Tuesday, December 23, 2008

The Food Bank

Sorry for the prolonged absence. I've been working hard to finish revisions on my manuscript. I can't believe it's been 3 months since my last soap boxing episode!

All kidding aside, I wanted to remind you that Feeding America (formerly known as The Second Harvest,) is looking for donations. I would never presume to tell you what to spend your hard earned money on, but I can tell you about my experiences with our local Food bank.

Last week, my toddler and I were talking about kids all over the world. He started asking about how they live and what they eat. So, I took the opportunity to be a downer-mom and tell him that some kids don’t have a refrigerator full of food. He was surprised at this, and a little concerned. But I was sure to add that we could share our food with them, if he wanted. We went to the website for our local food bank and found their list of seasonal needs. He put the list in his pocket and off we went to the grocery store.

After we filled a separate cart with items to bring to the food bank, my little boy gave the cashier our money and we drove over to the depository. They were kind and helpful, carried the bags inside for us, asked if we wanted a receipt for taxes, thanked us for the donation, and gave us information about volunteering at the bank after the New Year. Very pleasant experience.

When we got back in the car to drive home, I asked him what he thought of the whole thing. His reply? “I didn’t see any kids, or their refrigerators.” That’s what you get when you ask a 2 and a half year old what they think!

I hope you all find your refrigerators full of delicious food, enough so that you want to bring some of it over to your local food bank.

Thanks for reading,


Friday, September 12, 2008

Green Kids - Part 3


It’s important to raise kind and caring children. To me, and probably you, it’s vital to teach that, plus some. I want my little boy to understand how his actions impact those around him. One of the lessons in that equation is conservation and recycling, which is best taught by example.

Recycle: I’ve seen arguments against recycling programs, pointing to the trucks used, the emissions, the overall efficiency of community based programs. So persuasive are these arguments that it prompted the
Waste & Resource Action Programme to publish an international study last year. This study found that in 83% of programs surveyed, the efficiency and benefit far outweighed the drawbacks. Of course the study dealt with tangibles, like energy use vs. conservation, waste cost, environmental impact. But there are countless benefits that can’t be quantified. Teach your kids to sort the recycling and teach them responsibility, give them a feeling of community and a sense of pride in making a difference. Unquantifiable, yes, but real, nonetheless. If your community doesn’t offer curbside recycling, a real luxury, check here to find recycling programs with drop-off points in Pennsylvania and here for the rest of the US.

Reuse: I wont ask you to rinse out those cruddy baggies for reuse, but why not nix them? Maybe not all together, but how about some other options? There are some great long lasting food storage containers out there, for packing lunches, portable beverages. Give them a try. And if you can’t, just can’t let go of your disposable lifestyle, why not try a few green options? Here are a few to add to your list:

Ecoproducts: Compostable disposable cups, plates, and utensils.

The Water Geeks: BPA free reusable water bottles.

Zonbu: The Green Machine is a computer that is just beyond cool. Check it out.

Kids Konserve: Reusable school lunch products.

Reduce: Here's where it gets fun. No, seriously, it does! Depending on their age, kids can help to do all sorts of things to conserve energy, water, resources, reduce pollution.


  • Turn lights off when you leave the room.

  • Open blinds for natural light.

  • Switch to the more energy efficient compact florescent bulbs.

  • Try Energy Star appliances.


  • Don't rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher and be sure to fill it up before running.

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your face.

  • Try low-flow shower heads and limit your time in the shower to under 10 minutes.

  • Don't use pesticides or fertilizers on your lawn.


  • Try carpooling or mass transit for school and work.

  • Walk or bike for local errands.

  • Check tire pressure on your car or truck

  • Group your travels by location to avoid unnecessary trips.

And finally, here are some great resources to get you started:

Environmental Kids Club!

Do Something.org


Thanks so much for reading!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Green Kids - Part 2

My Chemical Romance

Truth be known, I’m messy. Not filthy, mind you, but I leave stacks of books, papers, pens, and stickies in my wake. Underneath those piles of supplies, my biggest secret is lurking. Want to know? Are you sure? It's not that exciting? Okay, here goes:


Their harsh smells, that fake lemon essence, the cleaning power of 42 chemicals that could choke an ox, the knowledge that I can smite germs with a single spray. Ahhhhhh. The problem is, out of those 42 chemicals, 40 of them could, quite literally, kill my child in a large enough dose. What is a sani-freak, worry-wart of a mother to do? First off, chill out! Unless you’re hiding pork chops under your clutter, you probably have very little to worry about. But kids do track germs into the house, on their hands, all over their toys, on their shoes. You going to clean that? Of course you are. Simple fixes:

  • Wash those hands every time you come in the house. Every. Time. Not just eliminating germs, but also protecting you and yours from harmful chemicals that can be found in the yards and playgrounds your kids frequent (pesticides, arsenic, fertilizers.)

