Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My day without shoes...

I feel like I finally had enough time to reflect on my day with out shoes yesterday, April 8, 2010. My first thought was that my toes needed to be painted. Right, I was going to be going with our shoes, and my toes needed to look cute. So I was going to get ready to paint them the night before. I had to talk myself out of it several times. Reminding myself of the whole point of this activity…to bring awareness to the thousands of children who do not have shoes. I am sure that their concern is not if their toes look pretty. So I left mine the way they were.

I stopped to get gas, I walked through the parking lot of AMPM with out shoes. I was disgusted, worried about the things I would step on and I was tempted to put my shoes back on. I did not.

I went to work, my feet were cold. I was walking on the cement in the early morning hours. I resisted the urge to put my shoes on until an administrator told me that for safety reasons I needed to put my shoes back on. I did. I had them on and off through out the day at work. I took them off after the last bell rang and walked to my car with bare feet. At this time the afternoon sun heated up the cement, it was nice and toasty, but the longer I walked on it, the more my feet began to burn. Again, I fought the urge to put my shoes on. All the while thinking about children that did not have shoes. Not even one pair. I thought about all of the pairs of shoes I had. I am sure I have 5 or 6. On the grand scale of what most people have this is kind of minimal, but 5 or six and some CHILDREN have NONE!

I think about my self as a parent and how I would feel if my children did not have shoes. My heart is sad not only for those children with out shoes, but also for the parents that are not able to provide their children with shoes. My heart broke. I was HARDLY uncomfortable in comparison to those with out shoes.

My day went on, and I had my shoes off while I was at home and walking around, hardly something that is out of the ordinary. We went to the library in which we had ot wear shoes, but once we were out of the library, our shoes were back off. Then, I had to go to my other job, in which my boss already knew I would not be wearing shoes.

I went other places all with my shoes off, and I have to be honest, when I came home, my feet HURT, and not just a little bit, my feet REALLY hurt! Their were no cuts or bruises or gashes or anything, just soreness….which then again made me think. Of all the kids that did not have shoes.

The day was very emotional as I had said before, and I am not sure even how to end this other than the fact that we will be purchasing Toms shoes in the very near future, and we will be looking for ways in which we can support this cause as well.

I will announce my winner of the gift card soon!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

One Day With Out Shoes....

Hello again to my blog followers, and everyone else that reads this! I am hoping that some of you may have already seen this and are interested in participating, because I HOPE you are!



I took the following information straight from the TOMS onedaywithoutshoes.com web site. I think that they wrote it best, I am just linking you to them.




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One Day Without Shoes is the day we spread awareness about the impact a simple pair of shoes can have on a child’s life. On April 8th, we ask people to go the day, part of the day or even just a few minutes, barefoot, to experience a life without shoes first-hand, and inspire others at the same time.

It’s Hard Without Shoes

Through everyday encounters with domestic poverty, we are reminded to appreciate having food and shelter, but most of us all but forget about our feet. Food, shelter, AND shoes facilitate life’s fundamentals. Imagine a life without shoes; constantly aware of the ground in front of you, suffering regular cuts and scrapes, tending to infection after each walk, and enduring not only terrain, but heat and cold.

The problem is large, but the solution is simple. Wearing shoes and practicing basic hygiene can prevent both infection and disease due to unsafe roads and contaminated soil. By imagining a life barefoot, we can all contribute to the awareness of these conditions. On April 8th, communities, campuses, organizations, and individuals are banding together to walk barefoot for One Day Without Shoes.


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Take a walk with us on April 8th, 2010.

Facts:

• In some developing nations, children must walk for miles to school, clean water and to seek medical help.

• Cuts and sores on feet can lead to serious infection.

• Often, children cannot attend school barefoot.

• In Ethiopia, approximately one million people are suffering from Podoconiosis, a debilitating and disfiguring disease caused by walking barefoot in volcanic soil.

• Podoconiosis is 100% preventable with basic foot hygiene and wearing shoes.

Learn more about our mission and giving at www.TOMS.com.

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Today at work, I work at Oak Hills High School, I gave out fliers. I posted them on bulletin boards here also at VVC where I work On my way to work tonight I am leaving about 30 minutes earlier to post them on the boards at all of the Starbucks that are on my way. I know that this event is tomorrow, but I urge you to share this through Facebook, Twitter, your blogs, your e-mail…whatever means you can, I think that this is a very important cause that can really make us think.


I can honestly say that although my kids are not in need to shoes now, when they are, we will be purchasing TOMS shoes. We will talk about the importance of why we are buying TOMS shoes and where the other pair is going.


