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    Monday, April 25, 2011

    Birthday, Easter, and Green Mama Winner!

    It’s Monday. I’m home. Alone. With the Easter candy. Help!

    There’s also lots of cake and ice cream around the house.

    Today is my baby’s 7th birthday. We had a party on Friday night that included an egg hunt. Thank goodness our annual Easter snow held off until Sunday.

    If you read my Green Mama posts last week, you know I had some guilt over the plastic eggs. Things went from bad to worse when I discovered I hadn’t bought enough. Turns out I can’t multiply 7X24 in my head at The Dollar Store. I had to run out last minute and purchase more eggs to reach a total of 168 (thank God for calculators and Wal-Mart.) I do solemnly swear to keep the eggs and re-use them next year and the year after and the year after…

    Chunky’s party also featured a visit from Kritter Karavan. The kids got to touch hedgehogs and see them play in paper towel tubes. They saw chinchillas take a dust bath and snakes eat mice. The mice were dead and came out of a frozen package much like a TV dinner. I found it utterly disturbing, but the kids loved it. The same can be said for actual TV dinners. They also saw turtles and a blue-tongued skink, a kind of lizard that does, indeed, have a blue tongue.

    We had a lovely Easter. If you’re in the mood to read my reflections on the Easter story as it pertains to the craft of writing, hop on over to The Inkwell blog. We hosted lunch at our house, and the boys were thoroughly spoiled by their grandparents, aunt, and cousin. Aunt Kathy even brought an Easter basket for Willie the Heeler.

    Now I’m gearing up for The Pikes Peak Writers Conference at the end of this week and two possible herptilian additions to our family. We’ve been talking about getting a turtle ever since The Dragon and the Turtle came out. Just last week we heard of two box turtles in need of a home, so we’re hoping they’ll come live with us. Maybe my next post will be their introduction.

    I hope you all had a blessed Easter and have found a way to cope with your sugared-up children and your own weakness for Cadbury chocolate and robin’s egg malt balls. Or is that just me?

    One more thing. Congratulations to Sonia who won the signed copy of Tracey Bianchi’s Green Mama. Please send your contact info to me at Evangelinedenmark at msn dot com.

    Thursday, April 21, 2011

    Green Mama, Part Two

    Thanks for coming back for the second half of my interview with Tracey Bianchi, author of Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet. Remember to leave a comment to be entered to win a signed copy of Tracey's book.

    Without further ado, here's more from Tracey.

    ED: In the chapter “Your One Big Thing: Think Big, Start Small” you talk about teaching your children to love the earth so they will want to save it. I found out that assigning dog pile duty in the back yard does NOT produce warm fuzzies toward the environment. Can you give us ideas for activities that will help kids learn to love God’s creation?

    TB: Adopting an animal from the local zoo. Picking a favorite trail or open space area and helping clean it up with a bunch of friends and neighbors. Getting books on certain animals and issues from the library or doing craft projects around an idea you choose can help kids get excited about conservation.

    ED: In your experience, which are the best trees to hug?

    TB: The ones your kids are climbing ;)

    ED: You have an entire chapter dedicated to greening up holidays. Easter is almost here, and I have to admit, I have five bags of plastic eggs ready for our festivities. I’m already feeling guilty about how many of those eggs will end up in the trash. What could I have done differently to make our event more green?

    TB: Reusing eggs from last year. Using real eggs and then eating them and just putting the candy in the baskets. Skipping out on the plastic grass and using real grass or no grass at all. Picking up decorations from a resale or Goodwill shop are a few ideas. I also did a blog post on skipping new Easter clothes for your kids. Some great ideas there could help too! Whatever works for you, don’t make yourself crazy with it all or you will end up overwhelmed and not wanting to do anything. Holidays are already hectic enough right?

    ED: Your book has me seeing everything differently, but one of the greatest truths in Green Mama is that people and the environment are inexorably linked. You said it best in the chapter “Plant a Tree: Looking Out for Every Mom.” It is impossible to lavish the fullest expression of God’s love to other people without caring for his creation. To care for God’s people is to care for the earth. The two are inseparable. Can you give one example of this principle?

    TB: A great story that I just put in my blog for April 18th is the story of a village in Ethiopia where the water source dried up due to misuse and not knowing how to care for the local ecosystems. So the girls in that village had to stop going to school because they now had to walk farther each day to get water. So something as simple as not knowing how to care for a water source prevented a whole village of girls from getting an education. As a nation with a ton of education and experience we can get involved in environmental projects both at home and across the world. It may seem like a trend here in the US but caring about these issues is life and death in some cultures and it shows that by simply caring about a water source that we really care about the people and their lives.

    ED: Do you have a website where we can get more information about Green Mama?


    ED: Silly bonus question: Do you think it’s true that Twinkies will outlast the apocalypse?


    Yesterday a few readers commented on green changes and resources from their own lives. If you have anything to add to the conversation or if you have a question or dilemma please share. If you'd like to make a less-than-green confession (plastic Easter eggs anyone?), this is also the place to do it. Tracey is all about exchanging guilt for small, practical changes. I like that approach.

    You have until Monday, April 25th to leave comments. I'll draw a winner on the 25th and post the name here on Breathe In Breathe Out.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011

    Green Mama, Part One

    In the past few months I’ve developed an inconvenient habit of filling extra garbage pails with soda cans, appropriating buckets to store empty plastic bottles, and tucking used grocery bags into any available nook. My house and garage are overrun with recyclables. We don’t yet have recycling service with our waste disposal, but I got to the point where picturing those cans, bottles, and bags in the dump made me uncomfortable. But I didn’t know what to do. After all, if I fully committed to recycling, wouldn’t my life quickly be hijacked by green Dos and Don’ts?

