The Fifth R….Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle…and When All Else Fails…

April 3rd, 2011

With Earth Day approaching, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to the 4Rs (Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle).

When you look at this brush, what do you see?

Baby Bottle Brush

An old baby bottle brush that should have been thrown out when baby stopped bottles?  Thrown out?!

Didn’t I mean recycled? Well, that would be nice, but unfortunately baby bottle brushes aren’t typically recycled by municipalities…they’re incinerator bound.

So how do you reuse a baby bottle brush when there are no more baby bottles?

Pass it along to someone else in the new baby stage? Sell it at a consignment shop?  Hmm…I don’t know what things are like in your neck of the woods, but here in Bethesda, the odds of a new Mom buying a used baby bottle brush are just about…nil. Although it’s easy to sanitize a baby bottle brush, used baby bottle brushes just don’t pass the ick test…

So here’s where the 5th R comes in to play….Repurposing….

The Fifth R...Repurposing

After all, when the babies are grown, there’s much more time to kick back and enjoy a glass of wine!

What have you repurposed lately?

Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

 

 

How Selling My Babies’ Stuff Gave Me The Baby Blues

August 14th, 2010

It should have been a simple business transaction: clear the clutter, post the old baby things online, and use the money for a trip to one of those kiddie-meccas.

But as I tweeted here, all of a sudden I began to feel…sad…emotional…melancholy. Oh my God, I had the baby blues all over again!

Those gorgeous brand new nautically themed sheets, rug, and comforter  I’m selling?

NEW NAUTICAL BEDDING & RUG SET COMPANY KIDS – $300 (Bethesda )


Date: 2010-08-13, 5:21PM EDT
Reply to: sale-pg2fb-1897302032@craigslist.org


I spent more than $500 on sale (trying to forget how much, but I just doublechecked on line, and this didn’t even include shipping) on a gorgeous set of nautical, boat themed bedding for my second child. (Buy this for a first born, you may be too tired like I was to make the curtains!) Never used. Includes a rug, comforter, 2 pillow cases (still in plastic), pillow sham (in plastic), six sets of sheets (my plan was to make curtains from four of them), with all in plastic save one. Very high quality from Company Kids. Not stocked by them any longer. Also includes a matching lamp that broke but will give it to you in case you wish to have it repaired. Also selling a Chicco high chair, Today’s Kids Baby PlayYards (2), and many other high quality name brand baby/kid items. Come get them all at once!

image 1897302032-0

PostingID: 1897302032

What was I thinking? Maybe I could have had a second child, gone back to work, and made curtains as planned. But start a new business, live the entrepreneurial life, enjoy two kids and a husband – and make curtains for a perfect little nursery? Fuhgeddaboutit!

The glider. Oh, the glider. Those long, never ending nursing sessions. The late nights. And the stuff that got on the glider. Why did I wait so long to really polish it up? Now it was gleaming – and ready to leave the house!

Dutalier Glider & Ottoman (Off-White, Dark Wood) – $150 (Bethesda)


Date: 2010-08-13, 3:16PM EDT
Reply to:rrors when replying to ads?]


FS: Neutral colored (off-white) Dutalier glider and Ottoman in good condition, only used in non-smoking home. Wood is dark cherry. The fabric has a very light pearl white-on-white leaf pattern. Loved it — it goes with anything – perfect for boys or girls!
Pick up near downtown Bethesda. I will also be posting other baby and kid stuff, like a nice highchair, baby gates, and clothing, so let me know if you need more! All high quality!

image 1897044191-0 image 1897044191-1

Just after posting everything, I ran to a potluck dinner at my “little one’s” preschool. There I saw a newborn, just six-weeks-old. How adorable.

baby_Booschool

It reminded me that my own “baby” is not a baby anymore.

BooBackpackphoto

The baby stuff really has to go.

And as my husband slid his arm around me, looked at the baby and said, “If we were ten years younger, we’d have a third,” I laughed and said, “If I was ten years younger, I’d still be of advanced maternal age!”

Today, a lovely young DCUrbanMom came by to pick up the glider. Her husband, a tall, strapping Navy man, carried the glider out to the car. I gave her a mini-download on green cleaning and all the lessons I’ve learned since I started my journey to figure out when it made sense to go green and organic. I handed her some left over organic baby salves from a former client.

And as she drove away, I sniffed a bit and realized once again, that time goes by too quickly. And they’re babies for far too short a time.

