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I was extremely honored to be asked recently to be a part of Sheaffer Pen’s #LifeStories campaign. Sheaffer Pen’s and I go way back. In middle school, I really became interested in calligraphy and hand lettering. My uncle, an amazing artist, gave me a Sheaffer Calligraphy Set to get me started. He was such an inspiration and I miss him dearly (he died when he was only 38 years old). So Sheaffer Pen has since been a reminder to me of him and his talent.

Sheaffer Pen #lifestories

Christopher was also asked to be a feature in the campaign. I’m so proud of him and the way he has completely immersed himself into talk radio for all the right reasons. He opens his heart and mind to his listeners every day and he does it with humor, intelligence and respect.

Sheaffer Pen #lifestories

This was another one of my favorite Sheaffer Pen #LifeStories, Mindy Lockard, The Gracious Girl. Mindy is an amazing woman who lives and breathes gracious living at it’s most authentic.

Sheaffer Pen, #lifestories

For more of Sheaffer Pen’s #LifeStores, check out their site at, Twitter feed at and Instagram at


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It’s been waaay too long since my last post! My life has been turned upside down and I’m still trying to catch my breath.

So here’s a quick update:

Right before Christmas 2014, Christopher (husband of My Green Side) was flown to California for a job interview with a radio station in a market significantly higher than the Fargo radio market. They loved him and, while we were in Wisconsin at my family’s farm for Christmas, the negotiations began.

One of my favorite ornaments. Made by Missy

Christmas 2014

It became very clear, very quickly that the Gabriel Family was going to be making a move. Soon the contract was signed, family and friends were told and arrangements were made. If I missed sending a personal note to anyone, I apologize! In my defense, it was a whirlwind trying to get everything done and moved. I wanted to make sure the girls saw everyone they wanted to see before we left so I am beyond thankful that we were able to spend time with a lot of our extended family during Christmas. And, frankly, I’m still getting used to the idea that we’re actually living in California!

CG studio shot

Christopher’s last day on the air at WDAY AM 970 and the girls last day of school in Fargo was January 9th. We then commenced saying goodbyes to dear friends, neighbors, our favorite babysitter, classmates, teachers, doctors… I have tears in my eyes now as I remember all the people I love and miss in that part of the world.

The Hotel Donaldson, Fargo

The moving truck arrived and, on January 16th, we were on our way from Fargo to Fresno. We drove the 2,000 miles to give the girls a chance to see parts of our beautiful country that they had never seen before. The weather was incredible and our mini-vacation was so much fun. Seeing sights like the Rocky Mountains through their eyes is an experience I will always treasure.

Fargo to Fresno mug

Fargo to Fresno mug in NebraskaA frozen waterfall in the Rocky Mountains




On January 22nd, Christopher was on air for the first broadcast of The Christopher Gabriel Program in Fresno, California. On the following Monday the girls started at their new school. The people at their school are lovely and as an added bonus, we are close enough to walk.

Since we’ve been in California, we’ve made multiple trips to the Sierra Nevada’s and Shaver Lake, Monterey and Carmel, Yosemite, Disneyland and gorgeous areas within our own community. We feel extremely blessed to be here and hope to be a positive addition to this area.


Words can’t express how proud I am of Christopher and how he manages to bring his intelligence, sense of humor and humanity to his program each and every day. I hope that talk radio everywhere looks at his model and learns that anyone can scream and yell but it takes a real professional to let everyone be heard with respect and civility. We will never get anything worthwhile done in our homes, in our school or in our government unless we learn to really listen to each other and be respectful no matter which side of an issue you are on. Didn’t we all learn to treat each other the way we want to be treated?

I continue to write for but will not be on Christopher’s program for a Simple Tips for Green Living segment (at least not until we’re all completely settled into our new normal). I am excited to discover what God has in store for this new chapter in my life.

Our neighbor's palm tree

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it ~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

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Porter Family Adoption Sale

My girls with two of the Porter children doing an advertising blitz for the big sale!

