Archive for the ‘Green Holidays’ Category


The Best Books for Preschoolers

My daughter (now age 5) loves books. She can spend hours paging through them. We typically have at least 40 books checked out of the library for her. During the preschool years, here were some of her very favorites:

Mary Engelbreit’s Nursery Tales. We own this one.  Hours of amusement!

Mary Engelbreit’s Mother Goose. We own this one, too.

Audrey can’t get enough of naughty David’s antics. No, David!

David Goes to School

David Gets in Trouble

And I just saw that there’s a David Christmas book! It’s Christmas, David!

Napping House

I Took the Moon for a Walk

Something from Nothing

Olivia (Warning: some parents do not appreciate Olivia’s strong-willed personality!)

What are (or were) your preschooler’s favorites?

Best Books for Baby

We’ve always maintained that books make excellent baby gifts, which is why I plan to devote the next few posts to my daughter’s favorites through the years. Let’s start with best baby books:

Goodnight Moon is always a classic. (On a related note, I tried to take Audrey to a stage production of Goodnight Moon when she was three and she cried all the way through it.)

Owl Babies. She still reads this one!

Goodnight Gorilla.

Hush Little Baby illustrated by Marla Frazee. Audrey still pages through and sings the songs as a part of her bedtime ritual. She’s done this most of her life now, so I think it qualifies as Audrey’s favorite book of all time!

Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long. Another “Hush Little Baby” book with alternative lyrics.

I’ll throw in a couple holiday books, too, for good measure:

Snowmen at Christmas

Snowmen at Night

Coming up this Thursday: The Best Books for Preschoolers. Stay tuned!

Maybe one of these years I’ll think of a truly creative Halloween costume idea for my child and spend my whole summer putting it together. But not this year. Audrey has decided to be a princess (again). At our favorite consignment store, I found this dress for $4.50. After mending a torn ruffle and safety-pinning a piece of Velcro back in place, it’s ready for some serious trick-or-treating.


Need more of our favorite eco-friendly Halloween costume ideas for babies and kids? Look no further!

Our Favorite DIY Halloween Costumes of 2010

Last-minute DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies and Kids

DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Kids and Babies

What are Your DIY Halloween Costume Ideas?

Family Themed Halloween Costume Ideas

The Saturday Question: What are Your Best DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Baby?

The Two Dollar Halloween Costume

Halloween Decoration Ideas

Just what do you need for a green halloween? Very little! Construction paper, lunch bags, and string can quickly transform into jack-o-lanterns, candle-light luminaries, and spider webs. The fruits of fall harvest also provide delightful decoration options with pumpkins, acorns, gourds, and apples.

Not spooky enough for you? Hit up your local thrift store for creepy treasures at cut-rate prices. You’ll be recycling, supporting a local charity, and getting gently used decorations that will work for years.

Are there any eco-friendly Halloween products worth buying? Eco Green Crafts Witchy Halloween Stamps are made from recycled rubber and have a lovely vintage appeal.

You can also use your food to spruce up the atmosphere. Think orange and black items such as carrot sticks and olives or licorice sticks and pumpkin bars.

Or decorate yourself! Become a fashion-forward green advocate by dressing up in a recycling bin costume. (Which could easily be homemade!)

If you’d like to creatively craft your own decorations, check out some of our best Halloween decoration posts:

Healthier Halloween Treats

What are you giving for Halloween this year? There are options outside of the traditional candy wrapper and sometimes kids actually prefer them. Our readers have shared time and again that children love having choices.

Some of my favorite ideas are simple and time tested. A bowl of pennies, Halloween stickers, and Halloween pencils is a fun alternative to pure sugar and kids get the chance to choose a few of their favorites. You can even throw in marbles or beads, as long as you make sure to tell the children that they aren’t edible!

I’m tempted to order a 72 pack of Halloween Glitter Tattoos for just $6.50. They’d be a spectacular addition to that bowl of prizes and end up costing less than ten cents each. (And even our teenage trick-or-treaters would love them.)

If you would like to have a few snacks thrown into the mix, there are some healthy options that beat out mainstream treats.

Annie’s Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks make a nice snack, but they end up costing about 80 cents a bag. Still, if you’re going with the “big bowl of goodies” theme, you can throw a few of these in without breaking the bank.

On the other end of the cost spectrum, Sun-Maid Raisin Mini Snacks cost approximately 5 cents a box when you buy them in bulk on amazon. (A 9 pack of bags with 14 mini-boxes comes in at 21.39, which provides you with 126 mini boxes.)

Stretch Island Summer Strawberry Fruit Leatheris all natural, 100% fruit and costs $12.80 for a 30 pack.

Have I missed any simple Halloween treat options? What are you planning on offering your costumed visitors this year? I’m going to have more trick-or-treators than ever so I’d better start stocking up!

***This post was accidentally published early on Friday before I had finished, but when I read Larisa’s comment I was thrilled. Clean out your kids’ random plastic loot while stocking your goodie bowl! Genius!