(And if you want to buy a bunch of great stuff, let me know! )

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2010

The Babies of BlogHer: The Second Annual Round-Up

August 9th, 2010

In the second of what I hope to be an annual series of posts, I pay tribute to the Babies of BlogHer. Last year, I attended my first Blogher conference, and I marveled about how I’d never attended a conference with babes-in-arms. I spent twenty years working in the tech industry, where women at conferences were definitely in the minority. Babies? Fuhgedaboutit!

photo1_babyJoGreepHow appropriate that the first pic I snapped was of a doula – @outtajo aka of JoGreepChildBirth

As I blogged then,

Much has been written about BlogHer. How over-the-top everything was.  The big sponsors. The huge bags of swag. The blow-out parties.   The larger-than-life amazing, inspirational speakers. The networking.  It’s true – all of that was amazing.

But what really blew me away was something much smaller.

The babies. The babies of BlogHer.

They were everywhere you looked.

Though there were fewer than last year, the sight of all those gorgeous babies with their intrepid Mamas still blew me away.

photo6_babyatblogherunidentified

One of the first Mommy-Baby duos I snapped, Jen from Baby Making Machine and her Lil’ J were gorgeous! Those flowers make Lil’ Baby J look like a tropical goddess! (She’s only a month old!)

This year, I tried to include name tags in photos so that I could link back to the Mamas’ sites, but I’ve still fallen short! If you can identify one of the anonymous Mamas, please leave a comment so we know who she is!

EmilywithbabyBeautiful red-headed Emily (of ??) with her little sleeping moppet.

When I asked why there seemed to be fewer babies than last year, I was told it was because of reports about a baby being bumped at Blogher ’09. What a shame. BlogHer is a great place for babies, and I hope to see even more of them at Blogher ’11 in San Diego! (Particularly BlogHer co-founder Jory des Jardins’ baby!)

MorraAaronMele&friendwbaby photo

Morra Aarons Mele, right, and The Mama Bee with her adorable baby

Did I spot your baby? What was it like to bring your baby to BlogHer? Would you recommend it to other Moms? Leave a comment and share!

And if I snapped your pic, and it’s not posted…check back. I’ll be adding more to the post (including my own tykes) but I want to get up some other posts too! Oh…and real work!

– Lynn

Copyright 2010 OrganicMania

The Aftermath of the Green Moms Carnival: Hysterical Mommy Bloggers?

April 10th, 2009

By now, I thought my mind would be on blogging about Tips for an Eco-Friendly Easter. But instead, I keep thinking about how the personal care products industry responded to the concerns raised by last week’s Green Moms Carnival. The Green Moms asked questions about the safety of the tens of thousands of untested, unregulated chemicals used in personal care products such as shampoos and household cleaners, and the presence of small amounts of probable carcinogens such as 1,4 dioxane and formaldehyde in products such as baby wash.

The industry’s response was to:

1) ignore our questions – even when we telephoned;

2) send out form emails like this one that didn’t address our questions; and

3) engage this “crisis management” PR firm to leave comments on our blogs alleging that both the Green Mom bloggers and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Environmental Working Group, the environmental groups behind the studies, were “irresponsible,” were causing “hysteria,” and suggesting that we needed to do more “critical thinking.”

Check out my friend Jennifer Taggert’s post, “Oh, don’t worry, you’re just a mommy blogger & just a little bit of a carcinogen is okay.” Read the comments.

Prior to the carnival, I was a bit skeptical of the need for the Kid Safe Chemicals Act. Because Ad Age recently reported on J&J‘s new social media campaign and their desire to “deepen engagement” with Mom bloggers, I expected they would welcome a call from a blogger asking for J&J’s perspective prior to publishing a blog post. Regrettably, that was not my experience with J&J, nor with the Personal Care Products Council.

I hoped that my efforts to reach out to industry before publishing my post for the Green Moms Carnival would lead to more confidence in the state of the industry and the existing regulatory system, not less confidence.

As Mary Hunt says here, “I find it amusing that if women are surveyed by a paid for research firm, their answers are sanctified and considered valid feedback. But if women give the same opinions freely on the web without “being asked,” then they are hysterical or overreacting. The only difference is that someone in the middle was paid to ask the question. Go figure.”

Happy Easter, Happy Passover, everyone. I’m going to try to go off and focus on dying eggs the natural way. I’ll try not to eat too much Fair Trade Easter chocolate. But this isn’t over. If anything, the industry’s response to our concerns has galvanized us to action.

