Wordless Wednesday – 4/30/08 – A picture is worth…

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but right now in the Mother’s Day Giveaway at 5 Minutes for Mom, your picture could be worth a thousand dollars. There’s a photo contest going on, the theme is Motherhood and the winner is going to receive a $1,000 AmEx gift card!

This picture says motherhood to me:

Motherhood - 10/22/06

It is me with Ava and Julian, one month and one day before he was born.

I know this isn’t exactly wordless, but since it’s for a good cause – actually 1,000 good causes – I hope you’ll forgive me. ;)

Check out some more:
The original Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday at 5 Minutes for Mom

There’s a new blog in town

Hey mamas! There’s a new blog in town and I think you should check it out. API SpeaksThe voice for gentle parents everywhere launched last week with it’s inaugural post and has been turning out excellent content ever since.

API Speaks is written by a group of very talented people who all have one thing in common – they practice Attachment Parenting and will be discussing their personal experiences and journeys in AP on the blog. You might notice some familiar bloggers’ faces/names there and discover some new ones as well. More names will be added to the contributor list in the weeks ahead.

My first post (an oldie, but a goodie) about why we choose to have a home birth was posted there yesterday. Some other recent posts include It Takes a Village by Half Pint Pixie and Spare the crib, spoil thyself by Law and Motherhood.

Julie Artz and I, the contributing editors there, are quite proud of the blog and, in addition to great content by our wonderful contributors, have some exciting things planned for it including giveaways of AP-related merchandise, so we hope you still stop in often. :)

Hope to see you there! :) And if you haven’t yet visited API’s newly redesigned web site or checked out their new online support forums, I encourage you to stop by those as well.

Why Bother?

This evening as Jody and Ava were out running an errand for me, I attempted to cook dinner while balancing a miserable Julian (due to his four canine teeth coming in at the same time) on my hip. After much fussing (on Julian’s part, not mine), I took a break from cooking, sat down on the couch, flipped on the TV and, hoping to make the poor boy feel a bit better, nursed him.

In skipping through the channels it became clear to me why I rarely watch TV (with the exception of The Office, LOST and occasionally Oprah). There was nothing on. I stopped on the local public access channel long enough to hear someone talking about global warming. My interest was piqued so I lingered.

veg-garden.jpgIt turns out it was a woman reading Michael Pollan‘s recent New York Times article “Why Bother?” For those of you unfamiliar with Pollan, he is the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food – neither of which I have read yet, but I’ve heard great things about both.

“Why Bother?” is a question I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I’m nowhere near the point of throwing in the towel with regard to the things I do to help the environment, but after reading an article like Enjoy life while you can’ – Climate science maverick James Lovelock believes catastrophe is inevitable, carbon offsetting is a joke and ethical living a scam and watching a YouTube video (which has since been taken down) about Monsanto, you might start to get a little jaded and wonder if all of your efforts are in vain. At least that’s where I’ve been at.

Pollan’s article “Why Bother?” was exactly what I needed to hear (and then read in full on the web since I missed the first half of it on TV) to help lift me out of my funk and I highly recommend you read the whole thing. Here’s just a bit of it.

If you do bother, you will set an example for other people. If enough other people bother, each one influencing yet another in a chain reaction of behavioral change, markets for all manner of green products and alternative technologies will prosper and expand. Consciousness will be raised, perhaps even changed: new moral imperatives and new taboos might take root in the culture. Driving an S.U.V. or eating a 24-ounce steak or illuminating your McMansion like an airport runway at night might come to be regarded as outrages to human conscience. Not having things might become cooler than having them. And those who did change the way they live would acquire the moral standing to demand changes in behavior from others — from other people, other corporations, even other countries.

Pollan goes on to suggest “find one thing to do in your life that doesn’t involve spending or voting, that may or may not virally rock the world but is real and particular (as well as symbolic) and that, come what may, will offer its own rewards. Maybe you decide to give up meat, an act that would reduce your carbon footprint by as much as a quarter. Or … for one day a week, abstain completely from economic activity: no shopping, no driving, no electronics.”

He also discusses how doing something as basic as planting a garden to grow even a little of your own food could make a big difference. This is another thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. As the price of food goes higher and higher and we worry more and more about where our food comes from, organic vs. conventional (pesticide-laden), genetically-modified organisms, carbon emissions and climate change, it makes sense to me to try to grow some of our own food.

