Gifts from Bend, OR

Live in Bend, Oregon and want to give a gift from Bend, Oregon? Follow my local gift giving series!

Green your coffee routine

Save 23 lbs of waste this year and start using a reusable coffee cup to keep you caffeinated.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Practically Green's having a twitter party!

My favorite green site, Practically Green, is hosting a twitter party on Thursday! Here are the details:

If April is Earth Month, then Earth Month Eve is next Thursday, March 31. We're going to celebrate with our very first Twitter party @practicallygrn from 9 to 10 pm EST. You're invited! Follow the hashtag #practicallygreen.

I'll be there under the handle @workinggreenmom. Hope you can join us!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Green plan: Sign up for a catalog reduction service

Junk mail
I started working on this green plan action back in January. See that photo .... that's my stack from this weekend.

Saving up my junk mail was the easy part. The hard was signing up for DMAchoice and doing the dirty work ... finding each catalog, non-profit and retailer and either emailing, calling or filling out a form to get rid of the junk mail and I'm not entirely done because I'll probably get more junk mail in the mail.

The non-profit stack alone killed me. I signed up at the ACLU booth at SXSW in 2010 and I'm pretty sure they sold my name because non-profit junk mail didn't start appearing until after that.

Another tip someone told me was to was write "return to sender, remove from list" on the envelopes from businesses and organizations that send you the letter and drop back in the mail. I wonder if you do that if non-profits have to pay the return postage? I would hate for donations to go to paying for my return postage

To get more details on this green action plan, check out Practically Green.

If you have tips and tricks on junk mail, I would love to hear them!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Meatless Monday: Orzo with Lemon and Parsley

image via YumSugar
During the week, I'm always looking for recipes that are easy and under 30 mins. With an active toddler, I can set him in front of Blue Clues and start it before my husband comes home.  It's also awesome leftover and cold too.

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
1/2 lb. orzo, cooked
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Using the directions on the package, cook the orzo.
In a small Dutch oven over medium-low heat, warm the olive oil.
Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes.
Gently fold in the cooked orzo, lemon zest, lemon juice, parsley, salt and pepper until well mixed.
Transfer the orzo to a serving bowl and serve warm.

Friday, March 25, 2011

TGIF! Good reads for the week

Yeah! It's Friday! For the past three mornings, my son has decided that 5 am is the best time to wake up! Woo hoo!

Each Friday, I'm going to try to feature some of the best reads found in my RSS feed. There are a mix of food, green and social media tips this week. I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

What could you give up for 40 days? An update

via Pioneer Woman
We're two weeks into the "what could you give up for 40 days?" challenge (or otherwise known as Do Without") and I'm dying, to be quite honest! See that pie -- The Pioneer Woman is trying to send me over the edge.

My sugar habit has been replaced with a salt, I noticed this week. I went to Whole Foods on my lunch to pick up a few things and picked up a bag of kettle chips, salted almonds and cheese.  This probably isn't a good idea since I have high blood pressure!

I resisted many of my co-worker's candy jars, office cake, office brownies and doughnuts.  If I need a sweet fix, I will drink a Diet Dr. Pepper (which isn't exactly good for you but accessible due to free soda at work).

I guess, I'm 1/4 of the way through the challenge. I'm really looking forward to Easter and dreaming of treats I'm going to eat that day.

P.S. I'm also in good company though, thanks to my blogging buddies Rebecca Jean and Catie.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Products I love - Method

As many of you know, I'm a marketing nerd/geek -- whatever you want to call it. I pay special attention to advertisements, tweets and messaging of products, probably more than the average person.

Over the past year, I've become a big fan of method's People Against Dirty  social networking experience where they have members vote sales, product design and give exclusive insight on sales. I'm also a fan of their mission to provide the public with non-toxic products.

A couple weeks ago, they sent out a campaign that their laundry detergents, one of my favorite products, was buy one, get one 50% off on I had to wait until payday so by the time Friday rolled around, they had run out of the Free and Clear detergent.

