Monthly Archives: May 2009

Do Your Kids Swim?

Just a quick note today that you may want to check out the post I did yesterday on my Home with the Kids site on putting kids in swimming lessons.

I’ll repost our family’s basic pool rules here:

Rule #1: Children are not allowed in the pool without an adult. Not even a toe or fingertip.

Rule #2: Children will obey the adults supervising them in the pool.

Rule #3: There will always be at least one adult whose sole job is to watch the kids in the pool. One adult per child is better, with each adult assigned to a particular child.

Rule #4: Children will obey their swimming instructors during swimming class.

Rule #5: No running near the pool.

My kids know that if they break a pool rule, they will not be allowed to go swimming the rest of that day and likely not the next time everyone else goes swimming.

Eco-Friendly Sites Your Kids May Enjoy

Summer is coming right up, and with it is the potential for bored children. While it’s great to get the kids outside in the sunshine, sometimes it’s too hot or they’ve already spent plenty of time playing outside and want computer time. Here are some sites they may enjoy.

Green Games

PBS’s EekoWorld – Designed for kids ages 6-9 and can be used as an educational tool in grades K-4. Kids can design their own EekoCreature while learning about the environment. You can even print out a card game called Loco Cheeko that features your EekoCreature.

Kids R Green – Green games and activities you can do at home.

Kids Planet – Games and information for kids on how to help the environment.

WebRangers – The National Park Service’s site for kids. Games to play, activities to do, webcams and more.

Dizzywood – Geared at kids ages 8-12. Play games, dress up your avatar, meet friends and defeat the evil Emperor Withering.

Green Tips for Kids

Environmental Kids Club – A website created by the EPA, it has games and information for kids and teens.

Kids Saving Energy – An informational site by the U.S. Department of Energy to help kids learn how to save energy.

A Problem with the Flu Vaccine

In general I’m pro-vaccine, but with caution. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never gotten a flu vaccine or had any of my kids get one. This article on kids with the flu shot being 3 times more likely to be hospitalized with the flu really got my attention.

That’s a pretty amazing difference.

This is not a huge study or anything. 263 children with confirmed cases of influenza from 1996-2006. In other words, it’s not conclusive. But it is something to consider when you’re thinking about getting a flu shot for your kids next year.

Save Money on Environmentally Friendly Laundry Detergent – Money Saving Mondays

I made the switch recently to using Country Save HE Laundry Detergent rather than whichever brand I could get cheap at Target. In part that’s because you have to be picky with cloth diapers so that you can avoid buildup on them, but also because so many detergents really aren’t kind to the environment.

Then I found out how much of an advantage there is to buying laundry detergent online through

There’s a trick to it, you see. If you subscribe to the product you know you’re going to need regularly, you get a discount and free shipping. But if you decide to cancel the subscription, even after the first shipment, there’s no penalty. If you delay the shipment, no penalty. If you request it sooner, no penalty. You still get a great price and free shipping.

It amazed me just how much that came out to with my Country Save. They ship in it a box of 4 – 10 lb. boxes of detergent. It works in HE and regular washing machines and is very popular with people who are cloth diapering.

I’ve been using it a while now, to see how it works, rather than reviewing it after just one round. You don’t really know a detergent after the first load unless it’s an utter disaster, after all. But I started out pleased and remain pleased. So far as I can tell it is cleaning as well as any other detergent I’ve used.

And I love that it uses such a small amount. The scoop is so tiny! You’re supposed to only use a quarter scoop for cloth diapers, otherwise follow the instructions for your machine.

There are a lot of products you can subscribe to through Amazon, so it can be worth a look to figure out if having it shipped directly to your home will save you money and errands.

How Much Food Are You Wasting?

Most of us waste food. That’s the USDA said in 1995 that 27% of the food supply in the United States was wasted. That’s 96 billion pounds of wasted food. This isn’t something they check very often, so I can’t find more recent data than that.

But it’s pretty horrible.

A lot of it is restaurant waste, of course. If you’ve ever worked in one or even just paid attention to what people leave on their plates, you know. Excessive portions are a big problem.

You can help with that, of course, by taking your leftovers home. If you want to be really green about it, take it home in a reusable container you’ve brought from home.

But food waste at home is a big problem too. People buy more than their families can eat. They cook too much then don’t eat the leftovers.

It’s quite a waste of money as well as food.

So what do you do about it?

The first thing you can do is look at your shopping habits. Are you buying more than your family will eat before it spoils? Do you plan your shopping around a menu to control what you buy?

You also need to pay attention to your leftovers. I try to remember leftovers when I prepare my lunch. One of my sisters makes frozen meals out of them to take to work. Other people make casseroles or other recipes by combining leftovers. Figure out what works for you.

Of course, when food does spoil, think about how you’re disposing of it. If you can compost it for your garden, do so. It’s not as good as eating the food you bought for that purpose, but it’s better than throwing it in the trash.