The Porters have become very important to our family during the last few years in Fargo. They are neighbors and friends but those descriptive words do not begin to describe what this family means to us. They are on a journey to adopt a special needs baby from China.

They have three children, a dog, they homeschool, they eat a local, organic and mostly vegan diet… they are perfect. But they are perfect in a way that makes you want to do better yourself, not in a way that makes you feel imperfect.

Why am I telling you all of this, you may be asking yourself… well, this beautiful family is having a Garage/Junk Sale this week to raise funds towards the adoption process. If you’re in the Fargo Moorhead Area, please drop by and give them your support! Oh, and Missy Porter is a crafty artist so I know they’ll be some really adorable things to buy. The kids will be selling lemonade, “pony” rides and baked goods.

There will be something for everyone!

The details:

  • Wednesday, August 21st to Friday, August 23rd
  • 8am to 7pm
  • 1518 10th St S, Fargo

If you’d like to make a monetary donation, visit and click on the donate button.


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As you know, I am passionate about non-toxic and sustainable living. It can be a little overwhelming and very expensive to wade through the products that say they are healthy and to find the ones that really are healthy, natural AND effective. So My Green Side is SO excited to partner with Ecocentric Mom as part of their blogger team. Ecocentric Mom takes the time, money and guesswork out of researching products, brands and ingredients so you can discover and try different products that are safe for you and your family. Here’s how they work:

Ecocentric Mom offers 3 specifically tailored types of membership boxes. The best fit for you will depend on your stage of motherhood. They offer a Mom box (for Moms of all stages), the Mom-to-Be box (to help pamper you during this wonderful time) and the Baby box (for newborns to 18 months). Each box is filled with items specific to the box type. Please visit The Boxes page for more detailed information about each box type.

To celebrate my new adventure with Ecocentric Mom, I am offering My Green Side readers a 10% discount on any subscription plan you choose. Just be sure to sign up here and enter code ECOMOM10 at checkout.

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I’m so excited about an upcoming event in the Fargo Moorhead area on Saturday, May 12th 2012. Eco Chic, one of my favorite places in Fargo, is hosting a Junk Market. Here’s all the relevant information:


Creating a Fairy Garden

Time: 11:00 am to 11:45

Baker Garden and Gift will teach you how to create a miniature fairy garden complete with structures and actual living plants. It is designed to lure fairies and with them, good luck, to your home.

Recovering Cushions

Time: 1:00 pm to 1:45 pm

Recovering cushions is an easy way to bring new life to vintage chairs! Christy from C.Lee Designs will demonstrate how to easily reupholster a seat cushion.

Plant Your Funky Junk

Time: 2:00 am to 2:45

Baker Garden and Gift will show you how to recycle your junk into fun and funky garden planters!

All Workshops are Free and will be held inside Eco Chic Boutique.


Parking: Don’t worry about finding a spot to park. They are only using part of the lot. You can also park on the side streets south of the event and also to the west. The weather promisies to be beautiful.

Strong Men: They will have plenty of help for you to load those fabulous re-purposed furniture pieces into your car (or trailer).

Food & Drink: Cracked Pepper and Love in the Oven Bakery will have plenty of food items for you to purchase should you get hungry while shopping. Cracked Pepper will open before 9am so you can grab something to eat before you begin shopping.

Come Inside: Eco Chic will have furniture inside and outside so don’t forget to stop inside the store and check out even more furniture and eco-friendly goods.

Doors Open at 9am: Yes the event will be outside but shopping won’t commence until 9am. The entrance for the event will be located on the west side of the lot. Come get a place in line and their little (and big) helpers will be feeding you donuts and coffee while you wait.

