Sunday, November 27, 2011

one. simple. sunday.

it’s easy to remember and acknowledge the sacrifices and bravery of our military service men and women around holidays like memorial day, armed forces day and veterans day. but not always top of mind during other traditional family-gathering holidays like thanksgiving and christmas. 23288_121033944604001_202_n


and because many active military persons aren’t able to spend these treasured holidays with their families, it seems more important now than ever to show our appreciation and support.

so when I stumbled upon the non-profit organization a million thanks, I knew it would be a perfect holiday art project for the kiddos.

A Million Thanks is a year-round campaign to collect cards, letters, emails, and prayer messages of appreciation for distribution to U.S. Military Men and Women, past and present.

check their site to find a drop off location near you or just mail in a letter. they can be sent year-round, but the deadline for christmas correspondence is december 1.

while this isn’t directly related to or impacting our environment, it is beneficial for the heart and souls of so many.

thanks a million.

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Sunday, November 20, 2011

one. simple. sunday.

to my fellow daycare parents:

WHY do you leave your car idling in the parking lot when dropping off/picking up your little one(s)? DSC04030

i’ve been in west texas for over a year, so I’m still adjusting to the small town culture, perception and likely reality that we are safer than in the metroplex. and I get that it’s a church parking lot, but what a target for thieves?!

and I know since our move we’ve endured an icy cold winter and one of the hottest summer’s on record. so if the reason is temperature control for the aforementioned extreme weather conditions, I might understand. but even on the most beautiful of spring and fall days this occurs.

i realize we don’t have the most energy efficient vehicles, but did you know you are wasting gas? possibly damaging your engine? and most importantly, pointing your exhaust pipe directly at OUR children’s playground?

shutting your engine off and restarting it bears a lower emissions cost than allowing it to sit idle -- and it might actually save you gas money. furthermore, you aren’t releasing superfluous toxic exhaust emissions like hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide onto OUR playground and into OUR atmosphere. Car Emission Facts.

so for a new blog series, how about one simple thing every sunday which YOU, ME and WE can do to protect OUR health, hearts and environment?

and I promise they won’t all be written by negative nancy, I’ve just been stirring on this one for over a year now.


but, shut’er down folks.

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“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” Helen Keller

Friday, November 4, 2011


my name is erica and this is my blog.

which some of you may have thought i alienated.

and sadly, I kind of did. but it was only temporary.

so for any new followers, nice to meet you.

we’ve been really busy, yadda yadda yadda. I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m hoping to find more time and inspiration to chronicle our family’s journey to be more environmentally responsible to ourselves and the planet.

because we are still very much on this journey.

changing MY routine has been relatively easy. it’s the routine of toddlers and our home which requires more time, effort and preparation. for instance, I usually remember that we are out of milk just before bedtime. the gas station isn’t always a reliable source for whole milk, much less the organic variety. or how about those overflowing recycle bins consuming more real estate in the garage than my vehicle. yeah well, I’ll get to that too. all the while, I’m still trying to relocate all “the sugar residue” from our festive Halloween activities.

in lieu of all the candy and fruit snacks (which my DB thinks should be classified as fruit, not candy), I’m always looking for wholesome, desirable and portable snacks. consequently, I jumped at the chance to try a new snack product via KIWI Magazine & Green Moms Meet sampling program.

meet Kashi.

I hadn’t tried their products before, but wrongly thought it was just cereals. they also have snack bars, cereal bars, granola bars, pizzas, chips, frozen entrees and even waffles. but the best part is, they are natural, minimally processed and free of highly refined sugars. yes, please!

our sampling was the TLC Peanutty Dark Chocolate Granola Bars.DSC_1271

chewy texture. not crumbly and messy like others, and the dark chocolate is soft and smooth.

subtle flavor. not overwhelmingly sweet, which is good by me. but the peanut butter flavor could be a little stronger.

natural ingredients. I’ll usually read the ingredient labels versus caloric labeling on packaging, and there are 7 whole grains and no artificial flavors or preservatives here. thank you.

compact size. they are pretty small in comparison to other brands, but the perfect size for a quick treat and an easy fit for a few in the diaper bag pocket. 

easy to find. occasionally I’ll find a snack that we really like and then find it impossible to locate at a variety of retailers, so I was happy to see a huge selection at target and natural grocers.

