Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn Oakley and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Happy Solstice!

Wishing you warmth and light on this shortest day of the year!

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Friday, December 19, 2014

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo- no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along.

Trying to finish up my last secret knitting project... and I just realized that I forgot to take pictures of the two that I already mailed out (oops).... So I guess I can't show you all those but I do promise to reveal the secret post-holidays!

I just finished This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. It was amazing. It is heavy... very heavy.. and was a bit difficult to immerse myself in, but once I got going I was hooked. It talks about the climate crisis (in detail)-- not so much about the science of climate change, but the politics behind climate change and why nothing has (yet) been done to change the way things work. Klein discusses the problems with Big Oil, the scandalous sides of many of the big green organizations, and the power that money (and greed) has over the world's economies. Most of the book is a bit of a downer.. discussing the urgency of the threat of climate change and how the situation is starting to become hopeless. But the last quarter of the book talks about what has been successfully done so far and where we need to go. In short-- we need people power. Mass organizations of individuals who think that PEOPLE matter MORE than CORPORATIONS. And people who are willing to stand for that.
Anyways, as I said, it is heavy, but so worth the read.

And now I have started Pretties by Scott Westerfield, the second in his Uglies series.  It's teen sci-fi. I needed something imaginative and very fiction-y after This Changes Everything.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Around Here

Holiday preparations are in full swing around here. Here's a peak into our past week;

Pattern for these felt ornaments can be found here

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Today I am feeling grateful for
  • A completed term (and grades turned in) which means that I am officially on break!
  • The family time that will fill these next few weeks- I love the joy and excitement that fills the children this time of year.
  • Security. We have everything we need and I am very aware that there are so many people who don't. I try to never take that for granted, especially during the holidays.
  • A morning filled with sunshine and afternoon plans to head to the theater!
What are you grateful for today?

Playing along with the other Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots Pin It Now!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along.

This week I could probably just re-post what I shared last week. I am still in the thick of some secret holiday knitting-- hoping to finish up 2 more projects before the weekend is up... the clock is ticking! Once again, I will tell myself now that I need to start my holiday knitting earlier next year. Much earlier. Like July earlier. It is doubtful that I will heed my own advice, as I never have yet, but I will tell myself nonetheless.

I am still reading This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein. It is a non-fiction book about climate change-- it is long and intense (to say the least), but I am loving it. There is so much mind-blowing information in there and once I got into the rhythm of her dense writing, I have been soaking it up. It is still gut wrenching information, and so far mostly pessimistic, but I wouldn't expect a book about climate change to be full of rainbows and unicorns. I will have to read something very lighthearted after finishing this though....

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, December 8, 2014

A Time to Share

I have a love-hate relationship with the holidays. I love the festivities, decorations and parties. I love the book reading, cookie making, and hanging of lights. I love the anticipation of Santa's arrival. I love the smile on my children's faces on Christmas morning.
But the consumerism and materialism that comes along with it makes me feel pretty gross. And I am totally guilty of partaking. We will be giving our children gifts that are store bought (if only I knew how to knit legos!). Some of the gifts will be packaged in plastic. Some will be made in China or somewhere else that is likely not giving its employees a living wage. But my children will be bright-eyed when they open them and the magic of Christmas will make me forget about all of the social and environmental injustices that went into making those gifts.... at least temporarily.
Don't get me wrong-- I am conscious of my impact and try to reduce it--- buying toys locally when available, making gifts or buying from etsy, and reusing wrappings. But I feel like it's not enough. I am mentally making plans for ways to re-vamp our Christmas that will ease our burden on the Earth, without damping the joy for my children. I haven't quite figured out how to pull it off... yet...... but I do have some plans in the works for next year.
Anyways, the point of the post wasn't supposed to be a rant about the downsides of the holidays. I sat down this morning to write about how, despite all of the consumerism that surrounds the holidays, Todd and I make a point of emphasizing to our children that the holiday season is about giving and sharing what you have-- whether that is money, time or love. We typically give during the holidays by donating to others in need-- toys for tots, sending money to Heifer International, and donating to a family in need. We make our children aware of why we are helping, but there is a big disconnect-- sending a check in the mail doesn't mean a lot to a 7 year old. And yes, choosing and bringing a toy to a toy drive is great, but when they don't see who that toy is going to, I am not sure if it really sinks in.
So, this year, in addition to our regular donations, we borrowed an idea from a friend and decided to make care bags for homeless people. We purchased socks, hats, gloves, toothbrushes and some snacks. The kids divided everything up into gallon sized plastic bags and added a note that said "happy holidays". We decided to keep them in the car and when we see someone who is down on their luck, we can share ours. Finn enjoyed choosing what to put in the bags and assembling them. And after giving out our first bag a couple of days ago, he continued to talk about it for several hours afterwards.

Do you share your luck during the holidays? If you do, how? I would love to compile some more ideas that we could use for future holidays or throughout the year.

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