Power Outage: What Would You Save From Your Fridge?

July 26th, 2010

As if the  blizzard,  earthquake, and 106 degree heat were not enough weather related wackiness for the DC area, we were struck with 80 mph winds yesterday which left 250,000 people (including yours truly) without power.

As luck would have it, I had just bought enough organic, natural and rGBH-free ice cream to last the summer. “Savings!” I told my husband. “I stocked up! And I’ll blog about it!”

Aldens Organic vs Breyers vs Ben & Jerrys photo

Then the power went out.

Our neighbors walked around picking up the branches and trees that littered our streets.

treephoto

police_linephoto

People gawked at the downed power lines and exploded asphalt.

wiresphoto

And I went into party planning mode.

Less than an hour later, the ice cream was loaded up on the little red wagon.

Boo_icecreamephoto

The neighbor girls made a sign.

storm partyphoto

And our block partied down.

icecreamphoto

But what about the rest of the food?

I wasn’t optimistic that our power would be back on soon. After a bad storm last winter, some people were left without power for more than a week. Two thirds of my zipcode is without power!

We were headed to a lucky neighbor’s home – they still had power. And we had two large freezer chests to fill. Our fridge was overflowing.

Here’s what I took:

-       The Ayrshire Farm organic chicken I bought at My Organic Market. I’ve been to a chicken tasting at this farm, and the chickens live better lives than most people. It’s like the Versailles of chicken farms.

-       Organic milk.

-       Some wonderful provisions from our biodynamic CSA: home made butter, biodynamic eggs and biodynamic yogurt  from Seven Stars Farm;

-       Whole Foods rotisserie chicken;

-       Applegate Farms anti-biotic free turkey bologna;

-       Organic frozen veggies

What would you save from your fridge?

And the second part of the ice cream series? Coming soon, I promise! My schedule has been – interrupted! (As well as some great pix from the party, which you can find on my twitter stream @organicmania or my twitpic account!)

– Lynn

Keeping Cool with Ice Cream: How to Save, What to Buy (Part 1)

July 24th, 2010

It’s one of the most frequent questions I’m asked. “If  I can’t afford to buy everything organic, what should I buy organic?” My response:  it depends on what you eat most often.

And in summer, when I declare ice cream “the divine right of children,” ice cream becomes a basic food group. (Particularly on days like today, when my car’s therometer hit 106 degrees.)

Boo with Aldens Organic Ice Cream Con

But the $5.69 price tag on a half gallon of organic ice cream can cause the most devoted organic fan to pause. I wondered if I was really spending my money wisely, so I decided to take a closer look at the prices and ingredients of some popular ice cream brands.

My neighbor is a big fan of Edy’s. It’s what she served at a recent Cub Scout picnic (you remember –  the one where the parents covertly drank wine from water bottles). I wondered if I was a fool for shelling out $5.69 for Alden’s organic ice cream, when the kids seemed perfectly happy with the $2.69 per gallon Edy’s (And they do have a really cool spumanti flavor). So I took a closer look at Edy’s ice cream ingredients, and in addition to  the usual milk, cream, and sugar,  here’s what I found:

Ick. Corn syrup’s bad enough, but artificial flavors and trans-fats are on nearly every Mom’s “avoid” list – organic fanatic or not.

And think about it. That’s just what they’re required by law to list. No where will you see that the milk came from cows treated with hormones or the corn from pesticide laden fields – we can just infer that, because it’s not organic.

When I went to Edy’s web site to double check the ingredients list, I found another fun fact: Edy’s (along with Dreyer’s) is owned by Nestle, a company whose products many of us try to avoid.

What’s in the organic ice cream I love? Nothing I can’t pronounce. Just simple, wholesome ingredients that are organic – which means there’s no hormones, no pesticides, and no Genetically Modified Organisms.

And a bonus discovery was learning that instead of being owned by a controversial global conglomerate, Alden’s is family owned. It’s part of the Oregon Ice Cream Company, which has been making ice cream for 80 years.

Now here’s the really good news. When I was at Whole Foods River Road in Bethesda on Friday, Aiden’s was on sale for $5.19 a gallon, until July 27th. So now’s the time to try.

