Friday, May 29, 2009

The ziploc bag dilemma

Ziploc bags? How un-environmental, right? Still, sometimes they come in handy. I only use a fraction of the amount I used to use. I try to find alternatives like reusing bread bags and cereal box liners instead of ziplocs. But as I'm working towards wasting less food and cooking double batches to save money and time, I find that I need them once in a while.

I found a fabulous post today on
The Greenest Dollar on How to reuse and recycle ziplocs. There are ideas for washing and drying them, labeling them so there is no cross contamination, and tips for figuring out how to recycle them when they have outlived their usefulness. Hop on over to the website and read the piece. It's helpful.

My youngest is in a production of
The Wizard of Oz this weekend (he's a munchkin and a flying monkey and a flower) - they are putting on three performances, plus his 7th birthday is tomorrow, and my oldest still has baseball, so I'm running around like a mad woman today so there's no original post.

Have a fabulous weekend.
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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Shred Stop: One of those smack your head against the walls, why didn't I think of this ideas

I hate to shred papers. They pile up for months before I do it and then I employ my kids to do it which inevitably ends up with shredded paper all over the house by the time it's done. And, we've gone through a few home shredders with burnt out motors - what a waste.

Someone has come up with a brilliant idea -
The Shred Stop. It's a machine that will be put in grocery stores that will shred your papers (even the ones with staples in them!), credit cards, disks, and more for $2/minute. I just read about this on the Ecopreneurist blog, and I thought, what a brilliant idea!

Think about it. Most of us let the "to be shredded pile" pile up for months to the point where it takes a couple of hours to do it all. Then you've got to dump the trashcans full of shredded paper into some other throw away container. That's always a huge hassle and mess. You've got to make sure it gets recycled, too.

OR for $2/minute (it's supposed to take 6 minutes to shred an entire file box full of papers), you can have it done quickly and someone else deals with the mess and the recycling. Yes, the paper materials in the Shred Stop get recycled.

Some people might not want to spend the money on something they could do for themselves for free, but I think this would be well worth my money because it would save me time and aggravation.

Right now, there is one Shred Stop being tested in Washington State, but according to their website, they hope to expand rapidly. You can put your zip code in
here to let them know you are interested in having one in your area. If you live near me, please go there and put your zip code in even if you're not that interested because I want one. Come on, think of all that I do for you ; )

Image: (which I'm sure was originally from the Shred Stop site!)
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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

8 Reasons to Pick Your Own

I have to get to the local farm that allows you to pick your own strawberries. I don't know when I can get there, but my summer will be much sadder without my strawberries that I freeze for daiquiris.

What's so great about picking your own fruits and vegetables from a nearby farm. I'll tell ya.

  1. It's cheaper. Way cheaper. I can get pounds of strawberries for about half the price of going into the little market right on the farm and buying them already picked.
  2. Zero waste. You can take your own containers to pick in. My kids take beach buckets.
  3. You get the freshest, best tasting produce. You can pick food that is perfectly ripe and eat it that day.
  4. It's educational. You and your kids (if you have them) can learn things (see my post last year on Lessons Learned in the Strawberry Patch)
  5. You'll support small farmers. It's not the big, agribusiness farms that invite locals to come pick. It's the small, family owned farms. They need our support.
  6. It's fun.
  7. It's good exercise.
  8. You can take awesome photos of your family and friends while picking. Really, every year, I get the best pictures. I'm really tempted to post one, but I don't use my kids' faces on my blog.
You can find nearby farms that allow you to pick what's in season at PickYourOwn .org. The site allows you to search by state, and they even have resources out of the U.S. Stumble Upon Toolbar

Friday, May 22, 2009

Plastic caps can be recycled through Aveda

The plastic bottles that most of us put in our recycling bins are #1 or #2 plastics - those are the most easily recyclable plastics. The caps that are one those bottles, however, are often made from a thicker plastic - #5. Most people toss them right into the recycling bin with the bottles, but when they get to the recycling center they need to be separated and end up in the trash.

