I’ve been meaning to post about my intense admiration for Legos’ marketing for nearly a year now, ever since my then six-year-old discovered the joy of assembling hundreds of tiny plastic pieces into intricate Star Wars ships.
No, they’re not the “greenest” of toys, and though sometimes I shudder when I think of the plastic involved, I must say Legos are the ultimate in “Re-use.” Have you seen the re-sale market for these toys? Many of them actually INCREASE in value.
But that’s not what caused me to fall in love with Legos. First, there’s the fun factor. Building Legos is a great activity for both parents and kids. Legos stretch your imagination – as well as your patience! You can never do anything “wrong.” If a little brother crashes a Lego Starship, why, you can just build something else! And after you “get into” Legos, you discover that kids bond over building Legos. It’s as if they have a Secret Boy Society of Awesome Lego Builders.
If you’re lucky enough to live near a Lego Store, like the one in Tysons Corner, shopping for them is a huge adventure. Our local store sponsored a huge “Build a Yoda” contest, where kids gathered to watch a team of “Master Lego Builders” craft a giant Yoda – and even got a chance to help out!
Your child can join the “Lego Club” or “Lego Club Junior,” to receive well written, imaginative magazines full of Lego pictures, of course, but also with stories written to grade-level, word puzzles, Lego building contests, photos of kids with their prize-winning Lego creations, and more. And once you’ve been to a Lego-Brick Fest, like the one held this summer in D.C. – well, by then you’re a goner (like my dear friend who flew from California to DC to attend!)
LegoLand? It was on our wish list of “must -dos.”
And did you know there are even REAL Lego cars, like this one driven by the Lego Lady?
So I knew it would be a Lego-heavy Christmas this year. Last year Santa brought our son an MTT Troop Carrier Lego ship, which would cost you about $100, if you had to purchase it instead of getting it via reindeer express. That’s another unique thing about Legos – the first ones we bought were about $10, and as our son grew more skilled at building them, he would save his allowance for a really “big” one, that might cost $30 or even $60. There are even Legos for as few as a couple of bucks, and of course, for the adult builders, even more expensive items. Adult builders, you say? Who knew?
I suspect this is the last year that my 7-year-old will likely still “believe.” I’m sure he probably has a few doubts, as I did when I was a 7-year-old. But for now, I humored him with the traditional, “What are you going to ask Santa for Christmas?” question.
Normally we “get off easy” at Christmas time. Back when Big Boy was just 3 1/2, he decided that Santa brought just three presents. Maybe it’s because the Wise Men brought 3 presents? I don’t know, but we never disagreed, and he never questioned why his Aunt spoiled him with even more presents than Santa.
But this CyberMonday, when I set out to google the best prices for my son’s three favored Legos, I was shocked. The total price tag? $850 (And these were the ‘best buys” I could find. I’m sure you could spend close to $1,000 on the same items).
We’re not spending that kind of money on Christmas gifts from Santa.
But I never expected my son to learn that there is no such thing as Santa Claus because he didn’t get the three gifts he asked Santa for under the tree.
Yes, as a kid I didn’t get all the things I asked for either, but heck, I remember making long lists – with way more than three items!
I realize that through this “love” of all things Lego, I fell hook, line and sinker into the ridiculous Kid Marketing Juggernaut. But what really makes me angry is the prices that Lego is charging for these much sought after toys that are the “in thing” with the elementary school crowd.
Now, I understand that there have always been high priced kids toys. I recall laughing at $400 kids’ BMW cars in the Neiman Marcus catalogue. But that’s to be expected, after all. Neiman Marcus – aka Needless Markup – is a luxury department store, squarely targeted at the elite. You expect to – want to – spend dearly for unique items when you shop at Neiman’s.
But Lego? Selling $200, $300, $400 and dare I say, even more expensive toys that they’ve marketed as the all-American boy “must have” toy seems somehow twisted, especially in this recessionary year. I’d love to know what the mark-up is on these items.
