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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Most Eco-Friendly Christmas Tree - Real or Fake?


If you're like most of us, you're wondering if it's better for the environment to go with a real Christmas tree or an artificial tree. The short answer is: Real. Fake Christmas trees are made from vinyl, which off-gasses harmful chemicals and produces toxic dust for the life of the tree. Not to mention, when you are dead and gone - that tree will still be here. Not a very merry thought. Real Christmas trees, on the other hand, produce fresh oxygen and absorb carbon dioxide and other gases.

So - now that I may have won you over to the side of "real" Christmas Trees, you still have some choices to make, and I've ordered then by way of environmental impact (most to least):
  1. Buy a Fresh-Cut Tree from your local lot - most are grown on Pine Tree Farms, specifically designed for harvesting Christmas trees. Most neighborhoods now offer Christmas tree recycling - so your tree can become mulch and feed other trees after the holidays. The chemicals used to grow Christmas trees are minimal and highly regulated.
  2. Buy an Organic Pine Tree from your local nursery - these are small and pretty hard to come by but lucky you if you find you that works for you.
  3. Buy a potted Christmas Tree - and then replant it or keep it potted in your yard until next year.
  4. Rent a potted Christmas Tree - and return it to the Forrest when you're done! This is a hot new trend and there is a fabulous little company offering this service in Southern California: The Living Christmas Tree. The best thing about the Living Christmas Tree is that  (a)  they deliver it to your door and (b) they pick it up and replant it when you're done. You can even request (for a fee of $25) to rent the same tree again the following year!
The Living Christmas Tree is looking to franchise their company - so if you love the idea of rented Christmas trees but don't have any near you, contact the company and start your own holiday tree rental biz today: www.livingchristmastree.com

Friday, November 30, 2012

Where to Buy Natural Toys for the Holidays


Children's Play Silks sold at SimplyNaturalToys.com
 
Finding natural toys during the holiday season can be tough. Give yourself enough time though and you can hunt down some real treasures (and good deals too) online. Check out Simply Natural Toys - an online retailer that sells eco-friendly, fair-trade, heirloom quality toys. I love their silks, wooden cars, and natural playhouse toys the most. I've go my eye on this wooden play iron by Camden Rose - (only $11.99) and natural dollhouse furniture by Plan Toys (only $19.99 per set).
 



Natural Dollhouse Furniture by Plan Toys
Camden Rose Olden Days Iron




To check out all of their amazing toys go to:  www.SimplyNaturalToys.com


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fresh Organic Corn Tortillas Now Sold at Supermarkets

All-Natural, Organic Tortillas by Mi Rancho 
I almost fainted when I walked into my local Vons market (part of the Safeway chain of supermarkets) and found a display carrying these fresh, all-natural, organic corn tortillas made by Mi Rancho, a California tortilla company. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I'm a sucker for real Mexican-style tortillas. I have been known to forgo frozen organic tortillas at health food stores just to experience the lush flavor of soft, fresh hand-crafted corn tortillas. Actually, I won't even buy frozen tortillas. There is no point. To me, they taste like wet cardboard. But thanks to Mi Rancho, I can now have both - fresh AND organic. Please..Powers-That-Be...may you keep these tortillas coming to my local supermarket! I have been seeing them in all the major chains lately (although, interestingly, NOT at Whole Foods). The reason organic is so important when it comes to corn tortillas these days is that most corn crops are now produced by genetically modified seeds. The only way to avoid GMOs when it comes to corn is to buy organic. So go to your local grocer today and demand that they carry Mi Rancho Organic Corn Tortillas today!

Monday, November 5, 2012

How to Reduce a Baby’s Exposure to Chemicals, Toxins and Radiation

Everyone knows - becoming a parent for the first time is completely overwhelming. There is so much to learn and take in.  Add to that the desire to keep your new baby safe from harmful chemicals and radiation at every turn and a parent just might lose their marbles entirely. Certainly, we cannot protect our children from everything, but what we can do is start them off in the purest, most healthy environment possible by making simple, eco-conscious choices from day one. The Greener Baby Guide I put together below walks you through some of those choices:

Sheets and Linens: Go with organic 100% cotton crib sheets and/or family bed sheets because cotton crops use more pesticides than any other crop grown in America today.

Clothing and Sleepwear: Make sure all baby clothing is made from 100% cotton or 100% virgin wool  – no polyester, modal or bamboo (which is chemically treated when it is mashed into fabric – even if it came from “organic” bamboo) and no fire retardant treated sleepwear, ever, as studies are continuously linking fire retardant chemicals in clothings, furniture and electronics  to cancer and other health and development concerns.

Baby Shampoos, Washes and Lotions: Avoid anything with FRAGRANCE or PERFUME listed as an ingredient, as these will always contain phthalates, a known hormone disruptor associated with cancer. NO FRAGRANCE is best, but some all-natural fragrances are okay. This includes MANY popular baby washes, shampoos, soaps and lotions. Instead, buy only all-natural baby care products (available online or at Whole Foods or other health stores)

Natural Fragrances: Try to stick with natural citrus scents. Avoid the use of lavender and tea tree oil in soaps, detergents, lotions or anything that comes in contact with baby’s skin as these ingredients, while 100% natural, are hormone disruptors that have been linked to health issues.

Cradle Cap: To treat cradle cap (a totally normal baby scalp condition), massage a small amount of jojoba oil on the affected areas. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, then comb thru the scalp with a baby comb. The flakes will lift right off. Follow with an ALL-NATURAL shampoo.

Laundry Detergents: Use only all-natural, FRAGRANCE-FREE laundry detergents to wash baby’s clothes, linens and diapers (if cloth diapering). Infant skin is super sensitive and avoiding fragrances will almost guarantee you an eczema-free and skin-allergy-free child.

Bleach:  Stop using bleach completely. If you have something that needs to be bleached, soak in a powered hydrogen peroxide mixture (like fragrance-free OxyClean) which work just as well as bleach – without the highly toxic fumes and ingredients.

Sunscreen: avoid for the first 6 months, then only use an all-natural, zinc based, non-nano particle, fragrance-free brand such as BADGER (available online or at Whole Foods or other health stores)

Mattresses, Co-sleepers and Pack-n-Play pads: If you splurge on one thing – let it be this: an organic crib mattress (around $200) or family bed ($800 and up). Regular mattresses contain countless chemicals and fire retardants and take a long time to off-gas. If your baby will be sleeping at all in a co-sleeper or pack-n-play, then be sure to replace the vinyl, off-gassing mattress those products come with a natural latex alternative.

