Monday, January 26, 2015

Momma Monday: Greening up the bathroom toy routine.


These days there are so many great toys out there for kids. However if you are on a budget like we are, you know that constantly buying new toys for your little one can get expensive. Since the beginning of time, crafty moms have found out that even the most expensive toys can’t compare to every day items when it comes to entertaining babies.  


A few nights ago my son was in the bathtub and I realized he has gotten old enough to want to play with something while in the bath. I said to my husband, who was sitting in the other room, “Babe!  We need to buy John Warren some bath toys.”  He yelled back, “sure!”  

I started doing some research and looking for fun bath toys, but as my shopping cart price grew, I realized maybe I didn’t need to buy new toys just yet. Maybe my son would be just as happy with an already owned plastic cup as he would be with a specialty bath toy. I could follow in the footsteps of fellow moms that have come before me and be creative. I could save money and be a little more green just by using my own imagination to create bath time fun for my little son.

I walked through the house and just thought…okay what have I seen other moms give their kids to play with...

Here are the items that I picked:

A large plastic stadium cup that my son is now obsessed with.

A frozen teether

A plastic “Dog Toy” that my dog NEVER played with.

A small plastic tupperware top.

A hand me down plastic phone toy.


Kids playing with “found” toys is not a new concept, but for a new mom like me it is a good reminder that you don’t always have to buy the newest and greatest toys for your kids. 

What “found” items do you let your kids play with?  We want to know!  Leave your comments down below.


Cheers!

Missy

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mommy Monday: How to stay green while stocking up on extra baby items.

Wooden high chair we bought
for my parents house.
I try my best to be green. But like most people I could work even harder to use less water, not waste so many paper towels, recycle even more, line dry cloths instead of using a dryer and the list could go on and on and on. However, one thing I am consistently pretty good about is buying gently used items instead of buying all new. Of course sometimes you can't always find what you want, so you might have to buy new. But if you can, buying used items can save not only money but also help to shrink down your carbon footprint.
I am a very lucky gal and got a lot of very nice/new items when my baby was born, from a lot of really nice people in my life.  However, now that I do have a son I don't always want to haul all that stuff around from place to place when I am visiting family. We have a fairly small car (better gas mileage!) but it can't always fit everything in it. So having similar items to what we have at home at the grandparents house is much more convenient than hauling these items around.  

A few years ago when my niece was just a few months old - my brother, his family,  my husband and I decided to stock my parents' house with some much needed baby items. And what better way to do that than to find used items. So one morning we hit the garage sales, and what do you know, we found an adorable wooden high chair, a vibrating bouncer and a Bumbo seat. My brother ended up taking the Bumbo to his house but the highchair and bouncer have come in super handy. I think we got all the items for around $25.00. Babies grow out of things so quickly that a used item is worth the bargain price tag because they usually have only been used for a short amount of time. Also now we don't mind if something gets dirty or breaks because it wasn't expensive.  

It is hard to be green all the time, but deciding to buy consignment, when possible, can help reduce your carbon footprint (and may help to counter those times when you leave the water on a little longer or grab an occasional extra paper towel). So next time you are looking to stock the grandparents with all that baby stuff - try buying used.  It might just save you a buck or two and help us consume more and buy less! 

Cheers from Momma Missy

Used bouncer we found at a
yard sale for just a few dollars.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Momma Monday Resolutions: Living Greener with a Preschooler


After my daughter’s birthday in November, she started declaring “I’m four” to just about everyone. She tells cashiers, servers, kids, adults – yes she’s officially a big girl. Since she’s now old enough to help out around the house, we talk about simple ways to live greener such as turning off the water when we brush our teeth. We haven’t actually used the word “green” yet, but emphasize how we can avoid wasting and care for the people around us. Our daughter notices everything, so I know the best way to show her actions matter to the world is by setting an example.

Below are a few easy ways we try to consider the earth and others with our preschooler:

School lunches: Packing a sustainable lunch for your preschooler is easier than ever (getting them to eat it is another story). We use a lunch box, reusable sandwich keeper and water bottle from Crocodile Creek – their lunch gear comes in fun colors and designs. Since preschoolers often have a strong opinion about their accessories, picking out reusable lunch items can be a fun family outing.


Going Organic: Buying organic products minimizes the chemicals we bring in to our households. It would be pretty difficult and expensive to buy all organic clothing for a child – but we love the super cute organic cotton pajamas by Hanna Andersson. We also buy organic (or local) fruit and veggies and use organic cleaning products like those from Seventh Generation.



Stroller Commute We are fortunate to live just a short distance from preschool, so often walk when the weather is nice. Our daughter definitely prefers to commute by stroller, and the walk is a great way to reduce our carbon footprint and get in some exercise in the morning.