Aveda cosmetics has a program now that makes it easier for those #5 caps to be recycled instead of ending up in a landfill. It's the
Recycle Caps with Aveda Program.

The program accepts caps that are rigid polypropylene plastic, sometimes noted with a 5 in the chasing arrows recycling symbol. This includes caps that twist on with a threaded neck such as caps on shampoo, water, soda, milk and other beverage bottles, flip top caps on tubes and food product bottles (such as ketchup and mayonnaise), laundry detergents and some jar lids such as peanut butter.

Excluded from collection are pharmaceutical lids and non rigid lids such as yogurt lids, tub lids (margarine, cottage cheese), and screw on lids that are not rigid. If you can bend or break the lid with your bare hands, then it does not meet the rigid plastic definition. Please do not include any metal lids or plastic pumps or sprayers. Unfortunately, too much of the wrong types of materials can contaminate the recycling process. We appreciate your efforts in keeping it clean!

You can bring your caps into any Aveda store and they will be recycled into new Aveda packaging. For store locations, click

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Eco-friendly wines for your Memorial Day BBQ

I've put up quite a few wine reviews on Mother Nature Network in the past couple of months, and I thought that I'd do a roundup here for those of you who are going out to choose wine for your celebrations this weekend. I only review wines that I like - if I drank it and I didn't like it, I won't write about it because I'm really not an expert. I'm just a wine lover who knows what I like. 

The links will take you to my full review.

Live a Little Really Ravishing Red - an organic, fair trade Shiraz from Africa. I payed $8.99 for the bottle.

Bonterra 2007 Viognier - I loved this white California wine that's made with sustainable grapes. It's a little more pricey than my usual wines - $22.99 - so I won't be drinking it every week.

Red Truck Petite Sirah and Sauvignon Blanc - These are the wines I'll probably serve at my own summer BBQ's. These California wines are inexpensive - $10.99 a bottle. They are both great wines to pair with cheeseburgers.

Napa Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc - I liked this wine, but at $17.99 a bottle, I'll probably reach for the Red Truck Sauvignon Blanc more often. It's a great cheese and crackers wine.

Organic ReLeaf Wine - This red is a fabulous Friday night pizza wine at an every Friday night price $8.99. The wine is from Africa and the winery treats their employees well, an added bonus.

Montebelli Fabula 2006 - A 100% certified organic Sangiovese (the grapes that Chianti is made from). This wine is good, but it definitely needs food to bring out its finer qualities. Great with pasta, and fabulous with roasted red pepper and provolone - maybe not so great for your BBQ, though. I paid $12.99 for the bottle.

Bonterra 2007 Zinfandel - If you're putting blue cheese on your burger on the grill this weekend, get this wine. It was an amazing pairing. I like Zins, and this one is a keeper. At $11.99 this wine made from organically grown grapes is a good value.

Do you have a favorite, reasonably priced (below $20 is reasonable in my eyes) eco-friendly wine that you think I should try? Tell me about it in the comments.

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Thursday, May 21, 2009

6 ways to stay green when money is tight

I read two conflicting articles recently about the effect the economy is having on people’s choices to buy green products. One urged consumers to think twice about paying the extra money for organic and green products in light of the economic crisis.

The other article stated that the economy is leveling out the playing field between conventional and green products. The energy saving practices that many companies that produce green products already employ has kept their costs from rising at the same rate as conventional companies.

Either way, it seems everyone is feeling the economic pinch, and choosing conventional products over green products to save a couple of dollars can be very tempting. I think we need to resist the temptation as much as possible.

