Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wednesday Greenings

I hope all of you had a spooktacular Halloween. I picked up poor Sprout from daycare with a fever, so she spent most of the evening relaxing on the couch and on me (is it wrong to kind of enjoy a bit of their mild illness simply because it means they will snuggle up to you for more than a half second; reminds me of their newborn days. Selfish, I know, but sometimes you just want to freeze them).

Then, just in time for Halloween, I received a sweet treat from The Not Quite Crunchy Parent - a blog that I enjoy reading immensely, particularly when it comes to providing posts and strategies for avoiding ye olde television and encouraging more creative play, and for her suggestion for kicking the Ziploc habit. Thank you, TNQCP!

In the paying it forward tradition, I would like to award this bloggy button to Nini Makes, a new blog that I am enjoying and one that is consistently full of sweet treats (and being based in the UK it's probably yummy scones or something with a lot of luscious cream).

Moving right along, you may have seen a comment from barrym (of the West Ireland barryms) asking what I meant by saying I live in planting zone 7. Well, barrym caught me in a bit of an's not planting zone 7; it's plant hardiness zone 7, so I hope that clears things up for you, barrym. Just kidding. Here in the States and Canada (and I imagine in other places?) we use zones to describe temperature extremes in different areas of the country. Interestingly enough, I believe we are now technically as warm as plant hardiness zone 8. Scary, ain't it?

And finally for today, Pickel over at My Two Boys is having a non-toxic toy giveaway bonanza all through the month of November! The scavenger hunt element is over, but the giveaways have just begun! I'm curious...aren't you?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

My First Crochet Craft

I first picked up a crochet hook in 2004 when on bedrest with Pip, now three years and one Sprout later, I've finished my first crochet craft.

It was the Anarchy Irony Hat from Stitch N' Bitch Crochet: The Happy Hooker and thankfully it fits Green Husband to a T.

Now I'm itching to start my next beginner's project. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday - One Word


{{Visit wordier WFMW suggestions over at Shannon's House}}


Update: Per Thia's request, I am posting a disclaimer: Warning, perusing a database of adorable handmade things made by very crafty people can put a serious dent in your productivity, not to mention your wallet. You've been warned.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Green Suggestions for Greener Babies

Both Green Boss and Green Pharmacist alerted me to an article in this weekend's Washington Post by Mary Ellen Slayter, Greening Up Baby.

Slayter covers six topics: food, travel, toys and soothers, diapers, clothes and the nursery. Since the Post did not think to do it, here are actual, real live active links to the products and people Slayter mentions in her article for those beginning wanna-greenies who want to delve a little deeper.

First up is Trish Riley's book "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Living" - granted I don't like being called an idiot, I will no doubt trip on down to my local library to check out a copy.

Then there's Soleil Moon Frye's Eco Baby store in Larchmont Village (LA, not Westchester). Evidently no online store yet. Maybe GreenLAGirl will check it out for us, if she hasn't already.

Under Food, Mary Ellen mentions Safeway's O Organic formula, Similac Organic formula, Wal-Mart's Parent's Choice formula. And yes, she mentions the breast, bien sur.

Next up, travel. I never did the sling thing but I kind wish I had. Mentioned in the Post are Attachment Parenting International, The Moby Wrap, and All Natural Mommies in Vienna, Virginia. Who knew about this last one! I'll have to take a field trip! For oogling at mei tais, my favorite blog is Montessori by Hand. Ah... adorable!

Toys and Soothers is near and dear to my heart, mentioning thrift and consignment stores and our family favorite...yard sales!! Wooop!

If I had to do it all over again (and I won't, thank you very much), I would have integrated some cloth diapers into my diapering rituals. Mentioned in the Slayter article are Seventh Generation chlorine-free disposables (although the author mentioned bleach-free - are they one and the in chlorine bleach?), as well as Fuzzi Bunz, Bum Genius, and Kissaluvs.

