Archives for December 2008

My Gift Wrap Closet

We moved from a 973-square-foot house to a larger one this year, and I did feel a pang of guilt about it.  (Joy wrote about the joys of small-house living here, and we published another ode to tiny spaces here.)  I have found that there are a few environmental advantages to a larger home, and one of them is the luxury of a gift wrap closet. 

As you know from our first ever Green Baby Guide post, I don’t like to use regular wrapping paper.  That’s why I love having an entire cupboard devoted to decorative boxes, ribbons, gift bags, and tins.  In a little cardboard dresser (which was my only dresser back in my starving grad student days!), I keep manila envelopes, ribbons, tins, and boxes.  I also have a whole box dedicated to gift bags, none of which I paid for myself.

Spoiling Your Child with Thrifty Green Living This Holiday

When my son’s eyes light up as he opens a Christmas present, I delight in his happiness.  But thrifty, green living has shown me a whole new way to look at indulging him.  For example, on my son’s birthday we were able to buy him a far more toys than usual because we opted for garage sale gifts.  He felt spoiled, we saved money, and we embraced the “reuse” part of the green cycle instead of buying new.  

But beyond the material stuff, I keep thinking of all the secondary rewards my son gets from our thrifty green lifestyle–especially during the holiday season.


Dreaming of a Meat-free Christmas? Vegetarian Holiday Recipes

As a vegetarian, I usually graze on side dishes for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  This is actually just fine with me, as I do love rolls, cranberry sauce, and green beans (though not in the form of green bean casserole!).  This year I am hosting Christmas dinner, and my guests have assured me that they don’t mind going meatless.   So what should I serve?  Here are some websites with vegetarian feast ideas:

The Veggie Table has suggestions for every course, from appetizers to meat-free main course options.  I like the idea of a Christmas salad made from red, white, and green ingredients.

Veg Kitchen features a holiday menu that takes advantage of “late season” produce.  The carrot and orange soup sounds tempting.

The Saturday Question: Which Cloth Diapers Provide the Best (and Worst) Leakage Protection?

We love gathering up green parent advice and are already thankful for the tips we got from last week’s post on potty training.  This week, we turn to cloth diaper users for their experiential wisdom.

What are your favorite brands/styles of cloth diapers?  We’re especially interested in which diapers have provided the least leakage and the best fit, but we’d also like to hear about brands that turned out to be total duds. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!

The Green Baby Guide’s Green Gift Repository

While here at the Green Baby Guide we approve of garage sale gifts, experience gifts, and even no gifts for your offspring this holiday season, sometimes you do want to buy a little something for the baby in your life.  We’ve personally worked with the eco-friendly companies listed below–some of you may have been lucky enough to win one of their great products in our past giveaways.

Pedoodles shoes are green because they’re made from recycled leather remnants.  Look for the “eco-friendly” label in the Next Steps Collection.   They’re very sturdy with a highly flexible sole and have become our favorite choice for shoes. 

Saving Money with Store Brand Organics

Although I’m always trying to shift my grocery selections to organic products, sometimes my inner tightwad cannot handle the sticker shock—especially with the recent rise in food prices.  Buying our produce through a Commmunity Supported Agriculture subscription and having our own raised bed garden has helped, but as a working mom, I depend on having some packaged products to feed my family. 

Store brand organics have come to my rescue with quality, eco-friendly products at reasonable prices.  I have found organic applesauce, crackers, and beans made by Western Family (a generic brand popular in the Pacific Northwest) at my local grocery store.  Even chain stores such as Safeway and Fred Meyer also offer their own organic selections, including baby food.


Buy hand-crafted, eco-friendly baby gifts on Etsy

Do you want unique, eco-friendly gifts for your little one that are handmade here in the U.S.A.?  What about shopping on  Etsy sells wares made by crafters that are much more interesting than mass-produced stuff from Babies R Us.  We’ve already mentioned the great fabric bibs from Enchanted Dandelions.  Here are some other shops worth checking out.

Warm and Fuzzy Baby–Darling organic hats, blankets, and booties.

Organic Quilt Company–Stunning organic baby quilts for very reasonable prices.

New England Gift Company–Ribbon-lined organic hooded baby towels and retro-print baby blankets.

Lovey Duds–Organic wraps to tote baby around in, plus some “hooter hiders” in colorful organic fabrics.

Maiden Love–Soft flannel elephant toys stuffed with wool and organic lavender.

Baby Blend Tees Organic T-Shirt Giveaway

Jennifer Leaphart founded Baby Blend Tees after creating a few adorable shirts for her own children and being stopped by strangers who wanted some themselves.  Her designs are simple, clever, kid-friendly and printed on sweat-shop free, 100% organic cotton. 

Baby Blends Tees has gathered national attention after being featured in Pregnancy and Newborn magazine, E-The Environmental Magazine, The Chicago Sun Times and The Chicago Tribune.  Fabulous press for a small company started by a multitasking mother!

It’s nice to know that Leaphart has made business decisions that include the planet in her long range planning.  Beyond the fact that the company uses organic cotton, Baby Blend Tees also belongs to 1% for the Planet, a group of businesses that donate 1% of their annual sales to environmental programs. 


Eco-friendly Holiday Tips from the World Wide Web

Here are a few links to make your holiday season a bit greener this year!

Mindful Mama wrote about Greener Gift Wrap and Why I Heart Thrifting.

Suite has an article about Eco-friendly Kids’ Toys for 2008.

Here’s an old National Geographic article on how to have an eco-friendly Christmas.

We weighed the pros and cons of artificial and live Christmas trees in our last Thrifty Green ThursdayHere’s an Eco-friendly Daily article from the perspective of someone who grew up on a tree farm.

This article is a year old, but here are some eco-friendly Hanukah ideas from the Sunshine Chronicles.

Treehugging Family wrote about giving gifts of experience or necessity.  We also had a post about reducing environmental impact with gifts of experience, as well as 5 Unexpectedly Green Gifts for babies and kids.

The Saturday Question: What are Your Potty Training Tips?

Since we often learn heaps from our wise readers, we’ve decided to ask a question each week and see how much information we can gather from our green parenting peers.  Thanks so much for contributing the wisdom you’ve gained from your time in the trenches with your little ones.   If you’d like to propose your own parenting question, we can feature it sometime soon for our Saturday question and you’ll get some great advice!

Joy’s Question: 

My son is 2 years and 3 months old and we’ve started casually potty training.  He goes to daycare during the week for partial days and spends the rest of his time with us, but he seems to only be alternately excited about sitting on the potty.  Sometimes he’s totally into it, and on other occasions he utterly refuses.  Many experts advise waiting until your child is really excited about potty-training, but I wonder if he’d do better if we actually invested more energy into his efforts.  Maybe if we were more consistent he’d do better.  So, should we wait or should we use a few time-tested tricks for piquing his interest in the potty?