Carbon Fund <![CDATA[Gardening Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sun, 9 Sep 2012 18:59:23 +0000 <![CDATA[Cloth Diapers Quick Tip by JadeLouiseDesigns]]> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 07:48:05 +0000 <![CDATA[ These Eco Garbage Bags are Strong and Dependable]]> I received some samples from  reuseit™ of their product line of biodegradable garbage bags made from 100% recycled plastic. I looked forward to reviewing their products after learning more about them. They are made in the USA from recycled plastic collected from Chicago. Their plastic trash bags are infused with a natural additive that allows the plastic to biodegrade completely into natural elements. This reduces the amount of plastic that remains in landfills for thousands of years.

From the reuseit™ website:
According to EPI Global, the additive's manufacturer, the trash bags will completely biodegrade (decomposing into simpler materials found in nature) when discarded in soil in the presence of micro-organisms. In a landfill, the bags will degrade within 12-24 months. Minimal packaging - each set of bags comes in a roll secured by a paper wrapper. Available in 4 gallon small, 13 gallon tall kitchen and 30 gallon lawn bags and don't include ties.

I have now used all three types of their garbage bags: the small garbage bags, lawn garbage bags and the tall kitchen garbage bags. I have to say that I liked all three. Since they will degrade within 12-24 months in a landfill you might think they would not be very strong. On the contrary, these are very strong bags. I would test the strength of the bags by pulling, stretching and filling with heavy and sharp items and they help up very well. No breakages or leaks in these bags.

I would recommend using reuseit garbage bags. They come in three convenient sizes and are very dependable. Reuseit™ cares about the environment and their products show it.]]> Wed, 3 Aug 2011 19:23:34 +0000
<![CDATA[ A versatile and environmentally-friendly alternative.]]> Multy Home, based in Toronto, Canada has some exciting news for you! Introducing Multy Envirotiles….an environmentally-friendly product made from recycled car and truck tires. Envirotiles are the lightweight, non-slip, noise and impact-absorbing and weather-resistant alternative to the more traditional and considerably heavier alternatives like stone pavers. If there is such a project in your immediate future then you should definitely take a close look at Envirotiles.

Aside from being an environmentally-friendly product another reason to consider Multy Envirotiles is that they are relatively easy to install…..NO CONTRACTOR NEEDED!  These 18" x 18" tiles weigh just 8 lb. each so they are both relatively easy to handle while being just heavy enough to stay put. Anyone can install Envirotiles in just three easy steps: 1) Insert Envirotile Connecting Clip into the tile, 2) Connect next tile and 3) Tap together using a soft mallet. And voila…you're done! No glue or adhesives needed although you can use them if you so choose. Envirotiles can also be easily trimmed. Just mark off and cut using a jigsaw or utility knife. Envirotiles come in a variety of colors and designs that allow you to create your own custom floor. Furthermore, there are grooves in the tiles that allow water to flow beneath the tiles. Right now this product is available exclusively at Home Depot or You can purchase individual tiles or buy them in packs of 4, 40, 160 or 800 tiles. Multy Envirotiles come with a limited 5 year warranty which is spelled out in detail online at

Some years ago my wife and I were travelling on I-81 in Pennsylvania when we came upon a massive tire dump on the side of the highway. It seems that this dump went on for miles and was a major eyesore. I wondered aloud what would happen if this dump ever caught fire. Needless to say it would have been an environmental disaster of epic proportions. These days forward-looking companies like Multy Home are creating innovative and cost-effective products like Envirotiles to help prevent objects like car and truck tires from ending up in landfills. Consumers would be wise to consider such items when planning a project. Multy Envirotiles may not be suitable for everyone but they just might prove to be the right choice for that project that you are contemplating. Why not take a few minutes to check them out online?

DISCLAIMER: Multy Home L.P. is a division of Natco Products Corp., West Warwick, RI which is the company that I work for.]]> Wed, 29 Jun 2011 21:53:51 +0000
<![CDATA[ Volvo V60 Diesel Plug-In Hybrid Car Review]]> According to Volvo the V60 PHEV Diesel has 3 different temperaments of operation:

• “In Pure the car runs only on its electric motor as much as possible. If the battery has been recharged using electricity from a renewable source, the driving range is up to 50 km with zero emissions of carbon dioxide. Battery range varies with terrain, climate and driving style.
• “Hybrid is the default mode whenever the car is started. The diesel engine and electric motor interact to provide the optimal balance between driving pleasure and low environmental impact. Emissions of CO2 (EU Combined) are 49 g/km, corresponding to diesel fuel consumption of 1.9 l/100 km. The car’s total range is up to 1200 km.
• “In Power the technology is optimized to give the car the best possible performance. The diesel engine and electric motor have a combined power output 215 + 70 horsepower and maximum torque of 440 + 200 Nm. The electric motor’s lightning-quick torque delivery contributes to the car’s 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time of 6.9 seconds.”

General Motors has found out a pleasant surprise with their Volt PHEV and that is that most drivers on a daily basis (like to work) travel less than 30 miles a day. This means no liquid fuel is consumed as the vehicle will run on all-electric power (now don’t get me started however, on why Volt sales are down).

The other game changer is that the Volvo V60 PHEV is a clean diesel beast. For the past 3 years diesel cars have not been anything like the black smoke belching diesel cars, trucks, buses or trains of the past. In fact, they have been the antithesis of these.

In fact, oil companies have cleaned up diesel fuel and carmakers have implemented new technology such as special fluids to clean the exhaust of diesel cars or catalytic solutions in order to achieve less emissions than most gasoline-burning cars.

So the Volvo V60 PHEV combines the best of both technologies: plug-in hybrid batteries plus clean diesel engines to create a very green car indeed. Now, if we can just get the American public to buy into the idea that both PHEV’s and clean diesel engines are worthy of buying, then we would all breathe a little easier for years to come. Literally, breathe a little easier.

]]> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 22:39:08 +0000
<![CDATA[Reusable Shopping Bag Quick Tip by devora]]> Mon, 13 Jun 2011 19:24:10 +0000 <![CDATA[ Community Gardens: Redefining the Phrase "Plow the Roads!"]]>
Part of the reason I did the project was because I believe in the idea of community gardens. If you want to ensure that your vegetables are being grown completely naturally, there is no better way to do that then growing them yourself. In an otherwise small and ugly little driveway, we were able to grow a wide variety of vegetables which included tomatoes, eggplants, mint, cucumbers, peas, and kale which we then used to enhance our traditional Sunday dinners.

You might have noticed that I said we grew these veggies in a driveway. That wasn't a typo. One of the great things about community gardens is they can go a long distance in prettying up even the ugliest urban blight. To build a garden in a wrecked driveway, you need a bit more than just the dirt pile you can find in many undeveloped alleys. It requires you to physically build the beds out of wood, but it's entirely possible once you're able to get the proper placements for right amount of sunlight exposure and a decent source of water. Yes, you do have to water these gardens, especially if the summer is unbearably hot.

As I mentioned, community gardens are the best way to ensure your vegetables are natural. Most community gardeners are organaphiles, so they don't use any growth enhancers, plant foods, or pesticides.

An unexpected bonus of community gardening is how great a bonding and outreach activity it can be. It's easy to meet and get to know a lot of different people, especially when the project is still being conceived and built. At Wicker Park Grace, we shared our building with a lot of other businesses and we let anyone who was in the building take whatever crops they wanted if they felt inclined to do so.

Unfortunately, larger city governments (and by that I mean city governments that are intrusive, not governments in larger cities) are starting to notice this phenomenon, and some of them are a little uncomfortable with it, probably because community gardening has so far left them unable to collect their precious, ill-gotten tax money. When I moved back to Buffalo a few months ago, I was horrified to discover that the city was starting to push gardeners around for not having permits. The idea of taxing gardens or needing permits to set them up is not just excessively stupid, it's also socially irresponsible because some community gardeners might not be able to afford permits or higher taxes.

