Category Archives: baby

I’m dreaming of a green Xmas.

Well it’s December 26th, and we have made it this far into the holidays without creating too much extra trash.
Our little one got a wooden guitar for Solstice, and she is still playing with the cardboard box it came in. Kyle got a CD and I got a door mat ( i asked for it and was really happy with it so you don’t need to feel sorry for me or angry towards Kyle-I really really wanted a door mat)
For wrapping, I make gift bags for everything that we reuse again and again.
Mrs.Claus came on the night of the 24th. We had to send a special letter requesting Santa not come in because the child wanted Mrs.Claus and a girl elf to come instead. Even though we are trying to move our celebrations to the 21st, they are very busy at the North Pole so for now we still have 2.
Santa (or Mrs.Claus) fixed my watch, brought the whole family socks, underwear and oranges, and (d’oh) candy canes, which do have packaging as well as organic gummies ( also packaged). I almost got away with no candy canes but I’m a sucker and when the wee one saw them at everyone else’s home and asked, I caved in. Sprout got wooden doll apartments from my brother and a gorgeous doll house built by Kyle. Santa brought some Plan Toy furniture for it (which is packed in paper bags (soon to become puppets) and cardboard).
We had lentil loaf, sweet potatoes, vegetarian gravy, cloud fluff (aka mashed potatoes), squash and blueberry pie as our feast today, and we made peanut butter chocolate chip cookies (from bulk ingredients) for Santa and Co. on Christmas eve.

So it wasn’t totally trash free but we managed to not even receive wrapping paper this year. Yaay! Our garbage inventory looks like this:
2 plastic wraps from Cd’s, 5 little plastic doohickies from the socks and undies, 5 bunny gummy packs, and 12 candy canes wrappers. I’m not counting the plastic from the tree lights because it is being used as a ladder for the little dolls in the doll house.
On a slightly different but still related topic:
Before Christmas, I sent a letter to some family and friends explaining we don’t do wrapping paper and we are trying to support sweatshops. I forgot the “not” after trying but everyone knew what I meant so only one person caught it (and is still laughing).
Apparently I say “sweat shop” way too much because yesterday afternoon the girl spent at least an our shopping at the sweatshop in her room, and strangely enough “bought” the things that probably were made in sweat shops. Fortunately today she was back to playing in the doll house.

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Garbage Free 3rd Birthday Party Part One

We did it! We celebrated Aurora’s b-day garbage free (or pretty close).
Aurora and I made invites, mostly out of new materials but there were some pieces of paper and cardboard from nylon and naan bread packages. We included a note about trying to be garbage free to curb packaged gifts and wrapping paper. Another way to do it is to simply ask for no gifts, but we love presents so we couldn’t do that!
Kyle made the cake, getting ingredients in bulk.
I made buns and provided a simple sandwich and veggie with hummus supper (with help from some friends-thank you!) Drinks were iced tea (home made), water and coffee (for adults).
Her gift from us was tap shoes second hand from Kijiji and recycled drawing paper, wrapped in a cloth reusable bag. I’ll post pictures of those in part two. Instead of loot bags I made little animal party hats out of felt for everyone to take home. It was a bigger project than I had hoped and of course I started late, and my sewing machine (the new one) refused to work, so my mom was employed as slave labour to hand sew.
I have to be honest and say that it was really hard work and a few times it crossed my mind how easy buying convenience food would be, but alas I persevered;) Everyone had fun and it was a guilt free party.
We also had face painting, which wasn’t entirely garbage free because the box of Snazaroo face paints came wrapped in plastic. I did most of it, but I also had some help from my friend Jill.
At the end of the photo gallery, I’ve included pictures of a felt board we made for another friend who was turning 3. Hand-made items tend to produce less trash because they don’t have packaging. This project is also a great one for using up small scraps, as are the animal hats. I’ll have to do another post with recipes and photos of the food and at least our gift.

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Filed under baby, gifts, holidays, Uncategorized

Upcycling

According to Wikkipedia, “Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or a higher environmental value.” I think this is a much better option than recycling (which you have probably heard me rant about before). When Kyle and I started the no garbage project, we tried to make every piece of garbage into something else. Later we decided it had to be made into something useful or beautiful or both, or it was just garbage made into garbage. I didn’t know about the term “upcycling” then, but that’s exactly what I wanted to do. There’s a great book (that I haven’t finished yet) called Cradle to Cradle that talks a lot about this on a bigger level.
Basically I am doing this post so I could share my newest favorite craft with you (and I will do so in a moment) but I thought I needed more and I started researching a bit about upcylcing and I found this site.
So now onto the real reason for this post: Sweater Pants for Toddlers. Aurora needed stretchy warm pants for winter. Jeans are cute but pretty useless for a toddler. One of Aurora’s first full sentences was” Help. I can’t do it in my blue jeans”. I believe her first sentence was “this poo stinks” but that’s neither here nor there. I bought an old sweater from a thrift shop. It wasn’t really wearable anymore as it had some holes worn through but the sleeves and a big chunk of the body were still good. After consulting some crafter friends for advice, I cut off the sleeves of the sweater and sewed them together in a circle where I had cut. Then I cut off the top and added another piece of sweater for a waste band. It was easy and fast and the result was super cute fuzzy elf pants! I made a really tall waste band so they come up over Aurora’s belly and she looks very elven (the McGaughey ears help the look too). Here is a photo.
And here are some links to tutorials in sweater pant making.  Neither are exactly like the ones I made, but they do a better job of explaining than I did.
cafepress
green kitchen
I am collecting old sweaters to make more of these in different sizes so if you have old sweaters please contact me.
Another upcycling idea we are working on is a castle out of toilet paper rolls and a cardboard box. I also saw a friend make a guitar out of the same things.

