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Of Condoms and Clotheslines

20384.jpg Did you know that condoms and clotheslines actually have something in common? No? I didn’t either until I read Seven Wonders for a Cool Planet by Eric Sorensen. Well, to find out exactly what they have in common, you’ll have to read the book, but here’s a clue — small actions taken by large numbers of individuals just might be one of the keys to saving our planet. Each chapter in this short, 100-page book highlights one of seven ordinary things that will help us in the fight against global warming. What are those seven things? Tomatoes (the real kind), bicycles, ceiling fans, clotheslines, library books, microchips – and of course, condoms and clotheslines. Check out the book and find out how you can do your part to help save the planet one tomato, one bike ride, and yes, one condom at a time!

Find It Here: Sierra Club

Congrats to Adrienne, Steven, Jameson, Jo and Charlene, winners of a copy of this book!

Custom Organic Originals

shortslvdress2.jpgSomething handmade and organic is cooking over at The Sweet Line — custom hand-embroidered super soft, organic cotton clothing for babies and kids! Made in the USA from 100% organic interlocking cotton, all items are embroidered by hand by the owner and shipped for free. You can customize the message and thread color to your liking on onesies, t-shirts, dresses, and adorable frilly pants. As if that weren’t enough to make you completely giddy, The Sweet Line also carries 100% organic cotton canvas totes and aprons. And? The Sweet Line processes your custom order in 7-10 business days. Pretty sweet, huh?

Find It Here: The Sweet Line

Congrats to Judith R., winner of an organic cotton onesie/T-shirt with custom embroidery!

Safer Splish Splashing!

bobbers1.jpgThese days, we hear a lot in the media about bisphenol-A, phthalates and PVC in children’s products, particularly teethers, bottles, sippy cups, utensils and other food-related items. One thing we don’t hear much about are those same chemicals in your children’s bath toys. When I think about all the bath toys my kids have had over the years, I have very distinct memories of certain items always being in their mouths and I cringe at how many of them were probably tainted with toxic chemicals. It’s enough to make a parent crazy. Luckily, some companies have taken the lead on making safer children’s products, including bath toys and our safety-conscious friends at Z-Recs have taken the time to do the legwork and compile some great resources about which bath toys are, in fact, safe. Take a look at The Z-Recs Guide to Safer Bath Toys and then check out the bath toys and other non-toxic goodness over at The Soft Landing. Everything they carry is BPA and phthalate-free!

Find It Here: The Z-Recs Guide to Safer Bath Toys

Tree-Friendly Paper!

dana-lemon-80203.jpgIn the new age of blogging, the practice of writing in a journal can seem downright quaint and yet, there’s still something really special about actually putting pen to paper. If you’re looking to write down your thoughts the “old-fashioned” way, but you’re also worried about cutting down on your paper waste, then check out Eco Paper. The great thing about this line is that absolutely no trees are cut down to make their paper. Sounds hard to believe, but it’s true! Eco Paper is made using the waste from bananas, coffee and tobacco. These “agro-fibres” are then combined with a base fibre from post-consumer paper waste (e.g., recycled office paper, tetra pack containers, magazines and news papers) to create Eco Paper. Artisans add the decorative on-lays and labels and help with assembly. The result is a line of environmentally friendly, sustainable and beautifully made paper products that include journals, writing sets, notepads, sketch pads, stationary and more. Their paper products also use organic and vegetable inks rather than toxins and chemicals. Eco Paper may not cause me to close down my blog, but it has inspired me to start journaling again.

Find It Here: Eco Paper

Congratulations to Linda J., winner of a lemon paper journal from Eco Paper!

Totem Boys Saves the Summer!

ttm_boys_4models-1.jpgTotem Boys… is it a bird, a plane or…sanity in a box? The correct answer is “All of the above!” Just when the boys of summer (mine) began that low but audible whine of “Mom, I’m bored,” I was able to produce shock and awe (to the 7+ set) by producing a game that bends those imagination muscles more than a Wii ever could… Totem Boys is a new building game for kids that is half puzzle and half model kit in a mix of unique die-cut panels made from recycled laminated cardboard and imprinted with interesting reversible graphic images of metal, wood, fire and air to create a spaceship, a plane, a ship etc. There are over 120 building cards for with imagination to spare and a little time on their hands. You can thank Kidsonroof of the Netherlands for saving summer and perhaps your sanity, as well. Cheers!

Find It Here: Stubby Pencil Studio

Win It: Enter to win a Totem Boys or Totem Girls puzzle (winner’s choice), courtesy of Stubby Pencil Studio! Click over to the Green Mom Forum to enter. U.S. and Canadian residents eligible. Enter by 7/20/08.

Safely Smelling Great

perfume.jpgSome time ago I’d heard that it was common for fragrances to contain petrochemicals and other toxins but in my ignorance, I didn’t allow this bad news to tear me away from my beloved Angel by Thierry Mugler. It smelled so completely unique and delicious that you could instantly zero in on another Angel wearer in a crowd, inevitably leading to this total perfume bonding moment in which we would gush over our mutual love of the scent.