Lynn

Copyright 2009 OrganicMania

Green and Organic Savings Friday: CVS “Organic” Make-up, Late Night Specials at Whole Foods, Organic Baby Food and More!

May 16th, 2008

Last night OrganicMania discovered an advantage to waiting until the absolute last minute to pick up groceries. Never before had I heard the voice booming across Whole Foods announcing, “Two-for-one Special! Buy One, Get One Free!” Buy what? Where the heck was I? For a second, I thought I was back in Germany, where at Kaufhalle a flashing blue siren goes off before a voice announces “Sonderangebot!”

But no, it was the gorgeous sandwiches in the prepared food section that were on sale. Every night at about 9:55 p.m. you can pick up two sandwiches for the price of one. OrganicMania nabbed two gorgeous eggplant sandwiches for $3.15 each! Can’t beat that…

Well, maybe….we just tried the eggplant sandwich and sad to say, it is a bit past its prime, despite the prepared food manager’s assurances that it would taste just fine. My DH deemed it better suited to a midnight snack, and suggested we keep experimenting “in the name of research” to see if any of their sale sandwiches hold up better than the eggplant. More on that subject another week!

physicians-formula.jpg

Isn’t it great to see all these sale signs on organic make-up? Now’s the time to try Physician’s Formula Organic Make-up with the 2 for one sale at CVS. Not only is the make-up 2 for the price of 1, but CVS offers incredible coupon savings through their CVS card program. So savvy CVS shoppers may be able to get their make-up for nothing or next to nothing!

I haven’t tried this make-up yet, but one thing I love about it is the sustainable packaging. The powder is packaged in recyclable paper instead of petroleum-based plastic. That’s one trend we should all hope that the other cosmetics makers adopt.

On the flip side, this make-up is marketed as “organic” when it has many chemical ingredients and is not certified USDA organic. The marketing of this “organic make-up” falls into that “gray area” OrganicMania discussed here with Diane MacEachern, noted environmentalist and author of the eco best seller “Big Green Purse.”

But as with so many other cosmetics lines, you need to be careful about the specific products you purchase. Check out this overview of Physicians Formula ingredients by the Environmental Working Group, and you’ll see that the safety rankings are all over the map. Best bets?

The powder and foundation are both ranked 3, or “moderate hazard” by the EWG, which is actually very good compared to most cosmetics.

OrganicMania considers the eye make-up remover pads and sunscreen “best buys” with EWG rankings of 2, or low hazard. It’s unlikely you’ll find a better choice for your money .

Now that you’re all beautified, what does that lead to? Romance! Love! Babies! Baby food! How’s that for a segue?

organic-baby-food.jpg

Safeway once again has its housebrand O Organics Baby Food 4.5 ounce baby food jars on sale, 10 jars for $7.00 or 17.5 cents per ounce, saving you 90 cents on ten. Unfortunately, that’s a whole dollar more per ten than this organic baby food sale Safeway ran about six months ago, when organic baby food was priced at a just a penny more than conventional baby food! But 10 jars for $7.00 is still a good deal with today’s rising food prices. Are you planning to keep buying organic for your baby? Leave a comment and share!

Did you find any good deals this week? Please share your tips! And check out these other savings tips here. (Warning: some green, some not so green!)

Happy shopping!

Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

The $5 Loaf of Bread: Will You Keep Buying Organic Foods?

May 13th, 2008

With food prices on the rise, it seems nearly everyone is reconsidering their organic purchases. And of course it’s all over the media – in  Newsweek and even in local newspapers like this one. That’s one reason why OrganicMania is tracking some of the few remaining “good deals” on organic foods every Friday, and why we’re even gathering tips like these from organic grocers themselves.

I’m not the only one who has resorted to buying the ingredients to bake bread, instead of shelling out $5 a loaf. Fact is, I’ve heard from several people who have started baking their own bread. And these are busy parents who have better things to do than to bake bread! If that’s not a sign that people are changing their buying patterns, what is?

But what about those items that you can’t simply replace with home made? Will you keep buying organic?

Most people who go organic do it out of health concerns for their children. Increasingly, women go organic during pregnancy. That’s not going to change. OrganicMania’s prediction is that USDA certified organic foods targeted at pregnant women and children will continue to sell well.

And of course, the main reasons – Organics’ Four Factors – haven’t changed. Buying organic is still the best bet for people concerned about avoiding chemical pesticides, protecting the environment and farm workers, animal rights and taste.