DB calls them “mommy’s cookie bars” and CJ is at my feet looking for her bite when she sees the package. We’ve since tried the Dark Chocolate & Coconut Granola bars (my FAV!), Cinnamon Harvest Cereal and Strawberry Cereal Bars. All of which have been delicious and enjoyed by our family’s signature blend of four very independent opinions.

thank you Kashi, the pleasure was ours.

try them, try them and you will see.

otherwise, I will let you be.

have a good weekend.

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Disclaimer: I received this product for free from the sponsor of the Moms MeetSM program, May Media Group LLC, who received it directly from the manufacturer. As a Moms MeetSM blogger, I agreed to use this product and post my opinion on my blog. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of May Media Group LLC or the manufacturer of the product.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

avengers assembled…

with marvelous support from safer chemicals, healthy families and The Grace Museum, in less than seven days, we had a location for the Big Country Stroller Brigade, postcards to sign for Representative Randy Neugebauer, promotional flyers at Natural Grocers, Natural Food Center and Kids Village, no-sew superhero capes for the kids, and media coverage from KRBC TV and Abilene Report News.

our purpose was for moms to rally together in support of a national day of action, asking our Congressional leaders to be superheroes and support legislation [Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S.847)] to protect American families from toxic chemicals.

while my two little superheroes are still too young to understand, my purpose was to teach them (and remind myself) that it’s important to stand up for what you believe. regardless of how many join or follow.

both missions accomplished.

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I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do. Helen Keller

Monday, August 8, 2011

farm to market…

CJ is a very early riser.

my boys? not so much.

during the week, she and I have been walking around the neighborhood while the boys get some extra zzzzzs. and almost every saturday by 7am, you’ll find us strolling the sidewalk of the Abilene Farmers Market, chatting with the most friendly people and picking the best selection of fresh and local tomatoes, squash, zucchini, herbs, watermelon and cantaloupe.

clearly nothing to cheer about in the financial market this week, but Aug 7-13 is the 12th annual national FARMERS market week and a perfect opportunity to share some pics of a recent AFM shopping trip.


i was reminded of one of my favorite sayings recently, “this too shall pass.”

while it’s often perceived as negative, i like to think i’m more of a glass half full gal.

these trying economic times, atrocious summer heat and record drought conditions will soon pass. all cause for much celebration. but i’ll be terribly sad when our farmers market closes for the season, and i’m not able to share these special early morning moments with my little princess. 


“Farmers markets grow healthy farms, healthy people, and healthy communities” says Stacy Miller, Executive Director of the Farmers Market Coalition. “During a slow economic recovery, farmers markets are stand-out successes in delivering triple bottom line benefits while making entrepreneurship work in communities large and small.”


celebrate farmers, as stewards of rural America, by visiting your local market this weekend!!

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Friday, August 5, 2011

stroll for safety: august 10

Are you tired of trying to find safe products for your family? It seems every week we learn about a new toxic chemical in our home. Hormone-disrupting chemicals in household cleaners, toxic plastic toys and hazardous chemicals in car seats and nursing pillows. It’s sad that we would need to carry “products to avoid” lists when shopping. I think we can all agree that chemicals should be proven safe before they end up on the shelf and in our homes.

Next Wednesday, August 10, in support of the Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families coalition, moms across the country will join together for a National Day of Action, pushing strollers, to make a very important point:

We shouldn’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in our homes, drinking water and environment!

Because of the extreme weather conditions, A Heart of Green and The Grace Museum have coordinated an indoor “stroller brigade” for all Big Country supporters of this mom-led movement. Please join us in the Children Museum (2nd Floor) from 10am – noon to show your support for increased protections from toxic chemicals found in many consumer products.

This is not a statement of endurance, simply a come-and-go social to fill out postcards, let the kids dress up in capes (to make the point that we need superheroes in Congress to protect our health), and generally have some fun for a good cause.

Let’s make it loud and clear that we need Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senator John Cornyn and Representative Randy Neugebauer to be Texas heroes by co-sponsoring the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 to protect us from chemicals linked to cancer, birth defects, asthma and other serious illnesses.


Join moms in our area to show support for a toxic-free future!

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Thursday, July 28, 2011


zucchini and squash are in peak season and we’re VERY lucky to receive a (free) weekly share from the stuteville’s organic garden. good thing there are tons of recipes to experiment with the versatile green and gold. below are a few we’ve tried in recent weeks.

summer squash and tomato tart from

cheesy zucchini pizza from eat, live, run

zucchini and squash casserole from

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got a favorite squash recipe? send it to me!!

click here to find local squash or farmers market near you.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

manners of the heart…


i HEART these wall cards…AND the company creating them!

