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Category Archives: Green Living

Don’t cry over cracked eggs

I opened a new carton of eggs this morning and found three broken eggs.  Boo.

Then I remembered something I saw last weekend when Scott and I toured some green(ish) homes

I filled the eggshells with a little bit of activated charcoal and potting soil, gathered some moss from the yard, and made these little cuties. 

I don’t know how long they will last.  I suppose I’ll mist them when they seem dry and we’ll see what happens.

They look lovely on the shelf above my sink. 

My Breast Pump Runs on Biodiesel

I was in a waiting room yesterday and picked up that horrible BabyTalk magazine.  You know the free one that seems to have radar on every new mama.  BabyTalk and formula companies find your address by magic (or by Babies R Us selling your information to them).  They didn’t find me this time!

Anyway, it was the “green” issue–all about saving the planet while raising your wee one.  Of course there was the token nod to cloth diapering but the article pointed out how difficult it is to deal with the waste.  In BabyTalk, one does not say POOP, I suppose.  It is waste.  Nevermind how troublesome it is for the planet to deal with the waste of disposable diapers. 

I digress.

At the end of the magazine, there was a funny article about the ultimate Green Mama who collects her children’s tears in rain barrels and whose breast pump runs on biodiesel. 

I am not the ultimate Green Mama.  But around here, we do a few things to reduce our footprint.  In honor of Earth Day, a few ways we help out:

  • We do not purchase baby food.  Not formula.  Not jars.  So much waste in packaging–huge cans and tiny jars.  Not to mention that it is easy-peezy to feed your baby real food.  Side-note:  Did you know there is chocolate-flavored formula for toddlers?  And strawberry, too?  Marketed as “healthier than real milk.”  Could someone call Jamie Oliver?
  • We use cloth diapers and wipes.  And it isn’t terribly difficult.  Cedar has never used a disposable.  While there are heated arguments about water usage and energy consumption, cloth diapers ultimately win out.  You can learn more about the impact of disposables here.   
  • I use the Diva.  Although thankfully, I haven’t had to break it out yet since I became preggers with Cedar.  Hoorah!
  • We clean most things (including my hair) with baking soda and vinegar. 
  • We try to avoid plastic.  Admittedly it is difficult sometimes.  But we try.  And Scott has been making lots of lovely wooden things for the girls.
  • I buy most of our clothes second-hand.

Do I sound like I’m patting myself on the back?  Well it does feel good.  BUT here are just a few of the ways we do not tread lightly:

  • Fuel.  We live in ruralville.  To keep my sanity, I must drive the distance to hang with mama friends. 
  • Baths.  To keep my sanity, I must take a long, hot bath.  With the door closed.  Without children.  Preferably with a book.
  • Garden.  Not doing one this year.  Although if you need oregano, mint, lemon balm, catnip, rosemary, horehound, yarrow, or parsley, just ask.  My herb garden survived the winter without help from me and is spreading daily.
  • Food.  We live in ruralville so in the spring/summer there are lots of farmstands for produce but it isn’t usually organic.  And we do still eat of the box sometimes for convenience.

There are many other ways I could do better.  Sustainable living usually begins with one change at a time.  What have been changes that you’ve made to treat our earth more gently?

Easy Preschooler Activity

Norah and I made a marble run for the fridge.  It was super easy and we were able to complete it during Cedar’s morning nap. 

Collect paper towel and toilet paper tubes.  Wrap tubes with construction paper.  Glue a magnet to each tube.  Create your marble run, place a container on the floor, and drop in a marble.  We had to use a large wooden bead because the marble was too heavy. 

Norah has had fun making different runs.

P.S.  I saw a fridge marble run available for purchase in an educational toys magazine and it was out of our toy budget!  So can we call this upcycling?

Simple Diapering

I attended the Greenville Cloth Diaper Group yesterday.  I could not believe how many mamas were there!  Even a first time pregnant mama with her mother came to learn about cloth diapering.   I think there were around 15 women there! 

