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!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!!

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Spooktacular Halloween Lanterns

We haven't done many Halloween crafts this year, so when I saw these cute Halloween lanterns via Pinterest, I just couldn't wait to give them a try. They are quick and easy, and we made ours from supplies we already had at home. Plus, they look really cute when they are lit (my pictures don't quite do them justice!).

What fun Halloween crafts have you made this year???

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Yarn Along

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

I am almost done with my mustardy slouchy hat. Seems like this one has taken forever. I have come to the realization that although I want to be knitting all of the time, lately, it is just not possible. And a hat, which would normally be finished in a few days, is instead taking weeks. These days once the kids are in bed, and I have a few moments to myself, I find myself reading for a few short moments before sleep calls my body away. I have been going to bed much earlier than normal in recent weeks, and I think my body likes it. Instead of getting excited for all of the projects I am going to begin after 8 p.m., I instead start to pine for getting horizontal and closing my eyes. I am not going to complain, as I have had issues with getting enough rest for my entire life, but it is a different life. I am a lot less productive when I go to bed at 9:30 instead of midnight, but somehow I think my body is craving this sleep. So for now, I will indulge my body and let the knitting find it's own pace.

I  am reading Childhood and Nature by David Sobel. It is an inspiring read and in some ways makes me wish I taught young children instead of college aged. They are much more adaptable when they are younger.... I am also reading Dreamwood which is a tween fanatasy story that takes place in the Pacific Northwest. I just started, but I think this one is going to be good.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, October 27, 2014

A List of Gratitudes

Lately, I have felt thankful for:

  • the colors of fall  
  • freshly roasted pumpkin seeds
  • finding joy in running again (especially while dressed as a jellyfish... see below!)
  • the acceptance that I don't have time to do everything I want, all of the time.  Lately I have had trouble making time for many of my favorite things (like knitting, photography, and blogging), because life has been busy and I have been re-prioritizing. And although I initially felt some guilt about this, it has faded and I am now OK with it. I know that my time is not entirely mine. Other people need me. And I still need time to take care of me and my body. I still love all of these things, and will always make time for them, but I am no longer going to feel stressed when I can't find time for these things in my day.
  • the silliness of 3 year olds, especially when they are planning naked birthday parties and using "for-realz" in sentences
  • a warm dry house to snuggle up in
  • that Puppy Cow, our old dog, seems to have a new spunk after adding a third medication into his pain regiment.
  • for friends... what would we do without them?

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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkins and Mushrooms

On Sunday, the kids and I headed to the pumpkin patch. The weather forecast is predicting rain into the unforeseeable future, so I figured we would seize the day, brave the crowds, and get some pumpkins. The weather was perfect, the kids had fun, and we got our autumn on.
Afterwards, we stopped by the Oregon Mycological Society's annual mushroom show. The kids wanted to do a drive-by viewing of most of the specimens, while I could have wandered around for much longer, but I was pretty excited that they wanted to go to begin with.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Salmon Homecoming

On Saturday, the kids and I headed to Oxbow Park to watch salmon spawn. We were able to see some spawning salmon, and even watched some females digging out their nests. We also saw a caddis fly shell, a rock that had quartz crystals in its pores, and a few cool fungi. And I, of course, brought home a pocket full of rocks that I collected, including a red beach agate.
However, the best part was that my kiddos were as happy as could be just playing by the side of the river. They dug holes, built caves, looked for rocks and when I mentioned leaving in 5 minutes, they begged for more time. And how could I not say yes?
When my children are immersed in nature, and not wanting to leave, I am a happy mama. It was a good day.

 Caddis fly shell

 Can you see the salmon in this picture? The tops of their bodies are peeking out of the water.


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yarn Along

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

The rain has returned to Portland. I am sad to say goodbye to the sun and warmer weather, yet at the same time, I am happy to have a return to the rain. It feels normal. It feels like fall. I am now laughing at myself because if you would have asked me 8 years ago if I would have ever said that, I can tell you that my answer would have been 'no way'. How things change....

Rainy weather is good for tea. For knitting. For curling up with a good book. For a glass of wine in a room full of candlelight. For stomping in puddles. For getting wet and warming up. For making soup. For slipper wearing. In these things, I am ready to indulge.

I am still working on a slouchy hat for me, in mustard yellow nonetheless. I was about 3/4 finished with it when I realized I had forgotten to switch to bigger needles and it was going to be too tight... so I had to rip back to the ribbing and start again. So, I am not much farther ahead than I was at last week's yarn along.

I  am still reading Gideon the Cutpurse. I have about 150 pages to go. It's OK. OK enough that I don't want to stop, but I am also not drawn to keep on reading. I am also reading Clash of Kings, the second in the Game of Thrones Series, however, I am trying to plow through Gideon before I get fully absorbed in the Clash.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Quick Trip to the Coast

Finn didn't have school last Friday, so we decided to head to the coast, just for a night. Our oldest dog, Puppy Cow (the white and brown pup with the under bite shown in a couple of photos near the end) is almost 14 and is not doing so well. He is on a lot of pain meds, and although I hope he chugs along for several more years, my intuition says that he may not make it until next summer. So,... I wanted to bring the dogs to the beach and spoil them a bit. Make sure that he got another chance to roll in the sand.
Before kids, our dogs came everywhere with us. Now, with 2 kids and 2 dogs, it is just too much and the poor dogs always get left behind (sorry guys!). As the kids get older, I think it will get easier to incorporate dogs and kids together in adventures. I hope so anyways!
The weather at the coast wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either and we got a couple of good hours of beach time in. I feel so lucky we had a chance to fit this in before the Oregon winter weather settles in. For those of you who don't know what winter weather means for the Oregon coast-- wet, wet, wet. And usually not too great for hanging on the beach.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Reversible Cloth Napkins: A Tutorial

