The Waffle Window

Sunday, August 31, 2008
I discovered the cutest place called The Waffle Window when I met my friend Sharla there for breakfast this morning. For five dollars, I got a waffle topped with lots of berries and whipped cream and a steaming cup of hot coffee. Let me warn you--it's hard to narrow down a waffle selection--there are many delicious and tempting choices!

There are a few tables right outside the window, and Sharla and I got lucky and grabbed one. There were many people standing around on the sidewalk eating their waffles and chatting with friends. We had just finished our waffles when we nearly got drenched in a rain shower and ran next door to Peet's Coffee. I was highly caffeinated by the end of our breakfast outing!

The Waffle Window is located at the Bread & Ink Cafe. Open 10AM to 6PM Saturday and Sunday on the 36th Street side of the cafe at 3610 SE Hawthorne Blvd. Check it out!

Summer Lasts Six Weeks in Portland

Saturday, August 30, 2008

First, I must share some great news--my Dad is home! His kidneys are functioning and the sepsis is gone. It's so amazing that he's home now, and although he's still obviously recovering, he's out of the woods, and doing better each day. I want to thank everyone for all your comments and support. I really do believe it makes the difference most of the time.

I was outside removing the dead blooms from my three Spanish lavender bushes tonight when I realized that the air has changed--summer has bid farewell, and fall is on its way. The past few years, I've come to realize that summer here in the NW only lasts about six weeks, but somehow, we manage to pack quite a lot of fun into those few short weeks each year. As short as summer is, I am actually looking forward to falling leaves and pumpkin spice lattes in the weeks ahead.

Today we took the kids for a ride on the Willamette Shore Trolley, which will hopefully transition to light-rail eventually. It's about a 40 minute ride along the Willamette to Lake Oswego, but plan for two hours round-trip. The conductor usually stops to share historical information along the way. If you haven't done this before, it is a fun and interesting trolley ride, with great views of the Willamette along the way. It's $10.00 round-trip for adults and children three and under are free. Check it out sometime!

We spent a couple of hours in Lake Oswego walking around and happened upon Blue Joe Coffee, a wonderful little coffee shop with African decor, great coffee, and wi-fi--a coffee shop I plan to frequent in the future! Here's a picture of Juniper and I relaxing on the couch at Blue Joe's:

Landon finished reading The Stand last night, and thought it might be fun to watch the movie, so I rented it and we watched the first 90 minutes before I fell asleep. I used to be mildly interested in Stephen King, and read a few of his books in my early twenties, although I've never read this one. Landon is moving on to The Shining, and was pleased to discover I had a vintage copy in the bookcase. So far, the movie adaptation is good, but considering the amount of characters involved in the story, I know the book has got to be so much better (this is usually the case). Someday, when I have time to read more than my book-club's monthly selection, I hope to read it!

She's Cruising!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Juniper has crossed a new milestone: she's pulling to standing and, as of this morning, she's cruising! Wikipedia defines cruising as "a motor milestone for infants where they can walk by holding onto something and they make the transition to being a toddler." I guess my baby is transitioning (already!) from infanthood to toddlerhood. Oh, yes, and I noticed she has started using her pincer grasp now, so she's picking up cereal easily and popping little bits into her mouth. Her two top teeth finally cut through, too, so she's sleeping more soundly again. What a big girl!


Update on my Dad: He's still doing really well, and will be moved from the ICU today! Great news!

Good News!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Mom, Dad, and I in a picture taken for the Woodburn Independent Newspaper, because I was the first baby born in this city in the year of 1977. Oh, and yes, my Mom had just given birth a few days prior. She looks like she's a size 6 already!

My Dad took a turn for the better last night. His blood pressure went back up, his creatinin levels are returning to normal, and his kidneys are beginning to work again. It looks like he's going to pull through this. My Dad is tough; he can beat anything. 4% of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive five years. My Dad is already in his fourth year post-diagnosis, and is considered to be cancer free now. To think he's now beat sepsis as well, which has a 50 to 60% mortality rate. Way to go, Dad--I knew you could do it!

