Green Eco-Friendly Birthday Ideas

It's that time of year again: cake, presents, and goodie-bags...it's Birthday Party time :)

And as we all know, planning a child's birthday party can be fun and dreadful all at the same time. A party is a wonderful way to celebrate the life of your wee little one. But with all the waste these soirees can create, it can drive a green parent nuts!

I remember one party we had for my son that ended in tears (f me, that is). Sure, some of the paper products were recycled in my clearly marked containers. However most of our reusables ended up in the trash with unwanted cake and dinner tossed in with them. I attempted to dig them out - which was absolutely gross - but I was more frazzled by the thoughtlessness of some of my guests. Hadn't I, ever so nicely, instructed everyone to reuse and recycle properly? And we won't even mention the countless gifts and wrapping and money spent and...well, the 'wasteful' list can go on and on.

Ok, so not everyone is
green savvy and even the best intentions can end up in a hit-or-miss situation. So what's a green parent to do? I'd like to share with you some - dare I say - fail proof ways to through a fun-filled green birthday party!

First and foremost, I say make it a combination of a traditional and reinvented green birthday party. You can't expect everyone to jump on board and be amused by your ever-green ways. So let's compromise...or at least that is what it will look like on the surface :).

Invitations...
There are tons of cool ways to do invites that will make you smile green. You can simply bi-pass paper all together and use an online invite service or email all of your guests individually. But what about those folks not online. Or worse, those who never read and/or respond to your emails?

There are endless ways you can get creative using recycled paper. Kids love to be involved in planning and helping out with their parties. So why not collect some reusable paper from around the house and make your own invites or get crafty and make your own handmade paper, complete with wildflower seeds. Paper making is fun and you can really jazz it up and make your invites unique. Another option would be to call everyone and leave a message...maybe telling them to check their email :).

Party Decorations...
Streamers and balloons are soooo old school. Let's think with our green-caps. For my daughter's upcoming birthday party we are going to decorate some old sheets with fabric paints - think little hand and feet prints in all colors - and cut them up and use them as table cloths and napkins. We can reuse these for all birthday celebrations in the future too.

Also, you can cut long shimmery streamers from the any silky material that you have but aren't using anymore (hint, hint: slips, nighties) and use them as decorations: Just simply hang them where they will dance in the breeze. These reusable decorations are great to use in lieu of balloons. They just end up being swallowed by baby turtles. So sad. Check your local consignment shops for pre-used slips and sheets that you can transform into reusable party decorations, or I bet your local fabric store has some festive threads that you can get a yard or two of.

Presents & Gift Ideas...
Oh, the presents. I have to say that this is the part I dread the most. Not only wondering what in the world to buy for someone else's kid and them not liking it, but what will everyone else buy my kids!? Plus, how much stuff do the kids really
need?

I don't know about you, but my kids have enough, and there are kids out there that don't. One green birthday gift giving option is to host a party host a party where instead of gifts for your kids, guests bring gently used or new toys to donate to a local shelter. Your child can pick which one and then help you make the delivery.

Another idea is to think local and register your child at a local toy store. And I don't mean the big-box corporate toy stores. Ask around, take a drive. We have such a store here on the east coast where I live that is filled with special gifts and good quality games and toys you won't find at the big plastic toy stores.

You can even ask guests to get your child a book in lieu of a card and write a personal note in the book. What child doesn't love books?! Also, you can send your guests home with a book in their goodie-bag. Everyone brings gently used books that they are done with for a new one. A book-swap party!

Another great idea is to ask for 'experience gifts' where someone can get your child a ticket to a show, a pass to a near by aquarium or museum. A camping trip anyone? These experiences will last a lifetime and won't break, aren't toxic, make a disaster of the house, are more fun and can involve other members of the family too. Everyone wins :)

My favorite way to deffer gifts is to, instead of gifts, ask guests to bring their kids favorite dish for everyone to share. Not only do you get a great variety of foods, this also cuts down on your own party costs. Which brings us to the best part of the party, IMO.

The Food...Yum!
Asking guests to bring food is great. If you are going to do it all yourself (for those supermoms and superdads out there) make all-vegetarian foods whose table scraps can be readily composted. Visit the farmer's market the week of for some fresh local produce.

If you do fire up the grill to satisfy the meat-eaters,
buy local. Introduce your guests to some of the unknown local possibilities like local farmers and ranches. Not everyone knows about CSA's and local places where they can get free-range meats and fresh organic veggies.

