Archive for March, 2010


I’m experiencing temporary insanity.  The  culprit is a twenty pound tyrant who has been hounding me for three straight nights.  Have I dealt constructively with the challenge?

sleepy momNot quite…

I’ve consumed approximately one pound of cookie dough and a third of a chocolate bar.  She’s been crying off and on for forty five minutes and I’m trying to block it out while typing this.  Despite diaper changes, temperature adjustments, teething tablets, soothing songs and her total lack of sleep over the past two days, she seems to be up for the challenge of a good wail for hours to come.

On top of that, my three year old didn’t nap today and was having constant meltdowns all afternoon that coincided perfectly with the baby’s hysteria.  Did they concoct this torture plan ahead of time?

No—the truth is it’s all my fault.  I wanted a dishwasher.  For the last two miserable nights we’ve been visiting my mother because our kitchen is being torn apart and remodeled.  My baby, who normally slumbers in her crib pretty well, reminds me at regular hourly intervals that she’s not happy with the transition. On top of that my three year old isn’t napping well, nor is he coping with being away from home.  Neither am I.

At times like these, when my very bones ache with exhaustion, I’m not so chipper about hanging out the laundry or blending up homemade baby food.  ( or EVER traveling ANYWHERE again!)  So—honestly, I have to say that for me sleep is an essential part of being a good parent and a greener parent.

Did you end up traveling anywhere with baby for spring break?  Did you experience the same nocturnal misery?  I sincerely hope you didn’t!

It’s here: The Etsy Giveaway!

Win all of this homemade baby gear from talented crafters!

We’re no strangers to the homemade delights for sale at Etsy. Back in 2008 we highlighted several Etsy shops specializing in eco-friendly baby goods. In The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we point out that supporting crafters on Etsy is eco-friendlier than buying factory-made junk that’s logged miles all over the world. We love the Etsy vendors who are offering all these products that one lucky winner will win this week:

1 copy of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Not only do you get some wonderful handcrafted gifts from Etsy, you get our book! What a deal!
The-Eco-nomical-baby-guide1-300x300

1 hooded towel of your choice from New England Gift Company. These towels are soft, luxurious, and trimmed in patterned ribbons. The New England Gift company also makes booties, quilts, and blankets for baby.
new england gift co hooded towel

1 blanket and burp cloth set from Organic Quilt Company in the Eyes of the World pattern. Made from soft organic cotton, this set is sustainable as well as beautiful. The Organic Quilt Co. also makes hats, bibs, and more!
organic quilt company blanket and burp cloth

1 Elephant Eco Softie from Maidenlove. Maidenlove makes sustainable art, mobiles, toys, and more. Join their Facebook Fan page and get 10% your orders.
maidenlove custom made elephant eco softie

1 Lil Lark Maple Wood Teething Toy from Little Alouette. They make beautiful, organic, handmade wooden toys for baby!
lil lark maple wood teething toy

1 “Laundry Day in Venice” print from G. Kelley Images. Adorn the nursery or the laundry room with this cheery 8×10 print on Hahnemuhle archival paper. As a new mother, you’ll appreciate the work (oh, and love!) that goes into laundering all these clothes!
ginakelley laundry day in venice

Nine Ways to Enter the Giveaway

How do you enter?  Guess what?  You can enter more than once! Each way listed below gets you one entry.  All comments have to be posted BEFORE Tuesday the 5th of April to win.

Remember, leave a separate comment on this post for each entry you want.  If applicable, please leave the link to your Facebook/Twitter/Blog in the comment you leave here.

  1. Leave us a comment on this post.
  2. Visit the Etsy shops featured in this giveaway, then post a comment telling us what caught your eye!
  3. Email a friend about this giveaway.
  4. Join our Facebook fan club
  5. Link to this giveaway post on Facebook or Twitter–tell all your friends to stop by!
  6. Link to this post on your blog!
  7. Add The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to your “to read” shelf on Goodreads
  8. Go read our post on Five Ways to Score a Free Copy of  The Eco-nomical Baby Guide and leave a comment there if you’d like to review our book on your blog.  (Make sure to read the post for more details!) Leave a comment here as well to make sure we can keep track of your entries.
  9. Does your library have copies of the Eco-nomical Baby Guide? If not, request a purchase! (Then come back and post your comment to let us know!)

***The contest ends on Sunday, April 4, 2010***

Winner will be randomly selected.

We will notify the winner via email and will get you in touch with these companies who will ship your products directly to you. Please Note: This contest is open only to U.S. readers.

Have fun everyone!

This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday. Homemade baby gear from Etsy works for us! For more Works for Me Wednesday Wednesday tips, head on over to We are THAT Family.

