Archive for the ‘General’ Category


You love your baby with your whole soul, right?  Well that is how Rebecca and I feel about our new book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down-To-Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and The Planet. (We love our actual children more, but this creative work is a close second…)   It has taken us years to write this gem and it may take us years to celebrate its arrival.  So bear with me for today’s adventure in substandard poetry….

Ode to The Eco-nomical Baby Guide

Oh manifesto of glorious green thriftiness
How I love perusing your pages
And deeply understanding
Every cloth diaper in existence.
Oh treatise of eco-frugality,
Your creativity and humor
Fill my life with laughter,
my wallet with cash,
and the nursery with adorable
secondhand baby gear.

Oh green gift of practicality,
You help new and expectant
parents with your kind wisdom,  and tips
from the trenches.  You make
eco-friendly, budget friendly parenting
a spine-tingling adventure.

Thank you, humble guidebook,
for your emphasis on progress, not
perfection, as we seek to go green
despite our lack of sleep and the spit-up
smudged perpetually on our shoulders.

Natural Dandelion Solutions

I hate them.  If I was truly zen I’d make lovely dandelion chains and just get over it.  But when they raise their fluffy white heads out of the rest of the lawn, I want to leap from my chair and choke them out.

Instead, my children usually reach them first and make wishes while blowing the seeds all over the front lawn.  At that point I usually surrender.

Luckily, we did figure out some natural dandelion solutions last year that are far superior to polluting weed killers that keep our kids off the grass for a few days.

We tried corn gluten since it both fertilizes and doesn’t allow the dandelions to flower.  Great, right?  Nope.  Those persistent yellow spots kept appearing on our lawn.  Then we used Burn Out(which is made out of natural clove oil) to zap the dandelions individually.  It worked!  You have to wait for the right temperature and sunlight, but they die in just a few hours without all the chemicals!  Then the corn gluten can do its thing and the lawn really looks nice without any caution warnings about kids and dogs.

Problem solved!  My next goal is to sauté the dandelion greens and make a lovely, nutritious dinner some evening.  Apparently they’re incredibly nutrient-rich and delicious.  Have you tried adding them to your dinner menu?  Have you made peace with them?  Do tell!

I’m not. Believe me, I want to be, but it seems like the sheer effort of taking care of both of them makes it harder to do certain things.  Also, I’m working full time while my husband is home, and he doesn’t always share my green ideals.  In the photo my daughter, Jovi, looks worried about the planet while Roscoe seems to be happy with our conservation efforts.

Of course in some ways I guess I am greener since I know more the second time around.  I don’t use bleach with my cloth diapers, we now use cloth wipes, and I’m totally comfortable going out on the town in cloth.

But I’m not hanging as many loads of laundry to dry or making homemade meals out of beautiful vegetables from our local CSA.  Still, I hope that this summer when I’m home I can shift to an even greener lifestyle as my garden starts to sprout and I’m not heading to work.

What about you?  Has having multiple children challenged some of your green ideals?

Inexpensive Organization Ideas

Just a few weeks ago our cupboard was brimming with paperclips, post-its and postage stamps.  Every time I opened it a flurry of papers spewed out, making our kitchen’s organization center an utter mess.  It was imperative to get things in working order soon, but I didn’t want to shell out big bucks in the process.

Happily, my first (and only) shopping stop was the local thrift store.  The shelves were heaped with all sorts of gizmos that could be used to store a number of things.  I could have gone for a creative and aesthetically pleasing look if the stuff was exposed by using multicolored shot glasses, small ceramic bowls and even tiny terracotta pots.

Since the cupboard’s contents are hidden, I opted for more practical gear. In the office section I picked up a few black mesh wire organizers for a total of three dollars, plus a quality stapler for a buck more.  Now my cupboard that seemed to be dripping with paper has been harnessed into a very functional storage area.

The same three items I bought would have cost well over twenty bucks at Target, and all would have had to be manufactured and shipped there.  How nice when recycling can save you money while infusing your house with beauty and order!

Have you stumbled on any simple, beautiful organization solutions in your home?  Do share!

It’s hard to quantify just how much I love the Nurse Midwifery Birth Center here in Eugene, Oregon.  Their supportive and empowering staff helped my family welcome our two children into the world. Throughout my entire pregnancy and birth we never felt rushed but enjoyed long leisurely appointments that educated us and allowed us to make our own choices. 

I gave birth in the above room filled with antique furniture in a beautiful old craftsman home that had been converted to a birthing center.  What could be better? This!

The new Midwifery Birth Center opened its doors today on May 1st.   It’s situated close to the new hospital, in a stand of old trees, and is built to support ongoing natural birth.  It’s complete with a birthing tub for water births, a nature path among the old pines, and a classic interior.

The best part of all is that our entire community came together to support the clinic and did tremendous fundraising to be able to build and open the center.  Nurses and midwives were flexible as they moved to the hospital for the year while the center was built. Many of the moms who helped fundraise were due during the construction and so weren’t able to have their babies at the clinic.  Still they put in time and energy so that new birth center would open their doors to new families in time for Mother’s Day.

Want to be inspired?  Visit the Lane County Friends of the Birth Center’s blog or Facebook page to see how this vision has come to pass.  What a gift to our community!

