A Great Green New Year’s Resolution

It’s New Year’s Eve!  A brand new year to bring brand new things, but the holiday has likely overwhelmed us and we’re left with some guilt in the wake of it all…

And now I’m sitting here thinking New Year’s Resolutions.  Sure I’m feeling guilty for over-consuming at all of those holiday gatherings… and, selfishly, not for any “green” reasons… but because my pants are tight and I need to make more frequent trips to the gym!  I’m also telling myself that I need to relax more, worry less and “not sweat the small stuff”.  Of course, I want to find ways to be a better mom and wife… and organize those things that have been neglected by over-committing myself.  (And did I mention those pants?!?… augh!)

But one other less selfish thing comes to mind… volunteering.  I want to do more.  And, instead of just talking about going out and making a difference, I want to stand up and really do it!

I recently discovered Together Green, an organization that will help connect you with all sorts of conservation projects around the country.  They have a calendar of events, volunteer days and links to other volunteer sites. Plus, their Be Green Action Center will give you the most amazing ways to go green in your daily life — at home, work, and travel, and in your community.  Choose what you want to do, and they’ll give you ideas of actions to take.  A great, great resource!

I’ve also discovered great opportunities through:

So many ways to get involved, so many opportunities, so much “difference” to be made!

SO, for my New Year’s Resolution, I vow to get out and “do”.  I know it will mean that I’ve taken the next step.  And it’s another great way to get my kids involved too… that lesson will last them a lifetime.  Would you consider joining me in this resolution?

(Perhaps it will even help me with that “pants” issue!)

Mom Goes Green’s 100th post… a holiday review!

Wow.  How does one even return after a big holiday?  (And wow!  My 100th post… how did I get here?!?)

It was undoubtedly amazing to see the wonder of Christmas morning through the eyes of our kids as they marveled at all of the goodies that Santa had packed and delivered in his sleigh… but likely quite annoying to them when I insisted that, before playtime began, they needed to collect the wrapping paper for recycling (despite my urging for alternative wrapping, it’s hard to convince a 3- and 6-year old that Santa decided to “go green” and was wrapping presents in newspaper this year!).

Maybe I should talk about how, during all of our Christmas gatherings, I tried to convince our party-goers that “real” plates and cloth napkins were “okay with me” because they don’t create excess waste, and running the dishwasher and a load of laundry was better than the alternative.  Or how, when visiting other’s homes, I tried to use real glasses and plates instead of their throw-aways!

Or maybe I should talk about how kid’s toys are so overpackaged that I am cringing at the fact that, for the first time in a long time, my garbage can is overflowing and I’m cursing all of the manufacturers for their over-abundance of unrecyclable materials… (does one PixOs package really need 17 different plastic bags?!?!).

Or perhaps I should tell you about how Mother Nature gifted us with an extraordinary day of 67 degree weather in Ohio, but I was also grumbling at her(!) because the day was spent outdoors cleaning up all of the leaves that were tucked in every corner of our yard (since an “early winter” prevented us from completing clean-up when the leaves were dry… and clean-up would have been SO much easier!)  She wrapped up the evening with such fierce winds that it bent the support pole of one of our outdoor decorative trees in HALF… could have done without THAT one, lady!

I should thank our families for recognizing that we have so much already that a ton of gifts were NOT needed… and they recognized that money is still an incredible gift when it is given with a “well, we just really wanted you to use this for something you needed, or wanted, instead of buying something you didn’t”… yes, moola is still a good gift!  And yes, an unused gift IS waste.

But I know I need to mention our most thoughtful gift… from our beloved friends, Jenn & Paul, who gifted us with a certificate from Kiva.org.  This certificate allowed us to donate our gifted money to a “working poor” recipient of our choosing.  We selected a man in Tajikistan who desperately needed money to buy seeds for farming and help support his family.  Over the holiday $1.3 million dollars were given and EVERY recipient was granted their full loan!  Once they are able to repay the loan, we are given back our donated money to grant to another needy recipient… and this wonderful cycle starts all over again!  Amazing, what a difference was made around the globe by so many people who thought far beyond traditional gift giving and decided, instead, to help those who really need it!  Thanks, Jenn & Paul!  We LOVED the gift that we were able to “re-gift”!!!

