Archive for September, 2010

Really, I love cleaning poop!

Sometimes, I find when you do something quite    often it is easy to get discouraged and want to run out the nearest exit and scream “I quit!”.

Well once you’re a mom “quit” does not seem to be an option. You suck it up and deal.  I found myself in exactly this predicament yesterday.  I witnessed  #3 of my top 3 grosses kid-poop-related incidents.

I have recently switched over to cloth diapers and being distracted and busy the night before I left a soiled diaper on top of the pail. When I woke in the morning and staggered into my laundry room to obtain some school clothes from the dryer, I discovered IT. #3 grossest poop thing ever. 1 poopy cloth diaper with a large community of fruit flies having a conference of some kind inside. (shudder).  It was in that moment of weakness that I decided my baby’s butt was going directly into a disposable diaper. Why did I do this in the first place? I am so not a hippy.

My day went on, still in my anti-eco mind state,  after a little over a month of positive change I was going down hill. I needed some fresh inspiration.

I decided to watch the 11th Hour Documentary.

Baby’s butt is now comfortably resting in his cloth diaper.

In hopes to inspire more to hop up and make a change I am assigning everyone to watch or re-watch the 11th hour!  youtube, amazon (Canada or US),  Google your local library to see if they have it in (request they do), rent it, buy it, whatever it takes this is your assignment!  If it can snap me out of the poop-gross-out induced eco depression, it will work for you!

Other top 2 gross poop related incidents:

#2 While potty training my 2 year old girly, she had a poop on the bathroom floor. I was in my best domestic form and quickly putting laundry away when I slipped on this hidden jem on the floor. Creating skid marks across my floor and falling on my ass. Poop sock.

#1 When my oldest A, who is now 6, was about 18months I went to retrieve him from his crib after a nap. He did the old poop in diaper then remove and paint his body and crib with poop trick. Gag. It took 3 baths and  A LOT of scrubbing to deal with that one. He still makes me tell him that story from time to time and thinks that it is hilarious.

These cases aside most of the time I really don’t mind cleaning poop!

Assignment for the weekend: watch the 11th HOUR for inspiration!

P.S. Check out Fun Follow Friday

Worth it ? Apples to Apples

I’ve decided to do a little Q & A on Inspire Planning.  I ‘d love for readers to comment on this post! Please leave the name of an eco-friendly  choice in the marketplace and I’ll tell you if it’s WORTH IT or NOT, hopefully every Wednesday. Any thing from bamboo floor to toothpaste!

Ok, so I had a bit of a requests from my fantastic  BFF Kat, here is what she wrote,

Q) “Hey, so I have a question/ inquiry. I love the idea of going green, however, I find that most green products are almost double the price. What is the real reason for this? Are green products really more expensive to manufacture? Sometimes I feel like I’m being taken…….thought it might be a good blog topic.”

A)Good question Kat! I have recently purchased my first bag of organic apples. Apples to Apples it is.

Let’s get something out of the way, Organic simply means that it is grown without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or  genetically modified organisms.

When I refer to chemicals or pesticide  I am talking about the 2 most popular pesticides where I live (Atlantic Canada) which are Mineral oil and Carbaryl. I went pretty light on them too, there is a ton of scary (questionable sources though) info out there.  A host of other pesticides and fungicides are used, but we can get more into that another day.

Mineral oil is a petroleum based product made from crude oil. That’s one more point for the oil industry and how reliant we are on them.  Let us remember sustainability. Using, processing and transporting crude oil is on the negative scale. On a positive note it’s actually not too bad as  pesticides go, but I still wouldn’t want to eat it! CAUTION: One study showed there was an increase in skin cancer when mineral oil is applied as a moisturizer.Watch out for mineral oils in your cosmetics as well.

The other most popular is carbaryl. This chemical is definitely  toxic to humans. It  affects cell division and growth, as in like mutation. The EPA classifies it as a likely human carcinogenic. Not cool. It seems that bottom feeder fish, such as catfish accumulate the carbaryl in their bodies. Oh and it’s also toxic to bees, who are quite  beneficial to the environment. Being as things do need to be pollinated…

Hmm Organic Apples,

Pros:

  • Some studies have shown they are possibly  more nutritious
  • No harmful chemicals for your body
  • No harmful chemicals in the environment

Cons:

  • About $1 more expensive per 3lbs
  • Could be hard to find (although if you ask they’ll generally get it in)
  • The Organic apples that I buy are shipped from the US, more transport pollution

Hmmm Conventional Apples

Pros:

  • Cheaper
  • More convenient
  • Mostly grown close to home

Cons:

  • Contains a very tiny amounts of  chemicals that hurt our babies.  So a tiny bit from 1 apple, what about if I feed my kids other foods all with just a tiny bit of chemicals? Wouldn’t that add up to a whole bunch? Also it’s not just in the peels, traces of pesticides were found on peeled, cored apples.
  • Contains pesticides that harm the environment

So here is what I am thinking, in the end an extra $1 a week for apples is ok with me! Organic apples are WORTH IT. If there are no organic apples where you live, ask your store manager to get them in, but keep eating conventional apples, their health benefits are too good to pass up!

