Dallas ISD STEM EXPO

Dallas ISD hosted their annual STEM Expo on February 4, 2017 at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in downtown Dallas.  MY HAPPY EARTH was there to share with students, parents and faculty.  Students learned how to be environmental heroes by reducing, reusing, recycling and re-buying recycled items.  They read MY HAPPY EARTH while sitting on a rug made from recycled plastic bottles!  What an amazing day it was!  Thank you, DISD, for the opportunity to share with your families and faculty.

 

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Del Webb’s Frisco Lakes Holiday Shopping Soiree

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Congratulations to Phyllis Howard, winner of the MY HAPPY EARTH raffle at the Frisco Lakes Holiday Shopping Soiree on November 5, 2016!  Melissa McCollum, author of MY HAPPY EARTH, presented an autographed copy of her book and eco-friendly wooden toys for Phyllis to share with her grandchildren.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to All!

Fowler Middle School Green Team

Melissa McCollum, author of MY HAPPY EARTH and COOKIE CAN…, met with the Green Team at Frisco ISD’s Fowler Middle School on November 8, 2016 to share information about MY HAPPY EARTH and Earth Day Texas.  What an awesome group of environmental stewards!  Cookie, Melissa’s 4 year old Pomeranian, got in on the environmental action too.

Thank you to teachers Seth and Andrea Williams for sponsoring the school’s Green Team and inviting us to join in on their fun!

Recycled (or Repurposed) Toilet Paper Rolls – Grow Seedlings

Ever wonder what you can do with all those empty toilet paper rolls instead of throwing them away?   Those toilet paper rolls make perfect seedling starter pots, and can be planted in the flower bed when it’s time for the seedlings to be transplanted and grow big!

We placed a bag in each bathroom in our house to collect the empty toilet paper rolls.  When you are ready to get started with your flower, vegetable, tree, or any plant seedlings, here are the items you will need:

  1. toilet paper rolls
  2. soil or seedling starter pellets – we purchased a box of 36 pellets for $3.88 at Walmart
  3. seeds
  4. shallow bowl to place seedling starter pots in – we burn a lot of candles in our house, and reuse the empty glass candle holder once the candle burns all the way down.  What a great way to repurpose those glass candle bowls!!!  If you want, decorate the outside of the glass candle bowl with paint and embellishments you have around the house.

 

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Cut the toilet paper rolls in half.  Cut 4 notches on one end of each half and fold up as the bottom of your seedling starter “pot”.  Place each starter pot in bowl to hold in place – 3 starter pots fit perfectly in our glass candle bowl.  Place soil or soil pellet in each seedling starter pot (add water to pellet until it expands).

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This is a photo of 3 seedling starter pots – we still need to add water to 2 of the pellets until they expand into dark, moist soil.

Plant seeds in the moist soil of each seedling starter pot.  Place in a location with indirect sunlight in your house, add water when needed to keep the soil moist and watch your seeds sprout and grow into beautiful plants!

When the seedlings are a few inches high, you can transplant them to your garden outside by planting the entire seedling pot in the soil.  Because the toilet paper roll is made of paper, it will break down over time in the ground and will become part of the soil.  We opened the folds on the bottom of each toilet paper roll when we transplanted our seedling pots so the roots could take hold and spread more quickly.

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Happy Planting!!!

Earth Day Texas 2016

Trammel S. Crow sure knows how to throw a party!  He, along with his awesome Earth Day Texas (EDTx) staff, hosted their sixth annual Earth Day Texas festival at beautiful Fair Park in Dallas on April 22-24.  The world’s largest green expo beat its previous attendance record attracting over 130,000 this year with its high-profile environmental speakers, 1200 exhibitors, petting zoo, NASA’s interactive mobile display, landscaping workshops, LEGO’s Build for Change building area, tiny houses village, and three days of perfect weather!  And, we were there!  We read My Happy Earth to so many children eager to learn how to protect their environment, as they created their own drawings of their happy earth on reusable canvas bags using all the colors of a rainbow fabric markers.  It was an awesome weekend full of fun activities, creative art, learning how to protect our Earth and just being together under a huge shade tree in the park!

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That looks like a very HAPPY  Earth!!!

 

 

Grace’s close encounter with a

creepy crawler creature:

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Across the aisle from Trammell’s Green Toys booth, this little guy kept a watchful eye on us!

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Repurpose a Cardboard Box – Make a Pinata

For Easter this year, we decided to turn a cardboard box into an Easter piñata.  Ours is not elaborate, but it took us only 5 minutes to cover it with construction paper and decorate it with Easter stickers!  You and your family can decorate yours for any event or holiday and make it as decorative as you want.  You can use string, stickers, jewels, cutouts and all kinds of embellishments you already have at home.  You don’t need to buy a new piñata at the store when you’ve got cardboard boxes laying around the house or garage that you can decorate and repurpose.  Decorating your box to be a piñata is as much fun as whacking it with a stick to break it open for all the goodies inside!

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Success and fun, all rolled up in one!

 

Dinner from our Garden

When Alex, Grace and I drive along Highway 1 each summer from Santa Cruz to Monterey, the fields are filled with countless types of berry and vegetable crops:  strawberries, raspberries, artichokes, kale and romaine lettuce just to name a few.  We love stopping along the way at various produce stands to purchase fresh snacks for our road trip.  The rich, intense flavors just cannot be matched by produce found in the grocery stores.  In an attempt to capture that freshness back home in Frisco, Texas, we planted a small garden in our backyard that includes sweet basil, rosemary, lemon balm, strawberries, romaine lettuce, chard, cilantro, spearmint, Greek oregano, and last but not least, the unsightly artichoke plant.  Not expecting much return on my initial $2.50 artichoke plant investment (my friends from Whole Foods shared they had not been successful with theirs), I was pleasantly surprised when a single artichoke began to take form atop the center of the spiny leaved plant.

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After (proudly) monitoring its growth for many days through my kitchen window, it was time to harvest this intriguing vegetable and prepare it for dinner that evening.  As I approached the intimidating, almost prehistoric, plant to snatch the fruits of my labor, my eyes gazed upon more artichokes popping up all over the spiky leaved shrub that now spanned almost 6 feet across.  The original artichoke now had siblings!

Quite pleased with the resulting yield of this one plant, I snipped off that first artichoke I had become so familiar with.  After being washed, steamed and drenched in melted garlic butter, this lone artichoke found itself sitting confidently, adorned with a modest sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese, in the center of our dinner table.

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After offering thanks, we shared one of the most delightful meal experiences ever……..

…I was speechless…….words truly cannot describe the intense, hearty, delicious flavor of this artichoke.  And then came the hidden treasure, the gold mine, the tender heart of the artichoke.  It was like no other we had tasted before.  We savored its rich, smooth, earthy, unique flavor.  The vote was unanimous.  It was the best artichoke we’d ever tasted!

With the gentle nurturing of Mother Earth and a lot of patience, we had successfully captured the freshness and full flavors of the produce growing on the farms lining Highway 1 in Monterey County.

So far, this one artichoke plant has produced 11 artichokes!  And each is just as delicious as the first!

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