How Moms Can Teach Kids to Save Electricity

by Guest in A Green Home

Kids Saving the Earth

A guest post by Sam Peters

Conserving electricity is a necessity for parents who want to save money. As a mom, you may be interested in finding a unique and innovative approach to getting your kids involved with helping you conserve electricity for the home. It is always a good idea to teach children the importance of saving electricity from a young age so that it is something they learn, understand, and continue to do even when they become adults.

Turning Lights Off

Turning the lights off in rooms when there is no one inside of it is one sure way to save electricity. It makes no sense to leave lights on a room if no one is using the room at the time. Why waste electricity? You can teach your children with helpful reminders to always shut off the light in their room, the bathroom, or any other room inside of the home. Explain to your children that cutting the lights off when they are not being used helps to save money, which means more money that can be used towards family vacations and fun filled activities.

Powering Off Games and Televisions

Many children have at least one type of video game console. When the video game console is plugged in but is not being used, it is simply sitting there and wasting electricity. And, the same thing goes for leaving the television on when no one is watching it. You can talk to your children about powering off the television and games when they are not being used and how it can also help to save money in the long run. As a family you can also decide on a decent time for games and television to be turned off at night.

Going Green with the Family

You and your children can take the initiative to go green by changing certain things in the home with energy saving products. Traditional light bulbs in the home can waste a lot of energy and also tend to wear out faster than the compact fluorescent light bulbs. The compact fluorescent light bulbs conserve energy and reduce costs, but they also last for a long period of time. Getting kids of all ages to interact with the responsibility of conserving energy is a sure way to educate your children while saving money at the same time.

Create Competitive Contests

You can create competitive contests for the entire family. For example, you can set a plan for saving electricity. After setting the plan, you would come up with an idea on how much the electricity bill should cost for the month. If the entire family is able to save electricity and lower the cost of the bill, you all will have won the contest for the month, which means a special prize can be rewarded to everyone. The prize could include a trip to the zoo, museum, or even a pizza party.

Make the learning experience fun and your child will love helping your save money on electricity. Whether it’s something as simple as encouraging the kids to turn off the lights when they leave the room or something as complex as implementing an entire green initiative in the home, you can get everyone in the family involved and excited about the changes.


Video: A Day in the Life of a Green Mom

by Tiffany in A Green Home

I think sometimes we green moms are often viewed as being hysterical about toxins in our home and environment. We are hyper vigilant about all the stuff we bring into our lives because so much of it has the potential to be harboring toxic substances. Think about the mattresses we sleep on, the detergent we wash our clothes with, and the shampoo we use on our children’s hair during bath time. All of these sources and hundreds more have the potential to make us sick, individually and cumulatively. It is isn’t hysterical to address these very serious issues, to me it is just common sense. I am frankly sick to death of those who want to paint us in a bad light because we care so much.

While I think that keeping my family safe and my home as green and healthy as possible is important stuff…it isn’t all that hard or complicated. Once you do the initial research and start taking baby steps to clean up your act you realize that green housekeeping is actually pretty easy and nothing to stress about. I am not having daily panic attacks about phthalates or screaming at my husband because he bought a shaving cream with unsavory ingredients. We are actually pretty chill. Going greener does not have to be stressful or detract form the enjoyment of your life. I think that is why I love the Day in the Life video (below) from Seventh Generation. It shows a green family having fun and enjoying their home and family life all the while protecting themselves from unnecessary chemicals. They are not crunchy wackadoos or martyrs. They are just a regular family living a bit more consciously.

I also love their Lemongrass & Thyme multi surface cleaner…just sayin. :)

This post is sponsored by Seventh Generation. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


10 Steps to Planting Organic Veggies in Newspaper Pots

by Guest in Eating Local, Gardening

Guest post by Debbie Steinberg Kuntz, founder & editor of Odyssey Outdoors.

newspaper pots

If you want to know where your food comes from, there’s no better way than to grow it yourself! That’s just what we did with a group of families last weekend in the outdoor family group we formed about a year ago.  We followed these 10 easy steps.

1.     Gather supplies.

We started with newspaper, some beautiful organic seeds that would grow in early spring in our area, organic potting soil, popsicle sticks and markers for labeling, and shoeboxes for transporting the seedling bundles back home.

The beauty of using newspaper is that we didn’t need to buy pots, and the newspaper can be planted directly in the ground and will quickly biodegrade.

seed packets

2.     Discuss with kids where our food comes from.

First we talked about how our food is grown. How do we know how many chemicals were used? We explained to the kids that the best way to know is to talk to people at the grocery store, form relationships with farmers and best of all, grow it yourself!

3.     Demonstrate how to create the origami newspaper pot.

Before beginning, a couple of the adults watched this video.  Note that the woman in the video is in Germany and she uses a different size newspaper than in the U.S. In the U.S. you will need to trim about 2 inches from the long side of your newspaper before folding.

