Thursday, February 28, 2008

a natural smile

It recently dawned on me that while I am ridding my home of chemicals, one of the most obvious things that we were still using (and ingesting!!) that needed to be changed was our toothpaste. So, I flipped over that back of Charlie's Superman toothpaste, and mixed in with all the ingredients that I couldn't find were some very, important, yet disturbing words..... If ingested, please call poison control (insert lightbulb going off). Why am I purchasing and allowing my toddler to use a product full of ingredients I can't pronounce and could possible make him sick if ingested was beyond me.

So off to the store I went to look for some better options. I found Tom's Of Maine Natural Toothpaste for Kids in Silly Strawberry Flavor for Charlie. It took some convincing, since Spiderman no longer adorned the tube, but we have made the switch. I also got him a new Recycline kids toothbrush which is made from recycled yogurt cups. He really likes it!

For Gracie, I found Earth's Best Toddler Toothpaste that comes with a finger brush, but I think I need to go buy her a Recycline toothbrush too, now that she has so many teeth! Ouch!

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

goods 4 girls

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to this awesome organization called Goods 4 Girls.

In parts of the world, young girls end up having to miss school because they don't have the resources for when they have their period. Many of these girls use rags or newspapers but don't go to school because of the fear of these products not working. Several disposable products are being sent to these girls from major companies here in the US, but that makes for a huge environmental issue for these countries with out the proper way to dispose of these goods.

This wonderful organization has started to send cloth menstrual pads to these girls that can be cleaned and re used. Many mamas here in the states use cloth pads too. I have not been brave enough to try, although I am intrigued by the Diva Cup.... I digress...

Anyway, there are two ways you can help out. First off if you sew, the site has several patterns that you can download and make pads to send to these girls. If you are like me and much better at shopping then sewing, there are several websites listed here where you can purchase pads and have them sent.

Lastly, if you have a blog, you can add their logo to your blog and send more traffic to them. Click here for instructions on how to do this!

Check out this site, it is really a cool thing!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

a healthier taco night

Tonight is taco night at our house. Some will make salads, others tacos, and one picky little boy will probably eat a black bean and cheese quesadilla, but I am okay with that. Anyway, here is an awesome taco meat recipe that I got out of Deceptively Delicious and tweak by making it organic. It is so yummy!

The Healthier Taco Meat

1lb organic ground beef
1/2 pack taco seasoning (organic if you can find it)
1/2 cup pureed organic carrots
1 can organic diced tomatoes with juice ( I use Publix Greenwise Tomatoes)

Brown the meat and drain it.
Stir in taco seasoning, carrots and tomatoes.
Simmer until it thickens up a little.

I usually put out some diced avocado, tomatoes, cheese, black beans and rice and everyone gets to create their own meal. This way its a dinner that everyone likes to eat and is fully of healthy options!

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Monday, February 25, 2008

hip green tees and reusable bags

My sister in law and I ran into Goody's really quickly yesterday and I was super excited to see their new line of tees with great green messages on them and funky reusable bags. They were all really reasonably priced and very cute! I am glad the being "green" is "cool" to kids now! Hopefully by the time my babies are teenagers, being "green" will just be what you do!

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

an eco friendly birthday

Gracie's first birthday is rapidly creeping around the corner. In my attempts to go green, I am feeling very torn, because I know deep down inside how wasteful it would be of me to go buy all kinds of cute, coordinated, pink birthday paper products. So this morning I googled eco friendly birthday parties and wouldn't you know, my new favorite magazine, KIWI, had a great article full of ideas! I totally am going to save this article because, while many of the ideas are what I need for a one year old, they will be great as my kids continue to grow.

A few of the ideas they share are:
  • A day in the field- A field trip to an organic farm
  • Color their world: tie dye t shirts with natural dye
  • BookWorms- Have everyone bring a gently used book for a swap
  • Music party- Dance and have tons of music instruments for the kids to play
You can get all the great ideas for parties and play dates here.