As many of you know, Eireland has a VERY soft heart. (Yes, she is a bit feisty at times…ok, lots of times! But when it comes down to it she has a very soft heart!) This is a passion of hers believe it or not. The idea that other little girls do not have shoes when she has a few pairs just does not seem fair to her. It also is making us think about wants and needs. Yes, it would be nice to have shoes that were more dressy for church, but does he NEED those? No. This has been a great conversation starter for our kids, and I hope that it is for your too.

If you choose to participate, then please, will you leave comments? E-mail me? Something? I would love to know how this has made your family think about giving, sharing or about anything! Tell me your experience and One LUCKY person will win a $10 gift card to TOMS! I am not going to pick at random, I REALLY want to hear how this has effected your family, how this has made you think. I will pick based on which story was the most touching...most inspired....and it will be just me picking the winner.  I just wanted to be honest! This will come out of my own pay, so, please, respect my decision in picking the winner.  Spread the word! And, walk a day with out shoes. Find out more information regarding One Day With Out Shoes

Oh, Ps! pictures will be added later! :)

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Eireland's Garden

Eireland had a wonderful birthday. She got many wonderful gifts, and I must say that her favorite gift was her PINK gardening gloves! (Thank you grandma, grandma!) She also got gardening tools, an apron and a kit to make her own gardening stepping stones. (Thank you Aunt Jenna, Uncle Matt and cousin Silas!) She is SOOOO excited because her seeds that she planted recently should be popping up soon. She is counting down the days and she is looking every day! EVERY DAY! She waters them and she cannot wait to plant them in the ground.

On Tuesday night we will be planting carrots and the first round of corn. I realized that you need to plant corn in stages...otherwise ALL of your corn will be ready at one time and then...pun intended...you will have corn coming out your ears. Anyhow, so we are working slowly and we need to get ourselves in gear, hopefully after Wednesday I will have the afternoons and evenings off for a week and a half because VVC will be on Spring Break, so, we will be planting and transplanting! (FINGERS CROSSED!) She is SO excited!

Other than that, that is all of the progress that we have made on the garden. I HAVE tried several new organic and natural products. ALSO, I have new websites that I would like to promote as well! HOWEVER, I don’t have time! LOL! Welcome to the life of a busy mama! I think that later on tonight I will have some time once the kids get in bed! So stay tuned!

Friday, April 2, 2010

PLANTING! :)

We started our planting yesterday! (pics to come soon!) First, we mixed our organic potting soil that we bought at the .99 store with the Grounds For Your Garden from Starbucks! Then, Eireland and I cut down out plastic cups from Starbucks and our plastic water bottles that we had saved and planted lettuce and peas! They are now in our window just getting some sun.  Eireland checked them this morning and quickly informed me "They are NOT growing." So then, we checked the back of the packages and figured out how many days it will take for them to poke through the soil. We learned a new word...Germination!   She seemed to accept that answer.  Here is the dates for our first planted seeds!

Seed:                          Date Planted:                  Days to Germination:  
Peas (Set 1)                April 1                            7-14   (April 7-14)
Lettuce (Set 1)           April 1                            7-10   (April 7-10)
Peas (Set 2)                April 2                            7-14   (April 8-15)
Lettuce (Set 2)           April 2                            7-10   (April 8-11)
Honey Dew (Set 1)    April 2                            7-10   (April 8-11)


Today, we planted a different kind of lettuce, Honey Dew mellons, and more peas!

Also, today I worked the dirt a bit more, and REALLY worked the soil where the carrots are going to be.  We need to make sure that the soil underneath the carrots is very soft and worked 18 inches deep.  This way the carrots can grow nice and straight.  I also worked in the Grounds For Your Garden into the area that we will grow the carrots.  Carrots will most likely be planted tomorrow!

I will be updating later on with photos of yesterday and today's adventures! Later on this evening I will be blogging about Cliff Bars! YUM! And some more wonderful Organic snacks that I have tested and tried! I will also be doing a website review on Franklingoose.com! A fantastic website!

Monday, March 29, 2010

The lesser of 2 evils...is there one?

The lesser of 2 evils…is there one?

So hear me out…and please remember that this is a journey for me, it is not like I woke up and all of a sudden all I am doing is 100% organic or natural things…that is NOT the case, I am just trying to live better/greener/healthier/eco-friendler (is that even a REAL word?)/and more organic….So remember that while you read my blog!

