Digging In

So, the day that I shared this garden plan with you, I happened to be busy at work lugging picking up supplies, prepping the soil, and planting the darn thing. While I still have some more outdoor chores to tackle (*ahem*flowerbeds*ahem*), I’m ecstatic to have this checked off the list. After all, it can’t grow until it’s in the ground…or, in this case, the raised beds.

The drawing I showed you Monday, of course, got changed a little bit. As with all things, life seems subject to availability, doesn’t it? So, I grabbed 8 (9, although I didn’t end up using the last one; will keep it for next year) bags of organic dirt and some peat moss (as my mother calls it “poor man’s fertilizer” — although I always assumed that’d be manure), then headed out to get plants.

First, I ventured to a local joint, T&J’s, to see what they had. I got a handful of marigolds (wish I’d gotten a second tray, but whatevs) and two types of lettuce, then headed to Lowe’s. I would’ve hit up a couple of other local places, but I was on a time crunch and trying to avoid Memorial Day parades, so this was my last stop. This is where I had to hit the brakes on a couple of the veggies we were hoping for.

So, due to lack of supply, we cut out the peas (we were late planting those, anyway) and added a couple of squash plants and cucumbers (my husband’s new favorite water flavoring). I grabbed six bell pepper plants rather than, um, a ton (two red, two yellow, two green…like a stoplight) and juggled around the arrangements a bit. I also didn’t get any potatoes, but since those wouldn’t be ready until the fall I’m still considering them.

Here’s a pictorial play-by-play of how it all went down. (And feel free to use my example as a guide, but remember that I’m a trial and error type of gardener, so don’t blame me if something goes wrong!)If you already have raised beds, weed ’em. If not, build ’em. (This is the closest to how we did ours, although in hind sight we would have build them taller. Ya live, ya learn.) Yup, those are weeds, not veggies…

Then, rough up the bed and spread that dirt. We add a few bags every year to each bed; this year, we added FOUR bags each.

Oh, and that peat moss. Mix that in.

Sexy Band-Aid, lady.


Then, I like to take the plants out of their containers (unless they’re biodegradable) and place them where I may like them in the beds. This way, I can move them around and adjust accordingly BEFORE they’re in the ground. I also try to take into account what the packaging/tags say regarding distance from other plants and so forth.  

Then, dig your spot, plunk the plant in, and cover that business with dirt. I gently tamp it to ensure that any larger stalks are able to stand straight. It’s really pretty self-explanatory and simple.

Pretty cool, huh? So, in each of the four corners, I planted three different types of jalapenos. (Must say with inappropriate accent.) In the middles I planted four marigolds, but kind of wish I’d doubled up on both types of plants to evade cat and bug attacks.

Since the back bed is full sun (but still gets less of that super hot afternoon sunshine with a fence and tall bush/tree thingies behind it), I planted my romaine and “mixed” salad greens on the left, a cucumber in the middle, and two tomato plants (which will take over the planet if given the chance) on the right.

In the front, I planted the three types of sweet bell peppers on the left, some carrot seeds in the middle (hence lookin’ all empty), and the two squash plants on the right. And, in all honesty, I thought I was grabbing a squash and a zucchini, so this pissed me off royally.

I’ll be sure to provide some updates (weekly? Bi-weekly? Monthly? Does anyone caaaaare?? ;-)) to let you know a) how it’s growin’ (see what I did there?) and b) if the neighborhood cats win the battle. You know what I’m saying, right?


Oh, and it’s SO silly easy to plant plants that, of course, we made a video. I mean, how could you not?

Moderately Green

Am I the only 32-year-old who’s still trying to find her identity in a super awkward way? I hope that my son can see me as a fun, silly, intelligent, independent, take-no-guff sort of woman. He may be young enough still to naively see that, but I’m scared that he’s going to see me as the un-hot mess that I feel I truly portray on a daily basis…any day now.

Just puttin’ that out there. Am I alone? Maybe. And that’s okay.