Here are some tips for continuing to buy green in tough economic times. I've probably talked about each of them in one way or another before, but I thought I'd bring them all together in one post.
  • Don’t assume everything green is more expensive – If the one article I read is correct, the prices of many green products are remaining steady. Compare prices before you make the decision that you can’t afford a certain product in its green or organic form. In my grocery store, a canister of a popular brand of regular slow cooking oats is more expensive than the same amount of organic slow cooking oats from the bulk bins. 
  • Hit your local farmers market – The price for organics is usually lower at the farmer’s market than in the grocery store on everything from produce to flowers to eggs. By eliminating the high cost of shipping the items hundreds of miles, the local farmer can charge lower prices. Supporting local farmers during tough economic times is important, too. We don’t want them to go away.
  • Prioritize – If you decide you must cut out some of your green products, sit down and determine what you aren’t willing to compromise on. For me, it would first be the things that affect my kids. Organic milk is non-negotiable. The mini carrots that they scarf down at lunch since we made them a replacement for potato chips have to be organic, too. We’re also committed to buying fair trade coffee. What are you not willing to compromise?
  • Eat less meat – Organic or grass fed, free range meat is expensive, but instead of switching back to conventional meat, eat less of it. Buy a small amount of organic boneless chicken breast, cut it into cubes, and chop up a bunch of vegetables to make kabobs. You won’t even notice that ¾ of the food on your plate is vegetables. Institute Meatless Mondays in your home. Be wise with your leftovers, too. Freeze small, uneaten portions and when enough has accumulated, defrost and have a leftover night.
  • Do without other things so that you can continue to buy green – Read any advice on cutting back and the first thing mentioned will be expensive cups of coffee and lunches out. Is there something you can cut out so you can free up money to continue to buy green? How about your monthly DVD rental subscription? The local library has DVD’s to borrow for free. There is bound to be something you can cut out.
  • Make your own green cleaning products – The organic/natural cleaning products isle is one of the places that empties your wallet fast. If you make your own cleaning products from things like baking soda, vinegar, and tap water, you’ll spend less tan you would for the conventional products. You can use the savings on the organic food for your family.
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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

5 Ways to be Green at the Community Swimming Pool

Summer is coming! Summer is coming! You know how I know? The pool opens this weekend. The boys are so excited.

My family and I have a membership at our local pool. Admittedly, the pool in and of itself isn’t a green thing. It uses lots of water and chemicals to keep that water clean.

But when I look at what the pool offers my family – the socialization, the exercise, the something to do every day, the bonding my husband and I do with the boys when the pool is relatively empty and we get to throw them half way across and they come up laughing – I know it’s something I’m not going to give up any time soon.

But I can do things to lessen the environmental impact that our pool membership has in other ways. I started to do some of these things last summer, but this summer I’m committed to doing them as often as possible.

Here is what my family will be doing, and what you can be doing if you have a pool membership, too.

  1. Walk or bike to and from the pool. Throw your pool gear in backpacks or get a basket for your bike and leave the car at home. If you’ve got a lot of stuff, you could throw it all in a wagon (which of course the kids will insist on riding home in).
  2. Take your own food and beverages. Most pools have a snack bar or grill. The food comes on paper plates and the beverages come in throw away cups. And let’s face it – it’s not the healthiest food you’re getting from the snack bar, is it? If you plan ahead and take your own food and beverages along with durable plates, utensils and cups, you’ll save a lot of paper products and calories.
  3. Only buy new bathing suits, goggles, and beach towels if necessary. Just because it’s a new pool season doesn’t mean you need all new gear to go with it. If last year’s stuff is still usable, use it. The boys each got one new suit this year and everything else is leftover from years' past.
  4. Encourage recycling. Our pool has recycling containers, and I’ve been known to stop a kid who has been ready to throw a bottle in the trashcan and redirect him to the recycling can right next to it. If your pool recycles, make sure you encourage those around you to take advantage of it. If it does not, talk to management about starting a recycling program.
  5. Keep the kids out of the showers when they aren’t actually showering. Last year my boys went missing during the “adult swim” time at our pool. Turns out they had been in the mens room standing under the hot shower to keep warm while they weren’t allowed in the pool. I came to find out that many of the kids at the pool do this.

