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I initially thought that one post in honour of International Babywearing Week was enough, but events over the weekend, that I just found out about today have urged me to post again.

Thankfully Megan is a more informed babywearing mama than I am and her post from yesterday informed me of the ongoing uproar over this Motrin add that ran on the US Motrin website until earlier this week when it was removed after babywearing Moms worldwide had their say on the issue!

There are lots of great posts all over the place about it: some of the ones I have enjoyed are at Adventures in Babywearing and Crunchy Domestic Goddess and the official letter to Motrin from Babywearing International. Definitely an interesting story about how fast information travels online and how quickly a  large group of moms can affect a change.  Motrin very quickly removed the ad and issued apologies.  I even sent them an e-mail at their site motrin.ca and received a response within hours.  I think they got the message loud. and. clear.

As for my personal opinion on the matter, I think it was a poorly researched, ill-timed ad that rightly offended a lot of people.  Will I boycott Motrin or Tylenol (also owned by Motrin)?  Probably not.  But what really bothers me is that there are likely still lots of people out there who honestly hold those uninformed opinions about babywearing – and not because they saw the ad, but because in so many communities alternative parenting methods are still so foreign.

Case in point…an acquaintance on mine who is expecting her first baby shortly was over at my house for dinner.  Knowing that she is fairly forward thinking on a number of issues, but not wanting to alienate a potential “new” friend I cautiously broached the subject of cloth diapers.  Her equally cautious response what that her and her partner were planning to try EC (if you don’t know what it is, I posted about it here and Jackie recently posted about it here).  She told me in the same hesitant tone that Dale and I told people about it when we were planning on trying it and she was relieved but a little shocked that I a) had heard about it before; and b) was totally suportive of it!

In Comox – not shockingly – I found many people to be extremely receptive of alternative, more natural parenting methods.  Not so in Cold Lake, Alberta!  And although I am not shocked by that fact, and I am not sure how to proceed  in the face of it.

Again, Megan got me to thinking in her wrap up post at the end when she talks about advocacy.  I am in total agreement with her that the best way to advocate is by setting a great example.  But I am at a bit of a loss sometimes as to how to do that.  And not just when it comes to parenting issues, but also in the general realm of living more naturally.

When is it appropriate to tell people that I work with that I chose to wipe my bum with cloth as an environment saving measure?  Ok – so probably never.  But what about my use of cloth handkerchiefs or the lack of paper towels in my house?  How about the fact that I try to buy Nate’s clothes used (difficult in Cold Lake thanks to the lack of consignment stores!) or that I have started making my own cleaning products?

How do I increase my sphere of influence without seeming like a self-righteous, pompous Officer/person?   I know I have this blog, and I feel that over the past year and a bit I have managed to contribute at least a little bit to the environmental momvement that has been spreading like wildfire in certain online communities, but I truly feel like I should be able to contribute more positively in my own community.  And I don’t feel very capable in that endeavour at the moment.  Of the 8-10 prenant women who I know personally right now in Cold Lake, only one of them is considering using cloth diapers.  None of them have seen a baby carrier that isnt a baby bjorn or a snuggly (not that those don’t count – because they totally do – but by their very nature they won’t be of much use for very long).

So aside from feeling like Dale and I are the odd couple in this town, I am totally unsure how I should attempt to change that fact!  I would love to know if any of you have struggled with this issue and whether you have had much success.  I don’t believe there is an overnight solution and perhaps the best way to affect change is for me to be a little more bold and open about the chioces I make and why they work for my family.  Does that make sense?

I hope so!

P.S.  Thanks for all the welcome advice on the bum-rash situation!  It is looking much better today and we’ll both me back at work tomorrow.  Allison – I think we will try a different brand of wipes! And Jackie –  I will e-mail Jenn to see what they tried!  You guys all rock!

Hello! How are you all?  I have missed you.  I know, I know.  I am the one who hasn’t been around much lately, but I’ve missed you nonetheless!  However this week I just had to post after Megan (who is also returning from a move-related hiatus – which I am very happy about – the return, not the hiatus…right, back to the blog)…so Megan told me her readers that this is International Babywearing Week and challenged all her readers to some good ol’ fashioned advocacy.  And although I am not usually a very strong advocate, I am all about promoting babywearing to other moms (and Dads too!) – especially of the “new” variety!  So even if you’re a parental type reading this, but already past the babywearing stage, make sure you pass on the info or link to friends and family who might find it useful.

img_6885Anyway, I’m sure there are going to be a million posts out there about how babywearing was a godsend for someone with a collicky/fussy/high needs baby and I don’t dispute those facts one iota.  I know that being able to wear your baby in those cases must be not only comforting for baby but I lifesaving skill for mama.  But to be brutally honest, I rarely had to wear Nate because he was fussy.  Ok – there were few times. But mostly I wore him because it was convenient for me.

