Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn 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!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Yarn Along

Good morning! Joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along. It's a rainy, dreary day here and I just couldn't motivate to get my post up any earlier!

The weather here has cooled off and I had a chance to wear  my sweater that I finished last week. I love it. I had Finn take a couple of pictures showing it off... they are posted below.

Now I am working on this rainbow trout hat for's not exactly a mindless knit, and I have found that I have to actually pay attention while knitting it. Which means that I also had to start this sweater, also a holiday gift for Phoebe, so that I would have something to knit while I watched movies! I think this one will go by pretty fast...

And what am I reading? Well, the kids and I are reading The Twits by Roald Dahl, one that I actually had never read as a child. It's pretty silly. I finished The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton on Sunday and it was really good. I devoured it. And now I have decided to start War and Peace. I think it weighs 20 pounds. Seriously. But, as War and Peace is more than 1,200 pages long (!!!!), I already had to start a more-mindless read for those times that my brain can't handle Russian lit. So, I started Tea Time for the Traditionally Built, which is number 10-ish in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series. 

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

Sunday Gratitudes

Hello! Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.......  Here is what I have felt grateful for this past week:
  • Amazing people who inspire me to be better.
  • Good books. I just finished The Miniaturist and I could barely put it down.  I love the feeling of being pulled into a novel.
  • The courage to do things alone. It wasn't long ago that going most places alone felt awkward and lonely. Now, in my single-lady days, I have found the courage to do what I want, whether or not I have someone to join me. I must say that it is quite liberating.
  • The way that my kids smile and yell "mom" and run to me for a huge hug after a few hours or a night away. I know someday, probably soon, they will grow too old to do this any longer, but at those moments there is nothing more that I want to be than their mother. 
  • For my sweet Finn, who is so kind and caring, and becoming so mature so quickly. Lately, after the kids have had a moment of not listening, or choosing not to follow family rules, Finn will often come up to me and apologize, for him and his sister. I know that apologies are hard and take lots of courage. I know that I wasn't very good at them when I was a child.... and I am maybe still not that good at them.... So for him to own his mistakes, to simply acknowledge them, is so heart warming (and a bit inspirational).
  • That I was able to run my 10k this morning! About two weeks ago I injured my foot and wasn't sure that I would heal in time for my run. I have been resting my foot as much as possible (which means that I was NOT running), and although it was not a super speedy run, I did it! And I am still in once piece.

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots
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Friday, October 23, 2015

This Changes Everything

Last week, I luckily was able to go to a screening of This Changes Everything, a film by Naomi Klein that is based upon her book with the same title. She is an amazing author  from Canada (she also wrote The Shock Doctrine). I love the book version of This Changes Everything so much (you can read a quick review here), that I have been making one of my classes read it.
Anyways, the film was solid. I think because I loved the book so much, I was expecting to have my mind blown. That didn't happen, but I did really enjoy the film. It's probably my favorite climate change documentary that I have seen.  It was full of good information, made me cry a few times, and left me on enough of a positive note that I still want to help change the world. Once it is widely available, I will definitely be showing this one to my class.
This Changes Everything is a film about our addiction to oil and the price that we are going to pay for it. The film discusses the climate changes that are already happening, like increases in  hurricanes, that are a direct result of burning fossil fuels. It also talks about environmental problems from the oil itself.... oils spills ruining sacred Native American lands, polluting the water of ranch land in the Western U.S., and the tar sand mines in Alberta that are destroying a huge area of Canada.
The film shows pollution in China and the people there who live in a constant state of unsafe air. As Americans, we can look at China and condemn the way that they are polluting themselves. But then we need to ask why they are creating this pollution, and the answer, of course, is to sell cheap good to Americans. So, in essence, this is really OUR pollution, that we have displaced to China. If we stopped buying the goods, they wouldn't produce them anymore. And, did you know that China is actually doing more to cut back greenhouse gas emissions than the US is? Our air just happens to be cleaner.
But why is this all happening? Why are we still digging fossil fuels out of the ground when we know that they will be our demise? Why are we polluting our limited drinking water for more oil? Why are we destroying the land that we are handing down to our children? Mostly it's because a small group of really rich white people are getting richer off of fossil fuels. They are trying to convince us that climate change isn't real, so that they can continue to pillage the land, pollute the air, and make huge profits. They prevent the policies we need to save ourselves so that they can continue to exploit the Earth;s resources. But, I have to ask, what is the point of having immense wealth when there is no Earth left on which to spend it?
Anyways, the movie reminds us of what we already know (or most of us, anyways)... that climate change is real. It is already happening and will continue to happen. Even if we stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow, which we won't, climate change would still continue to happen for very many years to come.
This doesn't mean that the game is over. Not yet anyways. We can still fight to change policies and keep us from destroying ourselves. But it is going to take manpower, womanpower, and childpower. We need to work together, take our Earth back from the corporations, and change the policies that run this world.
Margaret Mead famously said "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.". I think this time around we might need a big group, but it can still be done.
Feeling motivated to help change? Contact and find a local branch near you.
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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Yarning Along...

