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.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Things I hate buying: toothbrushes

What do you hate buying? Well, my top five include toilet paper, tampons, toothbrushes, razors and diapers.

A while back, I talked about Preserve Toothbrushes and how I thought they were pretty cool. Then I discovered they have a toothbrush subscription for $13 a year. Hello, sign me up!

What does the toothbrush subscription entail? You can pick how often you get the brush and the firmness of the brush. The kicker, not only are the toothbrushes:
  • Powered by recycled yogurt cups™
  • Handle 100% recycled #5 plastic; bristles new nylon
  • Easy-to-grip curved handle
  • Tiered bristles for gentle, thorough cleaning
  • Completely recyclable after use
  • BPA free
  • Made in the USA
(info courtesy of Preserve)
the other cool thing ... Preserve will send you a mailer so they can recycle the toothbrush! 

The husband was pretty skeptical about it but after a week of using his new toothbrush, he proclaimed he  loved it! Now if someone would come up with a razor subscription that would be amazing!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday to my blog! Goals update

Can you believe it's been a year since I've started this blog? Either can I! I have learned so much.

You may have noticed that I haven't talked about my New Year's Resolutions in a while. I have to be honest, I think I bit off a lot more than I can chew so I'll give you a bit of an update on this now:

Change up my iPod in the Jeep. I have been really trying with this one. Bright Eyes in currently in the Jeep but the Honda houses the Wilco Sasquatch show MP3. It might take me removing Wilco from my ipod to listen to other stuff.

Attempt one craft project a month. haven't really done much of this. oops.

Cook or bake one recipe a week from my stash of cookbooks. Once my CSA came, we've been really trying to use recipes from Everyday Food more often or just things we come up with. Will pick this up back in the fall.

I will attempt to make homemade gnocchi and tamales.
Not done yet.

I try to attempt making different varieties of homemade breads. Warmer weather means not baking bread as much. Will pick back up in the fall.

Get outside with my family once a week. Definitely getting outside more!

Get healthy. I have lost 15 pounds in the past year but I do need to step up the working out. It's been slow but I'm OK with that.

Work on my green plan. Thanks for Practically Green, I am working on my 2011 Green Plan

Save money. $0 money saved. Sigh, must get on this one

Ask for experiences, not gifts.  Took my husband to Salem for his birthday!

Buy/sell used more used items. Have been pretty successful with this one. Got a weed wacker!

Play with my son more.  Successful with this one. A three year old WILL keep you busy.

Date night once a month with my husband. Need to work on this one. Our new pre-school does offer a date night sitting and we have taken advantage of it.

Be grateful. Helps keep the negativity away.

Figure out my career path. Still working on it.

Engage more in social media I won't be going to BlogHer and my husband and I agree, I need to carve out time to write. I have tons of ideas but I'm just not putting fingers to the keyboard on them.

Buy less stuff. Really doing good with this one!

Organize my closets. need to get on this one

Attend a music festival with my family. Does Munch and Music count?

All right, things aren't as bad as I thought they would be. I am going to revise my green goals. Some of them, like buy a used car, won't happen this year but since I make the rules, I can do what I want, right? I think the lesson learned ... maybe pick a few goals and stick to it. Right?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Green plan: Drive on a short trip (less than 400 miles) and give an experiential gift

My trusty 1997 Honda Civic
The beauty of the Pacific Northwest is there are many short day trips within hours. The beauty of the Pac North is all my favorite bands like to tour around the area as well in the summer which means ROAD TRIP!

Last spring, I was pretty excited when three of my favorite bands were playing venues less than 400 miles from Bend .. Wilco, My Morning and the Avett Brothers.

 After a long long winter, I ventured to Columbia River Gorge wine country with a friend and then onto the Gorge Amphitheatre for the Sasquatch Music Festival to see Wilco with a different group of friends.

When I asked her if it was OK to take my trusty ole '97 Honda instead of my gas hog Jeep Liberty to save gas money, she thought it was a good idea. Gas in the Honda will run me $30 a tank (used to be a lot lower before the prices went up) versus $60 in the Jeep.

Highlights included standing in close quarters for 7 hours so I can get a spot front row to see Wilco, wine tasting at my favorite winery, Waving Tree and catching up with my friend Jo Ann.

Total mileage: 600 miles from Bend, OR to George, WA with stops in Arlington, OR and Ellensburg, WA.

Next up, another friend really wanted to see My Morning Jacket at Troutdale's Edgefield. This venue is one of my favorites. If you book your hotel when tickets for shows are announced you can usually snag a room at this venue. This historic site offers a few dining options, a brewery, winery, distillery and plenty of bars open late all on the same campus. It's the perfect adult amusement park and perfect for your morning hangover. Don't ask me how I know this.

Total mileage: 300 miles from Bend, OR to Troutdale, OR (eastern suburb to Portland).  

My husband turned 39 last week. Geez, he is getting old! When it was announced that the Avett Brothers were playing an outdoor show in Salem, OR the day before his birthday, I decided to give him an experiential birthday gift of tickets to the show. Plus, it was like killing two birds with one stone for my Practically Green plan.

A friend offered to watch our son overnight so we enjoyed wine tasting, dinner before the concert (TAPAS!) and drinks after the concert AND we got to sleep in the next day and go out to breakfast without our three year old sidekick!

Total mileage: 300 miles from Bend, OR to Salem, OR

With all these trips to concerts happening this summer, the Honda has a new name -- the concert car. Make fun of my old car but it only has 115,000 miles and runs like a champ. It may not look too pretty and it's small but it's sure easy on gas.

Learn more about my green plan goal of driving on a short trip 400 miles and less on Practically Green.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Meatless Monday: Thin crust pesto pizza

This summer has been full of lazy, easy dinners. I have a jar of pesto in my refrigerator that I use to spread on sandwiches (I hate mayo) or mix with pasta for a quick dinner.

The other day it occurred to me that I could probably spread it on pizza crust and it would probably taste amazing and I'm right, it does therefore a Meatless Monday dish is born.

Thin Crust Pesto Pizza
1/4 Pioneer Women Pizza Crust
Mozzarella cheese
Arugula (optional)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Roll out pizza crust as thin as possible and fork holes into the crust to keep it thin. Top with desired amount of pesto. Top with desired amount of cheese. Bake for 8-10 mins. Top with arugula.

See, wasn't that simple? What do you do with you jarred pesto?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Green plan: Use a swap site

Little boys, especially growing three year olds, go through a lot of clothes. I've been pretty lucky that I've been given hand me downs for my son since birth and haven't had to spend much money on items for him. Each season I take inventory on what he needs and doesn't need and keep a ColorNote in my phone in case stores have a big sale or if I am at the consignment shops.

As of late, he has plenty of 3T shorts and jeans/pants, in fact, he's can still fit in most of his 2T shorts because he's a skinny bugger. What's he's lacking is long sleeve fall shirts/sweaters and even pajamas.

Enter ThredUp, an online swap exchange for kids clothes, toys and books. How it works is you sign-up and pick a box for $5 (plus $10.95 shipping), then list a box and then when someone picks your box, you send it. It's easy to sign up, especially if you have a Facebook account already.

I found out about ThredUp through a recent deal with Plum District, a discount site offer deals for moms. They were offering get two boxes for the price of one and of course I couldn't pass up the deal so I joined ThredUp, browsed  and picked two boxes that included mostly long sleeve, fall shirts.  Within a week, my boxes arrived! I was so giddy!

ThredUp bounty
Twenty items! Clean, in good condition and exactly what my son needed, all for $15! They were tightly rolled in a USPS priority box.

Here are some tips on picking out items:

  • Boxes come either mostly tops, mostly bottoms or a mix with icon for what season they would be suited best for
  • Sometimes it will list if there is a specialty item such as a costume, shoes or holiday outfits
  • Read the description very carefully. Good listers will include the brand names, sizes.
  • When in doubt, ask questions.
Tips for listing:
  • Be descriptive as possible.  List the name brands and color schemes.
  • When stuffing the box, roll the items neatly in the priority box
  • Once you list it on ThredUp, make sure you let your social networks know too
I listed my box but haven't had any bites on it! Happy swapping!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Meatless Monday: Helen Jane's Bocce Salad

I have been an avid reader of Helen Jane's blog since it's inception. She is one of those bloggers I would love to meet. She also has a child the same age as my son so it makes her blog more interesting.

Helen Jane posts amazing recipes and her Bocce Pasta Salad is a hit in our house.

