Green Tip of the Week #7 – Cold Wash

Another way to save energy is to wash your clothes, linens, etc. in cold water, instead of warm or hot. Generally speaking, cold water will get your laundry just as clean as warm or hot water will. Plus, cold water is less wearing on the clothes, keeping them looking like new longer. (Anything with stains should be pre-treated and/or soaked in advance.)

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂

Living Green past and future

I was reading about green new year’s resolutions over on Nature Moms Blog and started thinking about what I accomplished this past year to live a greener lifestyle and how I can improve on that in 2008. Here’s what I came up with.

In 2007, I…:

— Started using my compost bin, significantly reducing the amount of food waste that goes into the garbage

— Grew a few vegetables in a “pot” garden in my yard

— Bought some food at the farmer’s market

— Started regularly using reusable grocery bags

— Replaced the majority of our light bulbs with CFLs (compact fluorescent light bulbs)

— Began using cloth napkins

— Switched to a natural (Charlie’s) laundry soap

— Subscribed to GreenDimes (thanks to a gift from my mom)

— Freecycled, donated and sold unwanted items

Green goals for 2008:

— Continue with the things listed above and…

— Grow a bigger garden

— Possibly join a CSA to eat more locally and shop at the farmer’s market

— Buy some cloth diapers that can stand up to Julian’s nighttime pees and stop using disposables (7th Generation) at night (We cloth diaper during the day.)

— Learn how to can foods

— Learn how to make my own yogurt

— Read “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

That’s all that’s coming to me at the moment, but I’m sure I will think of more later and may add to the list as I it comes to me.

I have other personal goals for the new year as well, but will save those for another post, another time.

What about you? What are your green goals for 2008?

Crunchy Domestic Goddess Year in Review – 2007

Kelli at There is no place like home and Steph at Adventures in Babywearing both inspired me to do my own year in review post. They both posted the first sentence of their first blog post of each month, but I’m changing the “rules” for my blog and doing things a little differently. Instead of taking the first sentence from the first post of each month, I’m selecting the first sentence (or few sentences) from one of my favorite posts from each month and including a link to that post as well in case something piques your interest. (Yes, it took a lot more time to do it this way, but it seems I’m all about making things more difficult challenging for myself.) By doing it this way I hoped to select posts that best represented my blogging throughout the past year. 🙂

The CDG Year in Review

JANUARY
I’m not a big fan of Dr. Phil, but was happy to learn he was having the Sears doctors (Dr. William Sears and sons, Dr. James Sears and Dr. Robert Sears) on a show on Friday called “Young Moms Ask the Experts.”From The Sears doctors chime in on CIO and other parenting topics

FEBRUARY
One of Ava’s books about nursing (Breastmilk Makes My Tummy Yummy) contains a picture of a mom nursing a toddler and a baby and states: “Two can breastfeed without fuss, there is room for both of us.” On Wednesday night, we – me, Julian and Ava – experienced that for the first time. — From Room for two

MARCH
It’s the little things that make me appreciate just how much I love my kids.
Like the new lip-smacking sounds that Julian makes.
Like the way Ava kissed my arm a few times while falling asleep tonight. — From The little things

APRIL
In the spirit of putting more of myself “out there,” here it is, as promised – my completely honest post. — From The truth will set you free

MAY
As I set out driving Friday night to hear Ina May Gaskin – called “the mother of authentic midwifery” by Midwifery Today – speak, I was filled with nervous excitement. When I was about 10 minutes out from the church in Lafayette where the event was taking place, a friend of mine called me to say she was saving some seats for me and other friends of ours and she was able to get pretty close to the front. I felt like a teenager going to a rock concert. — From An Evening with Ina May

JUNE
On Sunday morning, Jody, Ava, Julian and I braved the record-breaking 100 degree heat to attend the National Mile High Breastfeeding Celebration in Denver hoping to help break a record of a different kind. — From National Mile High Breastfeeding Celebration


JULY
Some days you have to throw out your plans and just go with the flow. Today was one of those days. — From Go with the flow

