Archives for August 2008

The History of The Green Baby Guide

The very first green parenting community I joined consisted of two people: Rebecca and me–and it’s a group you’re now a part of!  The Green Baby Guide started over two years ago when I began frantically calling Rebecca about cloth diapers, homemade baby food, and Craigslist cribs.  Although we had been friends for fifteen years and had always kept up with postcards and emails, the overlap in our pregnancies and our green ideals suddenly made regular communication seem vastly more important. 

Rebecca was several months ahead of me in her pregnancy, so she learned a great deal by herself and then shared her crash course information with me.  When people questioned my plans for using cloth diapers, I could confidently tell them that I knew people (i.e., Rebecca) who were doing just fine with cloth. When I was overwhelmed by the variety and complexity of cloth diapers on the market, Rebecca took me to a consignment shop and helped me buy used diaper covers for a paltry $7.00 investment.


Eco-friendly Paper Plates from Chinet (+ Giveaway!)

I never thought I’d be singing the praises of a disposable plate company on the Green Baby Guide, but I am about to do so.  Here’s how it happened: first, I wrote about Greening My Family Reunion.  I noted that with over forty people in my extended family, we used as many real dishes as possible and supplemented with paper plates and cups, which racked me with eco-guilt.  Next year, I vowed, we could reduce our impact by choosing recycled paper products.  I then checked out the paper plate selection at my local grocery store and noticed that Chinet’s plates were made from “recycled materials.”

Saving Money and Emissions with a “Staycation”

Ever return from holiday travel only to find yourself more exhausted than when you left? When we felt stressed out just contemplating a vacation with a two-year-old, we knew we needed other options.  Suddenly, my husband blurted out, “Let’s have a staycation!”  Immediately our heart rates leveled out and we began breathing more deeply.  

You might assume that my husband and I have a tiny comfort zone—or a case of agoraphobia.  Actually, we’ve lived and traveled in several countries, but at this point in our lives we have no desire to leave town.  Our son sleeps horribly even on short trips, hates being immobile in the car seat, and often seems out of sorts while we’re away.  It ends up being rather grueling for all of us—so we were excited about the option of staying home for a week and purposely relaxing.


Your Garbage Can Live on as Art with SCRAP

A couple weeks ago I saw a brightly-painted truck driving around my Portland neighborhood with the word “SCRAP” scrawled on the side.  I later learned this was a part of Portland’s School and Community Resource Action Project.  They collect everything from buttons, wrapping paper, yarn, and paper towel tubes and distribute it to schools to use as art supplies.  I wrote a post about recycling the contents of my basement many months ago.  Some of the things we went to great lengths to recycle (such as CD jewel cases) could have been donated to this organization–and reusing is always better than recycling.

Our Cloth Diaper Bravery Contest Winning Entry

We had so many deserving entries in our giveaway that I found myself wanting to buy everyone a Dirty Duds bag or sew a dozen by hand.  Since I’m not remotely wealthy, or skilled in sewing, I wrote Bumkins instead and begged for more prizes.  They awarded us with something all our readers can use! 

Just enter the coupon code 5off08 and get $5.00 off any purchase with a $50.00 minimum when ordering online at The coupon is good on all merchandise so you can use it buy diapers, bibs and other baby gear as well. 

And here is our winning entry from April at Enchanted Dandelions.  


Diaper Services–What’s Your Experience?

Diaper services are a great option for people who want to use cloth diapers without washing them themselves. The company will plunk sets of nice clean diapers outside your door and whisk away your bag of soiled ones on a regular basis.  They’ll usually allow you to specify the size of prefolds you need, and you’ll buy the covers yourself.   While prices vary across the nation, diaper services generally end up being cheaper than disposables but more expensive than home-laundered cloth diapers. 

Are they better for the environment, too?  With a diaper service, you’ll throw away far less garbage than disposable-users will.  There is the added environmental cost of the water used to wash the diapers and the fuel used to transport the diapers to your house–but keep in mind that there are fuel costs associated with driving packs of disposables from the factories to the stores as well.

Savoring the Last Weeks of Summer: Carbon-Free, Low-Cost Entertainment for Kids

As a child, I remember being thrilled to escape school in mid June—but by August, I was bored to tears. Now as a mom I realize how tough it is to find quality entertainment for kids without spending money or driving all over town. This week we’ll revisit a few of our best posts on entertaining your brood for less.

For toddlers:

  • Homemade Finger Paint: These days we just head outside with Roscoe and avoid worrying about the ensuing mess. We use the back sides of household papers and just hose Roscoe down when he’s done! You can find a link to Rebecca’s post on fingerpainting here.
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Little Water Wasters: What to Do When Your Youngster Doesn’t Understand the Meaning of Conservation

Has anyone else spawned a water-waster?  If I give Audrey a little watering can and ask her to water the flowers, she’ll dump the whole thing on the pavement.  She enjoys flushing the toilet.  If she washes her hands, she turns the water on full blast and splashes water everywhere.  Then she cries when I won’t let her wash her hands every five minutes.  One day I wondered why it was eerily silent in the bathroom, and I found that Audrey had taken all the towels out of the cabinet and soaked each one in the sink!

How have you talked to your kids about conserving resources–at a two-year-old level?  Audrey will beg to water the plants or wash her hands, which seem like innocuous enough activities for a youngster–but how do I encourage her to do those things with the proper respect for Mother Earth?  Or do I just need to put up with the waterworks for a few years, then sit her down as a teen for a comprehensive lecture on ecology? 

Building Green Communities with Like-minded Parents

Green parenting requires thought, innovation, and courage—none of which come easy on limited sleep.  Having a community of like-minded parents is wonderful, but it can be challenging depending on a person’s geographic location or work schedule.  Still, if you hook up with a few families who are at least willing to try green living, it can be tremendously helpful. 

Here are a few places where you could start finding eco-friendly buddies:

Parenting groups: Usually by joining a parenting group you can find a few families who are interested in eco-friendly tips.  We loved our experience with Birth to Three here in Eugene and have made friendships that will last all through Roscoe’s childhood.


What is the Biggest Thing You’ve Done for the Planet?

Here at the Green Baby Guide, we’re all about making simple lifestyle changes that will make a big difference, one step at a time.  But what about the big things?  Have you made any huge strides on your quest towards greenness?

Install solar panels to cut down on carbon emissions

So what do I mean by a “big thing” and a “little thing”?  Years ago, I read in the Tightwad Gazette about boiling just the amount of water you need to make a cup of tea.  Now, instead of filling the kettle with a bunch of water and heating more than I use for my drink, I fill it with exactly a cup’s worth.  That small thing saves a bit of water and energy and was easy for me to do.  Barbara Kingsolver writes in Animal, Vegetable, Miracle about moving from arid Tucson, Arizona, to Virginia just so she can grow all of her own food in a fertile climate.  Now, that’s a big thing, at least in my book!