Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Greener Toys

I try to buy natural products when possible, although I do sometimes buy the convenient product instead of shopping around for the more eco friendly version. The internet is a great helpful tool in buying eco friendly, and many stores now carry eco friendly items. I do not know many people who could easily change everything in the home to the green alternative, that is why it is important to make the green choice when buying new products.
I would love to have my entire house changed to be the perfect model of green choices. Although this will not be happening, it is still a thought I keep in mind whenever I purchase new things.

One area where I am making a big effort to be green is in the toys I am choosing for the kids. This Christmas I will only be making green choices for under the tree. I will not be buying a lot of plastic junk and I will be getting rid of some of our non-green toys as December approaches. There are a few things that will remain in our house even though they may not be very green. For example Little People world. The kids and I both love playing with the little people so it will stay, but I have decided we will not be adding to our collection.
To help people see what I mean by green toys here is a link to the Wish List I have at Amazon.com. This list contains things I would like for the kids. Most of the items are eco friendly but you will find a couple of items that do not fall into the green category. Hey we can’t all be perfect. I will also be doing a lot of shopping on Etsy I just love the unique handmade things there.

I am currently a big fan of the wood Plan Toys, not just for the toys themselves but for the companies green vision. I would love to have the entire Plan City. I also like Green Toys made from recycled milk jugs. Melissa and Doug and Under the Nile are also two companies I like.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

No more canned beans

We eat a lot of beans here, mostly because of our vegetarian diet. Two things concern me about canned beans the sodium level and the chemicals used in the can that leach into the food and consequently into our bodies. Until now I have just used canned beans because I always thought it was hard to make beans. Well I decided to give it a try this weekend. After doing some research on line I thought it would be easiest to use the crock pot. The beans turned out great and I can not wait to try another kind next week.

This week I made black beans since they are what we eat the most of. First I rinsed and sorted the dried beans. I then placed the beans in the crock pot with a lot of water. I set the crock pot on high for one hour and then set it to low for 5 hours. I checked on the beans periodically to make sure there was still plenty of water in them and they were not too soft. They turned out great. I divided them into four portions and froze three of them. I used the fourth for dinner.
I will no longer be using canned beans in our house.

A little side note:
I am a vegetarian and I have been for about 14 years now. I do not cook meat in fact I do not even know how to cook meat. Just because I do not eat meat does not mean that the rest of my family are vegetarians. Stephen can cook meat whenever he wants to, although he never does. Andon has turkey sandwiches sometimes and eats meat when we are out. I believe in giving my kids choices and letting them decide what is right for them. It does not matter to me if they choose to be a vegetarian or not, I just hope they make healthy choices.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Cloth napkins

I started this blog to write about my experiences going green. Over the last year though I have posted mostly about my kids. Now I know we all love Andon and Brylynn but I am going to try to post more about my green life. I really want to encourage others by showing them how easy it can be to make better choices for themselves, their family, and the environment.

So with that in mind today I am thinking about my newest step at going green, cloth napkins. I have wanted to switch to cloth for a while now. For the past 2 weeks we were using the only 6 cloth napkins I had for our family. This obviously was not enough so the other day while I was out I found a ton of napkins on clearance at Bed Bath and Beyond. Every napkin I bought was $1 or less and I also got some placemats to go with my new napkins. Everywhere I go now I am looking for cute new napkins (I can see it becoming an obsession) I have also seen some cute napkins Etsy including ones just for children. I found that the cloth napkins are much easier for Andon to use and now he places his napkin on his lap at every meal. What more could I ask for then my 2 year old using a napkin correctly?

Our laundry room is right off the kitchen so after dinner when the napkins are dirty we just throw them in a basket for Monday’s wash. It is quite easy. We also got some more kitchen towels and have replacing our paper towels for almost everything. (We will still use paper towels for things like cat throw up) Last month we changed from using sponges to using dish cloths. My kitchen is getting very green.
I would have loved to buy organic cotton napkins but I had to settle for regular cotton because it is readily available and less expensive. Not everything can be done perfectly.

For those who only check my blog for the kids here are a few pictures for you.

Andon eating a popsicle (frozen organic apple juice) and helping dad vacuum

Bry loving bunny and sitting in the high chair ready to eat.