Kids Recycling Center

*Americans throw away enough aluminum to rebuild the
entire commercial airline fleet every six months*

Our new system

*Every ton of recycled paper saves
17 forty foot Douglas Fir trees*

Zane and Audrey have been wanting to get more involved in the recycling process so I let them build a "recycling center" today. We went to the hardware store and they picked out the tubs to sort the recyclables. Of course, they had to be all different colors :) And we added labels to each one. Zane was very helpful with the letters and Audrey was excited to sort the bottles and cans into their new "homes."

*Up to 90% of recycled glass can be reused to make
new glass items, such as bottles and jars

The happy recycler!

*Thirty-six recycled bottles can
make one square yard of carpet*

I have been wanting to do this for a while because we had been using one tub for everything and it just wasn't working for us. This way they can work on letter recognition and being helpful around the house.

*Paper takes up as much as
50% of all landfill space*

After we divided everything up our tubs were already full so off we went to the local Recycle Center. This was their favorite part. They were able to throw the cans in a small opening and thought it was a great new game of basketball. They also loved dropping the glass into it's place and listing to it crash to the bottom. It just puts a smile on my face to see them enjoying this so much. I hope they continue helping "mother earth" long after I am gone.

*Recycling a 1-gallon plastic milk jug will save enough
energy to keep a 100-watt bulb burning for 11 hours

One last tidbit for you:
Home recycling requires a trivial amount of time, yet offers substantial benefits to the homeowner as well as the environment. According to the EPA, the national recycling rate is just 30%. Increasing that to 60% in the US could save the equivalent of 315 million barrels of oil per year!! Think about that, recycling can help us break free from our dependence on foreign oil. I never knew that. I bet more people would recycle if the news actually reported facts people could understand.

Ta Ta for now



The Heart of a Boy

My son is obsessed with Star Wars, he dreams, talks, plays, acts out Star Wars everyday. I have listened to him hum the Darth Vader theme song about 1 million times. Trust me, it was cute the first 500 times...now, not so much. But, as far as kids TV shows and movies go I am excited he likes something I can enjoy with him. I have seen the movies, know the story line and can be apart of his fun. (Plus, it is far less annoying then the "Wiggles.")

Well, we had a tragedy last night.

We watched "Return of the Jedi" for the first time all the way to the end last night. Zane knows the story of his favorite character Darth Vader, like how he was once a good Jedi who went to the Dark Side. He never realized, however, that Darth Vader dies in the end.

Oh goodness, the tears came flowing down his cheeks. Poor little guy, he was so upset. "Why did Darth Vader die? I didn't want him to die! He's good now, he saved Luke! Why did he die?" I held him in my arms and tried to comfort him. It is just a movie, but to him it is so much more.

I remember the first movie I ever cried over, "Gorillas in the Mist." I was shattered by the way Gorillas were treated, I had never known the world could be so cruel to animals. As sad as I felt, it lit a spark in me at a young age to try and protect innocent animals. That passion has been there for many many years. What will Zane get from Darth Vader's death? What impact, if any, will it have on him in the long run?

He was very concerned about Darth Vader dying after realizing he needed to be a good man. If anything, I hope he takes that, to be a good person, to always do his best and live everyday to it's fullest.

Ta Ta for now



New-Age Shrinky Dinks

Do you remember Shrinky Dinks? The little plastic doo-dads that shrink when you bake them? They were so cool when I was a kid. Here's a new twist to an old classic:

Ever wanted to know what to do with those plastic boxes you get from restaurant leftovers? Well, here is a great idea I found at Dabbled. This would be a really fun birthday party activity (just watch out because they are permanent markers) or they could be a fun party favor. I am thinking about making these for Christmas gift tags this year. Super cute!

  • you need to use #6 plastic (the kind we can't recycle anyway). Many to-go containers seem to work.
  • Sharpie Markers in a variety of light colors, plus black.
  • Hole punch
  • Toaster (or regular) oven, preheated to around 250 degrees

Such easy supplies to acquire, I have all this stuff already wasting space in my home.

You don't need to be an artist to make these. Just doodle, or better yet, let the kids decorate them.

The oven part is strictly for grownups. No little munchkins helping here.

