It’s here: The Etsy Giveaway!

Win all of this homemade baby gear from talented crafters!

We’re no strangers to the homemade delights for sale at Etsy. Back in 2008 we highlighted several Etsy shops specializing in eco-friendly baby goods. In The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, we point out that supporting crafters on Etsy is eco-friendlier than buying factory-made junk that’s logged miles all over the world. We love the Etsy vendors who are offering all these products that one lucky winner will win this week:

1 copy of our book, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide. Not only do you get some wonderful handcrafted gifts from Etsy, you get our book! What a deal!

1 hooded towel of your choice from New England Gift Company. These towels are soft, luxurious, and trimmed in patterned ribbons. The New England Gift company also makes booties, quilts, and blankets for baby.
new england gift co hooded towel

1 blanket and burp cloth set from Organic Quilt Company in the Eyes of the World pattern. Made from soft organic cotton, this set is sustainable as well as beautiful. The Organic Quilt Co. also makes hats, bibs, and more!
organic quilt company blanket and burp cloth

1 Elephant Eco Softie from Maidenlove. Maidenlove makes sustainable art, mobiles, toys, and more. Join their Facebook Fan page and get 10% your orders.
maidenlove custom made elephant eco softie

1 Lil Lark Maple Wood Teething Toy from Little Alouette. They make beautiful, organic, handmade wooden toys for baby!
lil lark maple wood teething toy

1 “Laundry Day in Venice” print from G. Kelley Images. Adorn the nursery or the laundry room with this cheery 8×10 print on Hahnemuhle archival paper. As a new mother, you’ll appreciate the work (oh, and love!) that goes into laundering all these clothes!
ginakelley laundry day in venice

Nine Ways to Enter the Giveaway

How do you enter?  Guess what?  You can enter more than once! Each way listed below gets you one entry.  All comments have to be posted BEFORE Tuesday the 5th of April to win.

Remember, leave a separate comment on this post for each entry you want.  If applicable, please leave the link to your Facebook/Twitter/Blog in the comment you leave here.

  1. Leave us a comment on this post.
  2. Visit the Etsy shops featured in this giveaway, then post a comment telling us what caught your eye!
  3. Email a friend about this giveaway.
  4. Join our Facebook fan club
  5. Link to this giveaway post on Facebook or Twitter–tell all your friends to stop by!
  6. Link to this post on your blog!
  7. Add The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to your “to read” shelf on Goodreads
  8. Go read our post on Five Ways to Score a Free Copy of  The Eco-nomical Baby Guide and leave a comment there if you’d like to review our book on your blog.  (Make sure to read the post for more details!) Leave a comment here as well to make sure we can keep track of your entries.
  9. Does your library have copies of the Eco-nomical Baby Guide? If not, request a purchase! (Then come back and post your comment to let us know!)

***The contest ends on Sunday, April 4, 2010***

Winner will be randomly selected.

We will notify the winner via email and will get you in touch with these companies who will ship your products directly to you. Please Note: This contest is open only to U.S. readers.

Have fun everyone!

This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday. Homemade baby gear from Etsy works for us! For more Works for Me Wednesday Wednesday tips, head on over to We are THAT Family.

Enter Our Virtual Gift Basket Giveaway Extravaganza!

We’re celebrating the arrival of our brand new baby, The Eco-nomical Baby Guide, by showering one lucky winner with ALL of the gifts listed below!

  • A copy of our book! Of course, we think the best prize is The Eco-nomical Baby Guide: Down to Earth Ways for Parents to Save Money and the Planet. It’s packed with hundreds of ways to save money while going green with baby.
    eco-nomical baby guide cover
  • A HappyBaby gift pack, including organic baby food samples, an Eric Carle growth chart from YoBaby, an Infant & Toddler Nutrition guide co-authored by Dr. Sears, and a set of HappyFamily recipes. HappyBaby is the company behind this fabulous organic baby guide, and their organic foods are available in supermarkets everywhere.
    happybaby organic baby food
  • 1 organic chili pepper onesie and hat set ($46) from Baby Bunz & Co. Baby Bunz & Co. have been selling cloth diapers and other eco-friendly baby products since the 1980s!
    chili pepper hat and onesie
  • A Diaperaps sample pack, including a cover, liner, and an infant size hemp/organic cotton fitted diaper. Diaperaps are adorable, waterproof, Velcro closing diaper covers that can be used with cotton prefolds.  They’re easy to use and very affordable.
    diaperaps diaper cover
  • One pair of baby girl shoes from Pedoodles, in the style and size of your choice. You’ll love the style and durability of Pedoodles shoes!  Made from recycled leather, they are eco-friendly and adorable.
  • 1 twin pack of thinkbaby 9oz PES bottles($16.99) ThinkBaby makes “safer products for healthier babies.” These bottles are BPA-free–of course!
    thinkbaby twin pack bottles
  • One adorable teething toy from Speesees, a company specializing in eco-friendly, kid-friendly clothes, bedding, and more.
    crawl turtle teething toy
  • One container of Green Dragon Pest Solutions, an eco-friendly product that will hurt household bugs such as roaches and silverflies without harming baby.