To add to the un-hot messiness and my lack of real identity — I don’t identify as a librarian (although that’s technically what I am, in a school setting), I don’t identify as a 30-something most of the time (I’m still 12, right? Or am I 80?), I don’t identify with a million other things; I only truly identify as a wife and mother — I’m green. Er, well, I try to be green. I try as much as my oft-zapped energy will allow. And life sometimes gets in the way of that.
Thing is, seeing the levels of “green”-ness out there, it’s easy to deal with the dreaded green guilt. Actually, this happens in most areas of life these days — competition. It’s mostly a female thing, it gets greater and greater when you become a mom (WHY IS THAT?! As Arrested Development‘s Gob would say, “C’MON!!!”), and it can get overwhelming. Soccer moms. Urban moms. Christian moms. Heck, doggie moms.

“I did *such and such*.”

“Oh, yeah? Well, I did *a such and such deemed greater thing*.” {Thinks to self, “I’m the best.”}

It’s a thing, and it sucks.

It’s not always stated openly this way, but just seeing blogs and Pinteresty ideas and such things, it’s hard not to get dragged down that you’re not doing enough.

Like…for instance…I’ve failed at some of the things that a green mama might use to generally identify herself as a green mama. Our diapering situation never took a turn for the cloth. It just didn’t. I used them a bit, but it never stuck. (We have used eco-friendly dipes all through, but still, I’d have preferred cloth.) Next time around, we’ll do them, I swear. But it just didn’t happen this time.

Baby wearing never stuck, either. Or baby led weaning. Or co-sleeping. Or probably 30 other things that the cool kids are doing. They just didn’t work for us.

I try not to feel badly about it, and I’m really learning how to not feel “Less” anymore. This really is a HUGE thing for me in every aspect of life. I’ve had self esteem issues f-o-r-e-v-e-r, and saying “I’m sorry!” for everything has become the norm. So, I’m working on apologizing less, taking responsibility only for myself, and not letting the judgments make me feel — you got it — Less than anyone else. That’s capitalized for good reason, by the way.  

Which is why I love contributing to Green Child Magazine. It never feels like work. I’m able to learn about topics that are directly important to me, and can often write the pieces pretty quickly out of sheer excitement. Currently, it’s an unpaid gig, but that’s fine to me. I’m “meeting” (virtually…do we still use that term, virtual?) some incredibly genuine, dedicated, talented, kind women in the process, and what’s better than that? No, really. What’s better? Good people are hard to find.
I mean, what’s better than this article (written awhile back, but still one of my faves), which pretty much sums up the fact that NO ONE’S doing it perfectly. No one’s living the “greenest” life. Whatever we’re doing…it’s good enough, until we decide to do more. At least we’re doing SOMETHING.

So, I’m happy with the things I do. Which, come to think of it, are plenty.

I’ve chatted with y’all about green guilt before. A few times, actually. But, it’s always good to return, especially now that I’m a mama…and green mamas be some of the coolest (yet competitive) ladies on earth. I’m trying just to be “enough” in my own book, and the best I can be for my family and the future of the planet.

Now, off to research essential oils. 😉

Garden Drawing

It was a casual Saturday afternoon while the baby slept and it rained depressingly cold outside. I was sick of the immobility of winter, the constant laziness, so I picked up a pad and pen and insisted, “What do you want to eat this summer?”

Pulling poor Dave from his own restful thoughts, he gave me a list. “Well, tomatoes. We don’t really eat cucumbers. Maybe peppers?” Before too long, I jotted down the items we’d be growing. On the top of the page, I drew two rectangles — the main event (raised garden beds) — and a few smaller circles — potted plants to be located at a later date. Maybe near our garage, maybe one our deck.

This is what we came up with…

Hard to look at a bit, I know. Sorry! The asterisks are for marigolds or oregano (funny, we don’t each much oregano)…or maybe thyme, which are all good for keeping pests at bay and adding nutrients for the other plants. Oh, and pretty. They’re pretty. The jalapenos are for eatin’ but also to keep pests (namely, the neighborhood kitties) away. The numbers of the other plants are up for debate, but they’re a good starting point. The bell peppers are so “plentiful” because I’m hoping to have a few kinds.

Oh, and I’m also thinking of putting up some sort of short fencing to keep things looking orderly (and, yes, keep pests at bay).  

