Wondering what you and your kids can do to preserve the earth? In case you need help getting started, here are some simple suggestions in honor of Earth Day,.
Create a situation where some small person in your house can be the boss of all things recycling. In first grade, Madeleine's school created a special program where kids were specially selected to monitor energy usage at the school. Kids as young as six and seven went from classroom to classroom to audit the habits of the teachers as well as their students. Were they remembering to turn off lights when they left the room? Were they recycling properly? Madeleine was delirious to be chosen and happier still to have a clipboard and pen to check off the boxes. This responsibility taught Madeleine plenty about what simple measures are required to save energy, and she's a regular know it all when I try to tell her why it's important to care about conservation and recycling.
Introduce your kids early and often to the wonders of gardening. Nothing says love the earth like a garden in your own backyard. If you (like me) have no green thumb to tackle a full fledged garden, consider container gardening on a windowsill or back step. We might not be able to keep tomatoes alive in the ground, but we can do a bang up job with a pot full of basil or mint. Helping kids have a first hand experience with growing something is a very tangible reminder that the earth is a living, thriving planet that must be protected for the good of all.
Become the kind of family that walks, bikes and hikes together. Kids (like the rest of us) can forget that there are many forms of transportation that do not require us to participate in excessive gas consumption. Walk whenever possible and make a point of creating little adventures along the way. Start with short distances and choose the simplest mode of transportation available whenever possible. Carter's science education in kindergarten made him very aware of the impact cars have on the planet, so we make it a special point to walk whenever possible.
How does your family preserve the planet? Your comments welcome as always. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter as we continue to give away books in honor of the Kid Art Auction. Art above by Declan, age six.
Josiah was way excited when I told him about the Kids Art Auction for Earth Day which is the brilliant idea from a fellow kid and artist, Declan. My budding artist knew exactly what he wanted to create. Origami is one of his favorites so he set out to make a paper world.
We ended up together in the boy's tiny bathroom staring at the brightly colored world vinyl shower curtain. I knew that thing would be educational some day. We discussed continent placement and proper geography. He was very proud of his work in the end. I was too!
Gather your kids, make something wonderful to submit to the auction! Tweet about it, or follow us and win something earthy and fun for your earth Day celebration! Don't forget to check out Eekoworld with your kids for more green goodness.
We are a little obsessive-compulsive over here about littering. Okay, maybe I'm the crazy one. There was this one time that I may have pulled my car over to go retrieve a candy wrapper that flew out the window. Hey! We only have one earth. We need to take care of it. I seem to have passed this on to my children because someone in my family was very concerned when I threw a strawberry stem on the lawn just the other day.
It was a great opportunity then this weekend to take part in our neighborhood cleanup day. I didn't think there would be much to clean up. Unfortunately the boys were able to collect about 3 bags of trash down at the end of the street. They were so pumped up by the time we got home because we had made a difference where we live. Now if only I could get them to be so enthusiastic about cleaning their rooms.
Also, you can check out Halle Stanford, the great mind behind Sid the Science Kid over here.
Earth Day is just around the corner and here are some ideas for teaching your kids about being better stewards of our planet. Don't miss our great giveaway at the bottom of the post.
1. Plant a garden. Everyone's doing it. Even the First Lady was out with elementary kids planting a new garden at the White House with herbs and vegetables a few weeks ago. If you live in an apartment, your kids can start a herb garden by a window. We have even grown tomatoes inside. My kids? Their father had them out in the rain the other evening because the seed potatoes had arrived and they just had to be put in the ground. Thirty minutes later everyone came back into the house, muddy but happy.
2. Start a compost bucket. No reason to fill up the trash can with items that can be "recycled." In our house we have an easy-to-open bucket that is easy-to-seal as well (important because you don't want your house to smell). Every morning the boys add the coffee grinds and egg shells to the bucket all by themselves. When it fills up, it gets dumped in the compost pile in the back (full of grass clippings and leaves}. After proper seasoning (determined by the expert, my husband), the compost gets turned into the ground in our garden.
3. Fly a kite. Funny idea, right? There is a method to my madness. Derek took the boys kite flying and used it as an opportunity to get some of their energy out and to explain alternative energy sources such as wind turbines. He also has an idea for connecting a small motor to a bicycle to have the boys generate power for some of our house but that's still in the works. I'll let you know when it happens.
