Where can a mom find used Ergo baby carriers for sale? You can cruise Craigslist or Ebay to see what's available OR you can call 888-416-4888 weekdays between 8am and 4pm Hawaiian Standard Time to see what's currently for sale!
You see, I just learned about about a program where moms can buy gently used ERGO Baby carriers and SURPRISE; you can actually buy them from ERGObaby!
According to my contact at ERGObaby, the used Ergobaby carriers are in good to like-new condition and have been returned to the company for a variety of reasons and here is what I was told:
We always check, check and double-check the used carriers for safety, and never re-sell any carrier that shows signs of REAL wear-and-tear, only those requiring cosmetic alterations will be offered for sale.
Perhaps there is a small tear in the corner of the hood pocket that needs to be mended, a buckle needs to be replaced or maybe the mother-to-be got more than one baby carrier as a gift at her baby shower. At other times the color of the fabric may have faded a bit and the owner requested a replacement.
Your readers can find out more about our constantly changing inventory of Gently Used Ergo Baby carriers by calling us at 888-416-4888 weekdays between 8am and 4pm Hawaiian Standard Time. Our stock consists of all models, including our Organic carriers, Sport and Performance carriers and Standard carriers.
We also make donations of a significant number of baby carriers to local and international charities, to midwives, doulas, lending libraries, and organizations supporting babywearing and breastfeeding.
I was already a huge fan of ERGObaby and have been for years because of the quality of their products. But when I read about how the company is recycling used baby items in such a responsible and effective way they REALLY won me over. The discount prices of the carriers are usually between $75 and $105 and are available in a wide range of colors, Organic, Standard, Sport, and Performance designs. You can get more information by calling the number directly.
Oh, and before I forget; if you hurry and get your entry end before January 25, 2011 you might win a FREE Ergo baby carrier!
Where can a mom find used Ergo baby carriers for sale? You can cruise Craigslist or Ebay to see what's available OR you can call 888-416-4888 weekdays between 8am and 4pm Hawaiian Standard Time to see what's currently for sale!
Help me to build a list of 101 things to do with used wrapping paper. As I was wadding up a pile of tiny scraps it hit me that there had to be something cool that we can do with pieces of colorful, Christmas gift wrap that is over say two square inches or so?
- 1. Snip off the damaged areas or those that still have cellophane tape attached and either fold or wrap around a cardboard to use for wrapping gifts next year.
2. Recycle your used wrapping paper and use it to decorate leftover cardboard gift boxes and have them ready for next Christmas. Just pop gifts inside, tape the bottom to the top, add a bow and you're ready.
3. Layer in the blue several large pieces of paper together to make Christmas theme placemats for your holiday table.
4. Make a 60 Second Party Hat by centering a sheet of recycled gift wrapping paper over a ball or upside-down bucket. Press the paper around the upside-down bucket or top half of a small ball shaping the crown of the hat with your hands. Hold the paper in place while your helper wraps large pieces of packing tape around the paper to use as a hat band. When you are done, remove your hat from the form and decorate with silk flowers or even better, paper flowers that you made from even more used wrapping paper.
Awhile back I posted that my goal was to tell even the most reluctant consumer about stuff to recycle that won't take much of your time and effort. I admit that I haven't set the woods on fire but (patting myself on the back here) I have managed to post a few worthwhile tips for recycling stuff like our old tennis shoes and toys with links to organizations that accept these donations. And since lots of kids will be getting new athletic shoes and toys for Christmas, this information should help to keep the old ones from being tossed in the trash to be delivered to the local landfill.
Now, back to our list of 101 things to do with used wrapping paper. Most of us know many ways to use recycled Christmas cards in our crafts projects, but when I checked there aren't many tips on how to reuse old wrapping paper.
Have you found some wonderful way to use up a stash of old gift wrap? I really don't care if you recycle your wrapping paper by lining the cat litter box, to entertain the kids or to create paper mache Santa Claus figurines; please send me your ideas. If you hurry your tip will be the very first on my list of creative ways to recycle wrapping paper!
Vote for your favorite green t-shirts before tomorrow! If you stopped in looking for a mean, green St. Patrick's Day outfit, these t-shirts may not be your style. However, you are still invited to vote for your favorite to and have your say as to which of the shirts that you would like to see want to see Repower America supporters wear in 2011. They have narrowed the designs down to two choices.
While you are on their website, casting your vote, I would encourage you to sign up whether you are concerned about extreme climate changes, want to reduce your power bill or because you want to save the planet for future generations. It's crucial that all come together as soon as possible because the fossil fuel industry becoming bolder than ever and we must show that we are a united force that is standing strong for what is true and right.
WHAT IS TRUE?
The truth is actually very encouraging since the movement is going forward and already showing results. Electric utility companies and other corporations are reducing their emissions, we see more and more windmills and solar panels popping up from coast to coast and more auto shoppers are checking out the fuel-efficient vehicles over those big, ugly gas guzzlers.
Although momentum is building, there is a need for more supporters in order to get the message across loud and clear that we, the people, will not be denied a future with clean energy moving us forward.
GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS
Repower America is rolling out a new, GREEN T-shirt designed exclusively for Repower America members and they need our votes to help pick the best one.
Please visit HERE AND vote for your favorite design by Tuesday at midnight.
And remember the solution for environmental problems is in your hands. NOW GO VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE SHIRT!
You really need to learn how to recycle your shoes if you're sitting crosslegged on the bed looking at this blog on your laptop and when you're done you have to kick your old tennis shoes out of the way to get to the kitchen or the bathroom. There are better ways of recycling those old shoes than using them (in their current form) as a lumpy area rug on your bedroom floor.
SHOE RECYCLING PROGRAMS
A remote location is no excuse for harboring a closet full of athletic shoes, dress shoes, baby shoes or any other kind of shoes for that matter since there are recycling programs for shoes all over the planet; I counted 11 in the good old United States on one page and others Peru, the UK and even a couple in Peru and New South Wales..how cool is that? You can read up on each program's mission to see that your old skids will be given a new life according to your wishes.
SHOE DONATION CHARITIES
Organizations like Souls4Souls (www.soles4souls.org/), Up and Running [www.upandrunning.co.uk], Recycled Runners [www.recycledrunners.com.au], or Eco-Cycle [www.ecocycle.org] are all excellent places to donate those shoes...BUT...if you aren't close enough to one of the recycling programs to drop them off on your way to work, don't ship those shoes! To donate your shoes locally a better "green" way to go since your method of delivery may have a smaller carbon footprint since you can walk over to the neighborhood church and give your shoes to their clothes closet. Volunteers at the church will deliver them to needy children who will be tickled to get new (to them) shoes that fit and keep their feet warm and dry.
What did you say? Your church doesn't have such a program to provide clothes and/or shoes to the needy? Well, why don't you hike your butt down there and devise a plan of action to remedy that and have the honor of making the first donation? You not only learn how to recycle your shoes, but teach others the finer points of charity while you're at it!
CHOP SHOPS FOR SHOES
You know how old cars that land in salvage yards get stripped for their usable parts before being shipped to metal recycling facilities? You can now do the same thing with your old shoes since there are parts that can be recycled assuming that they are no longer any good whole, of course.
The rubber of their soles can actually be recycled into a variety of products, the most common being flooring in athletic facilities where concrete and tile floors wreak havoc on athletes. The best known of these programs is the Nike Reuse-a-Shoe program, based in Wilsonville, Oregon. The Nike Reuse a Shoe program takes the donated shoes and grinds them down to recycle the rubber into flooring for indoor basketball courts, running tracks and tennis courts. Here's how to recycle your shoes using Nike's shoe recycling program. Just take as many as 10 pairs of your old athletic shoes to your local Nike store or your local recycling center.
Now that you know how to recycle your shoes, I know that you will want to take things to the next level and maybe start your own group shoe drive. However, I just read that they are currently not accepting any shoe drive applications, but that could change any day so visit the Nike shoe recycling website to get the current status if this is something that you would like to do.
You know that antibiotics don't cure colds, right? Well, did you know there are natural ways to keep from catching a cold? It's true that the occasional virus might slip through all safety measures, but it's certainly within our power to reduce the number of times that we are laid low by the common cold. And no I'm not a doctor and if you are sick or need medical advice, you should probably call one. Now, onto my practical tips that (in my humble opinion) have helped me to keep myself and my family from getting sick so often.
HANDWASHING is perhaps the most important and well publicized means of avoiding illnesses of all kinds.
KEEP YOUR HANDS AWAY FROM YOUR FACE! My mom is a stickler about not touching our faces (nose, eyes, mouths) with our hands. She says that when she was a kid they actually had a place on their report cards where they were graded on keeping their hands away from their faces! Since this is a favorite way for germs and viruses to enter our bodies, we probably should start teaching this rule to school children again!
DRINK A HOT BEVERAGE! I read where it's a good idea to drink a cup of something like tea as hot as you can stand it at least once a day to clean out the cooties from the back of your throat. It makes sense to me, so my kids all get a cup of hot green tea a day.