Update on my Dad

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Dad and I, 1977.

So far, there hasn't been any change with my Dad. He's still fighting sepsis and kidney failure, but his doctors and nurses are doing everything they can. I'm feeling hopeful that he's still with us, as he came close to death last night. I am hoping he takes a turn for the better tonight and his blood pressure and kidneys start normalizing soon. If anyone can fight disease, it's my Dad. He beat pancreatic cancer, after all.

Kauii, Hawaii, 1987

My Dad opening a present on Christmas. My baby sister Shelly and I look on.

My Dad

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

My Dad is in the ICU in kidney failure and sepsis. He had surgery last night and a stent was put in so we're hoping he turns around in the next 24 hours. Hopefully, if this is an acute kidney failure, once he gets through the septic shock, he will most likely be okay. I'm not sure yet if this might turn into a chronic renal failure, which will mean dialysis, because he has many ongoing kidney issues since his whipple surgery due to pancreatic cancer in 2005. Please keep my Dad in your thoughts and prayers and I will update as soon as I know more. The picture above was taken in Sunriver on August 8th, just a few weeks ago.

What is the Good Life?

Monday, August 25, 2008

No Impact Man wrote a blog entry today that is so good that instead of writing a blog entry about how I've been working all day taking care of Sam (who isn't feeling too well) and picking up after Juni (who is a human cyclone around here these days) all while preparing for book-club, which I'm hosting tonight for Eat, Pray, Love, complete with chianti, raita and naan, and an Indonesian dessert, I will leave you with a link to his post "Redefining the good life while saving the planet," which impacted me quite a lot for a man who calls himself the "No Impact Man."

My favorite quote from his post is:

And one thing I think is that the true good life might actually mean less stuff, fewer working hours to buy the stuff but a lot more leisure time.

That might mean fewer of us would have our own boats and jet skis, but more of us would know how to play guitar and make great art.

I couldn't agree more, No Impact Man. I couldn't agree more.

Stuff White People Like

Sunday, August 24, 2008
The popular blog, Stuff White People Like, now has a bestselling book with the same title. You can buy Stuff White People Like on Amazon, and it makes for a light and entertaining summer read. Recently, he wrote a hilarious post about Facebook on his blog. Check it out!

I'm off to get a massage. It's been nine months since I've seen my massage therapist, but now that Juniper has been doing so well with Landon lately, I figured it was time to start seeing her again. I have some ongoing issues with my left shoulder that basically need constant massage and chiropractic work so I can even lay on my left side when I'm sleeping without numbness and discomfort.

It looks like it's going to be another beautiful summer day.

Lawnmower and Gasoline Go Curbside

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I've been so shaken up by what happened to our friends Majo and Joel on August 15th, when they were involved in a gas explosion at their job site, that, unable to sleep for one more night with gasoline in our basement, I marched downstairs at 11PM and put our gas can and lawnmower on the curb with a "free" sign attached to the handle. Landon took a picture this morning, and shortly thereafter, they were gone. We've been wanting to trade in our gas-powered lawnmower for a more environmentally and neighbor-friendly push reel mower for awhile now anyway, and after what happened to the guys, this seemed like the right time to finally make the change. I don't think I'll ever allow gasoline near the house again. Eventually, we hope to have only a small patch of well-maintained grass in our backyard, and until then, I'm sure our neighbors will love how quietly we mow our lawn in the future!

Return of Summer

Friday, August 22, 2008
I'm not quite sure why summer left in the first place, but I'm starting to wonder if summer doesn't like Portland all that much. I'm starting to think of summer as a flaky friend on whom I can't depend. We only get about six to eight weeks (if we're lucky) of consistent sun each summer as it is, so when it rains in July for two weeks (like last summer) or in August for a week (like this summer), it makes for a very short summer indeed. But I won't complain, lest I scare summer, my fair-weather friend, away for good. I'm still holding out hope for a summery September and October, with bright, sunny, and cool days--perfect weather for picking out pumpkins and watching dry, crispy leaves scrape their way down dry and dusty streets.

