Here at the Green Baby Guide, we’re all about hand-me-downs and Craigslist steals. Sometimes, though, it’s nice to splurge on something for your new bundle of joy. For me, it was the stroller. I chose the Maclaren Triumph stroller for its light weight (just 11 pounds) and foldable design. I imagined I’d be using it a lot on public transportation, since I don’t have a car. I’ve found it more convenient to simply walk everywhere. My daughter is now three-and-a-half and still rides in the stroller almost every day–so it was definitely worth it for me to get exactly what I wanted.
What was worth a little extra money to you? Let us know!
Who knew sunscreen could be so complicated? After slathering Audrey in sunscreen all summer long during her first year, I read that it’s dangerous to do so until she reaches her first birthday. Then I found out that only certain sunscreens were safe. Yes, that cancer-preventing lotion was–get this–carcinogenic! The good news is, you don’t need to keep your baby covered from head to foot in loose-fitting robes or hide under a gigantic umbrella all summer long.
Check out the Environmental Working Group’s list of safe sunscreens. After studying thousands of sunscreens, they found that “4 out of 5 contain chemicals that may pose health hazards or don’t adequately protect skin from the sun’s damaging rays.” Here are the top four safest ray-blockers on the market:
|1. Soleo Organics Sunscreen Organic chemical free sunscreen SPF 30+|
|2. Keys Soap Solar Rx Cosmetic Moisturizing Sunblock, SPF 30|
|3. California Baby Sunblock Stick No Fragrance, SPF 30+|
|4. Badger Sunscreen, SPF 30|
Fretting about all the potential toxins I’ve exposed myself and my daughter to over the years doesn’t do me any good–but switching sunscreens seems like an easy way to block the rays without going into summer lock-down.
This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday, a blog carnival at We are THAT Family.
You may recall my dish soap saga of last fall: First I wondered if eco-friendly dish soaps were any better than conventional ones, then I tested several greener dishwashing liquids, then I perfected my hand-washing method to use as little dish soap as possible. Finally, I offered a few alternatives to liquid dish soap.
During this quest, Green and Clean Mom contacted me, telling me I had to try the Shaklee dish soap she sells at her online store. She insisted that this dishwashing liquid would last a very long time. I was skeptical, considering some 32-ounce bottles of other brands lasted just six weeks. The Shaklee soap was in a 16-ounce bottle, which is smaller than average.
Last November, I started using the Shaklee soap. Over half a year later, I squeezed out the last drop. It lasted a whopping THIRTY-ONE weeks–almost three times longer than Planet , which I had deemed the top performer. It costs $8.10 (or $6.90 for members). This may seem like a lot, but if you look at the chart in this post, you’ll see it wouldn’t cost much more per year than Planet or Trader Joe’s dish soaps, considering how long it lasts. The best part is, you’d have to recycle just two small bottles of Shaklee soap each year–you’d go through nine bigger bottles of some other eco-brands in the same amount of time!
In addition, here are the “clean credentials” of this product:
In short, I would recommend the Shaklee Get Clean Dish Wash. It’s eco-friendly and super-concentrated. It also smells good and leaves dishes squeaky clean.
Do you want to try this wonder-product for free? Green and Clean Mom is giving away a bottle of the Shaklee Get Clean Dish Wash Concentrate along with a microfiber sponge. Just post a comment by Monday the 22nd and you’ll be entered to win!
This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday. For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to We Are THAT Family.
When Joy and I started working on our book two and a half years ago, we thought we had the most original idea ever. We searched Amazon.com and couldn’t find any green baby books on the market. We rushed the idea off to publishers, sure we’d have a bidding war on our hands. Imagine our shock when no one seemed to jump at the chance to publish our unwritten masterpiece.
Okay, so we were a little naïve. Eventually we did get a publishing contract, and we’re proud to announce that our creation will hit bookstore shelves next spring. And we’ll have company! Since we’ve started the project, other eco-minded writers have published some green baby books of their own:
We’ve read most of these titles and are thrilled to see that there’s just so much to say about raising babies with the environment in mind. Each book has a different slant. Green Babies, Sage Moms, for example, focuses on finding nontoxic alternatives to mainstream lotions and potions used during pregnancy and baby’s first year. Healthy Child, Healthy World contains useful information about avoiding toxins–and shows how some celebrities went green with their babies. Itsabelly’s Guide to Going Green with Baby is packed full of green gear recommendations, from sustainable cribs to organic clothing. Organic Baby is a beautifully photographed book that illustrates how to create a tranquil nursery and make appetizing baby food. Raising Baby Green takes the reader on a tour through the house (and garden), showing how to rid these spaces of harmful environmental toxins.
Our book won’t contain eco-tips from Julia Roberts–but we will have down-to-earth ideas for bringing up baby. You just have to wait until next spring to read all about it!
