Friday, October 26, 2012

Why Being a Tourist In Your Own Town is Cool

EcoYogini brings you on a virtual tour of the colours of Nova Scotia and why you should be a tourist in your own town....

Part of why I love Autumn is all the beautiful colours in the maritimes. When we lived in BC I really missed all the reds and oranges as the majority of indigenous trees were pine and yellow leaves only.

Since Andrew and I don't have lots of money to travel on cruises or down south (it happens a lot here in the maritimes, escaping the winter weather), we've decided to take opportunities to enjoy our own province!

Last weekend, Andrew and I along with two friends and their 3 week old baby (he was so good!), drove down to Wolfville and Kentville in the Annapolis Valley region of Nova Scotia to see the gorgeous, fiery forests, hop a few vineyards and see a few pumpkin people!

(sadly, no photos of the pumpkin people, but basically every year on a theme, the people of Kentville create these scarecrows with pumpkin heads scenes on their lawn. This year was Pixar- it was kinda creepy yet fun!)

Our first stop was at JustUs!'s main roasting building. They were the first organic fair trade coffee bean roaster's in Nova Scotia and they have a little museum all about Fair Trade and Organic certification (and coffee bean growers), including these FRENCH comic strips which I thought were hilarious. I love living in a country where we have two official languages!

Then we stopped at Luckett Vineyards (first of four that we checked out. Nova Scotia has more than a dozen little vineyards!). The view was gorgeous, vineyard, farmland and then the Bay of Fundy!
We stayed for some delicious, local and healthy lunch, tasted some wine (no fee!) and explored their vineyard.
Because randomly, this vineyard has a red tartis phone booth in the middle of the vineyard...

Where you can actually call ANYWHERE in North America for FREE on the rotary phone... Yep. Just because. We all called our parents. We are such great children.
Also fun was that during wine season the town of Wolfville provides a "Magic Winery Bus" Tour on Saturdays and Sundays that vineyard hops... I love that it's a 'clin d'oeil' to the "Magic Schoolbus"!


Although this red existed in BC, it was always in yards or cultivated areas. Here, these reds and oranges take over the hill side, making the entire wooded areas look like they are on fire. 

This is Grand Pré Vineyards, named after the region: Grand Pré which is the origins of the story "Évangéline" and where the British rounded up the French Acadian settlers who had been in Nova Scotia for over a 150yrs to announce their deportation. It's now a UNESCO site.


This is the church (and Andrew standing in front of the Évangéline statue) where it the deportation was announced in 1755... effectively destroying thousands of peoples lives. I'm descended from the only village allowed to return and reclaim their original lands... Before this weekend I had never had the opportunity to visit Grand Pré, I was surprised just how much it meant to me.


Yep, being a tourist in your own village is fantastically fun, easier on the gas miles (and carbon emissions) and a way to reconnect to your local community.

This Autumn, consider vacationing in your own town, province or state. Be a tourist. You'd be surprised just how much fun you'll have!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Ketchup for health

In which Truffula explains how nearly every pot and bowl in the house was pressed into service... at the same time...

In our state, Health is one of the required subjects for homeschoolers.  One of the ways we fill that requirement for the TruffulaBoyz is by taking it to their tummies.  We cook and learn about nutrition. This year, we're taking a more focused look at fermentation and its uses and benefits.

The mamas in our small coop got excited about the prospect of learning about kefir, kombucha, and kraut.  However, our childrens' collective attention was likely to zoom right out the door at the mention of those lovely ferments.  I thought that the word "ketchup", on the other hand, might cause ears to perk up.

This is how I ended up with 5 boys in my not-so-big kitchen, slicin' and dicin' ingredients for their very own batches of lacto-fermented red stuff.  5 cutting boards... 5 paring knives... 5 mixing bowls... 2 compost containers for gathering their scraps... 5 stirring spoons... lots of measuring spoons... and 4 pots.

