Have a great weekend all! I slept in on this glorious Saturday morning and then made everyone a sweet and salty breakfast combo, muskmelon and bacon. It is cold and dreary here in Ohio so maybe it is a movie day? A laundry day most likely. I hope the weather warms up a bit tomorrow. We want to break in our annual passes to our local zoo.
Today is the last day to buy the new Herb Fairies series/set. I have now read the first book in the series and OH MY GOODNESS it is great. My 7 year old son and 9 year old daughter will be over the moon for it I think. The main characters are some really empowered children who grew up with herbalist parents. Yet there are also some child characters who not have quite their comfort level with the great outdoors so it is a fun mix. This set goes away tonight at midnight and won’t be available again until 2014 so don’t delay.
I wrote two articles elsewhere this week and wanted to share them…
I am a member of the Green Sisterhood. which is a group of amazing green women bloggers and business owners who have banded together to work towards our goals, both environmental and personal. They say everyone needs to find their tribe and the Green Sisterhood is an amazing tribe. I knew most of the women involved previously but getting together in this more intimate group has been so rewarding. I cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together. You can follow the blog for more great, green and conscious content as well. This week I wrote a post there about Unplugging the Family for Screen-Free Week, which is coming up at the end of April. It is a week when we are encouraged to unplug the TVs and computers and reconnect to real life, family, and nature. Will you join?
I also wrote over at Fit Frugal Fabulous about an issue that keeps many up at night…health insurance woes. If you cannot afford health insurance or you have a less than desirable plan there ARE still ways you can take charge of your healthcare. Traditional health care is really sick care and we CAN take steps to make sure we don’t need sick care. THAT is real health care! Read A ‘Do It Yourself’ Healthcare Plan When You Can’t Afford Health Insurance.
Other worthwhile links…
Good Girl Gone Green’s amazing Almond Pulp Bars – a delicious way to use up almond pulp leftover from making almond milk.
Litterati – This is an AMAZING site and idea. Basically when you are out and about, picking up library books or taking your kids to the park and you see a piece of litter, you take a photo with your camera and upload it to Instgram (follow me here) and tag it #Litterati. Then you recycle or throw away the litter. It creates a platform for people to unite and clean up the earth one piece of garbage at a time and the site tracks everyone’s efforts via a global map. The kids are actually loving this process and finding it game-like. Here is a piece we tagged this week, found along a roadway as we were walking.. Who throws an empty bottle of laundry detergent out of their car?!?
I know I take water for granted quite often. How about you? I just turn on the tap and out comes a seemingly limitless supply. We use it for drinking, cooking, flushing, and bathing daily and while we might be concerned and a little upset by what is added to our water supply (fluoride, chlorine) we still have relatively safe and clean water at our disposal each and every day. Many people around the world are not so fortunate. My first world problems do not compare to what is going on globally.
In many places water is scarce or contaminated and unsafe for use. According to the Mom Bloggers for Social Good web site, 800 million people do not have access to it and 2.5 billion have nowhere safe and clean to go to the toilet. Hundreds of children die each day from contaminants found in the water, others miss out on their education. Mothers are unable to work while they nurse seriously ill children back to some measure of health. This is a travesty and something that we need to work to change as global citizens because as Americans we surely use more than our fair share of resources such as water. The LEAST we can do is help increase basic access for our bothers and sisters in other lands.
In January I encouraged you to donate to The World Food Programme and help with hunger. This month I ask you to consider donating to help with clean water access. In keeping with my New Year’s resolution #4 to do more for social good, I chose to donate this month to WaterAid (screen capture at the bottom of this post). WaterAid is a non-profit organization that is focused upon improving poor people’s access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation. They work in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region and campaign globally to help realize their vision of a world where everyone has access to these basic human needs.
The organization works with partners local to the impacted zones and they provide them with the skills and support required to help communities set up and manage practical and sustainable projects. They also work internationally to change policy and believe that water and sanitation are basic human rights and that they are the building blocks to improving health, education and livelihoods in these areas.
There are several ways to help with their work and I like the the promotion they have going on right now to donate $25 in honor of your sweetie for Valentine’s Day. I love this idea because surely we don’t really need flowers, chocolates, or stuffed animals but others around the globe do need clean water. I would love for you to tweet the message below and help me spread the word:
WaterAid also has an amazing option to donate a portion of eBay proceeds. If you sell there it is super easy to set it up so that anywhere from 10% to 100% of the proceeds from your auctions go to them. So perhaps you feel you cannot afford to donate cash but perhaps you can list a few books or household items on eBay and donate that way?
Take a look at the video below to learn more about the issue and the organization trying to affect change. Also be sure to sign up to receive their monthly e-bulletin to learn more and stay in touch with their activities and breaking news in some of the 27 developing countries where they work.
This post was written as a member of the Global Team of 200 a group of mom bloggers banding together to work for social good.
I thought today would be a fitting day to not only get off my duff and come back to work/blogging after a ten day vacation but also to write up a post with my New Year’s goals for 2013. If you recall I had three goals or resolutions for 2012 with the main one forming a sort of theme… HAVE MORE FUN!!! Well I knocked that resolution out of the park.
