The Dish Soap Opera Continues (+ Shaklee Dish Soap Giveaway!)

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.
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The Best Green Baby Books for New Parents

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:
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Fixing Lunch: Lunchsense Boxes Are A Great Solution for Eating on The Go

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!

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Used Clothing: How Safe is It?

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.
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Secondhand Toys: Which Ones Should You Pass Up?

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.
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A Used High Chair: Safety Hazard or Planet-Saving Device?

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.

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Can You Use a Secondhand Car Seat?

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.

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Café Yumm: Baby-Friendly, Budget-Friendly, Earth-Friendly Fast Food

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!” 

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Used Baby Bath Tubs Save the World from Another Hunk of Plastic

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.

Here’s what ShopSmart has to say about bath products:

Safe: Used baby bathtubs are fine as long as the lining isn’t full of mold or mildew.

Not Safe: If the tub has an odor of either of these, say no thanks because they can be hard to remove. Also, skip secondhand bath seats, bath rings, and inflatable tubs since they have been responsible for many deaths among babies.

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Organic Junk Food for Breakfast?

Those first few months with a new baby are exhausting, and sometimes it’s difficult to scrounge up a piece of toast, let alone a complete wholesome breakfast.  While homemade oatmeal is a cheap, nutritious standby, sometimes you might want to indulge in something even easier.

Now, as a whole foods purist, I was not seduced by the organic packaged foods at Grocery Outlet–but my husband, Andy, was.  Here are his reviews of some of the products he tried.

Nature’s Path Organic Toaster Pastries, brown sugar maple cinnamon. ($2.00, $.33 each)

6 per package

210 calories

16 g sugar, 3 g protein

All natural, organic ingredients-but the second ingredient is sugar.
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