Dishes, forks, napkins and whatnot...
I like to use cloth whenever I can. Why cut down a tree to wipe my hands one time and toss it out? It's insane. Here you can use your reusable birthday bash table cloths and napkins. The washing machine does all the work. It's no big deal, looks great, and feels great too. You'll save money and the trees :)

As for dishes and utensils, if you are partying at home, use your own dishes. There are also some great reusable dish sets out there. If you are out and about at your local park for your birthday bash, there are some great compostable alternatives. Potato forks, corn spoons, PCW paper products. Check online or at your local green grocery store for some colorful options.

Goodie-Bags and Games...
Last but not least, the goodie-bags. Those little bags you give your guests on the way out the door, filled with tiny junky plastic toys that are not only a chocking hazard, but are cheap, break, and probably have toxic lead paint! Not to mention the candy.
Kids + candy?!...honestly, people. But you can't not have goodie-bags. The kids love to have something to go home with. They're kids, right? ;) So let's think outside the bag, shall we.

Kids love crafts. So why not have them make something that they in turn take home, and in a bag that they decorate themselves! Or, better yet, you and your child can decorate some brown reusable paper bags before the party that you can use in lue of a plastic one. For my son's last birthday party, we made some bags and the kids used them to bring home their handmade bird feeders: Send the kids off to find a pine cone, add peanut butter, sprinkle bird seed, and presto! Another year I made super-hero capes out of consignment found slips, complete with each child's first initial sewn on the back. They were a hit! (That's me with my daughter at my son's "Super Hero Training Camp" birthday last fall...like my power arm bans! Yeah, baby ;)

Other ideas could include: treasure hunts, have them make tie dye t-shirts, set up a paint-a-picture station, show them how to make homemade play dough, or they can plant a flower in a pot to take home. The options are endless. Get on your
green creative caps!

As always, with a little imagination and ingenuity, the
green possibilities are endless. I hope you enjoy your next birthday party 'green' style. I'm off to get mine underway. Wish me luck!

:)

Baby Blankets...knitting is back in and very GREEN

Seeing that I'm due with my baby at the end of August I knew I wanted to make my baby a very special blanket hand knitted by ME! I have many talented people on both my side of the family and my husbands side and I know that I will be receiving many more handmade masterpieces, but there is just something about hand making something for your own child.

I have made two blankets, the first one (picture on right) I started making during my first pregnancy last year. When I found out about my miscarriage I put the blanket in the closet as it was too painful to constantly be reminded that I wasn't going to be bringing my first baby home in October. After I became pregnant again I pulled the blanket out and decided I needed to finish it. I couldn't just keep going and pretend that the blanket hadn't already been started. I needed to have a marker as to where the blanket was made for our first baby and where I continued it to give to our first born. I ensured that there would be a place on the blanket my husband and I (and our baby) would know that this was made with love for our first. Still to this day when I pick up this blanket I have tears come to my eyes knowing that my first baby will never be wrapped in this blanket, yet at the same time I am filled with joy and love knowing that the baby I am pregnant with now will be cuddled in it.

The second blanket (which I just finished today, pictured on the left) I wanted to make so that I could tell my baby this was made especially for you. Since we are not finding out the gender of the baby until delivery I had to make it gender neutral. I must say I am so unbelievably PROUD of my work on this blanket, I want to show it to anyone and everyone!
Now I cannot wait until I have this baby and are able to wrap him/her in the blanket!

Keep America Beautiful! There's Still Time...

Have you looked outside lately? Take a walk around the block with your kids. Hike through the woods. Or just look at your own yard after a windy day. It's a mess!

Plastic bags, ignored roadside newspapers, candy wrappers, water bottles and more. All just lying around cluttering up the landscape. On a recent hike my kids and I actually found a ceiling fan in the woods...A ceiling fan!?!?

It is a sad absolute that when I take my children outside, they will see more trash laying around than other children playing and wildlife put together. Just as with violence on TV, the more they see it, the more immune they become to litter being a part of their world. If we don't do something about it, together as a family and a community, litter will become a permanent part of our great outdoors.

