Sunday, June 29, 2008

One Week

I'm cleaning out my email and found this email that my sister had sent me back in December (told you I was always behind on email! LOL). I meant to post it then but forgot.

I did a bit of research to find out the source of the email. The photos come from the book A Hungry Planet by Peter Menzel.

Here are the photos from the email

Italy: The Manzo family of Sicily
Food expenditure for one week: 214.36 Euros or $260.11

Germany: The Melander family of Bargteheide
Food expenditure for one week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07

United States: The Revis family of North Carolina
Food expenditure for one week $341.98

Mexico: The Casales family of Cuernavaca (incidently I spent a week at Spanish school in Cuernavaca back in the late 90's. It is a beautiful city. The walls of my host family's home were painted that same color blue!)
Food expenditure for one week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Poland: The Sobczynscy family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food expenditure for one week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27

Egypt: The Ahmed family of Cairo
Food expenditure for one week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53

Ecuador: The Ayme family of Tingo
Food expenditure for one week: $31.55

Bhutan: The Namgay family of Shingkhey Village
Food expenditure for one week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03

Chad: The Aboubakar family of Breidjing Camp
Food expenditure for one week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23

You can see more families from the book at

Friday, June 27, 2008

Peak Season

Check out this interactive map from that I found on my friend Jennifer's blog and have to share! Click on the month and your state and it tells you what produce is in season. There are also direct links to recipes.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Silent Auction Request

My friend Shannon got me involved with a local children's literacy charity fund raising dinner. I think it is going to be super fun. Only problem? I'm supposed to be soliciting donations for the silent auction from businesses and such. I am not so good about asking for donations, so I thought I would use my blog to my advantage.

SO... if you are a business or a product rep and are willing to donate a product or service to this charity event (the donation is tax deductible), I am willing to offer some free blog marketing in exchange.* I'll tell you more about the event via email, but I will say it is going to great and have a certain famous, used-to-be-short-haired, ice skating Olympian.
If interested, email me at
Thanks so much for helping me support a great cause!
*We'll talk about the details via email. I retain the right to refuse any products that I don't feel are appropriate.

Monday, June 23, 2008

All-Digital Magazine

I admit it. I love magazines. I know all that paper and production aren't great for the environment, but I love them. Fortunately many magazines are jumping on the green bandwagon and starting to print on recycled paper, and some have even started experimenting with digital versions. VIV Magazine takes it even further - they are an all-digital magazine. You can't buy it in print if you wanted.

I downloaded the free preview issue, and it was kinda fun to "flip" through the pages. The magazine describes itself as a fitness, food, health, awareness, fashion, beauty, and more magazine. The interactive component is really great, and I love being able to link to anything I am interested in exploring further. There is also a page in the preview issue that allows you to switch the tops on an outfit. Wish changing my clothes was that easy! The coolest was clicking on the "V" at the bottom of a fitness page and seeing an animated version of the exercise.
Although I love how eco-friendly it is, it still isn't the same as curling up under a blanket on the couch with a juicy magazine and a hot tea. I don't think I'll be giving up my print magazines anytime soon, but I did take them up on their offer for a free subscription. I'm already looking forward to my next issue.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


Not sure how much I'll be around the next month. Starting Monday, we have 5 sets of guests coming in a one month period with no more than 2 nights between guests. I am excited to see everyone, and none of them are high stress guests. That's all good. While I won't be completely gone, I doubt that I'll have a ton of computer time.

Good Wife

This morning at 7:21am...

Me, very groggy: Matt, Matt, Matt!

Matt, more groggy: What?

Me: It is after 7.

Matt: So?

Me: Don't you have to go to work?

Matt, rolling over: It's Saturday! Go back to sleep!


Friday, June 20, 2008

Flickr Meme

Can you see it now?1. My 100th Bird On Flickr, 2. SmartiEz, 3. JJ Pearce High School (renovated!), 4. vintage tea set with cupcake, 5. Johnny Depp, 6. Ritas, 7. Chinese Junk, 8. Blueberry Rhubarb Crisp III, 9. Children, 10. Autumn walk, 11. What I Found Lurking in the Bushes, 12. 52.31... seasonal

I've seen this a few times now on different blogs and wantrd to do it myself! It is fun, even if I should be doing other things! Let me know if you do it so I can see your montage!

