Sunday, September 26, 2010

Books books books! Sharing the love of reading

It's September and that means books!   While I was investigating something else, I came across a program in my school district called the Little Readers Preschool Book Club.  It's a fantastic idea!  In a nutshell, they take donated books for preschoolers, and then send them to every preschool age child in the district that is registered with them.  I'm sure it's a very time consuming job for the volunteers who sort, clean, package and send out the books.  They can be sent in the mail, brought home by older siblings, shared at a local preschool or at the Strong Start (another great program) locations in the district. 

I encourage you to take a look and see what this program has to offer!

AND... if you live in the district and have preschool appropriate books in good condition, consider sharing them.  I know that at the swapmeets you can get a wee bit of money for them, but for the sake of a few dollars, you could really make the difference in a child's life as some kids just don't have books of their own.

If your children are young, think about joining the club for them - what a wonderful surprise it is when they get a new book!

For those of you in other places - check with your school board to see what they have to offer.  Maybe this is something you might consider starting where you live?  Books are for everyone, and a love of reading starts young. And sharing, well that's a lesson we can all learn.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunshine on a stick

As you can see by my new picture, the sunflowers are out!   I had 4 giant sunflowers - the kind that give you seeds, but one tipped over and broke, one withered and I'm left with 2.  I have to try to get a picture of them when the sky clears.  They are my only sunshine in this rainy time.  Of course, just as I'm typing this - the sun is coming out!  The perfect time to go gather some veggies!

Our veggie garden was a hit and miss proposition this year.  The berries weren't so great and I have to go still and dig up the old strawberry plants and ensure the shoots take, and cut the old raspberry canes out.

We got lots of peas but someone, a slug I think, got more of them. I'd be waiting for them to pop full and go out and all of the ones I wanted were eaten overnight.. hmmmm

We got lots and lots of beans.  Apparently we grow good beans here! Carrots and radishes?  not so much.  The parsnips are small but look good. I'm leaving those for a while as I read a light frost sweetens them.  we have some cabbages to bring in, and of all the kohlrabi plants, i think we actually have one that grew to the right size. 

Our tomatoes look good, but are not ripening.  We need a week of sun!  The early ones, a lovely orange whose name escapes me, are good, though.  And peppers.  We have chilis, jalapenos, hungarian wax and something that was labelled the same but is a different pepper and I have no idea what kind.  Much much bigger, that's all I know.  I'll let my husband taste test. (It's ok - he loves the hot ones!)

We ended up with - are you ready? 3 ears of corn!  Not quite done, but that's it.  The kids are thrilled, so that's ok.  And potatoes - hmm.. as they are underground I have no idea.  I'll go dig up some this weekend and see what we have.  It's going to be potatoes this fall if they grew.

Next will be the clearing of the veggie patch, and we'll be digging in some compost and I plan to mulch over top with the leaves when they fall.  We don't have a mulcher, so I'll just run the lawnmower over them a bunch of times to cut them into bits.  It's a great way to stop the weeds.  i might do a layer of newspaper with this over top.  That will save me a ton of cleanup in the spring.

That's my update today!  Stay tuned for a quick product review...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Missed it by One!!

Ack!  I knew I would be close, but I just didn't squeak over the line.   I'd been working on the BC Hydro Team Powersmart challenge to reduce my usage by 10% over the last year.  My year ended on August 31st, and even with a 47.3% reduction in power usage in August, I came in at 9%.   I do have to say, though, that my bills haven't gone down any.   Usage went down, rates went up.  I really do think Murphy's Law might be in effect here. 

However, 9% over the course of a year, and one where we did spend a fair amount of time at home, isn't anything to sneeze over.   We can continue to do this, and each time we go a little lower, it's definately something to be proud of.  Hopefully it will save us money as well as save energy this time around.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Packing Kudos!

I think it's a first.   A kid's toy that came with acceptable packaging.  I didn't gouge myself on the wires, grit my teeth over the plastic overlays I can't recycle, or groan about all the tape.  My son was given a set of Cars (the movie) bowling pins and ball.   While the set itself is plastic, I think with good care it will last.  The packaging - a box, cardboard only with a small plastic handle on the top that pops off.  I pulled the box apart, the pins and ball came out and voila, instant play.  The box went into the recycling bin.

In fact, I'm so impressed, I'm going to write the company (at to tell them I'm happy.  Now that's a pleasant change, isn't it?