Sunday, November 22, 2009


Ah, yes, the dreaded, never-ending task! Some things I've found that work great and save money, too!

Baking Soda: add 1/2 cup to your laundry for brighter colors, whiter whites, and fresher laundry... I use this mainly with my cloth diapers and mama pads. If your hubby has really dirty (smelly/stained) work clothes, I would definitely add. This also acts as a natural fabric softener when added during the rinse cycle.

Vinegar: again, a great fabric softener/lint reducer/static reducer when added during the final rinse cycle... I have read that you need to be careful with this if you have hard water, so you might want to do a little research on that if it's an issue for you.

dropps!: I recently received a pack of the Scent + Dye Free Variety. I love them!!! So easy, so not messy, and my clothes are so clean! I definitely recommend them! This may be my new favorite laundry detergent.

Soap Nuts: these sound really cool, I've read lots of things about people loving them, and I just haven't tried them yet. Since these are 100% natural (they grow on trees), I don't think it matters what brand you get, so I say go for the cheapest ones! :) Google "soap nuts" and you'll find a variety of places to buy them as well as instructions on how to use them. If you use them, please comment on this post and let us all know what you think.

Dryer Balls: I think these are a must-have, and there's no reason not to use these since you can buy them anywhere now. That said, there are some options here. I've been using the original blue dryer balls, since that's what was out when I got them. There are now pink ones that claim to reduce static better. From what I hear, the best way to go is to use wool dryer balls. You can even make them yourself. But again, I haven't tried these yet, so please comment if you have. My blue ones aren't showing any signs of wearing out or anything, so I'm probably just going to keep using them, at least for now. Some will say tennis balls work well, too.

Interested in making your own laundry detergent and saving even more green? Check out these recipes to make your own detergent. This is another one I haven't tried, but another reason for those who have to share! Please share your recipes, too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Green Mama?

EWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW! I know, I know... believe me, I thought so, too. But if I don't want to put 3 years of disposable diapers in a landfill for 500 years, shouldn't I be concerned also about how many feminine products I'd be putting in that landfill over a lifetime? The wonderful women on the gDiapers Yahoo group introduced me to the concept, and when they spoke of some of the benefits, I have to admit, they got my attention. Many women claim they have fewer cramps, less bleeding, and a shorter period after switching to cloth pads or cups. My cramps were worse after the birth of my second child, so I decided it was worth a try. I have one thing to say -- I'll never go back! I personally have no more cramping at all, and my flow is lighter as well. And we all know that no matter what the ad execs say, disposable pads just aren't that comfortable!

There many reasons to make the switch besides personal comfort:
  1. Disposable pads are made from paper, which requires chopping down trees.
  2. This paper is then bleached, which is not good for the environment, and is said to release dioxins (which are carcinogenic) and plastics (more chemicals). And we place this in the most sensitive area of our body and wonder when we get irriated?
  3. Think about how much money you spend over the years on disposable products... most women spend over $6000 over the course of their lifetime (on something that gets flushed or left in a landfill for 500 years). While cloth pads cost more up front, they can be used for as many as 10 years or more.
  4. Cloth pads are way more fun!!! Not only are the fabrics way better for your body, they are colorful and fun, way better than boring, icky white! :)

Here are some of my favorite sites, some for the info and some for the products:
For reviews of cloth pads and other menstrual products, visit

Find a listing of cloth pad brands around the world at

Hyena Cart and Etsy are great resources for all things homemade, not just pads. :)

Small Steps

You don't have to go green "cold turkey." I personally hate wasting anything, so I have to use every last possible tiny little bit of toothpaste in the tube before throwing it away. The next time something in your home runs out or gets used up, see if there's a greener way to replace it.

Use rechargeable batteries the next time you buy new batteries.
When your light bulbs burn out, replace them with CFLs.

Make sure you turn off the lights when you leave the room.
Turn off the water when brushing your teeth, etc.

Take your own reusable bags to the grocery store, the mall, etc. There are so many fun ones out there. I have the ones from the grocery store that I use for food, and I have other ones for the mall, etc. You can get fun ones at The Disney Store, Babies R Us, and other places you shop regularly, and Kohls has some great ones that are extra big. Another great resource is Better Bags for a Better Planet and More! A great idea is to use a reusable bag as a gift bag (again, check out The Disney Store for great kids' bags), and then the recipient also has a shopping bag. Not only are these bags better for the environment and all, but they hold way more than the typical grocery bag... which means fewer trips back and forth from the car when you get home from the grocery store!