Green Easter Tips for Tightwads

If you’re looking for a way to green your celebration this year, you’re in the right place.  We have an archive packed with tips on how to make your Easter holiday eco-friendly and budget friendly as well!

An electric egg cooker will boil up those Easter beauties in minutes using only a few tablespoons of water.  It certainly isn’t worth investing in one just for the holiday, but if you have boiled eggs on a regular basis, this inexpensive gadget quickly pays off.

Do you want to color those perfectly boiled eggs using plant dyes?  We have spent far, far too much time at Greenbabyguide.com researching natural egg dyes—and failing miserably.  Check here for a better listing of which natural dyes really work and maybe you’ll have more success.  green easter holiday celebration with natural egg dyes

If you’d like to get creative with your egg coloring efforts, try your hand at making natural silloutte eggs.  They’re simple stunners and if you take the time to blow the egg out from the shell, you can even keep them as centerpiece decorations year after year.

What about the basket that will hold all the Easter loot?  Try buying one used from a thrift shop and growing your own Easter grass in the bottom as an alternative to that plastic grass that gets strewn all over your home!

May your eggs be delicious, vividly colored, and easy to find.  May your day be sunny and may your children keep the chocolate off of their pastel clothing.   Also, today (Monday) is the last day to enter our massive green baby giveaway!

Monday is the last day to enter the Great Green Giveaway!

I don’t buy books. This may seem like an odd confession for a former English major, current English instructor, and newly-published author. However, I do support the authors I admire and literacy in general by frequenting my library! According to my reading history at the Multnomah County Library, I’ve checked out 402 items since 2008!
library books

So if you want to read our new book but don’t want to spend the cash, check it out at the library. But what if your library does not carry our delightful, informative masterpiece? Most libraries let you suggest purchases online. Just go to your library’s website and fill out the provided form. (And if you can’t find it online, ask a librarian.) You’ll probably need the following information:

Title: Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori, and Chang
Copyright: 2010
ISBN: 1584798319
Price: $19.95
Description: A non-fiction guide for parents to save money and the planet while gearing up for a new baby. Tips include how to use cloth diapers, make homemade baby food, and find safe secondhand equipment.

If all of our readers suggested The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to their libraries, parents all over the country could get their hands on our book . . . for free!

So, we’re just wondering . . . does your library carry The Eco-nomical Baby Guide?

go green with babyWere you worried about environmental toxins lurking in the Lysol, baby’s dirty diapers filing local landfills, or blinking plastic toys threatening to take over your household?  Were you motivated by family and friends or did they challenge your attempts to be an eco-conscious parent?

We’re very interested in what makes expectant families go green because the lure of mainstream baby rearing with its hoards of innovative gadgets and convenient products can be hard to evade when you’re nervous about the transition to parenthood.  When did you decide that you’d like to be a conscientious consumer or even less of a consumer?

When we were both pregnant at the same time, Rebecca and I typed flurries of frantic emails to each other trying to figure out how to use cloth diapers and make our own baby food.  Everyone else thought our cutting edge environmental parenting was a bit kooky, but with the support of each other (a two person green parenting community that has now been joined by all of you!) we took the plunge.  It was far less adventurous and much more fun that we ever expected to be eco-friendly parents.

What is your motivation? Do you face resistance or enjoy support? Please share so that other new parents can be a part of the online green community! (And remember that our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet, is packed with everything we have learned in our journey as green moms!)

The perfect hard-boiled egg. I’ve baked croissants from scratch, concocted dozens of mouth-watering tarts and quiches, and made my own yogurt and ice cream without incident—but somehow the perfect boiled egg alluded me. If I wanted tender  whites and a delicate, bright yellow yolk without a greenish sulphur ring, then I could barely pry the shells off the eggs. But if I over cooked them (or just let them boil away unattended as many people do), the eggs ended up rubbery.
henrietta hen egg cooker
Henrietta Hen Electric Egg Cooker

I followed directions from Julia Child and Cook’s Illustrated. I used gallons of water and shocked the eggs in ice baths. I sat hunched over the stove and watched the pot because I knew one should never, ever let the water actually boil.

