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!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

This year (months ago) Finn decided he wanted to be an excavator for Halloween. While I was excited that he didn't want to be a character from a movie, I was a little bit overwhelmed at the thought of creating an excavator costume. But, it was actually sort-of fun, and we didn't spend a dime. A cardboard box, some duck tape, and some leftover yellow paint from our garage did the trick! The only problem is that it is REALLY big and really front heavy. .. we will see how trick-or-treating goes! Pin It Now!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Microcosmos: A Review

I watched the documentary Microcosmos last night and it blew me away. Granted, I am a huge dork for science stuff, bugs included, but this just had some fabulous cinematography. This film is pretty old, from 1996, and I can't believe I had never seen it before.
The plot for the film is simplistic...bugs. Up close and in your face. There is practically no narration, just classical music and some amazing shots of insects. From bee pollination, to a caterpillar hatching, to some (pretty romantic, if I do say so myself) snail sex, this film covers it all.
The only downside is at times I would have actually enjoyed some narration (to learn what particular insects I was looking at and why they were doing what they did), but that also would have taken away from the simplistic nature of bugs doing what they do.
This is a french film, and I know the cameras that were used were revolutionary at the time, however, I haven't seen anything more current that comes even close at capturing these personal moments in an insects life. I watched this one by myself, but I think it's one that Finn will enjoy as well. Pin It Now!

Friday, October 29, 2010

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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Thursday, October 28, 2010

Stuffed Acorn Squash

OK, so I watched a sort of cheesy chick flick over the weekend: Julie and Julia. It's about a woman who needs a change in her life and decides to cook her way through one of Julia Child's cookbooks (500 and some odd recipes) over the course of the year, and (this is the best part), she keeps a blog of her progress. Long story short, the blog ends up getting a lot of followers and good ol' Julie gets a book deal out of the whole thing. Every bloggers dream, right? Anyways, the point of MY story is that, for whatever reason, this movie inspired me to start cooking new things instead of the same old dinner repertoire. This recipe was one that I envisioned in my head (I do this a lot actually, but a lot of them don't turn out so great!) and this one came out pretty darn yummy if I do say so myself. It tasted a lot like Thanksgiving to me.

What You Need:
  • 1 small-medium sized acorn squash
  • 2 cups cooked cannellini beans (or sub other white beans)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 3 leaves kale, stems removed and chopped into small pieces)
  • olive oil for cooking
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 piece whole grain bread, toasted and made into bread crumbs (I put my toasted bread into a plastic bag and roll with a rolling pin).... or you can buy some bread crumbs as well!
  • Parmesan cheese to finish (I used about 3 Tbl)
What You Do:
  • Cut squash in half, remove seeds and brish top with olive oil. Cook squash at 400 degrees for about an hour (or until tender)
  • While squash is cooking, put about 1 Tbl of olive oil in a skillet and heat on medium heat. Saute onion in skillet for about 5 minutes. Add celery and kale. Cook until tender. Add rosemary, salt and pepper and white beans and cook on low for another 5 minutes.
  • When squash are cooked, scape out inside, making sure to keep skin intact.
  • Add squash to skillet and mix with other veggies.
  • Add squash mixture back into squash shells, cover with cheese and breadcrumbs, and bake for another 5-ish minutes (until the cheese melts)
This serves about 2 people (or a pregnant lady, a husband and a not-so-hungry toddler). I served it with my favorite salad, pear and arugula. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Check It Out!

Today a fellow blogger, Lady of the Arts, has featured a quick write up about my blog, featuring a few pictures from my home. If you get a chance, check it out here! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Handmade Halloween Decorations

Finn is very excited for Halloween this year and is enticed with other people's yard decorations.... this meant that the guilty mom inside of me decided that I should probably get into the Halloween spirit and do more decorating than just carving pumpkins this year.  As some of you may know, for my One Thing, One Month challenge, I decided not to purchase any new items (except craft material) for the moth of October. This (along with our tight budget) meant that any Halloween decorations had to be from things we already had, or crafts we could make both cheaply and easily. A look at our crafting shelves and some browsing on the internet was all we needed to create a "spooky" house on a budget!

