I’ll Have a Green Christmas, With or Without you

My intention this year: I’ll Have a Green Christmas, With or Without you



As the Christmas insanity begins, I wonder how much environmental damage this holiday racks up every year.

I recall last year, that my daughter received several LARGE gifts from a favorite relative. Gifts she adores, but they make me think the problems that are created by such items. One, was a giant stuffed ridable horse that makes noises.


She has used it about 5 times over the course of the year. It sits in her door way on a regular day. It blocks the entrance to her closet, and doesn’t allow us to close the door in her room.

She has a lot of big furniture, some that needs to go, but some that won’t, like her over stuffed bookshelf. So, this pink monstrosity lives on there.

It was made in China, and was shipped via Amazon to the gifter. There are obvious eco damages that occur from transportation alone. And this is a BIG HORSE. Made of petrochemical based materials.

It will not be recyclable.

I will be donating it, as she decides to do so.

I won’t just take her treasured horse.

Some other little child will also get to enjoy this pink horse, but at the end of its life, it will go to landfill.

I am not complaining that my child got a gift, but rather, it is not a gift that a treehugger, and a person with a smallish house needs. We had mentioned that she might take horse riding lessons last year, and thought items related to that would be great.

But a giant pink pony was not on my list.. lol






So what could a Green Christmas look like in our house?


Items I always appreciate:

Green water bottles (glass, stainless and lead and BPA Free)

Gift cards for Etsy

Audiobooks, or credits for them


Not shockingly, these are gifts that help me to be green all year. A water bottle keeps me from using disposables at work, or while hiking or shopping. Etsy gifts can be for anything from a new handmade purse, some new mamma cloth, or parts of my costume for the Renaissance Festival. And of course I listen to audiobooks all year,


Gifts I appreciate more:

Gift cards for dining- with that person

Time spent somewhere, doing something we both like

Anything solar


Most of my family lives away, so any time I spend with them is special. If they even wanted to come visit as a gift, I would enjoy it. Time cannot be bought! Ugly kitten sweaters are definitely not needed, either.. lol


Gifts that are great for someone else:

Donations made on my behalf to someone else- an eco cause, an organization like Heifer International, a donation to a women’s shelter


These have so much more happiness per dollar than any sweater, or card you can send me. Helping others, and the planet are my favorite causes. I don’t get to do it enough, and if you can help, that is going to make me feel great. I will also know that you KNOW me, and took time to get something you know I really wanted.


So, is it possible that I’ll Have a Green Christmas? I am not so sure, but one can hope.



Free Summer Reading Program Wrap Up

I have been delighted to see several places over the past weeks offering free reading programs for kids. The way they work is you log your books or amount of time reading every day, and in return you receive a free book at the end of the program.


Free Summer Reading Program Wrap Up at Itzybellababy

Free Summer Reading Program Wrap Up at Itzybellababy

Here is a wrap up of the places I have found!



Barnes and Noble– Read 8 books and receive a free book from a specific list


 Phoenix Library – Log your reading every day, each minute is a point- 500 points – a free book!


Changing Hands Book Store This is year round. Points are earned from reading books and attending special events in store (Phoenix Area)


Half Priced Books Reading 15 minutes a day each month during the program earns reader points towards a free book


Scholastic Summer Reading Program Readers log minutes and get points towards prizes


Pizza Hut Book-it Program  Free items earned- not sure the details- launches 6/22


TD Bank This is for k-5 only- read 10 books and take the form to a TD Bank and get a free $10 account.


There are so many more- I will keep you updated as I find them. I love encouraging reading in my house, and free books are a great way to motivate kids to stay active on summer break!




Our Weekly Toddler Library Books

My daughter is finally at an age where I can leave her with a book and not worry that she will chew, tear or otherwise mishandle books. This is a huge thing to me.


Some of my book stash

Some of my book stash

I have an extensive collection of books for her. Books I have found online, books from Goodwill, used book stores, and of course the stock that I didn’t sell from when I was a Barefoot Books Ambassador. (TONS of books.)

Some I was afraid to give her too soon- they were original 70s editions of my favorite books from childhood. I love discovering these old books all over town, and I covet them. Now, I feel pretty comfortable with handing her a stack of books and letting her go through them alone.

So, we decided to head out to the the library and we selected 9 books. She has been talking about Pete the Cat for months. They must have the whole collection at her daycare, and now that we are home, I wanted to make sure she still got to see Pete once in awhile.

But of course, without a job now, I am not in a position to buy the books. Why not take advantage of the library?

Here is the list of books we got on loan this week:

Lauren Child’sCharlie and Lola: I Really, Really Need Actual Ice Skates (Charlie & Lola) [Hardcover](2010)

My daughter loves Charlie and Lola on in the cartoon form. I had no idea there were books, but apparently there are several. She had us read this 3 times so far, so I guess she likes it. We will be getting more of their series next time we go to the library. There are tons of copies so we should be good.

I Spy A To Z: A Book of Picture Riddles

We have 3 of these seek and find type books at home, and she loves sitting and looking at them. For a long time. She will find the same shovel or toy in the pictures over and over and she delights each time. There is also a series of these books, so we will need to pick one or two up every visit. She never gets tired of these.

If Dogs Were Dinosaurs

I liked this one, but she was not terribly impressed. At 3, she just didn’t understand the comparisons and such.. once the pictures of dogs were done, she wasn’t interested any more. That is ok- I know an older child would be into this one. Maybe a few years from now we will look at it again!


Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Ahh Pete. We have read this one 4 or 5 times already. She loves Pete. She can’t say Groovy, so she says Ruby, and it is cute. There are some videos an online narrations available for some of the Pete series so if you get tired of reading it over and over, you can get online and play the audio and just follow along turning pages. I suspect she knows the book well enough to do this herself, but I wanted the snuggles.

Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes

Pete.Again. 5-6 times. Toddler loves.

Pete the Cat Saves Christmas

Toddlers do not care that it is not Christmas. She wanted every Pete book they had, and they had 3. We got them all. I will be checking to make sure they have some different ones when we go back so we can check new ones out.

Tractor Day

I like tractors, she likes tractors, and this book is a cute one. Nice pictures, nice story. She wasn’t too into it though. She just wanted to get to another Pete the Cat. I will try again this week with her, when she isn’t being fussy.


The Wee Hours

This book really has a clever storyline, and beautiful images. However, I think it may have freaked her out a bit. A story about creatures that tear up your bedroom while you are sleeping is a little much for 3, even if they are nice guys.

We won’t be reading this one again until she is older. lol


So that wraps up our library haul. Another trip will be coming this week, and I may share those books too!

What are you reading?