Finally, after all this angst, I bought an electric egg cooker.  This simple device delivers perfectly-cooked hard-boiled eggs and uses just a few tablespoons of water. It saves energy, too. Using the stovetop method I had to bring three quarts of water to a near-boil to cook just four eggs (because you should use an inch of water over the eggs to ensure proper cooking once you turn the water off and let them finish setting). The egg cooker takes just fifteen minutes or so to cook up to seven eggs at a time.
Kalorik egg cooker
Kalorik 7-egg cooker

If you eat hard-cooked eggs just once a year for Easter, you can probably just use the stovetop method. We use the egg cooker about once a week and eat the eggs for snacks and on salads. Our egg cooker also delivers soft-cooked and poached eggs, but I haven’t had the opportunity to test these features out. Best of all, the eggs are always perfectly cooked, and the shells come off easily.
west bend automatic egg cooker
West Bend Automatic Egg Cooker

I have this basic West Bend Automatic Egg Cooker ($29.61). This Kalorik 7-egg cooker is cute and costs  just under $25.00! The Henrietta Hen egg cooker costs just $19 from some sellers. I’m intrigued by this Nordic Ware microwave egg cooker. It costs just $8 and wouldn’t require you to buy another plug-in appliance! Hm . . . maybe I could get my hands on that microwave cooker in time for Easter egg dyeing season . . . because I really need yet another gadget!
nordic ware microwave egg cooker
Nordic Ware Microwave Egg Cooker

All-in-one diapers? Pocket diapers? Chinese prefolds?  Even if  you desperately want to cloth diaper your child, the vocabulary challenges our earnest efforts.  How do all these “diapering systems” work?  Is it worth choosing just one?  How do you launder them and what about the smell?

cloth diaper babyFear not!  Our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet, features detailed, easy-to-read information on cloth diapering your child that even slackers like ourselves can manage.  We’ll highlight what you’ll find inside by sharing our favorite tips today:

1. Money saving tip: Don’t stock up on every size you think you’ll need before your baby arrives in this world.  Some extra chunky tots (like both of Joy’s nine pound newborns) never need the extra small sizes.  Others are preemies that stay in newborn sizes for months.  Get a few diapers and designate a family member or friend to run out and get more when baby arrives.   What else will you find in the book? Tips on buying secondhand cloth diapers for up to eighty percent less than new, tips on which diapers transition for babies between 7 and 35 pounds, and which diapers offer the best overall value.

2. Laundering tip: Though you may be tempted, do not use bleach!  People are shocked when we share this advice, but bleach will eat through your diaper fabric quickly, isn’t environmentally friendly, and can irritate baby’s skin.  Instead use baking soda, vinegar, non-chlorine bleach, or enzyme based stain fighters like Bac-out.  Other tips in the book include the all-time easiest method of diaper washing, tips for storing dirty diapers, ideas on how many loads per week you might have, and natural stain fighting tips that are free and eco-friendly.

3. Diapering tip: This may be obvious, but there are NO PINS REQUIRED!  It’s amazing how many people are still shocked when we share that fact.  We also found that neither of us needed Snappis or any other product to hold our chinese prefold diapers in their covers.  In our book you’ll find charts that help you understand what each type of diaper looks like, a cost comparison of different diapers, and options for eco-friendlier disposable diapers.

We remember how totally overwhelmed we felt entering the world of cloth diapers as new moms.  Now we have an outlet for our obsession in The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, where we ooh and ah over all the options!  Once you start cloth diapering, you may find that you fall in love with the whole adventure yourself.

Are you using cloth?  How did you find out what to use and how to diaper baby?  Do you have lots of support for your cloth diapering efforts in your local area?

5. We wrote it. And we don’t like to mention this often, for fear of appearing self-aggrandizing, but we are geniuses. We’ve composed poetic, emotional odes to cloth diapers. We’ve poured our soul into manifestos on buying used gear. We’ve conducted ground-breaking research on the best way to puree a steamed yam.
The-Eco-nomical-baby-guide1-300x300

4. It has the power to change lives. Say your beloved friend has registered for heaps of plastic gizmos and coal-operated baby contraptions at Babys R Us. The Eco-nomical Baby Guide would be a nice, passive-aggressive way to say, “There’s a hole in the ozone layer. Let’s do something about it.”

3. We confess to sins against Mother Earth. We wish we could say we fed our babies nothing but homegrown organic vegetables, laundered their clothes in a solar-powered washer, and made all their toys out of corn husks and acorns. But the truth found between the covers of our book is much darker, and much more shocking.

2.  You will save thousands of dollars. See this Bugaboo Cameleon for $979? Or this Tiny Tots loft starting at $2,262? Or this Little Miss Liberty brass cradle for $6,500? Don’t buy them! There—we just saved you $9,741. The Eco-nomical Baby Guide steers you away from products you don’t need  and nudges you toward some well-considered, affordable, eco-friendly purchases.
miss liberty brass cradle

1. Buy the book, save the world. It’s that simple, really. Once you buy the book and start following its advice, you’ll notice the Earth will start getting greener every day. (And no, this has nothing to do with winter making way for spring.) You’ll throw away less trash, eat more chemical-free food, and cut back on those carbon emissions. Children from all nations will join hands, singing songs. And it all starts with you.

Don’t forget to enter our huge giveaway of eco-friendly baby gear!