GARGLE WITH SALT WATER Another way to keep those germs to the curb that lurk in the back of our throats is to gargle with very warm salt water.
SWAB OUT THOSE NOSTRILS! Soak a Q-tip with salt water and swab out your nostrils once a day.
SKIP THE SUGARY SNACKS AND YES...EVEN JUICE! Sugar is not good for the immune system. Even a glass of orange juice has a negative effect on its germ fighting capabilities. Cold and flu season is especially not a good time to load up on cookies, candy and other bad carbohydrates for this reason.
VITAMINS Eat vitamin packed meals to give your body the weapons it needs to fight its way to good health should one of the nasty viruses break through our line of defense. If you don't get out in the sun, pay special attention that you are getting enough Vitamin D.
Those are my favorite, natural ways to keep from catching a cold. If I skipped any, would you please be so kind as to drop a comment and tell me your favorite ways to avoid catching a cold or flu?
While the turkey's in the oven I wanted to tell you how to make green bean bundles the quick and EASY way! My husband and kids like this dish so much better than my green bean casserole that has cream of mushroom soup and Durkee's onions on top and say it's the best Christmas and Thanksgiving recipe ever...other than the cakes, pies, candy and other sweets, of course!
2 cans of whole green beans (NOT STORE BRAND! IN MY EXPERIENCE, THE STORE BRAND HAS TOO MANY SHORT BEANS WHICH MAKES THEM VERY DIFFICULT TO BUNDLE)
1 pound of cheap but still good tasting bacon (TOP QUALITY BACON IS TOO THICK AND INFLEXIBLE MAKING IT DIFFICULT TO WRAP THE GREEN BEAN BUNDLES)
1/2 cup of chopped onion (optional)
3/4 cup of your favorite Italian salad dressing
INSTRUCTIONS - HOW TO MAKE GREEN BEAN BUNDLES THE QUICK AND EASY WAY!
Open both cans of beans, drain them, pour them into a bowl and set aside.
Remove the bacon from the package as a solid block. DO NOT SEPARATE THE PIECES YET! Cut the rectangle of bacon slices in half making each slice now about 4 or 5 inches long.
NOW..peel off one slice of bacon and lie it across the cupped, palm of your hand. Pick up a wad of green beans from the bowl (that makes a bundle about 1 1/2 inches across) and lie it across the slice of bacon in the palm of your hand.
Quickly pull one end of the slice of bacon over the top of the beans diagonally tucking the end underneath the green beans and then repeat with the other end of the slice of bacon thus forming the VOILA!!! bundle of green beans. Carefully place the bundle in a shallow, oven safe baking dish about 8X11 inches or thereabouts. You should put them in a dish that's attractive enough to put on the table is preferred since you won't want to be transferring the bundles from one dish to another after they are baked.
After you are done, drizzle the bundles with salad dressing taking care that the beans are seasoned. I like to make this a day ahead so that the beans and bacon marinate in the salad dressing but it is not essential.
Bake the dish of green bean bundles, uncovered, in an oven that has been preheated to 350° F for 10-15 minutes or until you can see things start to bubble a little and then turn on the broiler and broil them 4 or 5 inches from the heat for a couple of minutes or until bacon looks browned. Do NOT walk away from the oven during this step or you may be serving blackened beans and take it from me that nobody's going to buy your story that you were experimenting with the Cajun version.
That's my quick recipe for this dish. If I have time later, I'll write some instructions on how to make green bean bundles using fresh green beans rather than canned beans. If I don't get around to it, please don't sweat it because the only benefit to using fresh beans is that you can trim them in uniform lengths which I have to admit does make a lovely presentation. But when time is of the essence, this recipe works just fine and I have NEVER had anyone complain.
One of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes is a Sweet Potatoes and Peaches casserole that I adapted from a Southern Living recipe that was clipped from the magazine way back in 1979.
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons of room temperature butter or oLeo
2 pounds of either softened or canned sweet potatoes (yams) drained
1 16 ounce can of sliced peaches drained
1 1/2 cups of miniature marshmallows
In a medium-size bowl combine the brown sugar, all-purpose flour and nutmeg. With a pastry cutter cut in your softened margarine or butter until the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Stir in the pecans and set aside.
In a 1 1/2 quart casserole dish arrange the sweet potatoes and peaches in a single layer alternating them in for the best presentation. After the sweet potatoes and peaches are in place, sprinkle them with the flour and sugar mix.
Bake covered with foil or a lid at 350° for 30 to 35 minutes or until slightly bubbly but do not allow to boil dry. Remove the casserole from the oven and sprinkle the peaches and yams with marshmallows. Return the dish uncovered to broil until the marshmallows are light brown.
This is an easy recipe that even beginner can manage unlike the candied sweet potato recipe and my southern sweet potato pie recipe that I shared earlier.
The biggest drawback to this sweet potato recipe is that I don't keep all of the ingredients on hand all the time especially not the nuts because of my girls' allergies.
So, if I don't plan ahead to buy pecans, marshmallows, brown sugar, and canned peaches and make sure that I add them to my grocery list ahead of time, this casserole just gets skipped. And what a shame that is, because the sweet potato peach casserole really adds a lot to any holiday menu. It looks good and even though old-fashioned, southern recipes that are covered in browned, melted marshmallows are made fun and the butt of many a joke; this sweet potato and peaches recipe is downright delicious!
This candied sweet potato recipe is one of the best I've ever put in my mouth! Being a southerner from birth and having had the pleasure of eating some of the finest southern recipes and soul food produced by some of the finest southern cooks who ever fired up a stove; I feel that my opinion should stand for something. This is an easy recipe with the most time consuming part of the preparation being the peeling and cutting of the sweet potatoes into thick slices.
MY GRANDMOTHER'S SOUTHERN CANDIED SWEET POTATO RECIPE
one(1) 12 inch cast iron skillet full of peeled sweet potato cut into slices about 1 inch thick (about 3 or 4 medium sweet potatoes should do it)
1 1/2 cups of granulated sugar
1/4 cup of Blackburn syrup, dark Caro syrup or the pancake syrup of your choice
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
Combine the granulated sugar, the syrup and the oil and pour over the sliced sweet potatoes that you have layered in a well seasoned iron skillet. There should be enough liquid to eventually cover the potatoes after they "cook down" a little.
Cover the skillet with a tight fitting lid and cook over low to low medium heat until the potatoes are tender. Check from time to time to be sure that the liquid is simmering and not bubbling at a full boil.
I apologize for not having more detailed instructions for this Candied Sweet Potato recipe but that's all I have at the moment. This is an OLD southern recipe that I just transcribed off of a piece of cardboard cereal box that was in my great-grandmother's recipe box...I suppose it would be more accurate to say I got it out of her recipe can since she kept all of her recipes inside an old blue and white lard can. This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving recipes even though my grandmother says that the candied sweet potato recipe was more for an everyday meal than a special holiday recipe like her famous sweet potato pie recipe.
That being said, there are many more old southern recipes to come since I've just skimmed the surface of all the handwritten "receipts" that are in the can. Everyday or not, I plan for candied sweet potatoes to be part of my Thanksgiving menu. After making it myself, I should be able to give better instructions after the holidays which should eliminate some of the guesswork making it more suitable for beginners.
I prefer to use brown rice in the following sweet potato rice pudding recipe because that's all that I ever cook. However, if I found myself with some white rice leftover for one reason or another I would not hesitate to use it as a substitute even though it's less healthy than brown.
The same goes for using pumpkin rather than sweet potato puree. I'm a big fan of pumpkin bread, but sweet potato puree works better with this recipe PLUS I seem to always have enough homemade sweet potato puree in the refrigerator especially around the holidays. This is one of my favorite healthy holiday dessert recipes because it not only tastes and looks amazing but the cinnamon in it makes the house smell like Christmas! Oh...and it's EASY TO MAKE!
SWEET POTATO RICE PUDDING RECIPE
2 Cups cooked brown rice (warm is better so nuke your leftovers a second or two)
3 Cups 2% or less evaporated milk (plain 2% milks works but it's not as creamy)
1 Cup of Pumpkin or Sweet Potato Puree
3/4 Cup Honey
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all dry ingredients including salt if nobody at your house is on a low-sodium diet. Stir milk, honey and dry ingredients into the sweet potato or pumpkin puree brown rice mixing well. Bake in an oven set at 375 degrees for approximately 45 minutes or until bubbly. Remove from the oven, stir well and then refrigerate for at least 8 hours before serving. Stay tuned for more healthy holiday recipes including some traditional favorites with a fresh, new spin!
With winter coming on and lots of wool jackets that need attention, finding safe dry cleaning methods for those sweaters and coats should be the goal of every green minded individual. Are home dry cleaning kits the answer? Or would it be just be better to buy clothing and fabrics that are washable using only biodegradable soap and water?
