Giveaway: “Little Green Books” for your little green kid!

mom kid read

(This giveaway is now closed for entries.  See “comments” for the winner! And thanks to all who entered!)

One of my favorite family traditions is snuggling up to read books with my kids. They love a great story and there is no better way to give a “little green lesson” than to wrap it into a fabulous story that kids can embrace.

I especially love when a book ‘practices what it preaches’ and that’s why I love Simon & Schuster’s new series of “Little Green Books”! With Earth Day right around the corner (April 22nd, so mark your calendars!) there is no better way to start the conversation about our fabulous planet Earth!  And this series of books is as green as the tales they tell… they are made from 100% recycled paper, printed with vegetable based inks and 100% recyclable too (not that you would ever want to part with them unless you were passing them along, but “just so ya’ know!”).

I’ve always encouraged reading stories to children as a way to help plant the seed of awareness for protecting our environment and endangered species, and teaching kids that they can ‘take charge’ by recycling and conserving our resources… and my kids and I give this series a big green thumbs up!

I’m excited to tell you that Simon & Schuster is also offering a terrific “book bundle” from their series of Little Green Books for a Mom Goes Green reader!  Books include:i can save

  • I Can Save the Earth!
  • I Can Save the Ocean!
  • The Polar Bears’ Home
  • Trees for the Okapis
  • SpongeBob to the Rescue

All you have to do is leave a comment saying you’d like to win and tell me about the “little green kid” you’d like to share these books with, or send a Twitter message that includes a reply to @momgoesgreen and a link to this blog. The winner will be selected on April 7, so they’ll arrive in time for Earth Day! (US entries only… sorry!)

In the meanwhile, consider sharing some “little green books” to create some “big green ideas!”

Spring has sprung… 10 ways to “green clean”!

sprng clnSpring is one of my favorite times of the year. Everything feels new and there is something very refreshing about sitting back and seeing things literally spring to life.  One thing that does need our assistance, however, is our home. Unfortunately there is NOTHING refreshing about a house that has been closed for months on end.

The problem is that, while we attempt to do our spring cleaning, we can actually create some heavily toxic air inside our homes and create a lot of waste.  Here are some tips on how to avoid this:

  • Open windows. Let the fresh air come in. It does wonders!
  • Buy distilled white vinegar – and lots of it.  The uses are amazing… everything from cleaning and sanitizing to disinfecting and stain removal.  Check out vinegartips.com for ideas, but whatever you do, do NOT use commercial household cleaners… they are harsh, harmful and unnecessary.
  • Buy baking soda – fantastic for cleaning but also for removing odors from rugs and carpets.  Sprinkle some on, let it sit for 30 minutes and vacuum it up… nice and simple.
  • Skip paper towels and sponges – gather old t-shirts and towels (not suitable for donation) and put them to work.  Skoy cloths are another favorite of mine, and they can all be washed and used again for later cleaning projects.sprng cln rag
  • Recycle – magazines, mail, catalogs, any needless papers, packaging….the list goes on and on.  Don’t just put them in the garbage can.  Put them in the recycling can.
  • Food cupboards – you thought you’d need it, use it, want it, but alas you did not.  Donate it to a food pantry if it hasn’t expired; otherwise make sure the packaging, cans and containers get recycled as well.
  • Donation boxes – inevitably you will find lots of things that no longer have usefulness for you but that doesn’t mean they’re not useful for someone else.  Clothing, shoes, household items, books, furniture, toys, anything and everything. Pack up these items and donate them to a charity, list them on Freecycle or Craig’s List.  But never throw away anything that still has “life” left in it.
  • Proper disposal – motor oil, paint cans, aerosols… check Earth911 to find out where these toxic products can be dropped off for proper disposal.  Same goes for electronics.  If they can’t be given away check local resources or again Earth911.
  • Consider air freshening in a less harmful way – If you MUST put the scent of spring in the air, forgo the aerosol air fresheners and instead fill a spray bottle with a combination of water and essential oils, and “spray away!”
  • Consider some “Spring Resolutions”no more antibacterial soaps (their harmful effects can be greater than their benefit), no more harsh cleaners and chemicals.  Vow to replace them with eco- and health-friendly products.  Put CFLs on your shopping list and use them for every bulb that needs replacing from here on out!  And when you buy these products, make sure they get placed in reusable bags!

Start stretching, limber up and let the green cleaning commence!