Alden's organic ice cream on sale at Whole Foods

Alden's organic ice cream on sale at Whole Foods

Of course I’m not a total zealot. My kids buy ice cream from the Good Humor man. And I do buy other brands of ice cream from time to time. But let’s talk about that in my next post, when we’ll look at how organic ice cream stacks up to my childhood favorite, Breyer’s, and cult favorite Ben and Jerry’s.

Stack em up: Alden's Organic vs. Breyer's All Natural vs. Ben & Jerry's rGBH free ice cream

Stack em up: Alden's Organic vs. Breyer's All Natural vs. Ben & Jerry's rGBH free ice cream

Meanwhile, stay cool in this heat wave!

– Lynn

Copyright 2010 OrganicMania

Disclosures: I am one of those endangered species of bloggers that actually blogs about things I buy with my own money. No one sent me ice cream. A PR rep didn’t pitch this story.   I’m not consulting for any of these companies. I just love ice cream, love organics, and love blogging about both and thought I’d share with you!

Wednesdays at the CSA: Recipes at Last! 4th of July Potato Salad with Green Beans and Salsa Verde

June 30th, 2010

For years now, I’ve been blogging about my wonderful CSA. I love it. I love everything about it.  The biodynamic food, of course, is delicious – out of this world good. The atmosphere is more Berkeley than Bethesda. It’s like a mini-vacation into another world every time I head over there, a few short blocks from my home.

June 23 share photo

But cooking?

That’s what my husband does.  I really don’t know how to cook.

Now I have a wonderful surprise for you: each week this summer I’ll be featuring a recipe and post from guest blogger Mattie Kahn.  A green teen and foodie, she’s also, as you’ll see, a wonderful writer. And she knows how to cook! She’ll be at culinary school in the fall, but for now, we get to enjoy her explorations with my weekly CSA share.

– Lynn

Think summer picnic. Go ahead. Picture it, you can close your eyes if you need to. If you’re like me, you’re probably envisioning a rolling, green lawn, a checked blanket, friends, family, kids–company of some kind, anyway, maybe, if you’re feeling optimistic, a warm mid-summer breeze, and definitely a picnic basket. The picnic baskets that dot my childhood memories were always filled with some variation on sandwiches, salad, brownies, and watermelon. My siblings and I munched on PB&J in Central Park, tuna-cucumber along the pier on the Hudson River, even an adventurous spread of hummus and veggies on a pebbly Cape Cod beach.

But my most persistent summer picnic memory is the sweet, salty taste of the perfect, cold potato salad, carted along in some container to satisfy every picnic participant, every time. My family’s trademark German-style potato salad–meaning, a mustard-based dressing–was so pervasive, that it wasn’t until I was ten or eleven that I’d ever tasted a potato salad made with mayonnaise. Since then, I’ve been to many more picnics, with families other than my own, and sometimes just with friends. I’ve tasted a LOT of potato salads.

With fourth of July around the corner, and this week’s CSA share list boasting delicious, flavor-packed new potatoes, and brimming with other potato salad ingredients, I thought I’d introduce you all to a potato salad that’s a little more adventurous than your average picnic side-dish fare. This one’s lightly adapted from the geniuses over at Food and Wine magazine, and it’s been a staff favorite over there for ages. Embrace the vibrant flavor of salsa verde as a delicious and unexpected dressing for this salad. In it’s original Food and Wine incarnation, the recipe is made with green beans, but being a green peas lover as I am, and because peas appeared on the CSA sharelist this week, I decided to sub out the beans for peas. Enjoy!

peasphoto

Potato Salad with Green Beans and Salsa Verde:

Ingredients:

1. 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

2. 1/4 cup minced chives

3. 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (another CSA sharelist goody!)

4. 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint or cilantro, or a mix of both, depending on your taste preferences

5. 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

6. 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

7. 1 large garlic clove, minced

8. Salt

9. 1 1/4 pounds new red potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes

10. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

11. 1 1/2 pounds green peas, fresh if you can find them! They’re in season.

