School Papers & Artwork Get Carried Away!
Celebrating International Babywearing Week
On the Evidence, Wisdom, and Practicality of Parenting Fall 2013
PAIRSinPEARS pairs fun with learning! Packed with 8 fun and educational activities plus two competitive word games, PAIRSinPEARS grows with your family, from the pre-reader stage all the way through adulthood. It’s a game you’ll keep coming back to for years to come!
8 Eco Fab
These are a few of our favorite finds, inspired by nature & health!
10 Baby Safety
5 everyday items to keep away from your teething baby.
14 Get Organized!
Curating school papers & artwork.
16 Nutritional Nuggets
From food allergies to body image, expert Louise Goldberg has you covered!
20 Winterize Your Garden
In just three easy steps!
24 Look, Listen, Read
Our editors’ top picks in books, apps & more.
26 Diaper Rash
Natural remedies to heal your little one’s bottom.
30 Love, Laughs & Babywearing
A lighthearted look at the benefits of babywearing, plus a fun quiz!
34 Hitchin’ a Ride!
We’re celebrating babywearing with a real-life look at some of our favorite carriers!
Contents 46 What’s in Season
Try out our delicious recipes featuring seasonal favorites!
51 Conscious Kitchen
Sip on something that will warm your soul - this issue’s recipes are for adults only!
54 Peggy O’Mara
Peggy talks with us about the evidence, wisdom, and practicality of parenting.
60 Rain or Shine!
Students learning in nature - all day, every day!
64 Pet Loss
Helping children cope with the loss of their furry, feathery and otherwise nonhuman loved ones.
96 The More You Know Eco
Lead Poisoning Prevention Month
98 DIY Tutorial
Upcycled Halloween Flying Ghosts
100 Community Marketplace
A collection of artisan shops & resources for today’s green family.
102 Your Green Child
A peek into the lives of our readers.
On The Cover Get Organized! p14
68 Do-it-Yourself Costumes
Peggy O’Mara p54
76 Raising Resilient Kids
Celebrate Babywearing p30, p34, p102
Inspired by nature.
Helping kids develop a strong sense of self and the ability to handle adversity.
Inspired organic & upcycled Fall fashions.
84 World Animal Day
Make it a family affair!
87 Guided Relaxation
Curating ed! S Papers & chool Artwork
Enchanted Fall Forest
88 Green Mama Guilt
Confessions of an eco-sinner.
92 Beauty-full Autumn Spices
Celebrati ied Away! n Babywea g International ring Wee k
Five spices to warm and awaken your senses... as well as your skin.
95 Green Grandma
Questions from our readers answered. Fall 2013
Cover Photography by
Moon Ko Photography
gy O’Ma On the E ra and Prac vidence, Wisdom , ticality o f Parentin g
Publisher & Editor
Creative Director Amanda Hearn
Mellisa Dormoy Louise Goldberg, RD, CSP, LD, CNSC Hana Haatainen Caye
Alicia Voorhies Sandy Kreps Anne Michelsen Calley Pate Diana Coote Linda McGurk Kara S. Anderson Alana Beall
]Kelly Bartlett Mary Lauer Megan McCoy Dellecese Christine Escobar Brandie Gilliam Jennie Lyon
Media & Other Inquiries
from our publisher & editor “Parenting with empathy should not be something we have to hide from doctors or relatives to avoid reactions. Respecting children as whole people should be something we’re proud of. We say we want to give children a voice, but we whisper for their rights in secret clubs and groups.” ~ Heather Greenwood If you’re on the natural parenting path, you probably have a group of like minded friends – in real life or online – to ask questions, bounce ideas off of, commiserate with, and help keep you sane. Our communities on Facebook or Google+ are not exclusive for the sake of keeping anyone out. Rather, they’re designed to give a comfortable space for a mom to ask a question about handling a temper tantrum without spanking. She’s looking for support and suggestions without judgment… not “we all got spanked and we turned out fine.” When I saw Heather’s quote, the reality of these private groups struck me. What’s the cost of keeping our attachment parenting questions only to people who think they way we do? By willingly dropping out of the mainstream conversation, our voices aren’t heard by that new mom who reaches out for help on a public board. By choosing not to hang out at the mainstream moms group play date, we miss the chance to
encourage that mom who feels like her only hope for getting a good night’s rest is letting her baby cry it out. One gentle parenting comment is all it can take to change the direction of a whole family. I know this is true, because it happened to me. After a rough night with our second baby, we told our doula we hoped he would be an “easier baby” than his brother had. She thoughtfully told us she thought our oldest was such a gracious and content child now because we’d been practicing attachment parenting without knowing there was a name for it. Another of these life-changing comments came from the incomparable Peggy O’Mara: “The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.” I had the remarkable privilege of speaking with Peggy, and I can’t wait for you to read about it on page 56. Her perspective gave me a renewed sense of hope and purpose in what we’re all doing to raise conscious families. Conscious parenting truly is a movement. And you are part of it. Our collective purpose is so worthwhile, we decided the groups are great… but we’re ready to shout it from the rooftops… and we want your voice heard loud and clear.
These are a few of our favorite finds, inspired by nature & health!
Nursing Cover by Belly Armor
Enjoy technology while reducing the risks with this lovely nursing cover with built-in radiation protection. Itâ€™s lightweight and features a rigid neckline, pockets and easily adjustable strap. $49.00
Aden + Anais Organic Dream Blanket
This blanket features four layers of organic cotton muslin, manufactured in an environmentally responsible way. It is sure to make cuddle time or bedtime is nothing less than dreamy. $69.95
Snap Circuits GREEN!
These little kits pack hours upon hours of educational and explorative fun! This set features alternative energy and can be added to with expansion kits. $14.99
Skin To Skin Kangaroo T-Shirt
A skin-to-skin baby carrier for newborns up to 15lbs, a great nursing top and post-partum bellysupport! Shirring on both sides provides a perfect fit - both for mother and baby. $66.95
Mollyâ€™s Suds Cloth Diaper Laundry Powder
This new detergent is free of essential oils, fragrance, enzymes, dyes, and other ingredients that might void cloth diaper warranties. $14.99 9
BABY SAFETY :
5 Everyday Items To Keep Away From Your Teething Baby |by Alicia Voorhies
Did you know that unintentional suffocation is a leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury among infants and young children? For babies under age one, almost 70% of accidental deaths were due to suffocating.1, 2 These are worrisome statistics to be sure. But aside from choking, there are other concerns with everyday items that teething babies end up putting in their mouths; magnets, batteries, keys, vinyl plastic products, and small electronics seem innocent, but pose hidden dangers too.
MAGNETS You’re probably thinking of those little refrigerator magnets, right? Yes, they should definitely be kept out of reach too, but I’m actually talking about the small, powerful magnets commonly included with toy sets these days. Typically smaller objects will pass right through the body – not these magnets! If your baby swallows more than one at a time, they can attract to each other through the intestinal walls, causing pinched or blocked intestines.3 The outcome can be frightening, leading to holes in the intestines, serious infections, blood poisoning, and even death.4
Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns that sometimes the magnets are so small that a child can inhale
them, which would require surgery to remove them from the lungs.5 The safest option is to avoid having this style of magnet in your home. If you have an older child who plays with them, monitor very closely to be sure toddlers don’t have access to them at any time.
