Reusable shopping bags, cloth diapers, and organic living— Organic living? Tiffany Washko talks about how a organic lifestyle not only benefits you but the environment around you.
Why Go Organic?
So what is all this hype about a completely organic lifestyle? Does it REALLY make that much of a difference? YES!!!
For anyone truly concerned about their health and the health of their loved ones, adopting an organic lifestyle is a huge step in the direction of excellent health and wellness. An organic lifestyle means eating organic foods, using organic cleaning methods and toiletries, and dressing your little one in organic bamboo baby clothing. You can adopt all of these practices or just a few but any advancement in this area is improvement.
Most people agree that they would like to buy organic food and adopt a more organic lifestyle. Yet, instead of prioritizing certified organic food, the majority of people stick with their habitual processed or conventional foods. These non organic foods are nutrition poor, contain toxic residues, taste inferior and are potentially harmful to the environment, you and your family. So why go organic – you can’t afford not to!
Here are just a few of the reasons why you should go organic:
- Your produce will not adorn the chemical cocktail that conventionally grown produce does.
- Fresh organic produce contains on average 50% more vitamins, minerals, enzymes and other micro-nutrients than intensively farmed produce.
- Organic foods are not genetically modified (GM) and therefore better for you.
- Eating Organic meat means avoiding eating animal meat from animals that are fed a dangerous cocktail of anti-biotics, growth promoting drugs, anti-parasite drugs and many other medicines on a daily basis, whether they have an illness or not.
- Organic produce tastes so much better!
- Wearing organic clothing means you are NOT wearing chemicals on your body.
- Using organic cleaning materials is just as effective as using conventional cleaners but without harmful chemicals.
Once you made the commitment to go organic why not also make the commitment to buy locally? Most produce in the U.S. is picked 4 to 7 days before being placed on supermarket shelves, and is shipped for an average of 1500 miles before being sold. And this is when taking into account only US grown products! What a wasteful food system! This process weakens our communities, destroys our environment, and concentrates wealth and power into a few hands only.
We can counteract these harmful effects and help keep our local farmers in business by buying locally grown food whenever possible. You’ll be strengthening your community by investing your food dollar close to home. You’ll also get exceptional taste and freshness since local food is fresher and tastes better than food shipped long distances from other states or countries. Try to make it as goal to eat organic foods and only ones that have traveled no more then a few miles or perhaps even a few yards to your dinner table.
Tiffany Washko is the editor of Nature Moms and Instead of TV. After working several years in corporate healthcare marketing and public relations, she took time away to be a mother. This new pursuit lead her to a new passion, natural family living and writing about environmental and political issues. She currently works as a freelance writer and newspaper journalist.
Planning a green baby shower can be quite simple and entertaining. You’d be surprised at the small things you can change which will jump the baby shower into the green category.
Choose the Theme.
The first thing that you’ll need to do is pick out a theme for the baby shower. There are many themes that are eco-friendly. You can always use earth tones to decorate the party like beige, white and brown. You don’t necessarily have to use earth tones though. Any animal can be used as the basis for the theme like turtles, jungle animals, monkeys or frogs. To the left is an an image of a monkey themed cloth diaper cake to give you some ideas for decorating.
By the way I found a really comprehensive post with ideas for frog baby shower decorations if you decide on that theme. You can also have the baby shower outdoors. This will reduce the amount of decorations you’ll need which minimizes waste and saves some extra cash.
If you decide that outdoors isn’t possible for you, use natural decorations like organic, locally grown flowers, or eco-friendly cloth diaper cakes. Ask to reuse decorations from a friend that may have recently had a shower!
Recycling is the greenest thing you can do. Use china and cloth napkins instead of plastic plates and paper napkins. Use silverware instead of plastic utensils; for other eco-friendly décor do a little online research. With the mass movement of people ‘going green’ there are a lot of options to choose from.
Have your guests pitch in at minimizing the waste even more by suggesting that they wrap gifts using cloth gift bags. Other reusable resources that are great for gift wrapping include baby bibs or baby blankets.
- Eco-friendly Invitations
One of the most obvious things you can do is send e-vites (emails) instead of traditional paper invitations. Choose some really cute cliparts that match the theme of your party and send out the emails. However, you will also need to call the guests just to remind them of the time and date of the party. If you really want paper invites you can always send out the ones that are made with recycled materials or natural fibers such as cotton or bamboo.
If you are coupon clipper, there is one thing you probably know: deals can be green as well. Coupon Sherpa has a wealth of green coupons in a variety of categories.
Choose Organic Food.
Visit your local farmer’s market to shop for the party food. Buying locally grown food not only helps your community, but it also reduces the impact that we have on the planet because the food you bought didn’t need to be transported a very long distance. On top of the environmental advantage, buying at the farmer’s market is usually more cost effective.