Cities taking money from community gardens is an idea which needs to be fought to the last, because community gardens are worth fighting for.]]> Mon, 13 Jun 2011 14:55:50 +0000
<![CDATA[Reusable Shopping Bag Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Wed, 8 Jun 2011 15:37:34 +0000 <![CDATA[ Theres many myths behind why people arent recycling.]]>
Fact: No one is sorting what you place in your trash bag!!! Bottom line is simple. We need to start caring about the world we love in, and plan on raising our families in. I would feel horrible if I knew my children and grand kids were left to clean up, and even suffer from something so simple that I could have made a difference in. Lets not forget the basic facts. A glass jar will last thousands of years in a landfill. And styrofoam, well that NEVER goes away.]]> Mon, 6 Jun 2011 19:43:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ Plastic bags you CAN recycle]]>
Please recycle only clean, dry plastic bags and film. Remove receipts or any other items from bags.

• newspaper bags
• dry cleaning bags
• bread bags
• produce bags
• toilet paper, napkin, and paper towel wraps
• furniture wrap
• electronic wrap
• plastic retail bags (hard plastic and string handles removed)
• grocery bag
• plastic food storage bags (clean and dry) – (e.g. Ziploc® Bags)
• plastic cereal box liners (if it tears like paper do not include)
• Tyvek(no glue, labels, other material)
• diaper wrap (packaging)
• plastic shipping envelopes (no bubble wrap/remove labels)
• case wrap (e.g., snacks, water bottles)
• All clean, dry bags labeled #2 or #4.

 ]]> Thu, 2 Jun 2011 15:39:36 +0000
<![CDATA[Bottled Water Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Sat, 28 May 2011 15:20:56 +0000 <![CDATA[ Walk On]]>
At first thought, walking would seem to be ideal for quite a bit of the average joe's average day. It certainly has its uses, but how much you can feasibly depend on walking is pretty circumstantial.

If you walk for exercise, there is a certain way you have to do it. That certain way is to place one foot in front of the other very rapidly, or else you're not burning many calories, and you certainly won't be building muscle. You will only be taking a light stroll, and the only way that can really benefit your body is if you happen to live in an area with a lot of steep slants and inclines so the feeling of walking up and down a lot of stairs can be at least somewhat simulated.

Location is also the key to how useful walking can be as a form of transportation. It's just fine if you live within a short radius of the sources of your living necessities - say a mile or so. Walking from one place to another is slow going, and it can take hours to go relatively short distances that a car or a bus or a bicycle can cover within a matter of minutes. Walking for long distance travel is out of the question is out of the question unless there is literally nothing else on your agenda. But it's not impossible - there are a lot of proponents of long-distance walking who use this simple means to go from one place to another, and they turn the walk itself into an opportunity to sightsee. Acclaimed filmmaker Werner Herzog is among these proponents - he once walked from Brazil to California.

People like that are exceptional cases, though, and if you're trying to walk for practical purposes while living in a rich, far-off suburb or whathaveyou, you can forget having a ton of free time. If you live rurally, it's impossible. Practical walking is best suited to urban environments or speed walking for exercise.]]> Wed, 25 May 2011 15:29:56 +0000
<![CDATA[Recycling Quick Tip by BaronSamedi3]]> Tue, 17 May 2011 15:29:26 +0000 <![CDATA[ Another wonderful design to recycle Styrofoam trays, cups ect]]>  We can supply the company name that will buy back your densified foam. This compact size can fit in smaller places.
 Why the XT70?
* processes mulitple materials-i.e food trays, containers, and EPA packaging blocks
* competitively priced / cost effective
* easy to move around and can even be mounted or a truck for mobile service

Great for: Schools, Hospitals, organizations, and cafeteria's. Use in warehouses, retail stores, and grocery markets.

Call today 888-773-9313 or email me at to see what model that will fit your needs!]]> Mon, 16 May 2011 20:31:43 +0000
<![CDATA[ Scotts Organic Group "Miracle-gro" Potting Mix Plant Food 8 Qt. (Pack of 6) (Miracle-Gro)]]>
This magical stuff comes in several different size bags, these are 8qt., 16qt., 1 cu. ft., 32qt., 1.5 cu. Ft., 2 cu. ft., 55qt. and 64qt. bags. Each bag weighs approximately 2.5 pounds. The mixture inside is a semi dark brown in color and is very lightweight. There is enough of this product in one bag to fill two (8")large planters.

This product is organically fill with forest products, compost, sphagnum peat moss, perlite, a wetting agent, and fertilizer.
Guaranteed Analysis
The total nitrogen is 0.21% (this includes 0.12% of ammoniacal nitrogen, 0.09% nitrate nitrogen), available phosphate (P2 O5) is 0.07%, soluable potash (K2O), is 0.14%, iron (Fe) is 0.10% (0.10% water soluable). This is also comes from: polymer coated: ammonium nitrate, ammonium nitrate, calcium phosphate, potassium sulfate, and ferrous sulfate. Parts of the nitrogen, ammonium, and potash is coated for a time release affect.

What should this do for you?
This should do three main things for you when you transplant you new flowers into an different container and they are, this should help your plant grow twice as big as your regular black potting soil. This also has micromax nutrients mixed together for hearty and very vigorous plants. You should also get more brilliant and more flowering buds. This should also help you in the feeding department, you will not have to feed these plants for a length of six months. This plant food is a time continual released plant food. This will also save you time by not having to feed your plants for up to 6 months. There is no mixing or measuring. It also has a rich and organic materials to help with drainage and better air flow when it rains a lot. You also do not have to worry about only wetting the soil in one spot because the wetting agent in this will disperse the water to all of the dry spots. Mostly, this can be use on all types of flowers.

There is only a few things that you should know when using this potting soil. As I soon found out, no matter what size pot that you choose for your needs,  you will need to pick one that has a hole in the bottom to make sure that your plant does not drown from setting water. Once you have chosen one that you want, fill the pot about 1/3 of the way with this potting soil. Then pull your new plant out of its old holder and loosen or pull at the bottom of the plants roots. This will help in stimulating the roots and get them going in the right direction. This is kind of like waking your plant up and telling it that it is time to grow.

Once you have loosened the root ball, you should add more potting soil to the pot and press down lightly on the new soil to provide stability. When this is done you can water the plant in its new home and let it drain. If you do this in a similar way, you should get positive results just the way that we have. Every year we do this the same way and our flowers out bloom all of our neighbors plants.

There are a few things that you should also consider if you want to make this a successful transplant. These are, you will have to make sure that you have the proper lighting, and before water each time make sure that the mix is dry to the touch. In addition to all of this, don't forget that sooner or later you may have to feed your plant again and miracle-gro does have the proper food for all plants. The most important thing to remember is that you will need to replace the soil every year for the most excellent results.

If you are having trouble with your plants staying alive all summer long, I have found this to be the miracle cure for all of my problems. The only time that we really have to worry is when we go in vacation. But, for the most part this stuff will take care of all of your potted plants. Happy blooming this summer.]]> Wed, 11 May 2011 16:10:04 +0000
<![CDATA[ We CAN make the difference together]]> April 22, 1970 was the first designated Earth Day and was also the 100th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin, the Russian Marxist Revolutionary and Creator of the Soviet Communist Party. Coincidence? Some think not, which along with being sponsored by many "liberal organizations" across the globe as well as liberals across our country, created a polarization in the minds of conservatives for this new "holiday" celebrating Mother Earth and our duty to help protect her from destruction by her very children she helped sponsor – us. While rhetoric dominated early Earth Days, much of that rhetoric has disappeared recently and been replaced by much less controversial "Green" talk.
Even if you are the most conservative (a synonym for evil in liberal speak) person in the world, there has been a weakening of resolve to resist this 40 year old tradition which has become accepted by almost everyone. The newer "Green" talk has leaned more towards stewardship of our resources and drifted further from placing blame on mankind for killing his/her "mother". While there is some polarization, the "holiday" has found more acceptance in our American Society than would have ever been thought possible 40 years ago. I am here to suggest that it is time for conservatives to "belly up to the bar" and embrace this yearly observation and take this celebration to a new level. I am also here to suggest that liberals make room for their new partners. Let us all, liberal, conservatives, progressives, or whatever you want to call yourself, amass arm in arm to help change our antiquated systems of energy production and use and let's start with recycling.
Recycling has crept into our society slowly but is pervasive in our daily routines at home. "Honey, take out the garbage." has slowly been replaced with "Honey, take out the recycling."! We sort cans from bottles and cardboard from paper and place it on the curb for our recycling trucks to pick up and take to the recycling center. But that same attitude has not yet made much of a dent in our business lives. While there are exceptions to the rule, much of our recyclables end up in the same trash can at the end of the day. We throw our paper in with our cardboard boxes which are combined in with our plastic bottles and maybe, just maybe, we take out our aluminum cans, store them separately and call that recycling. I say it is time for a change and I further pronounce that it is time for conservatives to take the lead!
Why conservatives? Why not? Liberals and progressives are more mentally there. While I don't think that translates into actions much of the time, at least they would come along if conservatives took the lead. Let's take a look at two of the biggest traditions in America today – Christmas and Easter. Both come from pagan traditions that encompassed our Christian beliefs and intermingled until we have a hard time separating pagan from Christian.