Mattress Pads: To keep baby’s crib or family bed dry (from pee, spit-up, etc.) invest in a wool mattress cover or puddle pad. Wool is 100% natural and wicks away ALL wetness so it never reaches the bed. (TIP: you can also just shrink an old woolen blanket for the same purpose)

Sugar: The only sugar babies should have during the first two years is whole fresh fruit. The longer you can hold off on giving a child refined sugar, the more you’ll develop their taste buds to desire and ENJOY real, unsweetened whole foods instead. Forgo the tradition of giving a baby cake on their first birthday. Wait for the 2nd birthday – and let them have at it then!

Juice:  Avoid all juice for the first 2 years. The body processes juice the same way it processes refined sugar. It is very harmful for baby’s teeth (more so than sugar, actually) and will spoil baby’s taste buds from desiring whole foods. Not to mention, several studies have recently found lead and arsenic in children’s grape and apple juice.

Baby Teeth and Cavities:  Crackers, dry fruit, raisons and night nursing (or night bottle feeding) can all lead to cavities. It’s easy to eliminate the food, but not so easy to eliminate the night feeding. Once a baby's teeth are coming in, just be sure to them (front and back) with a wet wash cloth after each night feeding or as soon as they wake up. It’s not the milk that causes cavities, but rather the pooling of the milk behind the teeth as it mixes with other food and bacteria in the mouth.

Soy, Corn and Sugar: These ingredients, unless the label specifies as organic or GMO-free, are almost all grown in genetically modified crops these days. This includes the soy in formula, the soybean oil or corn (in baby food, bread, crackers, etc), and the sugar in all sweetened foods and drinks (one exception to the latter is Pure Cane Sugar. If the label just says “sugar” chances are it comes from genetically modified sugar beet crops).

Baby Bottles: Plastic baby bottles leach chemicals into warm milk. Use glass (when they are too young to hold a bottle themselves) and stainless steel after 5 months.

Sippy Cups: Use ONLY stainless steel with silicone straws (like the Funtainer by Thermos). Babies can drink from straws as early as 9 months of age. Don’t use plastic OR aluminum sippies and nothing with an epoxy lining.

Pacifiers: Use only 100% silicon or 100% latex – with NO plastic parts, including the handle (Soothie, Nuk Soft OrthoStar, and Natursutten are all 100% plastic-free)

Diapers: Cloth is best for baby, the planet, AND the pocket book. Disposables expose baby’s bottom to harmful chemicals – do some research before deciding cloth is too much work. (It really isn’t – and BONUS - kids potty train much earlier in cloth!)

Teething: Avoid all plastic teethers. Buy wooden teething rings or dip a big corner of an organic wash cloth in water, twist into a popsicle cone shape, and freeze. Babies love to chew on these! Or, tie large pieces of frozen mango in a fine piece of mesh fabric and allow baby to chew on it (as you hold the other end).

Newborn Hospital Procedures: Baby’s should not be given chemicals on their first day of life unless it is an emergency situation. If you know for a fact that you do not have gonorrhea or syphilis (which women are tested for when pregnant anyhow), then you may choose to say NO to having antibiotics applied to baby’s eyes immediately after being born. You may also choose to forgo the Vitamin K shot given within minutes of life to ensure proper blood clotting (unless baby suffered a traumatic, bruise-inducing birth). It is true that newborn blood does not clot as well as an adults, but Vitamin K can be given orally in its natural form a few days after birth (at your pediatrician's office). The vitamin shot given at the hospital is actually a synthetic vitamin that contains chemical preservatives and alcohol. Hepatitis B Vaccine is also given on day one in many states. Unless you have the disease yourself or your baby will be with a drug-addicted caregiver, I would postpone this vaccine as well.

Immunization Schedule: Just know you have a choice, and that nothing bad will happen to your baby if you decide to WAIT and DELAY the vaccine schedule. Otherwise – your baby will receive – starting at just 2 months – the exact same dosage for multiple vaccines that a 200 pound man receives. Many researchers believe that is too much for a tiny baby’s system to handle. Give the baby’s body time to develop before dosing it with vaccines (which contain aluminum, formaldehyde, monkey brains and other interesting ingredients. Read the published ingredients on the CDC website before making this call).

Fevers: Infant fevers are scary – especially before the age of 6 months. Past the age of 6 months they are actually helpful in healing the body and in building the immune system. Fevers are nature’s way of burning off a virus. Let it burn. In most cases, if you fight it with Infant Ibuprofen or other medications, the virus will live longer.

Toys: Avoid plastic for as long as possible, especially when babies and toddlers are small and putting everything in their mouths. Better to have a few quality wooden and natural rubber toys than a house full of toxic, lead and/or phthalate leaching plastic toys

Bath Toys:  Avoid plastic toys and foam letters and numbers, which off gas harmful chemicals in the bath. Instead, go with cute washcloth puppets and cloth washcloth dolls and animals.

Bathtub Safety: Do NOT use an anti-slip vinyl bathmat in the tub. Vinyl off-gasses harmful chemicals its entire life. Instead, use removable fun removable rubber bathtub grippers which come in lots of fun kid designs and are super easy to clean. Likewise, do not use a vinyl spout protector. Instead, simply place a plastic cup over the spout when baby or child is bathing. Cute vinyl spout protectors off gas AND grow mold and mildew in every adorable crevice.

Shower Curtains: Never use a vinyl shower curtain in a bathroom where baby bathes, as the vinyl will off-gas heavily with every shower or bath. Go with hemp, cotton, nylon or pvc-free plastic.

Household Cleaners:  Stop using ALL chemical household cleaners (i.e, anything you would buy at the grocery store). There are natural alternatives at any health food store that work just as well without poisoning the air quality in your home and the oceans and rivers that our cleaners bleed out to.  Not to mention exposing baby to cancer-causing chemicals. Homemade products can save you a bundle. Almost anything in the home can be cleaned and disinfected if you own these 7 things: distilled vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, grain alcohol, tea tree oil, castile soap and lemon.

Smart Phones and Ipads: Do not give these to babies to sooth them or set them near them when sleeping as they emit constant radiation that is harmful to baby’s developing brain. In addition, when speaking on a cell phone, always use a corded head piece to reduce close radiation to the brain.

Cordless Phones: Cordless phones actually emit more radiation than cell phones. The base acts like a cell phone tower in your home – continuously communicating and sending radiation to the hand units. Do not keep these anywhere near where baby sleeps. Better yet, get a wired phone – and when you have to be cordless, use your cell instead with a corded headset.

