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!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


Last week one of my friends and I headed for a night of camping followed by a day at Breitenbush resort. We soaked in hot springs, lazed around reading, and went on a lovely hike. Since we didn't have our kids, we were distraction-free, and we were able to catch up on so much conversation.
It was an amazing little getaway, and once again reminded me how lucky I am to live in such a gorgeous place, and how lucky I am to have wonderful people in my life to share these experiences with.
And, as we talked about while camping, we of course love our kids dearly all of the time. But there is certainly something to be said about the overwhelming love a parent can feel for their child after not seeing them for a day or two.

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Friday, June 26, 2015

The Stone House Hike

This week the kids and I finally did the infamous Portland hike to the stone house (aka the witches house) in Forest Park. It's an easy 1.5 mile round trip hike along a creek, and aside from the trail being busy, it was a really wonderful hike.
The stone house was built as a public bathroom in the 1950's and was abandoned shortly after. Now there are rumors that it is haunted.... The building is covered with graffiti, but I guess, in a way, that is what makes it the unique place that it is.
We did not get any haunted vibes while we were there, but it looks like a ghost ran through one of my pictures...

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Summer Yum

Over the weekend, the kids and I went to pick raspberries and blueberries. And man, did we come home with A LOT of blueberries. Most of them will be eaten fresh or frozen, as we are headed out of town soon, but that is A-OK. My kiddos love to eat frozen blueberries as a treat, so they are happy.
While picking, Phoebe ate about 10 berries for every one that she put in the bucket, but that's the best part, right? And..... we found a friend in one of the blueberry bushes! It surprised me at first-- you will find her picture below....

We froze some of the raspberries and the rest went into these muffins. I thought they were delicious. I have included my recipe below...

Raspberry-Chia-Cholcolate Chunk Muffins:


1 3/4 cups of flour (any kind will do)
1/2 cup sugar or your favorite sweetner
1 egg
3/4 cup milk or milk-ish product
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup of fresh raspberries
1 cup chocolate chunks or chips
1/4 cup chia seeds

What You Do:

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare muffin tins. Mix together egg, milk, oil and sugar. Add vanilla and cinnamon. Slowly mix in flour, salt and baking powder. After it is thoroughly mixed, add in chia seeds. Then fold in chocolate and raspberries.

Pour into muffin tins and bake at 350-F for about 20 minutes. Remove and let cool on rack.

These were a bit gooey with the raspberries, but they were yummy!

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Yarn Along

Good morning! Joining with Ginny at Small Thing's for this week's Yarn Along . How is it already yarn along again? I feel like I just posted last week's. Man, this summer is simply flying by.

I am slowly working away at this sweater, which I am happily knitting for myself. I am almost done with the hood!  I keep thinking I will have all of this time to knit at night, but, my kiddos are seriously wearing me out (in a good way, of course!).

I am almost done reading The Beet Queen, one of the books from my summer reading list. It is a sort of wild book, with lots of black humor. It's all about people, and well-- how people can be pretty awful to each other. I am enjoying it, but I think I might have found it to be even more humorous if I had read it at a different point in my life.

However, by the time you read this, I may have already finished The Beet Queen, as I am writing this post a bit early. I am packing up and heading off for a ladies (kid-free) camping trip that includes a hot springs resort. The Beet Queen and Kurt Vonnegut's Welcome to the Monkey House will be traveling along with me.

And are you ready for a funny(ish) story? Today I learned that if I shut my minivan trunk with the keys in it, it locks the car up. Which is what happened while I was packing my car for my camping trip. And after searching the house high and low for the spare, to no avail, I had to pay over $100 for a loacksmith to come and unlock my car. Wow. Shock on the sticker price. An expensive lesson learned. I am just happy I didn't do it while camping. I can't imagine how much that would have cost!

What are you reading? What are you knitting?
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Cape Lookout

Last week, me and my kiddos went camping with another mama and her kiddos. We spent two nights on the Oregon Coast at Cape Lookout. The weather was amazing (which, if you know the Oregon Coast, is a very lucky thing) and we had such a great time. I am in love with the Oregon Coast. I don't think I could live there, as the dreary winters would be too much for my sun-loving body, but it is such an amazing place to visit. The kids spent hours playing on the beach and at the campsite, we did a quick hike to nearby Munson Falls, and we even got to watch a couple of whales who spent an entire day just offshore of the beach we were at. It was a perfect way to start summer break!

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Sunday, June 21, 2015

National Safety Month

Happy Summer!  Bet you didn't know that it was National Safety Month, did you? Well, it is! And because of that, I just wanted to remind you of a couple of quick ways that you can make sure you and your family are living in a safe and healthy home.

Lead- homes built before 1980 may have lead in the paint and homes built between 1970 and 1985 could have lead sodder in the pipes, which can leak into your drinking water.  Lead can cause serious problems, especially in young kiddos. The only way to REALLY know if there is lead in your drinking water is to get it tested.. some cities (like Portland) will do that for you for free, so check and see if your city has a similar program. If you do find lead in your water, certain filtration systems can help to remove lead. Also, letting the water run for about 30 seconds before using it, and never using warm water for cooking can help get the lead out of your drinking water.

Asbestos- asbestos can be found in drywall and popcorn ceilings built before 1980 and can cause cancer and lung related problems. If you think you have asbestos in your home, you should have it professional evaluated and potentially removed.

All sorts of other chemicals can be released into your home when you use cleaning products, cook with teflon, bring dry cleaning into your home, bring home anything made of PVC, or bring home new furniture, sheets or products that contain fire retardants or formaldehyde. In short, lots of stuff you find in stores can be toxic for you health. So, research before you buy and buy products that are less toxic. Also, make sure to open doors and windows daily to air out your living space.

Lastly, be prepared. Have working fire extinguishers and know where they are stored. Be ready for whatever emergency could happen where you live. Here in Portland, we are at risk of a big earthquake, so at my house we have a couple of bins full of emergency supplies and food in our garage. Extra water on hand is great too.

So, have fun and be safe. If that doesn't want to make you do the safety dance, I don't know what will! And for those of you too young to know what the safety dance is-- you need to check out youtube.  I'm pretty sure that you will not be disappointed. Pin It Now!

Happy Solstice!

We are welcoming summer with open arms over here! Bring on the fun!
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