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, November 30, 2014

A Little Fresh Air

The past week has been a rough one for me.... I have been in some pretty extreme pain, and haven't been up for doing much. Today however, I decided that my body was craving a little nature and fresh air, even if it needed to be low key.

So, the kids and I headed to my favorite urban park, Crystal Springs.. or, as we call it, the duck park, because there are always many friendly ducks there. We bring duck food, and let them eat from our hands. In fact, the wild ducks there seem to like us quite a bit more than our backyard ducks do.....

Anyways, the sun was out and it was c-o-l-d, but it was so great to be outside. I needed that. It's amazing what a little outside time can do to soothe a spirit.

Pin It Now!

Gratitudes (And Some Complaining Too)

I meant to get a gratitude post up on Thanksgiving day, but it didn't happen. Even though I had (and have) so many things to be grateful for, I was having trouble seeing through the (thick, thick) fog.

Let me start from the begnning.

Last Sunday night I started having some intense pain on the left side of my face. I was unsure if this was tooth pain or sinus pain, but either way I was feeling awful. Monday morning I went to urgent care- they said they believed that a tooth infection was most likely, gave me antibiotics, and told me to see my dentist. A couple hours later I was at my dentist, and the pain was so diffuse-- every tooth on the left side of my mouth hurt-- none more than another-- and the dentist was baffled and thought it was maybe a sinus infection. I took my antibiotics and was eating ibuprofen like it was candy. And, I don't normally take ibuprofen. I tend to fight it and reserve it for emergency use. And trust me, this was an emergency.
By Thursday morning, I realized that this pain was from my tooth and not a sinus infection (the pain had at times become more focused on one particular tooth). By Thursday night, I was in so much constant, intense pain that I was literally in tears. The pain was so strong that I only managed to get a couple of hours of sleep. By this point I had already been taking antibiotics for four full days and the pain had only increased. It was definitely worse than childbirth, and I was not getting a new baby out of the deal either.
Friday morning I had to emergency call my dentist as it was a holiday weekend. I was told that the antibiotics that were given to me by urgent care were a good choice for sinus infections, but not tooth infections. I was prescribed new antibiotics.
Friday afternoon I was feeling a bit better and have been able to sleep at night, but at times the pain still gets very intense for up to 30 minutes. Also, every time I bite down on my tooth, it sends a shooting pain through my body, so eating has been a bit rough. And this week I will likely have to get a root canal followed by a crown. Not cheap.

So Thursday, Thanksgiving Day here in the US, I wanted to write a gratitude post. I wanted to share how thankful I was for so many things. But, I just couldn't. All I could think about was the pain.

Now that I am done complaining (sorry) I would like to take a few minutes of your time to share with you some of the things I am grateful for:

* Antibiotics, dentists, and modern medicine. I have thought many times this week about what would be happening to me if I lived in the year 1800.... I would be slugging a glass of whiskey, pulling my own tooth out with a pair of pliers and hoping I didn't die of an infection. 

* My Portland friends who have become family to us in the absence of local blood relatives. I miss my family dearly, but it is so lovely to have wonderful friends to spend holidays and special times with.

* My husband who has listened to many a worry from me this past week, and who encouraged resting when I needed it. And to my mom, who listened to me whine about my face pain every day this week.

* For some much needed time to relax-- I have been reading, knitting, and watching movies this past week (partially because that was all I could muster at times), but I know that my body needed a rest.

I hope you have all had a lovely weekend. Fingers crossed that I will be feeling back to my old self soon! Pin It Now!

Friday, November 21, 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.

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Yarn Along

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

My knitting frenzy has returned! Well, I'm not really sure I can call it a frenzy, but I am eager to knit and look forward to sneaking in a row here and there when I can.  I have made some progress on a  plain tunic for Phoebe. The yarn I am using is so very soft, which makes it so very easy to knit with.  I also just started Phoebe's Sweater for Phoebe (of course!). I found 4 skeins at the store and had to order 8 more (they are small skeins) and after using most of a skein to knit only 8 rows, I am worried that it may not even be enough!

