I was the youngest in my family – by 8 years – and thusly spent most of my life trying to catch up. I never loved being the baby all the time, yet always found myself attracted to older people and perpetuating my role as the baby. But this week, the delusion that I was still the baby was finally crushed beneath that mother of all birthdays (at least in my current limited perspective) – 50.
I hadn’t really paid much attention to this as a big deal, but EVERYONE around me keeps saying, “oh, no – 50 is a BIG deal.” Oh. Ok. So, I should take this thing seriously?
Growing up hasn’t been my strongest attribute, but perhaps here at the half-century mark, I will consider it more carefully . . . nah . . . that hurts my wee brain. In fact, the phrase ‘half-century’ makes me want to dig in my heels and consider how awesome being a kid at 50 might be.
50 tried to kick my butt with a big dose of phlegm and bronchitis – my big event on my actual 50th birthday was to get carted off to the doctor by my oldest daughter. My potential future as an old woman flashed before my eyes as I sat in her passenger seat and felt like a pain in her @ss. This just boosted my resolve to be healthy, stay healthy and kick some middle-aged booty, because no doubt the next 50 years will bring this scene in sincerity all too quickly – must enjoy the time between as much as possible!
I’m not big on birthdays and gifts and all that hooha (at least for myself), but the universe gave me one of the most awesome unexpected gifts I could imagine – our new furry girl, Gracie Mae. We have always had dogs and at one point in the last 10 years, we had 3 big ones – 2 newfies and 1 very large golden (over 300 pounds of serious woof love).
The last one passed 2 years ago and we have been looking to rescue another furry family member for over a year. It isn’t easy to find a large breed puppy, but my husband and I felt strongly that because of our awesome grand babies, it was important to get a young dog that could socialize with the wee g-babes and they could all grow up together. We really never considered getting an adult dog, so as the months passed, we tried to trust that we would find our new baby, and we would know her/him when we found her/him. We fell in love a million times via internet, met a few dogs (not pups) that just weren’t right and almost gave up.
But, about 10 days before I crossed the invisible boundary into the second half of my life, we stumbled (literally) into our Grace. We had seen some pics online of some newfie mix pups and were running around trying to find them and the kind folks at Eleventh Hour Rescue said we had to go to their adoption center and sign up to be first on the list when the pups came up from wherever they were coming from. So, slightly discouraged from yet another future, maybe, hopeful excursion, we showed up to sign up in person (rather than online) for these puppies, but before we got to the desk, there was Gracie Mae (whose name was Mae) sitting with a volunteer. We stopped, stood, stared, gawked and I think we both cried before we spoke because we knew she was our girl. She came right over to us, kissed us both and offered her paw politely and we were smitten. There was no question, we barely uttered words, but we all knew what had happened and within minutes, there were papers and we were shopping for supplies for our new girl.
She is 5 years old and not what we were looking for, but she was patient – unlike us – and we finally caught up. Wow! We all bonded as if we had been together for 5 years. Grace found us and her exuberant energy is exactly what this green diva needs. She is amazing. May I gush just a wee bit? Of all the dogs I’ve loved, she is probably the smartest. She embodies many of the various favorite attributes of our best dogs in one miraculous package behind those soulful, sweet brown eyes.
So, I trudge this Road of Happy Destiny* with my husband on one side, my best furry girl on the other and the rest of my awesome family all around us. What a party! If I had any thoughts of being bummed out about turning 50, they are gone. I have been salvaged – yet again – I have been recycled and repurposed. I have been rescued by Grace (Gracie Mae that is).
*pg. 164 of the Big Book (if you don’t know what this is, don’t worry about it)
Had an excellent ramblin holidaze show this week in the Green Divas Radio Show studio and am thrilled we were able to record AND podcast finally! Even though I was on the tail end of the flu and was perhaps a bit fuzzy (at least vocally), we managed to get some timely, useful and relevant information in. We may have had more fun than format, but hey, we’re all getting into the spirit – or at least trying to – right? If you want some free entertainment with your green holiday ideas, please listen to the latest podcast of the Green Divas Radio Show.
Otherwise, here are some of the highlights . . .
Green Diva Foodie Fun
Green Divas Mizar, Meg and Jamie each offered one of their family favorite holiday recipes. GD Jamie talked about her father’s traditional latke recipe. GD Meg offered up her warm red cabbage salad recipe. And GD Mizar got us really hungry with her creme caramel recipe . . . Check out the full post for all the Green Diva Foodie Holiday Fav Recipes!
Green Diva Mizar’s DIY: Earth-Friendly Holiday Wrapping
Feature Interview: Sarah Finnie Robinson of Practically Green
This week we were thrilled to have Sarah Finnie Robinson of PracticallyGreen.com on the air with us. PracticallyGreen.com is a digital tool that makes being sustainable easy, fun and stress-free. They offer common sense ways to be more eco-conscience without having to go to crazy extremes.
One great feature of the site is the ‘Actions’ feature, which provides users with really simple and practical (practically green, right?) ideas for making green changes.
PracticallyGreen also offers a product section, where they do extensive background homework on every product, so that us consumers can have some confidence that their ‘green’ purchase isn’t green marketing hype or green washing.
Some criteria for the products found on PracticallyGreen.com . . .
