Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Convicted Shopper

No snowflake in an avalanche ever feels responsible. --George Burns

I receive a daily email from Charityfocus. It shares a quote, and then a small paragraph about something good someone is doing in the world. One of the recent ones I read was about a book and website called Better World Shopper by Ellis Jones. The basic idea of it is this: as consumers we have the power to choose the kind of world we want to live in, by how we spend our money. The author looked at 5 criteria for the companies he reviewed and the ones that connect the most with me are human rights, the environment, and social justice.

So who are the bad guys out there? Where to start...first the good news how about:)
I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the products and services I use and like got an "A" on the scale (Silk Soy Milk, Burts Bees, American Airlines, Apple Computers, IKEA, and American Apparel). But I was also dismayed at all the products/services I've used that got "C" through "F" grades including: Continental Airlines, Gerber Baby Products, Nestle, Kraft, Nabisco, Dove, Lubriderm, Post Cereals, Twix, Skittles, M&M's, Hershey's, Toblerone (Gasp! NOT Toblerone!?!?) The Gap Clothing (no big surprise there) Covergirl and Revlon Cosmetics, Visa, Adidas, Nike, and the least surprisingly of all...Wal-Mart. There are several categories as you can see and the list goes on but I'll stop with the ones that struck me.

Now the one big grocery store we have here in Guatemala is Paiz, which is being taken over by Wal-Mart. Everytime I go now I see the Wal-Mart logo popping up on different products. BUT I can't boycott this store when it's the only place I can get whole-wheat spaghetti noodles, mushrooms, a selection of dry cereal and ( just recently) Earl Grey tea.

BUT once we live in Canada again I will happily avoid Wal-Mart and shop at Farmers Markets and Health Food Stores as much as financially possible. I really believe each individual has the power to promote change, so I will quietly do my part. And I will happily share my reasons with anyone who asks me why I choose to avoid certain products and services. Now I just have to figure out how I am going to survive without some Toblerone chocolate at Christmas...

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I ♥ Rhubarb

I finally reaped the fruits of my labor today. I picked one of the rhubarb stalks that I had grown from SEED. This rhubarb plant survived three uprootings by Blaise (helpfully weeding he thought) when it was just a few inches tall, then another uprooting when a pipe was dug up underneath it (thank you Zaak for saving it!).

This little frog was in the leaf of the stalk - cute hey.

I made a lovely strawberry rhubarb crisp for dessert tonight with the rhubarb and some strawberries Zaak picked up at the market early this morning. It smelled and tasted delicious. I closed my eyes and took a whiff of the rhubarb just after cutting it and it transported me to my childhood. Memories of running barefoot with all my wild cousins, a cup of sugar and stalk of rhubarb for a treat.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Potty Training Progress...

...Or lack thereof!
Here's a shot of Blaise yesterday - notice the location of the large wet spot on his pants. I went into the whole "if you use the potty you won't have to wear diapers anymore" spiel and reminded Blaise that he has Diego underwear for when he starts using the potty all the time. Blaise was very keen to see his underwear so I took them out of the closet and spread them out nicely for him on his table. I left the room and when I saw Blaise next he had a pair of the underwear on his head and was riding his horse:) What a kid. He's developed a sense of humor before he has given up diapers. That's my boy:)


We had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year, maybe the best yet! It was our third Guatemalan Thanksgiving and like the last one it was turkey-less. Our first one we had the Peter's cook get us a turkey locally and it was a sad and skinny bird. We were not impressed. See my October blog for 2005 if you want to see a photo of the anorexic turkey:)
So this year I did sweet potatoes (camotes en espanol) and a pumpkin cheesecake pie. I wasn't thrilled with the pie but got some compliments on it and Blaise liked it so that's what counts. Ruth made a wonderful salad with a homemade fresh basil dressing, then we had chicken with stuffing, mashed potaotes, and of course cranberry sauce. Really with all the fixings you hardly notice it's not turkey that you're eating:)
After the meal Blaise and his chums Sam and Kathe ran around the Peter's beautiful backyard and splashed a bit in the pila. We snapped a few photos too as the day was a beautiful one. Hope everyone else's Thanksgivings made them thankful too!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Chicken Story

This chicken was hanging around our house the other night. It ended up roosting on the pila which would have been fine excpet that it pooped in it. Arg. I had just scrubbed out the pila. The following day the chicken returned so Zaak and Blaise went out and chased it home. It hasn't come back again, but if it did we were thinking we should cook it up for supper:)

Two Sweet Rosebuds