Saturday, October 25, 2008

"New" Toys




I responded to an ad on Kijiji recently and brought home some 'new' friends for Ian (is it wrong that I want to play with them too?). You may be acquaintances with them yourself. What would the world be without Fisher Price Little People? These are the ultimate in green toys. I have so many fond memories of playing with these little guys. I'm happy Ian will get to share the joy (when he's older and stops putting things in his mouth!). I was lucky enough to snag both the complete sesame street playset and the tudor family house with all of the accessories. Those new fisher prices little people don't compare to these guys. They just don't make things like they used to...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Back on track.

I'm happy to report that things are getting better around here. The proof is that the cloth diapers are back in action again after several months of being MIA.

I started a new job this week. I'm managing a team again after two years and although it is somewhat daunting, it feels good! Strangely, although I now have more responsability at work I'm also being more productive at home too... Not sure what you call that phenomenon but so far so good. Granted this week was only week 1 of the new job, so who knows what things will be like once I have a full workload but I can honestly say that I'm in a good place. I love the team. They are all very nice. My walk to work is a little shorter which is nice. It means more time with Ian in the mornings and in the afternoons.

So back to our challenge. I'll have to count down how many weeks I've missed.... since mid to early August I think. We have been doing green things despite not blogging about them.

1. We got a rain barrel that is hooked up to our downspout.
2. I recently bought Ian a new toy from plan toys (wooden toys made out of organic rubberwood).
3. We brought all of our recycling (paper and cans) back from our vacation in Maine with us because we couldn't find a place to recycle our stuff there... which is pretty crazy.

There is more but I'll leave it there for now. Hope all is well with you!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Confessions of Momma Greenlunn

When I started this blog in January 2008 it never occured to me that transitioning from being at home on Mat leave to being a full time working mother would be so hard. I knew it would be hard but I didn't realize it would be THIS hard. Most days I feel like a failure. Like nothing I do is good enough because there just isn't enough time in the day anymore to do things right. Mornings are a race to get out the door. After work it is a rush to get to daycare, pick up Ian, get home, figure out what to make for dinner, feel guilty if it isn't as healthy as I'd like, bath time, play time, bed time, do laundry, clean bathrooms etc and flop exhausted into bed for tomorrow's race that starts all over again. So being back to work has been a transition. It has been about slowly letting go of 'perfection'. Which is much, much harder than it seems. It is letting go of control and realizing that this is the new normal. Leisurely making a gourmet dinner after work is just no longer an option. Having everything perfectly in it's place (including my sanity) is no longer an option either it seems. So for now the greenlunns are doing the best they can to keep it together. To juggle those millions of balls and not being too hard on ourselves when we drop a few of them.

So here go a few confessions: Living life green hasn't been as much of a priority in the last few months. It seems I'm always forgetting to bring my cloth bag with me to the grocery store, and the cloth diapers haven't seen much use in the last few months. It pains me to admit it. It does. The truth is that for the next little while I'll have to rely on all those other good people out there saving the world while I work to save my own little world and try to keep our household working. This doesn't mean we aren't living green, we're still doing most of thing things we've committed to doing -I'm just acknowledging that at this very moment in our lives keeping sane has become a bigger priority than being uber-green. So instead of pretending I'm 'super-mom' who can save the world and work outside the home full time, stay sane and be a good mom. I'm acknowledging that: I'm not perfect. I can't do it all -and maybe for now that's ok.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Transition to full time working parents

You may have noticed that my posts have gotten shorter and that I'm not posting as regularly as I was. Having gone back to work a few months ago has put the blog on a very long 'to do' list. Sometimes I never make it down to the bottom of the list.... Being a full time working parents is hard! So many things to do so little time! I don't have time to write a full post today but I'll get there eventually!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

GreenLunns are on vacation

The GreenLunns are on vacation for the next two weeks! Yay vacation! We'll spend the first half getting our life in order (cleaning the house) and the other on the coast of Maine enjoying a much needed change of scenery. There is nothing like the ocean to refresh and invigorate. Originally we had planned the ever trendy (and green) 'staycation' but we had a last minute change of heart... Have you ever just needed an adventure, something totally different from the everyday? White sandy beach here we come! It's exciting to think of hitting the open road and showing Ian the ocean for the first time. I LOVE the ocean. It is the closest thing to heaven in my mind.

So changes #31 & #32 go a little something like this:

Change #31... I've got a cold and I've noticed this habit I have of always grabbing two tissues instead of just one. So from now on I'm only grabbing one tissue at a time and going back for another if I need it... because they are made of trees (looking forward to getting my stickers!).

Change #32... We are getting our carpets cleaned tomorrow. We opted to go with a company that provided a no chemicals option. No nasty chemicals on our carpet and in the air we breathe.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Change #29 - Green camping

I'm behind on my blogging. Oops!

So change #29 (which is last week's post if you're counting) is all about green camping. Two weeks ago we went camping with a bunch of friends of ours at Silver Lake Provincial Park which is about 20 minutes East of Perth. We had a great time. We were 10 adults, 4 kids, 3 babies and 2 dogs. It rained. It poured. We had fun in the sun. We ate a lot. We did a lot of running around (after the kids, the babies and the dogs).

We also (for the most part) camped green. Derek and I didn't bring any bottled water, choosing to bring a big reusable water container with tap water from home instead. We brought our own plates and utensils and used them (all except for one meal). We made sure to recycle our cans and bottles and generally created as little garbage as possible.

In addition to this we learned a valuable lesson. Camping with a baby is possible. It's also a very dirty business. How many rocks did I fish out of Ian's mouth? 14.

Change #30 - Shaving my legs with the water off

So change #30 (which is this week's change if you're counting) is all about conserving more water. I was thinking this morning as I was shaving my legs while the water was running in the shower that there must be a more efficient way to do this. So I turned off the water while I shaved my legs. Less water wasted+less water running into my eyes while I shave my legs=conserving water & fewer cuts. It's win, win really.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Change #28 - Less vacumming


We have a dog. His name is Bagel. He's the cutest Beagle you've ever seen. Big, long floppy ears. When he was a puppy they dragged on the floor. People would stop and get out of their cars to say hello to him (I kid you not). He's cute (and like most Beagles sometimes stubborn and sneaky) but he sheds a lot. Those tiny little hairs that stick to everything. I vaccum a lot (at least I did before I became a working mother) to control the hairballs. Vaccuming isn't really an enviro-friendly thing to do... doesn't that seem weird? First of all there's the electricity you're using and then there are those vaccum bags that I'm sure take a while to biodegrade. I can't get away with not vaccuming the upstairs since we have rugs, but from now on I'll be sheperding those Bagel balls that appears on the first level of our home with a good 'ol fashion broom and dustpan.