One way for communities to get together to tackle the problem is underway right now! Keep America Beautiful™, the nation's largest volunteer-based community action and education organization, is hosting The Great American Cleanup™ in communities, both nationally and internationally. "The Great American Cleanup™, [is] the nation's largest community improvement program, [which] takes place annually from March 1 through May 31, involving an estimated 2.8 million volunteers and attendees…The hardworking volunteers donated more than 7.7 million hours in 2007 to clean, beautify and improve more than 17,000 communities during more than 30,000 events in all 50 states and beyond. Activities included beautifying parks and recreation areas, cleaning seashores and waterways, handling recycling collections, picking up litter, planting trees and flowers, and conducting educational programs and litter-free events.

"Keep America Beautiful™ believes that each of us holds an obligation
to preserve and protect our environment.
Through our everyday choices and actions,
we collectively have a huge impact on our world.
"

Get Local & Get Involved!
"There are more than 565 certified community affiliates of Keep America Beautiful™ doing good works." Click here to find a group near you.

Can't find an affiliate in your area?
Start one of your own. "Organize a clean-up committee by seeking out a few people who share your passion for the cause. Set a meeting date and let the ideas flow. Decide which project everyone wants to tackle." Click here to learn how you can Organize your own Great American Cleanup™

Here are just some ideas of how you and your kids can get involved in Keep America Beautiful™:
  • Host a tree planting party
  • Put a new coat of paint on a graffiti-marked wall
  • Adopt a road with your friends and plant flowers
  • Sponsor a litter collection contest
  • Clean up a river or field that has become an illegal dump site
  • Collect recyclable and reusable items on your block and deliver to a recycling center
Together we can make a difference. The possibilities are endless!

:)

Go "Green"...or...Go Home

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about going "green." Is that it's all or nothing. You may be interested in going green but can't afford to trade in your SUV for a Hybrid, or you would really like to buy organic food but either your store has a bad selection or it too is cost prohibitive. I think this all or nothing mentality has made people hesitate to make any changes in their lifestyle. But it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Actually if you start out thinking it has to be all or nothing you're setting yourself up for failure. It's impossible to change all aspects of your life at the same time.

Our mantra is “Make small changes, don't try to do everything at once. Small changes multiplied over time by many people makes a big difference.” When you decide to change something in your life to be “green” it is more likely to stick if you make it a habit. Take using reusable shopping bags, just because you buy them doesn't mean you will use them, it has to become a habit to remember to bring the bags with you. Whether you leave the bags in your car so they are always readily available or you put the bags next to your grocery store list, whatever your routine may be just add the bags.

Making small changes to your daily life can make a difference, trade out your cleaning products to use more environmentally friendly products, change your light bulbs out for CFL’s, buy organic food, if not organic think local. Next time you’re at the grocery store and pick up an apple look to see if it says where that apple came from, Chile, Peru, Fiji, or was it grown in the U.S.A.? Stop to think how many miles that apple had to travel to be in your local grocery store, these are thoughts that can make a difference. It will surprise you how this will become part of your shopping experience, and may change what you buy.

Even the smallest of changes to your lifestyle can make a difference. Don't think that just because you can't change your entire lifestyle that you shouldn't attempt to change the things you can.




The Breastfeeding Promotion Act... Mark Your Calendars & Meet Me in DC!

Back in 2005, I drove down to DC with my little breastfed baby boy, popped him in my sling, and waltzed onto Capitol Hill to show support for the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. It was an awesome afternoon indeed, full of nursing mothers, breastfed babies, lactivists, speeches, cheers, and a powerful showing of our joined support for the Act that would surely help protect nursing mothers in the workplace.

Again in 2007, I the made the same pilgrimage, this time with my little breastfed baby girl in the sling, toddler boy at my feet, and my sister-in-law and her baby girl too. (We actually appeared in the following issue of Mothering Magazine, sitting on the steps of the Cannon Building where the press conference was held - my beautiful daughter in my lap, me reattaching the clip on my nursing bra...yeah, it was a Kodak moment alright...)

So, why do I mention all this, you ask?

Well, guess what's coming up? (For those of you who are mathematicians, yes, it happens every two years). And this year - 2009 - the date to mark on your calendars to join in support of The Breastfeeding Promotion Act in Washington, DC is June 3rd @ 11:30am.

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act is to be reintroduced on June 3rd by Rep. Maloney's (NY). The following is from mama Lorrie Leigh who has been asked to coordinate an activist presence at the press conference that day. Below is the email she is trying to make go viral to all parenting lists, blogs, communities. Feel free to pass this on...spread the word!