The possibilities are endless. My kids are anxious to give it a try and watch their art shrink before their eyes. I'll post some pictures of our craft in the near future. If you try this out please send me a picture, I'd love to see what you create. Have fun my fellow Do-It-Yourself Divas!

Ta Ta for now



Sunday Signspotting: week two

Wow, I can't believe July is almost over! This summer vacation has gone by too fast here at the Rackley house. Hope you all had a nice week, here's your signs for Sunday:

(Please be aware that I did not take these pictures, i am simply surfing the net on various funny sign websites and putting them here for your viewing pleasure)

Putting all those benefits to good use.

It's actually a cooking center in Jamaica - Simon Cowell is rumored to have a holiday home nearby...

You will probably not get robbed, conned or drugged for the first few minutes of the train ride.

Get a running start to make sure your forehead connects with the beam head-on.

Not actually a cruel punishment - this hot spring in Japan is in fact boiling.

Try the lobworm roll with maggot tofu.

Always nice to stop in and have a conversation with someone who speaks fluent England.

See you next week for more signs!

Ta Ta for now



It's a Buggy World

This morning in the shower I decided I have had enough of bugs in the south! Why in the shower? Because I was trying to shave my legs covered in mosquito bites. It is quite a tricky thing to accomplish.

True, there are bugs all over the world, but sometimes it seems there are more in the south, and they're bigger! OK, yes there are probably more big bugs in the Amazon Rain Forest, but still...

I have never been bitten by a mosquito in some of the places I have been bit since living here. Did you know you can actually get a mosquito bite in between your toes, and on your butt? How in the heck did they get in my pants???

Everyday when the kids and I go outside to play we enter a bug war zone:

  • Watch your step for fire ants, Man those sting!
  • Keep your hand out first thing in the morning for all the spiderwebs (Yes I have walked into quite a few.)
  • Shake your head often so the gnats won't fly in your eyes.
  • Hit yourself repeatedly to swat away pesky mosquitoes who try to suck your blood!
  • Careful near the dirt because the "dirt bees" burrow homes underground.
  • Oh and look overhead for the wasps all over the place!

And don't even get me started about the weird freaky HUGE bugs that come out after dark!!! I love all that God has created, But... Do we need so many bugs in the south? Help me! I'm being eaten alive!

Ta Ta for now



Mom's New Toy

The other day my husband gave me a gift "just because." WOW! Those are the best presents. Not because he had to, he just wanted to! I am the proud owner of a new iPod Touch *giddily jumping up and down*

This thing is so cool! I spent most of last night loading all my 800 million CD's into it. So todays post is just a short note to say hi. "Hi!"

I am off to play with my toy :)

Ta Ta for now

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Howling to be heard

Let me get up on my soap box for a moment...
Uh-hem (clears throat)


Okay, now that I got that out of my system we can move on to facts.
I wrote a blog last month about the importance of Manatees in the Florida waterways. Today I am going to shed some light on my most favorite of animals. The Gray Wolf.

A federal judge in Montana has restored protection to gray wolves in the Northern Rockies. They were taken off the endangered-species list March 28 after federal officials said the species (once hunted, poisoned or trapped to the verge of extinction) was "thriving."

The order, by U.S. District Judge Donald Molloy, is expected to stop public hunts being planned by officials in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho.The National Resources Defense Council claims that 106 gray wolves have been killed in those states in the 118 days since being removed from the list!!!

That's nearly one wolf killed every day. The death toll could be even higher since kills are not required to be reported immediately, and 'shoot and bury' tactics mean that some kills might not be reported at all. And if Wyoming, Idaho and Montana have their way, at least 900 wolves (nearly 60 percent of the population) could be exterminated this fall. What is wrong with people?? in one hunting season they want to eliminate 60% of an entire animal????

An estimated 2,000 wolves now live in the Northern Rockies after a decade-long restoration effort. "Until now the reintroduction of gray wolves to the Northern Rockies was one of our greatest endangered species success stories," said Louisa Willcox, NRDC Action Fund Wildlife Campaign Director. "Now the region has become a killing field for wolves, just as we predicted."

Thousands of gray wolves roamed the Rocky Mountains before being slaughtered and eliminated from 95 percent of the lower 48 states by the 1930's. The gray wolf was listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act in 1973. Reintroduction efforts placed 66 wolves in Yellowstone National Park and part of Idaho in 1995-96.