UrbanMamas declared summer a wrap more than a week ago, but I'm not letting go of her just yet. And to prove she's still around, just look at that blue sky and those beautiful cumulus clouds.

The 3rd Annual Ice Cream Social at our local community center was a lot of fun, and always a great opportunity to meet neighbors and make new friends in the community. This year, it also held some disappointment for Samuel, who was an inch too short to climb the rock roll, which he was very much looking forward to. He was all set, close-toed shoes and all. Maybe next summer.

There was a strange dance at the social, complete with ancient garb, flowers, and ribbons. We weren't too sure about its origins or place in history at ice cream socials, but we watched anyway.

Still a little chilly this evening from the recent rainstorm (in August!), Juniper wore a sweatshirt along with some pants handed down from Penelope--they just barely fit around those chubby thighs of hers, but she seems to like them just fine--thank-you!

Samuel chased around three brothers (sons of one very busy Portland Mama who also had a daughter around Juniper's age). He was so worn out that when we got home, he fell asleep very quickly.

Juniper sat on the grass mostly, clapping her hands and pointing at her brother. She was also especially interested in the little sister of the brothers that Samuel was playing with and I even caught her sucking on this other baby's foot. I guess that's a sign that you're a friend of Juniper these days--if she sucks on your foot. We love our Juniper!

Goal Reached: One Can a Month

Thursday, August 21, 2008
It's official! I've called our garbage service and we're now on a once a month pick-up plan for garbage, cutting our garbage bill nearly in half. Recycling will still be picked up weekly, and compost bi-monthly. It was a good feeling when garbage day had nearly arrived and I found our garbage bin completely empty. Right now, what is mostly headed to the landfill is cat litter and diapers. Everything else is being recycled, and we've also reduced the amount of recyclables we generate by purchasing cloth produce and sandwich bags from Reusable Bags. We're buying everything we can in bulk, and when we buy packaged items, we buy those that have the least amount of packaging and with packaging that can be recycled. This is called precycling. Going to one can a month was actually quite simple once I learned what can be recycled, then created an easy system for recycling in our basement.

Here's a story about a couple here in Portland who have gone to one garbage can a YEAR. Their story is inspiring and encouraging. I've also been reading No Impact Man, an eco-extremist named Colin Beavan who lives a no impact lifestyle in New York City along with his wife Michelle, their daughter Isabella, and their dog Frankie. His story is interesting, and there is good information and links to other green blogs on his site. Check it out!

We're off to an ice cream social at our community center this evening. There will be face painting, a rock wall, and ice cream, of course! I will post pictures tomorrow. Meanwhile, looks like the rain has moved on. Looking forward to the sun again. Summer isn't over yet!

August Rain

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
The first day of rain following our recent heat wave was a welcome relief, but by today my mood is starting to be affected by the dark skies and pouring rain. After all, it's August, and I'm no where near ready to consider summer over, especially since Portland has so far only had five weeks of sun (June was mostly all rain).

We've had little choice but to play indoors this week. Sam got a camera from his Grandpa, who volunteers at Free Geek, and was able to pick one up for $10.00. It's an old Fujifilm digital that is easy to use, and is great for learning the basics. Sam really enjoys taking pictures, and he's been expressing an interest in cameras for awhile. Now that he has his own camera, he seems to take pride in knowing how it works and takes the time to figure out how to use it correctly.

Landon took this shot, and I must say the living room actually looks pretty orderly here. Between the two of them, Sam and Juni are able to turn the living room into a cyclone disaster area within minutes, and that's no exaggeration.

And so the rain continues. This afternoon, we are going to make pine cone bird feeders, because it's easy and fun. Usually we do indoor crafts like this in the winter, but here we are, living in a city that manages to be rainy and grey even in August. At least we won't let the weather prevent us from having fun!