Wireless Routers: Keep them on the other side of the house, away from where baby plays and sleeps. Shut off the router EVERY night and when not using for long periods during the day (as wireless routers emit constant radiation and radio signals).

Best Highchair: Stokke Wooden Highchair, which is made of solid wood and amazing quality. The chair is fully adjustable in height and will grow to become your child’s toddler chair and later their desk chair. Will fit them until they are 10 plus years old. And they look great too!

Cookware: To avoid exposure to aluminum (all stainless steel cookware pieces have aluminum bottoms), invest in a good iron set, such as Le Creuset. They are pricey, buy you can find deals at department stores, they will last you 30 plus years, AND they have a lifetime guarantee (so really – that is longer than 30 years). Avoid rice cookers, as those are usually 100% aluminum.

Food Storage: Glass only – no plastic. Buy in bulk sets from Costco or Bed, Bath and Beyond. Stainless steel is also great for salads and non-citrus storage. (Citrus can cause the nickel in the steel to leach into foods.)

Microwaves: Avoid if you possibly can. NEVER heat plastic in a microwave, EVER, not even in a “microwave safe” plastic container (as there is really no such thing –  ALL plastic leaches into food when heated). Microwaves produce more radiation in the home than any other device.

Plates, Cups and Utensils: Use only ceramic, wood, glass or stainless steel. Babies can start holding a small juice GLASS by 12 months with your supervised help. Plastic leaches – so do not use plastic for any food or drink at home. Small pyrex bowls are perfect for babies to feed themselves with. They rarely break when dropped, and when they do, they break in large pieces, not tiny shards. Do not use plastic plates – especially with warm food. Again, plastic + heat = chemicals in your food.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Most Affordable All-Natural Shampoo on the Market

Hugo Naturals Shampoo and Conditioner - 100% Natural
It's nearly impossible to find 100% natural shampoos in the U.S. Almost all shampoos sold at drug stores, grocery stores, department stores AND health food store contain toxic, cancer-causing ingredients. What a shocker, you say. Well, not really. Large companies sink a ton of money into cheap, lab-created ingredients that are then marketed to us as must-have, silken-producing, body-enhancing products we cannot possibly live without. What we can live without, however, are the chemicals required to produce said results. Last year, the always-amazing Environmental Working Group (ewg.org) created a list ranking almost all shampoos sold in the U.S. according to toxicity levels. Most of the "safest shampoos" on the list (with a toxicity score of ZERO), however, can only be found online by small companies who carry big price tags. After scouring the "zero" toxicity subgroup of 119 shampoos I found only one all-natural shampoo that stood out for being both affordable and readily available (at health food stores, drugstores, local groceries AND at amazon.com): Hugo Naturals Vanilla and Sweet Orange Volumizing Shampoo.

I've now been using Hugo Naturals Vanilla and Sweet Orange Volumizing Shampoo (which sells for about $8 a bottle) for over a year and I have found that it leaves my (naturally curly) hair very supple, full bodied and sweet smelling. My kids love when I use it on them because they think it smells like cake! Hard to beat a shampoo that is less than $10, smells like cake, and has zero cancer-causing ingredients.
  • To buy Hugo Naturals Vanilla and Sweet Orange Shampoo online go to: Amazon.com
  • To learn more about all Hugo Naturals products go to: HugoNaturals.com


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

All-Natural Halloween Treats that Kids Actually Like

Halloween Pistachio Packs by Wonderful
If you love Halloween (like me) but want to avoid feeding the neighborhood genetically modified candy filled with artificial colors, fake flavors, and high-fructose corn syrup then don't fret.  There are tons of affordable, all-natural, last-minute options within easy reach at your local grocery or health food store.

The following 15 all-natural Halloween goodies are guaranteed to delight all kids:
  • Snyder’s of Hanover Halloween Pretzel Snack Sacks
  • Homegrown Organic Bunny Fruit Snacks – Halloween Pack
  • EnviroKidz Organic Peanut Choco Drizzle Crispy Rice Bars (Gluten Free)
  • Endangered Species Dark Chocolate Halloween Treats
  • Sunspire Dark Chocolate Earth Balls
  • Let's Do...Organic Gummi Bear Packs
  • YummyEarth Organic Gummy Bear Packs 
  • YummyEarth Organic Lollipops
  • YummyEarth Organic Candy Drops
  • Wonderful Pistachios Halloween Bags (Pictured Above)
  • Raisin Boxes
  • Individual Packs of Train Mix
  • Fruit Leather
  • Boxes of Halloween Stickers
  • Halloween Pencils

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

All-Natural Affordable Goody Bags

Affordable All-Natural Party Bags
Last year I blogged about the super cool reusable 100% cotton Waste-Free Goody Bags my daughter's 10 party guests designed and took home for her 6th birthday. (She is still using hers as a lunch bag.) This year, for her 7th birthday, I wanted to go with an eco-friendly goody bag again (of course) but since we were now having 25 guests I wanted to go with a more affordable route. Once again, I refused to fill the bags with plastic toys or high-fructose corn syrup soaked candies. I asked my 7-year-old if she could think of any healthier, more planet friendly options and what you see pictured is exactly what she came up with (on her own):

* Pencils
* Pads of Paper
* Organic lollipops
* Organic gummy bears
* All-Natural Pretzels
* Box of stickers

I bought a stack of old-fashion brown paper lunch bags ($1 for 50) and filled them with our all-natural booty. Total cost for 25 all-natural  and 100% recyclable goody bags: $19 (Less than $1 per bag.)

Next year I hope to do a no-packaging, waste-free take-home gift. We'll probably bake the goodies ourselves and wrap them in reusable containers of some sort. We'll see. I have 11 more months to figure it out.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Make Your Own Waste-Free Yogurt Push Pops

My kids love frozen yogurt tubes - but I hate the excess sugar and plastic waste. For years I dreamt of being able to make our own less sweetened, organic version that I could somehow freeze and transport to school in a reusable yet not messy container. Well, after years of searching I finally found the solution: It's the Norpro Silicone Ice Pop Maker. It's a 4-piece colorful silicon set that be can used to freeze any drink or yogurt concoction.

My personal favorite is a Grape Yogurt Push-Up.

How to make it:
  • In a mixing cup, stir together: 1 cup lowfat, organic yogurt (the runny type is best), 3 tablespoons organic grape and 2 table spoons maple syrup or raw agave. (Add more or less as desired)
  • Pour into each silicon tube and pop the cap on.
  • Place all 4 pops into a cup or bowl to keep upright and freeze.  
Pack for school the next day and your yogurt tube will still be cold and semi-frozen by recess...the perfect time for a protein break!