Last year, we tried to grow all of our raised bed plants and herbs from seed with middling success. (We also had a couple of hand-me-down tomato plants that took over our front porch.) If I had the space/capability of starting my seeds indoor without risk of cat interference, I’d be all over it. But, a few years ago (we’re talking pre-Jasper), Winston took matters into his own hands…and we remain a “let’s just buy the plants” family. Maybe some day.

I think half the battle when gardening (whether your gardens are massive fields of food or a tiny container set-up) is admitting your boundaries. Don’t over-buy, but don’t underestimate how much you can grow in a small area. Bringing this sketch along will help me to remember approximately what will fit where. It’s all in the planning.

While sketching, I also brought up a chart similar to this one on my phone to determine what plants work well together. This way, I knew that carrots and tomatoes could be in the same bed without fighting each other off. I also took into consideration that the tomatoes like to take things over, and since they’re a high-growing plant I put them in the back so that the carrots will *hopefully* still get enough sun. I’m also going to try to be obsessive about caging them this year. Good stuff to think about.

So, as I write this, I’m anxious to get my hands dirty. In Upstate NY, it’s wise to wait until the end of May to plant anything (frost abound), and I’m jealous of folks I know who have already been out working. We’ve had some crazy arse weekends that have left us with minimal time and/or energy to get much done. I mean, dude, I haven’t even weeded yet. It’s jungle city over here.

I’ll keep you posted on our garden journeys (anyone ever hear that phrase before? Our local news station has a segment called “garden journeys” and I always wonder if that’s a “thing” or if they pulled it out of their you-know-whats), and do tell — what are you growing this year? Anything?  

Clean Out the Fridge Burrito

That title makes this meal sound absolutely nauseating. Sorry ’bout that.

We had a handful of items floating around (read: taking up awkward space) in the fridge recently, so I threw together what turned out to be a tasty (and super-filling) lunch. Seriously, make a side and this could easily be dinner.

And, since my pictures were too massive to make a GIF (oops), here’s the exact play-by-play. You don’t even need a recipe. Just start with a tortilla (whole-wheat, in this case) and put whatever you want into it. You don’t even need to heat anything up before assembling; just throw it in the microwave for 2-3 minutes (or more, if it needs it), and voila!

Side note: For mine, I used leftover rice, black beans, corn, rotisserie chicken, some salsa and a sprinkling of cheese. Feel free to sprinkle with some S&P or cumin and chili powder for some kick. Even add more veggies — cooked broccoli or asparagus would be yummy.

‘Kay. So, here’s the pictorial recipe. I won’t even talk. Promise.

*Lets out air* No idea why those middle ones wouldn’t turn to match the rest for me, sorry ’bout that! But, seriously, who else is impressed by that one-handed burrito folding??

Oh. Just me, then? M’kay, that’s cool. Well…hope you try it and like it — and the clean fridge when you’re done!


Remember saying that when we were kids? “I-C-U-P!!!” So mature. So very, very mature.

Anyhoo, today we have the story of three sippy cups. (Or, at least that’s what we call them. Sippy cups.)


We have #1, The Original. Our favorite.

I’m inclined to say that these are all Nuk brand, but the ultimate issue here is that they change styles so. Damn. Quickly…who’s to say? What the Nuk.

So, yeah, Numero Uno. Two in a pack. No BPA (‘cuz homey don’t play that). Ultra squishy, silicon mouth piece sucker thing. Easy to use (no lining up of this with that 14 times before getting the lid on properly — believe me, we’ve had those). Great for a teething Monkey who likes chewing just as much as drinking.

Er. Juice. And milk.

We loved these. But, of course, when it was time to pick up another pack…none to be found. *sigh*

On to #2. Or, as I like to call it, The Dud.

Note The Original peeking over its shoulder saying, “You’ll never be as good as me. NEVER.” He’s right, y’know.

Everything about these cups is the same — the handles, how the top screws on, the cute designs, the colors. Except for, of course, the most important part — the sucky part. (Literally.)