I was also thinking of ransacking my huge collection of foreign coins that are currently buried at the bottom of our junk drawer. Kids would be thrilled to get a japanese yen, and since they’re about 100 yen to a dollar, it’s maybe even worth going to a bank to get a few rolls. We could pass out beautiful coins with a hole in the middle to fascinated kids. That would be the treasure they’d cherish most all evening! (Especially once their blood sugar levels out and the candy wrappers all end up in the trash….)


Halloween, already? Not exactly, but National Costume Swap day is less than three weeks away and we wanted to be sure to give our readers ample time to prepare. In years past, we seem to announce the event just after it occurs, or maybe the day before. Not this year!

On Saturday, October 8th, families across the nation will trade old costumes in for new trick-or-treat wear. It’s green, it’s free, and it’s a great way to connect with local families. And the truth is, no matter how adorable our children look in their baby bumblebee costumes, they can usually only wear them once. Why not share them with someone else?

Green Halloween has a directory so that you can find the swap in your area, or get one started. The site is run by the illustrious mother-dauther team of Lynn Colwell and Corey Colwell-Lipson who also co-authored Celebrate Green. We love their work on Green Halloween and are excited to see how National Costume Swap day is growing each year.

Are you planning on dressing up your babe this October? What are your costume concepts? You may want to think outside the box and use some of our rather creative (and odd) ideas for baby’s Halloween ensemble this year. —or better yet, head to the National Costume Swap near you!

Happy Fourth of July! It’s a great day to reflect on what independence means to our family. Making choices to reduce, reuse and recycle may make us feel good, but there are heaps of other benefits to consider.

This thrifty, green lifestyle leads brings financial freedom as we save by buying less and purchasing secondhand items. That allows for economic offsetting, or the ability to splurge on the things that really matter to us. Maybe for your crowd it’s organic strawberries, an Ergo carrier, or a weekend camping trip, but making conscious choices about consumption opens up options. Buying less stuff also provides us the independence of extra space (with less to trip over!) as we tend to our babies.

My ultimate independence dream would be to live off the grid. Who knows? Maybe in a few decades (or less) it will be more possible than it seems right now. What are the aspects of green living that lead to independence in your household?

Earth Day Resolutions

Earth Day is approaching–time to renew my vows to the planet. I’m going to keep it simple this Earth Day, and make just two eco-resolutions:

  1. Waste less food—or NO food
  2. Stop buying items encased in plastic packaging

If these pledges sound vaguely familiar, it may be because they functioned as my New Year’s Resolutions as well.

How will you save the world this Earth Day?

  • 3 Comments
  • Filed under: Green Holidays
  • Two decades ago, when Rebecca and I were frugal college friends, we experienced a rare snowstorm. Thrilled to be able to enjoy the change of season, but too cheap to buy a large plastic disk we’d never use again, we went to a thrift store and bought two vinyl garment bags. While it seemed like sheer genius (we’d just unzip the zipper, tuck our legs inside, and fly down the hill!), it actually was a total flop.

    Still, I love the idea of creative sledding and have seen many solutions while perched at the top of a nearby hill on a snowy day. They all involved recycling something that people already had in their garages.

    • Lids from large plastic Rubbermaid storage tubs.
    • Inflated inner tubes (works in summer or winter!)
    • Squares of plastic tarp
    • Laundry basket
    • Plastic garbage can lids
    • Kiddy pool (load up the whole family in this one!)
    • Cardboard (apparently you can slid on cardboard on the grass in the summer too!)

    Of course, you could just pick up a used sled from a local thrift store, but if you have just one or two days of snow per year like we do in the Pacific Northwest, I’m not sure it’s worth storing it. I also happen to love the adventure of repurposing something and laughing hysterically when it doesn’t work out–which is what Rebecca and I did twenty years ago!

    Valentine’s Day means chocolate, romance, and roses.  Wait.  That was before parenting!  Now it involves sleeplessness, breastfeeding, spit up, and cloth diaper changes.  Today I’m thinking of all of you with sincere endearment as you bravely slog your way through the challenges of early parenting.

    Although those exhilarating and exhausting first months as a mother aren’t exactly romantic, they are infused with a love like no other.  You may not be treated to a violin serenade, but you will get gooey kisses, cuddles, and toothless grins.  If you are lucky enough to squeeze in a date or even a truffle, kudos to you!  You deserve every bit of love sent in your direction today.

    On this green hued holiday, the best gifts won’t come in boxes or cellophane.  The divine offerings of free babysitting, the opportunity to nap, and maybe even the chance to sit in a hot tub for ten minutes are ultimately the most thoughtful.  If none of those things happen today, I hope you can be grateful to join this wonderful and difficult profession of motherhood.  Caress your babe’s silky cheek, smell the top of her head, and savor the moments that will fly by in a haze.  Now that my babies are four and nearly two, I miss those early, oxytocin-infused days.  Enjoy!

    We love Celebrate Green, a website (and book) written by a mother-daughter team who bring eco-friendly values to every holiday.  Read their Valentine’s Day Post if you’re looking for a last minute idea for your child.  Here’s a hint: make your chocolate gifts more about quality than quantity.

    The Eco-nomical Baby Guide
    Eco-nomical Baby Guide
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