Click here to learn more about or purchase the Norpro Silicone Ice Pop Sets are available on Amazon.com

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Easiest Natural Sunscreen for Kids to Apply Themselves

I've been a Badger Sunscreen user for years. They make some of the safest sunscreens on the market - 100% non toxic -  and they consistently receives top honors on the coveted EWG.org Safe Sunscreen Guide list for their lack of harmful ingredients

What I love best about the Badger All Season Face Stick though is how easy it is for kids to apply themselves. The Face Stick - which is all-natural, has no nano particles and has anSPF of 30 plus -is our daily go-to sunscreen. On the ride to school in the morning I simply hand a stick to each child and they apply it themselves. (I watch in the rear view mirror to make sure they do an accurate job.) They then pop the stick in their backpacks and reapply later if it's a hot day.

The Badger Face Stick sells for about $8 and is available at Amazon.com and Whole Foods Markets everywhere. Click here to purchase The Badger Face Stick from Amazon.com

Monday, September 10, 2012

Grassmilk by Organic Valley - A Healthier Choice for Milk

Grassmilk by Organic Valley - Milk from 100% Grass-Fed Cows
Finally - a highly reputable and humane California dairy farm and national milk supplier is selling 100% organic grass-fed milk. Grassmilk, a new product by Organic Valley, is by far the healthiest cow's milk available to the general public (other than raw, unpasteurized, organic grass-fed cow's milk which is highly regulated and harder to come by). I almost fell over when I came across it at my local Whole Foods market this summer. Grassmilk is pasteurized (aka, not raw) but because it is not homogenized it contains that ever-so-luscious cream at the top that makes milk extra delicious. And because the cows are grass-fed, the milk contains naturally occurring omega-3s, CLA and calcium. Most dairy cows (even on organic farms) are fed an unnatural diet of corn, soy, oats, alfalfa or other feed which lack the nutrients cows receive from grass. (Not to mention - said ingredients are usually are usually genetically modified). To make matters worse, because cow's stomachs are designed to eat grass - not oats or other feed -  the cows often get sick, which leaves them in need of antibiotics, which then get transferred to us when we eat or drink dairy products.

Of course the truth is humans are simply not designed to drink any sort of cow's milk. If you happen to be like me, however, and you enjoy a bit in your daily coffee or tea each day, in cereal maybe once a week, and every now and then in a tall cold glass with a plate of cookies, then you might as well go for the best.  So whether you are a daily drinker or an occasional user, organic grass-fed milk is simply the healthiest option available  - and it tastes the best too.

Friday, August 31, 2012

DivaCup for Eco-Friendly Menstruation

DivaCup - a Waste-free Tampon Alternative
I was never terribly fond of tampons to begin with. The cotton always felt so dry and uncomfortable, that I simply could never get a good fit. Not to mention the leakage factor. As I became more eco-aware, the waste factor of disposable tampons and pads bothered me as well. A few years ago I read a thread on a natural online forum I belong to that was discussing menstrual cups. The one that most women seemed to like best was the DivaCup, so I ordered one online to give it a go - and have not bought a single tampon ever since. The DivaCup is a small silicone cup that you bend into a small u-shape for easy insertion. You can leave it in for up to 10 hours - and literally feel nothing all day. I swear, when I use the DivaCup, even on my heaviest days, I often forget I am even on my period. I experience zero leaks and no discomfort whatsoever. Clean up is a cinch as well: after each use, you simply wash it out with water and (only if you wish to) a mild, fragrance-free soap. To sterilize your DivaCup, once a month you can give it a quick vinegar or alcohol rinse - just be follow rinse with water afterwards and always store it dry in a breathable cloth sack (like the one the company provides).

If you're looking for a comfortable, highly-economical, earth-smart way to save money when it comes to your monthly visitor (LOL) order your DivaCup today for less than $25.

To learn more about the DivaCup, go to: www.divacup.com

To order from Amazon now go to:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where Does Your Milk Come From?

Ever wonder where your cow milk comes from? Well, now there is a website that can tell you. It's called  Where Does My Milk Come From and all you need is the code on the bottom of your bottle or carton to get the answer. If you buy milk from chain grocery stores, you may be surprised to find out that your milk is not local, or that the company that supplies it treats their cows inhumanely. Shockingly, many large organic companies - such as Horizon - have a horrible reputation for the purity of their product and the treatment of their animals. So - before you take that next sip, jot down the code on your milk carton and go to wheredoesmymilkcomefrom.com to determine just how earth-friendly your milk really is.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Packaging-Free All Natural Bath Salts by Hugo Naturals

Hugo Naturals Bath Salts - Sold in Bulk at Whole Foods
The kids and I were shopping at Whole Foods recently when we came upon this great display: colorful all natural bath salts by Hugo Naturals sold in bulk. We were in heaven! My poor kids feel so deprived because I refuse to make them chemical-laden bubble baths at home (even most "natural" bubble bath brands contain questionable ingredients). So they've taken instead to the all-natural, much healthier alternative of effervesant bath salts - which they now love. Hugo Naturals - one of my favorite companies - did an incredible job with this display. The colors lured us in, but the packaging-free "fill your own jar or bag" aspect sold me right then and there.

Hugo Natural Bath Salts feature mineral-rich crystalline salts and natural herbal essences. The Rare Himalayan Pink Salt contains magnesium and potassium to soften skin, and the pure mineral-rich Dead Sea Salt helps soothe and reduce muscle achiness (perfect for a post soccer practice soak). Our personal favorite: Mango and Guava

As with ALL Hugo Naturals products, their bath salts are free of parabens, phenoxyethanol, sulfates, PEGs, propylene glycol, petroleum products, silicones, phthalates, synthetic surfactants, artificial colors or synthetic fragrances.

To learn more Hugo Naturals and their all-natural shampoos, soaps, salts and more visit: hugonaturals.com


Saturday, July 28, 2012

All Natural Yeast Infection Cure


Women get yeast infections - we just do. It comes with the territory. There is a whole industry created around providing pills and creams to deal with vaginal yeast infections, but they all involve chemicals that I personally do not feel safe using internally or externally. So, when I recently came down with a pretty intense yeast infection and my OBGYN recommended both a prescription medication and an over the counter cream, I decided to skip the meds (as usual) and try my own all-natural treatment that consisted of nothing more than plain yogurt, apple cider vinegar and a simple probiotic. Not only did this trifecta provide immediate relief, it actually completely cured the infection within days.

