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You Cheeky Little Monkey Tree

10975-monkey-tree1-1.JPGAt this point in my parenting career, I’ve assembled what feels like hundreds thousands of puzzles with my kids and my toddler, in particular, is a big fan of that childhood staple, the wooden puzzle. We have trucks and farm animals and letters and numbers and while they’re fun and all, they really can’t touch the Monkey Tree puzzle from Little Star Creative Parties because lookie! It stands up! Our cows and sheep and dumps trucks and police cars certainly can’t do that. But even better than the cool standing-upness of it, this nifty puzzle is hand made of sustainable, plantation-grown rubberwood and hand painted with child-safe paints which means your little ones can gnaw and gum to their hearts content with absolutely no tongue-wiping involved. What? Am I the only one that does that?

Find It Here: Little Star Creative Parties

Congratulations Jennifer K., winner of a Monkey Tree puzzle, courtesy of Little Star Creative Parties! 

Healthy Child, Healthy World: The Book

healthy-child.jpgI’m always looking for ways to green my life and home, especially when it comes to cleaning. I’ve known about the impressive cleaning properties of vinegar for awhile now but was curious about alternatives to detergents, fabric softeners, furniture polish (not that I actually do much furniture polishing), Drano and Comet; the last two being the more deadly of the bunch. And what do you know — I found it all in Healthy Child, Healthy World: Creating A Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home by Christopher Gavigan. Each chapter offers tips to make each area of life a little greener: preparing for baby; safer cleaning throughout the house; choosing, cooking and storing healthier foods; natural body care; safer toys, gear and clothing and so much more, all without breaking the bank. It’s kind of like having a whole neighborhood of green moms right at your fingertips and available 24-7!

Find It Here: Healthy Child, Healthy World

Flip a Switch, Save the World

earth-hour.jpgCheck your watch! Today, March 29, 2008 at 8 p.m. (your local time), turn off your lights for one hour and join millions of people around the world for Earth Hour! Created by the World Wildlife Fund, Earth Hour is a global movement that allows us to show symbolically that we care about our environment and that we are conscious of how the amount of energy we use has an impact. Earth Hour also presents a great opportunity to talk to kids about why it is important to respect the Earth and about little ways we can each make a difference. Showing the world you care has never been easier!

Find It Here: Earth Hour

They’re Smooshalicious

fruitabulogoforweb.jpgIs it really possible to find a fruit snack made without the use of artificial coloring, corn syrup or added sugar? Look no further than FruitaBü Organic Smoooshed Fruit Flats. Unlike other fruit snacks on the market, you won’t find any artificial coloring or preservatives in these yummy, all-natural, USDA certified organic fruit leathers, and each flat counts as a 1/2 serving of fruit (instead of a 1/2 serving of corn syrup and chemicals.) Your kids will love them and you can feel good about giving them a snack that’s tasty and healthy. What’s that old saying again? A FruitaBü a day keeps the doctor away? Yeah, something like that!

Find It Here: FruitaBü

Congratulations to Jacklyn H., Megret, Ruby P., Wanda P., and Leisa W., who have each won a box of FruitaBü Organic Smoooshed Fruit Twirls and a box of Fruit Sploooshers!

Do Good: FruitaBü is partnering with the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to start a program called “Fruit Tree 101.” The program will be going to schools across the country to donate orchards of fruit trees in order to educate students about both the nutritional value of fruit, and the role fruit trees can play in creating a more sustainable world. Contact the Fruit Tree Planting Foundation to find out whether the “Fruit Tree 101” program can be brought to your child’s school!

Paper or Plastic? How ‘Bout Neither!

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I have a confession to make. I have a shopping addiction, and it’s not what you might think. I’m not addicted to buying fancy purses or shoes or anything of that sort. No, I’m currently addicted to buying reusable shopping totes. One of my latest and greatest finds is ECOBAGS Classic String Market Bags. Available in both natural cotton and certified organic cotton, these versatile bags are fair-trade and great for bagging produce at the grocery store, bringing goodies home from the farmer’s market, or even toting toys to the beach. Best of all, they are saving me from amassing the heaps of disposable shopping bags that have threatened to overtake my home in the past. I am particularly fond of their long-handle and Milano style totes. Both hold up to 40lbs and compact easily to stash away in your purse when not in use. Or if you like a little color, check out the fiesta bags, which look absolutely perfect for summer. Truth be told, I want them all. That’s what happens when you’re a reusable shopping bag addict. *sigh* Anyone know a good 12-step program?

