Friday, February 27, 2009

2 Sick Kids and Counting

I swear every year William gets really sick around his birthday. Poor kid. The congestion began a few days ago for him. Last night is when the fever hit and he has just had a miserable day. White as a ghost, shivering and no appetite. Luke is pretty sick too now so it's only a matter of time before Josh gets it. When you have 3 little kids, there is just no way to escape one of these without everyone getting sick. And 3 sick kids at once is so not fun. I just hope that it doesn't hit me too.

I also have to vent for a minute about fever reducers. I don't use medicine very often, only when an instance like this happens (101 fever). I sent DH to the store on his way out this morning for some more dye-free Motrin and some dye-free Tylenol. The upsetting thing about both Motrin and Tylenol (and their respective generic versions) is that even though you get rid of the yucky dyes, there are freakin parabens in them! specifically, butylparaben. I don't get it. Are there any natural pain relievers/fever reducers for kids out there?


Green Giveaways Friday

Here are some Green Giveaways that I have found around the Blogosphere! Do you have a green giveaway on your blog that I missed? Well be sure to add it to Mr. Linky down below!

While you are here, make sure you enter my Bagnesia Reminder Kit giveaway!

Grab Bag Reviews

  • Nature Bag - ends March 7

  • Green Earth Journey
  • Celery Street Address Book - ends March 3
  • Nurture My Body, Body Wash & Bab Wash - ends March 9

    Green Globetrotter
  • Hybrid Travel Mug - ends March 1

    Jolly Mom
  • The Safe Sippy - ends March 10

    Look What Mom Found
  • Flip & Tumble Bag - ends March 6

    Passionate Green
  • Kiss My Face Potent & Pure Facial Care - ends March 1

    Prissy Green
  • Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap - ends March 2
  • Pevonia Spa Teen Kit - ends March 4
  • Pacifica Perfume Giveaway - ends March 5
  • Choice Organic Tea - ends March 8
  • John Master's Haircare - ends March 10

    Sage & Savvy
  • Zoe b Organic-Natursutten Pacifier - ends March 1
  • Tucker Bag - ends March 4





  • Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Quick Tip: Shopping for Produce

    I learned something new today so I wanted to pass it on. As I was flipping through my pocket edition of "Green Living for Dummies" (which I won from The Crazy Green Cheapskate), I came across this interesting tip. When you are shopping for produce at the grocery store, pretty much every fruit and vegetable has a sticker with a number on it. I always thought that the sole purpose of these was for the cashier to type in the code at checkout to determine the price. Turns out there is more to that number than I thought.


    "A four-digit code means the produce was produce conventionally (it's not organic). A five-digit code that starts with 9 indicates that it's organically grown, and a five-digit code that starts with 8 indicates that it's genetically engineered."
    Yeah, I had absolutely no idea about this! At my next visit to Stop & Shop I will definitely be checking every single sticker and completely avoiding any five-digit numbers that start with an 8 - yuk!

    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    Bagnesia Review

    It’s Saturday morning and your hubby has agreed to watch the kiddos so you can get your grocery shopping done. Alone and quietly, how nice! You head out to the store but as you pull into the parking lot you realize you left your reusable bags at home. Again. Or maybe you did remember to throw them in the car before you left, but when you go to check out you discover that they are still in the car. It’s happened to us all; probably more then we care to admit. At some point, we all suffer from Bagnesia!

    Finally, there is a cure for our forgetfulness! The lovely ladies over at Bagnesia came up with this awesome idea – a kit to remind you to bring your bags with you!


    "The Bagnesia reminder kit contains simple, effective, products that work together so you never forget to take your reusable bags into the store again!"

    Each kit includes a nylon reusable bag, door hanger, steering wheel wrap, wrist lanyard key chain and a carabineer clip. I had the pleasure of trying out one of these kits, and boy it really did help me!

