Saturday, June 5, 2010

Plum/Revolution Foods Giveaway

If you're like me, you'd rather try something new for free first, right?  Here's your chance -- my first giveaway!  EcoMom is giving away $20  worth of Plum and/or Revolution Foods to one of my readers.  Sorry, open to residents of the United States and Canada only.  Enter by midnight June 30th.

To enter, visit the food section at the EcoMom store and comment on my blog about which product you think your kiddos would like the most.  That will be your first entry.

For additional entries...
  • Become a fan of EcoMom on Facebook and leave me a comment telling me you did so.
  • Follow the founder of Ecomom on Twitter at EcoMomCEO and leave me a comment telling me you did so.
  • Join the EcoMom newsletter and leave me a comment telling me you did so.

Revolution Foods Review

I just received a Revolution Foods Sampler from EcoMom.  My preschool-aged girls love the Organic Mashups Squeezable Fruit.  These are great on-the-go snacks or to add to a child's lunchbox.  They are like applesauce in consistency.  We tried three flavors: Berry (Strawberry, Blackberry, and Blueberry added to the Apple), Tropical (Banana, Pear, and Mango added to the Apple), and Strawberry-Banana.

We also got three kinds of Organic Sammys -- snack size sandwich bars.  These look yummy, but I'm saving them for our plane trip next weekend, so I'll have to get back to you on whether we actually like them.  :)  We have Grape Jelly & Peanut Butter, Strawberry Jam & Peanut Butter, and Grammy Sammy (Honey Graham & Strawberry Yogurt).

Plum and Revolution offer a wide variety of products, so be sure to check them all out, whether your child is in a high chair or using a lunchbox.

EcoMom Discount

I am so excited to tell you about the Eco-Friendly Baby Products at EcoMom!  This website offers green products for your home and entire family (and not just if you have babies).  They even offer a new program called EcoPass.  You can purchase an annual membership for $99 and then receive a 15% discount and free shipping on every order, with no $75 minimum order.

Want to try it out first?  Use code SBBL388 and receive 15% off your first order with EcoMom.  This code is good through June 30, 2010.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Which Sunscreen to Use???

Now that summer is here, we're spending more time outside in the sun, and we all need to protect our skin from its harmful rays.  I'm covered with freckles, and I've noticed them starting to pop up on my girls, so you can guess how fair our skin is.  And Ryan spends all day in a greenhouse getting lots of sun exposure.  Sunscreen (and avoiding skin cancer) is a big concern for me and my family.

Anyway, check out the Environmental Working Group's 2010 Sunscreen Guide.  Hope it helps you make some informed decisions about your sunscreen purchases.  Happy Summer!

I'm also a big fan of the bathing suits for the girls that are shorts and short-sleeved shirts with built-in UVA protection, rather than tiny baby bikinis.  Seriously, folks, a tiny bathing suit bottom on a little one just means more sand in their tiny bum.  :(

P.S.  I apologize for my absence from this blog.  We've had lots of computer issues around here for the last while.  Unfortunately, they appear to be still unsolved, despite the removal of 2000+ viruses from our laptop!

Monday, April 19, 2010

FREE Children's Books on the Computer

More free stuff!  And what's better than books for your children?  And since you can read the books right on your computer, no paper or ink is used in printing the books!  My girls love reading stories on the computer, because it's something different.  Check out  Happy reading!

Earth Day Deals on Amazon

Check out for great deals on environmentally-friendly products in celebration of Earth Day.  I don't know if the sale is good for the whole month or what, but I got a great deal on my gDiaper flushable refills and some reusable produce bags I just purchased.  They are offering 25% off lots of green products.  Just click your way to their green/natural section.  Just so you know, the reduced price doesn't show up until you click "Checkout," so don't panic when it doesn't show up right away.  And I got free shipping, too, so YAY!!!  Happy shopping!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Green Smoothies

OK, this is pretty cool.  My kids are good eaters, for which I am very grateful, but while they usually eat the veggies, most of the time, these are not high on their list of favorites.  I've been trying to get more fruit and veggies in all of us.  We had green smoothies for lunch today (also great for breakfast), and the girls loved them!  There are recipes out there, or you can just kinda' go with it, which is what I do.

