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Vinegar: Over 400 Various & Versatile Uses

What: Before chemicals were king, people used natural products like vinegar for cleaning, cooking, preserving and health. This book is a great resource for all the different ways you can use vinegar as a natural alternative to numerous chemical products.

Features: This comprehensive guide covers all types and uses of vinegar. Contains a full index and whimsical illustrations make the book informative and fun.

Green Factor: Any time you can use something natural instead of a potentially dangerous chemical, it’s green. This book gives you over 400 ways to do that.

Bonus: Using vinegar instead of expensive chemical-based cleaners also saves you money!

Find It Here: Vinegar: Over 400 Various, Versatile, and Very Good Uses You’ve Probably Never Thought Of

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A Better Dry Cleaning Bag

What: Bondi Bags eco-friendly dry cleaning bags

Features: Made of breathable, washable, reusable, water-resistant heavyweight nylon, Bondi Bags are a great alternative to plastic dry cleaning bags and suitable for travel, too.

Green Factor: We all know plastic is a huge problem for the environment, hence the reusable shopping bag revolution. But your dry cleaning can skip the plastic, too. Just bring your Bondi Bag to your drycleaner (hopefully a green one!) with your clothes and bring them home in it…plastic-free!

Bonus: Bondi bags are a total bargain at $15 each. Even better, $2 of every bag purchased goes back to the Surfrider Foundation which helps keep beaches safe and clean.

Find It Here: Jen Darling Bags

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From Our Inbox

Parent Earth is a fun, informative site that features videos on various aspects of food for families, eco-friendly living, recipes and more. Check it out!

GrowingHero’s Héro plushies aren’t just super cute and unique dolls for girls and boys—they’re also made from organic cotton and hypoallergenic alpaca felt.

Reuseit.com (formerly reusablebags.com) has a new rebranded site that carries reusables for every part of your life. Get 20% off your Reuseit.com purchase of $50 or more for the next seven days with this code –> GREENMOM

HippeKingdom’s eco-friendly jewelry is made from clay, recycled paper and thread. We love the paper dragonfly earrings!

Dropps eco-friendly laundry tabs are now available at Target! Click here to download a $1 off coupon (Read our feature on Dropps if you’re not familiar with them!)

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Easy Liquid Soap Recipe

To make liquid soap by the half gallon the easy way, just follow this simple recipe that uses no dangerous ingredients or special equipment. Basically, this recipe changes hard soap into liquid (gel) soap with the addition of glycerin and water.

I’ve tried a number of liquid soap recipes from the internet that didn’t work and finally, out of frustration, devised my own. This is my own original recipe and it does work!

Easy Liquid Soap Recipe

This recipe makes just under half a gallon of general purpose liquid soap. It is best made in the evening, as it will need to cool overnight before the final stage of blending the soap.

Ingredients:

1 cup soap flakes or grated bar soap
2.5 quarts of water
1 tablespoon of glycerin

You will also need:

A large saucepan
A measuring cup and a tablespoon measure
A sealable glass jar, or an assortment of cleaned hand pumps or shampoo bottles
A stick blender, electric mixer or handheld egg beater

Method:

Mix soap flakes, water and glycerin together in a large saucepan over a low heat.
Read the rest of this entry »

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Livin’ La VidaAire

vida3.jpgWhat: VidaAire Lemongrass Sanitizer and Air Purifier

Features: Odor neutralizer and sanitizer made from natural essential oils. Can be used virtually anywhere to sanitize any surface because it leaves no residue. Lemongrass oil is a natural disinfectant and the essential oils in VidaAire have been clinically proven to help alleviate stress and anxiety and elevate mood.

Green Factor: Non-ozone depleting, non-toxic, organic, safe for people with allergies to harsh chemicals.

Bonus: VidaAire smells lemony fresh and clean naturally.

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Disinfectant Overkill

Disinfectant chemicals have a purpose and place, but should be used very sparingly as scientific studies have shown that disinfectant chemicals have been linked to chronic health issues like asthma, hormone imbalance, potential reduced fertility, and immune system problems.

What kind of disinfectant chemicals are we talking about? The kind we come in contact with everyday in household bleach, ammonia-based cleaners, triclosan in antibacterial soaps and other antibacterial products and nano-silvers found in antibacterial plastics, textiles, soaps and other materials.

Visit Women’s Voices for the Earth to learn more and then consider signing  this petition to tell companies to replace toxic chemicals in their household cleaning products with safer alternatives AND disclose all of the ingredients that they use in household cleaning products on the product label.

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One of the Easiest Ways to Go Green

If you’re trying to be more green, like I am, but you get a little overwhelmed with all the organic this and Acronym-Free that—relax.

I’m about to you tell you the absolute easiest way for you to start being more environmentally friendly.

Ready?

Use greener cleaning products.