And that my friends, is my story of how I fell out of love with Legos on CyberMonday, 2009.
Now…anyone got a Jango Fett Slave 1 Lego, Imperial Star Destroyer Lego, or Death Star, you want to re-sell…cheap?
Legos? You’ve been warned.
Postscript: After re-reading this, I looked more closely at the toys in questions. Two are marketed for boys 8 -12 and 9 -14, but the Death Star is for age 16 and up. So I can foresee Santa writing Big Boy a note explaining he’s too young for the Death Star (which incidentally would set Santa back a cool $400). As for the others….I’m sure I’ll think of something. Now I’m wondering…was this post just a cranky, late Cybernight Monday rant, or do I have a point? What do you think? Meanwhile, gotta prepare that non-commercialization of the holidays post!
Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Holidays, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (15) |
This Halloween, I was convinced, would be the year that fair trade Halloween chocolates made it to the mass market — or at least to Whole Foods! Sadly, #nestlefamily fiasco notwithstanding, we’ve still got long way to go before fair trade Halloween chocolates are widely available.
I started my quest in early October, pulling up the Reverse Trick or Treating website run by Global Exchange. This program distributes free Fair Trade chocolates along with educational materials about the benefits of fair trade, which include a commitment to:
* ENDING poverty among cocoa farmers
* STOPPING forced/abusive child labor in the cocoa industry and
* PROTECTING the environment
Unfortunately, they were already sold out. And my quest for Fair Trade chocolate began. My first stop was Whole Foods in DC’s Tenleytown neighborhood. No luck. Then I tried Whole Foods River Road in Bethesda, Maryland. Nada. How about Whole Foods Rockville Pike, in Rockville, Maryland? Zilch. Back to My Organic Market in Rockville, Maryland. Nothing. Trader Joes in Bethesda? No.
Why was I so determined? Ever since my friend Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse told me that 50% of the cocoa in this country comes from Cote d’Ivoire, which still practices forced child labor on many of its cocoa plantations, I have tried to avoid conventional chocolates.
But by mid-October, I was beginning to think I’d never find Fair Trade Halloween chocolate, so I started looking for substitutes.
At Target, I found pretzels from Pennsylvania – $3.27 for a bag of 35, or just 9 cents per treat.
By now, we were a week away from Halloween, and Big Boy was bitterly complaining about only having “boring” pretzels to give out as treats to his friends. So I caved and bought some bon bons at Giant. I thought I was safe – chocolate-free – until I discovered that one of the candies – Bit-O-Honey – are made by Nestle.
Finally, at Trader Joes, I picked up 2 bags of chocolate bars – not whole trade, but from Columbia. Since the slave labor employed in the cocoa industry is focused in Africa — specifically Cote d’Ivoire – I reasoned that cocoa from somewhere other than Africa was probably the next best thing to Fair Trade cocoa. And at $2.79 per bag, or ten cents per piece, it was competitively priced to American brands.
A few days before Halloween, at the Takoma-Silver Spring co-op, I found small Fair Trade chocolates – but the price — 40 cents per piece – gave me pause. My neighborhood is overrun with kids on Halloween eve, and I didn’t want to spend a hundred dollars or more on Halloween candy!
But I did leave the co-op with YUMMY EARTH USDA Organic lollypops, 70 in a bag for $2.79 or just 3 cents per piece. Made with real flavors including organic black carrot, pumpkin, black currant, and apple, these lollypops are delicious! They will definitely become a Halloween staple in our household.
I could not believe that there was no Fair Trade Halloween chocolate to be had in DC or Bethesda, so I started sending tweets out asking for help. I heard back from Divine Chocolate, suggesting I visit a store in a far away part of DC.
In a final attempt to finish my quest, I dashed into Ten Thousand Villages near Bethesda Row and low and behold, found some Fair Trade chocolate – perfect for Halloween. At 25 cents per piece, the Divine Chocolate gold coins were about the price I expected – expensive but manageable. I picked up 2 bags of gold coins, but not before hearing the store manager say many other frustrated shoppers had been in seeking fair trade Halloween chocolate as well.