Today's smoothies included watercress, which is a good source of Protein, Folate, Pantothenic Acid and Copper, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Vitamin K, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin B6, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium and Manganese.  Next time I want to try Baby Bok Choy as my green.  Spinach also works well, I'm told, but since we grow the Watercress and Baby Bok Choy at Butter Valley Harvest, those are more convenient for me.

Anyway, the trick is that the kids, for the most part, can't see or taste the green stuff!  I start with a couple handfuls of the green stuff and a cup of milk.  Puree that in your blender.  Then you get to add the fun stuff.  I add a couple tablespoons of Ground Flax Seed (they have no idea what that is or that it's there!), about a cup of Yogurt (flavored or plain), and some fruit.  FYI, berries are best for changing the color away from anything remotely green.  :)  We like bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, etc.  You can use whatever combination you like.  I would say you end up with about 1 1/2 cups of fruit.  The great thing about smoothies is that you can pretty much use whatever yogurt and fruit you have on hand.

If you are a lover of Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld, she hides purees of all kinds all over the place when it comes to mealtime.  She encourages making a bunch of puree at once and freezing it, so that's another option.  I like to use the fresh stuff when possible, and since I have access to the greenhouse, I can get my greens fresh year-round.  :)  Fruit is another story, so those I freeze.

If you have different experiences with Green Smoothies, I'd love to hear your ideas.  I'm sure you could hide some greens and ground flax seed in a chocolate milkshake, too.  Hmmm... I wonder if my hubby would notice that.  He loves his chocolate shakes!  ;)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Deals, Deals, and More Deals!

What Mom (or Dad) isn't always on the lookout for a good bargain? What? You just won the lottery and will be receiving millions of dollars for the rest of your life?! Congratulations! Now for the rest of us...
I'm sure there are other sites out there (please share!), but I wanted to share a short list of sites that offer bargains on a daily basis, mostly geared toward parents and kids. A couple of these sites require you to join (for free), some you can sign up to have each deal emailed to you. So far, I have only made a purchase from Green Baby Bargains, and was very pleased with my purchase and the experience. Bascially, there's a new deal each day or, in some cases, when the previous deal sells out. Here are the sites I'm aware of so far: -- Check out the clearance/sale/deals section!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm a Fly Baby!

Any readers know what I'm talking about?  I just discovered this week, and I'm excited about the changes FLYLady is producing in my life.  I know some of you have it all together, but I don't, so I need the extra help!  My house is a little cleaner (it does help that I'm starting to have more energy as I've passed the 15-week mark), my kitchen sink is shiny, and I'm learning that I don't have to do it all, but I can do a lot in little pieces.  And I still have plenty of time left for my girls.  :)  That's the best part.  I feel like I can be a better mom, because I can get some household chores done in little spurts when the girls are happily entertaining each other, and then I can spend time with them without thinking about what other chore I should be doing.  I think we are all happier this way.  Everyone wins!  Just wanted to share.  *Note: not everything FLYLady recommends is entirely green, but you can easily figure out a greener alternative to her ideas that aren't super-green.

A Site Worth Checking Out

I just stumbled upong this not-so-little website,  It is a wealth of information about all things "green."  If there is a specific area you want to know about, this site has information.  It's one of those sites that may well have more information than you want to know, but if you are starting your green journey and want to find out more about the area you are starting in, this seems like a good place to go.  Anyway, check it out.  Just wanted to pass that along.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Overwhelmed by Baby Decisions

I really hope there are some other mama's out there who have some experiences in this area.  I'm going to throw this out there and hope for a response or two!  :)  Baby #3 is weighing heavily on my mind (since s/he's only about a lemon, that's the only place the baby's weighing heavy so far!), because I want to do this whole thing better this time around.  Add limited green ($$) and wanting to be green (as in environmentally-friendly), and I have more questions than answers.  Or at least it feels that way.

