Archive for November, 2010


Searching for the perfect Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Solstice/some other winter holiday gift for the expecting parents in your life? Well, you are in luck because we have the perfect suggestion: The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet. We can vouch for its brilliance because we wrote it ourselves.

Me simulating a pregnant woman who is ecstatic upon finding The Eco-nomical Baby Guide under the tree.

We packed it with information we wanted to know when we were pregnant or immersed in those early days of parenting, from how to outfit the nursery to the ins and outs of eco-friendly diapering and feeding. This book will save parents thousands of dollars in their baby’s first year.

Also, 9 out of 10 pregnant women have placed the Eco-nomical Baby Guide on the top of their holiday wish list. (Okay, I made that up.)

When the rain hits around here, cabin fever quickly descends unless we seek creative indoor entertainment.  Luckily we have a huge supply of cozy kid-friendly fall activities for those chilly afternoons indoors.

If you’re still waiting for that first baby to arrive, you can while away the time with our DIY baby mobile made of beautiful paper birds.  Or, you can whip up a few homemade hemp diaper liners to fill out your cloth diaper layette.  Don’t forget to buy or use your library for free access to books! Check out our practical little publication, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide for some entertaining and eco-friendly reading.

Those of us who already have a few little helpers will enjoy our homemade Play-dough recipes. You can even combine playtime with snack by making Edible Play-Dough!  While you’re mixing up play clay, make some salt dough for Baked Dough Christmas ornaments that can be slipped into stockings in just a few weeks.

Clove oranges are another great craft that can later be used for homemade seasonal gifts.  You’ll enjoy pomanders as all natural air fresheners that will bring those spicy scents into your home before the holidays hit.

Even if it isn’t quite time for snow, you can make some elegant paper snowflakes with your children on those long cold afternoons and then string them in the windows!  And one of our favorite creative recycled playthings is the DIY Cardboard Dollhouse made of a box and a few furniture catalogues.

And when this list runs out, you can always get the kids outfitted in PVC-free children’s raingear and hit the puddles!  Have you had any cold weather fun yet this year?  What is the temperature at this time of year where you live?

Also, don’t forget that our Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton giveaway is coming to a close soon.  Go to our organic mattress giveaway post and enter multiple times!

A wooden spoon?  A secondhand rattle?  A children’s museum membership?  A ribbon?  What are you planning to wrap up for your tot this year?  If you opt not to give her a gift, don’t worry.  She’d most likely play with the wrapping paper anyway.  (Unless you decide to whip up a batch of homemade holiday fabric gift bags!)

We also love buying gifts of experience.  Since they were activities rather than objects, they didn’t have to be stashed in baby’s tiny room and they always provided great memories.

Our baby was just six months old during her first Christmas and had no idea what was going on so she received a few secondhand playthings plus gifts from family and friends. Now that she’s older, we’ve found some amazing garage sale deals including a dollhouse and wooden pull toy, but she won’t be getting mounds of loot.  How are you handling the holidays with your baby?

Gratitude, Thy Color is Green

The dark has descended, the cold has hit, and the looming holiday lists are here.  In the midst of the short term pressures in my life including boundless laundry, a floor that I sweep 17 times per day, and alternating screaming fits from both my children, it is critical that I remember the spirit of this upcoming holiday.  Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

The more we’re grateful, the less we get impatient about what material and situational things we can’t have–which usually don’t provide a true sense of lasting joy anyway.  When I feel myself getting “the gimmies” (a term that I found in a Berenstain Bears book and instantly loved), I try hard to work on gratitude, even for those things that don’t at first seem to be gifts.

Gratitude while I nurse my 17 month old at 4am each morning.  I try to keep my eyes open long enough to notice the curve of her cheek and the curl of her hair instead of grumpily wondering when, if ever, she will sleep through the night.

Gratitude for this tiny but cozy house that has to be cleaned about 137 times each day.  I’m thankful there isn’t that much more square footage to pick up, and that it naturally limits the stuff that we collect.

Gratitude for that pile of dirty diapers that both my children have worn, that won’t make it to a landfill for years, and that has saved us heaps of cash to spend on other more interesting investments.  (Such as dark chocolate and family vacations)

Gratitude for my spirited, hilarious, and endlessly creative kids.  Although I am often humbled by the enormity of this job, I am also honored to be their mother.  Also, so thankful to have a supportive husband!  (I bow before all single parents in admiration and awe!)

