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, March 24, 2016

The Painted Hills

For years, I have been wanting to go see the Painted Hills of Oregon. And it finally happened. Another mama friend of mine, and our four kiddos, all piled into my minivan and took a three day road trip. We saw all three units of the John Day Fossil Beds (including the painted hills), made our way through a couple of museums, took a bunch of short hikes, drove through the politically significant town of Antelope, saw a half-hearted ghost town, and had a grand adventure. And it was just as beautiful as I had expected! Here are a few pictures:

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Friday, March 18, 2016


Phoebe has been studying owls in her preschool class- They did some owl research and the class even had a sweet art exhibit where they displayed owl paintings, clay creations and a paper mache owl. I was very impressed.

Last weekend, Tryon Creek State Park held their annual Owlfest, and I knew that Phoebe would get a huge kick out of it since she has been immersed in owls lately. The weather was terrible, on and off downpours all day, but we braved the rain and headed out. Phoebe got to dissect and owl pellet (so cool!), make some owl art, and meet two captive owls (they are captive because they are injured). Plus, it is the start of trillium season over here, so we made time for a quick little hike as well.

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Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Yarn Along

Hello! Happy Wednesday! Joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.

Currently,  I am knitting myself a couple of pillow covers from this pattern. I just finished the backside of one. It was easy and mindless-- exactly what I need right now. My life has felt a bit rushed and crazy lately, and I don't think I have the brainpower for much else.

 I am still reading The Human Age by Diane Ackerman and I am really enjoying it. I am thinking about giving it as an option for my class to read next term-- but I need to finish reading it in the next couple of days so I can get it onto my syllabus! And, of course I am still reading War and Peace -- but you already knew that, didn't you?

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Sunday, March 13, 2016

Sunday Gratitudes (and Complaints)

Hello Sunday. It's a rainy one here in Portland. This week was a bit tough- can I complain for a moment, even though this is a gratitude post?  Phoebe was sick. ALL week. I pulled my neck muscles while getting dressed (you know you are old when you injure yourself getting dressed, right?). And I have a bunch of mysterious bites all over my legs.... after the first 9, I figured a spider got stuck in my pants. But when I got a bunch more bites a few days later, I figured it had to be something else. Maybe fleas, but I can't find any sign on any of the pets and the kids don't have any bites. And once my mom suggested maybe bedbugs, fleas started to sound pretty awesome. I am actually surprised I fell asleep last night.... I spent most of today cleaning, and have my fingers crossed that it was just a freak thing.... Anyways, my gratitude journal kept me focused on the good things that happened this week- and here they are!
  • Getting to see the premier of a documentary film that a couple of my friends made and stared in (It's called Kharma Bums and it was so good!). I was super impressed. It also inspired me to think about trying to travel again. I haven't gone on a big out-of-North-America adventure since before I had kids, and I think that time is getting near. So fun to think about where to go!
  • Acupuncture. It was a big help for my injured neck this week.
  • That the kids' dad has been so accommodating. It's really hard for me to take the day off of work, as I have a class full of students depending on me. So, when Phoebe was sick this week, he worked from his home with her on Tuesday and Thursday so that I could still go to work. Made my life a whole lot easier.
  • That my ex-sister in law and I still have an awesome relationship. She recently moved to Portland and I wasn't sure how things would go between us. But, we are still solid, and that makes me happy.
  • That Finn and I have managed to not get sick despite Phoebe being down for the count for all of last week (I am knocking on wood right now).
  • Love. Right now I am surrounded by two amazing kids, and 5 snuggly pets (who may or may not have fleas).  There is so much love happening in my house!!!

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots
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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Yarn Along

Hello! Wednesday already? Joining with Ginny at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.

So, I have finally finished all of the projects that I was making Phoebe for her birthday, and have now started something for moi! I am knitting myself a couple of pillow covers from this pattern. I have started with the back, which is just stockinette stitch and completely mindless. Perfect for my Downton Abby watching. And so sad that it has ended......