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Fuch’s No, Preserve is a Go!

If you read my post about what I do in the bathroom, you’ll know that up until now I used Fuch’s toothbrushes because they were biodegradable. I tired the brand with Aurora and she refused to brush her teeth altogether until I figured out the toothbrush was the problem and switched her to a softer brush.
About a month ago a friend asked me how I liked Fuch’s. I hadn’t really thought about it at all, I just used them because it seemed the right thing to do. Upon ponderance ( I made up that word but I’m going to use it any way), in the three years I’ve used them I’ve never seen one break down in the compost and I’m not sure how long it takes. When I stopped to think about how I liked them, I had to truthfully answer, not very much. They are very stiff and boxy and the bristles fall out in my mouth. Fuch Fuch’s!
Said friend told me she used Preserve, so I bought one yesterday and Oh I have happy teeth! It is so soft and sleek and my teeth feel so clean. I just want to brush all the time. They are also made out of recycled plastic and you can mail it back to the company (free of charge) to be recycled when you are finished.
I’m hoping they make a child’s one because I think Aurora would like it. I think I can convert the whole family-this toothbrush is amazing.

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Testing Testing 1, 2, 3

It’s day 5 of home made deodorant and diaper wipes solution. Kyle and I both like the pit stick (cream) and Aurora also seems to be doing fine with the wipe solution. Yaaay!
Kyle asked if we were really saving money by making our own deodorant and the answer is …DEFINITELY!
I usually spend about $20 every month or two(depending on the season) on a block of deodorant to share. My materiel costs for making our own were:
-$9.99 for Sandlewood oil in Jojoba oil (as opposed to $49.99 for pure sandlewood). I used about 7 drops. It hardly looks like there is any gone. I estimate if we only use it for deodorant, it will last for at least 20 batches, which means this time I used $.49 worth.
-Approximately $0.10 for baking soda (bought it bulk from Grassroots)
-$.7.49 for the coconut oil. I think I used about1/5th of the jar, so let’s say $1.50 this time.
That means this batch of deoderant costs $2.14. Even if you count my time, which was about ten minutes, it’s way less than what we were paying before.
I’m still searching for shampoo recipes. I found some that were simple enough but they called for all natural baby shampoo-ugg! If I’m going to buy all natural baby shampoo, I’ll just use it without all the fancy extras.

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Filed under baby, personal care, personal products, toilettalk, Uncategorized

More DIY Hygiene

Ok I’m going to make a blanket statement here-maybe even two. Marketers are intelligent  and ruthless and they know who to target and how.

Parents, especially new ones are tired and nervous and want the best for their babies so they make an awesome target. For some reason, I thought it would be best for Aurora to have store bought toothpaste, so I buy Welleda natural Childrens toothpaste for her. I just did some research though, and their is no reason she can’t have our home made toothpaste. She may not like the peppermint flavour, but we can make it with other essential oils to suit her taste.

In my last post, I forgot to mention facial cleanser. My skin is both dry and sensitive and even though I’m in my thirties, I am still prone to break outs. I spend quite a bit on cleanser and they just stopped making my favorite kind, so it’s a perfect time to experiment with making my own. A lot of recipes I’ve come across (like the one’s for hair) are one time use, time consuming treatments. I don;t have that kind of time anymore, so I need a recipe for something I can make up and keep, preferably not in the fridge. I found this recipe and will try it next week.
Thyme-to-Wash Cleanser

Reduces puffiness and irritation while gently toning skin.
Ingredients

* 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme
* 2 tsp crushed fennel seeds
* 1/2 cup boiling water
* 1/2 lemon, juiced

Instructions

Stir together thyme and fennel seeds, cover with boiling water. Add lemon juice, let steep 15 minutes. Store in airtight container in the refrigerator. Use a cotton ball to dab onto face each morning, and rinse.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Any one else have simple cleanser recipes to share?
Back to marketing, I just bought all natural cough drops for my cold because I felt I needed them. They come from Switzerland (ouch on the fossil fuels) and they are very packaged. I am currently drinking my special cold buster “tea” and I realized I don’t need the cough drops at all. Here’s the “tea” recipe.
1 mug of hot water
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 or 2 tbsp honey
1 or 2 lemon slices.
I drink it when I’m not sick too because I like it so much. Enjoy!

