A Good Sign from the Mailbox

Even though I no longer have a garden beyond my balcony, I still love receiving that first seed & plant catalog of the new year in the mail. Spring will return…it’s just around the corner! And I like that the pages appear to hold even more selections marked as “container friendly,” which works out well for me. Time to start planning!

And speaking of planning, if you’ve been thinking about including more plant-based foods in your meals, you might want to check out the Meatless Monday Challenge. It’s a free 12-week program that’s set up to assist you in meeting that goal, while you help the environment at the same time!

I look forward to reading all of your blogs in the coming months and wish each of you a healthy and happy 2022!

Fantastic Find at the Bookstore #12: Punch-Out Fun!

Bookstore, used bookstore, used bookstore with ephemera. Good, better, best! I love those used bookstores that carry all sorts of “doo-dads,” and I was ecstatic the day I found this “Tiny Town” punch-out book!

This one is from 1969 when I was already in my teens. But punch-out books were very popular when I was much younger. I have fond memories of pressing out and putting together a castle one time and a giant treehouse another, both on our old card table that looked a lot like the one pictured below.

Although not nearly as challenging as today’s Lego creations, these cardboard activity books offered plenty of fun to punch out the pieces, decide how they all fit together, and then play with the finished product. I’m sure that my older sister, Terri, was our “project director,” since I wasn’t overly patient. I remember lots of tape being involved!

Wikipedia says these books first appeared in the 1930s and that most were published, as this one was, by Whitman Publishing of Racine, Wisconsin. Many of them were based on televisions shows or movies. Maybe you remember these from your childhood, as well? Here are a few other examples found online. Hope you enjoy looking!

Something for Everyone: Plant-Based Holiday Recipes

If you have friends or family over during the holidays, chances are that someone in your group prefers to follow a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. You’ll want to be sure that there are choices to please everyone. Check out Meatless Monday for some great recipe options! I can personally vouch for the “No-Meat Meatloaf” as being very tasty, and I’m eager to try a few more of these offerings, as well. Of course, fresh fruits/veggies and regular or non-dairy cheeses are always easy additions to the table. Enjoy!

My Little Corner of the World

My Balcony in October

The daytime temperatures have finally downgraded from hot to warm, and the nights are so pleasantly cool! Flowers are still blooming but beginning to look a bit spent. I did NOT grow those little pumpkins set on the table but couldn’t resist. Back in the shadows, those are miniature yellow sweet peppers still ripening. I recently planted some garlic (thanks Alanna!) and also some late-season bush beans. I’ll soon take out most of the annuals and plant a variety of small bulb flowers, like grape hyacinths and crocus.

Halloween is almost upon us, and the other holidays follow closely behind. They’ve already started putting the holiday lights up in the Square, in fact. Seems like they just took them down from last season! Time moves much too quickly these days.

Wherever you live and whatever season you are now enjoying, I hope you’re finding pleasant times!

Zapping Manure with Lightning to Fight Pollution?

One of my recurring freelance projects is to write monthly about good news for kids. Recently, I read an article that adults could be very interested in, as well! You’ve probably read that the methane from cow poo, farts, and burps is more than 20 times as destructive for our environment than the carbon dioxide from our cars.

Short of ending or cutting back on the raising of cattle, what’s to be done? A Nordic company has come up with an idea that is now being tested in the UK. By producing artificial lightning bolts as plasma to zap manure, they are turning most of the ammonia to a usable form of natural fertilizer AND reducing almost all the methane emissions!

Truly great and promising news. Now we need to see how much governments are willing to chip in to help the farmers shoulder the costs of the electricity needed for the process. One thing is certain, we cannot just keep doing things the same.

Air pollution and climate change are real. What can you do today to help? Here are some “greener living” ideas from the EPA!

Fight Climate Change with Your Fork: Meatless Monday

Source: Pixabay

Extreme weather, rising sea levels, and species extinctions are all signs of climate change. Many scientists agree that greenhouse gases are a major threat. What can we each do to make a difference? Fight climate change with your fork! The livestock industry contributes about 14.5% of the greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans, which is even more than those brought about by transportation. Tweaking our diets away from animal products and towards plant-based eating is one way we can each help!

Source: Pixabay

Check out Meatless Monday for more details about the following:

*Adopting Meatless Monday

*Eating more plant-based meals

*Reducing food waste

*Composting

*Eating sustainable foods

And make sure to use the links for great recipe ideas!

5 Ways to Eat a Rose

roses

I’ve seen the beautiful photos and know many of you have roses in your gardens or areas nearby! If they aren’t sprayed with any chemicals, then they’re healthy and safe to use in salads, butters, beverages, honey, and vinegars. Check out the following article from Yes! A Better World Today for the details!

Source: 5 Ways to Eat a Rose

Essential Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Plant-Based Meals: from Meatless Monday

Source: Essential Tips and Tricks for Making the Best Plant-Based Meals

NOTE: If you’re “on the fence” about tofu, I know from experience that freezing it makes a world of difference with the texture! I buy the firmest type I can find and cut the block into thirds or fourths to freeze for later. After I defrost a section for cooking, I then squeeze out all the moisture. No more jiggly tofu! ~Becky

Tales of the Fairies Reimagined

For many children, some versions of popular fairy tales can be frightening! An evil witch who bakes children in her oven? Not a great story to lead into bedtime. In fact, folktales collected by the Brothers Grimm were often ghastly and not even meant for kids! And even some of the stories written by Hans Christian Andersen contained very dark and tragic themes.

When I was recently tasked with retelling a collection of fairy tales in rhyme, I knew right away that I wanted my versions to be positive, fun, and uplifting. Jack‘s giant doesn’t have to die, Pinocchio can use his nose to save Geppetto, and Goldi would decide to leave the Bears’ home safely of her own volition. Red‘s grandmother remains safe, of course, while the girl ponders how the wolf might react if her hood were sewn in different colors.

All in all, this was such a fun and challenging project. I hope you’ll take a peek at my 4 rhyming stories published right here at Empowered Parents!