Easy construction paper Jack-o-Lanterns. I cut out the shapes and let Finn glue together the faces.

We decorated our holiday tree with paper ghosts. This was an idea I came up with  almost by accident, but was super easy. Just take some old tissue paper (I save old gift wrap, so this was easy for me!) and cut it into approximately square pieces. I did mine about 3-inches square, but it depends on what sort of space you are working with. Layer 3 piece of tissue paper together. Then make a wad of tissue paper for the head, place it in the center of your squares and tie together with a piece of rope or string. Viola! 

Finn loved these so we made a few more to hang in his bedroom window as well!

Then we found last year's spider web and hung some inside the house...

as well as outside the front door!

Then we needed to make some spiders to go in the web. We made some cute ones out of old egg cartons, black paint, pipe cleaners and googly eyes. There is a tutorial here if you need better instructions, but I bet you could figure it out! Finn got a little restless with this one, as it took a day for the paint to dry, and then I had to put in the legs because it was difficult and they are sharp. But he loved being in charge of the googly eyes and telling me where the spiders should hang out!

Sadly, there was a real spider about this size in our house a few days ago. It wasn't quite as cute as this one though...

And lastly, last night was our annual pumpkin carving! I made a cat in the moon, Finn requested a ladybug pumpkin (although I had to do most of the cutting) and the one that looks like a mushroom is Todd's and is actually a football trophy. Now as soon as I get our costumes finished, we will be all set for Halloween!

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Monday, October 25, 2010

The Weather Makers: A Review

I just finished reading The Weather Makers: How Man Is Changing the Climate and What It Means for Life on Earth by Tim Flannery. This book does a  terrific job of presenting the entire climate change crisis, from how our planet works, to how we are changing it, predictions for the future and possible (and not-so-possible) solutions.
I found this book wonderfully interesting for many reasons, the first being that Flannery's writing style makes non-fiction exciting and holds your attention. As someone with a Master's Degree in science, I know that writing about facts can get pretty dry, so I greatly admire anyone who can turn those facts into a story. Secondly, this book explains all aspects of the climate change crisis and does quite a thorough job in doing so, yet doesn't overwhelm the reader with scientific jargon and tedious specifics. Lastly, Flannery is Australian, so it is interesting to read a book written from the perspective of someone living outside the United States, especially when politics get involved. Australians, per capita, are even bigger contributors to the climate change crisis than Americans are, and they have been experiencing great amounts of drought in recent times, so this book is presented with a sense of urgency.
My favorite section of the book was the section on what climate change is doing now and could possibly lead to in the future, depending on how quickly we act.  From species extinctions (some of which have already been attributed to global warming) to the disappearance of coral reefs to changes in precipitation all over the planet, it looks like we are in for quite a ride if we continue to dump carbon into the atmosphere at current rates. My second favorite section was the section on possible solutions to the mess we have caused. Most of these, as you can guess, focus on renewable energy sources, living off the grid and plans for implementing change. One of my favorite parts of this section is when Flannery talks about the coal industry and if they would really walk away from all of that coal (and revenue) just waiting to be extracted. He references Arthur C. Clarke, who suggested saving that coal for when our planet enters the next ice age in a few thousands years, and purposefully causing a global warming epidemic to prevent an ice age. Funny, but smart.
This book is definitely worth the read if you have any interest in climate change (which you should because it is happening to YOU!) or need any clarifications on what climate change is and what it is doing to our planet and our future. I plan on having my spring class, which focuses on energy use and global warming, read this book for their literature review. Interesting, informative and urgent. Pin It Now!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Pumpkin Patch!

Fall is in full swing and the Halloween spirit is in the air! Thursday afternoon we headed to the pumpkin patch with a few friends. Pumpkins were picked, hayrides were taken, and fun was had by all! Pin It Now!