7 fruits that are WORTH IT, a little extra for organic is ok!

  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Nectarines
  • Cherries
  • Grapes

7 fruits NOT to spend extra on for organic:

  • Pineapples
  • Mango
  • Kiwi Fruit
  • Cantaloupe
  • Watermelon
  • Grapefruit
  • Honeydew Melon

A last thought, It seems the toxins are also still present in applesauce and apple juice, if you can, choose those in organic as well.

Info for this article was obtained at http://www.ewg.org/

Links to random Green blog, surprise blog!

Green Your Fall Fashions 2010!

This weekend I was inspired by the 7th annual Ethical Fashion show that’s going on right now in Paris as well as this months Green Moms Carnival , hosted this month by Diane MacEachern of Big Green Purse.

I wanted to come up with a few ways to squeeze eco fashion into my wardrobe right now.  FOR CHEAP.

Thrift Stores

Thrifty finds, photo courtesy of Alison DesRoches

In my opinion thrift or vintage stores may be the best tool to green your fashions. By thrift shopping you are extending the life cycle of a garment,

Samantha Pleet AW10 (Via: samanthapleet, ecouterre)

keeping it out of land fills and sometimes getting a great fashion boost for your closet! Here is one example of how a cheap thrift  store find easily compares to a Samantha Pleet design. For a very quick and cheap pick me up for your closet for fall, search  a thrift shop for  something in one of the hottest shades, textures or patterns of the season. This season look out for anything red, animal print or fur-inspired. (Do not buy real fur unless it’s at a thrift store, pretty sure that was obvious anyway…)

SWAP TEAM

Host a clothing swap, there is no faster or cheaper way to update your wardrobe than to have a clothing swap with your friends. If you’re not the same size extend the swap to shoes, jewelry and accessories. If you don’t have any friends with similar taste in fashion try joining an online swap site such as Swap Style, there is something for everyone there!

If you are a Martha Stewart wanna-be

Show your skills by  whipping up something cozy like these recycled wool mittens by Canadian designer Susan Harris.

Susan Harris Design

If you’re like me and don’t have a crafty bone in your body, check out etsy.com for all kinds of home-made and eco-friendly finds.  Like  this  earth happy scarf I came across!

You’re a hoody loving girl (like me)

I love this hoody from Nomads Hemp wear! If you happen to live in your favorite hoody, like me,  I feel like it is okay to spend a little extra for a gorgeous eco option like this one!

7 steps to a fall fashion overhaul for your closet

  • When you don’t know where to start when updating your wardrobe start by looking online at designers like Covet or in magazines (that you will recycle!) for inspiration.
  • Once you have a good idea of the look you want to achieve, first go to your closet and take stock of what you have.
  • Sort your clothes into piles of what is working for you, and what you can live without.
  • Organize a swap or sign up online to Swap Style to see first what you can get (and give) for free.
  • Check out Thrift stores or Ebay for pre-loved lower-priced pieces.
  • Buy retail eco-friendly materials for items you still absolutely need.
  • Enjoy your beautiful green wardrobe and you get to do it all over again in the Spring!!

More Ideas on how to green your fall click here.

Greenie deals – 1st edition –

I’m going to start trying to do an update every few weeks on green deals, worth talking about eco buys  as well as contests and giveaways!

**PEI readers see comments section for easy eco buys**

Lee Valley

Free shipping until September 27th- Get some new gardening tools and do your fall clean up sans carbon emissions!

Chapters

Big Green Purse Book($4.99)72%off or E-Book ($12.99)32% off

Eco S.O.S. , kids book ($19.10) 34%off

Well.ca this week

Nature Photo Contest- Submit Pictures to the Nature Conservancy Open until October 4th 2010.

Bamboo Towel Set Giveaway open until October 12th 2010.

Envirobottles, no sale here just great water bottles. Figured I should post it as I did mention Stainless steel bottles.

Listen to David Suzuki!


Last night my husband was making his lunch and getting his things ready for work in the morning. I noticed he had a plastic water bottle, so like a good wife would, I started to rant (a little) about how bad plastic water bottles are. If you have tried this method before you might have found that ranting, complaining or otherwise bi*ching really is not an effective way of getting a point across. I’ll try a different approach this time and present him with research (I’m so tricky!).

What is not okay about plastic bottles
(our health)

  • BPA– It mimics the female hormone estrogen and may affect fertility and promote cancer, plus a new study has shown that  it may lead to heart disease, diabetes and liver problems.  Many baby bottles and sippy cups have BPA too! Every time we wash or heat these containers they leach more of the toxic chemical out of the plastic.

What is not okay about plastic bottles
(our environment)

  • Only 37% of soft drink bottles and 28% of water bottles are recycled. That other 63% and 72% go to landfills and litter.
  • Think of the manufacturing that goes into water bottles, then the shipping. That’s a lot of wasted emissions if you ask me.

Also as it states right on the bottle, it’s actually just tap water that’s been filtered. Pretty sure I can do that at home myself! You can buy stainless steel water bottles practically everywhere now, take a look at wal-mart next time you’re there!

POINTS:

Moo!

