Not Quite Crunchy Parent writes It’s Not Christmas Time–It’s Recall Time! Whether you buy new or used toys for the holidays, it’s good to know what’s safe and what’s not.
Along similar lines, Mindful Momma has a list of books and websites that will help you find safer children’s products. One of her recommendations is Healthy Child, Healthy World, which is both a book and a blog. While the Healthy Child, Healthy World blog does have what in my opinion is an overabundance of warnings on harmful toxins lurking all around us, there are also many read-worthy posts such as The Making of a Green Mom and a discussion of sustainable design.
Eco Child’s Play has a recipe for homemade cranberry sauce. Homemade cranberry sauce is vegan, doesn’t contain BPA like its canned cousin, and has a much zingier taste than store bought sauce. Her post made me wonder: am I the only one who actually likes jellied cranberry sauce from a can? I love that stuff!
Don’t forget to post a comment on our latest Natural Pod review. You’ll then be eligible to win an organic, plant-dyed onesie or shirt of your choice!
Our last Natural Pod giveaway was so successful that we’re doing another one! Last time we oohed and awed over the wooden play kitchen, gnome family kit, and wooden cups and plates–and our lucky reader won the natural stacking rings.
Natural Pod also sells organic clothing. Here’s what they have to say about it:
Natural Pod has a great range of unique organic clothing for babies, toddlers and children up to 8 years. We have worked hard to find pieces that are comfortable, soft and hand-made. Our current selection includes pieces that have been plant-dyed, just using items from the garden.
Roscoe is now the proud owner of this yellow crew neck shirt, and Audrey has the orange kimono. Neither Joy nor I have had much experience with new, organic clothing. We even wrote a post in which we wondered if used clothing was “greener” than organic duds. I always thought something like an organic onesie or baby shirt would cost an exorbitant amount, but all of Natural Pod’s clothes are just around $20.00–that’s just a few dollars more than new, conventional baby garments.
If you like the idea of new clothes for your baby, consider ones made from organically grown cotton and dyed with plant dyes. Not only will these clothes be better for the environment than conventional ones, they’ll potentially be better for your baby’s health.
We love the soft cotton and earthy colors of these clothes. My only criticism is that they run large. The size two kimono is much too big for her to fit in now, but she looks forward to wearing it in a year or so when she’ll be closer to four years old. Of course, Audrey can still fit in some of her six month clothing, so she may not be the best sizing model. Roscoe (age two) fits in his 2T crew neck just fine! The dye in his shirt has become a bit splotchy with a few washings, but it now looks like that was just a part of the fabric pattern so it’s quite unnoticeable.
Would you like to try one of Natural Pod’s shirts or onesies for your baby or child? Just post a comment by the 21st and you’ll be entered to win the clothing item of your choice! There are twenty-three wonderful options to choose from.
With a new baby at home, it’s tempting to crank up the heat on these cold November days. When the energy bill arrives, however, it can be shocking to see how an increase of just a few degrees on the thermostat can impact the utility bill and your energy output. Since heating the home takes up about half of a family’s energy costs each month, finding a few ways to cut back can make a huge difference in your expenses and your carbon footprint.
What have you done to keep your family’s heating bills in check? Those of you who live in frigid areas must have some tips for limiting energy costs while keeping baby comfy. Please share your wisdom with the rest of us!
For more Thrifty Green Thursday tips, check out the links below. If you’d like to join us this week click here to get started. Thanks for visiting!
When I wrote about buying secondhand baby clothes for my daughter, I was bracing myself for some outraged reactions. I can’t believe you don’t buy your daughter new clothes! Doesn’t she deserve new things? Won’t she feel ashamed and deprived as she grows older, knowing she was forced to wear cast-offs? To my surprise, all of our commenters said they love buying secondhand duds, too.
Not everyone feels this way. When I was pregnant, I remember reading an article somewhere about saving money on baby gear. The couple featured went to great lengths to buy almost everything used or scrounge around for hand-me-downs. Then the mother-to-be said, “The one thing we did not buy used was clothing. We made it a priority for the baby to have all new clothes.” I found this sentiment interesting. Used clothing costs so much less than new, and no one would ever suspect it was secondhand unless you were dressing the kid in polyester jumpsuits. (I do run across those vintage baby clothes from the 1970s from time to time . . . and I think they’re cute!)
I also read of a mother who was expecting a second daughter. She said she wanted the new baby to feel like she was just important as the first one. The way to do that, she reasoned, was to buy all new clothes for her. Now, the logic on this is . . . well, illogical. First of all, babies do not usually have that level of awareness about their attire. Also, sharing clothing among siblings does not have to be shameful. I know my little sister looked forward to wearing things once I had outgrown them, and as teenagers we shared clothes all the time. That’s one of the great advantages of having a sibling!
So now I want to know: do you have “issues” surrounding used gear or clothing? Used clothing seems to work for me. For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to Rocks in My Dryer.
Please join us to tomorrow for another installment of Thrifty Green Thursday!
