What to Get A Green Mom for Mothers Day (Or Any Other Time!): Top 10 Gifts for Green Moms

May 9th, 2009

Some may think posting about Mother’s Day gifts on Saturday morning is kind of late. But let’s face it – most guys put gifts off to the last minute, don’t they? So here it is – this Green Mom’s Top 10 Wish List.

In past years, I’ve taken a real minimalist view – all this Green Mom wanted was a clean car. That may still be a need, but with so many of us putting off desires this year due to the economy, I have a hunch that many of us secretly yearn to be a bit more spoiled this Mother’s Day.

1. The Gift of Time
Many Moms feel “guilty” about this. It’s Mother’s Day and (horrors!) they don’t want to spend the whole day with their kids? You mean, like they do every other day of the year? Give her some time off. Tell her to take the afternoon off. Go for a walk. See a movie. Lie in bed. Whatever. She can pretend there are no responsibilities on her plate, no to-do lists.

2. Crossing Something off Her List
For some, washing the car, running an errand, or crossing something else off her list is still a great gift. This year I’ve made peace with the messy car (and it’s not quite so bad this year!) But if I came home and found my containers brimming with plants, and my front garden weeded…wow! Would that ever make my Mother’s Day!

3. Eco-Chic
We may be green on the inside, but it’s nice to look green on the outside too! There are so many cool eco-accessories now. You can find purses and jewelry made of recycled materials, clothing from bamboo or organic cotton, shoes made of bamboo, and more… One of my favorite online sources is Eco-Artware.com (who also happens to be a client of mine). If you’re in my neck of the woods and want to buy at a store, check out the gift shop at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. I was there yesterday and saw a wonderful assortment of eco-chic bracelets and earrings made of old magazines. Prices were between $15 and $30.

4. Eco-Helpers
Going green requires preparation, especially when you are on the go. How about some useful green chic gifts such as To-Go Ware(R), which is reusable cutlery packaged in cute little bamboo bags. You can stash it in a reusable bag and reduce some of that green guilt when you find yourself at a roadside restaurant or to-go place that only stocks plastic utensils. Other great options include chic reusable bags like those sold by the Chico Bag Company. In my neck of the woods? Stop by Creative Parties in Bethesda and check out their selection of reusable bags. (And while you’re there, look across the street and see the new headquarters of our local sustainability initiative, Bethesda Green, located on the second floor of the Chevy Chase bank building).

5. Donations to a Favorite Green Cause
How about a gift in her honor? Try these fave green causes: Environmental Working Group, The Nature Conservancy, or The World Wildlife Federation.

6. Eco-Dining or Fine Dining

There are organic restaurants and restaurants specializing in local foods springing up all over the place. What better day to check one out than Mother’s Day? So many parents avoid dining at nice restaurants with kids in tow. One of the great things about Mother’s Day is that the fancy-pants places that don’t typically cater to children will grudgingly do so on Mother’s Day. That’s what we’re doing on Mother’s Day! At least I know that The Blue Moon will put up with my kids on Sunday!

7. Flowers – Make them Organic!

How about a twist on the time honored tradition of a beautiful bouquet of flowers? This time, make them organic! This Mother’s Day, Organic Bouquet is running a promo with The Nature Conservancy – you save 10% and it’s donated to The Nature Conservancy!

8. Great Green Books
There are so many inspiring books available about going green. One of my faves – a real resource – is fellow Green Moms Carnival member Diane MacEachern’s The Big Green Purse. You can order it here on Amazon, or check out your local bookstore or even Whole Foods for a great selection of books about going green.

9. Yummy Greens
What better excuse than to try some organic and fair trade chocolate? And what woman doesn’t love chocolate? Some of my faves: Divine Chocolate and Green & Black’s.

10. Green Entertaining
Having friends over, or just relaxing? Get her some wonderful sustainable, organic or biodynamic wine and cheese from your local natural market.

Happy Mother’s Day! Did you find these tips helpful? Leave a comment and share!

– Lynn

Buy Something that Makes a Difference Day!