To all breastfeeding activists/lactivists/concerned citizens!

Rep. Carolyn Maloney is going to reintroduce the Breastfeeding Promotion Act to Congress in June. With a change in leadership in both Houses and a White House that is attuned to work/life balance issues, this year we need to push hard for passage!

The Breastfeeding Promotion Act will:

  • Add breastfeeding mothers in the workplace as a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • Provide incentives for employers to have private lactation areas for workers
  • Create a performance standard for breastpump equipment
  • Create tax deductions for pumping equipment
Rep. Maloney and other co-sponsors will hold a press conference on June 3rd at 11:30am on the Cannon Terrace at the Cannon Building on Capitol Hill. Once again we are gathering as large a presence as we can to attend the press conference in support of the bill.

Here is what we need from all who care about this issue:
  1. First, we need you to contact your Rep. in the Congress (find him or her here http://www.house. gov/ ), this week, and ask them to sign on as a cosponsor of the Breastfeeding Promotion Act. The more cosponsors a bill has, the more attention and support it garners. We need all 435 Representatives to know how important this bill is to the 70% of mothers who work and may desire to breastfeed once they go back to work. So call AND email your Representative and ask to speak to a legislative aide today.

  2. Second, we need anyone within driving distance of Washington, D.C. to make plans to join us on June 3rd at 11:30 am on the Cannon Terrace at the Cannon Office Building, Independence Avenue and 1st Street, SE, Washington, DC 20003. You can drive in if you are willing to come early enough to hunt for parking spot south of the Cannon Bldg. or take Metro to the Capitol South station on the Blue/Orange lines. This link shows a picture of the terrace where we will meet: http://www.visiting dc.com/capitol/ ca...ng-address. htm

    We need pregnant and nursing mothers, their supportive partners, grandparents and all your cute little nurslings and toddlers to join us that day for the press conference. At previous introductions of the bill we have had between 100-200 attendees at the press conference. We would like an even bigger showing this year. It is very important that you RSVP to wchappel@myexcel. com with the number of adults/babies/children attending so we can be prepared (and have enough kid friendly snacks/drinks on hand). And so that I can email final details to all the night before the event.

  3. Third, we need everyone who attends to plan on visiting the offices of their Representative in Congress immediately after the press conference, to personally appeal to them to throw their support behind the bill and sign on as an original co-sponsor. Don't let the opportunity to have face to face interaction with your legislators pass you by. Last time I went I had a very spirited conversation with a young female legislative aide who clearly didn't understand why her boss should care about this bill. The House of Representatives link above will give you the address of their Washington office. All of the legislative office buildings are clustered near Cannon Office Building. If you call ahead you can make an appointment (I would suggest you make an after lunch appt. time and go get some lunch with your kids after the press conference) to speak to someone.
Lastly, if you have a workplace lactation discrimination story you would like to share at the press conference please email wchappel@myexcel.com immediately. The speakers lineup is being put together now and some mothers may be invited to talk about their own stories.

This is the year to get this done! Please forward this message to every breastfeeding, parenting, working parent list and group to which you belong, just keep the contact info intact."

Thanks all,
Lorrie Leigh, AAHCC



feel free to copy the above and spam all your green lactavist friends!

Here's to a great turn out ;)

Quick, Easy Granola Bars...Yum!

I don't know about you, but every time I try to make granola bars all I end up with is cereal (as the bars never hold their shape, crumbling everywhere!) So I asked a dear friend of mine if she'd share her famous granola bar recipe that not only solves this problem, but is also super delicious...and she did!

Enjoy :)

Recipe by guest mama Suzy Provine

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 cups almonds
  • 1/4 cup roasted sesame seeds
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp + 1/2 tsp virgin coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots

Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish with 1/2 tsp coconut oil.

  3. Coarsely chop almonds in food processor, pulsing to prevent it from pasting up. Remove from processor and set aside.

  4. Place apricots in food processor and pulse to mince without allowing it to paste up. Set aside.

  5. Place oats and almonds on a large rimmed cookie sheet. Roast in the oven for about 15 minutes, stir up the mixture several times for even roasting. Mixture should take on a nice medium golden-brown tone. Do not allow it to burn.

  6. During the last 7 minutes that the oats are roasting, combine the honey, 3 Tbsp coconut oil, vanilla, and salt in a large saucepan. Place over a medium-low heat for about 7 minutes. The honey should be hot enough to flow freely and combine with the oil.