I love cloth diapering.  There are so many choices available.  Really the sky is the limit on creative options for different lifestyles.  My “go-to” diaper is still the bumGenius one-size.  But around the house, I do love a simple prefold with a snappi.  I love the simple look of it.  It makes me think of summer and clothes-lines.  It is close to the way my grandmothers diapered.  Of course, I’m clumsy and would never attempt to use a safety pin anywhere near a wiggly baby so the snappi it will  be! 

It isn’t waterproof which is great because I am trying to learn Cedar’s elimination cues.  And sometimes the snappi comes undone and snags on a towel or bedspread.  I remember Norah crawling across our bed and getting stuck by her snappi.  According to the snappi instructions, they are not meant to be used without a cover.  Call me a rulebreaker.

The prefolds I use were given to me before Norah was born and were purchased by another mom (who also used them) at a yard sale from a family (who also used them)!  Needless to say, a quality prefold holds up well! 

When your baby grows out of prefolds, they make wonderful cleaning rags. 

They are also an inexpensive option.  A good prefold costs 1.50 (you’ll want a dozen) .  And a snappi costs 3.95 (you only need one).  To make them waterproof, you can add a 10.00 cover (you’ll need at least two).

As I think about my sister and her husband diapering in a developing country without hot water, I think prefolds might hold up the best.  Of course, where they are going, the babies don’t wear diapers at all and they might find that practice suits.

Morning Glory

I’m so happy to announce an exciting new class beginning in February taught by Ashley–the same crafty mama I blogged about in December

Morning Glory Parent-Tot Group
For children ages 1-3 1/2 with a parent, grandparent or caregiver.

A parent-tot group is a nurturing environment where adults attend with their child for play, mealtime and conversation with others on early childhood topics. The small group, limited to 7 families, fosters community and offers a space of support for families. We can further our bonds with our children while cultivating community with others. It is a time to retreat from the busyness of the world and focus our minds on ourselves, our children, and our small group in a warm, lovely environment.

Join us for 2 1/4 hours on Tuesday mornings in our “classroom” – a cozy little guest house on a gorgeous private property in North Greenville’s Green Valley subdivision. Together we will:

~ explore Nature’s beauty as we discover magic hidden around every turn on our group nature walk

~ engage in both outdoor and indoor play with toys made of natural materials

~ learn interactive games, songs, verses and rhymes that reflect the changing seasons; you can take these home and immediately bring into your family life

~ cook and share a nutritious group snack using whole grains, fruits and veggies (organic when available), and herbal teas – all snacks provided

~ work on an adult craft to share with your child (handmade toys are the best gift for a young one-when made by a loved one it’s even better!)

~ experience puppet shows with beautiful, lovingly created all natural puppets

~ spark conversations on parenting and early childhood topics

~ learn the importance of rhythm and purposeful work as a method of guidance, worthy of imitation by our young children

Adults are asked to actively participate in all aspects of the group to provide a healthy model for learning through imitation by the children. Adults will have opportunities to observe, as well as engage in, their child’s play while contemplating their developmental needs. Snack and craft time conversations will focus on early childhood topics previously decided upon by the group. Families have the opportunity to take home photocopies of related articles and all of the songs/rhymes/verses/games for further reading and reference.

The session includes:
Adult Orientation on Saturday, February 6th 9:30-11am
six group classes on Tuesday mornings beginning February 9th – March 23rd 9:15-11:30am
the possibility of one more adult only class later in the session
all snacks and craft materials
handouts for adult reference

Cost:
$125 for one adult with a child
Additional children/adults in the same family may attend.  A discounted fee is offered. 

Please contact Ashley for more information or to register at waldorfmama[at]gmail[dot]com.

Good Tidings

We received the BEST box of treasures from Norah’s friend, Abe.  Abe lives in Vermont and we miss him terribly.  For Norah’s birthday, he gathered some precious gifts to send her way.  They will absolutely be featured on our December nature table.