AUGUST
As parents, we do the best we can to ensure our children have the very best start in the world. We may breastfeed them, make their baby food from scratch, buy organic and whole foods, childproof our homes, teach them not to talk to strangers, and a myriad of other things. We trust that when we buy age-appropriate toys for our children, that they will be safe and not pose a choking hazard nor contain toxic elements… – From Tots, toys and toxic paint don’t mix

SEPTEMBER
I tend not to write much about celebrities on my blog. As a general rule, I find there’s just too much other stuff going on in the world (especially my family’s world) for me to discuss who’s doing/saying what out in Hollywood. But when I heard that Brad Pitt (and then Kevin Kline) recently made comments about co-sleeping… – From What I believe: Brad Pitt, Kevin Kline on co-sleeping

OCTOBER
Halloween is right around the corner, but in light of my recent discoveries about damaging effects of artificial colors and flavors (and petroleum and coal tar) in candy, I haven’t been feeling very excited about a holiday that promotes candy consumption. — From Amy’s Halloween Candy Alternatives

NOVEMBER
It’s been just over a year since my baby boy made his amazing entrance into the world, and yet, I never posted his birth story on my blog. So here it is one year later – in it’s full, unedited (LONG) glory (altered only to change the midwives’ names to first initial) – for your reading pleasure. — From One year later – Julian’s (footling breech) home birth story

DECEMBER
In light of articles like this one, stating that as recently as Nov. 20, hazardous toys (containing high lead levels and other dangers) were still being found on the shelves in stores like Target, it’s validating (but really no surprise to me) to read that Simple Retro Toys May Be Better For Children Than Fancy Electronic Toys. — From Simple toys better for children

If you wrote a year in review post (of any kind) on your blog, please add a link to your post in the comments. 🙂

Happy New Year!

The (mostly) Green Girly Gift Guide and Giveaways

PLEASE NOTE: As of now, 12/19/07, this giveaway is now closed for entries. Thanks!

Green Girly Gift Guide

A few weeks ago I posted my holiday toy gift guide for kids, but now is the time to start thinking about yourself and all of the women (friends, aunts, grandmothers, mothers, sisters) on your list, because let’s face it, we women deserve some great gifts too! 🙂

In keeping with the crunchy spirit of reducing, reusing and recycling, I’m happy to say that most of the items in my girly gift guide are green (good for the environment). These gift ideas aren’t just for Christmas and Chanukah, they also make great birthday presents.

What could make a mostly green girly gift guide even better? How about the fact that this guide is chock full of great giveaways and coupon codes to help you with your holiday shopping or to score some cool stuff for yourself! 🙂 See the end of the guide for instructions on how you can have a chance to win one of the giveaways.

Lookin’ Good and Green

Choose happiness t-shirtTees for Change – Including positive messages like: “Choose Happiness,” “Live Mindfully,” and “Today Matters,” Tees for Change shirts ($28-$38) are out to make the world a better place. I don’t know about you, but I often need to remind myself that happiness is a choice. Rather than getting caught up in the moment or events of the day, I can decide to roll with the punches, laugh it off and choose happiness. That’s why the Choose Happiness shirt is my favorite. I love that these tees have such a great message for the person wearing them, as well as everyone he/she comes into contact with. Oh, and I’m also keen on the fact that they are the brainchild of a local mom who also had a home birth. A Boulder, Colorado-based company, Tees for Change is very eco-conscious. All of their tees are made from 100% organic cotton or 70% bamboo/30% organic cotton mix, are dyed with low impact dyes and screen-printed with water-based inks, and they plant a tree for every shirt sold. It’s a win-win and now you can win too with this giveaway!
– Coupon Code: For 15% off, use coupon code “goddess” at checkout.
– Win It! : I’m giving away (1) Tees for Change short-sleeved t-shirt of your choice