This summer, as you’re heading out to the pool or any other water activity, think about how you can lessen the environmental impact while not giving up your fun in the sun.

Image: Gabyu
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Monday, May 18, 2009

Me vs the Ants: I'm winning I tell you

For years, we had an exterminator come in to take care of our ant problem. He'd come in and spray poison (but not poison that was like, you know, harmful to my kids or anything....) around my home - particularly on my kitchen counters where I prepared food.

Before we initially called the exterminator, I did try some natural methods of removing the ants - not for environmental reasons but because I didn't want to pay an exterminator. 

I tried putting grits in their path because I had read that the ants would take the grits back to the queen who would ingest it. It was suppose to expand in her stomach when it got wet, and she'd explode and the ant colony would die away. I don't know if the queen ever exploded - I was too impatient to see if they'd die away naturally.

I tried sprinkling paprika on the counters because I had read the ants wouldn't cross over paprika. I'd wake up in the morning to find ants lined up on one side of the paprika like it was a starting line for a race. But if the paprika wasn't there, the ants would take over the countertops again.

I tried other methods, too, but none of them worked in the two or three days I tried them so I called an exterminator. About a year ago, I stopped the exterminator. I couldn't live with the poisons in my house near my children or the knowledge that they were ending up in the soil and groundwater any longer. 

This year, when the ants arrived, I didn't even try the natural remedies. I cleaned. I found what they were going for (the honey in a corner cabinet), moved it to a remote location, cleanedthe cabinet really well with an earth friendly cleaner and then cleaned the top of my counters really well. That stopped the onslaught of ants.

I still get scout ants that are searching. Each morning I come down to find a dozen or so desperately searching for something. I get rid of them and clean again. At night I make sure that the counters have been wiped down before going to bed. Believe me, this is a chore for me. If you read my little bio to the right you'll see I'm a really bad housekeeper.

This morning, I found only two. I got rid of them and cleaned again.

Every time I see an ant in my kitchen it drives me crazy, but I'm learning to live with it. I keep telling myself that eventually, the ants will realize there is nothing for them here and they'll try somewhere else, and that I can live with it till then because the way I'm handling it is much better for my family and for the earth than my old way.

My husband keeps mentioning the exterminator but he hasn't picked up the phone himself to call so I'm taking that as an unspoken acceptance of my determination.

How do you deal with the ants in your home?

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Grocery Store Wars, or May the Farm be with You

You can't walk through my house without tripping on a light saber. My six (almost seven) year old is a huge Star Wars fan. 

Funny little tid-bit. 

We were walking out of the train station in NYC the other day, and I called him my "little padawan."  He looked at me and said, "I'm not a padawan, Mom. I'm on the dark side." I said, "Even Anakin was a padawan at one point, honey." As I said that, we walked past two twenty-something young men and the one looked at my son and said, "Listen to your mother. Very wise, she is." The timing was perfect.

Anyway, that has nothing to do with the video I'm about to show you except that it's Star Wars Related. 
Cuke Skywalker, Princess Lettuce, Ham Solo, and Chewbroccoli fight the dark side of the supermarket.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Taking time to appreciate spring

It's been a crazy climate changing spring with the temperature rising into the 90's on one day then dipping into the 50's the next and heavier than even normal spring rains for days on end messing with my garden. The peppers and eggplants pictured above are doing well because they were fairly established when I put them in, but most of my tomato plants that I put in as small seedlings have been devastated by the heavy rains.

Yesterday and today, however, have been beautiful, sunny spring days. My windows are open as a type. Last night, three of the families on the block got together for an impromptu baseball game across the street, and all of us ages 2 - 45 had a blast until it got too dark to see the ball. Even though it was past my youngest's bed time by the time we came in,
we grabbed some ice cream from the freezer before bed (you need to try Ben & Jerry's Chocolate Macadamia made with fair trade chocolate and nuts!). This is what spring should be like. 