Not in my neighborhood. Surveying my son’s overflowing trick-or-treat bag, I didn’t see another organic or fair trade item. I felt a bit like I had been spitting into the ocean – a tiny drop of nothing in a sea of high fructose corn syrup, slave labor chocolate, and artificial colors and ingredients — all wrapped in plastic – reams and reams of plastic. I wondered how my Green Moms Carnival friends Jennifer (The Smart Mama), Jennifer (The Green Parent), Micaela, Beth, Maryann, Sommer, Jess, Karen, Anna, Alicia and the others had handled this holiday. Hmm…I’m thinking next year we should plan a carnival on Halloween treats!
Hope your Halloween was happy! What did you hand out? And did you go crazy looking for Fair Trade chocolates too? Leave a comment and let me know!
And at the end of the day, it’s all about these funny little faces, isn’t it?
Copyright 2009 OrganicMania
NOTE: Here is a link to the latest information I could find from the US chocolate industry about the continued struggle for equity in Cote d’Ivoire.Filed under Food, Green moms, Holidays, My Organic Market, Parenting, Product Recommendations, Savings Tips, Trader Joes, Whole Foods | Wordpress Comments (13) |
Last Thursday evening I was thrilled to hear Chef Ann Cooper, aka “The Renegade Lunch Lady” speak at my local YMCA. Of course Chef Ann didn’t travel all the way from Boulder, Colorado, where she’s recently begun a new job in the school system, to speak to the Bethesda Y. She was here to meet with federal policy makers about reform efforts for the USDA’s school lunch program. Together with Whole Foods, which is supporting her work, Chef Ann is urging the government to allocate $1 more per day for each child’s school lunch. But as The New York Times reported here, some Congressional Democrats think just 70 cents more would be a generous increase – and well, I’m sure you know that others think no additional funds are necessary.
I’ve blogged many times over the past year and a half about issues with the school lunch program. From this first post expressing shock at elementary school lunch entrée choices of pizza or hot dog, to this post about how the School Lunch Controversy Ended Up on TV , to this one about How to Get Organics and Healthier Foods Into the Schools, to attending local and regional PTA meetings with our school district’s head of nutrition services, I’ve been asking questions….and not getting much in the way of answers.
But this time I got very direct answers to my questions. Chef Ann is blunt. She calls things the way she sees them. So after asking the first question in at the Q&A session after her talk, I waited until everyone else had a chance and then asked…four more questions! I could have spent all night talking to her, quite honestly. I’ve got fodder for at least one more post about Chef Ann, but in this one, which is timed to coincide with the Green Moms Carnival on “Conserving Resources,” I want to focus on waste.
Although I agree with Chef Ann and would like to see more funds allocated to school lunch (and in fact, just this week $50 million more was allocated to the new Farm-to-School program), there is a tremendous amount of waste in the system. So that was my first question for Chef Ann. Were government officials talking about reducing waste in the school lunch program? Apparently not.
I explained how I had finally allowed my 2nd grader to purchase pizza once a week for school lunch. But, I told him, he was to skip the non-organic, hormone-laden milk and the non-organic apple, since he had water and fruit in his lunch bag. My son told me that he was forced to buy the apple and the milk as well – and then to throw them out. Not only is this wasteful, but when you consider that the milk and apple are taxpayer subsidized, it is doubly wasteful. Why can’t we let kids purchase just what they need to? Why are we subsidizing food items that end up in the trash? And then spending more taxpayer money to pay the school custodians to handle the trash, and to pay for the operation of the municipal landfills and transport to the landfills and recycling centers? (Not the mention all the carbon we’re burning through each of these wasteful activities).
If you think you could return the unopened milk to the cafeteria, for re-use, you’d be wrong. I’ve volunteered many times in my son’s cafeteria, where I’ve been asked to open unopened milk bottles and POUR THE MILK DOWN THE DRAIN. Talk about waste.