    I’ve been known to leave my bags in my basement as I am hurrying out the door. This past week I had been running around like a mad woman getting ready for William’s 4th birthday party. Thanks to this kit, not once did I forget my bags! The first line of defense for me is the door hangar. My bags are almost always on the bench in the basement that is right by the door to the garage. So I put my door hanger right there and this helped me to actually get the bags in the car. The second part is the steering wheel wrap. Since it is right in front of my face while I am driving, it is a constant reminder to bring my bags into the store. For the first time in a very long time I even remembered to bring them into Walmart. Yay me!

    The kit also comes with a wrist lanyard key chain and a carabineer clip, which are pretty darn cool. The lanyard key chain is a bright blue so it stands out and serves as another reminder to bring your bags. I’ve been using the same carabineer clip on my keys for a good 5 years, so it was pretty beat up. It was great to get a shiny new one that is certified lead-free.

    I also have to say that I really like this bag. It’s bigger than the other reusable bags I have and has longer, wide straps which make it easier for carrying. My first trip with this bag was to Trader Joe’s and I fit my entire purchase into this bag. The less bags to carry the happier I am since I’m usually shopping with 21 month old twins. It also folds up nice and compact for easy travel. From Bagnesia:


    "Bagnesia’s compact reusable bag is made from lightweight washable nylon. When unfolded, it measures 18" X 16", will hold up to 40 lbs (comparable to 2-3 plastic shopping bags) and is water resistant. Smaller than most cell phones, when rolled up and closed with the attached elastic band, it measures just 4" X 2" and fits great into small spaces."
    So I have to say that this kit is really cool and effective. My door hangar and wheel wrap will stay up permanently since they are really helping me remember my bags. Thanks to Bagnesia, I should never forget them again.

    Shop
    Visit the Bagnesia online store to order your own kit and be sure to take a look at some of their other eco-friendly products. For any order you place, enter "greenmama" into the comments and they will add a free produce bag!


    Monday, February 23, 2009

    Happy 4th Birthday William!

    Yes, my first born, my little man, is 4 years old today. I still can't believe it - the years have just flown by. We celebrated with friends and family yesterday at his Star Wars themed party. Everyone had a blast, especially the birthday boy. Today, daddy took him to the aquarium while mommy is home with the little guys baking 40 organic cupcakes for preschool tomorrow. Yes, 40. Crazy. What was I thinking? I should have done cookies instead.


    William got a bunch of great gifts. I wanted to come on here and share 2 of my favorite gifts that he received. The first is a superhero cape made especially for William by my mom. It is two-sided: one side is Batman and the other side is Superman, but she replaced the S with a W. It came out beautifully. It was a huge hit with party guests too, I think my in-laws might be putting in some orders!

    My other favorite gift was this great Laptop Lunches lunch box from my brother and sister-in-law (say hi T!). I have been wanting one of these for a year now, and I recently was going crazy entering a contest for one over at Grab Bag Reviews. (I didn't win). I was so thrilled when she told me she bought it, such a very thoughtful and useful gift. This will definitely help me reduce the amount of waste in his school lunches. I'm a little nervous about sending it with him now, so I may wait till the fall when the new school year starts and he's slightly more mature. The last thing I want is for pieces to get thrown away. But I will use it for trips to the mall or to visit family, so he will become familiar with it. So excited!


    Going Green: Turn Off the Lights…

    …and Unplug Your Appliances and Electronics!

    I can still hear my mom telling nagging me to turn off the lights in the room I had just left. It is a concept I never truly appreciated until I became a homeowner myself and started receiving my own electric bill. Wow, electricity is expensive! So my going green tips for today not only conserve energy, but money too! On average, lighting makes up 11% of our energy bills. So wouldn’t it be nice to cut that down all while helping the planet?

    For starters, make the most out of natural lighting. Open blinds and curtains and sit near a window to read. We try to leave the lights off as much as possible during the day, except on gloomy overcast days when it is needed a little more. Sometimes the boys will insist on turning on the dining room lights for lunchtime, but William knows to turn them off as soon as we are done in there. On dark days or at night, only turn on lights that you are using. And don’t overdue it. Do you really need 3 lights on in the living room? Would just one be enough? When you leave a room, even if you may be back in 10 minutes, turn the lights off.

