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!

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye 2009.....

2009 is quickly coming to a close and it's time to decide on your resolutions for the new year.... right?
How about making a resolution to make a slightly smaller impact on our Earth... whether it is driving your car one less day a week, buying less plastic, or building a compost bin. Make sure that your resolutions are not so grandiose that you will get frustrated and give up by the end of January, but also make sure that they are challenging enough that you are aware of the difference you are making.
And, today, make sure to look back and smile upon your fond memories of 2009 and be excited to begin a new year of growth, happiness, and adventure. Pin It Now!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays!

Wishing all you moms and dads out there a holiday filled with peace, joy, and hopefully some relaxation!
(Picture courtesy of my awesome mom!) Pin It Now!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

DIY Snow Globes!

This is a great craft for kids old enough to use a hot glue gun (with adult assistance of course!) and would make a great present from the little ones!

What You Need:
- an empty baby food jar or other jar with tight fittinglid
- something waterproof to put in your jar (I chose a plastic christmas tree that had broken off an ornament, and a plastic dinosaur that had part of it's tail and a leg broken off)
- florists clay (I didn't use this, but it would have made the globe 10 times better)
- glitter
- water
- hot glue gun with glue

To Make Your Snow Globe:
- Make sure your jar is clean and the lid is dry. Use the clay to make a base on the inside of the lid for your object to stick to (and to raise it up into view). I did NOT use clay, and my object is not as visible and not as sturdy!
- Use the clay to attach your object to the inside of the lid
- Fill the jar almost to the top with cold water (warm water can cloud!)
- Put in about 1/2 tsp of glitter (more or less depending on your jar size.... but don't put too much or you will ruin the effect!)
- Place the object (upside down) into the jar and screw the lid on
- Seal around the edge of the lid using the hot glue gun.
- Let dry and shake! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Reuse that Wrap!

HoHoHo! Don't throw away that gift bag! Save that bow too! My family always save gift bags, bows, ribbon, tissue paper and use them again and again and again. It not only keeps waste out of landfills and saves trees, but it also save you cold hard cash! If you wrap the majority of your family presents in gift bags, you can buy them once (or save them from gifts you receive) and continue to use them year after year.
Or, if you are even more motivated (and this in on my to-do list, but I havent quite gotten there yet) how about sewing up some gift bags out of fabric? You could use material from clothes you were going to give away, old sheets, or even hit up the fabric store a few days after the holidays and get some great deals on holiday fabric. Then you truly can use those gift bags forever. And, what a great bonus to a holiday gift!
I admit, it is pretty cute to see kids tear into a wrapped present to find out what it is, and gift bags may not be quite as exciting.... so maybe wrap a few of the kids presents in a re-purposed and decorated brown paper bag or in a holiday section of newsprint. Or have a roll of wrapping paper around for a few special presents and make sure it gets recycled after they are opened.
Americans increase their landfill waste by about 25% between Thanksgiving and New Years! Try not to contribute to that statistic! Pin It Now!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Solstice!

Wishing everyone a very happy winter solstice! Starting tomorrow, the days will be getting longer, and there will be more light! The cycle of the seasons is starting anew! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

DIY Handmade Rag Dolls

Trying to find something to make for that cute kid on your holiday gift list? How about one of these super cute rag dolls. They are fairly easy to make, although they took a bit longer to make than I had anticipated. To make a doll like this, check out the free pattern at From my own experience, I would advise you to make the arms and legs wider than the pattern, as following the pattern will make for teeny-tiny appendages. However, don't make them too fat or else you will have trouble making the body in the required 'inside-out' fashion (check out the pattern if you have no clue what I am talking about). Also, the head needs way more hair then you think; I have found that the hair moves around easily and exposes the stitching on the top. But, overall this project is easy, inexpensive and the dolls are pretty darn cute! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Carbon Offsets for Christmas?

Did you know that some cities (like Portland and San Francisco) have companies that will rent you live, potted christmas tree for the holiday season. Delivery and pick-up is included, and once your tree is picked up it will be planted and will continue to remove carbon and pollutants from the atmosphere for years to come!
Unfortunately the service is a bit more expensive than buying a cut tree (it is about $80 for tree rental in Portland), but if it fits into your budget, I would say it is a worthy cause. In Portland, check out the Living Christmas Tree website for more information. In other cities, tree doing a google search for "christmas tree rental".
If you don't have an $80 budget for a holiday tree, how about finding a good way to recycle that tree when you are done? Some cities will offer pickup services for a small fee, and then your tree will be chipped and used as mulch. Many non-profits will do the same thing for a $5 or $10 fee, and you are also supporting a good cause. Or, if you have access to a woodchipper, how about chipping that tree to use in your own yard as a winter mulch! Pin It Now!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Packaging is essential is today's consumer-driven world, but I think the industry has gone a bit overboard, don't you?Anytime I buy something packaged in hard plastic, I spend the rest of the day trying to open the stupid thing. And then, all that packaging, made from non-renewable fossil fuels, goes right into the trash.
1/3 of the waste in US landfills is packaging waste. In 2007, Americans threw away 78.5 Million Tons of packaging... that equates to about 520 pounds per person in just one year! Yikes! Plus, more packaging means higher costs for you- approximately 10% of the cost of an item is due to packaging.
So, what can you do? Here's just a few ideas:
-Buy less! Do you really need it?
-Buy in bulk. Yes, that is completely contradictory to my last suggestion, but if you are going to need a lot of something, like flour, why not buy in bulk and use less resources.
-Buy used items which don't have any additional packaging.
-Choose items with the least packaging possible (hello Trader Joe's produce section... cool it on the plastic, people).
-Save packaging that is reusable (like bubble wrap and styrofoam peanuts) and use it again- at least give these items a long life before they hit the landfill. Pin It Now!