I've been on this Earth-friendly journey for a long time, and some parts of it have gotten a lot easier. Twenty years ago, you couldn't buy plant-based cleaners or chlorine-free toilet paper at target.com and have them show up on your porch two days later! I saw a tiny ad for Seventh Generation brand products … Continue reading How the East End Food Co-op Keeps Me Fit and Happy
I'm nervous posting this because of the freakout when Lenore Skenazy let her 9-year-old ride public transit alone. I don't want to be the next "America's Worst Mom"! But I think it's important to talk about how to approach children's independence safely and gradually so that they learn the skills they'll need as adults. Nicholas is … Continue reading Why My 12-year-old Is Riding Public Transit Alone
It's getting harder and harder for me to believe that the majority of Americans who work outside the home commute by car. I understand that many small towns and suburban and rural areas have no public transit at all, and that many cities have inadequate public transit providing infrequent service to just a few neighborhoods. … Continue reading Public Transit and Convenient Commuting
Did you make a new year's resolution to "eat better" without defining specifically what you meant? or did you try to start the new year choosing all the healthiest, most responsible foods, and now you're reeling at the difficulty of changing too many habits at once? Sometimes it's best to make one change at a … Continue reading Go Green in 2017: Drink Better Milk
Imagine my surprise when one of the paperback mysteries I'd picked up at a used-book sale turned out to reference one of the others! In Harm Done, which I reviewed last month, a girl claims she was kidnapped by two women who forced her to do housework, and an irritated Inspector Wexford demands to know … Continue reading Book Reviews: Good, Bad, and Coincidental
I've been catching up on my magazines this month, but I've also read three books... The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Charlie is a friendless teenager beginning his freshman year at a high school in the affluent southern suburbs of Pittsburgh. The book is a series of "Dear friend," letters he's writing … Continue reading Wallflowers and Oranges Unbound! (book reviews)
In addition to finishing the books I got for Christmas in time for my birthday, I've read a few other new-to-me books recently, including one that actually has the alternate title What I've Learned By Reading Too Much! I learned something from each of these books. The Dance of Anger by Harriet G. Lerner This … Continue reading What I’ve Learned By Reading Too Much (and 4 other books!)
On days like this, when the sky is so heavy with clouds that we never glimpse the sun, and the wind is cold and damp, and it seems like winter will never end . . . I think of Eminem. I guess I don't mean the rapper himself so much as the character he played … Continue reading The City of Slim Shadies
The silver lining of being mildly disabled for months after a car accident is that I've had lots of time for reading! I'm grateful that I had the type of concussion that makes computer work difficult but isn't hampered by reading on paper. Here are some of the books I've read. I'm giving away my … Continue reading Book Reviews and Giveaway!
Welcome to the March 2015 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Day in the Life This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have given us a special glimpse into their everyday. *** There are three main things I do … Continue reading A Day as Mama and Data Manager
This is a guest post by Nicholas Efran, nine-year-old son of 'Becca and Daniel. He wrote this article for the June 2014 issue of the Colfax Communicator, his school's newsletter. (Mr. Sikorski is the principal.) We hope it inspires other kids to start recycling things that are getting thrown away in their schools! Three third-graders … Continue reading Recycling Used-Up Pens and Markers
We aren't sports fans in our family. Exercise is good, but we're not much interested in playing sports and even less interested in watching sports. But we live in Pittsburgh, a city with three professional sports teams that are a major focus of the local culture. We can't help noticing when one of the teams … Continue reading Saving Money on Sports Fan Gear
The United States Postal Service has had a rough time in recent years. "Snail mail" just seems so slow, now that we can do a lot of things online. FedEx and UPS have made their services more convenient to use, so a lot of people no longer choose the post office as their method of … Continue reading A Positive Experience at the Post Office
Here's what we did when we saw a bunch of ripe apples dropping into a neglected parking lot near our home.
Many of the foods my family eats most are purchased from the bulk section of the East End Food Co-op, our local health-food supermarket in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You do not have to buy a membership to shop at this co-op, but members get a discount in exchange for a one-time payment, which is a pretty … Continue reading Buying Bulk Food in Reused Containers
I've had some shoe trouble in the past couple of years, since Keen stopped making that style I raved about. All I want is a pair of black leather shoes that are comfortable for walking, don't smash my high arches, look good with skirts or jeans, and don't have Velcro. (I hate that ripping sound … Continue reading Great Shoes at a Fraction of the Price!
My grocery-shopping strategy attempts to maximize the quality of food we get for our money, and one key tactic is shopping at multiple stores. Since I have limited time and don't like to waste gasoline, I want to make sure that in each shopping trip I get all the things we need that are best-priced … Continue reading Multiple Shopping Lists: Key to Grocery-Shopping Sanity!
Our seven-year-old Nicholas recently had a party. He also has attended several kids' parties this year and has come home from every one of them with a bag or bucket of items that he considers treasures and his parents consider crap--you know, cheap plastic toys made in China and low-quality, over-packaged candy and gum. We … Continue reading A Different Party Favor–thrifty and earth-friendly!
Warm weather is here, and I'm looking forward to summer! We won't be taking any big vacations; most weekdays, I'll be going to work in my office as usual, and our seven-year-old Nicholas will be attending art and natural history day camps at the Carnegie Museum while his dad works from home. I take a … Continue reading Public Transit and Summer Fun (Plus tips on vacationing in Pittsburgh!)
[UPDATE: Port Authority Transit now offers annual, monthly, and weekly passes or cash debit on the ConnectCard, which you can refill online. It's even more convenient than the paper passes were! Also, we no longer have zones; all trips are the same price.] In my purse is a 2"x3" piece of paper that is worth … Continue reading The Beauty of a Bus Pass