The Great Green Baby Giveaway

To happily welcome our newly published book and reward those of you who are in the trenches of green parenting, we have yet another green giveaway this week.  One reader will win ALL of the quality eco-friendly baby gear listed below! Here’s what you could win this week:

  • An Eco Cradle from Green Lullaby.  A $69 value! This ingenious product can be assembled in minutes without tools, is completely fire retardant while remaining non-toxic, and is designed for a real human baby!
    eco cradle by green lullaby
  • 1 pair of organic cotton tights from hessnatur. This company makes adorable organic garments for baby (and adults!) that are just as fashionable as they are functional.
    hessnatur organic tights
  • Speesees crawl turtle teether. We love the spunk and style Speesees and recommend this organic baby and kids clothing  in our book.
    crawl turtle teething toy
  • 1 pair of girl baby shoes from Pedoodles, in the style and size of your choice. We used Pedoodles for our own children. Read our old review of them here!
    pedoodles ruby shoes
  • 1 organic teething toy from Momma’s Baby. Dip it in water and freeze it to soothe your baby’s sore gums. Unlike plastic teethers, this cute little mouse doesn’t contain BPA or other harmful chemicals.
    organic teething mouse
  • 1 Fuzzibunz one-size pocket diaper. These fabulous diapers contain a moisture wicking layer between baby’s bottom and an absorbent insert.  Plus this one diaper adjusts to fit babies between 7-35 pounds!
    fuzzibunz diaper
  • A HappyBaby gift pack, including organic baby food samples, an Eric Carle growth chart from YoBaby, an Infant & Toddler Nutrition guide co-authored by Dr. Sears, and a set of HappyFamily recipes. HappyBaby is the company behind this fabulous organic baby guide, and their organic foods are available in supermarkets everywhere.
    eric carle growth chart
  • 1 Snugglebottoms w/Velcro diapers (unbleached ‘green’ cotton flannel) in the size of your choice from Baby Bunz & Co. Baby Bunz & Co. is a great online source for cloth diapers–they’ve been selling them since the ’80s!
    snugglebottoms diapers
  • Green Dragon Pest Solutions. an eco-friendly product that will hurt household bugs such as roaches and silverflies without harming baby.  It comes in a gel so that you can avoid toxic sprays with baby nearby.
    Green Dragon Pest Solutions

Nine Ways to Enter the Giveaway

How do you enter?  Guess what?  You can enter more than once! Each way listed below gets you one entry.  All comments have to be posted BEFORE Tuesday the 30th of March to win.

Remember, leave a separate comment on this post for each entry you want.  If applicable, please leave the link to your Facebook/Twitter/Blog in the comment you leave here.

1. Leave us a comment on this post.

2. Email a friend about our book, our blog, or this month’s giveaways.

3. Subscribe to our blog (look right under the search bar) Again, be sure to comment about it below!

4. Join our Facebook fan club

5. Link to this giveaway post on Facebook or Twitter–tell all your friends to stop by!

6. Link to this post on your blog!

7. Add The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to your “to read” shelf on Goodreads

8. Add our blog to your blogroll

9. Go read our post on Five Ways to Score a Free Copy of  The Eco-nomical Baby Guide and leave a comment there if you’d like to review our book on your blog.  (Make sure to read the post for more details!) Leave a comment here as well to make sure we can keep track of your entries.

***The contest ends on Monday, March 29, 2010***

Winner will be randomly selected.

We will notify the winner via email and will get you in touch with these companies who will ship your products directly to you. Please Note: This contest is open only to U.S. readers.

Have fun everyone!

homemade baby food basketOut of all those colorful booties, soft blankets, and various contraptions, what baby gift was the most thoughtful or useful?  What gifts do you now give expectant families?

Among our favorite presents was a bag full of carefully selected, gently used baby garments.  Many people may shirk at receiving or giving hand-me-downs, but my sister-in-law knew that I ardently love recycled goods and bought me a huge bunch of clothes for the same price that she would have paid for one new outfit.   Another favorite gift was a copy of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree that was presented along with an young apple tree.  (It died later, but it’s the thought that counts!)  We were also gifted with items to borrow which included two slings and an Ergo carrier.  Being able to just use these items temporarily worked out perfectly!

My husband and I are still especially appreciative for the gifts of support we received.  Friends volunteered to baby sit for our eldest son, prepared meals and refinished our table for us. Those acts of service were incredibly helpful and low cost.

What gifts do I give?  While I truly believe that our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet is a great shower gift, it’s pretty presumptuous for me to foist it upon others without giving them some other goodies.  Baby baskets are always good bets and the one in the picture features tools for making homemade baby food.  I also love buying practical stuff that will be used many times like cloth diapers, crib sheets or eco-friendly baby toiletries.

Please share your gift ideas with the rest of us!

The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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