Change #27 - 5 minute showers

So I'll be cutting back on my shower time this week (I'm one post behind so this is actually last week's post). We've been away a lot and will continue to be away on weekends all summer which has been making life pretty hectic. The posts just keep getting shorter.... who wants to spend time indoors when you could be spending time enjoying summer which has FINALLY arrived!

So 5 minute showers. This shouldn't be too hard since I'm not one to dawdle in the shower anyway... but I'll start being especially vigilant now.

Hope you are enjoying your summer!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Change #26 - 'These Come from Trees' stickers

I've ordered 50 of these and I'll be placing them in strategic places (like on paper towel dispensers in public restrooms) as I live my life over the next six months (can you believe the year is half over already?). If you too would like to participate in sneaky eco-sticker-activism contact me and I'll send you a couple.

This should be fun!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Change #25 - Meatless Mondays and Wednesdays

Ok Tatooze you win. We're doing meatless Mondays and Wednesdays. I've been thinking about cutting back on our meat consumption anyway so I guess now is as good a time as any. Thank you for the other suggestions (always nice to hear from you). I'll keep them in the 'to do list' for later.

Tofu burgers here we come!

BTW: You win a copy of 'the green book'. A NY Times Bestseller filled with lots of fun green tips!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Change #25 - You decide

Google analytics (why can't Google be the next American President?) tells me that there are about fifty or so people who read this blog. So this week I'm asking you... what change should #25 be? What are YOU doing that you'd like to see US doing? Or what are you not doing but wish you were doing that you'd like to see us doing?

Leave your suggestion in the comment box below. If I pick your suggestion you win a *surprise green gift*. It won't be lame I promise.

Deadline is Wednesday June 18th. Giddy up.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Change #24 - Revolving Doors

Someone, I won't mention her name... (she is a dear friend who has flaming red hair and has in the not so distant past called me 'pee pants' for somewhat legitimate reasons.... oh yes you did, and you know who you are and you'll see what things are like after you give birth missy) thinks this next change is a little lame but I'll let YOU be the judge of that.

Change #24 is that when given the choice I will, from this day on, use the revolving doors when entering a building. My building at work has two sets of revolving doors, flanked by two regular hinged doors. There is a sign on the hinged doors that says 'please use revolving doors'. But no one listens... No one, including me. Revolving doors are kinda dumb. Maybe I've lost that childhood feeling but if I wanted to go on a merry-go-round I would go somewhere fun like Wonderland. Let's face it, there ain't nothing wonderlandish about my work.

Revolving doors are not only dumb, they are annoying. There's that waiting for the empty space and making sure you jump in at the right time and then making sure you jump out at the right time and then there's that nagging worry about getting stuck in the door and having everyone look at you while you're stuck with no food or water to sustain you while the cute firemen try to free you with the jaws of life. Not to mention the possibility of getting your skirt caught in the door and having to go around all day wearing half a skirt... see? dumb and annoying.

Someone pointed out to me today (you really did call me 'pee pants'. I swear. I'm not offended, I'm just saying) that revolving doors are actually green because they keep the hot and cool air in and as we all know warming and cooling huildings creates a lot of greenhouse gases. So yeah. Lame? You be the judge.

Comments. Even snarly ones are welcomed.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Change #23 - Volunteer member of 'Enviro Committee' at work

You may have noticed that my posts are much shorter than they used to be... the GreenLunns are still adjusting to momma GreenLunn being back at work. For the most part things are going well. Ian has adjusted better than I could have dreamed... In fact, I think I've been struggling way more than he has! He doesn't even whimper when I leave him in the mornings. Not even a quick glance in my direction. I get this weird feeling that he's actually happy to see me go... which is fine by me! No tears=no guilt.

It's now week 5 and FINALLY my brain seems to have kicked into gear. Those first few weeks were tough. I couldn't shake off this feeling of being super-duper-dumb. Finally, last week my brain got the message that we were no longer watching Oprah and singing 'Wheels on the bus'. Clearly writing briefing notes and doing risk analysis is way less fun but I have yet to receive a cheque from Oprah so off to work I go.

In any case this doesn't mean that my committment to going green has gone out the window. I'm still committed and I'm still doing green things... I just don't have that much energy these days to post about it.

This week I volunteered to be part of my work's 'Enviro Committee'. The organization has appointed an 'Enviromental Champion' who will be striking a working group to look at ways to make us more eco-friendly. Which I think is really quite wonderful! I've volunteered to be part of the working group and I'm really looking forward to seeing what kinds of things we'll be doing to make my organization a Greener place to work!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Recycling your plastic gardening pots

Loblaws is now taking back all of your plastic gardening pots for recycling into new pots. How cool is that? Less plastic in our landfills is a good thing!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Change # 22 - No more Saran Wrap

Recently we ran out of Saran Wrap and I never bothered to replenish our stock. I've been using tupperware, bowls with plates for lids and tea towels instead. So far, so good. I recently went to a BBQ and instead of covering my salad bowl with Saran Wrap I used a clean tea towel and some elastics. It worked wonders. I've been trying to bring my lunch to work to save money for an upcoming trip to NY (Woo HOO!). Instead of wrapping things in baggies and saran wrap I've been using tupperware and clean tea towels (I have these tea towels that are too big to be a dish cloth and too small to be a regular tea towel so I use them as cloth napkins). Easy schmeezie.
The only person who might miss seeing me using Saran Wrap is Derek. Ha ha.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Change #21 - Computer stays off when not in use

For people who try and do their part for the environment we certainly have a few habits that I'm a little ashamed of. One of them involves our beast of a computer. It's not quite a commodore 64 but this thing is old. It's slow too, but it usually works just fine and we only use it to surf the internet so it seems wasteful to buy a new one. Until a few months ago we used to keep it 'on' all the time.... and I do mean 'on'. Even the monitor would stay on. Isn't that pretty crazy? It would stay on even when we were away for the weekend (I know what you're thinking). It would stay on all night while we were sleeping (I know, I know it's ok to be judging us, I don't blame you).

A few months ago I started turning the monitor off while we weren't using it. A few weeks after that I organized the gazillion of wires that are connected to the computer so that I could easily reach the powerbar. I have been trying to not only keep the computer off when we aren't using it, but I've been powering off all of the computer appliances (computer, scanner etc) with the flick of the powerbar switch. I'd like to say that I've been doing this everyday... but sadly no.

So change #21 is that I'll be keeping the computer and all of its accessories off when we aren't using it. The fact that this change comes after I've switched us over to Bullfrog Power (BP) and that I'll be paying the difference should BP cost us more is only a mere coincidence I promise you...