Here one of our group moms demonstrates how to make the origami newspaper pot.

group seed planting

4.     Work in adult/child pairs if possible.

Research shows that it’s an asset for kids to have non-parent adults who they can trust in their lives. In our outdoor group we often work in non-parent adult/child pairs to build community long term.

coloring sticks for garden

5.      Color popsicle sticks to label each seed pot. 

We used a background color similar to the vegetable, and then spelled the name of the veggie on top.

6.      Fill the origami newspaper pots with organic potting soil. 

filling pots

7.      Label each pot with the popsicle stick labels.

8.      Put the seed bundles in a shoebox for easy transport and watering.

9.      Time to plant the seeds!

Make sure to use organic seeds that grow well in your area.


planting seeds with children

10.   Your seedlings are ready to grow!

Bring home the seedlings and water them just enough so that the soil stays damp, but the newspaper doesn’t fall apart.  Wait until sprouts appear and then bring them outside during the day, in a shady spot for a few days.  Then gradually move them into the sunshine.  Then, they’re ready to go in the ground!  Tips on planting them in the garden can be found here.

And that’s how we start growing, and soon eating, our super-local, organic food!


Nurturing the Soul of Your Family

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

This past weekend I had the pleasure of curling up in bed with the sun streaming through my southern facing windows and a good book to read. I chose Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. The author, Renee Peterson Trudeau previously wrote a book about self-renewal for moms and that is something I care very deeply about. I feel as though we cannot reach our full potential in life…as moms, wives, friends, philanthropists, etc unless we nurture and take care of ourselves first. This book is also very much about that but it extends to the whole family and how we can create that atmosphere of self renewal and soul nurturing for everyone in the family. The idea is to view your family as a sacred tribe…a collective of people who are together to support one another’s collective growth.

When you start to view the family dynamic in just such a way then you find that it changes the way you see things and people and it changes the way in which you react and relate to them. There are ten different ways in which we are called to awaken and change our thinking in the book. Some of them include:

Self Care – Taking care of yourself is needed before you can take care of someone else. This is why airplane disaster cards tell you to put your oxygen mask on first… you are no good to yourself, or anyone if you don’t see to your own needs first.

Healing – Many people have issues they need to work out and a past that haunts them in some way. I loved reading the chapter on this because I would have thought I had no issues from childhood that need to be sussed out but this chapter got me to thinking that maybe I do.

Unplugging – Getting rid of the disconnect we may be experiencing due to technology running our lives.

Using Nature as an Antidepressant – I think it is very important to have a relationship with nature and to find strength and renewal in the outdoors.

Spiritual Renewal – I enjoyed reading about cultivating spirituality even if you aren’t religious. Mixing and matching stuff from different faiths and cultures was even mentioned and I have long loved that idea.

Building Your Tribe – Making it your mission to find those around you (in your community, online)  that make you feel connected and loved. This is often something so lacking in modern life but we all need our tribe!

I think this book is a real gem and I can see myself reading it a couple times a year when I want to reconnect to my family and see them, and my life, through a different lens. We all get bogged down and forget the important things. It’s nice to have a reminder.

For more info on the book click the link above or visit the author’s web site. Happy reading!


Are You ‘Greener Than Thou’?

by Tiffany in Tidbits

green housewives

A new ad video from Clorox Green Works (see it below) sparked some great conversations on Facebook recently. Some green moms are feeling attacked by the video because they feel it makes our concern for environmental issues seem more than a little nutty. Others commented that it simply highlights yet another high standard that moms must live up to or they will be made to feel that they are not good enough. I think all points were valid and there is no denying that the video is a bit condescending and ripe with implications that women are using sustainability and green parenting to further their elitist views of themselves.

Yet for me personally, when watching this ad I couldn’t help but smile and laugh. I DO believe that you don’t have to go to extremes or ‘be ridiculous’ to take one of their terms, to be green. The message is valid. I also think that we greenies can go into territory seen by others, and even ourselves, as a little nutty. Sometimes I think it becomes a game and we want to see just how far we can take it. There is nothing wrong with that I just hope that we are not also trying to make others feel guilty when they can’t or won’t do as we do. It is totally okay to care about these issues but perhaps not so good overall if I come off like these women do.

I get comments all the time about how nasty it is to use a DivaCup or cloth instead of toilet paper. I just have to remember that once upon a time I probably would have felt the same way. Maybe someday the naysayers will join me and maybe they won’t but my judgement will only push them further in the opposite direction. I have to believe that when they know better they will do better and everyone is entitled to the journey. Some folks will leap into a greener lifestyle and others will need to take baby steps. The product being touted in this ad is also appropriate for baby steps. It wouldn’t be my choice but I would rather someone buy Green Works before they buy some of other products out there.

You don’t have to be obnoxious to be green but if you must then I feel you should at least be able to laugh at yourself.

What do YOU think about this ad??

Also be sure to check out this article written by another green mom about this video ad: Is “Being Green” The New Battle In The “Mommy Wars”?