Saturday, April 26, 2008

11th Hour DVD

We just finished watching the 11th Hour. It is produced and narrated by Leonardo Dicaprio. I loved it!! You can watch the trailer for it at and see for yourself why it's a must see. Also, you can visit for more solutions on what you can do as an individual or as a community to help save our precious planet.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Belated Earth Day!

We have been participating in a 'Screen Free' week so I didn't post anything on Earth Day. But we did observe that day. My kids and I planted some kale, beats, and rainbow chard seeds indoors and will transplant them outside in a month or so. We are quite limited in what we grow outside because of our small space - everything is going in planter boxes.
When friends ask me why I care so much about the planet and working towards a sustainable lifestyle, I always have a hard time condensing SOOO much information into a short and practical explanation. Nobody wants to be lectured but I find they are always a bit curious. My grandmother gave me her book The Canadian Green Consumer Guide - How You Can Help - Responsbile shopping that won't cost the earth. The preface in this book was written by Margaret Atwood. I would LOVE to give copies of this preface to everyone I know because it is written in a way that is easy to understand and gets right to the point in a short period of time. The next time someone wants to know why I care so much about the planet I will give them the info from this preface:
----------------Taken from The Canadian Green Consumer Guide-----------------
By now, most people know we're in danger. We've heard about the thinning ozone layer, the greenhouse effect, acid rain, the destruction of the world's forests, arable lands, and drinkable water. The danger we're in is enormous:
if we don't do something about it, its results could be as devasting as those of a world-wide nuclear catastrophe. We have finally realized that we cannot continue to dump wide toxic chemicals and garbage into the water, air, and earth of this planet without eventually killng both it and ourselves - because everything we eat, drink, and grow has its ultimate source in the natural world.
However, most people don't know what to do. In the face of such an enormous global problem, they feel helpless. But altogether the problem is global, the solutions must be local. Unless we begin somewhere, we will never begin at all. An absence of small beginnings will spell the end.
During the depression and the war, conservation was a way of life. It wasn't called that. It was called saving, or salvaging, or rationing. People saved things and reused them because materials were expensive or scarce. They saved string, rubber bands, bacon fat, newspapers, tin cans and glass bottles, old clothes. They made new things out of old things; they darned socks, turned shirt collars. They grew Victory Gardens. "Waste not, want not" was their motto.
Then came the end of the war, a new affluence, and the Disposable Society. We were encouraged to spend and waste; it was supposed to be good for the economy. Throwing things out became a luxury. We indulged.
We can no longer afford our wasteful habits. It's Back to the Basics, time for a return to the Three R's: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse, too, to buy polluting products and to rethink your behaviour. For instance, use less energy; cut your overhead and increase profits, and stave off a tax hike. Dry your clothes on a rack: humidify your home and lower your hydro bill. Leave excess packaging at the store: let them dispose of it. Manufacturers will get the message pretty quick, not just from you but from disgruntled retailers. Start a compost heap. Vote for politicians with the best environmental platforms. Choose non-disposables: razors with real blades instead of the plastic chuck-it-out kind, fountain pens rather then toss-outs. Shop for organic veggies; di it using a shopping basket so you won't have to cart home all those annoying plastic bags that pile up under the sink. Lobby for country-of-origin labels on all food, so you know you aren't eating destroyed Amazonian rainforest with every hamburger bite.
Pollution control, like charity, must begin at home. It's true that industries are major polluters, but industries, in the final analysis, are market - and therefore consumer-driven. If enough of us refuse to buy polluting products, the manufacturers will go out of business. Even a small percentage swing in buying patterns can mean the difference between profit and loss.
This is wartime. Right now we're losing; but it's a war we can still win, with some good luck, a lot of good will, and a great many intelligent choices. Although they are about familiar, harmless-looking, everyday objects, they are, in the final analysis, life-or-death choices.
And the choice is yours.
Margaret Atwood

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Screen Free Week

Our family will be participating in the upcoming Screen Free week. I'm chuckling at the challenge because it will not be a challenge for us at all. We do not subscribe to cable or satellite.....we simply have rabbit ears on our TV and get 6 stations. My husband and I watch an hour of TV each night and the kids watch even less then that. There are a couple of cartoons on in the mornings that they sometimes watch. They do like to watch movies on weekends. So, as a family, we are not screen free......but we do watch very little and the kids aren't subjected to all the commericals that others kids are. Which makes life easier for us. HA

Soooooooo, because the next week is screen free - I won't be posting anything.

