• Welcome!


    Chiropractor Mama Dr. Dolly and professional photographer Elisa B. share about adventures in intentional and natural parenting while living in Virginia's beautiful Blue Ridge.
  • Popular Reads

  • Shop

  • Categories

    • Alltop. We're kind of a big deal.
  • Stats

    • 357,638 Visitors

Hug the Earth

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.

Ancient Native American Proverb

My generation and my son’s generation are at a point where we have lost the art of “waste not, want not.”  The skill set of taking and using only what we need, reusing items for practicality, and being intimately aware of our carbon footprint on the earth is something we must learn. . . chances are, these things have never been demonstrated or taught to us beyond tossing a plastic bottle into a recycling bin.

As a parent, I think the greatest impact I can make to help the future of this planet is to make smart choices about green living every day.

My son won’t learn about green living through a television special or even an educational pamphlet, but he’s going to learn about growing and culling food, cooking from scratch, re-using fabric scraps, avoiding items of waste, and other green practices by learning from his mom and dad.

————————————————————————————————

I grew up in the eighties where littering on the side of the road was common practice (until the famous Don’t Mess with Texas anti-litter ad campaign put a grinding halt to that mess).

Recycling wasn’t even a word in my vocabulary until I attended a girls’ leadership, math, and science camp where I turned into an eco-activist overnight (with a letter from the city Mayor to thank 11 year-old me for my fervor and passion).

Years later, I’ve toned down my passion and put it into practice with breastfeeding and cloth diapers.  I’ve picked up a few sewing skills to create loving handmade gifts (instead of buying things with wasteful packaging), and I’ve learned some fun options for food preparation and stretching leftovers to improve my family’s health and to stretch our dollars.

Green living may be the “cool” thing to do these days, but if the trend ever swings the other way, I hope that my son appreciates the practicality of being resourceful and thoughtful of the earth.  May he teach his children to leave this place better than they found it.

————————————————————————————————-


National Geographic recently published the Green Guide Families: The Complete Reference for Eco-Friendly Parents by Catherine Zandonella.

Printed on recycled fibers, this 400 page reference book gives eco-friendly and budget-friendly tips for raising baby and minimizing your footprint and toy closet.

Chapter 1 includes tips on creating a safe and eco-friendly home to purchasing and making your own household cleaners, parents are armed with tools to have a toxin-free home.

It’s not a super comprehensive guide to cloth diapers, but there’s a basic intro with extra green tips that will help a new parent get started well in this arena in chapter 6.

I like the ideas for eco-friendly holidays, parties and celebrations in chapter 9.  Those are definitely times where pretty packaging and decor lead to unnecessary waste.

Beyond the home, this guide arms families with ways to introduce recycling and reducing toxins in schools  (chapter 8 ) plus how to take “green” vacations (chapter 10).  To urge the next generation to care about green living, chapter 5 is dedicated to that purpose.

Overall, the book is mostly positive toward breastfeeding, but on page 196, it mentions “toxics in breast milk” discussing various chemicals that mom can absorb through skin, environmental contact, or pharmaceuticals that can be passed along to baby via milk.

I thought it was a little unusual that this section of the book states, breast milk can contain toxic substances that have negative consequences to developing babies, leaving some of us to wonder if breast milk could be harming the cognitive development of babies.  All of the chemicals listed below have been found in breast milk and are known to cause cognitive deficits. . . these contaminants are no reason to choose formula, however.

Unfortunately, the editor failed to mention the studies that indicated breastfed babies tested with higher IQ’s than those who weren’t breastfed.  True, she’s referring to the chemicals and decreased IQ, but she links the chemicals directly to breast milk.  By generalizing the statement, she makes it sound as though all breastfed babies are exposed to those chemicals, when in fact, it’s babies who’s mothers are taking prescription medications, using shampoos with phthalates, and around heavy metals and toxins.  I hope that moms on the fence about breastfeeding won’t read this section of the book and think that perhaps they should use formula instead.

