Trying To Be Greener

Safer eco-living, one day at a time

Homemade Yogurt – Easy as can be! July 14, 2011

Filed under: baby,baby food,children,health,staying healthy — Kirstin @ 2:05 pm
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A friend of mine shared this link for making homemade yogurt in a slow cooker. It couldn’t be easier and the yogurt is fantastic! Just keep in mind that the yogurt you’ll get from it won’t be like the store bought kind. It’ll actually be like a yogurt drink – just add your own fruit, a little honey, and you’re all set! I’ve just made my second batch. The first was with 2% milk and the second was with fat free. Both had the same consistency.

If you have a slow cooker, I urge you to give it a try!

 

Baby Showers And Adding A “Green” Touch February 11, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kirstin @ 5:36 pm

Two weeks ago, I was invited to a friend’s baby shower. I was so pleased to see plenty of BPA-free items on the registry (the selection has grown so much in just the past 3 years!). It got me thinking, though. How can someone add a little “green” to the gift list when it isn’t asked for? Sometimes people are open to guests using their discretion and sometimes they want exactly what they’ve requested. After all, the mom-to-be probably put a lot of effort into choosing exactly what she thinks she and her family will need. You also don’t want to buy something that may end up sitting on a shelf and not being used.

So here are some suggestions for adding a little “green” to the next shower you attend that will likely be appreciated:

  • A non-chemical bath/hair soap  or diaper cream – California Baby and Earth Mama, Angel Baby products can be easily found at many health food stores.
  • Diapers – Cloth diapers aren’t something you would want to  purchase for someone without knowing first if they’re open to using them. But most everyone will need at least one package of disposables, even if they will try cloth. So, buy a package from Seventh Generation, Earth’s Best (both chlorine-free and can be found at many popular chain baby stores).
  • Wipes – Seventh Generation and Tushies makes chlorine-free, unscented wipes that can be found at chain baby stores and health food stores.
  • Clothes – Babies go through tons of them. Buy some nice organic ones. Believe me, these will always be appreciated no matter how “green” or not the new mom is.
  • Crib sheets – they’ll most likely be on the list so give a few organic ones (these, too, can be found at many chain baby stores).
  • Burp cloths – these are often requested so just buy the organic ones.
  • Teethers and toys – there’s a lot to be said about a gentle toy without flashing lights and whistles. Why not a wood rattle or teether made by hand? Try this, this, this, or this.
  • Travel changing pad – Organic, made by hand, and adorable!
  • Books – Go to a used book store and look for one on making your own baby food. Or get “Itsabelly’s Guide To Going Green With Baby”. It can be found at Amazon and other stores.
  • Wrapping gifts – Instead of using traditional paper, use a reuseable bag. Believe me, diaper bags just aren’t enough sometimes!
  • In your note to the mom-to-be, jot down these two web sites that continue to be a great resource to me: www.thesoftlandingbaby.com and www.safemama.com.

You never know – these small changes could turn the new mom into a “Green Mama” in no time!



 

Snow, snow, go away… January 14, 2011

Filed under: children,recycling — Kirstin @ 4:08 pm
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This winter has been pretty brutal where I live. It’s been freezing cold since December 1st and we’ve had two snow storms so far – one took us days to dig out of. When your only sources of transportation (along with a stroller) are feet, subway and bus, that means there’s some afternoons stuck indoors. I’m always on the lookout for fun activities that will keep my 3 year old happy on blustery days and keeping it “green” is always a plus. After all, you can only bake so many muffins!

Here’s some things we’ve tried and plan on doing soon. Have any more great links to try out? Let me know!

Photo from Flickr by Helen207

Recycled Crayons

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade play dough and dye

Make your own play dough and make your own food based food coloring to brighten it up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Homemade butter

Homemade butter

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make your own paper houses

Make your own paper houses

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make your own simple doll clothes

Make your own simple doll clothes

 

 

Your Eco Friendly Gift Guide for Children December 9, 2010

Filed under: baby,children — Kirstin @ 3:16 pm

It’s that time of year again, when we all search high and low for gifts for our little ones, no matter what their age. With the economy as it is again this year, many people may be rethinking how much to spend for the holidays. It would be so simple to walk into “W Mart” and be done with your shopping but I’m going to ask you to reconsider if this is what you’re thinking of doing.

Instead of buying the popular large, plastic, musical toys this year, how about choosing gifts that will be just as fun, last for generations, and be safer for your children to play with? The key is going for quality, not quantity. Taking this route will also help teach your children to appreciate each individual toy, rather than an abundance.

Here are a few toy companies for you to consider this holiday season or try making your own!

Haba

Oompa Toys

Playstore Toys

Plan Toys

Green Toys

Under The Nile Toys

Etsy Organic

Want some specific “green toy” ideas? Check out lists from Safe Mama, Tree Hugger and Eco Child’s Play for some really great ones.