Let's start with the birth experience.  Despite the wonderful outcomes (two beautiful daughters), I am not happy about my first two birth experiences.  I labored in fear and uncertainty both times, and I refuse to allow myself to have that experience again.  The first time was due in part to it being my first time around, but mostly due to a nurse who basically ignored me.  The second time around, my nurses were a million times better, but again I was scared, because I kept being told about what-ifs and negative possibilities.  This time around, I want to be in control and allow my body, created by God to labor and deliver children, to do what it is meant to do.  I do not want to be forced to stay in bed flat on my back -- that seems counter-productive!

I know I want a new experience, not one full of fear and doubt in my abilities and medication I am talked into and don't necessarily need.  I don't want a home birth.  I'm pretty sure that would be on the landlord's list of things not to do!!!  But I want to be in control, and I want someone with me who can encourage me along the right lines.  I have contacted Jenn at Knitted in the Womb as my first step, and I feel good about my initial contacts with her.  She gave me some great questions to talk to my doctors about to find out where they are in supporting my desire for a different birthing experience.  It would be easier if I were still in NoVA, where I know doctors, midwives, and doulas and have more resources.  *sigh*  Anyone have any experience with Jenn?

On a completely different note, we have to do some shopping.  And not just for the stuff that is worn out after two babies and needs to be replaced.  Come September, we will have three kids in car seats (well, the oldest will be in a booster).  I don't think they are going to fit in my Elantra!  It has been strongly recommended to me to try the Sunshine Kids Radian car seat.  Apparently, they are great seats, super-safe, one seat for the child's lifetime, and the are narrower than other seats, so you can get three of them across some cars.  The key is installing the middle one first, I've heard.  But even three Radians may not fit in my car.  Which means we need another vehicle, because Ryan uses the minivan for work all the time.  *another sigh*  Like I want to go car shopping.  Like I can afford a car.  We're in for an adventure!

The other thing I really want to figure out is a baby sling or something.  I don't mind the carrier I have, but I definitely don't love it.  For one thing, I really struggle to put it on by myself, so that's not always practical.  I am on the tall side and rather... well-endowed, especially when nursing.  My chest can definitely make certain carriers a bit uncomfortable.  I'm looking for recommendations on an easy-to-use carrier that will fit my body as well as the baby's.

Any creative types out there in cyberspace?  Our landlord will not let us take down the wallpaper in the baby's room, despite the fact that it is full of tears and is not at all attractive.  Seriously, it is so busy, it gives me a headache when I spend too much time in the room.  So I'm thinking about hanging fabric on the walls.  I'm hoping that doesn't get too expensive!  I just don't think I can take the wallpaper anymore.  Oh, how I miss having our own place!  Our girls had the most beautiful rooms in VA.  The nursery was a beautiful lighter green with a sky blue ceiling with puffy white clouds.  There was a cute white ledge all the way around the room dividing the green and the blue and holding cute little baby things (Pooh letters, etc.).  My favorite, though, was the apple tree my mom painted in the corner to match the apple tree on the quilt.  It was such a perfectly peaceful room.  And Ryleigh's "big girl" room was yellow with pink and white hand-painted flowers to match her quilt.  And a little bee buzzed a little trail around the room.  A happy little place.  Oh, I do not like renting!  I am not a fan of ugly, in-bad-shape wallpaper and poorly-painted white walls everywhere else.

OK, wow, so this was more of a vent.  I just needed to dump my brain!  But if you have any suggestions for vehicles, car seats, baby carriers, or ways to cover the wallpaper without ruining it, I'd love to hear them!  Blessings, friend!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gussy Up & Get Down gDeal!

Just wanted to share, for those of you gDiaper users or those thinking about trying them and looking for a great deal...  the Gussy Up and Get Down sale ends Friday, March 19th, so hurry!  Choose which trio you want -- the Gussy Up trio includes the Girly Girl Ruffle, the Good Vibe Girl Stripe, and the Genuine Vanilla Bean, or the Get Up trio includes Good Night Blue, Genuine Vanilla Bean, and Glam Black -- for $39.  It's basically like buying two pairs of little gPants and getting one free, sorta'.  I am so wishing I had an excuse to take advantage of this deal, but since Ashtyn is has enough and is starting to potty train, and we don't know whether baby #3 is a boy or a girl, I have to pass.  :(

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Story of Stuff (and a bit of a vent)

Oh, where to begin?!  Do you ever seem to get inundated with other people's stupidity until you suddenly find yourself so angry at their ignorance you think you'll explode?  I am amazed to find that there are people in this world (far too many, unfortunately) who do not believe that anything they do has any impact on the world (people, environment, etc.) around them.  Huh?  How selfish can you be?  This is not about whether you believe in global warming or not.  How can you be so small-minded to think that what you do only affects you?  I think I'd better stop reading the stupid comments people post on other people's blogs (I may soon be the recipient of such comments!) and letters to the editor in certain magazines or in response to certain newspaper articles.