I'm a sucker for hand-me-downs, so I have bought almost nothing of the clothing variety for my children. They look pretty swanky to me. Mentioned as organic options are duds from Hanna Andersson (caught a typo there unless there is another Hanna Anderson that I'm not aware of) and Speesees (never heard of that one...will wonders never cease!?).

And finally...the nursery. I can't tell you how much money we didn't spend on our poor children in the nursery department. We didn't have a changing table!! What kind of parents are we?! Love the Ikea line (I'm linking to the British Ikea, I love them so) and now even Babies R Us is selling an organic crib mattress made by Serta, which I totally would have gotten. Yucky plastic-y out-gassing be gone! Any other options out there?

Phew, my linky thumb is getting a twitch. All in all, a nice primer for parents; on the front page of the business section, interestingly enough. Good luck with the greening!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

I'm a Sucker for Deceptively Delicious

Hiding things from your dog's medication in kibble to apples in pancakes is a concept older than time, but Jessica Seinfeld has hit the jackpot with her new book Deceptively Delicious, and yes, I am a sucker because she is Jerry Seinfeld's wife. There. I said it.

SusieJ managed to score a copy for review, and now the book is selling like hotcakes (with pureed spinach) and nary a copy is to be found according to an article in Friday's Wall Street Journal called "How another Seinfeld scored her own big hit". I even missed her on Oprah. The New York Times also a recent story on Jessica's book which unlike the WSJ article can be read here - the jist is just about the same.

If you can't get your hands on JS's book, here are some other recommendations (some I own, some are pure wishlist) including the books, like The Sneaky Chef (p.s. visit the author's blog), mentioned in the Journal and NYT articles.

And then there's a whole other debate going on at What's Cooking. Maybe if we involved our children from seed to harvest in the growing process, we wouldn't need to be deceptive at all.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Stalking Saturday aka Traipsing Tuesday

This is really the Traipsing Tuesday post, but today is Saturday and I needed some alliteration.

It's been quite some time since I've done a little scouring of the Internet for unsuspecting bloggers are are doing a little green without even thinking about it. It's kind of like the Publisher's Clearinghouse Sweepstakes of blogging - I kind of show up on your internet doorstep with a bunch of organic flowers and a huge check made out of recycled cardboard. Only there's no check - there isn't even a cute button. So here, as Big Binder once suggested is the third "leaning toward greening" awards:

Nini Makes hosted a very nice carnival, which I missed, called Make It From Scratch, and there were a number of very green activities going on over there. For Joan's incredible summary go here, but here are a few green highlights.

GreenStyleMom is thinking ahead. REALLY thinking Christmas...but look at these adorable holiday cards she made that are now available on CafePress.

Then, if you're a budding crocheter like me...and a Wanna-Grennie, you'll love My Recycled Bags. I mean, look at this handbag made from recycled bread only question it bigger than a bread box? HAHAHAHAAHAHHA, oh Lordy, I crack myself up. Cindy even provides directions. What a gal.

And finally, Welcome to my Brain has instructions for whole wheat bread. I have perused many a recipe for making my own bread, but yes, I am scared. Maybe I'll try this - I've just about had it trying to find a fairly mainstream bread without high fructose corn syrup.

Friday, October 19, 2007

It's Not Too Late to Go Hallogreen!

Seems like there are quite a few sites that focus on a green Halloween.

Siel, of GreenLAGirl fame, now writes a column for the Los Angeles Times and recently posted 7 Steps to a Greenish Ghoulish Halloween.

In a similarly ghoulish vein, The Sierra Club's blog The Green Life, offers nine more tips (although the Fair Trade Trick or Treat Action Kit seems to be a common thread).

National Geographic's The Green Guide gets into the DIY business when they suggest Halloween costumes done the old-fashioned maaaake them.

Rounding out the bunch is the Seattle based Green Halloween, with tips for parents, kids, and schools and ideas for "thinking outside the candy box." Okay, let's not go too overboard...

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Green Joke redux...

Come on. The number of people, according to the google searches that are directing people to my site, searching for green jokes seems to be increasing exponentially. Doesn't anyone out there know a single green joke? I'll start:

How many Wanna Greenies does it take to change a CFL?