DOES DRY CLEANING CAUSE CANCER?
A few years back there seemed to be an epidemic of cancer among professional women in my town. Everyone pondered on what might have caused all of these ladies of a similar age to be suffering from this disease. While looking for connections and lifestyle or history, the one thing that popped out was that they all frequently wore business suits that of course had to make visits to the neighborhood dry cleaning service. How could they have known that by taking steps to keep their wardrobe looking good that they would be putting their health at risk? Of course, it never was and never will be proven that their cancers were caused by wearing clothes doused in dry cleaning solvents but I'm entitled to my opinion, right?
Shortly after this time, I can remember reading articles that warned people to let their clothes “air” all while before wearing them. The objective was to allow any remaining fumes from the dry cleaning solvent to dissipate to prevent overexposure. The solvent to which I am referring is called perchloroethylene (or perc for short) which has been linked to various health and environmental problems.
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS GREEN DRY CLEANING?
How can busy professional people keep their fine fabrics and woolens looking clean and fresh without poisoning the environment as well as their own bodies? The first step would be to buy clothing that would allow you to exclusively use wet cleaning methods that combines biodegradable soap and water or liquid CO2 which is a non-toxic reusable form of carbon dioxide since these are the only methods that are approved by the Environmental Protection Agency as environmentally friendly alternatives to perc.
DRY CLEANING MYTHS
My family lived within a stone's throw of a neighborhood dry cleaning service when I was growing up. Long before safe dry cleaning was an issue, I can remember watching people who I considered to be very lucky to be able to afford to have their clothing professionally dry cleaned leaving with their nicely pressed clothes covered in plastic bags stamped with the dry cleaners logo. I can also remember thinking that the biggest danger from dry cleaning was suffocating from accidentally finding yourself with one of those plastic bags over your head! In fact, the warning was actually printed on the plastic bags if I remember correctly. Strangely enough, I can’t recall there being any warning printed on the plastic bags that that the clothes had been drenched in toxic chemicals. Go figure.
It's only the first of November and already I'm seeing the need for a green oven cleaner recipe! After doing a few test runs of recipes that I want to spring on the family at Thanksgiving, there are a few boil overs already beginning to cake the bottom of my oven. And to be totally honest, there were already some caked on, baked on spots on the wire racks that I hoped nobody would notice.
But with the holidays coming up, there will be people taking a peek at what's cooking and now is the time to clean up my act and make like things are ALWAYS sparkling clean around here even when you and I know the truth.
Starting early on my holiday kitchen cleaning has its advantages; for one thing my homemade green oven cleaner is CHEAP! But it may take a little more time to work than some of the commercial oven cleaning products that you can buy. That may or may not be the case as I have never felt the need to explore other options but your grime may be different (read: more stubborn and hard to remove) than mine.
You can have faith that the recipe I'm about to give you has been tested by the best. It's a genuine bonafide Martha Stewart recipe with two (count them TWO!) common household ingrediants, baking soda and water, and that's what makes it one of the best green household cleaners EVER! It's non-toxic, CHEAP and HECK YEAH...IT WORKS LIKE A CHARM!
THE GREEN OVEN CLEANER RECIPE
All you have to do is measure out about a cup of baking soda and add a couple tablespoons of water at a time until you have a thick, spreadable paste.
CLEANING THE OVEN
Smear it on the inside surfaces of your oven taking care not to get it on the electric coils, the gas jets or to plug vent holes.
To keep the paste from drying out, you might consider covering it with some of those plastic shopping bags that you need to recycle. After you're satisified that all the gunk is covered in your homemade oven cleaning paste, let it sit overnight.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR OVEN RACKS
You can spot treat your metal racks if they only have a few spots here and there. For a full treatment it's best to remove them from the oven. I arrange mine on old sheets on the back patio, cover them in my non-toxic, green oven cleaner and let them sit over night. The next day I go over them with a cloth, hit the hard spots with a scrubby or steel wool and voila!! Sparkling, clean oven racks!
Sometime the next day, you can use an old credit card or a plastic spatula to remove the paste. WHATEVER YOU DO don't forget and stumble in the kitchen the next morning and preheat the oven to make cheese toast or bake biscuits. Take it from me that this is not a good plan and I know of what I speak.
TIP: This green oven cleaner works great but even though it's non-toxic and environmentally friendly...using it is still WORK! Martha Stewart says (and Lord knows she has some great ideas) that after we get it clean that we should line the bottom of the oven with foil to catch future boil overs. You are not supposed to line the oven racks because it will have a negative effect on the oven's heating process, but lining the bottom helps a lot!
If you try this homemade green oven cleaner and come up with any tips that we should know about, please drop a comment to give the rest of us a heads' up!
There are so many recycled items popping up and recycled baby stuff like cardboard baby high chairs and eco-friendly cribs are certainly a step in the right direction. But it's important that in the rush to buy and use more products that are earth friendly we often overlook the less flashy, everyday stuff that we can recycle.
To be sure, it's always wise to do your research on what items are worth the time it takes to recycle them. Some things, in today's environment are just not cost effective no matter how dedicated we are to keeping piles of trash out of our landfills and reducing our footprint.
If you read my last post, you know that large families are under attack. I thought that I would start compiling a list of stuff to recycle associated with raising children so that parents with more than a few babies can do their part to be green and be more environmentally friendly. Some of the baby products on the list are pretty obvious but keep reading because there may be a few items that you haven't thought of recycling.
For instance, have you thought about recycling or do you use:
recycled baby clothes
- recycled baby shower invitations, announcements and thank you cards
- recycled baby diaper bags
- cribs and nursery furniture
- baby food jars
- cloth baby diapers
It might take a little more effort to load your baby's bed and dresser up and deliver it to the Goodwill Store or anywhere new parents with few resources go to find free baby stuff rather than taking it to the dump. And it might take a few minutes more to rip those frayed cloth diapers into cleaning cloths than it would have to just toss them in the garbage. But when you think of using or passing forward recycled baby stuff as giving our kids the gift of a cleaner less cluttered world, it seems to make the time pass quicker and the work to be lighter.
People! Listen to me! Embalming is an environmental problem! Nobody wants to think about what happens to our bodies after death. I really get that. But if you really want to get creeped out, think about those harmful chemicals leaching into your water. That's right, dear friends...if you want to gag, read the article "Drinking Grandma and yes, the facts in the article are exactly as disgusting as you might imagine.
I'm on this rant because I went with a friend today to make arrangements for her grandmother today and that poor funeral director probably is praying right now that I won't be at the funeral for fear that I'll get up on my soap box against embalming. He tried to impress me (read: shut me up) by telling me that embalming fluids of today are a big improvement over the old arsenic based embalming fluids that were used until the early 1900s when they were eliminated not only because of harmful health effects (Knoefes & McGee, 2002) but because of their interference in investigations of cases where arsenic poisoning was suspected (Iserson, 1994). We probably overcame all the benefits of that decision by turning to the use of treated wood but that's another issue.
Just to prove that ALL embalming is an environmental problem, studies performed in
New York and Iowa found elevated levels of arsenic in the groundwater "downstream" of late-19th-century cemeteries. These same studies indicated that there were elevated levels of copper, zinc, and lead elements associated with the materials used to make caskets back in the day (Knoefes & McGee, 2002).
Despite these well-documented findings, embalming just to have delayed and open-casket funerals continues to be commonplace in America. The rather poor excuse that the funeral director (that I was browbeating according to my friend) cited for this practice is that in this day of longevity people don't come in contact with death in the same way as in the pre-embalming days when the women of the house were responsible for "laying out" the deceased and people would rather that our dead loved ones be more attractive so that our last memories of them would not be tainted with the harsh realities of death. To that, I say HOGWASH!
If you want to talk harsh realities, talk about embalming fluids in your drinking water and then get back to me on wanting people to look good after they pass on to the great beyond.
WHAT'S IN EMBALMING FLUID
Embalming is an environmental problem because the primary ingredient in most modern embalming fluids is formaldehyde and findings suggest that formaldehyde is harmful to public health and probably not a good thing to be pouring into our environment. Here's some math on how much of this toxic stuff we are dosing the earth with.
The average adult embalming requires roughly 3.5 gallons (Cook, 1999) and estimates from the National Funeral Director's Association are that two million Americans are embalmed each year. Ok, boys and girls that adds up to roughly seven million gallons of formaldehyde being deliberately placed in the soil each year.
Oh, and that's not the end of it; there are at least 42 other federally regulated "dangerous chemicals that are commonly used in embalming and body preparation (Iserson, 1994 all of which end up in the ground or being burned in a crematorium. AND, nobody knows how long it takes for formaldehyde to degrade or what damage it does in the meantime (Cook, 1999).
Now, you tell me if embalming is an environment problem or not.
I'll be the first one to say that it's hard to be selfish with a houseful of kids. But..is having kids selfish when considering the "human impact" of climate change? There are those who think that each family should have no more than one child because having children is an environmental problem.