That’s right.  It was less about him, and more about me.

img_6634So I want to show people another perspective on babywearing.  The active side of babywearing. Not the babywearing that keeps your hands free to clean your house and do your laundry.  But the babywearing that keeps your hands free to control your giant dog and throw his ball.  The babywearing that lets you walk on trails that are not even jogging-stroller friendly.  The babywearing that meant I didn’t have to lug a stroller through airports but still had my hands free for luggage and documents.  The babywearing that means you don’t have to lug around a cumbersome infant carseat that wrenches your back and the babywearing that means you don’t have to balance a toddler awkwardly on your hip while you pick up a parcel or some milk on the way home from work.  That’s the kind of babywearing I am thankful for.

img_6628Even now, when I wear Nate less frequently than when I was on maternity leave, it is odd for more than a day or two to go by when I don’t strap him to me at some point so that I can do something that would be more of a pain if I had to carry him in arms or lug a stroller with me.  And Dale is the same.  He has worn Nate right from the get go, and hasn’t stopped since despite.  He even managed to navigate the learning curve of back carries without assistance!

So if you think babywearing is only for people with fussy babies, think again.  Babywearing is also for active people with perfectly happy babies.  Like Eva and Jackie.  The only other advice I would impart is this:  if you want your baby to be comfortable in a carrier you need to use the carrier regularly.  I find whenever I have gone for an extended period without wearing Nate, it takes a few carries for him to get used to being on my back again.  So we take it slowly, limit the length of carries till he decides it’s comfy again, and voila!  As Megan said, happy mama, happy baby toddler!  Seriously – how do they grow up so fast???img_0773

As well, and post by me on babywearing wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t mention my favourite babywearing accessory.  If you’re really in to being active while babywearing this is a must really, really nice-to-have item – a babywearing jacket from Suses Kinder.  I love, love, love my red and white version.  You can read more about it here, and rest assured I am just as much in love with it now as I was right after I bought it.  In fact Nate and I were out and about it our jacket during the first Cold Lake snowfall of the season just the other day.  We were both toasty warm and completely dry and very, very content.  And the new deluxe version by Suses Kinder even allows for a hip carry (in addition to the front and back carries!) in the jacket – which would be awesome for those quick trips into a store or down to the mail box!

Anyway you look at it – fussy baby or not.  Babywearing is great.  Google “benefits + babywearing” and you’ll surely come up with a million pages listing all the health and wellness that inevitably comes from mama (or Daddy) and baby being close.  And they are all true.  But there is also just the sheer joy of having your adorable baby/toddler peeking out over your shoulder or resting their head on your chest while you carry on with things that made you happy even before the arrival of your new tag-along!

So – did I advocate enough?  If not, here are a few more pics to prove how much all three four of us, love babywearing!

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A final note on the carriers pictured above:

-the wrap we used when Nate was a baby (the pictures where you can’t even see him!) is a Cuddly Wrap borrowed from my pal Kelly;

– the other green wrap in the hip cary pic is a 5M Gypsy Mama Bali Breeze;

– the carrier in the pic of Dale in the snow and by the river is a borrowed Kelty Kids carrier, which we didn’t love and didn’t use for long before we replaced it with the BECO baby carrier which is the bluish carrier you see in most of the pics;

– the brown pouch is a peanut shell which Nate didn’t love, so I sold;

– and finally, our hiking carrier is a Deuter which is fabulous for long hikes thanks to the vantage point and extra storage space.

Seriously.  How had I not found this site before?  In all my hundreds of hours searching the web for anything and everything cloth-diaper related?  The universe must have been working against me up until today because I am really not sure how I could possibly have missed this jem of a site.

The Diaper Jungle

They have info on every aspect of cloth diapering. From making your own diapers, to reviews of popular name brands and WAHM “brands”, to wipes recipes, to washing methods – even a list of clever comebacks for those cloth nay-sayers in your life!  When I said everything…I really meant everything.