Acts of Kindness My daughter’s preschool introduced the kids to kindness this year by asking us to recognize and praise her “acts of kindness”. When she went out of her way to help around the house or shared a toy with a friend, we wrote the “act” down and sent it in for her teachers to read in class. She started to point out our “acts of kindness” – a great reminder of the importance of caring for others at any age.



Join us next Monday for more eco-friendly ideas for your family. And if you have favorite ways to live greener with your preschooler - please leave a comment below or let us know on Facebook!

Best,
Ashley




Monday, January 5, 2015

Monday Resolutions: Momma Missy's Eco-Friendly Baby Picks

If you are like me (and by that I mean in your early to mid thirties) you could also be at a point in your life where either you, or a lot of the people you know, are having babies. I personally am in the middle of probably the largest baby boom that I will see during my lifetime between my friends and family. In May, I will have had 4 nieces and nephews in just over 2 years. I myself just had my first child 5 months ago.

With the increase in buying children's items, I have been trying my best to select products that are better for the world. It can be hard to be green with a new little one in the house. Between the insane amounts of laundry and diapers etc. - one's carbon footprint can sky rocket.

Here are a few products that I am currently into right now:

My Little Guy (with aunt Beth) Chomping down on a
Life Factory Teething Ring




Lifefactory Silicone Teething Rings:  For my teething baby I am loving these BPA Free, dishwasher safe, made in the USA, teething rings. My son loves giving these little rings a good chew. I have been digging this company for their commitment to reusable products and responsible manufacturing. Check them out here at:  Lifefactory











                                                  BabyLit books printed by Gibbs Smith:


These BabyLit books are kids board books that help you introduce your child to classic literature at a young age. Right now we have The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Not only can you introduce your baby to authors like Shakespeare and Jane Austen, but all of these little books are... "printed on either recycled 100% post-consumer waste, FSC-certified papers or on paper produced from sustainable PEFC-certified forest/controlled wood source." Companies using recycled or sustainable products help make our carbon footprints just a little bit smaller. Check them out here: BabyLit Books


Honest Company Diapers: There are many different discussions out there about sustainable diapers and how we can make things better in this world regarding our diaper waste. Nowadays there are many consumer options for more eco-friendly diapers. If you have the time and resources - reusable diapers are a great way to go. However we live in a small apartment, and do not have a washing machine in our building. Also the great state of California is currently in a major drought, so washing reusable diapers didn't seem to fit into the grand scheme this year. Recently I have been trying out Honest Company Diapers and so far have been very happy with them. They are slightly more expensive than other eco-friendly diapers, but are better for the environment (and the company gives a donation to families in need with every purchase). You can learn more about their health and sustainability standards here:  Honest Company

Baby Gallagher in Honest Diapers with Skulls
Check back next Monday for more Momma Monday blog posts. And if you know of a great earth-friendly baby product - please tell us about it in the comment section!!


Cheers,

Missy

Monday, December 22, 2014

Last Minute Holiday Gifts that Give Back


Still looking for a gift for someone on your list? Good news - many gifts that give back don’t require any shipping or wrapping. Here’s a list of ideas to honor family or friends by supporting a worthy cause this holiday season:

·       MercyCorp Gifts Looking for a thoughtful gift that gives back to causes such as poverty,  education and women's health? Pick up a MercyCorps Gift that changes lives – you can  choose from options such as providing clean water to disaster survivors or helping a  woman launch a small business.

·        Gifts that Give More from the Animal Rescue Site For the animal lover on your list – make a donation in their honor to feed shelter pets, spay or neuter a dog or protect  endangered Asian elephants.

·        Wildlife Adoption via World Wildlife Federation Adopt a tiger, panda or polar bear for a loved one and print/email a gift adoption card to present their gift.

·        Museum Membership Treat your family member/friend to a membership at a museum in  their hometown and you’ll also support the organization.

·        Water is Life Honor a friend or family member by donating a filter to a family in need of  clean water in countries such as India, Haiti and Kenya through the Water is Life  organization.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Green Holiday Shopping: A trip to the Green Festival in San Francisco

Fort Mason Center, San Francisco


This past weekend I attended the Green Festival that was held in San Francisco at the Fort Mason Center. According to their website the Green Festival is:


"a vibrant, dynamic marketplace where companies and organizations come to showcase their green products and services, and where people go to learn how to live healthier, more sustainable lives. [The] Green Festival is America’s largest and longest-running sustainability and green living event. We bring together the world’s most trusted companies, innovative brands, national and local businesses, pioneering thinkers, and conscious consumers in one place to promote the best in sustainability and green living."