And Chef Ann? She said that in the school lunch programs she’s run in Berkeley, California and Boulder, Colorado, the children take as much (organic) milk as they’d like from a large jug. No waste, no fuss. What a concept.
In addition to lobbying for more funds for school lunch – and the schools as a whole – we need to focus on conserving resources and reducing waste, as Chef Ann has done in her school systems.
Are you seeing these same issues in your local schools? Leave a comment and share!
And more on the talk by the wonderful Chef Ann in a future post!
Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Bethesda, Food, Green Schools, Parenting, School lunches | Wordpress Comments (13) |
The early days of the back-to-school season are typically full of anxious parents, crying kindergartners, and school buses that can’t seem to keep to a schedule. Today was not much different – but as I waited an extra 15 minutes for my second grader’s bus to arrive, I wondered if my son had seen President Obama’s address to the nation’s school children. I wasn’t expecting so – I’d called the school office and was told that viewing varied by classroom.
But when he finally stepped off the bus and I asked him if he had watched the President’s speech, he surprised me by saying “Yes.”
“And?,” I asked excitedly. “What did you think?”
“Boring. What’s for snack?”
“Hold on there a minute,” I said. “I read his speech. He talked about taking responsibility, he talked about working hard, he talked about all those things that Mom and Dad talk to you about, didn’t he?”
“Well, what did he talk about?,” I feigned.
“I don’t remember.”
I let the poor kid have his snack and gave him a ten minute rest before I started interrogating him again.
“Did your teachers talk to you about his speech after it was over?”
“Did you understand his speech?”
“No, not really.”
Let’s hope the speech went over better with the 7th graders and the 17-year-olds than with the 7-year-olds. I read the speech and was really impressed. It was a simple message about taking responsibility for one’s actions and working hard. You can read the text here.
What did you think? And more importantly, how did the children you know react to the speech?
Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Parenting | Wordpress Comments (4) |
Funny how just a few weeks ago I was a “Mean Mommy.” I mean, it’s so unreasonable that I won’t pack Lunchables for my son to take to camp “like all the other mothers do.”
Then we switched camps. And I’m in Green Moms Paradise.
An Eco-Challenge for waste free lunch. Can you believe it?
Suddenly, everything I’ve been saying for years is being repeated by really Awesome camp counselors. My son is helping his camp buddies win the Eco-Challenge Waste Free Lunch competition.
With all my lamenting about the challenges of going green in the public schools, I’ve often wondered what it would be like to attend a crunchy school. Now I have some sense for what it would be like. Wonderful!
And that competition? Of course Big Boy scored big points for his fellow campers. How could he not with those vintage cloth napkins from the 1970s in his waste-free lunch?
Have a great weekend!
Can you tell I’m enjoying my cyberbreak? (Even if I am cheating a little…).
LynnFiled under Green Schools, Parenting, School lunches | Wordpress Comments (2) |
With 32 submissions from 28 green women bloggers, I am thrilled to share what may be the most comprehensive listing of environmentally friendly back-to-school tips on the web. From daycare to college to homeschooling, we’ve got you covered! And these tips are from women who’ve been there and done that: the wonderful women of the Green Moms Carnival. Thanks to all of the contributors for sharing your insights so that together, we can green those schools!
On a side note, Happy Birthday to the Carnival! It’s hard to believe, but we got started a year ago August when we launched our very first carnival, “Tackling Global Warming.”
Let’s dive in. The 32 blog posts fall into eight categories:
- At the Beginning: Green Childcare;
- Healthy Meals and How to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch;
- School Supply Lists and Eco-Friendly School Supplies;
- The Edible Schoolyard;
- Why It’s Worth Fighting to Keep Recess;
- Greening Your School: From Green Committees to Green Certification;
- Back to School: Homeschooling Edition; and
- Tips for Green College Kids.
