Thursday, March 26, 2015

Seeing is Believing when it comes to Water Conservation

I did it! I started majorly upping my water conservation. We all know about the California drought, and in my last blog post I outlined four mommy-friendly ways to save water in your everyday life. But these are TWO more ways I am trying my hardest to conserve water!

Bathtime:  My son takes a bath every night so I have to heat the water for his little pink whale tub. My water heater can take forever to heat up so I FINALLY put a big mixing bowl in the bathtub and couldn’t believe how fast it fills up before the water heats up! I could actually use TWO giant mixing bowls before the water is really ready to be used in the whale tub. I have been using this extra water to fill my son's humidifier or to water my house plants. Once I get my veggie garden planted I will start using the water for my garden beds.- 

Leaky outdoor faucet: The other day I noticed that one of the water faucets out in my new backyard was dripping. No matter how tight I turned it I couldn’t get the drip to stop. I think it needs a new washer! But until then I figured that my dog could use a water bowl outside.

And wouldn’t you know I was SHOCKED at how quickly that single drip filled up that bowl. It fills it up at least twice a day! I have been using the excess to water my fruit trees but I need to get a new washer for it asap.  

Imagine how much water we could all save if we decided to conserve all the water dripping from leaky faucets or going down the drain while we heated up our water? Every single drop matters.  

Okay I am off to buy a washer for my faucet!!


What ways to do you conserve? Comment below and tell us!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Remembering to Conserve Water in Your Everyday Life

Water is a sacred source here in California - we are in one of the biggest droughts seen in hundreds of years. We all need to do our part to conserve water when we can. Since moving into a large place with a lawn, backyard and garden, I must double my efforts to be conscious of my water usage. All the usual conservation efforts come to mind….taking shorter showers, only running the dishwasher when full, turning off the tap while brushing my teeth or washing my face. But there are other ways that I can help conserve water in my daily life. Here are some of the mama-inspired ways I have been trying to conserve our quickly depleting water supply.  

John Warren relaxing in his water-saving Pink Whale

1.  Baby Bath Time: I don’t know about your little ones, but my little guy is constantly messy. More often than not he needs a bath every night. By using a smaller tub or a water dam - you can help save water when bathing little children by not having to fill up a bath tub. I use this small pink whale for my guy but this bathtub dam tool looks cool. I think it would be a good investment for my growing son’s bath time. They originated in Australia and England but you can buy them online now.
Baby Bathtub Dam: / or

2. Turning off my humidifier: My son has been sick recently and the area that we just moved to is rather dry, so I have a humidifier to help him breath easier. However, I realized that I wasn’t turning it off during the day when we were out and about. Not only is this a waste of electricity but it wastes the water that I have to use in the humidifier. Making a conscious effort to turn water using appliances like this off when I am not in the room is a simple way to make the water last longer.  

I can save water by turning off my humidifier
when leaving the room
3.  Make the most of a dishwasher/laundry cycle: When you have a bigger household with little ones running around, the laundry and dishes never seem to end. I just recently started using these appliances in my new place. Now that I am running a dishwasher and clothes washer  - I try my best to only run the dishwasher when full and set my clothes washer for the right amount of laundry. By only running these appliances when they are full or by selecting the correct cycle size, I can save water in my day to day life.

4. Conscious toilet flushing: No need to get into details about what this means. I think most of us know the term “Yellow Mellow, Brown Flush It Down.” We have been pretty good about keeping to this rule in my house. We can save many gallons of water every week by being careful with our toilet flushing. 

What are you doing in your everyday life to help save water?  

Comment below and let us know, we always want to hear from you.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Up-Cycle Follow Through

Finally following through….

I always have eco-friendly “up-cycling" projects in mind but never seem to have the time to follow through with them. Well I am happy to report that I am on my way on at least one project. (Cue the Rocky Music)

Over the weekend I got things moving with a project that I have been meaning to do for my little guy. Several years ago I purchased a used wooden high chair from a garage sale. (I talked about it in a previous blog post - Here it is for reference:  How to Stay Green While Buying Extra Baby Items)
John Warren trying out the
chair before we started the restoration.
Didn't fit totally yet so
had to use some pillows!

Project time.  Remove blue...
I have been using the chair at my parents' house when we would go down there, but decided that it would be nice to have that high chair in our new, larger place. When I purchased the high chair it was always my intention to restore it, but of course I never had the time. Until now! So we strapped the baby into his bouncer chair and set to work.  

As you can see in this first picture - the chair was painted a not so desirable blue color. As was the food tray.

At first I figured I would hand sand as much as I could and spray the whole thing another color. But it dawned on me that maybe it would be a good idea to keep the tray unpainted so my little guy wasn’t eating food off of a painted surface. Paint is usually more water based now, but I had no idea where the seat came from so thought it might be a good idea to remove as much of the old paint as possible .
Working to make the
food tray more baby food friendly. Steel wool
helped to remove any excess
paint and tighten the wood.

Food friendly mineral oil.
Paint thinner can be scary but we did find a splash-free kind and worked with more of a gentle "paint on" technique. After spending some time scraping and scrubbing, I found a beautiful blondish color wood under the blue paint. I finished the tray off with some non-toxic mineral oil to give it some protection from food penetration.

I am currently waiting for everything to dry….waiting is so hard.  But overall, I think this project has cost about 40 bucks plus my labor. I can’t wait to see my little guy in his new high chair and will share a picture when he tries it out for the first time!

The now yellow high chair drying and waiting for one more final coat of paint!
Waiting is the hardest part...

On a side note along with the high chair - here are a few other baby geared furniture items that I think would make good “up-cycle" projects: 

1.  Baby cradles and cribs

2.  Wooden toys

3.  Little Chairs and tables

4.  Rockers

How do you up-cycle?  Comment below.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Momma Wednesday: Navigating the need for more stuff.