Yes, 4 pots for the 5 kids.  To make the experience more "advanced" for TruffulaBoy the Elder, the oldest guy in our gang, I assigned him a different recipe.  His recipe was raw, and avoided the cooking step.  To make his batch, he had to step through the ingredients and instructions on his own (with lots of consultations along the way).  Also, before he did anything, he had to work the math to halve all of the ingredient amounts.

Excitement built as each boy announced that he had assembled and stirred everything he needed in his bowl, transferred his batch to his pot (or not, in the case of the raw recipe), jarred it, and carefully labeled his  product. Then came the disappointment: the waiting period!  It would take a few days for the bacteria to work their fermenting magic...

Here are the recipes we sampled:

Which recipe is better? They are both good.  In our family, each of our cooks deemed the one he made to be the tastier one.  Of course.  I found the additional spices in the "Lacto-Fermented Homemade Ketchup" to lend a more complex flavor to the end product.   I also have another ketchup recipe in the wings for even more taste comparisons.

Happy eating!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A Day in the Life of the Grownup Grad Student Soccer Mom


A suburban greenmom throws in one last “day in the life” post…
I never got a “day in the life” post up during the month of October when we were focusing on that here at the Booth, which itself is telling in terms of what kinds of days have been in my life lately.  But I wanted to do one anyway, since my days appear to be a sort of marked contrast to other Boothers…
I am currently a full time graduate student, pursuing my doctorate in music in the hopes of finding a university professor type position somewhere down the line.  This is my second of two years of course work; next year will be about exams and orals and the dissertation. My university is 35 miles away from my home, and the degree program is structured so that I have to be there five days a week, every week.  It’s been a huge adjustment for our family of four, who was accustomed to having Mom working ten minutes from home on a flexible schedule—a big change! Now I can’t do the general schlepping of kids to activities, I can’t stop at the grocery store on a whim when we are out of something—I’m out of the house 10-15 hours a day, five days a week. It’s kind of insane.
We get up at about 6am, and the four of us manage over the next hour to get cleaned up and dressed, eat breakfast, gather school stuff, and get out the door.  I make lunches for the kids, depressingly unvaried and all-too-often relying on one of those little plastic pre-packaged cups of yogurt (but I’m trying to move past that), but otherwise waste-free. My husband drives me to the train station and the kids to the pre-school child care center, and then takes himself to work. In the evening he will reverse the whole deal.
I get on one of the fairly fast-moving express commuter trains into the city, where I get off one train, walk three blocks to the next station, and get onto another. Usually I am able to spend this time studying or preparing for the day, which is a far cry from sitting in traffic, and driving would cost me—I calculated it—about $16-18 per day in gas and tolls, before even factoring in parking.  (If I had a Prius or something it would be way less, but I have what I have.) The monthly Metra pass is way cheaper. It takes about 2 hours door to door when you count transit to the actual train station, as opposed to maybe an hour twenty driving in average rush hour traffic, but it’s time I can use, and I’ve gotten fairly attached to it. (Today, I’m using it to write this blog post!)
Where I fall off the wagon is when I stop at Dunkin or something on the days I didn’t get coffee in the morning at home and/or know I won’t have time to go to the nice little fair trade coffee shop with my re-usable cup at any later point in the morning. But usually I do okay and can avoid the disposables. I walk from the Evanston train station to the music building; my first class is another half mile from the music building, so I then hike over there. During a typical day in school I walk about 2-3 miles without even trying, and if there are extra trips to the library it may be more. I will lose about 4 lbs. this quarter without even trying, and will gain a good bit of stamina and strength; I have never been one to “go to the gym” to work out or get exercise, so when I can structure the exercise into my daily life, it makes a huge difference in my overall well-being. (I’m convinced this is why New Yorkers tend to be thinner than their suburban-can’t-walk-anywhere-for-practical-purposes counterparts, especially here in the Midwest.)
I spend two hours in advanced band conducting, where 18 students take turns conducting the rest of the group (a motley crew with something like 3 tubas, one oboe, a few clarinets one of whom plays the trumpet part, a violin, and a couple of pianists attempting to play percussion) while we are videotaped and the teacher keeps a running commentary of what we’re doing wrong so we can go back and watch it later, and cringe at how idiotic we look. (This is a huge exercise in humility!)  Then I trek back to the music building; the choral department is lucky in that we have a little fridge and microwave in our communal office, so I usually bring a container of soup or stew or something leftover from a previous dinner. Since I don’t have anywhere near as much time as I used to for stuff like, oh, cooking, when I do it I try to make it count, and I make a lot. Today I have a nice mushroom and barley soup with a little fresh dill from our CSA box this week; tomorrow it’ll be chili. I invested in a bunch of water-tight-seal containers from www.reusit.com; yes, they are plastic, but I’m afraid to bring glass jars to school with all my trainschlepping and bopping around with a soft-sided backpack. These couple of hours are my time to eat and study, and I try to use them as well as I can.