For more information, visit

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“When the root is strong the fruit is sweet.” ~Bob Marley

Christopher and I became founding members of the Prairie Roots Food Cooperative this evening. After an event of information via emcee Dr. Gretchen Harvey and many other amazing people, entertainment from Sarah Morrau, drinks courtesy of the Fargo Beer Company and appetizers from the Green Market Kitchen, I was hooked. Of course, they had me at hello… when we moved to Fargo almost three years ago I was extremely disappointed that we didn’t have a food co-op in the area. Since that time finding healthy organic food for my family has become like a scavenger hunt. I find a few things here and a few things there. I’m unbelievably excited that a food co-op is so close to becoming a reality.

As local organic farmer, Mark Askegaard, succinctly put it: “Good food is not processed food”, and we need to “bring a sense of social justice back to our food system”.

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic and locally produced food and you can become a member-owner too. For more information, visit and join me in making a difference in our community.


Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living toThe Christopher Gabriel Program.We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Tuesday or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Make informed choices to reduce the amount of pesticides you and your family are eating. Buy organic produce whenever possible, it’s healthier for you and the planet.

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. The guide is developed based on data from nearly 96,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce. There are two lists.The “Dirty Dozen” lists produce varieties that have most pesticide contamination so you should always buy these organic or avoid them. The other list is the “Clean 15″, the produce the EWG has found to have the least pesticide contamination.

Get the guide at

We’ve talked about avoiding toxic chemicals while Greening Your Lawn. We don’t want pesticides entering our bodies through our skin and we certainly don’t want to injest them. The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood.

The bottom line is that when it comes to pesticide use, there is more to consider than just the residues that you are ingesting. Although peeled foods such as mangoes, avocados and kiwis may spare the consumer from significant pesticide exposure, it is possible that large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are used on the farms from which these originate, contaminating groundwater, promoting erosion and otherwise damaging local ecosystems. To help promote the health of the planet as well as your own health, it’s best to buy organic whenever possible.

DIRTY DOZEN – Buy These Organic

  1. Apple
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

CLEAN 15 – Lowest in Pesticides

  1. Onions
  2. Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweep potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

Source: and

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Eco18 is a collective of creative writing individuals with a common goal—to live a healthier more natural lifestyle. From diverse backgrounds, cultures and interests, their combined expertise, humor and opinions will explore green and sustainable in a practical, fun way.

No judgments, no preaching just an exploration of doing a little bit, everyday to make our world a better, cleaner place for the generations to come. It’s a learning process for everyone.

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The girls and I had a fun field trip this week to the Plains Art Museum. This was our first time visiting the museum and we were so impressed with the space, the exhibits, Cafe Muse and the many knowledgeable staff members.

Our main reason for the visit was to see The Birdhouse Project. Awesome.

Architects sometimes move outside of designing buildings to design objects that meet other needs. During the display of The Birdhouse Project at the Museum from March 4 through 10, architectural students will showcase the design needs of a completely different flock.

Second-year architecture students at NDSU research and interpret the design theory and methodology of a specific Pritzker award-winning architect. Simultaneously, they research the dwelling requirements of their “client” – a particular bird, owl or bat that dwells in a house and is specific to this region. Students then translate the Pritzker architect’s philosophy into the design and construction of an inhabitable house for their chosen bird.

Competition requirements include the creation of a useable house as well as a graphic component with information on the Pritzker Architect and the specific bird/bat/owl.

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Ronald McDonald House Charities are near and dear to our hearts. Christopher’s father was one of the original founders of the nation’s first Ronald McDonald House, located in Philadelphia.

We know that families are stronger when they are together, and their presence helps a sick child heal faster and cope better. ~Ronald McDonald House Charities

Christopher was the fundraising games host and auctioneer for the 2011 Sweetheart Ball, benefiting Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley (Fargo) and I was honored to be his date.

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A couple weekends ago we paid homage to the age old rite of visiting a local pumpkin patch (a different one from last year). We went with a dear friend and her daughter (one of Little Greek goddess’s best friends). The weather was gorgeous and, except for the ravenous mosquitoes and a wagon tipping incident, we had a great time!

Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile. ~William Cullen Bryant

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