POSTS WITH TAG: green guide

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    Ok, I have kind of an embarrassing (and somewhat shameful) confession to make. Even though I know it's a huge faux pas, I'm really behind the times when it comes to the whole going green thing. I run the air conditioning six months out of the year even though I live in the Northeast. I use plastic bags and containers and anything else that makes life a bit more convenient. And as far as recycling goes? Yeah, I try to do it. (Sometimes.)

    But thanks to CafeMom's new YouTube show, Mom-Ed: Green Living, there may be hope for people like me who are kinda clueless in the green department. The new show is hosted by Kristen Eykel, and it aims to teach moms the ropes of adopting an eco-conscious lifestyle. For the first episode, Kristen was joined by eco-consultant Alexandra Zissu, and she gave 10 easy tips on how moms can make their daily lives a little bit greener.

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    This is the first year that I’m packing a lunch every day (well, three times a week anyway) for my kid, and I’m a bit depressed about how much garbage we’re suddenly producing. I’m paranoid about germs and food safety, and as a result overuse plastic sandwich bags, snack bags, plastic wrap, and assorted other landfill-filling crap. But enough is enough! The other day, I was perched next to my daughter, Penelope, on a miniature chair, sharing lunch, when I looked around the octagonal table and saw that almost every single kid had some kind of adorable eco-friendly food container in his or her lunchbox. Now I have the lust for these -- they're washable, long-lasting, and in many cases actually better for the flavor of the food.

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    I admit it. I'm one of those people who refuses bags if all a store has to offer is plastic. I BYOB on most grocery trips, and I'm not talking about a bottle of wine. And it drives me nuts when I get leftovers wrapped up in Styrofoam. (Don't even get me started on coffee cups made of the stuff, ugh!) 

    That's me. But even if you don't necessarily consider yourself "green," you gotta admit that it seems like such a waste to see beautiful, sometimes pricey wrapping paper ripped up and thrown away year after year. It just makes sense to try to figure out eco-friendly (and on-the-cheap!) ways to wrap gifts. Here, six great bets that help you save money and the world while stealing a loved one's heart with that perfect present.

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    Cleaning the house usually leaves me awash with guilt over the potentially toxic products I’m using -- which means I’m a sucker for anything that says it biodegrades, or is safe for the environment, or doesn’t murder baby seals. But I’ve also got to keep my eye on my family’s budget, which often leaves me standing in the cleaning-products aisle of Whole Foods glaring at the various products and wondering which, if any, are actually doing any good. This is why I listened carefully to a recent radio show about the Federal Trade Commission’s revamping of their Green Guides -- which left things as clear as (organic) mud. If you’re wondering how trustworthy the environmental claims of your cleaning products are, here’s what I found out after a little digging.

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    With the Chelsea Flower Show just wrapping up in London, flowers have been on my mind -- especially the one named after Helen Mirren, which must look great in a bikini. It seems there’s a new trend in travel called “Garden Tourism,” where people plan their vacations around flower shows and famous outdoor destinations. On the one hand, this sounds like the kind of thing my mom would decide was fun and drag us kids to, and we’d intone, “Ohhh, a flower. Oh, another flower. Oh, another flower,” 'til she grabbed us by the scruffs of our necks and threw us back into the car, resolving aloud never to try anything creative ever, ever again. On the other hand, it seems cities are changing the nature of these kinds of attractions so they’re more about eco-tourism, loving nature, and learning more about ecology, which sort of brings into question the wisdom of taking a plane to see one, but ... anyway.

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    If home is where the heart is, we all must have really dirty hearts! Every day we're exposed to tons of chemicals, toxins, and icky pesticides. Yikes!

    They may be virtually impossible to avoid out in the great, big world, but we totally can make small changes in our homes that reap big benefits. 

    Check out 50 (easy, I swear!) ways to detox your home. Happy cleaning!

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    Everything costs more these days -- gas, airplane tickets, Royal Wedding souvenirs (I know you've been pricing Will and Kate throw pillows -- I think they'll go on mega-sale April 30). Add to that list your family's groceries. Milk, eggs, and even tartar sauce are all a few cents more ... which adds up big time. If only you could do something to shave off a few dollars of that food bill -- wait! You can! You can become a farmer!

    Okay, not like a farmer with a barn and livestock and bales of hay (psst, overalls are way overrated), but you can grow your own veggies on that little patch of grass by the patio. Some vegetables may not be worth it to grow on your own, but those more expensive, good-for-you salad fixings are perfect to plant ... and save moolah!

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    I hate winter. The cold, the sickness, the dark, the ice. Winter just plain sucks. And summer? The kids home from school, the hundred-degree heat, and the bugs swarming everywhere? No, thank you. But, spring? Spring, I wait all year for. It's the only thing that makes the other seasons bearable. It's just plain perfect. Why?

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    I try to be green. Really, I do. We recycle. We have reuseable Trader Joe's bags we lug with us to do our shopping (and that are fabu for toting toys to the park). We turn off the water when brushing our teeth. See, we're helping Mother Earth!

    I love reading ideas on how to green my life up even more (using an old plastic bread bag as an icing bag is genius). It's important to show Kiddo how little things we do every day impacts the environment, how what we use and buy and eat affects not just us and our bodies but everybody. I'm trying here, people ... but sometimes the lovely Green-sters hand me tips that are just not gonna work for me. I mean, these hints are too dang tough for me as a mama to do.

    As Kermit always says, it's not easy being green.

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    Earth Hour? Perhaps I am sheltered, but I have never heard of this one. Apparently, this Saturday, March 26, between the hours of 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., we are all supposed to turn off our non-essential lights and electrical appliances in order to raise awareness on climate change. Hence, Earth Hour.

    I mean, I've heard of Earth Day, and I've heard of Earth Month, but never Earth Hour. So, am I missing anything? Is there an Earth Minute I don't know about? If not, I may propose one to the government. Or at least to Whole Foods. It will be on September 4, and from 2:17 a.m. to 2:18 a.m. we must all hug the neighbor to the left of us while listening to our favorite Justin Bieber song. Hey, it's my holiday.

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