Most afternoons, for a choral conducting student, are pretty much wall to wall rehearsals: one group I sing in rehearses 2-3:30, and another group that I conduct goes 4-5:30. A couple days a week I then usually have to get onto another train into the city (this time it’s the ordinary Chicago Transit Authority “el” train) to go to my last rehearsal of the day, after which I drag my heavy butt and even heavier backpack home at 10:30 at night or so. The other days I reverse the ordinary commute and take the train back out to the suburbs, where my husband and kids pick me up at the train station once again. Some days it’ll be early enough that I can cook something and we can have dinner together; others my husband is on for cooking for the kids and I get picked up at 7:00 or so.
Nuts. Insane. But honestly, in a weird way—I love it. For one thing, just knowing that I made a choice to follow a dream, and am doing the muscle work to make it come true, gives me enormous satisfaction. And as much work as this all is, it’s mostly work I love. (Even being critiqued on video for some of the weirder flail-y conducting moves I occasionally fall into.) And I’m learning a lot—not all of it about music.
I’ve learned to put my “Mom-time-management” skills to work even more than ever. (You know how once you have kids, first you go insane and feel like you are getting nothing done, and then in the ensuing couple of years discover that you’ve learned how to do in 20 minutes what used to take two hours?) I’ve found that if I use every available during-the-day hour to work and prepare, every between-classes break, every minute of train-time, I can usually come home at night and just Be Mom—make dinner, help kids with homework, listen to stories of the day, and so forth—all the stuff I used to take so much for granted or even get bored by. Now I really don’t want to miss it.
It’s exciting, as a returning student, to see how much technology is at work in making education both easier and less paper-intensive and to learn from my much younger counterparts who have been steeped in it all their lives: many articles and books are available as online full texts, and most teachers simply post handouts and syllabi on the university course management website. Students are more likely to take notes directly onto their computers. In one of my conducting classes last year, a lot of people wouldn’t even play music from printed parts; they would just look up the music online, download it to their iPads, and play directly from there. (Yes, I know, it would take a lot of paper to compensate for the resources that go into making one iPad, but it’s a step!) Printing costs; scanning on any university machine is free to email to yourself as an attachment or save to a flash drive. Paper is becoming obsolete on campus.
I’ve learned how to get through the day with less stuff. Being committed to public transit is odd and unsettling—I basically have to spend the day with all of my daily belongings literally on my back, not even having a car to dump stuff in. This has had a really positive effect on my tendency to amass More Stuff: it only takes a week or so into the new quarter before I start re-evaluating how much of this stuff I really need today. And that pack gets lighter and lighter.
I’ve learned how incredibly important it is to have the support of a community in trying to do things in a smaller, lighter way. If I didn’t have a hugely supportive partner in all this, I could never do it. My husband is amazing, making this adjustment with great grace and willingness, both in terms of taking over most of the kid-schlepping and, even more, in sharing responsibility for plain old keeping track of stuff.  He comes from a very traditional-gender-roles kind of upbringing, and this cannot be easy for him, but he’s my hero. And it’s not just him, either—our friends, both in school and out, have been wonderful about helping each other in a pinch—watching the kids for twenty minutes if there’s a gap between one parent’s departure and another’s return, giving me lifts here and there if I’m caught without a train (on those late nights, one friend regularly drives me back home from the city), carpooling to this or that child activity, and things like that. Knowing we can all be there for each other and share the load is huge, and not always easy to come by in this world where often one might not know the neighbors’ names.
These are crazy-long days, and I’ll be incredibly relieved this June when it’s done and I won’t have to do this any more, because I’m pretty much exhausted all the time. But I like discovering that the brain is a muscle like any other, and that the “mommy-mush-brain” I thought I was stuck with forever after my kids were born doesn’t have to be a permanent state; the grey matter now seems to be firing better than it ever did before. And I love the fact that my kids get to watch this, to see that adults can follow dreams, go to school, make hard choices and follow through. I love sitting at the kitchen table in the evenings while my kids and I do homework together. Yes, I miss trips to the farmstand for tonight’s dinner, leisurely walks around the neighborhood, and being able to combine a day of applesauce cooking and canning with a day of work-at-home on my computer…
But this is still pretty cool.
Jenn the Greenmom