  7. When you remove the oats from the oven, reduce the heat to 300 degrees.

  8. Add the oats and sesame seeds to the honey and stir to combine. Add the minced apricots and mix well.

  9. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Using a flat spatula, firmly press the mixture into the dish, ensuring an even distribution and level surface.

  10. Bake for 25 minutes at 300 degrees. When you remove the dish from the oven, slice the baked cereal into the size and number of bars you would like. Be careful to not crumble the bars as you slice. If necessary lightly press down with your spatula on any bars that need reshaping after the cut. The bars will be soft and crumbly while they are hot. Allow them to cool completely before attempting to remove from pan.

Beat the Heat! Be Green & Save Money this Summer...

If you have an energy star rated air conditioner and solar panels (aka: free electricity) than this post is probably not for you...But for the rest of us who are limping along with old worn out AC's and not enough in our budgets to upgrade (and go solar), we'd like to find other greener options to help us beat the heat...and save a little green at the same time :)

Just a few weeks ago, we had a stretch of days that were in the 90's. Thankfully it didn't get as humid as it usually does here when it gets hot (most days it's 90*F/90% humidity...gross...) but still, it was nice and hot! And usually we turn on the AC when it gets that hot. But I wanted to try a different way of keeping the house cooler without raising our energy costs. Besides, it always seems that the moment we turn on the AC, the outdoors seems so...HOT...causing us to not want to venture outdoors for the fear that we might burn up and expire!

So I decided to turn back the clock and try out the old fashioned methods of dealing with rising temps. In addition to turning on the ceiling fans, I opened the windows.

Breathe In, Breathe Out...
First thing in the morning the air outside was nice and chilly. By utilizing low energy using window fans (not to be confused with window-shakers) I set them to intake so that they would pull the cool air from the outdoors into the house. We have about four, so I spread them around the house, creating a chilly spread of fresh air.

A little after lunchtime, I noticed that the air outside the house was starting to feel just like the air inside. So, with a quick flip of the switch, I set the window fans to exhaust, pulling the air inside the house out. This worked out great, keeping the house well below 75 all day long.

Up, Up, and Away!
On the more hotter days, when the indoor temp was raising above 78, 79, 80...I tried something that my grandmother always used when I was a kid. We have a fan that helps cool off our attic, but our attic is closed off to the rest of the house unless we open the trap door in the ceiling. So there is a ton of hot air trapped down in the house that would otherwise escape up through the attic and out the fan if it were open.

To my 5 year old's delight, mommy opened the attic door, which is nicely situated in the middle of the upstairs hallway...and I kept it open, just about a foot'ish, all day and night, allowing that air to get sucked up and out of the house. (Thankfully he's still short and can't jump to get the ladder down yet! ;)

Create a Cross Breeze...
To create a huge cross breeze effect from this, I opened the front door and left it open to the screen door, allowing the cool air from the front door to get sucked up to the attic opening. I'm not good with all the engineering details of all of this, but it did work! Just use a little inginuity and creativity to find what works in your house.

Get Outside :)
Honestly, if you start using this method now you'll find that you stay more comfortable letting the airflow do the work longer and than rushing to turn on the AC. The body acclimates to this method (the Amish say within 3 weeks you won't even notice it anymore) therefore you can keep the AC off longer, saving money.

I know I found myself spending more time outdoors - which is really good for all of us (most Americans spend 90% of their days indoors!). There wasn't that huge shocking factor between the temps outside and inside, so it was just as easy to be inside as it was to be out. We all know it's easier to stay indoors all day if it's 65 and chilly, the AC chugging along... Who would want to go outside in the 90 degree heat then?! And the kids didn't complain a bit. They'd rather be outdoors too ;)

Do What You Can Do...
I know - with the way summers are here where I live on the east coast - there will be days that are way to humid and hot that we will cave in and use the AC. But knowing that I can use this method more than using the AC this year, I can't wait to see just how much money we will save.

Interestingly enough (as explained in minuet mind numbing detail by my HVAC expert hubby) using the ceiling fans, window fans, and attic fan all together, all day long, will costs less over the course of the summer than if we were to use the air conditioner all day and all night. That really makes me want to try this method as many days as I can throughout the summer. We need to save money anyway we can, and this is one of those things that we can rather easily.

