B is for Baby

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It was certainly a bookworm baby shower for Baby D and Mommy (my sister) this past weekend! An avid reader growing up, all I can ever remember my sister wanting to be when she grew up was a teacher and that is her vocation today. Her classroom and home are filled with children’s books, old and new and we thought it was only fitting to celebrate her baby shower for the new bundle of joy with a bookworm baby shower.

With a lot of help from mom, we transformed an open space into a DIY, crafty, bookworm baby shower. With 27 friends and family members attending, we had our work cut out for us. We baked and cooked all of our own food for the brunch, including three quiches, scones, french toast casserole, sticky buns, fruit and yogurt parfait. This made for a homier feel.. we also made favors for each guest; a button cookie and a bookmark to remember the day.

We spent a good amount of time on decorations and everything came together very nicely, without really needing to buy a lot of supplies. I was able to create bunting with leftover fabric and twine and blew up color copies of favorite book covers for wall decorations. I used burlap and fabric to create a “Baby” banner and took baby photos of Sam and Dan (mommy and daddy) and made them into enlarged posters. Table decor included old board books tied with twine and large confetti cut out of story books with a burlap table runner. Place settings were mismatched china from our own dish collection, one from an estate sale and my great-grandmother’s china.

Our major project at the baby shower was an alphabet book for Baby D. Each guest took a letter of the alphabet and created a page.. O for Owl, S for Safari, M for Monkey… 26 pages of love to pass onto Baby D!

Will share a tutorial on how to make one of our decorations, a bookworm made of leftover fabric, burlap and matting.. stay tuned for DIY December!

I went to the woods…

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I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. (Walden, Thoreau)

When Thoreau went into the woods in 1845, he was not seeking to escape from society and its people. He was hoping to find joy in a simplified lifestyle and to be self-sufficient. It matters not how much he spent to build his cabin or how he acquired his tools for growing his own food. He kept correspondence with the people in his life and was aware of the world’s happenings as he was merely at the edge of town.

How would we consider our values and everyday life differently if we considered our surroundings and blessings each and every day? What impact do you have on the world?

No Impact November

Go low impact this November by making alternative food and transport choices

Happy November, friends! Can’t believe we are already through part of the autumn, it feels like it has just begun.  With all the craziness in the world, it is easy to just see the days fly by and not know where the time has gone.  The good news is that we are blessed to start each day fresh and new and tackle those things that might have been too much to handle yesterday.

This November, like Novembers in the the past few years, I am trying to take a step back and look at my consumption habits and try to be more conscious about my intake and impact of goods and products.. its No Impact November!  Inspired by Colin Beaven’s book and documentary No Impact Man, which I blogged about a bit last November, I hope to take stock of the “things” and “stuff” in my life and eliminate what is unnecessary.  Beaven’s experiment was over the duration of one year with his wife and daughter out of their NYC apartment and they went so far as eliminating electricity, transportation and the actual waste accumulated by the year’s end could be contained in a shoebox top.  Why shouldn’t we be able to do this all the time?

Should you decide to join me in a self-aufit of your personal habits and work to change them, we cannot imagine that we can eliminate all the bad stuff in a few days or weeks and be done with it.  Here’s some suggestions for the process:

  1. Look at your present habits, decide what you’d like to focus on, i.e. food waste
  2. Set some goals, i.e. purchase food items within a 100-mile radius
  3. Recruit friends and family to join, make it a group challenge!
  4. Research other alternatives, i.e. local CSA, co-op, or community garden
  5. Reflect on the process and how the challenges went.. how will this affect the way you consume in the future?

Here are some ideas to get you started, try it for a week, 2 weeks, a month:

  • Food: buy in bulk, from food sources within 100 miles
  • Processed food: no processed products, i.e. chicken, coffee, cheese
  • Car: no car use for a week (get out those old rollerblades!)
  • Power: no power, no gadgets, no email
  • Waste: no trash created
  • Spending: no purchasing of new products, clothes, etc.

A challenge like this one has a funny way of bringing people closer together.  When the power goes out, what do we do?  Whine and complain, yes.  But we pull out the candles, the board games and have a grand time.  We don’t need to live in a stone age, but we need to start living within our means and consider our impact beyond our own towns, states and countries.  Would you give up water for a month?  Not just bottled water, not just tap water, but any source of water for bathing, cooking and drinking for a month.  Millions around the world don’t have water security.. what right do we have to waste?  What will you do to decrease your impact on the environment and increase your impact on people?

I hope to cook more, with less.  I hope to drive less, walk more.  I hope to power down and cheer up. This world is all we have.. what will you do with it?