Here is a picture of me thoroughly enjoying 2012…
Okay so that isn’t actually me that picture kinda sums it up though.
I took three trips with girlfriends (3-5 days each) that involved lots of parties and special events. One of those was to the BigApple. I had much fun indeed and came home with lots of free tech and other products. I met up with local bloggers and friends for lunch/brunch dates throughout the year. I got on a zipline with my husband, I took the kids to the beach, we did our annual winter hikes, I went on a slightly terrifying four-wheeling adventure, I attended several local blogger events including a tour of a hospital, a couple movie premiers, and a couple trips to the science museum. We actually just saw the exhibit with the dead bodies on display this month…that was super interesting! I went to the Arnold Sports Festival with hubby and The Country Living Fair with my mom. I got to borrow several cars for an extended test drive this year, went out for regular date nights, and I discovered a deep and abiding love for CrossFit. I have had a blast!
So goal #1 down. How did I do with the other two. Not so well.
#2 was to make more money and I made about the same but because of all the aforementioned fun it feels like way less. The fun goal, our fitness pursuits, and our paleo diet all meant we started spending more.
#3 was to get more organized and that was mostly a failure. I did set up an organization infrastructure but I don’t use it that often.
So what does that mean for this year??? Well, if at first you don’t succeed…
My top goal for this year is to…
Make More Money
I want to keep the fun going and have already had to slow my roll to some extent and that just won’t do so this goal needs to be tackled again and put at the top. I also think we will be hit with some bigger expenses this year because our car may be on it’s last wheel, our son will have some medical bills/procedures due to a previously un-diagnosed birth defect, we want to get all three of our kids in CrossFit, and I have more “fun goals” for this year (see below). I DO plan to cut costs where I can but in general I want to tackle this issue with an income increase.
Ways to cut costs would include joining my hubby on his cell contract when mine ends in (March), dropping my other gym membership when my two year contract expires (also in March), and renegotiating our cable when our current deal ends. Other than that I can’t cut much. Our most major expense is food. Paleo isn’t cheap but I am not willing to buy lower quality food. We already buy second hand clothing and furnishings. We don’t have high cost of living expenses (rent, utilities) and we save on entertainment by bundling services and buying prepaid/discount cards for things like Xbox Live memberships. We could do without our NetFlix sure but we don’t want to and as pointed out in one of my fave books All The Money in The World, pinching pennies like that can ultimately deflate you in your goals.
I blogged about how I plan to make more money with my business here. My hubby will also no doubt work overtime when he can.
Goal #2 is to
Have More Fun As a Family
Now that I feel recharged after a year of focusing on my own self care and fun I want to focus on bringing my family into the mix as well. It’s not that we didn’t have fun together in 2012 but it was not my focus. With my youngest finally entering Kindergarten I felt it was a good year to rediscover my own interests and pursuits and it was needed badly. It is rather like putting the oxygen mask on yourself first in the airplane and THEN putting a mask on your child. I had to take care of me first and I do very much feel like “Tiffany” again and not just “Mom”.
In 2013 though I plan to make sure my family is included in more of my adventures. I will likely forgo attending any professional conferences this year so that we can do something together instead. Though I must admit I already have an out of town press event scheduled in a just a couple days that will take me away from them. Oops! I want to rent a yurt in a state park, take a ferry across Lake Erie, see more children’s movies, go camping, and in general do a bit more traveling with my kiddos this year. To that end I already have some indoor water park passes purchased for January/February.
Also, as mentioned, I want to get a CrossFit membership for all three of our kids (ranging from $60 to $100 monthly, depending on age). Spending over $400 on gym memberships will be a stretch but working out together will be lots of fun!!
Goal #3 is to
Make My Husband/Marriage a Priority
I have a great marriage and it’s not like I am neglecting the man or anything but this year marks our 15 year wedding anniversary and over 20 years together. The man deserves to be one of my goals this year! Plus its not really about time so much as it is about making him feel loved and special more often. We already spend lots of time together. We go to the box together for CrossFit 5-7 days a week. I kick his behind in cardio/chipper based WODs and he kicks my butt on the weighted ones. We spend our afternoons together while the kids are at school doing everything from grocery shopping to watching DVRed episodes of our favorite shows. I often tell this man how much I love and adore him but I need to make some grander gestures and just give it that extra attention. Specifically this means more random acts of love expression, surprise gifts, hand written notes, packing his work meals for him, arranging more date nights and date weekends (sans children), and finding new ways to show this man I am as crazy about him now as I was when I was 16. If we can afford to go away together for our anniversary in August I will be ecstatic.
Goal #4 is to
Do More Philanthropic Work
This means blogging more about things along these lines and I will as a member of the Global Team of 200 but also getting involved more where I can personally. I want to volunteer often and find some charitable causes important to me and really throw some energy and resources in that direction. I would also like to get my kids involved as much as I can.
I think these four goals are more than enough to work on for 2013. As for organization…well on some level I will have to get better with that to accomplish the other three. Perhaps this year I can really rock goal #1 and have enough money to pay someone to organize for me. We shall see!
