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The Green Mama Blog

School Days

  • Greening Tips for the 4th of July

    Greening Your Red, White, and Blue Fireworks are arguably the best part of July 4th. No matter how old you get, they’re always fascinating to watch. Cookouts and seeing friends and family are also awesome. But how eco-friendly are 4th of July celebrations, really? Here’s how to put some more green in your red, white…
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  • Last minute holiday shopping: A green, ethical, and fun guide

    The Green Mama gives a few tips for shopping green, ethical, and last-minute

    No worries, I am not one to lecture about leaving shopping to the last minute. I am pretty sure it is the only shopping my family ever does. It seems to be made worse by my family’s disdain of typical consumerism. Yet, to handmake all the gifts I so desperately want to bestow on the teachers, friends, family, and many other loved ones I know, I would have needed to start months ago. And, I didn’t.

  • Six Tips for Adding Meaning (& Reducing Stuff) This Winter Holiday

    Six tips for getting more meaning (& less stuff) into your winter holiday whether you celebrate Hannukah, Christmas, Solstice, or something (or nothing) else 1. Have a conversation with your partner and older children about the traditions and values that resonate most and that you want to celebrate and strengthen. Similarly, discuss what you don’t…
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  • How to Create Magic In Your Holidays

    How to create more magic in your holidays, regardless of what you believe You don’t have to believe in magic yourself to create magic. But, if you would like to know WHY it is so important that children believe in magic, I encourage you to read the Green Mama article on it. In the article…
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  • How to Choose the Greenest Christmas Tree

    Greening your Christmas Tree If you want to go even greener with your Christmas Tree purchase, there are a variety of other options available to you. 1. Buy  a live, potted tree. My family has done this for years. Most pine trees can live for many years in a pot or you can replant the…
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  • How to Celebrate Advent

    How to Celebrate Advent Simply, no matter what your faith This is not really a “How To” in any sort of prescriptive way. I like the simplicity of that title. Advent is defined as the four Sundays that lead up to Christmas. Yet, in my family, where we celebrate Hannukah, Christmas, and the big event…
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  • Are fairy tales still relevant today?

    I let fairytales be fairytales. We read the classics such as the Grimm’s Fairtytales and Aesop’s Fables as well as adaptations such as the Barefoot Book series of Princess tales from around the world. And of course contemporary and more feminist Princess stories such as the Paper Bag Princess. I also read a number of…
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  • Mama To Mama: Family Friendly Games Ideas

    “My favourite games are outdoor games that involve running around, because they are free, I like to run, and I like when my two-year-old runs so much that he has an excellent nights sleep 🙂 We often set up simple obstacle course races in the park, like through the spray park over all the bridges,…
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  • The best lunch boxes & supplies

    Increasingly, parents are waking up to the realization that there is no safe plastic. “BPA-free” and even “plant-based plastics” can still release toxins that mimic hormones in the body. The safest bet for your child is the same thing now that it is always been: truly stable products such as glass, stainless steel, cotton, and…
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  • Mama to Mama: Surviving Summer Vacation

    Summer is the time of the never setting sun. Long lazy days at the beach. Picnics in the park. Unstructured time to follow your bliss… Or is it the time of year when 2 and half months of nothing stretches out before you, a mini van full of kids asking for you to drive them…
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  • Telly Me About It

      Ah, Summer. A time When Cubans drag out the Caja China to roast…anything, and sit around talking. (Gossiping, actually, but let’s go with “talking”.) Mojitos and sangria flow, (as easily as the “chisme”), and a gorgeous time is had by all. Unless, of course, you are moving. This summer, my familia and I moved…
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  • How to keep kids busy without resorting to screens PART THREE

    Even before I had children, I loathed going to a restaurant with blaring television sets. If I wanted I watch telly, (that’s where I keep my gelato), I would do so at home. The entire point of going to a restaurant is to drin..er, I mean – break bread, with your friends and family. When…
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  • How to keep kids busy without resorting to screens PART TWO

    “You know how little kids always love to play with the cardboard boxes at Christmas? Well, it works in the summer and with older children too! The bigger the boxes the better – check with your local appliance store if they have any empty fridge or freezer boxes that they don’t mind parting with. Then…
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  • How to keep kids busy without resorting to screens PART ONE