John Guillebaud of the Optimum Population Trust based in London has indicated that he believes that parents that are having lots of kids are guilty of committing "eco-crimes" and is quoted as saying something to the effect that having one less child far exceeds any benefits gained from repeatedly turning off electric lights and other such energy saving efforts. Apparently each baby that is born is the equivalent of one airline flight after the other criss-crossing the planet. This made me wonder who did this reseach and came up with this rather vague comparison but I got the point.
Even Planned Parenthood appears to be on board and is plastering signs all over the place with the message, "The fewer the merrier."
As for me, I'm in the boat with Al Gore who also has three kids over the recommended number. He's taking a little bit of heat from the press who is accusing him of not practicing what he preaches and sending the message: Do as I say, not as I breed.
In his and Tipper's defense, they had their family long before global warming became an issue. But now that whopping, huge house they had....well, if I ever see him in person I will be asking him about that before I ask him whether or not it is selfish to have children. So, what do you think? Is having kids selfish? Does having more than one child make those of us who talk about living green hypocrites?
Is green parenting obsessive parenting in disguise? I hardly think so but there must be a virus of hate going around, because I've gotten some really snarky comments on a few of my posts that I made awhile back that indicated that I was being over protective and was obsessed with my daughter's illnesses and allergies. WTH?
I've heard instances where parents were attacked and criticized about the choices they made regarding breastfeeding in public, vaccinations, green living practices and yeah...even recycling! One has to believe that education is the answer to such biased thinking and ignorance but yet here we are in 2010 and getting bashed for believing the data that proves beyond a doubt that global warming is real, reports that there are islands of garbage floating in the ocean that exceed the size of some states and that the effects of the major environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico will take decades to overcome.
How anyone can find the time to bash the gay community and harass parents over trying to make a better world for their kids is mind boggling since there are so many bigger issues to get huffy about. Maybe haters are looking for easy targets and the big corporations are out of reach?
For the record:
I have had to wrestle with whether or not to vaccinate my daughters because, autism aside, they have severe egg allergies..so shoot me.
My husband and I co-sleep with our babies. Yes, it's hard to know when and how to stop co-sleeping but I wouldn't trade those nights snuggled with my infants in my arms knowing that they were safe and well for anything.
I breastfed each of my girls as long as I possibly could but there were times when I supplemented with store bought formula when I had to. It hurt at the time, but a mom does what she has to do.
I believe that organic foods are better for all of us and don't like plastic coming in contact with my food but when push came to shove I have been known to pop a frozen dinner in the microwave.
I have used both cloth and disposable diapers. I prefer organic cotton cloth diapering but there have been times when it was just easier to use disposables and I succumbed to temptation.
Do my choices make it sound like I'm an obsessed parent? When is green parenting obsessive parenting? When there is no flexibility and you sacrifice the peace and functionality of the family for the sake of sticking to a cause at all costs. That ain't me.
I'm really excited about finding and buying a couple of the cardboard baby high chairs I've been reading about! Nope, I'm not trying to sell the things and NOPE again, the cardboard cribs that were all the rage about a year ago didn't strike me as something to get all up in the air about. In fact, (other than they were made from recycled cardboard which is a better option than buying NEW nursery furniture for sure) they left me yawning because HO HUM we co-sleep with our babies.
But now, I can get behind reusable, portable baby high chair big time! I'll tell you a little bit about one that I'm thinking of buying in a minute. First, I want to tell you why a high chair made of cardboard is blowing my hair back much more than a cardboard crib other than the reason I listed earlier...oh, and no this is NOT a review in case the FTC wants to know. I've never used either product and would, in fact, like to hear from any of you who have opinions on the Belkiz Feedaway if you have experience or alternatives if you know of one that is better or cheap.
How many of you have taken your babies out to eat and ask for a high chair only to have a nasty, sticky wooden baby high chair delivered to your table? Not to mention that the safety harness was either missing, damaged or tied in knots? Well, this has happened to me often enough that I'm considering carrying my own high chairs (I have more than one baby) when we go out.
What do you think about this plan? Is it worth it to carry our own cardboard baby high chairs with us when we go out to eat to avoid using those less than clean ones in the restaurant? Or would you just rather stay home, use your own high chair and eat a hot dog because flat pack or not...it's just too much trouble?
I'm all for going green, baby, but there are times when doing without an item completely is preferable to dealing with the hassle if you know what I mean.
Are ghosts real or not? Spooks and hauntings are a very popular subject in the South where I live. It seems that everybody I know has a favorite ghost story that they love to tell that will literally make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Listening to these ghost stories is particularly horrifying because this isn't one of those ghost hunters on television that's paid to dig up stories; these tales are being told by people that were raised to tell the truth just like you and me not dumb, toothless rednecks that believe they saw Sasquatch the last time they had too much to drink.
When you are sitting on the porch in the gloaming of a crisp fall evening listening to somebody you've know all your life tell a story with their grandmother by their side corroborating the details, let me tell you that it’s easy to accept that ghosts are real...very real! To tell the truth, I have even had two or three experiences that were rather shocking. I can’t say that a spirit was responsible for the inexplicable events. But since the occurrences took place in a house where there had been several suicides and tragic deaths I just had to wonder why had never experienced anything like it anywhere else. These were not willo-the-wisps that I ran up on and if only I had had a camera! No, I was not drinking and I have conscientiously refrained from saying that the house was haunted for fear of being labeled as a kook!
How do I know that what I saw (and heard) were not natural like will-o'-the-wisps? Because I am very familiar with those spooky little flares of light that will make you want to run and stick your head under the covers even though you are well aware that they are a natural phenomenon. My granddaddy's farm had a swampy area just south of the barn and many nights when we were late milking the cows I had more than a few sightings of will-o-the-wisps on winter nights that were blacker than a city dweller can even imagine.
The nights in this part of the country are so black that you can stand with your eyes open and imagine that what you are feeling is what it’s like to be blind and when you see the flickering lights produced by decaying organic matter bouncing in and out between the cypress trees, you don’t forget what it looks like. Even when you know what they are, when the adult standing there with you says something to the tune of, "There goes the "corpse candles"." Who could blame a little girl for being scared out of her wits; scientific explanations be hanged!
For what it’s worth, they look nothing like bouncing orbs that are said to be lingering spirits that are filmed by ghost hunters on television.
So, I look forward to hearing your opinions...are ghosts real or not? Do you have a good ghost story to tell? I do, but you are going to have to wait until later to hear it. Right now, my girls' lunch takes priority over ghost stories.
Any list offering tips for green home cleaning solutions should involve more than recipes for green household cleaners. Not that chemical free toilet cleaners are not a step in the right direction but those of you still using paper products should be aware that paper products (paper towels, facial tissues, etc) made up 20.7 % of the municipal waste discarded in 2008. Yep, that year it was reported that there was 6,550,000 tons of paper and paperboard waste.
I got curious as to how much my own home was contributing to this problem so I decided to conduct an experiment (being as experiments are so cool and I needed something to write about in the worst way). What I did was direct hubby and the older girls to throw every facial tissue and paper towel into a special trash bin. They were so enthusiastic about being asked to participate that they actually asked if there was going to be a waste can next to the toilet! I thought about it and had to admit that collecting toilet paper would have given more accurate results but dismissed the thought as a little too gross.
Before the day was out my trash can was overflowing with wet wipes and tissues used to wipe runny noses much less paper towels that I used to clean the glass, kitchen and bathroom surfaces!
Wow, this really made me aware that I needed to bone up on my all around green home cleaning solutions and not just how to clean a toilet without toxic chemicals and this is the plan that I came up with.
- toss the mop that has disposable mop heads and shop for one with a washable cover
- stop using paper towels and invest in low lint microfiber cleaning cloths
- stop using disposable scrub pads and buy scrubbing stones (that would probably be the only thing that will tackle those pesky toilet bowl rings anyway)
The results that I expect to see should come in the way of less money spent on disposables and a much emptier can on trash pickup day.
The unexpected amount of paper that I collected in such a short time was a reminder that even though I've made great strides toward making a green home for my family, there is much work to be done and that going green is an ongoing process.
I promised you all some unusual stuff to recycle well how about recycling your kids Halloween Trick or Treat Bag? My oldest daughter has a cute stuffed pumpkin that my sister carried from house to house on Halloween when we were kids. My sister's only complaint was that she had to loop back to our house more often than she wanted to empty the pumpkin so she could go out and get more candy. Since my little girl is incapable of carrying large amounts (read: pounds) of candy it works just fine for her. This treat bag has been recycled more years than my dear sister would appreciate me typing in this article.
If your kids are older and capable of carrying as much as 25 pounds of loot at a pop might be interested in the earth friendly, reusable Chicobag that claims it can handle just that amount of candy. Some helpful person did the math and they concluded that that translates into as many as 781 snack sized KitKat Bars.
This green bag company has teamed up with the nonprofit organization, greenhalloween.org,, for its annual trick or treat bag contest.
