Thursday, April 30, 2009

Reduce - Reuse - Recycle

by Staci Stevens
One of the most inspiring things happened to me last weekend while I was in Leavenworth. Jenelle and Torrey were hosting a BBQ (yes- it's that warm in Leavenworth) and her 9 year old cousin Gracie was there.

In between competitive battles on the Wi Fit she also talked about last weeks earth day at her school. Little Gracie was so bothered by the Styrofoam lunch trays used every day by hundreds of schoolmates at Mukilteo Elementary she decided to write a very pointed letter to her school district.

I absolutely love her candid spirit and determination to change things. I also love her reference to Jack Johnson's Reduce, Reuse, Recycle song- it's one of my favorites!!!!
Below is her letter (copied exactly from the original letter). If you do one thing all day- read her letter. It's so adorable yet inspiring.

April 22, 2009
By: Gracie (Jenelle's cousin)

Dear, sir or Gal

This is Gracie, do you happen to know that Styrofoam trays may take at least 900 to 2,000 Year’s to dissolve? Molly says you should not put mother earth down and make her mad. Kamryn says you aren’t being very smart to use Styrofoam for trays and not be able to recycle It. Don’t you know what you’re doing to our World! That’s all I have to say. Emma says I think You should be using different trays. Erika says you should be helping the Earth not killing it. It’s really not nice to hurt it. And just because you don’t want to help the earth doesn’t mean you can destroy it. So please help. Kylee says I think you should use reusable or recyclable trays and not Styrofoam trays. Saskia says I totally agree with everyone else!!!

.p.s. we all think you should think more about us because one day we will be the ones who have to live with it and were all going to be blamed! Molly says you should be nicer to mother Earth. We all say because that is just where we happen to be living; Molly says you should try to use reusable trays. We all say, because not only will it be good for our planet but also it may start to set good examples for other schools and people. Kamryn says you should think about what you do before you do it, like using those kinds of trays… Think wisely.

Saskia says our world rocks!!! Please don’t hurt it. World+ love= our lives!!!
Gracie says she love doing out door activities in fact don’t we all?!. So please please help. Emma says “Hey guys please save our planet” I don’t like it when you don’t.
We all say did you even know that we could turn out like WALL.E the movie well probably not that bad but that’s why we need to reduce, reuse and recycle. And if you listen to music you might know about Jack Johnson who happen to sing 3- is a magic number and one of the verses is actually “reduce, reuse recycle” so think about that…

Thank you,

Third grader’s: Gracie, Kylee, Kamryn, Emma, Saskia,, Molly and Erika

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Ale Fest '09

Ale Fest '09 was a huge success! The event serves as the annual fundraiser for the Nutcracker Museum in Leavenworth.

The event included 20 microbreweries sampling their unique brews, popular northwest bands including Leavenworth locals' favorite Chumstick Liberation Front (CLF), and tasty treats from local chefs. The baby in my belly prevented me from sampling the brews (okay, fine - I did have some sips of Torrey's favorite dark brew). I also enjoyed a delicious cheese plate from Cheesemongers, and a big salty pretzel from Ducks and Drakes.

Visitors came from all over the Northwest, and many dressed in traditional Bavarian clothing, which added some an "authentic Bavarian" feel to the event.

The music was really good this year -lots of dancing throughout the event! I tried my best not to bonk other dancers with my giant belly!

If you missed out on Ale Fest this year, you should definitely plan on attending next year!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Stop Pecking on the New Guys

Spring is definitely in the air.

-Tulips and daffodils are reasonably priced at the market.
-The weather is terribly fickle and uncertain.
-Some (who will remain nameless) are even wearing flip flops already.
-I find myself wanting (but not actualizing) to enjoy dinner with friends on the patio.
However there is one sign of spring that is new to me, and to be quite honest an excruciatingly painful sign of spring. Actually I'm getting ahead of myself- so let me back up a few weeks.

My roommate Allison (by Washington state law she is actually my "domestic partner" considering we have lived together for over 7 years) bought a new home in Ballard. In addition to her Cuisinart & couch Allison decided to take me along to her new home.

It's quite nice- a definite "step up" in living conditions. More room for entertaining, more natural light and no dressers left on the side of the street with a sign that says "free". I'm impressed.

However one learning curve we are undergoing and that seems to be specific to the changing of winter into spring would be the wildlife. I am specifically referring to a wood pecker that is "trying" to nest in the front side of Allison's place.

The very nerve of that Pecker. He could of chosen from a multitude of houses in our near vicinity. Why (WHY?) did he have to peck on the new guys. We're new to the neighborhood and trying to learn the ebs and flows of rural life. To be honest we've missed garbage day twice now- the consequences of that doesn't need any explaining.

We are also constantly reminding each other that the crazy lady directly across from us will be a good neighbor in the case of an emergency. However for the time being we are a little worried when she is repeatedly telling us that we can "report" the cars in front of our place that are parked within 2 feet of the side of our driveway.
Today is the 2nd day of his damage work (a.k.a. building his nest). Yesterday afternoon I was working from home when I heard him and run outside to investigate. At first he would just looked at me for a while, I "shooshed" him, then slowly he flew away. Within 5 minutes he would return - as did my shooshing.