Children Inspire Design's ethos is to inspire children to learn about our beautiful Earth. To care for it, and all who inhabit it.

Leading by example is the best teaching method we’ve found, but I definitely need want these to reinforce our messages.

The 5” x 7” vintage modern wall cards are made with 100% recycled cardstock and soy ink, and wrapped in a biodegradable cell package.

I originally found them at The Spotted Monkey which offers a selection of green goods and award winning, exclusive, handcrafted and handmade products.

Both companies are encouraging and sustainable…love it!

And maybe, just maybe, they will encourage me to make my bed!

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Monday, July 18, 2011

christmas in july…

dear santa,

this year I’ve been so good that I should be the angel on top of the tree.

consequently, one thing that I might like for Christmas is this 1973 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray converted to an electric-powered vehicle.

think the elves can make that happen?



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Friday, July 15, 2011

a clean slate…


with two toddlers, we have a fair share of grubby and sticky fingers which always make their way to doors, floors, windows and cabinets. and because we are (clearly) still in the “put everything in our mouth” phase, it’s been critically important to find household cleaners which are non-toxic and biodegradable.

consequently, I jumped at the opportunity to try Bona’s cabinet and counter cleaners. and it was perfect timing, in preparation for cj’s birthday party last weekend. i had no idea the cabinets and doors were all that grimy, but the products worked very well and without any strong chemical odors. the doors and cabinets are a sparkling-white-clean-slate -- ready for another round.

we’re all bona kleen over here…and looking forward to trying their hardwood floor cleaner!

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Sunday, June 19, 2011

rise and shine…

it’s fruits and veggies from the farmers market time!

callie woke up at 6am on saturday, so we let the boys sleep in while she and I headed out for some early bird shopping. first stop was the abilene farmers market. we’d been a few weeks ago, but it was a little too early in the season and we were a little too late arriving, so the selection was pretty much…onions…and I’m not a fan.

just a few weeks later, there were more vendors and a much better selection. beautiful summer squash, tomatoes, potatoes, corn, eggplant, more onions, eggs and the most fragrant cantaloupes ever. we gathered up a little bit of this and a little bit of that, which also included some homemade oatmeal soap.

next stop was a two hour tour at the HEB, where we bought gulf shrimp and pasta (among many other things) to make a delicious primavera with our farmers market veggies for daddy’s special day.

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we’re going to dallas this weekend, so I’m hoping someone will be up early enough (besides callie) to shop their farmers market with us. in all my years of living in the metro, I’ve never been. and I’m not-so-secretly hoping their selection of berries (my fav!) will be a little more robust.

check or to find real food and real farmers in your area.


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Monday, June 13, 2011

100 ways in 100 days…

it’s hard to believe I kicked off our family eco-journey just 100 days ago. here are just a few (ha!) random learning's and experiences, and adjustments we’ve made in our mind, body and home to be a little more healthy and environmentally friendly.