For entertainment have everyone get together and choose some guests to share their best childhood story. You can also always play the name that candy bar baby shower game and instead of using disposable diapers you can simply use cloth. It will be a lot more of a mess to clean up afterwords but at least it’s green. Playing games together provides for hours of happy entertainment.
Giving out green party favors is also possible when you change your point of view from traditional to natural. Cloth napkins that match the parties theme, flower seeds, potted plants, or a glass with the baby’s initials on it makes for great party favors, and the perfect complement to your green baby shower.
With a few simple changes in the party planning agenda, you will be on your way to an amazing and green baby shower. For decorations, party games, and more check out Green Planet Parties for all of your supplies!! Here are some more baby shower themes ideas so your party will be a blast. Have fun and go green!
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There’s no shortage of toys available on the market… from stuffed animals that sing and dance to small ‘laptops’ aimed to teach your little one the alphabet.
How about if you could pass up the flashing toys and invest in one made with quality materials that supports the local economy and will last for generations? Buy handmade! There are so many reasons to reach for a handmade toy while you’re shopping… and here are the top 3!
Reason #1: A Toy that Lasts
Handmade toys are made with love and quality materials, which means that they’ll last.
Sure, buying something made by an artisan can cost more upfront, but it’s less expensive in the long run. Remember the plastic robot who’s arm fell off after a week? It may have been expensive, but constantly purchasing new items that last for weeks or months adds up.
A quality handmade toy will last for years. Do you have multiple children? Watch that heirloom get handed down and smile at your investment!
Reason #2: Know the Materials
I’m sure we all remember the lead-paint-in-toys scare… it’s an extreme example of not knowing what goes into making your children’s toys.
When you purchase a handmade toy, it’s much easier to know the exact materials that go into the item. How do you know?
- Read the label. Most handmade toys come with labels describing the items that were used in it’s crafting. Because the toymaker is making the item from scratch and sourcing his/her own materials, he/she is able to specify the materials used.
- Contact the artisan. Don’t see a listing of materials? Ask! The great thing about buying handmade is that you’re purchasing the item from a real person who is willing to answer questions about their craft.
Also, because handmade toys are artisan pieces created by hand, you’re more likely to find a great selection of toys made with all-organic or natural materials.
Reason #3: Support an Artisan
When you purchase a commercially-produced toy, your money gets spread around: some to the toy store, some to the distributor, some to the owners of the production factory and a little bit to the factory workers (which are often outside of the country).
Hand-crafting toys is an art of love. And when you buy a handmade toy, your money goes straight to supporting an artisan. This is not only a fantastic way of supporting a local economy, but it also keeps a skill and fabulous craft alive.
We can’t all afford huge artwork to put on our walls, but if you’re willing to shell out a few extra bucks for a toy that you’re intending to buy anyway… you can support an artist.
Isn’t that lovely?
Where to Buy Handmade
Of course, the best place to buy a handmade toy is in a local artist’s shop or craft fair, where you’re able to (possibly) meet the artisan and save on shipping costs.
But, if you don’t have one of these sources nearby, the next best thing is Etsy: the source for all things handmade.
You’ll be astonished by the selection: handmade stuffed animals, puzzles, wooden cars… you’re certain to find something (and probably too many things) that you love. And don’t hesitate to ask the seller questions about the item by clicking the ‘contact’ button!
Want to Make Your Own Toys?
Our Dinker & Giggles tip for you is to check out the amazing workshops offered by Craftsy, including two taught by Stacey Trock herself. You can also check out Stacey’s crochet kits on Etsy that are super easy and include all the items you’ll need to make your own little creature.Read More
Chrystal from Happy Mothering is back giving us some more great advice about good quality natural baby products. If you are stumped on where to find them or if they are too expensive, find out what she has to say.
D&G: Recently you shared with us how to read a label and toxic ingredients to look for in baby products, surprisingly many 'natural' baby brands where on this list. We'd like to know where can we find quality products that are truly natural and okay for their precious skin?
There are many brands on the market today that are natural and safe for baby. From the day my older daughter was born, we used Earth Mama Angel Baby . They have a Shampoo & Body Wash, Lotion, Baby Oil and Bottom Balm. Even though my youngest is now 2, we still use the Bottom Balm – and it’s cloth diaper safe as well as being safe for your baby.
Now that my girls are just past the baby stage, we use 100% Pure Yummy Ice Cream Shampoo & Body Wash, Body Cream and Bubble Bath. Our favorite scent is Vanilla. I’ve caught Kaylee eating the Body Cream on more than one occasion because it smells so good. Luckily I know it won’t harm her since the ingredients are completely natural and safe.
Since Zoë has long hair now (she had no hair as a baby), I have started using the 100% Pure Honey Coconut Milk Shampoo and Conditioner for her, and it leaves her hair silky and smooth, and I don’t have to worry any chemicals harming her precious body.