Monday, October 15, 2012

Costume Swap: A Greener Halloween

The Climate Crusader de-cluttered, scored a free costume and prepared for a greener Halloween on National Costume Swap Day.

Swapping my Way to a Greener Halloween

Our old costumes
With Halloween rapidly approaching, many parents are on the hunt for costumes. In Halloweens past I have done it all - I have improvised costumes using items we already had on hand, I have sewn costumes from scratch, and I have bought pre-packaged costumes at a discount store. But this year I came across an idea that may just be the most environmentally-friendly yet: a costume swap.

National Costume Swap Day happened on October 13, 2012 in the United States and Canada. The idea is simple: you bring one or more clean, used costumes. Then you trade them for someone else's clean, used costumes. It combines de-cluttering, re-using and saving money, which are some of my favourite things. Plus, it's a chance to get to know other people in your community.

Frugal, Sustainable and Fun

My little Woody
We brought four old costumes that my kids no longer wear to our local swap. My daughter, who is very firmly decided on her Halloween costume this year, did not find something to fit the bill. My son, on the other hand, scored a great Woody costume, which he hasn't taken off for two days. He is thrilled, and I am, too, because before we attended the swap he was changing his mind at least once a day. Now he's decided, and I didn't have to spend a dime. I also got to see a little girl who was very excited about one of my daughter's old costumes - it was very win-win.

While National Costume Swap Day is over for 2012, now that you know about it you can keep it in mind for 2013. Or else you can organize your own informal swap. Empty out that old costume box that's gathering dust under your stairs, round up some friends, and prepare for Halloween the easy way. Or, if all else fails, refresh your costume box with some cool new pieces. It's green, it's affordable, and best of all it's fun.

Where do you get your Halloween costumes? And what's your favourite tip for a greener Halloween?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Overshare: Google Diagnosing Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding

EcoYogini overshares in the hopes that she is not alone...
(me three years ago, pre yoga class near the atlantic ocean...)

After six years of resisting I just google-diagnosed myself with DUB.

*Warning, this post is an overshare in the hopes of opening pathways for discussion and sharing. Too often women don't talk about these things, resulting in feelings of aloneness and hopelessness*

Because my OBGYN sucks, the internet tells me that I'm probably a weird combo of ovulatory DUB with the anovulatory symptoms. Yay special!

Let's back track seven years down uterine memory lane:

Seven years ago, mid to end of my Master's degree at the age of 24 (ish) I began experiencing mid-cycle spotting here and there. I went through a few bloodwork tests, but student health care as it is, kinda chalked it up to stress and let it go.

Fast forward two years and my 'here and there' spotting was becoming a regular occurrence. More bloodwork (which I hate btw, taking seven vials of blood from someone who feels nausea at the insertion of a needle isn't fun), ultrasounds and a diagnose that something was up with my cervix the options given were:
1) go off the birth control
2) IUD
3) live with it. (nice eh? that is actually what she said).