Monday, May 12, 2008

Change #20 - Schleppin' my own coffee mug

I'm not a coffee drinker. As it turns out though, my 'working woman' alter ego does like a cup of java in the morning. I can't quite figure out why since she drinks decaf. So if it isn't for the jolt, why have I enjoyed a cup of coffee every morning since starting work? I can't say for sure, but there is something about having a steaming cup of coffee in your hand which makes sitting at a computer at 8:00 a.m. so much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, every coffee that I've had so far since starting work has been in either a styrofoam (eek) or paper (ouch) cup. Tomorrow morning, and every morning from now on, I'll be having my morning cup'o'joe in my trusty stainless steel camping mug. This should make my mornings even brighter.... and sadly my purse a lot heavier... what I won't do for the love of my planet... I dare you to ask me about my 'pooh spoon'...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Change #19 - Klean Kanteen

I'm back at work this week. Today was my first day back and so far, so good. It feels like everything and nothing has changed. Ian did great. No crying. None. I guess when your loving Aunt is taking care of you, there's nothing to be afraid of.

Change #19 is that I'll be taking the Klean Kanteen that I recently bought to work (and every other place) so no more water bottles. We haven't been buying them for the house for a long time, but every now and then, I would be out and needing water and would have to buy a bottle. Now that I've got my trusty (plastic free) kanteen, there's no more need to buy water bottles.

My seeds have sprung! The cucumbers and tomatoes are doing well. The more fragile herbs like the chives and the dill aren't doing so great but I haven't given up hope.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Finally Bullfrog Powered!

I just made the switch to Bullfrog Power... the six month experiment begins. How much more will 'Green Electricity' cost us vs. the 'regular' kind? I guess we'll soon find out... I'm really hoping not too much more...

Monday, April 28, 2008

Change # 18 - 'ohmygodohmygodohmygod'

This week my mind is as far away from Green as... crap, I don't know, a big fat Hummer idling away in the drive thru of a McDonald's.

My disconnect from all things green is because in six very short days I'm going back to work full time (after being off for the last 13 months with my cutiepie). I sort of feel bad complaining since, I realize just how lucky I am to have been off for the last year with 93% of my pay. I mean... it's really kind of crazy when you consider that some women around the world in 'civilized' countries like the States only get six to 12 weeks maternity leave. The idea of leaving Ian at 12 months is killing me, leaving him all day at six weeks, well that's just seriously NUTS! In any case, I really shouldn't complain since, in addition to having a year off paid, my sister (EarthMotherExtraordinaire) who lives only two blocks away, and has a home daycare will be taking care of Ian. I know. Seriously. I have NO BUSINESS complaining... and yet. There is this sadness that is gnawing at the corners of my heart. I've been in major denial about it for several weeks now. Trying to live in the moment. Trying to enjoy every single remaining minute of our days together (even the ones where I'm being yelled at 'NA-NA NA-NA NA-NA' for reasons I can't quite figure out). But as I get closer to May 5th there is no denying the sadness. It's not like I'm leaving him forever. I mean, it's only nine hours a day... but he'll do so much growing and learning in those hours that I won't get to see. Yet, despite being sad. I'm still really grateful. I'm SO lucky. This year has been a blessing. One of the most important and life changing. Sad and grateful. Not a bad combination really.

Our green change: I planted organic seeds this week for cherry tomatoes, green onions, a bunch of different herbs and other things. My sister and I are attempting to plant a full on vegetable garden this year. EAT LOCAL! Hopefully that's just what we'll be doing.... you can't get much more local than your own back yard. Planting a garden means: 1) not using pesticides 2) avoiding the packaging that some veggies come in 3) reducing the carbon footprint of our produce 4) using some of the compost we've been making for over a year now 5) developing an appreciation for our farmers and the hard work that they do 6) getting our hands dirty 7) sharing the bounty (?) with our friends!

We'll also be picking up and planting our 'free tree' from the city this week. You really can't get much greener than planting a tree. Which is kind of ironic considering how much I really hated planting trees when I worked for the MNR as a junior forest ranger at the ripe old age of seventeen. Who in their right mind thought it was a good idea to give a seventeen year old the keys to a 1984 Dodge Ram pick-up truck for an entire summer? If you know of anyone whose turning 17 next year... it's an amazing summer experience! I'm hoping the program will still be around for my kids to experience.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Change #17- No more cases of 'pop'

So far, many of our changes have been about replacing products we normally buy with environmentally friendly ones (diapers, toothbrushes, batteries, clothing etc). This week's change is a little different. It's about not buying something. Because, Derek is right, being green is about not buying stuff, just reducing our consumption of everything in general. So, this week we are comitting to no longer buying cases of soft drinks. We normally buy one case of 'pop' per week.

This may seem like an easy change... but somehow I became a Diet Coke addict. Some people drink coffee, some people drink tea or juice -I drink Diet Coke. I must have at least one can a day (sometimes I even have two -my bones really hate me). Derek recently kicked his Diet Coke/coffee habit. Fifty days ago he gave up drinking booze, coffee and soft drinks. I never, ever thought I would see the day that Derek would give up drinking Diet Coke (he often had 2-3 a day). But he did it and he says he feels better than he has in years. So, now it's my turn. As much as it pains me and my mouth is watering right now at the thought of those delicious bubbles, we are no longer going to be buying soft drinks for the house. This doesn't mean I won't ever have a pop now and then. But since there won't be any in the house... I'll be drastically reducing my consumption that's for sure. This means fewers cans in our recycling bin, which means a little less energy will be used to recycle them and less energy used to produce them in the first place.

I guess that leaves tap water. Good thing I really like water!

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day! It feels like things are finally progressing on the eco front. Ontario is banning pesticides for lawn and garden use and BPA has finally been declared a toxic substance by the federal government.

My parents are on the eco bandwagon too! Cleaning their house with green products, using reusable bags for shopping, being conscious of their consumption of electricity and generally just being very eco-conscious which is awesome!

Change#17 coming soon!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Change # 16 - Paper towels (used in emergencies only)

When Ian was born we received many, many, many beautiful gifts. We really appreciated all of them. We were also very lucky that a friend from work (that I didn't even know that well) very kindly offered to lend us a bunch of baby things. She lent us: a Peg Perego Infant car seat (which fit in our Peg Perego stroller), a baby bathtub, a co-sleeper thingey, a baby swing, two mobiles, a baby monitor and some clothes. We easily could have afforded to buy all of these things brand new but what I really loved about borrowing them instead, is that we were 'reusing' them which meant fewer of all of these things would end up in the landfill. What I also soon learned, is that, babies grow at an astonishing rate and they quickly outgrow everything in their first year (some things we never even used, like the swing... he hated it). So why buy new when you can beg, borrow and reuse? Hopefully we'll be able to do the same with our second baby.