A little bummed, I emailed method and asked if they planned to restock soon and honor the sale price. They apologized that they ran out but offered to send me two $4.99 off coupons that I could use at Target. I ended up buying scented detergent since the price was such a bargain with some Smarty Dish and Foam Handwash refill as our local Target is lame and doesn't carry all the products. ( offers free shipping if you spend over $40 too, which is a nice added bonus)

My husband noted that Method was taking over our home and when we went to Target to use the coupons I was still dismayed that our Target was still lacking the full range of method products BUT I picked up Dish Pump, another product I'm in love with.

What's your favorite green household cleaner? I would love to know.

P.S. I have no affiliation with any of the products/companies/organizations mentioned in this post

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Green plan: Get something from Freecycle, instead of buying it

adventures in Freecycle
Instead of relying on the daily digest for Freecycle, I switched my subscription to receiving an email each time something was posted on the site. I ended up missing some really cool stuff like a sewing machine, canning jars, DVDs and toddler clothing.

Recently, my friend Liana posted she had some Easter decor she was looking to unload so I snatched them up and hid them in the closet as my son loves anything egg shaped. He will go crazy when he sees the giant eggs I freecycled away from Liana.

It's nice to get this item crossed off my green plan list. I finally feel like I'm making headway.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Meatless Monday: Veggie spring pizza

Veggie spring pizza
We have pizza weekly in our house. If my husband would have it his way, it would be meat pizzas all the time (and we do have the occasional traditional sausage, black olive pizza in our household).

I make pizza crust twice a month since my favorite recipe makes two crusts, I refrigerate the leftovers which needs to be made within a week. Sometimes I will make a pizza or make breadsticks topped with parmesan.

I recently ran across a inspirational recipe from Everyday Food that made my mouth water that incorporated spring veggies that I modified. I made the pizza before my husband came home so I didn't get the usual "why don't you put meat on that pizza." He walked into a wonderful smelling house and couldn't wait to have a bite.

Veggie Spring Pizza
inspired by Everyday Food

1 jar of marinated artichokes, quartered, drained but reserve marinade
1 large bunch of asparagus, trimmed into 2 inch pieces
1 pint of cherry tomatoes (I only used half of them)
1 pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
3 cups cheese (I used mozzarella but the recipe calls for gruyere)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Combine artichokes, asparagus, tomatoes in a bowl. Roll out pizza dough to desired shape on baking stone. Brush marinade on dough (make sure you get the sides) and arrange with vegetables and then top with cheese. Bake pizza for 10-14 minutes. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A little bit of home

South Omaha's Finest!
Sometimes, I get homesick. I miss my big Polish/Bohemian family -- brothers, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins -- you get the picture. When that starts to happen, I pull out the Sokol Specials, South Omaha Cookbook (aka The Bohemian Cookbook).

Growing up, this was my mother's standby cookbook. It's the home to her famous chili, dumplings and sauerkraut, roasts, desserts and  chicken and rice recipe. It's not the prettiest cookbook and doesn't have photos and when I brought it to cookbook club, I think people secretly laughed at me but those Bohemian old ladies know how to cook and so this month, it's my featured cookbook.

When my mother passed away, my grandma bought me a copy of this precious cookbook and I have cherished it ever since. So far this month I have made chili, meatloaf, lasagna but yesterday, I made my mother's famous chicken and rice recipe and got many compliments from our dinner guests.

When I was old enough to be trusted with getting dinner ready, this was a recipe that my mom would trust me to get prepared when I came home from school as it takes over two hours to bake. The ingredients and directions are so simple, a 10 year old can do it. One thing my mom usually omitted was the one envelope of onion soup mix on the top but this time, I tried it and I'd say I would probably add it again.