I took some photos this morning of the plants the beauty that is bursting out around my yard, and I thought I'd share them with you today.

If you're fortunate enough to be experiencing perfect weather, get outside and enjoy the views. Play a little, then be still for a while as you enjoy what's blooming around you.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

National bike month

It's National Bike Month and this week is Bike-to-Work-Week. But if you can't hop on your bike every day this week and ride it to work, perhaps you can do it just one day - Friday - on Bike-to-Work-Day. You've got a lot of bike riding opportunities here.

Do you have a bike that's been a little neglected for a while? It's time to dust the thing off and hop on. You'll feel just like a kid again when you're gliding down a hill with the wind in your face. Unfortunately, you might feel very much not like a kid when you're going uphill at first, but that's one of the reasons to dust the bike off. It's a fun way to get some exercise. 

Add to that the fact that biking is environmentally friendly - it uses no gasoline and creates no greenhouse emissions - and you know you need to do it.

May is the perfect month - it's not too hot yet in most places so you can start easing your way back in to riding around town and maybe even to work while the weather is beautiful.

I don't need to ride my bike to work. I work from home. But when I need to run an errand, I often hop on my bike and pedal off. Yesterday, I went to the bank on my bike. There's a small market in the next town over that's a nice bike ride if I just need to pick a few things up. 

If you're a little rusty on your rules of the road, The League of American Bicyclists has some tips for you to brush up on.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Books: The Green Teen by Jenn Savedge

My colleague Jenn Savedge, the parenting blogger from MNN, must be one super organized mom because not only does she parent two kids (hey, I do that), write daily for MNN (hey, I do that, too), and keep her own personal green blog, The Green Parent, (hey, I've got a personal green blog - this one), she also writes books about going green (hey, I.... want to do that some day....).

She's just published
The Green Teen, a straightforward, well-organized reference book full of tips, resources and advice for eco-friendly teens. In The Green Teen, Jenn not only explains the how’s of going green; she explains the why’s, too, and helps teen to understand the importance of the part they can play in caring for the planet.

There is information on how to Green Yourself, Green Your Home, Green Your School, and Green Your World. All of the tips and advice are things that teens really do have control over - its all advice about what
they can do, not what they can convince their parents to do.

From the back cover:

Let's face it: Adults will not see the devastating effects of global warming that you and your children and your children's children will ahve to face head on. So while it's a good idea to enlist the help of adults in the environmental movement, it is really up to you and your friends to spearhead the charge to change.

You have the knowledge, the skills and the POWER to save the planet. And this book can show you how.

Not only is the information in the book relevent to teens, it's been organized and presented in a manner that will get teens' attention. Lots of bulleted lists, charts, and sections that are broken up logically so teens can read through quickly and still get great information.

The book also points teens to websites and places they can text for more information. It's clear that every aspect of this book was written and designed with teenagers in mind.

I did a short review on the section about
packing a waste free lunch last week on MNN.

If you've got a teen in your life who is interested in the steps he can take to be more eco-friendly, introduce him to this book.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Coupons for organic and natural foods are out there

If the More Hip than Hippie podcast wasn't already on your radar before last week when I told you that I was interviewed for the show, I hope it is now. Each week Dori & Val bring relevant information about being green along with a high entertainment factor that makes a podcast worth listening to. 

I went for a walk yesterday and was catching up on some back episodes of the show that I hadn't gotten a chance to listen to yet. In one of the episodes, Val was talking about saving money through coupons in this rough economy and how someone had gotten something like $70 of groceries for $11 (my numbers might be off) after using coupons. My first thought was, "Ya, but what kind of groceries?" If it was all Hot Pockets and potato chips, it's not worth it.

If you're trying to eat a more organic and natural diet, the majority of coupons from the Sunday paper aren't going to help you save money. There are a few coupons for organics in those circulars, but you're going to have to look elsewhere for the majority of your coupons. 