Friday, October 22, 2010

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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Thursday, October 21, 2010

Gifts for My Soon-to-Be Neice

Part of the reason that I went back to Chicago last week was to celebrate my sister's new baby, who is due to arrive sometime around December 6th. For my One Thing, One Month pledge, I had decided not to buy anything new during the month of October, and so my sister's shower gifts were all handmade (with lots of love).
The hat, onsie and pants are all things that have been in my baby gift repertoire, but the bibs were a new one for me. I followed the instructions in the book Bend the Rules Sewing, one that is worth checking out if you haven't already. This book has great, SIMPLE, instructions for several different projects. And the bibs came out pretty cute I must say.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2010

And We're Back!

I have been on a brief hiatus from my blog, as Finn and I just spent 6 days in Chicago visiting my family. It was so great getting to see everyone, and Finn and his cousin Harper were like two peas in a pod! I hope to be settled and back to my regular blogging tomorrow!

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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Felted Magic Wands

Here is another great craft idea that I borrowed from a blog that I read, Moment to Moment. These were just too cute to pass up! It was actually my first time needle felting when I did this, and it was slightly disastrous. I ended up breaking a couple of needles and completely ruining the first star before I got the hang of it, but the wands ended up pretty cute in the end. You can find the star wand tutorial here.
Felting needles are super sharp and there was no way I would have let Finn (almost 3) try this, even though he really wanted to help. Honestly, I was a little scared doing it myself at first. But Finn loves his wand (and hopefully his cousin will love hers too!) and I am ready to experiment with some more needle felting now. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A Tropical Treat: Coconut Lime Cookies

Over the weekend, it was dreary and rainy here, and so when I saw a blog post with a recipe for coconut-lime cookies, I just had to try it. These require some very non-local ingredients (coconut and lime!) but were yummy and definitely made the rainy weekend feel a bit more tropical.
Feeling intrigued? Check out the recipe here! Pin It Now!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Finn's Almost 3 Tree

In less than a month, my little boy is turning 3! I can't believe it. This birthday is going to be pretty special because this year is the first time that he is actually anticipating his birthday, and is talking about how it is almost here. So, in order to help him get a sense of "how long" until his birthday I made him a Finn Is Almost 3 Tree! Finn and I painted a tree together, cut it out and hung it on a closet door. I then cut out 31 fall colored leaves out of construction paper, and numbered them 0 to 30, for the 31 days from then until November 7th. I taped the leaves on the tree, and now each morning we get to take down the biggest number, and one less leaf means one day closer to the Big 3! The father we are into autumn, the less leaves we have left on our tree!
This has been great because Finn can get a better idea of time, and how long a month actually is. It has also been good as we have really been working on recognizing numbers over the past couple weeks, and this has helped make it into a game. Pin It Now!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

10/10/10: What Are You Doing?

Tomorrow, 10/10/10, has been declared a global work party day! A day of action for the citizens of the work to show our political leaders that we are ready to work against climate change and encourage those leaders to do the same! Check to find events near you! Pin It Now!

Friday, October 8, 2010

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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Thursday, October 7, 2010

What Have We Done With All of Those Apples?

Apple Sauce:
We peeled and cored about 2 bowlfuls of apples and cooked them, along with some cinnamon, until they were tender. I like my applesauce chunky, so I mashed using a potato masher. Either eat warm, or jar for preserving! this is really delicious served warm with plain yogurt!
Note: I think I made my applesauce way too thick... it tastes delicious, but when I canned it there were lots of air pockets in the jars..... the jars sealed, so I think they are fine, but in the future, I think I will water mine down a wee bit!

Dried Cinnamon Apples:
Cut apples into thin slices and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place onto a greased tray and cook on 275 for about an hour or until dried. 

Apple Pie:
Peel and core 6-8 apples. Mix with cinnamon, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tbl lemon and a few pats of butter. Place into your favorite pie crust (homemade, or if you feel like cheating, store-bought). Bake at 450 for 15 minutes, than 45 minutes at 350. 
Note: I made this pie knowing my husband does not like pie (weirdo), but figured that Finn and I would be able to eat the entire thing. Now I know that Finn is not a fan of pie either,  so I guess I am going to have to eat this whole pie myself!