Before I sign off, I'd like you to watch this cool video from a writeup in the New York Times green edition. It's about the Dervaes family of Pasadena California. I hope someday our family can live this self sufficient.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I'm it!

I was tagged by So what does a vegetarian eat anyways? to list 5 things about myself that others may not know. So here they are:

1. My main interest in life right now is learning everything I can about living a healthy lifestyle that is good to our bodies as well as the earth. I'm interested in vegan recipes, chemical free beauty products, finding organic cotton/bamboo clothing/sheets/towels/etc., alternative treatments to everyday ailments, disease prevention, organic gardening practices, etc etc. This is no big secret to the people around me. ha ha.

2. My choices of favourite things in life come and go like yesterdays news. If you ask me today what my favourite colour is, sure as hell it will be something different tomorrow. I always hated those questionnaires that asked me my likes and dislikes; What's my favourite colour, movie, TV show, shampoo, city, blah blah blah. Basically I have NONE! I love and hate lots of things - don't get me wrong, but nothing has EVER gotten into the FAVOURITE category in my books. I guess I'm still on that search.....which brings me to my next one....

3. I thrive on change. For example, I never buy the same shampoo twice. I'll try another brand when the bottle is empty. I am constantly changing the furniture around in our living room, bedrooms, etc. We have lived in 13 residences in the past 13 years. (which is something that will stop once we buy a home) I guess it looks like I've got committment issues. HA

4. I LOVE trading/borrowing etc household items. Examples of this are: This past week I wanted to sweep the driveway and my corn broom just wasn't going to get the job done effectively, so I called up my Dad and borrowed his broom. When my boys outgrow their clothes, we give them to my nephew. When my mother gets new bedding for her bed, she will ask me if I want her current ones. A girlfriend and I used to get together with clothes we no longer wanted and would trade with one another. I have always loved this circle of gave me more pleasure then buying something new.

5. I am the klutziest person you will ever meet. I break more drinking glasses then my 2 and 5 year old do. ha A day doesn't go by where I don't break something or spill something or trip over something. Just before I started writing this post I was walking through the doorway to my home office and cracked my hand on the doorway and now there is a purple welt on my hand. never fails with me.....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Another find....and gardening

I had often heard of G.T.'s Kombucha drinks but have never seen them anywhere in our area. We went down into Michigan this past weekend and when I went into a natural food coop Grain Train I found them so I just had to try them. I bought this Synergy one that has ingredients listed as: 95% G.T.'s organic raw kombucha, raspberry juice, lemon juice and freshed pressed ginger juice, and 100% pure love!!! Neat eh? The other kind I bought was the Organic Raw Green drink (not shown here). Kombucha (pronounced kom-BOO-cha) is a handmade Chinese tea that is delicately cultured for 30 days. During this time, essential nutrients form like: Active Enzymes, Viable Probiotics, Amino Acids, Antioxidants, and Polyphenols. All of these combine to create an elixir that immediately works with the body to restore balance and vitality.

I really like the glass bottles the drinks come in - I will definately be reusing them - this smoothie pictured here is my breakfast most days and when I'm in a rush, I can put it into the Synergy bottle and take it to-go. Unfortnately the drinks taste like apple cider vinegar - the two I tried did anyways. And I'm not a huge fan of vinegar - so I ended up using the three bottles I bought in my morning smoothies because I just couldn't drink them alone. I'm disappointed my taste buds didn't like them! You win some, you lose some I suppose.

Onto an unrelated topic - gardening! On Earth Day I usually sit down with the kids and we plant seeds and plan out our garden for the upcoming growing season - in celebration of the earth and all her beauties. This summer I would like to be a bit more organized in what I plant. We have only spent one summer in this house and last one was a bit of an experiment in what I can grow and where. Unfortnately i can not dig up any ground (we are renting) and there isn't much back yard space. I utilized planters last summer and will be doing so again. This is what I plan on growing again this summer: herbs (oregano, basil, parsley, mint, camomile) and plum tomatoes. We didn't have much luck with pumpkins, peas, and squash last summer. I would like to try growing kale, collards, and beet greens. Does anyone have growing tips on these things?