While natural labor and childbirth are the ideal for many women, we know that sometimes the health of the baby or the mother dictates intervention.  Still, there’s so much pressure these days to opt for an epidural or a C-section that it’s nice when you are able to have support for your birth plan.  Did you manage to have a natural labor?  If so, did you have to fight for it or were your physician or midwife on your side?  Feel free to tell your birth story!  We love to hear them!  What would you tell someone who is right in the middle of her first pregnancy?  Any tips?

Somehow the nine month gestational period of human life seems to require expectant parents to paint.  Whether you’re sprucing up the nursery or putting a fresh coat on all your walls, we often find ourselves with paint smudges on our swollen bellies in those last few months. And why not?  Painting is a cheap and easy way to change a room without a huge investment.(And as authors of The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we love simple, inexpensive solutions for baby’s room!)

But what color should we use?  Should we attempt a mural?  Will we need a nap after just a few brushstrokes?  And what about those fumes?

Not to worry!  This week’s giveaway features, Paint Style, a book that’s packed with fabulous ideas that the rest of us are too tired to come up with.  It’s put together by Benjamin Moore, the same company that creates gorgeous color palates and offers the Natura line of zero emissions paints!  My husband, an interior architect and color snob, prefers Benjamin Moore over all other paints for their rich palates and quality paints.  He was thrilled to know that they now offer their greenest paint line yet!

Benjamin Moore’s Natura paints are safe for you to use while pregnant and are shockingly fume-free.  I painted my son’s room with a  sample can and was amazed that I couldn’t detect even a whiff of chemicals.  (It has virtually no odor and zero volatile organic compounds.) We painted in the afternoon and tucked him into bed that night without a care.

One lucky reader is going to win a copy of Paint Style: The New Approach to Decorative Paint Finishes.  This Benjamin Moore  book on creative painting techniques is loaded with beautiful, vibrant ideas for bringing color into your home. The tips will be inspirational for baby’s nursery along with the rest of the rooms in your house!

Eight Ways to Enter the Giveaway

You can enter more than once! (If you’ve participated in our giveaways before, you’ll know this already).  Each way listed below gets you one entry.  All comments have to be posted BEFORE Wednesday the 12th of May 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 Benjamin Moore’s website and 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. 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 Tuesday, May 11th, 2010***

Winner will be randomly selected.

We will notify the winner via email. Please Note: This contest is open only to U.S. readers.   Enjoy!

At a book signing awhile ago, a pregnant friend of a friend approached me with a few cloth diapering questions.  With glee, I launched from my chair and flew to the diapering section of the baby boutique that was hosting the event.  While holding up striped diaper covers, flowered pocket diapers and hemp pre-folds I described the pros and cons of each, outlined care instructions and summarized costs.  I think I may have also been gesturing wildly and possibly jumping up and down.

I get a little high on cloth diapering.

Thankfully, I realized that the poor woman’s eyes were glazing over.  My cloth diapering manifesto was a bit overwhelming for someone who was just starting. Luckily, she had just bought a copy of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, which is packed full of cloth diapering info (and even pictures!) that she can process at her own pace.

Are you afflicted with cloth diapering addiction?  Do you find yourself talking to perfect strangers about snaps versus Velcro or pockets versus prefolds?  Tell me I’m not alone!

The company that brought us sturdy, sleek strollers has just launched Beginning, a new line of personal care products for babies.  Quality is the one trait that all Maclaren’s products share and their venture into personal care products for baby is no exception. 

The Protecting Nappy Balm is like nothing you’ve ever used before. Unlike thick and sticky diaper creams, this one goes on like whipped chiffon.  It has a wonderful lavender scent and softens baby’s skin on contact.  Made with natural butters and scented with essential oils, you won’t have to worry about finding parabens or phthalates in this product.  My only complaint with the Protecting Nappy Balm is that the title is far too limiting!  I’ve used it as a baby lotion for after bath time and found that it leaves her skin soft and wonderfully scented.

Would you like to try the Maclaren products for yourself?  I set the Delicate Soothing Baby Soap and  Absorbing Dusting Powder aside so that a lucky reader can try them for herself. Try the following ways of entering and get ready to enjoy these lovely quality products!

Nine Ways to Enter the Giveaway

You can enter more than once! (If you’ve participated in our giveaways before, you’ll know this already).  Each way listed below gets you one entry.  All comments have to be posted BEFORE Wednesday the 5th of May 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 Maclaren’s web site and 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 Tuesday, May 3rd, 2010***

Winner will be randomly selected.

We will notify the winner via email. Please Note: This contest is open only to U.S. readers.   Enjoy!

You can get lots of BPA free teethers these days, but if you want to skip teething toys altogether, try these:

  • A frozen wet washcloth. Baby will chew on the icy surface for some quick relief.
  • A chunky carrot. But watch baby carefully!  She can bite off a sizable chunk and choke on it.
  • A frozen banana. Then let her gnaw at it and quickly become covered in goo.
  • A teething biscuit. Baby has to be nine months old at least to enjoy this treat, but enjoy it he will.  Also, remember that he will create quite a mess with this too!
  • A large polished agate. Of course you’d need to supervise, but my son loved his agate and the smooth, cold surface was quite soothing to his gums.

Other ideas?  What did your great grandmother do before plastic?  We’d love to hear.

The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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