Friday, May 10, 2013

Vinegar Friday -- in honor of moms


I enjoyed reading the comments on the Green Your Mom Giveaway. So many of you shared the environmentally-friendly things you learned from your moms and I thought, with Mother's Day on Sunday, today would be a good day to share them with you. And since it's Vinegar Friday, I'll start off by sharing two of the vinegar tips that some smart mamas taught their daughters:
  • My mom taught me about cleaning floors with vinegar to remove streaks. 
  • My mom always taught me to use vinegar water as a cleaner.

Many of your moms taught you how to be frugal, by shopping at thrift stores, mending torn clothing/socks, wearing hand-me-downs, and fixing broken items. Helen's mom had eight kids, so she taught them, from necessity and by example, how to make things stretch! 

Frugality also includes not being wasteful. A couple of you mentioned how your moms taught you to turn off the water when you brushed your teeth. Turning off the lights when you left a room was another good lesson. And, of course, donating used toys, furniture and clothing was all part of not being wasteful as well.

For many, learning not to waste was demonstrated best in the kitchen, where your creative, and frugal, moms knew how to transform leftovers into other meals. And what did they do with the food scraps they couldn't use? They composted them, of course!

Photo by Larry Bacon
Five of you mentioned how your mothers taught you how to compost and six daughters noted how their industrious moms taught them how to grow their own food. Some of that food was grown on composted soil. I like what Vicks Luna said about her mom: "Growing our own veggies straight from the garden... no pesticides... period." Go Mama!

Some of you learned how to can and preserve your own food. That's something I've never learned how to do, although my mom froze corn every summer.

Photo by Peter Griffin

Recycling was the most prevalent theme amongst your comments. Lots of mamas taught you to recycle, and I love that. Way to go. In addition to recycling, there was a consistent mention of repurposing and reusing items. Of course, this was back in the days when repurposing was not even a recognized word! Reusing bags, rather than throwing them away, was important as well. 

Jaclyn commented how her mom taught them to walk instead of driving whenever possible, which wasn't always easy since they lived in the suburbs.

I was happy to see that some of your moms taught you one of my personal favorites -- to line dry your laundry. This is something I learned from my own mother. Not only was she the perfect model of this for me, but she also taught me to truly love doing it. She and I appreciated the divine smell of sun-and-wind-dried sheets (no scent beats it, in my opinion). 

I also learned, as some of you did, that littering was a bad thing. It was not tolerated in my family as I was growing up. My mom taught me the joy of gardening, both vegetables and flowers, as well. She also often opted for natural solutions. I remember my from-the-kitchen hair treatments as a kid. Beer, mayonnaise and eggs were all used to keep my hair shiny. And lemon juice naturally bleached my already-nearly-white hair in the summertime.

Photo by Jon Luty
It was my dad who hounded me about wastefulness, however... turning out lights, not letting the water run, closing doors so the heat/ac didn't escape, not holding the refrigerator door open. But they both taught me to appreciate things and not be wasteful. My mom made much of my clothing and my parents were hesitant to replace perfectly good items, like televisions and radios, unlike today when we replace our electronics like there really isn't anything to worry about when it comes to taking care of this planet.

I think we tend to forget, or not appreciate, what we learned from our parents. This "going green" kick is not something new, although naming it did turn it into a fad of sorts. Our parents were greener than we realize. Just think back a bit further. How many uses did your folks find for old baby food jars or cigar boxes? 

It was about simplicity, as Dorothy's mom demonstrated for her. And, as Jessica's mom taught her, "This is our only Mother Earth and we must take care of her!"

So, on this Vinegar Friday, I encourage you to thank your moms and grandmas (if you're blessed enough to still have them with you) for the examples of green-living they set for you. Without even knowing it, they left behind footsteps you can be proud to follow. 

Keeping it green with vinegar and a whole lot more,


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