Monday, April 14, 2008

Jumping on the Dr. Bronner's Bandwagon

I just purchased my first bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps - I bought the Hemp Lavender Pure-Castile Soap. I'm very excited - who knew soap would get me this way. ha ha I'm excited because of the many uses this bottle can have. For starters I added a few squirts of it into my homemade mulit-purpose spray cleaners (see this post)........I used it as a body wash in the shower this morning......and I plan on putting it into a reusable bottle to use as hand soap in the bathroom. That is a good start I think. What do the rest of you use yours for????

Monday, April 7, 2008


My son needed new rubber boots this spring. Last spring I was able to get him gently used ones but that wasn't the case this year. However, I was able to get him these rubber boots made in CANADA (woot woot) from first quality recyclable materials. To further make a difference with these boots, we can return them to Rallye Footwear for recycling when we no longer can use them. Cool eh??
On a different note, we are in need of some bedspreads and I would like to find some that are 100% organic cotton, or hemp, or bamboo etc. I've been surfing the web all day trying to find one we like - most are colourless. I've had luck in the past with finding bamboo sheets at Zellers (however they are no longer carrying them here) but finding a bedspread/quilt with some colour isn't easy. If anyone has some websites PLEASE let me know!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Beet Martinis

Okay seriously, there isn't any alcohol in my beet martini - but its always an option. ha ha Along with incorporating more smoothies into our diets, I have also dug out the juicer, dusted it off and put it to work. Remember the other day I mentioned that we are 'on again, off again' kind of folks in regards to smoothie making? Well, same thing with juicing. I bought my first juicer about ten years ago - ran it for a year - and the damn thing just died one day - literally - it coughed, puffed out smoke, and that was it. It was a cheap K-Mart special. Then a couple years after that I bought another cheap, Walmart special, and it is still with us to this day. Maybe one of these birthdays or Christmas I will ask for a good one. Anywho, back to my beet martini. I only call it a martini because I drink all my juice in a martini glass. Makes me feel like a classy kind of gal I suppose. This particular drink I juiced two carrots, half a beet, one celery stalk, and one apple. All organic of course! Isn't it a lovely colour? (my poor photography skills don't do it justice) It was fairly tasty. It was even better after I threw in a splash of my lemon water. (I juice one lemon every day and put it into a big jug of water into the fridge....and sip throughout the day) I've been juicing just about anything I've got in the fridge for produce. Except my greens - my cheap ass juicer doesn't juice those too well. So I save the greens for my smoothies.

Anyways, moral of this post - is go juice something will ya????

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Green Smoothies

It's amazing how many blogs have dedicated a post to their green smoothie creations. I started experimenting with green smoothies a couple years ago when I came across Victoria Boutenko's website and books. Now it seems it is all the rage out there. But like everything with me I went full force making green smoothies everyday, then stopped.....then started again.....then stopped. And now I'm back into making myself one each morning. This time I'm trying out different types of greens. In the past I've pretty much stuck with kale and parsley. This week I've tried arugula and parsley. (turns out I am NOT an arugula fan) Maybe next week I'll try swiss chard and beet greens.....who knows. Pictured here is one of my morning green smoothies. This combo has: raspberries, blueberries, a banana, an apple, 2 big handfuls of argula, 1 big handful of parsley, spirulina powder and Vega smoothie infusion. That mighty glass has 7 servings of fruits and veggies in it!! My boys became intrigued with my morning drink and asked to help one day - so we made a bigger batch and they each had a glass with a twisty straw and LOVED it! YAY! Obviously the old saying 'monkey see, monkey do' is correct.
Also pictured is my sprouter - inside are two trays of alfafa sprouts - these sweet babies will be going into the green smoothies once they are ready.
If you haven't already jumped onto to the green smoothie wagon, check out Green Smoothie Girl and watch her YouTube video on making one.