    And then I read Tracey Bianchi’s Green Mama: The Guilt-Free Guide to Helping You and Your Kids Save the Planet. I’m not kidding when I say that this book has me seeing everything differently, but best of all, Tracey gives moms like me permission to care, to change, to do our best, and to NOT FEEL GUILTY for what we simply can’t do.

    Tracey agreed to do an interview for Breathe In Breathe Out. We’re giving you a chance to win a signed copy of her book so be sure to comment to have your name entered in the drawing. This will be a two part interview so come back tomorrow for more green tips and comment again to have your name entered in the drawing a second time.

    Ok, here we go!

    ED: Your book is full of green tips and ideas tailored specifically for busy moms, but I wondered if you’d share one simple thing we moms can do in our daily routine to be more green—maybe one habit to break or one little extra step we might not have thought about before.

    TB: Taking our time and just slowing down! Sometimes this is one of the greenest things we can do. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life with our kids and it moves fast. But when we actually stop and think for a moment we find that we have the time to make smarter choices in how we eat, and what we carry around with us. We have time to remember the reusable coffee mug or time to walk to an errand rather than drive. Sometimes all it takes is a minute to take a deep breath and think straight. So I would say slowing down a bit is a huge step!

    ED: I was particularly excited to read that by purchasing certain kinds of chocolate or coffee, I can actually do right by the earth and help someone thousands of miles away (thereby offsetting my calorie guilt.) Can you talk about fair trade and give us some of your favorite brands?

    TB: Fair trade is a growing conversation that so many people find exciting because it gives us as the consumer more power in our purchases. Most of us want to make a difference but we just don’t know how. And, most of us will make regular purchases of some sort, whether groceries or gifts for people etc. Fair Trade is a great way to make all those purchases count. Fair Trade, simply put, means that the people who made the product you purchase were paid fairly and treated equitably for their work. Something that is not as common around the globe as we might think. Living in the US there are labor laws to protect our workers. This is not the case around the world and in many countries from whom we import goods. I am a raving fan of a few organizations that offer lots of fair trade items. Ten Thousand Villages and World of Good are to organizations that sell a wide variety of crafts and art. I also love Equal Exchange for their chocolate and coffee.

    ED: If you could be an environmental superhero what would be your superhero name and what super power would you have?

    TB: Oooh, that is a fun one. I think I would name myself the Caffeine Queen. Not exactly a green name but I do believe that with the right amount of coffee (fair trade of course) anything is possible. So I would be the Caffeine Queen and my power would be to get rid of all the single use items we use in a day. From plastic bags to sandwich baggies to water bottles.

    ED: You recommend buying local produce whenever possible, but here in Colorado that would mean we’d only have vegetables three months out of the year due to our short growing season. What’s a mom to do?

    TB: Good question. I actually lived in Denver for a few years so I feel your pain! It is hard to get fresh stuff in some climates. You can buy stuff that is as local as possible whenever true local food is not available. For example, if you buy your apples from the grocer, buy the apples from Washington State rather than the apples from New Zealand. Also, think about eating seasonally. You will get a longer growing season from which to buy your local produce if you eat what is in season in your area rather than what is in season in Southern California.

    Be sure to check back tomorrow for more from Tracey and leave a comment for your chance to win Green Mama!

    Monday, April 11, 2011

    The Unforgivable Curse

    The other day the neighborhood boys were having one of their epic battles. If you have boys you're probably familiar with this sort of play scenario. A troop of little boys treks around spouting lingo from their favorite movie or video game and pointing imaginary weapons, plastic light sabers, or sticks at each other. There are a lot of sound effects and arguments over who is immune, immortal, or invulnerable.

    This particular battle happened to be of the Harry Potter variety, so the group of little boys brandished imaginary wands and shouted spells and curses at each other.

    “Expecto Patronum!”

    “Wingardium Leviosa!”

    “Avada Kedavra!” (which in most of their cases came out sounding like “Avacado!”)

    Kory and I, who were out cheering Chunky’s transition from four wheels to two, had all but tuned out the magical skirmish. Until one little boy pointed his wand and shouted, “Gluteus Maximus!”

    You know, it’s all fun and games until someone gets hit with the big bottom curse.

    I’m pretty sure, when I was a baby, the dark wizard, Lord Voldemuffin, marked me with the Gluteus Maximus curse. And I've suffered. Oh, how I've suffered.

    But little did Voldemuffin know that the day he cursed me with extreme bootyliciousness he also bestowed the very power I would need to someday defeat him. If I ever come across Voldemuffin again, I’ll simply sit on him and end his reign of terror forever!

    Now, to write a best-selling series about my adventures...

    Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Ultimate Blog Party Post

    Hello All.

    I’m participating in the 5 Minutes for Moms Ultimate Blog Party so this will be a party post designed to introduce you to me. Or me to you. Or us to each other. Make sense?

    Ok, here we go.

    I’m Evangeline Denmark.

    I write books (not the one in the middle),

    love cheese,

    and sometimes have pink hair.

    I’m wife to this guy.

    Mom to these two.

    And ineffective owner of this.

    I blog about motherhood, wifehood, womanhood, and writerhood, but never about the hood because that would be rather inauthentic of me.

    Although the children’s books I co-wrote with my mom, author Donita K. Paul, have been published (The Dragon and the Turtle, The Dragon and the Turtle Go on Safari), my passion is to write supernatural romance with an eye toward the light.

    I hope you’ll get a chuckle and some encouragement from my blog. I believe in lifting up women in any way I can. If you’re visiting, don't be a stranger. If you’ve been here for awhile, then chances are you're a bit strange just like me. If you’re just passing through, there may be hope for you yet.