Children age 13 and under can e-mail their own eco-friendly designs to Halloween "at" chicobag.com before November 5th for a chance to win. The winning design will be featured on next year's carrier's.
For more information on the contest or to buy this year's design please visit the website that inspired me to recommend recycling your kids Halloween trick or treat bag in the first place,chicobag.com. Who know that finding stuff to recycle would extend to finding recycling tips to include one of my favorite times of year, Trick-Or-Treat!
Who knew we had to actually tell people not to drive under the influence of drugs, alcohol and cell phones? Why should there have to be laws telling people that they can't drive down the highway at 70 plus MPH texting? You would think that common sense would kick in on the nineth or tenth time they hit the soft shoulder, wouldn't you?
You have no idea how difficult it is for me to type without using every four letter word known to man because I just attended the funeral of the second friend that has died with texting as a cause of death. At the visitation someone made mention that he should have known better than to be paying more attention to sending messages than watching the road. Do you want to know what the trophy winning response was? "Well, there is no law against it in our state".
What the HELL!!! Do you really need to be told that you are going to be fined unless you act like you have good sense? Since when do we need Oprah to tell us to turn our car into a no cell phone zone before we put the damn phone down and drive!
Leave it to us to make a device that should be a lifesaver in emergencies into a killer ranked right up there with driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
I was talking to my neighbor today and she said she never had stuff to recycle. I said, and I quote "WHAT"??? Not wanting to get on the bad side of my next door neighbor, but I bet her a ($100) that I could go through her garbage can and come up with a huge pile of recyclable garbage.
She didn't jump at my offer and whether or not she has a dead body in her dumpster that she needs to hide is between her and the law but it did prompt me to start making a list of stuff to recycle in case she happens by my blog.
Who doesn't get more than enough junk mail? I get stacks upons stacks of the stuff and even though I try to go through the proper channels to get my name taken off of lists. The special papers from local stores and the like still get put under my mulch to block weeds so nothing goes to waste.
Other items that we toss before thinking things through (that I'll bet you were hiding in your garbage can...you know who you are) are blown out flipflops, old VHS video tapes, prescription bottles and styrofoam shipping peanuts.
Here's more stuff on my list to recycle:
JEANS: If they are so threadbare they show my buttocks, I cut squares to use in crafts projects and then recycle the rest.
And there's more! You can recycle everything from your shredded bank statements to your old car tires. Even your old sheets and shower curtains can be given a second shot at usefulness if you are creative, resourceful and will allow somebody to advise you as to how best reduce the amount of household garbage that you throw into the landfills!
Here's a list of stuff to recycle that has 50 items that those who are not up to snuff on green living practices might toss in the garbage.
I have been experimenting with various remedies looking for natural mosquito bite relief. Where we live, the skeeters are so big we laugh about them. Only they are not funny at all when they bite and leave big, ugly swollen bumps on my little girls.
For those of you just surfing through, my daughter has MRSA and the sight of a red bump on her skin can mean something very serious and be a prediction of misery to come. Actually I'm usually relieved to ascertain that the irritation is just another bug bite rather than an indicator of a serious (and very dangerous) infection even though one can quickly lead to another if we're not careful.
I like to use natural remedies whenever I can so I am trying out this recipe for natural mosquito bite relief and if you haven't already got this tip in your handy little tool kit, here's the easy recipe:
All you have to do is take some oatmeal water and mix with plain yogurt
WHAT IS OATMEAL WATER
Yeah, I'd never heard this term either but what you do is wrap some oatmeal (plain, not the instant, sweetened kind) in a square of cheesecloth or clean muslin (I used a piece of old cotton sheet) and run cold water through it enough to get it good and soaked. Take the sopping wet package and squeeze the water out over a glass jar (you might use a plastic container, but I'm personally avoiding plastics these days) saving the liquid. Voila...you have oatmeal water.
Put your jar of oatmeal water in the refrigerator to keep it cold and ready to mix up with some yogurt and plaster on your mosquito bites to alleviate itching and inflammation.
This is not only a recipe for natural mosquito bite relief but a good remedy that you can make yourself to soothe sunburns. Natural remedies may not give results as fast, but many times they work just as well and (in my humble opinion) are better than treating mosquito bites by dousing ourselves in alcohol and hydrocortisone creams. PLUS, if your kids happen to lick the bite (hey...can you really say this won't happen?) it's chemical free, non toxic and the worst case scenario is that it doesn't taste good.
Other suggestions that I've read for natural mosquito bite relief are to apply
- Slices of lime
- Apple cider vinegar
- Salt water
- A taste of Epsom salts and water
- Meat tenderizer
I haven't tried any of these natural mosquito bite treatments and have no idea if they will actually eliminate the swelling and itching or even if they are safe. One of the more outrageous treatments I saw was to cover mosquito bites in PINESOL which may or may not work, but the mere mention of this is virtually guaranteed to give those of us searching for natural remedies the heebie-jeebies!
Yeah, I know green roofing materials is not usually mom's domain. But when the roof is leaking whoever is available to stop the leak is the man (or woman) for the job around my house.
We had a little bit of a storm that tore our old shingles to the point of no return which made me start research green roofing options. Since our old roof is shot, looks like we will be working on our green home from the roof down rather than from the ground up, so bear with me.
When I questioned our roofing guy about earth friendly roofing materials, his reply was that his company does not plant gardens on roofs of houses and even if he did, our home would not support such a system. Well, ok, there went option number 1.
He went on to ask why would anybody in their right mind consider turning their roof into a lawn.
Well, Mr. Roofer Guy, here are a few reasons that plants should have a place on every available roof whenever possible.
1. Plants can provide insulation for the house. While retaining warmth inside of the house the environment stays cooler.
2. Plants soak up toxins like carbon dioxide and provide oxygen.
3. These green roofing materials effectively reduce noise pollution by creating a muffler or sound barrier.
4. A garden on the roof can provide fresh salads greens, fruits and vegetables. Gardening in the city can't exactly take place in the concrete of the sidewalk, now can it?
5. Plants are a feast for the eyes and a salve for the soul. Yeah, I know this isn't about reducing oil based roofing but you have to wonder if stressed out folks might benefit from a trip to their roof garden after a long day.
My mission to use green roofing materials for my house is not going to be anything fancy or fun that involves gardening. Light colored metal roofing is looking like the best (most affordable) choice for me in my current location.
But you can bet if I ever build another house, my roof is going to be more than just a moisture barrier; I'm going to tackle major environmental issues by gardening in the clouds!
Tackling major environmental issues is beyond most of us and probably best left to the professionals which we should watch like hawks BTW. Jumping into fix oil spills and chemical leaks is certainly beyond the scope of my expertise (and my bank account). But I believe that we can take steps to conquer the areas that are under our control... and a great place to start is our own homes!
What I plan to do is do is post a series of ideas on easy ways to green your home and make it more environmentally friendly AND if you or your kids suffer from allergies (like my girls) I believe that we will see an improvement in those telltale runny noses and red, itchy eyes that tug on our heartstrings.
Just so you know, I'm going to be working right along with you. My plan is to not only provide tips for greening YOUR home but I'm going to be making improvements on mine. The first order of business is going to be the bedroom and then move on to other areas of the house.
Since my baby was born with so many allergies and breathing problems I've made the switch to green cleaning products and pesticides. But after reading how many ounces of dustmites can hide in pillows and bedding (not a major environmental issue but important to me especially when it affects my family's breathing) I have to believe that things need to be taken a step (or three or four) further.
I want to make every room in my home clean and green from the kitchen to the laundry room and everything in between. Forget spring cleaning, winter is when the house is airtight and we have no choice but to get one on one with allergens.
So, we are going to explore greening each room of the home, step by step. We may not be able to afford expensive stuff like installing solar panels but the little things that we do add up. Come back tomorrow (and every day after, pretty please?) to see my daily (if all goes well) tips for greening your home.
I'm not going to tackle the heavy lifting, just give some information on how to make
choices that, if we all participate, will not only have a positive environmental impact but help our kids not suffer from bedding allergies and the like.
As I walk you (and me) through the tips for greening your home I hope that we will learn together how to make decisions that used in conjunction with energy saving and recycling practices will leave a better world for our children.
Remember that our goals are to:
- Recycle to limit waste
- Save energy
- Protect and preserve our natural resources
- Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals and pesticides
- Reduce allergens (This may or may not have something to do with major environmental issues but it's a personal goal worth exploring with you since so many of you also have babies with extreme allergies)
We recently visited the coast and was amazed at the many locals' unwillingness to pass blame for the Gulf Coast BP oil spill. I found this very surprising because that's pretty much the focus of the talking heads on the news shows that I've watched. Basically, they have been shouting about who did or didn't do this or that blaming everybody from President Obama right on down to the original contractors who built the well.