Two years after that it was so bad that, with the support of my husband, I decided to go off the birth control pill.

Three years of no birth control pill and my cycle now resembles: 6-8 days of no period, 2-7 days of spotting, 7-10 days of full period. It's awesome. Hmm. Seems I was misdiagnosed.

Over the past seven years I have become an expert on the DivaCup. That invention has saved me boatloads of money and made this situation so much more bearable. 

It took almost 2 years of brow beating my family physician that maybe a referral to an OBGYN, some bloodwork and ultrasounds might be beneficial. You know, in case I had a cancerous tumour. She only listened when I mentioned I might want a baby one day. Who cares about the fact that I have the most effed up periods ever. The bloodwork and ultrasounds (external AND internal) took about 5 months to get done while an appointment with the Gynecologist took 6 months.

Wouldn't you know all the tests came back normal. Yay no cancer! So, another procedure that was terrible, invasive and hurt like hell (mostly because I am a big baby with the pain tolerance of 0 and a tilted uterus) and big fat tears quietly ran down my face the entire time, was where they dilated my cervix, inserted the camera and inserted a saline solution to check for malformations in my lining. Zilch. Woo. #Neverdoingthatagain.

So my follow-up appointment in September resulted in a conversation that went like this:
OBGYN: "So... everything looks normal. I'm not sure why this is happening to you. I don't know what else I can offer you."    Awesome.

My new options that are not even guaranteed to work:
1) IUD (not recommended since I want to get pregnant in a year and it will be as painful as the Terrible Procedure... AND it might not work)
2) birth control pill (tried every company out there, they don't work).

Do you think she'd give me a label or reason for why this is happening to me? I only got the term 'unstable uterine lining' out of her, which was enough for Google. According to Google I have 'Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding' or DUB. There are a variety of reasons of DUB, which I don't really fit most of them because mine has been so long AND I ovulate (whereas the majority don't).

I really didn't want to Google my medical diagnosis. I believe in the Health System. I believe in the fact that certain medical professionals (NOT my family doc, she is terrible) have advanced knowledge on how to interpret and diagnoses medical and evidence based information. Now I see that unless I want to go invasive (ablations, C&D, hysterectomy...wtf??), I'm stuck with this. Even pregnancy won't fix it.

I write this post as on day eight of my Yasmin generics, I discover I am spotting, that Yasmin has a lawsuit against them for 3x more at risk for scary blot clots causing serious health damage and I received a follow up appointment letter with my OBGYN.

My Plan:
1. Cease the birth control pill tonight...mid month-three. I have tried every single brand under the sun, I don't want blood clots and none of them worked anyway. Eff that noise.
2. Make an appointment with a Naturopathic Doctor tomorrow. Whatever if the OBGYN thinks I'm crazy, she couldn't give me anything and it's covered by my insurance.
3. Write this blog post so other women who are also experiencing this in their twenties and early thirties don't feel alone and scared... like I do.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Unprocessed

From the laundry basket of the Homegrown Mama 

 How many of you are participating in the October Unprocessed Challenge? We did it last year as a family in an effort to get ourselves back to the routine of eating healthy and without convenience foods. To tell the truth, it had been a slippery slide back into the middle aisles of the grocery store, pre-packaged foods and freezer meals galore.

Last year's challenge gave me a lot of confidence and got me in the habit of trying to make my own condiments. If you're looking for recipes that you can make right in your own kitchen and store in your own cute (or functional) glass jars, you've come to the right place. I will tell you that once I started making my own, I was almost a little bit angry. Greenness aside. Frugality aside. Processing aside. This is EASY! If you're a little apprehensive of walking away from Kraft bottles and the Hellman's jars, make a smaller portion so in case your results aren't what you were looking for, you can wash out the jar and try it again.

And also, if you're looking for cute jars, hit those thrift shops! I got my jars from my grandmother's basement, but I always keep my eyes open at the Salvation Army and garage sales. 