I woke up this morning to his "pecking". I was so frustrated that I was woken up by that %&*# pecker that I jumped out of bed and headed straight to the pantry. I needed something- Anything- to throw at him so he knew who was boss. Peanuts were the closet find so peanuts it was. For over an hour we went back and forth. He would show up. He would peck. I would hear him pecking. I would grab my peanuts. I would throw my peanuts. He would fly away. Repeat all over again.

Pardon my French..... but all I can say is "that damn pecker". I'm so frustrated by the permanent damage he has done. Both Alli and I are researching how to rid ourselves of that annoyingly penetrating pecker.
In closing- I love spring weather- however I'm not entirely sure about all the "pecking" that comes with it.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

One Snuggie Meets One Girl

Fashion is a terribly unpredictable beast. Without a trend reports notice something unjustifiable and unexpected takes off like wild fire. For example, who would of thought those "Alligator" shoes would of taken off? What did you say? They're called Crocs? Oh. Well - sorry - you get the idea.
Well it seems there is another unjustifiable trend lurking. Actually I think it's past "lurking" and is now "flaunting" it's unfitted, oversized yet oh so Charmin soft self all around town.

My friends- the Snuggie has taken flight and it's likely it's won't land for a long time. I actually didn't know what a Snuggie was until I went to a birthday dinner party.... and Everyone except me cheered, laughed and even looked a little jealous when the Snuggie came out. In an effort to keep the informal, unstructured and humorous spirit of the Snuggie alive in the blog I would like to tell the story of "One Snuggie Meets One Girl" via pictures.

Boy thinks quietly to himself: I'm guaranteed to get some later tonight once she opens my gift.
Girl looks at boy lovingly thinking: I'm sure the wine from tonight will put me right to sleep as soon as we get home.

Girl Exclaims: OMG!!! I love it!!! This will definitely help me get right to sleep tonight. Also- and more importantly I know this color will look good on me since the model on the box looks exactly like me.

Girl thinks to herself: Wait a minute...... we just received a memo in the office about revised Casual Friday attire. Did they mention anything about the Snuggie. Thinking, Thinking, Thinking.......

Girl proclaims: It's just the right size for me- and it looks like I might even be able to fit one more in here.

Girl considers knowingly to herself: Yep, this will fit right in with the new Casual Friday dress code.

Later that night girl is seen reading US magazine on the couch- by herself.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Baby Season

by: Jenelle Landgraf

It seems that everywhere I look there is a pregnant lady! Maybe I'm just noticing more because I'm pregnant, or perhaps spring is the time of year when a lot of people are having babies. It could also be that I am 30 and so my social netowrk is just in the "baby stage".

Whatever the reason, babies and pregnant ladies are everywhere, and I have multiple baby showers on my calendar. Whether you love them, loathe them, or just accept them for what they are - baby showers continue to be a tradition in our culture. Which got me wondering - where did this tradition come from and how has it changed over the years? Thanks to the genes from my mother and grandpa Bob, my wondering often leads me to "research". Thanks to the Internet, I no longer have to rely on the encyclypedias like my grandpa used to do. I came across ths little article about the history and evolution of baby showers that I'd like to share:

"There is no way to determine exactly where or when the “baby shower” originated. There are several theories on baby shower history, but none can be proven. No matter where and when baby showers were first introduced, today they are a very special event celebrating a new life.
Some historians have found evidence of baby showers, or something similar, quite some time ago. These discoveries lead experts to believe that celebrating birth started in ancient cultures, like those in the Egyptian and Roman times. No definitive proof is available, but historians have deciphered data which could mean baby showers took place.
When you look at baby showers from long ago, you see that most of the gifts given to the family were handmade. Articles of clothing, blankets, and even food items were provided as gifts for the new family. Showers in the past occurred after the birth of the child, so many times part of the “baby shower” was the viewing of the new child.
The “baby shower” as we celebrate it today began after World War II. Family and friends gather together, in a party atmosphere, to celebrate the birth of a new baby. At the start, only woman were invited to attend such a gathering, but today these celebrations can include the father, grandfathers, and any male family members.
In recent years, the baby shower has started to occur before the actual birth of the child. With the new technology that is available to expectant parents, the gender of the child is not so much a mystery. Therefore, a baby shower can be thrown early in preparation for the baby’s arrival without the worry of buying the wrong thing.
No matter what the baby shower history is, the baby shower of today is a supportive and generous event toward new or expectant parents. With all the current trends toward “unisex” items, it is hard to buy the wrong thing!"

Personally, I love how different baby showers can be these days - from couples cocktail baby showers to tea time with just the ladies - it's fun to mix it up a bit!

Torrey and I attended a more "modern" baby shower recently that involved men feeding beer to each other out of baby bottles, so now my husband thinks baby showers are really cool. The showers thrown for me have been a little more "traditional" with cake, tea, silly games, and scrapbooking.

Whatever kind of baby shower you choose to have (or not have - that's fine too!), I think it's important that women continue to support each other pass down advice about motherhood.
It's important for expecting women to feel loved and supported, which is what I most appreciated about the baby showers my friends and family hosted for me.