    You can also make the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They cost a little more, but they use 75% less energy then standard incandescent blubs and last longer. We made the decision to NOT switch light bulbs right now since CFLs are made with mercury, but that is just our choice. If you decide to swap out your bulbs, The Daily Green has a good post about how to Stay Safe from Mercury in CFLs.

    Now let’s move onto appliances and electronics. No I don’t mean your fridge, silly. I mean small appliances like toaster ovens and coffee makers and electronics likes televisions, radios and computers. These things are called “phantom loads” – which is an appliance or electronic that uses energy even when turned off. 40% of the electricity used to power home electronics is consumed while they are turned off and this will add about $200 to your annual energy bill. Yikes! So turning them off is simply not enough; they need to be unplugged.

    We have found that the simplest way to do this for electronics is by using power strips. In our home office, we have a power strip under the computer. Into this strip we have plugged in the monitor, printer, speakers, modem and the PC. When not in use, the power strip is turned off so absolutely no energy is going to them. We have a similar setup in the family room for the TV, DVD player and speakers. When we are not watching TV or listening to music, the strip gets turned of. Although to be totally honest with you, I forget this one a lot. Mainly because I have to reach behind the TV to do it.

    In the kitchen, it’s fairly easy to save by unplugging things like toasters, counter-top microwaves, coffee makers, etc. Does your toaster oven need to be plugged in when you’re not cooking something? Nope. Now I use my toaster oven a lot, mainly at breakfast and lunch. But I still unplug it between uses. So on any given morning I can be seen plugging and unplugging the darn thing a good half a dozen times. How about the coffee maker? This can be tricky as some people set their coffee makers to automatically brew in the morning. In that case, obviously you are going to keep it in. But if you don’t use your auto timer or just drink an occasional cup, unplug it. Neither my husband nor I drink coffee, so ours was just serving as clock and a dust collector on our kitchen counter. Until one day I realized I already had 3 other clocks in there and I really needed the counter space. So not only did I unplug it, I put it away.

    So take a look around your house and start making mental notes of where you can make changes. Is every light in your home on? Start making an effort to change this habit, even if it means leaving notes next to lamps and switches. Then see where you can add power strips and determine which kitchen appliances you can unplug.


    Saturday, February 21, 2009

    Birthday Planning Craziness

    Why is planning for a 4 year old's birthday party so crazy? Monday is William's 4th birthday so tomorrow is his party. I started the day running around to the Stop & Shop and Walmart to get last minute things. Then I came home and started baking 3 dozen Wookie Cookies. Yes, we're having a Star Wars themed party - he is obsessed with it. I then proceeded to overcook (burn) the special gluten-free brownies I was making. I don't even know how I did it, but they are completely stuck to the pan. The only other gluten-free dessert that I have in my pantry to make is Jell-O, so I will probably be making that shortly.

    Sadly, I've done a lousy job at being green for this party. We're renting a hall, so I have to use disposable plates, cups, utensils, etc. and I wasted money on silly party favors. I'm making a pledge right now to be less wasteful for Luke's & Josh's birthday in May. For starters it will be at our house, so it will save us money and I can cut back on disposables. I'm also going to design a very nice invitation that I can email to guests. Then I need to find a useful favor, maybe little plants that the kids can put in their yards/gardens. At least I have 3 months to think about it, but first I need to survive this party tomorrow.

    I hope everyone else is having a more relaxing weekend! Thanks for letting me share my "deep" thoughts with you. lol.

    Friday, February 20, 2009

    Green Giveaways Friday

    Here are some Green Giveaways that I have found around the Blogosphere! Do you have a green giveaway or contest on your blog that I missed? Well be sure to add it to Mr. Linky down below!