For the jewelry-lovers

  • BeadforLife unique necklaces and bracelets – “BeadforLife eradicates extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads, and people who care open their hearts, homes and communities to buy and sell the beads. The beads thus become income, food, medicine, school fees — and hope. All profits from BeadforLife are invested in community development projects that generate income and help people work their way out of poverty.” Necklaces range in price from $10 to $30. Bracelets range in price from $5 to $15. They also sell loose beads (for use in making your own jewelry or other crafts) and gift certificates. I bought a few BeadforLife necklaces at a BeadforLife party I attended (and blogged about) a couple of years ago. I love that the pieces are beautiful, unique, made from recycled paper and are helping such a worthy cause. If you are in the Boulder, Colorado area, you can stop in the Bead for Life store to see all of their unique styles and colors.
  • Sea glass necklaceSea glass jewelry from Oceano (an Etsy store) – I remember my mom first introducing me to sea glass (broken pieces of glass that have been made smooth by the ocean) when I was a child. I always thought it was beautiful. I love that someone else appreciates the beauty of sea glass and thought of the wonderful idea of making it into jewelry. What a creative way to recycle/reuse discarded glass!


For the aspiring photographers

  • Photo cuff braceletsHere’s a unique gift idea that any aspiring photographer and/or mom would love to have – a Photo Cuff Bracelet from Mama Needs It. The Photo Cuffs are made of die cut vinyl (vegan friendly) and are a cool way for you to show off your favorite photos of your children, grandchildren, pets, whatever! I have the Chelsea Photo Cuff Bracelet and love it! Of course I have mine filled with pictures of Ava and Julian, but you can fill yours with whatever you like. I also like that you can swap out new photos whenever you choose.
    – Coupon Code:
    Receive 10% off any purchases from Mama Needs It by entering the discount code “CDGknowsgifts” at checkout.
    – Win It! : I’m giving away a $25 gift certificate to Mama Needs It
  • The holiday season generally means we moms will all be taking more pictures than usual. If you are looking for a quick and easy way to get those holiday photos printed and into an album, you might be interested in HP’s Photo Books. They are available in two sizes: 5″ x 7″ or 8.5″ x 11″ and a variety of colors. HP photo book“The HP Photo Book includes all the things you need: a professional looking hardcover photo book, easy to use layout and design software, and HP Advanced Photo Paper (12 sheets). Simply add your photos and creative touch, and you’re ready to go.” I like that they are also customizable and allow you to add more pages or mementos such as cards or invitations any time you like.
    – Coupon Code: To receive a 20% off coupon code (expires 12/31/07) for the Photo Books, visit Snap Shot Chronicles.
    – Win It! : I’m giving away 2 sets of Photo Books – (1) 8.5×11 size and one (1) 5×7 size in each set

For the Foodies on your list

  • What’s Cooking Weekly menu planning service will help you answer the age-old question of “What’s for dinner?” Each week there are five healthy meal recipes, as well as shopping lists, “Call the Kids” section with suggestions to get your children involved in the meal preparation, nutritional information and tips for eating foods in season. It is a mom-owned and operated business.
    I had the opportunity to give the service a try and was very impressed. The meals I made were all delicious and a big hit with my family. This is a great time-saver for anyone who has a million and one things to do every day and doesn’t necessarily have time to figure out what’s for dinner. The shopping lists are organized by grocery department and the recipes are easy to follow. I especially like the “Call the Kids” section to help get children more involved in their meal preparation. I find that my daughter enjoys her food more when she helps make it herself and she loves telling daddy, “I helped!”
    A What’s Cooking Weekly Subscription makes a great gift (and generates no waste – how cool is that?!). A 6-month subscription is only $35 – less than $6 per month!
    – Win It! : I’m giving away a 6-month subscription to What’s Cooking Weekly
  • BYOBagsBYO Bags – reusable mesh produce bags from What’s Cooking. These reusable mesh bags are a great way to cut down on the number of plastic bags used. They can easily be stuffed into your purse and pulled out in the produce aisle when you need them. $10 for 3 bags.
    – Coupon Code:
    To receive 10% off any purchases from What’s Cooking, enter the coupon code “Eat_Well” at checkout.