Tuesday, August 19, 2008
A couple of friends of ours, one of whom Landon plays music with weekly, were involved in a serious gas explosion at their job site Friday morning, and both were badly burned on their faces, arms, and hands. One is in a drug-induced coma. We only found out last night, and I haven't yet been able to find out exactly how they are doing. I sure hope they are going to be okay. I'm worried sick about them.

Che le Piccole Cose

Monday, August 18, 2008
I take a minute to stop the car after dropping Sam off at summer camp and read a book for thirty minutes while Juniper sleeps soundly in her carseat. The rain pounds on the windshield and water streams down the street in little rivers. I feel a bit under the weather, so I go home and Juniper falls back to sleep in Samuel's bed. I register Sam for swimming and soccer and fold laundry while listening to the rain. Juniper wakes up, and I play with her on the floor until it is time to pick up Sam from camp. He is happy to see us and runs up and gives us a big hug. We go home and eat lunch, then I lay down with Juniper in Sam's bed until she falls sound asleep again for her afternoon nap. I wonder how long she will sleep. She sleeps for nearly five hours. Landon is home. I go upstairs and read on the bed. It sounds like the house is empty, but I know Sam and Landon are somewhere downstairs. Juniper wakes up and I carry her down the stairs. The first thing I see is a beautiful plate of bruschette on the dining table, all for me. Landon and Sam have already eaten. I sit alone and eat bruschette, thinking to myself that I haven't tasted anything so good in a very long time. While these thoughts run through my head, Landon brings me a piece of blackberry pie, which he made yesterday after he and Sam picked five cups of fresh blackberries from a secret patch near our house. It is so good. Landon plays with Sam and Juni in the living room. I read in bed about Italy and wonder if Elizabeth Gilbert ever had bruschette as good as the bruschette Landon made tonight. I doubt it. I look out the window. The sky is dark, but it's not raining anymore.

Neighborhood Traffic

Sunday, August 17, 2008

It wasn't until there was a major construction project on a nearby boulevard and traffic was redirected through our neighborhood that the community learned of a shortcut that runs by our house to a second major highway. People continually speed by and one day last week, someone spun out and drove up onto our neighbor's lawn across the street. Every once in awhile, we do a "sting" in our neighborhood and the neighbors get together and park their cars along both sides of the street so only one car at a time can get through. Preventing two way traffic really slows down drivers. Speed bumps would most likely cause more noise on our street as people slow down and then accelerate again. Landon and I would like to get a traffic circle put in at the intersection by our house, but we're not sure how to go about petitioning for this. It's worth pursuing--I plan to look into it in the future! Meanwhile, I'm going to get some "slow down" signs from the city. Even better than signs might be leaving a tricycle on the corner. Of course, our little sting works the best, because it takes the choice of going fast away from drivers and forces them to brake and take turns getting through the parked cars. Two of our neighbors who don't even have children are actually collaborating to dress up and pretend they are doing photo radar from the corner.

It's Hot!

Saturday, August 16, 2008
A heat wave has moved into Portland to stay for a few days, and it's been over 100 degrees yesterday and today. It's supposed to rain on Monday, so it's a relief to know this heat wave won't last long. Last night we drove to Burgerville for blackberry milkshakes and boy was the a/c in our car a welcome relief--we don't have it at home!

Walking from the car into Burgerville already had me red in the face. My feet felt warm through my flip flops walking across the blacktop.

The kids were both in diapers, it was so hot. I thought I'd get more raised eyebrows if I let him go to Burgerville in briefs, which is what he usually wears during the day, so that's why he's wearing a diaper. The kids were too hot to wear clothes. In retrospect, a pair of swimming trunks would have been cooler than a diaper, but at least he was ready for bed when we got home around 7PM (he still wears them at night).

