The debate on global warming really frustrates me. Why? Well, primarly because I have always been of the opinion that as a species we really can’t take chances with our planet and we especially cannot take chances when the only obstacle is economic or political. When I speak to global warming naysayers they often fall back on the arguements that strictly curbing our appetite for energy consumption will be devestating to the ecomony or that it will impact us politically in a negative way….perhaps meaning that the US will no longer be the super power that it is today. The problem I see with both these arguments is that these outcomes pale in comparison to what could happen if global warming is in fact imminent at this point in time and we do nothing significant to stop it. What is the greater tragedy….the US being leveled to an even playing field with the rest of the world or millions of people being displaced by natural distasters, the loss of coastal cities, and rampant famine? Well, the fact that many people get stuck on that basic concept frustrates me to no end. How could anyone feel it is wiser to do nothing in times of uncertainty than it is to do anything?
Well, I came across an AMAZING clip on YouTube that charts our best choice as a species on a whiteboard. Enjoy!
Do you compost? Well, this is a loaded question. It seems if you don’t compost then you are not doing your best to recycle and avoid needless landfill waste. Composting is the ultimate way to recyle because you are in fact hosting the recycling facility yourself. The recycling plant is in your backyard. Having a compost bin probably should be the first thing you do in an effort to reduce your waste and be a good “green” mommy and a good steward of our earth. BUT….composting can seem a bit daunting. I have always dabbled with composting but was quick to give it up for one reason or another….usually because it attracted unsavory critters if it was outdoors and it smelled to high heaven if it were kept indoors or in any other way confined.
When I moved to my new digs I found I already had an well established compost bin, so I figured it was worth another go and after several months I can call my self a confident composter. Yes, it has bugs but no rodents or other creatures except maybe an occasional raccoon. It doesn’t smell in the least either. In my research to find the perfect compost equation I have some tips to share:
1. The easiest compost bin is one that is low to the ground, open on the top, and large.
2. Add scraps such as raw and cooked foods, vegetable peelings, tea bags and coffee grounds, hair and nail clippings, and egg shells. Also add crumpled up paper, egg cartons (not the platstic or styrofoam ones), paperboard, tissues, and toilet roll spindles.
3. Avoid putting any meat or dairy or food items made or cooked with meat or dairy in the compost bin.
4. If the compost stinks add more crumpled paper and cardboard to help with moisture. 5. The best compost is at least 6 months to a year old, hence the need for a big bin.
6. Don’t let the compost dry out. If you live in an arid climate or you are experiencing a drought you may need to add water.
7. Too much of one material will slow the process down. Mix it up and make sure a variety of materials are composting. I can’t wait to spread the resulting composted soil on my garden next year!
Even though I am happy to say I compost I do realize that it is not such an easy thing for many families, especially those with limited space. So now it is your turn. Tell me abut your compost bin or lack thereof.
It is hot and nothing says summer like Lemonade right? Well here is a super simple recipe for classic lemonade.
Best Ever Lemonade:
Zest and Juice of 4 Lemons, 1 c. sugar, 2 ltr. bottle of club soda, chilled garnish, and lemon slices.
Sounds pretty easy! The kids and I both love lemonade but mom likes something else even more…Limoncello. There is nothing like homemade Limoncello I tell you! It is an Italian citrus liqueur that you can make yourself from fermented lemons. You can drink it straight up in a frozen shot glass or mix it with champagne, lemonade, Ice tea, or juice. You can also drizzle it on ice cream, fruit salad, or fresh strawberries. Yum :)
2-4 cups sugar (more if you want it thicker or sweeter)
Instructions: Wash and dry the lemons and peel them with a very sharp knife or potato peeler, carefully avoiding the bitter white pith. If any of the pith does stick to the back side of the peel scrape it off as this will make the Limoncello bitter. Put the peels in a 2-3 liter, sterilized glass jar with a sealed lid and add the vodka until it reaches about 2 inches below the top. Seal tightly. Go ahead and make lemonade with the rindless lemons. :)
Leave the jar in a cool, dark place for at least 2 weeks when the peels lose their color but preferably 2-3 months. Every couple of weeks give the jar a shake.
After 2-3 months put the water and sugar in a saucepan. Stir and slowly boil until it turns clear. Let the syrup cool. Put the syrup in the Limoncello jar. You may need to divide it into two jars at this point. Put the jars back in their cool, dark home for another 2 weeks or more.
After those 2 weeks strain the lemon peels from the liquid with a cheese cloth, stir with a wooden spoon, and poor the liqueur in clean bottles, seal tightly, and let them sit for a week. After that you might consider keeping the Limoncello in the freezer for the best taste.
Now for my perfect summer day….lounging in the hammock outside beneath the canopy of trees, Maroon 5 is streaming from inside the house through an open window, my kids are running and screaming through the yard, my husband is practicing his golf swing, I have a good book with me, and I am sipping cranberry juice infused with Limoncello. ;)
My kids and I just finished reading My Body My House by Lisa Beres of Green Nest. This is a book meant to teach kids about eco friendly and green living and the dangers of having toxins in your home. It follows the story of a boy who lives in a beautiful wood house surrounded by trees, birds, and butterflies. It also sits adjacent to a garden fresh with healthy and delicious food. The home is a happy and healthy one and so is the body that lives in it (the boy). As the book delightfully tells us, one was made from Heaven and the other a seed. The House provided everything the boy needed for comfort and happiness….that is until happiness became dependent upon “keeping up with neighbors” who were remodeling to make their houses bigger, more elaborate, and with more creature comforts.
The boy begins to remodel his home too…replacing hardwood floors with fluffy carpet, adding central heat and air, uses insecticides, and paints inside and out. The boy was not considering that these new features or products might not be healthy or safe. He only cared about presentation and appearance. The home keeps objecting, saying that things were better as they were and that the new additions could mean poisonous air. The boy ignores all pleas from the home and continues with his renovations. Well, as you can see the boy slowly poisons his own home and begins to get sick. He sees the error of his ways and he and the home work to try and restore the balance that has been lost.
Among things I really liked about this book are the whimsical illustrations and the concept of the book…that our homes are no place to keep toxins if we seek to stay healthy. I did think the way the book was presented though was a bit confusing for children and it may well go over their heads.
Among the things I didn’t like so much about the book was the fact that is the boy is always referred to as “the body”. Perhaps this was done to avoid selecting a gender, I am not sure, but it was rather strange. I mentioned that the book may go over the heads of children, especially concepts like keeping up with the Jones’s, as this is an adult pastime. Also the book didn’t flow well. The language was not rhythmical and it was hard to read.
A big plus though is that portions of the proceeds for this book are going to the Children’s Health Environmental Coalition.
Well, the science is on our side too. Two recent studies show that organic food is healthier.
The first study was conducted by The Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry and the outcome after 10 years of research and comparing organic and conventional tomatoes was that organic tomatoes are twice as high in flavanoids then conventially grown. Woohoo! This study joins others that recently found organic tomatoes to have higher levels of vitamins and minerals. This is attributed to healthier soils found on organic farms.
Another study from the British Journal of Nutrition showed that organic dairy and meat products in a mothers diet positively affect the nutritional quality of her breast milkmarkedly increasing beneficial fatty acids. These fatty acids are important as they are believed to have anti-carcinogenic, anti-atherosclerotic, anti-diabetic and immune-enhancing effects, as well as a favorable influence on body fat composition. The immune development properties are especially important for newborns. This study just shows how important breastfeeding is AND how important an organic diet is.