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the olive oil with the chives, parsley, mint or cilantro, lemon zest, lemon juice and garlic and season with salt. Let the salsa verde stand at room temperature for 15 minutes to 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water, add a large pinch of salt (Kosher salt, if you have it on hand) and bring to a boil. Cook the potatoes over moderately high heat until just tender, about 8 minutes; drain and return them to the saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of the butter and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the peas and cook until tender, but not mushy, 3-4 minutes; drain. Return the beans to the pot and stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Season with salt.
  4. Add half of the salsa verde to the potatoes and half to the peas, stirring to coat. Transfer the peas to a serving bowl. Top with the potatoes, and serve. Keeping this potato salad warm lends the potatoes and added velvety texture, but from my trial experience, it’s just as delicious after being cooled in the fridge!

Enjoy your holiday weekend!

- Mattie

Copyright 2010 OrganicMania

A Day In The Life: When Advocating for Green Is Easier Than Being Green

June 19th, 2010

I was amused last week when I saw these tweets from a California conference. “Green is Mainstream.”  “It’s not a differentiator.” “It’s just what everyone does.”

Really? Maybe I need another trip to California. (But of course, that wouldn’t be too green.)

For this month’s Green Moms’ Carnival, Beth of Fake Plastic Fish challenged the Green Moms to write about a “Day in the Life,” reflecting on the “green steps we take as well as the green challenges we face and the hard decisions we have to make.”

As luck would have it, I chose a day that ended up revealing a sad truth: sometimes it’s easier to advocate for green than to be green. Does that make me a hypocrite? Or does it just show how much more work we have to do before being green in Maryland is as easy as being green in California?

But back to my day….It was Wednesday, June 9th, cloudy and overcast, and threatening showers as I closed the front door. I was heading out  to the Bethesda Green Incubator, where my business is located. I was on time (mindful that running late invariably results in taking the car instead of walking), ready for an easy 15 minute walk.

But I hesitated.

The sky was dark. What if it rained? I  had my laptop, after all. I wouldn’t want that to get soaked, would I? I debated. I thought about Beth. I thought about the Carnival. I thought about water seeping through my bag, damaging my laptop. The minutes crept away. I was on the verge of being late. I took the car. It’s not a Hybrid.  It consumes oil, the very kind that’s seeping into the Gulf.

BG entrancephoto

At the Incubator, I walked out to our model-green reception area to meet Ariana Kelly, a Moms Rising advocate and candidate for the Maryland State House.

I told her the Bethesda Green story: how the community came together – business, government, and residents – to take on volunteer projects to make our community more sustainable. I pointed out the cork floors, the low VoC paints, the rain barrel displays, the permaculture exhibit, specimen seed library, and solar panels.

Then we walked across the street for lunch (so far, so good) and ate a lunch that assuredly was not sustainable. (After all, when it’s sustainably raised seafood they charge more for it and advertise it as such, don’t they?)  At least our conversation was green. We talked about all that Maryland was doing with B Corp legislation and the BPA ban, and the Bethesda Green Business Delegation that met in Annapolis recently.

The Bethesda Green Delegation was sure to snap a pic of Bethesda's own Honest Tea on the steps of the State Capitol

Then I ran out to retrieve my car, soon discovering the day’s first stroke of Bad Green Karma. A parking ticket.I should have walked. Not a drop of rain fell from the sky. And now I owed $40. My lunch had suddenly became quite expensive.

Later that afternoon, I picked Boo up from preschool, wincing as he carried some Pepperidge Farm goldfish in a plastic cup out the door. Every day, I dutifully packed reusable containers. Couldn’t they be used to pack up snacks?, I wondered. Must remember to bring that up to the teachers, I thought, as I dashed out the door to my car  (yet again). After all, we had to hurry to make it to the CSA pick-up, and then on to the end-of-year  Cub Scout picnic.

Soon, I stood at the CSA, hurriedly weighing  the fresh-picked biodynamic and organic produce. Scallions? Check. Apples? Natch.  Radishes, swiss chard, kale, fresh-baked bread, lettuce, they all went into my re-usable bag.

csascalephoto

I heard Boo fussing, and asked him to be patient and wait for Mommy.   I was in a hurry, after all, and there were four people behind me, waiting to use the scale.