There’s a lot of info that’s touched upon in this book, as a result, it skims the surface of some topics that have more detailed options, discussions, and information.  There are no pictures, drawings, or diagrams in this book.  It is purely a text reference.

I hope the future revised edition includes pictures of the different types of cloth diapers, pictures of examples of green baby toys and party decor, and it changes the misleading negative paragraph on breastfeeding.

Otherwise, I think it’s a fairly comprehensive resource to help new parents embark on the journey of green parenting with a great start.

The Green Families Guide retails for $21.95 from National Geographic, and it’s also available through Amazon.com.

Happy Earth Day!

Your turn: How do you teach your child about green living practices?  What’s the easiest (and most difficult) green practice that you do in your home?

It’s easy being Green!

My favorite pajama company, Hatley, is offering great savings from now until Earth Day with code: EARTHDAY!

Earth-friendly dyes and water conservation practices go into each and every Hatley pajama product.  Plus, they make super cute pajamas.

Calvin just got a pair of Shark jammies in the mail yesterday, and he can’t wait to put them on!

Note: I don’t receive any compensation for promoting Hatley.  We just love their pajamas!

Sad Heart

Nothing makes me more sad than when my little guy is under the weather.  Lately, it seems that he’s been under a string of things.  Part of the fun of a developing immune system in a small child.

Just over a month ago, he and his dad were down with a stomach bug.  A few days later, he had an allergic reaction (possibly to some food) that resulted in a very difficult night with a bad croupy cough.

About the time that went away, spring allergies hit with a fervor.  My son got more than a runny nose and watery eyes, he ended up with a full body rash.  After talking with several people today who grew up in central Virginia, it seems as though he probably does have some form of poison ivy.  It’s all over his face.  Only a few days ago, his eyes were completely blood shot.  He looked like a little bloodhound.

He’s on the mend, but it’s taking a long time.  As B.J. Palmer said, “Healing takes time.”

So, forgive me if I’ve been a little behind with regular columns…I’ve been sticking to my first priority and taking care of my little one–even in the wee hours of the morning when the itchy skin is at its worst.

Please lift up Calvin in prayer.  I’ll get back to posting about some more fun aspects of parenthood in the near future.

Traveling Teething: Oh Plah! Bracelet {Review}

Welcome to Tuesday Travels, a regular series at Traveling with Baby featuring ideas for local day trips and travel tips for families with kids-in-tow. You’ll also find get-up-and-go related product reviews and giveaways. I enjoy hearing about your traveling adventures, too.

I mentioned last week that Lucien has started teething, and some of the measures we’ve been taking to make him more comfortable. I’ve been noticing lately how much his motor skills have improved and how he enjoys having a toy to play with in the car. I try to remember to keep toys in his diaper bag or car seat, but I’ll admit it’s not always the first thing on my mind when I’m heading out the door (more like “do I have matching shoes on??). He’s also old enough now that he can remove his binkie, turn it around, suck on it, and (sometimes) get it back in. I thought that given these factors I’d like to try out a product I had heard about.

Roundhouse send me their “Oh Plah!” bracelet in “serenity” and I have to tell you that I love it. It’s stylish so I’ll wear it with my clothing and it makes a great accessory. The bracelet come in a variety of colors and patterns so that you can choose a color that reflects your style and goes with your wardrobe. Mommy approves.

Unlike a pacifier (which easily slips out of his mouth and onto the floor) and toys (which are sometimes left at home and aren’t handy), the Oh Plah! bracelet is at my fingertips in a second and satisfies Lucien’s craving for something to look at, play with, and chew on.

Lucien enjoys the bracelet too! It’s super flexible, so he is almost strong enough to take it off my wrist himself. It’s durable and washable (a must for a new mommy!). It has a smart little hole that he slips his fingers into to hang on. It’s free of BPA and other harmful chemicals.