Hold on.  Get back here.  I see a few of you running to chain yourself in front of your closet full of pine-fresh scented cleaning products. Read the rest of this entry »

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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

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Poo~Pourri

natures-call.jpgBefore we had kids, my husband and I always lit a match after, you know… Post-children, however, we figured it wasn’t all that safe to keep a book of matches lying on the back of the toilet, so I started buying spray air fresheners to mask the smells. Yet the more I used them, the more concerned I became about their toll on the environment. How could I pride myself on reducing my carbon footprint when I was blasting an aerosol can on a daily basis?

Behold: Poo~Pourri Toilet Deodorizers, an organic, environmentally friendly bathroom spray. Their newest spray, Nature’s Call, is a blend of organic oils (including lemongrass, orange and grapefruit) that eliminate odors at the source, which is why it’s used before you go. Basically, the oils work to wipe out the smell before it hits the air, leaving the room with a fresh, clean scent.

Poo~Pourri products comes in a variety of different sizes, including a 5ml tester bottle that would fit nicely in my purse (I can’t count the number of times I’ve been in a public restroom, wishing I had something like Poo~Pourri to discreetly hide the fact that last night’s meal wasn’t sitting so well). Each product is 100% green – safe for both the environment and septic tanks – and is outfitted with an unconditional, 30-day money-back guarantee. So really, there’s no reason for you not to give Poo~Pourri a try!

Find It Here: Poo~Pourri

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Heaven Sent: The Oreck Halo

halo.jpgTake one long-haired cat, a bushy-tailed dog, and two active little boys, and what do you get? Well, in my house you get lots of fun times AND a very dirty family room carpet. I’m not one for using chemicals for cleaning anywhere in my home but I like a clean carpet (who doesn’t?!) so I was super excited to try out the new Oreck Halo Vacuum Cleaner. The Oreck Halo not only vacuums up dust and debris like typical vacuum cleaners, but actually kills microorganisms without the use of harsh chemicals thanks to the use of UV-C light technology. If you’re an allergy or asthma sufferer, this vacuum will hold special appeal in that it kills dust mites eggs (up to 90%), which can trigger allergies. Beyond just killing dust mite eggs this vacuum also kills a host of other microorganisms, such as flu viruses, e-coli, mold and salmonella. According to the company, the Oreck Halo’s UV-C light is even powerful enough to kill the superbug MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that causes staph infections. Wow! Now for the performance of the vacuum itself… Prior to trying out the Oreck Halo, we had a high-end vacuum cleaner which retailed for more than $400 but I felt the Oreck had stronger suction, was easier to maneuver, and had a better all-floors function. In addition, the attachments were longer and more user-friendly to take out.  My assessment is that the Oreck Halo performs better than expected for vacuuming debris, PLUS it includes UV-C light technology for killing microorganisms. And considering that the floor in your home probably has more bacteria (much more) than your toilet seat, I’d say that the Oreck Halo is worth a look, especially if you are in the market for a high-end vacuum. Or you have a crawling baby. Or you just want your floors to be cleaner than your toilet seat :)

Find It Here: Oreck.com

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Giveaway! Ecostore USA

us_group_cc-150x150.pngYou like green stuff, right? Yeah, we knew that about you guys (we haz powers!) and that’s why we’ve partnered with Ecostore USA to give away a $25 gift certificate to one lucky reader. Ecostore USA carries plant and mineral-based, non-toxic personal care stuff, baby stuff, household stuff and pet stuff and and it’s all “super concentrated” so that a little bit goes a long way and saves you some of that other kind of green.

Find It Here: Ecostore USA

Win It: We’re giving away a $25 gift certificate to Ecostore USA. Click here to fill out our simple entry form. Just enter ECO5 as the giveaway name and provide the answer to this question: What is the Ecostore USA slogan? Enter by 5/21/09. $25 value. Open to US and Canadian residents. Contest closed. Congratulations to Beth!

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Let’s Clear the Air

images.jpgI love to travel and explore with my family. At the same time I dread it—being out of my comfort zone, being away from my kitchen where I prepare meals that nourish our bodies with good food and our souls with tradition, and stepping into the unknown of chemicals and cleaners used at the place where we will rest our heads.

Since we’ve stopped using chemicals and have been eating real food, we notice it, even the kids do. Walking into a shoe or toy store makes our eyes water with all the off-gassing. It’s amazing what we can subject our bodies to, lack of nutrition, bombarding it with chemicals and disease, and our lovely bodies continue to function. Our family, thankfully, is more in tune so we can make better decisions knowing what’s good and not.

We realize this and are more accepting of the outside world when we travel but there is one thing we cannot tolerate. And you shouldn’t either. When you think about it, it’s an amazing invention that never existed and now has become a necessary element in making a house a home.

Sprays, plug-ins, plug-ins that self-spray, odor neutralizers, air sanitizers, and aromatherapy candles in just the right scent are all there, something for everyone. Air fresheners seem to work to help erase the smells in the room and clean the air, but actually they work on us. The chemicals coat our nasal passages with a film that deadens the nerve endings. They mask the problem and fool us into thinking the room is fresh, the smell we have learned to think of as clean.

Read the rest of this entry »

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