    Eco Child's Play

  • 4 Chico Bags - ends February 25


  • Grab Bag Reviews

  • Nature Bag - ends March 7


  • Green Earth Journey

  • Honeybee Gardens Cosmetics - ends February 24


  • Nature Moms Blog

  • Cloth Diapers - ends February 27


  • Playdate Picks

  • Flip & Tumble Bag - ends February 23


  • Sage & Savvy Reviews

  • Watkins $25 Gift Certificate - ends February 22


  • Seriously Spoiled

  • PVC-free Reversible Chalkmat / Placemat - ends February 23



  • Thursday, February 19, 2009

    Clifford Crunch Cereal

    When I find something that all 3 of my boys enjoy, you can be sure that I am going to rave about it! My oldest is really not a good breakfast eater. He eats it, but only after I chase him down and force himto eat something. It is so important to start off the day with a good breakfast and to establish healthy eating habits at a young age, so I went on a hunt for something he would enjoy. While in the organic cereal aisle, I decided to try the Cascadian Farm’s Clifford Crunch cereal. I figured maybe if he associated it with a TV show he enjoys, he would sit down for 5 minutes and give it a try.

    Initially I had to giggle because this cereal is shaped like dog food (little fishes, etc.). Very cute. The first morning, he ate it dry in a bowl with a spoon. Hey he was eating it and enjoying it, so I was happy. He has since started adding milk to it. Given that the cereal bits are pretty small, and the little guys were looking for a snack (ALWAYS looking for a snack) I gave them some of the Clifford Crunch in snack cups. I was not expecting them to be so crazy about it! They kept coming back for more. Man did they love this. I started wishing I had discovered it a year earlier so I could have given them this instead of Cheerios.

    Onto the nutritional stuff. Clifford Crunch is made with whole grains (oat flour and barley flour) and since it is organic, no yucky ingredients like High Fructose Corn Syrup. From Cascadian Farm:



    The first organic cereal made specifically for kid nutrition. An excellent source of fiber, good source of calcium and vitamins E&D, 6 grams of sugar, and a taste your kids will love!
    Let me share with you a quick and somewhat comical story. The grocery store has been out of Clifford Crunch for weeks. They have filled in the empty space with their overstock of Kashi cereals. So since the spot is not empty, they are not reordering it. This past weekend I got fed up and I got down on the ground and rearranged their shelves to put all the Kashi stuff where it belongs and leave the Clifford Crunch spot empty. Hopefully they will reorder it now – we need our Clifford Crunch! I suppose I could have just went to the manager or customer service to tell them, but where’s the fun in that?

    So, if you are looking for an organic, healthy kid’s cereal, I highly recommend Clifford Crunch. And if you are starting finger foods like Cheerios with a younger child, try these instead!

    Clifford is a registered trademark of Scholastic Inc. All Rights Reserved.


    Wednesday, February 18, 2009

    Wordless Wednesday


    Photo by me. Ortley Beach, NJ

    Only 5 months till our Annual NJ Shore vacation!




    Tuesday, February 17, 2009

    What's Wrong With This Lunch?

    Last week I posted a review on Fabkins cloth napkins for kids. My son still loves them by the way. When he comes home from school he proudly tells me that he put his napkin back in his lunch box and did not throw it in the garbage. He’s so proud of himself. But anyway, when I was putting together that post and I took a picture of his lunch, I came to a sad realization. The lunch I pack for him is far from being green. In fact, it’s filled with waste. Shame on me. Let’s take another look.



    The good things:The bad things:
    1. The Fabkins napkin1. Plastic applesauce container
    2. Metal spoon2. Plastic yogurt container
    3. Reusable sandwich container3. Juice box
    4. Wrapper from cheese stick

    Somehow I never realized how much waste I was still packing into his lunch. Here I thought I was doing a good job! It wouldn’t be so bad if the plastic containers were being recycled at school, but they’re not. Even if they were, it is still unnecessary waste. So what to do? Until Stonyfield starts making a big container of kids yogurt (that would be so fantastic) I’m going to have to stick with it. But I am going to see if I can get him to put it back in his lunchbox so we can recycle it. I foresee a messy lunchbox, so I will have to work on a better plan. The applesauce I can easily change. I buy tons of the bigger glass jars of it for at home, so I can start putting it in small reusable containers and sending those instead. Once I use up the rest of the juice boxes, we won’t be buying any more. It’s kind of ridiculous that I am paying for juice boxes that are 40% water anyway, so I’ll just start sending in his straw cup with a water/juice mix. I have no idea what to do about the cheese stick.