Write answer here: _________________________________

And just as an always astonishes me what posts interest you, my dear readers, and, conversely, the ones that you couldn't give a hoot about. For example, my field trip to the House of Sweden. Loved it, blogged it, posted pictures of it. Sound of crickets chirping. Meanwhile, I post a little tidbit about Whole Foods importing apples from New're all over it!

What's your you find that when you post outside of your "niche" you get less interest from your regular readers?

And before I go silent for the rest of the is a Super Fun, as my SIL would say, site chock full of ideas for those looking to eek out as much as they can from, say, empty tissue boxes. Plus it's a British site, so just the use of the words cheque book and crisp packets has me sold from the start.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The House of Sweden, Continued...

Today was the day I have been eagerly anticipating ever since receiving my invitation to a luncheon at the Swedish Embassy. No, I don't get out much.

I covered the main highlights over at DC Metro Moms, but for you hard core Gift of Greeners, I thought I'd augment (my post) with a few tidbits that may be of interest to (?).

First, can I share with you some pictures of this beautiful space? I mean, do the Swedes have it right or what? Plenty of natural light, blonde woods, practical materials...and the Children First! exhibit! Adorable! Oh, and yes, I asked. The Embassy does provide childcare.

The Children First! exhibit. The computerized climbing wall and simple wooden toys.

Exterior Views

Interiors, including the Ikea-furnished apartment, the dishwasher (yes, it's an EnergyStar. I checked. I'm a nerd like that), the break room chairs made from recycled materials, and the incredible bench that's a lamp, no, it's a bench, no it's a lamp...

There were several instances that got my pencil a-waggin'. The first was during Lisa Thoren, daughter of Bjorn Jakobson, was speaking about the classic and quintessential BabyBjorn product: the bib. She mentioned that although the bib is extremely popular in Sweden, there is a definite "cultural issue" in terms of marketing a plastic bib to parents in the United States. What's your the only good plastic a non-existent plastic? And are we, as Americans sweating the small stuff whereas other countries might be much more eco-friendly when it comes to the big picture (use of public transportation/foot-power, for example) and are laughing at our preoccupation with fabric bibs? Are we freakin' out about plastic ware, yet jumping in our SUVs to buy organics?

Another aspect of the BabyBjorn products that Lisa mentioned was the Oeko-Tex Standard 100, a standard (product class I) which all BabyBjorn carriers meet. The Oeko-Tex Standard 100 "is the world's leading label for textiles screened for harmful substances." In Product class I, "all baby articles are subject to the strictest criteria on account of the sensitivity of babies' skin. Any finishes containing formaldehyde are prohibited. The requirement of saliva-resistance means that dyes and prints should not bleed or stain when babies suck on them." I had not heard of this standard prior to today's presentation...had you?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Blog Action Day 2007 - A Recycled Post

I thought for Blog Action Day 2007 that it would be appropriate for me to recycle a post. A few months ago, Green Boss forwarded this email to me. I've jazzed it up a bit by making the links live, but Co-op America deserves the credit for all the hefty background checking it took to compile this list.

So here it is...

21 Things You Didn't Know You Could Recycle!

1. Appliances: Goodwill accepts working appliances or you can contact the Steel Recycling Institute to recycle them.

2. Batteries: Rechargeables and single-use: Battery Solutions.

3. Cardboard boxes: Contact local nonprofits and women's shelters to see if they can use them. Or, offer them up at your local listserv or on If your workplace collects at least 100 boxes or more each month, accepts them for resale.

4. CDs/DVDs/Game Disks: Send scratched music or computer CDs, DVDs, and PlayStation or Nintendo video game disks to AuralTech for refinishing, and they'll work like new.

5. Clothes: Wearable clothes can go to your local Goodwill outlet or shelter. Donate wearable women's business clothing to Dress for Success, which gives them to low-income women as they search for jobs. Offer unwearable clothes and towels to local animal boarding and shelter facilities, which often use them as pet bedding. Consider holding a clothes swap at your office, school, faith congregation or community center. Swap clothes with friends and colleagues, save money on a new fall wardrobe and back-to-school clothes – then donate the rest.