When we got home from Burgerville, I watered the plants and we cooled off with the hose. Sam played with my Sigg bottle and dumped water from it all over himself. These days, I water every night wearing Juniper, as she's pretty fussy in the evenings and won't stay inside with Landon if she knows I'm outside watering. Besides, Landon usually puts Sam to bed while I'm watering. The ERGO makes watering the garden with Juniper pretty easy, and she enjoys watching.

Sam had so much fun playing in the water that I let him stay up later than usual so he could cool off.

And he went to bed a happy little boy.


We celebrated my Dad's birthday today in McMinnville after attending a summer picnic for Landon's work. We all pitched in and got him a $100.00 gift card to Home Depot, one of his favorite stores. Happy 63rd (I mean 39th) Birthday, DAD!

Creating a Home Recycling System

Friday, August 15, 2008
I've been doing research on recycling the past couple of weeks, mostly because I reached a point where I could no longer tolerate the amount of trash our family was sending to the landfill weekly. To reduce the amount of trash our family generates, I had to find out exactly what can go curbside, and how to recycle everything else. Of course, as soon as I started setting aside each recyclable item (these add up fast), and thought about each item I placed in the trash and whether or not it belonged there, I couldn't help but find ways to eliminate some of these recyclables and trash altogether. For example, cloth produce bags and cloth sandwich/snack bags are on their way from Reusable Bags. After doing research on recycling options here in Portland, I made a recycling station in our basement, and thought I'd show you a picture of what it looks like, as well as take you through a few items in our kitchen and illustrate how each item can be recycled.

So here is our new home recycling station. I knew I wanted something easy and quick to ensure that it would be practical for our family and would be a system that would last. I went to The Container Store, and after looking at all the options available, I decided on chrome frames with clamps that are actually sold for sorting laundry (mesh bags for this are sold separately). I didn't buy the mesh bags, but I did go to Fred Meyer to buy two boxes of 7th Generation's 30 gallon garbage bags and clamped them on for sorting all the recyclables that cannot go curbside under Portland's recycling system. Everything gets mixed together upstairs in one place, then each night, I take it down and sort what we've accumulated. This setup makes sorting quick and easy, and everything is organized and has a place to go. Along with the nine bins for recycling is our Portland Recycles bin for curbside recyclables. In addition, glass goes in the yellow bin and is recycled curbside, the bin next to it is for hazardous waste (batteries), which is taken to Metro's Hazardous Waste drop-off in SW Portland. and there is a stack of Styrofoam, which can be dropped off at Pacific Land Clearing and Recycling in North Portland.

I made nine bins altogether and labeled each one. Seven of the nine bins are for separating plastics by recycling numbers. The numbers can be found on the bottom of plastics, and are sometimes difficult to see, especially if they are older plastics. Some plastics do not have a number. These go in the eighth bin (even plastic bottle caps and straws!). The ninth bin holds plastic bags and plastic film (Saran wrap, Ziplocs, sandwich bags, produce bags, plastic shopping bags, dry cleaning bags, cereal bags, Mylar, shrink wrap, Tortilla bags, etc.).

Many places around Portland accept certain recyclables year round that cannot go curbside. New Seasons, for example, accepts recycling codes 1, 2, and 5 mixed together. In this case, you can make seven bins instead of nine, mixing these common 1, 2, and 5 recyclables together in one bin.

In Portland, the place to recycle more uncommon recycling codes like 3, 6, and 7, as well as all those plastics without a recycling number and plastic bags is at the Master Recycler Plastic Roundup. Instructions on how to prepare recyclables are on their website. They require all recyclables to be separated by number.

Now, let me show you a few items in our kitchen, all of which can be recycled instead of thrown into the garbage.

Aseptics: what boxed milk, soy milk, and stocks are preserved in. Look on the bottom to be sure it is aseptic, then wash it out and place it curbside if you live in Portland. If it contains a plastic spout, this must be cut out and placed in your plastics without a number bin. In the case of this boxed strawberry milk, the plastic straw cannot go curbside. Throw it in the plastics without a number bin. The plastic film the straw is wrapped in can go in your bin for plastic bags.