For the woman who has everything

  • Consider a gift subscription to Green Dimes – For only $15 $12 (reduced for the holiday season), GreenDimes pledges to “cut your junk mail up to 90%” and plant 10 trees.
    My mom bought me a subscription a while back and I really have noticed a reduction in our junk mail. Plus I love the fact that they plant trees for you.
  • What if there was a way to have a tree planted for every book you read? Now there is with Eco-Libris. “Every book you read was once a tree. Now you can plant a tree for every book you read” with Eco-Libris. Give an Eco-Libris gift certificate to the people you care about, with which they will be able to plant trees for the books they read. For every tree planted, Eco-Libris will send them an Eco-Libris sticker to display on their book’s sleeve. (Thanks to GreenStyleMom for bringing this cool site to my attention!)

Other sources for groovy green ideas

  • Green Feet – Green Feet is a groovy online store that is sure to have something for the women (men and children, too) on your list. bambu dishesThey carry the full Bambu line, which includes bamboo dishes, cutting boards, serving trays, baskets and more. Wonder what’s so great about bamboo? It’s durable, beautiful and sustainable. It’s a grass, not a wood, grows incredibly fast and never needs replanting. Green Feet carries all sorts of other cool things like jewelry made from a bike chain or a record, recycled sari purses, hemp bath pillows, aromatherapy diffusers, a kitchen compost crock, Coco Zum Chocolate Soap, water bottles, reusable bags and much, much more.
    – Coupon Code: 10% off your order. Use the code “Crunchy” during checkout. Not valid with other offers, sale items or memberships.
  • happy bagsReusable Bags – Reusable bags have come a long way, baby. Check out their Gift Ideas for Her and you might be surprised by the variety of hip reusable bags available. There are also some great reusable bottles, a reusable gift bag set, and a reusable bamboo utensil set.
    – Coupon Code:
    10% off your entire order. At checkout, enter the following code in the Gift Certificates/Discount Coupons section: “49c7fg” (note that it is case sensitive) – Good through Dec. 21. One use per customer.



For those who love the written word (magazine subscriptions for thinking mothers):

  • Mothering : Natural Family Living – Buy a one-year subscription at the reduced price of $19.95 (regularly $22.95) and you can order additional one-year subscriptions for friends and family for only $17 each.
    – Coupon Code: Use code X7DE in the promotional code box.
    Mothering also has a digital subscription option to help save the trees!
  • Brain, Child : The magazine for thinking mothers- A one-year subscription is just $17.95 for a full year of reading pleasure. (That’s 25% off the newsstand price)
    – Coupon Code: Use code MWX07 at the checkout.

Final thoughts

Don’t forget about Etsy: “Your place to buy and sell all things homemade” – Check out their gift guide page where you can search according to whom you are shopping for – women, men, babies, children (by age), etc. 🙂

Lastly, here are some other great places to look for unique gift ideas:

* flea markets
* closeout stores (I just saw bamboo cutting boards at Ross for more than 50% off retail)
* thrift stores (You never know what you’ll find!)

GROOVY GIVEAWAYS!

Win It!
There are four great giveaways mentioned above. You get to choose which ONE giveaway you want to enter. That’s right – you may only enter to win ONE of the four prizes. Please note that I’m doing these giveaways differently than I have in the past.

To try your hand at winning one, please send an email to cdggiveaway@gmail.com and make the subject line the name of ONE of the following giveaways:
– Tees for Change shirt
– What’s Cooking Weekly subscription
– Mama Needs It gift certificate
– HP Photo Books
(Only one email per person please)
To receive an additional five entries either post the Green Girly Gift Guide button on your blog and email me the link or tell five friends about this guide and cc me (cdggiveaway@gmail.com) on the email. The winners will be randomly selected using Random.org and posted on my blog, as well as notified via email. The deadline to enter is Wednesday, Dec. 19. Winners will be announced on Thursday, Dec. 20. Note: Prizes will be mailed after Christmas.

Good luck and happy green shopping! 🙂

Green tip of the week #5 – Creative uses for used wrapping paper

gift wrapThank you to Heather at October Daisy for this great holiday green tip.

Instead of throwing away all the holiday gift wrap most people accumulate from gift giving, save it! Run it through a paper shredder and use it to stuff gift bags or baskets. The finished result is beautiful!

And here are some more ideas:

Another use for use wrapping paper is when taking down your Christmas tree, use wrapping paper to wrap delicate ornaments, and to provide cushioning between ornaments wherever they are stored.