KEYS In the same way that babies prefer the box over the toy that came in it, they also love the timeless allure of keys. Tamara Rubin, founder of Lead Safe America Foundation, explains “Most keys have 10,000 to 15,000+ ppm lead, and the hazard level for children’s items is only 90 ppm. The first toy my son ever played with in 1996 was his great-grandfather’s keys - seemingly harmless, jingling & even pretty, but even trace amounts of lead can cause brain damage. This was long before my younger sons were lead-poisoned. I had no idea keys could be toxic.” Tamara recommends asking for lead-free keys at your hardware store.6 It’s really tough to find a toy that babies will accept as a substitute for keys, so it can be a struggle to keep them from actively working to chew on those grimy, lead-filled keys. Luckily, a really smart mommy has officially put
BABY SAFETY an end to our misery! Kleynimals is the only stainless steel teether of its kind, made to fill the need for that naturally cool surface and unique metal-on-metal clinking sound. Our babies found them irresistible at first sight!
B AT T E R I E S There are increasing cases of toddlers swallowing batteries, especially the small lithium cell batteries found in remote controls.7 A study published in Pediatrics focusing on the small lithium cell batteries (button batteries) found in remote control devices suggested that ingested button batteries can cause severe tissue damage and have fatal consequences within just two hours.8 The CDC has found that more than 40,000 children under the age of 13 (72 percent were 4 years old or younger) went to the ER for battery-related injuries between 1997 and 2010; 14 of those children died.9 Be sure to keep all loose batteries in a locked drawer or cabinet that is well out of reach. The AAP recommends you secure battery compartments on all electronic items with tape.
B A BY G E A R M A D E F R O M VINYL Vinyl, otherwise known as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), is widely regarded as the single most toxic of all plastics10 and is commonly found in baby bibs,11 teethers, bath toys, bath seats/gear, baby mattresses, pet toys, handbags12 and 99% of all inflatable items (including many portable cribs).13 PVC is known to contain high levels of phthalates, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), organotins, lead, cadmium and other metals. 12
And to make matters worse, heat and humidity (like that found in little teething mouths!) can increase the release of these chemicals from the plastic.14 Avoiding PVC is tough because it’s absolutely everywhere. But don’t worry! We’ve done some in-depth research to help you locate safer teethers, bath toys and bath seats.
REMOTE CONTROLS, P H O N E S A N D TA B L E T S We’re all guilty of giving in and letting our babies play with electronics. In fact, 58% of parents surveyed by Energizer and Safe Kids said their children like adult electronic devices more than their little-kid toys.15 We’ve already talked about the dangers of batteries in remotes, but you should also be aware of a more insidious problem: brominated flame retardants.16 Brominated flame retardants, also known as PBDEs, are found primarily in the plastic casing (but also circuit boards) and are most widely used in North America. They are very similar to PCBs, which have been linked to immune suppression, altered sexual development, cancer, delayed brain development, lower IQ, and behavioral problems like hyperactivity in humans. As with PCBs, exposure to PBDEs may be particularly harmful during a critical window of brain development during pregnancy and early childhood. In the 26 years since the ban, numerous studies have documented permanent, neurological impairment to children from low level PCB exposure.17 It’s important to teach your little ones that these items are off limits from the start. If you’re desperate
BABY SAFETY for a safer alternative, choose electronics made by manufacturers who are ahead of the game with the Environmental Working Group’s help.
The time to begin teaching a child to read is between ages 21/2 and 6.
K E E P I N G YO U R B A BY S A F E , O N E S T E P AT A TIME
I know it’s easy to feel overwhelmed – and maybe even a bit paralyzed – when reading this scary catalog of ways your child can be injured. Trust me, it’s worthwhile to make these particular changes a priority.
The Royal Road to Reading Vocabulary: Mind in the Making Instructional DVD for parents & teachers
Just think: you’ll be drastically reducing the risk of choking, but also increasing the chances of good health with less exposure to toxic chemicals in the process! If you’ve already tackled these hurdles, you can learn more about the top 25 ways to create a safe, healthy living environment for your baby on our website.
Article Sources 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.
http://www.cdc.gov/safechild/NAP/background.html http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/genlsafe.htm http://aapnews.aappublications.org/content/33/6/1.2.full?nfstatus=200 &nftoken=523acf8c-59f0-4c53-86ce-fbfb095d834e&nfstatusd escription=SUCCESS%3A+Login+worked http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57480531-10391704/ buckyballs-ceo-on-cpsc-complaint-how-can-this-happen-in-america/ http://www.justice.org/images/newsroom/danger_toys_printfin.pdf http://tamararubin.com http://babygooroo.com/2010/06/keeping-batteries-away-from-children/ http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/125/6/1168.abstract http://www.cdc.gov/media/mmwrnews/2012/0830.html#A1 http://www.chej.org/pvcfactsheets/The_Poison_Plastic.html http://www.ceh.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view& amp;id=167&Itemid=176 http://generationgreen.org/2012/06/ceh-still-finding-lead-womenshandbags-wallets/#more-4776 http://guide.thesoftlanding.com/ask-tsl-do-you-know-of-any-pvc-freepools-and-toys/ http://guide.thesoftlanding.com/phthalate-free-vinyl-pvc-productsmay-still-contain-other-toxic-chemicals/ http://healthland.time.com/2011/09/14/remote-controls-arent-toyslithium-batteries-prove-deadly-to-kids/ http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2012/12/27/flameretardant-chemicals.aspx http://www.ucsfchildcarehealth.org/pdfs/factsheets/ToxicFlameRetardants_en0710.pdf
Children ages 21 /2 - 6 are seized by an internal drive to develop their language skills. Guide them to language mastery with The Royal Road to Reading. To purchase
Call us or visit http://ageofmontessori.org/ royal-road-to-reading
Royal Road to Reading Disc One
Vocabulary: Mind in the Making DVD with 16 page Booklet 96 Vocabulary Cards
www.ageofmontessori.org ~ (406) 284-2160 13
Curating School Papers & Artwork |by Sandy Kreps
School is back in session. With most schools, that means plenty of paper: spelling tests, math homework, artwork, notes and reminders. That paper pile can quickly become an avalanche if you don’t have a plan for dealing with it. You can’t keep everything your child makes. There’s simply too much of it. Not only do you not want to store it yourself, chances are good that grown-up Junior won’t care about every scribble he made when he was 5. Decide in advance what the criteria will be for choosing the keepers. Think of yourself as a curator – you want to choose the best, the favorites, the pieces that really show your child’s development at each stage.
sort as they come in
It is much easier to deal with artwork and school papers as they come in than to sort through later. Start by preparing a landing spot for all those papers. A simple set of files
in a file box on the counter can catch papers as they come in. Create a folder for each child’s work where you can slip pages each day. At the end of the week, sort through and decide what to keep and what to toss.
curate your collection
Each week, and again at the end of the school year, go through your child’s artwork and homework and choose the special ones, such as that A- math test he studied so hard for, her first spelling test, or that drawing he created for the school art contest. For schoolwork, you can set up a binder or use a file box for longterm storage. Use one box or binder for each child, and be sure to label each piece with the child’s name and the date it was created. Keep only what you need to document your child’s handwriting, personality, and development for each grade level. Curating the artwork is a bit different. For larger pieces or 3D art, take a photo of your child holding the piece – this gives you not
only the picture of the artwork but a record of how old your child was when she made it. You can then save the photo and recycle the art. For smaller pieces, choose a few to go into the child’s binder or file box, then go digital with the rest.