Where am I going with this? Oh yeah. We also received gently used items like several used receiving blankets which had seen better days. Instead of donating them or throwing them out (which I could never do anyway) I cut them all into four pieces. They make amazing rags. They are soft and don't fray at the edges and I've been able to wash and reuse them several times now and they are still very nice. So I'm commiting to only using these rags now when I clean the house. No more paper towels. I will only use them in dire emergencies... like when Bagel 'mistakes' the dining room floor for a fire hydrant (which thankfully rarely happens these days). Whose kidding who?... those aren't 'accidents'. They are carefully plotted reminders that he is the master of his bladder, thank you very much, and how DARE YOU leave the house and go for walks with the hairless puppy (also known as Ian) and leave me here all alone!!!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

15 week re-cap

It’s been 15 weeks since we started our green’olution (have you ever noticed that the difference between the words resolution and revolution is only one letter?) and so far so good. Probably the hardest change has been to remember to clean our furnace filter every 60 days... the furnace seems so far away sometimes. The Energy audit was fun and we learned a lot (we’re still waiting for our rebate from the government). I love my Druide moisturizer and am planning on replacing more of my beauty products with Druide’s line as I need it. I’ve noticed a reduction of junk mail in our mailbox which makes me happy (though some flyers still get delivered... if I ever catch those flyer guys... I'm considering doing a stake-out... can't you read? NO flyers PLEASE!!!). I’m LOVING E-post (it actually makes paying bills sort of fun!). I’m counting down the days until May 1st so that I can officially switch us over to Bullfrog Power (and also counting down in a sad way because my days at home with my baby are numbered). The G Diapers are pretty cool. I haven’t had a chance to use them very much yet so I’m reserving my final judgement on them until I do. I LOVE my green toothbrush. It’s angled in a nice way that makes it easier to clean the inside of your mouth. I haven’t seen my dentist yet but when I do I’ll be talking to him about them. The toothbrush did spark a little tiff between Derek and I a few weeks ago which started like this:

Me: I got you a surprise.
Derek: Let me guess, a toothbrush.
Me: How’d you know?
Derek: A toothbrush isn’t really a surprise... this’ gift’ is more for you than it is for me. Why are you spending all of our money on all this ‘green crap’? Isn't being green about NOT buying stuff?
Me: For your information I paid for them with my own money, and it’s NOT crap. If you’re going to buy a toothbrush anyway, why not buy a green one?

And on it went from there... this is not to say that Derek doesn’t support this challenge, but he’s more of a sceptic than I am. Which I suppose in some ways is a good thing. It always comes down to the money issue doesn't it? While I agree that there are probably some green products and companies that are only in it for the money, I think that in most cases it is worth paying a little extra money up front which usually ends up saving us money in the end. Besides you pay for what you get and our planet and our human health is worth it. After seeing the story of stuff (it really is worth the 20 minutes of your time) I had an epiphany. All of this green stuff is more pricey for a reason... because they reflect the 'true cost' of making the stuff. Sure other things might be less pricey but what is the 'real cost' of those items to our planet and our health? It's definitely worth your money folks!

By far though, one of the best outcomes of this challenge so far has been hearing from friends and family about the changes they’ve been making in their own lives. It is really inspiring and motivating! Woo hoo! Go GreenFamFriends!

Change #15 - Low Flow Shower Head

This change is something that we've been meaning to do for a LONG time. Why haven't we done it sooner? There are no good excuses really, we just haven't gotten around to it -until now (which is what this challenge is all about, making green changes a priority). This week, we'll be heading down to our local hardware store and buying a low flow shower head and replacing our existing (and probably very wasteful) shower head. That's it. It shouldn't cost us very much but will save gallons and gallons of water over the long term.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Another Bullfrogger

Just found out another friend made the switch to Bullfrog Power. Go Jenny!! That's two people so far that I know of... anyone else out there making the switch?

Change # 14 - Rechargeable batteries

About two years ago we did something really dumb. We bought a wireless mouse and keyboard for our computer. I didn’t realize at the time that it would mean having to use batteries for each of these devices. First of all, who needs a wireless mouse and keyboard anyway? It’s not like you can use them while you’re walking around the house. You still need to be sitting at your computer which makes the whole wireless thing seem pretty darn pointless. Secondly, the batteries are always dying, at the most inconvenient times too, like when I need to make an RRSP contribution before the tax deadline or respond to an important email from Oprah.

We do own a battery charger, but we only own two AA rechargeable batteries. This week’s change is that we’re going to buy more rechargeable batteries. This means we won’t have to buy any disposable batteries which is 1) better for the environment because it means fewer batteries being disposed of long term 2) it will save us money 3) we will make sure to bring the used disposable batteries we do have lying around the house to someplace like IKEA who promise to dispose of them in a safe way instead of putting them in our garbage 4) we will also start to really limit the number of products we buy that need batteries... it’s amazing how many battery operated things sneak into your life once you have a baby.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Earth Hour Love-In

Saturday we hosted an ‘Earth Hour Love-In’ with a dozen friends and their children. We screened the documentary ‘Garbage Revolution' and from 8-9 p.m. we turned off the lights, turned off the appliances, lit a bunch of candles and played charades in the soft glow of our reduced carbon footprint. Who knew playing charades by candlelight could be so much fun? I suppose if you’re going to be imitating Dolly Parton (I’m pretty sure Karma arranged for me to get that card) it’s always best to be doing it while reduced lighting is in effect. In a bizarre twist our party even made the front page of the local paper!

I personally had a great time (aided by the fact that Ian slept through the whole thing) and I’m pretty sure from all of the laughing that our guests did too. What a wonderful way to celebrate with friends. Let’s turn off the lights every time we get together!


PS: Jen you won the Nature Clean toilet bowl cleaner (you lucky girl!) and Annie you won the PC Green Shopping Bin.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Change#13 - No more magazines

I'm still working on greening our mailbox (what else, could I possibly do, you ask?). Well I cancelled all of my magazine subscriptions this week. I love reading magazines, but lately (in the last 10 and half months or so) I find I just don't have as much time to read as I used to. When I do have time, I'd rather read something that really inspires me, and the two magazines I was subscribed to, just don't fit the bill. Besides, now that I'm 'seeing things green', that pile of magazines sitting in my closet (that I'll be donating to someone) seems like such a waste of trees.
As an added bonus, this also means I'll be exposed to a few less advertisements begging me oh. so. subtly. to spend money on crappy products that promise to bring me closer to that ever elusive state of perfection. It's really no wonder that none of us feels: pretty enough, smart enough, thin enough, strong enough, good enough.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Change#12 - Letting it mellow and checking our flappers

A long time ago I walked into a bathroom (I can’t remember whose it was... was it yours?) and noticed they had a wooden sign above their toilet. It said: ‘If it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down’. At the time I thought “What the hell? Gross! Why would anyone want to let it mellow?” It just seemed really quite strange to me. Several years later, I now realize I was peeing in the house of revolutionaries... if only I could remember who these people were! A big part of being green is conserving water. According to http://www.thinkwater.ca/ Canada’s supply of fresh water is running out (presumably because we’ve polluted most of it and sold the rest of it to the U.S.).

