Weekly Green Round-Up

Minimal Mercury Marinated Tuna by Small Footprint Family — Like tuna but hate those pesky high mercury levels? Dawn highlights some sources for tuna with much lower levels of mercury and as a bonus, shares a recipe.

Will Your Kid Be Carrying a Pesticide (Triclosan) in His School Supplies? by The Smart Mama — Jennifer illuminates an issue that has been chapping my proverbial butt for a while now… Microban is in/on lunch boxes as well as a ton of other school-related items and it’s not good stuff.

Color My Driveway: Cornstarch Sidewalk Paint by Pink and Green Mama — This homemade sidewalk paint, made with ingredients you can probably already find in your own kitchen, is so cool that I wish I’d thought of it first.

Do I Make You Uncomfortable? by Heather’s Homemaking — Do you ever wonder if your commitment to the environment makes your less-green friends uncomfortable?

How to Clean a Toilet by Oooh Baby Green Living and Parenting — J. Claire teaches you how to clean your toilet the green way.

Cleaning Out Plato’s Reusable Closet with a Stylish Texas Teen by Greenopolis — Consignment stores can help fatten up a teen’s wardrobe at a fraction of mall prices. And? It’s much greener than buying new.

On Our Blog:  Back to School at the Thrift Store

Bug Off, Bugs

bug-it-off.jpgWhen my daughter gets bitten by a mosquito, an angry red welt shows up on the surface of her skin within minutes. I’ve never seen anything quite like it – one minute she’s outside playing and the next, she’s close to tears because she’s dotted with big, itchy bumps. The bites swell up, turn a bright shade of crimson and last for days – there have been times when I’ve deliberately kept her out of the public eye, lest folks think she’s covered in chicken pox.

I’ve been using bug spray on her this summer – sparingly, mind you – but unfortunately, it really hasn’t given her much relief. I was just saying to my husband earlier this month that I wished there was a product I could use on her without feeling like I was dousing her with chemicals, and then I heard about Bug-it-Off – a natural, organic bug repellent from Greenerways Organic that’s safe for people (including pregnant women!), pets and the environment. Bug-it-Off is the first – and only – organic bug spray to hit the shelves, and I gotta say, it’s about time!

Bug-it-Off is a mixture of pure water and essential organic oils (citronella and cedarwood). There are no additional ingredients – no soaps, glycerine or alcohol will take away from the oils. Those ingredients are added separately to each bottle so that they maintain their purest state; the end result is a product that’s not only 100% organic bur also DEET-free!

Find It Here: Bug-it-Off

Back to School at the Thrift Store

thrift.jpgIt’s that time again and personally, I groan because I loathe back-to-school shopping. While I do shop as greenly as possible for school supplies, I don’t have a lot of green options for uniforms, which both my kids wear to their public schools. Since I also don’t have boatloads of expendable income either, I hit the consignment stores and thrift stores first before I go shopping for any new uniform clothing.

If you go at the right time, which seems to be about a month before school starts around here, you can scoop up the stuff other parents are replacing for a fraction of the cost of new uniforms and you are, of course, conserving resources by not buying everything brand new.

Another reason to consider buying pre-owned school clothes, and uniforms in particular, is because many school uniforms companies now tout their clothing as being stain-resistant. Well, that would be awesome if stain-resistant fabric treatments weren’t made of toxic and persistent fluorochemicals. If you buy it used, there’s at least the likelihood that some of that treatment has worn away over time via repeated washing and drying.

The day I went shopping, the consignment store was closed so I still have to go there but the thrift store was a total Read the rest of this entry »

My Kids Are More Green Than I Am

My efforts to be more eco-friendly can seem feeble at times.  I forget to take my reusable grocery bags to the store.  I refuse to “let it mellow if it’s yellow.” I still buy the occasional bottle of water, despite a growing collection of reusable water bottles in my kitchen cupboard.  And I’ve been researching, but not actually purchasing, a water saving shower head for months now.

But I’m somehow managing to raise waste-conscious kids.

My four year old daughter and I were in a public restroom this weekend and she was enthralled with the automatic paper towel dispenser.  Her hands had been wiped clean of any hint of moisture, and she quickly flailed her arms in front of the sensor.  A new sheet of paper was spit out of the mechanical holder.

“Stop,” I said.

“Why?” she asked.

“Because you don’t need it,” I explained.  And we left the towel, clean and dry and ready for the next user.

It was a small, seemingly meaningless, encounter.  But as we walked out of the gas station bathroom, I thought, rather smugly, to myself “you’re showing her what it means to be more responsible with our resources.”

