Just Heather

smart-mamas-green-guideTo most of my friends, I’m the crunchy, hippie, uber-green girl. To the real organic, super greenies, I’m a newbie. I understand and appreciate the reasons behind the green movement. I desire to provide a safer, healthier environment for my children and their future but I don’t have the knowledge or resources to succeed in all areas of our lives.

I do, however, have friends who try. My friends can be divided into two categories: the crunchy, granola buddies who still have much to teach me and everyone else. This month, I had the opportunity to review a book that will help them both!

When I first heard about the Smart Mama’s Green Guide, I was most interested the line that indicated the book “delivers the information busy parents want and the tools to make informed, individual choices without the demand to go all-out green.” A book designed to help parents who want to do better without a switch to completely organic? Pick me, pick me!

Jennifer Taggart understands that it is difficult for most people to eliminate all sources of toxic chemicals in their homes. It is often too expensive or time consuming to control everything, but she provides several simple, practical ideas to get you started. She breaks down each hazard, giving detailed explanations on how and why each poses a threat. For those of us who can’t quite grasp the acronyms or decipher the various chemicals, she gives real world examples. However, for those of you who thrive on the details that I can’t quite comprehend, she includes those as well.

Hachette Book Group has also offered additional books for me to giveaway to my readers! The books will be shipped directly from the publisher. To be entered into the giveaway, leave me a comment here, sharing simple ways you choose a greener life. You can also earn additional entries by blogging or tweeting about this giveaway (leave a separate comment with the link to each additional entry).

prizey_fmg_purpleThe contest runs from June 23rd to June 30th at 11:59pm. Two winners will be notified by email on July 1st (as selected by Random.org) and must reply with their mailing address within 48 hours or a new winner will be chosen. Open only to residents of the U.S. & Canada and books cannot be shipped to PO boxes.

The free summer film festival starts at our local theater in less than 2 weeks.  I’ve already gone over the list with the girls, allowing them to choose which of the 2 movies we’ll see each week.  Sure, we could see both but Wednesday is Water Day so a 2nd movie is only our rainy day backup.  Sometimes, they pick the same movie; sometimes, they pick separately.  That’s fine now that Stacia is older.  At eleven, she’s nearly babysitting age (which she reminds me constantly) so she’s perfectly capable of watching a movie in the theater next to mine.n506119855_1100465_5097

It appears they’ve picked several books turned movies this year. That means I have a lot of reading to do. I’m kind of obsessive about reading the book first, even when it’s ordinarily an author I wouldn’t choose. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, really, because it tends to make me hate the movie. Since I could never really hate anything that features Will Smith, I have learned to view them as separate entities. That helps a lot, as does lowering your expectations. If you go in expecting to see a beloved book come to life, you are bound to be disappointed. However, if you go in expecting to find a director has ruined your favorite story you may just be pleasantly surprised.

Still, a trip to the library is in order, and soon. I’m worried I’ve left it too late to snag copies, if they have any popularity at all. I have only 2 weeks to read Inkheart before the free showing, but over a month to finish Nim’s Island in time to watch with the girls. I may insist on a family reading of Charlotte’s Web before the kids see the movie again, but I have read it more than once. I guess I better get busy, even as I hope to talk them into a few selectionsthat don’t require homework.

I completely devoured 2 books this weekend—neither of which was the book the entire rest of the country devoured. I’m on my library’s waiting list for that one. They’ve got 10 copies and I’m 19 on a list of 30 or 40. If I don’t have it by next weekend I’ll pilfer a copy from one of my sisters. (BTW, sis…if you still have the 5 books you borrowed from me last year, I’m really tired of watching the others tip over in their empty space.)

For now, I read the first two books in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (the third is also on reserve). Teenage chic lit, sure, but I actually enjoyed them. I think she very accurately captures the kinship and emotions of teenage girls. I wanted to read this series for two reasons.

  1. My sisters have been after me to read them for months. I sometimes feel so disconnected from them—being 7 and 11 years older, and hours away—that I tend to grasp at things we can share. Books and movies are a big one.
  2. I wanted to see the movie, though my sisters didn’t wait for me to catch up. I have this thing about reading the book first when a movie has been made from it. The catch is, if I have read the book I usually end up hating the movie. It never turns out quite like I pictured it in my head.

The other day we got Stacia’s 2nd grade teacher assignment in the mail, along with the huge list of supplies and a text book bill. Can this summer zip by any faster?

My posts are so few and far between. I don’t seem to have much time to think about it. I’m not even keeping up very well on my favorite blogs. My days consist of the same old stuff, with the addition of a second child to entertain and summer activities to attend. First we had a week of Girl Scout camp, then a week of soccer camp. Now it’s just day to day things.

I meet some friends at a park every other Thursday. Last week we went to a water playground. The girls had a great time, but I missed a few spots with Brenia’s sunscreen. She had a series of red dots across her cheeks. Oops.

We are also participating in our library’s summer book program. Most of the prizes are free meals at restaurants so I was all about it. Any summer night I don’t have to cook is good with me. It’s just too damn hot to turn on the oven. I’d grill every night except I feel bad asking Spencer to fire up the grill as soon as he gets home every evening. Sure, I could do it myself like a good little feminist, but the gas terrifies me.

We’re not quite halfway through with this summer, and I’m already wishing the extended calendar had passed. Eleven weeks is a long, long time. The holiday weekend should be a nice break. We are going up to my in-laws lake cabin. It’s one of my favorite things to do, and we just don’t go often enough. Mostly I feel bad inviting myself all the time, but it’s so nice to be away for a few days and not have all my day-to-day responsibilities staring me in the face.

I’ll have at least one update before we take off—gotta get my mixmania posted and mailed!

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
as read by Brenia Sokol

Hunry, hunry, hunry.
Hunry, hunry, hunry.
Hunry, hunry, hunry.
Hunry, hunry, hunry.
Duh en!

I took the girls to the library today. I’m trying to do that at least once a week, but it’s not enough to just encourage them to read. They need to see it in action too. I’ve been an avid reader since I was a child. No staying up late watching television for me. Mom would find me hiding under a blanket with a flashlight and book!

I won’t claim to have a wide interest base. Since I mostly read in the tub my interests run more towards trash- anything else is just weird to read naked. I’m trying to branch out though. Recently I finished I, Robot in preparation for the movie (and to pacify my hubby.)

Today I picked up an interesting assortment… a J.D. Robb mystery, a Danielle Steele romance (both for my nightly bubble baths), the first two books in The Left Behind Series, and East of Eden. Can you get much broader than that?

Yes, in one afternoon I wandered the bookcases in mystery, religion, romance, and classics. You’ve gotta love the library!