Good morning! Joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.

Guess what?!? I finished  my sweater !! Finally! And I love it. I already want to make another one, slightly different, in another color. It's so cute. A picture to come soon... it's hard to get photos of myself!

Now I can finally start knitting up some Christmas gifts! I started making this rainbow trout hat for Phoebe.... the problem is that yarn is no longer being made. I grabbed a different skein of washable rainbow yarn, but the variegation is not at all similar. I am going to have sections of color instead of a rainbow-ish look. Maybe it will still be OK, but I don't think the pattern is going to show up as well.... I guess time will tell!

And what am I reading? Well, the kids and I are almost done with Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, a long time favorite of mine! I am also reading Hands Free Life by Rachel Stafford (if you don't know of her, she is awesome and she blogs here). Lots of good reminders of why we should give our time to what is truly important. It's all stuff I know, but also stuff that is easily forgotten when my auto-pilot busy life kicks in. I am also reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, because a girl needs some fiction in her life. It was recommended to me by a friend, and I have had it checked out from the library for weeks, just sitting on my nightstand, not at all excited about it. But then I started reading, and I am hooked. I am only about 100 pages in, but am really enjoying so far.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Sunday, October 18, 2015


 Happy Sunday! Hope you are all enjoying your weekend.......  Here are a few things I have felt grateful for over the past week:
  • The beautiful October weather we have had. As I write this, it is raining, which we need desperately.  So I am very grateful for the rain. But, I can't deny how lovely it has been to have many warm, sunny days this month. We have spent a lot of time outside, and I feel like we have really soaked up our October.
  • Phoebe. She is so cute and so silly and so.... four and a half. I know it won't be long until the baby is gone from her, so I am trying to relish her sweet snuggliness as much as possible.
  • My calmness while teaching. For several years, I had bouts of anxiety (with panic attacks!) while I was teaching. Last week, as I was giving a lecture, I realized how wonderful it was not to have that stress in my life anymore.
  • The luxury of having a weekend to relax, catch up, and find myself. Life has been crazy lately, and I was starting to feel a bit run-down. Additionally, I injured my foot last weekend, and I am signed up to run a 10k next weekend. So, I am trying to take it easy on myself, and my foot. I was luckily able to cancel some of my weekend plans, and take some time for me. Time to think, time to be still, and time to heal.
  • For my amazing friend, who brought over dinner for us to share last night after my kids went to bed. Now that I am a single-mama, I have more restrictions on when I can leave the house. I love how many of my friends have been willing to come to me so that we can still spend time together. Where would I be without friends?

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots

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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Yarn Along

Good morning! Joining with Ginny at Small Things for another Yarn Along. Another yarn along? Already? How has it already been a week?

Still working away at  my sweater.... but I have finished the body!!! I just have some short sleeves and two pockets and it will be complete. I am going to have it done by next week so I can show you all!!!!

Right now, I am reading Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin. It's a book about figuring out how to start (and stick with) positive habits. I am usually a pretty decent habit-starter, however, my life has had lots of twists and turns lately, and I have found that I need some help getting refocused and setting some new rhythms into my week. It's time for me to reassess what I need to make time for in my days, what I can let slide, and how to not talk myself out of doing the former. For example, I often think that it is really important that the kids and I cook together on a regular basis. And then we do it a few times, the kids complain or I get lazy and start cooking everything myself, and then months later I realize that we stopped cooking together. If I can find a way to schedule these important tasks into my week, and make them a regular thing, then hopefully they will continue to happen. I enjoy Rubin's writing and her scientific presentation behind her writing. I have read her Happiness Project book, which I thought was fun, and have listened to her Happier podcasts as well. Hoping that this read will be the motivation I need to get my days in order.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, October 12, 2015