Anyway... the point of this post...  The Story of Stuff.  If you have not watched this video, or have not watched it recently, please do.  Or visit  I have to thank Emily, my new favorite blogger at Live Renewed for bringing this to my attention.  I love her philsophy on life and her journey toward a greener life for her family.  Now really, you should watch the video and then go read her March posts, because I pretty much agree with everything she says.  But in short, here's what really hit me, not as a tree-hugging hippie, but as a child of God.

I have too much stuff.  Way too much stuff.  My family has way too much stuff.  We know that and are working on dealing with it.  We have been trying to reduce our consumption of stuff.  We recognize that our choices as consumers don't just impact our lives, but the lives of people all around us.  This is why we choose to buy products and especially food that are as locally produced as possible, and at least from within the US.  When we buy locally, we support our local economy -- the same people, by the way, who happen to be supporting our own business venture, since we will always be a local company, feeding the local community.  We conserve resources by not using fuel, etc. to ship things across the country or even halfway around the world.  This is why we reuse and recycle as much as possible and throw away as little as possible.

We are living on a finite planet!!!  And whether you choose to believe in global warming or not, you cannot deny that we harvest our forests faster than we can regrow them, that farmland to produce food exists in much, much, much decreased quantities than just a few generations ago, that we are using up our planet.  And maybe you don't care, because you'll be dead before the planet is used up.  Well, goody for you!  What about your grandchildren???  We cannot afford to think only of ourselves!  It is a small world!  Such selfishness cannot be tolerated.

But here's where my faith comes in.  I believe that God created this earth and everything in it.  In Genesis, God placed Adam in the Garden of Eden and told him to take care of it.  In Scripture, God repeatedly gives individuals dominion over things... this means they have responsibility for those things, not that they can do what they want and destroy those things at any cost.  God placed us on the earth to take care of it and preserve it.

But what I find even more appalling as a believer is how our culture defines our value as people.  This video says it pretty succintly.  It hurts a little, made me cringe.  Victor Lebow, retail analyst in the 1950s, is quoted in the video as saying the following: "Our enormously productive economy... demands that we make consumption our way of life, that we convert the buying and use of goods into rituals, that we seek our spiritual satisfaction, our ego satisfaction, in consumption..." WHAT?!?!?! Rituals? Spiritual satisfaction? Ego satisfaction? Talk about idols and other gods! You wondered what is wrong with our society? There's your answer.

Our culture assigns value to people based on their ability to participate in the consumer good system through consumption.  Is this how God assigns value to His children?  Absolutely not!  We have been created in His image, knit together in our mother's womb, He values us more highly than all His creation.  We have incredible value because God says so!  And this is not true just of Americans.  God places high value on all people, even those living in Third World countries, working in deplorable conditions to mass-produce our goods, people being forced to move out of their villages as the countryside around them is destroyed.  Maybe even especially.  God clearly tells us how he feels about the poor, the widowed, the orphaned and what is to be our response as those more fortunate.  Your spending and consumption reflect the value you place on human life, the lives around you and the lives of people on the other side of the world.  Have you thought about what your consumption says about how you value other people?  If I am called to love God and love others, I need to think about how my consumption reflects my fulfillment of my calling.

