Thursday, September 29, 2011

Composting 101: How to Make Compost (The Easy Way)

We have been talking a lot about gardening and natural products. Well, composting is one of the best, most natural things you can do for your garden and your environment. You probably know what composting means—it’s becoming pretty popular—but how on earth do you do it? Composting is essentially combining scraps of organic material so that it breaks down into a nutrient- and microbe-rich “soil." This happens in nature all the time. It’s how plants existed before people arrived to fertilize and mess with them. As organic matter breaks down, it feeds other plants, giving them what they need to fight disease and grow.

If you have ever researched information about composting, you may have become overwhelmed. A lot of resources make it sound like if you don’t do everything perfectly right, you’ll have a rotting, stinking mess. I used to worry about this and even went so far as to buy a thermometer to make sure my compost pile was getting hot enough for proper decomposition. I turned it religiously and tried to monitor my ratios of brown to green stuff.

And then I had two kids, got lazy, and didn’t touch my compost bin for a year. When I started gardening again, I stuck a shovel into the bottom of the compost bin and pulled out … COMPOST!

So this is the lazy, beginner’s version of composting. The point is that it works. It gives you a foundation to start from, and you can perfect it as you go. This is the lazy person’s guide to making compost.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Change the World Wednesday: Reduce Water Waste

It's been a while since we joined in on the Change the World Wednesday (#CTWW) challenge at Reduce Footprints. In case you're reading about this for the first time, the goal of CTWW is to get a bunch of people to make a small change that has a big impact on the environment (in a good way), especially if they all do it at the same time.

We have been too busy to post, comment, and write about Change the World Wednesday, but living harmoniously with the Earth is in our blood. So it's not like we've been galavanting around, turning on lights and wasting gas. But now we're ready to get back in the game and work on this.

Please join us. The more people who work on the same environment-saving activities each week, the more of an impact we'll have.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Bringing it all Together

Photo modified from Flickr
When we started this blog, of course we had a game plan in mind, but we are busy mommies--things tend to take a path of their own sometimes. Our simple game plan was this: to discuss the "green" aspect of life--of parenting, of living, and shopping. We're passionate about making the environment a safe and happy place for our kids, grandkids, and the rest of 'em.

As we began talking about what we could post about on the blog, we realized that we really wanted to connect the community--both local and greater--with the greener side of life.

So to emphasize our mission with this blog, we've added that tag line to our header. Because that's what we're all about.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Green Living: The No Poo Challenge - Tips and Tricks

So we're not the only crazy ones. Other people have done the No Poo thing too. And they are addicted. It certainly has made my hair more manageable and has brought out my natural wave. It definitely took some time to get used to. In fact, I went off the wagon a couple of times in the past few months because I felt like my hair was greasy, and you know what? When I washed it with regular shampoo, it was greasier.

This is what my hair looks like since I've done the No Poo challenge (and this was on a day when it felt kind of greasy):

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What's New: Cape Fear Maternity and Baby Expo

Cape Fear Maternity and Baby Expo
Green Baby Diaper Service is going to be at the Cape Fear Maternity and Baby Expo again this fall. The expo is on October 1 from 10 AM to 3 PM at the Coastline Conference & Event Center. It costs $5 to get in, but if you stop by Green Baby Diaper Service, you can pick up a coupon for $1 off.

This baby expo in Wilmington is not only for expecting moms. It is advertised as having "everything from pregnancy to preschool." It's a great place for parents to find out about all the child- and baby-centered businesses in Wilmington, from pediatric dentists in the Cape Fear area to local child and family photographers to the cutest kids' boutiques.

Including, of course, Green Baby.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Green Business Spotlight: Progressive Gardens

My fall garden
When you walk into Green Baby Diaper Service, you’ll often find a new or seasoned mom or dad chatting with one of the ladies there. They might be asking about diaper creams, wondering about the newest cloth diaper covers, or sharing parenting advice.

The same thing happens when you walk into Progressive Gardens, the organic gardening store in Wilmington across the street from Green Baby Diaper Service. Except people aren’t asking about how to raise their kids, they are asking about how to raise their plants. Progressive Gardens is one of those places where you can shop for gardening supplies, seeds, rain barrels, or nursery containers, or you can go to find out about local organic farms, natural approaches to lawn care, and more.