Chicken and Rice Casserole
from the Sokol Specials, South Omaha Cookbook (aka The Bohemian Cookbook)

1 cup of uncooked rice
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 can cream of celery soup
1 can milk (pour milk in soup can -- very Bohemian)
1 envelope of onion soup
1 frying chicken (cut up or quartered)

Spray 9x13 pan with oil. Sprinkle uncooked rice over bottom of pan. Heat soups (undiluted) with milk pour over rice. Wash raw chicken, pat dry and place skin side up, on the top. No need to brown the chicken first.  Sprinkle onion soup over the top. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 325 degrees for 2 hours and 15 mins.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Tuscan Bread

On my quest to be a better bread baker, I decided to make an Italian style bread for our lasagna Sunday dinner. Flipping through The Bread Baker's Apprentice, I settled on Tuscan bread - saltless, soft loaf that would make a great bread for soaking up sauce.

Most of the bread in this book takes two days so I have to always be prepared. On Saturday morning, I made a paste and let that sit at room temperature for eight hours. I then added that paste to flour, yeast, water and oil and kneaded it with the bread hook for about 10 minutes. It was really sticky but everything I was reading about the bread said it may be this way, either way, it barely passed the windowpane test.

I left it rise for two hours, punched it down and then let it rise again another two hours. While this was happening, I watched several youtube videos on how to make the perfect boule.

You still with me? I shaped the dough into two boules and then let them retard in the refrigerator overnight.

The next morning, I set my oven up for hearth baking and then 30 mins later, I had amazing smelling, beautiful bread.

I think I'm finally getting the hang of baking bread!

If you want the recipe, this is the closest one I have found to the one I have. Happy baking.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Natural pet treats

I've been blogging since July but I haven't mentioned Charlie, our dog. Charlie used to be our baby but since having my son, he's been more of a pet than our baby.

My husband had this fun idea years ago that we make youtube movies of our dog. Charlie's Oregon Dog Tales was born ...

Charlie is a mix of a sheltie, corgi and mini-spaniel and if we don't keep him brushed and groomed, he gets kinda messy. I took him to get groomed yesterday and I couldn't remember the last time I had him groomed. How embarrassing when you take him to your friend's  pet salon?

Charlie really has needed some love lately (and some walks ... he's been pretty sedentary this winter). Lil B loves him by throwing down extra food (a habit we need to stop) and also by riding Charlie's back.  When it came to treats, I usually bought what was on sale in the pet aisle.

oil, organic egg, water and natural bbq sauce
helps make these dog cookies
That all changed when I met Judy Duncan, a local entrepreneur with a natural dog treat mix called Maggie's Dog Munchies.   Judy used to buy her dog special treats and the store closed so she spent some time trying to find the right blend of oats, flour and flavorings and out of that was born Maggie's Dog Munchies.

Maggie's uses Bob Red Mills flour and comes in four flavors: Apple, Oats Ginger, Peanut Butter, Cheesy and BBQ.

Since my dog needed some TLC and Judy wanted to learn a bit about Facebook, she gave me a mix of BBQ to try (well, Charlie to try) and review.

Lil B and I threw the mix in the KitchenAid along with natural BBQ sauce, an egg, oil and water and blended it up. I had to keep reminding my son that these were dog cookies and he couldn't eat the mix several times.

It blended up quickly and we had a few options on making the cookies.

  • roll into a log and cut
  • roll out and use a cookie cutter
  • roll out in a bar pan and score.
We did option 1 and 3 (pictured below) and yielded about 70 cookies.
Roll out and score
Charlie has been in love since first bite. Each day, we let Lil B reward Charlie with a Maggie's Dog Munchie cookie but have to remind it, they are only for dogs.

Other than being made from Bob's Red Mill ingredients, one of the other cool things about Maggie's Dog Munchie's is that they are manufactured locally in Bend by CORIL.

If you're looking for other ways to go natural with your pet, Practically Green has some ideas. Maybe they should make "buy or make natural dog treats" as an action?

Disclaimer:  Though I received one bag for review free of charge, the opinion of this product is my own. I also helped with building Maggie's Dog Munchies Facebook page.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Green plan: switch to all-natural toothpaste

Add caption
Last March, I flew to SXSWi for work. As I was going through security, the gentleman in front of me didn't include his Tom's of Maine toothpaste in his quart size bag so the TSA folks took it. The guy was really bummed and turned to me and said "that's one expensive toothpaste!"

