Mama Chas

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Green Gift Guide

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping. 'Tis the Season! What will your loved ones receive from you?

My Giving List:
Shea Butter, Makeup Removal Cloths, Spa Socks, Kids Backpack from Norwex
Photo books designed on Shutterfly and Tiny Prints, which also has cool notebooks and calendars
Refurbished items, ie beautiful wooden doll cradle found at local antique store
Homemade items, ie tool bench built by my handy sis and me!

I love giving gifts I know will produce a smile :) What doesn't make me smile? Wrapping paper, bows, name tags. Sure they look pretty, but what a waste.

I could repeat last year's tactic; throw a blanket over it all. I know, so redneck. Can't remember how the day escaped me, but it did, like usual. No time to wrap, or rather seemed so unnecessary two hours before it would be ripped off and thrown away. Hubby gave me the "for real?" look with a slight smile. But nobody cared when we were playing with new toys instead of cleaning up old paper!

I do have a handful of wrapping paper rolls downstairs just waiting to become swords or megaphones. I'll use those up, then maybe try an alternative. Hmm... Reusable bags? Scrap materials? Newspapers? Scarlet's artwork? Then I won't feel so bad for throwing it away.

I love you, honey. And I love your art. But the "activities" are out of control. We have to establish some recycling efforts, esp since she fervently declares she'll be an artist one day.


I expressed my love for the Environmental Working Group (EWG) in a previous blog. Below are green gift ideas from the EWG President himself. Better yet, when you order these gifts from Amazon via EWG.ORG, a percentage of proceeds go back to EWG to help fund more research, hence more discoveries, hence more action and education.

Here is his holiday newsletter:

When I'm shopping for the perfect gifts for my friends and family, I want to make sure that I am not only getting them something they will love, but something that's healthy and sustainable as well. So I asked our top researchers to come up with some great gifts to share with you.

Here are some festive, and green, ideas:
This year, you can give your loved ones great gifts while still supporting EWG. By shopping on Amazon through our special link (http://ewg.org/amazon), a portion of what you pay (but nothing extra) will support EWG and the work that you count on all year long.

Thank you for being there for us time and time again.

Happy Holidays,

Ken Cook
President, Environmental Working Group

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grateful Day

I am grateful for today.

No one on a schedule, except painting a couple walls, and oh yeah Thanksgiving dinner. New tradition in the Marcus household. Prime rib. Ten minutes tops. Plan your sides accordingly.

Paint the bedroom. Don't mind those excuses to escape, honestly. Love hearing kids interact in the background, and they were just amazing to listen to today. Daddy involved sometimes, but also just on their own, from being frogs jumping on lily pads (throw pillows) to lions in the pride lands to making sandwiches of each other out of couch cushions (so remember doing that with my siblings).

Foam blocks, farm animals, hot wheels, bracelets, trains, stickers, blankets (used as capes for superhero play, that was awesome!), jumbo coloring pages, markers, Lightning McQueen's, a microphone, a jump rope, a back scratcher, and more, just strewn across the floor.

Today was a day of play, and for that, I am thankful.

Except the occasional visit when they'd prefer to sit and watch me paint. And want a snack. "Mom, can we have one of those suckers in the cupboard?"

"Sure, but you have to get it yourself, eat it in the kitchen, wash your hands, go upstairs and play." And please leave me to my sanctuary of thought and reflection...

I am grateful my hubby got to enjoy a day of leisure, not to worry about taking a class or studying. And by day of leisure, yes, we ate dinner in our pajamas.

A day of play. A day of pajamas.

The kids stood atop their chairs and patted their full bellies like drums and sang a couple tunes apiece, originals of course. Both felt the moment and could no longer resist their urge to blurt out their latest obsession with toots and butts.

Lucas: "I toot in my eyeball, cheeks." Cheeks is shortened version of butt cheeks, which he's mostly weaned from but still clings to cheeks. Cute, until he says "Thanks, cheeks" to all the neighbors on Halloween. Many confused looks. Not as confused as when I told the Father I was a hooker for Halloween (I'll save that for another story). But I was innocent.

Scarlet: "Okay, here's a silly one. And then the man went to the store, then put the microwave in the sink, and ate a tomato caterpillar, on Tuesday, the 15th, then went back home, and just pooped in his chicken butt!"

Wow. Nap time.

Finished painting, ate again, relaxed to a little Gaga Thanksgiving. Anyone else watch that? I felt a little anxious for her, not sure why. Kids were intrigued, maybe inappropriate. I guess watching the American Music Awards the other night is frowned upon too? In our home, it's just another excuse for a dance party.

No words nor symbols nor signs can convey the voice in which Lucas yells, "dance party, dance party!" Maybe only those of you who dared to ride the Thunderbolt at the SD State Fair.

Scarlet usually starts dancing with her shoulders, then it trickles down her trunk, to the rest of her extremities, til she explodes in movement. It's hilariously awesome.

And tiring. Kids in bed. Hubby in bed. I started painting the trim in the bedroom. Excited to move back in. Soon, hopefully.

Should be finishing said trim, but feeling compelled to remember the day, ponder the future. The words make me think.

We love pajama play days in our home. Always did.

Might have to build a fort in the morning.