Here's all it takes:

1) Drink a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar twice a day (organic, if possible).
2) Take a probiotic twice a day (any type).
3) Eat plain yogurt once a day (organic, if possible).
4) Once a day, apply 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt to the vaginal area (externally and partially internally) This can be done several times a day to provide immediate relief of itching or burning, but it does get messy. I prefer to do it in the shower at night right before bed and then wear a cloth pad to bed.

Three-five days of this treatment and the yeast infection will be gone!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Packaging-Free Grocery Shopping - A Dream Coming True

Packaging-Free Shopping
For a long time, I've had a dream - a simple dream: I want to buy all my groceries packaging-free.

I want to walk into a store and buy everything I need without contributing to any single-use plastic, paper or glass waste. Think about it: in the olden days people brought baskets, sacks, jars and bottles to the general store and filled them up with the items they needed. Then the Kellogg company invented sealed paper packaging in 1914 which later morphed into the sealed plastic packaging that dominates our marketplace today and our planet and landfills have never been the same.

Despite the ease of prepackaging, packaging-free and bulk shopping is actually making a come back. My local health food co-op Co-opportunity, for instance, offers several rows of bulk items: grains, flour, beans, cookies, dried fruit, candies, teas, coffee, soap, spices - you name it. They even sell affordable glass jars for storage. You could honestly buy all the food you need to live on at this store without ever having to buy something that comes in a box or a can.

If you're like me though and you are still dreaming of a grocery store that houses ZERO prepackaging waste, then that dream may finally come true. A collaborative group of business owners, community members and consumers in Austin, Texas is planning to open in.gredients in late summer, 2012. In.gredients will be the first packaging-free grocery store in the United States. If it does well, I could see a whole slew of such stores popping up around the globe. A few years ago, this would have been no more than a dream. Consumers, however, have become much more knowledgeable and concerned about the consequences of their purchases and that wisdom is going to drive grocery shopping to become a greener, less-wasteful industry. I believe! I believe!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tell Progresso to Take the BPA Out of Their Cans


Consumer Reports did a study on which products contain the most BPA - and Cambell's and Progresso soups won by a landslide. Cambell's did the right thing earlier this year by making the commitment to phase out BPA liners in all its soups. Progresso took no such action. Send a message to the company  - and to the world for that matter - that you will no longer allow big companies to expose you and your family to cancer-causing soup liners in order to save a few pennies.

Click here to sign the petition to make Progresso Soups BPA Free.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Soy-Free Organic Chocolate

Soy-free Organic Chocolate by Theo Chocolates
Yum! I just picked up a bar of Theo Organic Fair Trade Milk Chocolate from my local grocery store and I'm in heaven. The ingredients are 100% organic, minimal, pure and soy-free. Believe it or not, finding soy-free chocolate is nearly impossible. Even most so-called "natural" brands use soy-lecithin as an emulsifier which cheapens the taste and exposes you to genetically modified ingredients (since virtually all soy comes from genetically modified crops unless it is organic soy and you don't see much "organic soy-lecithin" in anything).

Next time you're craving chocolate, read the labels before you buy and try to skip the soy.

Theos Chocolate can is found in most grocery and healthfood store.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Safe Glass Storage for Homemade Baby Food


Safe Glass Storage for Baby Food by Wean Green

Check out these adorable eco-friendly tempered glass food containers by Wean Green. I wish this company was around during my kids' baby food years. I had to rely on small Pyrex bowls I bought in bulk from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Those are great from refrigerator storage but nowhere near as sturdy as the Wean Green's tempered glass so there was no way I was going to toss one in my diaper bag. Wean Green jars are so sturdy you can drop them countless times and they will not break. And of course because they are made of glass, they won't leach harmful toxins into your baby's food (the way plastic does - especially when heated or sitting in the sun). The Cube (pictured in blue above) is the perfect size for fresh baby food on the go. My 9 year old "baby" packs hers with carrots for school - and because the glass is so sturdy, I don't even worry about breakage.

Wean Green glass containers can be purchased on Amazon.com or on WeanGreen.com.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Most Harmful Sunscreens

One of the Safest Sunscreens - Kiss My Face Natural Mineral Sunscreen with Hydresia
The Environmental Working Group (EWG.org) recently released its 6th Annual Sunscreen Report, which analyzes the ingredients in over 1,800 sunscreen products and ranks them from least harmful to most harmful. Bottom line: stay away from all sunscreen SPRAYS and avoid anything that contains RETINYL PALMINATE (Vitamin A) or OXYBENZONE and anything ABOVE an SPF 40 (as higher SPFs require the absorbency or toxic chemicals).

I broke down EWG's findings into the following quick "at-a-glace" groupings according to (1) most harmful sunscreens ingredients and (2) safest sunscreens that are affordable and easy to find. NOTE: My consistently favorite brand, Badger, made the EWG "Safest" list yet again.

Some of the Most Harmful Sunscreens (Each with a "Highly Hazardous" score of 7-10):
Selected according to popularity of brand and ease of ability to purchase. Ordered alphabetically.
  • Aveeno Continuous Protection Sunblock Spray Active, SPF 70
  • Banana Boat Sport Performance Active MAX Protect Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 110
  • Coppertone Sport Clear Continuous Spray Sunscreen, SPF 90
  • CVS Sheer Mist Sunscreen, SPF 70
  • Neutrogena Fresh Cooling Body Mist Sunblock, SPF 70
  • Rite Aid Extreme Sport Continuous Spray, SPF 70+
  • Wegmans Sheer Sunscreen Body Mist, SPF 55
  • Walgreens Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen Spray, SPF 70
Safest Sunscreens (Each with a "Low Hazardous" Score of 0-1):
Selected according to affordability and ease of ability to purchase. Ordered alphabetically.
  • All Terrain (following products only):
    • AquaSport Sunscreen Stick, SPF 28
    • KidSport Sunscreen Stick Skin Protectant, SPF 28
    • TerraSport Face Stick Skin Protectant, SPF 28
  • Aubrey Organics (following products only):
    • Natural Sun Green Tea Sunscreen, SPF 30+
    • Sun Sports Stick Unscented Sunscreen, SPF 30
    • Natural Sun Unscented Sensitive Skin/Children Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • Badger (following products only):
    • All-Season Face Stick, SPF 35
    • Baby Sunscreen, Chamomile & Calendula, SPF 30+
    • Broad Spectrum Sport Sunscreen, SPF 35
    • Chamomile Baby Sunscreen, SPF 34
    • Lightly Scented Lavender Sunscreen, SPF 30
    • Lightly Scented Lavender Sunscreen, SPF 30+
    • Sport Sunscreen, SPF 35
    • Sunscreen For Face & Body, SPF 30Badger Sunscreen, Lavender, SPF 34
    • Sunscreen, Unscented, SPF 34
    • Unscented Sunscreen All Season Face Stick, SPF 30+
    • Unscented Sunscreen, SPF 30+
  • California Baby (following products only):
    • Everyday/Year-round Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
    • No Fragrance Sunscreen Stick, SPF 30+
  • Kiss My Face (following products only):
    • Natural Mineral Sunscreen with Hydresia, SPF 40
    • 100% Natural Mineral Sunblock SunStick, Blue, SPF 30
    • 100% Natural Mineral Sunblock SunStick, Pink, SPF 30
    • 100% Natural Mineral Sunblock SunStick, White, SPF 30
  • Seventh Generation Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • UV Natural (ALL products) :
    • Baby Sunscreen, SPF 30
    • Sport Lip Sunscreen, SPF 30
    • Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
    • Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 30+
Click here to view all sunscreens rated by the Environment Working Group.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