Our Weekend

This weekend was full. To the brim. Full of fun, full of events, full of emotions. Finn had Friday off from school, so it was a 3-day weekend, and we had a pretty spectacular one.
Friday we headed to the pumpkin patch. We went first thing to beat the crowds, and we luckily also beat the rain. Friday afternoon, Phoebe started her new tap class, which she is very excited about. I must say, she is pretty darn cute..... And we finished up Friday night by a trip to the drive-in movie theater in Newberg, Oregon. This was on my 38 bucket list, and since they were playing Hotel Transylvania 2, and it finally gets dark early enough to consider bringing kids to the drive-in, it seemed like a no-brainer. They got to sit in the front seat and devour popcorn, and then they were both passed out 3 minutes into the drive home....
Saturday was a rainy day, and after Finn' soccer game in the morning, we had a pretty lazy day around the house. But, as the evening started to roll around, we got motivated and drove to Sauvie's Island where one of the farms has a corn maze cabaret. You find your way through a corn maze, at night, and end up at a lovely tent with live music, strings of lights, bonfires, fire spinners, and food and drink. The kids were beat, so we didn't stay long, bit that place does have a magical feel. And the band, Cedar Teeth, wasn't half bad!
Sunday we had a slow morning and then headed to the Columbia gorge for a hike a Latourell Falls. It was only a 2.3 mile hike, but it took us over 2 hours, and the kids were pretty ready to be done by the end of it. We did see some spectacular waterfalls, wonderful leaves, and a small collection of insects. The weather couldn't have been better.
I love October. I love the coool-but-not-too-cool weather, the colorful leaves, the crisp air, and the everything.

How was your weekend?

joining with Karen from Pumpkin Sunrise for a weekend post

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Sunday, October 11, 2015

Gratitude Sunday

Hello! Just wanted to pop in and give a quick list of my gratitudes for this week. This week has been a mighty mixture of tremendous fun and debilitating stress, which made looking for (and finding) the good things in the week that much more important. This week I have been grateful.....
  • That there is snow on Mt. Hood again! Finally! It has been looking oh-so-bare.....
  • For the beauty of Oregon.
  • For October! October is always full of so much excitement, fun events, and lovely color. I just love it.
  • For the feel I get after a good run.
  • For my sister, who had the perfect intuition to send me a care package exactly when I needed a little cheer.
  • For freshly cleaned sheets... seriously, is there anything better?
  • For dancing with friends.
  • For my sweet little Finn who, at not even eight, often seems to be much wiser than I.
  • For quiet moments, to read and to think, to sit and to just be.
What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots
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Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Yarn Along

 Hello! Joining with Ginny at Small Things for another Yarn Along .

Still working away at  my sweater.... but the end is in sight.... only about 7 or 8 more inches before I do the bottom ribbing, pockets and sleeves. I am excited to be able to try it on!

I am reading A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. I picked this up at the beginning of September, read about half of it, and set it aside. I am now back and finishing it off. It's weird and random, but usually in a good-funny way. It drags on at times, yet I am compelled enough to keep on reading. My favorite part is that the stories in the book seem so unrealistic, yet this book is based on real-life events that happened to the author (although I believe there may have been some embellishing, at times).

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, October 5, 2015

Silver Star Mountain

One of the best parts about my new life as a single mama is that I get scheduled time off. I have days without kids, already in my schedule, where I can plan stuff that is not super kid friendly. And that has been pretty awesome.
Yesterday, a friend and I hiked Silver Star Mountain in Washington. A 6.5 mile trek with amazing 360-degree views (and some of the strongest wind I have ever felt!). The entire hike is along a ridge (hence the wind), but the views are spectacular the entire way up and down. It was gorgeous, and my pictures don't do it justice.
I must say that I feel pretty darn grateful to live somewhere that I can find views like this and still be home in plenty of time for dinner.

Hope you all had a great weekend!
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Thursday, October 1, 2015

A Post of Mourning

Tonight, I can't stop crying. For the people who lost their lives at Umpqua Community College. For the families and friends of those who died. For the hatred that causes someone to do that. How easily that could have been my school, my colleagues, my students or me. What will it take for us to decide that guns are not the answer?

Tonight, I can't stop crying. For another storm hitting the east coast. For the natural disasters that seem to have become so commonplace in recent years. For the way that we can all just ignore the blatant signs of climate change, and continue to live life as we do, continue to not create the change that we need.  I worry every day about what kind of a life I am giving to my children, what they will have to contend with as they get older, and how scared they may be to face what lies ahead.

Tonight, I can't stop crying. For my friend who has a daughter in ICU. And for all of the other parents out there whose children are sick.  And for all of the parents who have lost children. I can't even imagine.

Tonight, I can't stop crying. For my dissolving marriage. For my financial stresses. For my dog who is nearing the end of his time. For my children, and the transitions they are going through. For life, and everything it throws at us.

But then I realize, really, how small my personal worries are compared to serious illness, mass shootings, climate change.

I think, sometimes, it is just all too much to handle at once. We humans are strong, we are resilient. But everything has a tipping point, no? And sometimes we just need to sit down and have a good cry. Let it all out. Allow ourselves to really feel the sadness that comes with being human, and hope, really hope, that tomorrow will be better.

So tonight I will cry. I will cry for the students in Roseburg, I will cry for the people being flooded on the east coast, I will cry for all of the mothers and fathers who are worried about their children and I will even cry for me. And tomorrow, when my children wake up, I will put the sadness aside. I will look into their eyes and I will be reminded of the millions of things that I have to be happy about. Pin It Now!