We have more stuff than ever, but at what cost?  Maybe it's hard to measure some of it from where you stand, because you don't have a stinky factory in your neighborhood or have to look at people coming and going from the factories.  But one thing I've heard repeatedly is how we have more than ever, but we are less happy as a society than we have ever been.  So we get more and more stuff, because we are seeking "spiritual satisfaction, ego satisfaction," and we are left more and more hungry.  Seek ye first the Kingdom of God...  He alone is the Bread of Life, the Living Water.  Stop idolizing your stuff!  (that was directed at me, by the way)

So what should we do?  Join me and my family in examining your relationship to your stuff.  Think about what you have, what role your stuff plays in your life, and maybe even more importantly, reflect on your participation in our consumptive society.  Really think about the purchases you make -- where they come from, how they are manufactured or grown, the impact those products have on the world around you, both the planet and the people who live on it.

And I'd love to hear how it goes for you.  Have you already journeyed the path of getting rid of stuff?  Are you in the middle of it?  Are you thinking about beginning the journey?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Again... Why?

In my travels through Cyberspace, I stumbled upon a wonderful blog called Live Renewed: My Journey Toward Living "Frugally Green."  For those of you who wonder why I feel the way I do, I found an entry on her blog that explains it so perfectly, and I want to share that with you.  Her entry is entitled Encouragement for the Journey: Simple Acts.  I know that I am living my life more each day as God calls me to live it as I follow His Son.  I believe strongly in stewardship being about much more than just what we do with our paycheck.  My small steps make a difference, even if Heaven is the only one who notices.  God uses even the small things for His purposes.

Now, I need a copy of Serve God, Save the Planet.  :)

Real (not fake) Organics & Naturals

This just goes to show you... never believe everything you read on the front of your products.  For those of you seeking to choose organic or natural products for you and your family, you will want to read this.  I just stumbled upon an article posted by Organic Gal on about body care products that use the label "organic" or "natural" without really being so.  (She didn't actually write it, either; she got it from another site.)  Apparently, you can put anything on the front of your package, so be sure to read your ingredient lists!  If you want to see the article, it's at  The article is a little hard to read, because it's in one continuous paragraph instead of a list, so here's a list of the brands that are true to their organic or natural label.  *Disclaimer: I have not personally checked any of these yet, but as some of the fakers are in my home, I will be making some personal adjustments.*

The following paragraph is taking directly from the Organic Gal posting:
Body care is not a regulated industry.  The USDA Organic regulations/laws only extend to food items or body care items that are food grade.  Because of lax regulations a body care company can use the word "Natural" any way they want, regardless of if they threw in chemicals and synthetics to the final product. A company can only use the word Organic (as in the product name, etc) on the front of their packaging if the product contains at least 70% organic ingredients.  For a company to display a label that reads "Made with Organic ingredients" the product must carry 70% or more organics with no restrictions on the other ingredients.  For a company to display the USDA organic label, it must have 95% or higher organic ingredients with the other 5% being from an approved list.  To carry the new Natural Products Association Label the natural product must only contain pre-approved naturally derived ingredients.  The Eco-Cert label has fallen under scrutiny lately, for allowing synthetics in products (which is against its own rules) with many interest groups now not trusting the integrity of the EcoCert logo.

Real Organic: no synthetics, never ever
Badger Balm
Bottled Earth Company
Dr. Bronners
Earth Mama
Angel Baby
Eco-Beauty Organics
Gratefulbody Organics
Intelligent Nutrients Le FP
Green body Care
Miessence Organics (food grade, carries USDA label)
Nature's Baby Organics
Nourish (food grade, carries USDA label)
Oracle Organics
Organic Essence
Pangea Organics
Perfect Organics
Sun Dog

Real Natural: Though they might not use all organic ingredients, their finished product has NO added synthetics.
Alaffia (*Fair Trade)
Aubrey Organics, (they are not on the organic list because not all products are fully organic, though they never use chemicals or synthetics in finished product)
Bon Vital's natural line
Dr. Bronners
Earth Mama
Angel Baby
Rare 2 B

Organic Gal posts a lengthy list of fakers, as well as a list of companies who are "hit or miss."  The "hit or miss" companies have some great products that would be considered true to their labels, but they also have some products that use synthetics.  If you want me to post the list of fakers here, I will, but I figured the list of real companies made this post long enough.  :)

Another great website to check this stuff out at is that of the Organic Consumers Association.  I highly recommend checking out your products.  This site also includes a spreadsheet that gives the Skin Deep hazard rankings to each brand's products.  You definitely want to look at this!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fluff Friday Giveaway

Visit The Cloth Diaper Whisperer to enter her giveaway for a Knickernappies One-Size Diaper with two Loopy-Do inserts and a Knickernappies Hanging Door Pail Liner at  Enter through Thursday, February 25th at 7 p.m.

