorite fall food!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Life Moves Pretty Fast...

If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.  Ahh, truer words were never spoken, Ferris Bueller!  And life has been moving SUPER fast at our house!  Just when I had given up the house hunt and started planning an trip to Disney World that we'll never take, a house found us.  So, hoping that it works for more than houses, I'm officially announcing I'm done looking for jeans that fit and socks that Ellie will wear.  Anyway, back to the house.  It's going to be a big move.  We're not going far, but out of our current school district (anyone looking for a 3 bedroom ranch in Plain, let me know!)  and a very different KIND of house.  We're all very excited, but also a little sad.  This is the only house the kids have known and it's a very foreign concept for Vince.  He's not really sure about the whole thing.  He was asking if the movers were going to take our whole house over to the new place.  Caden doesn't like the new house because it doesn't have anything in it.  Ellie wants a bedroom because it's purple.  I've tried to explain to them that it will look VERY different (we're doing a LOT of work to it before we move in.) when we live in it, but I don't think they understand.  I get that.  It's hard for me to picture us there too now.

So the green part of it all is that I get to try my hand at greening our moving process.  I'm excited by this challenge.  I've been getting worse and worse about living a green life.  I've slide back to eating less and less organic food, primarily to cut grocery costs, and I've started to alternate between my green cleaning products (still using that vinegar and baking soda though) also to cut costs.  So this will be a good opportunity for me to use all that info I have floating around in my head about off-gassing, carpets, paints, new furniture (hopefully we don't have too get much of THAT!) and all the other building dust and grime that will be coming into our house as we prepare it for the Big Move.  Not to mention the cleaners that will undoubtedly be needed to get it tidied up.  I love vinegar and baking soda, but some jobs call for more.  There's a great book that I read a long time ago, about greener cleaning.  It has how to clean EVERYTHING using greener methods.  Our new house had TONS of mahogany in it and I need to find a good, non-toxic way to keep it looking good.  Ahh!  It's overwhelming just thinking about it!  But the good news is that The Big Move is a few months away still. I like that I have time to plan-slowly.  It takes me time to adjust to change this big.