Also wrapping paper can be shredded and used to protect items you have to ship throughout the year.

Lastly, if you can’t find a use for the old wrapping paper, please recycle it, rather than throwing it in the trash. Check with your city to find out if wrapping paper is accepted in your recycling bin or if they have set up a special program for recycling it after the holidays (which is what my city does).

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂


Green tip of the week #4 – rechargeable batteries

rechargeable batteriesWith the holidays coming up and the myriad gifts that may require batteries – digital cameras, children’s toys, portable CD players or radios, and other electronics – how about spending a little extra money to buy rechargeable batteries?

From Wikipedia:
Rechargeable batteries can offer an economic benefit when used instead of one-time-use disposable batteries. Most rechargeable battery technology has been adapted into the standard “AA,” “AAA,” “C,” “sub-C,” “D,” and “9-volt” configurations that consumers are familiar with. While the rechargeable versions of these types of cells have a higher up-front cost than disposable batteries, rechargeable batteries can be discharged and recharged many times. Some manufacturers of NiMH type rechargeable batteries claim a lifespan up to 3000 charge cycles for their batteries.

Rechargeable batteries are also great for baby swings (that gobble up juice like nobody’s business) and household items like TV remote controls, alarm clocks and flashlights.

While rechargeable batteries aren’t the most exciting gift, they make a great stocking stuffer, will save you money over time and, perhaps most importantly, will help save planet Earth.

NOTE: Disposable one-time-use batteries should not be thrown into the trash. “Batteries are a unique product comprised of heavy metals and other elements that make things ‘portable.’ Some of these toxic heavy metals include nickel cadmium, alkaline, mercury, nickel metal hydride and lead acid, which can threaten our environment if not properly discarded.” For information about proper disposal of one-time-use batteries, visit Earth911.

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂


Green tip of the week #3 – ’tis the season

NaBloPoMo – Day 24

recycle

Because we have officially entered into the holiday season, a season traditionally filled with a lot of waste, I’m going to list more than one green tip today.

  • Every year, there are 2.65 billion holiday cards sold in the U.S. That’s enough to fill a football stadium field 10 stories high! Please look for cards that contain recycled content or are actually recycled materials. You can make your own cards out of scrap paper found around the house. You could use old cards as name tags for presents or for colorful artwork to decorate your house. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
  • If you send holiday cards, look for ones made of recycled paper. Avoid cards with glossy, shiny or gold foil coatings since these cannot be recycled. Save the cards that you get in the mail, cut off the front pictures, and reuse as “postcards” next year. This saves on postage too. Or, send ”electronic cards” or make a phone call instead! Crunchy tip from Amy: Or, send a picture of the kids or a family picture instead of a card. Friends and family are often very happy to get new pictures of the kids, and these won’t be thrown into the trash.
  • If every American family wrapped just 3 presents in re-used materials, it would save enough paper to cover 45,000 football fields.
  • If you go out shopping, bring your own tote bags and avoid coming home with an armload of plastic bags holding just one item.

Tips found at Green holiday tips and recycling

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂


Christmas came a little early

NaBloPoMo – Day 13

Artificial Christmas treeTwo weekends ago I managed to score a pretty sweet find off of Freecycle – a six-feet pre-lit artificial Christmas tree! The tree is about five years old and in great shape.

I’d been wanting to buy a larger tree for us since we moved into this house. The tree Jody and I bought in our early days together was a narrow one because we were renting such a tiny house and that was all we had room for. After our move here with a bigger living room, I thought it’d be fun to have a bigger tree and the pre-lit part was just an added bonus because now I won’t have to worry about stringing lights. 🙂

Of course the day we got it we set it up to make sure all of the pieces were there and the lights worked, etc. Then we got the flu and didn’t feel up to disassembling it, so the tree remained up in our living room for a few days. Ava was actually disappointed when Jody took it down, but was satisfied with the knowledge that we’d be setting it back up again in a few weeks.