To start, the dates for both are more pagan than Christian. The Bible never defines that actual date of Jesus' birth, so what did we do, we made one up! And since we are making one up, why not bring in traditions that would bring in our non Christian friends. Let's make Christmas near the winter solstice (return of the sun) just before the new year so that those who celebrate those traditions would join in with our celebration of Jesus' birth. Why not incorporate the Yule log and the bringing inside a tree, mistletoe, and many other pagan rituals into this new holiday celebrating the birth of our savior. Easter is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. Does that even sound traditionally religious? Coloring eggs and even the word "Easter" come from pagan traditions that predate Christ.
What's my point here? My point is that many beautiful and meaningful and very religious services have been held on these days to celebrate very religious historical events. Christians didn't balk at who started what when. They co-opted the dates and took it over largely forgetting the past history! I say it is time for conservatives to do the same with Earth Day. Co-opt the day. Co-opt the traditions and push it further. Make Earth Day "RECYCLE DAY"! At work show everyone that conservatives are good stewards of the resources they are accused of exploiting for personal gain. Make Earth day a day when everyone finds ways to make this a better world for our heirs to inherit. Conservatives, make Earth Day yours and the rest of the world will fall in line.]]> Tue, 10 May 2011 17:34:58 +0000
<![CDATA[ Versatile and Delicious Product...]]>
I've had one container that had hard, tiny beads of coconut oil, but it still did what it was supposed to do, though they were a little more resistant to melting. Otherwise, in the three batches we've purchased, this is the only minor complaint.

I use it to replace shortening, or to fry, and it's perfect for baking. The coconut flavor is there, but it's subtle. If you hate the flavor of coconut you might want to think twice. I thought I did, but the more I started thinking along the lines of embracing coconut I realized the texture of shredded coconut was what I had issues with. Coconut oil makes delicious stove popped popcorn that doesn't need butter for more flavor ends up with kind of a sweet/buttery taste. Cookies, brownies, etc are delicious with coconut oil replacing butter or margarine.

This product is also my only moisturizer and lotion of choice. We scoop some out of the main container (into a recycled hummus jar, short, with a wide mouth) and store it in the bathroom. This past winter, before I started using coconut oil as a moisturizer/lotion, my skin was painfully dry. I drink lots of water, and I was using different products, but my skin was not happy. Seriously, Coconut oil is the best. It soaks in quickly, though not immediately, and it really took care of the itchy dry. I was a little more concerned about my face. But my skin was so dry I felt like smiling would crack my face, so I dove in and tried it. Perfect. Again, it doesn't soak in immediately. I put it on, get dressed, do my hair, then apply my makeup. My foundation brush has sucked up some of the oil so I'll need to replace those maybe sooner than I would otherwise. But for a facial moisturizer that works as well as anything I've ever tried and costs about $.35 an ounce...I think I can live with that. I also haven't had any clogging of pores and I'm an aging T-Zone skin.]]> Wed, 4 May 2011 19:02:37 +0000
<![CDATA[ I know about Pay Day. Earth Day?!?!?!]]>
Every day should be an Earth Day, a Father's Day, a Birthday... not a designated day or 1 out of 365 days. These are people who are important to us and in the case of the Earth, it's our survival and existence. Yet, we remember to go to work at least 5 days a week. Since when work is so much more important than tending to these people and places? Why do we need a day to remind us of the beauty and appreciation of them?!

Granted, work gets paid, i.e. we love PAY DAY more than any other day, don't we? The society has reached a stage whereby without the $ sign, nothing can be done! The world has become mercenary. We actually need a day whereby we have a HUMAN DAY. You know, where we can take a bus trip for free for a start, where we can eat a small meal or a simple one to feed our hungry stomach for free. Big organizations and profitable ones where they pay their executives and CEOs millions and even hundred of millions ought to give this to the society or sponsor a day where people can get a meal or a bus ride for free! That's what I'd like to see society celebrates. Think of AIA which paid its CEO $300+ millions (annually!) for bonuses. Think banks which made those money from us but only give back to its shareholders and not to those who are homeless or in hunger. More could have been done by businesses. Naturally, it's not for everyone but if no one starts such a mission, then the world will never ever follow!

Take note that this is not charity like what many foundations are doing. This is just a way to tell the society that there are still things that can be had for free in the world. I certainly won't want to live in a world where one day we may even have to pay for the air in the environment! That's what the electric companies in the world have been living... they make tons of money over the years by providing electricity but when something like the Fukushima nuclear leaks happened, what do they do? Nothing other than damage control! The CEO doesn't even apologize to the society and the people affected at the first instance (granted, he's busy with fire-fighting) nor did the company think of putting the victims the first priority (as in the case of the Gulf Oil Spill)! All the media and the leaders are interested in is more on how much it will cost the company bottom's line!!! Makes one wonders what our world has come to!

Yes, we certainly need Earth Day, not a singular designated day but rather embed into our conscioiusness. Every day should be an Earth Day, a Mother's Day and a Birthday celebration of your own mortality, your spouse's existence and also your children's growth. When that's a consciousness that's prevalent in society, then this would be a +5 rating! :-)

Have a nice day and make it one of your best! Enjoy living and breathing!
God Bless!]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 06:36:48 +0000
<![CDATA[ Indispensable healthy treat recipes for the whole family!]]>  

With summer approaching I am really looking forward to serving cold healthy snacks to my daughter and any kids visiting. For the most part because I've got my hands on Ice Pop Joy, an indispensable resource for nutritiously entertaining kids through the warm months (and any other time they ask for an ice pop). Anni Daulter always gets it right with kids nutrition, her book Organically Raised was also a hit with us. I never buy any sort of pre-made frozen treats because most of them are made with ingredients that can hardly be called 'edible'. Even organic ice cream isn't exactly good for you. With this book you can actually make really healthy ice pops with a nutritional punch and instead of feeling guilty you'll be feeling proud giving it to your kids (and the whole family).
(gorgeous sample spread above)
I honestly had no idea you could do so much with an ice pop! Yogurt and vegetables? Why didn't I think of that? The book is just brimming with recipes I can't wait to try once I officially get our ice pop maker. For now I really wanted to test at least one recipe even without the tools I needed. I decided to make the Goo Goo Ga Ga pop from page 65, I had the ingredients on hand. Apples, mango chunks, and Greek yogurt sound like a heavenly combination! I substituted the Greek yogurt with plain whole fat organic yogurt I had. I put the puree into plastic tumblers, the only thing I had on hand to make sort of an ice pop and I stuck gelato spoons in it once it froze half way. Really quick and easy to make!

After dinner we ate it so fast I forgot to snap a photo of my toddler thoroughly enjoying it. My husband loved it too, not to mention myself! I know what we'll be snacking on when warm weather rolls around. I also can't wait to try the Green Machine ice pop with spinach and the Peace Pop with carrots.

Win a copy of Ice Pop Joy at Eco-Babyz, 2 winners! Ends April 21st.
]]> Sat, 9 Apr 2011 00:49:06 +0000
<![CDATA[ Unique Eco boutique that sells great bamboo bedding]]> I think investing in feeding your family good quality, healthy food without chemicals is the most important step in green living. But if you can afford other things like healthier bedding, by all means go for it. I recently had the opportunity to review a Bamboo Sheet Set from Victoria Design Studio on and this was my first experience with pesticide untreated, hypoallergenic bedding. 

