Whole Wheat Pancakes from Scratch: Easy Homemade Baby Food

It takes almost no time to whip up a batch of pancakes from scratch.  Pancakes from a mix are filled with chemicals you don’t want your kids to eat, and they come in packaging you have to recycle or throw out.  For even speedier homemade pancakes, Joy explained how pre-mixing the dry ingredients can save even more time.  

Babies love pancakesThe version I use is adapted from the Joy of Cooking’s basic recipe.  I use 100% whole wheat pastry flour.  The pancake is a fairly versatile food–you can experiment with different flours and milks if your kids don’t eat wheat or dairy.  I’ve even forgotten the eggs and had them turn out all right!
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Joy’s Earth Day Resolutions

One side effect of going green is an enlarged sense of moral superiority.  I have to admit that I fall prey to this every time I pull out my fabric grocery bags at the supermarket.  The other shoppers stare with envy at my grungy canvas sacks, wishing that they had the wherewithal to save the planet while buying cottage cheese, breakfast cereal, and a few dozen eggs.  O.K.—the truth is, they don’t even notice, but I’m so busy basking in the glory of a fulfilled Earth Day resolution that I like to imagine the admiration of my shopping peers.

In reality the only person who is impressed by my canvas bags is me and that’s how resolutions really should work.  If we can find solutions to our green dilemmas the shift will end up ultimately making us happier than anyone else.  In the year to come, I’m going to pick just a few goals and then go from there.  I want to actually set reasonable expectations for myself so that I can accomplish them in the midst of parenting, working, writing and enjoying this very full life.

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Rebecca’s Earth Day Sins, Confessed

I credit a long-ago Earth Day television special to introducing me to the fast-paced world of reusing and recycling.  Now I try hard to do what’s best for our environment, but I don’t always live up to my ideals.  Here are my top five eco-sins, confessed.

  1. I take long, hot showers.  I know, I know.  I should get a solar heater and bathe in harvested rainwater from our rooftop.  This is an especially heinous sin considering how often I’ve bragged about limiting my daughter’s bath time fun.
  2. I don’t always buy organic produce.  I’m cheap.  I’m trying to get over it.
  3. I don’t always buy local produce.  Buying local produce as a “green” action was something I hadn’t even considered until a couple years ago.  But even after educating myself a bit on the subject and reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I’m still not a locavore.
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Works For Me Wednesday: Homemade Bubbles Create A Clutter-Free Toy

We’ve really tried to limit the toys littering our home.  Why then does it seem that clean-up time takes longer and longer each day?  There are blocks spilling onto the carpet, books stacked precariously around Roscoe’s room and wheeled vehicles strewn about our house at the end of every single day. 

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That’s why we LOVE bubbles.  They disappear just as quickly as they appear.  And, they’re so very cheap!  You can mix up your own batch with water, dishwashing soap, and a few drops of glycerin. (Available for a few bucks at your local pharmacy). You probably know that just water and soap will work, but the glycerin will help create better bubbles that last a bit longer.  Look here for several bubble recipes and here for suggestions on what to do with the bubbles, including using a hula hoop and a kiddie-pool to make huge ones and a fly swatter to create a blizzard of tiny bubbles.  You can also use pipe cleaners to make simple bubble wands for little environmental and economic cost.  Have fun!

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Green Babies, Sage Moms: Book Review

Green Babies, Sage Moms will appeal to eco-curious types living on the Upper East Side in their Jimmy Choos rather than the canning-mung beans-in-their-Birks set.  Author Lynda Fassa takes readers through pregnancy, the baby’s arrival, and the subsequent years with baby, identifying harmful toxins and replacing them with organic products.  So while there isn’t much on reducing your baby’s carbon footprint, there are many great product recommendations for getting started on your household detox mission.