Green baby books work for us! For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to We are THAT Family. (This week’s WFMW is a themed edition: “Mom, I’m Bored!” Needless to say, I was not aware of that theme until too late.)
The financial and environmental impact of simply preparing a homemade meal rather than submitting to prepackaged products is astounding, but having the right tools to efficiently pack home blended baby food or work lunches is half the battle. Our next two Thrifty Green Thursday posts are dedicated to a great product that grew out of a mom’s frustration with packing her children’s school lunches. Mother of three, Nancy Myers, found a way to “fix lunch” by creating Lunchsense lunchboxes.
The boxes are made of fabric and unsnap to create a clean eating surface that can be easily wiped down. Inside are stored several locked leak-proof plastic containers that kids can easily open. They might seem a bit pricey at first, but they’ll quickly pay themselves off if they help you skip even a handful of meals out. Since Nancy lives right here in my hometown I had the chance to interview her myself. Read on to find out more!
GBG: What makes Lunchsense lunchboxes a worthwhile investment for families?
Nancy: Like many other people I have a drawer full of mismatched plastic containers and lids (none of which, it appears, hold just the right amount of food for a kid-sized meal), so I would succumb to single-use baggies, but I found that both the baggies and the leftover food in them would be thrown out every afternoon – an expensive and wasteful situation. When I could manage to get lids WITH containers AND food to fit in them, they wouldn’t fit in the lunchboxes! And then I found that the lunchboxes would disintegrate in a few short months.
I just knew there had to be a better way, and after some trial-and-error, Lunchsense came into being. Now all I have to think about is the food, not the containers, or the box, or the waste they might generate.
GBG: Many parents have concerns about using plastic with their children’s food. How do you address those worries?
Nancy: In truth, if I could find other containers made of anything other than plastic I’d consider using them, but as yet there isn’t anything else that is unbreakable, small enough for kid-sized portions, easy for kids to open, reasonably priced, and built to last.
That said, I like the Lock&Lock containers very much – they are made of polypropylene (recycling code #5), which is BPA-free and phthalate-free, and considered by Greenpeace to be one of a few acceptable options available for carrying food (the other plastic being polyethylene, recycling code #2). They are also designed to fit together neatly, they are sized right for kids, and they are easy to open by just about any age.
Thanks for joining us this week for Thrifty Green Thursday! Please add your link below to share your frugal, green tips! If you’re new, just click here to get tips on where to start. It’s easy! But remember to link back to us in your blog so that we can continue to grow as a thrifty green community.
In the March issue of ShopSmart, put out by the publisher of Consumer Reports, experts analyzed used baby gear to determine “when you can gratefully say yes and when you should gracefully say no thanks.” I am devoting several posts to discussing their findings. (This is the last in my series of “used gear safety” posts. Whew! Check out my posts on secondhand baby bath tubs, car seats, cribs, high chairs, strollers, and toys.)
Here are ShopSmart’s views on hand-me-down baby garments:
Safe: As long as buttons and snaps are on tight and none of the thread is unraveling from the fabric, the used clothing is fine.
Unsafe: Pass on any article of clothing with drawstrings because they pose a strangulation hazard.
It appears that used clothing poses fewer risks than many other secondhand finds. Of course, I’ve got to point out that clothes with loose buttons or snaps or unraveling threads would probably be a great bargain, and anyone with basic sewing skills could fix the problems. Also, it’s fair to say that many new garments often have these same issues.
Would you consider buying secondhand clothes for your baby–and would you buy damaged clothes with the intention of mending them at home? Although I haven’t bought damaged clothing and fixed it up myself, I’ve got to admit that it’s a very green idea.
Used clothing worked very well for me. For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, check out We are THAT Family.
In the March issue of ShopSmart, put out by the publisher of Consumer Reports, experts analyzed used baby gear to determine “when you can gratefully say yes and when you should gracefully say no thanks.” I am devoting several posts to discussing their findings. (I’ve already written about baby bath tubs, car seats, cribs, and high chairs.)
Here’s what ShopSmart had to say about used toys:
Safe: Stuffed animals and most children’s books make fine hand-me-downs. In the case of lead contamination in used toys, there are many home lead inspection kits which can be purchased for under twenty dollars which will tell you whether the toys are safe.
Unsafe: Avoid any toys that are chipped, as well as any small parts that can fit through a tube of toilet paper, since they present serious choking hazards for small children.
I will admit something: I did not purchase a home lead inspection kit to test my daughter’s toys. But here’s something else to ponder: toys can have lead in them whether they are used or new. After all, those toys in the thrift store were once brand new.
I seem to fall on the more cavalier side of allowing secondhand baby gear into my home, but now I’m wondering about other parents’ habits. Did you purchase a lead inspection kit? What did you find? What are your own standards for secondhand toys–or even new toys?