Find It Here: ECOBAGS

Congratulations Jamie, Betty, Rebecca and Emma, winners of a set of FIVE ECOBAGS® Classic String Bags™ in organic cotton fiesta colors! 

Deal: Get 15% off all orders (not including tax, S&H) with code “greenmom.” Expires 4/30/08.

Retrotastic Without the Plastic

143702.jpgWhen it comes to plastic storage containers, it seems like I always end up with a mish-mash of warped lids and stained containers that don’t even match. I inevitably end up tossing a lot of it and even though I recycle, that’s gotta be some seriously bad eco-karma! Seeing as plastic is actually not the best choice for food storage anyway, I’m now on a mission to eliminate it from my kitchen altogether. I know — a kitchen without plastic containers is practically unthinkable, especially for those of us that grew up in the era of Tupperware parties but luckily, we do have options! These super-retro glass refrigerator dishes from Cooking.com hearken back to a simpler time when plastic didn’t even exist. Safe for use in the the oven, the microwave and the freezer, these stackable storage containers are chemical-free, won’t warp, won’t retain odors and will never stain. Plus? The chances of your losing one of the glass lids is slim to none. Yes, they may be breakable but so are champagne flutes and martini glasses and you wouldn’t trade those in for plastic ones, now would you?

Find It Here: Cooking.com (Some sizes also available at your local Crate and Barrel)

Pesticides in Produce — Yick!

fruit1.jpegTrying to limit exposure to pesticides in the produce we eat is often easier said than done. For one thing, buying organic can be expensive and it can also be a little harder to find. And yet, knowing that children are the most vulnerable to the toxic effects of pesticides, I also feel that I can’t afford not to buy organic produce for my family whenever possible.

Luckily, there’s a guide available to help shoppers make smart choices when they can’t buy all of their produce organic. The Environmental Working Group’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce is an invaluable resource when grocery shopping. The wallet-sized guide lists the 12 types of produce that are highest in pesticides and the 12 that are lowest, based on thousands of tests conducted by the FDA. Just in case you can’t take the suspense, peaches have the highest pesticide load of any fruit or vegetable so if you were planning on buying some, you might want to add them to your mental must-buy-organic list. Or, if you like to do things the easy way, just consult your handy-dandy wallet guide.

Find It Here: EWG’s Shopper’s Guide to Pesticide in Produce

Put Your Fabkin in Your Lapkin

FabkinsPaper napkins may be convenient but they’re not at all earth friendly, as many big name manufacturers use wood from virgin forests to make their disposable napkins and other paper goods. Plus? They’re not particularly festive and definitely not as fun as a funky cloth napkin from Fabkins. Made just for kids, Fabkins make mealtime a little more colorful, a little more fun and a lot more eco-friendly because paper waste is reduced and we get to keep breathing oxygen thanks to all the trees that have been spared. Yay for oxygen! Yay for Fabkins!

Find It Here: Fabkins

Congratulations to Amanda and Amira, winners of a set of five cloth Fabkins! 

This Cat Rocks!

crispycatbarsIs Crispy Cat an energy bar? Nope. Some kind of fruit roll-up thing? Nyet. Crispy Cat is actually the world’s first organic candy bar, developed by a guy named Joel in his kitchen. A former rock guitarist, Joel found his real groove making a new type of candy bar which was deemed an awesome tree huggin’ treat and became a local sensation. Crispy Cat is now available nationally and comes in three flavors: roasted peanut, mint coconut and toasted almond. Joel says that his organic, dairy free, gluten free, vegan, kosher and non-GMO creations came from a love of being healthy and a love of candy. We dig them because of our love of yummy organic stuff that rocks!

Find It Here: Crispy Cat Candy Bar

Vegging Out

vtcover_mar08.jpgAs an on-again, off-again vegetarian, I’m always on the lookout for tasty new meatless meals for my family. Enter Vegetarian Times magazine. Month after month it arrives filled with tantalizing vegetarian recipes, articles about health, wellness and green living, as well as enough food porn (you know, pictures of scrumptious food!) to satisfy the lusty appetites of foodies everywhere. Whether you are a full-fledged vegetarian, looking to cut back on your meat consumption or even just looking for new and interesting ways to make veggies more appealing to the kids, Vegetarian Times is one resource that’s sure to tempt your taste buds.

Find It Here: Vegetarian Times

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