  1. watched food inc
  2. watched food matters
  3. gave up paper towels
  4. became a people towels ambassador
  5. switched to biodegradable trash bags
  6. learned about potential hazards of BPA in bottles, cans, plastics, etc
  7. recycled our non-BPA free bottles
  8. bought a kitchen composter
  9. gave up paper plates
  10. bought a stainless steel thermos
  11. reduce use of non-stick cookware
  12. making tea on stove versus microwave
  13. reduce use of plastics in general
  14. switched to natural cleaning products, I heart method products
  15. removed all toxic chemical cleaners in kitchen
  16. separate our glass, plastics and paper for recycle center
  17. changed to recycled toilet paper
  18. switched to natural ecover dish detergent
  19. switched to natural ecos laundry soap
  20. dr bronner’s castile soap is multi-purpose awesomeness
  21. borax in also great in kitchen, laundry and bathrooms
  22. removed all antibacterial soaps with triclosan
  23. cancelled our terminix contract
  24. killed weeds with boiling water
  25. killed weeds with vinegar solution
  26. started a Facebook page for a heart of green
  27. use hand dryers in public bathrooms
  28. hosted our first organic family picnic
  29. tried natural hardwood charcoal for our grill. didn’t work all that well, but we tried.
  30. joined moms on a mission for healthy child, healthy world
  31. hosted table at Abilene baby expo
  32. made Easter eggs with all natural dyes
  33. made a donation (and received a cute t-shirt) to support food democracy now
  34. subscribed to KIWI magazine
  35. subscribed to whole living magazine
  36. became a regular at our new natural grocers
  37. WON an autographed copy of oceana by ted danson
  38. tried to coordinate a local event with perennial plate
  39. joined moms meet ambassador program
  40. signed petition to support Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution
  41. contacted senator cornyn and hutchison about food safety legislation
  42. contacted senator cornyn and hutchison about GM food labeling
  43. contacted senator cornyn and hutchison about clean water legislation
  44. contacted senator cornyn and hutchison about safer chemical legislation
  45. participated as a twitter party panelist for healthy child, healthy world
  46. attended “how to be an environmental hero” webinar by marcal
  47. take reusable bags to the grocery store
  48. omit produce bags at the grocery store
  49. take reusable bags to the mall
  50. inquired about our local CSA Grapevine Farms
  51. drinking 2x more black and green tea after quitting diet dr pepper
  52. switched to organic unfiltered apple juice for DB
  53. switched to earth’s best organic formula for CJ
  54. switched to organic vitamins for DB
  55. switched to sea salt
  56. learned difference between butter and margarine
  57. switched to pasture-raised, ethical and organic eggs from austin’s vital farms
  58. bought our first grass fed beef from burgundy farms
  59. consider the EWG’s clean 15 and dirty dozen when buying produce
  60. buying more fresh, frozen or glass packaged veggies, avoid canned veggies (BPA)
  61. trying to eat less meat
  62. except for that delicious 4 pound grass fed beef slab tenderloin over memorial weekend…OMG!
  63. I heart spinach and pasta pie
  64. I heart dark chocolate covered goji berries
  65. I heart succotash and goat cheese quiche
  66. I heart larabars
  67. I heart immaculate baking cinnamon rolls
  68. I heart honest tea
  69. I heart my local pecan honey butter
  70. I heart origins skin care and makeup
  71. avoiding artificial dyes, flavorings and sweeteners
  72. bought dad grass-fed steaks as a birthday gift
  73. discovered the ancient super-grain quinoa
  74. visited revival market in houston
  75. visited farmers market in abilene
  76. gifted a bread maker to make our own, thanks sister!
  77. recycled old cosmetic bottles and jars at origins
  78. switched CJ to cloth gDiapers
  79. line dry the cloth diaper liners for sun’s natural anti-bacterial properties
  80. switched CJ to burt’s bees diaper cream
  81. switched kiddos to Johnson’s natural baby products
  82. switched to aluminum and paraben free deodorant
  83. switched CJ to little remedies dye-free medicines
  84. bought CJ water-based, non-toxic piggy paint nail polish
  85. bought safer sunscreen with EWG sunscreen report
  86. indefinitely postponed my hair coloring appointment, considering a natural henna solution
  87. politely declined air freshener/chemical fragrance at the car wash
  88. learned about food labeling (fair trade, rainforest alliance, marine stewardship, etc)
  89. tried to grow my own organic basil, but it lacked in organic watering ;)
  90. turn up the thermostat and rely on ceiling fans while home working
  91. read animal, vegetable, miracle -- all about eating seasonal and local
  92. learned pop tarts (among many other products) are made different in the US versus UK because of food safety laws. sad.
  93. dvr-ed the “green” episode of yo gabba gabba for DB to learn about caring for the planet
  94. started turning my computer and printer off every night
  95. discovered most clothes labeled "dry clean" can be hand-washed or put in the gentle cycle
  96. use (a B Corporation™) to compare health, social and environmental performance of various products
  97. watering our yard longer but less frequently, to encourage healthier grass and less weeds. jury’s still out
  98. following for environmental news with a wry twist. definitely a need for humor amidst the doom and gloom of chemicals, cancer and climate change
  99. reducing toxic load and keeping chemicals out of the air, water and soil with every organic purchase

and finally…

   100. joined a hippie cult

HA! not really, but josh really does keep saying our friends and family might think otherwise since our move to abilene. we’ve undergone some pretty dramatic changes in our habits and priorities in 100 days. but, this is definitely a journey which we will gladly continue for our family, children and THEIR future.


please, please, please feel free to share your going green ideas!!

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