Fit & Design: I washed the ecru color bamboo bedding before putting it on our bed. When I was taking it out of the washer and putting it in the dryer, I was really surprised at the paper like feel. I wasn't sure what to expect of them when they dried. I eagerly opened the dryer and saw that the dry sheets were luxuriously soft! As my husband and I were putting them on our bed, he mentioned how silky the sheets feel. I would say that they look like tightly woven cotton, but feel more like silk. I love sleeping on these silky soft sheets!

Perhaps the only thing that put me off about the product is the packaging (nothing to do with Victoria Design Studio). I expected Eco-friendly bedding to have something more sustainable than a stinky vinyl bag for packaging. At least the smell is gone after I washed them, but when I opened it I though I was going to faint. 

Quality & Value: I have only slept on these for a few nights, so I can't say how they perform long term, wash after wash. But it appears to be a good quality set of sheets, even thought the thread count is only 250, perhaps because this is not the typical cotton set. The bedding set retails at $131, of course pricier than many sheet sets you'll find. Don't you just wish that things would cost less when there is less chemicals or pesticides on them? I'll say though - if you can afford them, they're worth the price for a healthier night's sleep. Plus because you're reading my review you can get $23 off your bamboo bedding purchase by using the code EB$23 ! Also, all the items on the site except the jewelry are currently 12% off. 

How is this green: Bamboo is a rapidly renewable resource that doesn't require pesticides to manage the growth. It is also naturally anti-bacterial, which is obviously a great quality for bedding that we use 24/7. 

About the Store: Victoria Design Studio is once again a product of a woman's own experience. Victoria's journey to living healthy is very interesting and very much like many women and mothers I meet. That makes her passion that much more genuine and it makes it a pleasure to shop the carefully chosen items in her store. 

Who Would You Recommend this to? The bamboo bedding is great for those suffering from allergies or if you simply want another way to minimize exposure to toxins in your home. And, uhm, if you have a hard working husband like mine, the antibacterial bit is a huge plus too!


]]> Fri, 25 Mar 2011 16:02:37 +0000
<![CDATA[ Fairly good way to learn butchering]]> The Gourmet Butcher DVD set teaches you how to cut beef, lamb, and pork carcasses into primal and retail cuts and how to cook these cuts. They included general cooking advice and several recipes. The DVDs also included a short section introducing the presenters and a brief section on what tools you'll need to do the butchering yourself.

The DVDs started with the animal already dead, gutted, skinned, and otherwise ready to be cut into smaller sizes of meat. The DVD on Beef Hindquarter and Beef Forequarter was very well done. The camera work was excellent and allowed a good view of what Cole was doing. Cole worked fairly slowly and gave enough instruction that I felt I understood why he was cutting where he was and what to look for.

On the DVD on Pork and Lamb, Cole worked very quickly. I felt like I could probably reproduce his cuts if I had the DVD going (and used the pause function) as I worked on the meat, but I didn't feel like I really understood the process. The camera work was also not as high quality. Several times the camera would focus on the Cole's face while he was demonstrating something with his hands, so we never got to see it demonstrated. Also, a couple of times Cole showed his co-host how to do something instead of the camera (though often he caught himself and showed us, too). This Pork/Lamb DVD would be useful for someone needing a refresher on what to do, but less so for a beginner learning solely from the DVD.

At the end of the Pork and Lamb primal cuts sections, Cole reassembled the animal and pointed out what cuts of meat had been taken from where and in what order. It looked much like those "cuts of meat" charts. Cole didn't really reassemble the beef primal cuts at the end, but he did point out those cuts in order again.

In the primal cuts section, Cole demonstrated how to make the main cuts in taking the meat apart. In the gourmet cuts section, Cole demonstrated how to cut those primal cuts into retail or "table-ready" cuts. Cole and Courtney also discussed how to best cook these cuts (by roasting, grilling, skillet, etc.). In the Beef Hindquarter Gourmet Cuts section, the presenters talked some about aging the meat. In the Recipe section, they demonstrated--like in a cooking show--how to do a recipe.

One thing lacking was that they didn't discuss sanitary measures. For example, it was disconcerting to see a primal cut fall on the floor and Cole never mentioned (or showed) what to do if that happens.

Overall, though, if you want to learn to butcher beef, need a refresher on butchering beef, lamb, or pork, or are interested in where the various cuts come from and want tips on how to best cook them, then this DVD would be useful.

Disk 1
Started with a quarter of carcass minus hooves, tail, and hide.

Beef Primal Cuts: 24 min 53 sec.

Beef Gourmet Cuts: 45 min 28 sec
1. Top Butt - triangle-tip roast, ball-tipped roast, (boneless) sirloin steaks
2. Bone-In Strip - boneless New York strip steak
3. Tender Loin - fillets or whole
4. Flank - Butterflied flank steak
5. "Flap" Meat - "sirloin tip" cut
6. Knuckle or Sirloin Tip - sirloin tip steak, sirloin tip roasts
7. Top Round - round steak, rouladen, top round roasts
8. Eye of the Round - minute/sandwich steaks, eye of the round roast
9. Bottom Round - cut into rump, center cut, and bottom round for pot roast
10. Shank - beef shanks

Beef Recipes:
1. Pig in a Flanket: 6 min 47 sec
2. Peposo Notturno: 3 min 20 sec
3. Cheddar Bacon Burgers: 3 min 46 sec (also showed how to make ground beef and form into burger patties)
4. Pickle & Cheese Stuffed Burgers: 4 min 2 sec

Started with a quarter of carcass minus hooves, head, and hide.

Beef Primal Cuts: 17 min 39 sec
(Included making retail cuts of skirt steaks; plate short ribs and further processing of the plate; rack of beef spare ribs, boneless rib eye steaks, and rib eye roast.)

Beef Gourmet Cuts: 28 min 10 sec
1. Brisket - brisket
2. Shoulder - short ribs, arm pot roast, shoulder "London Royal" steak, stew squares
3. Short Ribs & Beef Shank - shoulder short ribs, beef shanks
4. Bone-In Chuck - chuck steaks, chuck roasts

Beef Recipes:
1. Grilled Steak au Poivre: 7 min 7 sec

Disk 2

Started with a half of carcass minus hooves, tail, and hide.

Pork Primal Cuts: 14 min 47 sec

Pork Gourmet Cuts: 32 minutes 48 seconds
1. Ham Hocks & Head - "head cheese" cut
2. Picnic Shoulder & Boston Butt - roasts, chops
3. The Ham - butt half, center cut slice, Top Round into cutlets plus squares for kabab, Eye of the Round into thin "medallions", and Bottom Round into steaks
4. The Ribs & Pork Belly - ribs, bacon
5. The Ribs End, Center Cut, & Sirloin End - Rib End into baby back ribs & boneless country style ribs, Center Cut into pork chops & French roast, and Sirloin End into tenderloin & sirloin cutlets or sirloin steaks

Pork recipes:
1. Braised Pork Belly: 4 min 24 sec
2. Orange Marinade: 1 min 32 sec
3. Maple Breakfast Sausage: 6 min 40 sec (showed how to grind meat and form into sausage patties)

Started with whole carcass minus head, hooves, and hide.

Lamb Primal Cuts: 6 min 37 sec

Lamb Gourmet Cuts: 38 min 2 sec
1. Leg & Rear Shanks - Rear Shank into lamb shank and Leg into boneless leg roast (showed two methods to remove bone)
2. Breast & Front Shanks - Breast into riblets or make a pocket in for stuffing, Front Shanks into lamb shank, Brisket trimmed for use as ground lamb or in stew, and Neck trimed for stew
3. Rack of Lamb & Lamb Loin - Rack of Lamb was Frenched/Crowned or cut into rib lamb chops and Lamb Loin cut into loin lamb chops or butterflied lamb loin

Lamb Recipes:
1. Stuffed Lamb Loin: 3 min 50 sec
2. Lemon Herb Butterflied Leg of Lamb: 2 min 14 sec
3. Cranberry Apricot Ginger Lamb Sausage: 9 min 24 sec, (showed how to grind meat and fill sausage casing)]]> Thu, 24 Mar 2011 20:42:10 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Spirit of Adventure]]>

I first saw this film a decade ago at the Singapore Omni-theater. If you are able to get them in a theater near you, by all means go and see it there. That’s when the large screen will make a huge difference to your visual experience. This is the 2nd disc which I recently bought in Shanghai. My first one is somewhere in the warehouse where I stock up my belongings. Yep, I’m living out of suitcases for the last few years. In fact, many suitcases  :D
After seeing this film on large screen, then on a DVD which I bought many years ago and now a Blu-ray disc, I am happy to say that this film is still as good as I first saw it.