That same weekend, my family spent a night in a hotel.  The morning we checked out, my nine year old son helped me do the final sweep of the room.  He lifted up bed skirts and discarded towels to make sure that we weren’t leaving any of our belongings behind.  We’d secured the almost-forgotten toothbrushes and were making our way out the door for the last time when he suddenly darted back into the room. Read the rest of this entry »

Fig Leaf Baby

logo.pngHaving a preemie was something I never had to worry about when it came time to deliver—both of my kids were a week late and required an eviction via a Pitocin drip. A good friend of mine, however, went in to labour over a month early; the end result was a tiny baby girl who weighed in at just over five pounds. “She’s just so small,” I remember her telling me a few days later. “And I don’t have any clothes that fit her.”

I felt for my friend. There I was, with my nine-pound butterball baby boy who wore 3-6 month onesies from the get-go, and she was struggling to find sleepers her new daughter wouldn’t swim in. If only I’d known about Fig Leaf Baby then, I could have pointed her in the right direction!

Fig Leaf Baby is a line of baby clothes that specializes in preemie sizes. Their products are made from 100% Peruvian Prima cotton (they are slated to be made from organic cotton next spring) and colored with organic dyes. Fig Leaf Baby has hats, onesies, leggings and kimono dresses for the preemie set, with bodysuits displaying embroidered catchphrases like Preemie Donna, Early Bird and N.I.C.U. Alumni. They may be smaller, but just like their mamas, even preemies deserve cute, eco-friendlier clothing that fits well!

Find It Here: Fig Leaf Baby

New! Miss Britt’s August column is up over on our blog. Be sure to check it out give her a little comment love 🙂

Oh Miessence!

A clerk in a store today said “Oh, you’re all green and stuff, huh?” with just a hint of mockery in his 25 year old voice when I handed him my reusable bag. Granted, it was a thrift store. Maybe they don’t get a lot of reusable bag people in there. Whatever.

When my son was an infant, though, I sometimes got the same kind of reaction from other parents of babies when I mentioned organic foods or toxin-free baby products. I felt like shaking them and saying “WAKE UP! The world is a very toxic place and your baby is this precious, brand new little life. You need to be aware of these things.” But I didn’t want to be all preachy or make anyone feel like crap so I would just smile serenely and let it go. Well, these days I have this site and I can talk about organic and eco-friendly baby products as much as I want. WIN!

So… As you may have guessed, I love organic, non-toxic products and as I’ve mentioned before, Miessence makes some really great ones, even for babies. Free from phthalates, petroleum by-products, parabens, artificial preservatives, synthetic detergents, fragrance, allergens, semi-natural ingredients and certified organic, Miessence delivers some of the best baby products around and even it’s packaging is 100% recyclable.

If you haven’t tried Miessence for babies yet, you just may get your chance—ON US— because we’ve  partnered with Ely Organics to give away, to one randomly selected winner, a trio of Miessence certified organic baby wash, baby lotion and barrier balm (butt cream!)

Find It Here: Miessence

Win It: We’re giving away a set of Miessence certified organic baby wash, baby lotion and barrier balm). Click here to fill out our simple entry form. Just enter MI08 as the giveaway name and provide the answer to this question: Name three  of the “ingredients to avoid” found listed on the Ely Organics site. Enter by 8/18/09. $85 value. Open to residents of US and Canada. Winner to be notified by email. Contest Closed.

A Bright Idea: Safer CFL Bulbs

greencfl.jpgI remember when compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL’s) hit the shelves a few years ago. Despite their  high price tag I thought they were a fabulous idea (longer lasting, better for the environment, etc.), but when I found out that they contained small amounts of mercury, I began to wonder if using CFL’s was the most responsible choice for me to make, for both the environment and my family.

But here’s a bright idea: Clear-Lite, a small company in Florida, is introducing a new, environmentally friendly light bulb this summer called ArmorLite. What’s so great about these bulbs, you ask? Well, they help reduce glare, allowing consumers to see more clearly but even better, they just so happen to prevent mercury from becoming airborne if one breaks.

Each ArmorLite bulb is covered with an unbreakable silicone skin that prevents the mercury inside the bulb (and teeny, tiny little shards of glass) from spreading upon impact, making them safer to use and dispose of. The bulbs have a smaller amount of mercury than regular CFL’s and are also made with a mercury amalgam – the same stuff that dentists use for fillings.

Of course, they last longer than regular bulbs and qualify for the Energy Star program, as well, so while you’re seeing more clearly and not poisoning anyone with mercury, you’re also saving money and energy. WIN!

Find It Here: Clear-Lite 56xjsh79uq

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