    So it looks I need to add this to my Green Goals list and I am reaching out to you all to help me green my son’s lunch! How can I provide the same foods (or similar) but without the waste? If you have a pre-school aged child, what do you pack them for lunch?


    Monday, February 16, 2009

    Going Green: Stop the Junk Mail

    If you are anything like me, you are super annoyed by all of the junk mail you receive in your mailbox. I mean, I’m still receiving junk mail addressed to the previous owners, and we’ve lived here for almost 5.5 years! Just think about all the paper that is wasted every day from unwanted mail and catalogs – it’s awful! But now there is something we can do try to stop it (or at lease lessen in). It’s fairly easy; you just need a little time.

    Paperless Bills
    Most if not all of the companies that you receive bills from have an option for paperless bills. Anyone from the phone and cable to electric and even your bank statements! Call each company or go online to their website to see if you can switch to paperless.

    Catalogs
    We get way too many catalogs at our house. While I do enjoy flipping through the Pottery Barn Kids catalog every other month, it’s certainly something I do not need. I mean I have never once purchased anything from them, and I probably never will. Plus, I can always head over to their web site to take a look at what they have. So I decided I wanted to try to stop all catalogs. Catalog Choice is a pretty nifty site where you can tell them which catalogs you want, and which you do not want. It might take a little leg work at first, but just think of how much paper you will be saving. First you are going to search for the catalogs you want to stop. It will help to either have a Customer Number or Source Code from the back of the catalog (although it is not required). Take some time to go through and find each catalog you want to stop. If you change your mind in a few months, you can go back and edit your preferences.

    Direct Mailings
    The reason you are getting so much of these “direct mailings” is because you’re name is on their lists. So you need to get it off the list, right? But there must be thousands of lists out there! Luckily, a few companies have set up sites where you can opt-out of such mailings. Even though they are direct mailing companies themselves, they don’t want to waste money sending mail to people who don’t want it, so they will gladly take you off any of their lists. Make sure you do these for all members of your household that receive mail.


  • DirectMail.com: National Do Not Mail List - this was extremely fast and easy. You are going enter your name and address and then tell them which kinds of mailing you want to receive and which you do not (i.e. sports, family, etc.) I indicated that I wanted to receive none. I didn’t want to take a chance that I would start receiving more mail because I checked off that I like something.


  • OptOutPreScreen.com – Here you can opt out of receiving pre-screened credit offers. I absolutely HATE these! If you opt-out online its good for 5 years. If you want to opt-out permanently, then there is a form to mail in.


  • Phone BooksThis is technically not junk mail, but still a huge waste of paper. Every year a new one gets dropped off on your doorstep, but how many people use these anymore? I look up 99% of phone numbers or businesses online these days. I can’t even remember when I last opened a phone book! There are more than 500 million phone books printed and distributed ever year – ack! Well now there is a way to “Just Say No!” to that bulky yellow book. Head over to YellowPagesGoesGreen.org and submit your name and address.

    Now I just did all of these myself last week, so it is too soon for me to see any kind of result. I am curious as to what kind of turn around time they have; I’m hoping to see a reduction in junk mail in the next month. Let's all give it a try and I will have a check-in at the beginning of April to see what kind of results we are seeing.

    Friday, February 13, 2009

    Green Giveaways Friday

    Here are some Green Giveaways that I have found around the Blogosphere! Do you have a green giveaway or contest over on your blog? Well be sure to add it to Mr. Linky down below!