But with home values shrinking and gas and food prices up, for most folks, something has to give. And that something will include some organic foods. But as any parent knows, we’ll sacrifice something for ourselves before we deprive our kids. OrganicMania is betting that cut-backs in organic spending will not affect foods purchased for pregnant women and children. If anything, there’s more and more focus among women on going green and organic – which will offset any cutbacks on organic food spending for pregnant women and young children.

What do you think? Have your buying habits changed recently? Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Gifts They Can’t Buy You for Mother’s Day: Ask Without Guilt

May 6th, 2008

Ah, Mother’s Day, that one day each year when it’s supposed to be all about us. As kids, we feted Mom with a fancy brunch, a gift, and some flowers.

So it came as a shock to me when I became a Mom and realized that I really didn’t want any of that stuff. The fact is, I just wanted some time to myself…and I felt so GUILTY about it. Then I thought about it some more, and realized that there was something else I really, really wanted – a clean car.

car1.jpg

Wasn’t I supposed to be looking forward to Sunday brunch?

When I asked my other girlfriends, I found that many felt the same way. But few dared to ask their husbands for time alone and a “honey do.” Instead, they put on a smile and tried to enjoy another restaurant meal out – always a challenge for those of us with little ones.

But the statistics bear out what I observed in my own inner circle. Check out this survey of Moms and Free Time by Kiwi Magazine and you’ll learn that 79% of Moms say they don’t get enough personal time. In that first, intense year of Motherhood, you really crave it, and unfortunately that’s when most Moms feel most guilty about asking for it.

Fortunately, in my case, my church intervened, scheduling a “Mother’s Retreat” on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. This retreat is so cool that one of my Jewish friends is coming to take notes in order to convince her temple to offer a similar program!

With a simple meal, an interesting speaker, a meaningful service in the Chapel just for the Moms, and scheduled “me time” when you can take advantage of yoga, massage, or simply close your eyes on a sofa or go outside for a walk, the event is immensely popular.

And as for the requisite Mother’s Day gift? My DH asked me at least ten times if I was SURE that all I wanted for Mother’s Day was a clean station wagon. He really didn’t believe me at first.

While I was at the Saturday Mother’s Retreat with the six-month-old, DH and Big Boy emptied the car of assorted petrified Cheerios (okay, Toasted Organic Oatio-Os to be precise), bottle caps, torn papers, lost toys, ancient newspapers and magazines, worn out pacifiers, and about 984 other interesting items. Then they washed and vacuumed.

I was so excited, I was beside myself when I got into my clean looking and clean smelling Mom Mobile.

My DH was a little annoyed by the huge amount of rubble in the car. He made me promise that I would not let it get into such a state again. Did you see the photo up top? That was taken TODAY. Yes, the car is once again in pretty bad shape!

Anyway, I’m still angling for a clean car this year for Mother’s Day. It makes me feel good, saves me time, costs no money, is a great project for the kids, and is “green.”

What do you want for Mother’s Day? Leave a comment and share! OrganicMania will publicize what Moms really want so maybe all our dreams will come true!

And another good “green” option is a donation to a children’s charity…check out these amazing programs at J&J’s BabyCause site. The Parent Blogger’s Network is publicizing this charity, and I thought I’d give them a mention.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Organic vs. Conventional Foods? Count Your Blessings

April 24th, 2008

I consider myself a lucky blogger. There’s so much to say about organics, going green, raising kids, and trying to make sense of healthy green living. And here at OrganicMania, we’ve had some great discussions about organics versus conventional foods, like this one and this one.

As I look through some of the nearly 300 comments (!) you’ve left on OrganicMania, I’m struck by how many of us, particularly the Mothers, are struggling to make sense of our options in order to provide what’s best for our children. This morning I was struggling a bit, too, trying to choose from a myriad of possibilities for today’s post.

But my mind kept wandering back to this story in yesterday’s Washington Post about the terrible impact of rising food prices on the world’s poor. Did you know that the UN’s World Food Program being forced to cut back on feeding programs that serve 20 million children?

Diane MacEachern, Mary Hunt, and other prominent writers and bloggers are proponents of shifting some of women’s purchasing power to green purchases. I’ve been really focused on that movement and believe it can make a huge difference.

Maybe the current crisis is an opportunity to expand our focus beyond raising green kids. It’s time to look at all the world’s children as part of the human family. When we’re so focused on organics versus conventional foods, are we at risk of thinking only of our own nuclear families? Are we losing sight of the fact that more children than ever before are starving? Did you know that one child dies every five seconds from hunger-related causes? In 2008. It’s incredible, isn’t it?