The GreenLunns have been experimenting with this ‘let it mellow’ business for a while now. Turns out, it really isn’t as gross as I first thought. First of all, it doesn’t smell or anything. Secondly, it’s pretty easy to do; you just don’t flush unless you really have to. If the look of it is off putting, you can just close the lid. Pretty simple change and it’s free (and actually will save us money. Now that we own a home we realize just how expensive water is). So if you come over and the toilet is 'mellow', just know we weren't raised in a barn, we are greening our planet one less flush at a time. This being said, I'll probably go around flushing the toilets before guests come over... and there won't be a 'let it mellow' sign hanging above our toilets anytime soon... Derek wouldn't let me... and besides even I have my limits.

I’m also going to be investigating to see whether either of our toilets have leaks in them by putting a cup of coffee in the tanks. If the coffee leaks into the bowl, then I’ll know we have a leak and need to replace our 'flapper' (or, um, ballcock if you will). I have this sneaking suspicion that our upstairs toilet has a leak. Sometimes when I’m having a bath (an eco-sin I’ll be dealing with a little later) it speaks to me in whispers. A leaky toilet wastes gallons and gallons of water so I’ll be checking on our flappers very soon. The City of Ottawa is offering a toilet replacement program as an incentive to replace all of those old wasteful toilets that use up to 20L per flush. I wonder what kind of toilet we have...

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Disclaimer and assorted things

Having given this a little more thought, I realized that our six month experiment regarding Bullfrog Power (to see just how much more it will cost us than the dirty kind of electricity... in hopes of convincing a certain someone that this switch should be a permanent one) will only be accurate if we switch our energy provider once I am back at work (because while I'm home I'm using a bit more energy than when we are both working). So we'll be officially making our switch to Bullfrog Power May 1st (I'm due back at work May 5th).

I'd like to make a few shout-outs to some people in my life who are inspiring me to keep on greenin'. First of all, to my friend Jeff who sent a hilariously funny email to all of his family and friends encouraging them to green their mailboxes too (it was addressed as 'Dear Socially Responsible People') and who just made the switch to Bullfrog Power. Woo hoo! Since his last name is Bean, I can't help but think of him now as 'GreenBean' because, well, frankly it's just too damn cute. Who doesn't like GreenBeans? (with a tiny smidgeon of butter and roasted almonds, YUM!) Go GreenBeans!

And to my friend Tamara who recently gave me a 'few' very thoughtful gifts for my birthday which were wrapped in nothing, accompanied by a homemade card with a hilarious poem she wrote herself and some 'coupons' for things like 'Dinner at her place', 'Babysitting' and 'Dinner at my place where she cooks'. How's that for creative, green and super nice! Go GreenMarshalls!

Also, I'd just like to say that shopping at consignment stores really pays off. Ian needed a fleece one piece suit for those warmer days we've been having, I noticed MEC had them on sale from $75 to $40 dollars. I considered buying him one of those and then remembered my commitment to go green. So I went to Boomerang Kids to check out what they had. For $40 I bought: 1 fleece snow suit, 7 pairs of shorts and 1 t-shirt. All name brand and in perfect condition. The fleece snowsuit cost me $5. Craziness. I may have to get him a few new things when summer hits because they didn't have a great selection of t-shirts, but damn did I ever feel good walking out of that store! The shopping experience wasn't quite the same as Gap kids (sniffle, sniffle) but I imagine I'll get used to it.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Free Trees!

The City of Ottawa is giving away free trees on a first come, first serve basis to 're-forest' Ottawa and combat global warming. For more information and to sign up for your free tree go here.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Change #11 - Bullfrog Powered!

Recently the two adult GreenLunns had a conversation that went a little something like this:

Me: I’d like to discuss switching to Bullfrog Power.
Derek: What?
Me: We would change our energy source from Hydro Ottawa to Bullfrog Power which means all of our hydro would come from green sources.
Derek: How much does that cost?
Me: I’ve heard it is only $5-$10 more per month than regular hydro.
Derek: NO way. There’s NO way we are paying more for hydro than we already do. That’s crazy. It’s not an investment.
Me: But it is an investment to me. It would mean that all of the electricity we use for the house would come from green sources like wind and water. No dirty coal or scary nuclear energy. It IS an investment.
Derek: No. We aren’t doing it.

Several hours later...

Me: I’ll make you a deal.
Derek: What.
Me: We’ll switch to Bullfrog Power for a few months and if the monthly cost is more than $5 from what we paid for that same month last year I will pay the difference with my own money instead of from our joint account.
Derek: Fine. We’ll do it for six months. After the six months we’ll look at last year’s bills and you’ll pay the difference with your own money, minus the $25 grace (six months x $5).
Me: Good. It’s a deal then. Thanks. This makes me really happy! I’m going to blog about this conversation you know.
Derek: Fine.
Me (to myself in my head): Crap, I really hope it isn’t much more than $5-$10 a month. I’ve got to go check out their website again...

Sooo I checked out their website and here is why I’m so very, very excited about this change:
1) their electricity is 100% green and carbon-free which is very, very important to fight global warming 2) 10% of the profit made by the company is donated to organizations that support sustainability 3) switching is easy, you do it online and it takes about 10 minutes (no special equipment is needed, no one comes to your house) 4) the more people who make the switch, the more demand there is for green energy which means more renewable power is created in Canada 5) knowing that I will have to pay for the extra costs from my own ‘fun money account’ means I will be even more motivated to conserve energy... according to their website it costs most people about $1 more a day than regular hydro, which is, um, quite a lot actually, but I’m hoping that the changes we are/will be making to conserve energy in our home will make up for some of it 6) this change is probably THE most important and effective change our family will make this year in doing our part to fight global warming and reduce our carbon footprint on the environment.

By the way if you want to try it out, there is no charge to switch to bullfrog power, you can cancel at any time and there are no cancellation fees. Check out their FAQs for more info.

Monday, March 3, 2008

10% discount at Ecomama.ca on g-diapers

My friend Natalie (aka Ecomama) is offering a 10% discount for the entire month of March to anyone who is interested in trying out the new 'g-diaper'. She's one of the first in Canada to be offering this cool new alternative to disposable diapers.

All you have to do is email her at customerservice@ecomama.ca to place your order and get the discount. The page on her site advertising the g-diaper isn't up yet, but you can check out this link to see what the diapers are all about. She sells the starter kits for $38.50 and refill packs are $18.75. If you live in Ottawa you can likely organize to pick up your order (she may also deliver, not sure) and avoid the shipping fees.