But what I personally found the most useful today (this is for you too Josie!) is their comprehensive list of luandry detergents and what is/is not good for washing cloth diapers.  I had previously seen shorter lists but most often they only included American brands, and being in Canada it was difficult to find a detergent here on the list.  Well this list seems to solve that problem and includes (as far as I can tell) almost all popular mainstream and natural brands from both Canada and the USA.  I challenge you to tell me that you can’t easily buy at least a few of the brands on the list in your local supermarket or natural foods store.  This is an awesome resource.  And it was especially timely that I found it today since I have been struggling with stinky diapers over the last week or so.

My micro-terry stuffers seem to be clinging to smells.  And although they smell decently clean when they come out of the wash, once Nate has peed in them the stench is pretty bad.  I have “stripped” them (didn’t even know what that was until my pal Josie asked me about a week ago! LOL See – I’m learnign from you already Josie!) and they are certainly better, but I think they need a few more washes with some baking soda to complete the process.

In any case, I have had constant doubt about what detergent to use and have been wondering if the detergents I am using were causing the build up in the first place.  Now I know.  The stuff I am using now (Arm and Hammer Natural Essentials or Seventh Generation Free and Clear) are both ok, but my problem may have started back when I was using MelaPower by Melaleuca which is apparently a big no-no for cloth diapers!  I didn’t use it for too long as it seemed to give Nate a rash anyway, but it might have been long enough to cause some problems.  That and I think I am still using too much detergent when I wash.  Lessons learned.

So – if you use cloth, definitely bookmark this site.  It rocks 🙂

And just how did I find this amazing site that I had been missing all these many months of cloth diapering you might wonder??  Well, I was checking out Simple Mom’s tips on living productively and clicked on her link to a website called Stumble Upon, searched cloth diapers and VOILA!  Now if that doesn’t also tell you something about the value of Stumble Upon, I don’t what does!

I have been meaning to/wanting to answer this question since the day my sister posed it back at the beginning of May, but I have found it tough to write an answer.  I have never been very good at debating and since this is an argument rather close to my heart I think I am a little nervous to put my thoughts out there for all to read.  Not only that, but since Gill requested concrete proof I needed to find the time to do a little research.  And let me tell you…I am a wee bit out of practice in the research department! LOL

So, Gill asked:  “Do you ever think that all the extra laundry you’re doing with your cloth diapers, cloth wipes, cloth toilet paper, cloth hankies and cloth cleaning stuff is worse for the environmental problems than using some paper products? People keep saying no, but maybe you can find me some concrete proof :P”

I tried to find out exactly how much water my machine machine uses per load, but couldn’t seem to find that tidbit of info on the web.  I realize every cycle will be different, depending on the wash options you choose, but there wasn’t even a baseline figure.  What I did find was this excerpt from an article on cloth diapering at The New Parents Guide that talks about the different environmental impacts of cloth vs. disposable diapers.

“There has been much debate over the impact of disposable diapers and cloth diapers on the environment.  The pro-disposable diaper advocates say that the extra water used to wash cloth diapers is just as much of an abuse to the environment as the production and disposal of disposable diapers.  But taking into consideration the following estimates you will probably agree that disposable diapers are much more harmful to the environment than cloth diapers.It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone.  Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun.  Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing.The untreated waste placed in landfills by dirty disposable diapers is also a possible danger to contaminating ground water.  Pro-disposable advocates say that cleaning cloth diapers uses more energy and contributes to the load on sanitary sewer systems and potential water pollution.  This view really makes no sense if you think about it.  The amount of water used per week to wash cloth diapers at home is about the same amount consumed by an adult flushing the toilet four or five times daily for a week.  Also, the greater amount of water and energy being used by diaper service companies to wash large amounts of cloth diapers multiple times; the per diaper impact on energy and water supplies is actually less than home washing.Finally, when flushing solids from a cloth diaper down the toilet and washing the diapers in a washing machine, the contaminated, dirty water from both toilet and washing machine go into the sewer systems where they are properly treated at wastewater plants.  This treated wastewater is much more environmentally friendly than dumping untreated soiled disposable diapers into a

landfill.”

If you want my honest-to-goodness, personal opinion on the matter, I think people who say that using cloth is worse for the environment are using that argument as a cop out because they simply don’t want to be bothered with something they think must be a hassle.  And although I would really encourage people to use cloth, if someone chooses to use disposables that’s fine too – just don’t claim to be doing it for environmental reasons.