  • Try a more bio-friendly list of products: Method, I love these guys. Check out their 10 Detox Tips. Clorox Greenworks (endorsed by the Sierra Club!) Perf's GoGreen Garbage Bags. . Seventh Generation Cleaners. Shaklee.

  • If you just can’t fight the urge to disinfect, try this: Do your clean-up routine after the kids go to bed or when they’re not around so they’re not enticed by the interesting smells and pretty bottles. After cleaning your surfaces, wipe them down with water and a washcloth to remove any residual chemicals. Be sure to keep them under wraps, with either child safety mechanisms or in an area of the house that is inaccessible to small hands.

Also, because you deserve it, and I love anyone reading my blog, here are a few recipes for home cleaners that you can make yourself! (All recipes come from Where's Mom Now that I need her)

Glass Cleaner

1 gallon water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid dish detergent

All Purpose Cleaner
1 cup household ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
1 gallon warm water

And finally, here are a few resources for you and your fight to Go Green with your kids.

On Friday, you'll see my final of the 3 part series entitled, Reuse/Reduce/Recycle.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Green Kids - 3 Part Series

These days, we hear about dangers in the home, in schools, in toys, in bottle liners, in all things associated with raising kids. Parenting magazines have highlighted concerns and safe products, the CPSC issues recalls, ramping up their efforts, in light of lead paint exposure. Faced with an onslaught of information, how are we supposed to keep our kids safe? How much is necessary vs. alarmist? Didn’t our parents keep us safe without being overly concerned about eco-friendly products and potential bio-hazards?

I’ve spent the last few months clipping articles, noting websites. I would like to share some interesting information with you about these concerns in a three part series, including Pedal to the Metal, My Chemical Romance, and Reuse/Reduce/Recycle. I hope you enjoy it!

Part 1: Pedal to the Metal

What’s the deal with lead paint? Dora, Thomas, do you really need to worry? Yep. I refuse to enter alarmist mode on this, but as a parent, you HAVE to do some research. You just have to. Most of us know that lead is harmful, but read the list effects of here. Nasty stuff. Check out toy recalls here. Your pediatrician and the CDC may recommend testing for lead levels. Mine just did at my son’s 2 year checkup. If they don’t suggest it and you’re worried, just ask. Isn’t it better to get some peace of mind?

If you live in an older home, be sure to check on lead paint. Obviously newer paints are lead free, but if you’re considering a room make-over, try one of these paints that contain low or no VOC’s. Safer for your family and the environment!

Tomorrow, we'll be talking about chemicals in the home and on Friday, keep an eye out for our final post in the three part series, Reuse/Reduce/Recycle.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Blog Steam

Over the summer, it seems I ran out of blog steam. The tasks at hand took up much of my time and energy, one of which was editing and refining my novel. Check! So, faithful followers, I should be back with a post or two a week and plenty of steam to power my engine in the months to follow. Thanks for your patience!

A few links to start the weekend off :

Mixed Greens: environmental health news update in audio format.

Green Mom Blogroll: great resource to find interesting and environmentally concerned bloggers.

I still have a wrap up of PSU's Ag Progress Days to offer and a wealth of information I've been gathering about maintaining a green-friendly home for kids.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ag Progress Days

Hi Everyone,

Summer is a busy time, isn't it? It is. This week, I have 2 projects due, novel edits to finish, a trip to Harrisburg, and Ag Progress Days, hosted by PSU.

I'll be taking a trip out to the show on Wednesday or Thursday and will blog all about the new green info. Here's a link to the show site to whet your appetite.

Ag Progress Days

Maybe I'll see you out on the farm! Have a great week.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Hold it in, hold it in!

