Mama Gone Green is a blog dedicated to raising happy children and reducing our impact on the Earth. My name is Taryn Oakley and I am the mother of 2 young kids and an environmental studies instructor at a community college in Portland, Oregon. Please join me as I journey through life as a mama, teacher, knitter, photographer, gardener, and environmentalist!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Pumpkins and Mushrooms

On Sunday, the kids and I headed to the pumpkin patch. The weather forecast is predicting rain into the unforeseeable future, so I figured we would seize the day, brave the crowds, and get some pumpkins. The weather was perfect, the kids had fun, and we got our autumn on.
Afterwards, we stopped by the Oregon Mycological Society's annual mushroom show. The kids wanted to do a drive-by viewing of most of the specimens, while I could have wandered around for much longer, but I was pretty excited that they wanted to go to begin with.

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Salmon Homecoming

On Saturday, the kids and I headed to Oxbow Park to watch salmon spawn. We were able to see some spawning salmon, and even watched some females digging out their nests. We also saw a caddis fly shell, a rock that had quartz crystals in its pores, and a few cool fungi. And I, of course, brought home a pocket full of rocks that I collected, including a red beach agate.
However, the best part was that my kiddos were as happy as could be just playing by the side of the river. They dug holes, built caves, looked for rocks and when I mentioned leaving in 5 minutes, they begged for more time. And how could I not say yes?
When my children are immersed in nature, and not wanting to leave, I am a happy mama. It was a good day.

 Caddis fly shell

 Can you see the salmon in this picture? The tops of their bodies are peeking out of the water.


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along.

The rain has returned to Portland. I am sad to say goodbye to the sun and warmer weather, yet at the same time, I am happy to have a return to the rain. It feels normal. It feels like fall. I am now laughing at myself because if you would have asked me 8 years ago if I would have ever said that, I can tell you that my answer would have been 'no way'. How things change....

Rainy weather is good for tea. For knitting. For curling up with a good book. For a glass of wine in a room full of candlelight. For stomping in puddles. For getting wet and warming up. For making soup. For slipper wearing. In these things, I am ready to indulge.

I am still working on a slouchy hat for me, in mustard yellow nonetheless. I was about 3/4 finished with it when I realized I had forgotten to switch to bigger needles and it was going to be too tight... so I had to rip back to the ribbing and start again. So, I am not much farther ahead than I was at last week's yarn along.

I  am still reading Gideon the Cutpurse. I have about 150 pages to go. It's OK. OK enough that I don't want to stop, but I am also not drawn to keep on reading. I am also reading Clash of Kings, the second in the Game of Thrones Series, however, I am trying to plow through Gideon before I get fully absorbed in the Clash.

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Quick Trip to the Coast

Finn didn't have school last Friday, so we decided to head to the coast, just for a night. Our oldest dog, Puppy Cow (the white and brown pup with the under bite shown in a couple of photos near the end) is almost 14 and is not doing so well. He is on a lot of pain meds, and although I hope he chugs along for several more years, my intuition says that he may not make it until next summer. So,... I wanted to bring the dogs to the beach and spoil them a bit. Make sure that he got another chance to roll in the sand.
Before kids, our dogs came everywhere with us. Now, with 2 kids and 2 dogs, it is just too much and the poor dogs always get left behind (sorry guys!). As the kids get older, I think it will get easier to incorporate dogs and kids together in adventures. I hope so anyways!
The weather at the coast wasn't great, but it wasn't terrible either and we got a couple of good hours of beach time in. I feel so lucky we had a chance to fit this in before the Oregon winter weather settles in. For those of you who don't know what winter weather means for the Oregon coast-- wet, wet, wet. And usually not too great for hanging on the beach.

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Monday, October 13, 2014

Reversible Cloth Napkins: A Tutorial

After years of saying that I needed more cloth napkins, I finally got around to making some. It was so quick and easy I have been kicking myself for not doing it ages ago. I decided I didn't want to spend any money on them, so I chose to use whatever fabric I had. This means we have a stack of mis-matched napkins, that are not all the same exact size, but I am 100% OK with that. It will give our table a bit of flair...
I should have taken instructional photos to share the process with you, but honestly, it is easy enough that I think a quick explanation will do:

1. Cute 2 pieces of (potentially) coordinating fabric into squares. Most of mine were about 15-inches square, but some of the ones made with children's fabric are a few square-inches smaller, depending on what size scraps I had.

2. Put fabric squares right sides together. Iron flat. Now stitch around the edge (about 1/2" in from edge) leaving a 3-inch opening in the middle of one of the sides (to do this, start sewing about 2-inches above one of the corners and finish when you get about 3 inches from your starting point).

3. Pull napkin through the 3 inch hole you left and use a chopstick or similar tool to push out corners. Your napkin should have the right sides facing out now (and should look suspiciously similar to a napkin!)

4. Iron flat again. Don't be lazy, do it.

5. Top-stitch around the napkin, close to the outer edge. This will give your napkin a clean look and will also close up that 3-inch opening you left earlier.

6. Eat something messy and use!

Note: many people would tell you to pre-wash your fabric before making these and if I were better organized, I may have. But I didn't and I am not stressing it.

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Friday, October 10, 2014

This Moment

{this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo- no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. Inspired by Soulemama.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Yarn Along

Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along.

This week I finished up a slouchy hat for Phoebe. However it has been so hot here, that it was only tried on for a moment before it was taken off again. I am now knitting one for myself in a very autumn mustardy color. It's not a color that I normally wear, but I have been feeling drawn towards it lately. I had some in my stash from a trade with a friend, so why not?

I am craving cooler weather. Knitting weather. I have so many projects that I want to start, but I am trying to restrain myself and keep it to one (or two) at a time. I often tend to overwhelm myself with self-imposed projects (like knitting, reading, or sometimes even blogging-- heck, my Netflix list overwhelms me sometimes. Seriously.)... so I am working on that. If I always have a huge in-progress pile, there is not as much satisfaction when something is complete.

I  am still reading Gideon the Cutpurse. It is good, but not completely captivating. So, I also started reading Clash of Kings, the second in the Game of Thrones Series. That one IS addicting, but very long. See-- this is how it happens. I like to start things and also don't like to abandoned things I have started. Then I just have piles of knitting, books, and other projects all over the house waiting for my attention!

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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