Above all, living green is about doing what you can do whenever you can. Don't get yourself down about not being able to do it all...especially if you're just starting out on this green venture. We all grew up with quite a few non-green conveniences, so sometimes it can take a stretch to think about what we can do differently to be more green, and to keep implementing those ideas rather than falling back on the not so eco-friendly ways...

So focus on the little green steps that you make everyday and get excited about the compounding effect it'll have on the way you live!

This is one of my an experiments anyway...
I'll let you know how well it works out! ;)

Eco-Friendly Green Birthday Ideas... Send Out the Invites!

Having a party?
Then it's time to send out the invitations! But with the cost of stamps rising all the time (they just rose the price again!) and well, paper...some of it's recycled and if you're lucky you'll find a set of invites or blank notes that were made from recycled paper...but the time it takes to buy and send the invites, well, most of us would rather just not and say we did...

Then again, there are some really cute options out there, right? But, most of the stuff in the stores is made from unsustainable paper sources, most of which is printed and shipped in from China...and when you think about the cost of trees, production, fuel, unfair trade practices...those are really expensive invites!

But you have to get the word out that there is a party, right? Thankfully, there are tons of cool ways to do invites that will make you smile green :)

Go Paperless :)
You can easily bypass paper all together by using an online invite service or email all of your guests with a creative mass emailing effort. Whenever I am hosting a shindig, I like to use evite.com. They have new features now, too! You can ask guests to bring certain items, calculate how much local organic wine you need verses how many recyclable juice boxes because evite.com allows people to reply with how many adults and children are coming. It's really nice for people like me that hate keeping track of every little thing...it does most of the work itself...and it's free!

But what about those folks not online. Or worse, those who never read and/or respond to your emails?

Send a Green Message
There are tons of cute card shops online that specialize in recycled paper invites, some of which have awesome green messages on them! What better way to set the mood for your green party than having it loud and clear on the invite that this will be one of those parties: a fun filled, trash free, Mother Earth lovin' bash!

Create Your Own
I know my kids love being involved in planning and helping out with their parties. So why not collect some paper from around the house and make your own invites out of handmade recycled paper. Paper making is fun and you can really jazz it up and make your invites unique.

As for the Internetless crowd...this is when the artsy-crafty of you will shine :)

Reuse & Recycle!
Recently, I found a pile of old unsent birth announcements that I had in a box (from ordering twice as many as I needed for baby #2...oh, the woes of a mommy brain...) So, for my daughter's upcoming party, instead of tossing/recycling those beautiful baby pics of hers, I'm going to reuse them and hand write the party details on the back...I just hope the old timers look on the back and see that it's a birthday party and not think that I just had another baby!

Another option would be to call everyone and talk to them directly (wow, what an idea!) or leave a message...maybe even use this idea to tell them to check their email for the invite...ha ha ;)

Honestly, there are endless options and ideas out there. You just have to use your creativity using materials you have around the house and online. You never know, you could come up with the next best invention and make a WAHM business out of it...wouldn't that be awesome!

Got an Idea?
If you have a great idea and can't wait another second to share it, feel free to leave it in the comments, along with a link to your blog OR maybe even your eco-friendly shop online that sells such wonderful things.

Have a nice day and stay tuned for more eco-friendly green birthday party ideas :)

Peace :)
Green Mama Lia

Green is as Green Does... All About Green Mama Lia :)

Ok, so I get a chance to introduce myself now ;)

I'm
Green Mama Lia, born and raised all over this great big green-n-blue Mother Earth (military brat here!) and one of my major life's missions is to live as green as green can be! Or - in other words - as green as I am able to each day in any way I can...

I'm a mama of two growing
greenies: a garden master, Mother Earth worshiping little boy; and a veggie vacuum, organic fashionista little girl. They are the love of my life and the very reasons I can't do anything ungreen: whatever I put into their little bodies better be good for them and the earth they live on!

A little about my own adventure into this green lifestyle..I'll try to make this as short as possible :)

When I was in college, I had an interesting journey with endometriosis which coincidentally does very well in a body that is stressed out by both mental and environmental toxins. While doing research for an article in the university's newspaper on my lovely 'female problem' I discovered that endometriosis can be caused by dioxins. What are dioxins, you ask? The short answer is they are practically everywhere, but mostly in bleached products, as dioxins are the by product of chlorine. A very toxic pollutant indeed, especially in the body. This discovery started me on the green journey that I continue even today, encouraging me to switch to a free from toxins lifestyle, eating a whole lot healthier, and never stopping from asking the serious questions: is this good for me? for the planet? And if not, what are the alternatives out there? Is there a greener option?