However, all that being said I have tried to take steps to offset the fact that I do more diaper laundry by:

  • washing all my normal laundry on an express cycle in cold water whenever possible
  • turning off the tap while brushing my teeth
  • taking shorter showers (I haven’t timed it yet, but I think most days I am only in there about 3-4 minutes)
  • minimizing toilet flushes (if its yellow, let it mellow)
  • not filling the kitchen sink as full when I do dishes

I also try to dry my diapers and other laundry on the line as much as possible.  In fact, even here while I’m on vacation, I brought my cloth diapers with me and have dried them and my other laundry on the line.  Not sure how well that will work in Cold Lake…but I will keep trying!

Another way I try to conserve energy and water is by maximizing the size of my laundry loads.  I have enough cloth diapers to wash every 3 days now, and at home I wash my cloth toilet wipes and mama cloth with the diapers.  As for all the other cloth I use, I usually save everything up until I have a full load of towels/hankies/cleaning rags/dish rags and dish towels. I would have been doing a small load of these items every week anyway, so a larger load is not much extra impact considering I have drastically reduced the use of paper is our house.  We also have an HE washer and an energy star rated dryer which use less water and and energy respectively.

And really, the days of all this extra laundry won’t last forever.  Nate will only be in diapers for a few years and once he’s a little older and the messes fewer and farther between, I can’t imagine I will go through nearly as much other laundry as I am right now.  But long after I’ve stopped doing extra laundry, disposable diapers will still be sitting in landfills full of untreated waste and more trees will be chopped down so that people can use an oversized wad of paper towels to sop up spilled milk instead of dirtying a dish towel.

Perhaps I am going a little overboard.  I certainly have friends (and family members) who think so.  But I like the feeling I get when I do my part.  And I like the fact that I am setting a good example for Nate about the importance of reducing waste and reusing things.

In fact, speaking of setting a good example, Dale had me a little paranoid when he told me that he didn’t think there was a recycling program in Cold Lake because it would cost too much to cart the recyclables to the nearest facility.  But I did a little more research and it turns out that a recycling program was initiated in 2006 and a compost program in 2007.  So we will be able to put both recycling and yard/kitchen waste out at the curb.  Although I think my challenge to myself will be reduce to amount of plastics that our family uses anyway, since recycling in and of itself is not a very efficient endeavour. 

Hopefully this satisfies your curiosity Gill!  And when your turn comes…there better be no disposable diapers on any Querin baby bottom!

Time for an another answer, and this time to Jackie’s question about my cloth diapering routine. Jackie is another real-life friend and fellow member of the CF. She worked with Dale for 4 years here in Comox before moving east to pursue her Master’s degree. Oddly enough I feel like I know Jackie even better now that we are living on opposite ends of the country than I did when we lived a few blocks apart! I just hope eventually we get posted together again so we can hang out again and solidify an already wonderful friendship 🙂 You can find Jackie over at Students of Life, where she is blogging about the impending arrival of Baby T. I thought since Jackie is getting close to the end of her pregnancy I should answer her question sooner rather than later!

Our diapering routine is somewhat different now than it was when Nate was first born, so I’ll go over both systems for good measure. I had a really hard time deciding what way to go with cloth diapers since there are so many options! If for some reason you are not clued into the fact that cloth diapering has come a long way in the last 30 years, you might still be thinking that all us cloth diapering mama’s are nuts. But really – we’re not! It’s actually really easy! Honest.

So before Nate was born I purchased the following:

24 unbleached newborn Indian prefolds

4 Bummi’s Super Whisper Wrap covers (small size)

4 snappis (to hold prefolds closed instead of pins)

5 Bamboozle fitted bamboo diapers (small)

1 kissaluvs fitted sherpa diaper (small)

2 XL bummi’s wet tote bags

1 step-open garbage pail

I think everything cost be approx $150 and I bought it all from Parenting by Nature. They are an online store in Orillia, Ontario and have wonderful customer service as well as great info on all types of cloth diapering systems.