Then I heard it.

CRASH.

Tiny bits of crushed Pepperidge Farm goldfish – all over the pristine garage  floor of the CSA. Ev eryone froze, looked at Boo, and then looked at me. I sighed and said, “That’s what happens when you dare to bring Pepperidge Farm goldfish to a biodynamic CSA. God strikes you down.”

After the laughter died down, a broom appeared, everything was swept up, and we were off on our way to the picnic.

I was in such a hurry, I didn’t bother to check directions before I left the house. And my in-car navigator (Big Boy) wasn’t with me….he had left ahead of time with his friends and their Mom. So I overshot the park. Sat, idling (burning more of that fuel) in front of an apartment building 1 /4 mile from the turn-off for the park, frantically navigating my iPhone, trying to figure out where I was supposed to be.

(Maybe at this point I should mention my DH was on Day Seven of an extended business trip. The one where he gets to hang out in a castle by the Mediterranean Sea. And I was spent from playing Single Mom for a week).

sardeniaIMG00006-20090603-1224sardenia

Finally, we arrived at the picnic, eager to partake in the festivities. I frowned at the hot dogs and hamburgers, thinking of the heavy burden conventional farming techniques, especially those used to rear cattle and pork, place on our ecosystem. I helped myself to some salad, trying to ignore Boo’s pleas for a hotdog or hamburger, before finally giving in. Their father, the committed vegetarian, was out of town. And we so rarely had meat. They even had a grill! I ended up eating some myself.

waterphoto

But the bottled water? That was just beyond the pale. I hurried out to my car to retrieve my stainless steel water bottle. At least I had remembered that! When I returned, my friend smirked and asked me to look closely at the bottled water. They weren’t drinking water, she said.

wine in waterbottlephoto

I burst out laughing. Cub Scout parents surreptitiously drinking wine from empty water bottles? It brought back memories of alcohol snuck into parties when I was under-age. It was too funny. I had to have some! (Just on general principle!) But how? I only had my water bottle, and Boo needed some water. My not-so-green friend eyed me, amusedly. She knew exactly the calculation I was making.

“I’m not touching those plastic bottles!” I hissed.

I asked Boo if he wanted some more water.

“No, I’m fine,” he told me.

“Drink up, “ I urged. “There won’t be any more water.”

“I’M FINE!!!”

I dumped the rest of the water out of my re-usable water bottle and smiled contentedly as her husband filled it part way with the red wine. It wasn’t that good, actually, but it was the absurdity of the situation that made it worthwhile.

wineincanisterphoto

“Mama, can I have some more water?”

That’s when I gave up and opened one of those darn plastic water bottles.

(And made a mental note to see if we couldn’t procure some large water jugs for the next Cub Scout picnic.)

And decided that I had more than enough material for a  decent “Day in the Life” post.

Easy to be green? Maybe in California. But not where I live.

What about you?

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

The One Where I Call My DH a Nerd in Our Hometown Paper: The Washington Post!

April 23rd, 2010

TNT 1:2

Seriously, I did get his permission before sending the blog post off to education writer Valerie Straus at The Answer Sheet,  billed as a “school survival guide for parents and everyone else.”

“How could I argue?” he laughed.

In addition to being very smart, my darling husband of 11 years is very funny!

It was all for a good reason – I was trying to point out that my husband and I are far from slackers in the education department, but we are apparently slacker parents when it comes to how some families handle the rigors of assessment testing in the second grade. (Or so we’re told).

Anyway, you can check out the post here.  It’s called, “Who’s Afraid of the TerraNova 2 Test?

Would love to get your thoughts!

And yes, for someone who cut her teeth at local newspapers, studied journalistic ethics under Nat Hentoff, and regretfully left the newspaper industry, this little post has me more than tickled pink!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

Earth Day Reverie

April 22nd, 2010

For a green blogger, what one chooses to post on Earth Day carries quite some significance.

I debated.

Lynn_ED_photo

I thought about adding my voice to those expressing disgust at the commercialization of Earth Day.  But I tried that two years ago.