In conclusion, I guess I should just say that it was a wonderful Christmas… because it was, and we are blessed.  We have each other and that’s all that really matters.

I truly hope your holiday was one to remember… and full of cheer, love and the real spirit of Christmas!

Happy Holidays!

Mom Goes Green would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas,

Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa!

Whatever you celebrate, I simply wish for it to be wonderful

…and I wanted to share our card with all of my wonderful readers!…

If there is no joyous way to give a festive gift, give love away. — Unknown

This Christmas we want to wish you all of the things that bring you happiness.  Enjoy memories of the past, live in the moment, and have hope for the future.  May your New Year be filled with everything wonderful — health, happiness, laughter and especially love!

— Mom Goes Green —

Six ounces of book in a two foot box.

Christmas is just about here!  The house is decorated, the tree is trimmed, the stockings are hung, and the presents are purchased… and then the final gift arrived via UPS.  Yippee!

Sounds like I should be relieved, so why am I sitting here in awe, slowly shaking my head and muttering “Where, oh where, has the common sense gone?”  I think it’s because, instead of me being the one who has gone mad, someone in the shipping department at Amazon has lost their marbles.

I was waiting on a little “Tinkerbell” paperback book for our daughter (a book that, mind you, had her burst into tears when we visited her school Book Fair {it was the only book she really wanted} and we discovered it was sold out!)  So, yes, the book was incredibly important but I was sickened with how it arrived.

This little book, costing all of $3.99, arrived in a box (including a bunch of air pillows!) that was so large it could have safely shipped at least 75 of them.  Overpackaging at its excessive worst!  WHAT was someone thinking?  I guess they weren’t… or they got confused… or they ran out of boxes and this was the only one left… (a size that could have fit a MacBook and packing materials, for pete’s sake!).

All this after our son’s book arrived the day before, BENT IN HALF, smashed next to a “Wall-e” DVD, in a box that barely FIT the DVD itself!  This does NOT make Mom Goes Green happy!  But how do we know this will happen and how do we stop it?  And how do we not feel guilty when a simple purchase breaks the fundamentals of our own “green rules”?

I don’t have a single answer for this.  It’s not easy complaining to Amazon… they make it really simple for them not to address your issues, beyond customer service.  If you know of a way to let them know, let ME know!  I just can’t imagine what guidelines they are following, but I personally think they stink… a big, fat, non-green stink!

… and I actually gave them kudos for their “Frustration Free Packaging”! Wake up, Amazon.  There is a LOT of work left to do!

Oh “Green” Chrismas Tree, Oh “Green” Christmas Tree…

This year, as Recycling & Environmental Programs Chairman at our daughter’s school, I helped the kids put together two of the most beautiful Christmas trees I think I have ever seen…

They AREN’T filled with tinsel, or a thousand lights, or shimmering bulbs or expensive decorations.  In fact, not a single thing cost a single penny.  It was decorated entirely with recycled ornaments and decorations made by the students.  And what a splendor it is!!!

These kids are amazing… for their creativity and the way they hold their heads so high at the display of their ornament, made with love… and with love for planet earth too!

There were gingerbread men made from sandpaper and scrap materials, reindeer made from burned-out light bulbs, candy canes made from plastic bottle caps and snowmen made from Styrofoam packing materials.  Handsoap containers, applesauce cups and toilet paper rolls were given new life!  And the top of the trees were adorned with a green star with a sparkling “recycle” symbol glittering in the middle!

One of my favorites was from a family that assembled an amazing garland made from accordion-folded Christmas circulars, aluminum foil beads and used straws.  Imagine the love that went into making that… and the amazing “family time” they all got to share too.

A Christmas Tree really becomes a Christmas Tree NOT when it’s decorated like a department store window display – it becomes a true Christmas tree when the spirit of “giving” turns into the spirit of “not taking” more and more from new resources – when they are decorated with the love of what a tree really represents…