It's true that these diapers will cost you a little more than disposable diapers... but isn't it worth switching just to relieve that nagging guilt? Whenever I spend a little more on green products I try and think of it as my way of making a charitable donation to the 'green cause'. Hopefully as more people buy these products the less expensive they will be.

I'm going to go place my order right now before she sells out!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Change #10 - Epost

This week we continue to green our mailbox. In addition to saying no to junk mail, we've also signed up for epost (which apparently is the evolution of mail). Run by Canada Post, epost allows you to receive many of your monthly bills (Bell, Rogers, water and sewer, VISA etc) electronically. Basically, instead of receiving a paper copy of your bills in your mailbox you receive a notice by email that you have received a bill in your 'epost electronic mailbox'. You can even opt to pay all of your bills through epost as well (but I will continue to pay them through online banking).

With all of my bills handy, it took about 25-30 minutes to sign-up (with Ian in my arms, typing with one hand). Some bills aren't available on epost yet (like Enbridge and Hydro Ottawa) so I went directly to their sites and signed up to their online billing options too.

A while ago we changed our settings in our online banking to receive all of our banking statements electronically as well. No more useless statements telling me how little money I have in my savings account.

Incidentally we will also be doing our taxes this week and filing them electronically using quicktax (signing up for epost gives you a 20% discount with quicktax). If you've never done your own taxes, this program makes it super easy. You do everything online, you don't need to download a special program or anything. It took me 10 minutes to do my taxes this year. We've also signed up to get our 'refund' by direct deposit. I also recently opted to receive my monthly Universal Child Care Benefit by direct deposit too.

Do you hear that? It's the sound of a few less trees being cut down.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A New Earth

If you haven't already picked up Eckhart Tolle's book 'A New Earth'. I highly recommend it. It may just be the best book I've ever read. You can also sign up for a free 10 week 'webinar' here which starts this coming Monday.

I love Oprah. I really, really do. I'm going to stop apologizing for it. She's just great.

There. I feel better now.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Diapers, diapers and more diapers...

For those of you living in the GTA you may want to try out these really cool environmentally friendly diapers. They are sort of a hybrid between cloth and disposables. They are available at Whole Foods on Bloor and the one in Oakville. Ecomama is currently trying them out and I'm dying to hear what she thinks about them.

This video (the one at the bottom called 'all about flushing') makes them seem pretty cool. Next time I'm in TO I might have to go get myself a starter kit to test them out.

Friday, February 22, 2008

"Price check in aisle four"

Turns out those awesome biodegradable diapers I found really were a bargain. I went to buy some today and they were priced at $29.99!!! The $13.59 I paid for them last week was a pricing error... I had this feeling they were just too good to be true. At that price they make the Seventh Generation ones at $19.99 for 32 diapers seem cheap. Needless to say I'm not going to pay thirty dollars for a bag of diapers.

Sooo this means I'll have to think of something else. I may start using bamboo diapers overnight. They are very enviro-friendly because bamboo is a renewable resource that is grown without pesticides. The bamboo is suppose to be super absorbent which would be good for overnight. When we travel we will bite the bullet and get the Seventh Generation ones (thankfully we don't travel that much).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Change # 9 - A Green Toothbrush

It's that time again to replace our toothbrushes. Instead of buying the brand we would normally buy, we will be switching to the Preserve toothbrush.

This is green because 1) the handle is made entirely of recycled materials (yogurt containers) 2) there is limited packaging which is also made from recycled materials 3) the brushes come with postage paid return envelopes so that they can be recycled yet again and made into plastic lumber which is used to make outdoor furniture, park benches and children's play-sets.

I'll also be taking some information about these toothbrushes to my dentist the next time I see him. Maybe he would consider giving these out to his patients instead of the other brand he uses.

This week's change is so easy I almost feel like it's cheating. But then again, that's the whole point. Being green really is easy, despite what everyone's favorite frog would have you believe.

PS: In case you want to try it out I have an extra toothbrush to give away to the first person who wants it.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Change #8 - A better disposable diaper

I think I mentioned in a previous post that although we use cloth diapers we also sometimes use disposable ones. I do my best to minimize our use of disposable diapers because I feel guilty about their impact on the environment and also because they make Ian's skin irritated (though now I think it might have been the disposable baby wipes). I'm also uncomfortable with the chemicals that are in them. Who really knows the effect those chemicals have long term considering children spend almost three years of their lives wearing them 24/7.

We use disposable diapers when we travel out of town and also overnight. The cloth diapers just don't absorb enough to last 12 hours from evening until dawn and because we were blessed with a beautiful, amazing baby who refuses to sleep through the night I am loathe to give him any more reasons to wake up. I'm SO TIRED!

Change #8 will be to replace our regular disposable diaper of choice with these. I'm SO excited about this new find! Not only are they better for the environment but they are actually affordable. They were only $13.59+tax for 42 diapers (at Herb and Spice) which is pretty comparable to the other brand we normally buy. They are much less expensive than the Seventh Generation ones which run for $19.99 per bag. These diapers are good because 1) they are biodegradable 2) they are 100% chlorine free (apparently chlorine is Evil. It's not only bad for the environment, it's also bad for human health) 3) they are made with 50% renewable resources 4) the plastic bag they come in is biodegradable 5) they don't use any unnecessary chemicals 6) they don't advertise Disney characters.

Unfortunately I'll be putting these diapers in plastic bags and sending them to the landfill so they won't get a chance to biodegrade. If I lived on a farm I could dig a great big hole and just put them in there and they would have a chance to biodegrade but the landfill just doesn't have the proper conditions (and neither does our backyard). In March 2009 I look forward to putting them in my green bin alongside my blue and black bins. Until then, they are still better than regular disposables and that makes me happy.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day

This year for Valentine's day I've asked Derek not to buy me anything. I don't need flowers, a card or chocolates to know that he loves me. He shows me that every day in the little things that he does (like doing the dishes, plowing the driveway, going to work even on days when he doesn't feel like it, making me laugh, appreciating my cooking, being a good Dad, letting me cuddle up to him even when my legs resemble cacti etc). This is not to say that I don't appreciate thoughtful (eco-friendly) surprises now and then. I just prefer them when they aren't mandated by Hallmark and Hershey's.

Although I don't want anything he might like a little something, so when I'm out tomorrow I could get him some organic fair trade chocolate by Cocoa Camino from Herb and Spice on Bank street. I could also write him a love letter telling him how much I appreciate him, which I think is probably the way I'm going to go. No one writes love letters anymore. I've been thinking about doing it for some time. It's free and it's meaningful which is perfect!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

Change #7 - Cleaning our furnace filter every 60 days

In November of 2006 we had the air ducts of our house cleaned. I was pregnant at the time and suffering from severe environmental allergies. Because I was pregnant, I couldn’t take the usual allergy medications. We thought getting the ducts cleaned might help. The dude who did the cleaning sold us on a ‘Super-Duper-Allergy-Buster-Dust-Free-Gold' filter for the furnace. The filter was expensive ($159) but it is a permanent one and has a lifetime warranty. Plus, instead of replacing our furnace filter with a disposable one every few months we can just clean this one and keep reusing it indefinitely (fewer filters in the landfill is a good thing).