Some other things you can do to make your party a little more green:
  • Use an Evite. This is the greatest invention ever! And you can customize your evites now too!
  • Instead of having everyone hit up the major toy store in town, when people ask what your child would like, ask for natural toys, memberships to places like a children's museum, donations in your child's name to green organizations.
  • Make "green" goodie bags. Sandpails are great goodie bags, that can be put to good use. Or use cute fabric to tie up your goodies, and put healthy, fun treats in them!
  • Use reusable party products. I think I am going to invest in some that I can use over and over again!

In doing my research I found a great website called Little Cherry, this is exactly what I needed! Unfortunately, it is only in the UK, so if anyone knows of anything like this in the states, please pass it on!

Please share any great green party tips you have in our comments section. I still need lots of ideas!!

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

green laundry

If you are anything like me, I am sure you feel like your laundry is never truly done. In attempts to go green one place I have made some changes is my laundry. Not only do I not really want chemicals on the skin of my family, also, all those chemicals go in our water and our sewer system which is not a good thing either. I have been playing around with finding a natural detergent that I really love. Part of the problem is the one I like the most is not cloth diaper friendly, but that is a whole other post in itself. If you have an earth friendly laundry detergent that you love, please share it with us in our comments section!

There are several small changes you can make in your laundry to help reduce waste:
  • Switch from liquid to powder or concentrate detergent (liquid detergent requires a lot more water in the making)
  • Stop using dryer sheets (there are a lot of chemicals in them, I use dryer balls now)
  • Use your dryer less, the sun works great not only at drying your clothes, but taking stains out, the best natural bleach!
  • Do laundry in one day instead of over a week- by throwing clothes into a hot dryer it takes less time to dry them, so back to back loads actually saves energy.
You can read a lot more about going green with your laundry here.
You can check out a lot of green laundry products here.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

yo mommy

One of the first organic products I ever fed Charlie was YoBaby organic yogurt. That was over three years ago when my organic/green journey was just beginning. Well I am so excited that our friends at Stoneyfield have continued with their great products by adding YoMommy yogurt for pregnant and nursing moms. This new yogurt contains DHA, folic acid and vitamin D which are all so important for pregnant and nursing mamas. It comes in yummy blueberry, peach, strawberry and raspberry fruit on the bottom flavors. And its super fun to say YoMommy over and over again...LOL! You can read more about YoMommy here.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

wear that baby

You all know how much of an advocate I am for babywearing and as the owner of a SAHM business, I am always excited to help other mamas with their businesses. Therefore, I am super happy to share with you Heavenly Hold. My sweet friend has recently opened an online shop for babywearers. She has also started a great blog, babywearing buzz, which is all about baby wearing. I am excited to share both with you! She has a really cool carrier that I had never seen before, called the Mei Hip, which I pictured above. She is fairly new and her stock is continuing to grow, so book mark her site and check back regularly!!

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

silky soft

Gracie has some cradle cap still and I can't seem to get it to go away. One of my friends suggested trying some Burt's Bees Apricot Oil. I love this stuff! It totally has helped with the cradle cap, but I also love to put it in the tub for the kids. Both my kids have some mild eczema. I have start putting a cap full of this in the tub and it leaves them super soft. It smells really yummy too! I have been known now to smuggle it away for my own showers I like it so much!

The ingredient list is as follows:

Apricot kernel oil, grapeseed oil, wheat germ oil, tocopheryl acetate & tocopherol (vitamin E), rosemary extract, beta-carotene, fragrance.

I love the idea of my kids bathing in natural products! You can purchase this product from one of my favorite online shops, cottonbabies. You can read more about Baby Bee Apricot Oil and other products from Burt's here.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

just another reason to love chipotle

If you aren't familiar with Chipotle, it is some of the yummiest, quick service, Mexican food around. I love their "bowls" which are basically a burrito with out the shell and their barbacoa meat is incredible. We tend to go to Chipotle on Sunday's after church, since there is one right by our church. Charlie and Gracie love black bean and cheese quesadillas, so its a hit all around.

