I’ve been busy the last couple weeks setting up my new blog: Never Adopter. According to the tagline, “I don’t believe in cellphones, the internet, or technology.” I rant against cellphones (but decide to get one), get nostalgic for cassette tapes, and otherwise try to adapt to twenty-first century life. Check it out, post a comment, and like Never Adopter on Facebook! I’ll get back to my regular Green Baby Guide posts next week!
We have hiked along the river at Mt. Pisgah Arboretum for years, and midway along the trail, we have always passed this bench. We sat and ate strawberries on it while I was pregnant seven years ago, changed cloth diapers on it a few times with our newborn babes, and now use it as a jungle gym for my acrobatic children.
But my favorite part of the bench is this quote inscribed in the rock: “Do the good things.” What a glorious and simple insight! To me it means everything from, “Get outside!,” to “Skip the mall on Saturday!”
Maybe I happen to be influenced by the fact that it is carved into a bench in the woods, but it reminds me of all the things we do that are good for us, good for our health, good for our family, and, very often, good for the environment. These things usually aren’t complicated, expensive, or difficult–and they often provide a multitude of rewards. I don’t always get it right, but as we continue to stride pass this bench on weekend hikes with our growing kids, it provides a great point of focus. (And a good family photo now and again!)
For awhile my daughter was quite content to play on her adorable little Alex Wooden Cook Top Playstove. It was a great value at about $30 and also took up just a small corner of her room. Glorious! Now she’s dreaming of a bigger, more luxurious environment in which to whip up imaginary cupcakes. Have you invested in a wooden play kitchen? Was it worth the money and space in your home?
I like the simplicity of the Melissa and Doug Cook’s Corner Wooden Kitchen. It’s smaller than some and costs under $100, but I wonder if its size would limit the span of years she’d be interested in it. Have you tried this one?
Kidkraft’s Red Retro Kitchen seems like it might hold her interest for a few more years and it’s still under $150. It’s not exactly simple, but perhaps the details would lead to more options for play.
My absolute favorite kitchen, is the Camden Rose Childs Cherry Wood Play Kitchen. It’s a heirloom piece of furniture that would surely last for several generations, but it is quite a bit more at about $350.
What has your experience been with toy kitchens. Did they hold your child’s attention? Did you find a glorious deal on Craigslist? Thanks for your advice!
After much saving and searching, we bought a used Prius a few weeks ago! How is it working out for our family? I love, love, love this car! From pushing the start button to monitoring the fuel expenditure while I drive, this is the most fun I have ever had driving.
The interior is roomy and comfortable for our family, although I don’t think it would be possible to squeeze three car seats in the back. I love the vast amounts of storage and the crazy number of cup holders throughout the Prius.
Are there any drawbacks to this glorious machine? So far my gas mileage isn’t the dreamy 50 MPG I was hoping for. The best average I’ve been able to achieve is about 44 MPG, but I’m sometimes coming in at just 40 or 42. This is still quite a bit better than I was getting with my 2001 Honda Civic, so it’s still fun to buy such small amounts of fuel every month.
So will the savings in gas make up for the thousands extra we shelled out to buy a Prius? Depending on how many miles we drive, it will save us between $500 and $1000 in gas each year. If we own it for a full decade, and gas prices continue to rise, it will be well worth it. If not, we will at least know that we are saving the emissions we produce.
What motivated us to make this purchase? We finally bought an older mini-van with low miles and use it only occasionally for longer road trips. Since the van uses quite a bit more fuel than our Camry did, I wanted to be sure our other car was as fuel efficient as possible. So we’re not perfectly green when it comes to transportation, but we’re making progress!
Are you planning on tucking baby rutabagas or small zucchini into trick-or-treat bags to prevent tooth decay this year?
Here’s some great news, you can think outside of the box and choose some non-edible treasures for your trick or treaters. Pick a few of these ideas and toss them together into a giant bowl of goodies. Then let the princesses and vampires choose their own loot.
Stickers are cheap, fun, and will last far longer than a handful of sticky caramels.
Colorful pencils are another lasting bit of Halloween swag. Maybe they’ll even inspire a bit of art or early literacy!
