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, July 31, 2014

Peace Village

A couple of months ago, my dear friend invited me to attend a week-long children's camp she helps run on the Oregon coast called Peace Village. As the name implies, the camp focuses around non-violence, being kind to the Earth and to others, and an all-around vibe of peace, both inner and outer. There is yoga, meditation, music, hiking, conflict resolution, and all sorts of good stuff. It seemed to be right up my alley, and the camp was in need of an ecology teacher, and I fit the bill.
The camp was during the day Monday through Friday and the kids and I camped on some property out of town with my friend and a few other Peace Village folks each night. The property was amazing with the most gorgeous view. There were two nights of pretty solid rain (and a tent that wasn't exactly 100% waterproof), which sort of put a damper on the camp experience, but I guess rain is what you get at the Oregon coast. Even in July.
Finn was old enough to be a camper, so I signed him up. As many of you know, Finn has sensory issues and some fairly severe anxiety, and anything new that involves conforming with other children is pretty tough on him. I knew going in that we would have some rough patches, but I figured that now was a good of a time as any to start to work through them.
He did have some tough moments: certain games and activities were not his thing, and there was some sitting out and some tears shed. But, overall, Finn was amazing. He was brave. He made new friends. He tried some things he didn't really want to do. And, I would call it a success. From a teaching point of view, I would call things a success as well, although if I am invited back next year, I will definitely make some tweaks to my lesson plan. It felt good to be included in such important work. Who couldn't use a little more peace in their life?

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

String Summit

Before Finn was born, and before we lived in Oregon, Todd and I started traveling from Montana, to Oregon, for the Northwest String Summit Music Festival every summer. We have gone each and every year, even pregnant and new baby in hand, except for 2 years, in which we had weddings of dear friends that were more important. So, you might say that this is a part of our summer, something our family looks forward to each year.
This was the first year that Phoebe was really old enough to know and appreciate what was happening around her. She loves music, and dancing, and she told me that she would like to move to String Summit. Finn on the other hand... well he does not feel quite the same way about music. In fact, while we were there he asked me why they bothered to have music during the day. In his opinion, the only reason to see music was the night time light show, and if it is day time... well, it is easier to just listen to recorded music.
At times it can be a bit challenging.... Finn has a really hard time using port-a-potties. Both kids get tired and crabby before we want to stop listening to music. And if you take your eye off of Phoebe for more than 10 seconds.. well, she might just disappear. But, we all had fun. We camp in family camp, so we are surrounded (literally) by young folks and parents. The kids get to stay up late, do crafts in the kids tent, eat sweets, and play with glow sticks. And, there are peacocks roaming free across the grounds. I think it is one of those memories our kids will treasure when they are older.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

The kids and I got back home on Friday night after 8 days of camping (more on our adventures later this week!). It was wonderful, but, as camping with small kids is, it was a lot of work. This weekend I have felt so very thankful for sleeping in my own bed and for being able to take a shower. And camping in the rain for 2 nights (with a slightly leaky tent) reminded me how lucky I am to have a roof over my head and a place to call home. And a washer and dryer. SO thankful for those.

On a completely different note.. or maybe not..... after 7 years of NOT having a table to eat at, we finally do. It is simple, nothing fancy, but it is the first place we have had where we can eat as a family. Hooray!

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots for a Gratitude Sunday post. Pin It Now!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What We're Reading

We love summertime reading! Our local library offers a reading game, with prizes, encouraging young readers to read lots during the summer. My kids have already earned coupons to the arcade and the swimming pool, as well as a book and a t-shirt. Here are a few books that we have been enjoying:

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Watermelon-Cucumber-Mint Juice

It's summertime, and that means eating fruits that I don't normally get to eat. My most recent experiment was watermelon-cucumber juice. I used about 1/2 a cucumber and 2 fist-sized chunks of watermelon.  Before I poured it into my glass, I muddled a few leaves of fresh mint into the bottom. I finished it off with about a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lime juice. My first impression of the juice was just so-so, but after I poured it over ice, it was amazing. I guess this is one that really needs to be chilled.
I think that next time, I will add more mint, or maybe even run the mint through the juicer.

Do you have a favorite summer juice combo?

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Saturday, July 19, 2014

What We Have Done with All of Those Blueberries

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I went blueberry picking. And came home with 9 pounds! I thought about making jam, or fruit leather, or just drying them, but I really like them just as they are... I decide to freeze about 2 pounds, and we have been eating up the rest.
Most have been eaten as is, but we have found some yummy recipes to incorporate them in to....

Blueberry Mojitos. Mine didn't look quite as fancy as the ones in the recipe, but it sure did taste good!

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins. I used the recipe I posted here, but I just made it into muffins. And added some ground flax seed as well.

This delicious lemon pound cake.  Seriously, it is good.

I have also been juicing the blueberries as well. My latest combo is blueberry-spinach-celery-cucumber-lemon. Yum! I didn't take a photo, but honestly, it doesn't look all that appealing. It is basically brown. But trust me, it tastes good.

Honestly, I feel like I need to go back and pick some more. Blueberries are some of my favorites. After 7 pounds of them, I thought I would be sick of them, but I'm not.

What's your favorite blueberry recipe?

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our July Garden and A Link-Up

Our garden has exploded over these past few weeks! It's full of blossoms and new growth, and it is amazing to watch it change every day.
We normally have fairly mild summers, but this year it has been quite warm. Most days in the past couple weeks have been over 90 degrees F, and I have found that now, instead of battling slugs and powdery mildew, we have new issues. Namely aphids, and something that is harming our squash. We have already gotten quite a few zucchini off of our plants, but we also have several types of winter squash and cucumbers planted as well. We keep getting fruit that starts to grow and then begins to rot almost as soon as it forms. I am guessing we have some sort of a soil fungus, but haven't yet had time to investigate it further. Any thoughts?
So, what are we growing? We are currently harvesting blackberries, basil, heirloom tomatoes, hot peppers, zucchini, strawberries, and kale. We are eagerly awaiting grapes, green beans, beets, potatoes and winter squash.
More than anything, I like to sit outside and watch the bees. At any point on a sunny day, we will have 20-30 bees in our tiny garden. They are so busy and so very beautiful.

Do you have a garden? Would you like to share it with me? Please join the link up below!!!

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Yarn Along

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

I had a little bit of time this past week to knit, and started the sleeves for my sweater. I was questioning if I wanted to do the sleeves as 3/4 length, as the pattern calls for, or adjust them to another length. And, I decided that I think I am going to do them as the pattern calls for. It is a very thin sweater, and I can't imagine wearing more than a tank top underneath it anyways. However, I decided to knit down a bit more, try it on, and make my final decision then. I have plenty of yarn to do full length sleeves if I change my mind. And, as I was taking pictures this morning outside, I realized that my sweater is the green of summer. I guess I will be camouflaged when I wear it!

I  am still reading The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, and although it is much more technical than I had anticipated, I am enjoying it. I have a huge stack of books on my nightstand that I am eager to start, but I decided that I am going to finish this one first.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Morning, Noon and Night

Morning, noon and night.... three little peeks into my day yesterday.
Joining in with Kim at Mothering with Mindfulness.

Morning: Bedroom Forts

Noon: Elk Rock Island

 Night: the First Blackberry
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