And this year?

The same company that I took to task on Earth Day 2008 had their PR firm approach me about publicizing their tactless displays…

I thought about writing an update about  “A Travesty on Earth Day.” It was two years ago Earth Day when  a Bethesda developer chose to chop down eight beautiful, healthy, four-story high, towering trees in the heart of downtown to make way for a condo building….

photo empty lot

Two years later…and those trees are gone forever, with no luxury building in sight.

I thought about writing an update post on the launch of my client, Green My Parents.

web ad_0041910_outlined

But heck, I spent the better part of the day tweeting about Green My Parents anyway!

Instead, I decided the best thing I could do for Earth Day was to get outside.

Watched as  my eldest boy admired a tree branch.

BB_ED_branchphoto

Let my younger son think that leaves were a type of “toy” from the Earth.

Boo_EDphoto

And me? There’s nothing like lying in the soft, sunlit grass – enjoying Mother Earth. (Even when reminders of the constant pull of our commercial culture are literally right at hand).

And your Earth Day?

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

Organic and Green Savings: Gardening Edition!

April 11th, 2010

The next Green Moms’ Carnival, to be hosted on Monday, by the lovely Anna of Green-Talk, is all about gardening.  Last spring, inspired by Anna and her great gardening posts I decided to try raising plants from seed for the first time. It was fun in the beginning.

recycled seed pots

But unfortunately the plants never took.

Fact is, I’m not much for gardening. I can’t even keep an “indestructible” bamboo plant alive on my desk.

deadbamboo

The only plants that survive in my garden are the really natural ones – you know, the ones that come up no matter what you do. (And the ones that our house’s former owner, a Master Gardener, planted and left for us!)

So my bad luck with gardening presented a dilemma for this carnival. What to write? What could I possibly contribute?

For the past few years, I’ve blogged on a semi-regular basis about organic and green savings. Most of the time I’ve focused on food. Never on gardening. So here you go – if I can’t pass along sage gardening advice, at least I can pass along a few tips on good gardening values.

Organic Gardening Soil & Other Organic Accoutrements

In the past few years, the organic gardening trend has really taken off. And frankly, it’s puzzled me a bit. For unless you live on soil that was previously treated with chemicals, herbicides and pesticides, odds are your soil is already organic! There’s no need for fancy “organic” soils and supplies. Save your money for more important organic supplies…plants and seeds.

Which Organic Seeds?  Which Organic Plants?

It’s pretty cool to find all of the grocery stores stocking seed these days – even organic seed. But there’s a price differential – as with most things organic. At the  local Giant and Safeway grocery stores in Bethesda, Maryland, you’ll pay .90 cents more per packet for organic seed versus conventional. Funny how it seems like a lot of money at the time – until you think of how much produce those seeds should yield!

organicseed_Giantphoto

What are you really buying?  For the home gardener, the most important thing about organic seed is that it guarantees that the plants you are growing will not be from genetically modified stock. So which plants are most likely to be genetically modified?  In the US, the vast majority of corn, soy, and tomato crops are genetically modified. Concerns have been raised about what the ramifications may be of ingesting GMOs – a practice that has been banned in Japan and the EU.  There may be some genetic modification of other crops, but it’s not as common as with corn, soy and tomato – so those are the plants and seedlings you should definitely buy organic. By all means, buy everything organic if you can  – just to be on the safe side. But if not, spring for the big 3: tomatoes, corn and soy.

Gardening is Not Necessarily Green

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned on this blogging journey is this: organic does not necessarily mean green. Green does not necessarily mean organic. Organic doesn’t mean fair trade. And the list goes on…..

Same with gardening. If you’re trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle, does buying plants in plastic containers make sense?

plantsmixedphoto

Not only is plastic made from petrochemicals (increasing our carbon footprints and contributing to global warming), but it doesn’t degrade in a landfill or compost heap. The manufacturing process is also highly toxic, often causing health problems for the people unfortunate enough to live nearby the manufacturing facilities. (For more on this, watch Tapped, The Movie).