Eight Ways to Enter the Giveaway

How do you enter?  Guess what?  You can enter more than once! Each way listed below gets you one entry.  All comments have to be posted BEFORE Sunday the 7th of March to win. (And if you don’t win, don’t worry–we’re giving away gift baskets ALL MONTH LONG!)

Remember, LEAVE A SEPARATE COMMENT ON THIS POST FOR EVERY EACH ENTRY.  If applicable, please leave the link to your Facebook/Twitter/Blog in the comment you leave here.

1. Email a friend about our book, our blog, or this month’s giveaways. (And then don’t forget to comment about it below!)

2. Subscribe to our blog (look right under the search bar)

3. Join our Facebook fan club

4. Link to us on Facebook, Twitter, or another social networking site.

5. Link to this post on your blog!

6. Add The Eco-nomical Baby Guide to your “to read” shelf on Goodreads

7. Add our blog to your blogroll

8. Go read our post on Five Ways to Score a Free Copy of  The Eco-nomical Baby Guide and leave a comment there if you’re willing to review our book on your blog.  (Make sure to read the post for more details.) Leave a comment here as well to make sure we can keep track of your entries.

***The contest ends on Saturday, March 6, 2010***

Winner will be randomly selected.

We will notify the winner via email and will get you in touch with these companies who will ship your products directly to you. Please Note: This contest is open only to U.S. readers.

Have fun everyone!

Eco-friendly baby gear works for us! This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by Rocks in My Dryer!

The Grandparents Handbook (+ Giveaway!)

Sure, your parents have changed a diaper, but it’s been a few years. Now they’re going to be grandparents. Perhaps they’re left wondering what, exactly, they will do when the baby cries or how they’ll spend a rainy afternoon with their darlings. In comes The Grandparents Handbook by Elizabeth LaBan.
grandparents handbook

The handbook includes intriguing-sounding recipes to try with kids (overnight pickles and chocolate-covered pretzels, for example) and activities grandparents can enjoy with young children (why not create a family newspaper or hold a mock election?).The book is packed with ideas, tips, and advice for new or seasoned grandparents. It’s a cute little hardcover book, complete with adorable retro illustrations.

So here are the only two gripes I have about the book: 1. Why is there no apostrophe in the title? As an English teacher, this bothers me. 2. Let’s go back to the diapers. Right in the beginning of the book, the rookie grandparent will find instructions for changing a diaper. LaBan assures her readers that diapers have improved in the last twenty or thirty years—now they’re disposable! But if the parents want to help out the environment “with cloth diapers, safety pins, and endless trips to the washing machine”? Just ask them to switch to disposables while the grandparents come over. “If they protest , tell them you’re out of practice and afraid of accidentally sticking the baby with a safety pin.”

Now, we don’t have to tell our Green Baby Guide readers how misguided this advice is. First of all, almost no cloth diaper enthusiasts use diaper pins anymore—newfangled cloth diapers come with Velcro closures, just like disposables! Also, I didn’t like the idea of the grandparents undermining the parents’ decisions about how to care for the child.

Despite the diaper blunder, it’s a great little book, and I will admit that most people would not get so worked up over the diaper chapter. I plan to give my own copy to my mom (who, by the way, had no problem changing my daughter’s cloth diapers!).  With The Grandparents Handbook, she’ll have a grand time building gingerbread houses, going clover hunting, and making scones for an afternoon tea with Audrey.

We have one copy of the Grandparents Handbook to give away! Just post a comment before next Tuesday (the 22nd) and you’ll be entered to win!

How to Make a Proper Paper Snowflake

Do your paper snowflakes come out looking like doilies? Do you wish you had the creativity, skill, and expertise to cut out a proper paper snowflake? Keep reading to learn how a prize-winning* snowflake cutter makes it happen.

1. Fold a square piece of paper in half.

2. Fold it in half again.

3. Fold it in thirds, so it looks like this:


4. Cut the top part off.

5. Cut out pieces to create your snowflake design. Note that there is very little paper left! Cut nice, skinny lines to create a delicate paper snowflake. Cutting out tiny shapes all over will result in a doilyesque snowflake.