Now, the pasta salad can be adapted to what ever you have in the frig or your CSA but most of the time I follow the recipe.

Helen Jane's Bocce Pasta Salad
by Helen Jane

1 pound dried orzo pasta
3 tomatoes
15 sundried tomatoes
1 small red onion
40 basil leaves (one bunch basil)
7 ounces feta cheese (solid, not crumbled)
1 large lemon
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground pepper

Cook the orzo for 10 minutes in boiling, salted water.
While orzo is cooking, chop the red onion as fine as you can. Chop the tomatoes into slightly larger pieces and chop the feta cheese into similarly sized chunks.

When the pasta has finished cooking, drain in a colander and rinse with cold water.
Dump the pasta in a big plop from your colander into a large mixing bowl.

Add the tomatoes, onions and feta.
(I chop the basil with scissors into ribbons onto the top of the bowl to minimize basil-bruising.)

Don’t stir yet, although you will be tempted.

Sprinkle salt and pepper over the bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over the bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the bowl as well.
Now, now you may toss, gently.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Green plan addition: Switch to a reusable lunch-box

June for our family meant finding a new preschool for our son. Bottom line was it wasn't a good fit for him. We knew one thing, he needed to be with more kids his age as the mix age group, small in-home preschool he was just leaving him (and us) frustrated.

I spent spring of 2010 going to school after school so I went back to my top choices and there were full and then a co-worker told me about her place which sounded perfect except one thing: I had to pack a lunch each day for my son.

To me, that is a big deal as I'm a working mom but at the same time, I was also pretty concerned that my son was getting fed things at school that I didn't want him eating (sugary cereals and bread with HFCS). Now I have control!

As I was looking through my blogs, I noticed Practically Green has added some new green action to their site. One of them happened to be switch to a reusable lunch-box!

Sure, I have plenty of lunch bags I like and a couple of Lunchskins but the thought of using plastic bags each day to hold fruits, veggies or a sandwich was driving me batty.

Lo and behold, the Goodbyn! (via Practically Green)
Pack a waste-free lunch with Goodbyn lunchboxes. Individually sealing compartments eliminate the need for plastic bags and drink boxes while keeping foods separate. Goodbyn says their products are 100% recyclable, top-drawer dishwasher safe, BPA-free, and always made in the USA.
And the cool thing? PG had 10% off the Goodbyn! No plastic bags needed! No drink box! Ha! I'm in love.

When it came, my husband helped my son decorate it with the stickers it came with and the teachers at school told me that me that my son was super proud of his lunch box. Each morning he marches in with it.

Now, I have to get creative with the snacks because I have a pretty picky eater. And now I secretly want one for my lunch.
Turkey cheese quesadilla, mangos, carrots, blueberries, cheese and a banana

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Garden update: Week 4

Ooops, I kinda skipped week two and three but here is week 4
spring onions

butter lettuce

herbs and tomatoes

'mater buds
I ended up thinning out the spring onions and lettuce after I took the photo as I thought they were a little crowded in the gutter but I'm pretty impressed so far with my husband's gardening skills.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Meatless Monday: Grilled zucchini

Oh hey Internet, it's me, Shannon. I'm still here but my usual blogging time (8-10 pm at night) has been interrupted by summer and a certain three year old who has decided that his bedtime is now 9:30 pm.
summer days, mean summer popsicles. 
The 9:30 pm bedtime is due to the fact his whole routine got screwed up when he flushed his binkie over a month ago. Nothing has really worked except Ben getting in bed with me at 9:30 pm. So, we make the most of it now. We go swimming, for walks, play on the deck, learn how to bike and Skype grandpa, who's a night owl living in Louisiana.  We have been living green  and working on our goals.

Meatless Monday has been turned into "whatever is in our CSA."  I don't even meal plan for Meatless Monday -- I just use whatever is in our CSA.  Last week, I grilled zucchini.

Slice, oil, season, grill
It's as easy as heat up your grill pan, slice the zucchini, oil, season and grill on each side. That evening, we also enjoyed a classic caprese salad.

Quick and easy so we can get back to this:

My husband has learned to not mention the "pirate ship park" as it's frequent request from the three year old and code for "forget the park, I just want to swim and throw rocks in the Deschutes."


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