I am loving The Uglies, another tween sci-fi read.The first 100-ish pages were sort of slow, but I am hooked now. There is a lot of environmentalism and ecology that underlies the themes in the book, so it is right up my alley. I am looking forward to reading the others in the series as well. I am also reading The Residue Years, a book that takes pace in Portland. It's always fun to read a book that takes place in your town. You can really let yourself sink into the story.  And, I am still picking my way through Childhood and Nature. There are so many great ideas in this book-- they don't really pertain to the college level, at which I teach, but I wish I could find a way to implement some of these ideas at Finn's school. 

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
Pin It Now!

Monday, November 17, 2014

GMO OMG: A Review and Other Musings on Genetic Modification


GMOs have been a hot topic in Oregon lately. Measure 92, which would have required genetically modified foods to be labeled in Oregon, just very very narrowly missed passing. I am pretty disappointed that it didn't pass and I am now feeling regret that I wasn't more involved with the campaign. I think it is ridiculous that there is no way to track these altered foods, especially since there have been no long term studies to test for safety. However, considering Monsanto and a few other agro-giants spent over 20 million dollars fighting against Measure 92, making it the costliest ballot measure in Oregon's history, and the margin was still obscenely narrow, I think we did OK. Monsanto can fight a few battles, but it can't keep forking out millions of dollars in many states every couple of years (or can it?). At least we know the word is spreading. I am convinced that we can get GMOs labeled in the not-so-distant future.
Anyways, GMO OMG is a new documentary from 2013. It is the story of a dad with three kids, and his quest to find out more about the food he is feeding his children. What are GMOs? Are they safe? Why are they such a big part of our agricultural system?
The film  does a good job of summarizing what GMOs are, what some of the problems with them may be, as well as talking about the political issues that surround them. At times the film can be a little extreme.... (spoiler alert)... like when he dons his children in hazard suits and masks to walk through a field of genetically modified corn. But, I think he does get his point across.
Despite already knowing a lot about GMOs, I found the film interesting, sweet and funny too. Plus, the sound track is killer. This is one to definitely put on your to-watch list.
Pin It Now!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Gratitude Sunday

Today I am feeling grateful for
  • two very silly children who remind me that life is for having fun
  • sunny days with colorful leaves still on the trees
  • our warm and cozy house during these cold Portland days
  • the hummingbirds that visit our feeder each and every day
  • a date night with hubby tonight
What are you grateful for today?

Playing along with the other Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots

Pin It Now!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Trashed: A Review


I just watched the 2012 film Trashed. The film started out a bit slow, and I was afraid it was going to be rather mundane... but I ended up quite enjoying it. The film is based in the U.K., but talks about trash problems throughout the globe. It touches on increased birth defects and cancer rates for people who live close to landfills. It talks about the huge amounts of waste in our oceans, and how that waste harms wildlife. Plastics can release chemicals, and they also absorb chemicals, making bits of plastic in our oceans turn into toxic pellets. These toxins accumulate in the organisms that eat them and then magnify as they move up the food chain. Many of these chemicals are hormone disrupters, which means they can affect reproduction.  Killer whales and other organisms at the top of the food chain carry the largest burden of these chemicals and their populations are now in decline because of this. In fact, researchers studying these animals often have to dispose of the carcass as hazardous waste because these animals have so many toxic chemicals in their system. Unbelievable. How did we ever let our planet get this way?
The film also discusses WTE (waste-to-energy) facilities, which burn trash to create electricity. I myself have toured a WTE plant here in Oregon, and the whole concept seems to make sense. We get rid of our waste, and simultaneously create electricity, without strip mining, fracking, or wars. However, the release of dioxins from these facilities is a huge concern. Dioxins are created by burning plastics and these nasty chemicals cause cancer and birth defects. These dioxins accumulate in organisms and sadly, when a mother gives birth to a child, she passes much of her accumulated burden of chemicals, including dioxins, on to her child. The effects of this can be seen with mothers in Vietnam, where Agent Orange (made by Monsanto, by the way) was sprayed during the Vietnam War. This Agent Orange was contaminated with dioxin, and many of the children in this area suffer from severe birth defects (still, to this day!). This part of the film brought me to tears... for the children, the mothers, and the complete injustice of our world.
The film, as most environmental documentaries, ends with some glimmers of hope for our future. Individuals making better choices when shopping (such as choosing products with less packaging), composting food waste, and making recycling easier. This film was a great reminder that as a population, we have a long way to go to fix the havoc we have reeked on our environment. And, in turn,  how much I have to do personally to play my part in this rehabilitation. 

