Earth Heroes? Sometimes.

It's Earth Day. The kids are wearing green and listing ways they're trying to be better Citizens of the Planet, so I thought I'd make my own List: The List of Little Things We Do Around Here to Make The Earth Happier. I get lots of great ideas reading about what other families cook, plan and create, so here's me kind of paying it forward.

(Even if I am going to get a pedicure (yes, with non-organic nailpolish) and a green tea in a take out cup later.)

1. We are Recycling Dynamos. If we don't leave packaging at the store, we pick it apart and put each bit into the proper bin so that as little as possible ends up in the trash. (Disclosure: a couple of years ago, when the city started billing us for the size of trash bin we requested, we picked small. Since then, life sometimes revolves around keeping things out of the aforementioned teeny bin, which is only picked up every two weeks. I guard my three free bag tags a year zealously.)

2. Reusable bags. We have hundreds and we use them. But they are taking over the house.

3. Reuse it til it's dead. When we go swimming, we use the same plastic bag over and over to put our wet suits in afterward. Considering the club has a bag dispenser on the wall, I'd say that's a high five for us. I do the same with bulk purchase and produce bags. And salsa jars.

4. We walk to and from school as often as we can. Almost every day of the week. Up some seriously scary hills. I sure wish it would show on my backside.

5. We make litterless lunches and use aluminum canteens for water each day. Some days this can be more stressful than others, like the days when I rip open a granola bar to put it into a reusable container. Sigh.

6. We use the back of junk mail and school notes for grocery lists, laundry lists, cottage lists, and lists of things we need to make lists for.

7. Low carbon footprint a sixth of the time. We spend two full months of the year living completely off the grid with no hydro, running water or air conditioning. We use felled trees for heat, lakewater warmed in the sun for bathing, and an outhouse for, well, you know. It rocks.

8. We turn it off. I am known to run around after children shrieking when lights are left on. They turn them off to avoid me, and are especially vigilant when their friends are over. (Nightmare Mommy is a great incentive to be green.)

9. The second shift. I do laundry on Sunday nights after 8 pm. (Does this work if everyone else does it then too? Just saying ...)

10. Shop and eat local. We get a big basket of fresh fruits and veggies delivered biweekly from area farms. My kids were always pretty good at identifying produce, but now they can tell kale from chard at a glance (but they won't get any closer than that -- who are we kidding?) Plus, it saves on my veggie bill and gas.

11. We love thrift shops and garage sales. We used to get lots of clothes secondhand when the kids were smaller, and not wearing things out, but now we hunt for great videos, books and games too. Once we got a terrific cast iron pan and a geology set with 50 labelled rock samples. Nerds, I know.

12. Hand me downs are King. We pass everything down as much as we can, and then send them to friends with smaller people. I once even tried out a few new embroidery stitches on a stained, but otherwise decent, pair of girls jeans. I'm proud to say they, and the embroidery, are still in rotation.

13. Libraries. One of our favourite places. Honest.

14. Leftovers. We love 'em and we cook to get 'em. Same amount of energy, same dirty pots to wash. Twice the meals!

15. No bottled water or paper plates in this house. Our tap water is just fine and I was raised to believe paper plates were only for church picnics. Plus, kids should learn to do the dishes.

Do we get it right all the time? Nope. Most of the time? Probably not ... but I think we still do alright, considering.

How do you and yours take care of your little corner of the planet?

Happy Earth Day!