Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Dear Mummy Earth,

Best wishes for a green Earth Day! Hoping that your residents are treading lightly you.

Today the kids and I have pledged not to use the car. That means four round trips to school for me; morning, afternoon kindergarten, volunteering in the library and finally pick-up at the end of the day.

Why then are hale, thunder and rain are predicted for later today? As of right now I'm thinking that I am hardy enough to push through the weather. That will change in a hurry if I start to get pelted by chunks of ice.

It's OK. Still love you anyway.


This photo was taken last year on a sunny Earth Day. My flag is no longer wrinkled. I would describe it more as soggy and limp.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just 3 More Shopping Days

Today's Sunday newspaper is crammed with store circulars as usual. What is unusual about today's advertisements is all of the "green" stuff they are hawking.

Water filters, recycled paper notebooks, garden soil, cleaning products, books, TVs, toothpaste...I could go on and on.

Looks like Earth Day has gone the way of Valentine's Day, Christmas and my birthday. Just another reason to get out there and shop.

Happy Earth Day week to all of the Gruppies out there. Let's give each other the gift of simplicity this week and stay out of the stores. No more stuff. No more in our landfills. No more spending. No more!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Green Museum

Yesterday marked the last day of the kid's April vacation. Sniff! Sniff! Mummy and I decided to take the kids to the Boston Children's Museum.

I have fond childhood memories of the museum. Driving through the tunnel to get there, climbing down into the kid-sized manhole, working on a assembly line to create spinning tops. All fun stuff.

It looks like the Boston Children's Museum is even more fun in 2009! They have lept into the 21st century while riding the green wave.

The museum building is Gold LEED certified. Built with lots of recycled materials and full height windows for less reliance on artificial light. Green, living roofs were installed to help collect grey water for the toilets and irrigation. The living green roofs also keeps dangerous storm run off from entering and polluting the waters of Boston.

Traveling with my mummy meant that I fully examined all of the bathrooms (twice!). Dual flush toilets (up for liquids and down for solids) were well marked.

I wanted to take a photo of the dual flush toilets, but I was afraid that I would freak out the other museum patrons. Sorry!

My museum map was in perfect condition. Great to know it will be reused or recycled.

We will be back soon. Thank you Boston Children's Museum!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Naturally Easter

Some childhood memories make me shake my head with amazement. After regularly playing in the back of a moving station wagon and exploring the neighborhood until all hours as a little gruppie, I am happy that I made it out relatively unscathed. The memories of dying Easter eggs have now moved into that head shaking category.

Little did I know back then that those same food dyes that I was touching with my little hands and were seeping into my hard boiled eggs were so toxic. How can something that is wrapped up in such a cutesie package be so dangerous?

Artificial food dyes have been shown to cause hyperactivity, allergies, tumors and even cancer. Scary when you stop to think about how often artificial dyes can be found in the foods we eat. Scary when you know that the EU has stepped-up to begin banning food dyes from the foods their citizens eat and the US is not following suit.

This Easter my family made our own safe eggs dyes. OK, I know what you are thinking. Gruppie is trying to channel Brie and Martha again. You naysayers would be wrong. Dying hard boiled eggs couldn't be easier.

A quick Google search will turn up recipes for specific colors. Since I don't have the attention span or stove size for such rules. I winged it.

A can of blueberries and a slosh of water simmered on the stove top for 30 minutes or so. A splash of vinegar. Let it cool and your eggs will become the most beautiful shade of blue.

Left over red wine (it was a slow week) and a slosh of water simmered on the stove top. Add some vinegar and allow to cool. Your eggs will turn a beautiful shade of...ummm...dirty egg.

OK, so I don't recommend using red wine to dye Easter eggs. But it does help with the process if you are drinking red wine while you are dying the eggs.

Next year the kids want to try using boiled carrots and a whatever we have in the spice rack.

The completed eggs. Minus the one that rolled away...
Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Spring Cleaning

I don't usually open forwarded emails. Maybe it's because I have heard enough about the signs of a stroke, about conspiracy theories and the truth about UFOs But one forwarded email caught my eye enough for me to hit the open button. This email had a warning about a certain brand of cleaning product.

Apparently, a popular cleaning product that is used on the floors makes dogs sick when they lick the product off of their paws.

"Duh!" ~ 8 year old Gruppie

Big companies who hawk their so-called cleaning products have brainwashed us to think that our homes need to have an artificial smell in order to be clean. We need to stop willingly giving money to companies who combine a host of potentially lethal, fragrances ingredients into a pretty little bottle and call it a cleaner. Many of these products do just the opposite of clean. These products can pollute our indoor air quality and have lasting health affects on the people who live in our homes.

Years ago I read that housewives (who marries a house?) are 55% more likely to be diagnose cancer than their counterparts who work outside the home. It only makes sense. A person who is at home is probably going to perform most of the cleaning tasks. Closed windows + Toxic fumes = health problems.

What should clean smell like? Nothing.

What should clean look like? Nothing.

What should clean taste like? Nothing. Strange I know. But your cleaning products should be safe enough to eat.

Baking soda is my go-to product. Marker on the counter, erased. Scuff markers on the floor, erased. Stains on the fridge, erased. All with a cheap product that is so safe that you will find it in your recipe book.

Combine baking soda with water or lemon juice to make a gentle paste.

Combine baking soda with phosphate-free laundry detergent for a strong, tub cleaner.

Combine baking soda with vinegar to make a tough drain cleaner.

Use baking soda alone to absorb odor and dampness from carpets and mattresses.

All for 50 cents a box!

Happy spring cleaning!