You know how there is so much information out there about cloth diapers that if you try to research it on your own, you end up completely overwhelmed? Gardening is similar. It’s best to do a little planning, but then jump in and ask questions as you go along. And even with all the information out there on the internet, I find it’s so much more straightforward to just go into Progressive Gardens, ask about your specific issue, and buy what you need right there.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Cloth Diapering Tips – Use the Sun to Remove Stains

You would think that you wouldn’t care if your diapers were stained. After all, they just get pooped and peed in. And they are just going to get pooped and peed in again after you remove the stain. So why bother? I don’t know—I guess it’s kind of like making your bed. You’re going to go back to bed in about 14 hours, but it’s nice to have it look neat and clean until you mess it up again.

But baby (or toddler, or preschooler) poop can stain a diaper pretty badly. If you don’t take care of it, you’ll end up with diapers that have overlapping, mossy green stains all over them. And then you’ll be out and about, changing your baby’s diaper at your next play date, and it’s a little embarrassing to pull out those stained diapers. Your friends might wonder why you’re putting a dirty diaper on your baby. Well, it’s not dirty, it’s just stained. It’s like how your mother always told you to wear clean underwear to the doctor.

You know that feeling you got when you looked at the photo at the top of this blog? That’s the feeling you’ll get every time you use your stained diapers.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Cloth Diapering Products/Accessories - Cloth Wipes, Wipe Solution, and Wipe Pouches

When you’re dealing with diapers, you also have to deal with wipes. If disposable diapers = disposable wipes, then it makes sense that cloth diapers = cloth wipes, right? When you think about it, it makes sense. When you use disposable diapers, you end up balling the dirty wipe inside the diaper and throwing it all away. When you use cloth diapers, you do the same thing. Just wipe, throw the wipe inside the diaper, roll it up, and put it in your diaper pail or wet bag.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Big Boy Bed

Sleep is one of the most challenging aspects of motherhood. Yes, there are also the challenges of managing tantrums, finding time for yourself, and making sure you're raising your child in a way that will enrich both of you. But when it comes down to it, it's hard to feel like a great parent when you're sleep deprived. 

I recently wrote a series of articles about sleep on my blog, because sleep is such a challenge, and also because people are so often pressured to help their kids sleep through the night at early ages. (Here's a tip: NEVER ask a parent of a newborn whether their child is sleeping through the night.) I did some research that ultimately explained that babies and toddlers don't necessarily sleep through the night, and that's ok. 

But when you're used to your child sleeping through the night (lucky you, Liz) and everything changes, it can be hard to figure out what to do. Here is Liz's story about the steps that Thomas took backwards with sleep recently, and how she moved forward. 

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The No (Sham) Poo Challenge

Don't worry--we will not be washing our hair with ketchup and mustard;
this is what I use to make my "shampoo" and "conditioner."
We've been talking about being "greener" lately, and in this post about natural personal care items, we talked about using a combination of baking soda and vinegar to wash your hair instead of shampoo. Liz and I have both tried it, and we've hit some bumps in the road, but we're cheerleaders for the whole thing. We've even convinced some of our friends to jump on the bandwagon.

So we're challenging you for the rest of September: 
Put away your shampoo and go green. You'll do your hair, your scalp, your wallet, and the environment a favor.

Here's the deal:
  1. Wash your hair with baking soda and vinegar (the exact recipe is on this page).
  2. On October 1, we'll put up a post asking for your comments. Tell us what you thought, and you'll be entered to win a prize in a random drawing.

What's the prize?
You'll win two bottles to fill with your baking soda/water and vinegar/water solutions, plus a small bottle of essential oil to dress up your vinegar rinse and make it smell delicious.

How do I enter?
Just leave a comment after the post we'll put on on October 1. You'll have one week to leave your comment, and we'll randomly select a winner on October 8. One entry per person (regardless of the number of comments you leave).

What else can I do?
If you write a blog entry about your experience with the No Poo challenge, let us know by leaving a comment on our No Poo Challenge page. We'll link up to your blog on that page. It will be a great way to share tips, comments, and advice about putting away the shampoo.