See, this one was COATED in some silicone-type material with a solid form on the inside — hence being less squishy and more rigid. Apparently when Monkey tried to chew…he did a little too well. Yeah, I don’t know how much he ingested, but I’m pissed about it.

*sigh* So, we went on a hunt last weekend. We didn’t care about the cost. We didn’t care about the brand. We just wanted a squishy sucky part!!!

The woman at Babies R Us asked several times if we needed help. Apparently the intensity of our brow furrows and super serious conversation were cause for concern. “No, no,” we dismissed. “We’ve got this.”

Picture us trying to squeeze through packaging to see how squishy the mouthpieces were. Strange, strange people. The weirdest part is that the Monkey in the cart just sat there, quiet as a mouse, fully accepting of the absurdity his parents were displaying.

This is what we came up with. Let’s call it “Sure, That’ll Do.” Because it’s not The Original, but it’ll do. Not perfect, but fine. And, these days, fine is awesome.

It was a bit of a gamble, actually. We THOUGHT it had a squishy sucker part…but weren’t sure. But, yay(!!!), it does! The cool feature about this one is that it has a part that flips to cover the mouthpiece (ie save the inside of our diaper bag), and Monkey’s not the sort (anymore) to put that piece in his mouth if he happens to pop it loose (which he IS the sort to do). It even recesses into the lid when open, which is pretty neat.

Plus, he uses it. If you don’t know this about kids, they’re verrrrrrry particular. Like, “I won’t drink for a week+ if I don’t like the receptacle. Deal with it.” (Not that we’d let him go a week…but, yeah, they’re stubborn beasts.) So, that’s half the battle right there. Getting him to USE it.

Side note: Why does my kid NOT like chocolate milk? I mean, he’s not a big milk drinker in the first place, but when I add chocolate it’s like I’ve OFFENDED him. Like. Huh?? Maybe it’s a girl v. boy thing? He prefers sourness (pickles) and cheese, I guess.

So, anyhoo, these are my trials and tribulations of recent sippy cup usage. If I gave you the whole story from bottle to bib to sippies, we’d be here for a month. Seriously, I’ve got a bagful of once-tried sippy cups and bottles in the basement that never made the grade. I keep them in case they agree with a future (less finicky?) kiddo.

I won’t say that kids are super picky people, because aren’t we all kind of picky in our own ways? We like what we like. Kind of like cats.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

A Bust

I knew as I wrote Friday’s post that my buoyant optimism was probably a jinx. And it turns out I was right.

Hell of a day, but the worst part was the death of my FIL’s aunt (with whom he was quite close). I didn’t really know her, although I feel terribly for the family. Trying my best not to be bummed and to be understanding (I succeeded at one of those things…), we ended up eating out at a family-friendly, non “local” joint since Dave’s parents were our original Hadley sitters. Won’t even say where, but (still feeling awful for their loss and not wanting to let any selfishness win over) I was bummed.

We had ended up making reservations once again to “The Tailor and the Cook”, which is pretty much the staple for local farm-to-table high-end cuisine. Had it been a usual date night (also, had it not been Food Revolution Day), I probably wouldn’t have been as disappointed. But, as they say on Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, “If something goes bad, turn it around…find something good!” (You have to hear it and sing it about 50 times before it becomes a part of your being. Forever. Dave and I sing it all the time.)

So, the next day, we packed up the car and headed to the first of the outside farmers markets for the season at the Utica train station. We go a handful of times throughout the year; Hadley loves talking to random strangers and getting acquainted with the trains, we like cultivating a relationship with the vendors and woman in charge of the whole shebang, and we stock up on yummies.

While we didn’t get many veggies (ramps…yeah, scallions aren’t a veggie, right? Maybe? So just ramps), we did grab some nice meat, a growler of homemade beer, and a variety of homemade cheeses. The heavy rain from the day before gave way to a beautiful, if not warm, day. We ran a few more errands and I licked my wounds sufficiently.

Looking forward, I can’t wait to have a FRD “do-over.” It might or might not be at “The Tailor and the Cook.” Until then, I’ll just see what I can whip up with my local ingredients.