Hazel Barton and Nancy Holler Aulenbach are the two cavers who also ventured to the Yucatan where they explored the longest underwater cave system in the world.  Nancy is actually a teacher who went around the world looking for microbes which might be the solution to new medicines. What she found was the halocline which has some microbes essential for leukemia medicine. 

This film is great not just as a documentary but also has some of the most awesome sights and perspective which we might otherwise not come into contact with. A great film about not just caves but the traveling spirit in general.]]> Sun, 20 Mar 2011 12:30:55 +0000
<![CDATA[English Retreads Quick Tip by devora]]> Fri, 18 Mar 2011 18:34:38 +0000 <![CDATA[ Non-toxic rain gear to keep kids warm and dry]]>

Rain gear without harmful phthalates and PVC can be hard to find. With baby E rapidly growing out of her first rain suit, I wasn't sure what she'll be wearing next. I was really excited to be contacted by Puddlegear to review their children's rain suits. We were sent the Olle Pants, Benny Jacket, and a pair of Waterproof Mitts for review. 

Ease of Use, Fit & Design: They have thought of everything on these rain suits. The pants have adjustable 'suspenders', so that they can grow with your child. As they get too small you can even use the boot straps to keep them from riding up. The Olle Pants have heavy duty patches on the butt and knees for little ones who love to crawl in the dirt like my girl. For extra coziness, the jacket collar is lined with fleece. Perhaps the only thing I would change is adding a zipper on the coat under the snap poppers. 

We ordered the size 90 for pants because she is on the short side, and size 100 for the coat. Their size chart is really easy to follow and shows both the height in inches and the weight in pounds so that you can figure out the European size to order. Baby E is two now and as you can see in the video and photos, this should fit her for at least a year, but most likely two years. It is big, but she is comfortable in it, so if you buy one size up you get a lot of life out of it. 


Quality & Value: Look no further than Puddlegear if you really want the best rain gear for the kids. Yes, the price tag for the Made in Sweden quality is honestly more than I could afford, but I know some of you can. The Olle Pants are priced at $59 and the Benny Jacket is $60. They also have other styles, as well as a one piece rain suit for $115. The Waterproof Mitts are $27. This is definitely something you want to buy for the fist baby so any siblings can wear it after. 

How is this green: Unlike most other rain gear available, Puddlegear will not off gas with carcinogenic substances and contains no phthalates and PVC. Sure, maybe the kids will not inhale it when they are playing outside, but as it hangs on the coat rack in your house, you are sure to get a nice dose of indoor air pollution that you will breathe in, especially if there is no substantial ventilation. The rainwear is certified by OKO-Tex, an ecological certification process that tests for over 100 harmful chemicals. 

Who Would You Recommend this to? Kids of all ages who love the outdoors, rain or shine. 

Visit Puddlegear

]]> Thu, 17 Mar 2011 01:49:16 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Organic Woombie]]> AvaBaby's was born. Preemies are very fragile, they have so much to contend with, let alone any harmful chemicals. So I look for organic products whenever I can to offer to our families.

Being that I am interested in doing my part to make our home greener, my next website was a natural next step where I specialize in organic, natural and sustainable clothing and accessories for babies 1st year. Enter, EcoBaby Chic Organics.

Recently I came across this really ingenious product that is just perfect for preemies, even those who arrived full term would benefit without a doubt. Newborns have a immature nervous system, and are prone to waking themselves up due to their own startle reflex. Add to that the fact that they have just spent the last several months in a cozy environment, where they were gently, but securely confined.  Now if you are talking a preemie, all of that is magnified by their prematurity.

Needless to say when I found the Woombie, I thought this is a fantastic idea!!  Even better that it comes in an organic as well! Simply put, the Woombie mimics the womb. It is made of a very soft stretchy fabric that will gently secure your little ones arms and legs, but still give them freedom to move about a bit. No more flailing arms due to the startle reflex. Less startling means more peaceful and longer sleeping periods which equates to, much more rest for mom & dad. 

They are easy to get baby into with just a zipper and a snap at the top. 

The reviews are outstanding and the Woombie has won numerous awards. Would love to hear how the Woombie has worked for you.

]]> Mon, 7 Mar 2011 23:39:52 +0000
<![CDATA[Nikko Blue Hydrangea Quick Tip by greengenerationny]]> Sun, 6 Mar 2011 01:36:29 +0000 <![CDATA[Food, Inc. Quick Tip by greengenerationny]]> Sun, 6 Mar 2011 01:28:21 +0000 <![CDATA[ "Do One Green Thing: Save the Earth Through Simple Everyday Choices" by Mindy Pennybacker]]> Do One Green Thing.

What was meant to be a lazy Monday morning with a creme puff in one hand and some random bookseller's recommendation in the other became two hours of life-scrutinizing, and ultimately, hopefully, a lifetime of more informed choices. Pennybacker packs these pages with no-nonsense non-fiction. She's on a mission, in deep on page one. "Free yourself from the bottled water habit," she commands. I cringed right there in the busy bookstore cafe. She got me, that Pennybacker. She knew me, and she knows you. We're products of the most consumer-driven country on the planet.

You've heard the pleas since preschool orientation: use less water, decrease your fuel consumption, save electricity, don't litter, don't waste! What once felt like grand tasks of immeasurable value and groan-inducing inconvenience are made relevant by Pennybacker.

Pennybacker recognizes people are reluctant to change their ways. Instead of driving less, why not take her up on her cold water challenge and wash four out of five laundry loads in cold water? If every household in America does this, she says, 50 million tons of carbon emissions will be eliminated per year, a figure equivalent to taking 10 million cars off the road for one year. How's that for fuel-efficiency?

She measures such minute behavioral tweaks on a palpable and powerful scale: if one out of 20 Americans stops buying bottled water, we'd avoid 30 million pounds of toxic plastic waste; if one person passes on red meat for one day a week for one year, they'd reduce the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as are emitted by driving 760 miles per year; one load of laundry hung to dry instead of placed in a dryer, saves 4.4 pounds of carbon emissions; if every household replaces one incandescent light bulb with an energy-efficient bulb, we'd conserve enough energy to light 3 million homes for one year.

Pennybacker's analysis is straight-forward and her chapters are down to an almost rhythmic science. Her anecdotal evidence is often jaw-dropping, and is punctuated with enlightening answers to frequently asked consumer questions, myriad "choose it" and "lose it" tables and charts, and the science behind the facts. Are you a fish connosieur? If so, Pennybacker has something to say. Do you know which fruits are riddled with pesticides and which are generally toxin-free? Do your cosmetics contain "fragrance", and if so, do you know why this is very bad?

If you do one thing after reading this review, read "Do One Green Thing". Buy it, borrow it, or find it on consignment. Get your hands on it, and when you're finished, choose one task from the book and make the planet proud. Do one green thing. Then, do another.

It's too easy not to.]]> Sat, 5 Mar 2011 17:16:15 +0000
<![CDATA[Animal Wellfare Approved Quick Tip by ktCakes]]>]]> Wed, 2 Mar 2011 16:59:07 +0000 <![CDATA[Boiron Oscillococcinum for Children Quick Tip by EcoMama]]> Fri, 25 Feb 2011 02:41:15 +0000 <![CDATA[Composting Quick Tip by sustainablogger]]> Thu, 24 Feb 2011 19:49:53 +0000 <![CDATA[ For the local carnivore: how to butcher meat straight from the farm]]> Spent some time this weekend with Cole Ward's new video series The Gourmet Butcher... from Farm to Table, and learned a lot about the process of taking a quarter of beef, a hog carcass, etc., and turning it into meal-size portions. You'd want to be able to watch this while you work on that huge hunk of locally-raised meat, but Ward walks a viewer through the process slowly, with lots of tips, tricks and vivid descriptions.