Here’s a little more information about the bracelet:

  • Constructed of medical grade thermoplastic- non-toxic, bacteria resistant, and free of lead, latex, PVC, BPA and phthalates.
  • Meets or exceeds the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) regulations, in addition to meeting or exceeding safety testing standards for Canada (C.R.C. c.931) and the European Union (EN-71).
  • No small parts means it’s safe for even the tiniest babe.
  • Extremely durable yet flexible, standing up to frequent chewing without looking worn or damaged.
  • Easily cleaned with soap and water, and dries quickly so that it can be worn again right away.
  • Great as a nursing reminder (switch wrists to remember which side comes next).
  • Made in the USA.

Exclusive for Traveling with Baby readers: Readers of Traveling with Baby will receive 15% off their purchases at  Roundhouse using the following code: “Traveling15”

Note: One bracelet was provided for the purpose of this review. Read the full disclosure policy.

Warnge Juice, Please

Two weeks ago, my son was saying “warnge” juice.  Now, he articulates “orange” juice perfectly.  I did a double take when he asked for it yesterday.

Not only has my almost two-and-a-half-year-old improved his pronunciation of several words, but he’s developed a tongue-in-cheek sense of humor.  I kid you not.

For example, tonight’s conversation…

“Calvin, how old are you?”

With a wide grin, “Two!”

“How old is Mommy?”

“Old!”

“What?  Where did you learn that?”

Belly laughs precede “Old! old!”

———————————————————————————————–

Okay, back to orange juice…

That’s the only juice we buy.  We don’t like juices that add extra sugar (definitely not something the body needs).  But, I like something other than water to add to smoothies (something I make almost daily for our family).

So…orange juice it is.

Here’s my latest favorite smoothie recipe:

Stress Relief Supreme Smoothie – rich in antioxidants and full of mouth-bursting flavor

Combine ingredients and purée in a high speed blender until smooth. Serve and enjoy your antioxidant refreshment!

Check out Tropicana’s Juicy Rewards where you can gain points from purchasing orange juice, grapefruit juice, and others to use toward fun family events, discounts on purchases, or you can donate your points to work with Cool Earth to save the rain forests.

I just used 9 points to get a 30% off coupon toward a purchase at Coleman’s for a sleeping bag for Calvin for our upcoming spring camping adventures.  Then, I donated 3 more points toward the Rain Forest.

YOUR TURN: How will you use your Tropicana Juicy Rewards points?

Note: I wrote this review while participating in the Tropicana Juicy Insiders Ambassador program by Mom Central on behalf of Tropicana. I received 12 free Juicy Rewards points and a $50 Visa gift card to use in redemption of the points and to facilitate my review.  Read my full disclosure policy.

wellBEing weekends: functional fitness

wellBEing weekendsI haven’t stepped foot into a gym for workout purposes in over 3 years.  Not that you need a gym for fitness.

Since I was pregnant with my son, I still did some swimming, intense walking and hiking.  Post-pregnancy, I did some martial arts (a little too much too soon), and some intermittent running training, but I didn’t have a much needed routine for fitness.

Oh have I missed the routine.  Intense workouts with a surge of accomplishment afterward.  There may be a serious soreness after-the-fact, but THAT’s what I missed.

But this past month, I got to get back into a routine at the Crossfit Charlottesville On-Ramp class–a class that eases prospective gym members into the basics of weightlifting, rowing, stretching, and functional fitness skills with attention to safety, proper form, and complex movements that are broken down into small, digestible movements.

Workout #1, my Crossfit On-Ramp comrades and I muscled our way through a tough workout.  Today, eleven workouts later, we repeated that same workout from day one, and we crushed it.

Workout #1 & #12:

  • Row 200 m
  • 3 rounds of 15-12-9 repetitions of air squats, push-ups, and ring rows
  • Row 200 m

My time during the first workout was 7:12.  Today, I shaved off almost 2 minutes with a 5:21.  Yeah!  Also, in four weeks, I’ve lost one size and most of my winter pudge.

What is a typical Crossfit workout? Well, you can visit Crossfit.com to play along with the workout of the day.  You can read more about “what is Crossfit?,” too.  The Charlottesville Crossfit has its own workout of the day postings, plus social event postings.

Crossfit Classes

Small classes vary from groups of three to seven.  Based on the workout of the day, you lift weight or do as many repetitions of a specific exercise within a given amount of time.  Over time, you get stronger, faster, and healthier.