More Stuff.  More Problems.  
More Stuff.  More Junk.  
More Stuff.  More Strain on Resources.

Having a kid means more stuff. It just does. No matter how many things you think you don’t need or even want…kids bring stuff. I think I even have less stuff than most new moms since the places I usually live in are pretty small, I try to keep things condensed. But it is so hard. Currently my family and I are in transition and are changing locations to afford a bigger place. A house. I’m renting a house. Holy Moly! The space! I found myself the other day thinking…Ok, now that I will have a house - John Warren needs MORE toys. Luckily seconds later I caught myself. Why would having a bigger house mean that I need to buy more stuff? The toys I have for my son are wonderful. They are special. He plays with them all the time. He really doesn’t NEED more. But I still found myself thinking…oh yes John Warren needs more.  

Why does this happen to a lot of us? We get more space and feel the need to pack it with more stuff. Buying new things can be wonderful - don’t get me wrong. I love shopping. But buying new things can be a strain on our earth and our resources. Everything we have has to be made in some way, shape or form and that takes resources - whether it be water, gas , electricity etc. Being a parent does not mean that I should give up on my desire to live a green, more socially responsible life. It just means that there are even more opportunities for me to consider what I am buying and how it effects our earth.  

As I learn the ropes of becoming a parent- I am also pushing myself to be a better person not just for me now, but for my son.

More to come!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

How the WYCD team Gets Moving for Heart Health

We've been sharing What You Can Do episodes for Heart Health Month in February - inspiring our team to think about the ways we stay active. Even when there's no time for a workout, we try to boost our heart rates by running around town. Here's how the women on our team get moving:

Jessica gets her workout chasing after her busy toddler, and squeezes in Pilates sessions. She also takes walks in her neighborhood outside of NYC (when it's not covered in snow). 

Alicia breaks a sweat on her elliptical machine and walks to a further subway stop when she needs to catch a ride in NYC - the extra blocks in her commute wind up adding up.

Melissa stays active pushing her son's stroller around San Francisco and hiking up the stairs to their apartment. On shopping trips, she parks in a far away spot to get in some extra exercise.

Ashley likes to run and do yoga, and walks to/from her daughter's preschool when it's nice out. She often gets in some extra activity pulling her little girl up and down the street in a wagon.

Amanda takes the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator, power walks to the subway in the morning, and exercises while watching a favorite show.

How do you get moving to keep your heart healthy?

Monday, January 26, 2015

Momma Monday: Greening up the bathroom toy routine.

These days there are so many great toys out there for kids. However if you are on a budget like we are, you know that constantly buying new toys for your little one can get expensive. Since the beginning of time, crafty moms have found out that even the most expensive toys can’t compare to every day items when it comes to entertaining babies.  

A few nights ago my son was in the bathtub and I realized he has gotten old enough to want to play with something while in the bath. I said to my husband, who was sitting in the other room, “Babe!  We need to buy John Warren some bath toys.”  He yelled back, “sure!”  

I started doing some research and looking for fun bath toys, but as my shopping cart price grew, I realized maybe I didn’t need to buy new toys just yet. Maybe my son would be just as happy with an already owned plastic cup as he would be with a specialty bath toy. I could follow in the footsteps of fellow moms that have come before me and be creative. I could save money and be a little more green just by using my own imagination to create bath time fun for my little son.

I walked through the house and just thought…okay what have I seen other moms give their kids to play with...

Here are the items that I picked:

A large plastic stadium cup that my son is now obsessed with.

A frozen teether

A plastic “Dog Toy” that my dog NEVER played with.

A small plastic tupperware top.

A hand me down plastic phone toy.

Kids playing with “found” toys is not a new concept, but for a new mom like me it is a good reminder that you don’t always have to buy the newest and greatest toys for your kids. 

What “found” items do you let your kids play with?  We want to know!  Leave your comments down below.



Monday, January 19, 2015

Mommy Monday: How to stay green while stocking up on extra baby items.

Wooden high chair we bought
for my parents house.
I try my best to be green. But like most people I could work even harder to use less water, not waste so many paper towels, recycle even more, line dry cloths instead of using a dryer and the list could go on and on and on. However, one thing I am consistently pretty good about is buying gently used items instead of buying all new. Of course sometimes you can't always find what you want, so you might have to buy new. But if you can, buying used items can save not only money but also help to shrink down your carbon footprint.
I am a very lucky gal and got a lot of very nice/new items when my baby was born, from a lot of really nice people in my life.  However, now that I do have a son I don't always want to haul all that stuff around from place to place when I am visiting family. We have a fairly small car (better gas mileage!) but it can't always fit everything in it. So having similar items to what we have at home at the grandparents house is much more convenient than hauling these items around.  

A few years ago when my niece was just a few months old - my brother, his family,  my husband and I decided to stock my parents' house with some much needed baby items. And what better way to do that than to find used items. So one morning we hit the garage sales, and what do you know, we found an adorable wooden high chair, a vibrating bouncer and a Bumbo seat. My brother ended up taking the Bumbo to his house but the highchair and bouncer have come in super handy. I think we got all the items for around $25.00. Babies grow out of things so quickly that a used item is worth the bargain price tag because they usually have only been used for a short amount of time. Also now we don't mind if something gets dirty or breaks because it wasn't expensive.  

It is hard to be green all the time, but deciding to buy consignment, when possible, can help reduce your carbon footprint (and may help to counter those times when you leave the water on a little longer or grab an occasional extra paper towel). So next time you are looking to stock the grandparents with all that baby stuff - try buying used.  It might just save you a buck or two and help us consume more and buy less! 

Cheers from Momma Missy

Used bouncer we found at a
yard sale for just a few dollars.