DoSomething.org’s “Paper Cranes for Japan”: campaign caught the eye of Students Rebuild, an initiative of the Bezos Family Foundation. Each crane will release $2 from the Foundation for this fundraising effort.

Mail your paper cranes to Students Rebuild to trigger $2 for each crane. The goal? 100,000 cranes received will raise $200,000 to support Architecture for Humanity’s plan to support the rebuilding efforts of Japanese architects.

They’ll even supply a pre-paid mailing label for boxes of 50 or more cranes. Email: info@studentsrebuild.org. Or send your cranes to:

Students Rebuild
1700 7th Avenue
STE 116 # 145
Seattle, WA 98101

Check out all of the details at StudentsRebuild.org.

How to fold a paper crane:

(Dosomething.org is a fabulous activist site for teens with ideas for groups, clubs, grants and raising awareness. DoSomething.org believes teenagers have the power to make a difference. They leverage communications technologies to enable teens to convert their ideas and energy into positive action)

Via: Josh Spear

Home Sweet Home

November 9, 2010

Check out this wonderful Hobbit home built a few years ago for $5,000. It is sustainable and cozy!

According to Simon it took about 1500 hours to build over 4 months:

Sustainable design and construction:

  1. Dug into hillside for low visual impact and shelter
  2. Stone and mud from diggings used for retaining walls, foundations etc.
  3. Frame constructed of fallen trees from surrounding woodland
  4. Reciprocal roof rafters are structurally very easy to do
  5. Straw bales in floor, walls and roof for super-insulation and easy building
  6. Plastic sheet and mud/turf roof for low impact and ease
  7. Lime plaster on walls is breathable and low energy to manufacture compared to cement
  8. Reclaimed (scrap) wood for floors and fittings
  9. Other items were reclaimed from “a rubbish pile somewhere”: windows, wiring, plumbing

Notice the “goodnight, moon” in the sky.

Via: Julie Tara

It’s that time of year. You can participate in the firefly watch, too, through the Museum of Science, Boston, website. Basically they want to know if you have fireflies in your back yard this summer. It is easy to join and document your findings. You sign up, pick a location, like your yard, and observe and report weekly. Your findings can help local scientists with their research. Who doesn’t love that beautiful light show in the trees and fields.

Lead in Lipstick

June 13, 2010

HealthFreedom.org has just commented on the FDA’s test, conducted last year, of 22 red lipstick brands. All contained lead.

Irritability, unexplained changes in mood or personality, changes in sleeping patterns, inability to concentrate, memory loss are some of the adult symptoms of lead poisoning. HMMM….sounds like menopausal symptoms to me. Lead poisoning is insidious as it accumulates in our body slowly being stored and symptoms occur later. Children are greatly at risk because the burden on their little bodies is much greater.

It is estimated that women might ingest an average of 4 pounds of lipstick in our lifetime because we lick our lips, eat and drink.  So it would be a very good idea to know what we are smearing on our mouths every day, eh?

“The lead found in Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor Maximum Red was 34 times higher than the lead found in the lowest scoring lipstick, Avon’s Ultra Color Rich Cherry Jubilee. Clearly, the manufacturers are capable of doing better, said the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics‘ Stacy Malkan. Cover Girl’s media center at Procter & Gamble did not respond to repeated requests for comment.”

“I think some companies are not doing a good job sourcing their ingredients,” Malkan said.

It is known that lead builds up in the body over time and is stored in bones and organs. When a woman is pregnant, nursing and in menopause the demands on her body cause bones and organs to release stored calcium, other minerals as well as lead. Even if there has been no recent exposure, there is lead stored.

Awareness is key. There needs to be more accountability with the manufacturing side, and, as consumers we must demand safe cosmetics. You can sign petitions and be better educated at the Safe Cosmetics site.

Safest lipstick? Not red. Gloss is safer.

Spring is Sprung

March 31, 2010

My true sign of Spring is the song of the peepers. Maybe I should call it a racket, a din, a gala symphony. Pseudacris Crucifer, the spring peeper, named for the little cross on its back, is a small frog that breeds in ponds and swamps throughout the US and Canada. After hibernating under logs or under piles of leaves the warm sun calls them out and slowly the males begin their mating call chorus persisting  to a frantic pitch at night from March through May or so. It’s always so sad to hear just one or two who haven’t found their mate forlornly calling as summer is coming.

This time of year used to signal the time for my boys to go explore the woods for other signs of spring- bits of green poking through the soil, birds arriving back from the winter in the south. Micah inevitably turns over a rock and finds a groggy salamander or two and he can always spot a peeper- so small and camouflaged.

Jamie Oliver TED Prize Winner

February 10, 2010

Jamie Oliver’s TED speech is very exciting. I am watching it on CNN streaming live. Oliver is a chef, restauranteur and food activist. I’m sure you can watch it soon on ted.com.

His message is simple.A huge proportion of people don’t know how to look after and nourish their own families. A huge percentage of our population is obese.  The culture of food has changed. Home is where food culture was passed on. And it isn’t being passed on anymore. We have become a fast food nation. He is passionate about school arming us with tools to be able to succeed in life-  school is where 31 million kids eat 180 days/year. So school food is very important. He offers himself as an ambassador to the school chefs- there are no food knowledgeable people in the business. “Because there is a tight budget, an accountant will be cheap so…the food is highly processed, french fries are considered a vegetable.” And everything is heading our kids towards obesity. He shows a clip of kids in school not even knowing what vegetables are. Very sad watching kids mistaking tomatoes for potatoes. In 2 one hour sessions with Jamie they learned to name the vegetables.

