The Big Green Parenting Experiment

raising a healthy family in a toxic world

bring it on 2013! my resolutions

Unbelievable. Here I am, on New Year’s Eve, wondering where 2012 went. This has been a remarkable year for my family and I and I am confident that 2013 will be even better. I am totally one of those people who is looking back, reflecting on the year and thinking of the changes that I want to make for 2013.

Yes, I make resolutions. I do believe that a new year is great motivation to make fresh starts and set goals. Some succeed, some fail. For 2013 I’m going all out and focusing on something that I have been neglecting: ME. These resolutions are important goals that I have set to help me feel like me again, more like a human. As a first time mom, I’ve been completely focused on the happiness and well being of my baby. And while I understand that this is completely normal, I also understand that my mood and energy affects hers also. By focusing a bit more on myself, I can be better for her and for my husband.

So, here they are:

1. Eat clean. (again). I feel so incredible when I am eating a totally clean diet. My biggest challenge is going to be conquering my sugar addiction. My plan is to go cold turkey and try to replace refined sugar with more fruits and clean substitutes. I plan to log what I’m eating and drinking, focusing on fresh, whole foods and plenty of water. I used to do this and I know I can. Also, contuining our crusade to rid our house of GMOs.

2. Scheduled exercise. I used to be fit. I so want to get back there. I used to weight train 4-5 times a week, run 9-10 miles 3 times a week and do yoga every day possible. My goal is to schedule 20-30 minutes of “me time” a day to do an intense workout. My body is really craving it and I know it’ll be the boost I need to gain my self confidence and energy back. I can’t wait to have that “hurts in a good way” feeling again. I am also running the Saratoga half marathon this year so I WILL be ready!

3. Work on time management. Routines work. It can be tough with a teething toddler who may or may not resist a nap and require my undivided attention. But much like she thrives on a routine, I think I will too. Allot time for housework, exercise, meditation, play, husband, blogging (of course) and rest. I would love to try and devote time to all of these things that are so important to me. All of the things that make me ME.

These are some pretty tall orders, I know. But I’ve done them all before and I CAN do them again. The better I am, the better I will be for my family and that is my motivation.

Better me = better us.

Let’s get this New Year started!

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recycled newspaper gift bags

We get sooo many newspaper flyers in the mail without even subscribing to any newspapers. It’s mind numbing. They go directly from the mailbox to the recycling bin, day after day. Well, not anymore! This is a very simple, crafty little way to give your newspapers new life! I am totally in love with this idea! I spotted it on pinterest and knew that there was going to be plenty of these in my future! The possibilities are endless. I just can’t wait to add personal touches onto these fab little gift bags.

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The original post on pinterest is from How About Orange who received a recycled newspaper shopping bag from a retailer. She was inspired to create one of her own. Now I am inspired! Let’s do this.

What you’ll need:

  • newspaper
  • scissors
  • card stock
  • glue stick
  • twine
  • ruler

I started out by following the directions for the bag from the link on Pinterest. She walks you through creating the smaller bag, pictured above on the right. Once I mastered that one, I was ready to try variations.

Today’s project: a wine gift bag for a birthday party.

Wine gift bags are a bit easier since they are square so there is little measuring involved. You can easily customize to the particular bottle if you’d like. Today I’ll be making a bag for riesling which is generally a taller, thinner bottle than most so I am customizing a bit.

Bottle diameter = 3.5″
Total newspaper width needed – 15″ (3.5″ x 4 sides + ~1 inch for seam)

Bottle height = 16″
Total newspaper height needed – 19-20″
(16″ + 1″ for top edge + 2″ for bottom of bag)

Lay out two sheets of newspaper on a table or flat surface. Measure out the size of the newspaper you will need, in this case 16″ x 19″. Cut out. Tip: I found it easiest to glue the two sheets of newspaper together before cutting.

Once your cut piece is laid out, you will start folding, as follows:

1. Make a 1″ fold on one of the side edges. This will be where you glue the seam of the bag.

2. To make four equal width sides, fold the opposite edge of the paper in to the fold that you just made.

3. Fold in half again in the same manner.

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4. Fold 1″ to 1.5″ on the side that will be the bag opening AND make a 2″ fold on the opposite edge, which will become the bottom of the bag.

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5. Next you’ll need to cut two pieces of card stock: 1″ x the width of the side of the bag, in this case 3.5″. Glue them along the top edge of the bag in the first and third sections. These will help support the top of the bag when opened.