Do you have any go-to recipes for condiments, salad dressings, dips that you rely on? 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Eco-Friendly Fall Decor from Etsy

I love decorating for fall and even got some pumpkins today from Whole Foods. Fall decor just makes everything seem so cozy to me. One of my favorite places to get decorations, and everything else, is Etsy, so I thought I'd search some cute things I've found.

Reusable Fall Banner from FabricsandFonts

Soy Candles from BellasBobbles
(I love the cinnamon apple scented ones)

Cloth Napkins from MaryLittfin

Book Pumpkin from AnthologyOnMain

Fall Wreath from janejoss

I just love the great items you can find on Etsy, they are so unique and I love supporting small businesses. If you have found great eco-friendly fall decor on Etsy, post your finds below.

Photo Credit: The photos are property of the store owners.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fall Favorite: Sweet Potato Bisque




Temperatures are getting cooler and I'm seeing more and more squash at the farmers market and in my CSA bag. This easy soup (from a friend of my sister) is one of my favorite ways to use up sweet potatoes. This was a favorite baby food of my second child.
Sweet Potato Bisque
1 T vegetable oil
1/2 c chopped onion
2 t minced garlic
3 med (or 2 large) sweet potatoes (abt. 2 1/2#) peeled and cut into 1" cubes
4 c vegetable or chicken broth
1 med jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (optional - I usually leave it out to make the soup more kid-friendly)
1 c fresh or frozen corn kernels
2 T molasses
1/2 T kosher salt
1/4 t ground cayenne pepper
1/4 t freshly ground black pepper
Scant pinch ground cinnamon
Optional garnishes:
Finely chopped green onions, green parts only
Sour cream
Freshly chopped cilantro or parsley or chives
  1. In large saucepan or soup pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; saute until just soft, 2-3 minutes. Add sweet potatoes and broth and bring to a boil.
  2. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, puree contents of pot, in batches is necessary, until smooth.
  3. Reheat soup, stirring in (jalapeno,) corn, molasses, salt, cayenne, black pepper and cinnamon. Taste, adjust seasonings and serve, topping with green onions, sour cream and/or fresh herbs. 


This is the hardest part: peeling and  chopping up the sweet potatoes.
I often make a 1.5 or double batch so we have lots of leftovers.

I use my immersion blender to puree right in the pot.

I love it with green onions, parsley or cilantro, and sour cream. Yum yum.


Also delicious with toasted homemade honey whole wheat bread (toasted) or a loaf of crusty white artisan bread for dipping.

What is your favorite fall soup?

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Day in Emerald Apron's Life

Although "Day in the Life" was last month's theme, I never got around to writing about it last month, so here goes! I'm only a few days late.

 2:00am - Wake up to visit the bathroom. Everyone else in my house is soundly sleeping.

 4:00am - Wake up to visit the bathroom. Did I mention I'm 34 weeks pregnant?

 5:30am - Alarm goes off and my husband gets up for the day. I snuggle up with 2.5 year old Joshua for a little bit more. We slept with the windows open last night so our room is very cool and it feels great under the blankets!

 6:00am - I get up and get dressed. Debate for a moment which black maternity pants to wear along with the top I chose last night. Daddy takes Joshua downstairs to get dressed in the clothes I laid out for him last night.

6:30am - I'm dressed for work, my hair is done and I have make up on. I grab our lunches out of the fridge and pack our bags, then quickly throw together breakfast, gulp down some orange juice and help Joshua brush his teeth.

6:45am - We're in the garage! Joshua is buckled into Daddy's truck and I climb up to kiss him goodbye. I get into my car and head out, listening to my Hypnobabies Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations. I'm still skeptical about Hypnobabies, but I'm trying to be open-minded and follow the program. I eat my English muffin with cottage cheese while I drive.

7:10am - I pull into the parking lot at work while repeating an affirmation: "I deserve to have a peaceful, easy birthing time." Grab all my bags, brush the crumbs off my belly and lap and I'm ready to go!