4. Buy local. There is nothing that tastes better than a tomato that has just been picked from a vine. Not all of us have a green thumb (or space for a big garden), so heading out to your local farmer's market on the weekend is a great way to get super-fresh vegetables AND support the people who farm in your area.
5. Have your kids draw a picture or make a painting and contribute it to the Annual Kids' Day Earth Auction. This year PBS Supersisters are lending a hand on Earth Day and inviting you to join our kids in submitting art to the Annual Kids' Day Earth Auction and bidding on your favorite finds. This year all the proceeds go to The Nature Conservancy and in honor of the auction we'll be giving away a book a day from the delightful Barefoot Book series. All you have to do is follow us on Twitter (pbssupersisters) and help spread the word about the auction. We'll select a new winner from our Twitter followers everyday for the next nine days.
More information available here about being part of this great cause.
Normally, I would lift up my shirt and take a picture of my pregnant belly, but it seemed kinda weird to do over here and frankly, I'm a little creeped out about my outie belly button that miraculously appeared when I was 10 weeks pregnant. The Baby was like the size of a quarter at that point and I had an outie? Odd, I know.
This weekend was a busy weekend for us. We had a birthday party for the boys yesterday (more to come on that on a later day) and then I had to work a wine festival on Saturday. While a majority of my sales for my small business involves selling my tees online, my friend Wendy has opened my eyes to the world of craft fairs and shows. Opened my eyes in that if you attend a craft show or a fair, you apparently are there to spend money and if it is indoors, you are a relatively captive audience.
So there I was on Saturday in my little booth, selling away. I imagine in a perfect world at 36 weeks pregnant, I would have foregone this festival this year and waited until next year when things, I'm sure, will be SO much less complicated (hahahahaha). But thanks to this being the year that the dollar is not quite stretching as far as it used to stretch, I found myself under a mound of shirts, looking positive and cheerful and sales-y.
I had a FABULOUS day and sold out of most of my stuff. That is always good. But I had to pay for my successful day.
A kindly older gentleman stopped at my booth as I was sorting things out. With the air of an OB, he said, "You know, when you are this far along, you really should be at home in bed with your feet up on a Saturday."
My response? "If only Dominion Power would agree with you on that one rather than sending that pesky, 'we really weren't joking last month when we sent you that bill so you should pay us already' notice." We all laughed and he wandered away, enjoying his delicious looking Pinot Noir as my ankles swelled another 1/4."
His heart was in the right place and it was a lot nicer comment then the woman who stood three feet away from me and pointed me out to her friends and yelled "LOOK AT HER! SHE'S ABOUT TO POP!!!" In case you were wondering, I was NOT behind glass so I could hear her perfectly. She was (and this is lucky for her) outside of my swing range.
People mean well and we have all had a moment when our social filters are a little less effective than they should be. Share the best comment you have heard (said to you, said to a friend or, gasp, said yourself by accident). I know there is nothing to win today other than my undying love, but comment anyway.
Wasn't I cruel to make you wait for Friday's winner AND the grand prize winner announcement? HEY, I have heartburn. Cut me some slack. In the awesomeness of random number generator, our winner of the Philosophy Recipe Box was Commentor #1--Ann. Ann whose comment was thanking us for being a winner the day before. Ann, your lovely manners won you yet another something!
And the grand prize winners???? We made Jean pick the winners. We figured it was kinda like picking up your million dollar lottery winnings at the corner stop-and-rob. Everyone KNOWS you can only get your scratch off winnings THERE. You have to meet the BIG PEOPLE to get the BIG PRIZES!!!
Carrie wins the Graco SweetPeace (from her comment on Feb. 4 at 10:10 on the post Sing Me the Wintertime Blues) and Jess wins the HP Wireless Printer (from her comment on February 9 at 10:27 on the SuperWhy Super Giveaway post).
Thanks so much for everyone's participation. Don't ditch us because rumor on the street is that we are going to have a BIGGER giveaway right around the corner. Seriously. Trust me on this one.