Pollan says, “It’s estimated that the way we feed ourselves (or rather, allow ourselves to be fed) accounts for about a fifth of the greenhouse gas for which each of us is responsible.” Yikes.

I don’t have a lot of experience in gardening, but I did help my mom in our family garden as a child and, three years ago, some friends and I had our own plot in a community garden. As I embark on growing my own garden for the first time this year, I’m thankful for my friends like Julie of Chez Artz and Green Artz, Melissa at Nature Deva, Heather at A Mama’s Blog, and Woman With A Hatchet, who all have more gardening experience than me (and will hopefully help me out if I need it – hint, hint). I’m planting a small garden not only for the food it will provide to me and my family and to reduce our carbon footprint, but for the experience it will provide us all. Someday in the hopefully not too distant future (like next few years) once we move into a different house with a larger (and sunnier) yard, I’d love to have a much bigger garden. I’d like to know that if push came to shove and we needed to grow some of our own food, that I could do it. I am concerned that that day might not be too far off and Pollan agrees. “If the experts are right, if both oil and time are running out, these (growing our own food) are skills and habits of mind we’re all very soon going to need.”

But Pollan doesn’t end his article on a downer. Rather he is hopeful and his message is uplifting.

The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.

So, why bother? Because the future of humankind depends on it. Even if by some stroke of luck climate change doesn’t affect us during our lifetime (wishful thinking), I would hate to leave this huge burden and mess for our children to clean up. After all, “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” – Native American Proverb

I think Pollan answers the question of “why bother?” best when he says,

Going personally green is a bet, nothing more or less, though it’s one we probably all should make, even if the odds of it paying off aren’t great. Sometimes you have to act as if acting will make a difference, even when you can’t prove that it will.

Here, here. That is why I will keep on bothering. And I hope you will too.

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Green Tip of the Week #19 – Power it down

shutdown computerTurn OFF your computer at night to save energy. This might seem like a no-brainer, but I admit that even I wasn’t doing this until just a few months ago. I figured once the computer went into sleep mode, it wasn’t using much energy. I was wrong.

By turning off your computer instead of leaving it in sleep mode, you can save 40 watt-hours per day. That adds up to 4 cents a day, or $14 per year. This will prevent carbon dioxide emissions from heating up the atmosphere (AKA global warming).

Even better than that is to turn off the power strip when nothing is in use because even when off, many electronic devices still draw electricity.

So power down your work computer before you leave your job for the day, especially before the weekend, and your home computer before you go to bed at night.

Jody heard this tip along with some similar statistics on NPR the other day. We couldn’t find a direct quote, but we did find the information above on 50 Ways to Go Green, which is a pretty awesome list by the way.

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. :)

What goes in, must come out – A lesson in digestion

I had the privilege of observing this conversation at the dinner table this week.

Ava wasn’t very motivated to eat dinner, so I enthusiastically pointed out the different foods on her plate in hopes of encouraging her to eat something. After saying the name of each thing, Ava added “poop” to the list of foods.

Jody piped in, “We don’t eat poop, our food turns into poop.” And then gave a fast lesson on digestion about how when we eat food it goes into our tummies, turns into energy and helps us grow, and then we poop out what’s left.

Ava had an incredulous look on her face and said, “Nuh-uh, that’s not what happens.”

Jody said, “What happens to food when we eat it?”

Ava explained that when we eat food “it goes into a pile and then little bits go out to your body” and give you lots of “energy and energy and energy!” At which point she got very animated in demonstrating the energy.

She then turned to me to ask, “Is that right, Mommy?”

Me: “Yes, that’s pretty close to what happens.”

Jody (to Ava): “So then where does poop come from?”

Ava (pausing to think for a second): “Your butt.”

Cue peals of laughter from Jody and me.

Yep, Ava, you definitely know what you’re talking about. :)

The Earth-Mother’s Day Giveaway

Earth-Mother’s Day Giveaway


In the spirit of celebrating the original mother, our Mother Earth, for Earth Day and all mothers for Mother’s Day, I decided to combine the two occasions into one big celebration with a huge earth-friendly mother-centric giveaway.

