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, February 26, 2015

Coconut-Chocolate Muffins

I have been on a coconut kick lately, so when the kids asked for muffins yesterday, I decided to find a recipe that could fulfill my craving and make them happy too. I have adapted this recipe to accommodate what we had on hand. And everyone was pleased with the results!

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar (or sub 1/2 cup honey)
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup culinary coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chunks
Mix everything together, pour into greased or lined muffin tins, and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Yum!

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Yarn Along

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

I have finished Phoebe's Phoebe's sweater.... and I am just finishing up the hood of the mouse's wee sweater and adding in the final touches to the knit mouse, like her face. It will be finished in time for Phoebe's birthday on Sunday! Finished and modeled pictures to come next week!

I have started reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and have been enjoying it. I also just got California by Edan Lupecki from the library. I have been waiting for it for quite some time, so I am pretty excited. It's about a future (apocalyptic) world... but that is about all I know. I'll tell you more next week.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Monday, February 23, 2015

California Love

Over the weekend, I got to go on a trip to visit a few of my favorite friends in California. The kiddos stayed home with dad, and I had a few days where the only being I had to take care of was myself. It was really nice.
We spent a day at Pinnacles National Park and went on an 8 mile hike. We saw a California condor, a falcon, and a great horned owl, we crawled through a pitch black cave, and we saw some amazing views.
We ate lots of good food, took a trip into San Francisco, did another (shorter hike) in Tilden Park, and relaxed. It was a perfect weekend, and it feels great to be back home.
Here are a few pictures from Pinnacles... I was regretting that I didn't bring my camera and only had an i-phone to take photos with......

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Friday, February 20, 2015

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, February 19, 2015

Enjoying the Sun

You may have noticed that I have been posting way more than normal lately. Maybe you wondered if suddenly I quit my job, hired a nanny and had free time galore? Nope. None of those. Actually, I have been inspired lately by a simple little thing, that many of you may take for granted, called the sun.
Now, here in Oregon we normally don't see much of the sun during the winter. Less sun means less outdoor activities to blog about, less photographs to share, and an overall decrease in my general motivation.
However, the past week or so has been just wildly warm and sunny. I am talking blue skies and 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Not normal for us. At all. At my core, this warm weather is freaking me out. It makes me realize how quickly climate change is happening and makes me worried that this lack of snow may lead to summertime water issues. But, on a superficial level, I am completely loving this and trying to soak up as much sun as possible before it goes away again. Maybe for a long time.
We have been going on adventures, riding bikes, eating outside, gardening, and mostly just playing in the front yard for hours every afternoon. I can read (or blog) and the kids can dig, kick and goof around. It has been wonderful.
I decided to make a quick nature journal and take it on an adventure with us Monday morning. Finn drew a couple of photos and then wrote a few sentences about what he saw when we got home. It worked out pretty well. I plan to have him make a series of nature journals this summer (when we will adventure much more frequently).
Anyways, here are a few photos of our explorations:

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Yarn Along

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

I have finished Phoebe's Phoebe's sweater.... and I love it, despite it's heft. I have included it in today's photo, but not in its full glory. I figure I will wait until I give it to Phoebe on her birthday (Match 1st) and display it properly (on her) then!

I am now frantically trying to finish the Phoebe mouse, with its dress and matching sweater, all before the birthday as well. I have been under the weather a bit these past couple of days, so I have gotten a bit behind my (self-imposed) "schedule".

I just finished all three of the books I was reading last week, and I think I am going to start A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It's one that has been on my to-read list for years. I am headed on a mama-only adventure this weekend, so I need something good to read while I am childless....

And for all you animal lovers out there, today's special yarn along guest is Matty Cat.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Quick Thought...

Did you know that environmentally conscious behavior as an adult is less a result of learning and absorbing facts and more a result of having experiences in nature? What that means is that if we want to raise our children to be environmentally aware, we need to take them into nature! The love that they will develop for the natural world will help them make future decisions that will protect our planet.  So-- go on a hike, play in a stream, pick berries, help plant trees, get outside!

facts came from Childhood and Nature: design principles for educators by David Sobel Pin It Now!

Monday, February 16, 2015

.....And We're Back!

After a 4.5 month hiatus, one of our ladies is laying again! Hooray! 

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Raising (Un) Lazy Kids: A Personal Revolution

Before Phoebe was born, Finn was my little helper. When I baked, he stood by my side and "helped". When I was gardening, he was digging right next to me. When I swept, he toddled along beside me.

And then Phoebe was born and I was a mama to two precious babes. And suddenly it seemed like I had no time to myself. There was always someone touching me, needing me.. and my short every-other-day showers seemed to be the only time I had to myself.