Happy Valentine's Day, all you supersisters and superdads out there surfing the web on this notorious day of love! Isn't it too bad that it's not required that grownups get the names of all the other grownups on their street and have to sit down for three hours at the dining room table and sign your name to store bought (or homemade) valentines? Can you just see yourself picking the pink one for Anne and thinking that this one is waaay too mushy for Bob who always picks up your paper across the street? If only the instituted thoughtfulness of Valentine's Day could be par for the course your whole life long.
Well, there's nothing stopping you today, my friends, from sending some anonymous love to the people that you greet when you're walking down the street--thank you Sesame Street for permanently etching that song in my brain forever. Here are some love-filled ideas along with some inspiring links to help you spread the love, no matter what's going on at your house.
Love Notes to the City. This little idea sparked a lot of love and hope in not only my town but so many other cities (and countries!) around our globe. Take those leftover valentines that the kids didn't use yesterday, sign them from "the friend you haven't met yet" and leave them all over the bathrooms, bus stops, fitting rooms and deli counters in your neighborhood. I promise someone out there will be so very glad you did.
Need to salvage Valentine's Day from Hallmark? Wrench this commercial holiday free from all the store bought expectations and find out that love is alive and well at your house after all. Kindness girl (aka supersister Patience) has some great Rx to make your day great even if you-know-who is showing now signs of remembering the big Love day.
Feeling blue about all the love you lost or suspect might be permanently missing? You might be way more normal than you think. Superhero and mom Andrea Scher writes about a recent encounter with some dear friends who helped her see that when it comes to love, we're all in this together.
And last but not least, some of you out there are harboring big dreams that someday you will do something big and unexpected, something that will honor your life with your kids, something that will give you a chance to be wildly creative. Well these down-to-earth mamas in Richmond are inviting you to get out your video camera and tell it like it is when comes to love, life and most especially birth. Ricki Lake of the Business of Being Born is judging, so this is sure to be good, good, good. Not to mention filmmaker Abby Epstein.
And thank you all for participating in the Supersister Valentine Giveaway. Grand Prize Winners to be announced...
Oh, there are so many questions that I'd like to ask, but i'm going to keep it simple tonight. You are all very creative and crafty and i'm wondering if you have any great ideas for some fun winter crafts.
Well Christa, I don't know how crafty we are but we sure are required to get crafty in the dead of winter. Or maybe we get a little crazy?
Here is one simple idea of craft fun with some things you probably already have in your pantry somewhere.
All you need are some marshmallows, big or little will do.
and some toothpicks, my kids like the colored kind.
The boys went straight to building structures, while Lucy stuck with making a very long snake.
General joy follows as it always does when marshmallows are involved.
You know what is good for parents in the dead of winter? a long soak. Check out today's
very excellent giveaway.
This lovely recipe box for relaxation from Philosophy could be yours. Leave a comment telling me your favorite hot drink,(chai latte anyone?) and one lucky person will be announced the winner tomorrow.
Yesterday's winners of the 4 videos were Danyelle, Kari, Ann and Katrina. And remember that every day you leave a comment you get a chance to win that awesome Graco Sweetpeace or the HP Wireless Printer.
See this little face? This is the face of my trouble. Bless his heart, yesterday was Nathan's birthday. He was very confused because we took cupcakes to school the day before to celebrate his birthday. This birthday thing with kids is very complicated. He didn't go to school on his birthday. So for two days he was very confused about the whole thing.
He wasn't confused enough to turn down a random cupcake here and there. In fact, he kept telling everyone else "Happy Birthday" for two days. I think he was thinking it was some sort of new holiday that we were celebrating with cake at every meal.
His brother, however, was ONLY on the cake plan and not necessarily on the birthday plan. Ethan's birthday is on Sunday but he has already gotten into the swing of the week long birthday celebration. So much so that he decided to help himself to cake today when I was lying down. Then he helped himself to the container of frosting. Next up, a cake mix. I know. Did anyone see that coming? A half of a bag of chocolate chips later and I finally realized what was happening.
He was on such a sugar high that when I yelled at him (oh, you know I did), he began to scream. Really, really loud. It was really, really ugly. Suddenly Nathan's happy birthday was not so happy anymore. I felt horrible because it was my fault for leaving him alone in the living room while I took I nap. I know, I know. Sometimes you just need a nap and who ever thinks their child will eat a powder cake mix during nap time? When we picked Derek up at the train station, I was crying, Ethan was crying and Nathan was singing Twinkle, Twinkle at the top of his lungs.