Artwork by Ethan Hearn
For smaller pieces, you have several options. Artkive (artkiveapp.com) is a free app (available for both iOS and Android) that allows you to photograph your child’s art with your smartphone or tablet and label it with your child’s name and age. The photos are stored in the cloud and backed up regularly, so you don’t have to worry about losing them. Artkive sorts the art into albums by child and grade, and you can use the service to share albums with other family members or print photo books of the art as keepsakes or gifts. If you prefer DIY, scan or photograph the art as it comes in and use your favorite photo service to order photo books, make screensavers
for family use, or create other photo gifts, such as coffee mugs or tote bags. You can also create a collage or mosaic of your favorite pieces to display as a single work of art. Display the art in a digital frame, and then recycle the actual art. You can still enjoy it without the physical clutter.
have your child help
Get your child involved in the curating and let him help you choose which pieces to keep. Showing him how to save only the best, and preserve other favorite pieces digitally while recycling the actual art, can be a great lesson in how to let go of stuff and overcome the hoarding mentality most children have. Decluttering isn’t an ability that comes naturally to most children, and curating their own school papers and artwork can help them learn this valuable life skill.
Nutritional Nuggets Expert Louise Goldberg answers your questions!
We’ve been reading more about how wheat has changed over the past decade or so, and how gluten intolerance is on the rise. Even though no one in our family has been diagnosed with Celiac Disease or a wheat intolerance, I notice we all tend to stay healthier when we limit wheat, gluten, and dairy. Our youngest daughter really loves bread, though. What’s a good way to wean her down and increase the amount of real food, especially veggies she eats? Regardless of food intolerances, it is important for kids to consume a variety of foods without overdoing or omitting one group. Whole grains provide essential nutrients for energy and growth, as well as fiber, so a serving is good to include at every meal. However, there are many healthy gluten free choices available. Quinoa, (gluten free) oats, amaranth, brown rice and millet are just a few great choices. Our son is three years old, and he loves tomatoes. He would eat them (or a tomato product) at every meal if we let him. I’ve heard that when you crave a certain food, that can mean you’re allergic to it. How cautious should we be of this? There is no scientific evidence to support a connection between cravings and food allergies. If he is not exhibiting any symptoms of a food allergy (e.g. hives, wheezing, swelling, coughing, blood in stool, etc.) it is most likely not an allergy. Children go through phases called “food jags” where they get hooked on a specific food 16
and want to eat that-and only that-for a while. It should diminish over time or change to a different food. As long as his tomato intake doesn’t completely displace eating other foods, he should be okay. My daughter just started 2nd grade and said that kids at school are calling her fat. I don’t think it is ok for them to do that but she is a couple pounds heavier than what is ideal (according to the pediatrician). At home she puffs out her stomach and asks me if I think she is fat. Should I be honest about her weight or let her believe she is fine the way she is? First, the issue of name calling at school must stop. Talk to her teacher and the principal to make them aware and to monitor the situation. They need to review with the class that teasing of any kind is not tolerated. Second, when she asks you if she is “fat,” she is looking for validation that her classmates were right so the message from you needs to be supportive, accepting, and loving, not in agreement with her peers. You can turn the question around and ask her, “What do you think?,” and “Why...” do you think that?” This can be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue with her about different body sizes and shapes and that being healthy is more than just what you look like. It’s about the food choices you make, being active, and feeling good about yourself. A pediatric dietitian can help guide you both through this conversation if you want additional help.
|by Louise Goldberg
â€œTo me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.â€? - Helen Keller
150,000 Moms strong! Join the force!
3Easy Steps to Winterize Your Garden
|by Anne Michelsen 20
School’s been in session for a few weeks, leaves are turning in many parts of the country, and a certain crispness in the air makes it clear that summer is officially over. Now that we’re adjusted to new routines, it’s time for that last great ritual of the season: putting the garden to rest for the winter. Whether your garden consists of a window box or an acre of land, taking the proper steps to winterize your garden now will help your plot stay neat and tidy through the barren months, and ready to spring to life as soon as the growing season begins anew. While it’s tempting to just rake away the leaves and debris and call it done, veteran gardeners know that a little extra care this time of year can make next year’s gardening not just more productive, but more enjoyable as well. According to expert gardeners, Derek Whitten and Craig Peters, winterization is really a threestep process: Reflection, Planning, and Preparation.
Reflect on the Season Past Fall is a wonderful time to look back and celebrate this year’s garden successes. While you enjoy those last few tomatoes and autumn greens, take the opportunity to analyze what worked well for you this year, and what you’d like to do differently next time around. If you aren’t yet in the habit of keeping a garden journal, now is an excellent time to start. After a few months, you may not remember where everything was this year, or what problems you experienced. Jotting everything down now will help immensely next spring when you’re trying to remember just where to avoid planting your
peppers, which diseases to select resistant varieties for, or what that super yummy strain of sweet corn was. (Don’t forget to remind yourself to take it easy when planting zucchini, too!) There are plenty of apps on the market that can help you track your garden, but don’t feel you need to be super high-tech. A simple notebook makes as good a garden journal as anything, and (pardon the pun) they’re dirt cheap this time of year – just pick up an extra one when you take your kids shopping for school supplies.
Plan for Next Year’s Success Now that you’ve given a little thought to what went right and what went wrong this year, you can use your findings to give yourself a little head start on next season’s garden. “Autumn is a great time to build your soil and replenish what’s missing. I’m a big fan of compost. The best thing to do in the fall is get a compost bin if you haven’t got one yet,” says Whitten, who also recommends getting your soil tested in the fall. A comprehensive soil test costs less than the value of a week’s worth of veggies from an average garden, and will tell you exactly what your soil will need to grow the yummiest, most nutritious produce and lushest flowers. Ask your county extension service where to get one in your area. Plan, too, for size and placement of next year’s garden. Do you want to expand? Fall is an excellent time to break new ground. Thinking about raised beds? Planning them now will prevent scrambling for time and materials when you’re under pressure to get the garden in next spring. Lastly, sketch out a rough map of next spring’s 21
3Easy Steps to Winterize Your Garden
garden. Knowing which plants will go where can help you better prepare the soil for each type of plant. For example, if you want to plant blueberries next year you may need to lower your soil’s pH where you plan to put them.