7:25am - I've made it to my third floor classroom. The first block of the day begins, but this is my preparation period. I find the handouts I need to xerox for today and head down to the copy machine on the first floor. Not surprisingly, it's broken. I head to the back up copier on the second floor and chuckle at the sign on the door "I'm broken. Please go away." Back to the third floor, to the teeny copier for emergencies only in our science department office. Broken! The other emergency copier across the hall in the assistant principal's office is out of toner. Finally, I remember there's one in the math office I can use, so I head there. Thankfully it works!

8:30am - I get back to my room and organize my lesson plans for the day. I write the objectives and warm ups on the board, sort through some seeds for my botany class and have just enough time to snack on some yogurt and a banana before class starts. And visit the bathroom!

9:00am - I have AP Environmental Science this block. We are designing experiments about eco-friendly lawn care to be done in our classroom greenhouse. I allow students to talk about fertilizer, watering, mowing, and encourage them to think about how they'll keep everything constant and collect quantitative data. When they have their plans set and I've double-checked that they're not planning anything dangerous, we head into the greenhouse to plant our grass. We have just enough time to plant and clean up before the bell rings. 

10:30am - Now it's time for Botany. We are also planting in the greenhouse today, but we're choosing vegetables and flowers to grow. My students carefully select their seeds and plant them, then return to the classroom to answer some reflection and analysis questions. I snag a colleague to cover my classroom so I can visit the ladies room. Some students need to finish the microscope from the previous lab, so I set out the materials needed to make slides from onions, pears, potatoes and peppers. I hand out a review sheet for the text next class, and we spend some time reviewing together. I snack on some nuts and dried apricots discreetly between talking with students. My stomach is growling!

12:00pm - Lunch! I visit and chat with my colleagues while enjoying my sandwich, which a twinge of guilt that I'm not doing the October Unprocessed challenge this year. I just can't find time to bake my own bread! An apple and a hard-boiled egg round out my lunch. I'm trying to follow the high protein diet recommended by Hypnobabies. Oh, someone brought in oatmeal cookies? Don't mind if I do!

12:30pm - Time for another AP Environmental Science class. We get to design our labs and plant, too. 

2:00pm - The greenhouse is a mess thanks to all the planting today, but there's no time to clean it! I have some physics students who need help with trigonometry and vectors.

2:45pm - I'm alone in my classroom. I take some time to gather supplies for our rocket launch lab in physics tomorrow and write the objectives and warm up on the board. It looks like it will rain, so I make a mental Plan B if we can't go outside but realize I don't have time to type up a formal lesson plan. Fingers crossed for good weather!

3:00pm - Back in the car driving home and reciting Hypnobabies Joyful Pregnancy Affirmations. The CD ends about 5 minutes from home and I'm thrilled to listen to the radio for the rest of the trip, until I realize all my stations are on commercial. Oh goody, traffic!

3:30pm - I run into the house, throw in some laundry, brush my teeth, grab an apple for a snack and head back out for an appointment with my midwife.

4:00pm - The waiting room is packed but fortunately I brought some tests to grade and even remembered my favorite purple pen.

4:40pm - It's finally my turn, and I don't even mind that I'm not done grading the essay questions yet. I get weighed (I've gained 23lbs so far) and my blood pressure measured (120/70). A short wait for my midwife, then I get to hear my baby's heartbeat with the Doppler. We chat for a few minutes and then I'm back on my way home.

5:15pm - I come home and my husband and son are here to greet me! Joshua excitedly tells me about the fun he had at the beach that day with his grandma. My husband heads up to take a quick shower since he's covered in sawdust. Joshua wants to play baseball... in the house? Sure. But somehow it turns into a game of fetch for me...

6:00pm - Daddy is back downstairs and it's time to cook supper. He distracts my little helper with more baseball so I can cook: salmon topped with pesto, mushrooms stuffed with spinach and walnuts, green salads, and macaroni and cheese from a box. I'm not perfect! But I am thankful for my weekly grocery delivery so I don't have to visit the store or lug everything home myself.

