Category Archives: For The Kids

Organically Grown

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Around here, spring is finally in the air…which has me scrambling to find warm weather clothes for my kids!Are you ready for spring and summer fashion? Hand-me-downs and second-hand finds are a godsend, but when you need to fill out that wardrobe with new clothes, where do you shop?

Recently, I was fortunate to become accquainted with Organically Grown, a clothing company who believes in offering affordable, safe, stylish, high-quality organic clothing to consumers.* Why was I interested in organic clothing? I was shocked to learn that an estimated 170 million pounds of pesticides and one-quarter of the world’s insecticides are used in the production of conventional, non-organic cotton.

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Staying on the Green Bandwagon

You know how the easiest way to stick to a diet is to not bring ‘problem’ foods into the house in the first place? Well, I’ve found I do the same thing with keeping to a ‘green’ diet. There are certain (decidedly un-environmental) conveniences I simply can’t resist if they’re easily accessable, so instead I don’t purchase them at all.

Maybe I have the will power of a knat, but I find this works for me. Out of sight, out of mind! The following are non-green items I try to avoid like the plague (because if they’re in my house, I’ll gladly use them!):

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Paper towels and napkins.

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Revolutionizing Food

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution is a huge sensation. The TV program is airing in the US right now, and Jamie’s philosophy of cooking real food from fresh ingredients is hitting home. I live in Canada, but even here people are talking about what’s happening each week on the show. They’re trying out new recipes and re-considering their approach to what they feed their children.

What is Jamie saying that is spurring people to action? On his website, he writes:

Knowing how to cook means you’ll be able to turn all sorts of fresh ingredients into meals when they’re in season, at their best, and cheapest!

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Eco-Friendly Easter Gifts for Busy Moms

It’s the week of Easter and I have to assume I am not the only procrastinator — er, busy mom — who does not yet have her kids’ Easter Baskets filled with goodies and awaiting the big morning. And you know, as much as I love all the online guides I find for eco-friendly Easter basket stuffers it seems every year I still find myself in the same position. Life takes precedence and for me that often means my kids’ baskets aren’t filled with organic cotton plush animals ordered in from an internet source, but rather with regular everyday commodities I’m able to find at stores locally as I run my usual errands.

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Green Your St. Patrick’s Day, Not Just Your Shirt

I grew up in a small village (population: less than 400) in the middle of Michigan that is incredibly proud of its Irish heritage. It also just so happens that its local tavern holds the state’s oldest liquor license. Combine these two facts and what I have always known is a huge St. Patrick’s Day celebration; one with potato rolls, delicious beef stew and copious amounts of green beer. And if you didn’t get to the tavern early enough, they’d be out of all of the above. People would come from miles and miles around to celebrate. It was standing room only and the town’s fifteen parking spots on the one small block that made up “main street” were nowhere near enough to accommodate.

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Asking One’s Self The Hard Questions

A couple weeks ago we invited another couple over for dinner and games. I’ve been friends with the wife for sometime but we hadn’t yet gotten together as couples more than a few times — her husband didn’t know me as well as she did and had no idea what it is that I do for a living. In our neck of the woods freelance writers aren’t exactly plentiful so I’m accustomed to reactions of bewilderment when my livelihood comes up for discussion. What I’m not accustomed to is people questioning, even if in a friendly and truly curious manner, why I am fit to do what I do.

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After-School Snacks that Tread Lightly on the Planet (and your Grocery Budget)

If you’ve been following my posts here at 5 Minutes for Going Green, you know I’m all about taking baby steps toward eco-living. In other words, I tend to take two steps forward, followed by at least one squarely on my cushy bottom.
One step forward I’ve taken recently is to bake and cook healthy, whole-food after-school snacks for my kids. I’m tired of buying over-processed, heavily-packaged snack foods that destroyed my grocery budget.

Three winning recipes my (picky) kids happily eat:

Egg and cheese sandwiches:

2 packages English muffins (I buy wheat)

2 dozen eggs (I go with free range)

24 slices cheese (cheddar for our family)

Optional: ham slices or the veggie equivalent (we like Yves brand)

Fry the eggs individually (we cracked them right into circular cookie cutters on the griddle to keep their shape).

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Why My Kids Ride the Bus

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Because I make them.

It’s as simple as that. Just like I make them turn off lights when the leave a room and make them turn off the tap water while brushing their teeth and make them place empty cereal boxes in the recycling bin.

They don’t like it much. They say the bus smells (it does!) and sometimes, kids are rowdy. Often, they tell me, the bus driver is grouchy. If I drove them to school, they argue, they could sleep in a bit later (not that they would!) and would get home a bit earlier in the afternoons.

It’s true.

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Great “Green” Toys

Last week, I shared some of my ideas for what makes a good kid toyThis week, I would like to share with you some sources and suggestions for toys that are durable, fun, useful and green!

Next week is Thanksgiving and as we know the day after T-day the Christmas spending season begins.  However, some folks (like me) observe a special day of consciously not consuming (known as Buy Nothing Day). I really like this website that has great ideas to make the day after Thanksgiving Make Something Day.

And if you just don’t have the time, skill, materials….

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Timeless Toys

When I go out looking for toys for my son, I want to find things that will become treasures.  For his first birthday he received from family a handmade wooden slide, a rocking boat that can serve as stairs and a small wheel barrow. His second birthday he received a wooden train table with storage drawers for his cars and trains and a small wooden kitchen. This year I am probably going to get him a wooden wagon.

What do these toys have in common? They are timeless… he will continue to enjoy them well into elementary school; they are sturdy and wooden and can stand the test of time; they encourage creativity and community and he (or his friends) are the ones making the action- not the toy.

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