The finished product!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

*All right, so I never really won a snowflake prize.

Paper snowflakes make the perfect cheap DIY holiday decorations. They work for me! For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to We are THAT Family.

Make a Gift Basket for a New or Expecting Mother

What gifts are you going to bestow upon the new mother in your life this holiday season? My cousin wanted to put together a gift bag for her expecting sister-in-law. Because her sister-in-law planned to breast feed, my cousin chose a “nursing mother” theme. She was going to package everything in a cool eco-friendly diaper bag but ended up forgoing that idea. (Good thing, too, because her sister-in-law already had a couple!)
Lassig messenger eco-friendly diaper bag

Bonus: Put all the new mother’s gifts inside this beautiful Eco-friendly Lassig diaper bag!

Here’s what my cousin ended up putting together:

The New Mother’s Gift Basket

  • Wool nursing pads. (I reviewed them here in a vintage Green Baby Guide post!)
  • DVDs of 30 Rock. Hours of entertainment for those first few months of marathon nursing sessions!
  • Some fancy snacks. Did you know that nursing moms need 250-500 extra calories a day? Try handheld snacks like homemade cookies or muffins. Or check out Joy’s recipe for delicious, calorie-packed peanut butter balls!
  • A magazine subscription. Kiwi magazine focuses on eco-friendly parenting—our top magazine pick!
  • Mother’s Milk tea.
    organic mother's milk tea
  • A nursing tank. Both Joy and I preferred nursing tanks over nursing bras—they allow for a more discreet nursing experience by keeping that postpartum belly covered.

According to my cousin’s report, her sister-in-law loved this thoughtful gift. On Thursday we’ll have even more green ideas for a new mother.

This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday, hosted by We are THAT Family. It’s the holiday gift edition, so head over there for more ideas!

Homemade Gingered Apple Cranberry Sauce Recipe—No Added Sugar!

As far as I know, I invented this tasty cranberry sauce, which takes just a few minutes to put together and about fifteen minutes on the stove.
raw cranberries for homemade cranberry sauce

Gingered Apple Cranberry Sauce

8 oz. fresh cranberries
6 fl. ounces frozen apple juice concentrate (half a can)
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 cinnamon stick (or a couple dashes of ground cinnamon)

Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer until the cranberries break down, about ten or fifteen minutes. If the sauce is too tart for your liking, try adding sugar a tablespoon at a time until it’s sweet enough. Store in the fridge until Thanksgiving dinner, then enjoy!

Top Eco-friendly Toys for Babies and Young Children

What makes a toy “eco-friendly”? If you buy them used, you know you’re saving the energy it takes to make a new toy—and you’re keeping something out of a landfill. There are also some eco-options for brand new toys made from sustainable materials such as rubberwood or recycled plastic. We will reveal our favorite wooden toys on Thursday. Here are our top picks for new, eco-friendly toys made from other materials:

Sprig Toys Eco-Truck Loader. Made from a “wood-plastic composite that smells like wood.”
sprig toys eco-truck loader

Green Toys Tea Set. Made from curbside collected milk containers!
green toys tea set

Green Sprouts Stacking Cup Set. BPA-, PVC-, and phthalate-free.
green sprouts stacking cups BPA-free

Sevi Xylophone Eco-friendly Toy. Colored with vegetable dyes!
sevi xylophone eco-friendly toy

Under the Nile Banana Toy. Made from fair-trade organic cotton.
under the nile organic cotton banana toy

Have you purchased any eco-friendly toys for your children? In just a few years, we’ve seen the selection go from obscure and expensive to accessible and affordable. Let us know if you have any other recommendations!

This post is a part of Works for Me Wednesday. Head on over to We are THAT Family for more ideas!

How to Choose an Eco-friendly Diaper System

Chinese prefolds, diaper covers, all-in-ones, pocket diapers, hybrid diapers—agh! If you are expecting a baby and looking into cloth diapers, you may have noticed just how many kinds of diapers there are. The abundance of options may have some parents running to disposables. But don’t worry. The Green Baby Guide is here to sort everything out.

What kinds of diapers do we like best? Well, Joy prefers pocket diapers. I stand by the old-fashioned prefolds with covers.

Okay, so what should I get? Remember that you don’t have to have the next 2.5 years of diapering all mapped out. Go ahead, buy a newborn pack of disposables (Seventh Generation makes them chlorine-free!) for the first week or two. Then think about it: What do you want out of your diapers?

