The Ballentine Family

We are a small family in this house (three people, two dogs), but have a good deal of family in and around Baltimore. Tom works from home, but does have to drive to meetings, some of which are a good 45 miles away and are heavily concentrated in the January-April time frame. Jane reduced her carbon footprint by stopping her 1- to 1.5-hour commute two years ago – she now has a 5-mile trip to work. Henry’s school is about 2 miles from home, which keeps us fairly centralized most of the time. We do live in an 80-year-old house, which has loads of leaky areas that need to be plugged up, especially in the winter. We can walk up the street to a coffee shop, grocery store, bank, post office and library. We need to walk the walk more often, though.

Challenge #5: It’s All Fun and Games.

Sorry™, Uno, Chinese checkers, regular checkers, chess, Legos, battleship, fencing, baseball, swimming, Nerf dart tag, skiing, sailing, kayaking, reading, hiking with the dog, exploring streams, mountains and interesting rock formations, puzzles, body surfing, beach sitting, beach reading, beach bocci ball and beach Uno with waterproof cards. (Can you tell we are coming off a very cold, snowy and beach-less winter?)
(more…)

No tags

Challenge #4: In the Dark?

Looking up at the 'swirly lightbulb' in the front porch light.

Joining a co-op, cooking, and monitoring the house for leaks aren’t usually tasks for a 9-year-old, although Henry did enjoy visiting the co-op and picking out apples. He also liked eating the apples and drinking the cider. BUT, turning lights off, shutting down the computer, and conserving electricity aren’t hard to do, and as I say, “If you can reach the switch to turn it on, you can reach the switch to turn it off!” Sometimes, though, we just forget.
(more…)

No tags

Challenge #3: A Green Valentine’s Day?

Spinach salad

Well, thank goodness I got to the co-op last Thursday for our first order, because that bag of food kept us going for several days from what we are calling “snOMG! 2010” Parts 1 and 2 (see previous post, Winter Market Co-op).  Long story short: first wave of blizzard dumps 30 inches of snow outside my door and across most of Maryland. That ends Sunday and wave 2 comes roaring in on Tuesday, about 20 more inches. Yes, a total of (at least) 50 inches of snow is now surrounding us. And it’s cold here, so it’s not going anywhere! 
(more…)

No tags

Challenge #3: A Green Valentine’s Day?

Inside the Mill Valley Farmer's Market with our San Diego Zoo bag and food from our Winter Co-op market share

We may have a leaky house, but the Ballentines like to cook. We are also facing a nice blizzard type of storm here in the next 24 to 36 hours, so it’s lucky that today was the first day I could pick up some local grub from a market co-op I discovered in January!
(more…)

No tags

Challenge #1: What’s your carbon footprint?

This igloo was created by my son, but it’s what our house feels like INDOORS in the winter.

Yikes! I just went into “carbon footprint” shock. Using the San Diego Zoo’s carbon footprint calculator, our little family of 3 (plus 2 dogs) weighs in at 67.5 total metric tons. Honestly, I calculated that three times, making sure I was putting all the numbers in the right spot over and over. Gulp. What surprised me was that, beside the “average consumer” section, that heating oil was our biggest CO2 contribution. I really thought it would be driving.
(more…)

No tags

Find it!