So sit back, grab your BPA-free water bottle, and enjoy this comprehensive look at Green Schools.
At the Beginning: Green Child Care
- Jennifer McNichols of ZRecommends and The Tranquil Parent shares some great advice in her post, “Green Daycare: A five step method for getting a childcare center to support your cloth diapering.” She did it, so can you!
- Mary Hunt of In Women We Trust tells us how the Los Angeles Community College District is setting new standards for green building, which benefits the child care centers in the system. As Mary puts it, “build green, teach green, learn green, live green and bring the next generation along in your footsteps.”
Eating Healthy – What to Eat and How to Pack a Waste-Free Lunch
- Of course we all know the most important meal of the day is breakfast. Sommer from Green and Clean Mom shares some great Healthy Breakfast Ideas.
- Amy from Crunchy Domestic Goddess shares some really nifty tips for Turning Back to School Lunches Green. I especially appreciate the fact that Amy brings up the issue of over packaging, and she even includes links to great recipes!
- Green Bean from Green Phone Booth shares a wonderful story about an old cookbook, circa 1951, devoted to packing healthy, interesting, and waste-free lunches. She poses the question: So what have we really learned in 2 generations?
- Like Green Bean, Mindful Momma writes about a simpler era and then goes on to include some simply wonderful, clever tips for packing a healthy lunch. Check it out!
- Amy of Gift of Green passes along some helpful tips for how to pack a waste-free lunch in her post, “Back to School, Back to Green.”
- Kristen from GreenStyleMom puts our concerns into perspective in her post, “School Lunch Priorities.”
Those Darn School Supply Lists, Plus Eco-Friendly School Supplies: What are They? And How to Find Them
- Do you know about smencils? I hadn’t heard of them until I read Citizen Green on “Back to School Green (With as Little Plastic as Possible) about her adventures to three big box stores (Walmart, Staples and Target) to try to find environmentally friendly school supplies.
- Are you sick and tired of antibacterial soap everywhere, including on your child’s school supply list? ( I know I am!) Katie from Kitchen Stewardship issues this Bath and Body Works Anti-Antibacterial Soap Letter. Katie has made it easy to, as she puts it, “vent about the overuse of the toxic triclosan and the crazy marketing Bath and Body Works throws at us, our children, and their school administrators.” On her site you’ll also find links to information about safe hand-washing, the dangers of antibacterial soaps, and a breakdown of hand sanitizers to prepare you for the back-to-school germaphobia. (Frankly, I think I’ll pass her letter along to my school administrators in addition to Bath and Body Works. It irks me to no end that we were all but required to buy anti-bacterial cleansers for the classroom!)
- Sommer of Green and Clean Mom, in her second submission to the carnival, feels much the same as Katy does about anti-bacterial cleansers, particularly those with triclosan. In her post, “Triclosan and the Non-Toxic Classroom,” this former teacher offers some tips for dealing with the schools around this issue.
- Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish presents us with a conundrum: which one of these three binder options is actually more environmentally friendly? As with so much in the green movement, the choices aren’t clear-cut.
- However, as Beth points out in her second contribution to the carnival, the choice of using PVC or not is actually quite clear-cut. Beth presents a great argument against the use of PVC binders, lunchboxes, and the like, and links to more resources from the Center for Health and Environmental Justice, which has just launched a Parent’s Guide to Safer School Supplies.
- I swear, everytime I read one of EnviroMom’s postings I feel like packing it in and moving to Portland. This one is no exception, with Renee writing about a wonderful local organization that consolidates the school supply lists and donates excess to charity. She also shares some of her hits and misses in shopping for eco-friendly items for back-to-school.
Eco-Friendly School Supplies, Waste-Free Lunch Tips and More: All in One Green Tips for Back to School!
Several of the @GreenMoms shared great round-up posts with tips for green back-to-school that include everything from healthy waste-free lunches to eco-friendly school supplies, to clothing, walking instead of riding, and more!