I want them to be cheap. For the most bang for your buck, go with prefolds and covers. Still, if you have your heart set on pocket diapers, look for them used at consignment shops or even ebay.
unbleached Indian prefold cloth diapers

I want them to go on like disposables. Then you want pocket diapers or all-in-one diapers.
pocket-diapers-go on like disposable diapers

I want them to be all-natural—no manmade materials. Try organic cotton prefolds with wool covers or Swaddlebees organic diapers.

I want them to be as expensive as possible—I have a lot of money to blow on this kid! Okay, so you don’t fall within our normal demographic, but we’ll still try to help you out. You might be interested in these wool soakers for overnight use—just $40-60 each!

I want to flush them down the toilet. It looks like you don’t want to use cloth diapers at all. Try gDiapers!

I want to throw them in the garbage. So cloth diapers aren’t your thing. Go with Seventh Generation or Nature’s Babycare disposables.

If you’re still searching for the perfect diaper system, what are your concerns? We’ll try to help you out. Or, for you parenting veterans: What diaper system did you end up getting? How has it worked for you?

Prefolds with diaper covers worked for me! For more Works for Me Wednesday tips, head on over to We are THAT Family.

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie–A Nutritious Holiday Drink!

My cousin invented this autumnal drink, which young children (over one year) and adults will enjoy:

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Simply blend together:

1 cup pumpkin puree

a peeled and chopped persimmon

¾ cups almond milk (or more to thin out as desired)

½ cup yogurt

pumpkin pie spices

 pumpkin pie and persimmon smoothie recipe

I plan to make pumpkin pie smoothies a lot over the holiday season. This recipe is also a great way to sneak in a vegetable if your kids are opposed to more savory pumpkin dishes. 

This post is a part of the Works for Me Wednesday blog carnival–the holiday edition! Head on over to We are THAT Family for more holiday ideas.

Last-minute DIY Halloween Costume Ideas for Babies and Kids

While some of us have been lovingly hand-sewing Halloween costumes since Memorial Day, the rest of us are stuck sticking stainless steel colanders on our kids’ heads and making them trick-or-treat as “robots.” Last year we mentioned several DIY Halloween costumes—from the Cold Weather Bandit to the Glad Bag. (Yes, that’s right—we actually recommended dressing your kid as a garbage bag.)

What brilliant last-minute ideas were we able to come up with this year?

Baby burrito. Swaddle your baby in a white blanket, letting some lettuce or cabbage leaves peak out at the edges. Variations on this theme include baby spring rolls, baby eggrolls, or baby turkey wrap.  Here a doll is modeling this look, which took just one minute to create.

baby burrito halloween costume

Striped baby bug. If you can get your hands on some antennae—or make some out of pipe cleaners or something—then you can dress your baby in various striped garments for this look.

Gnome. Last year Audrey put on a brown tweed skirt and coat she had received as a gift. She wore striped tights and carried a tin watering can to collect her treats. I did need to sew a pointy green hat out of an old curtain, which took me about an hour or longer (because I am such a bad sewer), so this isn’t a completely last-minute costume option.

Charlie Brown. Is your baby bald? Do you have a yellow onesie and some brown shorts? Can you draw a passable zigzag pattern with a felt-tip marker? Then you can dress your baby as Charlie Brown.

Old Man. Again—is your baby bald? Do you have some baby-sized glasses, some sort of “old man” hat and maybe a sweater vest? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions above, you might be able to dress your baby as an old man this year.

Alien. Dress your baby or child all in white and use a black eyeliner pencil to create huge alien-eyes.

Dick Cheney. One of our Green Baby Guide consultants came up with this one. “Another great costume idea for babies is the ‘Dick Cheney,’” he says.  “Dress them up in a little blue business suit and add a cheap pair of reading glasses and some white hair around the sides via cotton balls for a look that will delight Democrats and Republicans alike!”

Dick Cheney Halloween Costume Idea

ZZ Top. This costume idea brought to you from the mastermind behind the “Dick Cheney.” All you need is a set of twins, some fake beards, sunglasses, and grungy old hats.

zztop baby halloween costume

Baby Grecian. Another Green Baby Guide consultant suggested fashioning a toga out of a piece of fabric and crowning your baby with leaves. Brilliant!

Check this site out for baby costumes (including a baby muscle man and Sasquatch!) that require some actual crafting and sewing skills.

If worse comes to worst, you can always stick your baby in a cardboard box, bucket, or other baby-sized receptacle. What is this costume, exactly? “Baby in a box,” “baby in a bucket,” etc. All right, I’m clearly running out of inspiration. What are your best DIY Halloween costume ideas?

Making my own costumes out of household odds and ends works for me! For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to We are THAT Family!