6:45pm - We're done with supper and Daddy starts to clean up and do dishes. Joshua and I sit down to read some books for a little while. Is this the first time I've sat down since the waiting room at the doctor's office? Oh, no, I sat down for 5 minutes to eat.

7:15pm - I pack lunches for tomorrow. Joshua will be in daycare, so I need to make sure we have a check for tuition and that he has a clean sheet and blanket for nap time.

7:45pm - I head upstairs to listen to my Hypnobabies script for the day: Deepening Hypnosis. The boys watch some TV while I'm upstairs. I get to relax deeply for a half hour!

8:30pm - My CD is over. Was I really hypnotized, or did I just fall asleep? I never know, but I figure either way it's good for me. Time for a quick, 5 minute bath for Joshua.

9:30pm - We've read books and snuggled and told stories and done our best to relax, but Joshua is still awake. I text Daddy, who is enjoying some alone time downstairs, to ask him to come sit with Josh so I can take a shower. I start to realize that I may not get to blog my "Day in the Life" tonight!

10:00pm - I get out of the shower and find that both my boys are asleep, snuggled in the big bed. That works! I quickly pick out clothes for tomorrow, braid my wet hair and hop into bed. Oh, shoot, I didn't get to do my prenatal exercises today, and I didn't get to blog, and I didn't get to finish grading those tests. Oh well, there's always tomorrow. I decide to read on my kindle for a little while.

11:00pm - I'm up later than I had planned, but I finished my book. Night night!

This will be my last post here at the Green Phone Booth before my baby boy is born and I take a little maternity leave from blogging (and work). Please feel free to visit my personal blog, Farmer's Daughter, where I promise to at least sparsely post a little about my new baby when he arrives!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Eating Local for Canadian Thanksgiving

With Canadian Thanksgiving just a week away, the Climate Crusader is planning a local feast.

I'm Canadian, which means that for me Thanksgiving is just a week away. And as I prepare for this annual feast to celebrate the harvest and give thanks for all I have, one of the things that I like to focus on is eating local. While I'm not a hard-core locavore, I do take steps to reduce my food miles. There are a number of reasons that I try to eat local.
CSA share all laid out
One of my weekly CSA share deliveries

Why I Eat Local

  • Food that travels thousands of miles from the field to my plate has a higher carbon footprint, thanks to all the time it spends on the road.
  • The closer to home that my food was grown, the fresher it is when I eat it, generally speaking. Because traveling takes time.
  • By eating local, I'm supporting local farmers, which means that I'm helping to ensure regional food security.
  • When I source local food, by learning how to garden, visiting farmers' markets, and participating in a CSA, I'm connecting with my local community, which just feels good.

Cranberries!
Cranberries!

What Will be on my Thanksgiving Table

Hopefully I've made a good case for eating local, but that doesn't answer the big question - where do you get this food? When I first started out, it felt a little bit overwhelming. Here's what's on my Thanksgiving table this year, and where I got it from:
  • A local turkey, ordered from my organic grocery store
  • Cranberry sauce, made with cranberries and honey from my farmers' market
  • Cheese from my farmers' market
  • Potatoes, carrots and beets from my CSA
  • Seasonings like onions, herbs and garlic from my garden
  • Pumpkin pie, made with a pumpkin from my CSA
  • Local wine, from the liquor store (we can't buy wine at the grocery store in British Columbia) 

Posing with our Thanksgiving pumpkin
My daughter with our Thanksgiving pumpkin from a few years ago

Start Small

Changing your eating habits can feel overwhelming, so I suggest starting small. I think Thanksgiving dinner is a great time to do it, because it's just one meal. Maybe trying to create a completely local meal is too much - but you can always commit to even one or two dishes. Stop by your local farmers' market, if you have one. Check out a farm-gate store. Read labels at your grocery store, to see where the produce comes from. Or think ahead to next Thanksgiving and plant a garden. I like to believe that even small changes, over time, can make a big difference. So try eating a few local food items, and see where it takes you!

What's your favourite local food item - and where do you get it from?

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