So are you struggling to make sense of organics vs. conventional foods? Count your blessings. Maybe it’s time to think about what share of money to keep for the family food budget versus donating to the starving millions.

Here’s a link to donate to the UN Food Program.

Don’t like the UN? What’s your favorite hunger charity? Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Thanks to the Early BPA Pioneers

April 15th, 2008

This afternoon, the US National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, released a draft report indicating that low dose exposure to BPA in plastics may be linked to breast cancer, prostate cancer, early puberty in girls and behavioral changes such as hyperactivity. And it’s rumored that the Canadian government will take an even stronger step on Wednesday, naming BPA a “dangerous substance.”

Many feel that this report is long overdue. The fact is, for years now, early pioneers such as the Environmental Working Group and savvy media outlets like The Wall Street Journal have been warning of the potential risks of BPA. Just last August, a group of 38 medical researchers warned again of the potential risks.

Their cry was taken up by prominent bloggers like Z Recommends, Julie Deardorff of the Chicago Tribune, and Denise and Alan Fields of Baby Bargains.

Moms have been anxiously trading stories about which bottles and sippy cups were BPA-free on blogs and parenting listservs like DCUM.

It’s just the latest example of the Precautionary Principle which Diane MacEachern explained here.

When it comes to health and environmental issues, particularly when our children are involved, you can never play it too safe.

What can you do? Go more natural. Think glass bottles and cups, find wooden toys, and get better acquainted with safer plastics, if you feel you must use plastic.

Here are some links that may be helpful to you:

Washington Post and Wall Street Journal articles

Environmental Working Group Guide to Safe Bottles and Formula

Environmental Working Group Guide to Infant Formula

Z Recommends Report on BPA (Third Edition)

Safe Mama

Non Toxic Tots

Want to say “thank you” to the Environmental Working Group for these helpful guides on how to avoid BPA? Go here to have Stonyfield Farms donate $1 to the EWG when you click and fill in your email address.

An Earth Minute.

March 31st, 2008

Did you observe Earth Hour? Or were your plans derailed, like mine were, by the reality of your life?

earth-hour.jpg

I had the best of intentions, I really did. At 7:50 p.m. Saturday evening I ran around the house, turning off lights and prepping. Then I remembered that DH was out picking up our kindergartner from his best buddy’s house. If I turned out the front light, they might slip and fall in the dark, I worried. So I left it on. (“At least it’s a compact fluorescent,” I thought).

I grabbed Baby Boo, ready to carry him upstairs to bed, when I realized that it was awfully treacherous going up those dark stairs with a 30 pound writhing bundle of joy. I considered candles but quickly rejected that option as too dangerous with a toddler in the house. Never mind that for thousands of years toddlers survived in dwellings lit solely by candlelight. I turned on the hall light – just so we could make it upstairs safely.

A few minutes later, our 5-year-old came running upstairs, excitedly telling me about his latest adventures. He flipped on the light in the darkened room. Before I could admonish him, “Turn it off! It’s Earth Hour!,” his little brother was jumping all over him. They looked like two little puppy dogs at play. I gazed at them adoringly, happy to have light to see them (and to make sure Baby Boo didn’t roll off the couch!).

I started to feel irritated that things weren’t going according to plan. At that point, I reminded myself of the advice a life coach had shared with my Mother’s Group: If you have kids under age 5, be kind to yourself and lower your expectations!

Finally, well after 8 p.m., I left Baby Boo’s room and made my way up to Big Boy’s room to say good night. All the upstairs lights were blazing. “It’s Earth Hour!” I hissed.

“But you promised me my allowance and a game of Rat-a-Tat-Cat,” he protested. I had promised, so I relented. Plus, I never can resist a good game of Rat-a-Tat-Cat, and it’s hard to play when the Boo Bear is awake because he toddles through all the cards.

DH turned off all the lights, save the light in Big Boy’s room. We played, we laughed, we joked.

Night night.

“See, all the lights are out now, Cutie Pie,” said DH.

It was 8:59 p.m. The last minute of Earth Hour.

We observed Earth Minute.

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Did you observe Earth Hour (or Earth Minute) ? What was it like for you? Please leave a comment and share!

Updated (5/17/08) Check out this piece in the Washington Post about Earth Hour’s real impact – or lack thereof.