- Just when we’ve figured out what BPA is and what all those plastic # signs mean, we’ve got another strange substance to become familiar with: Microban. Read all about it here courtesy of Jennifer Taggert, the SmartMama.
- MC Milker from Not Quite Crunchy Parent includes Five Ways to Go Green for Back To School, including a wry look at her own version of “carbon offsets.”
- Tiffany from Nature Moms gives great tips on Eco Friendly lunch boxes and water bottles, including reviews of some of her favorites, as well as helpful tips for clothing, backpacks, and other school supplies that are kind to the environment.
- In “Going Back to School Green,” Leslie from Recycle Your Day shares her memories of how she prepped for back to school – back in the days when recycled paper was gray and cheaper than conventional paper! Plus, she shares plenty of more-up-to-date tips with us, including reviews of a few favorite products.
- And if you’re not sure your kid can master the art of returning bottles and containers, Diane of Big Green Purse has a “secret tip” for you, in addition to some great background information on why environmentally-friendly lunch boxes are so important. Check out “Lunch Boxes Should Be Safe and Environmentally Friendly” and learn about some of Diane’s favorite eco-friendly options!
- If you find that some of these eco-friendly lunch kits simply cost more than you’re willing to spend, check out “How to Pack a Cheap and Easy Waste-Free Lunch” where I share some of my favorite frugal green tips, from $1.99 for a big pack of recyclable brown bags to el-cheapo reusbale food containers.
School Supplies: End-of-Year Disposal Issues and a Quest for More Sustainable School Supplies
- In her post, “School Supplies are Environmentally Frustrating,” Anna Hackman of Green-Talk includes photos documenting how she laboriously disposes of school binders at the end of each school year. Inspired by both the Jumpstart Conference and by Beth Terry’s successful Take Back the Filter Campaign, Anna begins a quest to have Avery Dennison incorporate her feedback into their sustainable product development process.
The Edible Schoolyard: Kindergarten Edition
- Deanna from Crunchy Chicken shares “The Edible Schoolyard,” an encouraging tale of how a kindergarten class started an edible garden at her local elementary school.
Why It’s Worth Fighting to Keep Recess
- In “Recess Helps Kids Learn, Don’t Take It Away!” Katy Farber of Non-Toxic Kids shares her insights about why it’s important to keep recess a priority in the schools. One would think that the research on the benefits of healthy recess would be well understood by educators, but unfortunately it’s still not a priority in our nation’s schools.
Greening Your School: From Green Committees to LEED Certification, & Asbestos Abatement
- Tiffany from Mommy Goes Green shares “My Healthy School” – some great tips for working with your school administration to green your school.
- Yours truly (OrganicMania) shares five lessons learned trying to get a Green Committee off the ground at an elementary school.
- Melissa from Raising Them Green shares An Introduction to the LEED for Schools Rating System. I didn’t know that there was a special LEED certification just for schools, did you?
- The bloggy world is so crazy – I had to go to BlogHer to meet Jennifer from Puddle Jumping in DC – who just submitted a wonderful post about a certified green school, right here in Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live! I had no idea! Check out Jennifer’s post, which includes a wonderful video of a 5th grade girl discussing what it’s like to study at a green school.
- Jennifer, our Smart Mama, provides a heads-up about early warning signs of asbestos exposure in your school and provides us with some simple steps to reduce asbestos exposure.
Back to School: HomeSchooling Edition
- Of course, it’s dilemmas like the fight for recess that Katy described in her post that are pushing more and more parents to private schools and to homeschooling. Lisa Sharp doesn’t have kids of her own, but she was homeschooled and she shares some wonderful memories and tips for Green home schooling parents in her post, “Back to School: Home Schooling Edition.”
Tips for Green College Kids
- We’ve run the gamut from daycare to college. The kids have grown up, but we parents are still concerned with keeping ep them healthy and safe. Karen Hanrahan of Best of Mother Earth shares her tips for helpful herbal remedies for how to Keep Your College Kid Healthy.