Did anybody do anything cool for Food Revolution Day? Do tell!

megactsout on instagram

Well, howdy there! Happy Friday to y’all! It’s supposed to be a super rainy one in our neck of the woods, but ’tis fine. We’ve had a gorgeous string of sunny, warm weather, so it’s all good. (Unless you’re one of the brave few who have to do a charity ride today; in which case, I am SO, SO SORRY!)

I’m excited because I have a half-work day followed by a half-meeting day, then hopefully a date night with the hubby. Mind you, a half-meeting day for me entails meeting up with some awesome librarians, getting a break from the craziness at my school library, and learning something new. Never a bad thing.

And that date night? Hopefully taking place at a local food-serving joint to celebrate Food Revolution Day.

See? What’s not to love about the day? (Don’t answer that. I totally just jinxed myself and SOMETHING horrific will happen. #karma)

I thought I’d put my feelers out there and see how many of you use Instagram. Random, I know.

I’m a fan, although during the school year I seem to use it far less. I started a year ago (June 2nd, to be exact, with a picture of us meeting former NY governor Patterson) when I got my iPhone and have enjoyed grabbing candids and using funky filters along the way. Nope, I’m no purist.

My favorite thing about Instagram is the protection. You can’t save or repost other people’s pictures…unlike naughty Facebook, where friends (or even Facebook) can use your likeness (or your son’s, grrrr) all they want. It’s also great to have all these awesome shots in one place.

I have realized recently that, although I’m a mama to an awesome almost 2-year-old (and have the pictures to prove it), I’m still a super proud kitty mom.


And food. I’m totally a food-picture-taker, especially Hadley food.

With a few #TBTs thrown in for good measure.

Not a fan of the selfie. The fact that my mother, just this week, used the term “selfie” blew my mind. (At least she’s never taken one.) Regardless, still not a fan. None of my likeness was made to be photographed, particularly in an awkward self-induced angle. Just not built that way, I guess.

The funny thing is, I’ve overheard the exasperated conversation of “Who needs Facebook AND Instagram AND Twitter??” Well, um, me.

See, I don’t use Facebook religiously; we have a love/hate relationship, after all. When I do, I post a blog update (shout-out, FB checkers!) or see what’s up with friends. Once in awhile, I’ll re-post something…but it has to really hit me enough to do so. I’m not a huge fan.

So, when I feel like sharing a random thought or opinion or quote or something…I turn to Twitter. It feels like it’s less likely to be criticized or misconstrued when it goes off into the Twittersphere. Plus, the best part of tweeting? You can follow celebs. And, of course, by celebs I mean @iammrvandy (Dick Van Dyke!), @jamieoliver, or @PBSKids (yes, that’s one celebrity, in my book). There are a million more, but those are the ones that interest me. 😉

And Instagram is my safe little photo stash. I only follow a minimum amount of people so it doesn’t turn into an overwhelming Facebook-like crazy place, and I enjoy seeing what people come up with. Not to mention, my brother-in-law’s images are INSANE. Just awesome.

So, how about the rest of y’all? Any Instagrammers in the bunch? Do you like to tweet? I’m still getting the hang of all of them (and I know I haven’t discovered the full power of the hashtag), but I can see the value. I can, and it’s pretty cool.


This is kind of an emotional post for me to write. Not for you to read, just for me to write. Please bear with me, and apologies for the lack of super dorky graphics.

Hadley and I have been nursing (“I” because it takes both of us…can’t nurse him sleeping, can I? If so, I never figured out a way ;-)) for various periods of time for just shy of 22 months. I declare this number because just at the end of last week, I finally decided to have a talk with him.

See, I had no idea how to ween him. He had gotten down to one pre-bedtime nursing session (a very brief one, at that) and one extended middle-of-the-night/early-AM nursing session (which generally took a good hour to hour-and-a-half out of my sleep schedule nightly…if I could get back to sleep, argh). During the day, he had moved on to watered-down whole milk and juice, and plain ol’ water, so I wasn’t pumping anymore.

I realized that he was going to continue on with the nightly sleep deprivation until college until he understood that if he needed it, I’d be happy to get him up and nurse, but that if he was doing it for some unknown internal reason, he could sleep through it if he wanted.