Fassa looks at pregnancy and early motherhood as times when we have a heightened awareness about our bodies and the world around us.  We all know we should watch what we eat when pregnant.  But what about the toxins lurking everywhere, ready to taint the very world we live in?  Page after page we learn about the toxins in everything around us.  Toxins in cigarettes, soft cheeses, sushi.  Nail polish, nail polish remover, hair products, pesticides, milk, fruit, vegetables, grains, wine, blush, mascara, foundation, lipstick, hair dye, perfume, drain cleaners, air fresheners, antibacterial soap, oven cleaners, furniture polish, rubber duckies, plastic toys, teethers, baby wipes, lotions, creams, crib mattresses, disposable diapers, conventional cotton, fertilizers, ground water, fish, deodorant, vaccines, drawer pulls, paint, floors, school buses, park benches, and playground equipment.
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Joy’s Earth Day Confessions

Writing a green blog is a great deal like being a minister.  Why?  Because when I inform acquaintances about our website’s mission, they invariably launch into their own eco-failings. I listen and nod, acting as though I have the power to pardon their sordid eco-sins. Of course, I have no such ability—partly because I’m not an eco-evangelist and partly because I too am a work in progress

The truth is, my family has a list of transgressions against the planet just like everyone else.   Today I shall confess them to you:

#1 We use disposable diapers for Roscoe at night.  I actually wrote a whole post about my green mom guilt on this issue.  It’s difficult, but we’re just so desperate for sleep that we’re willing to use seven disposables per week.  We buy the chlorine-free Seventh Generation diapers but they don’t break down in landfills any better than standard disposables.

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Keep Your Baby Clothes Organized

Nature Mom’s Green Spring CleaningDo you have hundreds of miniature socks, pants, and pajamas oozing from your closets?  Before my baby was even born, I found myself with more baby clothes than I knew what to do with.  My daughter never even wore half of the adorable little outfits I’d folded and stored in her dresser.  Many of the clothes never fit (short-and-wide onesies didn’t work on her tall-and-skinny frame, for example) or weren’t appropriate for the season.

The clothes my daughter wears fit into two drawers on her dresser.  (The third drawer is reserved for cloth diapers and diapering paraphernalia.)  Everything else gets relegated to the dreaded basement.  Although I’ve written about the ersatz landfill that my basement has become, I’ve managed to keep the baby clothing archives relatively organized.
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The Green Baby Guide is on T.V. (Again!)

Green Baby Guide LogoLast weekend, a reporter interviewed Joy about the Green Baby Guide.  “Are You a Green Mama” aired on two different nights in both Eugene and Portland, turning Joy into a regional celebrity.

 Check out the segment here!

If you want to view Roscoe running around in a cow-print diaper again and again for weeks to come, just click on “The Green Baby Guide is on T.V.” on the left-hand column of our homepage.

Works for Me Wednesday: Finding Diaper-Friendly, Earth-Friendly Detergent

I remember the day we made our first eco-friendly Trader Joe’s detergent purchase. We loved the smell of our fresh laundry and basked in the green glow of our new standby.  While the large plastic container was an environmental downside, the price was reasonable and the lavender essential oils gave it a crisp, clean scent.

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 Roscoe helps with the laundry

We wanted to switch to a greener detergent for our family’s health and the environment. Green brands don’t contain optical brighteners, chemicals which bond to the skin with traditional detergents. We also liked the fact that scents are often plant-based rather than petroleum-based, which tends to cause less skin irritation. As if that weren’t enough to convince us, natural detergents biodegrade easily in water and don’t contain phosphates, which are very harmful to aquatic wildlife.

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Our Green Giveaway Winner . . . Plus an Eco-Recipe for Oven Cleaner

Nontoxic oven cleanerLast week we asked you to reveal your deepest, darkest, most toxic secrets as a part of our first giveaway.  Your candid “toxic confessions” were indeed shocking.  We’ve randomly chosen from our list of commenters, and the winner is . . . Mimi!  Congratulations, Mimi.  You will soon be the proud owner of Shaklee’s disinfectant wipes and oven cleaner, thanks to Green and Clean Mom.  Now get rid of that carpet cleaner you’ve admitted to keeping hidden in your carpet-free house! 

Well, that’s great for Mimi, but what about the rest of you?  You confessed to harboring everything from bleach to scrubbing bubbles under your kitchen sinks.  It’s time to head on over to a hazardous waste facility and drop the offenders off where they can be quietly and safely dispatched.  But now you’re left with no household cleaners and your oven’s a mess.  You could do what I do, which is nothing.  Or you could whip up a little homemade oven cleaner for just a few cents.  I got this recipe from the Mrs. Clean website
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