Tattoos are always a thrill and are ridiculously inexpensive as well. The pirate pack of 36 costs just a little over three dollars. Not bad! (And these little trinkets will be especially popular children donning eye patches!)
How about rainbow colored band aids? Doesn’t that sound fun? And they may come in handy if any fairies slip on the sidewalk.
Play Dough also sells a bag of 15 small play doughs for about six dollars. Not bad!
If you’re dumping some of these goodies into a big bowl for kids to choose from, you may as well add in bits of household clutter that a child might adore. A beautiful glass marble, some old pennies, and maybe a few small discarded items that your child received in a birthday party goody bag long ago.
Have you tried the “treasure instead of treats” approach on Halloween? Did you have success? Thanks for sharing!
The pregnant skeleton maternity costume is one of my favorites, showing the skeleton of the fetus tucked inside of the mother. My friend made her own a few years ago, but Amazon is selling these Halloween Non-Maternity Pullover Hoodie Costumes for just 34.50. Since they aren’t specifically made to accomodate pregnant women, you’ll have to be early enough in your pregnancy for these to fit well.
If you’re showing a bit more, you can go for the maternity-sized skeleton and baby t-shirt, which is equally clever and a bit roomier in the belly region.
Of course thrift shops have incredible options beyond just the costume section. Rebecca scored this “Pregnant Eighties Lady” item in the dollar bin of her local secondhand store. Doesn’t she look dashing?
Some women paint their pregnant bellies as basketballs or pumpkins, but I happen to love these t-shirts by Cafe Press. They don’t require preparation of any kind, and you still come off as rather clever. I suppose that instead of buying anything you could just write any of these slogans on a white t-shirt with a sharpie or maybe make an iron-on decal. It will just get used once, right? The one below reads, “I’m dressed up as my mom.”
I love the dark humor of this last maternity t-shirt. It reflects how I felt about anything festive in those last grueling months of pregnancy. It reads, “I don’t do costumes. (now step aside, you’re standing on my invisible dog.)”
Do you have any creative costume plans that involve your pregnancy? We’d love to hear them!
One of my all time favorite costumes is this pumpkin suit, purchased for four bucks at a consignment shop and used by both my children in their babyhood.
My son’s infatuation with school buses hit hard the next Halloween, so my husband made him an iron on decal for his shirt and then painted this school bus out of cardboard and attached it to the top of his red wagon. Notice the paper plate for a steering wheel. It makes me laugh to think back on how much time we had to invest in this project. (You’ll see this quality totally degrade once our second arrives!)
Roscoe’s obsession with vehicles continued the following year as he requested to be a caboose for Halloween. My husband studied to be an architect and loved building models, so he hand painted the whole caboose and fitted it with straps to wear over the shoulders. The hat and sweater came from a thrift store and my son was thrilled with the results!
When our second child arrived, Halloween became extremely simplified. Luckily my son declared that he would be dressing as “captain safety,” a character he invented. He made his badge out of tinfoil and cardboard, wore his fire hat and his homemade superhero cape. My daughter borrowed a cat suit from a friend and we were set!
In 2011 we raided thrift stores and our kids’ closets to compile their costumes. Jovi is a “dancing butterfly princess” and Roscoe is dracula. It was the least creative year in terms of their costume designs, but also the easiest!
This year Roscoe has gone back to his highly creative ways. He has deemed himself “R-man” and sewed this R onto a suit we found at a thrift shop for four bucks. He has worn it around the house already several dozen times paired with the homemade cape that he wore as captain safety. Doesn’t he look fierce?
Are you pulling together a homemade costume this year for your kids? What’s the plan? Thanks for sharing your creativity!
Searching for the perfect baby Halloween costume this year? Green Baby Guide is here to help! We have heaps of ingenious costume ideas to share with you in these crucial weeks before Halloween. So where should you start? You could just slip baby into a carved pumpkin–which will double as a compostable diaper! It might not be so practical for trick-or-treating, but great for a few entertaining photos!