  • Mambo Sprouts. One fabulous source that I've mentioned here before is Mambo Sprouts. Their website has downloadable coupons and you can sign up to be sent a seasonal coupon book a couple of times a year.
  • Ecobunga. Another online source is Ecobunga. Not only does Ecobunga list food coupons, it also has coupons for other organic products like clothing and cleaning products.
The rest of this list comes from a previous post I did on Mother Nature Network last year.

  • Grocery store. Many stores will have coupons for organic/natural products somewhere in the section where those products are. My store has a monthly free magazine that has short articles on food/health and a few advertisements with coupons. Take a look up and down the isles of your store – either the entire store if it sells only natural/organic or just in the specific section.
  • Magazines. Magazines that are of interest to people who are into organics, healthy lifestyles, yoga or even just food often have coupons along with advertisements. With a quick flip through a recent issue of Body and Soul magazine, I found a coupon for Frontier Natural Products and one for Old Orchard Healthy Balance Juice.
  • Favorite brand’s website. If there is a specific brand of natural or organic food that you like, you can often find coupons for their products on their website or sign up to be sent coupons via e-mail. Some companies, like Kashi, make it easy to get their coupons by sending them to you. Other sites, like Organic Valley, have coupons to download on their site.
  • Coupon websites. There are several websites that are dedicated to all kinds of coupons. Many of them have coupons for natural and organic products. Type “natural and organic coupons” into your search engine and you’ll come up with several dozen of them. It may take some time searching through them, but you’re likely to find some money saving coupons. Some of the websites require you to download software to get the coupons. Make sure you trust the site before you download software.

Remember that coupons are usually for processed foods. Even natural and organic foods can be processed. It’s best to try to eat mostly whole foods – those that haven’t been processed. Sometimes, though, our hectic lives have us reaching into the cabinet or freezer for something packaged. I know mine does.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Someone to root for

Is your favorite baseball team letting you down this early in the season already? Do you need someone really worth rooting for? How about rooting for Nathan Winters as he starts his "adventurous, real time and interactive bike ride across America dedicated to raising awareness for land and nature conservation starting May 10th in Maine."

What exactly does Nathan hope to accomplish with this trip? Here's his answer straight from the Q&A portion of his website

During this journey I am looking to create a very "on the ground" journalistic and educational experience and here are a few different ways I plan to do so:
  • Meet local farmers and land owners and conduct video and audio interviews. I am looking to learn first hand and educate my audience on the issues and risks our farmers and land owners are up against in today’s tough economy, convenience driven society and the cost of farming and maintaining land. I am also looking to stress the importance of consuming natural, organic and locally farmed foods.
  • I am looking to explore and learn about various parts of our country where the effects of climate change, commercial development and destruction of wild land has harmed, tarnished or endangered our natural wildlife and their habitats.
  • Get connected with people in the local community who care and or are working directly with the agriculture and wilderness communities. I would like to hear their thoughts, opinions and strategies to help improve and preserve the beautiful lands that are still available to us.
  • Gain traction with the local press. I am looking for outlets to have my voice and cause heard and brought to the stage. Raising awareness to the importance of land and nature conservation is essential.
  • Get connected with people at local universities and speak to students, professors in regards to the importance of the environment, land conservation, sustainability, climate control and how these issues tie into the new "political agenda".
  • Get involved with the local biking community. I need tips, routes, and possible meet ups with other riders.
  • I plan to attend events and conferences in the local area that will allow me to learn, educate my audience and network with other like minded individuals. I would enjoy creating recaps and highlights on my blog and social media platforms.
  • Places to stay, things to do, good timin locals, families and an all around fun experience. I want to experience every nook and cranny in every community I visit.
Now, doesn't rooting for this guy sound like something you want to do? There are several ways you can follow Nathan on his journey.

keep an eye on his website.
follow him on Twitter
friend him on
become his fan on
facebook (which yes, is different than becoming his friend)
read his
watch his
YouTube videos

Okay, this guy knows how to work the social media.