LifeEdited - A Modern Take on Living Small

The older I get, the less I need. I once fantasized about 4000 square feet homes. Now, that same image evokes in me a sense of waste, loneliness and high energy bills. I get the feeling TreeHugger.com founder Graham Hill felt the same way when he set out to design a tiny New York City apartment into a multi-functional, modern home with moving walls. After watching this video, which highlights the design project Hill calls "LifeEdited," I felt thoroughly inspired to keep on keepin' on with my small way of living.


About the LifeEdited project, The New York Times wrote last week, "It may be that the house of the future is an apartment — at 420 square feet, a very small apartment ."  (May we all live so small.)

Be sure to check out those amazing furnishing by Resource Furniture.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Organic Beeswax-Free Lip Balm - Great for Kids!


All-Natural Lip Balms by Ladybug Jane

My two daughters flipped over a few Ladybug Jane Lip Balm samples they received at a local eco-fair we attended recently (yes - we go to a lot of these : ). I often get an allergic reaction to beeswax when it is used in lip products,  making my lips swell up and look as though I'd just visited the doctor for an expensive cosmetic enhancement. So, I was thrilled to learn that Ladybug Jane Lip Balm is actually vegan and bee-labor free. It is also all natural, gluten free, nut and petroleum free. My girls both used their own money to buy the delicious Vanilla Cupcake flavor, but Crazy Coconut was a close runner up for top favorite flavor.

Since my daughters are at that age where they are fascinated with beauty products -- but nowhere near old enough to use them -- finding an all-natural, color-less, dye-free alternative to the tacky paraben-filled lip gloss that little girls love so much was a real score. Don't be fooled into thinking this product is just for kids though. Grown women (and men too - why not?) will love how soft the organic avocado and coco butter oils make their lips feel. Give your lips a lipstick break and order some Ladybug Jane for yourself too.

Ladybug Jane Lip Balms can be found in many Whole Foods Markets and also online at:
www.LadyBugJane.com

Sunday, April 22, 2012

5 Ways to Make a Big Earth Day Shift

The web is full of SIMPLE ideas that most of us are already doing (like recycling and using less gas).  In honor of Earth Day,  here is a list of 5 BIGGER things we can all do to make a significant difference. The following commitments are less talked about but extremely important and not that difficult to implement:

1) STOP USING FABRIC SOFTENER - I am once again breathing in my neighbor's noxious laundry fumes as a write this post. Commercial fabric softeners contain highly toxic chemicals that are linked to cancer and serious respitory illnesses. These chemicals include including Phthalates, Chloroform, Pentane, Linalool, Limonene, Benzyl Acetate and more. Stop poisoning your family and your neighbors. Ditch the Downey and toss a quarter cup of distilled white vinegar in your wash instead - works just as well and won't kill the air quality in your home.

2) INVEST IN A FRONT LOAD WASHING MACHINE - You will gasp when you see how little water it uses and how much money these things save you in both water AND electric bills.

3) BUY A STACK OF REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS - Most of us remember to bring our reusable grocery bags to the market these days, but few of us blink when it comes to grabbing a plastic bag for produce. Well, start blinking and stop grabbing. Buy 4 to 12 cotton produce bags like those found here on Amazon.com and stop relying on plastic bags once and for all.

4) EAT LESS MEAT -  I personally (and anthropologically) believe humans are designed to be hunters and gatherers. Our teeth are meant to eat some meat - just not 3 times a day. Not even EVERY day. Commit to at least two meatless days per week and reduce your daily consumption to no more than one serving when per day when you do eat it. BONUS: Research says eating less meat will make you live longer too!
5) SUPPLY YOUR OWN TAKE-OUT CONTAINERS- Many of us bring our own mugs now when we get coffee to-go, but how many of us bring our own to-go containers to the salad bar or Chinese take out joint? Well - it's time to start. No one is going to say no to you when you show up with your own containers. After all, you're saving their company money.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Treeless BPA-Free Toilet Paper Made from Bamboo

BPA-Free Toilet Paper by Bum Boosa

I started using recycled toilet paper well over a decade ago - content to live with a little scratchiness if that meant saving a tree's life. Once I discovered that saving a tree's life, however, meant exposing my family and our groundwater to high levels of BPA (the controversial hormone disrupting chemical widely associated with cancer and birth defects), I immediately went back to regular toilet paper. I was careful this time - choosing a fragrance-free, chlorine-free, no-frills supermarket brand that I verified was not made from the virgin forest fibers of live trees (as is common with the soft, cushy ultra brands). The toilet paper I chose, however, was still costing a tree its life and that just wasn't sitting well with me. Now, nearly two years later, I finally found a solution to my guilt: a ground-breaking product that just may  change the face of toilet paper: an ultra soft, treeless, bleach-free, bpa-free toilet paper made from renewable bamboo: Bum Boosa.

You may be wondering how BPA(bisphenol-a) gets into recycled toilet paper in the first place - and why anyone should care. Well, we are living in a thermal paper world these days - where we are constantly handed carbonless receipts that we need to toss. The problem is those carbonless copies contain extreme amounts of BPA, which then get into our recycling programs and are then move into such  "eco-products" as recycled printer paper, pizza boxes and (yes) toilet paper.  The issue with BPA and recycled toilet paper use is two-fold (1) BPA is in contact with our genitals several times a day (and presumably NOT always washed away afterward) and (2) BPA is being flushed directly into our waterwaste systems, which feed our groundwater, which in turn feeds our crops, livestock, oceans and sometimes our drinking water.

