29 April 2008

Ode to Justin Roberts

If you have kids, you might just fall in love with Justin Roberts. Even if you don't have kids, you might fall in love with him. We first discovered his music while searching through our local library's collection of kid music. Because my kids like to listen to music in the car AND I'm also frugal, I love the option of checking out music from the library. Through this experience I've learned that there is a lot of annoying kid music out there. Let's say we've checked out 50 cds in James's short lifetime--my guess is that 40 of those have made us glad we can take it back and that we only borrowed, not bought it.

After hearing the first few songs on Justin Roberts Meltdown CD, we concluded that "Justin Roberts" must be a stage name for Zach Braff (from Scrubs) because he sounded so much like him. However, we have reconsidered our initial impression and realized Mr. Roberts is very much a unique, gifted artist and has several CDs full of lively, clever songs that my kids LOVE and I must admit I love too. He's a gifted song writer and captures the funny events in kids' lives with incredibly creative lyrics.

You can listen to a few of his songs if you launch this radio player. (Make sure you listen long enough to hear I Chalk, and Rocketship--two of his best)

We are his biggest fans. Now he just needs to add Eugene (or even Portland!) to his list of concerts. I know he would put on a good show.

22 April 2008

Earth Day, Part 3

James (my almost 5-year old)

18 April 2008

Earth Day, Part 2: Doing our part

I've come to realize that making eco-friendly adjustments in my life are easier when I choose one thing at a time to incorporate into my routine. Usually later I come to realize this adjustment has become so second-nature that I can't remember NOT doing it.

So, here are a few of the adjustments I've made this year:
REDUCE: I've stopped taking atm receipts completely and gas station receipts when given the option (since I live in Oregon and never pump my own gas, sometimes the attendants hand it to me before I can tell them not to print me one). I've decided if I really need to know how much money I have in my account after making a transaction at the atm, I can wait until I get home and check online. This is a VERY simple change, but one that saves trees, one receipt at a time. (PS--those are not my red fingernails in that picture)
REUSE: Recently we've started buying our milk at Dari- Mart (our local 7-11) in reusable bottles. Obviously we know that milk cartons are recyclable, but better to just use bottles that will go back to the dairy to be cleaned and filled with more milk and resold. Recycling is great, but reusing is better. Granted, the milk is a bit more expensive this way, but it is also from a local dairy, so we're supporting local farmers. (Plus, we get to go to Dari-Mart more often now--my boys love the smorgasbord of 35cent little debbie treats and I love the diet pepsi refills in my reusable cup.)RECYCLE: We built this homemade composter in our backyard to reduce our garbage and have fallen in love with composting. Not only are we able to throw in all our kitchen scraps, grass clippings, and leaves, but we compost our wet gdiapers, paper towels and paper napkins as well. (In fact, you might be able to see a bit of all of these in this picture). If you even have a tiny spot in your yard, I would suggest building (or buying) some sort of composter to fill that spot. You will probably find yourself, like me, completely amazed at the organic breaking down processes that take place in there. If you want to build one like this, here is a tutorial.

These are small and very simple ideas. Are you making any changes in your life to celebrate earth day? I would love some more ideas.

11 April 2008

I've gone International!

Just wanted to share the fun news that in the last two weeks, I have received bag orders from Greece, Singapore and the Netherlands. (here's your brain twister for the day: can you match the country to their flag?)

How exciting that Etsy is connecting the world and we are able to sell handmade goods internationally. It was fun to ship to these friendly customers, knowing that my bags will be carried around their towns far away. Thanks for your purchases l

05 April 2008

Earth Day, Part 1: My first canvas bag

Alisa had no idea what she was starting when, for Christmas two years ago, she wrapped up life changes in the form of canvas shopping bags and put them under the tree for her siblings. When the time came to open them, she had us all do it at the same time, I'm sure with some disclaimer that she hoped we understood the greater meaning of this gift (she probably didn't say that).

We were excited, but not exactly sure what to do with them--although we had all seen her religiously carry them in and out of stores, always telling cashiers, "I don't need a bag--I brought my own". She has often been spotted practicing and sharing eco-friendly ideas long before these ideas become mainstream. It just so happened that this one in particular, carrying your own bags into grocery stores, drug stores, ALL stores, was an idea that for me at that time seemed very doable.

It took some time, as all "life changes", if you will, do, but all of the recipients of that Christmas bag are now more conscious of bringing their own bags when shopping. After some months of introducing this habit into my own routine, I realized that one bag was certainly not enough. After inspecting the construction of said bag, I realized I could sew them and limabeanhome was born, first via eBay and now via Etsy. The canvas bags, though now joined by other purses and totes, have remained my top sellers--last year alone I made and sold over 150 bags. (Thanks everyone!).

The patterns for the bags have not changed. They are still simple, sturdy bags made of unbleached cotton canvas begging to be filled with groceries, library books, and snacks for road trips. They love to join you on trips to Target for toiletries and anywhere else you might leave with a plastic bag.

Earth Day is April 22nd. I'm not saying you have to buy my bags. If you've noticed, you can pretty much find reusable shopping bags at every store these days. I'm just saying buy some from somewhere and make that life change that I was encouraged to make over two years ago with this awesome gift. It's actually easier than you think.

Thanks Alisa. You really had no idea.