For the first time in a long time, this summer-to-fall shift is a back to school moment for real in my household -- my two and a half year old begins a (very minimal) preschool program (in October). We're going with her, as it's a cooperative school, and generally anticipating a tremendous amount of cuteness and hilarity. We're also anticipating an onslaught of stuff.
I am by nature and by profession anti-stuff -- how much junk does one kid need? I wasn't brought up this way and I used to be a big consumer. But the greener I get, the less stuff I can tolerate. Every person who asks me advice on how to stock a nursery pre-baby, for example, gets the same answer: all a baby actually needs is a boob, a diaper, and a swaddling blanket. How much does any of us really need? But there are certain times of the year, just as there are certain times in life (like the arrival of a newborn), that come with a stuff-alanche. For the beginning of the school year, I'm talking new clothes, new
Blog Posts by Ask an Organic Mom, The Daily Green
For the first time in a long time, this summer-to-fall shift is a back to school moment for real in my household -- my two and a half year old begins a (very minimal) preschool program (in October). We're going with her, as it's a cooperative school, and generally anticipating a tremendous amount of cuteness and hilarity. We're also anticipating an onslaught of stuff.Read More »from Back to School? Don't Go Shopping!
I tasted a yogurt in Vermont last week that was so good I'm pretty sure my eyes snapped shut while eating it. It was Organic Maple Yogurt (made with Jersey cow whole milk and maple syrup) from Butterworks Farm, a 25 year-old Vermont dairy up near the Canadian border. I've never cared much for yogurt, but I got back to New York and couldn't stop thinking about it, or stop my mouth from watering every time I did. I still have to struggle to eat better so that my daughters will one day do it reflexively, but yogurt's always been an off-putting food to me, I think partly because of it's virtuous reputation. I'm always thrilled when I come across a food where the organic version crushes the conventional version I grew up eating, so I started hunting around for it. I've been feeding my daughters yogurt since they were born, but I was looking forward to feed something I actually like.Read More »from It's Getting Easier Being Green
I have a question for you (I searched for an answer in your blog, but couldn't find it). What's the best solution to drinking filtered water on road trips and vacation? I hate buying bottled water, so I always fill up my reusable glass VOSS bottle at home before I go ... but that only lasts so long. Then I usually just end up drinking tap water (but I hate doing that too). Do you bring a Brita pitcher or filter with you, buy bottled water, or...? I'd really like to know what the best solution to this would be.Read More »from Why I Don't Drink Bottled Water
Interesting question. I never buy bottled water at home not only because of the environmental impact of all of those bottles but also because I've known for years what the Environmental Working Groupconfirmed a few weeks back - just because its in a bottle doesn't mean it's purer. In fact, the only thing you're guaranteed of when buying bottled water is getting ripped off. A lot of (expensive) bottled is actually the same old (free) tap water you're
- Ask an Organic Mom, The Daily Green | Parenting – Tue, Nov 11, 2008 10:09 PM EST
One of my most frequent suggestions on how to reduce indoor air pollution, exposure to chemical residue, and general grime - take off your shoes before entering or just after entering your home - seems like a total no brainer. It's common sense that you shouldn't trudge through the New York City subway (as I do), then track in that truly grim dirt and grime to where your baby is crawling. It used to require some coercing of our friends when they came over back before we all had kids to get them to go shoeless in our home. But now everyone I know with kids takes off their shoes. So much so that our preschool teacher keeps having to remind parents to keep their children's shoes on when they arrive at school. These kids just aren't accustomed to wearing shoes inside.Read More »from No Shoes Indoors for the Family! What About the Family Dog?
But there's a population of greenies who hesitate re jumping on the shoe-off bandwagon: dog owners. Why bother taking off their shoes, they ask me, if their dogs are trekking in the same gunk they're supposed to be
This week a reader in New York City writes:Read More »from The Hazards of Dry Cleaning
OK so we just moved into this apartment and there is a dry cleaner on the ground floor. The vents for the dry cleaners are right on the part of the sidewalk that we have to walk past to get to our entrance. So it's like being showered in dry cleaning chemical nastiness every time we walk by. The vents are about 6 feet off the ground so it's high for a stroller, but pregnant moms will have to soak it right in. My questions are: is this legal? (I called 311 and they are sending someone out to inspect it) and the other question is: how toxic is this to walk past at least twice a day? It can't be good.
