Wednesday, December 17, 2008

When Someone You Love is Sick

Everyone reacts differently when you get the news that a loved one is sick. My brother-in-law is fighting for his life with brain cancer. The individuals in our family circle have taken the news in their own, unique way.

My brother-in-law is handling each moment with patience and grace. I haven't heard a complaint from him once. I was reminded of his strength after I found myself complaining for hours about my broken toe when a jar fell on my foot. Clearly I have some growing to do.

My sister-in-law has started channeling the extra stress, frustration and grief into beautiful pieces of art. She'll sit for hours with her beads making colorful creations that she hopes to sell to raise money for his care. I've snapped a pic of the bracelet she made for me. If you're interested in one for yourself, you can email me. They are $30 and the money goes directly to Jamie's medical expenses. The bracelets are made from Swarovski crystals and sterling silver hardware--sparkly and lovely.

My husband and I got busy when we heard the news, (other than the toe whining incident) and are creating a NPO called OneDollarOneLife that is intended to help raise money for Jamie and other people who are fighting cancer. The concept is simple--a lot of people can have a big impact for just a buck each. We're testing the concept to see how far a dollar can really go. Can it save a stranger's life? Can it save a loved one? Can it save your own? The site will go live in early 2009.

Life often gives us gentle (and not so gentle) reminders that our time here is not guaranteed. So, make the most of each moment, tell your family and friends that you love them and do your part to care for our earth so others tomorrow can enjoy it the way we do today.

Be smart. Be bold. Be happi.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

I'll Have a Green Christmas

Did you know that on average, we increase our waste over 25% between Christmas and New Year's? I'm not surprised with all the greeting cards, wrapping paper, boxes, bows, decorations and everything else we "treat" ourselves to during the holiday season. Christmas is my favorite time of year and I consider myself an elf in training, but want to do so more thoughtfully this year. Here's some ideas to green up your Christmas:

-Send digital greeting cards. I sent mine via Smilebox and I also love MyPunchbowl's ecard.
-If you just can't go digital yet, please recycle the cards you do get or make a scrapbook with the photos you receive.
-Think of creative ways to wrap or beautify gifts or recycle wrapping paper. I used to be embarrassed when my mom would save the paper, now I think she was brilliant!
-Think of items that can be reused--turn that cookie tin into a compliment box for the kids or hang the wine bag from a door handle to temporarily store little things that need to be returned to its place.
-Replace old-fashioned lights with energy efficient LED lights. We bought some that will supposedly continue to work even if one bulb goes out. Crossing fingers.

So Ho, Ho, Ho, and Merry green Christmas to you all.

Be smart. Be bold. Be happi.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Vegetarian Meal Planning for Carnivores

One of my biggest challenges as a mom is healthy, easy meal planning. The monotony of planning three meals, two snacks a day for the next how many years is daunting. Add a twist--I’ve gone back to my vegetarian (I still eat fish so is this technically pescatarian?) roots while the rest of my family remain carnivores. Ahh, the dilemma.

My new favorite cookbook is Dr. Weil’s, The Healthy Kitchen. It’s easy, practical and everything we’ve tried has tasted great so far. My husband and kids are NOT into anything with tofu (I’m trying to sneak it in, but it’s not working) so we are eating a lot more fish these days to satisfy their need for meat.

A friend recently introduced me to the site GoVeg and it has a ton of great information and recipes. Beware, unless you’re ready to make some lifestyle changes with your eating, don’t visit the site. It clearly demonstrates the cruelty animals endure, which is the primary reason I’ve decided to keep the pork off the fork. Actually, did you know that pigs are smarter than most 3 year olds!? Yikes, that’s scary because I have a 3 and 2 year old at home and they don’t miss a beat. My all time favorite book is Charlotte’s Web, so that’s all I have to say about that—poor Wilbur!

Being a mom is a tough job as it is, but it’s even more difficult when you try to navigate the sea of chemicals, hormones, fillers, antibiotics and other garbage that pollutes our food supply. I hope we’ll reach a point of mass awareness for the issue so we can have a solution that is less destructive and healthier for us all.

Be smart. Be bold. Be happi.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Reduce, Recycle, Regift

As the hustle and bustle of the holidays begins, it’s time to take stock of what we have before we bring any more in. With three kids in different stages and interests, our playroom often looks like a toy store that has just been ransacked. I typically have the kids fill a laundry basket with unwanted items (that won’t be handed down) and donate them to Goodwill.

Since there are so many families struggling this year, I’m coming up with a new strategy to reduce the clutter, recycle unwanted items and regift in time for the holidays. The kids will still go through the playroom and choose unwanted items, but I’m going to group them, along with unwanted clothes by age and gender and put it on Craigslist as a gift basket. My hope is to put a personal spin on helping another family out this year and make it easier on them, especially since little girls, size 3 are usually interested in dollies, dress up and play food, all of which we are giving away and might be on another’s wish list.

Hopefully we’ll be able to clean out our clutter and help other children have a memorable holiday at the same time. Our unwanted clothes and toys will be put to good use and not left on “The Island of Misfit Toys,” aka the landfill.

Be smart. Be bold. Be happi.