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DIY hygiene

I’m so sorry it’s been more than a month since I’ve blogged! Life got in the way again and I just haven’t had the time. In fact, I’m sacrificing a nap to be with you now!

Some of you may know that we are not rich, but now more than ever, things are quite tight.  For the sake of saving some green while being green, I’ve been trying to make more of our personal products. It doesn’t always mean no garbage because sometimes the ingredients have safety coverings on the bottles or the likes, but I think it ends up being less than buying all the finished products. You may also know we have no time, so I’ve been trying to find the simplest recipes possible. Here’s a bunch:

Baby Wipe Solution

I  spend $14 a bottle on diaper wipe solution to put on wash cloths for Aurora, and I’m sure making it myself would be cheaper. My friend  makes her own and I thought I had the recipe, but I can’t find it. Perhaps she will post it in the comment section (hint, hint). Here’s  a bunch of nice looking ones I found at http://www.naturalbirthandbabycare.com/
Baby Wash Recipe #1

* 2 TBSP Baby Wash (choose a natural wash!)
* 2 TBSP Olive Oil
* 2 Cups water

Mix well in a spray bottle or your wipes box. Spritz on wipe before using if in spray bottle. Swish solution around over wipes if using a wipes box.

Baby Wash Recipe #2

* 2 TBSP Baby Wash
* 2 TBSP Olive Oil or 1 TBSP Calendula Oil
* 2 Drops Tea Tree Oil
* 2 Cups Water

Mix well in a spray bottle or your wipes box. Spritz on wipe before using if in spray bottle. Swish solution around over wipes if using a wipes box. Tea Tree Oil has lovely disinfectant properties along with its wonderful, clean smell.

Aloe Vera Recipe

* 1/4 Cup Aloe Vera Gel
* 2 Drops Tea Tree Oil
* 2 Cups Hot Water

Stir or shake until this recipe is well mixed. Don’t use until the mixture cools. Spritz on wipe before using if in spray bottle. Swish solution around over wipes if using a wipes box.

Vitamin E and Essential Oils Recipe

* 2 Drops Tea Tree Oil
* 2 Drops Lavender Oil (Please be sure to use only pure essential oils – don’t use synthetic oils.)
* 2 Drops Chamomile Oil
* 2 Cups Water
* 1 Vitamin E Cap

Cut open vitamin E caplet and squeeze into the water, and add essential oil drops. Mix well in a spray bottle or your wipes box. Spritz on wipe before using if in spray bottle.

I am just about out of the Lynae’s Naturals that I bought at Grass Roots, so I will need to make some soon. I will likely go with the first recipe because it’s so simple

Moisturizers or creams
My skin is quite dry and sensitive, and so is Aurora’s. I’m quite excited about this recipe. There are a few on this site that I would like to try.

skin moisturizer

Ginger Skin Creme
This recipe is courtesy of www.Spaindex.com

Ginger invigorates, and oil soothes. Try this double dose for dry skin.

  • 2-inch piece of fresh ginger

  • 2 teaspoons light sesame oil

  • 2 teaspoons apricot kernel oil

  • 2 teaspoons vitamin E oil

  • ½ cup cocoa butter

Preheat oven on lowest setting. Finely grate the ginger just enough so that you have about an 1/8 teaspoon of ginger “juice.” To obtain the juice, squeeze the freshly grated ginger over a small bowl. Place the ingredients (including the ginger) in a glass container and heat just until the cocoa butter is melted and the oils are blended. Pour into a clean, dry container and store in a cool dry place. You can add a few drops of orange or other essential oil for a nice twist.

I love this site and can’t wait to try the following body butter. I already have almost all the ingredients!
1/4 cup of rose water
1/4 cup of glycerin
2 tbs witch hazel
1 tbs of almond oil

mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container.

Toothpaste
I’ve blogged about this before but thought it deserved another mention. I use:
6 tablespoons baking soda (whitener)
1 pinch salt (mild abrasive)
4 tbsp vegetable glycerin (to create the gel)
5 drops of organic essential oil
Mix together in a small reusable container.

Deodorant

I use the hippy stuff from Lush, but it is quite expensive, so I’m going to try my friend’s recipe(yes it’s the same friend as before-she is awesome and perhaps she should be doing this post:)
Baking soda, coconut oil and sandle wood. Mix together to desired consistency and apply.

Shampoo and conditioner or No-poo
Most of the shampoo and conditioner recipes are a bit labour intensive so I’m trying to work up to the NO-Poo method. I’ve been hearing about it for years and I would like to give it a try.

Most of these home-made products would also make lovely Christmas gifts (hint hint). thanks to all the other bloggers who posted these recipes. Please let me know if you have tried them, and I will keep you posted as soon as I try each one. Also I’d love to hear comments, suggestions and other recipes on this topic.

Talk to you soon,

Sarah

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