Monthly Archives: July 2008

Save Your Energy!

I never knew raising kids required so much energy! And I’m not just talking about the energy that I expend chasing my kids around all day. I’m talking about the energy I use in my home to feed, wash, entertain, and clean up after them. Americans use nearly a million dollars worth of energy every minute…EVERY MINUTE! The good news is that it’s much easier than you think to reduce your contribution to that figure, trimming your monthly energy bill while helping you protect the planet. Here are some easy ideas for reducing energy consumption in your home:

Control Your Temperature: About 2/3 of the money you spend on energy is used to control your home’s temperature.

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Am I Green Enough?

#8DCB41, #7A7700, #1D3403…No, I’m not speaking Klingon nor are these words from a lost episode of Seinfeld. These are hexadecimal values or “hex colors” and they are all shades of green. Jennifer K. and her husband are olive and after reading Sommer’s post, I felt compelled to share a little bit more about me. I guess, to confess.

When I was asked to participate as a writer at 5M4GG, I was honored and then a little concerned because going green is still somewhat new to me. I was never a fan of the color green. I was a Brownie, but never became a Girl Scout.

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A/C Free in Chicago

What started as a joke with our neighbor has grown into a tiny obsession in our home. Months ago on a warm spring day our neighbor chatted with my husband Andy and I about the surrounding homes running their AC full tilt so early in the season. Since our windows were open, we could hear the incessant humming of the machines. Who wouldn’t long for the cool, refreshing breeze wafting into their home after a long winter we wondered.

Once the conversation turned to greening our lives, I made a wager with my neighbor that he would turn on his AC before us. 

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Repurpose Your Life


People no longer snicker when they learn your latest find was something you picked up at the local thrift store. In fact, thrifting, gifting, swapping, or repurposing (or reusing) your gently used (and sometimes barely hanging on) clothing, books, and other personal items can save you money, and keep a little more green in your pocket.

This hobby is not new to our hippy and hipster era. In the 80’s, a favorite pastime was “thrifting,” which involved shopping at second-hand stores, garage sales, flea markets, etc. in search of that vintage or unusual find. My passion was clothing and I found so many beautiful dresses fit for a princess attending a ball, which I bought, and of course had nowhere to wear.

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Healthy School Lunches: Sometimes It Takes Bribery

Over the last couple years, I’ve gradually been going green, and it’s not until recently that our efforts have been more aggressive. However, with that said, I’ve always taken time to stop and explain to my children every step we are taking, all the whys and all the hows. My children are 12, 10, and 7, so there is quite a bit they understand and can participate in. Plus, I’ve always been the kind of Mom that feels the more communication between my children and me, the better.

When I was in college last year–attempting to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up–not having to make cold lunches every morning for my kids was great.

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Welcome Baby Naturally: 6 Steps for a Green, Non Toxic Nursery

BabyOur babies are born with a chemical body burden.

The Environmental Working Group (“EWG”) found that umbilical cord blood from ten randomly selected babies contained 287 chemicals of the 413 for which tests were performed. Of those 287 chemicals, 180 cause cancer in humans or animals, 218 are toxic to the brain and nervous system, and 208 cause birth defects or abnormal development in animal tests.

This potential chemical body burden in a newborn baby is scary for new parents. It was scary for me. You welcome your child to the world, and already you feel as if you have failed.

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Adventures in Green Haircare

Over the past two years, step by step, our family is replacing all cleaning and personal care products with eco-friendly equivalents that are healthy for the Earth, our home, and our bodies. Part of my family’s concern for the kinds of products we use has to do with the chemicals that go into our bodies and ultimately end up in the water supply. Chemicals that make my mommy alarm go off include the following: phthalates, bisphenol A, and triclosan, which are in cosmetics, antibacterial soap, perfumes, containers of all sorts (think food packaging, shampoo bottles, makeup containers), and plastic bottles. When these chemicals reach our water supplies, the natural wildlife are adversely affected and the overall environment is negatively impacted.

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Jolly Green Hypocrite

I’m calling myself this today. When it comes to going “green”, having a green website, being recognized locally for my efforts and just being noticed more for going green in my small town…I sometimes feel the pressure. For example, I had coffee the other day with a family member and as we drank “organic” coffee I added sweet and low to my drink. She seemed surprised and called me out on this. “How can you be green and natural and use man made sugar?”, she said. Good point. Except, I went through weight watchers and lost a ton of weight and became addicted to diet soda and sweet and low because of the “0” points.

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Growing Green Kids

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – Dr. Seuss, The Lorax

Growing Greener Kids

One big concern that parents often have about going green is how they can get their kids involved and help them to develop their own affinity for protecting our one home. In a society where where the cultural norm is to consume as much as you can as fast as you can with little regard for the consequences, it is vital that parents start to cultivate some green values within the next generation.

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Going Green For The Health of It

Although we lived in the city, I grew up in a pretty simple family compared to many of our neighbors and friends. There was no microwave, dishwasher or cable television in our home. No packaged cereals, boxed juice or single serving lunch snacks for school.

We grew and made nearly all our own food. My father was trained in horticulture and he studied bio-dynamic and organic farming in his spare time. He put all his knowledge to work on our gigantic family garden. I can’t tell you how  many times I cringed at the sight of another soggy sprouts, cucumber and tomato sandwich in my elementary school lunch!

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