Category Archives: A Parallel Mom

Mother’s Day with Mother Earth

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Mother’s Day is a holiday honoring motherhood that is observed in different forms throughout the world. The American incarnation of Mother’s Day was created by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and became an official U.S. holiday in 1914. Jarvis would later denounce the holiday’s commercialization and spent the latter part of her life trying to remove it from the calendar. Mother’s Day traditionally involves presenting mothers with flowers, cards and other gifts. –

I had to laugh when I read this about Mother’s Day. I thought the history of how this holiday would help me celebrate it in a

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Making environmentally healthy food choices on a budget

My boys are hungry. I’ve heard that boys don’t start exhibiting goat-behavior of eating you out of house and home until they’re teenagers. But my boys are not even ten years old yet and it’s hard to keep up with their appetites. I’m a bit concerned about what this means for my food budget.

The common advice if you want to shop healthy is to stay out of the middle aisles of the grocery store and stick to the edges in the produce, dairy and fresh fruit sections. When I need to make choices based on cost I

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Bit by the Spring Cleaning Bug

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I spent this week’s beautiful, warm Sunday on my hands and knees scrubbing the grimy baseboard and the cupboard in the kitchen. I even polished the oven and refrigerator doors. I enlisted my kids help. The older one semi-begrudgingly took out the recycling, garbage, and compost. The almost three-year enthusiastically cleaned cupboards with a spray bottle full of warm water and a pile of rags. He lasted for almost an hour, I was impressed. Not necessarily by the results of his cleaning efforts, but by his enthusiasm. It’s a great age to start kids on chores as long as you

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One square of toilet paper, or, how my two-year-old trumped my lessons in sustainability

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I was recently lamenting with a friend about the brash opulence displayed by one presidential candidate and his wife. Annie Leibovitz, a talented photographer who shoots the high life of celebrities once photographed this family in front of their private jet and sports cars. Pregnant, slathered in gold, and power posing, the family flaunts their wealth and over-consumption, shoving the worst of our American greed in our faces as if to say isn’t this grand? The words my friend and I kept returning to to describe how we felt about this were gross and embarrassing. As billions of

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Teaching kids energy efficiency habits in an energy-efficient house

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Saturday, March 19th, one month from now, is Earth Hour.  People around the world pledge to shut off the lights from 8:30-9:30PM local time, taking action for climate change. It’s a fun way to involve kids in climate action and according to WWF, it actually has an impact on decreasing energy consumption.

It’s been about three years since my house has been 100% solar and using grey water. Because we’re on renewables, I’ve noticed that my previously consistent energy and water conservation habits have gotten a little lax lately. Even though my children are growing up with sustainable technologies

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Sustainable sweets

valentines candy

Valentine’s Day, another candy-focused holiday, is just around the corner. Keeping kids off sweets is like keeping them off digital devices — it takes constant vigilance. Our pediatrician reminds me at each annual wellness visit that sugar is just plain bad for kids and the best way to keep kids off sweets is to keep sweets off the grocery list and out of the house. It’s wise advice, but of course it doesn’t always happen. Mom and dad have a sweet tooth sometimes too. For those times when we just gotta have it, we turn to our local

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How electric cars teach eco-entrepreneurship


Driving around doing errands in the electric car this week, my son and I watched the dashboard indicator switch over from electric to gas. That simple occurrence led to a great conversation about eco-entrepreneurship and how to start a business.

“Oh, darn!” my son said. “We better get home so we can plug-in, we don’t want to be driving around on gas.”

“Well, we have a few more errands to run, we can’t go back yet.”

“Remember that time we drove up to the nature center in Los Alamos for the talk on coyotes and they had a plug-in

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The Cure for Post-Holiday Hangover

I’m grateful we are past the holiday season. As much as I tried to keep our holiday experience about being with family and the return of the light, the overriding cultural message and push to over-consume once again prevailed. Now I am dealing with a 7-year old who wants to make a daily trip to a toy store to buy something. I have to constantly talk him down from the hyper-consumer ledge. This dark force is strong, especially when it comes to kids. (I’ll make no apologies for the Star Wars metaphors, we’ve seen it twice).

I feel a bit

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Adventures with Christmas Trees


We’ve turned getting a Christmas tree into a community adventure. After a delicious potluck brunch at our home, four families in our neighborhood headed out together to the pinon-juniper lowland forests nearby. REI Christmas tree cutting permits in hand, we drove for about an hour along Caja del Rio road. The snowstorm from the night before resulted in a melting, muddy mess. Or in kid speak: mud puddle jumping snowball fighting fun!

I haven’t done the sustainability math on this vs. purchasing a live tree, but I feel alright about taking a Christmas tree from our forests

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Keeping Christmas Simple

chamisa snow

The holiday season is upon us. I’ve come to love this month and the greater amount of light and joy available to us. In order to enjoy the return of the light however, I need to be paying attention and not get too distracted by all the messages of mass-consumption.

It’s a balancing act for me though as I’ll be the first to admit that I love the Christmas tree, the early morning excitement when the kids run out and realize Santa Claus visited while they slept, the ripping open of the pile presents. If I’m not careful about the

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