I know there's some argument about whether eating meat can ever be considered environmentally-friendly, but these videos do a nice job of showing you how to work with meat you might buy from a local farmer (which isn't usually cut up into steaks and chops). Also some fantastic-sounding recipes included.

We're also giving away a copy of The Gourmet Butcher... if you're interested, leave a question, quick tip, or other item here in the community about sourcing, preparation, and/or cooking of local meats (and make sure to tag it with gourmetbutcher). For more details, check out the post at the blog:


]]> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 21:02:57 +0000
<![CDATA[Precycling Quick Tip by EcoMama]]> need. Ever since I left my full time job to stay home with the baby (and work from home part-time) we have been a lot more selective about what we buy, many things people consider 'necessities' we do just fine without. Healthy food is our biggest necessity.]]> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 22:03:36 +0000 <![CDATA[Freecycling Quick Tip by EcoMama]]> Mon, 21 Feb 2011 20:51:19 +0000 <![CDATA[ High quality wool products for baby and even something for your gadgets]]> Living in a home on a concrete slab in the Northeast of the U.S. can get quite chilly, especially in the winter months. It's beautiful in the summer and keeps our home cool, but in February you don't want to be caught barefoot on our tile kitchen floor or laminate living room floor. I really wanted to find baby E some slippers that wouldn't make her foot sweaty and weren't synthetic. I was really excited to find Supernana! For review, we were sent a pair of hand made wool baby slippers and a wool iPod sleeve from their sister company - Laptop Tailors. 

Fit & Design: The design of the supernana slippers is very simple yet genius. The elastic on the front makes them really easy to put on, yet they stay put without slipping off. There are also non-slip grips on the bottom, it is very rare that baby E slips in these, unless she is tip-toeing. My favorite feature by far is just the material itself, which makes these slippers superior. Whenever she wore synthetic slippers her feet would always be sweaty and damp, now they are warm and dry in cozy wool! The only thing that would be nice to change about the slippers is the seams on the inside, they are pretty thick. Though I have no idea how that could be done, and I'm sure it would add a lot more labor to the process. My baby doesn't mind them at all, but they may not work for kids with sensory issues. 

The iPod sleeve is just as genius. I don't actually own the gadget, but I gave it to my sister in law. The iPod fits perfectly and snugly right inside the sleeve. When you buy one you specify the exact gadget you have so that it fits perfectly. Keeps it from scratching and protects it in case of dropping. 

Quality & Value: When I first saw our nearly new hand me down polyester slippers I knew they would wear out fast, sure enough in just half a year they were 'holy'. No chance of that happening anytime soon with the Supernana slippers. They are solid felted wool and will last a while, definitely longer than they will fit baby E. They'll be passed on to siblings for sure, hence I chose the gender neutral natural gray color. The wool felt slippers cost 21.95 €, which converts to about $30.06. You would get the most bang for your buck if you buy this for your first baby and use with any subsequent ones as well. They can be worn year round by the way, not just in the winter. The wool keeps the feet from sweating no matter what the temperature. They also carry many other cute styles, by the way, in a similar price range. Letterbox sized packages are shipped free, larger packages are 5 € within Europe and 10 € for the rest of the world ($6.85 and $13.70).

The LaptopTailors handmade sleeve for the iPod is equally of high quality construction. It retails for 9.95 €, or $13.63 - with free worldwide shipping. You can also get one for an iPhone sleeve at the same price, iPad for 29.95 € ($41.02), and MacBook for 44.95 € ($61.56). You can also get a custom size. 

How is this green: Supernana and LaptopTailors products are made of highest quality pure new wool that's Oekotex certified. A renewable resource! Made in Europe by fairly paid women. 

Who Would You Recommend this to? Whether you need baby/child slippers, a non-toxic rattle, a baby sleeping bag, a mohair baby beanie, OR a gadget sleeve for yourself - Supernana has you covered. 


]]> Fri, 18 Feb 2011 22:53:46 +0000
<![CDATA[ A Pretty Tame Look at an Industrial Slaughterhouse]]> Once again, the original credit for this find goes to our writer ziggy, who reviewed this video at our blog. Like him, I found this pretty tame, especially coming from an investigative reporter. No questions about feedlot procedures (like feeding corn to cattle, which they're not designed to eat), no view of the actual kill (the slaughterhouse wouldn't allow it, even as they argued it was a relatively humane way to butcher the cows), etc.

I do applaud the folks at for doing this... even as it stands, this video will make some folks uncomfortable. It does come across as "sanitized," though (and I say this as a meat-eater). If we're going to connect people with their food, though, we should do just that... and that means showing the whole process, and questioning it throughout. 

Take a look: Inside a Slaughterhouse



]]> Tue, 15 Feb 2011 18:22:48 +0000
<![CDATA[Organic Gardening Quick Tip by sustainablogger]]> a chart on Wikipedia (which looks to be well-sourced); our writer ziggy has also written about companion planting, and resources to help you get started.]]> Mon, 14 Feb 2011 18:08:48 +0000 <![CDATA[Agave Nectar Quick Tip by EcoMama]]> read some info for yourself: "The process which many, if not most, agave producers use to convert this inulin into "nectar" is VERY similar to the process by which cornstarch is converted into HFCS1.

Though processing methods can differ among manufacturers, most commercially available agave is converted into fructose-rich syrup using genetically modified enzymes and a chemically intensive process involving caustic acids, clarifiers, and filtration chemicals." This sounds neither, natural, nor healthy or environmentally friendly. 

]]> Sun, 13 Feb 2011 05:56:02 +0000
<![CDATA[Wool Socks Quick Tip by katknit]]> Fri, 11 Feb 2011 19:08:21 +0000 <![CDATA[Cat Litter Quick Tip by sustainablogger]]> Fri, 11 Feb 2011 17:26:35 +0000 <![CDATA[ Delicious, organic, and closest to homemade]]> every week. So what do I love to eat when the weather is frightful? What can be better than a hot cup of soup?! While I make my own soup every week and find it to be a very economical lunch, we can all be short on time once in a while. That's the perfect time to whip out some Fig Food Co. ready to eat or condensed organic soups. 

Fig Food Co. generously sent us a variety of their soups to try. We haven't tasted all of them yet, but we definitely like what we taste!

Ease of use: No chopping, no dicing, no boiling. Just shake, open, pour, heat, enjoy! Now who wouldn't like that kind of convenience? Yes, you can get the same with a regular can of soup - but with questionable ingredients, pesticides, additives, and not nearly as great a taste. This is the perfect meal for my husband to take to work if I didn't have time to make something. With a slice of my homemade bread it is a complete meal.

Quality & Nutrition: I think you already got the point that this is very high quality food that is healthy and nutritious. Speaking of nutritious, just one cup of the Gran Farro e Fagioli soup gives you 36% of the daily dietary fiber, 25% vitamin A, and 10% iron among other things. There are only 200 - 260 mg of sodium per serving. It is a 100% plant based soup suitable for vegans and vegetarians. 

How is this green: Avoid pesticides by buying organic and support local farmers through Fig Food Co.'s commitment to sourcing ingredients from North American farms. A huge plus, the container is BPA free, unlike nearly all canned soups out there!

Taste: Every ready made soup I have ever tasted was over-salted. Not in this case. Fig Food soups are lightly salted and seasoned and have a very pleasant taste after which you will not thirst for a gallon of water. Try it, I think you would enjoy the wholesome, smooth flavors and aromas. It is very filling as well, not watered down. 

About the Company: "Fig Food Company is poised to address three of the most pressing issues Americans face today: health care, fossil fuel independence and the reduction of greenhouse gases. Eating more plant-based food, as a percent of your total diet, will improve your health and the health of the planet. Organic agriculture requires 19 percent less energy than conventional agriculture for comparable production. In addition, encouraging people to eat more plant-based food can help reduce the proliferation of greenhouse gases and improve the environment, as current animal agricultural practices are responsible for 18 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, a higher share than the total transportation industry."

Who Would You Recommend this to? Great for vegans and vegetarians since the soups are 100% plant based. This is perfect for busy moms who sometimes don't have the time to make a wholesome meal. Perfect to take hot to school or work in an insulated food container (my husband enjoys that). I enjoy it as a quick lunch when we're pressed to leave the house quick for a trip. It can travel well too (day trips, camping) and you don't need special tools to open it!