The prefolds worked really well for a newborn and I would definitely go that way again. They are way cheaper than any other type of cloth diaper ($2-$3 per diaper), and not tough to use at all. At that point we washed every other day. Our wash routine was simply a normal wash in hot water, with Seventh Generation laundry detergent adding a second rinse. We didn’t soak the diapers prior to washing and because Nate was exclusively breastfed we never had a problem with poop smell or the poop not washing out in the machine. The wraps only need to be washed every 3-4 washes or if they get soiled. Everything but the wraps went in the dryer, although had it been summer we would have been line drying more often.

We had bought the Bamboozle and Kissaluvs to test them out before purchasing a lot. Although I loved the idea of using bamboo diapers they didn’t work for us – just not absorbent enough. I would have had to change his diaper almost every hour. The Kissaluvs however, were super soft, more absorbent and fit very nicely.

At about 3 months Nate started to outgrow the newborn size prefolds and we had a lot of trouble deciding what to do – stick with prefold, go with fitteds and covers, or try out an AIO (all-in-one) pocket system. I eventually decided to by a pocket sample package to test out 4 different pocket diapers (Happy Heiny’s, Bum Genius 2.0, Fuzi-Buns and SwaddleBees). My friend Rae-Lynn had gone with the Bum Genius right from the beginning and after a lot of debate and trying out the sample diapers we decided to go with the Bum Genius too. I think the final selling point was the fact that they are one-size-fits-all from 8-35 lbs! You just adjust the snaps as your baby grows, so there is no need to buy more diapers in different sizes.

I purchased 24 Bum Genius 2.0 from an online store called Tadpoles and Butterflies. They too had wonderful, quick service and a great rating from The Babywearer vendor reviews section. (I also ordered my Beco Baby Carrier and Suses Kinder Babywearing coat from them). I think the cost was approximately $500 and at the time shipping was free.

They have worked very well as far as I’m concerned. We are now on the middle size setting (switched when Nate was approx 15lbs). We the suede-cloth lining wicks moisture away and Nate’s bottom stay remarkably dry. He has never had a diaper rash – ever! We now double stuff for overnight and by morning the stuffers are soaked, but he is still dry. I find a hemp doubler works extremely well for double-stuffing. I must admit that I do find it a bit annoying at times to have to stuff the diapers, but it’s a small price to pay for the fact that they work just as well and keep him as dry as a disposable would.

Our washing routine is almost the same, except now that Nate’s on solids, we shake off solid poops into the toilet and swish if required. I was having a bit of trouble with the low water usage in our HE machine not getting the poop out of the gathers of the diapers, so I now do a 30 minute cold water soak in the machine, then a normal cycle with a pre-wash and rinse on the hot setting. I still use Seventh Generation but to combat the poopy smell I add a 1/2 cup of Borax to the wash cycle (not the soak). They dry in the dryer or on the line. I do diapers about every 3rd day for the most part.

One thing I think is an absolute must is having 2 of the Bummi’s XL wet diaper totes, that way I just toss the bag in the wash (but not the dryer) with the diapers and I have another one to put in the diaper pail right away. I also have a few of the small wet totes for the diaper bag and my used family cloth in the bathroom. I also wash my cloth wipes and family cloth along with the diapers.

Wow – this really turned into a novel! It’s funny because I remember reading about other people’s “systems” when I was pregnant with Nate and no matter how much I read, it all seemed very overwhelming and confusing. So I hope this helps at least a little bit Jackie! I think the bottom line is that you will eventually develop your own system through trial and error. I am happy with the fact that we went with a cheaper option first and then a sample pack of pockets before shelling out a lot of money on a single type of diaper. For example, had we just gone ahead and ordered 2 dozen of the Bamboozle, like I was considering in the beginning, I would have been very disappointed! If you’ve been totalling it all up, I think I’ve spent in the neighbourhood of $750 on cloth diapers and accessories – that should last me until Nate is ready to potty train. I have read estimates that disposable diapers cost anywhere between $50 and $80/month, even on the low end that’s at least $600/year…per child! So there can definitely be a significant cost savings to using cloth – especially if you’re going to be using them on more than one baby!

Overall, I am extremely happy with our decision to cloth diaper. Contrary to popular belief it is not difficult or extremely time consuming and I think the environmental benefits far outweigh the minor inconveniences (more about this when I answer Gill’s question!) Let me know in the comments if I missed anything you wanted to know and I’ll do a follow up post if necessary!