Just as the Earth is our Mother and we must take care of her, we must also take care of our mothers – all mothers. Since joining the “mommy club,” I’ve met some amazing mothers (both here on my blog and out in the “real world”); mothers who deserve to be honored for all that they do to take care of their children and their families. Moms so often make sacrifice after sacrifice to insure their family is provided for. And while the rewards of being a mom are priceless, it is sometimes nice for moms to get a little something extra, a little mommy schwag if you will. ;) That is why this giveaway is designed specifically with moms in mind, to give them some practical things, as well as some fun things, but most importantly to honor them with some green cheer.

Donations for this great green giveaway have come from the following awesome stores/blogs:

Mission Playground KIT shirtMission Playground‘s hip and unique designs promote environmental awareness on soft, organic cotton tees. Mission Playground’s approach is “to create awareness through our environmentally conscious and globally mindful designs.” Some of my favorite designs include: Life’s a Garden, Dig it., Nature’s Calling, and Keep In Touch. Mission Playground carries women’s, men’s and children’s sizes, and donated 1% of sales to non-profit environmental organizations through their S.E.E.D. program. MP has donated two women’s organic t-shirts to the giveaway.

Choose happiness t-shirtTees for Change simple designs on organic cotton or bamboo shirts inspire conscious living. The Tees for Change mission is “to inspire you to live life with passion, purpose and positivity. We believe that practicing mindfulness and loving kindness throughout daily life can enhance our whole being.” I personally love “Choose Happiness” and “Live Mindfully,” but Tees for Change has a wide selection of sayings with something that should appeal to everyone. Tees for Change has donated one woman’s organic cotton shirt.

Oceano earringsOceano Sea Glass naturally recycled gems jewelry is hand-crafted from glass that has been rubbed smooth by the ocean. Combing far-flung beaches and discovering the sparkle of “ocean gems,” Christine and her daughter Emily have been inspired by the beauty and significance of sea glass and turned their found treasures into jewelry. Oceano has donated two beautiful one of a kind sets of earrings (one green, one brown) to the giveaway.

BYO BagsSay goodbye to wasteful plastic bags with BYO Bags – reusable produce bags. They are made from nylon mesh, and are reusable, lightweight, breathable, washable and durable. What’s Cooking Weekly – an online menu service offering “healthy and seasonal recipes, grocery lists and tips on making cooking with your kids fun and simple” – has donated two sets of three BYO Bags.

Lily’s Garden Herbals all purpose cleanGreen cleaning has never been easier than with Lily’s Garden Herbals All Purpose Clean. Made from natural substances like vinegar and essential oils, Lily’s Garden Herbals get the job done without the worry over harmful chemicals. LGH has donated 2 – 32 oz. bottles of All Purpose Clean.

Wrap-n-matPlastic sandwich bags can be a thing of the past if you use reusable Wrap-n-Mats. The Wrap-n-Mats double as a sandwich wrapper and a place mat. Nature Moms blog has donated two Wrap-n-Mats.

Tree in a boxCelebrate the Earth by planting a tree with a flowering catalpa Tree in a Box. Planting a tree doesn’t get much easier than this. The Tree in a Box comes with everything you need. La Mama Naturale blog has donated two Trees in a Box.

One lucky person will win:

  • 1 Mission Playground woman’s organic t-shirt
  • 1 pair of Oceano earrings
  • 1 set of three BYO Bags
  • 1 32 oz. bottle of Lily’s Garden Herbals all purpose clean
  • 1 Wrap-n-Mat
  • 1 Tree in a Box

And one even luckier person will win the grand prize which includes:

  • All of the things mentioned above
  • And 1 Tees for Change organic cotton t-shirt.

While I wish I could open this up to moms all over the world, I’m sorry, but I have to restrict it to US residents only. To enter the Earth-Mother’s Day Giveaway, you must complete the following three steps.

  1. Leave a comment stating your favorite t-shirt design from Mission Playground or your favorite piece of jewelry from Oceano. Please make sure you include a valid email address so that I can contact you if you are a winner.
  2. Link back to this giveaway on your blog or, if you don’t have a blog, email the link to this giveaway to three friends and cc me on it – amygeekgrl AT gmail DOT com.
  3. Sign Mr. Linky below.

All three steps must be completed in order to have a valid entry. The deadline to enter is 10 a.m. Mountain Time Sunday, May 11. Two winners will be chosen using the Random Number Generator later that day (May 11) and announced on Monday, May 12. Good luck! :)

Here is the code for linking back to my giveaway button. (It wasn’t working properly earlier, but I believe it’s been fixed now. Email me if you still have problems. Thanks.):