"Dozens of wolves have been killed already, and more are certain to die under state laws that in many cases allow unregulated wolf killing anywhere, anytime, for any reason," Willcox said.

This is just so stupid! We work so hard to help this species thrive just so we can kill them all again. Wolves are not the enemy here, Humans are. It has been proven that since the ban life is thriving in the Northern Rockies. The natural order of things had been restored. God created every animal for a reason. Even little annoying bugs serve a Huge picture in the grand scheme of things. Who are we to decided which species stays and which can go?

Some of the first wolves to be killed since the de-listing took effect include:

• Wolf 253M: This eight-year-old celebrity wolf's fans called him "Hoppy" because of his limp (caused by an injury from a fight with another wolf pack). He was shot the day after de-listing on an elk feeding ground in Wyoming. This black wolf was one of the most recognizable members of Yellowstone's famous Druid Peak pack. People snapped his photograph and shot video as he and his pack mates played, hunted and snoozed. Later, he became the first wolf to step foot into Utah in over 75 years and established his own pack in Grand Teton National Park.

• The Ashton wolves: These two males were killed on April 1 near Ashton, Idaho. The first was shot within view of the shooter's home near some horses. The second was pursued by the landowner for over a mile on snowmobile. Authorities declined to press charges against the shooter due to "reasonable doubt" as to whether the wolves were "molesting" livestock.

• Wolf B160: This collared wolf was found shot on April 3 near Clayton, Idaho. His body was still warm when a woman found him about 70 yards from Highway 75. He had been shot through the femur and stomach.

It makes me want to cry reading about these poor animals. Come this fall this beautiful animal may be gone forever. This stop to the killing is only temporary while the courts decided if they should keep the Gray Wolf on the endangered list or not. (Again, humans trying to play God.) My heart breaks for the wolves that have grown accustomed to humans being near them, like in Yellowstone, and then we lift our guns and kill them. What must they think? Yes, animals have a brain and feelings too.

We were put on this earth to protect, not obliterate. Sorry for the not so happy topic today, I just really felt like this issue needed to be spotlighted.

Ta Ta for now



The Wee Hours of the Morning

I am not a morning person by any means. I am one of those "any excuse to stay in bed just a little longer" kind of people. Even though having children has forced me to wake up earlier then I would choose many times. But I found myself unable to stay in bed after Joe got up at 5am for work today. No kids were awake, not even the dogs. Just silence and me. So, I decided to sit on the back porch with a good book.

I am constantly amazed at how beautiful the early morning is, why don't I make an effort to get up early more often? (The bed is just TOO comfy, and I am just TOO grumpy first thing when I get up.) The sky was a beautiful sleepy blue with the sun just peaking over the trees, and then I saw the moon. It was so bright for the morning. I know, I know, the moon is often up still when the sun rises, but this was different. It seemed much brighter, as if to say "NO! I am not ready to just lay down quietly, I wanna be seen!"

I feel like that some days as a wife and mother. "NO! I want to be noticed for who I am, look at me, I am trying to get your attention!!" We as women sometimes lose our own individual voice and just become "mom." Not that there is anything wrong with that wonderful title, it is just important for us to not lose sight of who we are in the process.

Currently I have no clue who I am. I feel like a pre-teen trying to figure out where I fit in the world. I struggle with what I will do once my kids don't need me as much as they do now. The things I was once so passionate about now I find little interest in. My world truly revolves around my children (as it should) but, there is this little part of me that says "you can do so much more."

For now I will be like the bright early morning moon. Make my presence known "look at me! look at me!" and try finding myself through words in my blogs, and then lay down during the day and let the sun (my children) shine all day long.

Ta Ta for now

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Sunday Signspotting: week one

We all know that Sundays aren't very exciting. We finish up the chores not completed before Monday comes and kicks off the week. We relax with our families and enjoy just one more day of weekend. So I thought I would silly things up a little. Every Sunday I will put up a few pictures of funny real signs found around the world. Please be aware that I did not take these pictures, i am simply surfing the net on various funny sign websites and putting them here for your viewing pleasure.

So here we go, my first installment of Sunday Signspotting:

The English language may not always travel well, but twisted translations can provide some of the funniest on-the-road experiences.

