I ain’t buyin’ it

When I saw Crunchy Chicken’s latest challenge – Buy Nothing (with the exception of food, medications or other essentials) for the month of April – I said heck yeah, I am down with that! I’d actually been considering joining Mamas on The Compact for a two-month stint, but figured this would be a little bit easier and a good trial run for me since it’s just for a month. (And I’m a little chicken nervous about committing to longer than that, especially since summer is coming up and we might be planning a couple trips.)Buy Nothing Challenge - April 2008

Of course, wouldn’t you know it, the very first day (April 1st) I ran into a dilemma with the challenge. The kids and I went to pick up Jody from work and decided to go out to eat before heading home. But hmmm, is going out to eat allowed I wondered? It’s food, which is allowed, but the act of going out to eat does seem sort of extravagant. Too bad I didn’t have Crunchy Chicken on my speed dial. Decisions, decisions.

As luck would have it, the first two places we tried to go were closed anyway. The first was Alexander’s, my favorite healthy Mexican food place in Boulder, which has apparently gone out of business. :( What’s up with that?

Next we tried Heidi’s Brooklyn Deli because we had a coupon. We parked two blocks away, fed the meter, then walked over only to find a note on the door – “Closed at 3 p.m. today for company meeting.” On April Fool’s Day of all days. I thought it was a joke, but it wasn’t.

I decided the fates were conspiring against us and a dinner out was not in the card and was ready to just give up and head home when we passed a health-conscious restaurant called Turley’s that includes some local food and organics on their menu. I commanded Jody, “Just go to Turley’s,” and he did. :)

After all of that, I’d like to say that we had a nice, relaxing dinner, but in reality the kids were tired, Julian was not content to sit in a high chair, and the whole meal was very rushed (but tasty).

Feeling a bit guilty about my possible failure on the very first day, I sent Crunchy Chicken an email asking for clarification if going out to dinner counted as food or not. She said she was a little unsure about that herself, but basically concluded that it can be allowed but it depends on where you go, what you are eating and that no disposable packaging is involved. So, McDonald’s (eww anyway) – definitely a no. A restaurant with healthy food and no disposable takeout containers – OK. I can deal with that. I will confess that we brought home a small cardboard container on Tuesday, but I recycled it.

If you feel you are up to the challenge, you can still join. Head on over and sign up to Buy Nothing. If you absolutely need something non-edible or not essential to growing your own food or for your survival, you must acquire it by borrowing, bartering or buying it used. If you buy something new that is non-essential, Crunchy Chicken will have a Sunday Confessional post for everyone to spill the beans.

Good night and good luck. :)

20 minutes makes a better butter

I’ve been reading a few more crunchy blogs lately and have been inspired to expand upon my own crunchiness by making my own butter. Crunchy Chicken made it sound easy peasy on her other blog Crunchy Chicken Cooks, and my friend Julie also tried it with much success, so I decided we should have a go at it ourselves.

All you need to make your own butter is:

  1. A pint of heavy whipping cream
  2. A Mason jar with a lid

Then shake, shake, shake your way to delicious fresh butter.

Before:
Cream

The helpers shake it up:
Ava making butter - 2/9/08 Julian making butter 2/9/08

After:
The finished product - butter!

And on some homemade blueberry bread (made with the buttermilk that is leftover from making the butter):
Blueberry bread with fresh butter

I’d never had fresh butter before, but it really is delicious! :)

We speculate that the cream we got from our local dairy was not heavy whipping cream because it actually took us longer than 20 minutes to make the butter. The first time I thought it was because we let the kids help, but the second time I did most of the shaking myself and it still took a lot longer than 20 minutes. I think the next time I’m just going to pick up a pint of organic heavy whipping cream at the store.

You can read the full step by step instructions with pictures on Crunchy Chicken’s cooking blog. The last step that is optional (and that she did not include) is to add some salt to it if you prefer salted butter.

Next up for the Crunchy Domestic Goddess is making yogurt! I just need to get myself a candy thermometer and then I’m all over it. :)

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Also, just want to add that I’m writing for Blissfully Domestic now as the “Eco Diva.” My first post all about recycling is up today!

And while you are blog hopping, check out AllTop.com, a new project by Guy Kawasaki “that provides ‘all the top’ stories for 40 of the most popular topics on the Web. The headlines and first paragraph of the five most recent stories from 40 to 80 sources for each topic are displayed.”

Green Tip of the week #13 – The power of baking soda

Baking soda – it’s not just for baking!

If I could only have one type of cleaning product for my whole house, it would be baking soda – pure and simple. Non-toxic baking soda has so many practical uses without the worry of harsh chemicals. Here are just a few:

  • Safely clean baby or pet toys – Use 4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water. Wash toys with a clean damp sponge or cloth, rinse and dry.
  • Clean baby equipment (stroller, high chair, changing table, exersaucer, swing, etc.) – Just sprinkle baking soda on a clean damp sponge and rub the item clean. Rinse thoroughly and allow to dry.
  • Freshen and deodorize carpets – sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let sit for 15 minutes, then vacuum it up
  • Cleaning bathroom tubs, tile and sinks – even shiny fiberglass and glossy tiles- sprinkle baking soda lightly on a clean damp sponge and scrub as usual. Rinse thoroughly and wipe dry.
  • Freshen sponges – Soak stale-smelling sponges in a strong baking soda solution to get rid of the mess and bring in the fresh (4 tablespoons of baking soda dissolved in 1 quart of warm water).
  • Clean your produce of dirt and other residue – Just sprinkle a little baking soda on a clean damp sponge, scrub and rinse.
  • Clean your counter tops – Sprinkle baking soda onto a clean damp sponge or cloth and wipe clean, rinse thoroughly, then dry.