Speaking of the Prez, while we were down there I got to get a look at the Presidential motorcade via my review mirror! Out of respect, we pulled over and let them pass while thoughts were flying through my mind like "What would I do if they stopped to talk to me in order to get opinions from visitors to the area", etc. I would have loved to have been able to tell my grandchildren that I had the honor of speaking to the President of the United States, but there you go...it didn't happen.
Getting back to the BP oil spill on the Gulf Coast, well, I chatted up as many people as would talk to me including people who live in the area to workers who were scooping up the tar balls.
The main concern of the workers (at the moment) was that they weren't keeping up. It was obvious that the amount of goop coming in was increasing and the residents are living in dread of the economic devastation and in fear of a hurricane. Visitors who have historically taken vacations in the area feel they are saying farewell to those wonderful oysters and shrimp and wondering if this will ever be considered the vacation spot that it was in its prime ever again.
As far as who is to blame for the Gulf Coast BP Oil spill, the locals don't say much about that. They don't want to think about the past, they just want the oil spewing geyser in the ocean to STOP! Maybe they are like me and know that big oil shouldn't shoulder all the blame, we have to raise our own hands and admit that our greedy consumption of oil and lack of concern for the environment has made us the guilty party.
On this trip, I bid the coast of my childhood a fond farewell and said a prayer that my girls would grow up to be more responsible than my generation has been and take going green to the next level. Hopefully, with God's blessing, our country can break free of our oil addiction and save the planet.
Not surprisingly we are getting the news that sunscreen may be dangerous. There are several bad sunscreen ingredients, but the one that the powers that be are really taking a look at is oxybenzone which according to reports is found in more than half the sunscreens on the market.
The problem with this particular chemical is that is can be absorbed through the skin and when it does it just might cause allergic reactions and disrupt hormone function. Basically, this stuff (in my humble opinion) should not be used on ANYBODY but we should especially not be slathering it on our children or on ourselves if we happen to be pregnant.
But is oxybenzone the ONLY bad sunscreen ingredient hiding in our kids' sunscreens?
I, personally, was not surprised to learn that a large percentage of sunscreens have dangerous chemicals lurking in them.
WHAT'S A MOM TO DO?
We are told that sun blocking cream that have either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide are best but guess what? There's a chance that titanium and zinc could be toxic if absorbed into our kids bloodstream. So far there is no reason to believe that this danger could become reality but....well, how's that been working for us so far? Just when you start to get comfortable with a particular study's results, here comes one that refutes the previous study and cites a chemical as dangerous as all hell.
After doing a search, I found lots of sunscreens that are marketed as NATURAL SUNSCREENS but I haven't had time to read all the reviews and to check if any of them have bad sunscreen ingredients hiding in the fine print.
HOW TO MAKE NATURAL SUNSCREEN
What I found more intriguing was information I found on the ingredients for natural sunscreen that I saw in some recipes!
For instance, did you know that Sesame oil resists 30 percent of UV rays and plain old olive oil, coconut oil, peanut oil and cottonseed oil block out about 20 percent?
HERE'S A RECIPE FOR NATURAL SUNSCREEN
Perhaps it's best to make your own sunscreen with none of the dangerous chemicals in it. Be aware that even some of the homemade sunscreen recipe have zinc oxide or titanium oxide mixed with almond oil and beeswax as their main. But I would prefer recipes that don't have ANY bad sunscreen ingredients in them because to me having a green and natural home means eliminating all the chemicals that I can.
Do I believe that a homemade sunblock eliminating the bad sunscreen ingredients will completely prevent my babies' skin from blistering in the harsh UVA and UVB rays of the sun? Well, I haven't tested the recipe yet and I would never take a chance on letting my baby get a sunburn which I believe compromises her already less than super immune system. I DO use something that some people seem to avoid at all costs, COMMON SENSE which is one of the best natural sunscreens in my book!
To be smart we should:
Avoid direct sunshine
- Go outdoors when the sun’s rays are not as strong before 10.30 am and after 3pm
- Wear sun hats with wide brims
- Wear protective sunglasses
This is an open letter to the punk who almost ran over my baby with a car in our very own yard. Did you bother to stop to see that my baby girl who was standing right there in our own front yard when you squealed up into our driveway after doing a u-turn in the middle of the street? Would you have even cared if she was alive? I wonder.
I invited my nieces to drop in for a visit this afternoon because their mom had a bad headache and I thought that they might be a little tired of having to tiptoe around the house. Plus, I thought my sister might appreciate a little break from worrying what they were up to or that when she was able to hold her head up without pain that she would walk into the kitchen mess from hell….
I drove over to her house after sending a text message to the older of the two girls with the invitation. The cell hadn’t hit the table before it buzzed with a YIPPPEEEE message in return begging me to hurry and come over to pick them up! Surprisingly, they didn’t even ask what we were going to do in the way of entertainment.
After I washed the girls’ faces and checked to see if the youngest ones were dry (for the moment) we proceeded toward the car and I started buckling the little ones into their respective seats. My sister only lives a couple of miles from my house so I buzzed right on over to pick up our visitors.
Once I arrived, I wanted to check in on my sister without having to go through the car seat routine once again. I got my nieces to go ahead and get in the car to play “I Spy” or something else while I slipped into the invalid’s sick room to give her a kiss and tell her to feel better soon.
The day was pretty average until the punk who almost ran over my baby with a car entered my world. When we got home I pulled into our driveway, the girls helped me get all but the littlest one of our group out of the car and then I heard squealing, squalling tires and the girls screaming.
I spun around only to see your rapidly approaching vehicle speeding up the driveway and then if that were not bad enough, you wrenched the steering wheel to the right to do yet another u-turn in our driveway. Never mind the fact that my daughter was standing frozen, still as a statue in the yard.
I know that you saw kids running all over the place, but you never even hit the brakes. You just slammed the car in reverse and let the transmission take over which is amazing given the rate of speed you were traveling.
There was no look of alarm at what almost happened on your face and no apologetic look. My daughter came far too close to being a statistic and you seemed to be anything but sorry.
Just so you know, this letter is my way of letting it go. I’m sending it out there so that I won’t waste time being angry at you. Well, I’ve typed and spell checked and I’m still pretty steamed at you, the guy who will from this day forward be known as the punk.
I would like to believe, that you had just gotten dreadful news and that you had no choice but to play fast and loose with the lives of my and my sister’s children and that you weren’t just being a selfish self-centered little shit with no thought for anyone but yourself. I hope that you taken the time to say a prayer to thank God that He spared you from the worst that could have happened.
I know that you, the guilty party, will never read this but maybe someone who does will stop and think how to maintain control at all times and THINK! As it is, a careless jerk ruined our afternoon BUT if a child were killed or hurt it could have ruined many lives.
I apologize that this post had nothing to do with going green but I just had to get this off my chest. Thanks for listening.
Here's a video that I would like to dedicate to the punk who almost ran over my baby with a car.
After I saw how great coffee grounds work on my gardenias, I decided to learn how to make compost in a last ditch effort to save the rest of the landscaping that the previous owner of our home so thoughtfully took care of before she moved. I've read all these tutorials on how to compost and what you should or shouldn't throw in the pile but you see, I'm a really lazy gardener so I have been waiting for a book called "HOW TO COMPOST THE QUICK AND EASY WAY" or "COMPOSTING FOR LAZY PEOPLE" or here's another title I would have snatched off the book shelf "COMPOSTING FOR SLACKERS". You get the idea; I want an instruction manual for bone lazy folks such as myself.
What appeals to me about making compost is that it is a completely natural way to fertilize your shrubs, vegetable garden and flowers. It doesn't cost a penny to make however there is some work involved and that's the part I've been avoiding it all cost preferring to focus on ways to make a green home for my family that took less effort. Having picked most of the easier tasks involved with going green off of my to do list I found myself unavoidably faced with having to tackle learning how to make compost.
Since nobody else had written a book on how lazy folks can compost, I'm going to do it. Here goes nothing!
- Compost only in the summer because everything will decompose quicker. This is no problem at all where I live because hundred degree days are pretty common.
- Pile 25 parts of brown carbon rich organic material like straw, dried leaves or sawdust to one part nitrogen rich green material like dead plants, grass clippings etc. stirring it all up together very carefully.
- it's recommended to shred all the stuff to speed up the composting process which is no problem with the grass clippings as they are already shredded. The instructions that I read recommended that you cut up watermelon rinds and any other big stuff but that's the part I consider to be way too time consuming (read: too much work).
My solution to this problem is to throw this stuff into a big black plastic garbage bag, put it in hot sunshine until it's cooked and then carefully walk over it crashing the contents before tossing it into the compost pile.
- Water your compost pile until it's dampened
- Stir the pile weekly
In a very short time you'll have boatloads of the gardener's version of black gold. In fact you may have so much that you will be tainted to share your bounty with your neighbors! But I say unless they came over to help me stir that compost pile they can fend for themselves!
Well, I might give them a bucket full or two, just enough to get them addicted and then maybe I can show them how to make compost and they can have their own compost pile.