I also plan to post separately with some green goals…
I will be the first to admit that I am terribly bad about following what is going on outside my own local bubble. I don’t watch the news at all and what little exposure I do get to worldwide events is usually filtered through Facebook. That said, even I took notice when Malala Yousafzai, a sweet 14 year old schoolgirl in Pakistan, was brutally shot by the Taliban in retaliation for promoting girls’ education in her country.
I have an 8 year old daughter so this event really hit home for me. I am thankful that my daughter and I were born into the country and world view that we were. We are so fortunate and not everyone is so lucky. Many, many other young girls and women are born into a world were they must fight for even the most basic rights…such as the right to a good education. Millions of young children, but especially young girls, all over the world are denied access to education. When we hear this we are concerned and outraged but we have little idea if there is anything we personally can do to help.
Well, on November 10th we have the opportunity to unify and be heard in support of young Malala. Here is how you can help:
Sign the petition to call on Pakistan to agree to a plan to deliver education to all its children:
Spread the word. Inform your audience of the #IamMalala campaign and invite them to sign the petition.
Spend November 10th in solidarity for Malala Day. Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown – the UN Special Envoy for Global Education – and his wife Sarah will deliver this petition to the Pakistani president on this day.
On November 10th let’s honor Malala and other young children who are in similar situations…
This post was written as a member of the Global Team of 200 – Mom Bloggers for Social Good.
Last week I attended the BlogHer 12 conference in New York City and was gone from Tuesday night until early Monday morning. At this point I am just kind of laying around the house watching DVR’d shows and taking cat naps, recovering from a whirlwind trip. I had lots fun, met with lots of friends (old and new), explored the city, and came home with really sore feet.
I tried to go into this conference well prepared and that meant reading posts from other bloggers who have been and had advice to share. I didn’t really explore transportation options though, because I think most people fly. I decided it would be greener to take a bus and that was my biggest mistake on this trip. Taking a bus from Ohio to New York and back again was like a signing myself up for a sleep deprivation torture experiment. It’s hard enough to sleep on a bus (tight quarters) surrounded by strangers and hang out in seedy bus stations but having to get off the bus 2-3 times per trip and sit for an hour or more in a terminal only to get back on the same freakin bus was just too much. I also “forget” that I have edema issues due to many of my lower lymph nodes being removed (cancer). Sitting for that long meant that by the time we landed in NYC I had cankles and really swollen feet.
Anyway bus ride aside I still hit the ground running when I got there and made mistake #2 which was too walk from the Port Authority to the hotel. It was less than a mile but good golly it was crowded and hot, and walking with luggage was not fun. Okay so the trip didn’t start out very well but it did get better. After checking in to my hotel (The Hilton at 53rd and 6th) we (my brother and I – he went with me) hoofed it to Times Square and bought show tickets. Then we killed time going in shops until the 8:00 showing of Chicago at The Ambassador. It wasn’t the show that either of us wanted to see but it was discounted and available and we ended up LOVING it. On the way home we stopped at Lindy’s and got some cheesecake to go. Yum!
Day two began with a Go Army Bootcamp at the hotel for me. They apparently changed up their workouts two years ago and ahem… seemed to adopt a lot of CrossFit moves. I was totally familiar with everything we did and it was a nice way to get my blood pumping for the day. Afterwards my brother and I got Metro passes for the subway and generally just explored for the greater part of the day.
We got cream cheese bagels with sturgeon at Russ & Daughters. Amazing and totally not paleo but who cares??!??! So delicious….
I had one of these babies on Saturday too but with smoked salmon…equally yum.
After eating we wandered around Chinatown and Little Italy. I love all the fruit stands, gardens, and outdoor eateries.
Also love the subways. Travelling this way is so convenient and it would be awesome to not have a car. I am trying to convince hubby that NYC is the place for us after our kids are grown.
Next stop…the Staten Island Ferry and Lady Liberty.
All the walking made us super hungry so after trekking around the Chelsea Market for a bit we ended up going to Morimoto (of Iron Chef fame). As expected it was crazy expensive (about $180 for lunch) but really, really delicious. We had sea bass with these scrumptious bits of avocado fried in Tempura and a large plate of sushi and rolls. I loved everything…even the salmon roe, which I usually don’t care for.
After stuffing ourselves it seemed appropriate to walk and lucky for us The Highline was right next door. If you don’t know this is a section of the former elevated New York Central Railroad which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan. It was abandoned and slated for demolition but a community group decided to recycle it into an urban park /aerial greenway and it is absolutely gorgeous now. It was a big highlight of my trip because I have wanted to see it for years.
After The High Line we went back uptown to The Frick and we took a walk in central park. At that point it was time for the conference stuff and the conference related parties to begin…but that is for another post.
The major take away from this first part of the trip though that is that I forgot how amazing New York is and how much I love it there. Someday, hopefully I will get to spend lots more time there. AND because we took the awful torture bus and rode the subways the whole time, it was also a pretty green travel adventure.