Thought I’d share with you the Earth Day activities around here! After almost a week of unseasonably cold weather today was finally a wonderful sunny spring day. Despite my rotten head cold Nate and I boogied on down to the Airpark (paved trail around the local airstrip) for a run/circuit training session. As it turned out Laurel and I seemed to have inspired a bunch of other new moms to get up and get moving too and there were 6 moms and 7 kids there this morning, including 2 first time postpartum runners. It was great to see so many people out and it’s definitely very motivating to have so many others watching me. Everyone did very well and we all enjoyed the sunshine, fresh air and ocean views! Laurel and I finished off the workout with a trip to Starbucks where we used our reusable mugs 🙂

After lunch when I put Nate down for his nap I continued to take advantage of the beautiful day and went out into the garden to get things ready for the season. All the weeds and remnants from last year’s crop have now been removed and the soil is all prepped for this year’s planting. Now anyone who knows me very well, might be wondering why I am yet again attempting to grow things. My track record is not so great! But Dale’s garden last year was so wonderful and I was so sad that he wouldn’t be here this year to have one again that I decided to give it a go myself. Before you go shaking your head….I’m going to go easy. Only a 4′ X 4′ bed and only lettuce and spinach for my green smoothies. Best to start small I figure.

Below is my daily pic from Saturday. We purchased our seeds for my garden from Good Earth Farms (in Black Creek for you local folk). I worked with the owners, Heather and Simon at the Nordic Lodge on Mt Washington for two years and love stopping by their booth at the local farmer’s market lately. If you are local you should definitely check them out the next time you are at the market. You can also check out their website here. It’s fabulous to be able to buy quality organic produce in season and support local farmers. I know Heather and Simon both work incredibly hard and take great pride in their crops and customer service.

Later today I have another walk planned with my sister and then it’s off to agility with Turner this evening. That should round out a pretty active Earth Day. I do wish that my day didn’t need to include as much driving, but today it was somewhat unavoidable.

I’d also like to point you to some interesting places on the net I’ve been to lately. First, on the Earth Day topic, Crunchy Chicken had a great post yesterday lamenting the commercial vibe of Earth Day this year which you should definitely check out. I also found an interesting blog called Pediascribe after Karen commented on my giveaway post (which you should check out here if you haven’t already). Pediascribe is the blog for Pediacast, which is a podcast about parenting issues. I’m listening to one on car seat safety as I type and it’s really good and very informative. You can download them through iTunes if you’re interested.

So, that’s all the news from me. How did you spend your Earth Day?

So who watched the finale of Oprah’s Big Give last night?  I was sitting on my couch in head-cold, sore-throat misery and caught the tail end of it.  Interesting concept – who can be the most generous, giving person.  The survivor of philanthropy so to speak.  One of the last things Oprah did on the show was to encourage others to go out and give of themselves – their time, their money, whatever.  Just give.

And what a happy coincidence that this week Melanie over at Bloggy Giveaways is hosting her quarterly carnival where all sort of generous bloggers give stuff away free.  Yep.  Free.  And of course I want to participate, but as you all know I’ve been on a bit of a “stuff” kick lately, and so I am a little loathe to add to the clutter that I know is already accumulating in your homes.  And I’m feeling extra generous and wanting to make difference after my run in with Oprah last night.  So instead of a traditional giveaway, I’m doing it a little bit different.

A while back I posted briefly on Goods 4 Girls, the effort spearheaded by Deanna of Crunchy Chicken to supply girls in Africa with reusable cloth menstrual pads.  The effort has been very successful already but there are lots more girls in need and Deanna practically has aid organizations falling all over her to get their hands on donated pads.

So for my bloggy giveaway I will donate a Lunapads Goods 4 Girls Starter Kit on behalf of my winner.  All you need to do to get in on the giving action is leave a comment on this post.  I’ll do a random draw sometime on Sunday April 27th and post the winner on the 28th.  And don’t forget to check out all the other giveaways, either.  You might actually score something free from one of them.  Here you’ll just go away knowing that you helped out some girls in need.

Good Luck!

What will you be doing tomorrow night in the dark?

In case you have been living in a hole for the last few months (in which case…your world is already probably pretty dark) consider this your official reminder that tomorrow night is Earth Hour.  So from 8-9pm (your local time) be sure to turn out any unnecessary lights to make a stand against climate change.