]]> Fri, 11 Feb 2011 03:11:24 +0000
<![CDATA[ Three Sisters Oatmeal is much better than the ordinary]]> Three Sisters All-Natural Oatmeal

Everyone should eat breakfast. Why not eat a nutritious meal to start the day which is also eco-friendly. Speaking of, the good people at Three Sisters Cereal once again gave me three products for me to try. I’ve eaten oatmeal my entire life so I was anxious to try 3 varieties of their instant oatmeal. I was given Dark Chocolate, Brown Sugar & Maple as well as Cinnamon & Apples (they also have Plain Grain).

Before I get into the individual flavors let me say that for the oatmeal itself it was a nice change over the ordinary. Their oats are heartier and you can actually taste the oats no matter what flavor you are eating. None of their oatmeal have any artificial preservatives or flavors. Also, the oatmeal pouch doubles as a measuring cup.

I started off with Dark Chocolate, who wouldn’t start with chocolate first? I thought the chocolate was sweet without being too sweet. Other instant oatmeal I’ve had before are way too sweet for me and actually is why I stopped eating instant oatmeal for awhile. The taste of warm dark chocolate is definitely a good taste for a meal in the morning. It is made with real chocolate morsels.

Next was the Brown Sugar & Maple. I’ve had many brown sugar and maples before, but this was definitely the best. It wasn’t too sweet and along with the 100% whole grains it is one tasty oatmeal.

Lastly, Cinnamon & Apples. I like me some cinnamon and apples and again I’ve eaten many foods with the flavor of cinnamon and apples. Most of these are too heavy on the cinnamon or too heavy on the apples. The tastes of this oatmeal is well-balanced.

So what makes Three Sisters Cereal eco-friendly? Well, they purchase wind-generated electricity credits from Windsource® for 100% of the electricity used to produce their cereals. There is 25% less consumer packaging than the other brands. They are also big into recycling and reducing waste and water consumption. That’s what I’m talking about!

Overall, I highly recommend trying Three Sisters Instant Oatmeal as well as Three Sisters Cereal for the taste and the eco-friendly features of the company. For more information and to stay connected with them, find Three Sisters on Facebook.

Last year Three Sisters provided me three of their cereals. My product review on their Sweet Wheat, Marshmallow Oaties and Honey Oaties cereals can be seen here. All of their products are sold exclusively at Whole Foods Market.

]]> Thu, 10 Feb 2011 18:00:08 +0000
<![CDATA[ This book easily reaches the level of Wow]]>
There are a number of towns all over the country, ranging from Dickson, Tennessee, to Pittsfield, Massachusetts, to Toms River, New Jersey, suffering much higher than normal numbers of severe childhood illnesses. Each town just happens to also contain a large industrial plant that handles lots of toxic chemicals. Are the illnesses all "isolated instances" or "just one of those things?"

The authors say that the CEOs of the major chemical companies are not evil people who deliberately want to poison innocent children, but profit is most important. It is very hard to prove, absolutely, that a particular case of asthma or cancer, for instance, was caused by chemicals from a particular industrial plant, though the circumstantial evidence is pretty strong. The chemical companies use that uncertainty to delay the paying of any fines or cleanup costs.

Scientists-for-pay are willing to say what the chemical companies want them to say. The evidence is not conclusive and more study (read: delay) is needed. Washington is no help. Through lobbyists and campaign contributions, it has been made clear to members of Congress that bills to add new regulations are to be watered down or defeated. Only a few of the thousands of chemicals in the environment have been tested at all. Those tests have been very short-term, and have looked at adult exposure to chemicals. The level of toxicity for children and fetuses is much lower.

What can a parent do? If you plan on having children in the future, adopt a healthy lifestyle. Get proper amounts of vitamins and minerals, starting today (men and women). If you already have children, let them play outside and open the windows in your house for at least a few minutes a day (to let out any built-up toxins). Stay away from pesticides and dry cleaning, buy organic food as much as possible, buy furniture and flooring made from solid wood instead of particleboard, which is treated with formaldehyde. There are also plenty of websites to visit with safer alternatives to everyday items.

This book easily reaches the level of Wow. It is very easy to read, and is quite an eye-opener for all parents and parents-to-be. This is highly recommended.]]> Tue, 8 Feb 2011 23:51:10 +0000
<![CDATA[ The Only thing GREEN is the label]]> How does this product meet your green values?
Alcohol, VOCs, ethoxylates, phthalate containing synthetic fragrance, and dyes? Yep, they got 'em. Not sure where this ends up being green at all. It certainly isn't safe for my family or the environment.

How does this product meet your quality standards?
Well, as far as aggravating my son's asthma, it's outstanding!

]]> Tue, 8 Feb 2011 15:41:22 +0000
<![CDATA[ Works as well as any traditional product]]> OK, I admit it... even though I discuss this stuff daily, I still worry about quality and performance with green cleaning products. Ecover's dishwashing liquid works as well as any other dish soap I've used (and we do all our dishes by hand... not by choice, but by necessity). It cuts grease, and gets all the leftover foodstuffs off... period. No extra scrubbing...

I've talked to the folks at Ecover about their products, so I'm convinced of their green cred... they've been doing this for 30+ years. I should note/disclose that I'm using the product because the company gave me a year's supply of products as a "thank you" for serving as a judge for their "30 Under 30" contest... I'm doubly grateful, though, as that introduced me to a product I may not have otherwise used... and will purchase it when I need to.


]]> Sat, 5 Feb 2011 18:23:24 +0000
<![CDATA[ Only the softest and purest next to baby's skin]]>
I've discovered a great small company that makes organic cotton baby clothing called Bungalow BeBe. Their prices are a little more affordable than many other organic clothing makers. Their selection of boys and girls clothing is really unique and adorable. 

Quality & Value: The quality of Bungalow BeBe clothing is apparent the moment you see it in person. While it is hard to tell online, I can assure you, you will not be disappointed! My husband commented that it is sooooo soft, unlike most conventionally grown cotton. This is definitely something to be passed on and worn by more than one baby. 

We received two pieces of clothing for review, both great on either a girl or a boy. The Organic Cotton Pajamas are priced at $32.00 and the Long Sleeve Tee is $19.99.

How is this green: A baby's skin is 60% thinner than the skin of an adult and is therefore more susceptible to absorbing potentially dangerous chemicals used to produce clothing. Bungalow BeBe clothing is produced without any fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides, or chemicals, which results in less harmful byproducts that can be absorbed, and is therefore believed to cause fewer allergies and respiratory problems. 

Fit & Design: We first tried on the pajamas on our night cloth diaper, the way we would normally wear it. Because it is a little bulky, the size 2T pajamas didn't quite fit. Baby E just turned 2 and she only weighs 23 pounds, so she is smaller than most two year olds (she still wears mostly 18 month size clothing). We then tried it on with a trimmer cloth diaper and it fit a little better as seen in the photo. This is the biggest size offered. It has short sleeves and since we keep our thermostat at 65 degrees and it is a whopping 13 degrees outside tonight, she will not be wearing it anytime soon. Since it will not fit in the spring I think we'll save it for the next baby because it is just too soft, adorable, and great for either girl or boy. So if you're interested in the pajamas, based on our experience I suggest getting at least a size up, especially if you use real cloth diapers.

The size 18-24 months Long Sleeve Tee that's just as luxuriously soft fits well, just the way I thought it would on my tiny two year old. It will be perfect to wear this spring through fall. I really appreciate this neckline because it makes it a breeze to put on, unlike more shirts she has. I also like the length that's long enough to be tucked in. My only suggestion would be to have printed tags on the shirt instead of the sewn on one, she didn't really like how it felt. Then again, you would have to find non-toxic inks to print with and it is a whole different process, but it's a suggestion. I definitely disagree that blue is for boys! It looks gorgeous with her eyes!

Company: Bungalow BeBe was started by a parent who was looking for affordable, non-toxic clothing for the baby. The passion of the well-being of children combined with the owner's dream of owning a business turned into Bungalow BeBe.

If you are interested in making a purchase, see the link above the review .