As you may recall, I was on the fence about natural or non-fluoride toothpaste. As I started working on my green plan, I thought I would give it another shot.

Why make the switch (courtesy of Practically Green)?

Given that toothpaste is often ingested, particularly by children, it is surprising what synthetic chemicals are in them. According to The Daily Green, one of the worst is propylene glycol -- a solvent that is the active component in some anti-freezes, and is used in everything from makeup to mouthwash. Several other pastes include sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, benzoic acid, polyethylene glycol, butylated hydroxytoluene, and sodium hydroxide, which are skin/eye irritants. Carrageenan is a suspected carcinogen.
There are also several controversial ingredients so be aware that not all "all-natural" toothpastes are free of these ingredients. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a strong irritant and suspected carcinogen. Cocamidopropyl betaine is also a strong irritant. Isobutylparaben may contribute to breast cancer by affecting estrogenic activity. Titanium dioxide and zinc oxide may be absorbed by the body and have toxic effects. Triclosan contributes to antibacterial resistance and can combine with chlorine in tap water to form chloroform. Flouride is also controversial, and poisonous to children in large doses. Some all-natural brands offer flouride-free options.
I believe that fluoride is very important for your teeth. I know this is a controversial view but I grew up with fluoride in my water and my husband didn't. The difference is astonishing. I have good healthy teeth and my husband doesn't. We've also been working on developing a brushing habit with my son. After months and months of trying, he's pretty good at brushing and looks forward to it. The key? Make it a family affair. Plus, he also likes Tom's Silly Strawberry. I am using Tom's Whole Care.

My husband isn't a fan of it though. I think he's secretly using travel sizes of Crest to just get by. He doesn't like the taste it leaves in his mouth.

I'm willing to try other brands too. If you have a suggestion, please let me know. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

Meatless Monday: Lentil Chili

Lots of lentil chili
I don't have a lot of history with lentils and it's usually something on the menu that I will avoid. I don't know why, but lentils used to scare me a bit.

Feed 52, a blog that picks a food item each week and tasks readers to send in recipes based on that food, featured lentils and I began to have an open mind.

I really didn't know what a lentil was -- bean, grain? Turns out, it's a legume. A tasty legume that was rather inexpensive and a staple of many vegans.

I went simple for my first lentil recipe, lentil chili. And it was a hit with my husband and myself. Not enough to replace my classic chili recipe, but enough to put it into rotation.

Lentil Chili
from Whole Foods
8 servings (next time I will half this recipe or make it whole and freeze half)

8 cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 large red bell pepper, chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 teaspoons salt-free chili powder
1 (16-ounce) package brown lentils (about 2 1/4 cups lentils)
2 (15-ounce) cans no-salt-added diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Bring 3/4 cup broth to a simmer in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic and cook about 8 minutes or until onion is translucent and pepper is tender. Stir in chili powder and cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add lentils, tomatoes and remaining 7 1/4 cups broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, 30 minutes or until lentils are almost tender. Uncover and cook 10 minutes longer. Stir in cilantro and serve.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Spring Reign is upon us

What a rough week! My husband was sick and now my son. At the grocery store, I was delighted to find one of my favorite seasonal beers, now in a 12 oz version.

Bring on spring!
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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Greeting cards for treehuggers

Courtesy of Botanical Paperworks
One of my favorite blogs is Celebrate Green! As a convenience, I have sent more e-cards throughout the years but someone noted to me that they missed getting thank you cards. The next day, Celebrate Green had an awesome post about eco-friendly greeting cards.

Then a few days later, I saw a story about plantable greeting cards and promotional items from Botanical Paperworks. When you're done, you plant them and wildflowers will grow!

I have been in search of a supplier for business cards for blog. I think I have found the right company!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Master of Freecycle, Liana

Liana and her family
As I've started this journey, I have found many local resources and friends willing to help guide me. One of those special folks is Liana Ottaviano, who I've gotten to know a little better over the years.