If you get plastic bags at the grocery store, please recycle them. Use them as litter bags in the car, diaper bags in the nursery, or return them to the plastic bag recycling bins just inside most grocery stores. If you are local, we'll take them at our market, where we re-use people's bags from other places rather than buying plastic bags.

Remove yourself from junk mail lists at
Pay your bills online instead of getting paper bills and mailing them in.

Instead of using paper for phone messages, get a white board and a dry erase marker and post them near you phone/in a central location (the kitchen?).
Reuse your scrap paper. Take messages or jot down notes on those return envelopes you never use, etc.

Use stainless steel travel mugs and water bottles instead of the styrofoam cups and plastic water bottles.

Use cloth napkins instead of buying paper ones... you can have lots of fun with this with colors, seasonal prints, etc. Buy each member of the family their own special napkin ring. If you sew, you can even make your own in any fabric you want.

Along the same lines, use hankies instead of tissues. They are gentler on those poor little noses getting wiped constantly in the winter, anyway. I just fold mine and keep them in a tissue box, so everyone still knows where to find them. And I keep tissues around for guests.

Challenge yourself to see how many fewer paper towels you can use. Next time you reach for a paper towel, grab a kitchen towel instead. You can just throw it in the wash when you are finished. :)

Make Your Own Baby Wipes

Using a bread knife or an electric kitchen knife, cut a roll of paper towels in half, so you have two short rolls. Remove the cardboard center, and place the towels in an airtight container (old wipes container or Rubbermaid container). Or use old flannel receiving blankets cut into small pieces or blue shop towels or other soft cloths. Pour one of the following recipes over the towels.

Lisa's Baby Wipes
1/8 - 1/4 c oil (mineral or baby oil)
1/8 - 1/4 c baby shampoo
1-1/2 - 2 cups water 8 drops of lavender oil
5 drops of tea tree oil (optional)
Add the baby shampoo last, mix the solution gently.

Another Recipe
2-1/4 cups water
2 tbsp baby shampoo
1 tbsp baby oil

Anti-fungal Baby Wipes
1/2 c. distilled water
1/4 c. vinegar
1/4 c. aloe vera gel
1 TBS. calendula oil
1 drop lavender essential oil 1 drop tea tree essential oil
Note: If baby has a really red, raw diaper rash omit the vinegar.

Or just keep a roll of toilet paper on the changing table and flush them away!

Have another recipes for homemade baby wipes? Email me, so I can share it here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Green Personal Care

Here's a website that explains all the chemicals commonly found in personal care products that should be avoided: This list covers parabens, sodium lauryl sulfate, petroleum derivatives, petroleum and mineral oils, urea, DEA, MEA, TEA, BHA, BHT, phthalates, and synthetic colors and fragrances.

A note about deoderant: avoid the ones that contain aluminum, which irritates the skin, causing inflammation, which may then spread.

Use unbleached (no chlorine), recycled toilet paper. It comes back to the chemicals.
Some of my personal favorite brands and that I've heard other rave about:

Locally, you should check out Alburtis Soapworks

Cloth Diapers

Now, before I begin, let me say, that my experience with cloth is very limited. We use the flushable inserts in our gDiapers, and only used folded Gerber cloth as a backup to a flushie at night. g's have brought me to the place where, if we have more children, I am ready to try cloth. That is one of the things I love about the gDiapers -- they are so versatile. I can continue to use the outer gpant and the liner and use cloth on the inside.

There are lots of great resources out there if you want to know more. I recommend The Nappy Shoppe Sharni is a wealth of knowledge and has tested every diaper on her son before she stocks that kind in her shop.

We love our gDiapers!

Most of my motion toward "green" is inspired by my daughters and their well-being. My first-born wore disposable diapers until she learned to use the toilet. By the time #2 came around, I knew there had to be a better option, but with working full-time and everything we had going on, I didn't feel ready to delve into the world of cloth diapering. Then we discovered gDiapers... the perfect compromise between cloth and disposable diapers and, for many, the gateway to the world of cloth diapering.

gDiapers consist of three parts: cute little outer pants in lots of fun colors and patterns, a snap-in waterproof liner, and a biodegradable insert that you can flush, compost (the wet ones), or toss.

gLove is a little bit like a sickness, because I've never met anyone who loves disposable diapers the way cloth-diapering and g-diapering mamas love their diapers. I admit it, I will be sad when Ashtyn stops needing to wear those adorable, colorful little g pants. I'm sorry, but that fluffy little bum is just too cute!

