Friday, September 12, 2008

Green Kids - Part 3


It’s important to raise kind and caring children. To me, and probably you, it’s vital to teach that, plus some. I want my little boy to understand how his actions impact those around him. One of the lessons in that equation is conservation and recycling, which is best taught by example.

Recycle: I’ve seen arguments against recycling programs, pointing to the trucks used, the emissions, the overall efficiency of community based programs. So persuasive are these arguments that it prompted the
Waste & Resource Action Programme to publish an international study last year. This study found that in 83% of programs surveyed, the efficiency and benefit far outweighed the drawbacks. Of course the study dealt with tangibles, like energy use vs. conservation, waste cost, environmental impact. But there are countless benefits that can’t be quantified. Teach your kids to sort the recycling and teach them responsibility, give them a feeling of community and a sense of pride in making a difference. Unquantifiable, yes, but real, nonetheless. If your community doesn’t offer curbside recycling, a real luxury, check here to find recycling programs with drop-off points in Pennsylvania and here for the rest of the US.

Reuse: I wont ask you to rinse out those cruddy baggies for reuse, but why not nix them? Maybe not all together, but how about some other options? There are some great long lasting food storage containers out there, for packing lunches, portable beverages. Give them a try. And if you can’t, just can’t let go of your disposable lifestyle, why not try a few green options? Here are a few to add to your list:

Ecoproducts: Compostable disposable cups, plates, and utensils.

The Water Geeks: BPA free reusable water bottles.

Zonbu: The Green Machine is a computer that is just beyond cool. Check it out.

Kids Konserve: Reusable school lunch products.

Reduce: Here's where it gets fun. No, seriously, it does! Depending on their age, kids can help to do all sorts of things to conserve energy, water, resources, reduce pollution.


  • Turn lights off when you leave the room.

  • Open blinds for natural light.

  • Switch to the more energy efficient compact florescent bulbs.

  • Try Energy Star appliances.


  • Don't rinse dishes before loading the dishwasher and be sure to fill it up before running.

  • Turn off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your face.

  • Try low-flow shower heads and limit your time in the shower to under 10 minutes.

  • Don't use pesticides or fertilizers on your lawn.


  • Try carpooling or mass transit for school and work.

  • Walk or bike for local errands.

  • Check tire pressure on your car or truck

  • Group your travels by location to avoid unnecessary trips.

And finally, here are some great resources to get you started:

Environmental Kids Club!


Thanks so much for reading!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Green Kids - Part 2

My Chemical Romance

Truth be known, I’m messy. Not filthy, mind you, but I leave stacks of books, papers, pens, and stickies in my wake. Underneath those piles of supplies, my biggest secret is lurking. Want to know? Are you sure? It's not that exciting? Okay, here goes:


Their harsh smells, that fake lemon essence, the cleaning power of 42 chemicals that could choke an ox, the knowledge that I can smite germs with a single spray. Ahhhhhh. The problem is, out of those 42 chemicals, 40 of them could, quite literally, kill my child in a large enough dose. What is a sani-freak, worry-wart of a mother to do? First off, chill out! Unless you’re hiding pork chops under your clutter, you probably have very little to worry about. But kids do track germs into the house, on their hands, all over their toys, on their shoes. You going to clean that? Of course you are. Simple fixes:

  • Wash those hands every time you come in the house. Every. Time. Not just eliminating germs, but also protecting you and yours from harmful chemicals that can be found in the yards and playgrounds your kids frequent (pesticides, arsenic, fertilizers.)

  • Try a more bio-friendly list of products: Method, I love these guys. Check out their 10 Detox Tips. Clorox Greenworks (endorsed by the Sierra Club!) Perf's GoGreen Garbage Bags. . Seventh Generation Cleaners. Shaklee.

  • If you just can’t fight the urge to disinfect, try this: Do your clean-up routine after the kids go to bed or when they’re not around so they’re not enticed by the interesting smells and pretty bottles. After cleaning your surfaces, wipe them down with water and a washcloth to remove any residual chemicals. Be sure to keep them under wraps, with either child safety mechanisms or in an area of the house that is inaccessible to small hands.

Also, because you deserve it, and I love anyone reading my blog, here are a few recipes for home cleaners that you can make yourself! (All recipes come from Where's Mom Now that I need her)

Glass Cleaner

1 gallon water
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/2 teaspoon liquid dish detergent

All Purpose Cleaner
1 cup household ammonia
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup baking soda
1 gallon warm water

And finally, here are a few resources for you and your fight to Go Green with your kids.

On Friday, you'll see my final of the 3 part series entitled, Reuse/Reduce/Recycle.

Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Green Kids - 3 Part Series

These days, we hear about dangers in the home, in schools, in toys, in bottle liners, in all things associated with raising kids. Parenting magazines have highlighted concerns and safe products, the CPSC issues recalls, ramping up their efforts, in light of lead paint exposure. Faced with an onslaught of information, how are we supposed to keep our kids safe? How much is necessary vs. alarmist? Didn’t our parents keep us safe without being overly concerned about eco-friendly products and potential bio-hazards?

I’ve spent the last few months clipping articles, noting websites. I would like to share some interesting information with you about these concerns in a three part series, including Pedal to the Metal, My Chemical Romance, and Reuse/Reduce/Recycle. I hope you enjoy it!

Part 1: Pedal to the Metal

What’s the deal with lead paint? Dora, Thomas, do you really need to worry? Yep. I refuse to enter alarmist mode on this, but as a parent, you HAVE to do some research. You just have to. Most of us know that lead is harmful, but read the list effects of here. Nasty stuff. Check out toy recalls here. Your pediatrician and the CDC may recommend testing for lead levels. Mine just did at my son’s 2 year checkup. If they don’t suggest it and you’re worried, just ask. Isn’t it better to get some peace of mind?

If you live in an older home, be sure to check on lead paint. Obviously newer paints are lead free, but if you’re considering a room make-over, try one of these paints that contain low or no VOC’s. Safer for your family and the environment!

Tomorrow, we'll be talking about chemicals in the home and on Friday, keep an eye out for our final post in the three part series, Reuse/Reduce/Recycle.

Thanks for reading!


Friday, September 5, 2008

Blog Steam

Over the summer, it seems I ran out of blog steam. The tasks at hand took up much of my time and energy, one of which was editing and refining my novel. Check! So, faithful followers, I should be back with a post or two a week and plenty of steam to power my engine in the months to follow. Thanks for your patience!

A few links to start the weekend off :

Mixed Greens: environmental health news update in audio format.

Green Mom Blogroll: great resource to find interesting and environmentally concerned bloggers.

I still have a wrap up of PSU's Ag Progress Days to offer and a wealth of information I've been gathering about maintaining a green-friendly home for kids.

Stay tuned and thanks for reading!