Other things for which I am grateful, thankful, blessed......
  • good health for self & family
  • a husband who always makes great choices
  • children who adore me, they do!
  • siblings who love, honor and defend each other
  • parents who are still "L.I.V.I.N" 
  • grandparents who deserve namesakes
  • in-laws that I couldn't have hand-picked any better
  • friends from all over, changing my world
  • a newly organized office (almost)
  • a new bathroom and painted bedroom (soon)
  • the dresser project that just needs finalizing (getting there)
  • the plumbing issue in the basement (can no longer wait)
  • the thoughts in my head (I'm finally doing it)
  • lastly, Nutella (any time)
Balance the bad with all that is good. Happy Thanksgiving.

peace ~ chas

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lil Richie

Oh, Richard. Rich. Richie. Lil Richie. Richie Rich. Dick. Rick….. I might start using that one :)  I missed your birthday, again. Your birthday card, which I have faithfully hung on to year after year, this being that second year, is still in the closet waiting to be sent to you. If only your unorganized sis-in-law would just write in it, add a couple photos of the kids, address it, and mail it already.

I know, I suck. And you rock, cuz you call me every year, on my day. Speaking of the big day (subject turn), heard you had a rockin’ party, and defied the trifecta with all your spite! Sorry we missed it. And still sorry I missed the serenade in AZ. The late 30's are kicking my a$& these days. 
But my memories go way back with you… to Simmons Street basement. Adam, Mallory, and I enter: “Hey, let’s pair up our younger annoying siblings so we can go make out.”

I wish I knew you better in high school, and even college for that matter. Not until we carefully lured you to NYC did our relationship go full throttle. And what a ride! Many memories, both vivid and faded. Concerts, shows, dinners, dives, foreign countries, seaside shores, mountain tops. When I think of all the times we’ve shared, well, I feel horrible all over again for kicking you out of the apt... sorry bro. The extra surges of estrogen made me do it.

But truly, you have this way of making things just a little more fun :) Thanks for all the great times. One very vivid memory: sliding down the stairwell railing at BB Kings in AC to catch Keller sing, was it Shakedown Street?! Oops, that part faded.

Numerous nights, numerous places, numerous faces. Recently in Cali, Golden Gate Park, beautiful fall day, Ryan Bingham in the background. Not to mention the evening before, deck atop the lake, stars in our eyes.

Well, Rags to Richard, I look forward to hearing about the fun weekend ahead with Jason & Urla, but don’t you ever forget the best Thanksgiving of your life. You know what I’m talking about. Grove Streeeeet!

Can't wait to see ya in a month ~ maybe squeeze in an afternoon cocktail and game of pool? We love and miss ya much!
~ peace, Chas

Winter Daze Ahead

And so it begins... Winter in the Heartland. How long will it last? Not thinking of that right now, thinking instead of "shreddin the nar" at Terry Peak. I do not know what that means. My friend Sara and I overhead some tween snowboarders throwing around those terms a couple winters ago.

Not only is my ski outfit out of style, so is my lingo. Good thing good friend Jason intercepted my carefully selected 80's boots at the ski swap last year. But they were so sleek, and you just turned this dial to tighten them. I really dislike ski boot buckles. They always frustrate me. And make me sweaty. But apparently the twisteroo is no longer cool.

So instead I tromped away with eggshell sheen, fur-lined, heater plug-in capabilities, at a great steal. Okay, maybe I'll master the buckle.

Winter, I do grow to appreciate you more. Just please keep it tame for holiday traveling, that's all I ask. Along with winter comes worry for me. Family on the road, especially my Dad driving long days and nights. Hubby going to and fro. Friends driving here and there. Strangers swerving in and out. Everyone to a destination, to see people, to reach deadlines. We all need a little help during the cold months.

And I'm going to need some help if I really do go on this girls' weekend ski trip to Red Lodge, with some novices I might add. Bring on the snow, so this bunny can learn to shred the nar :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


I like knowing I'm using healthy alternatives to the traditional cleaning and personal care products, especially after reading an article about the fallacies of sunscreen, provided by EWG (Environmental Working Group). So happy I found this site (ewg.org) and blog (enviroblog.org). Don't feel trapped by the traditional thinking of thousands of others. Don't be afraid to ask questions and make your own decisions. Both advertising and ignorance muddle our brain. However, it's become nearly impossible to ignore the negative signs of impact on health and environment any longer. 

I continue to learn more with each passing day. This journey of knowledge often overloads and confuses me, but in a way I welcome because it all means a better and healthier life for my family, for myself, for my community, and for the future generations.

Let's take this journey together. Please share your accomplishments to green-ify your lifestyle.


“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it... Don’t be trapped by dogma - which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
- Steve Jobs

'Tis the Season for GIFTS ~ friends, family, kids, coworkers, personnel, clients, neighbors, teachers, daycare providers, cleaning ladies, mailmen and more. IDEAS ~ Hand Cream, Shea Butter, Dust Mit, Window Cloth, Body Cloth, Kitchen Cloth, Spirisponge stocking stuffers :) A customer of mine bought Window Cloths for her staff; I've had others wrap the Window Cloth around the water bottle. Another stuffed a Window Cloth inside the Dust Mit. Body Cloths and Kitchen Cloths come in sets of three, hence three different gifts. Options are endless. I've also been creating spa baskets based on price range. Contact me. Should order no later than Monday, Dec 5th, or earlier if needed.