I love that in 500 years, when Ryleigh's Pampers are still lying around in some landfill, Ashtyn's g's will have decomposed in less than 3 months. I love that my daughter is not exposed to so many harmful chemicals, that diaper rashes only happen when she eats something that is a little rough on the exit, and that the rash goes away quickly. I love that I can compost the wet diapers. I love that the people at gHeadquarters are so helpful, that their website is full of awesome information, training videos, and they give you no reason not to try g's!

Green Diet

Eat locally. You don't have to be a vegetarian, but be aware of how your meats are raised. Buy your food directly from the local farmer whenever possible. The food is fresher and of higher quality, and all your money is going directly to supporting the farmer, rather than to grocery store overhead.

Eat produce that is in season (it's cheaper anyway). Here are some general guidelines for the best produce each month:

  • JANUARY: oranges, grapefruit, tangerines, tangelos, lemons, papayas, cabbages: red, white, and green, leeks, broccoli, cauliflower
  • FEBRUARY: oranges, grapefruit, tangelos, lemons, papayas, broccoli, cauliflower
  • MARCH: pineapples, mangoes, broccoli, lettuce
  • APRIL: pineapples, mangoes, zucchini, rhubarb, artichokes, asparagus, spring peas, broccoli, lettuce
  • MAY: cherries, pineapples, apricots, okra, zucchini, rhubarb, artichokes, spring peas, broccoli, lettuce
  • JUNE: watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, cherries, blueberries, peaches, apricots, corn, lettuce
  • JULY: watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, blueberries, peaches, apricots, kiwi, raspberries, plums, cucumbers, tomatoes, summer squash, corn, green beans, lettuce
  • AUGUST: watermelon, strawberries, cantaloupe, blueberries, peaches, apricots, kiwi, raspberries, plums, cucumbers, corn, eggplant, tomatoes, summer squash, green beans, lettuce
  • SEPTEMBER: grapes, pomegranates, persimmons, eggplants, pumpkins, tomatoes, spinach, lettuce
  • OCTOBER: cranberries, apples, pomegranates, grapes, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, winter squash, broccoli, spinach, lettuce
  • NOVEMBER: cranberries, oranges, tangerines, pears, pomegranates, persimmons, pumpkins, winter squash, sweet potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, spinach
  • DECEMBER: pears, oranges, tangelos, grapefruit, tangerines, papayas, pomegranates, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower
  • ALWAYS A GOOD DEAL: bananas, potatoes, celery

Choose organic foods (check the Dirty Dozen lists). I also prefer organic dairy products and meats without added hormones for my family. All-natural is not the same as organic. Something can be all-natural and still have ingredients that were sprayed with chemical pesticides, etc.

The Dirty Dozen (foods that are most contaminated)
Sweet Bell Peppers
Grapes (imported)

Twelve Least-Contaminated Foods
Sweet Corn (frozen)
Sweet Peas (frozen)


Buy Fresh Buy Local

Local Harvest

Environmental Working Group
Food News -- check this out for a wallet guide to the Dirty Dozen

Philosophy & Preparation

I began my green journey several years ago, and it is just that, but I am presenting ideas about going green to my MOPS group, and I wanted to create this blog as a reference and resource for them (and anyone else who comes along).

It's impossible to be 100% green, at least if you are going to live in this culture. And being green... well, it isn't really something to "be." But part of our journey, part of our becoming and evolving should be movement toward green-ness.

When God created Adam and Eve and gave them dominion over the earth, mastery over the birds of the air and the fish of the sea, he did not mean for them to do everything in their power to destroy his creation. On the contrary, he was giving them (and us) the resonsibility to care for His creation, to be good stewards of the land and the life He had created. We are told that he cares deeply for the lilies of the field and the birds of the air. I strongly belief the earth has been entrusted to our care by its Creator, and we have too long abused that. This earth may be our temporary home, but it is our home, and our children's home, and their children's children's home. I've always loved the quote, "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." It's true.

My story, my motivation is simple. Honestly, it's not born from a deep desire to be a tree-hugging hippy. It is driven by my love for my children and for their future. My mother had breast cancer at 43. Friends and relatives are dealing with children with autism in increasingly alarming amounts. Every time I turn around someone else has cancer somewhere, and age no longer seems to matter. And what's with puberty hitting at age 10, anyway?! So while I desire to be gentle to the earth, to treat her with respect, to leave as small a footprint as possible for those who come after me; I really am focused on the health of my family. Removing the added chemicals and hormones from the things my family is exposed to happens to be good for the earth as well.

I don't know it all. I'm on a journey, and I'm learning... from a lot of different people. My goal is simply to provide some ideas and resources where you can find more information. Join me on the journey, and please share where your journey takes you. We can all learn from each other.