Monthly Archives: August 2010

Heating Up

Inspiring action is not easy when we are pressed by the daily logistics of running a family. We don’t see our impact on the future in the moment, which makes complacency an easy out. It’s easy to be selfish and hope others will take action.

This summer I’ve been a bit complacent. I skimmed news about climate legislation, sent a few e-actions, and simply hoped that our leaders would finally step up and deal with climate change. When they fumbled once again, I felt the perpetual disappointment that haunts climate policy.

Bill McKibben reminds me that we can’t rely on our government for a quick fix. We need to speak up louder about global warming, and create a movement that won’t take inaction for an answer. I believe that our movement needs kids and families to inspire creative action.

I’m planning a family friendly climate action on 10/10/10 in North Portland. The plan is to have fun, but we’ll also roll up our shelves and show how much we care.

Is your family planning to attend a climate action on 10/10/10?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Family Camping Gear

This weekend we’ll be heading to great outdoors, and in our preparation I started thinking about all the things I didn’t mention in my first post about Frugal Family Camping .

Hubby found a great article about Babes in the Woods, which shares some of the tips I gave and several others that I would agree with. They even has our same REI Hobitat tent. Like the family profiled, we’ve also become fair weather family campers, that’s why our first big alpine adventure is in August. We opted for yurts and cabins in the early spring season. 

As part of my follow-up, I realized that I only alluded to bringing basic gear and didn’t go into too much detail. In reality we bring a lot of “essential” items to our home-away-from-home-in-the-woods. Like most stuff, we’ve accumulated our gear over a decade, so I forget that we actually have a ton of gear. In case it helps here is our inventory:

Camp Gear:
Tent – REI Hobitat, tarp, 
Sleeping Bags – Sierra Designs, North Face and REI
Bedding – sheets, blankets, pillows
Mattress – queen air mattress, 2 thermarests, hand air pump
Headlamps, candle lanterns, hatchet, matches, newspaper, kindling, wood
Camp chairs, baby backpack/Ergo, hiking poles, solar shower
First aid kit, sunscreen, bug juice, TP, maps, guide books, directions/reservations

Camp Kitchen:
Cooler – Freeze milk/soda jugs for ice and extra camp water
Stove, fuel, coffee maker/filters, coffee/tea/hot chocolate/chai
Water – water roller (for sites w/out water, holds 8 gallons), metal water bottles, camelbacks
Picnic table cloth, dust broom, Dr. Bronner’s, dish tub, wash clothes, hot pads, dish towels
Skillet, large pot, small pot set, cutting boards, knives, cooking utensils, eating utensils, plates, bowls, cups, mugs, sippie cups

Camp pantry – Salt, pepper, sugar, oil
Breakfasts – Coffee, cream, sugar/honey, bagels/muffins, butter, eggs, yogurt, granola, sausages/turkey bacon (my “boys” can’t survive w/out)
Lunches – Peanut butter/jam, cheeses/meats, bread/bagels
Dinners – Easy pre-made things – Pasta, sauce, pre-cut brocolli – frozen chili, hot dogs, cornbread – Mexican fixings, chips/salsa
Snacks – Fruit, crackers, granola bars, fruit leathers, string cheese
Drinks – Water, milk, beer, sometimes Hansen’s
Desserts – S’mores, brownies

Personal Stuff:
Jackets, fleeces, pants, shirts, socks, undies, pajamas, shoes, hats, swimsuits (x4!)
Toiletries, towels, sunscreen, diapers (not next year!)
Books, magazines, t oy bin (football, frisbee, catchers), games, kite, camera

One last note of camping stuff, you can never bring too many socks…I found this out the hard way last summer when I foolishly thought that 6 pairs of socks would last 3 days, big mistake!

I also couldn’t help but share a photo of our Big Guy at 7 months on one of his first camping adventures in the North Cascades National Park, I swear he had a smile on his face the whole weekend. Truly a happy camper!

What gear keeps your campers happy?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

We’re All in This Together

While we make an effort to connect with our neighbors and create social capital, sometimes I feel isolated in our busy modern life. Some weeks I feel like we are our own island with unironed clothes and budgets to update.

This song made my morning, and I hope it will make your day feel little more connected. Ben Lee is a brilliant young artist, and I love his lyrics in “We’re All in This Together.”

How do you help your family feel connected?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.

Summer Reading

As I written about before, our local library is one of our favorite places. Participating in the summer reading program gives us another reason to plan a visit, and our Big Guy was thrilled to “earn” a pass to the Oregon Zoo for his first level prize.

Getting to the library can be an challenge for a family with limited means though, and the Children’s Book Bank is brings books to children in need . Plus, there are some classic books you just want to read again and again, and boy do kids love repeats 😉

I love going to the Goodwill for kids books, and when our Big Guy was first born I started stopping there on our neighborhood walks. We’ve found some family favorites, like Apples to Oregon for $1. We also love going to our county library’s secondhand book store, Tidal Wave, which is conveniently in walking distance too.

I’ll save some favorites, like my Mama saved Richard Scarry’s Best Picture Dictionary Ever for thirty years to pass on. But I’m definitely planning to donate many of our growing personal library to the book bank as our kids outgrown them. For now, we are enjoying some leisurely summer reading.

What’s your favorite summer kids books?

Sustainable Family Finances
The story of a family creating an abundant and sustainable life.