I am just looking over the care instructions for the filter now and it recommends that you clean it every 30-60 days. Um. Since November 2006 I think our filter has been cleaned I would say an absolute maximum of three maybe four times (unless Derek has been sneaking around and cleaning it behind my back which is very unlikely). So our change this week is to start cleaning our filter every 60 days (I would say 30, but let’s face it that just isn’t going to happen).

Cleaning our furnace filter more regularly will 1) hopefully save energy by making our furnace more efficient (I’m not sure that’s true but I’m sure it can’t hurt) 2) will help keep the air in our house clean (especially important considering how close we live to the 417 and Bus Station) 3) the fact that it's a permanent filter is already pretty 'green'.

Thanks for the suggestion on this one Lianne. (This post comes early because we are away this weekend).

Save our trees, no flyers please!

I think I mentioned that our computer is acting up these days. It refuses to function in anything but safe mode. This means that I can't see pictures properly (they are graded, yellows, greens and reds) which is annoying. What's even more annoying is that I can't upload pictures from my camera and I also can't print anything. So my plan to print this out and put it on my mailbox won't work.

This morning I went to Arbour in the Glebe and bought a sticker for my mailbox. It says 'Save our trees, no flyers please'. It's not as big as I would have liked but hopefully it will do the trick.

PS: I bought two extra stickers. I'm happy to mail them to the first two people to send me their mailing address at madboudreau@gmail.com.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Best quote ever

'We spend money we don't have, to buy things we don't need, to impress people we don't like.'
Suze Orman (yes it was on an Oprah show. My apologies).

Friday, February 1, 2008

Change #6 - No junk mail please!

Sometimes being green is just about being better organized. Since I organized Ian’s change table last week with the facecloths and added a container for water, I haven’t used a single disposable baby wipe. It feels good to finally check that one off of my ‘to do’ list (I’ve been meaning to do it since Ian was born!). As an added bonus Ian’s cute little baby bum is much less red these days.

This week’s change is another one of those things I’ve had on my ‘green to do list’ that I’ve been meaning to get done for a LONG time. I’m going to be joining the red dot campaign to help wage the war on junk mail. Junk mail is a huge pet peeve of mine. I never read it. Not. Ever. It goes from our mailbox directly to our recycling bin. I’m sure that this is true for many, many people.

Apparently if you put a sign up on your mailbox saying you don’t want junk mail Canada Post really will respect it. So I’m going to download this sign and put it in a plastic sleeve (to protect it from the elements) and put it on our mailbox. Unfortunately this only works for unaddressed junk mail. If you want to put an end to junk mail that is personally addressed to you, you can go to this website and add your name. I just went and added both Derek and I’s name (it took 30 seconds). I’m also going to be printing this letter and giving it to my letter carrier. I’m hoping that doing these three things will 1) help to stem the amount of wasteful junk mail that ends up in our mailbox every day 2) save a few trees 3) make my daily trip to the mailbox less annoying.

The Province of Ontario joins Earth Hour

The Ontario Government joins Earth Hour!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

City of Ottawa joins Earth Hour!!

Ottawa's mayor has added the City of Ottawa to the list of cities that will be participating in Earth Hour on March 29th, 2007. Woo hoo! I was REALLY hoping that Ottawa would officially join this effort and I'm SUPER happy that the city decided to officially join.

Our family will be definitely participating in this and I hope yours will too. All you have to do is turn off your lights and appliances on March 29th from 8 to 9 pm. Take the opportunity to light a few candles, maybe play cards or have a good chat with your significant other. I can think of another fun (and green) thing you could do for an hour in the dark... to quote my friends last night at dinner 'Waa-chika-Waa-Waa'...

I'd love to say that my petition had something to do with it. Sadly, my first attempt at Green-activism didn't amount to much (only 29 signatures, which actually isn't so bad).... but the end result happened and that makes me very happy! Thank you to all of you who signed the petition and offered your support!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Change #5 - More Blue Than Green

We've been feeling more blue than green the past little while in the GreenLunn household. First the TV died, then the internet connection went on strike, the computer refuses to function in anything but safe mode, our new $8,000 roof leaked, Ian has started to wake up again every few hours after three weeks or so of blissful sleeping, I’m pretty sure the dog is depressed and I think the two adult GreenLunns may have a mild case of the blues too. It’s mid-January in Canada… who isn’t a bit blue this time of year?

So I’m finding it a bit hard to come up with the motivation to make a green change this week… and admittedly last week’s change was a bit lame. That being said, I can’t let a little bit of bad luck and a case of the blues derail our green'olution.

This week our change will be to minimize our use of baby wipes when we are at home. Instead of using disposable wipes to change Ian’s diaper I’ll set aside a few of the many baby-sized facecloths we have and use those instead. This is green because 1) I’ll wash them with the cloth diapers so we won’t be increasing the amount of energy we use 2) it will minimize Ian’s exposure to chemicals which I suspect will help with his occasional diaper rashes 3) we will produce less garbage by consuming less packaging and plastic 5) it will save us money.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Change #4 - Our old computer... gets fixed again.

I'm writing this post in 'safe mode'... computer is acting up (again). Instead of buying a new one we'll be fixing it. Again. That's our green move this week... sure would be nice to have a fancy computer with a flat screen monitor etc... but we'll be fixing this old thing instead.

How is this green? The fewer computers we own in our lifetime means fewer computers in the landfill...

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Update: Energy Audit

We had our energy audit yesterday afternoon. The entire experience was really interesting and well worth the $367.50 (minus the $150 rebate we will be getting back from the government) it cost us.

First of all, we are very happy with the company we went with (it was dumb luck really, I just called the first company I found online). Jonathan, the owner of Green Home Inspections Ltd was super friendly, very knowledgeable and just an overall nice guy. I would highly recommend him to anyone in the Ottawa area who is thinking of have an audit done. My initial feeling that he was a decent guy was confirmed when he mentioned that he used to employ four staff but he let them go because he realized that he really enjoyed doing the field work himself and that having staff made him feel like he didn’t have any control over the quality of the work that was being done… so he chose to make less money and do the work himself.

The audit was almost three hours long. He spent that time touring the entire house with us (inside and out) looking at our heating system, our windows, outside doors, our attic, he checked to see if we have insulation in our outside walls (we don’t). He did this cool draft test with a huge fan and computer to find all of the air leaks in our house (there were many). He patiently answered all of our questions (even those which really had nothing to do with energy efficiency). He suggested many practical things that we can do to improve the efficiency of our house and we learned a lot! We are looking forward to receiving a detailed report of his assessment by mail in the coming weeks.