I love finding new and innovative companies that are doing their best to be good stewards of our environment. I think this is an especially good time to find new products since we are fast approaching the holiday season. Overall I was very impressed with the amount of vendors and products that were being showcased at this festival. It had a little bit of everything, food, cleaning products, toys, clothing, cosmetics etc. I was also very happy to see a large conscious effort to make sure that all the recycling, compost and landfill items were properly disposed of during the event. (There were a ton of sample cups and products that were being used) There were many wonderful vendors to choose from but I think my favorite new and innovative, environmentally-friendly products were the following:


1. Chicza (www.chiczaUSA.com)

I tried the cinnamon flavor
This cool gum is stated as being "the only 100% certified organic, biodegradable, and sustainable chewing gum." I have heard of a lot of different products turning what they offer into more sustainable and organic etc. but I have never thought about chewing gum. The gum tasted good and lasted a good length of time while I chewed a sample around the festival. I think a biodegradable gum is such a good idea, it means seeing less gum permanently caked to the sidewalks. According to their product info, "once disposed of, its all-natural components will become dust within weeks." I think this would make a great stocking stuffer for the gum lover in your family. It retails for about $1.50 per pack via their online store. Check Chicza out and what they are doing to make your favorite chewing pastime more friendly to Mother Earth.



2. Khordz (www.Khordz.com)
Nothing went to waste, their business card
had extra paracord on it from their mugs

We love reusable coffee mugs in both our On the Leesh offices (In SF & NYC) and we are always looking for cool new mugs to use for our morning coffee.  Dan and Krista, the makers of Khordz, want to help eliminate plastics from the oceans (something we are also passionate about) and so together they created these awesome reusable coffee mugs out of glass, mason like, jars and 25ft of paracord. These adorable mugs would make a great holiday beverage holder. I am thinking your next mug of holiday eggnog would look pretty good in one of these adorable and sustainable mugs. Check them out on their website here: Khordz


Great looking mugs




3. EZ WYP (http://www.ezwyp.com/about.html)


These are cool biodegradable, chemical and alcohol-free wet wipes that come in a super small container that goes anywhere. The little wipe comes in tiny tablet form and you just add water when you need one. They have a nifty carrying dispenser that easily allows you to add water to them on the go. It is amazingly small and portable, and the wipes I tried were great for cleaning up my hands after snacking on food samples at the festival. This would make an excellent addition to any purse or diaper bag. You can learn more at: Ez WYP

Ez-wyp booth



4. Green Creativity Kits for Kids.

Our friends from the Monterey Bay Aquarium had a booth at the festival this year. They were doing fun photo booths, taking the time to educate people about getting plastics out of our oceans and about their Seafood Watch program (you can check out the video we did together here to learn more). At their booth they were also selling items featured in their gift shop at the Aquarium. One of these items was the Green Creativity Kits that allow your kid to make all kinds of cool toys, jewelry etc. by recycling discarded products such as plastic bags, newspapers and plastic bottles. The best one I saw was the plastic monster made out of discarded plastic bags. You can buy these kits at the Aquarium's gift shop or you can also find the kits online at places like Amazon. I have two little nieces that will soon be old enough for creative and fun projects kits like these.

Create your own trash monster 



Dr. Bronners Magical All-One soaps
There were of course many other great companies and products at the festival like the good people at Dr. Bronners Magic all-one soaps and a gal from the Holistic Mom's Network (they had a nursing station that I used while I was walking around - much appreciated). I also stopped by the Wholesome Sweeteners booth that carries a line of fair-trade, organic natural sugars. We use their Organic Blue Agave in our office. Here at On the Leesh/What You Can Do, we encourage you to think about your holiday shopping as a way to not only tell your loved ones how much you care them but to use your dollar to help our earth last a little longer.



  
Happy to see all the recycling going on for sample cups etc.


If you have green/sustainable products that you love and want to share with us - please comment below. We would love to hear from you.

Missy




Monday, November 3, 2014

Water Conservation podcasts with the Green Divas and What You Can Do videos on Care2



Jessica Arinella, our What You Can Do creator, joined the Green Divas Radio Show for her first interview in 2009. She has returned as a frequent guest over the years, chatting about topics such as water conservation, light pollution and protecting the rainforest. The fabulous Green Divas share our laid back philosophy on make a difference in the world, and always have fun ideas on how to live a deeper shade of green.

We teamed up with the Green Divas this summer for a series of podcasts on water conservation, one of the topics that inspires our passion and concern. Check out the podcasts on Care2 along with What You Can Do videos: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/18-crazy-inspiring-facts-about-water.html#bbtw=208562901.