What else do YOU use baking soda for?

Thanks to Arm & Hammer for many of these great tips.

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. :)

Crunchy Domestic Goddess Year in Review – 2007

Kelli at There is no place like home and Steph at Adventures in Babywearing both inspired me to do my own year in review post. They both posted the first sentence of their first blog post of each month, but I’m changing the “rules” for my blog and doing things a little differently. Instead of taking the first sentence from the first post of each month, I’m selecting the first sentence (or few sentences) from one of my favorite posts from each month and including a link to that post as well in case something piques your interest. (Yes, it took a lot more time to do it this way, but it seems I’m all about making things more difficult challenging for myself.) By doing it this way I hoped to select posts that best represented my blogging throughout the past year. :)

The CDG Year in Review

JANUARY
I’m not a big fan of Dr. Phil, but was happy to learn he was having the Sears doctors (Dr. William Sears and sons, Dr. James Sears and Dr. Robert Sears) on a show on Friday called “Young Moms Ask the Experts.”From The Sears doctors chime in on CIO and other parenting topics

FEBRUARY
One of Ava’s books about nursing (Breastmilk Makes My Tummy Yummy) contains a picture of a mom nursing a toddler and a baby and states: “Two can breastfeed without fuss, there is room for both of us.” On Wednesday night, we – me, Julian and Ava – experienced that for the first time. — From Room for two

MARCH
It’s the little things that make me appreciate just how much I love my kids.
Like the new lip-smacking sounds that Julian makes.
Like the way Ava kissed my arm a few times while falling asleep tonight. — From The little things

APRIL
In the spirit of putting more of myself “out there,” here it is, as promised – my completely honest post. — From The truth will set you free

MAY
As I set out driving Friday night to hear Ina May Gaskin – called “the mother of authentic midwifery” by Midwifery Today – speak, I was filled with nervous excitement. When I was about 10 minutes out from the church in Lafayette where the event was taking place, a friend of mine called me to say she was saving some seats for me and other friends of ours and she was able to get pretty close to the front. I felt like a teenager going to a rock concert. — From An Evening with Ina May

JUNE
On Sunday morning, Jody, Ava, Julian and I braved the record-breaking 100 degree heat to attend the National Mile High Breastfeeding Celebration in Denver hoping to help break a record of a different kind. — From National Mile High Breastfeeding Celebration


JULY
Some days you have to throw out your plans and just go with the flow. Today was one of those days. — From Go with the flow

AUGUST
As parents, we do the best we can to ensure our children have the very best start in the world. We may breastfeed them, make their baby food from scratch, buy organic and whole foods, childproof our homes, teach them not to talk to strangers, and a myriad of other things. We trust that when we buy age-appropriate toys for our children, that they will be safe and not pose a choking hazard nor contain toxic elements… – From Tots, toys and toxic paint don’t mix

SEPTEMBER
I tend not to write much about celebrities on my blog. As a general rule, I find there’s just too much other stuff going on in the world (especially my family’s world) for me to discuss who’s doing/saying what out in Hollywood. But when I heard that Brad Pitt (and then Kevin Kline) recently made comments about co-sleeping… – From What I believe: Brad Pitt, Kevin Kline on co-sleeping

OCTOBER
Halloween is right around the corner, but in light of my recent discoveries about damaging effects of artificial colors and flavors (and petroleum and coal tar) in candy, I haven’t been feeling very excited about a holiday that promotes candy consumption. — From Amy’s Halloween Candy Alternatives

NOVEMBER
It’s been just over a year since my baby boy made his amazing entrance into the world, and yet, I never posted his birth story on my blog. So here it is one year later – in it’s full, unedited (LONG) glory (altered only to change the midwives’ names to first initial) – for your reading pleasure. — From One year later – Julian’s (footling breech) home birth story

DECEMBER
In light of articles like this one, stating that as recently as Nov. 20, hazardous toys (containing high lead levels and other dangers) were still being found on the shelves in stores like Target, it’s validating (but really no surprise to me) to read that Simple Retro Toys May Be Better For Children Than Fancy Electronic Toys. — From Simple toys better for children

If you wrote a year in review post (of any kind) on your blog, please add a link to your post in the comments. :)

Happy New Year!

Shopping, parties, leaves and more

NaBloPoMo – Day 11

It was a busy weekend around here (the first of many!), complete with a Lantern Walk and potluck dinner (celebrating Martinmas) at Ava’s preschool, a housewarming party at my friend‘s new (and gorgeous) house, more leaf raking and bagging (we’re finally done!), a haircut for Ava, Freecycling a table and chairs set, as well as birthday (Julian) and Christmas toy shopping.

wooden blocksThanks to a tip from my friend Melissa, I spent over an hour on Saturday looking through toys at Tuesday Morning of all places. They got a shipment of German wooden toys in and there were deals to be had! :) (They weren’t HABA – how rockin’ would that be? – but they did seem like good quality, lead-free toys.) I’m starting to believe that this desire to find good, quality wooden toys is an addiction. I’m on the lookout for them where ever I go – thrift stores, consignment stores, and now – thanks to Melissa – closeout stores as well. LOL

I hope to write about my wonderful wooden finds in the next week or two and actually compose a Crunchy Domestic Goddess Holiday Gift Guide of sorts. :) Won’t that be fun?! :)

Green tip of the week #1 – save your leaves

compost pile

NaBloPoMo – Day 10

Green tip of the week:

When raking up your leaves this fall, be sure to set aside a bag or two to keep and use as “brown” (dry) material for your compost bin/pile throughout the coming year. That way you’ll always have some on-hand when you need it.

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