…Because she melts my heart faster than global warming…

I may be a “green mom” but I am also a “proud mom” and nothing, I mean NOTHING, melts my heart faster than my family! That is why, today… I am going to be a little indulgent and share an incredibly proud moment…

My precious, “just turned 8-years old” daughter and my husband performed in her elementary school’s Talent Show this past weekend.  She sang “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and Daddy accompanied her on ukulele and I couldn’t be more proud!  They were both amazing and she was (and to me, always will be) a star!  THIS is the reason we “do what we do”… to leave our amazing kids a better, safer, more viable world to live in…

Take it away, sweetpea…

No, this had nothing to do with being green, but again… she and my son are exactly why I spend time and energy to make our home, our community and our world better.  They are affected by every choice we make… xoxo…

A Happy and Green New Year… from A to Z!

hppy nw yr 2010Welcome 2010!

A New Year, and a new beginning.  A chance to make a difference that matters!

If you’ve been “putting off your greening”, I’m going to give you the A to Z list to get the ball rolling.

Hold onto your party hats, and let’s go!…

A – Appliances, Animals – Buy energy efficient appliances when you need to make a replacement.  If you’re looking for a ‘cause’ that needs your assistance, donate to help save an endangered species.CFL_bulb_mercury
B – Bamboo, Biodegradable – Buy sustainable bamboo products (everything from towels to furniture).  Think biodegradable for all product choices (detergents, bath products, cleaners, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.).
C – CFLs, Cleaners, Compost – Replace your lights with compact fluorescents.  Skip the chemicals in traditional, commercial cleaners and opt for eco-friendly choices. Start composing food scraps and other biodegradable materials.
D – Donate, DisposableDonate your usable but no longer needed clothing, books, toys, household items and furniture to organizations that support the less fortunate, so they can be reused.  Eliminate anything intentionally disposable from your purchases.
E – Energy, EnvironmentTurn off electronics, computers, lights and all household appliances that aren’t in use.  Consider the effect on the environment in everything you do.
F – Food – Make healthy choices of organic and natural foods instead of those filled with preservatives, artificial ingredients and chemicals.
G – Global warming, Glass – Accept that global warming is real and we’re the only creatures on the planet that can do something about it. Recycle all glass (it can be recycled indefinitely!).
H – Heating, HomeTurn down the thermostat.  Excess energy equals an excess of pollution. Make your home safe and clean, and simultaneously non-toxic, by cutting out all chemicals.nature kid
I – Ideas Share what you know and learn with others.  It can have a fabulous snowball effect!
J – Journey – Give yourself credit for the things you are doing and accept that going green is truly a journey!
K – KidsGet your kids involved.  When they learn to respect the environment early in life, that lesson will stay with them forever.
L – Landfills – Remember that everything you toss in the trash winds up in a landfill, polluting the soil and water.
M – Mattresses, Meat, Milk – When you replace a mattress, consider organic.  Traditional mattresses are filled with harsh and harmful chemicals.  Choose organic meat and milk to avoid antibiotics, steroids and growth hormones.
N – Newspapers – When you need to keeps something hot or cold in transport, newspaper is an amazing insulator.  When you’re done, recycle them, always!
O – Organics, Outdoors, Oceans – Buy as many organics as you can… simple as that.  Getting outdoors will remind you of this beautiful world we are trying to preserve, and even if you can’t see an ocean from where you live, never forget how crucial they are, and remember that allowing them to be polluted (the Great Pacific Garbage Patch) must be prevented.
P – Plastic, Paper – Avoid the excessive use of plastics or at least make sure the plastics are truly recyclable.  Same goes for paper.  Be conscious not to be wasteful and recycle every unneeded piece of paper that comes your way.
Q – Quit procrastinating and take the next step!payless bag
R – Recycle, Reusable Bags – NOT recycling is inexcusable.  Recyclables should never be thrown in the trash.  Invest in reusable shopping bags and stop contributing to the ‘one trillion plastic bags used annually, worldwide’ statistic.
S – Schools, Shopping – Get involved at your children’s schools and put together programs to help them embrace recycling and the environment. Realize that every purchase you make has a greener option… it’s up to you to know the difference and choose wisely.
T – Trash, Trees – Make a conscious effort to reduce your weekly trash by not buying over-packaged products or buy only products in recyclable packaging.  Don’t cut down healthy trees… they are more valuable than just their visual beauty (think air quality, soil preservation, wildlife habitat… the list goes on and on).
U – Un-green – When you see a “wrong”, you can make it “right”.  Speak up, help others and make a change that can make a difference.
V – Vinegar, Volunteer – The uses for distilled white vinegar are endless.  Buy some for cleaning, cosmetic uses, deodorizing, and pest and weed control.  Volunteer your time for an environmental cause.
W – Water, Water Bottles, WildlifeConserve water… contrary to belief, the supply is not endless.  Buy a stainless steel, reusable water bottle to avoid BPA and stop contributing plastic bottles to landfills. Contribute to causes thattree protect the habitats of wildlife and consider what you are doing to their “home” in your every action.
X – Xenagogue – The definition of this word is “guide”, so simply guide others and become a steward of both your home and the earth, and make informed choices.  If you want my “fun” answer (you know you were waiting for the X!) then learn how to play a xylophone!… just be sure it’s made of bamboo!
Y You – (YOU knew that one was coming too, right?) but sincerely, the changes you make in your daily life are all up to you.  Take what you know and put it to good use.
Z – Zoos, Zero-Waste – Support zoos that dedicate themselves to conservation and education.  Buy kits and containers that can be reused for lunchtime (or anytime) so that you don’t contribute to the approximate ’67 pounds of annual trash created by a child’s lunch’.