Nathan takes off this Sunday for his trip. He has no time table (ah - sounds wonderful), but if you'd like to see the route he's taking, click

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A fair trade mother's day basket

I don't particularly like gift baskets when you order them from a company that puts them together for you. There's always items in there that are useless or at least not to the recipient's tastes. But I think putting together you're own gift basket with useful and appreciated items is thoughtful and personal.

Mother's Day is this Sunday, and if you need a gift for a foodie, then I think creating a gift basket with
fair trade products is a great way to go. What can you put in the basket?
  • Wine - There are many fair trade wines out there. I did a review on one Live-a-Little Really Ravishing Red, a South African Shiraz, last week on MNN. If you are unfamiliar with fair trade wines, try going to a larger wine store and ask for some recommendations.
  • Chocolate - My personal recommendation for fair trade chocolate is Divine, but there are many really good fair trade chocolates out there. In my region, I can get them at Wegmans, Whole Foods, and I think perhaps Trader Joe's.
  • Coffee/Tea - Fair trade coffees abound at many grocery stores and there is usually some selection of fair trade teas, also. If you're adding tea, you may also be able to find fair trade honey to go with it.
  • Baked goods - Use fair trade chocolate, cocoa or sugar to make some decadent treats to put in the basket.
  • Vanilla - If the mom is a baker, she'll be happy to have some fair trade vanilla for your spice shelf.
  • Flowers - Fair trade flowers are available, but not everywhere. Click here to see some national sources. If you can't find fair trade flowers and still want to shower mom with some, go with a local grower.
What do you think? Would your mom be happy to get this as a gift. I'm a mom, and I know I would be. Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, May 4, 2009

#ecomonday hits twitter

If you're on Twitter, chances are you've noticed #followfriday. On Fridays tweeters list people that they follow that they think other people should follow. They also use the hashtag #followfriday in the tweet. No one has to follow the suggestions back, but it helps people find others with the same interests to follow. I've been introduced to some great green twitters this way, but now there's an even better way to find those who tweet who are green.

Last week, a new hashtag showed up - #ecomonday. On Mondays, green twitterers will be doing a green follow day. It's as easy to do as #followfriday. Just put #ecomonday in your tweet and then list other environmentalists on twitter that you would recommend to others.

You can then follow the #ecomonday stream by searching for it in the sidebar of Twitter or by following it at - the originator of #ecomonday.

You can also follow @ecomonday for more information on this in tweet form. And, you can follow me @rshreeves. If you're on Twitter, feel free to share your @ in the comments below.

If you have absolutely no clue what I'm talking about with all this Twitter, tweet, hashtag stuff, here's a great introduction to Twitter.

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Sneakin' in some sunflowers

Just got back from our guerilla sunflower gardening around town - some houses, some public places. 

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5 Ways to be green on an average Friday night

It's Friday. Yay! It's been a long week. If you've got a family like I do, most of the time Friday night means pizza, a family movie, maybe hanging out with the neighbors. Once in a while it means getting sitter and going out, but more often than not Friday nights are spent close to home. It's not bad. I like my family and my neighbors. So, on one of these average Friday nights, what some things you can do to make them greener?
  1. Borrow a movie from a neighbor instead of hopping in the car to go rent one or buy one. Everyone I know has a DVD collection. Opening up DVD libraries to your friends saves gas and money.
  2. Indulge in local or organic adult beverages. Friday night often includes a glass of wine or a bottle of beer (or two), chose local or organic drinks to make your indulging a little greener. Recycle empties!
  3. If you're heading outside to spend time with neighbors, turn off the lights in your house and power down electronics you're not using.
  4. Bring out a big jug of water or iced tea and cups for the kids instead of having them go through countless individual beverages.
  5. I know part of the Friday night pizza ritual for most people is having the opportunity not to cook, but if you're up for it, make your own pizza from organic ingredients instead of having one delivered.
These are all little things, but the little things add up. Do you have any suggestions to add? Enjoy your Friday night!
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