A few things we learned:

1) Even though our windows ‘sweat’ a little they are energy efficient windows which is a good thing.
2) Keeping your windows locked (as opposed to just closed) increases their efficiency by 10%.
3) You can borrow a ‘watt meter’ at the Ottawa library (or you can buy one at Canadian Tire for $25). It tells you how much phantom energy (and money) your appliances cost you when they are plugged in but not in use. I checked all of our appliances (coffee maker: 0, lamps: 0, computer, printer, modem etc: 150, TV etc: 15).
3) We would really improve the efficiency of our house by having Insulation blown into our walls. The government offers a $3000 rebate for this work, which will cover over 80% of the cost. We will likely be doing this sometime in the next year.
4) The provincial government recently announced that it will match the rebates offered by the federal government … so if you’ve been thinking about having an audit done. Now is the time!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A word on cloth diapers

When I first became pregnant, my sister suggested I use cloth diapers. I resisted at first. As much as I love the environment, I really wasn’t sure whether I could commit to using cloth. I pictured the worst: diaper pins, yucky hard cracked plastic covers, smelly diaper pails, having to wash loads and loads of stinky, stained diapers.

Much to my surprise I am really enjoying cloth diapering. It helps that the diapers are super cute (they are a bright lemon yellow and have soft fleecy insides). They even have a cute name: Fuzzi Bunz!

I know this makes me weird, but I enjoy washing them (I hang them to dry in order to save energy and to avoid unnecessary wear on them). I enjoy it because it’s so easy, but mostly because I know that every time I wash my cloth diapers I have avoided sending the equivalent number of diapers to the landfill. I must admit that things have gotten a little bit more interesting since Ian has started solids –but I still don’t mind.

Some argue that the energy/water needed to wash the diapers outweighs their ecological benefits, but I don’t buy it. When you consider the energy, the chemicals and the plastics used to make disposables, the energy to transport them, the plastic wrapping they are sold in and how long it takes for them to biodegrade, cloth definitely wins. Having said this, we do use disposables sometimes (like when we travel and overnight).

Things you might not know about cloth diapers:

1) They come in cool colors and are super easy to use (no pins or plastic covers needed)
2) There are lots of different kinds of cloth diapers now which range in price from $40 for a dozen to $23 each
3) If you hang them to dry in the sun stains will be ‘bleached’ away (I didn’t believe this but it actually works!)
4) You can buy a special bag that hangs at the back of your door to put the dirty diapers in, when you wash your diapers you just throw the bag in with the diapers (so no cleaning dirty diaper pails)
5) Some stores have a loan program which can help you figure out what kind of diaper you might like (some types fit some babies better than others)
6) Many come in one size fits all (so one size fits your baby from newborn to toddler)
7) Your baby will need fewer diaper changes as he/she gets older so the number of diaper washes diminishes which makes it even easier.

If you live in the Ottawa area ‘The Extraordinary Baby Shoppe’ is definitely the place to go for cloth diapers. They have a huge selection and they are very knowledgeable.

I know a few woman who do elimination communication (I wouldn't have believed it, but I've seen it done with my own eyes... totally makes sense if you think that most of the world doesn't have access to disposable or cloth diapers). Now THAT's GREEN!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Change #3 - bye bye 'free' stuff

A long time ago, a friend introduced me to ‘Clinique Bonus Days’. Every few months either at The Bay or Sears if you buy over a certain amount of Clinique beauty products they will give you a free makeup bag filled with sample size goodies of creams and lipstick - I have been hooked ever since. What’s more fun than a makeup bag full of free stuff?

The sad truth is that I have a dozen lipsticks that are the wrong color and little jars (that can’t be recycled) of different types of cream that I don’t need, and have never used, sitting in my closet. I realize now too, that most of these products contain toxins and chemicals (formaldehyde and phthalates to name a few) that I probably shouldn’t be slathering on my body.

If you want to see how toxic your own beauty products are, go to the Environmental Working Group’s cosmetic database at: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/

So change #3 is that I will be changing my moisturizer from a Clinique product to Druide's pur/pure certified organic face and body lotion. There are lots to things to love about this product: 1) 100% of the ingredients are of natural origin, 2) it is biodegradable 3) not tested on animals 4) made in Canada 5) MUCH less expensive than my old moisturizer 6) certified organic 7) the tube it comes in can be recycled (the Clinique jar can't be) and 8) the company is ethical, they respect the environment and human health. Check out its company Charter: http://www.druide.ca/catalog/charte.php?language=en

Something tells me I won't miss any of that 'free' stuff.

Update: Our energy audit is scheduled for this Friday January 18th at 13:00. I'm super excited about it!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Change #2 – Ian’s closet

Ian was born on May 2, 2007… a whole twelve days past his due date. As any pregnant woman will tell you, every day past the due date is excruciating (it really is just an estimate apparently). I spent those uncomfortable and exasperating days: eating (cheese chips), watching Oprah (yes, I watch Oprah) and leaving nasty messages on my answering machine for friends and family calling to inquire about the whereabouts of the baby.

I also spent a great deal of that time folding and unfolding, organizing and reorganizing his cute little baby clothes. There is something about baby clothes that is incredibly irresistible. Even now, I get a great deal of satisfaction from washing and folding his clothes and picking out what he will wear for the day. The absolute best part though is shopping for those cute clothes! It’s VERY hard for me to resist going into those baby stores (you know the ones I mean) and adding to his wardrobe, even though we are very lucky to be getting great hand-me-downs from Derek’s sister Karen and my sister Annie.

So change #2 will be to stop buying Ian clothes (no matter how cute they are) unless he really, really needs something. When he does need something (we don’t get many socks as hand-me-downs) I will go looking at the great consignment stores we have in Ottawa such as Boomerang Kids and Hush Baby, before I buy things brand new… (though I’m not sure how I feel about buying previously worn socks -might have to make an exception there). Derek is fine with this, as long as Ian doesn’t look (to quote my Aussie friend Shannon) ‘daggy’. The really green thing to do, is buy organic clothing…but seriously, who can afford that?

There are many benefits to this change: 1) we will save money (especially important now that daycare costs are looming) 2) I will be supporting independent stores in my community 3) we will be reducing our consumption of 'stuff' 4) the clothes won’t come with (according to Adria Vasil ‘a sheen of wrinkle-resistant formaldehyde' that new clothes have and 5) according to the green book, for every second hand article I buy, energy is saved in the making and transport of the new clothes I didn’t buy.

Even though this change makes sense on so many levels (and it really shames me to admit this) whenever I walk by Gap Kids, I will be filled with a deep sense of longing, much like how I feel when I walk by a chip truck advertising ‘the best poutine in town’…

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