Sometimes, the choice is easy, like it was at this Giant store. A wooden basket or plastic? For the same price? What an easy choice.

bushelphoto

Other times, you may think you have no choice – just row after row of plastic seedling containers.

But there’s always a better way.  Cardboard, egg crate, and other paper-based materials can all be re-used (and later composted) to make seedling pots.

Talk to your store’s manager. Ask if they can talk to their suppliers about more sustainable packaging.  Even if they can’t change the packaging, surely they can start a take-back program for the little plastic pots.  Write a letter. Ask your friends to do the same. You’d be amazed  at what a little bit of consumer input can do!

Garden. Do it Organically or Not. But  be Green.  Don’t contribute more to the plastic waste stream in your quest to “be green” by planting a bit of garden space in your backyard.

For more tips on gardening, head on over to Green-Talk to hear what the rest of the Green Moms Carnival members have to say about gardening. And for more tips on living life with less plastic, check out Fake Plastic Fish.

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

It’s International Ice Cream for Breakfast Day on Saturday!

February 5th, 2010

ICFBD_021

Here in the DC region, people are counting on being snowed in tomorrow as we wake to more than two feet of snow.   But if you’ve got any ice cream in your freezer, you can call over to your closest neighbors (who are sure to be home!) and throw an Ice Cream for Breakfast Day party!

Held the first Saturday in February, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day is exactly what it sounds like. A great excuse for a party! What began as a small gathering in upstate New York is now a worldwide event, but still very much under-the-radar!

Here’s more on the story from the “official” Ice Cream for Breakfast Day website.

Once upon a time there was a little girl named Ruth and a little boy named Joe. Ruth and Joe grew up in the
back of beyond in New York state where it was very very cold. Every winter between New Year’s Eve and
Passover, life in up-state New York got extremely boring, so their parents invented a holiday to brighten
up the dreary days of winter. It was called Ice Cream For Breakfast Day. This was a wonderful holiday for
children and parents alike because to celebrate you had to eat ice cream for breakfast on the first Saturday in
February.

Well, Ruth and Joe grew up and went away to a university. They made many friends and taught them all
about Ice Cream For Breakfast Day. After college Ruth had a roommate named Barry to whom she also told
about this tradition. Many years later, Barry met Itzah C. Kret in Washington, D.C. and converted him into an
Ice Cream For Breakfast Day observer.

Nobody has kept precise track but through word of mouth ICFBD has been celebrated in many homes, states
and countries all over the world. Some people give parties with musical instruments, others simply
celebrate with family members. There is no right or wrong so long as you follow the 3 plus 1 simple Ice
Cream for Breakfast Day Rules

(1) Eat ice cream
(2) for breakfast
(3) on the first Saturday in February

(4) spread the word

The rest is up to you!

As for me, I’m fortunate to be invited to the famous Barry’s party! But I’ve got to trek through all the snow, which may come up to Boo’s shoulders….so we’ll see if we make it. Actually, nothing keeps me from my ice cream, diet or not (at least not on Ice Cream for Breakfast Day).

Let me know if you spring for Ice Cream for Breakfast Day! (And yes, make it organic!)

Have fun!

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

For Some, There is Truly Sustainable Christmas Decor. And Then There’s the Rest of Us…

December 19th, 2009

While making the second of two treks to Big Boy’s elementary school yesterday (don’t ask), I noticed this gorgeous outside Christmas display.  What’s not to love? Sustainable, creative, festive, merry, bright….

xmasdecorphoto

And then there are those of us who are just used to things a bit more, shall we say, bright?

countdownphoto

Let’s face it. You can take the girl out of New Jersey, but you can’t take the New Jersey out of the girl. I may be able to pass myself off as a Washington, D.C. sophisticate from time to time, but when it comes to deep-rooted traditions like Christmas, I’m well…I’m tacky. I confessed it two years ago in this post, Green Tacky, Tacky.

At Christmastime, I dream of New Jersey lights:  big, honking, obnoxious, BIG LIGHTS like at the “Elvis House” in Mahwah, New Jersey and the Koenig Christmas House in Lodi, New Jersey, which features 43,000 lights synchronized to music and a bowling Santa scene.