When the weather is just right, laundry day is really not about saving the planet by practicing eco friendly clothes drying. Drying clothes in the sun is about a more easy, relaxed way of taking care of my family’s needs. You just can’t put an Energy Star rating on the anti-depressant benefits of stepping out the back door early in the morning knowing that later in the day you will fill your basket with fresh, sweet smelling clothes. On the rare day when the humidity is low, I can usually gather all three lines and have them folded and hung in the closets by lunch.
The only articles of clothing that I don’t like to line dry are our jeans. When hung on the clothesline to dry they feel too papery and rough and the worst case scenario is that I will have to iron them to remove wrinkles. Not having to heat up and use a steam iron makes the best case imaginable for shopping for the most energy efficient clothes dryer that is manmade!
IS ECO FRIENDLY CLOTHES DRYING FOR EVERYBODY?
Regardless of where you live, you can dry at least part of your laundry in an environmentally friendly fashion. It's true that you have to have a back yard of some size to handle a clothesline. But if you have a postage stamp sized yard, you can get a retractable or an umbrella clothesline. These compact clothes dryers are cheap as can be and may be the best choice for city dwellers. We live in the country and have a big yard so I have the old fashioned kind of clothesline like my grandmother had which was a monster sized eco friendly clothes dryer if one ever existed!
Speaking of my grandmother's clothesline, she had special boards to put under the lines at the halfway mark so that heavy items wouldn’t make the whole load sag to the ground. The vision in my mind of her sheets, towels and granddaddy’s work clothes blowing in the breeze are one of my favorite childhood memories long before the phrase, eco friendly, had ever been coined.
I just heard about the efforts of the people of Magnolia Bay Alabama fighting the oil spill by taking things into their own hands. I hate to cry this early in the morning but the people of Magnolia Springs Alabama's efforts to keep their little piece of paradise from being covered in oil have cause me to shed tears and shred the better part of a box of Kleenex.
God bless these southerners who say enough is enough and are not willing to sit around waiting for the government to do something when they feel that there are steps that they can take themselves. Keeping oil from reaching every beach in the Gulf may be too big a job even for most determined Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana and Florida residents but by damn, these positive thinkers felt that blocking the narrow mouth of Weeks Bay might just be doable.
BP has all but been absent in the town of Magnolia Springs that is now being called "The Little Town That Could" on an ABC news video about their efforts to block oil from their bay. The company laid down a single line of boom that according to ABC was ripped to shreds within days so the residents of the area came up with their own plan of action to block the oil from reaching the bay themselves.
By their own admission, they are not engineers but just a group of people who love their home and are taking action based on a vision and putting to work nine long barges to keep the strong waves and currents from shredding several lines of boom located on both sides of the barges. Their hopes are that the barges will keep the barricades intact and keep the bay clean and clear.
The proper procedure for this would have been to wait for government approval but the citizens of Magnolia Bay felt the situation would not wait for them to wade through red tape or fill out whatever paperwork might be necessary to get permission. The Mayor of the Alabama town was quoted as saying that if they get in trouble, they will ask for forgiveness later.
As one might expect, renting barges is not cheap and money is said to be running out. My question is whether there might be abandoned barges (I've seen rusty old barges all my life pushed to the side in the port towns of Mississippi) can't be towed down to replace the more expensive rentals.
I'm sure that the citizens of Magnolia Bay did their homework and have done the best they can AND I ADMIRE YOU FOR IT but if somebody from a towing company stops by or maybe somebody who was involved in the rental process finds this post can you answer this question for me?
Meanwhile, at my mom's group this week one of the ladies asked that all of us boycott BP gas stations. I don't know if that will do much to help get the oil spill in the Gulf mopped up. For that matter even the "CAN DO" attitude of the people of Magnolia Bay Alabama fighting the oil spill may not be enough but this green mommy blogger LOVES YOU FOR TRYING! MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND GOOD LUCK!
I heard about a few natural labor inducers that sound like fun ways to induce labor naturally at home. Before you kick up your heels and shout HOORAY, you should know that nothing's going to work if your cervix is not ripe and ready to rock and roll. HOWEVER, there are a few ways that may help ripen your cervix by softening it and making it efface and dilate.
VALID REASONS TO INDUCE LABOR
So, you're pregnant and want to get the show on the road! Wanting to deliver in time to go on a Christmas ski vacation or a rock concert are NOT good reasons to induce. You know that I'm NOT a medical professional, this blog is for entertainment only AND that you should always take the advice of a trusted medical professional rather than trusting somebody that slapped a blog up on the internet...like me...but here's a short list of reasons for your entertainment ONLY!
- Mother's Health - If mom has heart problems, hypertension, a seizure disorder, cancer or any number of serious medical condition, induction may be necessary. That being said, lots of moms with medical conditions manage to give birth naturally. Whether or not induction is needed should be determined by the medical professional in charge.
- Baby's Health - The doctor may feel the baby needs to be delivered ASAP
Before trying any of natural labor inducers or the fun ways to induce labor naturally that I teased you with, you should talk to your doctor to be sure that it's ok. But just for kicks, here are some natural ways to induce labor.
- STIMULATING YOUR NIPPLES
Here's an idea...if your OB/GYN says it's cool, you might talk your partner into having sex, stimulating your nipples all the while telling you funny jokes and kill three birds with one stone! How's that for multi-tasking? You might call them natural labor inducers but they sound like good old-fashioned fun to me!
I thought I would share my natural skin care tips that will help your skin to look its best even when you don't have money for expensive creams...like me. I don't have time for an elaborate treatment program. In fact, some days around lunch I have to stop and think if I've washed my face or not that day. YET...I get lots of compliments on my skin so I must be doing something right.
And what I came up with is that it has to be my diet that is very rich in good stuff that I try to focus on to boost my family's immune system. Evidently, there is an added bonus to fighting illnesses...your skin is smoother and looks healthy!
While other moms are spending a lot of money for exfoliates and moisturizers, I'm buying cherries, berries and veggies that I hope are helping me to beat wrinkles, acne and dry, flaky skin. Here are some fruits and vegetables that may help you fight illness and look super! Natural foods may be one of the best, cheap and most effective remedies for illnesses and I believe that working on our skin from the inside out is a very good idea.
Natural cures and treatments are always best in my book. And since we have to eat why not buy foods that are nutrient rich and have disease fighting properties. The right foods will not only cleanse and protect our bodies' immune system but they will produce beautiful skin and a clear complexion with less acne (hello...teenage boys and girls, are you listening?).
Here are some of the foods that I buy either to eat raw or to use in my healthy old fashioned recipes for my family. Why don't you give them a try and see how much they improve your skin. It's true that good food is not cheap, but if you break it down you will see that they cost a fraction of the price of even discount creams and lotions.
YOU ARE WHAT YOU DRINK
In my humble opinion, colas are evil. They pack on pounds and I have to believe that drinking out of a mudhole might be more healthy in the long run. Well, not really but drinking colas is something I don't promote. On the other hand, I'm not a big fan of drinking fruit juices either because of sugar.
I prefer to drink water and green tea. I don't love the taste of green tea but it has been proven to reduce the damage of sunburns and overexposure to ultraviolet rays of the sun, which in turn reduces the risk of skin cancer.
As far as the benefits to your skin, green tea contains polyphenol which has recently been reported to reactivate dying skin cells. Holy Moly!!! That has to be one of the best natural skin care tips ever. This stuff might just be my own, personal Fountain of Youth.
IT'S FISHY BUT IT'S GOOD
I would eat tuna everyday but the mercury thing gives me pause. So, we eat a lot of sardines at my house. Yeah, we smell bad but our skin looks good. Probably because of the many, many essential fatty acides that protect our cell membranes healthy by keeping out harmful substances as well as allowing nutrients to enter cells and then leave carrying nasty waste products.
BERRY, BERRY NICE!
You know how you see some kids popping M&Ms and Skittles? Well, mine pop blueberries and strawberries. This is a good thing because of the antioxidants that attacks free radicals that can ruin skin cells.
Protecting our skin cells from disintegrating makes the skin look younger.
THAT WASCALLY WABBIT WAS WIGHT!
If Elmer Fudd ever manages to bag Bugs Bunny and shave him clean of hair, we will probably see an amazingly smooth and youthful hide! You see, carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A, which is a nutrient that skin loves because Vitamin A is required for developing and maintaining skin cells.
These natural skin care tips are not very exciting but you don't have to mix up a recipe and wear goo all over your body to reap the rewards! Give them a try for a couple of months..your skin and your bank account should be showing marked improvement by then.
If you've started yelling, you need to know how to stop screaming at your kids. Yelling and screaming to get the kids' attention is a nasty habit that probably started one day when you were overwhelmed and too tired for positive parenting practices and then before long, it was your secret weapon aka nasty habit.
Believe me, I know what I'm talking about here. As the stress of taking care of a chronically ill child and then my husband started to take its toll...my voice started rising in lockstep. And it worked for a little while but then one day I realized I was turning into THAT mommy.