Try it yourself with the Mosaic Maker

The concept:
a. Type your answer to each of the questions below into Flickr Search.
b. Using only the first page, pick an image.
c. Copy and paste each of the URLs for the images into fd's mosaic maker.

The Questions:
1. What is your first name? Kristen - how come so many naked women come up when I search for my name?!?
2. What is your favorite food? Chocolate
3. What high school did you go to? JJ Pearce High School
4. What is your favorite color? Pink
5. Who is your celebrity crush? Johnny Depp (I actually couldn't think of any celebrity crush so I just chose him because I think he is cool!)
6. Favorite drink? Margarita
7. Dream vacation? Vietnam
8. Favorite dessert? rhubarb crisp! Yum!
9. What you want to be when you grow up? mommy
10. What do you love most in life? My children
11. One Word to describe you? stressed!
12. Your flickr name? nothing came up for my flickr name, so I used green style mom

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Cleaning the Garbage Disposal

When my garbage disposal gets kinda yucky smelling, I drop half a lemon down the drain and run the disposal for 30 seconds. And usually I don't wait until the disposal gets stinky. Every time I squeeze fresh lemon juice, I stick the rind down the disposal to keep it fresh.

Check out other ideas at Works For Me Wednesday.

I always forget...

how really good produce is straight from the garden! I know it tastes better, and I always say it tastes better. Still, I always forget how really, really yummy it is until that first bite!

Our garden has had a bit of a rough start this summer. First I froze our seedlings. Then I managed to get our early seeds sown straight into the garden, but I didn't manage to water them consistently so very little sprouted.

I was fairly late putting in the store bought starts due to our trip to Moab (most of the stores were sold out of good plants - for a few desperate hours I thought our garden might be kaput!). Finally found some great plants at a garden store I had never been to (but it is now my favorite) and got everything planted. Then we had a cold night last week where the temp dipped to into the 30's. Fortunately I covered the basil, but I did lose a pepper plant and and eggplant (possibly a 2nd eggplant, but I still hoping it will recover). My zucchini had some leaves succumb to the cold so it now has more blossoms than leaves, but I don't think it will slow down the zucchini production too much.

While replacing the pepper plant and adding some marigolds, Jack "helped" me by de-leafing half of my biggest pepper plant. I think it will survive, but it sure looks funny! And finally, unbeknown to me, both of my "helpers" watered the tomato plants until soggy. The plants are now wilted with the bottom branches all yellow. The garden store guy said he thought they would recover, but I bought 2 more plants just in case.

I am not the only one behind and having a rough start this season. It has been a late gardening year for almost everyone in Colorado due to cool weather. Normally one local supplier of peas would have finished harvesting at this point, but they haven't even started yet! Makes me feel a bit better that my peas are barely there.

Yesterday we did a second planting of spinach, lettuce, beets, carrots, and radishes. It might get a little hot for them, but I hope that the zucchini plant will grow enough to provide a bit of shade for at least some of the lettuce. I also planted a butternut squash plant in a neighbors garden plot* that she won't be using this summer. I've never grown any winter squash, so I am excited to see how it does.

Despite our rough start, we have started harvesting! Yesterday morning we picked enough spinach for our breakfast monster smoothie, one strawberry, and one radish. All so, so, so YUMMY! It can be a lot of work, but there is little that is more satisfying to me than harvesting from my own garden. I can't wait for more!

*I'll try to post this week about how the community garden in our cohousing community works!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Cohousing Resources: Learning to Read

One of the benefits to living in cohousing is all the resources available to me as a parent. Almost everyone - parents and non-parents alike - that lives in our community has influenced my parenting style. If I have a question about the kids, sometimes I'll choose a specific person to seek out their wisdom. Other times I ask multiple people and come up with a solution that best fits our family. And other times advice is offered unsolicited... sometimes that is appreciated, sometimes it is NOT! LOL I was chatting with a community member the yesterday evening when it dawned on me that she was the perfect person to ask about an area of parenting Kate where I was feeling a bit lost.

