Tag Archives: parenting

Healthy Child Healthy World Review

I was recently contacted by a publicist for Healthy Child Healthy World: Creating a Cleaner, Greener, Safer Home to see if I would like to review the book. What could I say except “yes”? Talk about a pet topic of mine!

They very kindly sent me out a copy to read, and I recently finished it. I very much so enjoyed the read.

The book is separated into sections of related things you can do, such as preparing for baby, natural body care, pet care and so forth. Each section has a range of tips on how you can do these things in a way that is better for your family and the environment.

Of course, some of the things suggested I do already, but there were some good ideas I hadn’t thought of either.

One of the things I really appreciated was the suggestion in the book that you do not need to try to do everything right away. You can work your way through the things you are ready for and make progress at your own pace. I think that’s a very important thing to remember. Going green doesn’t have to be an instant or frustrating solution.

It also got me thinking about things I hadn’t before, such as how lead gets into soil around older homes. We’re renting a home that I believe is of an age to have such a problem, so I know it is potentially relevant. As a renter I don’t know that I can do much about it aside from being aware of the potential for a problem. It’s a topic my husband and I have discussed before, because he didn’t see why kids would chew on paint chips, and now I can explain to him how it really works. See page 164 if you need to know.

The section on food (chapter 3) is one I think I need to bring up with a friend of mine who I had been discussing organic produce with the other day. She wasn’t sure what she needed to buy organic versus conventional to avoid pesticides (page 36). I’ve seen the same list online, but it’s nice to have a physical copy of the list.

There’s a great section at the back of the book on Healthy Resources. You can find out where to learn more on your favorite topics or learn about some of the products they recommend.

Of course, every parent reading this will have their own favorite sections, depending on what they need to learn. I do strongly recommend you get this book. Check your library if it’s not in the budget, but with all the resources it provides, you’re probably going to want to buy your own copy to keep referring back to.

Teens Gone Green?

My kids are quite a bit too young for this one, but there’s a book about to come out that might be a welcome gift to any green teen you know. It’s called The Green Teen: The Eco-Friendly Teen’s Guide to Saving the Planet.

Obviously, I can’t review the book; it’s not out yet. But it looks promising. The description says it will give tips on making eco-friendly decisions on a tight budget and schedule and how to get concerns recognized by decision makers.

Given that kids these days are very aware of the need to help the environment, I’m glad to see a book like this coming out.

Parents, what other titles do you recommend for teens? What about younger children?

My Kids Picked a Green Gift for Daddy

I love it when my kids pick something green out to give to someone. We try so hard to avoid an excess of plastic junk, and it’s great to see it rubbing off on my kids.

Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. I took the kids shopping to figure out what they wanted to get him. They of course first looked through the toys… we’re talking about kids, after all. But they couldn’t think of anything that Daddy didn’t have already that they thought he would like.

So we went to the garden center.

The kids weren’t too certain, until they came upon the strawberry plants. That did it! They each picked one out for him.

Then we passed some grape vines. Once again, they couldn’t resist.

I just love that the strawberries are in the peat pots so that we don’t have to figure out what to do with the pots once the strawberries are planted. We have too many of those already. I know my daughter is eying them for crafts, but we do not need more.

No, we didn’t wrap them. I rarely wrap birthday gifts for grown up family members. It’s really just not that necessary. They’ll be surprised one way or another. If I must, a gift bag from our reuse stash will do the job.

Teaching the Kids to Clean the Bathroom with Vinegar

Cleaning the bathroom with vinegar

Like most kids their age, my kids can make a rather horrendous mess in the bathroom. The biggest part of it lately has been due to their rediscovery of the process by which dirt becomes mud.

Lots and lots of mud. To dig in or even smear on their skin.

I’ve had to haul the hose out a few times to get them clean enough to even be allowed in the house. Yep, it’s pretty cute and the times I’ve taken the camera out for it has made for some great pictures.

But it sure leaves a mess in the bathroom when they’re washing up from being just slightly dirty.

This lead to a quick decision by my husband and I. They get to clean their own bathroom from now on.

It’s a nice help. They both make quite a mess in there, and my son creates the additional messes that little boys are prone to creating. They’re old enough to do it. And vinegar is so safe I don’t have to worry about their health as they clean.

It’s a pretty easy skill to teach if you don’t expect perfection. I presented my kids with paper towels and a spray bottle of vinegar. I plan on moving to microfiber towels one of these days, but haven’t quite made it yet.

Then I showed them what I wanted done, helping them figure out how to do it and how to notice where dirt was still clinging to surfaces. That was actually one of the bigger challenges. My kids aren’t much worried about dirt these days.

Results were pretty good. Sure, it took longer to supervise and help them than to do it myself, but it’s a way to help them learn to be responsible. And it’s nice to have them cleaning with something that they won’t be hurting themselves with.

Make Green Easter Baskets for Your Kids

It’s just a couple of weeks to Easter, and I’m thinking already on what I want to put in my kids’ Easter baskets. It’s a holiday they have a lot of fun with, and I like to keep up the excitement without overdoing the spending.

With that in mind, I thought I would offer some tips on keeping Easter a bit greener for the kids.

1. Buy Easter baskets that can be reused.

Our kids’ Easter baskets get reused every year. We didn’t get the cheapie ones from the store. We found nicer ones that will hold up for many years. The kids love them.

You can find good baskets at thrift stores or any store in your area that sells baskets. It’s been a few years, but I think ours came from Cost Plus.

You can also consider using a bucket as a basket. This is great for kids who are still young enough to really enjoy playing in the sand.

2. Reuse other supplies from year to year.

Sure, you don’t like all that ugly plastic stuff you may have bought for Easter in years past, but if you have it there is no further harm in using it. Just don’t go buying new plastic eggs or plastic Easter grass.

Build up your supply as needed with more environmentally friendly Easter basket supplies.

3. Real grass in the Easter basket.

Two ways you can do this. The first would be to take lawn clippings the day before and use them in the baskets. It should be simple enough to time mowing the lawn so that you would have the clippings ready when you need them.

Another would be to line the basket with foil, add dirt and grass seeds, then grow the grass in the basket. Best to get started now if that’s what you want to do, as it will take a couple weeks to get things growing tall enough.

4. Skip the egg dying kits.

Nothing wrong with dyeing Easter eggs, but the little kits are relatively wasteful, especially if you have what you need to dye the eggs already at home.

I like to dye the eggs with food coloring and vinegar in a colander. We did this last year, and it turned out really beautiful.

You can also use natural food colorings. You can start with the raw eggs and boil them with the dye agents and some vinegar, using:

  • Carrots or turmeric for yellow,
  • Red cabbage leaves or blueberries for blue,
  • Beets or cranberries for pink,
  • Yellow onion skins for orange,
  • Red wine or purple grape juice for purples.

5. Think about what you put into the basket.

Go easy on the candy and think more about what the kids will use. As it’s spring, seeds and small garden tools can be fun. Books can also be a good gift.