After years of saying that I needed more cloth napkins, I finally got around to making some. It was so quick and easy I have been kicking myself for not doing it ages ago. I decided I didn't want to spend any money on them, so I chose to use whatever fabric I had. This means we have a stack of mis-matched napkins, that are not all the same exact size, but I am 100% OK with that. It will give our table a bit of flair...
I should have taken instructional photos to share the process with you, but honestly, it is easy enough that I think a quick explanation will do:

1. Cute 2 pieces of (potentially) coordinating fabric into squares. Most of mine were about 15-inches square, but some of the ones made with children's fabric are a few square-inches smaller, depending on what size scraps I had.

2. Put fabric squares right sides together. Iron flat. Now stitch around the edge (about 1/2" in from edge) leaving a 3-inch opening in the middle of one of the sides (to do this, start sewing about 2-inches above one of the corners and finish when you get about 3 inches from your starting point).

3. Pull napkin through the 3 inch hole you left and use a chopstick or similar tool to push out corners. Your napkin should have the right sides facing out now (and should look suspiciously similar to a napkin!)

4. Iron flat again. Don't be lazy, do it.

5. Top-stitch around the napkin, close to the outer edge. This will give your napkin a clean look and will also close up that 3-inch opening you left earlier.

6. Eat something messy and use!

Note: many people would tell you to pre-wash your fabric before making these and if I were better organized, I may have. But I didn't and I am not stressing it.

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Friday, October 10, 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, October 8, 2014

Yarn Along

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

This week I finished up a slouchy hat for Phoebe. However it has been so hot here, that it was only tried on for a moment before it was taken off again. I am now knitting one for myself in a very autumn mustardy color. It's not a color that I normally wear, but I have been feeling drawn towards it lately. I had some in my stash from a trade with a friend, so why not?

I am craving cooler weather. Knitting weather. I have so many projects that I want to start, but I am trying to restrain myself and keep it to one (or two) at a time. I often tend to overwhelm myself with self-imposed projects (like knitting, reading, or sometimes even blogging-- heck, my Netflix list overwhelms me sometimes. Seriously.)... so I am working on that. If I always have a huge in-progress pile, there is not as much satisfaction when something is complete.

I  am still reading Gideon the Cutpurse. It is good, but not completely captivating. So, I also started reading Clash of Kings, the second in the Game of Thrones Series. That one IS addicting, but very long. See-- this is how it happens. I like to start things and also don't like to abandoned things I have started. Then I just have piles of knitting, books, and other projects all over the house waiting for my attention!

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Lice Away

School is back in session and so are the lice. I never had lice until I was 34. And since then, I have had it probably 8 times. It is a constant battle around here.
By now, I have a routine down. We mainly use LiceFree, a pesticide-free homeopathic gel that has worked well for us. In a pinch, I use olive oil, but it is messy and leaves hair soft, yet very greasy looking. The LiceFree works by dehydrating the lice, so it actually leaves hair quite dry, but that is fairly easily remedied.
Anyways, dealing with lice no longer creeps me out, but it is time consuming and expensive. To treat me and the kids costs about $30, and takes about 2 hours to treat us, about 3 loads of laundry, and a thorough vacuuming. In other words, it takes up most of my day each time we find them.
So, my new goal now is to prevent them from even getting on us in the first place. Lice seem to thrive here in Portland, especially with young kids who are likely to be very close to one another. And since going anti-social doesn't seem like the right option, I think all I can do is try to make our hair unappealing to those little buggers.
After reading various blog pages about lice prevention sprays, I decided to make one to try out. I got a spray bottle and added 30 drops of lavender oil and 30 drops of rosemary oil for each 4 ounces of distilled water. I call it Lice Away. It doesn't smell wonderful, but it doesn't smell terrible either. My goal is to spray on all of our heads each morning, hoping to keep the lice away. I guess I will let you know how it works...
Anyone else have a wonderful lice deterrent recipe that they can share? I wouldn't mind having a few tricks up my sleeve.... Pin It Now!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Weekend Adventures

The weather here has been gorgeous. Actually, it has been a bit too hot for my liking for October (in the 80's!), but right now that seems better than cool and rainy, so I am not complaining. Sunny Octobers, the kind where the leaves actually change color before they fall off the tree, yup- these are some of the best days of the year in my opinion.
We took advantage of the sun and went to Hood River on Saturday to pick apples. We didn't get too many this year, as we decided that we want to eat most fresh and only make a small amount of applesauce. We chose golden delicious, jonagold and empire. The empires are so sweet and gorgeous-- almost purple in color. I love! There may be a pie in my near future as well....
This morning the kids and I headed to a pumpkin farm about 30 minutes away. I didn't want to bring home pumpkins for carving yet, but we did choose some decorative pumpkins for the house. The kids played in the bouncy house and the hay maze, we ate apple cider donuts, and brought home some kettle corn for later. And we even made a few four legged friends...
Hoping to squeeze in a few ore outdoor adventures before this amazing weather ends!

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