20121207-083447.jpg6. Next you will glue down the entire ‘flap’ on the top side of the bag. This will hide the card stock and give the top edge a finished look.

20121210-193246.jpg7. Now to form the shape of the bag, glue the first fold that you made on the side edge to the interior of the other edge. You can start to see it coming together.

20121210-193440.jpg8. And now to create the bottom of the bag, you simply fold the opposite sides in as if wrapping a gift and then glue the two remaining sides down one by one. I failed to take pictures of this process since both hands are necessary to make it work. I did find it easiest to rest the bag on a table while doing this step. Here is the completed bottom:

20121210-193858.jpg9. To complete the bag, you’ll just need to add some finishing touches. Measure a piece of card stock to glue on the bottom inside of the bag for additional strength. Poke (or punch) two small holes in the reinforced top sides of the bag, insert twine and tie off to make handles.

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Tada! A recycled newspaper gift bag! (The bag was just tall enough, despite how it looks in the picture. Next time I’ll add that extra inch.) I added some lime green tissue paper for a splash of color. So cute! I visualize making these with Schy for holiday gifts, maybe with red or green stamped snowflakes on them and ribbon handles! You can even use different appropriate sections of the newspaper for particular people: sports, real estate, etc.
I am totally digging these bags. They’re super creative (super cheap) and can easily be personalized! And it’s a useful way to use some of that newspaper that everyone has laying around! Try it out and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear your creative ideas.

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green product review (& discount!): reusable swiffer wet jet pads!!

If you own a swiffer wet jet, you know just how convenient it is… and, of course, how wasteful those replacement pads are. Not to mention… what a RIP-OFF! Even the generic Target brand pads are about a dollar a piece. REALLY??

Today I am reviewing our new favorite household product. The reusable wet jet pad. I found this particular pad on ebay and after careful review of all of the other options, I gave it a go. AH-MAZING.

I was SO excited to receive this product in the mail. After beginning the journey to a chemical free home series (part one, part two), I planned to tackle floor cleaning alternatives next. I originally intended to create my own reusable pad when I discovered this wonderful product. These pads work beautifully. Much better than their disposable counterparts that we were overpaying for. We love our wet jet. Especially when we’re cleaning up after three toddler meals a day. It’s just so convenient.

On to the review:

Appearance: At first glance, I was very impressed with the product. It is well made, neatly stitched and appears to be quite durable. The pads are pretty thick and look very absorbent, as advertised. The pads are available in a great variety of colors. (I chose green.)

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photo taken after a couple of washes

Use: Initially, I was a bit concerned with the hook and loop staying fastened to the wet jet itself, but I was proven wrong. It stayed attached very well and the fit was great. The pads are super absorbent. MUCH more absorbent than the disposable pads. The floor is practically dry when you’re finished, which leaves me confident that all of the dirt and dirty cleaning solution and/or water have been picked up, rather than being pushed around the floor. The absorbency was actually quite alarming at first as it takes a little more effort to push the mop across the floor. You get used to this change quickly, especially for the trade off of total grime removal. It is a nice change from the filthy disposable pad sliding across the floor and bunching and tearing before the job is even finished!

Construction: The pad is constructed from a highly absorbent yellow core made from wood pulp, a totally green by-product from the lumber industry. The mopping surface is made from high quality (new) cotton towels which are selected for durability, long wear and quick drying time.

Cleaning: The pads are extremely easy to clean by tossing them in a warm wash cycle. They can be dried in the dryer, however we opted for air dry. They were practically dry when we removed them from the wash and were fully dry and ready to use again in no time. Many of the pads are bleachable for easy sanitizing also. We have only washed them a handful of times, but so far they have held up great!

We purchased our pads on eBay during a buy one, get one free promotion, so we paid $6.85 for two pads with free shipping! I’ll probably buy a few more for those more frequent mopping days (read: toddler meal-slinging). To purchase this fantastic product from eBay click here. The seller is now offering 20% OFF to anyone who mentions the big green parenting experiment review when they order! You can also find these pads and other great green products at www.EZgreenPRO.com.

This is an excellent green product and I highly recommend picking up a few! Our household will never go back to wasteful, disposable pads and saving money is always a bonus as well. If you love your wet jet as much as I do, order some today. You will not be sorry!

BGPE rating: A+

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I was not paid or compensated in any way for the review of this product. This review is based solely on my personal use and opinion and I am in no way affiliated with the seller of this product, just an extremely satisfied, supportive customer! Thanks for reading!

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