Certainly not all bamboo is eco-friendly. Many bamboo materials contain formaldehyde, bleach and other toxic chemicals. But Bum Boosa has done their homework, verifying their manufacturer's fair-trade policys and confirming their toilet paper to be biodegradable, BPA-free, chlorine-free, formaldehyde-free, fragrance-free and dye-free. Next to the reusing of cloth (which many families do), Bum Boosa bamboo toilet paper is currently the most eco-friendly option available...and it feels good too.

Bum Boosa toilet paper may be purchased at bumboosa.com, amazon.com, and other online retailers for about $1.30 per roll.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Compostable Eco-Friendly Hollow Easter Eggs


Oh, the struggles of trying to create fun-yet-eco-friendly holidays for the family! Last year I blogged about the ONLY company who sells hollow wooden eggs - a great (but slightly pricey) lifetime solution for Easter egg hunts. This year I want to give a big shout out to a brand new, one-of-a-kind environmentally friendly Easter egg solution: the cool, colorful AND compostable Eco Eggs. What a great concept! Eco Eggs look just like the cute toxic plastic eggs we all loved as kids - but this hot new product is made from corn (not petroleum) and is 100% biodegradable. Unlike plastic eggs, which are virtually all made in China, Eco Eggs are made in the USA. They can be reused for years, are extra-large (will easily store small bags of candy or small toys), and relatively affordable. A case of  96 eggs (two 48-egg packages of 3" x 2.25" eggs) is only $30! (Shipping is a bit steep at - but still worth it for the quality of the product).

Eco Eggs just sent me a dozen to check out in person and I can tell you they are well made,  extremely hardy, and absolutely adoreable. A package of Eco Eggs will definitely outlast its plastic alternative.

Click here to visit EcoEggs.com and place your order TODAY if you want them in time for Easter!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Cambell's Commits to BPA-free Cans

Kudos to Cambell's for taking a huge step forward in preventing BPA contamination in canned foods! The company just announced it will be "phasing out" the BPA (bisphenol-a) liner in all its soup cans - even the tomato variety (a nearly impossibly feat, given the high acidity of tomatoes). A BPA liner has been used in canned goods for decades. It prevents leaching of the tin into the food itself. BPA, however,  has been linked frequently to cancer and behavior problems over the last several years and consumers are making a stink about it. The chemical is so prominent in our environment that it is actually found in breastmilk. Since people realized the connection between BPA and canned goods, many have decided to boycott brands that still use the substance - which is almost all of them (with the exception of certain more natural companies like Edens Organics, Native Forrest and supposedly Trader Joe's). I have personally called companies over the years to see if they would consider going BPA-free and was always told that the cost was too prohibitive. A big company like Cambell's will hopefully drive down the price of a healthier liner so that smaller companies can follow suit and all future canned goods will become BPA-free. One can only hope!

Click here to thank Cambell's for taking this big step and to ask them to disclose their phase-out plan in its entiretly.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Waste-Free Birthday Party Goody Bags

Waste-Free Goody Bag
Who doesn't love a good goody bag? We know kids do. They pretty much demand them upon leaving a birthday party these days. Parents hate them (at least I do) because of the excess candy, plastic toy fillers, and plastic or paper bag waste. Honestly, I would love to join the "Goody Bag Boycott" that is on the rise - parents who flat out refuse to provide their little guests with any trinkets whatsoever when they leave the party. This is how it SHOULD be; after all, we go to a birthday party to celebrate the birthday child, whose parents already shelled out a small bundle for food, cake and entertainment. However, I am just not there yet. My kids simply LOVE the idea of creating a take-away for their party guests and so I've decided to indulge them in this little childhood desire...but on my own healthy, planet-friendly terms.

This was our waste-free, plastic-free, eco-friendly Goody Bag solution for the last birthday:

* A  "design-your-own" unbleached, 100% cotton tote bag (bought in bulk from Joanne's Fabics)
* Handmade felt puppets (you can buy felt puppet kits - or make your own)
* A few small pieces of chocolate

I set up two craft tables: one with fabric markers for the kids to "design" their own bags and another with colorful felt puppet bodies and cut out felt eyes, ears, noses, hats, etc. so they could "design" their own puppets to take home. At the end of the party, the kids packed their puppets into their bags and the party girl dropped in a few pieces of yummy chocolate. The bags are big enough to be used as book bags, small totes or lunch bags - we use ours for lunch. They do great in the washing machine!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

How to Make All-Natural, Soy-Free Balsamic Dressing

Homemade All-Natural Salad Dressing
I am on a huge kick to get soy out our family's diet - but it isn't easy. Soy is in almost everything: chips, crackers, cereal, bread, chocolate, energy bars, and more. Grab a bottle of salad dressing - even the all-natural varieties - from any store and chances are it contains soybean oil. My issue with soy -- unless it is in its whole form, like edamame -- is that it is heavily processed, almost always genetically modified, and that it contains endocrine-disrupting phytoestrogens, which have been linked to breast cancer and other estrogen-dependent cancers.

Oh a whim, I decided to make my own soy-free balsamic salad dressing and I was shocked at how easy, delicious and affordable this solution was. The kids love it because of the natural tangy sweetness. They key ingredients in a great balsamic dressing are the oil and the vinegar - and when you make it at home, those are the only two ingredients  you need!
I prefer the tangy 2:1 ratio below - but equal parts vinegar and oil are also great:

* Organic Balsamic Vinegar (two parts)
* Extra Virgin Olive Oil (one part)

TIP: Make small batches. If you store in the refrigerator, the oil will start to coagulate.


Friday, February 17, 2012

How to Cure Stinky Sneakers Naturally

Sneaker Stink Cured with Tea Tree Oil
After wearing her brand new sneakers a few time without socks, my 6-year's feet started smelling like nachos. Bacteria had set up camp in those cute little shoes and was not about to leave - even after she committed to wearing socks again. Airing out did not work. Washing with soap did not work. Baking soda did not work. A good friend of mine said she'd had success with bleach, but we don't do bleach at our house, so that was out. I finally decided to take the soles and laces out and soak the whole lot in hot water with a few drops of tea tree oil. I placed some backyard stones in the shoes to keep them submerged in the mixture and let them soak over night. The next morning, voila! No more nacho cheese smell! My daughter's new shoes once again smell fresh and new - thanks to the natural antibacterial properties of tea tree oil.