]]> Fri, 4 Feb 2011 05:52:39 +0000
<![CDATA[ Wow. If You WANT to Know, This Film Will Inform You.]]> I tend to avoid constant streams of news because the flow of bad and dark overwhelms me and makes me feel hopeless. I can't watch the endless commentary on why people do some of the hideous things that they do, or how our world is becoming more and more hostile. So the fact that I generally love documentaries surprises e.

Food Inc was one I put off for a very long time. I'm not naive - and maybe that's why I did put it off - because I know just enough. But seeing is different than knowing.

Super Size Me and King Corn of two of my favorite documentaries. Food Inc both picks up where they left off and becomes the missing piece of the puzzle.I expected to be challenged and horrified by Food Inc, but I didn't expect to be as moved as I was.

Some of the statistics and facts presented are staggering. Animals housed and fed to become the end product that are so heavy that their legs can't hold them, diseased animals tossed into the meat mix, A semi-solution that is not taken wherein the cattle being fed a different diet for days could kill 80% of the e coli bacteria. Farmers carrying debt of a half million but making a mere 18K a year. Larger corporations refusing to make statements or appear on camera. Those are almost enough to paint a compelling picture of serious issues.

But there's more....the family who eats dollar hamburgers from a fast food outlet based on budget restrictions of both time and money. This same family is shown in the grocery store lamenting the $1.29 per pound price tag on broccoli and when a daughter looks longingly at pears, they are weighed and rejected because $.99 price tag per pound would only buy them two or three pears. However, pop was cheap. The father was diabetic. The mother explained that $260.00 a month went to his two diabetic medications. They had to make a decision between food that might make them all healthier and medicine to keep him healthy.

Then there was the political activist who became one when she lost her small child to e coli from tainted burger.

I could go on but I won't.

If you are concerned about what goes into your mouth, and the mouths of those you care about, you need to look further into America's food supply and Food Inc could be a good starting point.]]> Fri, 4 Feb 2011 00:28:33 +0000
<![CDATA[ VW XL1 Diesel PHEV Attains Amazing 313 mpg]]> VW XL1 Super Efficient Vehicle (SEV) was on display recently at the Qatar Motor Show. The VW XL1 uses a two-cylinder diesel engine and plug-in hybrid electric motor plus aerodynamic design to gain an amazing 313 mpg. Yes, it's only a two-seater but the XL1 has the makers of the SmartForTwo drooling right now. After the XL1 is plugged in and fully charged, the vehicle can run 35 miles on all electric mode before the common rail diesel TDI engine kicks in. The body of the VW XL1 reminds me somewhat of the Honda Insight hybrid or the GM EV1 when it first rolled out. Using Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer to reduce the weight of the parts in the vehicle, the VW XL1 comes in at a svelte 1751 lbs. For many years the VW Bug was known as the economy car with good gas mileage. Then in years 2,000 – 2010, Toyota and Honda took this honor away from VW. Now with a new decade ahead, VW has slapped down the gauntlet setting the bar extremely high for the other automakers.]]> Tue, 1 Feb 2011 19:56:04 +0000 <![CDATA[ Just like sleeping at home, only better!]]>
Luckily, my fiancé had wisely predicted this course of action and done his research regarding places to stay. We ended up at a very cute and quaint B & B called The Solglimt. The location was perfect, only a block past the lively Canal Street, and would have been a very convenient walk across the lift bridge to restaurants, pubs and shopping if it hadn’t been for the freezing rain.

The Solglimt is highly lauded as one of the top B &B’s in Minnesota. It has been recognized as having one of the best breakfasts around and it is green certified! They enforce green building practices, purchase and serve only local and organic food and recycle. Awards aside, it’s charming, well-kept and the owners are thoughtful, friendly and make their home a very welcoming place.


The Solglimt has parking in their driveway enough to accommodate most guests. This makes it easy to carry your suitcases up to the front door and it’s always nice not to have to worry about permits, street parking etc. If you arrive late and there are no spots, they do have a lot across the street that is free.

The Arrival & Tour:

We were greeted by both owners at the front door (where we removed our shoes) and were given a tour of the house. There is a cozy living room with a nice DVD selection, a computer with internet access and some sweet treats for nibbling. Downstairs is a sitting area and kitchen. The kitchen is stocked with coffee, tea, water and soda for the taking. They also allow you to keep your leftovers in their fridge if you have dinner out.

Our Room:

The Inn hosts 5 suites and ours was The Kandinsky Loft. The top suite in the house, it indeed had an open loft layout. The room theme was inspired by Kandinsky’s “Open Green” painting which adorned the wall, and the decorations throughout the suite utilized primary colors with a contemporary style. Small, but comfortable and quite cozy (like you’re staying in a good friends home), the room was perfect for a romantic one-night stay. It fit a queen bed which had soft sheets and was positioned next to a gas fireplace. There was a skylight over the bed that gave us a cool view of the drawbridge and we even saw a barge moving through the harbor late at night.

The bathroom had everything we needed from towels, shampoo, conditioner, and soap to thoughtful details like make-up removal packets. They also had two glasses available for wine or champagne, which we made use of upon arrival. And there was a small TV in the corner of the room.


Our room was around $115 a night. During peak season the rate is $135. I believe this is the lowest priced room available, but still had all the luxuries of the other suites. Relative to hotel prices for the night, this was slightly more expensive, but certainly worth it for the unique experience.

Overall, it was a treat. I love staying in places with character and special attention to detail. One word of caution -  the general nature of a B & B is very different than that of a hotel. You don’t have that anonymous feeling, rather you feel like you are staying as a guest in someone’s home (even though you are paying for it!). If you enjoy saying hello to the owners and other guests as you come in and out of the house, and don’t mind being considerate of your noise level, then you’ll love staying here.

Unfortunately I can’t give you a verdict on their breakfast. The weather continued to get worse and by morning. The rain had turned to ice. The roads were slick and it took us almost a half an hour to get into my car (doors were frozen shut). I had to shimmy in through the hatchback of my car, all the way up to the front seat to turn it on! And it was snowing. As a result, we left early in the hopes of getting to our final destination before the weather got any worse. Next time I will definitely be staying for the breakfast though, my mouth was watering as I left!

My recommendation:

I would definitely stay here again, but only in the summer or fall. One of the perks of this B & B is the location. It’s right on the beach, so you want to be able to enjoy sitting on the deck, watching the ships pass by and sticking your toes in the water.]]> Tue, 1 Feb 2011 16:08:37 +0000
<![CDATA[ Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara¬†Kingsolver]]> While out of town, I had the chance to do some Actual Reading.  It was delightful–staying at my folks’ place, we were all four of us staying in one big room, so there wasn’t much we could do after the kids went to sleep besides read.  I guess we could do it at home too, but we for some reason just…don’t. Which is too bad…

I finally read Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, MiracleIt’s a nonfiction chronicle of her family’s year of eating entirely seasonally and locally–a really wonderful read about a family’s amazing journey.  I enjoy Kingsolver’s prose a lot, and her account of the year (from the first asparagus of spring through a year of planting and cheesemaking and turkey sex) (no, really, she breeds turkeys. Or learned to, that year.) is comfortable and fun and feels very Real.  And makes me want to go out and plant a thousand veggies, raise chickens, and maybe get a nice dairy goat or something. (Don’t worry, I won’t. But she makes me feel as though I could.)  And throughout the book there are little sidebar essays by her husband elaborating on points she’s mentioned, and each chapter ends with a reflection and several recipes by her college-aged daughter Camille. And they also have a website with lots of info and recipes.

Even for folks who aren’t sure about this whole local eating thing–heck, especially for those folks–this is a great book to read.  Because the thing is, most of us have grown up not even realizing we have choices about what we eat and where we get it.  Food comes from the grocery store shelves, that’s that.  But in this newly awakening world of urban gardens and farmers markets and local eating and awareness of the amount of fossil fuel required to put our dinners on our table, we’re beginning to realize we have choices.

I’m not ready to go Barbara’s route yet.  We still buy bananas and pineapple, we still eat New Zealand apples in the summer, and I don’t always take the time to figure out the absolute happy chicken factor in the eggs I buy. (God, it’s confusing.)  But she’s made me think.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle By Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp

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