- Lisa of Condo Blues shares ten tips for college students who want to go green. My favorite? Donate unused clothing, furniture, food, etc. before leaving campus.
About the Green Moms Carnival – We are a group of green women bloggers, united by our desire to protect and preserve Mother Earth. Once a month or so, we share our thoughts on a common theme, so that together our environmental messages are heard by more people than we could possibly ever reach on our own. You can read more about us here and you can subscribe to all our blog posts automatically through Twitter at @GreenMoms.
— LynnFiled under Green moms, Green Schools, Parenting, Product Recommendations, Savings Tips, School lunches, Tips | Wordpress Comments (20) |
Much has been written about BlogHer. How over-the-top everything was. The big sponsors. The huge bags of swag. The blow-out parties. The larger-than-life amazing, inspirational speakers. The networking. It’s true – all of that was amazing.
But what really blew me away was something much smaller.
The babies. The babies of BlogHer.
They were everywhere you looked.
I’m old enough to have graduated from college at a time when I thought I needed man-tailored suits, a leather briefcase, and short hair to make it in the Big Apple. My first byline was the androgenous “L.A. Miller,” lest I appeared like a “Southern Belle” for using my full name – Lynn Anne Miller.
I remember being one of the few women in the room at most of the 300 or so conferences I attended during my years in corporate marketing.
I’ve never, ever been to a conference with babies.
It was amazing.
Amazing to see women free to pursue their own interests, all while caring for their babies.
So now you know who I am. I was that woman running all over the place taking pictures of the babies of BlogHer. I wish I had captured them all. But here are eight of the wonderful babies of BlogHer, some pictured alongside their smiling mothers.
If you recognize the babies (or their mothers) please leave a comment so I can add a caption to each picture. (Or similarly, if you would like a picture to be removed, just let me know!)
This last picture is of my Big Boys and their Dad at the airport, soon after my return from Blogher. After looking at all those little babies, it made me realize that my boys truly are not babies any more. They’re growing up much too fast.
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Blog, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (14) |
When a boy is nearly 7 (or 6 years and 11 months old to be precise), the things that used to annoy his Mom no longer seem so annoying.
When he asks you for help with his socks, you know that this is his way of saying he wants to be close to you.
When he tells you he doesn’t like the rubber duckies his little brother left behind in the bathtub because they get in the way of his shower, you’re puzzled. Wasn’t it only yesterday that he loved rubber duckies?
When his friends ask, “Which girl do you think is cute?” and he responds, “My mom,” your heart melts as you realize how lucky you were to hear his answer.
When he asks you to join the hide-n-seek game, there’s a bittersweet realization that at this time next year, he may no longer ask you to play with him and his friends.
When a boy is 6 years and 11 months old, his Mom realizes time goes by quickly and he won’t be a boy much longer.
Play with your children,
Do things with your children,
While they still want you around.
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Parenting | Wordpress Comments (4) |
The week between the end of the school year and the start of summer camp is a rough time. Many families are left scrambling for child care or trying to arrange play dates to keep the kids entertained. This year, we wised up and headed out of town for a mini-vacation.
Since I’ve blogged about avoiding car use for the sake of the climate change fight, you might be thinking that we hopped into our hybrid for an eco-tour.
But since the theme of this month’s Green Moms Carnival is EcoConfessions, I have to confess that we don’t even own a hybrid.
Last week, we loaded up our station wagon to join the throngs of tots journeying to see Thomas the Tank Engine and to explore Dutch Wonderland, a kid-focused amusement park I remembered fondly from my 4th birthday.
The irony of this “Green Mom” traveling 400 miles round trip to see the Crown Prince of “Kid Marketing” – a coal-powered train no less – was not lost on me. Sure, we squealed with delight when Thomas steamed into the station, but we also coughed and complained when we breathed in the foul coal smoke from Thomas’ boiler.