Maybe it’s because dinner comes at the end of the day, maybe it’s because it overlaps with a spouse’s return from work, or maybe it’s just because we have to tackle it every day, but some of us find ourselves quite flummoxed by the simple concept of supper.
I’ve had a few discoveries over the course of the last two years as a working mother, but our readers are sure to contribute many more ideas to my list. Also, check out last week’s post for some more tips.
Use a slow cooker: If you got enough sleep to feel somewhat rested in the morning, you can throw a bunch of stuff into a crock pot and forget about dinner entirely for the rest of the day. I was a little hesitant about embracing the crock pot, but my zealous friends won me over—and I’m glad they did.
Consider prepared foods: While canned soups or boxes of cous-cous aren’t made from scratch and can be expensive, having them in your cupboard could prevent you from eating out. There are also several organic options for prepared foods available and you can even find some of them at discount stores like Grocery Outlet! You can also make your baking mixes ahead to create your own convenience food.
Don’t cook at all: We can survive on what we have without cooking if we have to—and we should if skipping the dinner prep means getting a much-needed nap. Have microwaved oatmeal, salad with sunflower seeds, or a peanut butter sandwich for dinner, and allow yourself the luxury of grazing instead of cooking.
What are your tips for handling the dinner dilemma? Do you freeze meals, cook ahead or actually enjoy making dinner? We’d love to hear your stories!
Donna over at the Frugal Mom Blog “tagged” us this week. Thanks Frugal Mom! According to tagging rules, this means we must do the following:
1) Link back to the person who tagged you and share the rules on your blog
2) Share 7 facts about yourself
3) Tag seven people and list their links in your post
4) Tell those 7 people by commenting on their blog!
Because this is the Green Baby Guide (motto: Down-to-earth Ways to Save Time, Money, and the Planet), I’ll try to list things that have to do with babies, greenness, frugality, and this website.
Seven Things about Me:
1. At 8 months pregnant, I fell down our basement stairs and broke my ankle.
2. Therefore, I had to survive my last month of pregnancy and first month of motherhood on crutches!
3. Joy and I met in college, when we were both teenagers.
4. She was the resident assistant of my dorm.
5. I have been a vegetarian since I was 14.
6. River Phoenix was partially responsible for that lifestyle change.
7. I am left handed. (This does not have to do with babies, greenness, frugality, or this website–whoops!)
I am going to cheat and tag NINE blogs. Not to be lazy or anything, but you may notice that this list is eerily reminiscent of our last Thrifty Green Thursday.
In other news, Erika over at the Organic Baby Resource is having another contest this month. Go here for details on how to win a $250.00 prize package from HappyBaby!
Today is the last day of our My Little Pakora onesie and hat giveaway. Don’t forget to post a comment for your chance to win! Keep coming back to the Green Baby Guide this month, as we have some more great giveaways coming your way, including organic Natural Pod clothing, stylish bags for your wet diapers, and wool changing pads.
In the 2.5 years my daughter wore diapers, we bought just six packs of disposables. I’m sure I could have done better if I’d really set my mind to it. We didn’t deal with the nighttime diaper dilemmas some parents face, so we used cloth at night. We also traveled a lot during those years, and we stuck with cloth diapers for several of those trips. (I know, I know–traveling is not green at all! Read about my personal crisis over traveling here.) Here are some travel tricks that worked for us.
Check out this ode to station wagon living!
Go somewhere with washing machines. Most of our post-baby trips were simple affairs, visiting family or staying in rental houses (rather than hotels) equipped with washers and dryers. If I thought someone might be grossed out by washing my dirty diapers in their machine, I used disposables.
Wash when you return. On short weekend trips, we just lugged the diapers back with us and washed them at home. With my wet bag, this wasn’t a problem.
Get a good wet bag. Joy wrote a post about her Bumkin’s Dirty Duds bag here. I bought a wet back from a sporting goods store, which holds more diapers (about three or four days’ worth). It doesn’t leak or emit odors. I would not recommend traveling with a diaper pail, though I know some have done it.
Use disposables en route, but switch back to cloth once you’re settled. We didn’t tend to do much multiple-destination traveling with the baby, so this worked well. On shorter trips we stuck with cloth the whole way, but if we were traveling all day long, we didn’t want to lug dirty and wet cloth diapers through airport security.
Dry diapers out the car window. Okay, I did not actually try this one–but my grandmother did! She posted a comment on the post comparing cloth to disposables, revealing her cloth diapering secrets from 1952, when she and three kids traveled across the entire country.
As those six packs of disposables show, I did resort to disposables every now and then, so I’m no cloth diapering angel. I always packed disposables on extended plane trips, but others are much braver! Check out Sunrise on the Water’s Thrifty Green Thursday post to see how she survived cloth diapering on a ten-day trip to Hawaii. Let us know your cloth diaper travel tales, tricks, and tips by posting a comment.