I know there are shoes on the market that have a built in antimicrobial layer to help prevent the inevitable stinky sneaker scent, but I don't want my kids or myself absorbing those toxic chemicals every time we go for a walk. I'd rather stink up our shoes naturally and then treat them naturally with tea tree oil.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

2012 Toxic Car Report Just Released

HealthyStuff.org just released its 2011/2012 toxic car report. That new car smell - just like fresh paint or new carpet - could be poisoning you. The toxic chemicals we're talking about are bromine (associated with brominated flame retardants); chlorine (indicating the presence of polyvinyl chloride, or PVC and plasticizers); lead; and several other heavy metals. These chemicals have been linked to cancer, liver toxicity, birth defects, impaired learning and allergies, so be sure to read through the list of healthiest cars (Honda Civic) and worst offenders (Mitsubishi Outlander) before you make your next purchase:



Go to HealthyStuff.org today to view their complete list and to see where your current or future vehicle fits in. New this year is a list of completely PVC-free automobiles. Watch this informative video to find out how you can lessen your family's exposure to the harmful chemicals found in most of today's vehicles.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Eco-Friendly Lunch Bags in Cool Retro Styles

Urban Harmonie Eco-Friendly Lunch Bags
Because I care about what goes into my kids' bodies, I pack their school lunches every day. I also care about the materials used to carry their food to and from school since trace amounts of whatever that material is will inevitably end up in their bodies too. When I found out that the Canadian company Urban Harmonie was making lunch bags that were BPA free, PVC free, lead Free (not merely "lead safe"), phthalate free AND formaldehyde free - I just had to check them out.

Urban Harmonie lunch bags are made out of laminated cotton and contain absolutely no glues or resin. What my kids love best about them are the adorable retro-inspired fabrics. What I love best about the bags is how roomy and heavy duty they are. I pack all my kids' lunch food in stainless steel containers - so roominess and durability really are key. The Urban Harmonie large lunch sack has room for my daughters' bulky Thermos Funtainer and several stainless steel food containers - which is perfect because my kids eat a ton.  I'm talking a minimum 6 to 8 containers, including main course, snacks, nuts, yogurt, etc. No joke! If your kids keep their food outside at school, be sure to order the Tall Boxed Lunch Bag WITH Zipper. If they keep their food inside, or stored it in a zippered back pack, then the bags with the cute button closurs will do just fine.

To check out the complete collection of Urban Harmonie lunch bags and snack bags go to: http://urbanharmonie.ca

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

All Natural Paraben-Free Lipstick

Bare Escentuals All-Natural Lipsticks
I know I just touted their paraben-free mascaras, but I just have to give a shout out once again to Bare Escentuals. Their all-natural, paraben-free lipsticks are just to die for. They literally feel like cream, they stay on for hours, and the color choices are practically endless. There are a lot of great paraben-free lipsticks out there, but not all of them are 100% natural. Man, this nation-wide company is doing something right! With its mineral base, exotic oils, natural waxes and conditioning plant extracts - the Bare Escentuals lipsticks feel more like a spa treatment than a beauty enhancer.

If you haven't kicked your expensive perfume-tasting, phthalate-riddled, toxic department store lipstick addiction yet -  Bare Escentuals may just be the lipstick that will take you to the green side once and for all.

Available in local stores or online at bareEscentuals.com

My Go-To Shade: Ripe Fig

Monday, January 23, 2012

How to Disinfect a Cutting Board Naturally

Cutting boards are breeding grounds for bacteria - especially boards that are used to cut raw meat. With plastic cutting boards made of polypropylene, harsh chemicals can be used to sanitize the surface, which is fine unless  (a) you don't want harsh chemicals absorbing into the material you use to prepare your family's meals and (b) you mind the inevitable leaching of toxic chemicals into your family's food from the scratched (and rescratched) plastic surface. Should you care about these things - then wood is your only true option. And wood is a sponge for bacteria. Since wood should never be treated with chemicals or cleaned in a dishwasher, a natural solution is your only option: salt and vinegar.
CLEANING STEPS:
1) Right after cutting meat, rinse the board with hot water.
2) Sprinkle one (1) tablespoon of table salt across the wet cutting surface.
3) Massage the salt into the board for 30 seconds then rinse.
4) Pour 1/4 cup of distilled vinegar across the board, and then rinse with hot water.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Green Resolutions for the New Year

I don't make New Year's Resoultions anymore that pertain to losing weight or getting better organized - but I do make Green Resolutions;  promises to myself to do better at maintaining my health, the health of my family, and the health of our shared planet. Here are my resolutions for this year:
  • Turn off all WIFI at home when computers are not in use
  • Only talk on my cell phone with a wired headset (or on speaker phone)
  • Banish cordless phones in our home
  • Only replace items in our home with items that are used and off-gassed or new and eco-friendly
  • Stop using disposable produce bags at the grocery store and remember to bring my cotton bags
  • Shop more in bulk - and always bring my own containers or bags
  • Buy butter that comes from grass-fed cows only
  • Meatless meals twice a week and only 1 serving of meat all other days
  • Avoid soy and soy lecithen in all products - with the exception of non-GMO organic edamame
  • Bike to school with my kids once a week
  • Take my kids to school on the City Bus once a week - and then walk or jog home
  • Don't drive at all one day a week
  • Start composting - even though we live in a townhouse
  • Take my kids hiking and camping
  • Plant a mobil veggie garden on our patio
  • Buy less, consume less, share more
What are your Green Resolutions? Please COMMENT and share!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Best Stainless Steel Lunch and Snack Containers

LunchBots Stainless Steel Lunch Containers
I'm proud to say I have never used a plastic container for my children's school lunches. I won't even buy those adorable and incredibly functional bento lunch boxes because the insides are always plastic, plastic, plastic. I use only stainless steel containers when I pack my girls' lunches - so I've had the opportunity to try just about every brand on the market. My fav by far are the LunchBots. LunchBots are incredibly well made, sturdy and 100% stainless - including the lid. The Duo and Pico models are great because the divider allows you to pack multiple items in one container. I have bought several stainless lunch containers (made by popular companies) that have plastic tops, but the plastic tops all eventually tear or breakdown. Yes, you'll pay a few dollars more for a LunchBot - but when your kindergarten is packing that same container on her first day of middle school, you'll be thanking yourself.

Visit LunchBots.com today to see all their styles - or buy now on Amazon.com.