Preparation Makes Perfect Now that your planning is done, it’s time to grab your gardening gloves for the last time this year and get to work putting your garden to bed for the winter. Here’s a quick rundown: • Clean up debris. Rake leaves and pull up the old dead plants. Burn anything that shows signs of disease; the rest can go into the compost bin. • Till your soil. Tilling gives your garden a neat appearance, and helps control certain pests, such as the squash vine borer, which overwinter as pupae in the soil. It’s also a convenient way to add amendments. • Test and amend your soil. Fall is an excellent time to replenish your soil and adjust for pH by adding amendments such as lime, compost, and ground rock; they’ll get a chance to settle into the soil over the winter months. Always test before you amend to prevent throwing your soil out of balance. And be sure you read labels and wear protective clothing (and/or a respirator) when appropriate. • Consider mycorrhyzals. Mycorrhyzal agents are microorganisms naturally present in soil that assist plants with nutrient uptake. Think of them as probiotics for your plants. Many garden soils are deficient in mycorrhyzals; adding them as amendments to your 22
soil may help your plants grow stronger and more drought resistant. • Protect your perennials. Spread a thick layer of mulch around the roots of tender plants. Stake young fruit and nut trees against the wind. The trunks of young trees should also be protected against rodent damage. You can wrap them with hardware cloth, or use a spiral tree protector. The latter will also protect tender bark from winter sunscald. • Plant! Spring isn’t the only time to get our hands in the dirt. Plant your spring bulbs and garlic now. Many trees and shrubs can also be planted in the fall. • Service your tools and equipment. Make a list of what needs repair or replacement. Do it right away while it’s top of mind, or schedule it for those winter months when you’re homesick for your garden. Fall can also be a good time to find bargains on tools and equipment.
One more note: Don’t leave your kids
out of the loop! Tilling and most amending are adult jobs, but many kids love to help with other tasks in the garden. (Especially when it involves piles of leaves!) It’s also a wonderful, gentle way to introduce young children to the cycles of life, death and renewal. If you have a new baby or are just plain too busy to do everything, just do what you can (or hire the neighbor kid to do it). But preparing your garden for winter doesn’t have to be a major ordeal. Spread the jobs out over a few days or a few weeks, and before you know it, you’ll look forward to winterizing as a satisfying and relaxing ritual to end the year.
Scare up some fun this Halloween.
Fun reusable cloth napkins for kids. Shop the entire collection at
Look Listen Read Eco-Intelligent Remedies for Autism Spectrum that “Think Outside the Box” by Candia Lea Cole
In her new book, Candia explores the need many families have to find health after a diagnosis of Autism. Though she doesn’t like to call Autism a “disorder,” Cole makes the case that those affected by the “symptoms” of Autism are calling humanity as a whole to wake up and live a more eco-aware existence. This book explores remedies ranging from whole-foods diets and detoxification protocols to bio-energetic therapies. Remedies that support emotional well-being are also a strong focus, including sound and light therapies, guided imagery, soul retrieval, animal therapy, and art therapy, to name just a few self-empowering modalities. $7.99 at Amazon
Let’s Visit Rome!: Adventures of Bella & Harry by Lisa Manzione
Raising a little world traveler? The latest in The Adventures of Bella & Harry offers a trip through Rome as sibling chihuahuas Bella and Harry visit the Colosseum, Roman Forum, Trevi Fountain and other sites. Along the way, your child will learn about local cuisine and basic Italian words. Bella and Harry are informative and fun tour guides sharing different countries, customs, history and landmarks. $13 at Amazon 24
The Business of Baby by Jennifer Margulis
What do you get when you cross nervous new parents with a system designed to create patients for life? A lucrative business that often undermines a mother’s ability to trust her body and her instincts. We’ve all heard about - and many of us have experienced - the cascade of medical intervention during pregnancy and birth. In her controversial exposé, Jennifer Margulis, PhD and mother of four, dives deep into the money involved in a medically intervened birth. If your only option is a hospital birth, don’t let these facts paralyze you. Instead, use them to empower yourself to birth on your (and your baby’s) terms, rather than the medical professionals’. $18 at Amazon
by Jennifer Margulis Technology and open-ended storytelling come together in a fun, interactive way with the InfiniScroll storytelling app. Designed to be used by parents and kids together, they’ll be pros in no time. Your child can lock in her favorite drawings. And creative parents can use the random nature of the app to create new bedtime stories every night. $1.99 in the App Store
|by Calley Pate
Oh no! You’ve just changed your baby’s diaper only to find a flaming read rash on her bum. Now what? Regardless of what type of diaper you use (disposable or cloth), you will likely encounter a diaper rash along the way. Did you know that many of the diaper creams on the market contain toxic ingredients that aren’t considered safe by the Environmental Working Group? Conventional products like Desitin, Balmex and Boudreax’s Butt Paste contain fragrances, petroleum, and other toxic ingredients that may actually make the rash worse. There are gentler products available on the market today that are more effective at healing and soothing a diaper rash such as CJ’s BUTTer, Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm, and GroVia Magic Stick. Before you start to treat a diaper rash, you’ll want to find out what caused the rash in the first place. There are just about as many causes of diaper rashes as there are solutions. Some of the most common reasons a baby gets a diaper rash include:
Photography by Kim Rosas
• Teething. Teething babies produce a lot of extra saliva, and that saliva may be more acidic than normal. While most of the excess saliva will end up on the front of their shirts, they actually ingest a good bit as well. The increased acidity in their system can cause diaper rashes when your baby pees or poops. • Illness or medication. When a child is sick or on certain medications (antibiotics for example), they may be more prone to diaper rashes. • New foods, acidic foods, citrus foods, and other dietary sensitivities. It’s very common for your child to get a diaper rash after eating a new food, especially those that are acidic, like tomatoes.
• Wet or soiled diapers. Sitting in any diaper for even a short time can cause a diaper rash. • Chemical, detergent, or fabric sensitivities. Disposable diapers and wipes are filled with harsh chemicals that can cause rashes. When using cloth diapers you might have detergent or fabric sensitivities that can cause rashes. • Heat. Your baby might suffer from heat rashes if they are outdoors in the heat or when they are overdressed. • Yeast, Thrush, and other infections. These are perhaps the hardest rashes to cure because they tend to live inside your baby’s stomach.
Tips for Caring for Diaper Rash
Naked time! That’s right, take some time and
allow your baby to run around naked. The absolute best way to heal a diaper rash is to let it air out. Take this time to practice elimination communication or early potty training. Change frequently! Changing your baby as
soon as they pee or poop will prevent a diaper rash from occurring. Their tiny stomachs can only hold so much liquid so they may pee within 15-30 minutes of eating or drinking. Just because a diaper says it can last for 12 hours does not mean that they should. Change diaper type, brand, or style. Dis-
posable diapers may contain different chemicals and some may be gentler than others. Cloth diapers contain no chemicals and are available in synthetic fibers and natural fibers. If you suspect that the rash is from a chemical exposure or from a fabric type, try a different type of diaper. Diaper wipes may also contain chemicals that your baby is sensitive to. Using a soft wash cloth with plain water may be helpful. 27
Natural diaper creams, ointments. There
are gentler products available on the market today that are more effective at healing and soothing a diaper rash such as CJ’s BUTTer, Earth Mama Angel Baby Bottom Balm, and GroVia Magic Stick.
DIY Diaper Creams. Coconut oil, avocado oil,
Melt the ingredients together in a microwave or on the stove top. Pour the mixture into a bowl and place the bowl in an ice bath. Blend the mixture until creamy and store in a glass jar at room temperature. Mixture will harden or become a thick cream when cooled. Lightly apply to your baby’s bottom.
Recipe: • • • •
¼ cup beeswax 1/3 cup organic virgin coconut oil 1/3 cup shea butter 5 drops of Tea Tree Oil
Photography by Alicia Solario
breast milk, shea butter, and numerous other natural ingredients can be used on diaper rashes. They can be used by themselves or combined to make your own diaper rash cream.
Imagine not being able to afford clean diapers for your baby. 30% of families struggle to afford enough diapers to keep their little ones in clean diapers.
