Archives for October 2008

The Two Dollar Halloween Costume

Audrey was a pumpkin for her first Halloween.  I found this pair of pumpkin pajamas at a consignment shop for just $2 and then commissioned my mom to knit Audrey a pumpkin hat, which was FREE (for me, anyway!).  After dressing her in this get-up, we ventured out to the back yard for a photo shoot with a bunch of organic pumpkins that just happened to be lying artfully on the grass by some fall leaves.

Happy Halloween from the Green Baby Guide!

A Moving Costume: Easy Trick-or-Treating Transportation

Because our trick-or-treating journey will be a bit long this year, my husband decided to make Roscoe’s wagon part of the costume.  My son received it for his birthday this year after we did some rust-removal and repainting. It’s now one of his most prized possessions and we love its versatility and usefulness. 

My hubby found some old cardboard in our attic and a few wooden sign posts.  He cut them out, decorated them with some of our old paint (the red was left over from the wagon) and made an easy add-on to the wagon. 

It cost just under $4.00 total for this fabulous moving costume and the objects we reused have been granted a second (more glamorous) life too!  It’s more adorable and natural than those large plastic vehicles for sale at big-box stores and it’s  provided just as much fun.


How Do You Hand Wash Dishes to Conserve Water and Dish Soap?

After writing these last three posts about eco-friendly dish soaps without coming to any great conclusions, I started examining my dishwashing method.  Whether you use an “eco-friendly” soap or some generic brand, the best thing for the environment is to use it sparingly and conserve as much water as possible.  So I started looking around for the most efficient method that claimed to leave dishes sparkling clean.

For years I’ve used the soapy sponge method.  I squirt some soap in the sponge and scrub each and every dish.  Then I rinse off the dishes under a stream of hot water.  I thought this method was pretty efficient, but I was potentially wasting water, depending on how long I left the faucet running.

The Dinnertime Dilemma: Part 1

It’s four o’clock, the baby is fussy, you haven’t had more than a three hour stretch of sleep in the last day and a half and time is ticking down to the dreaded task at hand—cooking dinner.  There may be some readers who relish the idea of whipping up a multicourse meal while entertaining a small child and trying to stay awake, but many of us struggle with the evening meal. 

Since takeout is expensive and wasteful, fast food is usually unhealthy, and both of these options require leaving the house, it’s important to have a few tricks on hand for tackling dinner preparation. These are a few of  my humble discoveries, but I’m sure our readers will contribute more!


Pumpkin Waffles, Diaper Talk, and Our Wooden Toy Giveaway: the Sunday Round-up

5 Dollar Dinners published a recipe for pumpkin chocolate chip waffles.  Delicious!  (Or, as Audrey would say, “dewishiss.”)

Grow Baby Green is the newest addition to our blogroll.  Tara has a lot of helpful articles for new parents.  Recent posts include 7 Reasons Why to Stop Using Tap Water to Mix Formula, Massaged Babies Sleep More and Cry Less, and Tips for Eliminating Junk Mail.

Our Home on the Range has a great post about diapers, which includes her reviews of gDiapers, Kissaluvs, bumGenius 3.0, and many other cloth diapers.

Don’t forget to enter our wooden toy giveaway.  Simply post a comment and you’ll have a chance to win these great natural stacking rings from Natural Pod.

Alternatives to Dishwashing Liquid: Bar Soap, Baking Soda, & Homemade Dish Soap Recipes

I just spent a year of trying various eco-friendly dish soaps to wondering if eco-friendly soaps were any better for the environment than conventional soaps.  After all this research and number crunching, I still haven’t figured out a way to please my pocketbook and the planet.  With even the SDA claiming that there is no environmental advantage to using “eco-friendly” soaps, perhaps the best solution is to stick with a concentrated conventional liquid that will keep some plastic bottles out of the recycling bin.

But what if you want to use something more natural, less toxic, unscented, or just . . . less mainstream?  Here are a few more alternatives to liquid dish soap:

Using Baking Soda for Baby’s Bath, Diaper Pail, Cradle Cap, and More!

Discovering new ways to use natural, inexpensive products gives me a slightly bizarre thrill—like winning the lottery, fully reversing global warming, or seeing my toddler son first thing in the morning. 

You can imagine my euphoria when I found out that a fifty cent box of baking soda could replace diaper cream, eco-friendly cleaners, and baby bath without any artificial ingredients or phthalates.  For those of you that didn’t catch last week’s post, you might want to read up on how baking soda can also replace deodorant, shampoo and even toothpaste!

Baking Soda: Over 500 Fabulous, Fun, and Frugal Uses You’ve Probably Never Thought of” offers a plethora of ideas using for baking soda with babies and throughout your house.  The book is chock full of ways to replace potentially toxic mainstream products and expensive green cleaners with simple baking soda solutions. The list below is compiled from the book’s section on caring for babies and children. 


The Cheapest, Most Concentrated Eco-Friendly Dishwashing Liquid

Last year I bought a 32-ounce bottle of Biokleen dish soap for $4.79.  It lured me in with its seductive lemon-thyme scent but disappointed me with its lackluster performance in the kitchen.  Dishes came out greasy unless I used a LOT of the stuff, and I am not obsessive about dirt and grime.  I squeezed the last drop out of that bottle in less than six weeks. 

Six weeks for a bigger-than-average bottle?  This is what prompted me to pick up the $1.50 25-ounce bottle of generic, conventional dishwashing liquid.  It lasted from October to February–over 19 weeks!  In that time period, I would have had to buy at least two more bottles of Biokleen–and toss them in the recycling bin when they were empty.

Natural Pod Review and Wooden Toy Giveaway

Rebecca and I were delighted to discover Natural Pod, a website full of quality, eco-friendly toys.  If we had endless baby budgets, we might find ourselves purchasing everything on their site—from the wooden oven to the fully waterproof suits for Oregon winters.  The toys and gifts are truly beautiful and heirloom quality.

Roscoe tried out the plates and cups from Natural Pod and has been enthralled with them for weeks.  He uses them to feed blocks to his stuffed squirrels and carefully carries then around the house with perfect balance.  Besides training him to be a waiter one day, I find that the simplicity of the cups and plates makes them wonderful for creative play.   He uses them as hats for his animals, builds block towers on the plates, and uses them to prepares several imaginary meals. 


Green Colleges, Safe Halloween, and Etsy Soap and Bibs: Our Sunday Round-up

Are you already daydreaming about sending your green baby off to a green college?  Check out MSN’s slideshow of the top green colleges in the nation, according to the Princeton Review.  The University of Oregon made the list, if anyone wants to send the kids our way.

Organic 4 Baby is giving away the little Joli Bebe Organic outfit pictured above.  Check it out and enter before October 21!

Crunchy Domestic Goddess has tips for keeping kids, babies, and even dogs safe on Halloween.

Do we write about baking soda and vinegar too much?  No?  Okay, here’s yet another use for vinegar: it removes wallpaper!  This tip is brought to you by Gray Matters.