We figured we would just Freecycle our old tree, but then the woman who gave us her’s mentioned to Jody that she was looking for a skinnier tree to fit into her house. He told me about it, so I emailed her back to see if she would like to have ours and she picked it up this weekend. We couldn’t have planned that better if we’d tried! 🙂

If you have an old artificial tree or other decorations that you are no longer using, think about Freecycling them or donating them to a charitable organization. It will no doubt make someone else happy and is good for the environment too!

And if you choose to get a real tree this holiday, be sure to recycle it. “With over 33 million real Christmas trees sold in North America every year, Christmas tree recycling is an important way to give a renewable, recyclable resource back to the environment.” Check out Earth 911 for a Christmas tree drop-off site in your area.

Green tip of the week #1 – save your leaves

compost pile

NaBloPoMo – Day 10

Green tip of the week:

When raking up your leaves this fall, be sure to set aside a bag or two to keep and use as “brown” (dry) material for your compost bin/pile throughout the coming year. That way you’ll always have some on-hand when you need it.

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip along with a link to your site or blog in a future post. 🙂


Lily’s Garden Herbals natural cleaners – review and giveaway

EDITED TO ADD: This giveaway has been concluded.

NaBloPoMo – Day 9

In my opinion, there are four things necessary to make a good cleaning product.

  1. It has to be non-toxic.
  2. It has to have a pleasant smell.
  3. It has to be affordable.
  4. It has to get the job done.

Lily’s Garden Herbals natural cleaning products accomplish all of these things.

After our recent run-in with the stomach flu, I needed to do some serious bathroom cleaning. I put Lily’s Garden Herbals All Purpose Clean (All Purpose Cleaner – 32 oz. – $6.50) to the test. The bathroom was sparkling in no time and I didn’t have to worry about keeping the kids at bay while I worked for fear of toxic smells overpowering the house. Made with essential oils and distilled water, the All Purpose Clean is effective and has a pleasant, even refreshing, smell.

I also tried out Lily’s Garden Herbals Glass Clean (Non-Toxic Glass Cleaner – 32 oz. – $5) on our sliding glass door. With two dogs and two little kids in and out of the house all day long, this door needs frequent cleaning. I have to admit it outperformed my simple homemade vinegar and water solution, and smelled better too. And, of course with it being non-toxic, I don’t have to worry if Julian decides to lick the glass. Not that he’s ever done that. 😉

Lily’s Garden Herbals also offers a natural dish cleaner, a toilet bowl cleaner and a wood cleaner, as well as a linen spritzer and antiseptic room deodorizer (which also came in handy after the stomach flu went through our house).

Lily’s Garden Herbals were formulated by Kim Falcone, a mother and herbalist with a deep appreciation for the natural world. All of Lily’s Garden Herbals natural household products are homemade, non-toxic, contain NO chemical ingredients or synthetic preservatives, are biodegradable and never tested on animals.

A percentage of profits from Lily’s Garden Herbals sales are donated to local and global charities in areas of environmental protection, human rights and education.

If you are skeptical about making the switch from commercial chemical cleaning products to natural ones, consider this:

  • There are over 80,000 chemicals in commercial use today. Less than one percent
    have ever been tested for safety, especially for neurotoxic effects.
  • Companies are not required to disclose their complete ingredients in household,
    personal care and cleaning products or to test for safety.
  • Over 200 human health conditions have now been linked to environmental toxins. These include not only cancer but disorders such as autism, depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, immune/endocrine system disorders, asthma, and migraines.
  • Children are the most vulnerable to toxins due to their size, weight, and also risk of exposure during critical stages of development that could have life-long consequences.
  • More facts about toxic chemicals in everyday products can be found on this fact sheet provided on Lily’s Garden Herbals’ web site.

All Purpose CleanWin it!
If you would like to win a 32 oz. bottle of Lily’s Garden Herbals All Purpose Clean, please leave me a comment stating what kind of cleaning products you currently use and why you would like to try Lily’s Garden Herbals AND link to this review/giveaway on your blog. (Non-bloggers are eligible as well, but you must tell a friend about the giveaway). Deadline to enter is Nov. 19. The winner will be selected using Random.org and announced on Nov. 20.