Photography by Fernando Garcia
8% of families report “stretching” the diapers they have by leaving wet diapers on, or partially cleaning the diaper and reusing it.¥
Click now to learn how you can help those in need, or to find where to you can reach out for help. ¥ SOURCE
American Academy of Pediatrics “Diaper Need and Its Impact on Child Health” http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/07/23/peds.2013-0597.full.pdf+html
Photo submited by Kelly @kellysmarr
Love, Laughs nd a
Babywearing |by Diana Coote
! e t o n s ’ r o t i Ed
After three years of sharing the benefits of babywearing, we were ready for a little something different to celebrate International Babywearing Week (October 7 – 13). So we called in an expert friend who rarely misses the opportunity to have FUN with her job. Diana Coote of OnyaBaby eats, sleeps, and breathes baby carriers, so she’s helped liberate many stressed parents and foster plenty of calm, satisfied babies. Diana couldn’t wait to share her light-hearted list of questions to help you see if babywearing is right for you.
While babywearing may seem like a new trend, it’s actually an age-old tradition that, at its most fundamental, allows mom or dad to keep baby safe and close while still allowing freedom of movement, activity and hands. Free hands? Going places without pushing a massive stroller or carrying a heavy car seat?
Unless you’re not, which is cool, too. Whatever works. You know, different strokes and all that. If you’re not, you’re probably fine without it, just keeping in one place with your hands baby-full and all. If that’s what floats your boat, then float, momma, float! You’re good to go. You can stop reading right here and move along with your day. But if you are one of those who likes to move around a little (or a lot) and have the use of your hands, you just may want to keep reading… We’ve devised a short Q & A to help you decide if babywearing is right for you. It will take only a few short minutes of your time and could be the first step of a lifesaving, choresaving (and arm-saving) journey of beautiful babywearing. Your life, your home, and most of all, your baby, will thank you for it.
Oh, and if the arm-freeing benefits don’t get you, we’re guessing the baby-snuggled goodness will.
Especially when you’re one of those people who likes to do things.
So, without further ado… (Flip the page!!!) 31
Love, Laughs nd a
Is Babywearing Right For
1 Do you like to have full use of your hands? a. Yes. b. No. c. Doesn’t matter to me, I have talented feet. d. All of the above (you might be confused if you choose this option. Start over.). 2 Does holding your baby in-arms for hours make your arms feel like limp noodles? a. b. c. d.
Yes. No. I am Mighty. Maybe. I don’t know yet. I like noodles.
3 Does your baby want to be held? a. Yes. b. Nope. c. My baby can’t talk! What are you, crazy? (Actually, she can communicate quite well if you know how to listen) d. My baby is a puppy. (Wait. Wha…?) 4 Do you ever want to leave your house again? a. Yes. b. No way. I like it in here. Stuck on the couch. c. I can hold out until the food runs out, 32
but it means I’ll have to get dressed. (Yoga pants are widely accepted public attire by now, you might be happy to learn) d. Leave the house?! I can’t see past my sleep deprivation and the dishes in the sink (hint: wear your baby to help you tackle those dishes in the sink…) 5 Does your baby drink milk from your breasts? a. Yes. b. Sometimes. c. I’m a dad! A guy! That would be amazing! d. All of the above (see “D” in question one. Revisit.) 6 Do you ever plan on going for a walk with your baby and encountering any of the following: Stairs, public transit, uneven paths, cobblestones, tiny little spaces, very crowded places, the beach, anywhere else it’s difficult or impossible to bring a stroller? a. Yes. b. No. If you answered, “yes” to at least two of the above questions, it’s official – babywearing is a perfect fit for you! Welcome to the babywearing club! You’ll fit right in here!
SOF T BABY CARR IER
g o a nyw h e r e be c uas e eve ry w her e i s an adve ntur e onyababy.com
babies rock. stains donâ€™t. it takes a baby 3.6 seconds to ruin an outfit. put the gentle smackdown on stains, with natural ingredients and serious attitude!
-Dye Free -Naturally Scented -No fillers -Cleans and deodorizes -No enzymes or optical brighteners -100% Phosphate free -Great for kidâ€™s clothes & cloth diapers -Economical at pennies per load! use the coupon code GreenBaby for 15% off
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
Wrapsody The Bali Breeze is a fairly lightweight wrap, making it one of the coolest, most compact wraps on the market! It offers a great range of carrying positions, and many find it very supportive for older children.
Hitchin’ a Ride
Photography by Moon Ko
Gather seven babies and toddlers for an afternoon photo session and you’re sure to end up with at least a dozen red-faced, tear-stained images, right? Our team was prepared for meltdowns and mayhem, but our day of babywearing was sublime! As Instragram fan @OurMuddyBoots said, “It is SO nice to look at lifestyle pictures that relate to my life...” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. We hope you enjoy this real-life at babywearing. 35
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
This hammock-style sling is easy to adjust, with familiar buckle & strap security at the back - making it a one-size fits all design!
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
Solly Baby Wrap This wrap is made out of lightweight knit micro-bamboo viscose, making it breathable and less bulky than traditional knit wraps. We love these wraps for littles ones up to about 20 lbs. 37
Moby Wraps are truly a crowd favorite. They feature soft yet durable cotton knit fabric and come in a wide variety of colors and designs. 38
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
We love this award-winning soft structure carrier made from 100% Oeko-Tex certified Organic cotton. Another fan favorite, Ergobaby carriers are one of the most comfortable carriers that we have worn - even with a three year old on our back!
Babywearing isnâ€™t just for trips and outtings - though they make those simple too. Carriers make day-today chores much easier, too! 40
Photograph by Courtney Fisk
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
These sized carriers offer similar function to traditional knit wraps, but without the bulk of extra fabric or the task of wrapping.
Perfect for parents with an active lifestyle, the Kelty offers fantastic structure and security in a lightweight, comfortable frame. 42
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
Kelty Journey 2.0
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
Onyababy The OnyaBaby Outback features an air-mesh lining that wicks away moisture, making it ideal for hiking the trails, hitting the town or just getting a bit done around the house. This soft-structure carrier is lightweight and extremely comfortable for both baby & wearer! Also featured are the Onyababy Chewie Teething Pads - made from 100% certified organic cotton.
Sucking Pads Red Charlotte offers a great selection of “Sucking Pads” for little ones to chew on - instead of the straps of your carrier! They fit a large majority of baby carriers on the market to day (up to 4” wide straps) and offer custom sets if needed. 44
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
The Boba 3G is a great soft-structure carrier than can be used with newborns, without an infant insert and beyond - up to 45lbs! These great carriers are lightweight and offer a great fit. This carrier was a favorite at the photo shoot!
Photography by Moon Ko Photography
Sakura Bloom The Pure baby sling is made with the finest Irish linens. It is naturally antibacterial and cool to wear - making it great for a variety of conditions. These beautiful slings are ideal for newborns and toddlers up to age 3. 45
What’s In Season
Pumpkins Not just for jack-o-lanterns! Pumpkins are an often overlooked quash, but they are surprisingly tasty and easy to prepare! I
Pumpkin Puree How-To Purchase a nice “pie” pumpkin, and head to the kitchen. Wash the exterior of the pumpkin in cool or warm water, no soap is required, but you may give it a spritz of vinegar to ease your mind. Remove the stringy insides of the pumpkin and set them aside to compost. Be sure to save the seeds!