The Central PA Festival of the Arts closed out yesterday, with the standard Earthtones Concert on Old Main Lawn. For the 3rd year in a row, the show went on without me. I used to love the Festival closing show, but hearing the same set for 12 years ignited my appetite for something fresh. This year, I found it. Jukebox The Ghost is a three man band with keyboards, guitar, and drums. They performed on the Allen Street Stage at 8 on Saturday. Their sound ranges from piano pop a la Train or Ben Folds to 80's punk reminiscent of The Clash. The stage show was lively and entertaining, funny and engaging. Each member of the band worked the crowd in their own way, from making jokes about the stage set up, telling song backstories, to artistically tossing drum sticks to make way for another type of percussion.

If you're into music, if you want to hear something that will get your toes a-tapping, check them out. You can find their website here. I recommend listening to Hold it in to get a feel for their sound, then move on to Victoria or Good Day. Great stuff.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Author Advocate Defense Fund

So, my little super heroes, I'd like to challenge you to get involved in a worthy cause. As you may know, I am a writer. I belong to a wonderful community of writers called Absolute Write, owned by my friend, MacAllister Stone. Mac and some of our other good friends at AW are defending themselves in a lawsuit filed by Barbara Bauer.

Because of the suit, I wont go into specifics. But if you're keen on details, they can be found through the Author Advocate Defense Fund website. The Author Advocate Defense Fund was established to assist several author advocates in defraying the cost of defending themselves in the lawsuit. I would encourage each of you to help out in any way you're able. Blog about it, donate a few (hell-50) dollars, tell your dad, ask him to donate.

Check back for updates on the case. So far, the suit against Wikimedia (yes, she was suing WIKIPEDIA!) was dismissed, but the rest are still in the system.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


I want to talk about food. More specifically, I want to talk about the psychology of food. People are weird about food, aren’t they? They’ll shell out 50 bucks for a fake Prada on the streets of New York, or 1000 for the real thing, but you still see them buying a 7 layer burrito from Taco Bell, or dare I say it? Buying conventional produce from the grocery store. Why is it that consumers feel their wallets and lip glosses deserve a fifty dollar home when they themselves don’t even deserve a 4 dollar quart of organic strawberries? They have the latest gadgets, music, books, video games, or what have you, but they can’t be bothered with pouring over labels to avoid high fructose corn syrup. I have a hard time understanding these people, partly because I’m happy with my 6 dollar handbag from Gap, but mostly because I care deeply about what goes into my body and into the bodies of those I feed.

I’m not trying to begrudge anyone a hearty meal or even an occasional treat, but the everyday stuff (or double stuf) that people pour down their throats really disturbs me. Have we, as a society, traveled so far from our agrarian roots that we can only eat from cans, packages, or bags? Okay. I’m being a bit extreme, but have you tried an organic strawberry? Those little red berries of delight are laughing in the face of their conventional brethren. Organic cheese is sharper than its conventional counterpart, and I wont even start on tomatoes.

I would like to encourage as many of you as possible to give it a shot. Try eating organic. Try shopping local. Try to cut back on your processed, packaged foods. Make more than 5 meals a week. I'm talking breakfast, lunch, dinner. Take out the Cocoa Puffs and try a banana. How about some plain yogurt with honey and granola? Give it a month. Indulge yourself in the good stuff and see how you feel. My guess is that, if you keep up with it for an entire month, you’ll come back to report you’re feeling energized, light, refreshed, because that’s how my body feels every day.

Here are a few resource links for you:

Newsweek's Lab Notes. Face Off: Organic vs. Conventional.

Organic Center and their Mission Organic 2010

How Organic Food Works.

A voice of dissent from CNN. (See? I'm a fair reporter!)

I’m climbing down from my soap box, now. But watch for me to step back up tomorrow because I’m going to be talking about a really worthy cause, The Author Advocate Defense Fund.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Farmer's Market

On Friday, I went to our downtown farmer's market. There were more than 10 farmers, selling their produce, flowers, and baked goods from little stands and trucks. Here are a few pictures, to make you feel like you were part of my organic Friday experience!

Spring Onions - These onions are delicious. I made 2 quarts of refrigerator pickles, and I think the onions are the best part!

Fresh Strawberries from Wood Fired Bakery and Farms.

Patchwork Farms had the sweetest organic snap peas on the planet. After buying 1 pint and tasting them, I walked right back into the line to buy another. Yes, they were that good. And the owner was a total sweetheart and gave me his recipe for garlic scape, which I've never tried. You can be sure I'm working on that this week!

My friends, Barrie and Madeline Moser, of Moser's Garden Produce, were selling beautiful greens and herbs. The sweet basil was so good in a roasted corn, tomato, and mozzarella salad.