Secondhand toys work for me. For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to We are THAT Family.
I just found out that this week is a themed Works for Me Wednesday: the Greatest Hits Edition. Actually, this post is similar to our most popular WFMW entry ever: How Do You Sell Your Kids’ Clothing? I’m not sure why, but that was our greatest hit!
In the March issue of ShopSmart, put out by the publisher of Consumer Reports, experts analyzed used baby gear to determine “when you can gratefully say yes and when you should gracefully say no thanks.” I am devoting a few posts to discussing their findings. (I’ve already written about baby bath tubs, car seats, and cribs.)
Here’s what ShopSmart said about secondhand high chairs:
Safe: Say yes to a hand-me-down high chair if it has a five-point harness to prevent your child from climbing out and a fixed crotch post that prevents him/her from sliding out the bottom.
Unsafe: Old fashioned wooden high chairs with removable trays or arms are considered dangerous and uncomfortable for the baby, in addition to not being up to newer product safety standards.
This time I do not have a crazy story about my rickety secondhand baby gear, but I find this advice about used high chairs rather vague. “Old fashioned wooden high chairs with removable trays”? Most high chairs have removable trays, so I am not sure why this is something they point out. Also, their idea that a wooden high chair wouldn’t be comfortable for the baby has nothing to do with safety. I do know that their advice about a five-point harness (or T-strap or T-bar) is important; many older high chairs we’ve encountered in restaurants have nothing but the tray to hold the baby in–a definite safety hazard.
So what do you think about secondhand high chairs? Yea or nay?
In the March issue of ShopSmart, put out by the publisher of Consumer Reports, experts analyzed used baby gear to determine “when you can gratefully say yes and when you should gracefully say no thanks.” I am devoting several posts to discussing their findings. (I wrote about used baby bath tubs here.)
ShopSmart has this to say about hand-me-down car seats:
Safe: A car seat that has all its original parts and labels, has never been in a crash, and fits your car and child is OK.
Not Safe: Products more than six years old are outdated, and most likely too run down to be considered safe.
Now for my own story: We found a car seat in a dumpster, dusted it off, buckled it in, and used it ever since. Kidding! I had heard all the warnings about using a secondhand car seat, so we got a brand new one. If someone I trusted had offered me a car seat, I would have happily borrowed one. Unfortunately for me, I did not have many (actually, any) friends with kids who lived nearby. But, to assuage my eco-guilt, I did pass the infant car seat along to a friend’s baby. That baby outgrew it in just eight months, and by then my cousin had a baby, so now she’s using it. I hope that as many babies as possible use the seat before it “expires.” (This idea really worked for me. For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, check out Rocks in My Dryer!)
If I had to do it all over again, I may have considered the car seats that work for infants and convert to boosters for older kids. The whole car seat issue was so overwhelming. Does anyone else have some green ideas for car seats? Let us know!
It’s winter, it’s cold and let’s face it—grease and salt is mighty appealing. But fast food is loaded with packaging, unhealthy ingredients, and expense. So how can we avoid it despite our cravings? Enjoy a hearty bowl of brown rice and beans with a signature sauce from Cafe Yumm.
Brown rice and beans, you say? How can that possibly be marketed to my family? Here’s the truth: My husband loves beef, pizza, potatoes fried in a variety of ways, and everything else that passes as fast food, but he loves Café Yumm even more. My son breaks down crying (often!) begging for “beans and rice please!”
So what is their magical formula? It’s their sauce! (Which you can buy or even make at home. Keep reading for more details!) At Café Yumm they spoon steaming heaps of brown rice into bowls, layer them with black beans, salsa, cheese, avocados, olives and the most amazing sauce I have ever tasted. It was actually developed by a mom who was trying to get her two-year-old to embrace healthy food. After years of experimenting and serving her bowls to the general public, she ended up with a very successful chain of restaurants. You can read more about her story here.
The Yumm Bowl is vegetarian and provides a complete protein since it includes beans and rice along with plenty of whole grains. There are several varieties of sauces and combinations of ingredients on their menu, but you can bet that every one of them will be healthy and nourishing for your child.
Not only do we visit Café Yumm, we also buy their bottles of Yumm Sauce to prepare these delicious meatless meals at home. The sauce is a bit spendy at twelve bucks a bottle, but since the rest of the ingredients are so overwhelmingly cheap, it’s worth it. One bottle provides us with 20-25 individual bowls, which ends up being a great value.
If you’re looking for a Café Yumm in your area, check their website. They have restaurants in Beaverton, Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, and Springfield. (All in Oregon.) Stay tuned next week for a recipe which attempts to imitate the brilliance of real Yumm Sauce!
Thanks for joining us week for Thrifty Green Thursday! If you have an idea about how to save money and the planet, please read this page to see how to add your link below.