Monday, January 25, 2016

A New Life: Garden Education and Meatless Monday

Last week a mom's group brought their kids to The Secret Garden for a field trip.
It's always fun seeing them having a hands-on experience.
Listening to a story about leaving a zero footprint.
(That's me; I was able to get this picture from their Instagram account since I never have pictures of myself reading to the kids.) 
Along with some wheelbarrow shenanigans.
 It's always a fun, educational time and great to be outdoors when the weather is good.
Plus, I was able to come home with some fresh chard from the garden which I cooked up in two different ways.
Sauteed in olive oil with lots of garlic and tomatoes and served over leftover rice.
And then yesterday, I sauteed it again, but this time with garlic, cherry tomatoes, mixed beans and wheat pasta.
A squeeze of lemon juice on both dishes was the perfect finishing touch.

I'm linking to Traude's A New Life campaign of "small steps to a better world." 
Practicing mindfulness, sustainability and quality of life.
Wishing you a wonderful week!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Rock Art at the Garden

Try your hardest
Stay grounded
Start each day with a clean slate
Keep still
Be well-rounded
Live in balance
Never take life for granite!
(Ilan Shamir)
Rock painting is something I've wanted to do with the kids at The Secret Garden for a while.  And since I was in charge of arts and crafts this past Saturday, that's exactly what we did.
Give kids markers, brushes and paints and they are happy campers.
Their creativity was amazing to see.
We had a bigger turnout than I expected so the nearly 30 rocks I bought weren't even enough.  Some of the kids that came a little late were searching for any type of stone or concrete block around the garden that they could paint.
Two hours went by so visit.  While some of the kids took their rocks home, some left them behind for the garden, so the next morning I went back to place them around the vegetable patch.

Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better.
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

Have a great week!

Friday, January 15, 2016

A New Life: Tackling Litter

Today my dear blog friend, Traude, has begun a new venture entitled:
She shares the same passion I do about making simple changes in our lives that will have a positive impact on our surroundings and thus our environment and hopefully the world at large.
In her words, "A New Life" is about "mindfulness, sustainability and quality of life."
She asked that we share ways in which we are working to make a difference and as most of you know, I'm involved with a community garden called "The Secret Garden" that was started by a young Kuwaiti chef who is also passionate about the environment and creating a sense of community.

 In November, I organized a yarnbombing event at the garden which was a huge success.  On Saturdays we do gardening, crafts, and storytime; and during the week, we sometimes have school children come for field trips to learn about planting and composting.
Sadly, one of the biggest problems faced in this country is garbage.
I post pretty pictures from my walks, but the truth is that everywhere I go, there is garbage piled up, trash littering the streets and strewn just about everywhere.  And that's even with a large number of street cleaners who are out there every day from early morning doing their best to clean but losing the battle because of the lack of litter laws.

The Secret Garden is actually a public space and the government recently contracted a new company to maintain it, purportedly because the previous company was not doing a sufficient job.  I saw the new cleaning team there one morning this past week and assumed that the next day I would find a nice, neat, tidy garden space.
Unfortunately, that was not the case.  I was appalled by the condition of the garden the next morning and spent the next hour and a half cleaning and organizing.
Most people wouldn't even bother themselves trying to tackle this problem.  It's a never ending dirty job but the lack of respect for the environment is one of my biggest pet peeves and is something that I get on my soapbox quite often about.  Because it is the right thing to do, I do it.  I can't fix the problem, but I can certainly be part of the solution and hopefully inspire others to also want to  contribute positively to their community.
Let us be good stewards of the Earth we inherited. All of us have to share the Earth's fragile ecosystems and precious resources, and each of us has a role to play in preserving them. If we are to go on living together on this earth, we must all be responsible for it.
Kofi Annan

Please visit Traude at her blog Rostrose to read how others are creating change through lifestyle choices, by giving back or by tackling a problem and making a difference.

Have a fabulous Friday!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Walking in a State of Bliss

A life filled with wonder is a wonderful life.
This week we have had the most gorgeous weather for walking. 
 But rather than staying on the traditional path, I've started wandering the neighborhood again.
There's much more to see when I do a bit of exploring.
This next photo was my favorite from yesterday's walk.
Walking with wonder.
What you will see is love coming out of the trees, love coming out of the sky, love coming out of the light.  You will perceive love from everything around you.  This is the state of bliss.
Wishing you a blissful, wonderful day!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Stashbusting: Panda Print Polyester

This is a true stashbusting project.
I bought this yarn with friends at least 5 years ago from a guy who was importing yarns from Turkey and selling them from his basement.
I don't know what possessed me to buy it.  My friends bought some, too, and I remember them saying that it sheds. 
 And boy does it.  It's a very thick yarn that feels like velour so I had to use a big crochet hook.  The other negative is that you can't knot it or cut it because it starts to fall apart.
It does make a nice, soft, warm cowl.
Not sure how long it will last.  It may just slowly disintegrate over time.
The bad news is I've got another 2 skeins of the same yarn in teal/turquoise.
Even worse, I just discovered there's one more of each color.  I may have to donate them to a secondhand store.

Happy Stashbusting Sunday!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Five on Friday: The Season of Giving

Gifts of time and love are surely the basic ingredients of a truly merry Christmas.
Peg Bracken

For some, the holiday season may be over.
But for Orthodox Christians around the world, Christmas was just celebrated yesterday. 
It was lovely to visit friends last night who still have their living room decorated with a beautiful tree.

Just this past week, I had breakfast with a friend where gifts were exchanged.
One of my gifts to her was a mug with a granny square cozy.
We also had dinner with friends who always make sure to provide a vegetarian option for me.
For them, I crocheted a cover for a coffee can, decoupaged the lid and filled it with vegan Mexican Wedding Cookies.
Besides the giving of actual presents, it is our presence that matters.  Spending quality time nurturing our friendships is an important gift any time of year.

Christmas is forever, not for just one day,
for loving, sharing, giving, are not to put away
like bells and lights and tinsel, in some box upon a shelf.
The good you do for others is good you do yourself.
Norman Wesley Brooks, “Let Every Day Be Christmas"

Joining Amy at Love Made My Home for Five on Friday.
Friendship Blessings,
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