 

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving November 11, 2010

Filed under: Eco-Holidays — Kirstin @ 3:10 pm
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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It takes place during a time of year and I love it’s a day when most Americans celebrate together. Even though it’s been 18 years since I’ve dined on the main course of turkey, it hasn’t diminished my love for the holiday’s cuisine.

Do you plan on having a vegetarian guest this Thanksgiving? Interested in trying something new? You could always go with a Tofurky with vegetarian gravy, but here are some other worthy creations that would satisfy both meat eaters and vegetarians!

Roasted Acorn Squash with Wild Rice Stuffing

Four Cheese Lasagna

Butternut Squash Raviolo with Gorgonzola and Walnut Cream

Citrusy Root Vegetable Puree

Cauliflower with hazelnut Brown Butter

If you really want your vegetarian guest to be able to enjoy everything you offer this holiday, remember to watch for meat ingredients that sometimes are added to side dishes, such as meat or meat stock in stuffing or bacon on vegetables.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

 

Graco Recalls 2 Million Strollers October 20, 2010

Filed under: baby — Kirstin @ 3:33 pm
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Inhabitots is reporting today that Graco has recalled 2 million of its strollers due to issues with the trays of some of their strollers and possible strangulation due to them. There have been four deaths because of the trays and an investigation is being done to see if the trays have caused other deaths.

Please see a list of the specific Graco Strollers being recalled at Inhabitots and what you should do if you have one.

Graco MetroLite Stroller

 

Homemade Lip Balm and Moisturizer October 8, 2010

Filed under: baby,children,personal care products — Kirstin @ 3:03 pm
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I started educating myself on safer personal care products when I became pregnant with my daughter. When ever I needs something new, I check in with Skin Deep to find better alternatives to cosmetics, lotions and deodorants to the ones I have.

When it comes to the products I use directly on my daughter, though, I really do my best to find the safest products. I know I can’t put her in a bubble and protect her from every toxin out there, but for things I have direct control over, I do my best to choose the healthiest option.

With fall weather and winter cold just around the corner, moisturizer and lip balm are a must in the coming few weeks. Many moisturizers on the “safer” side still often contain chemicals that I just doesn’t feel comfortable putting on delicate skin. I had heard about others making their own lip balm but I thought it would be time consuming and difficult. Well, it’s neither!

There’s no “icky” stuff like chemicals in these gems below. The most time-consuming part is purchasing all the ingredients. With your first batch, you may ask if it’s worth it with each of the individual purchases, but when you then think about how many batches you’ll get from it all, you’ll change your mind. These make perfect gifts, by the way, and they’re a great project to work on with children who you want to steer in the direction of “safer” personal care products. Visit your local health food store — they should have everything you’ll need.

The following recipes have been taken from The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Organic Living by Eliza Sarasohan and Sonia Weiss. The book is fantastic and has recipes for your face, body,hair and more.

Use recycled small jelly jars for the lip balm or other glass or plastic containers (#5 is best since they can take the heat) from used personal care products. Just be sure to wash them well before using them. If you need to buy containers, check out this site.

The “Balm” (lip or cuticle cream)

1 Tablespoon beeswax
3 Tablespoons sweet almond oil
1 teaspoon honey
8 – 10 drops of essential oil

1) In a small saucepan, melt beeswax with sweet almond oil over low heat. When the wax is melted, remove from heat. Add honey and stir well. When the mixture begins to cool, but before it gets too thick, add essential oils a few drops at a time and stir to mix. Pour into small jars and let cool.

2) The glossiness of the lip balm is determined by how much oil you use. This recipe has a slight gloss. If less is desired, reduce the amount of sweet almond oil by 1 teaspoon.

Variations: If making lip balm, try combining a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil with orange, lemon or lime; if making cuticle cream, benzoin essential oil helps heal cracked cuticles and works well with one or more of the following: lavender, Roman chamomile, tea tree, neroli, palmarosa, sandalwood, jasmine.

Yields: 1/3 cup balm
Cook time: 10 minutes
Serving size: 1/4 teaspoon balm

Lube Ya (moisturizer for hands and body)

A very rich, very smooth lotion with a slight coconut scent (smells like chocolate!) that dry skin will eat right up. A good one for areas that take a beating and where skin can get especially dry, like knees and elbows.

1/2 cup grated coconut butter
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
4 Tablespoons sesame oil
2 Tablespoons avocado oil
2 Tablespoons grated beeswax

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and set in a pan filled with an inch or two of water (this is a bain-marie, or water bath). Melt over a medium heat, then pour into a glass jar. Stir and let cool.

Yields 1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons lotion.
Cook time: 15 minutes
Serving size: 1 Tablespoon lotion

 

 
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