Moby Wrap Giveaway

Another great website for all you moms out there --  Any of you expecting or with wee ones or know someone that falls into those categories?  Check out the Moby Wrap giveaway at  Enter and share with your friends!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Disappearing Male

Do you have children?  Or grandchildren?  Do you want to?  You NEED to make 40 minutes in your schedule to watch this video, The Disappearing Male.  It is frightening.

When I started my journey toward green, some of my decisions and choices were based on my feeling that all these man-made chemicals couldn't be great for our God-created human bodies more than facts (and some were definitely based on fact), but this documentary provides some frightening and specific effects of all these chemicals.  I fear for our children's generation, but perhaps even moreso, for their children.  What will their world be like???  We can make a change, but we have to do it now, not tomorrow, not next week, not next month...  You don't need to go "cold turkey" or do it all, but choose today to make one small, green change for your family.  One small step at a time to change the world.

Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's Giveaway

So, I just discovered The $30 Weekly Grocery Challenge!  You really need to check this blog out.  What a great resource!!!  Anyway, she has tons of great giveaways, including this one for a copy of the book Cooking with All Things Trader Joe's.  Check it out today and regularly (I've added a button on my blog page), because her giveaways usually are only 48 hours.  Good luck!

Kids Eat Free 2/13-15 @ IKEA

Save some green, right?  This weekend, February 13-15, kids can get a free lunch at participating IKEA stores.  No purchase necessary.  Free lunch is for kids 12 and under, and you get to choose 3 kid-sized items to make a meal (including five meatballs, mac and cheese, PB&J sandwich, kids yogurt, two cookies, chocolate milk and more)!  Call your local IKEA store to make sure they are participating.

From the IKEA website: "Our Restaurants welcome you with a relaxing atmosphere and menu offers that satisfy most every taste at a price that satisfies every budget. Of course we’re famous for our Swedish meatballs and Lingonberry drink, but there’s so much more, you’re guaranteed not to go home hungry! And to show we’re concerned for your well being and satisfaction, we want you to know that IKEA is committed to sourcing food for our menu items from companies that are committed to the highest food safety standards as well as being environmentally and socially responsible. We take every measure to insure our suppliers comply with all international and national food legislation. We make strict demands concerning animal welfare and the non use of antibiotics or hormones to stimulate growth. We support ecological farming and prefer organically grown products. It’s our commitment, to make it Tasty, Uncomplicated and Good for You!"

A Review of Six Green Laundry Detergents

Someone just shared this link with me, and I wanted to pass it on to you.  I think our laundry detergent is a big place we need to "go green," a good first thing to replace with something greener when you run out of whatever you've been using.  It goes into our water, it goes into our clothes, which come in constant, close contact with our family's skin, etc.  Anyway, the site is (A Beacon in the Smog), and the article is at  Check it out.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Organic Rising

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with your family and friends.  I also hope that you will make just one small change to your lifestyle in 2010 to take better care of your family and our planet.  Whether you switch to cloth napkins or purchase "green" cleaners when whatever you are using now runs out, or maybe you're expecting a new baby and you're going to use gDiapers or cloth or even just chlorine-free disposables...  each single small step makes a difference.  What will your small step be?

Need some ideas related to the food you eat?  Check out Organic Rising, a site I just discovered and a wealth of information about organic foods.  This site, sponsored by the Organic Valley Family of Farms offers information about just what "organic" means, recipes, and more.

Another thing I'm excited about, regarding food, is my newest cookbook I received for Christmas --Simply in Season.  For those of us trying to do better about eating locally and in season, this book is wonderful!  The recipes are broken down into sections based on the four seasons and the foods that are available at those different times.  I can't wait to start trying some out this week.  Lots of soups this time of year -- yummy!

Remember, reader, I'd love to hear your responses and additions to my thoughts, so please comment.