Today, I work 13 hours.  Yes, you read that right, I said 13 hours.  Anyhow so tonight when I was thinking about dinner, my mind wandered to one of the many fast food restaurants that were on my way to work…there must have been 50 of them.  And, you will be proud to know that the place I ended up eating was….Albertsons! I purchased 10 slices of Turkey pastrami, and 4 slices of mild cheddar cheese.  I also had a package of dry mangos (the one in my kids snacks review) and a grande black and green tea, no sweetener, no water from the SBUX.  (While I was there I found dried cherries from the same company that the mangoes come from, so I picked those up to try later on.) My dinner was DELICIOUS!

Now, you may ask why the title of my post is what it is.  I am going to say, yes…there is a lesser of the 2 evils.  Now, you may be asking here, what are the evils? Well, evil #1 is ANY meal from a fast food joint! Which if I had gone there, I would have gotten something with fries, I am sure, and a diet coke…I don’t drink regular coke, I drink diet coke…not for the diet value per say, more because I just like the taste! LOL! And Evil #2 is the processed meat I ate.  I say that I DID pick the lesser of 2 evils.  Although the meal was made of processed foods (the meat)…which to be honest I would like to faze out at some point… it was WAY less calories, fat, transfats, sodium….and so on, and it was WAY healthier in the long run, and the total meal cost me $4.67.  Way healthier and way more natural…the tea was as were the mangoes…actually, the mangoes were even USDA certified organic.  So, to say the least, I am proud of my healthy dinner choice.

GARDEN UPDATE!!!!

I picked up the “grounds for your garden” from Starbucks this morning.  2 huge bags.  I have no put them on my dirt yet, I did not quite have time to, however I will be doing it tomorrow afternoon when the kids can help.  I have watered my tomatoes though!

ALSO, I have been thinking about what to do with my Starbucks cups that I get with water in them, because no, I have not purchased a new cup…BUT, I am going to poke holes in the bottom, and use them to start the seeds in for the garden!  We will be starting our lettuce and our snap peas tomorrow afternoon….I will be sure to take pics, and update tomorrow!

With all of that said, my day was long and I am exhausted! Enjoy your evening!


Sunday, March 28, 2010

Gardening Day 2

So I finished up the digging up of the garden! Man, that is some HARD work.  I had to spray it all down again and keep digging.  I had about 8 feet left to dig up.  Tristan was right there in the mix helping me out! (I think he was only there becuase it was muddy, and he wanted to play in the dirt, but none the less, here was there with his shovel!) And Eireland helped out too.  She liked breaking up the dirt chunks with her shovel and infomred me that for her birthday party (***Anyone coming to her birthday party, here is a hint as to what she would like***) she would like some very nice gardening gloves so that she could help plant.



MeGardening


It was great fun.  A lot of work, and the above picture makes me look haggered, but I FELT haggered after all of this hard work! I was sweating like crazy too! I think I lost 3 lbs while I was out there digging. Anyhow, This all happened Friday, and it is now Sunday night.  Tomorrow I will be going to pick up coffee grounds from Starbucks so I can start to get the ground ready! This week, I will just sped getting the soil ready and later on in the week, I would think Friday I will be putting the fence up and I will begin planting! :) Tomorrow during work, I will be sketching how I would like to set the garden up! I will share the sketch with you...that is all for now...I leave you with a photo of the finished product on the end of day 2!


Day2

Snacks for Kids....part 1 of....well, many!

These are some snacks that I have picked up for the kids to try, or snacks I have tried, or snacks the kids have tried! :) I am sure this will be part 1 of many, and I would LOVE for you to share your suggestions of healthy/organic/natural kids snacks as well! Please just post a comment below!


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Peeled Snacks- These snacks are delicious! They are USDA certified organic, which means that they are 95% or more made from Organic ingredients.  They are dried fruit pieces and each pack is a complete serving.  HOWEVER, I split mine into 4 servings.  The kids really enjoyed them too.  I picked up Apple-2-the core and Much-ado-about-mango from Starbucks for $2.00 a package.  Below is the nutritional information....you can purchase these off of the website given as well. 


Apple-to-the-Core             Much-ado-about-mango
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Peter Rabbit Organics -I have to admit, one of the things that attracted me to this snack was the very interesting package.   I tried both the Apple and Grape and the Mango, Banana, Orange snack.  To be quite honest, I liked the Apple grape snack better! The texture is like that of a thicker applesauce, but the taste is delicious! Theses are USDA certified organic.  They are a bit pricey though, costing $1.95. I purchased these at Starbucks, but they are sold at Amazon.com. (Photo courtesy of Amazon.com)


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Stretch Island Fruit Co.-  These are 100% natural fruit strips.  They are so good.  They are not too tough or dry, for a fruit strip.  They are easy to chew, so they can be given to a younger child.  Tristan, my 2 year old really liked them! If I would have let him, he would have eaten ALL of them!  I purchased these at Starbucks again for .75 each. (Can you see a trend with the snacks I am reviewing? Yes, I got them all at Starbucks!) We tried both the strawberry and the Apple.  All 3 kids approved!


