Is There A Greener Minivan?

We’ve been zipping along in our two carseat-laden sedans for the last five years. But we’ve secretly yearned for a minivan. I know some adults cannot imagine being seen in a minivan, let alone owning one, but my husband and I are deeply practical souls.

We want to be able to carpool kids to and from school and soccer practice, haul mulch in the back, and go on long trips without having the luggage pile up around our feet. We’d use a sedan most of the time to maximize gas mileage, but it would be nice to have the van available as well.

The Egg Cooker Saga Continues: The Update

Our email inbox has been flooded with requests for an update about my egg cooker dilemma. Okay, slight exaggeration. Full disclosure: We have not received one request for an update about my egg cooker dilemma. However, I’m not going to let that stop me from updating you on this topic that is very close to my heart. If you ask me, we don’t talk enough about egg cookers.

I’m taking this seriously

So let’s begin! First, Emily mentioned that she uses her rice cooker to steam eggs. Another Josh posted that he uses his steamer:

Similar to what someone else posted previously about the rice cooker, we hard cook our eggs in a steamer. We’ve got a 2 level one, so if we’re cooking something in one level we’ll put the eggs in the other level. If we’re steaming rice which takes around 50 minutes, the eggs go on top and are done in 24 (then we can steam something else in the other basket).


BPA-free Popsicle Molds

Old picture of Audrey eating a homemade popsicle

Last year, our BPA-free Popsicle Mold post was one of our most popular, in its own quiet way. Only three people commented on it, but we noticed it got a lot of traffic. So this summer, to rival the popular basic Norpro Ice Pop Maker ($15.59), we found a few new ones to try.

Tovolo Groovy Ice Pop Molds (on sale for under $12!)

Tovolo Star Ice Pop Molds ($12.80)

KidCo Healthy Snack Frozen Treat Trays (only $5.95!)

Prepara Volcano 4-piece Pop Set ($11.12)

Kinderville Little Bites Ice Pop Molds ($16.99). This Norpro Silicone 4-piece Ice Pop Maker Set looks like a cheaper alternative for $7.86.

What is Your Go-To Green Baby Gift?

The journey from pregnancy to parenting is so intense that I love giving items to friends and family that will support them through that transition. What are my go-to gifts for green-minded new parents?

Cloth Diapers. By helping out a bit with the up-front cost of cloth diapering, I know that I’m giving something that will last from infancy to potty training-and beyond! Families that plan on having multiple children can save about a thousand dollars per child on diapering. Plus with all the fun colors and patterns available in lines like Charlie Banana or Fuzzibunz, it can be a lovely gift instead of being purely practical.

What is Your Favorite Cloth Diaper Brand?

Back when I began cloth diapering, new fangled products like Go Green Diapers, Rumparooz, and Lil Joey Diapers didn’t even exist. Now I find myself in green baby boutiques, playing with the velcro closures and almost wishing that I was back in the glory days of diapering.

Have you fallen in love with any new cloth diapering brands? Are you loyal to old favorites like Bummis, Charlie Banana, or Fuzzibunz? Or are you perfectly happy with prefold diapers and plastic pants?

We have nearly fifty thousand readers hitting our site on a monthly basis and many of them are new to cloth diapering. Please share your insights on which cloth diapers have worked best for your family!

Dyeing Cotton Towels

The pile of towels we bought new eight years ago was perfectly viable, except for the dingy mint color that evolved through hundreds of washings. In my frenzy for a peaceful domestic space, I longed to buy a new set but realized that there must be some way to freshen up what we have. I was missing a few hand towels, but found some in a similar faded green at a thrift store for less than a dollar. I figured that the dye might help the whole lot look like more of a set.

After spending eight bucks on Rit Dye and one hour hastily attempting to dye the towels in a front loading washing machine, I had achieved my goal.

Smaller Plates, Smaller Portions, Smaller Footprint

Ten years ago we choose Fiestaware dishes for our wedding registry and have enjoyed them ever since. They’re sturdy, classic, and scratch resistant. Amazingly, most of the eight place settings we originally received have made it through our children’s early childhoods in great shape.

It occurred to me the other day that the dishes that have been lost have all been small salad plates. They’re the perfect size for my children, they don’t take up as much space in the dishwasher, and they help me control my portion sizes. Suddenly I realized that if I bought more of them, (we have just six) that I could get double the number of plates into the dishwasher.

100% Cotton Wrinkle-free Wonder Napkins

On Monday, Joy wanted to know if we, too, struggled with spending our hard-earned cash on eco-kitchen gadgetry. She’s been wringing her hands and wracking her brain, trying to reach a decision. Should she get a cast iron pan or a set of stainless steel storage ware? I don’t know.

What I do know is what she should do about her napkin dilemma. “Are there such things as wrinkle-free cloth napkins that aren’t horrible polyester?” Joy asked. The answer is yes.

I am the proud owner of one 100% cotton napkin from Cost Plus World Market. I think it must be one of these buffet napkins (a set of 6 is $9.99). Here I am with my beloved napkin, straight from the wash. As you can see, it is smooth and wrinkle-free. I have no idea why I have ONE of these napkins, but it is definitely my favorite. I may just have to stock up on a whole set. I can’t let Joy have all the fun!

Teflon-Free Frying Pan Options

Pregnancy and breastfeeding motivated me to find safer, and often greener methods for cooking and storing food. But the recycler in me had a very hard time tossing the high quality Circulon skillet we’d received for our wedding. We’re still using it, but I’m finally ready to invest some money in a healthier option. And I’d love to hear your input!

Stainless Steel Skillets seem entirely safe, but I’m so used to having a non-stick surface that the transition may be tricky. I also worry that I’d be using lots more oil in my cooking just to avoid burning food while sautéing.

The Ultimate Cloth Diaper Dry Bag for Daycare or Travel

It can be tricky to transport large amounts of clean and soiled diapers back and forth to daycare as conveniently as possible–or to lug dirty diapers on a summer road trip without the smell invading the rest of the car.

The Planet Wise Wet/Dry Bag is the perfect solution. It has two pockets to separate dirty and fresh cloth diapers and can store 8-9 total in the smaller size or 20-24 diapers in the larger version.

If your childcare provider is hesitant to dry cloth diapering, it’s almost worth bringing some cloth diapers in along with the Planet Wise Dry Bag to show how easy it can to hygienically store dirty diapers. The bag is quick drying and so can be rinsed and tossed in the dryer each night. Or, if that’s too challenging, pick up a couple of these and rotate them out during the week.