So, it was a very successful outing. I spent 20 dollars and purchased: Organic spring onions, beets, 2 pints of snap peas, 1 qt organic strawberries, granola, a dozen free range organic eggs, a scoop of raw milk ice cream for my little boy, garlic scape, napa cabbage, and sweet basil. They're holding the market on Tuesdays from 11-4 and Fridays from 11-6. Go down there and buy local, if you can. If you're not in the State College area, visit FarmersMarket.com to find out where you can shop locally. Thanks for reading and commenting.

All the best!


Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Have you heard about this new book by Elizabeth Royte? It's called Bottlemania: How Water Went on Sale and Why We Bought It. American Public Media's Marketplace featured the book and the author on their show yesterday. To listen, go here. To buy the book, try here. Or here.

I'll be back around to post a review when I find the time to read it! In the meantime, I'm working on an interesting compilation of Enviro-Makeup and beauty product resources. If you know of one I might be missing, please feel free to email me or leave a comment. Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Green Kids

Here's a list of resources that will help in your quest to turn your kids green. Not like that, silly!

Green Thumbs:

Dunecraft : A really great company that provides funky growing kits for kids. It really draws them in to the whole growing process.

Arbor Day : I know it has come and gone, but the site has a wealth of information about how to get kids involved year-round. It also has kids sections broken down into age friendly activities.

USDA State Forest Kids Page : With sections like Backyard Conservation, Gardening with the Penn State Pointers, Nature Watch, and Woodsy Owl, there's something for kids of all ages.

Volunteer Opportunities:

Toys for Tots : Kids, they like toys, ya know? Why not have them donate one of their unopened gifts to someone who doesn't have ANY? Let them get involved.

Cheerful Givers : Their site is adorable and their mission is great. From their "About Us" section, "Cheerful Givers is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to helping children in need. We provide birthday gift bags through shelters and food shelves to disadvantaged, needy children. "

Compassionate Kids : This nonprofit is geared toward teaching kids to be kind to the earth, people, and animals. They're currently looking for volunteers within their organization for the following areas:

~Board Member
~National Director
~Local Chapter Leader for the State of Georgia

Some Fun:

Haagen-Daz Honey Bee Site : So cute. Great little activities for the kiddies.

A Walk in the Woods : Check it out. Pretty cool link.

EEK! Environmental Education for Kids.

I'll be back soon to tell you all about Green Parents.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Wings Over Pittsburgh

Here are the pictures I promised. Enjoy!

My Future Pilot

Dirt? On my child?

The Jet Car!

A very shiny DC-3.

Checking out the planes

Oy! I can't catch you from down here!

Some tails

Food Bank Dinner

KW Cares Dinner

So, last week our company was the fundraiser at a local Hoss’s restaurant. Now, I have to caveat that the food isn’t stellar, but what they do for the community is. Here’s the deal: You sign up with Hoss’s to host a fundraiser and then you select the day you’re hosting the event. They provide you with cards that indicate all of the details and you hand these cards out to your friends, family, prospective clients, anyone. You and your people eat dinner at the restaurant on the designated night. Hoss’s will then donate 20% to the charity of your choice. Our charity was the local food bank, for which we raised 75 dollars. I think we had about 25 people show up, that seems to be our standard turn out.

I have a few more notes to pass on. This Thursday, I’m going to begin tutoring with Americorp. I’m also waiting for confirmation from the Midstate Literacy Council, but they’ve asked if I could work with a Chinese couple on their ESL training. Each requires a 2 hour/week commitment. I’m very excited about this volunteer opportunity. I’ll keep you all updated as to our progress!

We attended the Wings Over Pittsburgh Airshow over the weekend. I'll be back in a bit to add a few pictures.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Literacy Initiative

Just a quick post to encourage any and all readers to take a look at this and get on board. Thanks!

The AW Poet Laureate Literacy Initiative

I'll be back tomorrow to talk about the charity dinner tonight and what I'm doing to support the above mentioned initiative.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Habitat For Humanity

Affordable housing. It seems like such a basic right, but in this time of sub-prime crashes and foreclosures, it’s difficult to find an economical place to live. Rentals are available and abundant in a college town like Happy Valley. But if you’re not a student, have a family, or simply can’t afford the high cost of collegiate rentals, what can you do? Most people involved in the housing industry are asking that very question. PHFA just increased their Centre County allowances, and I heard they made statewide adjustments. The State College Borough also offers a great first time home buyers deal, if you qualify. And zoning is doing what it can to increase availability for lower to middle income families.