November 28th, 2008

Last year at this time, I supported “Buy Nothing Day,” which encourages consumers to abstain from “Black Friday” shopping sales.

This year, it’s a different story. With “Going out of Business” signs all around the shopping centers, we see sad reminders of an economy in tatters.

I’m not suggesting you buy a bunch of useless “stuff” just to help the economy and save a few bucks for the holidays. But what I am suggesting is that whether you’re out and about today on “Black Friday” or cruising the Net on “Cyber Monday,” you can choose to make a difference with your purchases by patronizing those companies that help us to go green – either by saving energy, using organic farming methods, or insisting on recycled paper from well managed forests.

And yes, I have a few savings tips for you – all, I’m happy to say, from some great green companies I’m representing through my consulting business.

Savings Tip #1 – Free Organic Food for Kids (With Rebate)
Is there a SuperTarget near you? I visited for the first time last week and was impressed by their attractive display of organic produce, along with the increasing variety of eco-friendly products Target stocks – all at great prices, of course. The reason for my visit was to check out their new display of Mom Made organic foods. Now’s the best time to try Mom Made — for free. Mom Made will refund the purchase price of one Mom Made for Baby, Mom Made Munchie, or Mom Made Meal purchased at SuperTarget through December 10th. Just download this form for info on where to send your receipt and proof of purchase.

Savings Tip#2 – Free Shipping on Energy Efficient LED Lights
Think compact fluorescents are the latest and greatest in energy efficiency? Think again. LEDs are the wave of the future. Prices are coming down, and the energy savings are enormous. (Check out this comparison chart to get informed on the differences between incandescent, compact fluorescent, and
LED lighting for details). Now you can order that practical someone on your list the latest in LED lighting technology – with free shipping for the holidays. Check out Mr. Beams motion sensor activated SpotLight and StairLight, and read their great consumer reviews here.

Savings Tip #3 – 10% off Soft Organic Cotton Tees and Note Cards
Got a dog lover on your list? What about an environmentally conscious dog lover who wants to support dog charities? Check out these adorable, soft, whimsical organic cotton tees printed with water-based inks and the matching note cards, printed on FSC certified paper by an FSC certified printer in a carbon-neutral facility. Coordinating envelopes made from 100% recyclable paper, packed in biodegradable/compostable packaging with hemp string. Whether you choose to shake it off or live in the moment, there’s something for you at Fundamentally Dog! Use coupon code 1EM1108 to save 10% on your first purchase by 12/20/08. 

Happy Shopping…and remember, think carefully about how you spend…you can make a real difference by patronizing firms that are working hard to protect and preserve the environment. Want to take it a step further? Sign up for my friend Diane MacEachern’s “One in a Million Challenge,” and commit to shifting $1,000 of your spending to eco-friendly products. As Diane, author of The Big Green Purse, puts it “The more money you spend on green products, the more you encourage manufacturers to reduce pollution, save energy and water, use less packaging and protect natural areas.”

– Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania

Mother’s Day Surprise

May 12th, 2008

You would not believe how many people have asked if I have a clean car today. No, I don’t.

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But I did get this beautiful hand made card and a buttercup. How sweet. I can’t remember the last time I held a buttercup. It was the best. Hope your Mother’s Day was happy.

– Lynn

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.

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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

More Green Savings – “Stickers” for Kids!

April 16th, 2008

There are certain things that I just HATE spending money on. Chief among them are stickers for kids. Have you ever noticed how expensive they are? Think about it- those stickers must cost just pennies to make, and they’re sold for $1.50 to $2.00 or more for a pack of 20 or so stickers. Plus, there’s the packaging issue – they’re shrink wrapped in plastic, which is environmentally harmful.

This tip came to me purely by accident. My five-year-old, a budding naturalist, admired the American Kestrel stamps at the post office. When I told him he could get ONE HUNDRED of them for just $1, he was sold. (Of course, it helps that he has to spend his allowance money on stickers!)

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What’s the difference between North American Kestrel stamps and commercial stickers? Nothing except several dollars (on just one purchase) and less packaging waste!

