Friday, February 20, 2009

Here's a Green and Cost-effective Idea

Kid-to-Kid Consignment store, Apex, NC

I have to admit, I hadn't thought much about consigning my Kidz clothes.  Usually my older daughter's things go to her cousin, and her cousin's things come back to my younger one.  It's a wonderful way to get maximum use out of quickly-outgrown clothes.  After all, Reuse is one of the 3 Rs--that is, the 3 green Rs--Recycle, Reduce, Reuse.  

Consignment stores are a great alternative to traditional mall shopping; area momz take their kidz outgrown clothes, shoes, and gear--including maternity wear--and the store puts them on their racks.  The store keeps a portion of the sales price and and the customer takes her portion in cash or store credit (at my local Kid-to-Kid store, store credit is 20% more than the cash portion I'd get).

Stores usually take clothes seasonally--for example, right now my nearest shop is taking spring and summer clothes.  So now would be a great time for a quick check to see whether last year's summer and spring togs will fit this year; if not, try taking them into a consignment shop! It beats having them in the attic, and in these tough times, second hand is not just greenwise, it's moneywise.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

A Sign of the Times

It looks like green living is now so in vogue that the state government mandates it in North Carolina! I love seeing this sign not only for the fact that it means that recyclables get recycled even when I go out to eat, but also because it shows that recycling is as mainstream as it can be.  If a government, especially in a traditionally conservative state (though 08 proved to swing left), is willing to require something, you know it's probably years past due.  

Way to go, North Carolina!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Do you miss Rice Krispy Treats?

RECIPE:  Crispy Rice Treats 
with Erewhon Organic Crispy Brown Rice cereal & Elyon Natural Vanilla Marshmallows

My Nature Kidz really missed those neat white squares of sugary, marshmallowy goodness.  But regular marshmallows are anything but natural, containing such ingredients as artificial colors (blue is used to make them more white) and flavors (such as vanillin, which is artificial vanilla derived from petroleum).  And that mainstream rice cereal, well, it *seems* benign but contains added sugar, high fructose corn syrup, and preservatives.  

In order to avoid these issues, I picked up a package of natural marshmallows from my local health food store.  You can make your own homemade marshmallows, of course, but I wanted a shortcut.  All it takes is butter, rice cereal, and marshmallows. Here's the recipe:

1/4 cup (half stick) butter (I actually used more because I misread the instructions, and they turned out great)
1 pkg. Elyon marshmallows (4 cups)
5 cups Crispy Brown Rice cereal (I used Erewhon)

Melt the butter in medium saucepan.  Add marshmallows and stir constantly until melted and mixture is smooth.  Remove from heat and immediately stir in rice cereal.  Press into 9x13 pan or 9x9 pan if you're like me and prefer them thick.  Let cool and enjoy.

I really like this version, and even more I like that the cereal is whole grain brown rice based and has no secret ingredients.  Nature Dad approves, too!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Truly Great Idea

(Photo from Papa Spuds website)
Papa Spuds Organics local produce delivery: Raleigh & Durham area.

This is a truly wonderful idea and is now available in my neck of the woods.  Papa Spuds is a food delivery service focusing on local produce.  It's a service you sign up for, and each week you use a set number of "credits" (20 or 40) for a set price ($22.99 or $40.99); there's a suggested selection of items, but you can customize your weekly delivery.  Items range from locally grown seasonal produce such as potatoes and turnips to bakery items, dried fruit and preserves, and even candy!  Many of the items are organic, and you have the option of selecting strictly locally grown items, or from those grown across the USA.

This concept appeals to me on so many levels: the first is my Lazy Mom impulse. It's far easier to click and choose and then sit around waiting for my items than it is to schlep to various groceries looking for fresh organic items.  The second is my eco-conscious tendency; I like that I can choose organic items and those which are local, thus saving resources on many different levels.  The third is a nutrition level: feeding my kidz what I know are the freshest, least pesticide-riddled items makes me feel like they are getting the best possible nutrition.  Also, I like that I can plan menus around what arrives each week: with today's technology, I can go onto sites like, plug in an ingredient, and get recipes right on my laptop!