Here is his “reboot” to make real change that will change things for our children in 10 years time. He’d like supermarkets  to have a shopping helper and teach how to cook healthy meals. It needs to be done across the board and put food education out there. We need to get weaned off the ‘non-food” ingredients in our fast food. In schools we owe it for the kids to have proper fresh food. Big goals. Profoundly important. Kids should know how to cook 10 recipes so they can survive. He goes on. He is speaking my language. My kids took veggies to school in their lunches and some of their friends didn’t know what they were eating.

He cares and believes that if change can be made in our country it will happen all over the world. Watch for his speech on TED at Ted.com

And here is a youtube of him speaking about food and health.

Check it out, kids.

Get ready for some thrills and chills this winter… it’s time to bring on the hills with quirky’s new Snow Shredder. The Snow Shredder is the ultimate in winter sleds, comfortably fitting two kids, aged six and up, in its roomy seating area.

Here’s what makes this sled so cool:
– A headlight in the front of the sled, with an easy on-off button, allows for fun night sledding
– A retractable handle makes it easy to carry the sled uphill for your next ride
– A steering wheel up front lets YOU take control of your ride, while three adjustable steering wheel heights allow you to cruise in comfort
– Extra handles are located in the back of the sled for the backseat sledder to hold onto (it can get scary back there!)

This sled is made of polypropylene. Its over-all dimensions are 60in x 21in x 12in, and the seating area is 39in x 17in x 6in.

You can buy this limited edition sled at Quirky.com, the cool site where you can submit ideas for products, influence products being developed and earn money doing it and shop for new and innovative products developed by users like you, at quirky.com.

Learn all about Quirky.com in 30 seconds.

Best of all, Micah designed it!

Scary, but Fun, Sleepover

January 24, 2010

Who wouldn’t love to spend a night sleeping over at the Museum of Natural History?  I have always thought about those empty, high-ceilinged and echoey hallways once the museum-goers and guards leave for the day. I know people who have a fear of being locked into the library or the furniture store or the museum after hours….  One of the books I read to the kids when they were small was From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (New York: Atheneum, 1967). It a wonderful story: A brother and a sister run away and hide in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. A Newbery medal winner.

I think the inspiration for this fabulous giant sleepover date at the Museum of Natural History has to be the film, A Night At The Museum. I wonder if I can set up a night for adults?

Cost: $129 per person
(Members: $119 per person)
(Scouts: $99.00 per person)

Admission Price includes:

  • Evening snack and light breakfast
  • Cots for all participants
  • Fossil fact finding mission by flashlight
  • IMAX film or space show
  • Take-home activities
  • Live animal special exhibition (seasonal)

or

  • Live animal presentation

Time: 5:45 p.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Open to: 7-13 year olds

You Should Bring:

  • Sleeping bag
  • Pillow
  • Flashlight
  • Camera
  • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
  • Washcloth
  • Warm comfortable clothing to sleep in
  • Change for vending machines
  • Ear plugs (optional)
  • Night Mask (optional)

Via: Micah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have memories of buying a toy for my kids and having it break because of poor quality or discovering that it had small parts and we had a baby brother in the house. Back in “the day” we didn’t think about lead or pthalates in the toys. There are many things to consider when buying toys these days.

ConnPIRG has just released their annual toy safety report, and they’ve launched a new mobile phone website that allows toy shoppers to look up and report dangerous toys as they shop. Check out their new resources, and help make sure kids’ toys are safe this holiday season. Make your list then check it with CT-toy-report-2009.

This document reminds us of all the hazards we might consider including loudness. Almost 15 percent of children ages 6 to 17 show signs of hearing loss. In March 2007, the American Society for Testing and Materials adopted a voluntary acoustics standard for toys, setting the loudness threshold for most toys at 85 decibels but there are still exceedingly louc (and I might add annoying) toys on the toy store shelves.

In addition, think through and avoid toys that have possible choking hazards, while considering age appropriateness, “almost” small parts, balloons, marbles, pthalates and PVC products. What is left for kids to play with? We’ve eliminated dolls (plastic), legos (plastic), toy cars (lead paint). OKAY- wooden blocks it is. Actually one of my kids favorites!

 

Easy Dinner Ideas

September 3, 2009

3690827583_d9b33cd68b

Micah is a busy student on a budget. Extravagant dinners out are not an option. Here is the first of many ideas for a quick dinner:

Tacos, the old standby, with Broccoli

Ingredients:

One can organic refried beans

A few cloves of garlic, Organic cooking oil, Lettuce, shredded or torn, 1/2 avocado – diced, Carrot – grated, Grated soy or dairy cheese, Taco shells or tortillas, Salsa

Warm the cooking oil in your pan, add crushed and chopped garlic, low heat, stir, do not burn!

Add can of beans and heat on low flame. Stir occasionally as you prepare the other ingredients; Toast taco’s on low in oven or low in toaster oven. Don’t burn these either, please.

Meanwhile- wash, cut and steam broccoli.

Put together your tacos, add broccoli on your plate. Yes, you have to eat your broccoli. And enjoy simple dinner.

TOMORROW’s lunch: leftovers, or Avocado sandwich with leftover 1/2 avocado, lettuce, shredded cheese, add hummos or seitan. Yum! ( have a few leftover broccoli’s too)