Works for me! And I hope it works for all those Moms participating in Crunchy Chicken’s Buy Nothing Challenge – like my bloggy friends MamaBird and Gray Matters. Those women committed to buying absolutely nothing for a month – I knew I couldn’t do it this month, so I didn’t want to disappoint by signing up! Anyway, here’s hoping they have some nice stamps they can pass off to their kids as new “stickers!”

And speaking of Gray Matters, she has a great tip posted about a recycling program through the US Mail. Go check it out here!

When Green Means Chic

February 22nd, 2008

There was a time when the Greens conjured up images of anything but fashion. The original “Greens” were a political movement that rejected fashion and other bourgeois values. But today’s “Greens,” at least in the US, are primarily female and, as the New York Times pointed out, increasingly bourgeois. So of course they’re interested in fashion. Perhaps that’s why twice in the past few hours I’ve stumbled upon green fashion launches – Organic Style, a new online “green style” magazine, and today’s launch of Mimi and Motherhood Maternity’s new lines of organic cotton clothing and “eco-accessories.”

Organic Style is a brand extension of Organic Bouquet, and an adaptation of a print magazine published for several years by the venerable Rodale Press, the leading health and wellness publishing firm. Organic Style is quite highbrow, promoting items such as cruelty-free footware “custom made to your specifications” for $450 to $800 per pair, luxurious eco-friendly resorts with suites costing $1500 per night, and “the world’s tallest roses,” starting at $249.95. It’s like Town&Country for the eco-set.

At the other end of the spectrum is Motherhood Maternity, offering organic cotton maternity tops for just $17.  The selection is quite small, with just fifteen items encompassing organic t-shirts, Burt’s Bees potions, and organic pregnancy and baby books. Mimi’s selection is more upscale than Motherhood’s, so you’ll pay a higher price for an organic cotton top – about $30 more than at Motherhood.

What I really want to know is – where can I find regular (non-maternity) stylish organic cotton tops for around $17?

– Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

Green Ladies: Send this to your Valentine (Hint, Hint)

February 8th, 2008

If you’re lucky enough to have a Valentine who may be hunting for a special something for you, you just may want to send this post along as a hint.

Completely green, organic, and with proceeds benefiting the wonderful green charity The Nature Conservancy, these organic flowers, e-cards, and gift memberships are the perfect gift for a green woman.

Be sure to click on this link for details on how to order and to benefit the Nature Conservancy!

– Lynn

New Toy Safety Website Launched

December 5th, 2007

Just in time for the holiday gift giving season, Healthytoys.org, a new toy safety website, launched today. Backed by The Ecology Center and a coalition of environmental groups, the site allows consumers to view toys that contain dangerous chemicals, such as lead, PVC, cadmium, chlorine, arsenic, mercury, chromium, tin, and antimony. What a list! Anyone else out there wondering how and why we’ve allowed this to go on for so long?

You can nominate a toy to be tested, with the promise that its nomination should appear on the site within a few days. Readers will vote on which toys should be tested first. The site is incredibly feature-rich, so plan to spend some time exploring it. The website has been overloaded — it was incredibly busy today — a sure sign that parents welcome the assistance in sorting out toy safety issues.

And if you find Healthytoys.org helpful, you can make a donation to support the site.

– Lynn

Copyright Organicmania 2007

The Best Gifts for the Holidays

November 30th, 2007

It’s not even December yet, and already my in-box is clogged with solicitations from toy makers, clothing retailers, and seemingly just about everyone selling anything!

This year, more than ever before, parents are concerned about buying safe presents for their children. And increasingly, they’re concerned about the environment too.

This is one reason experiential gifts are a good idea. Experiential gifts are gifts of experiences. They’re not plastic, they’re not lead and they’re not breakable! What they are is memorable.

When I was a young girl, I gave my father a book of coupons I made. I colored each of 10 coupons and bound them into a little pink package. Inside were pages redeemable for a mix of chores and sweet nothings: a hug, a car wash, a home made dinner or cookies, and more. Of course it’s been 30 years or so since I gave my father that book, and I’ve forgotten all that was in it. In fact, I thought he had forgotten it too, because oddly enough, he never redeemed the coupons. Periodically I would ask him about it, and he would just laugh a little and smile, then change the topic. It wasn’t until after he died years later that I found the coupon book. It was carefully wrapped and laid in a file with my name on it, next to childhood drawings and photos.