If you’re going green on a budget with baby, and you want to impress everyone with your creativity, just start looking around the house. Perhaps you can find a bit of lettuce and a blanket, and handily make your little one into a “baby burrito.” Or, with a yellow onsie and some brown shorts your bald bambino can easily transform into Charlie Brown. For more ridiculously easy ideas, check out Last-Minute DIY Baby and Toddler Halloween Costume Ideas.
But there’s more! We have a whole slew of creative ideas in Our Readers’ Favorite DIY Costumes and DIY Baby and Kids Costume Ideas. Why not just let your kids dress up in random clothes from their rooms and create a personality to go along with it? Perhaps the kids below are “Black-clad Yardstick Warrior” and “Happy Easter Underwear Bear.” We’ll never know for sure…
Maybe you’re short on time, or creativity, and just want to buy a Halloween costume for baby. No worries! Hit your local consignment or thrift shop for a wide variety of gently used costumes. You’ll be recycling and your baby will look just as adorable in her slightly used duds.
Personal confession: My greatest green motivation is resourcefulness…and the inability to throw things away. So when about a gallon and a half of milk started to get a little funky, I was sure that I could save it.
Time was limited! I warmed some of the milk enough to re-pasturize it, and then blended it with peanut butter, chocolate and banana to make frozen fudgecicles. Sadly, that only used about three cups of milk.
Onward to a lasagna with béchamel sauce, blended with a bit of pesto. Six cups of milk later, I still had a half a jug on my hands. How could I save every drop?
Exhausted by my milk-salvage efforts, I poured it into a pot to re-pasturize the rest and intended to freeze it in ice cubes to be used later in baking. Instead my three-year-old had a monster fit in the bathtub and my precious sour milk curdled while I tried to console her. Ten minutes later the milk had burned to the bottom of the pot and had to be poured down the garbage disposal.
To make myself feel better about my wasted milk efforts I then reached for a carton of ice cream, tipping over a batch of my glorious (unfrozen) fudgecicles which then coated the bottom of the freezer in sticky chocolate goo. As the repasturized chocolate mix ran down the side of the fridge and coated the floor, I had to wonder, was it really worth it?
My family heritage is packed with people who pushed the boundaries to avoid waste at all cost. My great uncle’s friend worked as a hotel maid. He asked her to save slivers of leftover soap from the showers she cleaned. He kept the bits of soap in a large bucket and used them for about four decades of his life. By my calculations he saved about 500 dollars and avoided having to toss several hundred ivory soap wrappers. Is that cool? Or really icky? What about my sour milk escapades? When do we cross the line from green to gross?
An acquaintance just raved to me that her new Chevy Volt is a delight to drive and makes the Toyota Prius appear to be a gas hog. From that moment on, I was hanging from her every word.
A full charge of the Chevy Volt costs my friend just a few dollars and keeps her running at full speed (up to 100 MPH) for a full 38 miles. If she travels farther than that, the gas engine kicks in and earns about 98 miles per gallon from there on out. The car can go a maximum of 300 miles without needing charging or gas. Plus, right now the Volt comes with a $7,500 tax incentive and a program to install a charging station (for free) in your garage.
My friend hadn’t wanted to buy it at first since she had always driven Cadillacs, but quickly became enamored of her new car and vows never to buy anything else. Since she has to long in several hundred miles of travel for work, she had been spending $400 a month on gas before her Volt. Since the purchase of her Volt, she hasn’t spent more than $80 per month, which means the gas savings are essentially making her car payment for her.
So aren’t we rushing out to buy one? The sticker price on a 2013 Chevy Volt is a whopping $40,000! Price seems to be keeping a lot of people from taking the leap. Sadly, demand for the volt hasn’t yet risen to expectations. Also, although I really do want to support American workers, I worry about dependability. I hope that concern will be alleviated as the Volt ages and continues to get good reviews.
Since our family budget is quite a bit smaller than the price of a new Chevy Volt, I think we’ll be trading one of our cars in for a Prius sometime soon. Hopefully the Chevy Volt technology will start to catch on, even with the high sticker price, and we can begin to get a wider variety of economical and fuel efficient cars.
Would you buy a Chevy Volt? Do you see them making their way into green communities or is the Toyota Prius still the dominant eco-friendly vehicle?