I first met her when I bought cloth diapers (and I totally failed at them). Since then, she has joined my monthly cookbook club and through this blog and her blog, I've discovered that she's very thrifty and environmentally friendly so often times, I ask her for advice or she comments on my blog.

When I decided to get more in-depth with Freecycle, I thought I would get some tips and tricks from the master herself. Here are some of Liana's tips, tricks and experiences with Freecycle.

What is your philosophy about thifting?
In general I just think too many people live beyond their means. I could go on about being anti-retail, saving money when I was unemployed, and the beauty of recycling. It is all part of wanting to live simply and below my means. Freecycle helps me do both. I don’t know which I like more about Freecycle: receiving free items I need, or passing along items I don’t need.

When and why did you start freecycling?
I joined the local Freecycle chapter in December 2004. I can’t remember what tipped me off about it, but my daughter was 2 at the time. When you have a child outgrowing clothing, toys and books, Freecycle makes it easy to give away the old and receive the new on a constant basis.

What is the oddest thing you have found and got off freecycle?
One of the more complex transactions was a woman in La Pine that was giving away 2 lamb roasts, coffee and a coffee grinder. I sent her a message immediately asking for these items and strategizing how I could pick them up. I had a co-worker that lived in La Pine and she said she’d pick the items up for me. So I sent a co-worker to a stranger’s house to pick up lamb and coffee and bring them to me at work. That same week I Freecycled a bag of girl’s clothing and toys to a family that was in need. This was around the holiday season, and the whole experience reminded me what is great about Freecycle.

Other things I’ve received from Freecycle include: A cat carrier, Kool-Aid packets, a Commute Options hat, mason jars, a hanging lamp, shaving cream, and a cat scratching post.

And I’ve given away a microwave, a printer, leftover things my company was throwing away, tons of clothing, kids books, a play kitchen, Turbo Tax software, and sand/pavers we had leftover from a project.

How often do you freecycle?
I guess you could say I Freecycle constantly. Rather than receive the “Daily Digest” of all the emails once a day, I receive every single email. We average about 300 messages a month, and I just delete 99.9% of them. Our local Freecycle chapter ranges from La Pine to Redmond/Sisters so it’s a large area and unless it’s something I am seeking desperately, I don’t consider offers outside of Bend city limits. Later today I am picking up a bag of bendy straws in NE Bend. Earlier this week I gave away some duffle bags.

Any tips/advice for beginners?
Once you join Freecycle, make sure you read the rules the administrator sends you. There is a certain way to write your posts, specifically the subject line. For example, if you live in SW Bend and are giving away a shower curtain, the subject line should be “OFFER: Shower Curtain (SW Bend)”.

Don’t worry about meeting strangers alone – all Freecycle transactions are “left on the front porch (or doorstep)” whether people are home or not.

Be polite. When someone is flooded with requests for an offer they’ve made, some just pick the first responder, but others pick the person with manners. Please and thank-you go a long way.

Don’t plan to use Freecycle as your “wish list” by asking for big-ticket items. You are allowed to make “requests” but only one a day, and within reason.

The whole purpose of Freecycle is to keep stuff out of the landfill, so before you toss something, think about whether someone could re-purpose it. It is surprising what others can use, especially artists, girl scout troops, non-profit organizations, etc.

In the past, I’ve wondered if my items can actually get to a truly needy family. What if the family doesn’t own a computer? However, there *are* people on Freecycle that watch for things they can pass along to needy people they know. I also keep my eye out for items on the “Wish Lists” of local charities.

I'm always looking for guest blog posts. If you're interested in sharing your experiences and expertise, email me at shannon at workingmomgoesgreen dot com.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Green plan: Give away something on Freecycle

It's time to get back to the green plan! Behind the scenes, I'm currently working on a few but finally have marked one off my list ... Give away something on Freecycle.

What's Freecycle?

It's a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them's good people). Membership is free.
Go to and search for your city. The Bend group is part of Yahoo Groups and all you need is an account with Yahoo to get started.

