Blog Action Day 2010: WATER

Yesterday I recapped my self-made environmental report card and my grade was a 60%.

For this year’s Blog Action Day, I’ve been reading up on The statistics are staggering and inspire me to use less if for no other reason than I otherwise feel helpless in the developing world’s plight for access to clean drinking water & I shouldn’t be plundering my good fortune.

I found a water calculator that can help track our family’s water use. Right now it looks like we use just under 90 gallons again, but that’s just a guess. You read it here first that I’m going t do some record keeping and research and get a more accurate count in November. I’m hoping that by checking in there every so often, we can reduce the amount of water we use. Strikes we have against us is that the fixtures in our home are all 20 years old, and we have a top-loading washing machine. I supposed we if don’t sell our home soon, we could start replacing these water-guzzlers with newer, low-flow models.

Poke around the “facts” pages at Blog Action Day and at and you may be inspired to do the same thing. has several ways to spread the word and show your support, if you scroll down to the bottom of the “women’s issue” page.

Let me leave you with the video below (from and some things to think about (from :

More people in the world have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet.

38,000 children die each week due to dirty drinking water and unsanitary conditions.

One in eight people on the planet don’t have access to safe drinking water.

Women can’t do anything from on Vimeo.

Time Warp: Blog Action Day 2007 Revisit

I just signed up for Blog Action Day 2010. I have a vague memory of participating in Blog Action Day before, so I just went  through my archives and discovered that yes, in 2007, I DID participate.

Blog Action day is now run by and the idea is that  bloggers across the globe all write a post on the same social-issue topic on the same day — thus spreading awareness.

In my 2007 post, I listed 5 things I was doing to help lessen my environmental impact — and  I thought today was appropriate to report how I’v been doing on these five things:

1. Reusable shopping bags: OMG, my collection is legendary. Checkers at Trader Joe’s compliment me on the fact that I have so.many.bags that I don’t need any paper bags when I shop. I only get my meat bagged in plastic, and we are to the point at my house that we really have to look for a random plastic bag when we need one. This makes me happy!

2. The powdered detergent: I have to say, I’ve started alternating between powder and liquid–the powder was gunking up my washing machine and not rinsing well. Any tips in this department are appreciated!

3. Using the dishwasher to conserve water: It still washes just as much as always, and I love it. Go Earth!

4. Bringing my own mug to the coffee shop: The reusable mug kick is largely over for me- I tend NOT to bring one with me these days. Reading my post on this was a good reminder that it’s easy and it does make a difference. Now if I can only remember….

5. Not buying bottled water: I’ve kept up the practice of rarely buying bottled water. We use reusable water bottles, which is no big deal and SO MUCH BETTER for the Earth I can’t hardly stand it! Sure there’s the occasional impulse/unprepared buy, and I’d rather buy water than anything else to drink, but it’s minimal.

One other thing we’ve started doing since that blog post was sign up for curbside recycling. We do pay a small fee, but we recycle so much more because we have one of those huge wheeled bins to fill. Also, when we signed up, we were one of the only families on our street to do so. Since then, it seems like every pick up day there’s another big blue bin on the curbside. It’s not the greatest recycling program (typical contents, except it only takes plastics #1 & #2) , but it’s better than nothing.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post — this year’s theme is WATER.

In Defense of Baby Einstein

baby_einstein_logoThe other day I saw a tweet linking to how to get your $15.99 back from the Baby Einstein company if you kid hadn’t, in fact, turned into an Einstein by watching the DVDs. I was curious. We have a treasure trove of Baby Einstein products–how much were they worth?!? I clicked through and read the very easy and clear instructions. It looks like, if we really wanted to, we could turn in four Baby Einstien DVDs and net $64. We could use my parents address and get $64 more. But we won’t.

We won’t, because my kids have enjoyed those DVDs more than almost any other DVD we own. I’ve share a few moments here–a desperate moment, a ridiculous moment, and a few shameless-plug moments, sponsored by none other than the Baby Einstein Company. We have shared many more moments than this.

Baby MacDonald got us through a good portion of our road trip this summer. No matter how fussy he was, Junior stopped crying long enough to watch the pigs slide down the slide and into the mud.

Baby Wordsworth, while it didn’t teach my daughter sign language, it introduced her to the concept.

Baby Santa is just fun to watch around the holidays (or anytime, when MAM has her way).

Neighborhood Animals is a great way for Junior to practice his roar (according to him, every animal roars. except for birds. they quack)

All of those DVDs have exposed my children to music they may not have heard otherwise, music that MAM does identify now when she hears it other places.

And do you know what each and every one of those slices of digital magic has done for me? It’s bought me 30 minutes of sanity and quiet.

I never expected the DVDs to concretely teach them much–children need to engage all of their sense for the easiest learning. Parents who expect the television to replace human interaction have seriously warped expectations.

Is the marketing slick? Sure. Do you feel like you are doing a good thing when you buy one of these DVDs? Of course.  It’s Disney. Making you (and your kids feel good) is their job.  And they are good at it.

Totally worth $15.99 to me.