I know how hard it is to find an apartment in New York City, but this doesn't sound like a great situation. The "chemical nastiness" you're inhaling is Tetrachloroethene (it also goes by tetrachloroethylene, perchloroethylene, PCE or, most commonly, PERC), and it's used to dry-clean clothes (as well as degrease metal parts). It's
- Ask an Organic Mom, The Daily Green | Parenting – Mon, Nov 3, 2008 6:02 PM EST
I have long dreaded moving my daughter into a twin bed, and not for the regular reasons parents dread this inevitable transfer. I wasn't worried she wouldn't sleep as well as she did in a crib because, truth be told, she never slept in one but rather with us in our "family" bed. Instead, I was concerned about the piece of furniture itself. What sort of wood would it be made of? What about its stain or varnish? Would there be some unavoidable join glue or otherwise hidden part of formaldehyde-filled particleboard? What kind of chemicals would it release into her air as she dozed?Read More »from Morphing The Green Nursery Into An Eco-Preschooler's Haven
So, for many months, her twin (all cotton) futon stayed on the floor. Yes, it was partially because it was safer there - no way to fall out of bed if you're already on the ground. But it was also because I spend so much time researching kid-related items to make sure they're the safest versions possible that I can get exhausted to the point of stuck when it comes to my own items. When you know as much
Another reader in search of raw milk:Read More »from How to Find Raw Milk
I read in your blog that you, too, cannot travel to far-away farms to purchase your products. You also said you are forbidden to give info on how you do purchase them. But, can you give a HINT??? I live on Long Island, these farms are 500 miles away, can't possibly travel weekly or even twice a month. I have an autoimmune disease, and heart disease, and I am a passionate raw milk advocate.
I get my raw milk from a collective that orders from farmers upstate. The deliveries are once a week in locations all around New York City, from Astoria to Inwood. You're right that most of the farms are a long distance north from you on Long Island, but if you go to Real Milkyou will find a list of where to buy raw milk (and other raw products) in every state. If you're ever in New York City you could pick up orders here. Or you could consider a drive to the parts of Connecticut that are closest to you (where it is sold legally) - probably New Canaan,
It's finally cold here in New York. Most heating systems aren't yet turned on so we've been traipsing around in sweaters and hats. Today, after a wind gust almost picked her up and blew her down the street, my daughter laughed and screamed, "I'm freezing!"Read More »from An Itchy Organic Mom: Gentle Cures for Eczema
Season change is fun. It's also itchy. I have battled dry skin and eczema for years, especially on my hands. I used steroid creams to treat them before I knew better, and read enough to entice me to give them up just before I got pregnant. Phew. I even gave up peanuts while pregnant because some research (largely British) said it would reduce the likelihood a baby of a mom with eczema would (also) have allergies. I'd do anything not to pass this along to her. Well so far so good on food and seasonal allergies. But she currently has several patches of her very own eczema. Argh!
Since giving up the steroids, I have spent a lot of time testing and coming up with a list of products that work to quell the rash when it flares.
Duygu Ozen / IStockFor many renters, ensuring that your new apartment is painted with safe, zero-VOCpaint before you move in is tricky. Landlords don't want to spend the extra money, and you have no leg to stand on in terms of getting them to. As a renter myself, I worked out a deal with my landlord-to-be when we signed the lease that I would pay the difference between the paint they would have used on our apartment, and the more expensive no-VOC brand they agreed to paint with instead.Read More »from 10 Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
A Daily Green reader with a young child who just moved back to New York City sent us the following question:
I just moved into a new rental apartment that was freshly painted and it smells. What should I do to get rid of the VOC's and the smell? Should I run my HEPA filter? What are the dangers of VOC's? I've been keeping windows open as much as possible and it's just the doors that were really newly painted so I'm trying not to freak out completely!
I turn to the Green Depot's in-house expert Paul Novakfor
It won't come in time for this year's holiday shopping, but it's pretty encouraging to see our Congress take a stand against the toxic chemicals in so many plastic kid toys (the same chemicals that have been obsolete in the EU for years). California led the way last year, the first state to baneven trace amounts of the plastic softening chemical in toys that's been proven responsible for reproductive problems in boys and girls. According to the Washington Post,the growing scientific evidencethat chewing on a plastic toy that includes a hormone-mimicking phthalate can cause problems was at last convincing enough to spur some legislative change.
President Bush opposed the ban, but as of January 2009 the shelves of Wal-Mart, Toys R Us and Babies R Us will be phthalate-free. According to the Washington Poststory: "... House and Senate lawmakers agreed to permanently ban three types of phthalates from children's toys and to outlaw three other phthalates from products pending anRead More »from Why the Ban on Phthalates Matters