Many of you have read the story about how I coaxed my husband, a few years ago, into giving away his beat up Toyota on Freecycle. I had tried to give it away to the local community college and Habitat for Humanity but no one seemed really interested so we put it up on Freecycle.

A few weeks ago, I sent my husband to the store to buy diapers for my son to take to pre-school. Since he dropped my son and the diapers off at school the next day, I just assumed he bought the right size. Instead of buying a size 5, he bought my son a size 3 and we had all sorts of problems! Since the pre-school threw the box away, we guessed they were a size 3 by comparing them to other diapers.

I had a few options. I could just let the pre-school kept them for another kid or I could Freecycle them. Within minutes of posting, they were off to a new home.

I've also been working on get something from Freecycle but I found that I might have to subscribe to the email version instead of the newsletter version as items get taken pretty quick. I posted a few weeks ago that I was looking for used Disney DVDs and I came up with nothing. I'll keep trying!

What's your experience with Freecycle?

Monday, March 7, 2011

Meatless Monday: Potato and Onion Frittata

Potato Frittata
Eggs just aren't for breakfast in our house -- there are times when eggs are perfectly fine for dinner. During the week, it's a challenge to find good eats that are quick, healthy and use fresh ingredients and this little meatless number was a snap to get on the table in under 30 minutes.

This dish reminds me a Spanish Tortillas from a tapas restaurant in my hometown of Omaha. Where I live, there really isn't a true tapas place so biting into this dish took me back to that little restaurant in Benson (an area of Omaha). I wonder if it's still open (I can't recall the name)? Next time I'm in Portland, I swear I'm going to seek out a tapas restaurant for some sangria and tasty plates.

I modified this recipe from two offered up by my standby, Everyday Food.

Potato and Onion Frittata

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 (8 ounces) baking potato, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crumbled
Coarse salt and ground pepper
5 large eggs (I used 8 eggs and skipped the egg whites)
5 large egg whites
1/2 cup whole flat-leaf parsley leaves
1/2 cup of gruyere cheese (I added this)

In a medium (10-inch) nonstick broilerproof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add onion, potato, and rosemary; season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine.

Cover skillet, and cook 10 minutes; uncover. Cook, tossing mixture occasionally, until onion and potato are tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, parsley leaves, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Heat broiler with rack set 4 inches from heat. Add remaining tablespoon oil to vegetables in skillet. Pour egg mixture into skillet.

Cook on stove, over low heat, lifting mixture a few times around the edges with a spatula to let egg flow underneath. Continue cooking until frittata is almost set in center, about 10 minutes.

Top with cheese and place skillet under broiler; broil until frittata is set and top is lightly golden, about 3 minutes. Run a clean spatula around edges to loosen, then slide frittata out onto a serving plate, and cut into wedges.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

What could you give up for 40 days?

image courtesy of
In this journey of going green gradually, I have discovered some amazing bloggers. One is Rebecca Jean of She's green and she's an awesome dresser too.

The other day, she posted a pledge to "Do without for 40 Days." Rebecca is going to go without meat! Wow, amazing, but that is something I'm just not ready to do.

Growing up catholic,  we always gave something up for 40 days during lent. Most of the time, I would give up something simple like ice cream, candy or soda.

One year, I remember giving up Kool-Aid, mostly because I secretly hated it. At 10 years old, I knew there was something wrong with 3 cups of sugar, water and red powdery stuff. Bottom-line, I always took the easy way out on this one.

I don't want to take the easy way out anymore. I have slipped back into one habit that is hard to admit -- satisfying my sweet tooth. During the holidays, there was always something sweet in the office and I couldn't resist.  Then January came and I did a pretty good job of staying away from sweets, chocolate and fast food. Lately, I have slipped back (around my birthday is when this started) and in the afternoon at work, I have a stash of chocolate I break into or I eat something horrible for lunch.  Yesterday, I ate a quater pounder with cheese from McDonald's. Not exactly the picture of greenness. (Don't hate me!)

Starting Wednesday, for the next 40 days, I'm giving up the sweets. No candy. No cake. No chocolate. I'll be replacing it with fruits, veggies or a healthy snack. I'll keep you up to date on my progress on Twitter and the blog.