And, over time, Finn started to help less. It often seemed easier (and still does) to make dinner all by myself instead of having him help. He would play in the water table while I worked in the garden. He would look at books while I swept. And as Phoebe grew, she fell into the same routine. From time to time they would still help me make cookies or plant seeds, but it wasn't a regular thing. Usually, when mama was "working" they would find something to do. And it seemed to work. It was easy. I got stuff done.

But over the years I have had this nagging feeling that I haven't been doing things right. That they have been missing out. That I have been failing them. Now when I ask Finn to help with dinner or gardening, he often sighs or complains, citing that he is busy drawing or reading. I have selfishly claimed the chores as my own time, and haven't welcomed them in. And now I realize that I have been raising lazy children, kids who don't really want to help because they never had to.

But now I am aware of how much they are missing out on. And I am on a mission to change that. I am making a vow to ask the kids to participate when I am making dinner, pulling weeds, or dusting shelves.

Phoebe happily helped me in the garden this week pulling weeds, eating kale and befriending snails. To her, the work was play.

And it was nice to have a friend there while I worked.

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Saturday, February 14, 2015

L-O-V-E to Give

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Friday, February 13, 2015

This Moment: Before and After

{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, February 12, 2015

Calm Balm

As some of you already know, my little Finn, who is 7, was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder when he was 5. Over the past 2 years, we have seen huge improvement in how he deals with his anxiety, but we still have a long way to go.
So, when I saw a recipe for an easy to make anti-anxiety balm that was safe for kids, I couldn't resist. The recipe comes from Hands on Healing Remedies by Stephanie Tourles. I have dubbed it "calm balm".  And it is super simple.

Warm 4 tablespoons of shea butter in a saucepan until it melts. Into your storage container add:
- 30 drops lavender essential oil
- 25 drops bergamont essential oil
- 10 drops geranium essential oil
Add the melted shea butter. Stir. Cap. Let sit for 24 hours.
Makes about 1/4 cup and stays good for about 1 year (keep it away from heat and light)

To use, either inhale deeply a few times, or (as I like to do), take a tiny (less than pea-sized) amount and place it either on the wrists or behind the ears.

Although I don't think this is a cure-all that has saved our family, I have felt a sense of ease when I used it and I have seen small, yet positive results, when used on Finn as well. Plus, it just smells nice.

Do you have any favorite herbal remedies? Anything that works to curb your anxiety?

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Yarn Along

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

I am still working on Phoebe's Phoebe's sweater.... and I am almost done! I only have about 6 inches of the hood left. Well, and then I have to sew on the buttons and weave in the loose ends (but, sometimes I like to pretend that part doesn't exist). I love the sweater and hope to have a finished photo for you next week. The only wee problem is that it is SUPER heavy. Like really, really heavy. She will get a workout wearing it, but at least it will keep her warm.

And now I have started the Phoebe mouse, to go along with the Phoebe sweater (shown in the above photo). Every girl needs a mouse, right?

Also, I whipped up a quick baby hat for my physical therapist who is about to become a dad any day now. It is made from some alpaca wool I got a couple of year ago and it is so very soft. And so very tiny (see below). I hope it fits the soon-to-be arrival.

I am currently reading several books, which is a terrible habit of mine that I try to tame, yet I always seem to revert back to my old ways. I am finishing up Childhood and Nature by David Sobel. I have been picking my way through this book for several months and it has a lot of great ideas packed in.  I think it will come in handy if I am able to teach ecology at Peace Village again this summer. I would recommend it to any elementary school teachers who want to incorporate more nature into their curriculum design (boy, I wish Finn's school was more like this book!). Unfortunately, it wouldn't be super helpful for homeschool families as many of the ideas are designed for larger groups of kids.

I am also reading Cure Tooth Decay by Ramiel Nagel. I have had teeth problems since I was a young child, and had heard good things about this book. It is really interesting. The basic premise of the book is that our society's rampant teeth problems are not necessarily from all the sugars that we eat, but are more likely from a lack of vital nutrients. The book talks about ways to incorporate these nutrients into our diets and talks about very many foods that should be avoided or limited in our diets. Many of the suggestions are pretty hard core and won't work for me for various reasons, but I have already started to incorporate some smaller changes... like buying butter from cows raised on a pasture instead of grain fed, eating raw cheese, taking cod liver oil pills, and eating more bone broths. Here's to stronger teeth!

Lastly, I am still reading Wildwood by Colin Meloy. It's young adult and an easy read, but I have been busy reading other things, and am only about 1/3 of the way through. I am enjoying it!

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

Also-- last week I talked about how I was in love with the Serial podcast. I finished it, and am now listening to Invisibilia. Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which ones are your favorite? 