Note on Tear-Free Baby Products
- There is something I do want to call to your attention, as I think most people have been conditioned that a baby shampoo needs to be “tear free.” You probably aren’t going to find a completely natural baby shampoo that is “tear free.” Typically tear-free baby shampoos and baths contain a synthetic numbing agent that prevents the eyes from tearing when shampoos are applied. So be sure to read the label extra close if it says “tear free” on it.
While Earth Mama Angel Baby and 100% Pure are my favorite brands, there are other safe brands as well. A really good resource for finding the safest products for your baby is the Cosmetics Database . They have a section dedicated to Moms and Babies. I personally like to look for products that have a safety rating of 0-2. If it’s a 3 I typically continue looking since there are safer products available.
D&G: Some of us do not have the funds for the higher price tags found on many quality natural products, do you have any suggestions on how we can possibly make our own soaps, lotions, or diaper wipe creams?
Before talking to you about recipes, I want to share my philosophy on fitting safe products into your budget. I truly believe that you can either choose to spend the money on safe products now, or spend the money on healthcare expenses in the future. I challenge you to remind yourself of that every time you cringe at a price tag.
One of the reasons I recommend Earth Mama Angel Baby and 100% Pure is because the Shampoo & Body Wash for both brands is dispensed as a foam. This makes the product last a lot longer. My first bottle of Earth Mama Angel Baby Shampoo and Body Wash lasted us for six months! I was shocked, but of course very pleased.
If there’s just no way you can fit safer products into your budget right now, you can try making them yourself.
All Natural Baby Wipe Solution
This recipe is perfect if you are trying to cut down on your cost of wipes for your baby. Simply use cloth washcloths or even take an old flannel sheet and cut it into squares. Then place wipe solution in a mini peri bottle or spray bottle. Depending on the age of your child and frequency of changes you may be able to use the same solution for 2-3 days.
Almond ‘n Chamomile
- 2 organic chamomile tea bags
- 2 teaspoons organic almond oil
- 2 cups filtered tap/distilled water
Steep tea bags in hot water then add oil. Shake bottle if you notice separation before applying to wipe to clean baby. This is also great with a slightly damp cloth to wipe baby down when a full bath is not necessary.Read More
So you've had a baby and now that they are old enough to play you find yourself wondering about the toys they are putting in their mouths.
Is my babys' toy safe?
Is there a better toy out there?
I only want the best for my baby!
We've all been there at one point or another and an often overlooked place to cut the toxins and inspire creativity is in the types of toys our children play with. In a age of iPads, computers made for kids, and video games galore where is there time for true creativity?
Plastic Toys Seem Less Expensive
Cost is often the main reason people select a plastic toy over a wooden toy but this can be a false economy. Everybody loves the traditional wooden toys so they tend to stay in the family longer and are more meaningful when passed down between generations.
Plastic Toys Seem More Interactive
The simplistic designs of wooden toys, especially bamboo baby toys allow your child to use their imagination to the full whilst engaging in pretend play. Inquisitive minds have not been stimulated as much in recent years since the popularity of plastic and electronic toys has increased. Plastic and electronic toys typically direct rather than inspire creativity.
Wooden Toys Are Well Made
It’s important to appeal to your child’s senses and with wooden toys they will take pleasure in the look, feel and smell of beautifully crafted wooden toys. Wood is also more durable and sturdy, better able to withstand rough play and will not shatter thus avoiding the risk of sharp pieces. Wooden pieces also tend to be chunkier than plastic pieces and would be more difficult for a small child to swallow.
Wooden Toys Are Safer
Wooden toys are made from an organic material and decorated with natural dyes or non-toxic paints and do not contain the harmful chemicals found in many toys made from plastic. Finished with smooth safe edges, if your child puts a wooden toy in their mouth you will not need to worry about the possibility they may be sucking on toys that may contain harmful chemicals.
Plastic Affects The Environment
The majority of plastic toys are made from cheaper types of plastic that is not recyclable; therefore they have to go into landfill. As they are not biodegradable or eco-friendly they take many many years to break down into small non-organic pieces all the time emitting chemicals into the environment that could potentially be dangerous to our health long-term.
We like to create a child’s world full of discovery that’s why we are so careful with the choice of products. If you feel the same about the type of toys you give to your children why would you not buy wooden toys? If not then at least have a fair mix of traditional wooden toys and of Buzz Lightyear and friends – but remember they really won’t save our planet or help to produce the next Leonardo da Vinci!
Bommé & Klaus Kinderroom, co-owners of Kinderroom, a website filled with unique childrens furniture and beautiful wooden ride on toys. Their goal of making life easier is key, so they choose their products with quality, practicality, ingenuity and convenience in mind.