Thanks Rebecca for the little push! Maybe next year, I can give up meat! Until then, I'm eating the frozen cheesecake in my freezer.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The next generation of compostable chip bag

Sunchips Snacks has redesigned their compostable chip bag to be a lot quieter than the noisy one everyone was complaining about. I'm just happy SunChips didn't abandon the bag all together. Kudos to Sunchips!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Reading and understanding labels

A few months ago, I was a little overwhelmed with going green gradually. I searched and searched the web for a great article on labeling as it was really confusing to me.

I bought a lotion that claimed to be natural, yet was filled with toxic chemicals. So, I stop searching. I also didn't feel I was knowledgeable enough to tackle this subject myself.

Last week, Stephanie from Bubble and Bee wrote a very helpful blog post on the subject of reading labels and understanding certifications. She always does an excellent job making her posts clear to understand without being overwhelming.

Enjoy! And thanks Stephanie, for taking the lead and breaking it down!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Revisiting my New Year's Resolutions, February edition

Wow, tomorrow is March? I can't believe it. It looks like I'm starting to make some progress, slowly. I guess you can be the judge of that. 

Change up my iPod in the Jeep.  This month I acquired King of Limbs, the latest from my second favorite group, Radiohead (U2 is #1, Radiohead #2, Wilco #3) and spent the first week, really wondering if I was ever going to get into the album. I was fearing that it would be another No Line on the Horizon (the first U2 album I didn't like). Turns out, it took a week for me to get into it. 

Attempt one craft project a month.  For Valentine's Day, I helped my son make homemade Valentine's and crackers for friends, neighbors and Grandma. When my son came home from school, I noticed he received all store bought cards. Even one bearing Justin Bieber. 

Cook or bake one recipe a week from my stash of cookbooks.  Meals were prepared from Everyday Food's Great Food Fast, a favorite and battered cookbook that has the recipes seasonally divided. I cooked/baked from the winter section. Still up in the air what to do for March!

I will attempt to make homemade gnocchi and tamales. Have not done this yet.

I try to attempt making different varieties of homemade breads. I spent a Saturday making Ciabatta. I think I need some bread shaping lessons. 

Get outside with my family once a week. Winter finally came to Central Oregon at the end of the month but there were two weekends of really nice weather and my son spent a good amount of that time at the park or riding his bike.  The last two weekends were bitter cold or snowy. The snowy weekend my son insisted on going outside and making a snowman. The cold weekend, we went to the indoor park.

Get healthy. Miles walked this month: 14. Pounds lost: 0. I am banking on spring weather will drive up the mileage and drive down the pounds. 

Work on my green plan. Thanks for Practically Green, I am working on my 2011 Green Plan. I crossed off "use ceramic glass or plastic" and participated in tracking my plastic. Major lessons were learned and I was mortified at how much plastic I was throwing away. I am working on several green plan projects as we speak so March will be more productive. 

Save money. Made a little progress until it was time to pay the property taxes.

Ask for experiences, not gifts.  I made my family dinner for Valentine's day.

Buy/sell used more used items. I posted on Freecycle that I was looking for anyone looking to get rid of their animated Disney DVDs. One person contacted me saying they had a load of Nickelodeon DVDs but most I can get on Netflix streaming so I passed.  

Play with my son more.  Lots of train tracks were assembled and dismantled. Many new books discovered and for some reason, my son doesn't like Legos.

Date night once a month with my husband. We went out to Art Walk for my birthday. 

Be grateful. Work in progress. 

Figure out my career path. Work in progress. I think I'm getting closer on this one.

Engage more in social media. The first half of the month was awesome. I found time each night to comment, read and engage and then towards the end of the month, life was a little hectic. You probably noticed that I didn't blog or Facebook too much at the end f the month. I realized that life does happen and taking a break is OK. And no one complained. 

Buy less stuff.  No major purchases.

Organize my closets. No decision on this yet.

Attend a music festival with my family. No decision on this yet.


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