Apple-Cranberry Muffins:
What You Need:
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup whole grain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk or milk substitute
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 apples, peeled cored and chopped
  • 1/2 cup cranberries dried or fresh (I used dried but look forward to when cranberries are in seasons and trying it with fresh)
What You Do:
  • Preheat oven to 375. Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately. Combine together and fold in fruits. Place into prepared muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes.

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Leaf Art!

The lovely autumn days that we have had recently have been an inspiration to do some more leaf art!

Leaf and Flower Print Cards:

To make these printed cards, grab a basket and go nature collecting! We cut and collected flowers and ferns from our own yard and gathered fallen leaves from the neighborhood.  The time of year makes your selection somewhat limited, but calendula worked well, as did ferns. Also, deep, dark red leaves came out amazing.
Once you have collected, head back to make some cards! You'll be using a hammer to press the leaves and flowers to make a print on your paper. There is currently a great tutorial at Rhythm of the Home.

Leaf Rubbings:
We have all done this one as kids, right? Collect some fallen leaves, place under a sheet of paper, and rub with a crayon to see the design of the leaf beneath! It's fun to ask the children to compare and contrast the leaves.

Felt Hand-print Leaves for Our Holiday Tree

This is our holiday "tree", which usually has a theme depending on the season or approaching holiday. Yesterday I was planning on cutting out some felt leaves to adorn the tree for fall, and Finn decided that he wanted to trace his hand onto the felt and use his hands as leaves! Even better! It came out pretty cute, although it is a terribly hard thing to photograph, but it ended up being a great project we could do together. Pin It Now!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010 Have You Heard?

OK, so maybe I am the last person on earth to find these things out, but last week one of my students told me about a website, This website has a whole slew of documentaries, both feature-length and shorter, that you can watch on your computer for FREE! There is a huge section of environmental films, many of which I have seen (like FLOW and Blue Gold), but also a bunch that I can't wait to watch! Pin It Now!

Monday, October 4, 2010

W is for Waffles!

So, I got an amazing waffle maker from my mom  for my birthday (back in August) and let's just say that until the past couple of weeks, my pregnancy has made me really unmotivated in the kitchen... unmotivated enough to even make waffles! So, this past weekend was our first time using the new waffle maker and we made sweet potato waffles. They were not as scrumptiously fabulous as I had dreamed of, but, hey, it was my first time. I plan on perfecting my waffle making skills over the next few months!
So even though these weren't the world's best waffles, they were still pretty tasty and they are pretty darn healthy. I covered mine in plain yogurt and I think they ranked pretty high on the scale for healthful breakfasts. If you are interested, you can find the recipe here. And if anyone has a fabulous waffle recipe that they would like to share with me, please post it for all to see! Pin It Now!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Salmon Are Coming!

Today, our family headed to the sleepy little town of Vernonia, Oregon for the 8th annual Salmon Festival. The festival itself was fun, but nothing much to write home about. However, actually getting to watch the salmon swim up the Nehalem River on their journey back to the ocean was pretty amazing. It's a feat I couldn't imagine tackling; watching them force themselves through the current, taking a quick break, and then once again swimming full force ahead. Those fish have some serious determination.
Salmon have a tough life as it is (with this swimming upstream business), but humans have managed to make their journey even harder. Dams impede migration (even with fish ladders) making it harder for salmon to return home, humans harvest them on their long journey, water pollution and global warming have changed the conditions of many rivers and streams making salmon survival difficult or sometimes impossible, and demand for water (especially for irrigation) has made many streams too shallow for fish to pass. These obstacles have been enough to list certain runs of salmon as threatened or endangered, and many runs have seen declines over recent years.

Finn patiently waiting to view some salmon
Finn and his friend Aoife enjoying some tunes
Finn and mom
The view of the valley from Stubb Stewart State Park
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Friday, October 1, 2010

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

Pin It Now!