Take, for instance, the site where I found myself working yesterday. It is under commercial development, but zoning required the investors to set aside a portion of the land to include 10 duplex buildings. As of right now, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County is working on two duplexes. Keller Williams Advantage Realty had about 18 volunteers between morning and afternoon shifts. Several of us stayed for the entire day. For the morning, my team was Ron Avillion, Carol Packard, Lorraine Spock, and myself. Our leader was a great guy named Lee, who you’ll get to meet in some of the following pictures. We were assigned to a wall building crew, working on studding a basement in Unit 2, in order to prep for dry wall. A corresponding crew worked in Unit 1, right next to us, finishing walls as well.

There were two other crews of our people working on siding and electrical. I missed all the electrical work, due to my own projects, but I did get a few pictures of Dawnyelle and Crystal, the siding masters!

When we got into the basement, it was easy to see we had some clean up to do before we could proceed. In unit 1, they were blessed with 8 inches of water from recent rains. Though we were on the second half of the same building, we weren’t nearly as flooded in Unit 2.

We cleaned out the supplies, swept up the water, and started building. We quickly determined that there wasn’t enough for 5 people to do, so Lorraine and Carol set to work on cleaning up outside, while Ron, Lee, and I stayed inside.

We had to attach a large piece of plywood to the wall, where the plumbing and electrical would reside for the washer and dryer in the unit. That thing was heavy! Ron and I held it up while Lee attached it to the frame.

We added some bracing to a few corners, in order to make things a bit easier on the drywallers. And we had to add 2X6’s to the ceiling, at 16 inch intervals, for the drywall ceiling to attach. It was really fun.

I did some drilling, circular sawing, hand sawing, hammering, lifting, and anything else Lee told me to.

Speaking of Lee, what a great guy! He comes out to the HfH site once a week, so that he can “get his fix.” He loves it. We were talking about some recent jobs and he told me about this single dad, living in a trailer with his wheelchair bound daughter. She couldn’t even turn her chair around inside the place. To go catch the bus, she had to be lifted out of the trailer. No independence at all. HfH placed them in one side of a duplex in Millheim.

“When she saw her new home,” Lee said, “the entire site got chills. Her smile was a mile wide. That’s why I do this.”

Did I already say he was a great guy?

Thanks to Ben Norman, for getting the ball rolling and for working so hard all day! Dude, I owe you a beer. Thanks to all the volunteers who came out to the site. We had a great time, didn't we?

A few extra pictures:

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Going Green

We hear that phrase a lot these days, don’t we? Doesn’t it seem like “going green” involves either mass amounts of money, time, or both? Several magazines that I subscribe to have green living sections that highlight things we can do in our day to day lives that will help conserve energy, water, waste, and center our focus on recycling and eco-friendly options. Most of these “tips” are about how you can convert your home into a Green Machine, from major remodels, to replacing appliances, pipes, and electrical systems. And hey! If funds were unlimited, I would probably be living in a green house, fully powered by McDonald’s french fry grease, enjoying natural lighting, and eating only what was grown on my own property. That’s right. Call me Daryl Hannah.

But since I live in the real world, and remodeling my kitchen into an eco-friendly green zone isn’t really an option for me (or for you, I suspect) what can we do to make better choices for our homes, cars, meals, and lives? I’m going to share some pointers I’ve been gathering that seem like real options for those of us who would like to do more, but don’t have 72 million dollars of expendable income.

Buy Local. Think about it. Gas is expensive. If you’re able to buy meat, vegetables, and fruit from within a 100-200 mile radius of your home, you’d be doing so many good things for yourself and your environment: lower cost to transport goods, fewer emissions off the transporting of goods, less packaging and processing of food, support of your local economy, and boosted allergy blockers. But let’s talk about the really important factor: It tastes better! You’re eating produce that was recently picked, so it’s closer to ripeness than its transported cousin, which is picked under-ripe and usually given some assistance to become shelf ready. You’ll also have the benefit of more nutritional value per serving. Fruits and veggies lose their vitamins and minerals as they age. The sooner you eat them off the plant, the better. And sure, a lot of you will say, “But Sara! I can’t get local veggies where I live.” You can! I swear. Here are a few links to help you out. You can buy local, even in NYC.

