Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

I love the Earth. I think it's beautiful just the way God made it. I also love this commercial from the Discovery Channel. Awesome.
Just for the record, I didn't take this picture.

I'm not an extreme person. I recycle when it is convenient and I try to re-use or not use plastic bags. (It's amazing how much stuff you can fit into those cloth bags!) I used cloth diapers with a couple of my children - but they had skin allergies, so I was very motivated. For those of you who think that's gross and inconvenient, it's really not. I used Bummis, which is a diapering system that is pinless and uses really thick polyester instead of plastic pants. They're so cute too! It was not a big deal. I heard that 10% of our garbage comes from disposable diapers. That's gross.

I think the easiest tip I could give someone to save money and help the environment (and your clothing) is to use a clothes line. I love my clothes line. I have a five line retractable clothes line - I bought it from a great little hardware store in Durango, Colorado. I admit, I still throw my whites and anything else I don't want the neighbors to see in the drier, but if the weather is nice, my clothes go out on the line. On a breezy, sunny day, even my jeans are done in 20 minutes - not even the fanciest dryer can do that, and without all the wear and tear on my clothes. I never would have considered using a clothes line until my family moved to Canada. Like many Americans, I thought clothes lines were for people who couldn't afford electricity. In Nova Scotia, even the nicest of neighborhoods have clothes lines. I love to see my sheets waving in the wind. I remember making forts and playing shadow tag with my grandmother's sheets. And in New Mexico, my laundry comes out smelling like juniper and cedar. That beats Downy - hands down. Best of all, it gives my an immense sense of satisfaction to see my clean laundry blowing in the breeze. As Cjane would say, "I am a housewife after all." Oh, and that's not my laundry and it's not my grass either (I live in a desert!)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Spring Break (Juli's Take)

OK. That last post was Shon. Thanks for working for me, hon. (He knew it would take me a week to get around to talking about our vacation . . I'm still cleaning sand out of everything.)
Spring Break was awesome. Just for the record, we're really more of a camping/road trip family, but we made a very last minute decision to take advantage of the economy and the travel advisory (no one wants to go to Mexico right now) and get a great deal on a cruise. It ended up being a very family friendly adventure. There was a camp for the kids. We checked them in in the morning and picked them up for meals and again at ten every night (except that night that Bryce and Emily stayed for the party until 3:30 am - way to win the ice cream eating contest, Bryce!) There were some really great activities for all of the kids, appropriate to their ages. They made friends quickly and had a good time. And you should have seen the folded towel origami our housekeeping staff did. Here's a scorpion.

My favorite part of the trip was our stop at the Grand Canyon. We have a national park pass and fully intend to get our money's worth. Coming from a family that stops to read historical marker signs, this is an easy thing.

I learned that the scrubby little pinon and juniper trees in my yard are 200 years old! It was so much fun to drive Route 66. I kept singing the song as we passed "Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona, don't forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernadino." I think the kids are a little sick of "Get your kicks - on Route 66", but I loved it, especially the classic cars.

Catalina was beautiful, Ensenada was fun. I have to say that I never felt anything but completely safe in Mexico. I think the tourist industry is really taking a hit because of a few dangerous people. I had fun shopping. My favorite purchase was a "recycled" hand bag. It's made of wrappers. Yep, I see an oreo in there. Maybe a Capris Sun too. Here's a cheesy pose.

I love the beach.

While we were gone, my running buddies did the Canyonlands Half Marathon. It was my first big race last year. (Read about it here.) I think I'll always love it. I was sad not to do it with them, so I made them some goodie baskets. I threw in some Gatorade, a Runner's World magazine, some Jelly Belly Gu beans, a couple energy bars, a box of pasta (for carb-loading) and put it in a basket (which was cheaper than a gift bag - weird!) - some cellophane and a bow and anything will look good. I wish I had thought to put in a copy of my running mix, but ipods aren't allowed in Moab anyway.