6. Compact fluorescent bulbs: Take them to your local IKEA store for recycling.

7. Compostable bio-plastics: You probably won't be able to compost these in your home compost bin or pile. Find a municipal composter to take them.

8. Computers and electronics: Find the most responsible recyclers,locally and nationally.

9. Exercise videos: Swap them with others at

10. Eyeglasses: Your local Lion's Club or eye care chain may collect these. Lenses are reground and given to people in need.

11. Foam Packing peanuts: Your local pack-and-ship store will likely accept these for reuse. Or, call the Plastic Loose Fill Producers Council to find a drop-off site: 800/828-2214. For places to drop off foam blocks for recycling, contact the Alliance of Foam Packaging Recyclers.

12. Ink/toner cartridges: pays $1/each.

13. Miscellaneous: Get your unwanted items into the hands of people who can use them. Offer them up on your local or listserv, or try giving them away at or giving or selling them at will also help you find a recycler, if possible, when your items have reached the end of their useful lifecycle.

14. Oil: Find Used Motor Oil Hotlines for each state.

15. Phones: Donate cell phones: Collective Good will refurbish your phone and sell it to someone in a developing country. Call to Protect reprograms cell phones to dial 911 and gives them to domestic violence victims. Recycle single-line phones at Reclamere.

16. Sports equipment: Resell or trade it at your local Play It Again Sports outlet.

17. “Technotrash”: Easily recycle all of your CDs, jewel cases, DVDs, audio and video tapes, cell phones, pagers, rechargeable and single-use batteries, PDAs, and ink/toner cartridges with GreenDisk's Technotrash program. For $30, GreenDisk will send you a cardboard box in which you can ship them up to 70 pounds of any of the above. Your fee covers the box as well as shipping and recycling fees.

18. Tennis shoes: Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe program turns old shoes into playground and athletic flooring. One World Running will send still-wearable shoes to athletes in need in Africa, Latin America, and Haiti.

19. Toothbrushes and razors: Buy a recycled plastic toothbrush or razor from Recycline, and the company will take it back to be recycled again into plastic lumber. Recycline products are made from used Stonyfield Farms' yogurt cups. [Ed. Note: Well I'll be darned!]

20. Tyvek envelopes: Quantities less than 25: Send to Shirley Cimburke, Tyvek Recycling Specialist, 5401 Jefferson Davis Hwy., Spot 197, Room 231, Richmond, VA 23234. Quantities larger than 25, call 866/33-TYVEK.

21. Stuff you just can't recycle: When practical, send such items back to the manufacturer and tell them they need to manufacture products that close the waste loop responsibly.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Top Ten Green Tips for Hunkering Down

The leaves are indeed scattering as mentioned in Donald Hall's poem "The Hunkering" and the temperature here in Northern Virginia has taken a definite dip.

How are you going green in preparation for the nippy air? Here are my suggestions: ten green tips for hunkering down.

10) Use a rake instead of a leaf blower. Never mind the benefit of quiet Sunday morning unpunctuated by the roar of the blower, the smell of the gas: think about the gazillion calories (okay, 240) you can burn while raking up those rogue leaves.

9) Check cracks. No, not those cracks and get your mind out of the gutter. The cracks, for example, that allow you to see light through the CENTER of your front door. You can unplug your cellphone charger and change your lightbulbs all you want, but if freezing air is creeping in under, or through, for that matter, your doors, those other change ain't gonna do squat. So check cracks, or as Energy Star calls it: engage in some home sealing.

8) Sew up one of these bad boys. Abso-fricken-dorable. Send me your pics, you crafty mamas who I salute, envy and bow to...I'll link to or post them.

7) Now, while the weather is still decent, take those comforters out of storage, hang them over your clothesline and beat them silly. Let the fresh sunshine and crisp air liven those duvets up and then, come evening, hunker down underneath and breathe.