So…imagine my shock and dismay upon learning that my most favorite perfume ever is allegedly made with the same ingredients found in pesticides & chemicals that attack the eyes, skin, central and peripheral nervous systems, respiratory, hepatic, hematological & reproductive systems along with damage to the DNA of sperm in adult males.

In fact , a class action suit is being considered for Nordstrom employees who were unknowingly and continuously exposed to the aformentioned toxic chemicals while selling Angel. Oy. I guess it’s a good thing I could never afford to wear my most beloved scent every day (and now, of course, I don’t wear it at all). But what about your favorite fragrances — just how safe or dangerous are they?

Our hardworking friends over at the Environmental Working Group have made it easy peasy for you to find out by consulting the Skin Deep Cosmetic Safety Database. In fact, there’s a section just for fragrances for both women and men and a number of very popular ones received the highest ranking possible for toxicity. Lucky for all of us, there are a number of very safely rated scents also listed because seriously, we shouldn’t have to make ourselves sick just so we can smell nice.

Find It Here: EWG Fragrance Safety Ratings for Women and Men

Solar-Powered Toy Helicopter

yhst-87491494023326_2010_37615101.gifIf you’re like me and catch yourself cringing inwardly when you see the words “batteries not included” on the toy your kid just has to have, then you must check out this toy helicopter — it actually runs on solar power! Recommended for children 3 and older, this solar-powered toy helicopter is lead-free and non-toxic and will never run out of batteries since none (yay!) are required.

Find It Here: Estella

Congratulations to Suzanne B. and Shirley C., winners of a toy helicopter! 

Lead-Free, Worry-Free Toys

m01.gifOne of the scariest things to discover is that one of the toys your child has been chewing/sucking on/mouthing etc. might contain lead. After all the toy recalls last year, I began to wonder which toys we owned might have lead in them and, unfortunately, I am still not completely sure whether all of our toys are safe. If you’re looking for a way to find safer toys for your kids without having to do a ridiculous amount of research into the safety of each potential purchase, then you’ll love the online shop No Strings Attached Toys. Each and every toy they feature in their store has been tested for unsafe lead levels with an X-Ray Flourescence device to ensure that all painted surfaces (as well as all plastics and other surface materials) on every toy fall far below the federal allowable limit of lead. They even post their toy testing results online so that you can search products and see whether the toy tested low, medium, high or extremely high for lead content. Hello safer, easier toy shopping! Buh-bye big box stores!

Find It Here: No Strings Attached Toys

Deal: Receive 10% off any purchase with code GREENMOM.

Congrats to Wendy S. winner of a $25 gift card to No Strings Attached Toys!

Tip: Recycle Your Old Crayons

471779747_d39447861d_m.jpgIf you’ve got lots of broken crayons lying around the house, don’t throw them out — it’s easy AND fun to make new color crayons out of all those old broken pieces!

You’ll Need:

• old color crayons
• muffin pan
• muffin pan liners.

Get Started:

1- Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.
2- Peel paper off crayons.
3- Cut crayons into small pieces.
4- Divide by color.
5- Put liners in muffin pan. If you don’t want to use liners, use a non-stick oil.
6- Fill your muffin pan with whatever colors you wish.
7 – Bake for 10-15 minutes at 250 degrees.
8 -Remove from oven and let cool 30-60 minutes. They will be hot!
9- After they are cool, remove paper liner.

Go crazy! You can create all kinds of color combos like rainbow, camo, two-toned, patriotic, Halloween or even Christmas colors. Use a regular sized pan, mini muffins, shaped muffin tins — the possibilities are endless!

While it would probably be much better to use a more eco-friendly type of color crayon, lets face it — a lot of households still have Crayola crayons and reusing them is a great way to give them new life!

Reprinted with Permission From: The Eco Chic Family Blog

Got a great green tip you’d like to share? Share your tips on our tips discussion thread over at the Green Mom Community Network!

[Image credit: knitting school dropout]

This Week in the Green Mom Forum

The Green Mom Community Network is abuzz with activity! More than 400 folks have already joined! Here’s what we have going on this week just for members…

Giveaway!

yhst-83333507685311_2009_4146466.gifEnter to win a BPA-Free Summer Picnic Pack from The Soft Landing! The package includes 4 Arrow Frostware tumblers, bowls and plates, 1 Arrow popscicle tray, 4 ice cream sip-a-cups and sip-a-bowls, and 1 pk each Preserve reusable tumblers, plates and utensils. And it is all BPA-FREE! Click here to enter – it’s easy! U.S. and Canadian residents eligible. Enter by 7/14/08.

In the Forum…

  • Member Question of the Week: “Hello! I’m new to the site and am a new mom of a little boy (20 weeks old). Before he gets mobile, I want to have a game plan of how to keep the house clean and the germs under control without using lots of harmful chemicals. I’d love to hear some ideas from “been there, done that” moms!” – Donna. Got a tip to suggest? Share it here…
  • Video of the Week: Manufacturers of personal care products, household cleaners, candles, and air fresheners don’t have to disclose what chemicals make up their “fragrance”–that’s all they have to list on the label. In this video, Jovana of Environmental Working Group explains what chemicals “fragrance” may stand for, and why to avoid products with “fragrance” in them. View the video here.

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