I tried to use only the most  tasteful LED lights, like the white icicles that look like a picture straight out of Southern Living Magazine. But they were…boring. So I compromised with these multi-colored LED strands we string through our bushes.

LEDsphoto

But they’re still….too boring.

I just…needed more….something tacky.

I tried to explain to my reserved British-born husband that next to those crazy light shows back in New Jersey, our display was positively modest. Why, all we have is  a Christmas countdown clock (pictured above),  towering eight foot tall inflatable Santasantaphoto

flanked by another towering inflatable snowman,

snowmanphoto

blinking choo choo train, miniature lighted Santas up the front walk, Mr. and Mrs. Claus sitting on our front porch, and of course the bushes accented by tasteful  energy-efficient LED lights. Why, I doubt we even qualify for a listing at tackylighttour.com!

choochoophoto

Of course, as a self-professed “Green Mom,” I’m keenly aware of all the waste engendered by this display.  I published this plea two years ago for  tacky, tacky energy-efficient, recyclable, LED Christmas light displays. But two years later….still nothing in the stores. Yes, I have tacky LED Christmas displays, but they’re hardly sustainable. You can’t even replace a bulb! They’re designed to be thrown away after just a few seasons’ use.  My gosh, there’s got to be at least one or two other conflicted Tacky Greens out there who would buy sustainable tacky Christmas decor!

So why do it? Well, just as we have our Greener Traditions like Ye Olde Advent Calendar and the Reading of the Christmas Books, our tacky, tacky lawn has become a much anticipated annual event in our Bethesda neighborhood.  I now have a reputation to keep up! Ours is the house that the children  come to visit – to look and to gawk at Santa, Snowman, and the rest of our artificial friends.   We look out the front window and laugh at their pointed fingers and smiles. And to me, albeit a lot less green than I’d like, it sure does bring a lot of joy to us during this season of joy.

By the way, if you see any tacky, tacky LED outside Christmas light displays with replaceable bulbs,   PLEASE let me know where to find them!

– Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

Easy Green Weekend Project: National Recycling Day Events Saturday AND Sunday!

November 13th, 2009

Time to clean out the basement! This Sunday is National Recycling Day. What better time to clean up than right before the holidays hit?

All across the country there will be events designed to make recycling easy – especially for those “special items” that aren’t always picked up. However, the national list here has broken links to the Maryland events, so I’m summarizing those I’m aware of the four Montgomery County events -  in Bethesda, Silver Spring, and Germantown.

At each County Event, you can shred up to five small boxes of old bank statements and other personal documents for recycling. Donations of   clean clothing, household goods and small furniture will also be collected to benefit  The Arc of Montgomery County Thrift Store, Lupus Foundation of America, Vietnam Veterans of America, and National Children’s Center, Inc..  (And yes, you can get tax receipts for your donations!)

Saturday, November 14 from 10:00am to 2:00pm

Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center
3300 Briggs Chaney Road
Silver Spring, Maryland 20904

Upcounty Regional Services Center
12900 Middlebrook Road
Germantown, MD  20874

Sunday, November 15 from 8:00am to 12:00pm

John F. Kennedy High School
1901 Randolph Road
Silver Spring, Maryland 20902

Sunday, November 15 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm

Walt Whitman High School
7100 Whittier Boulevard
Bethesda, Maryland 20817

The Bethesda event is co-hosted by  Bethesda Green and Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services.   If you’d like to volunteer, send an email to  volunteer@bethesdagreen.org.

I’d love to say I’d join you, but that Swine Flu I last blogged about? It ran through the house, and then the nasty germs turned into bronchitis and laryngitis, from which I’m still recovering. So unfortunately, I think I’ll miss National Recycling Day! But tell me how it goes!

This post is for the Green Moms Carnival on Recycling, to appear on Sunday the 15th  (On Recycling Day) at  Recycle Your Day.

Leslie (aka @LaMamaNaturale on Twitter) of Recycle Your Day is one of the newer members of the Green Moms Carnival – it’s her first time hosting, so be sure to check out her site and all the great submissions from the wonderful women of the Green Moms Carnival!

– Lynn

Copyright 2009