6) Gather ye recipes. Frequent your farmer's market. Even if yours isn't open year round, you may still have another good month to go before they close until spring. Squash, tubers, and the like are all abundant this season. Chop them up and slip them into some soup. And while you're at it, make some grilled organic cheese sandwiches to go along with it. Yum.

5) Get thee to the Library. My bloggy friends (like here and here) have been going ga-ga with fall-related book recommendations. And this just in...Winter Trees will soon be going to press. In the meantime, stick with Autumn. Nothing like hunkering down with a good book and a cup of that aforementioned soup.

4) No, I do not work for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters. I wish I did though. I might get as much Pumpkin Spice coffee as I can drink. Attention Green Mountain Coffee Roasters...will blog for coffee. Indulge in some pumpkin-y coffee goodness and know that it is fair trade to book.

3) Knit, purl, or single crochet. I hate to jinx myself, but I am almost finished with my first crochet project EVER. There. I probably will now never finish the adorable hat for Green Husband. Go nuts at the wool store. I have just given you permission.

2) Walk, walk, walk, even in winter. Continue to get those 10,000 steps in during the day by taking advantage of crisp, not pea soup, weather. Take the stairs at work, park a little further away from the entrance of the shopping mall, or take a stroll around the neighborhood as the evening light fades. Hunker down but are not hibernating.

and the number one green tip for hunkering down:

1) Rumor has it that hospitals tend to see sharp increases in the number of births nine months after a crippling snow storm. Some call it an urban myth...I call it better safe than sorry. ; )

Green Blues

As you may have guessed, my computer is seriously on the fritz. I am in the process of raising the $1200 necessary to purchase a new MacBook (please don't tell my current HP). Once my new white wonder is up and running, I hope to post with the vim and verve my readers have come to expect. In the meantime, access is both spotty and tempermental.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lean, Mean, and Totally Green

I'm back!! I just spent a lovely three days in the company of some very entertaining librarians. In the process, I spent two nights in a hotel, which I don't think I've done since...oh...1978. It was a Marriott and yes, they did allow you the option of leaving your towels on the floor/bed (read: replace with fluffy new clean ones) or hanging the towels back up (read: I am fine with using my damp not so fluffy towel again tomorrow). I did hang my towels back up and housekeeping did refold at least I felt like they were fluffy, new and clean.

As is evidenced by the cute little hanger on my bathroom door, The Marriott does incorporate some of the ideas suggested by of Green Hotels for becoming a more environmentally conscious facility. And while I did not stay at this hotel, it is clear that Marriott is looking towards a greener future. No, I do not work for Marriott, and no, I am not getting any Marriott reward points in exchange for this post. :)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

DC Green Festival - Too Much of a Good Thing?

Today the Wanna Greenies headed over to the Green Festival downtown at the new convention center. We drove. We considered Metro, but we were sure that although the ride to the festival would have been all wonder and interesting and light, the ride home from the festival would have been all overtired children and cranky parents and a painfully long transfer on a Sunday Metro schedule. So we drove. So much for reducing our carbon footprint.

First, I was amazed, just amazed at the "new and improved" Chinatown. It had been at least five or six years since I'd been to the area around the gate, and it was almost unrecognizable. Personally, I thought the designers (whoever they are) did a nice job with scale and keeping the street scape interesting, but yes, gone is the neighborhood feel.

We entered the Convention Center and the first thing that hit me was the smell. Yes, my nose is uber-sensitive but I know it was not my imagination because my son asked, "Mommy, what that I smelling? Smells like popcorn." I only wish. To me it smelled like off-gassing but I think I was being just a tad bit eco-sensitive seeing as we were there to get our eco-on.

Now let me just caveat before I get to the bottom line...yes, I was there with two children who wanted to be on the go; no, we did not attend a single session; no, we did not go there with a specific goal or purpose in mind (although Green Husband did want to find out more about solar energy options for our upcoming renovation), but oddly enough the Green Festival left me feeling...nothing. Not really inspired, not really armed with information (although brochures and leaflets abounded), not even really glad we went. There was a lot of stuff to buy, the children's area was slightly lackluster, and it just seemed entirely overwhelming and underwhelming at the same time.