There was a mom like that in my neighborhood when I was a kid. It was the joke of the block. I can remember hearing this lady's loud, loud voice and the adults laughing and saying stuff like, "There goes Mrs. So and So on her evening rant". Why nobody actually tried to help is beyond me. The woman worked several jobs and had no husband, but if anyone did I was not aware of it.
Getting back to my own life, awhile back, I realized that my speaking voice when dealing with my older girls had risen to levels that probably could be heard next door. An echo that came back at me from across the valley tipped me off and a little voice whispered in my ear, "You need to learn how to stop screaming at your kids!"
Once I dedicated myself to keeping household's noise level to a low hum, I realized I didn't just need to lower my voice. I needed to take a look at where the yelling was coming from. It hit me that my nerves and emotions are shot from sheer overwork and exhaustion. The reason I have started to lose it with the children is because I am overworked and they have started to "take control" which is only natural since mommy appears to have lost hers. They have become powerful as a group in the face of my weakness.
I am going to have to turn the tide, regain control and win back my kids' respect and there is no time like the present. The loving family that I dreamed of and started out with is not going to slip through my fingers for one more minute. I am pledging to take control of my emotions and keep my cool.
Here are some ideas that I I'm putting to work today.
Stop feeling sorry for myself
- Take an attitude of gratitude
- Stay in the moment and don't drift into the past or future stressing about what could be or what might have been.
- Take a little time for myself so that I'm rested and better equipped to handle things
- Take a minute to calm myself before opening my mouth
I'm going to read some books on the subject of how to stop yelling at your kids and take the best tips to heart and chunk the rest. I am not going to be the village joke just because my life has not turned out just the way I planned it. My plan is to replace my stressed out chaotic reactions with calm reasoning.
Please pray for me and if you have any suggestions on how I can stay on track and start parenting my kids again rather than losing control and yelling at them I would love to hear from you.
Texting while driving is dangerous and downright dumb! Please, make your car a no phone zone for the safety of both my family and yours. I've watched more vehicles swerving and running off the road since texting began than I ever saw driving home from concerts at 2am in the morning! Does that mean that cell phones have made clean and sober drivers more dangerous than those that are driving drunk or high?
We may never hear the results of that study, but don't we expect more out of people who are NOT under the influence?
I've been a fan of banning TALKING on cell phones while driving for years. I actually thought that not texting while operating a moving vehicle should have been a no-brainer. Unfortunately, busy people with busy lives are choosing a very dangerous way of staying in touch with their offices and their loved ones.
Joining the fight to give you inspiration and tell you why and how to make your car a no phone zone became very personal to me not so long ago. A friend, texting on his cell phone, ran his front tire off the edge of the road and over-corrected into the next lane of traffic. Some bull-shit text cost this talented young man his life. The world is a sadder place without his music and his uplifting love of life. All because some bored friend felt the need to say, "Wut's up?".
Tell me, do you want to have been in the other lane when somebody jerks the wheel under similar circumstances? I don't...
When you get a call on your cell, let voicemail answer and call back later when you are not driving. If you are expecting an important call, pull over to check to see who called and listen to the message after you stop! When you are traveling let driving be your priority and don't succumb to distracted driving.
EDUCATE YOUR DRIVER'S ED PROGRAM
Contact your local high school (even if you don't have a teenage driver in the house) and ask if the instructor teaches a class on how to avoid being a distracted driver and if he tells his students NOT to talk or text while driving and make this a topic of one (or more!) of your parenting chats.
Please learn how to make your car a no phone zone and stick to it! I don't want to lose any more friends due to "death by texting". And if you're walking as part of your efforts in going green, you should know that more pedestrians are stepping off the curb and being hit by moving cars than ever before because of typing on their cell phones.
Common sense should tell you that if you are moving...NO TEXTING!
I found a list of goals for 2010 yesterday that I made late in 2009. Yes, I was already thinking about insuring that this year would (just had to be!) better than the last few.
The idea for the list came about after reading a Guide to Setting Goals for 2010 and thinking...how the heck can someone tell ME what my personal goals should be? With a rather defiant attitude I found a notepad and started to scribble out a few goals, some easily attainable if I tried at all and others that were going to be a challenge.
For those who are interested, here's what I wrote.
- Organize at least one closet -- This might seem too easy to some but you haven't seen my closets, right?
- Lose 5 pounds with healthy exercise not by dieting
- Check into going back to college and getting a degree in something that will be focused on green parenting like maybe becoming a family counselor or a lactation consultant
- Read and Re-read the classics so my babies will be duly impressed when they have to read them in school and mommy knows all about them
- Get a few chickens
- Visit my elderly family members who are in the nursing home. I figure if I want my kids to visit me, I should set an example.
Is it lame that I only had time to write a list that fell short of 10 goals? I took a look at a list of goals for 2010 that I found on the net that had more than 30 one of which was to star in a movie! Frankly, this made me feel like cracking the paper on a chocolate bar and throwing up my hands in shame and dismay until I realized that more than half of my list of goals was geared toward doing something for the planet and for family rather than myself. It made me feel much better until I realized that we are now five months into 2010 and I haven't attained one single goal! So, my goal for today is to get started checking the first item on my list of goals for 2010...wish me luck!
Pay close attention while I tell you about how I found my recycled artwork because you are probably going to want to copy my idea! I love to buy old, previously loved items and give them new life. During my latest foray through the flea market, I picked up some old children’s storybooks that had seen better days. Actually, they were literally falling apart and my friends thought I was totally crazy at the time, but now they are so jealous of my recycled art!
Luckily, all of the other shoppers skipped over these wonderful Mother Goose books because their covers were so damaged and worn. I, myself, almost didn’t take the time to open them and see what was inside. But when I did, I found the most precious illustrations that after my recycling efforts, have a new life as my kids wall art!
What I did was to pick the books clean of all the pages that had frameable pictures on them. The results were delightful art prints that didn’t set me back a bundle. And I didn't even have to pay for framing. I don’t believe that I could have done better than the plain, wooden frames that I had bought at a thrift store awhile back.
A fancy, new (read: expensive) picture frame would have detracted from the beauty of the slightly aged pictures. To make them look just right I wanted to surround my recycled artwork with wood that was either reclaimed or that had been rescued from a second hand store and thankfully, the ones that I had on hand were just the right size.
I would have felt lousy tearing the old book apart if the binding had been in good shape. But as it was, the pages were coming loose from the spine and were headed for the landfill. What once was a beautiful book that when read by a loved one eased a sleepy child into dreamland was no longer suitable for its original purpose.
Should the book have been better taken care of, there is no way that I could have violated it even though I may not have wanted my teething babies to chew on it in fear that the book’s print may have contained lead. But as it was, I pulled off the ultimate recycling coup and my recycled artwork looks super in my kids’ room.
The next time you’re asked whether you would prefer paper or plastic, why not make an informed decision rather than just choosing paper because you think that might be more in keeping with going green. Do you ever wonder if banning plastic bags really has an impact on the building piles of plastic litter? Does choosing paper over plastic have it’s drawbacks as it leads to more deforestation?
THE PROBLEMS WITH PLASTIC BAGS
The very first run-in I ever had with plastic bags had little to do with green living. I was too young to remember my near death experience of suffocation by plastic but my mom gives the event credit for giving her a gray streak in her hair. The story goes that a small portion of a plastic cleaner bag blew across my face and stuck while I was riding in my baby car seat unbeknownst to my mother who was driving. She swears that she happened to glance in the rearview mirror and swerved to the roadside just in time to rescue me from becoming a plastic bag suffocation victim. The lesson learned is to not hang the dry cleaning anywhere near sleeping babies or kids of any age.
Beyond their tendency to suffocate kids, the plastic bag problem encompasses overflowing landfills, clogged sewers and ingestion of the stuff that refuses to biodegrade by animals, birds and marine life.
BANNING PLASTIC BAGS
There are a number of countries banning plastic bags outright and others are imposing taxes on their use. San Francisco, California is the first and only major city in America to pass a plastic bag ban.
ALTERNATIVES TO PAPER OR PLASTIC
Environmentalists are in favor of our using bags made of a biodegradable cornstarch-based plastic to customers who don’t have their own reusable canvas grocery bags. These bags have the same biodegradable characteristics and convenience of paper bags without contributing to deforestation.
ARE PAPER BAGS BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
If plastic is banned will that just lead to more problems? It’s a fact that this could lead to increased deforestation but the good news is that most paper bags are now made from recycled materials not virgin wood. Plus, there is the additional benefit of paper’s biodegradability.
The truth is that there are issues surrounding the use of paper or plastic bags. For now, perhaps the best answer is to break out the old sewing machine and make some fabric shopping bags to use while the argument of paper vs. plastic rages on. And while you’re at it, make some for your friends who are devoted to green living. Mother Earth and future generations will be eternally grateful.