One of my biggest challenges in switching over to  greener choices is trying to keep all the picky eaters in my house happy. Sometimes I can’t accomplish this, for example Organic milk.

My husband prefers the milk he’s used to, I forced him to have a blind taste test and he had no problem choosing his usual milk. He claims that the organic milk was a little too sweet, my 2 year old on the other hand didn’t notice a change.

I  aim to try a few new products every week . One new item I purchased last week was organic milk.  I picked it up and made the decision to spend the $6.29 price tag for 2L.  I figured it was a good thing to switch over and worth the extra cost since organic milk contains higher beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins than conventional milk.  Then there’s the growth hormone, rBGH. It’s use is banned here in Canada as well as in Europe, however unless it’s labeled rBGH free, or organic, dairy products from the U.S. still contain it. That rBGH seems to be an all around bad idea, what with the links to breast and colon cancer as well as the poor cows that have to produce so much milk that they can become malnourished. As a breastfeeding mom, I feel for them! For now I’ll keep buying the conventional milk for my husband, and my babies will get organic. I’m also going to make a habit of checking the label to see where my dairy products are coming from!

On another note,

Last week I had a great opportunity to make an easy shift in my spending to green. It is my Dad’s birthday this week (Happy Birthday Dad!!) and after digging around for info, I found out he needed some new t-shirts. I don’t have a big budget for birthday gifts, so I had to try and come up with a gift that was eco friendly, useful and inexpensive. My sister discovered that he was in need of some t-shirts. I was thrilled to find organic cotton shirts at wal-mart! I picked up 3 of them for $7 a piece!!

Last week’s  grocery totals for my One in a Million Challenge:

  • organic meats from Bluefield Natural Products Inc. $40
  • various organic, fair trade and eco friendly products at the grocery store $40
  • Birthday gift for Dad $21

Totals for O.I.M.C. last week: $101

Stay at Home!

As a shopaholic, I’ve had to adapt to staying at home with my 3 kids and not being able to mull something over in a store. So in the last few years I’ve really taken to shopping online. I think it’s fantastic, I can do it during nap time, where as running out to Wal-Mart while my kids are napping would perhaps be frowned upon…

I drive a van, and live in the country so I started to wonder how much gas  I  am saving by not driving the 20-30 minutes it takes me to get to civilization. I did a quick calculation, average gas price x how many miles per gallon my van gets x how far I drive to shop, turns out I’m spending about $9.50 in fuel per trip! That’s IF I found was I was looking for at the first store, not counting on the fact that most of the time I go to more than one place.

I started to really think about all the environmental benefits of shopping online and I came up with a few:

  • Save on gas emissions ( my products are usually delivered to my post office)
  • Save on gas costs (although unless I get free shipping I end up paying most of this back out)
  • Consider how much power and waste (like promotional displays) come from a traditional store vs a warehouse
  • Avoid receiving catalogues

Besides the environmental impacts there are other benefits:

  • Get to research my products, and with my shift to a greener lifestyle, that’s pretty important.
  • Don’t have to deal with crowds (ah..holiday shopping anyone?)
  • Don’t have to deal with weather (do you have any idea how many snow storms PEI gets?)
  • Read other customers review
  • Can do it in your jammies
  • Can do it while your kids run around you and scream with no one giving you a dirty look
  • If you can’t find what you’re looking for online or the shipping costs end up being too high, you can always view fliers online to save you time when you get to the store

If your new to shopping online:

  • Start small like a book or some toothpaste, don’t try to buy clothes online unless you have an easy body to fit to avoid disappointment
  • Make sure you’re buying from a secure site or check out with paypal if you’re apprehensive of putting your Credit Card info out there

Although plastic bags are not in the mix there can be extra packaging when you shop online, some store do offer pretty eco-friendly shipping though. A few examples:

  • Aldo/ Spring Shoes sends out their shoes, purses and accessories in a compostable bag (if you’ve bought from Aldo/ Spring Shoes in the past use your other shoes as a guide then tend to run a little small)
  • Only Natural Pet store is working to become a zero waste company, they use recycled boxes and packing materials, and purchase only fully biodegradable, non-toxic packing peanuts made from cornstarch.

Other great stores online to shop at:

  • Well.ca is great Canadian drug store with free shipping within Canada. Great Eco-buy for kids !They have a great Green section as well. One of my favorite products I have bought at Well is the Preserve Junior Endangered Species Toothbrush, my kids love animals so they loved this product! ( Drugstore.com seems to be its American counterpart with free shipping over $25)
  • Raspberry kids, babygrins, and the Cloth Diaper Shop are my 3 fav kid sites (Great Customer service!)
  • ebay is always great too, especially when you can buy something used as your also adding the benefit of reusing something! I have purchased everything from video games, to sports equipment and childrens clothes on here.
  • Chapters or Amazon are both great places to buy books, with lots of free shipping promos going on
  • Etsy has almost limitless items, I could get lost in there forever.

So if you’re not ready to take the leap yet to greener products, try this easy step to lower your impact on our pretty little planet.

PS. If there are any products that you would like to buy online and want a good site for let me know in the comments!

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