Sunday, March 1, 2009


Check this out when you have 16 minutes for a love story!

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Winter Eco-Art with Kids

I love being eco-thrifty by recycling things into art supplies. In this case we used cardboard rectangles from packing materials received at my shop, snipped branches from our Christmas tree (a volunteer doug fir that chose a bad spot and grew faster than we could dig it up for transplant), and stuffing from an old futon.

We painted the cardboard one day, cut the branches and glued them on the next and finally glued on the "snow". Not bad!

Kids 18mo - 4 years enjoyed this one. For the gluing I squeezed clear elmer's into small jars and kids scooped it out with wide popsicle sticks and smeared it onto the cardboard. Making the branches stick required pressing and holding down with both hands - and sometimes some big person help.
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Monday, January 5, 2009

My Kid Loves Veggies for Breakfast

Unless I was in a neighbor's garden eating off the plant I have no memory of voluntarily eat vegetables as a child. I have quite a few memories of being the last person at the dinner table staring at my pile of mixed peas, corn and carrots. Thank goodness for the countless glasses of lemonade that helped me choke them down.

I've long since converted over and eat fresh veggies everyday in salads and smoothies. I offer them to my kids in all sorts of varieties and colors but just like me as a kid they prefer them straight out of the garden. That makes it tough this time of year. However, my youngest has recently taken up the fine art of juicing. Being 3, everything about the process is fun - from putting the juicer together (we have an Omega - not top of the line but pretty darn good), picking out the ingredients, juicing chosen ingredients, pouring the results from pitcher to pitcher to ooh and ahh over the color evolution and finally the drinking!

There's something very warming to a mother's heart to hear her son yell out, "Don't forget the greens mom!" while making his own breakfast.

Here's our current favorite recipe -
2 apples
2 carrots
2 celery stalks
3 kale leaves
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Our Family Bed

We play musical beds at our house. Our two boys have slept in our bed off and on since birth. I remember my own parents bed being the safest place in the whole world and often joining them in the early morning hours. John grew up in a household with a high ratio of family members to house square footage and like many people in the world shared beds with mutiple siblings and cousins.

I no longer take lightly the mind, body, spirit connection that we've fostered while sleeping with our children. One night when my oldest son was 3 years old we slept together in an unfamiliar bed at a family member's house. I dreamed that he was about to fall off the bed. In a half dream, half awake state I reached over to him and scooped him up just as he was slipping over the edge. In that moment all felt normal and right and I pulled him closer to the center of the bed and went back to sleep. Later the next day as I remembered the incident I marvelled at my mama intuition.

Currently our boys (3 and 9) start the night out together in the full size bottom bunk in their room. Most days they crawl in our bed in the early morning. Most days this allows us all to wake up well rested. Somedays though I find myself scrunched between two very cuddly boys, one of whom has develped pokey knees and elbows, the other of whom has a fixed attachment to my bellybutton.

At times I long to flop into a big cozy bed all by myself! That's when I remember holistic OB/GYN Doc. and author, Christiane Northrup. Northrup's books are an empowering read for all women (good info. for their men too!). She talks about women's magnetic power that draws the children and partner's in her life to her - sometimes at 3:00 am. When feeling burnt out, resentful, or too drained to respond she reminds us to take care of ourselves, reclaim this power and channel it to useful and good purpose. The simple message I take with me today - Pursue my passion, love those around me and enjoy my magnatism - and just maybe follow through on some of those 3:00am ideas!
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Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Recipe

Lots of snow this week! We've been evolving the Murphy Snow Shake that my brother and I invented (so we say!) as kids. The old version is snow + bit of milk + powered cocoa -- all mixed up. These days is't snow + my chocolate nut milk = yum, yum, yum!

Here's my raw milk recipe:
Handful of nuts (any kind - we've been using cashews & pecans lately)chopped, or blended up 3 cups water
Spoonful of honey
Spoonful of cocoa (or cacao, or carob powder)
dash of cinnamon
splash of vanilla

Blend up in a high powered blender and strain out the nut granules if you like. My kids don't like the texture of the nutty bits so I pour off the top for them and drink the last of it myself.
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

My Gap

There was a time when I nearly crossed my Green Gap within a few months. In 1992 I moved south of the border and met my future husband. At the time he was living in the house he grew up in; a house without running water, without a fridge, where the lights weren’t turned on inside until the sun went down and those aplliances that they did have were unplugged from the wall when everybody went out. Clothes were washed by hand and toilets flushed with half a bucket of water. He ate mostly vegetarian, including lots of locally grown, fresh produce. When I joined the family and moved in my ecological footprint was feeling pretty darn light.

This is what I aspired to – this was the other end of my gap! Starting out like this boded well for our future life together, I thought. That worked for the first 6 months of our marriage until we moved from El Salvador to Oregon. Quickly our lifestyle shifted to the local norm and my green gap was widened again.

The good news is no matter where you live, I guarantee you there are alot of local resources here and there to aid you in crossing the gap. Here's one, take advantage of seasonal farmer's markets! Eating fresh local produce supports the local economy, saves on fuel and transportation costs, is a healthy choice for your own inner ecology, reduces waste, and creates local connection. For those more concerned with budget than selection, do your shopping near the end of the market - you may be able to bargain for some extra good deals! Find local resources throughout the U.S. at

Regardless of why you aspire to be more green --- and I’m hoping that we all do whether to save money, save energy, save your health, or save the polar bears – there is no better time to get started. Consider yourself invited into the gap. Begin where you’re at, start aspiring, and keep checking in here at Green on the Lean.
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Welcome to the Green Gap

There is a gap of space and time between learning a new way of being and being able to do it consistently. One side of the gap is recognizing something you can change and on the other side is where that change has become second nature. In the middle is where we find ourselves along the way from one end to the other and all the baby steps, leaps or bounds along the way. The gap is all about allowing ourselves time to learn and journey.

The Green Gap is the learning process to create more sustainable lifestyles. In this day and age it is an inevitable gap for all of us. The question is no longer why or what needs to happen but when and how. My intention if for Green on the Lean to be a useful resource full of information, tips and great ideas to motivate and inspire us across the Green Gap!
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