I still think the coupon book is a great holiday gift idea. Clearly, my father cherished it, even if he never did redeem those coupons! A markedly more upscale version of my coupon book is available through  Excitations, a company focused on “gift experiences.” The Parent Bloggers Network asked me to blog about Excitations, which ironically I was planning to do anyway since they have a store nearby at DC’s Union Station.

Excitations offers a variety of experiences, including “green experiences.” You can do such things as dine at an organic farm restaurant, take a guided bike tour around the city, sail down a river on a schooner, or even learn archery. Check it out!

Copyright Organicmania 2007

Just Say No to Cheap Plastic Crap

October 15th, 2007

Today is Blog Action Day, and bloggers throughout the world are uniting to discuss the environment.

I’m asking you to join me in the campaign to Just Say No to Cheap Plastic Crap. If you’re a parent, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s the little plastic snakes, tops, rings and other assorted JUNK that show up inside your home once your child starts attending birthday parties and school fairs.

I don’t know a single parent who likes this stuff. Not a one. In just one hour Sunday, I had two parents approach me to complain about Cheap Plastic Crap. Brian bemoaned the fact that he hates the goody bags that his kids haul back from birthday parties and Liz told me that she feels like her “second job” is picking up all the Cheap Plastic Crap littering her playroom.

But picking up all the Cheap Plastic Crap only extends the battle against this stuff. Because where does it go once it leaves your house? It’s not recyclable, so it goes to landfills, where it leaches plastic toxins into the earth.

The best way to prevent the encroachment of Cheap Plastic Crap into your playrooms and ultimately into our landfills, is to Just Say No. But what to offer your little darlings instead of Cheap Plastic Crap? Here are 10 ideas for little replacement trinkets to give out as prizes at school carnivals and to stuff into goody bags (if you must). Now go do it. Join the Campaign to Just Say No to Cheap Plastic Crap. Leave a comment here on OrganicMania saying you’re onboard!

10 Ways to Just Say No to Cheap Plastic Crap
1. Run a book exchange. Ask everyone to bring old books from home, and mix it up. Everyone leaves with a new book.
2. Bake cookies and use those as prizes. If you’re running a school fair, this is a two-fer, because the baked goods always seem to end up being sold for half-off in the last hour of the school fair.
3. If your kids are old enough, teach them why Cheap Plastic Tchotchkes (you may not want to say crap in front of your kids!) are bad for the environment. Your kids will probably have tons of ideas for things you can give away.
4. Coins. Foreign coins, and cool US coins like the dollar coins and US state quarters are popular with kids.
5. Similarly, US and foreign commemorative stamps and first day covers make great prizes.
6. Wooden toys for goody bags. Admittedly, these can be expensive, but there are parents who spend $5 or more on goody bags. Why not give away something like one awesome wooden racing car instead of a bunch of mass produced plastic junk? You can get handcrafted wooden mini-cars for $5 each at Vermont Wooden Toys.

7. Customized wooden nickels for school fairs. These are really cool. Maple Land Mark, another fine Vermont toy maker, will customize wooden nickels for your school or organization. You can get 250 of these for under a quarter!
8. Postcards. These don’t have to be new. In fact, old ones with writing can be more interesting to kids. They can read the messages and play imaginary games about the postcard’s people and places.
9. Maps. Not the fancy, laminated maps which aren’t recyclable. Think instead of the free paper maps given out by tourist boards.
10. Origami kits are fun and unique. Just look for kits with simple packaging – or make your own – so that you don’t end up with a lot of plastic lamination along with your paper!

Have fun! And let me know if these tips work for you or if there are people out there who will fight for the right to keep their Cheap Plastic Crap!
– Lynn

3/31/08 Update: Looking for more eco-friendly birthday party favors? Check out these great ideas from Enviromom!

Copyright 2007, OrganicMania