So, during one of the pre-bedtime sessions last week, I chatted with him using the sweetest language I could muster, thinking that a) I was quite possibly borderline insane for thinking he’d comprehend and b) I was a horrible mother for taking this experience away. I still feel a deep twinge of sadness over it all, but let’s just say that a miracle happened. He stirred a bit at his usual “get up and nurse” time, but fell back asleep after a brief back rub, not to awaken again until the morning.

Next night: Even better, no stirring.

Following night: Same. Happy Mother’s Day, Mama!

Sunday night: A touch of whining, but back to bed like a champ. (Of course he awoke a bit; it was a school night. Why wouldn’t he get me up?)

Noticing a trend? We’re still doing our very brief, pre-bed “snack”, along with a heartfelt mother-to-son chat about whether he wants to get up for a nurse later on, but the killer middle-of-the-night wake-up calls have pretty much stopped. One night, he sat up wide awake and I chatted with him about it — he didn’t really want to nurse, he implied (yes or no questions are da bomb), so I explained that it was time to go back to sleep. Head down, eyes shut, bam. Asleep.

It’s almost (pretty much) the end of an era. I kept hitting milestone points. We made it to 12 months. We made it to 18 months. He’s hardly gotten sick, hooray for breastmilk.

So, why am I still feeling guilty that I’ve ended it? There’s a badge of honor amongst nursing mamas these days — not all, mind you, but a handful — that the longer you do it, the more…I don’t know…the better(?) you are.

At the same time, I try to remind myself that this is what works for us. I wasn’t planning on having a 4-year-old still regularly nursing. Our nursing wasn’t much about comfort for Hadman, either (different kids do it and use it for different reasons; he never sought nursing out when he was emotional or upset or hurt). I’m proud that I was the first woman in generations of my family to “make it work.” And I still hold firm to the belief that if it doesn’t work out for you, it’s NOT your fault, and you can only do what’s best for you and your family.

Not that there’s one “best” that works for everyone. Or that my “best” is better than yours. It’s not.

It’s just mine. And ours.

Happy 22-month birthday, Hadley.

Partying Simply

Last Wednesday, I revealed my plans for Hadley’s second birthday party (which will be in July). Can you tell I’m a tad excited about it??

While I was typing up that post, I thought about all the things that we do to try to keep the festivities eco-friendly. Mind you, in all things green, I think we’ve plateaued at a nice medium kelly green; not mint green (not at all eco-friendly) but not even bordering on dark moss (practically living in the woods). It’s a place we’re comfortable being. Our efforts are still there and have become a habitual part of our lives, but we don’t sweat it if we have to use a paper towel once in awhile. Y’know?

So, that said, I thought I’d share a few of the *simple* tricks and tools we use to keep a birthday shindig more about the monkey and less about the ozone.

Reuse, reuse, reuse. I don’t expect every guest not to use wrapping paper, but if I can, I recycle it. (I WILL love you forever if you bring a gift bag. That’s almost all I use anymore. Perfect for reusing!) Our decorations this year will also utilize the poufs I hung around last year (if they’ve survived), probably along with a handful more that I’ll make new. The sign for “Hadley’s Party” I made last year will be tapped into the front lawn again, too. So, any decorations you make or buy, consider whether they’ll have a future purpose, or can at least be recycled (hello, crepe paper!) when you’re done. I’m also going to hit up the thrift shops to see if they have any yellow or blue curtains or sheets to use as tablecloths (may or may not work, but we could use them in the future, too!) Heck, I even saved the party hats I bought last year. I’m turning into a grandmother from the Depression, I swear.

NO BALLOONS ALLOWED. Again, I don’t expect everyone to follow this rule, but as far as my decorating goes…nada. Hence the poufs. Those things are SO scary to me. I don’t want them near my kid (choking hazard) or in the landfill (SO VERY BAD for animals, you guys!!!). If someone gifts one (usually the Mylar kind in the shape of something), it’s fine, but I am a hawk about watching Hadley with it. Plus, I take it out ONLY when I can watch him, then put it in MY bedroom closet. Seriously. It’s Fort Knox up in here.