Finally, I’m filled with gratitude for this green journey we’re taking together.  For Rebecca, my first and most important green parent pal, and all we’ve managed to do for the last three years.  For this blog, for our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide that went from being a distant dream to a real accomplishment, for all of you, our loyal and supportive readers and fellow green parents, and for our limits.  (Both real and self-imposed).  They help us appreciate what we have, respect our planet, and raise these babies with a sense of responsibility and appreciation.  Have a wonderful week of gratitude and Happy Thanksgiving in advance!

(Those are my family’s feet.  Yes, my toes are green and yes, my feet are the largest of the bunch.  Did I mention that I’m grateful for having immense feet?)

In search of the perfect holiday present for the newest member of the family? We’d be remiss if we didn’t recommend The Eco-nomical Baby Guide first thing! But what if you have our masterpiece already, or you want to spend more than $13.95 on your baby’s gift? Here are some more eco-friendly choices:

First you might want to check out Joy’s baby splurge posts, in which she reveals the top three convertible high chairs and the best eco-friendly strollers. Looking to spend a little—or a lot—less this year? Perhaps your baby would enjoy one of the top ten baby board books this year. Goodnight Moon is always a classic!


Pat the Bunny is another popular baby board book

In this older post, we offer a whole slew of green gift ideas. Favorites from this list include the Melissa and Doug food groups set (which my daughter has played with weekly for the last two years), and the Monkey Foot Designs wet bag for parents to use with their cloth diapers.

We found a Melissa and Doug cutting fruit set at a garage sale for just $3. Audrey can play with it for hours!

Our Green Baby Guide’s green gift repository from 2008 has a few gems, such as Pedoodles shoes (so cute!) and our favorite baby accessory: Fuzzibunz  pocket diapers and Happy Heiny’s pocket diapers.

Pedoodles shoes are made from leather remnants

In search of a gift for the pregnant woman in your life? This post has some ideas for making a gift basket for a new or expecting mother. The eco-friendly Lassig diaper bag would make the perfect present.

The Lassig eco-friendly diaper bag

Happy holiday shopping!

We like the emphasize that most babies will be utterly content receiving a cardboard box this holiday season, but if family and friends insist, we do have some excellent ideas for green gifts.

If your child is old enough to interact with bigger playthings, there are plenty of wooden toys for babies and kids and other types of eco-friendly toys for babies and young children.

Looking for stocking stuffers for babyBaby Legs are inexpensive, adorable, and long lasting.  They come in just one size that can potentially be worn from infancy through the preschool years.  And there’s no need to take them off when changing your tot’s diaper or setting your babe on the potty. Natural teething tablets are also a great addition to baby’s holiday loot.

The best present you may be able to give, is a full night of sleep for a newborn baby’s parents. And it costs nothing, has no packaging and requires no shipping or handling.  We hope you find the perfect gift for the baby in your life this year!

A massage? A full night’s sleep?  A box of truffles?  What are you hoping to unwrap this year?

What do I long for?  Slippers.  I’m not even kidding.  Mine are tattered after just one year of constant use and I want a sturdier pair to warm my feet for the long haul across these cold hardwood floors.

What do I recommend for those who have no idea what to ask for?  Teething Bling pendants are a fantastic invention–elegant, chewable jewelry that soothes your baby’s aching gums while you look fabulous. And we’ll now shamelessly mention our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, for a quick, educational read that will save you thousands.

If your family is on a limited budget you could ask for regular foot massages, loaves of homemade bread, free babysitting sessions, or prepared meals.  (Actually any of the things on the free list would make me far happier than anything material at this point!)

Please share what you’re longing for this holiday and inspire the rest of us to bulk up our wish lists!

Solar Powered Christmas Lights Review

Has anyone tried solar Christmas lights in an effort to save energy this winter? I’ll admit to owning a strand of these solar powered white Christmas lights for $19.95. Here’s the product description:

Solar-powered decorating lights – no outlet needed! Now decorate anywhere without dangerous extension cords or need for an outlet. Sun charges string of 60 lights by day, turn on automatically at dusk and run for about eight hours! No energy cost! Great near road, around mailbox or lamp post – now you’re not limited to nearby outlet. 26′ length.