If you plan to use your pumpkin as a jacko-lantern, scoop out the “meat” next but be sure to leave enough for the pumpkin to retain and hold its shape. Steam the “meat” on your stovetop for 15 minutes (or until soft), remove the skin and mash. If you don’t plan to use the pumpkin for that purpose, cut the pumpkin in half and place both halves flat side down on a cookie sheet. Covering the sheet with foil will help, but is not required. Bake at 350° F for 90 minutes. Let your pumpkin halves cool enough to handle and then scoop out the flesh, then mash! Voila! Homemade pumpkin purée! 47
Photography by Brandon Blinkenberg
Autumn is here! Your local farmer’s market is brimming with colors and flavors... just waiting to bring a whole new level of savory dishes to your family’s kitchen!
What’s In Season
Ingredients: • 2 Cups Greek Vanilla Yogurt • 1/2 Cup Pumpkin Puree • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg • 1/8 tsp ground ginger • 1/8 tsp ground cloves • Granola or Ginger Snaps Directions: Mix the spices (or use 1 1/2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice). Whip up 1 3/4 cups Greek vanilla yogurt with a pinch of the spice mixture. Mix pumpkin puree with 1/4 cup of the Greek vanilla yogurt and the remaining spice mixture. Layer the puree and yogurt as desired and top with your favorite granola, or crushed ginger snaps. 48
Pumpkin Risotto Ingredients: • 2 cups Pumpkin (cooked & diced) • 2 cups Homemade Pumpkin Puree • 2 cups Rice • 5 cups Vegetable Broth • 1 Onion (chopped) • 1 tsp Minced Garlic • 1/2 tsp Basil • 1/2 tsp Pepper • 1/4 tsp Salt • 1/4 cup Parmesan (grated) • 2 tbs Olive Oil
Directions: In an oven safe dish, combine puree, broth, rice, spices, garlic and onion. Cover and bake at 400* F for 30 minutes, or until rice is tender. Remove from the oven, taste & season as needed. Stir in the olive oil, diced pumpkin (be sure to set some aside if you’d like to use it as garnish!) and enjoy!
Conscious Kitchen The autumn season is upon us and we don’t know about you, but we are ready to cozy up in our favorite sweaters and sip on something that will warm our souls. This issue’s conscious kitchen focuses on you, the adult, the parent - the person. We’ve teamed up with Numi Teas and hope that you will enjoy these delicious, nature inspired drinks and cocktails!
Pear Honeybush |by James Labe
• 1 Numi Honeybush Tea Bag • 2 oz. Bourbon • 4 oz. Fresh Pear Juice Infuse tea bag in bourbon for thirty minutes, then remove bag, squeezing out excess. Pour ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into glass. Serve with a cherry.
Carrot Bloody Maria
|by Elsie Larson
• Fresh Carrot Juice • Organic Bloody Mary Mix • 2 ounces Numi Carrot Curry Savory Tea-infused tequila** • Worcestershire Sauce • Tabasco Sauce • Lime • Fresh Organic Veggies (for garnish) • Black Pepper In a tall glass, add ice & tequila. Fill the rest of the glass with half bloody mary mix and half carrot juice. Add a few splashes of Worcestershire 52
sauce, Tabasco sauce and the juice of half a lime. Mix with a spoon, sprinkle a little black pepper on the top and garnish with celery and fresh veggies. ** To infuse liquor with tea, fill a glass with liquor in the amount needed for your recipe. One tea bag is enough for up to 8 ounces of liquor. Seal your container with an airtight lid and store it in a dark area. Allow it to infuse for 48-72 hours before removing the tea bag.
Orange Spiced Cider
|by James Labe
• 1 Numi Orange Spice Tea Bag • 8 oz. Apple Cider • 2 oz. dark rum Heat Cider until very hot. Steep 1 Tea Bag directly in Cider for 5 minutes, covered. Uncover, add Rum and stir. Garnish with Cinnamon Stick. 53
The premier voice in natural parenting is back, lending her respected wisdom to a new generation of parents.
Amity: Sometimes we get so caught up in life’s hectic pace, we don’t even miss the quiet. Then late at night, when everyone is sleeping, the mind is calm enough to remember how precious the sound of silence is. Last month, when our team saw the video of Peggy O’Mara, former publisher and editor of Mothering Magazine, announcing her new website, we instantly recognized what (or whom) had been so glaringly absent from the natural parenting conversation. In the comments, Felina RakowskiGallagher said it best, “That voice, that wonderful voice…the one that explains everything in chewable portions (leaving room for us to ponder). Did we miss you? An understatement.” Peggy took a break to regroup after her transition from Mothering. But the back to basics parenting movement she birthed was never far from her heart. Thankfully, she’s back. And we’re honored to share this next chapter of her life with you.
You shared a quote in A Quiet Place several years ago by Goethe that has stayed with me, “Trust yourself. Then you will know how to live.” Is that still advice you follow?
Peggy: Yes, I have it right behind me on my
bookshelf. I find it often and say, “Good, yes, I just need to trust myself. I forgot.”
Trusting yourself was probably integral when it came to the choices you had to make with Mothering. Can you share with our readers how the transition came about?
Peggy: Certainly, I know people are
interested. As you may know, I bought the magazine from Adeline Cranson in 1980. I figured it out as I went along. I never had investors. The magazine grew (on cash flow) so dramatically in the beginning… from a circulation of 3000 to one of 100,000 in print and 750,000 online. When the financial crisis hit in 2009, we felt the effects of the recession in a dramatic way. Previously, in tough times, we experienced a dip in advertising, but this time we also had a drop in gift subscriptions, which made up 40% of our subscriptions. At the same time, the print industry was in decline. It was basically a perfect storm. I met with
Peggy & Grandaughter, Violet Marie 55
Peggy O’Mara an attorney, and it was clear we were on the verge of bankruptcy. So I knew I had to stop accumulating this printing debt. While the print magazine was accumulating debt, our website community had grown to one of the top 2,000 on the web. You mentioned that quote about trusting yourself, and that’s what I tuned in to do. I had this vision of how we were all on this boat that was taking on water, and I had to get everyone to the buoy. Could I get the buoy big enough and get everyone there in time? The buoy was the website, but it just didn’t happen fast enough. We had good revenue there, but not enough to address the print debt and keep the business going. There was no way I could walk away from those people who had believed in me for so long and had extended credit to me. So in July 2011, I sold the Mothering website to pay off the print magazine debt. I had a two-year employment contract with the new owners of mothering.com that ended last November.
As a longtime reader, I remember feeling sad and a little lost for a while without Mothering. If the transition was this hard on your readers, what was it like for you?
Peggy: It was hard, laying off my friends and the staff I’d worked with for years. Closing our office, moments like that. Few people knew the whole story, so I felt disappeared from Mothering, but some people still thought I was printing the magazine. It was crazy to have been Mothering always, and then not to be Mothering.
First it was like, “Oh, I have a vacation.” Then I just started trying new things… working
with organic farmers, starting businesses and casting them off. I think I was playing--just like a child. They pick up this, play with that, and think, “How does this feel to me?”