Pin It Now!

Friday, November 14, 2014


It has been cold here (for Portland, anyways!). School was even cancelled on Thursday due to icy conditions. I was hoping for a big snow, because, well-- it would have been nice to have been cozied up in the house for a few days, but I guess once "ice day" will have to do. For now. Enjoy your weekend!

Pin It Now!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yarn Along

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

It's only Wednesday morning and so far this week has been a bit strange... Monday morning Phoebe fell while running and broke her pinkie finger. (She was so brave.) Tuesday was extremely windy and we even lost our power for a few hours because of it. And it is still super windy as I type this. Now the weather is calling for possible snow here tomorrow, and I am taking my students on a field trip to a farm tomorrow morning. Well, maybe I am. For those of you who don't know, snow here is rare, which means when it happens, everyone sort of freaks out and people seem to lose all sensibility when driving vehicles. I love the snow, so I have my fingers crossed that we get some!

I have been more in a knitting mood lately, and although I haven't been too productive, I have been knitting a little bit each night. I have started a new plain tunic for Phoebe, in a lovely blue silk-wool blend that I got at Flock and Fiber this year. It feels lovely to knit with-- so cozy! However, I think it may get set aside soon so that I can start some Christmas gifts. I need to make a run to the yarn store this week-- I am very behind this year!

I just started reading The Uglies, another tween sci-fi read. I haven't read enough to give an opinion yet, although the first few chapters seem pretty strange.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
Pin It Now!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Seventh Birthday Party

This year Finn decided that he wanted his birthday party to be a Despicable Me themed sleepover. We kept things very simple and invited 2 other boys over to spend the night. We ordered pizza, had cake, and let the kids watch both Despicable Me movies (although they danced, laughed and talked more than they actually watched). It was an awesome night for an awesome kid.

Pin It Now!

Monday, November 10, 2014


 What better way to start the week than with a list of gratitudes?

Today, I am feeling grateful for:
  • The way that my children play together, for hours, with rarely a squabble. I know that we are lucky that they get along so well.
  • The few days without rain we have had lately. I love to inhale the smell of fall on a cool, crisp morning.
  • That I don't teach on Tuesday, which allows me a slower-paced week and (hopefully) the time to catch up on some much-needed organizing.
  • That we have what we need, including our health. I never take that for granted.

What are you grateful for today?

Pin It Now!

Friday, November 7, 2014


Today, my not-so-little man turns seven. Words can't describe how proud I am of this guy. He makes me laugh every day with his jokes and antics, his sweetness melts my heart, and he is smart as a whip. I am one lucky lady to be the mama of this boy!

Happy Birthday to my favorite guy in the whole world. I love you!
Pin It Now!

Thursday, November 6, 2014


Well, hello there! It's been a few days....
We have been busy: trick-or-treating, a week long visit from my mom (while Todd and I sneaked away, sans kids,  for 2 of those days), and busy with preparations for someone's birthday tomorrow.

I hope you all had a fun Halloween! We sure did. This year we were all ninjas, at the kids request, and it was the easiest batch of costumes yet. We each wore a black shirt and black pants, which we already had. For our ninja hoods, we used a solid colored long-sleeved t-shirt and tied it using these directions. Super easy. I sewed matching belts for the kids using coordinating fabric. And  no ninja costume would be complete without pretend nun chucks. To make them, I took black foam pipe insulation and cut it into 8-inch pieces. I attached 2 pieces of foam with a rope that was secured with hot glue. Voila! Cute (and safe) nun chucks.

Here are a few pictures of our adventures:

Pin It Now!