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Annie's Cheddar Bunnies- The particular bunnies that I tasted, and that are pictured above, are the Naural bunnies that are 70% organic.  They are delicious too! (I think I need a new word, but I am loving all of these foods!) Annie's DOES have a USDA certified organic Cheddar Bunnies Snack though for reference.  The kids realy liked these, as did I, however I will be honest, they said it did not matter if they were eating Goldfish Crackers or these, they liked them both! So although they are delicious, I think that I will stick to the Goldfish crackers since they are soo mcuh cheaper. :) They ARE kid approved though!


So, that is all for now! The kids and I had a great time taste testing these foods! :) It made for a fun time, and it opened up the discussion for healthy eating habits...Tristan of course had no clue, he just had fun eating! What kid wouldn't!  No worries...I will be posting more reviews later, and next up I will be compiling some recipies for some healthy snacks for kids too!


Saturday, March 27, 2010

How can you go green when you are obsessed?




SO MANY CHOICES---
As I said before, I am not going 100% green, organic, natural, eco-friendly, etc. I am just trying to improve. Interesting enough, I am finding myself faced with decisions with every product I look at! Last night, I go to Target to get some snacks for the kids...I get Goldfish, because they LOVE them (and SO do I!). Are they organic? No, natural, again, nope, healthier? Than what? Than the sugar filled fruit snacks they were sitting right next to, you bet! But then, I have my choice....original, or Whole Grain (Which by the way, you need to be REALLY careful when reading labels that say WHOLE GRAIN, because believe it or not, often times the product is not REALLY whole grain...more on this later.) So I pick whole grain. You can see the nutrition information here. My point here is just there there are SO many choices! How am I ever going to figure it all out! Esp. when it comes to snacks for my kids they they are going to LIKE and eat! Oh-well!

AN OBSESSION! I LOVE Starbucks. To many of you this is not a NEW piece of information. And this morning because I took my sister to work super early (for a Saturday), and because I needed to go to work myself an hour and a half later, I decided to stop inside and get a drink. So I order (with out ANY hesitation) a grande, iced SKCDL with 4 add shots. (For those of you who don't work at, or never did work at Starbucks, SKCDL stands for Skinny cinnamon Dulce latte.) Instead of some type of pastry for breakfast (because even their REDUCED FAT coffee cakes still have around 325 calories in a slice) I got a banana. Both of these options while not organic and only one of them being 100% natural, they were the healthier option. (Yes, I DO realize that the syrup used to make my drink IS made with artificial sweeteners, but the coffee is fair trade coffee, so doesn't that cancel out the fact that I was consuming artificial sweetener?) The point I am getting at here is that I do not have to give up. Although I am consuming a plastic cup (that is made from recyclable materials), I thought of a solution for that...purchase my own plastic cup for future use. I know that may sound really stupid, but having a cup for my cold beverages (yes, for those that know me know I do not use that word often.) thus, I will look at inserting in one.




WHATS GOING ON AT STARBUCKS THAT IS GOOD FOR THE EARTH- Well for starters they sell fair trade coffee. I guess that is more good for man kind as opposed to good for the earth. But they DO also sell organic coffee which IS good for the earth, and the coffee that you consume.

However, when I walked in this morning, I saw a beautiful table set up with the new PRESERVATION campaign. There is so much going on with that that if you want all the information, you can read the article that I linked, but here is some of the highlights: The new Starbucks card that you can get is made of at least 80% post consumer recycled materials! PLUS, after you register the card every time the card is used, .05 is donated to Conservation International. They also have new mugs/bottles/cups that are made from post consumer materials. Again, this is good for the earth.





Starbucks also sells ETHOS water. Starbucks donates a portion of each bottled water sale to ETHOS to help create clean water for children in Africa...not too shabby there. PLUS, the plastic bottles that the water is sold in is made from....you guessed it...post consumer materials! :) Another PLUS! AND....guesssss what!?! You can recycle the bottle when you are finished!

Starbucks, is offering prepackaged organic snacks too! I did not write down what brands they are using, so I will come back and let you know, because they were geared more towards children and I thought that was interesting. SO I will come back and UPDATE this once I get the information! :)

To wrap this up, I knew a lot of this information already, but wanted to share it with you. In all honesty, I could spend hours and hours blogging on the pros and cons of Starbucks, how they are green, and how they are not...but for now, this is what I wanted to focus on! :) The fact that there are choices offered that are healthier/organic/eco-friendly (I really need to come up with an acronym for this because I have a feeling I am going to type this out a TON! LOL!) I am not also suggesting that you go out a buy a bunch of crap you don't need because it is organic/healthier/eco friendly whatever, I am just letting you know what is out there! :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Starting a Garden!