With grocery prices soaring, it’s nice to know that you can save loads of money on a simple, homemade snack. We’ve been guilty of buying microwave popcorn in the past, but six months ago I began making it on the stovetop––it’s incredibly easy and requires almost no equipment! Plus it will help you avoid the hydrogenated oils in packaged popcorns as well as the cost and packaging. It’s great for the planet, your budget and your family’s health—and it doesn’t require a lot of work. From start to finish you can expect it to take less than ten minutes, including cleanup.
Here are some popcorn seasoning options:
Not only is home-popped corn delicious, it’s outrageously cheap. A bag of popcorn kernels in the grocery store is just 4 cents per ounce, while microwave brands cost three to six times as much. Microwaveable popcorn costs between 30-90 cents for a family sized bowl while the same amount of the homemade version costs less than ten cents per bowl—including seasoning!
If your family goes through one box of microwave popcorn (4 large bowls) each week, you’ll save a whopping 52 boxes of cardboard trash, 208 cellophane wrappings, and 208 paper bags by switching to homemade. The same amount of popcorn prepared at home would cost less than ten dollars and create just four plastic bags. (If you buy it in bulk and recycle the bags, you’ll achieve zero waste!)
Homemade popcorn is also a great alternative to chips, pretzels and other expensive snacks. As long as you don’t douse it with too much oil or butter, it can be stored in air tight containers and will still taste great the following day.
One word of warning for parents—you’ll need to wait until baby is about 18 months to begin offering popcorn. Moms and dads of toddlers: beware the effects of popcorn! It can result in some very scary diaper aftermath. (Similar to feeding them too much fruit.) So let your little ones share in this treat, but don’t let them overdo it.
We’re looking forward to hearing your Thrifty Green Thursday tips this week—and would also love to know how you doctor up your homemade popcorn. Thanks for enriching our popcorn seasoning list!
Today’s Works for Me Wednesday is a themed edition: Toys that are actually worth buying. At first I was going to write something about how kids don’t really need toys to be happy, or how I made Audrey a doll out of a cornhusk, but then I decided to take the topic a bit more seriously. So what do I think is worth buying? A toy kitchen.
At first I resisted buying a play kitchen for my daughter. I didn’t want to clutter up house with plastic, and wooden ones are expensive. I even considered making her one, but that project floundered in the idea stage. I never had a toy kitchen, can’t she live without one?
This all changed when I ran across this Alex Wooden Cook Top Playstove in a consignment shop for just $12.00. I snapped it up, took it home, and Audrey gathered up the pots, pans, and food she had received as gifts in the past. If you bought all this stuff new, it would cost just $56.00, which is a still a bargain for a play kitchen. While none of these products is advertised as eco-friendly, I like knowing that everything is made from wood, metal, or cloth–no plastic.
Here are the contents of Audrey’s kitchen:
Alex Wooden Cook Top Playstove $29. It’s small and portable. I love that it doesn’t take up valuable square footage in our main living space. We can easily move it around the house so she can cook wherever the mood strikes her. If we set it on her toy chest or on the coffee table, it’s the perfect height if she wants to stand while whipping up her favorite dishes.
Audrey cooks elaborate meals on her toy kitchen almost every day and doesn’t seem to miss some of the features you’ll find on a more expensive contraption. The fact that her kitchen set provides her with hours of independent play time makes everything well worth the investment.
Don’t forget to enter our giveaway for your chance to win an adorable onesie and matching hat!
We’re always on the hunt for green companies providing quality baby products—and were excited to stumble on My Little Pakora. The company’s eco-friendly values and South Asian roots were especially appealing to us. Read our interview with the company’s founder, Sonia Gupta, to find out more!
GBG: What inspired you to start Little Pakora and what is your company’s mission?
Sonia: My daughter inspired me..after her birth in 2006 I realized that there was not a good forum for clothing inspired by South Asian culture. Also, I wanted a place where I could gain knowledge on how to integrate South Asian culture with Organic living which is the concept behind My Little Pakora. Our mission is to educate parents and create a fun clothing line that parents and kids alike will adore.
GBG: What are the most popular items in Little Pakora’s product line?
Sonia: Both of our lines are doing extremely well…but if I were to pinpoint the most popular they would be our Monkey, Elephant, Lion, OmBaby and of course the associated accessories with these items.
GBG: How do Little Pakora’s products differ from other organic products on the market?
Sonia: Our products are truly inspired by South Asia and educational in nature (my daughter has learnt all the animals in Hindi with the shirts). In addition our portal is unique in that most clothing companies do not provide the information on raising baby green like we do. Over time we hope to expand our resource center and our clothing line with more articles, recipes, and a feedback section. Our goal is to really make a community out of the My Little Pakora brand.
If you would like to win one of My Little Pakora’s Lotus Baby onesies with a matching chocolate hat, just post a comment below. All their products are certified organic and they happen to be quite cute as well. Please post a comment before Monday, November 10th to be eligible to win! (U.S. and Canadian addresses only, please.)