“I really tried to let the “do what you love” principle guide me.” From that I realized I really wanted to do what I’ve always been doing. I really like being out there in the conversation: writing and now blogging, and sharing new ideas – and in our case, old ideas, with people. I decided a website would be the vehicle for what I wanted to share. I didn’t have a staff anymore, so it was a new phase of learning to do things on my own. So I watched a video on You Tube called “How to Build a Wordpress Website.” (laughs) When I figured things out, I was ecstatic, because I was learning something new. So I would follow that energy. The website gave me back my confidence after losing so much.
Amity: It’s one of the many ways you’re
so relatable. It’s a little like birth, or breastfeeding, or parenting. We have an idea of how things are supposed to go… and they don’t! Your story is a beautiful example of adjusting your sails.
I believe trusting yourself is the way to adjust your sails. I think we have a challenge of imagination right now. Our challenge is to imagine what a better future would look like. I think we’ve got the vision for the new world as the old world is just falling apart around us.
Interview with GCM Amity:
When a young mom is just trying to get through the day, how can she go about imagining a better future?
Well, you put your energy toward those ideas or things you value. One of the things you could envision is a family center in all communities. A place where people could take classes, check out books, and find a community of like-minded parents. Every community could have a postpartum support network. In Santa Fe, we have Many Mothers (http://www.manymothers.org/), where volunteers will come into your home and help you with cooking, cleaning, or just hold the baby while you take a shower. Whatever raises mothers up or helps them get off to a good start, these are the types of things we can dream up and then put into action.
Amity: On your new site, you plan to focus on natural families, conscious living, and social justice. What else can we expect?
Peggy: I’m always going to focus on raising healthy children – physically and emotionally. To me that meant seeing my children as my emotional equals. I started out spanking. I didn’t want to, I just didn’t know what else to do. We learn what was modeled to us, and our children do the same.
I learned how to speak from my feelings. When I walked into the messy living room, instead of attacking them, “Look at this place! What’s wrong with you?” I can talk about how it feels overwhelming and my kids are going to come forward to help.
Peggy’s children (left to right): Bram, Finnie with his daughter, Violet, Lally, Nora with her daughter, Samantha. I never wanted to put myself out there as the perfect parent. Who does that help if we make ourselves that precious? It’s not the truth. Even now as the parent of adult children and grandchildren, I look back and think maybe I could have done things differently. We all do the best we can, and then we share with others what worked for us. When we parent consciously and compassionately, we’ll see that in our kids. Another topic you’ll always hear from me about is breastfeeding. I’ve always thought breastfeeding was the way in to parenting. Obviously as the best food for babies, but I found it’s what teaches you to be a mother. By following the lead of my baby who wanted to nurse so often, I learned more about the legitimate needs of human infants, more about the rhythms, and self-regulation. And I really think we should be shouting at the top of our lungs about climate change. It needs to be not only a national conversation, but also 57
Peggy O’Mara a world conversation. There are a lot of solutions from all over the world I’d like to share, so we can create a sound future for our children by addressing this issue in our lifetime. I know social change takes a long time. I’ve been talking about these issues for more than 30 years. I’ve seen the Cesarean rate go down and come back up again. I’ve seen the same for breastfeeding and the VBAC rate. That’s the nature of cycles; they have to be continually brought up until they become part of the fabric of our country. When I was a new parent, only 20 percent of moms were breastfeeding. We’ve made huge progress. But then we come to the next level of becoming a breastfeeding society. What does that mean? That means that maybe a mom on a plane nursing a 1-year old and gets kicked off. Not because she’s breastfeeding, but because it’s new for people to see. That’s still getting incorporated into society. So I try to have patience as an older person who’s done this for a long time knowing that social change takes a long time.
Yes, that it’s cyclical. And that’s the beauty of the perspective you’ve gained from all those years of experience – talking to people, teaching, and encouraging. You’ve seen it all.
Peggy: Yeah, I have.
And sometimes that’s discouraging like, “Why are we still fighting this battle? But I get excited about issues and want to educate but also inspire people to feel good about themselves, because we can do more when our self-esteem is strong.
The natural living and parenting community has grown so strong, and I think it’s the future. However, with all the resources today, it can be overwhelming. There are so many voices of authority, parents can think, “Whose voice do I trust?” I hope that by bringing my voice back into the conversation, I have a history and a predictability that people can rely on and know they’re going to find something good here. Just as you said, Amity, all those years reading Mothering, you felt that someone you trusted had vetted the information and the products. So I want that to be the way people think about the content on my site. That someone has curated the value of it.
Your voice has been noticeably missing from the birth and breastfeeding conversation. There are certain pioneers in these movements, and when they’re out of the picture, it leaves quite a void. One of our readers just said her biggest challenge is sorting out and finding conclusive information that doesn’t come from “whack jobs.” How do you know where to put your trust, Peggy?
Peggy: Everyone’s well intentioned.
One of the reasons I wanted to get back into the conversation is because I have so much history on these issues; I’ve been able to synthesize my point of view and opinion down to a really concise message. On issues like GMO’s, I can ask the right questions and make sure we’re focusing on the right issues. Because so many of these things are political in ways that we don’t even realize. We think, “Why would breastfeeding
Interview with GCM be political?” But it is. It ties into women’s issues and equality.
Amity: Another great point.
It’s that feeling of when you’re young, you think you know everything. Then as we get into motherhood we start to doubt everything we knew. And we don’t even know how to ask the right questions. I often say, “I’d love to be as sure of myself as I was at 22!”
Peggy: (laughs) I know.
I read this quote that said, “In the beginning, a tree is a tree. In the middle, a tree is not a tree. And at the end, a tree is a tree.” That’s how it is for me now… a tree is a tree. But in the middle, I was like, “Wait a minute, I don’t know what that tree is!”That’s the virtue of age. As you get older, you’ll see you really start to accept yourself.
That’s a lovely truth. So if a mother wants to be a “naptime activist” when it comes to social justice or these issues, how should she go about it?
First, you appreciate where you are. Bringing consciousness to parenting is enough. It is a huge job. Bringing consciousness is revolutionary in itself, and that will raise a child who is a free thinker, who is not going to be duped by authority, and who will be able to contribute to a more positive future. Right there, that is plenty. But then you’re ruminating in your mind, because you’re a mom and something’s always incubating. Could you write a letter to the editor of your local paper? I started out doing
that. You see something important to you in your community, and you speak up about it. I’ve often thought it would be important for some of us whose children are older to consider running for public office. I have a friend in California who’s running for the sanitation board in her county. She feels that’s a way she can affect change.
I know moms who would be excellent at that. When I tell them, they say, “That’s something you should do.” And I think, “There’s no way I’m getting involved in the mess of politics!”
Peggy: Yeah, no way!
But more women in our government is exactly what we need. So there’s a point at which our children might be the age where it feels right to do that. You have to start with something small. It’s not really small, because everything ripples out. When we focus on change as a process, we learn how to be gentle with ourselves. I used to think, if I thought of something, I should do it. But that’s not how it works. You think of it. It ruminates for a while--sometimes it ruminates for a long time. And then action comes from that. I’ve been surprised as an older person how many things that I thought, “this isn’t going to happen” and then it happened. It just took longer than I thought. I trust it though. I trust the timing.
Because when you trust yourself, then you will know how to live.