Our on-ramp class began with seven people.  Yet, due to busy schedules we  ended with the three of us in the photo, plus our awesome trainer Ben chilling in the middle of the tire.

By the way, one night after a workout, three of us did tire lifts and flips–that is one heavy tire, let me tell ya!

If you think Crossfit sounds too intense for new moms, think again.  Two of us in on-ramp were breastfeeding moms…one mom just had a baby three months ago!

Can’t wait for my husband to do his on-ramp class so that we can both join as members.  I’m so excited about Crossfit!

*Note: I did not receive any compensation for this post.  I just love Crossfit’s fitness philosophy, and I’ve been a fan for years.  I paid for the On-Ramp class, and I’ll pay for my membership in the very near future.

Whites or Brights?

This weekend, we’re discussing learning by living…one of the best teachers of all time.

Since our son could confidently walk and understand instruction (that happens much earlier than the walking), we’ve encouraged him to take part in helping out around the home.

There are times when I’m the sole person picking up a bunch of toys on the floor, but usually, my son is eager to do this task with me or on his own.  He races as fast as he can to put away his toy cars and trains.

Sometimes we make it a game…

The incentive may be to pick up the toys before an even more fun event occurs, such as helping me in the kitchen with dinner.

Besides picking up toys, Calvin learned to put his dirty clothes (and sometimes clean clothes) in the laundry hamper.

When I ask, or often without prompting, he’ll throw away paper bits or other rubbish into the nearest trash can.

Not that I’m particularly fond of this activity, but after he goes into his potty (after repeatedly see his daddy and me dump it into the toilet), he also has taken the initiative to dump the contents.  At first, I objected because that left a much greater mess for me to clean.

Now, I let him do it…and he seldom spills a drop.  He’s got the pour down perfectly.

The more household chores and tasks he sees us do, the more he wants to do them, too.  For our son, work is fun, and it’s not a chore.  Sure, I have to oversee some of his activities, and often I have a bigger mess to clean up than if he’d never got involved, but he’s learning and appreciating everything from preparing snacks and meals to taking out the trash.

I realize the day will come when he no longer considers these things fun, but for now, I love watching him grow in independence and confidence enjoying the things that need to be done.  It’s such fun for us as a family!

——————————————————————————————–

Jokingly, I tell my husband that I yearn for the day when our son will do his own laundry (since I have an infinite pile of washing or folding to do almost every day—it never ends!).

Well, that day has arrived.

I’d asked Calvin to drag the laundry hamper to the laundry room.  Not only was he having a blast pulling it along the tile floor, but he proceeded to pull out each article of dirty clothing to show me and name it.  Uhm, yeah, thanks for holding up Mommy’s dirty socks.  That’s great! (and so on, and so forth).

When I checked on him, I realized the hamper wasn’t nearly as full as it was when I handed it to him.  Sure enough, he was busy loading up the washer with everything. His big brown hooded moose towel, and my white athletic socks.

I didn’t undo his efforts in front of him.  Rather, his daddy and I both clapped and praised him for doing such an awesome big boy task.  I lauded him for being a great Mommy’s helper.  (Later on, when he was busy doing something else, I pulled the whites out of the washer load and started the wash cycle).

————————————————————————————————-

Confession: There are times when I’d rather he didn’t help me in the kitchen (most of the time), and when I’m folding laundry, he’s jumping on the piles or “putting it away” by dumping a stack of clothes into a basket in his closet.

In my mind, I calculate the amount of time it will take me to fix the mess.  Some days, I’m not a calm and relaxed mommy, and I get a little uptight about the extra “work”.  Other days (and I wish this was my attitude all the time), I enjoy watching my son learn and grow and find that far more valuable than sweeping up spilled buckwheat flour on the kitchen floor.

YOUR TURN: What’s your approach to picking up your child’s toys?  Do you do all of it?  Do you “race” with your child and make it a fun game?  Do you offer a reward?  In what other ways do you involve your child for household tasks?