Kate has shown a lot of interest lately in written words, both reading and writing them. She constantly wants me to spell words so she can write them out, and she can sound out most easy words and can quickly sound out many 3-letter words like hat, cat, bat, car, sun, fun, etc. My philosophy with "academics" has been to just let it come as the kids show interest. No pushing, no formal sit-down-and-learn-this attitude. So now that she is reading most 3 letter words, I had no idea where to go with the whole reading thing.

Fortunately my kindergarten/first grade teacher neighbor came to my rescue! She told me that comprehension is the most important aspect in learning to read. She has had students where the parents brag that their child reads the newspaper, and, yes, they can read the words in the newspaper but have no understanding of the meaning. The best way to improve comprehension is to ask open ended questions when reading. Check. Already doing that. I'm also going to start reading Kate some chapter books (I think we'll start with Pippi Longstocking because Kate was quite intrigued when I told her that Pippi lived in a house with no parents!) She also recommended that I introduce long vowels - showing Kate that with an "e" at the end of "hat" becomes "hate", "fat" becomes "fate," etc.

My neighbor then told me about the Dolch Words* which are common words that can't usually be sounded out and need to be recognized by sight in order to read (am I the only parent out there who had never heard of them before?!?). The words are divided into different lists or levels. I started pointing some of them out to Kate during bedtime reading last night. I'm also going to print and hang list 1 where we can reference it frequently.

Another reason I am so thankful to be living in such a supportive community!

*There are many different "lists" but since Jan Brett is one of our favorite authors, I naturally liked these lists best!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Guess What We Gave Our Dad for Father's Day?

The flu. Lucky guy.

So we are also going to give Daddy a break today and get out of the house.

His real present? An annual pass to the Colorado State Parks. Hoping it gets a lot of use this summer!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Zen Shorts

When my friend Gretchen started talking about the book Zen Shorts, I new I had to get it. It came a few weeks ago, and we (both the kids and me) LOVE it. The book weaves Eastern fables into the story of a Panda and three siblings. We got the second book Zen Ties, but I like the first one far better.

The book is published by Scholastic, and the discount that Scholastic offered to Greenstylemom readers awhile back hasn't expired yet. Use GSM0208 for 20% off your purchases at the Scholastic Store.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

More Moab Photos

Gotta share a few more... just be grateful that I'm not making you look at all 998 photos that I took while on our trip! These are from Uncle Markle's campsite. We had a great setup - hanging out at the campsite in the evenings, but going back to a hotel and a real bed at night!
How beautiful is this campsite?

Kate and me

Kate and Uncle Markle trading hats

Kate looking cute

One of my all time favorite photos of Jack

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fixing CDs and DVDs

I'm doing a massive cleanout to prepare for the back-to-back guests we are expecting over the next month. Plus I think I might try to make some cash at a friend's garage sale this weekend. So I am going through EVERYTHING. I have my Sell Pile. My Store Pile. My Fix Pile - in which items that need fixing usually sit for eons. But this afternoon Matt was home, and I actually spent some time fixing things in the Fix Pile! And did you know that you can fix skipping CDs and DVDs with toothpaste?

I admit that didn't really believe this would work when I first heard about it, and despite having multiple DVDs that skip in a really bad way from scratches and sticky fingers (inevitable with preschoolers who want to do everything themselves, right?), it took me a LONG time to actually try this. When I did finally try it, I was amazed that it works! Using toothpaste isn't supposed to fix really bad scratches, so either our scratches weren't as bad as I thought or it does fix some really bad scratches.

It's easy! Here's how you do it.

Apply a small dot of toothpaste (must be paste, not gel) on a soft cloth (I used an old cotton t-shirt) and rub in a straight line from the center of the disk outward over the scratch (our DVDs were so bad that I did the entire disk). Buff from center out for a few minutes. Rinse toothpaste off with water, dry with soft cloth, and the disk should be good to use again! If it still skips, try repeating the process. All mine have worked without a second buffing.

Check out other ideas at Works For Me Wednesday

Monday, June 09, 2008

Climbing Photos

Remember when I was in Moab and mentioned my awesome climb? Here are more photos!