Heating and Cooling Changes: Simple ones, I promise. It’s getting warmer in my part of the world and for most of us that means AC. Not so fast, cowboys and girls. Windows and house position can work with your AC to cut down cost and energy use. Open some windows to take advantage of the cooler early morning or evening temperatures. Close shades on sunny windows during the day to give the AC a break. Try using your oven, dishwasher, washer/dryer at night when they aren’t adding to the fight. If you have Central Air, be sure to change your filters regularly to avoid allergens and overheating the system.

In the Kitchen: While I dream of a green kitchen, here are a few things I can do to hold me over. Get rid of the paper towels. Use dishcloths or washable sponges for messes and save a tree. Don’t rinse the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher. I know your mom does it, mine too. But we can break the cycle (oh, aren’t I funny!) by showing them how clean our dishes turn out by just letting the dishwasher do the dirty work (okay, I swear I’m done with the puns.) While you’re at it, turn off the heated dry cycle and let the dishes air dry. You know you leave them in there overnight anyway. Seriously. You do. Make sure your faucets aren’t leaking. Try using a toaster oven for smaller meals instead of cranking up the stove every time. And did you know that gas cook tops are WAY less energy efficient than their electric counterparts? It’s crazy, but it’s true. Electric stoves are about 80% efficient, while gas stoves are only 55% efficient(BHG, April 08.) Just saying.

Okay, that’s enough for today. A few interesting links for you:
  • Haagen-Daz wants you to help the honey bees. Mmmm
  • Abundant Forests Alliance. Apparently the paper industry is trying to give back.
  • 10 Green Giants: CNN takes a look at environmentally friendly companies, 5 of which are American based.

Next time we’ll be talking about Green kids and maybe even Green Cosmetics! We’ll see how adventurous I’m feeling.

Monday, April 28, 2008


When we last left our Hero, she was covered in flour and dead asleep at the kitchen table.

But, wait! What is that? She’s wielding the tongs! She’s alive! Cooking didn’t kill her.

Okay, enough of the silliness. Lunch was a success! 22 people attended while I was there, from 11 am - 1 pm. I heard that a few others were going to be filtering in after 1. Apparently, the food was wonderful. I’m saying that honestly, because I don’t eat chicken. And you thought I was just embarking on another ego trip.

Here are a few foodie pictures to titillate your taste buds. On the plate, clockwise from high noon: Thyme & Onion Focaccia, Baby greens with snap peas, tomatoes and Dijon vinaigrette, and Rosemary chicken breast.

Lemony Squash Muffins. The recipe, by Jamie Oliver, can be found here. I'm usually caught tinkering with every recipe I find or just creating my own. But this one was a winner right out of the gate. Try them!

In addition to raising more than 50 dollars for KW Cares, we were able to pull in a few extra donations for our local food bank food drive. Our office is hoping to win the coveted Macaroni Trophy. We’re accepting donations at our office until May 21st.

Here’s the info on the Habitat for Humanity work that we’ll be doing on Thursday. I’m going to bring my camera and click as many pictures as the day will allow. As of this morning, we had more than 15 people signed up, between day, morning, and afternoon shifts. It should be a great time!

I’ll be back a bit later with some interesting reading!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Do You Have Super Powers?

Super Powers?

Yes. I have them. Everyone does, right? Aren’t there things that you are amazingly good at, that you know you can do better than anyone else? Yes, there are. You have super powers.

Here are mine:

  • Laughter. The ability to make a speeding toddler stop running and start giggling. Specifically mine, but it might work on your toddler, too.

  • Mimicry. I can make almost any sound. This includes language. You know that clicky-hard G-hard K letter in Kartuli that resonates off the back of your tongue? You don’t? Well, I got that.

  • Language in general. Give me a week, and I can speak yours. Yes, I’m open to any offers from the CIA.

  • Cooking. If you know me, you know that I love to cook. You also know that it’s the one thing that will proudly take me on an ego trip. Tell me you love what I just made for you and you’ll have a little spot in my heart for life. You haven’t lived until I’ve cooked for you. And you won’t know how much I really love you until you’ve tried my Mocha Java Cake. Or my Pumpkin Maple Cheesecake.