You may not think  that something as simple as turning out a few light can make much of a difference, but with the publicity attached to Earth Hour, which is sponsored and hosted by the World Wildlife Fund.  You can check out more info here or at the Earth Hour website, including pics of some major world landmarks with the lights out, kilowatt counters and lists of worldwide special events and great tips for conserving energy at home and at work.  If you live in or near Toronto, ON you should totally think about heading down to Nathan Phillips square for a free concert including Nelly Furtado, The Philosopher Kings and Fefe Dobson.

You can even upload pics of how you spent Earth Hour to a Flickr Group.

Bottom line: turn out your lights.  Together, tomorrow we can make a difference!

I think I’ve mentioned this blog before, but Greenstyle Mom posted a great link the other day that I have to share. It’s for a website called Act Green run by Scholastic Books. Greenstyle Mom was talking about the importance of teaching our kids about being kind to the planet and living in an environmentally friendly way. Obviously Nate is a little young for these kind of chats at the moment, but I know that this is a topic I will definitely want to share with him when he’s a little older. You know…like when he can sit up on his own and all! LOL

Anyway, Act Green is a kid friendly site with 100 tips on living”green”. And none as crazy as cloth wipes…in case you less die-hard folk were getting worried 🙂  They also feature a list of environmentally themes books for kids.  I haven’t checked that one out yet, but supposedly there are some great finds on there.

Another site I came across recently with lots of tips is Ideal Bite.  They also have tonnes of tips for green living.

So in case you were looking for some more ways to green up your life…now you know where to look.  And as a small update, I am showing marked improvement in some of my goals.  Especially remembering to bring my own bags and reusable mugs when I’m out.   I also now have my cloth wipes and so far, so good.  They are super soft, and easy to wash with Nate’s diapers.  In fact, for personal use and cleaning I am pretty much paper free around here these days!

Oh, and Crunchy Chicken has some giveaways going on over there this week, which you might want to check out.  And speaking of giveaways, keep your eyes pealed around here over the next week or so…I have a little something up my sleeve as well!

It’s kind of a long story….but I’ve accepted Christy’s challenge to drink green smoothies every day for the month of March. You may remember, way back when, Dale and I drank Green Smoothies almost every day. All summer long. I found out about them from Reesh, and then we read the book Green For Life, by Victoria Boutenko. We found it really, really interesting. But then towards the end of my pregnancy I started getting heart burn all the time, and the Green Smoothies were NOT my friend. And then after Nate was born, Dale tried to get back into it, but we were both so busy learning this whole parenting thing…and now all of a sudden it’s been almost 6 months!

So, while Christy is going to go gluten free (see Megan’s post here for info) for a month for her health, I’m going to go back to drinking my beloved Green Smoothies. Because I really do love them…except for the part about washing the blender every day. That part I don’t love…but I’ll get over it. Hopefully…

Alright…so now some of you are asking, “What the heck is Green Smoothie anyway???”

It’s basically a fruit smoothie (i.e. pureed fruit) with some “green” added in the form of leafy green vegetables like spinach or chard or beet greens, etc. And I know you may be thinking “YUCK!” but I swear that they taste great. Depending on the fruit and green combo you can’t even taste the greens (although some greens are stronger tasting than others).

We started out using Reesh’s basic recipe:

1 Apple (skin on)

1 Pear (skin on)

1 Banana

Water or Juice (enough to get the consistency you want)

Spinach (mildest of the greens)…just fill up the blender with as much or as little as you like.

From there we just started to experiment with whatever fruit we had on hand…and then with different greens. In the summer we used carrot tops a lot because we could get them free from the local fruit and veg stand.

So now you are all asking why on earth would I drink this crazy concoction every day? Well…they just make my body feel good. They are chockablock full of nutrients (which aren’t diminished by blending BTW). While I was pregnant they got my iron levels back up to where they should be without pills and they kept me regular, if you know what I mean. More regular than I have been in my entire life…and I’m actually a fairly regular person.

After a week or so I actually start to crave them.

So there you have it. Starting Saturday I am going to drink a Green Smoothie everyday for the month of March. I’ll try to post regular updates and even pass on some more recipes for you to try out. If you’re interested in doing the One Month…For Your Health challenge head on over to Christy’s and leave her a comment telling her what you’re going to do for your health (it can pretty much anything…). On Monday she’s going to post links to everyone who’s participating…so be sure to stop by on Monday too, so you can cheer us all on! Plus…if you join us, you can add Christy’s beautiful button to your site for the month of March too! She really makes such cute buttons!

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