And although I have not snapped any pictures of them being modeled, as little Miss Phoebe has been sick for the pact two days, I have taken some photos of Phoebe's in-threes sweater, her plain vest, and her Summer into Fall jumper. I used some super inexpensive yarn for Phoebe's plain vest, and I am pretty disappointed with the way it turned out. Not that I normally use super expensive yarn, but this stuff was super cheap. Oh well. Lesson learned. I am happy with the other two projects though! (P.S.- the wonderful buttons on Phoebe's in-threes came from the lovely Taryn of Wooly Moss Roots!

Right Now I am reading The Human Age by Diane Ackerman. It's non-fiction about how humans are affecting the planet. So far I am loving it and may use it for my class next term. And, I got War and Peace back from the library again, so I am trying to plow through as much as that as I can before it has to go back again.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, March 7, 2016

A Dragon Birthday Party

This year, Phoebe decided on dragons for the theme of her birthday party. That Phoebe is pretty rad-- not many girls would choose to have a dragon party. I think it's awesome.

I don't have a whole lot of great pictures to share... in my hurry to leave the house, I grabbed the wrong lens for my camera, and most of my photos were blurry (the space where we had the party doesn't have great lighting). But, I will give you what I can!

I found some sweet dragon fabric online and (by request) made Phoebe a dragon skirt to wear for her party (I am writing this post the day after her party and she is still wearing her skirt... after having slept in it last night! I guess she likes it!). I used the remainder of the fabric to make a simple banner, and also whipped up some dragon party bags.

The party bags were filled with a miniature dragon, a dragon tattoo, and some treats.

I let my children organized the party activities. Phoebe thought up a crown decorating station. It was perfect. We bought paper crowns and got sequins and gems to glue onto them. Finn brought his foam swords and shields, and his bow and suction arrow set, and we had some knight-type games.

The best part of the party was the dragon cake. There are great instructions here. It was actually pretty easy to make, although a bit time consuming. And it started to melt a bit before we served it-- oops. But it was a big hit!

Happy Birthday Phoebe!

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Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunday Gratitudes

Happy Sunday! Hope you all had a great week. Here are a few of the things that I have felt grateful for this week:
  • Flowers, flowers everywhere! Spring is on its way!!
  • That it is no longer dark out when I leave for work in the mornings. It makes it so much easier.
  • That Phoebe's 5th birthday party was a success, and that it is over. Of course I love throwing my children birthday parties, but I am also always relieved when it is all said and done. Phew.
  • That spring break is right around the corner. We have a mini adventure planned, and I am very excited!
  • My sweet Phoebe. She is always so full of joy and excitement. It's still hard for me to believe that she is already five! I am trying to soak up my days at home with her while I can, as she will be off to kinder in the fall.
  • Hope. Life has thrown a lot of punches at me lately, but I feel like things always seem to work out. They may not work out exactly the way that I want them to, but they work out nonetheless. Over the past few months, my worries have started to subside. Instead, I feel hopeful that life will lead me where I need to go and that in the end, everything will be just fine.

What have you felt grateful for this week?

Joining in with the other Taryn from Wooly Moss Roots
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Tuesday, March 1, 2016


Someone is turning 5 today! Five! And she is so excited about it.

I, on the other hand, am stuck wondering how 5 years have gone by so fast, and if the next five will go even quicker. I am having trouble wrapping my head around the idea that my baby is five, that she will be off to kindergarten in the fall, and that my role as a mother will begin to change after that. Based on my emotions, you would think she is off to college, right?

I am so lucky to have my little Phoebe in my life. She is a firecracker and makes every day way more fun. I love how she sings. About everything. She tells me that she wants to be a singer and a scientist when she grows up, and if she makes a lot of money she will buy broccoli and green beans for our house. I love how she is constantly dancing, and has even started to do a break-dancing of sorts (although I haven't the faintest idea where she picked those moves up from). I love how she comes into my bed at some point every night, and saddles up right next to me (even though I have a king sized bed). I love how contagious laughter is for her. Anytime I laugh really hard at something, she will soon follow suit.

Phoebe is my daughter, my friend, my guide, and my muse. She reminds me how important it is to be patient. She shows me what it means to truly love someone. She inspires me with the way that she is unafraid to be herself. I have learned so much from her, about life and love, in these short five years. I am looking forward to the rest of our journey together.

Happy birthday dear Phoebe!

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