This is it... Ancient Art... we climbed to the tippy top of that funky rock formation best described as "something out of a Dr. Seuss book!" Do you see how freakin' high up that is?!? We started our climb about midway up on the right side of the photo.

This is what it looked like from the bottom...

There is me after the first pitch. Amanda, our guide, is up on the next ledge, and Hannah is doing her climb. I'm so glad they went first...Here is me starting my climb up the chimney.And this is where I got stuck and didn't think I could go any further...But with a hand jam and a good "umph!" I finally got past it...And this is a photo of one of the climbers after us while we were hiking back. It is a good view of our route. See that little climber on that hump of rock? That was us about an hour before.

Here's Hannah belaying down, down, down... almost 200 feet!Look at those arm muscles!! (I should take a close-up of one of my cute lil' shoulder muscles that has really developed since I started working out a couple months ago)

We did it! Way to go!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Recycled Art - Shrinky Dink Necklaces

It was a bit of a rainy day today (very unusual Colorado weather!) so I decided to pull out an art project that I had been saving for, well... a rainy day!

Did you know that you can use #6 plastic to make old fashion Shrinky Dinks? The only place I've found #6 plastic for recycling into art is the clear plastic containers we get from restaurants for take-out or leftovers. It isn't a common used plastic like it used to be (that's a good thing!). We opted to make our Shrinky Dinks into necklaces, but you can do all kinds of projects. I imagine we'll be making some Christmas ornament gifts next winter.

What You'll Need:

#6 Plastic Container
Permanent Markers
Hole Puncher
Oven preheated to 300 degrees
Cookie Sheet
Parchment Paper

1. Cut out flat piece of plastic about 3 times the sizes of desired finished product (I also recommend rounding any edges - they get sharper when the plastic shrinks).

2. Color design on plastic with permanent markers

3. Trim plastic as needed and punch a hole in the plastic

4. Place plastic on cookie sheet covered with parchment paper (you can also use aluminum foil)
5. Place in preheated oven and watch shrink. The edges will curl and the design will looked warped. When the plastic is done shrinking, it will flatten again. It took 2-4 minutes in my oven.

6. Pull out of oven and let cool. Sometimes it helps to place a heavy book (like a cookbook!) on top of plastic while it cools to keep it flat.

7. String yarn through hole, tie a knot in the yarn, and you are ready to wear your necklace!

The kids really thought this project was great fun, and I have to admit that even as an adult, it is still a thrill to watch your designs shrink down!

Monday Menu Plan

I was sick the last several days. So was Matt. So was our computer. We are all better, except the computer. Especially the email. Not sure what the problem is, but between its issues and mine, there has been no email communication in our house for awhile.

Last week's meal plan was successful... at least through Tuesday! This week might be a little funky because of Matt's wonky work schedule.

Monday - Chicken and Sun-Dried Tomato Orzo (new recipe for us)
Tuesday - EV's Veggies (hoping to use fresh spinach from the garden!)
Wednesday - Community meal
Thursday - Nacho Potatoes plus some broccoli
Friday - Homemade Pizzas with whole wheat crust - have some mozzarella cheese to use up

Check out other menu ideas at Org Junkie

Friday, June 06, 2008

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Vacation Pics - Part I

These are a few shots from our short hike to the Sand Dune Arch in Arches National Park. We didn't spend as much time in Arches this year as last year, but it was great to be back even for one afternoon.
Sand Dune Arch

Showing off some of my rock climbing moves!

Me and the kidsKate loved the soft sandMy little explorer dude

Monday, June 02, 2008

Menu Plan Monday

No use reporting on last week's meals - PB&J, hot dogs around the campfire, a night out, and a few big salads once we got home!

This week's plan... I'll let you know next week how well we stuck to the plan.
Monday - Lemon Garlic Shrimp and Veggies (new recipe for us)
Tuesday - Community Meal
Wednesday - Tuna Casserole
Thursday - Tofu Fishy Sticks and sweet potato slices
Friday - Dunno yet...
Check out other menus at OrgJunkie. And I couldn't pass up the new banner - check out the reusable bag!
We are going to be busy outside doing gardening and landscaping the next few days. I'm working on some photos of our trip for the blog plus I think I'll have a giveaway this week also!