To make my Chipotle experience even better, this past weekend I noticed a big sign saying that all their meat is hormone and antibiotic free. They are very in to gentle and healthy farming I can eat there totally guilt free!! They pride themselves in something that they refer to as, "Food With Integrity" .You can read more about their farming methods here.
Make sure you click on the links above and it walks you through all their foods! Also check out this cool timeline, this goes through all the green changes Chipotle is making, like organic beans and recycling.

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Monday, February 11, 2008

high fructose corn syrup

Natalie Dee

I am sure by now you have heard that high fructose corn syrup is not one of the best things for us to be eating. And if you read labels at the grocery store you will notice that it is in EVERYTHING!! It has actually become a game between Matt and I to find HFCS in the craziest foods that are even marketed as "healthy".

If you don't know what HFCS is, basically, its a cheap form of sugar that acts as a preservative in our food. And a lot of people blame America's obesity problem on it because we end up eating way more sugar than we realize since its hidden in everything. Here is a more technical definition from Wikipedia.

Because of this, I have been working really hard to find foods that do not contain HFCS in them for my kids. One of my biggest surprises was that almost all wheat breads have HFCS in it. So here are just a few of some of my new favorite HFCS free foods:
You can read more about why HFCS is not good for you here.

Corn Syrup image is from here.

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Thursday, February 7, 2008

a blueberry bottom

Most people are intrigued when they find out I use cloth diapers. They automatically think pins and folding and plastic pants, but boy cloth diapers have come along way. There are tons of choices out there now.

One of my favorite brands of cloth diapers is Blueberry. I was first drawn to them for their minky covers. I don't use covers often though, because I prefer an AIO (all in one) or pocket diaper, but boy those minky dipes are cute and super soft.

During one of Blueberry's famous sales I stocked up on their pocket AIO's. These are a hybrid diaper so to speak. You can stuff them like a pocket, but there is also an already built in insert, so you don't have to, unless you need some extra absorbancy. Up until now we have been fine not stuff, but I think, now that Gracie is drinking more out of a cup, that we are on the brink of needing to get some thin hemp doublers to put inside the pocket.

The colors of these diapers are super cute. You also can choose between aplix (velcro), side snaps or front snaps for your closure. I prefer the side snaps, but have about half side snap, half aplix. I usually leave aplix diapers with other people because they are the most like a disposable.

Another great option Blueberry offers is a one size diaper. These are great because they have snaps in the front. You start off with them snapped all the way down and as your baby grows you move up in snaps. While they are pricier off the back, these diapers fit most babies from 8-35 lbs, so once you have made your investment you are done.

I highly recommend signing up for Blueberry's e-newsletter. They run great sales and that is when I tend to stock up on some new dipes!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

a great way to reduce the use of plastic baggies

I have shown you some great ways to eliminate the use of grocery bags, but how about all those great little zippie bags we all love to throw into our diaper bag. You know, the ones that a PB&J fit in perfectly or a handful of goldfish. Well, our friends at Cloth Diaper Outlet have a great product to help reduce all those little baggies, the Wrap N Mat. I really want to order some of these to try out. They get great reviews. If you have tried them, let us know what you think in our comments section.

Here is some information about the Wrap N Mat:
  • Only reusable sandwich wrap and place mat in one
  • Made with Fair Labor/Fair Wages
  • Machine washable, air dry
  • Food safe, PEVA liner that wipes clean
  • Approximately 13 x 13 when open

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Monday, February 4, 2008

a little greener disney

Well, we are back from Disney and I am proud to say that I saw some green changes being made. I was excited that we had a separate trash can in our room just for recycling. Also, there was a sign in the bathroom encouraging people to use their towels more than one time. I was also impressed that in the parks there were several recycling cans for bottles and cans next to the regular trash cans. All of this made me curious because I also saw a lot of things they could do better, so I came home and googled it and found this article about all the changes Disney is making and it seems that they are working in the right direction.

Another thing I was impressed with was the kids meals at Disney. While organic was not an option, they did offer healthier choices for their meals. Most kids meals were PB&J or chicken nuggets, but then came with two sides, such as carrot sticks, unsweetened applesauce or grapes. The meals also included 100% apple juice, low fat milk or bottled water.

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