Christmas with Multiple Families

Both my husbands and my extended family live up in Seattle, about 170 miles away from Vancouver, WA, where we live.  Because they are all up there and it’s just us down here, we get to make the road trip North for every holiday, birthday, and family event.  Although frequent, the drive up there is always well worth it. I am a native of Seattle and it always feels like home when we go up there, especially during the holidays.  Luckily my husbands family celebrates on Christmas Eve, and my family celebrates on Christmas Day.  So after work on Christmas Eve we make the drive to my in-laws who live in the heart of Seattle, just blocks from the Space Needle.  They are from Bulgaria so we have a traditional dinner of stuffed grape leaves and cold fruit soup.  Christmas dessert consists of Tikvanik, a Bulgarian dessert with a quarter, dime, and nickel cooked in.  If you find the change in your piece, you will have good luck for the year in either home, family, or finances.  Then we visit until midnight, which is when we open our Christmas gifts.  On Christmas Day we make a short drive up North to Mountlake Terrace to my Aunt’s house and celebrate with my side of the family.  It’s usually a potluck and involves charades or some other game that after a few glasses of wine makes us all laugh until we cry.  We all try to outdo each other with the funniest white elephant gift and then stash them somewhere in my Aunt’s house so after we have all gone home...

Be Sure to Get a Cone with That Ice Cream!

I’m always looking for ways to Go Green, and to encourage my family to do the same. Here’s a few things I came across that I thought were fun and easy to do! -When going out for ice cream, get a cone rather than a bowl. That way you’re eating your utensils instead of throwing them away. So now you can use Going Green as an excuse to visit your local ice cream parlor. -Whenever possible, don’t get a receipt. With on-line banking you can check on your account without wasting paper. A lot of stores nowadays ask if you want a receipt. -Give old or outgrown clothes to friends, family, or charity. My 2nd hand store-shopoholic sister purges her closet a few times a year and I get her hand-me-downs. It’s like a shopping trip for me! And what doesn’t fit me goes to friends or other family members. -Instead of watching TV, go on a nature walk. It might be hard to get off that couch, but it’s worth it and you’ll feel better in the end. -GiftTree has many Gift Baskets and Wine Baskets with unique containers that can be used for storage after the contents of the gift are gone. I have used them to display towels, hold jewelry, store bills, etc. What are some other fun and easy ways to Go Green? Please post a comment, your idea may be something others have not thought...

Going Green for Going Back to School

For those with kids in school, each year you have to go buy school supplies. My son is still in elementary school and at the end of each school year he brings back left over supplies that the teacher divides up between students. Which means we have a ton of crayons, colored pencils, glue sticks, scissors, etc. that just keep accumulating at our house. Then for the new year I buy him all new supplies. What do we do? Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse of course! Instead of your home crayon collection growing and growing each year, how about putting them in a reused pencil box and sending them back for the next year? Who cares if the mustard yellow is a little worn, it still gets the job done! Another plus is that you aren’t buying new crayons which come in a cardboard box, therefore minimizing the waste of packaging. My son also brings home a lot of journals at the end of each year. Some of them still have plenty of blank paper, and in some cases were barely used. We use these for summer journals, artwork, and even to write down the plan for our summer vacation! Go Green for lunch too. Reusable containers and a lunch box instead of plastic and brown bags is totally cool, right? And if you need childcare, check to see if your child’s school has before and after care. This not only saves on gas and makes one less Day Care car on the road, but will make it easier for your child to participate in school activities which are great...

We Use a Latte Paper Cups!

Being a native of Seattle, WA and still living in the great Northwest, I am a regular at my neighborhood Starbucks. My drink of choice is a grande x-tra hot nf latte, or an iced nf latte if it’s a hot day. Unless of course I’m getting coffee for people at work, then it’s much more complicated… I go to Starbucks at least 3 times a week, which I’m sure is barely at all compared to some people I know. One thing I realized I should be doing is bringing my own coffee cup! There really is no reason to waste paper cups when I can bring my own mug and almost every coffee shop I’ve been to has no problem with this. It’s a simple thing to do to help save our environment. I challenge all of you to bring your own coffee cup from home the next time you make a stop at your favorite espesso stand. Let me know how it goes! Did the coffee taste better in your own...

Trees Provide the Air We Breathe

Okay, so must of us know that trees produce air but did you know that they actually take in carbon-dioxide and give out oxygen, “breathing” through their leaves?  Interestingly enough, a medium-sized tree generates the same amount of oxygen as each one of us needs to breathe. Vancouver Washington, where I live, is rapidly growing. When I first moved here 10 years ago there was a two lane road outside my neighborhood with a horse pasture and a church with a dirt parking lot. Now it’s 6 lanes and thriving businesses line the sidewalks. When I sit in my backyard I hear traffic instead of birds chirping. In fact, every spare spot in my vicinity has been built on or is in the process of being built on. One day I was driving my son to school and we saw a new area where the ground had been leveled.  My son asked me why people want to cut down all the trees, what air will be left for us to breathe if there are no trees left? That coming from an 8 year old… I used to dream of living in a loft apartment in downtown Seattle. Now I think I’d rather live out in the country where my neighbors house isn’t within arms reach of mine and where I can enjoy piece and quiet. What changes have you seen in your city in the past 10 years? Another great idea, help our air by buying a tree from GifTree!  You know I had to throw that in there 🙂  We have the Seeds of Life Oak Tree Kit...
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