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?
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
3. Beat butter, oil, sugar, and brown sugar well.
4. Add eggs and mix well.
5. Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
6. Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
7. Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
8. Stir in oats and chips.
9. Scoop onto baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes.
In a perfect world, every one of us would whirl up our own sweet potato purees for baby at all times. Some of you live in that reality and I salute you! Since I was working nearly full time while raising my babies, I lived in the land of sleep loss and basic survival and sometimes purchased a little sanity in the form of prepared baby food.
If you do buy baby food for traveling or just to save time, what does your child prefer? My babies enjoyed Earth’s Best Baby Food and I loved that I could buy them in affordable cases from Costco or individually from Target. I also had hearty approval from my child for Happy Baby Organic Baby Food but I can’t speak to some of the other brands on the market like Plum Organics Baby Food, Sprout Organic Baby Food, or Peter Rabbit Organics.
No matter what we may be able to recommend, the true seal of approval comes from those tiny taste testers. What does you baby prefer? If you want tips for making your own purees, check here. (And don’t forget that our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, is packed with tips for saving on baby food and recipes for making your own!)
Nothing quite welcomes the fall like a hot pumpkin scone drizzled with frosting. But who has the time? Or the four bucks you’d have to shell out at a café? This recipe gives you loads of taste along with the convenience of being able to mix them up and freeze them for later baking.
Honestly, I’ve made this recipe ahead of time and also baked it right away, and I actually think the freezing improves the quality of the taste. The pre-frozen version turns out moister and with a nice melding of pumpkin and spice flavors.
If you’d like a fresh baked scone or two on a daily basis, simply use your toaster oven to save energy and bake a smaller batch. You can even cut them into mini-scones to give your children for breakfast. I usually skip the frosting, but you new moms may need those extra calories for the hard work of motherhood!
Another note: If you mix up the dry ingredients for these scones and scoop them into a decorative jar or Zip-Lock bag, you can give the mix as a hostess gift. Simply print out the recipe and include it. You might even place it in a basket with a can of organic pumpkin and decorate it with some orange ribbons and fall leaves!
Starbucks Pumpkin Scones
Powderered Sugar Glaze
I recently made a double batch of these before my in-laws arrived. The next morning I popped them into the oven and served them fresh scones without a care. My son also fell in love with them and now he has a few dozen mini scones in the freezer for me to pull out now and then for a hot breakfast treat. I hope you enjoy these as much as we do!
I would like to interrupt our regularly-scheduled updates on cloth diapers and organic buntings to make a very important announcement to our Portland readers: Café Yumm is now open downtown! (Don’t live anywhere near Portland, Oregon? Keep reading. . . .)
Joy, over in our Eugene office, wrote a Café Yumm post last year in which she describes how she duplicates the café’s famous “Yumm bowls” in her own kitchen, thus satisfying her voracious husband and son with nutritious and cheap beans and rice. She later reveals the secret to making beans and rice even more delicious: Yumm Sauce. Here’s how to Make Yumm Sauce at home. (Incidentally, this is one of the Green Baby Guide’s most popular posts ever!)
Waffle cravings on a gluten-free diet? No problem. With more and more pregnant and breastfeeding mothers swearing off gluten, we felt obligated to come to the rescue with this recipe from the Gluten-free Gourmand. Sure, you could buy a gluten-free waffle mix, but what makes all of the concoctions from this blogger special is the way she plays with flour combinations to get each recipe perfect. Once you have an array of gluten-free flours at your disposal, you’ll be able to whip up just about anything without wheat. Try it and let us know what you think!
Image from the Gluten-free Gourmand
Mix in a medium bowl:
1 cup white rice flour
2 Tbsp sorghum flour
1 Tbsp tapioca flour
1 Tbsp potato flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Heat your waffle iron.
In another medium bowl, beat thoroughly:
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. When the waffle iron is hot, lightly spray it with oil and spoon or pour a serving of batter onto the iron and cook until the waffle starts releasing less steam. Serve hot.
Of course with all of the below stains, the best option is to quickly wet and pre-treat the item so that the stain doesn’t have a chance to dry. If it is dried without your knowing, you can still give the following remedies a try!
Try these simple tricks for specific stains:
What are your favorite stain removal tricks? Do you have any recipes for a homemade stain pre-treatment? Are there stain removal victories you’d like to share?
Here’s a tip that’s literally green: Drink green iced tea this summer! Piggybacking on Joy’s recent postpartum weight loss posts, I thought I’d share my latest health secret. Studies [that I am too lazy to cite at the moment] have shown that drinking five glasses of green tea a day can help you lose weight. Not only does green tea pack in more antioxidants than black tea, it acts as an appetite suppressant.
For me, drinking five glasses of green tea a day is no problem. I simply switched from black iced tea (which I raved about last summer) to green. Iced tea is cheaper than Coke, not to mention better for you. If you make it yourself, you won’t have bottles and cans to recycle afterward.
You can make sun tea or steep six teaspoons loose tea (five bags or so) in a couple cups of boiling water, then dilute with about 1.5 liters of cold water.
As for the miracle weight loss, I will have to report back at the end of the summer.
Perhaps you’ve already read our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-to-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet. Maybe you’ve discovered the homemade baby food recipes included in the book and have spend hours whirling up delicious concoctions. With minimal effort you’ve saved money, packaging, and carbon emissions by preparing healthy purees for your little one. Now you deserve some brownies!
Steal a few frozen cubes of whirled up nutrition and slip them into this yummy recipe! I’ve tried this on family and friends always with great results. No one realizes that these are healthier than your standard brownie because the coffee and cocoa make them just as decadent.
Baby Food Brownies
Melt butter and cool. Then simply mix all ingredients together thoroughly. Spread mixture into a greased eight inch square pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until brownies are slightly firm. Enjoy!
Have you been asking yourself lately, “What do Joy and Rebecca have to say about celebrating an eco-friendly Valentine’s Day?”? Well, you’re in luck because today’s post highlights some of our fascinating thoughts on this very subject.
First, there’s Joy’s Valentine’s brownie recipe. Not only will it woo the health-conscious chocolate lover in your life, these treats are guaranteed to cost less than a foil-covered box of chocolates.
Would you like to celebrate without shelling out hundreds of dollars for tickets, dinners, and diamonds? Readers weigh in with cheap, green date ideas.
Finally we have a few ideas for homemade Valentines. Potato print valentines are perfect if you need to mass-produce some cards for a child’s class. In our last-minute eco-friendly valentines post, we discuss how to make Valentines out of organic materials . . . such as rocks. Or perhaps you would like to know how to make a paper heart valentine—we reveal our paper-cutting secrets. (Strange fact: That post happens to be our most popular post of all time!)
Here’s to a happy Valentine’s Day!