I dunno. Mindful Momma seemed to have a great time at a similar event in her area. Anyone else attend? What did you think and, more importantly, what suggestions might you have for people who would like to get the most out of the conference next year?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Green Apples Redux

As promised, here is the reply I received from Whole Foods regarding my yes, you have no local apples query. Identifying information has been removed to protect the innocent...ME!


When I visited Whole Foods this weekend, every apple was from California or New Zealand. Why, when local apples are so plentiful up and down the East Coast this time of year (organic and conventional), is Whole Foods importing apples from so far away? Thanks!


Hi Amy,

Thank you very much for your valuable suggestions. And You are right most of our apples are from California

Whole Foods Market is and has been committed to supporting local producers by buying their fruits and vegetables that meet our high quality standards, particularly those who farm organically. In the mid- Atlantic area we are working with local growers from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Delaware, and Maryland and looking forward to work with more farmers. To this end Whole Foods Market has a budget of ten million dollars for loan to be used to support local farmers who need money.

Most of our tomatoes, mushrooms and leaf vegetables and peppers are from local farmers. We have local gala apple and our Tote apples are from West Virginia.

We are continuing to look and source more local farmers to sell at our store, including apple growers.

We are working to have the local farmers market in our ***** store to be able to bring as more product as possible; and local farmers who are interested in introducing their products can send e-mail to our Buyers at or drop us a line to our store.



Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Wednesday Me For Works!

Finally it's backwards Works for Me Wednesday over at Shannon's house!

I have two questions for you, loyal readers, if you don't mind...

How do you keep track of all the billions and billions of PlayMobil pieces


For children's organic cotton clothing how do you minimize the need to iron them (the clothes...not the children)?

And oooo, I received a reply from Whole Foods about their local (not!) apples. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Green Tips for Hunkering Down

This morning Green Husband called me from his truck to let me know that a poem by my favorite writer, Donald Hall, was being featured on The Writer's Almanac. Garrison Keillor read The Hunkering, which I would reprint here but for copyright (I am a librarian after all). Notice it's a single sentence.

I am working on 10 Green Tips for Hunkering Down, but I need your help:

Does anyone have any eco-savvy hints for refreshing down comforters and other winter accoutrements that have been hiding out in closets and trunks?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Gift of Green Goes Pink

Somewhere during my blogging travels, I came across this site, which is encouraging blogs to go pink, in whatever way they can, for the month of October. This is, of course, in recognition of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It's a little hard to read, but hey, pink and green is one of my favorite color combinations (guess I'm reliving the preppy craze of the 80's - does anyone remember Bermuda bags?) to boot!

It has been six years now since my dear cousin died of inflammatory breast cancer. She was and is a mom to two beautiful, self-confident, self sufficient daughters, wife to a wise-cracking jokah, and the best "older sister you never had". I miss her.

If you haven't already, go visit the fabulous WhyMommy and check out her post on inflammatory breast cancer. I think I can speak for her when I write that IBC was not exactly part of her life plan, but she's doing okay and, hey, she digs comments. Click on over and say hello!

While we're on the subject, I'd like to share a little pet peeve of mine...companies that use the month of October to shamelessly promote their pink products. Hold on, let me explain. I don't see a problem with encouraging people to purchase goods in order to support a cause. The problem I have is the amount of money that actually goes to the cause. I just cannot get on board when a company offers to donate 5% or 10% of the proceeds to something as vague as "breast cancer research." Now, I'm not talking about small businesses, of course. I'm all for financial solvency too!

Are their any eco-friendly "pink" items you feel are worthy of your support this month? OrganicBouquet is selling pink passion roses, for example, with 5% of the retail price to (Nevermind that the flowers are being flown hither and yon.)

What's your opinion? Do you think that every little bit helps?