These are the white solar powered Christmas lights I got for just under $20. The image is deceiving–mine are all white, not multi-colored.

My verdict? They work pretty well! I bought them last summer because I wanted some outdoor lights for my garden. If the solar charger is exposed to sunlight for at least six hours, the lights stay on for eight hours, as the description indicates. However, now that the days are getting shorter and rainier, I’m not getting much light out of them. If you want to use them as your only holiday lights, you might be disappointed.

The only other possible downside to solar lights is that they burn blue rather than yellow—so it’s not a warm, twinkling kind of light. I still like the look of them, strung out by the  patio table over the rosebushes, cheering up the back yard.

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  • Filed under: Green Holidays

  • The Eco-nomical Baby Guide

    Over the years we have reviewed some fabulous products that just might be a perfect find for the pregnant mother on your holiday gift list this year.

    1. The Eco-nomical Baby Guide is the book that we both wish we would have had while pregnant.  It emphasizes going green by reducing, reusing and recycling (saving you thousands!) and provides loads of insider tips on cloth diapering.  Plus it’s packed with reviews of quality green gear for every price point. Did I mention that we wrote it? We may be a tad bit biased, but this is a beautiful and very helpful gift!
    2. The Ergo Carrier is a gift that will keep baby close to mom while protecting her back.  We’ve had rave reader reviews that attest to the Ergo’s versatility and usefulness over several years of baby’s life.
    3. Although most new moms are showered with dozens of receiving blankets, none of them will have the feel and quality of the Bambu Baby Blanket. It’s ample size and fleecy surface will quickly make it her favorite of the bunch. My child drags hers through the dirt on a regular basis, as it has become her official comfort object, and it survives almost daily laundering quite sturdily while remaining soft.
    4. A quality Nathan Stainless Steel Flip Straw Bottle is a fabulous gift for someone who is constantly being reminded to hydrate.  Its flip top makes it easy to sip while driving and its wide mouth accommodates ice cubes quite nicely .  It also comes with three extra straws just in case.  Plus, she’ll appreciate it even more if she’s in the extreme thirst of breastfeeding.
    5. BONUS!  How about a Sealy Naturalis crib mattress with organic cotton?  You can win one of these for your favorite mom in our organic mattress giveaway! There are only three weeks left and several ways to enter, so jump right in!

    Short on cash?  Why not put together your own gift basket, or offer to deliver regular meals during those early weeks with baby?  What were your favorite gifts as an expectant mother?

    Note to readers: I did not receive payment for any of these products, but I have to say that I have personally used the water bottle, the baby blanket, and the Ergo carrier and loved them.  As for the book, I can only say that it’s my new favorite baby shower gift!

    My True Nature makes organic bath products for babies and kids. This San Francisco-based company’s mission is to “offer top quality natural bath and body products that are rich in organic ingredients and perform like mainstream products.” Each shampoo and body wash features cute little cartoon characters from TubbyTown to interest your little ones in the art of bathing.

    My daughter was excited to try out her My True Nature products. She loved the pictures on the bottles and enjoyed smelling each product and choosing which one to use during her bath. They shampoos and body washes we tried all smell natural and citrusy. They appeal to kids without reeking of bubblegum or harsh chemicals. The bubble bath foams up nicely (a rarity for natural bath products), and the shampoo cleaned her hair gently.

    We recommend My True Nature and would like to offer this gift set for one of our lucky readers to try! The set includes a naturally scented shampoo-body wash and bubble bath.

    FOUR WAYS TO ENTER:

    1. Simply leave us a comment on this post.

    2. Email friends or family and tell them about the giveaway (and comment)

    3.  Like us on Facebook (and comment)

    4.   Link to this giveaway post on Facebook or Twitter–tell all your friends to stop by (and comment each time)

    ***The contest ends on Tuesday, November 23, 2010***

    The winner will be randomly selected from the list of comments so don’t forget to note your multiple entries with one comment each!

    Don’t forget that our Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton giveaway is still going on! Head on over to that post to enter!

    The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
    Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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