Gardening

I thought it would be a fantastic idea to start a garden, for many reasons.


FRESH PRODUCE- I don't think you can get any fresher produce than picking it out of your own back yard! Plus, I am going to need it for Phoenix's baby food that I am going to make...yes, I said make! :) (Thank you Jenna Fell for the inspiration and encouragement to make his baby food when everyone else is telling me I am a moron!)

CHOICES-You can choose what you want to grow. As of now I have several ideas of things I would like to plant and grow, if I could, I would plant EVERYTHING! But sadly I have to make some type of choices!

ITS A LEARNING PROCESS- Not only is this a learning process for me, but for the kids as well. We will be deciding what to plant together, and taking care of the garden together as well. This means watering, weeding, planting and so forth.

DAY 1- I have picked a spot for my garden in the back yard. It measures 7x20. Not too big, but just big enough. I spent about 5 minutes spraying down the dirt so I can dig it all up to start getting to soil ready for planting. Then, I spent an hour overturning the dirt in the first 12 feet...it was just me and the shovel. Good times! In the process of the grueling work, Eireland joined me by helping to break up the big dirt chunks and Tristan, well...he got his own shovel and helped me 'dig'. In the process of digging, I believe I disrupted a critters home, either a bunny or a snake. I would LIKE to think it was a bunny, because that would be less creepy than a snake, but in reality, I do not think a bunny would fit in the 2 inch hole that I destroyed! Poor snake, he needs to find a new home! I was too tired to finish the other 8 feet so I decided to save it for later. After I dug, I sprayed the ground again to wet down

Earlier in the day Eireland and I went to Target to pick up a few things, and we picked up our first pot and package of seeds. We decided to plant tomatoes, and since our garden is not ready, they are perfect to start because they need to be started indoors. So, after all of the digging that Eireland and I did, we decided to plant tomatoes in our pots.

Our garden is now more than half way dug up and the tomatoes are planted! :) We are on a roll!
Now that we have the measurements for our garden, we need to decide what we want to put in there. I know that we want to put corn, tomatoes, herbs, bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, lettuce, pumpkins, watermelon and cantaloupe in it, but not sure what else!

To help me figure out how to do all of this, I have joined 2 groups on Cafe Mom and I have found this Organic Gardening website. Over the past 2 days (since I decided I am going to HAVE a garden I have poured over this site!) I am not sure if the garden will end up being 100% organic...I mean who can resist trying Miracle Grow with all of those amazing promises that they make? But hey, we are going in the right step towards healthier, more eco-friendly and more natural! :) Score one for me!

With that, day one comes to a close!

Progress

The dirt patch...half way done! TONS of work! LOL!



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The dirt patch half way done at the end of day 1! SOOOO TIRED...oh yeah, and the dog!



P.S. Just an FYI here and there I will include links in my posts! Those links will be BOLD and in Italics! :) For instance in this post there are 2 links: Baby Food and Organic Gardening. Hope this helps you out!

My white T is green!

I purchased a t-shirt once made of 100% organic cotton, it was white and the saying (In green letters) MY WHITE T IS GREEN! That was the truth, it was. This t-shirt, although I no longer own it, was the most comfortable shirt I owned, and perhaps the first organic thing I purchased on purpose. Thus, the title of my blog! :)

Recently I decided that I wanted to do things more naturally in my life, and also in the life of my children. I did not necessarily want to go 100% organic, but I wanted things to be healthier, more natural, and yes, even perhaps organic. Its a journey to becoming more eco-friendly as well! I admit, I am sure I will still eat fast food, as will my kids and my husband too, but there will be WAY less of it! Yes, I am sure that my kids will still come in contact with *gasp* high fructose corn syrup! But again, there will be WAY less of it consumed. That is if I can help it.

This is not a change that is going to take place overnight, not at all. It will be gradual and by doing that I am sure that Steven will not even notice. Since he is 100% against this and thinks I am NUTS! I am just trying to be more conscious of the things that I use, and do and consume on a constant basis. This is a journey and a learning process! I invite you to join me and come along! Feel free, to follow me and celebrate my success with me and even my failures! I welcome and invite your comments, ideas and suggestions!

I am not sure where this blog will take me...I plan on posting websites, tips, ideas, things I have learned and so on here as well! :) Perhaps product reviews and so on...I am open to anything!

So come on! join me on this new adventure that is taking off for me! First up...planting a garden!