Is The Toyota Prius A Good Family Car?

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.

Non-Edible Halloween Treats: Fun Ideas for Trick or Treaters

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!

Great Maternity Halloween Costumes

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?

Homemade Halloween Costumes: A Family History

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!)

DIY Baby and Toddler Halloween Costume Ideas

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.

Saving Sour Milk: When Does Going Green Turn Gross?

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?

Why I Want A Chevy Volt (and Can’t Afford One…)

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.

Natural and Organic Crib Mattresses for Less

When we first began writing our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, organic crib mattresses were available only to families who were able to shell out several hundred bucks. How thrilling then to see that by the time the book was published, the market demand really had driven down the price of organic crib mattresses! Check out some of the organic options available to families now!

The Sealy Naturalis Crib Mattress with Organic Cotton is just $95! It’s not completely organic, but for families on a budget at least it’s a more organic option than a standard mattress.

The LA Baby Organic 2 in One Orthopedic Crib Mattress is currently about sixty dollars off, coming in at just $107 on amazon. That’s more than 30% off!

Extended Family Support With Childrearing: The Most Sustainable Solution

Am I the only one who wishes that my mother lived next door? Or that I could move all my relatives into a city block so that we could share casual playdates, huge potlucks and free babysitting? Maybe the reality of all that support is far more complicated and more stifling than my fantasy, but it seems ideal.

Just think of what it would be like if your relatives (and only the healthy, supportive ones) lived a mile away? Want to go out on a date? No problem! The grandparents are thrilled to get the kids. Need to stay late at work? No worries, your sister can pick up the kids. The kids get a deeper sense of family identity and closer relationships and the parents get tremendous support.

Simple, Green Summer Activities for Kids

Now that the crush of my work as a teacher is done for the summer, we suddenly have lots of unstructured playtime on our hands. My kids still enjoy imaginative play (they spent the morning yesterday pretending to be prairie dogs in a fort made of blankets), but it’s nice to get them out in the sunshine without having to buy a heap of materials or make elaborate plans. Following are some incredibly basic activities for semi-lazy parents like myself who want to enrich our children’s summers without a lot of effort.

Bug collecting. This requires one applesauce jar and nothing else. My children have spent hours overturning rocks in search of the most beautiful beetle. Of course, this requires a short education about “catch and release” as my son killed a centipede or two in the beginning in his efforts to adopt insect pets. Still, it keeps them busy and entertained for quite some time!