Speaking of cooking and super powers, today was my prep day for lunch tomorrow. I’m hosting an office lunch in order to raise funds for KW Cares. Expected turn-out is around 25 or 30 people. I’ll be serving Rosemary Chicken, Focaccia with either onions, olives, herbs, or all three, Baby Greens Salad, and Lemony Squash Cupcakes. I woke up at 6am today to start the Focaccia. It was my first attempt and I wanted to be sure I’d have enough time for a redo if things went south. They didn’t. To quote my child, brace for the ego trip, “mmmm, delicious olive bread.”

I’ll have pictures and donation amounts tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to the event and hoping for an amazing turn out. If you’re in the area, come on out. Keller Williams Advantage Realty. We’re asking for a $2 donation per lunch, all of which goes to KW Cares. Hope to see you there!

One last note: As of April 13, 2008, PSU Autism Speaks 5K Race raised $120,000 for Autism Speaks. This brings our 3 year total to $412,000. Wow. Thanks again to all of my friends and family members who donated. You're the best.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What Every Hero Needs

Whether you’re battling hunger, cancer, lead paint, or poor fashion sense, at some point you’re going to have to run from the bad guys, run after the bad guys, run to someone's aid, or run a marathon to raise funds for the cure. All of this adds up to a lot of running for our Friendly World Saving Super Hero.

So, how do you do it? Stay fit, I mean. Do you run? Do you do yoga? Dance your heart out on the kitchen floor, by way of spontaneous dance parties with your toddler and/or sister? Well, now you know what I do!

How do you keep yourself motivated? I run with my iPod and set up a weekly jogging playlist. Would you like to know what’s in the queue for this week? No, Erik. It’s not Eye of the Tiger. At least not today… I start with something slow, build up, then slow back down. I’m working with about 30 minutes, which usually gives me a little more than 2.5 miles, including warm up and cool down. Here goes:

  • Sail Away – David Gray
  • Boston – Augustana
  • Jump (for my love) – Pointer Sisters
  • Holiday – Green Day
  • If I Never See Your Face Again – Maroon 5
  • Suddenly I See – KT Tunstall
  • Makes Me Wonder – Maroon 5
  • Inner City Blues – Marvin Gaye

Be friendly little super heroes, and tell me your power songs. What gets you going and keeps you going? Boston, Jump, and Holiday really kick it in for me and I feel like I could run forever when I’m listening to them. Maybe I should cut the list back and throw it on repeat. Or maybe I'll steal one of your songs.

A little video for your listening pleasure. Who knows? Maybe you'll start running when you hear it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

It's Earth Day!

What better way to start a save-the-world blog than on Earth Day?

I'd love to hear what Earth Day means to you. Did you plant a tree? Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth? Carpool with your coworkers? Contribute time or money to an environmental cause? Did you vote green?

To me, Earth Day means doing a bit extra, reminding yourself and others that we can make a difference. So, today I reminded everyone at our office meeting to carpool while they toured properties. I took a few minutes to stock my car with reusable grocery bags to reinforce the habit. I planned out my day in terms of geography in order to conserve gas. NPR ran a story on tap vs bottled water and the environmental impact of each. So, I drank tap water today, even though the bottled variety was looking me in the eye at every turn. I know you did way better than I did. Tell me how.

Just a few more thoughts:

April is Autism Awareness Month. My company and family recently raced for the cure by participating in this fantastic PSU event, PSU Autism Speaks 5K. Our page hasn't been updated with our totals, but as a family we were able to raise $150 for Autism Speaks. Thank you to all of our contributors. But the door is still open. If you'd like to contribute to our race, click here. Thanks so much.

In other news, the CIRCUS came to town! Finn and I watched as the train pulled into town. We could see elephant trunks peeking out of the windows. Apparently, they were supposed to lead the animals out of the train and down the street to the Bryce Jordan Center. We didn't make it that far. It took about 45 minutes for the train to show up and after another 30 minutes of waiting for the animals to detrain, Finn had enough. He declared "All done!" and walked himself back to the car. Oh well. He loved the train. At least he had fun. We have tickets to Saturday's show. I'm sure he'll get his fill of the animals then.

Stay Tuned For:

1. On Monday, April 28, I'm hosting a benefit lunch for our in house nonprofit KW Cares. I'm making Rosemary Chicken Salad, French bread, and Lemony-Squash Cupcakes. I'll let you know how it goes and how much we raise. The goal for the year is $3,000. We are currently at the $900 mark.

2. On Thursday, May 1, I'll be attending an all day build for Habitat for Humanity, along with my team of 10 other Realtors. Details forthcoming.

Thanks for reading. Have a great week!