It is funny. Nathan wasn't upset and his special day wasn't ruined. He turned 2. He never noticed that we took his special dinner to go and brought it home and he never noticed that his birthday "cake" was a leftover cupcake from his party the day before. He never noticed that his older brother lost his mind on sugar. All of my expectations for the day were slightly wilted but Nathan didn't care. Look at this face. How many times do you think we as parents let our expectations get in the way when our kids could not care less? I'm guessing more often than I would care to admit.
Share your birthday "FAIL" with us and you'll get a chance to win one of two Cyberchase DVDs or a Jay Jay or Sagway DVD (along with some fun other things). And remember that every day you leave a comment you get a chance to win that awesome Graco Sweetpeace or the HP Wireless Printer.
Kudos to Leticia for winning the ABC Activity Card set yesterday!!
To be perfectly honest, our family has been going through a hard time over the last year. Old bonds that once felt bedrock have fallen on more difficult times, and we are each in our own ways feeling the pain of unsolved problems and shifting expectations and roles. If you've ever had a major upset in your own family, you know exactly how painful a time like this can be. The worst part so often is worrying about your kids and wondering if they are really okay and if your own failure to work through your own problems is ruining them forever.
I know from experience that no one is fooled when you try to put on a good show and that no matter how hard we try as parents to shield our children from every sorrow, it's a mistake to think that our job is to make their lives problem-free. Struggle is a part of being human, and having someone on your side is a gift that can actually heal, especially during times when we feel most alone.
The other night I asked one of my children what was helping the most during this hard time in our family, and what immediately came to the surface was how comforted this child felt in the happy house of a dear friend. All the things missing in our family at the moment were present in the home of another and somehow that kindness was lending comfort and courage. My heart broke knowing I was unable to offer what was needed from our own family, but I told this child with all sincerity how deeply glad I was for this gift of compassion at such an important time. This sweet child of mine drifted off into a peaceful sleep, clearly relieved to confess how much was missing, but also glad to know that I could hold the truth, no matter how hard or how painful it can sometimes be.
It's not everyday I would share a story as personal as this one, but I'm aware today that for every blissed out Supersister there might be another in a secret, quiet struggle. Know today you really aren't alone in this, and that even when times are incredibly hard, our love for our children and our humility around our failures are offerings more powerful than we can begin to imagine.
No matter what is going on at your house, you can still leave a comment to be entered into our SuperSister Valentine Giveaway. Grand prize winners will receive a fancy schmancy HP Wireless Printer with all the bells and whistles or one highly coveted SweetPeace from Graco. Comment today and you could win some lovely ABC cards pictured here. Add your own kind thoughts in the comments and together we'll weave a nice thread of encouragement for everyone today who needs it most. And before I forget, the winner of yesterday's giveaway is Libby!
Every morning since the new year, I have had this catchy little song in my head. Things, for some reason, really feel brand new. This newness seems to be catching on to other areas of our lives. Everyone in the family has decided to try something new.
Lyra is rolling.
Lucy is potty training.
Jack is taking a tree climbing class.
Josiah took up pottery.
I started photography.
Jorge just had his first guitar lesson last night.
"Papa got an electric guitar? That is so cool!" Josiah said last night with a rockstar light in his eyes. They sat on the couch playing with the guitar while Lucy turned the knobs of the amplifier.
Jack has been scaling doorways "practicing" for the next class while I take pictures of anything and everything. Lucy changes oufits and underwear at least 352 times a day. I can't decide if she will ever potty train or if it's just about her future career in fashion design.
And Lyra rolls and rolls and rolls. And everyone cheers. Every single time.
All of these new experiences from young and old bring a certain energy to the house. I'm realizing we expect the kids to try new things but I decided it's good for them to see us following our creative dreams too.
It's all very Electric! Speaking of electric, today's giveaway is an awesome t-shirt from the favorite show of everybody's childhood, The Electric Company.
This t-shirt could be yours. Leave a comment telling me what new thing you would like to try if you could. It's a new day, anything is possible.
The fabulous winners of the Super Why videos and activity books are Selfish Mom, Leanne, Anna, Wife and Mommy and The Bearded Lady.