    Green Earth Journey
    Turn A New Leaf Inc.: Natural Baby Pillow - ends Feb 15
    SN-R-G: Organic Baby Onesie or Toddler Shirt - ends Feb 15
    DebbyAremDesigns: Recycled Computer Circuit Board Mini Magnetic Clipboard - ends Feb 15
    BlackStar: Canyon Necklace - ends Feb 15

    Sage & SavvyDreamSacks: BambooDream Baby Gift Set - ends Feb 15
    Pangea Organics: Facial Cream - ends Feb 18



    Thursday, February 12, 2009

    Fabkins, Cloth Napkins for Kids

    I was so excited when I was presented with the opportunity to review Fabkins - I love finding new green products, especially for my kids! Fabkins was started by 2 moms in California who wanted to pack waste-free lunches for their children. So they decided to make their own line of children’s napkins. What a great idea! We’ve been trying to use cloth napkins in our home more, but honestly they are too big for my 4 year old so I never packed them in his lunch for school. Well unlike traditional sized napkins, these are the perfect size for your kiddos. I’d say it’s about ¾ the size of the regular cloth napkins we have. They come in a variety of designs so there is sure to be one your child will love.

    When I first opened my package I had to chuckle because the designs that Fabkins sent me were perfect for us! I received 2 napkins, a blue one with a baseball from the Sports Fan theme and a yellow one with a giraffe from the African Safari theme. Now I say these were perfect because my 4 year old loves blue and loves sports so he was very excited about his new “baseball napkin.” The theme in the twins’ room is African Safari, so I thought it was fitting. The first thing I did was toss them in the wash to see how they held up. Well they came out the same as they went in. I have since washed them again and they are still looking great. These napkins are definitely good quality.

    There is a little feature on these that I love and that is the tag. Yes I know, who cares about the tag? Well as a mom who once had a child in full time daycare and now in part time preschool, I’ve been constantly writing William’s name on things and most tags leave absolutely no room to do so. I end up writing so small its illegible or in between other text so it’s hard to spot. Well no worries here. Fabkins have a nice, simple tag with a “Property of” line and plenty of space to write your child’s name. Yay! I wish more manufacturers of children’s products did this.

    William has been using one with his meals the past few days and they have been great. If he is using paper napkins he goes through a ton, so this is definitely saving a lot of waste for us. It is folded neatly next to his plate; he wipes his mouth and then carefully places it back down so it’s still folded. Too cute!

    Now my big test was going to be packing it with lunch and sending it off to preschool. However the big test wasn’t for the Fabkins; I already loved them, but rather to see if it would actually make it back home. So this was a test for William. Honestly, I haven’t been sending any napkins with his lunch, I just didn’t think of it. So I packed everything up neatly in his lunch bag, and then spent about 5 minutes explaining to him how important it was to put it back in the bag when he was done and to NOT throw it in the garbage.

    When he came home I quickly opened up his bag to make sure it had returned. There it was – folded up nice and neat! Now it is hard to tell if he actually used it, it was their Valentine’s Day party so I’m sure things were crazy, but now I know I can trust him to bring it home. These Fabkins will now be going to preschool twice a week with him. And when my little guys are older, I am definitely going to need a bunch more.

    See this and other great reviews for great products at Ohana Mama.



    Review: Natural Awakenings Magazine

    A few months ago my sister-in-law told me about Natural Awakenings magazine. I had been looking for some sort of natural or green publication, so I was excited when I found out about this. What a great resource!

    In 1994, the first Natural Awakenings magazine launched in Naples, Florida. Today they are in 65 markets and growing. What makes this magazine so great is that it is specific to your region. That means in addition to its informative articles, it is also full of local green events and news as well as a directory of local green businesses. Imagine my surprise when I found out there is a natural salon and spa a few towns away! Now I can finally get a pedicure again! I also found an organic lawn care company whom I will be calling this Spring to take care of our tick problem. And just to make it extra special, they always feature artwork from a local artist on the cover. Oh yes, and it is FREE! Who doesn’t like free?

    You can pick one up at most natural food markets and even at some major supermarket chains. I get mine at Stop & Shop. Or if you go online and find your local magazine, you can subscribe to the digital version which will be delivered to your inbox before the print one even hits the stands. So go sign up for it today!

    Do you already read Natural Awakenings? Tell me what you like about! Have you learned anything from this magazine?


    Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    A Proud Green Mama Moment

    Yesterday afternoon my 4 year old grabbed himself two yogurts out of the fridge for a snack. Always two, never just one. I was busy doing something with my little guys, probably changing diapers. Then I walked into the kitchen, past the area on the counter where we stack our recyclables, and there sat the two empty yogurt containers. I was shocked and proud at the same time. Usually he tosses them in the sink, I hadn't realized he knew where our recycling pile was.

    A short while later I noticed an empty toilet paper roll in the bathroom trash. I pulled it out and explained to him that it goes in the recycling to which he responded "Yes, and William put the yogurts in the recycling too!" Gotta love when they talk about themselves in the 3rd person. I know its cheesy, but it made me so proud! And it just goes to show you that you that little ones pick up on everything you do, even if you don't always explain it to them. So lead and teach by example: if you start doing greener things around your house, your kids will learn from you!

    On a side note, I really need to come up with a better way to store recyclables until we bring them down to the garage. This picture doesn't begin to show how messy it can get on my counter. Any ideas? We're limited on space.

    Monday, February 9, 2009

    My First Award: The Love Ya Award!

    The Love Ya Award
    These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.

    I'm giving The Love Ya Award to:
    • Melinda at Look What Mom Found - Melinda gave me this award and I am so touched I just had to return the gesture. Thanks for your support! Love ya!
    • Sarah at Ohana Mama Blog - Words cannot describe my gratitude for kicking my butt into gear to get this blog going and for the great opportunities you've given me. Love ya!
    • Allie at No Time For Flash Cards - What an amazing mom and teacher, I am in awe of you! By far the best child craft & activity blog! Love ya!
    • Lauren at All Things 4 Baby & Mom - Thank you for all of the helpful advice you've given me, you've been a tremendous help! Love ya!
    • Lee at My Sentiment ExactLee - I love reading Lee's honest reviews and she can always make me laugh. Love ya!
    • Hyla at Green Earth Journey - Hyla is constantly featuring Eco-Minded Etsy shops on her blog and I love reading and learning all about them. Love ya!
    • April at The Crazy Green Cheapskate - I won my first (and only) blog contest here and I just LOVE the organic cucumber seeds and Green Living for Dummies book. Thanks! Love ya!
    • Maryann at Matthew's Puzzle - Sharing what she has learned as a mother of a son with Autism Spectrum Disorder. So informative and an amazing mom. Love ya!

    Going Green: Reusable Bags

    OK, so we’re going to start off simple. As I mentioned last week, when beginning your green transformation, it’s best to start with easy things. So let’s start with one of the easiest things to do – reusable bags! This was the first thing I did. If you are wondering why EVERYONE should have reusable bags, here are a few facts about plastic bags from ReusableBags.com:

      Consumption
    • Each year, an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. That comes out to over one million per minute. Billions end up as litter each year.
    • According to the EPA, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.
      Environmental Impact
    • Hundreds of thousands of sea turtles, whales and other marine mammals die every year from eating discarded plastic bags mistaken for food.
    • Plastic bags don't biodegrade, they photodegrade - breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits contaminating soil and waterways and entering the food web when animals accidentally ingest.
    Alright, now we know WHY we need reusable bags, so where do you get them? The answer: anywhere! Most if not all supermarket chains have their own they sell, as do national retailers like Target and WalMart. What’s nice about these is they are usually only about 99¢! A small price to pay for keeping hundreds of plastic bags out of circulation! The bags I get the most use out of are the ones I got at Stop & Shop, where I do all of my grocery shopping. We are on a pretty tight budget and I got all 6 of my Stop & Shop bags for FREE. That’s right, FREE! As I mentioned, they are only 99¢ to begin with, so I would have paid that anyway. But during the week of Earth Day 2008, they were giving them away if you spent a certain amount of money. So I jumped on the chance for free bags and have been using them every week since. It’s been 10 months and they are still going strong! I also want to mention that Stop & Shop also pays you to bring in your own bags. Doesn’t matter what kind of bag, you can even bring in old plastic bags, and you will get 5 cents back for each. So that usually saves me about 25¢ off each shopping trip. If I had paid for them, I would have earned back the money spent in only 6 months. How can you beat that?