Here is another aseptic box. With this, cut off the plastic spout with scissors, place the spout in the plastics without a number bin, and rinse the aseptic box and place it curbside.

The cap can also go along with the spout into the plastics without a number bin.

Here is a plastic container of tofu. This is not recyclable curbside, but can still be recycled. The film on the top of the tofu can go in the bin for plastic bags, and the container, which has a recycling code 2 on the bottom (always enclosed within the three recycling arrows), can be placed in your #2 bin.

Wow, that's a lot of cheese. I bought these to make lasagna, but now that I'm feeling more mindful about waste, I will no longer buy my cheese this way. Instead, I will buy it in the deli and bring my own reusable bag. If you do buy cheese like this, all three of these bags can be recycled in your bin for plastic bags.

A bag of salty pretzels. A tasty snack. These can be purchased bulk, using your own reusable bag. If you do buy pretzels in a sack, place the sack in your bin for plastic bags.

Canned tomatoes. Canning them myself is something I hope to start doing in the future to cut down on waste, but in the meantime, both of these cans can go curbside, but you have to remember to crimp the lid (baby jar lids can also be crimped and placed curbside) and place it inside the can so it doesn't fall through the recycling machines. It is no longer necessary to remove the bottom lid and flatten the can.

Everyone who knows me has probably figured out by now that I have a coffee addiction. For someone like me, who buys several lattes each week (okay, some weeks every day), bringing a personal mug instead of getting to-go cups can make a big difference over the course of a lifetime in reducing waste. This is an example of reducing so that recycling isn't necessary. When you do order your latte in a to-go container, all hot latte cups cannot be recycled (although the plastic lids can--check for a number, if there is not one, place it in your plastics without a number bin). The reason they cannot be recycled is the paper coffee cups have a layer of plastic on the inside to prevent the liquid from penetrating the paper. Unfortunately, these are not recoverable. Another good reason to bring your own mug. The good news is that iced latte cups and lids ARE recyclable. Most contain numbers, so place in the appropriate bin. If not, place in your plastics without a number bin. Remember, the straws can go in that bin, too.

Ahhh, the compost items. I filled this Ziploc to the brim this morning cutting up cantaloupe for Sam's breakfast, and washing grapes and peeling carrots for his lunch. Last night, an overflowing bin went out to compost containing an empty coconut shell (love coconut milk!), and all the leftover vegetable trimmings from dinner. Some of these can go down the garbage disposal, but I put all fruit and vegetable scraps (eggshells, too) into the compost. Remember to mix these with carbon containing items from your yard to eliminate odor and prevent rats and mice from moving in. Placing these scraps into your compost is great for the garden, and will greatly reduce the amount of trash your family generates. Also, in a landfill, these break down and produce methane gas, a leading contributor to global warming!

I no longer plan to buy grain this way, because I can get it bulk, save money, and eliminate waste by bringing my own bag. However, for grocery products packaged this way, this bag can be placed in your plastic bags bin.

I made a decision this week to get rid of our plastic in the kitchen and use glass for saving food instead. Until my order of Pyrex storage set arrives, I'm using these glass jars with metal lids from The Container Store, then I'll probably use them for dry ingredients in the cupboard. All of our age-old Tupperware was recycled. Most Tupperware and GladWare tubs and lids contain recycling codes, but for those that don't, place them in your plastics without a number bin.

Honey--this can be bought in a reusable glass jar, but since we already have this, the cap will go in the plastics without a number bin and the container will go curbside, because it has a neck, and all plastics that have a neck can go curbside in Portland. A side note about honey--a friend of mine recently shared on her blog the benefits of raw honey. I think I'll buy it that way in the future.

Ahhh, something I didn't know. Freezer boxes CANNOT go curbside. These are not recoverable, as the paper is infused with plastic and the fibers cannot be separated. This is garbage. All paper made for freezers must be placed in the garbage. Luckily, all recycling is placed on a conveyor belt and people actually have the fun job of removing these items that contaminate other recyclables. So don't worry if you've been throwing them into your curbside bin with other cardboard--chances are they've been removed further down the recycling chain. Paper made for refrigerators can be placed curbside (boxed butter and gabled juice and milk cartons).