And I love the birthday card.  It is a balloon.  When we blew it up, we could read Abe’s message.  How creative!

 

Thanks Abraham and Abby!!!

Who is this woman?

Today, having joined other moms at the monthly Cloth Diapering Group to discuss laundry issues and while sharing a cup of organic green tea with agave nectar with my daughter, I wondered…who is this woman?  I once lived off ramen noodles and spent days reading fiction.   

Words overheard at the mom’s group:  poop, growing so fast, amber teething necklace, child-directed, attachment parenting, meltdown, basal temp, environment, your child escaped, sleep, no, raising our children, bamboo, how often do you wash, discipline, microfiber, love and anger, potty, ovulation, mommy’s milk, babylegs, be gentle, odor, odor-remover, nursed all night, share your toys, see you next month. 

My husband asked me last night:  Do you ever think of anything except breasts? 

I had mentioned that stem cells have been found in breastmilk.       

Again, who is this strange woman? 

I like her.

Earth Hour

Our family celebrated Earth Hour last night.  Norah and I had been playing in cornstarch goop (who has time to make proper play-dough?) and I lost track of time.  So the first part of our Earth Hour was spent giving Norah a bath by candlelight.  Then we sang songs as the candles glowed.  Norah played dear Nate’s “junkelele.”  Our neighbors, Lee and Brittany stopped by to gift Norah with a book.  

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We had so much fun by candlelight that we might celebrate Earth Hour more frequently in our home.  So, if our lights are off, knock anyway… 

Treasure Hunting

A few of my recent discoveries–

Green Bags:  Ingles has these great cloth grocery bags available for .98 each!  I’ve been searching for eco-bags that match (yes, I’m vain) and are inexpensive.  I was able to bag all my groceries in four bags and carry all my groceries into the house in one trip.  I’ve used them at three stores now and gotten compliments each time.  Now that is worth .98! 

Laptop Lunches:  I have so much fun serving food bento-style to Norah and this bento lunchbox was impossible to resist.  Two side notes–I found mine for a great price on ebay and they are made in China. 

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Ideal Family Health:  A friend sent me a link to this new medical office in Anderson.  It is too far for us to drive but I’m intrigued by the concept.  There are only two staff–a doctor and a nurse.  There is supposedly no waiting.  They do not take insurance but list their fees on their website.  They make housecalls if needed.  It is a perfect option for those without insurance or with catastrophic insurance only.      

Locally Grown:  I haven’t tried this service yet but here’s the scoop:  You place an order for produce, products, meat from local farms and it is delivered on Thursdays to West End Coffee Company.  The list of items available is pretty impressive. 

Earth Lines:  Poems for the Green Age:  I found this little book at Goodwill for .25.  It is pretty “in your face.”  No wispy imagery or metaphor.  Want a sample?  Here is one called “Men of Clay”
      If Adam was shaped from earth’s rough clay

     What creature would God make

     From the poisoned and eroded soil

     That we’ve left in our wake?

Yeah.  You should read the one about what is in a quarter-pounder or the one about how to make a fur hat.  I probably won’t read it to Norah as a bedtime story just yet. 

Treehugger

hiking-with-norah-011208-007.jpg

hiking-with-norah-011208-010.jpgI was in Chicago this weekend (my first time away from Norah).  Scott and the Bean jumped at the chance for daddy/daughter adventure which, of course, means hiking.  Norah rode in the backpack for the ascent but she chose to walk back down the trail which tripled their time.  Scott says she stopped to hug trees all the way.  “Nice tree.  Hug it.  Kiss it. Love it.”  Is anyone surprised?

My Chicago trip included much late night giggling with my sister, some daddy/daughter adventure of my own, and opportunities to annoy my new brother-in-law (and boot him out of his bed so Noelle and I could enjoy late night giggling).  Only with my sister can I discuss theology, diva cups, and poetry in the same conversation.

Scott left us sleeping this morning to go boating.  It must have rained while I was away…