They have to be energy-efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions
The product must reduce its water usage
Products that claim to be organic must be certified by the USDA
The products may not contain artificial colors, flavors, processed sweeteners, preservatives, and other chemicals or highly processed additives
It’s that time of year. No matter what holiday you celebrate, it is all about home, hearth, family, sharing, reflection, renewal, giving and charity . . . and being bombarded by insane marketing hype! For me bringing light into these long, cold and dark days means minimizing the commercial aspect and being more thoughtful about what I really want to share, give and how to let my close ones know how much I appreciate them. I’d say momma earth deserves a little appreciation as well, but we seem to be hardest on her during the few weeks between Thanksgiving and New Years . . .
According to the EPA in the time between turkey and Auld Lang Syne, we here in the U.S. produce a whopping 25% more domestic waste than the rest of the year, which translates to over 1 million TONS of extra crap going into landfills every week!
I was on Ebru Today talking about a few ways to lessen the negative impact of our holidays on the environment. Watch the segment than see below for links to find out more details on what we discussed.
Here are 5 things to consider when gift-giving during the holidays – or any days!
According to the Center for a New American Dream, 70% of Americans would welcome less emphasis on gift giving and spending
Make it and wrap it yourself - 1/4 – 1/3 of all domestic waste is packaging. The estimated waste from gift-wrap and shopping bags in the U.S. is about 4 million tons (fun, easy DIY gift ideas below)
Remember to use your own bags – Remember to bring your reusable bags for holiday gift shopping, and tell helpful cashiers that you don’t need one for very small or oversized items
Send an eCard – The 2.65 billion Christmas cards sold each year in the U.S. could fill a football field 10 stories high, and while we’re still into math, if we each sent one less card, we’d save 50,000 cubic yards of paper – that’s a lot of trees folks! My favorite place to send free ecards from is Care2.com – send free cards and do good while you’re at it!
Wrap it with something useful, recycled, or repurposed - Half of the paper America consumes is used to wrap and decorate consumer products. I like using new dishtowels or cloth napkins, but here are some other fun ideas we came up with - 13 Ways to Wrap Cheap, Have Fun & Save Money
When buying a gift, consider it’s lifecycle and footprint – Ask yourself a few questions like: What is the item made of – is it made from recycled materials? Where does it come from – has it traveled very far? It is recyclable or will it sit in a landfill for an extended period of time after its current use? It is durable? Can it be used more than once?
I’m not the craftiest green diva, but I have been so inspired by some of my creative friends lately. Pinterest has become a visual buffet of craft porn and I’ve been having this urge to stop everything, run to Michael’s for supplies and get creative with so much of the old stuff lying around here. This trend in upcycling virtual garbage into nifty useable items has caught on. Yes, every year for the past decade (or two), I’ve come up with something to make for holiday gifts, but there seems to be more inspiration than ever from sites like CraftingAGreenWorld, EcoKaren and GlueandGlitter – three of my favs.
But if you are like me, you get inspired, you click, and then you look at the instructions (if there are actually instructions behind that pin) and get immediately overwhelmed. So, my awesome intern, Jamie and I have done some homework and found some DIY gift ideas that seem fairly simple and have enough information to get us non-crafty green divas into the game. Our criteria was to find things that were EASY, relatively eco-friendly, low-cost, and would make great gifts. See if any of these inspire you!
Scarf Watch Band
Seriously? This one is so simple it makes me feel stupid. And if you don’t have an old watch that has a crappy band that you can take off, they are so easy to find – and cheap. And the scarf thing? C’mon if you don’t have a scarf or two that you could part with, you might have some fabric you can cut accordingly or again, go to a vintage or thrift store and get a few (with the watches perhaps) for a small handful of dollars. Visit CountryLiving.com‘s site for a mess of great green DIY gift projects, including this one.
This one is a green-diva-tested AND approved project. I happened to have a lot of random teacups, but I also found some inexpensive ones in vintage and antique shops. I made a couple of dozen of these for holiday gifts a few years back and kept the one you see in the image here for myself. I found some good instructions for this on Martha Stewart’s site.
Ornaments Out of Salt Dough
Here’s an easy way to make some salt dough ornaments. You can get creative in finding shapes, making impressions, finding words, using pretty ribbons . . . wide open with endless possibilities here and couldn’t be much easier. In fact, you probably have all the ingredients in your pantry already! This one comes from a great site, MakeItGiveIt.
Altoid Tin Turned Biz Card Holder
This one might have sparked this entire post. Our sister site, CraftingAGreenWorld.comon the Important Media network offered this one recently. I liked it because you can customize it so easily – and of course, ‘easy’ is the key, right?
Placemats from Used Plastic Bags?
My buddy Becky Striepe is the queen of creating upcycled crafts! Who else would’ve thought of this one! This fun idea can be found with simple to follow instructions (yea!) at her wonderful site GlueAndGlitter.
for 5 more EASY DIY gift projects for the non-crafty Green Diva, go to TheGreenDivas.com
Whether you’re shopping for the father of your children or you’re shopping for your own father, giving a green gift is the best thing you can do. Not only is it smart, environment-wise, if you do have children, it’s a great way to set a good example for your children and can even become a way for you to train them from the earliest ages.
Skip the charcoal grill or the power-draining espresso machine. Not sure where to start? No matter what “kind” of dad you have in your family, here are some top green picks that you can pick and choose from! …read more of Last Minute Father’s Day Gifts here