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Signs of Spring

We have had an extremely mild winter this year and despite the fact that it is only the beginning of February, it feels like spring is fast approaching. Buds and bloom are popping up everywhere, the birds are noisily making plans, and the snails are already out in full force. Maybe we will be lucky and get some snow before winter ends.....
But in the meantime, I will enjoy knowing that spring is on its way.

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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Yarn Along

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

I am still working on Phoebe's Phoebe's sweater. Have you read the book, Phoebe's Sweater?  It is super sweet. I haven't made much progress since last week-- I have only completed 1/2 of a sleeve since the last yarn along, which means that I need to get a move on if I am to complete the sweater, the mouse, and a dress and sweater for the mouse all by Phoebe's birthday on March 1st.. If only I could knit as fast as this video...

I finished up my scrap-yarn grey loop cowl that I knit for ME! I love it. The colors make me happy. And I always love using up my stash. It was a great on-the-go project, as I could just stuff it into my bag. The Phoebe sweater.... not so much. That thing is a monster. I need a new on-the-go knit to keep stashed in my purse. Any great ideas?

I finished up The Martian by Andy Weir a few days ago. I whipped through it in just a few days. It was a fantastic read and I highly recommend it for folks who like to read adventure novels. I am currently reading Wildwood by Colin Meloy. It's a young adult book, of the fairy tale type, and it takes place in Portland. So far so good.

And, this isn't exactly something I am reading, but have you listed to the Serial podcast series? I am 9 episodes in and so addicted. I have been listening to it on my runs.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?

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Monday, February 2, 2015

Choosing Love

Rachel over at Hands Free Mama had a great post today about Choosing Love and a 21-day challenge to do just that. I'll let you read it yourself, because it will be worth the 3 minutes it will take you to do so, but in essence the challenge is about spending 3 weeks being present for those who need us and choosing those folks over the things that normally distract us. Saying yes to playing with our children instead of crossing something off of our to-do list. Putting away the computer so we can give them our full attention. Not getting upset with our children when they make a mistake. And forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we make as well.
This challenge will probably present itself differently for each person that chooses to accept it. For Rachel, this means a break from blogging (and probably lots of other changes as well). For me, this will mean saving my blogging and most of my work until after the kids are in bed. It will mean snuggling with P for an extra 5 minutes at bedtime, even though I will be very ready to have a few moments to myself. It will mean playing ponies and stuffed animals (again) even though I would really rather clean the house or check my email.
This doesn't mean than in my normal non-challenge days that I am not choosing love.... Of course I love spending time with my children more than doing the dishes and I would rather read them a book than write another email. But life, and its distractions, do get in the way. And it's easy to forget what really matters. It's easy to become focused on the tangible things that need to get done (sweeping the floor), and put off the less tangible things (showing my children that they matter to me) until we have a free moment (when's that?). So, for the next three weeks, I am going to choose love. The dishes can wait. I  guarantee they will still be there when the kids go to bed.

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(Not) Starting Over

I am sure that most people, at some point, have wished they could start over. Go back and fix their mistakes, make different choices, be a better person. But, eventually, we learn that these 'mistakes' we make are really just our way of learning and becoming our true self. Our mistakes make us who we are.
Now try explaining that to a three year old.
Over the past few days, Phoebe keeps telling me that she wants to disappear. She wants to start over and become a baby again, and this time make only good choices. She said that her brain sometimes doesn't let her make good choices, so she wants to go back and try again. Profound, right? But also way beyond her years and quite unexpected.
Each time she has said this, it has been after she has been playing quietly and happily. It wasn't said as a reaction to me for anything I said. I have no clue where these ideas came from.
I mean, we do talk about making good choices. And trying our best. But I have never, ever, said that she isn't good enough. Or that we need to just completely start our life over.
This has also coincided with a time where she is starting to explore the idea of death and dying. Which is completely normal at this age, but still something that is hard to talk about. How do you  talk about death with a young child without lying and without freaking them out? I still freak myself out if I think about it too much, and I am 37.
Anyways, I guess my point here is that the mind is a powerful thing (even at age 3).  We want to be our best self and it is frustrating when we can't. I still feel this way. But I am not sure that I am ready for big philosophical discussions with my baby. Not yet. They grow up way too fast as it is. Can't we just talk about numbers and letters, bugs and flowers? Playing with friends? Favorite animals?

And Phoebe, just so you know, I love you just the way you are. I love your good moments, and your bad too. I love your sweet side as well as your sneaky side. I love all of you and I love you to pieces. Please don't disappear and please don't start over. I want to be on this journey together, through the good times and the bad times. I'll take it all, my dear, because I love all of you.

Let's not start over, and let's do it together. Pin It Now!