recycle logoThere it is: A to Z (and I feel like I only scratched the surface!) But the main mission is to simply get started.  Don’t wait for tomorrow, and don’t expect you have to do it all at once, but do admit that we can all make little changes that amount to one enormous difference!

HaPPy NeW YeaR and cheers to making it (and keeping it) green!

Mom Goes Green’s 250th post… a holiday review!

ornament recycleWhat a whirlwind this holiday has been! It’s hard to refocus after all of the craziness… and to top it off, this is my 250th post!  Ironically, last year’s post on the same date was my 100th post… 150 posts in one year!  I knew I could be a chatterbox at times but never imagined I would chatter that much!

The holidays didn’t start in a pleasant way with both kids getting horribly sick… vomiting and other intestinal problems that shall remain without description!  Our poor son’s bout arrived on Christmas Eve and continued into the wee hours of the morning, but luckily he rallied like a trooper and made it through Christmas Day.  And somehow Santa managed to sneak in between the “episodes”.  The way both of them were able to recover so quickly has made me an even bigger proponent of breastfeeding (yes, without getting too personal, I exclusively breastfed both of them).  There is truly something to be said for the way nature “built us”… it certainly gives us a healthy, strong start that obviously continues through life. This is also a likely testament to good eating and healthy food choices!

This year all gifts were given in recycled gift bags.  Not a single supply was purchased, including gift tags that were made from last year’s Christmas cards.  Every recyclable ounce of paper and packaging was most definitely recycled and our recycling can “runneth over”!xmas place set

I’m happy to say, during all of our gatherings, everyone pulled out the real dishes, silverware and glassware.  No disposables to add to landfills… and that definitely made me happy!  I don’t know if it’s my influence or our families simply didn’t want to deal with my complaining, but either way… I was happy with the outcome!

I am grateful for the generosity of our families but simultaneously cringing at the way the corner of our dining room looks like a toy store due to all of the yet-to-be-unpackaged gifts!  The upside is that both of our kids have agreed that it is beyond due time to clear out all of the toys they’ve outgrown and give them to children who aren’t nearly as fortunate as they are.  I think the entire family will be taking an inventory and making some generous donations (and I hope you will too).

We also gave only gifts that were on wish-lists.  Those without wish-lists received gift cards or good ‘ole cashola!  And who can complain about that?  I just don’t think it makes sense to buy something for someone just because we think we’re supposed to give them something.  It just seems wasteful to give someone something that will clutter a house… that’s certainly no gift!

Last year we were gifted with unseasonably warm weather in late December (upper 60s in Ohio!?!).  This year we were gifted with a snow storm.  Our kids are ready for lots of snow time, but this simultaneously means I’ll have to contend with the naysayers “Global warming my a$$!” comments.  My response to this goes without saying.

chpstx basktOne of my favorite gifts this year came from my mother-in-law:  a basket made from recycled chopsticks!  I think she was as excited to give it to me as I was to receive it, but it’s apparent that our family is definitely catching on to Mom Goes Green’s way of thinking!

Soon we will also re-gift last year’s Kiva donation.  The money we loaned to a farmer in Tajikistan to purchase seeds for farming has been repaid, and we will donate the repaid money to another “working poor” recipient so the cycle can continue.  I’m also considering making an extra donation so one more family can receive much needed financial aid. Take a look at Kiva to learn more about this amazing organization.

Overall, despite the challenge of the “pukies”, we’ve had a wonderful Christmas and enjoyed all of our celebrations.  Isn’t that really what the holidays are all about?  I hope you created amazing memories with your family as well.

Sadly, I also know of a few families who lost loved ones, unexpectedly, during the holiday.  This, unfortunately, put life into perspective.

Here’s to love, happiness, family and friends that make life worthwhile… and cheers (and fears) about the NEXT 250 posts… I’m sure there will be plenty to say!