Archives for December 2009

Affordable Non-allergenic/Organic Crib Mattresses—They Do Exist!

The world of eco-friendly baby products is a quickly-changing one. Just months ago, Joy was expecting her second child. In her confessional post, she admitted that she couldn’t bear spending so much more for an organic crib mattress. Our readers assured her that she needn’t feel guilty. But now, just a few months later, there are several very affordable “greener” mattresses on the market! Look at the ones we found:

Sealy Baby Ultra Rest Mattress $70 (21% off!)

sealy baby ultra rest mattress

This mattress has three non-allergenic layers. The top layer provides a plush, soft sleeping surface for baby.

Kolcraft EM782-LEC1 Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton $88 (20% off)

DIY Fabric Gift Bags for Next Year’s Holidays

Are you still suffering flashbacks from wrapping, taping, and then cleaning up mounds of paper this year?  Even if you tried to go green by using recycled paper, wrapping everything and then cleaning up the holiday mess is labor intensive.  You may never have had have time to sew up a batch of gift bags before the holiday crush, but why not do it now?  Holiday fabric and ribbon are on sale and it will only take you about two hours to make bags that can wrap up all your gifts for years to come—with no waste and no yearly cost.  (My mom is still wrapping our gifts in festive bags that we’ve used for over thirty years!)  While you’re at it, whip up a few out of simple patterned fabric and have bags that can be used for birthdays, Valentines, and random surprises.

Choosing an Eco-friendly Crib: Affordable Green Options

Note: This post has been edited since publication. Some of the cribs we mentioned in the original post are no longer available.

Both Joy and I chose secondhand cribs for our little ones—a very green but actually controversial decision. Many safety experts warn new parents to never, ever, ever use a previously-owned crib. You could lose the directions, assemble it wrong, or inadvertently buy a recalled product.  After weighing the options, we felt fine about our secondhand cribs, which we discuss in more detail in our upcoming book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide.

However, we realize that some people do want to buy a new crib—and they want something “green.” A green crib should use earth-friendly materials that don’t contain noxious glues or paints that can damage baby’s little respiratory system. We found a few options that range from affordable to . . . well, not-so-affordable. But the best part is, you don’t necessarily need to pay more than you would for a conventional crib.

Gratitude Becomes a (Green) Birthday Tradition

green gratitude2Today, on my 37th birthday, I’m going to celebrate each year I’ve spent on this planet with one gratitude.

What does gratitude have to do with being green?  It counteracts constant desires and gives me the chance to look around and appreciate what I already have.  Our endless “needs”  fuel consumerism, debt, and lack of consideration for our natural resources.  Thankfulness stems my longings for stuff and refocuses my energy on all the more important gifts right in front of me. (Even though two of those gifts are really loud, create poopy diapers, and regularly rob me of sleep.)

My three year old should be able to manage being thankful for four things next year and I think we’ll write them down, illustrate them, and post them on our wall.  As for me, I have at least 37 things to list!

The Green Baby Guide Turns Two!

Christmas Eve may not seem like the best time to kick-start a website, but that’s exactly when we launched the Green Baby Guide two years ago. We were up and running with our very first post about wrapping gifts without creating waste. I’m sure our two readers really appreciated the tips.
second birthday cake with two candles

What has happened since Christmas Eve, 2007? We worked hard at finding new readers, we wrote almost 500 posts on living green with a new baby (among other things), and we finished our masterpiece, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Early in 2010, our book will finally hit the shelves!

So today we wish the Green Baby Guide a happy birthday, and we wish our readers a wonderful holiday season!

Easy Homemade Holiday Napkin Rings

Homemade Napkin Rings for HolidayEven small tots can participate in the holiday preparations with this simple craft.  If you use cloth napkins instead of paper on a regular basis, you may want to dress them up a bit for the festivities.  This simple craft should be done within an hour and will help your little one contribute to the holiday table.  If you already have a few of your child’s paintings to use, you’ll be done in just minutes!

Materials needed:

  • Paper
  • Tempera or watercolor paints
  • Paintbrushes
  • Tape
  • Ribbon

Technically, these aren’t napkin rings at all, but simply decorated wraps for your cloth napkins.  Pick out the colors that will accent your holiday table and then set your child lose on a blank canvas.  When the painting is dry, cut it into two inch strips.  Roll your cloth napkins up and use the painted strip as a ring.  Cut and tape it shut.  Then add a decorative ribbon on top.  Done!

It’s Beginning to Smell a Lot Like Christmas; or, All-Natural Air Fresheners

Why waste money on plug-in devices that spray chemicals into the air when you can scent your house with natural ingredients? This time of year, I like to buy whole cloves in bulk from the grocery store to make a simple homemade air freshener. All I do is take a small saucepan, fill with a cup or two of water, then sprinkle in a small handful of cloves. Keep the pan on low heat and let the spicy smell waft into the room. Of course, this does expend a bit of energy. I’m working on a bicycle-powered version of this little trick. . . .

A Full Night’s Sleep for a New Parents: The Best No-Cost Gift!

After months of grogginess, we recently experienced a night with eight continuous hours of sleep.  It was life changing.  Suddenly we could complete our sentences and even remember where we left our keys.

giving gift of sleep to new parentsPeople who regularly doze for sizeable chunks have no idea what an uninterrupted snooze can do for a sleep-deprived family in those first few months.  It revitalizes body and soul, regenerates our sadly withered coping skills, and helps us see the world, and our baby, in a whole new light.  (Think precious bundle instead of ten-pound heartless, sleep-depriving dictator.)

If someone would have offered to take my child for a night so that I climb between the sheets at 8am and get long hour stretch of unconsciousness, I think I would have cried with sheer happiness.

The Friday Question: What are your Green Resolutions for 2010?

Do you have any plans to go greener in 2010? From the big things (install solar panels and go off the grid!) to the little ones (be better about switching off the lights!)—we want to hear what you have in store for the upcoming year. (We are also searching for resolutions to add to our own lists, so please help us out.)

If you need some ideas for greening 2010, we recommend The Green Year by Jodi Helmer. Read our review here!

The Best Gingerbread Cookie Recipe (and it’s even low-fat)

I do not usually seek out low-fat cookie recipes (what’s the point?), but my favorite gingerbread cookie just so happens to contain just 3 grams of fat. We bake these year-round, but they’re especially delicious around the holidays.
Gingerbread_man from Shrek
Aww, how could you eat this little guy from Shrek? Well, he is full of sugar and spice and everything nice. . . .

(Modified from the Joy of Cooking)

Gingerbread Cookie Recipe

Mix together:

3 cups of flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 ¾ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves

Beat until well-blended:

6 tablespoons softened butter
¾ cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg