My three-year-old Lydia and I recently enjoyed a picture book from our local library, Jacob's New Dress by Sarah & Ian Hoffman, illustrated by Chris Case. Jacob is a preschool boy who enjoys wearing dresses from the costume box but is criticized by his classmate Christopher. His mom is kind about his hurt feelings, but when … Continue reading Every school needs a Jacob!
We save money on fair-trade organic coffee by buying five-pound bags. Larger bags also mean less garbage per pound of coffee, but those metallized plastic bags are still an environmental problem: Most recycling programs won’t take them, and they're not biodegradable. For several years, I collected coffee bags—our own and those discarded by friends, co-workers, my … Continue reading Recycling Coffee Bags with TerraCycle
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
Years ago, Daniel and I made friends with this guy named Vinnie who lived in one of the apartments over the garages behind the cluster of rowhouses where we were living at the time. His apartment was small and shabby, but he'd chosen it because it had a large yard, and he loved gardening. In … Continue reading That Time I Bought Ladybugs by Mail
As a VIP member of Grove Collaborative, I get a free item or special deal every month or two. Recently, we've tried two new natural toothpastes. Based on our 20 years' experience trying natural and Earth-friendly hygiene products and cleaning products, here's our evaluation of these two minty mouth-cleaning options. This is an honest review. We … Continue reading A Tale of Two Toothpastes
Lydia, three years old, informed me that this is NOT called a soap dish. It is a soap bench. You can see her point. Immediately after this pronouncement, she stood up and started dancing. MAMA: Don't dance in the bathtub. It's slippery. LYDIA: I am just showing you how horses dance. (slips a little; casually … Continue reading Horses don’t dance in the bathtub.
This is a guest post by Neil Stawski of ClimateWise.co . Mr. Stawski believes we aren’t doing enough to protect our planet. He created ClimateWise.co to educate the public and encourage people to take action. Global warming, climate change, fossil fuels, and greenhouse gases: all things you’ve probably heard about in the news in recent years, … Continue reading A Look At Climate Change And The Questions That Surround It
Last night, Daniel and I were talking about what might happen with Africa in this century. It's an interesting question, considering that Africa has an unusually young population, many unstable governments, metals that are hard to find anywhere else on Earth, significant presence of both Christian and Muslim fundamentalists, and very uneven distribution of resources. All kinds … Continue reading Compost Blanketing the Sahara
Here's a sprightly introduction to my reviews of the books I've read in the past month. The God We Never Knew by Marcus Borg Marcus Borg is a theologian and Biblical scholar who admits that he got well into his adult life and graduate studies before he realized that his understanding of God was warped by … Continue reading 5 Book Reviews
Many things in our home previously belonged to our relatives. I claimed many books, dishes, pieces of furniture, and framed artwork from my grandparents' homes after they died. Daniel's parents and grandparents have given us household items that they don't need anymore but that are still useful. Making use of these things in our home is a way … Continue reading The Dishwasher Ladybug
It happens to us all at some point: When we least expect it, our normally reliable toilet lets us down. A few flushes and a poke with the toilet brush often will be enough to get things moving again, but when that isn’t enough, here are some great suggestions to tackle the problem easily with … Continue reading 6 Ways to Unclog a Toilet without a Plunger or a Plumber [Infographic]
Happy Earth Day! What is your Earth Day Resolution? I hope you've already switched to greener cleaners and started drinking better milk, and now you're ready for something new! There are many ways you could change your habits to reduce your environmental impact. Let's talk about the stuff you use to clean and care for … Continue reading Go Green in 2017: Clean Up Your Hygiene Routine!
We've never established a traditional Easter dinner for our family. Partly it's because we don't eat lamb or ham, but the biggest reason is that for the past 15 years I've been heavily involved in the Easter celebrations at church. The Easter Vigil service is late Saturday night, followed by a festive reception, and then … Continue reading Why we had Banana Bread and Black Bean Soup for Easter dinner
I'm writing a 3-part series on composting over at Kitchen Stewardship; here's how to get started with my composting system using 3 ordinary flowerpots, and I also mention two FREE composting systems my family members have used. Here, I'm explaining my general approach to the garden I nourish with my compost. The idea and the … Continue reading Darwinian Gardening
This is a guest post by Ben Stallings (Becca's brother), a Web developer and permaculture designer in Emporia, Kansas. “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and - snap! The job's a game!” --Mary Poppins I work from home, and my wife doesn't, so I … Continue reading Streamlined Task Juggling: Getting things done when working from home
See Chapter 1 for explanation of this unusual recipe collection. HAM WITH EGGS: Take a few pickled walnuts, flattening through the mutton the same weight of buttered paper through a quart of herbs. In a Belgian manner, take the liquor; mix the pan, adding pepper torn apart from the paste and all the threads. Cut the … Continue reading A Robot’s Cookbook, Chapter 3
I received a free sample of Seventh Generation Coconut Care Baby Lotion to review. This is an honest review of my family's experience with this product, which we probably wouldn't have tried if we hadn't been offered a free sample. Seventh Generation Coconut Care Baby Lotion is a gentle moisturizing lotion made without mineral oil, … Continue reading Seventh Generation Coconut Care Baby Lotion review
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
I started a new job three weeks ago, so I've been rereading familiar books as a backdrop to all the new ideas! However, right before going back to work, I read a book published in 1999 that was new to me. Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger John is a teenager in the era of zines--that … Continue reading Book Reviews: Old and New
Longtime readers may have noticed that my family often makes Chinese, Japanese, and Indian food. Check out my article at Kitchen Stewardship about incorporating Asian flavors and techniques into your everyday cooking! Here, I'm giving more detail about some of the ingredients I like to keep handy. Two foods I've always considered basics, even when … Continue reading Asian Ingredients for Every Kitchen