    My relationship with screens has evolved since having children and through my own research and awareness. Here’s the dichotomy: most of my work as a writer and researcher happens on the computer and, yet, I know the cost of being on the screen. For me, that cost includes back and neurological issues, the reprogramming of my…
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  • My daycare won’t stop spraying on that sunscreen

    It is so interesting that you sent this question as I was just talking about this with my friend who is the director of a nonprofit daycare. She had mentioned that they are required to apply sunscreen every two hours and that she was worried about the kinds of sunscreen that were being used. Licensing…
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  • Why to Lie to Your Kids About Santa, Fairies & Magic

    The importance of teaching your children how to believe in magic “Magic is important for kids,” says Dr. Faith Cohen, licensed psychologist. It’s not what you expect to hear from a child clinical psychologist with a specialty in trauma. She sees some dark stuff: sexual abuse, rape, and all kinds of addiction. Yet, she says,…
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  • How & Why to do a Winter Spiral

    The Winter Spiral aka the Advent Spiral is a beautiful tradition that can grace the season of any family, no matter what the belief system. I have been exposed to Advent Spirals from two sources. One, through Waldorf, where every year my children, and sometimes I, have walked into and back out of a double…
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  • Real vs Plastic Christmas Tree?

    Dear Nari, The VERY short answer is a real tree. Hands down. The plastic is so detrimental and not actually recyclable and detrimental to your indoor air quality. Read more about WHY on a blog I did about it: How to Choose the Greenest Christmas Tree. There are services now where you RENT a live…
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  • What are you doing about the flu shot?

    I do NOT do flu shots for me or my kids. Why? 1. They are both healthy and we have never suffered significantly from the flu, if we get it, it passes quickly and without above-average difficulty and I believe kids are healthier when they get a chance to be sick upon occasion–everyone needs a…
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  • Easiest Sandwich

    Ingredients: 2 Tbsp nut butter 2 slices of your favourite bread 1/2 Tbsp honey Directions: 1. Slather your bread with nut butter and honey. 2. Smoosh the breads together to make a sandwich 3. Slice in half and package for the lunch box. Try Abeego food wrap, Onyx Sandwich containers or Go Go Bags.  …
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  • No Bake Granola Bars (vegan) by DREENA BURTON

    Recipe provided to The Green Mama by Dreena Burton, Author of the new cookbook Plant Powered Families, out now on Ben Bella Books. Makes 8–10 bars or 16 squares These bars are perfect for school lunches because they are nut-free and pack very well. Plus, they are pretty simple to put together! Ingredients 1/2 cup brown rice syrup…
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  • Protein Power Balls (vegan) By DREENA BURTON

     Recipe provided to The Green Mama by Dreena Burton, Author of the new cookbook Plant Powered Families, out now on Ben Bella Books.   Makes 25–28 balls Ingredients 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds 1/2 cup coconut flour (see note) 1/3 cup hemp seeds 1/4 cup sunflower seeds 1½ cups pitted dates 3 tablespoons cocoa powder 2–3 tablespoons…
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  • Mama To Mama: The Minimalist Diaper Bag

    The new year is a time for resolution and transformation. And the middle of January is a time for giving up on all your goals and resolutions…. I often find this true for myself, unless my particular resolution is actually making my days easier and more enjoyable. Welcome to my only resolution that has truly…
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  • 8 Steps to Getting Organized: Secrets to beating family clutter

    Secrets from a professional organizer Clutter and depression are linked says a new book Life at Home in the 21st Century. “Our data suggest that each new child in a household leads to a 30-percent increase in a family’s inventory of possessions during the preschool years alone,”  say the authors. They authors primarily looked at…
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  • Dressing Kids for Cold Weather Play

    I live by the old Scandinavian saying “There’s no bad weather, only bad clothes” and my kids play outside every day, rain or shine. But in order to do so, they have to dress according to the weather. A warm, dry child can play outside for hours, so in my opinion high-quality outdoor gear is…
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  • Five Steps to Changing Any Behavior through Storytelling

    Better parenting through storytelling is possible Perhaps, even, probable. “Storytelling. We are wired for it—literally. The neuroscience is conclusive—we use stories to build our realities and make sense of them,” says David Sewell McCann the storyteller and co-creator of SparkleStories.com. Why Storytelling is Better than Lectures for Discipline Sewell McCann implores parents, especially fathers for…
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