You never know when invisibility is going to strike. (Near Ngorongora Crater, Tanzania)

When you put it that way, it hardly seems like mugging. (Hanoi, Vietnam)

Discreet snickering is OK. (Pocatello, Idaho, USA)

I'll hold him down, you grab his sock. (Alameda, California, USA)

Is the penguin under the car in the lower left corner changing the oil? (Boulders Beach, South Africa)

Nothing quite captures the spirit of Easter - in Racine, Wisconsin, anyway - like a little handgun action.

Hope you have a great day everyone! I think I had more fun making the "Sunday Signspotting" sign at the top then i should have :) Oh well, On that note: Do something you enjoy today! Let me know what you think about this new Sunday tradition.

Ta Ta for now



No Touching The Llama!

Gone are the days when singsongy-silliness reigned supreme in children's music. Now, a wide range of tunes for the little munchkins exists as we drive down the road. These great alternatives are climbing the music charts — and much of it is enjoyable for parents too!

During the school year we listen to the "XMK Animal Farm" in the morning. I honestly think I enjoy this children's talk radio show more then the kids do! The show is described as a “blend of family-friendly music, live interaction with kids, and character sketches." They play great music and we get to hear from the "animals" that live on the make-believe petting zoo. Seriously, if you have kids and are sick and tired of listening to crazy, silly theme songs all day, XM radio has a great alternative you will love.

The Animal Farm cracks us up with Bear E. White, the Bi-Polar Bear; Dirk, the 4th and Forgotten Chipmunk; and our favorite character, Lorenzo Llama. He lives in the petting zoo but HATES to be touched. He is usually heard shouting "Don't touch the Llama! No touching the Llama! No touching me!" Lorenzo is a little neurotic, but generally a good hearted llama. He still is having troubles with his spitting skills, and still attends classes regularly with the other llama's.

Here's a little transcript from Lorenzo:

*Kenny Curtis(guy who runs the farm)"I heard you let Dirk (the 4th and Forgotten chipmunk) hug you on the air. Does this mean your are now open to an occasional hug?"

*Lorenzo Llama "No. There is no touching the llama. Don’t believe everything you hear. The Chipmunk lies."

...The banter continues from there. It's one of those "you have to hear it to get it" kind of things. My mom listens to it through my cell phone since she doesn't have XM Radio.

The kids and I laugh and get to be silly in the car. It is a great way for us all to bond and enjoy something together. School starts August 25th for Zane and Audrey. I am actually a little bummed to have them go, we've had a blast this summer vacation with each other. But, I can't wait for our fun drives with Lorenzo Llama early in the morning!

Ta Ta for now



Colorful Toes

(picture of our colorful toes may not load...internet problems, go figure!)
Can you tell we've been stuck at home due to gas prices? I have had to be more creative when it comes to entertaining the munchkins.

Last night Audrey and I had a toe painting party. She picked out the colors (all of them) and mommy had to do her set and mine the same. Needless to say, my nails look like a fruit loop factory exploded! Oh well, that's what us moms do, crazy things to make our kids happy. We had a nice time getting "pretty" together.

Today the kids and I are heading over to the park for a play date with friends (we do this every Wednesday). It's a great way to get them dirty and tired. I am not quite sure what we will do this evening. Maybe another round of Junior Monopoly, it's only the 100th time this week. *Ahhaahaaahhaa SAVE ME!*

This economic crunch has actually been very good for our family. We've been forced to think outside of the box when it comes to doing things together at home. Sure, I have my moments when i feel like I am trapped in the box, but all in all it has been fun. We've caught a baby frog and made it a cool new home, we've had light-sabber jedi fights in the livingroom, the kids have learned how to play computer games all by them selves! So I guess I should say "thank you Mr. Government" but, that just doesn't sound right.

How about this "Thank you God for blessing me with 2 beautiful children I have the pleasure of enjoying everyday."

Yeah, that is much better.

Ta Ta for now

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Silly Stuff to Make You Laugh

What are two girls to do on a cloudy day? Here's what happens when Audrey and I are bored together playing on the computer:

Audrey as the Cheshire Cat

Zane as a buff body builder

Also for your viewing pleasure, a silly short film we found. In case you needed an idea for dinner tonight this one is for you:

The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.
~E.E. Cummings

If people never did silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.
~Ludwig Wittgenstein

If we couldn't laugh, we would all go insane.
~Jimmy Buffett

Ta Ta for now