    There are also probably hundreds of fashionable and trendy bags you can purchase online. Check out websites like ReusableBags.com (lots of brands, $4 to $45), ChicoBags.com ($5 to $10 each), FlipandTumble.com ($6 to $12 each), GoodyGreenBag.com ($8.95 each) or simply do a web search! All of these are super cute! Target even has some cool ones. The first bags I ever bought were Chico Bags. I lucked out and was able to get them discounted through a co-op run on my online mommy board: The MamaSphere. They come in a bunch of great colors and fold up into themselves for easy travel. These days I use them for diapers and snacks when I’m out and about with the kids. Regular diaper bags don’t fit in my double-stroller. Plus the blue bag matches perfectly with the blue stroller! When I remember to, I also bring these into WalMart and Target. Notice I said remember to. This is one of my Green Goals for 2009, to bring reusable bags everywhere!

    These days everyone is on a tighter budget, so maybe you really don’t want to spend any money on bags right now. Well hey, that’s OK too! Just bring whatever plastic bags you have in your house to the store instead. Keep reusing them until they start to break and than throw them in your recycling bin (most are recyclable these days, but check with your recycling company). While you’re doing this, then maybe you can buy one 99¢ bag a month to slowly build up your stock. After a few months you will be all set!

    Don't Forget
    It is easy to forget your bags when you are running out the door, unfortunately I have done this quite a few times. So now after I empty them, I put them in the basement in front of the garage door so I walk by them every time I go shopping. I have not forgotten them since doing this. Even better would be to actually go and put them back in your car so they are always there. Now you just have to remember to bring them into a store!

    Your Challenge
    I want you to go to your grocery store to see if they do sell their own reusable bags and find out if they have any kind of incentive like money back. If you find a store that gives incentives, then come back and tell us about it!

    I want to hear from you!
    If you already have some reusable bags, tell us what kind you have and how many. Or if you don’t have any yet but are buying some soon, tell me what you plan to buy. And if you have any ideas for how to use your bags or reuse plastic ones, share them here!

    Friday, February 6, 2009

    Going Green Tips

    Green Tips from Green Mama's PadStarting next week I am going to have a weekly "Green Tips" post. To get things started, I thought I would start now with a "foundation" tip. Deciding to live a greener lifestyle is a great choice, but I know that when you are first getting started it can be completely overwhelming! Where do you start? What should you change first? How do I do this? You can keep going round and round in circles with questions and never get the ball rolling. So my first tip: take it one step at a time! You are so much better off focusing on one small thing at a time rather than trying to change everything at once. You can start with the easiest thing to change or perhaps something that is most important to you. When you decide what it is you want to start with, research it. Educate yourself and other members of your household so every one is on the same page. And then just do it!

    Remember to stop by on Monday for my first weekly Green Tip!

    Do you have a great Green Tip that you can share with us? Please email your tip to me (along with your URL) at greenmamaspad(at)gmail(dot)com and I will post it with a link back to your blog.


    Wednesday, February 4, 2009

    Monday, February 2, 2009

    Green Goals for 2009

    OK, so I know I am a about a month late with my resolutions for the new year, but better late than never right? I saw a great post about listing our "Green Goals" for 2009 over on Crunchy Domestic Goddess so I thought I would do the same. Alright, here are mine:


    • Buy produce from local farmer's market.
    • Bring reusable bags to ALL stores, not just supermarket.
    • Get my hubby to use organic skincare and personal care products (soap, shampoo, cologne, shaving stuff, etc.).
    • Spend more time outside with the kids.
    • Start taking better care of me (exercise and work on my chocolate addiction).
    • Get some more Glad Rags.
    • Eliminate all High Fructose Corn Syrup foods from our house (95% there!).
    • Start a vegetable garden and plant at least 2 veggies.
    • Get a strawberry pot and plant some strawberries.
    • Put up a clothes line outside to start line drying some things like towels.
    • Pack waste free lunches for my preschooler
    So now I want to know what YOUR Green Goals are for this year. You can either list them in a comment or post them on your blog and leave me the link to it so I can add it here.

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