And, the short answer to those questions is, YES! :) Thankfully there are old and new green alternatives everywhere.

Which leads to how I became a Green Mama :)

I used to paint murals (still do, but with the economy n'all...yeah, you know) and I used whatever materials they had at the store. That is until I found that I was 2 months pregnant with baby #2...yikes! and I had just faux painted a huge room with possibly the most toxic crap that was ever created by man. About to hang up the paint brush for good, my dear brother Wayne of LiveGreen, a green lifestyle consulting company, informed me that there were much safer and green paint options...Duh, Lia!...So I made the switch to green paints...phew!

It's all about the little green steps, baby ;)

So that's me, in a fuzzy green nutshell: I am a true toxin-a-phobe, mama to two greenies, married to conservation man-of-the-year and, although we don't have enough green to do everything perfectly eco-friendly from the start, we attempt to use green methods and materials in our everyday lives, any way we can.

It's all about being creative with your green ways!

And that's why I wanted to do this blog. There are so many different ways to go green...and what better time to start your green adventure than when your a mom or mom-to-be :)

Hope you enjoy our blog!

:)

(btw, my son took that pic of me...isn't he such a great photographer! :)

My Journey to being a Green Mama...by Amanda Green

My journey to becoming a Green Mama started years ago. Soon after my husband and I got married in December of 2000 he started a job at a local BioTech company. One day while at work he learned about the process of the non-organic chicken's life and death, he came home and told me of his day. That day was the day we both vowed to only eat organic meats and we've never gone back. We learned that this path into a "green lifestyle" was a slippery slope and soon everything in our lives was "green." All of our vegetables, household cleaning products, paper products, laundry detergent, the list goes on and on.

Although we were not at that time ready to start a family we knew that we were preparing ourselves for the healthiest lifestyle possible and in doing so giving our future children a healthy start. We spent 7 wonderful years married, just the two of us when we decided that it was time to start our family. It was a wonderful 7 years of just the two of us but we were ready to know the miracle of children.

We were so blessed to get pregnant the first month we started trying in January of 2008, and we couldn't be happier. Sadly that pregnancy ended with a missed miscarriage at 14 weeks on April 11, 2008. Until this moment in my life I never knew that missed miscarriage's even existed, I assumed (naively) that the pregnancy was fine as long as there was no bleeding. I couldn't understand how this could happen to me, I was healthier than almost any pregnant woman I've ever known and yet they all went on to have healthy pregnancies. This single event in my life took the ground out from under me and my husband, we struggled with daily life and finding our path to happiness again. We spent each month after that trying again for a baby only to be disappointed month after month. 8 months to the day of my D&C, December 11, 2008 we were thrilled to find out that we were expecting again. All of the pain, loss and grief we had gone through the last 8 months was finally overshadowed by pure elation and happiness.

That brings us to the present. I am now currently 25 weeks pregnant and due August 21, 2009! I have never felt better in my life. I did not suffer from a single moment of morning sickness (for this I feel very lucky), I have had the most amazing pregnancy. I have dreamed my whole life of being a mother, of being pregnant and relishing in this miracle that is growing inside of me, but never in my life did I imagine I would LOVE being pregnant as much as I do. I knew I'd love it, but I never knew I could love it this much. From the moment I knew I was expecting this baby my husband and I felt so blessed and promised to not take a single moment of this pregnancy for granted, every single day we feel so blessed to have this miracle in our lives and we cannot wait to meet our son/daughter (we waiting until delivery to find out the sex). Until that moment we are going to enjoy every minute of every day and not take a single second for granted.



The Birth of a Blog!

The labor wasn't too bad, only took a few moments of excited back and forth emails, and then wham! The Green Mamas blog was born ;)

We're excited to introduce you to our new blog. This blog is the brain child and joint effort of two very awesome everyday green mamas who happen to live in two very different worlds although couldn't be more similar in their quests.

So, come travel along with Green Mama Amanda & Green Mama Lia as they blog their adventure to be more green in everything they do, every way they can ;)

Feel free to kick off your shoes and stay awhile...this is going to be fun!