Use whatchya got. This goes hand-in-hand with reusing decorations. With the ducky theme this year, we’ve got a handful of rubber duckies (although I’ll probably have to get a handful more, admittedly) at home to use for decoration. I also have a mini red wagon (which Hadley, like, never fit in) that would be awesomesauce on a table with some hay or raffia in it. Oh, and I’ll peruse his toys to see if anything else goes with the theme.

Invites. Okay, this is a tricky one. If your family’s a super hip one full of folks who are tech-savvy, good for you. No, really, that’s awesome! But my family has some, shall we say, old school folks (again, not a bad thing!) who don’t spend much time perusing the ol’ interwebs. Thus, I make invitations. How do I keep it relatively low waste? I invite fewer people. Tricky of me, huh? Honestly, less people also equals less waste; makes sense, huh? Oh, and believe me, we DO invite the folks who mean the most to us, so no one’s missing out here. We’re just not inviting everyone we ever met. We didn’t do it for our wedding, we’re not doing it for our son’s second birthday party. 😉

Cups and flatware and plates, oh my! Some folks might suggest to use reusable (or “real”) plates/silverware/glasses/etc. Believe me, it crossed my mind last year, but I also fall victim of the a) that’s gonna take awhile to clean and b) people are raising an eyebrow at me…AGAIN complexes. Instead, I only get the items that I know we’ll need (no bowls if there’s nothing soup-like or ice creamy), and I try my best to get the compostable stuff. Of course, last year I only found a couple of compostable kinds of flatware, so had to supplement with other plastic ones (grr), so this year will probably consist of using all that up. Again…don’t sweat the small stuff, just do your best. Just know that there are more eco-friendly options out there.

Simplify your theme. You could also avoid a theme altogether, but I’m a nut for a good theme. Goodness knows how long I can get away with one! So, this year’s ducky theme will lead into an awesome homemade Sesame Street theme next year (reusing the colorful decorations, duckies, and Hadley’s plush toys instead of buying a bunch of trademarked stuff). Simple is best.

Actually, simplify, in general. This isn’t one that we’ve succeeded with as far as friends and family purchasing gifts entails. As Hadman gets bigger, we’ll talk with him about what he really wants and other ways we could ask people to spend their money in honor of his birthday, but at this age I don’t want it to seem forced. So, we accept graciously (and sometimes have to return doubles or the things we simply haven’t the space for). However, Dave and I try to keep it minimal and put tons of thought into what he’s getting based on his interests and what concepts we’d like for him to learn.   

So, here were just a few easy ideas to hopefully help you consider the environment whilst partying it up. There are already a few great resources on the web (like this and this and this) to help you in this arena, so I’m clearly not reinventing the wheel here. Just wanted to let you know what I prioritize in my mind so I’m not ultimately overwhelmed by all the craziness that birthday planning could possibly turn into.

Boys’ Tees That Don’t Suck #2

I recently explained my frustration in the current t-shirt situation for little boys, along with a shout-out to Kohl’s for carrying some shirts that weren’t super masculine or rude-sounding that helps bridge the divide.

After the fact, though, I realized that I had recently ordered a handful of t-shirts from Old Navy on sale (always on sale; never over $10, people!) that I was also happy with. Here’s a few of them, along with a few that I saw on their website recently that I also like (but don’t yet own):

Clockwise from upper left, here are very brief descriptions of why I think they’re rad.

1. He’s almost 2. This says “It’s my 2nd birthday” without screaming it. Plus, he can wear it beyond the big day. #instantbirthdaysuit #notthatwayperv #justkiddingiloveyou

2. Because he just is.

3. We love our (organic) mac ‘n cheese. He’s wearing this shirt today, and I freaking love it.

4. He loves a good chomping animal. (Gotta buy this one when it’s on sale, but anything shark, dino, alligator will do.)

5. Speaking of chomping creatures… Dino + guitar? Fughettaboutit.

6. Because Father’s Day is coming up, and Dad is both of our heroes.

Again, PLEASE don’t let the cuteness factor fool you. I advise that you only buy these when they’re on sale. That’s half the battle here! 🙂