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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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A Little Inspiration Can Go a Long Way

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I don’t know about you, but March is my least favorite month. In my part of the world, it’s not yet spring, but the lingering winter is no longer welcome; the crocuses try to unfold, just to be deadened by frost. Fog sets in, along with days of rain. Mud cakes boots. And all those best intentions I made back in January seem so very, very distant.

In short, by March, I could use a bit of a boost, so today, I’d like to share a few links with you all. The following are websites and blogs which inspire me to take those big (and small) steps toward a greener me.

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LiViTY Outernational

Hemp and raffia clothing? A shirt made from recycled plastic bottles? Could such a product look like anything other than a potato sack? I was dubious…until I found LiViTY Outernational, an apparel company who is, in their words, ‘110% for the planet’.
I recently had the opportunity to try several of their products, including the Queen V-Neck in moss and the argyle sock in gray.* And trust me, the tee looked nothing like a potato sack! It’s fitted and flattering and very soft. The socks are made of a blend of hemp, organic cotton, and Lycra, and I’m definitely a fan!

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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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The Dinner Co-Op: an Easy Way to be Green?

A number of years ago, an acquaintance of mine belonged to a dinner co-op. The concept was simple: four friends (living on the same block) shared the burden of the evening meal. Each friend was assigned one day of the week (Monday through Friday) and on her assigned day, cooked dinner for all four families. The other three days, she sat back and waited for her family’s meal to be delivered.

At the time, I thought it sounded like a convenient idea–even an ingenious idea–but I didn’t consider it to be necessarily a ‘green’ idea. I realize now I was wrong: dinner co-ops are a great way to be environmentally responsible while enjoying the awesome benefit of cooking only once or twice a week.

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Dreaming of a Green Vacation

Those who read my site Pitstops for Kids know I’m a big fan of family travel, and when planning a trip and choosing accommodations, I do look at the environmental impact of my choices. We do a lot of backpacking and camping, yurt camping in the off-season, and stay relatively local to explore our own area more often than not. That said, there are certainly times when I catch a glimpse of pristine, tropical waters on a website or brochure and yearn for a stay at a luxury resort somewhere with palm trees and balmy weather. This year, I’m looking forward to staying home for the holidays, but that doesn’t stop me from adding to my dream list of family vacation destinations.

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‘Add to Cart’

I’m a big fan of online shopping. I was well-versed in Paypal and credit card verification numbers back when my next-door neighbor, my hairdresser, my mother-in-law, and everyone else’s mother-in-law were still shaking their heads in disapproval, telling me it couldn’t possibly be safe, and that my bank account, identity, and quite possibly my firstborn child were being lifted by some shadowy web-hacker every time I typed in my Visa number.

I also pride myself on finding the best bargain. I actually enjoy comparison shopping, and will flit back and forth between various websites like a cat toying with a mouse for days or even weeks before finally parting with my cash.

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Unwanted Holiday Junk Mail? Opt Out!

Believe it or not, Christmas is coming.

At least, that’s what retail companies will have you think. And we all know what that means: ‘tis the season for the onslaught of catalogues and junk mail.

If you’re like me, you already receive notices of upcoming sales and new product information for the companies you patronize via email. I don’t mind these (the same way I don’t mind my favorite local pizza place texting me their weekly specials). It’s green, takes only a few seconds to scan and delete if desired, and doesn’t clog up my mailbox. What irks me is when I receive said emails just to get the mail and find a 50 page, 10 pound catalogue from the same company, announcing the same sale.

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