That’s when I snapped this picture of the pile of coal used to power Thomas, and tried to shake off a feeling of hypocrisy. Memories of many bloggy conversations with LaMarguerite about coal and global warming and thoughts of Retro Housewife’s upcoming Green Moms Carnival on coal clouded my mind. I sighed and sent a quick tweet about how the trip was great fodder for this month’s EcoConfession carnival!
And it’s not just the travel – it’s the food and the souvenirs to boot. Yes, that’s a piece of Cheap Plastic Crap (also known as a miniature plastic train) that my 2 ½ year old is grasping ever so tightly in that photo. Yes, I’m the one who blogged about “Just Say No to Cheap Plastic Crap.” But when it’s the only thing a darling boy asks for in the souvenir shop, it’s hard to resist. I pushed thoughts of my plastic-free friend Beth from Fake Plastic Fish out of my head. And the Star Wars figurine in his other hand? Sigh. Caught again. I’ve clearly bought plastic toys more than once. (Beth, will you still be my friend?)
Heading over to Dutch Wonderland the next morning, we were greeted by this sign: No Food Allowed.
We stayed in the car a few minutes extra to fill up on fresh hardboiled CSA eggs , organic cheese and whole wheat bread. As we entered the park, I managed a sarcastic aside to the guard, saying “Oh, since we can’t bring in our own food, I suppose there’s plenty of boiled eggs, fresh organic apples and raw veggies for sale in the park?” He referred me to the kosher mart as the best bet for “health food.”
Since the healthy kosher mart was closed, we ended up with this for lunch.
But I suppose it’s okay, because the souvenir shop’s organic t-shirts proclaimed, “Dutch Wonderland: We’re Going Green!”
And the most shocking part of my Eco Confession? We had such a great time that we hope to make this decidedly “un-green” vacation an annual event!
Copyright 2009 OrganicManiaFiled under Green moms, Parenting | Wordpress Comments (20) |
With Father’s Day just around the corner, I reached out to some of my favorite Green Dads on Twitter and in the Blogosphere for some eco-friendly gift ideas. Here’s what four of those Green Dads confessed they’d love for Father’s Day.
1. Michael O’Loughlin of The Better Living Show aka @molfamily on Twitter is hoping for a reel mower. As Michael puts it, “ My electric one is nice, but not power is even better. Keeps me in shape also.”
2. @DerekMarkham, also known to many from his great blogs Natural Papa and TwilightEarth, has a bunch of great ideas, including “something to do with shaving (double-edged safety razor or a straight razor – greener than disposables or cartridge razors)”;
3. Derek would also love ” a solar charger for cell phone or laptop (Solio is a good one);” and
4. this green Dad points out that a guy’s got to eat. So Derek says a “stainless travel coffee mug (save on disposable cups) or water bottle or some organic Fair Trade coffee or chocolate” might be good options;
5. and of course Green Dads look great in t-shirts, so Derek reminds us that a nice gift is always “ an organic cotton T shirt with a ‘green’ slogan on it.” (I like these cute dog-themed soft organic cotton Ts from Fundamentally Dog, a company I did some work for a while back);
6. NaturalPapa Derek also points out that a bike messenger bag from recycled materials would be a way cool gift;
7. @GreenDadsBlog is a Dad with simple desires. He says, “ You kind of stumped me on this one. Personally I’d like to see no cards or gifts purchased, and a simple day spent with family.”
8. And my children’s very wonderful Dad, aka @organicmania_DH says he’d like some really cool upcycled or recycled (whatever you want to call it!) ) accessories like these cool DC trolley token cuff links or this neat bicycle chain frame from ecoartware.com . (Disclosure: ecoartware is a client of mine).
10. And for those Green Dads who are married to Twitter-addicted Social Media Moms, we might want to lay off the tweeting and blogging for the weekend! There’s nothing better than full-on attention from those you love.
Hope you and yours enjoy a wonderful Father’s Day Weekend!
Copyright OrganicMania 2009Filed under Holidays, Parenting | Wordpress Comment (1) |