These plastic bags are put into the freezer, but they are recyclable! They can go in the bin for plastic bags. Always make sure plastic is clean before placing it into a recycling bin.

Ziplocs: they can be washed and reused time and time again, but eventually, they need to be recycled. These can go into your plastic bags bin.

Sandwich bags--these are plastics we won't need to use anymore, as we're going to cloth sandwich and snack bags. With sandwich bags, as well as Saran wrap, when it's time to toss, wash and place in the plastic bags bin.

Cereal bags--these can also go into the plastic bags bin!

Whew, I bet you're feeling a little overwhelmed by now. I know I was when I started sorting through all the information and examining each product. I still e-mail Metro and the Master Recyclers just about every day as I come across items that I'm unsure about. Just this morning I e-mailed about all of Juni's pacifiers, which she only used for her first three months of life. As you probably guessed, they can be recycled and placed in the plastics without a number bin.

It's actually easy once you create a recycling station and familiarize yourself with the various packaging materials that come through your home. You really start to realize that we are swimming in a sea of plastic. Just about everything is wrapped and packaged in plastic, and just about all that plastic can be recycled. It kind of makes you wonder how many diseases like cancer could be linked to the harmful chemicals in plastic packaging, or what exactly we are putting into our babies' bodies when we stick a plastic bottle in their mouth (see wiki article on BPA) or let them chew on plastic toys. I'm not sure how far we will go as a family when it comes to eliminating plastic, but for starters, I'm going to slowly eliminate it from the kitchen so it isn't near what we eat. The next step will be to try to minimize plastic when it comes to Sam and Juni's toys. Blogs like Life Less Plastic and Fake Plastic Fish are good sources of information on plastics and ways in which to eliminate some plastics from your life.

Recycling takes a little extra time, and there is more sorting involved, but the satisfaction far outweighs the inconvenience. What's more, we are moving to a smaller 32 gallon metal garbage can (we were filling up a 38 gallon roll-cart each week), and will cut our garbage bill nearly in half if we can switch to a once-a-month pick-up plan. On this plan, the city will still pick up recycling weekly and compost bimonthly. Going to one can a month might seem impossible for a family of four, with Juni in diapers and Sam still wearing them at night, but it's surprisingly not. If only non-recyclables go into the garbage, there is actually very little trash generated.


Making Hula Hoops

Thursday, August 14, 2008
Sam had so much fun chasing hula hoops at Pickathon that we decided to make a few of our own. I learned from Circus Cascadia at Pickathon how to make your own hula hoops from tubing and electrical tape--from what I was told, these materials make the best hula hoops around!

So Landon and Sam walked up to A-Boy after dinner last night with the red wagon to buy the necessary materials for making hula hoops. Here's how Landon made the hula hoops, using information he found on Jason Unbound's blog:

He bought 25 feet of the 3/4" flexible tubing from the plumbing section and 3 metal connectors. He cut the tubing into three parts with a hacksaw, then used the connectors to connect the ends together. He then wrapped the connection in duct tape for extra strength. He bought several colors of electrical tape and used them to wrap the hula hoop in candy cane style. Another option is to use 1" tubing for a heavier hoop, then put something in the tubing like sand or water to add some noise and weight.

And here they are--two large hulas for Sam and a small hula made with what was left for "Junapepper," as Sam calls her. He played with them for a long while last night, then this morning, we went to Custer Park, where he played with them for three hours (the shaded playground from old-growth trees and constant breeze at Custer Park provide a welcome relief from hot summer days like today--this just might be my new favorite park!).

Oh, and speaking of Junapepper, here is a picture of her using her Exersaucer for the last time before we gave it away. She's growing up so fast and will be chasing hulas like her brother before we know it.

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