Peggy: Yes, I think we’ve just come full circle.
Thank you Peggy!
Rain or Shine!
Students learning in nature all day, every day!
|by Linda McGurk
Fall usually means more time spent inside, but there’s no reason to let a little inclement weather stop your children from playing outdoors. Just look at the “Rain or Shine” preschools in Scandinavia, where toddlers spend the majority of the day outside all year round, playing in creeks, digging in dirt and chasing each other around the woods. Places where they hone their motor skills by balancing on logs and jumping on rocks, and bond with nature by getting their hands on bugs and plants on a daily basis. In Scandinavia, these preschools have been around 60
for over 50 years and are a popular choice among health-conscious parents. “The kids here are happy, fit, strong and full of energy,” says Anna Mållberg, teacher at the Rain or Shine preschool Kråkan in Borås, Sweden. “We’ve never had to explain to a parent why the kids are outside, everybody understands that it’s good for them – the fresh air, the big space. The youngest ones have fantastic motor skills, they learn early to get across rocks and logs. And there are fewer conflicts and infections, because
the kids are not on top of each other all the time. There’s also less noise. We see a lot of advantages about being outside.” At Kråkan, which translates to “The Crow,” the children range in age from 1 to 5 years for fulltime preschool and 6 to 9 years for the afterschool program. During the warm season, the children and staff go outside after breakfast and stay out until the last child is picked up, at 5 pm. In the wintertime, they generally spend two and a half hours outside in the morning and another two and a half hours in the afternoon. The children are allowed plenty of free play and become fully immersed in their surroundings. Today, the youngest of the group, Elliott, who is just shy of his second birthday, fearlessly scales some tall moss-clad boulders, while three other preschoolers race pine cones and sticks down a repurposed water spout, and four blond boys play in the creek that meanders through the property. “I found a frog!” yells Billy, 4, beaming with excitement. “Does anybody want to hold it? Come on, it’s not dangerous!” “In the woods they don’t need any toys,” Mållberg says. “There are so many things for them to do and they come up with so many games. They’ll find a stick and make it into something; the big rock becomes a slide and so forth. Sometimes we come out and just enjoy the present moment; we’ll lie down in the moss and talk to the kids. In the winter it’s especially neat to lie down on your back and look up at the sky. If we’re lucky, we see snowflakes.” Part of the Rain or Shine philosophy states that the children’s interests should guide the activities – if they want to stop and watch the ants scurry around on the ground, that could lead to a conversation about life on the forest floor or, in this case, if they find a frog, that becomes the focus
Activities for Autumn! Choose a spot where natural materials (leaves, pine cones, seed pods, berries, etc) are abundant and let the children collect the items for their craft! Fall Chandelier • Two rings of varying size (for example 10 and 15 inches in diameter), made out of either branches or wire • String, thin metal wire, sewing thread • Needles • Pliers • Containers for collection of items Tie four pieces of string to the small ring and tie all of them together at the top. Use four more strings to attach the larger ring approximately 10 inches underneath the small ring and hang them on a tree branch. Ask the children to collect natural materials to decorate the chandelier, for example by threading berries and seed pods on wire and wrap it around the rings. Let their imagination run wild! Nature “Paintings” • Cardboard, cut to appropriate size • Liquid glue • Paint brushes • Pens • Containers for collection of items Apply a generous amount of glue to the cardboard and let the children arrange their finds however they want. No painting will look like alike, and there is no right or wrong. Courtesy of the Swedish Association for the Promotion of Outdoor Life
Rain or Shine! of the adults’ attention. Sometimes, they’ll look at different mosses and talk about what they’re called, how they feel and what happens when they become dry. “We experiment a lot,” Mållberg says. “If we don’t have the answers when the kids ask, we find out. We’re not experts but we want to learn.” As popular as the Rain or Shine preschools are in Scandinavia and other European countries like Germany and the UK, they’re still few and far between in North America. Though Waldorf schools in the US are based on outdoor learning and reconnecting children with nature, only a handful of them take the concept as far as the Rain or Shine preschools of Scandinavia. In Canada, Ontario’s first licensed outdoor preschool opened this summer. But even if you don’t have the option to send your child to a Rain or Shine preschool, there are plenty of good reasons to gear up for some serious nature time. “We’ve found that children at Rain or Shine preschools have significantly fewer sick days and better motor skills, and they’re fitter and more attentive than children at traditional preschools,” says Patrik Grahn, a landscape architect and biologist at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) who conducted one of the first groundbreaking studies on the Rain or Shine pedagogy. In nature, children’s interactions also tend to become more imaginative and allow for elaborate role-playing games. “Play in itself has a therapeutical effect on children,” says environmental psychologist Fredrika Mårtensson at SLU. “And they play differently outside. The games are more open and flexible, and it’s easier for them to organize the situation in a way that’s beneficial to them physically, socially and psychologically.” 62
Anecdotal evidence of the benefits of abounds as well, both from teachers and parents. “I think it’s really good for them to be outside in the fresh air, where there are fewer germs, and they can run off some energy,” says Malin Utter, whose 3-year-old Anton and 6-year-old Elin are enrolled at Kråkan. “I can tell the difference on the days when they’ve been home and haven’t been outside as much; they go crazy. They need to stay active.” Back at Kråkan, the children line up to grab lunch outside, and bask in the midday sun that’s breaking through the clouds. By Scandinavian standards it’s a nice day, but come fall and winter the children will have to start layering their clothes to stay warm and dry in a place that’s roughly on the same latitude as the Gulf of Alaska. “The cold, wet season is the hardest part of the year but we adjust our schedule accordingly,” Mållberg says. “If the kids are soaked we have to go inside but if everybody is dry and happy we eat outside. In the winter we change clothes a few times a day and periodically our two drying cabinets run around the clock. But regardless of the weather, you can always be outside for a while!”
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|by Kara S. Anderson 64
Photography by Tochichi
Loss of a Pet
It was a rainy Friday morning when our son woke us. He had found his cat curled up at the end of his bed, and she wasn’t doing well. We rushed to the veterinarian’s office, where we learned that she had suffered a stroke and had only few hours to live. Suddenly faced with many decisions, we felt an overwhelming need as attached parents to comfort our children in their time of loss. It isn’t a topic we want to think about or plan for, but especially for families experiencing a pet death for the first time, there’s a lot to consider. Below, experts offer suggestions for helping kids cope and for honoring the special relationship between children and their pets.
What does death look like? “Many people tell me they feel more deeply about losing a pet than a person in their lives,” says Margo Mitchell Hunt, a veterinarian and mom of three boys practicing in Austin, Texas. But when children are allowed to experience death first-hand, it can remove some of the fear. It can be surprising for parents, but depending on a child’s age and personality, she may want to pet a dog after he dies, or help dig a hole for burial. Rev. Rebecca Ninke, of Madison, Wis., is a mom of two kids and five pets who got her start as a Lutheran minister presiding over backyard pet funerals. She advised parents to let kids “see, feel and handle death if they want to … obviously no child should be forced, but open the opportunity to let the child decide.”
When a pet is euthanized If the decision is made to euthanize, Hunt al-
ways lets parents lead the conversation with their own families. She said her experience as a mother has taught her that parents know their children better than anyone. Where she assists moms and dads is in explaining how the process will work because it can be unfamiliar. Most clinics will allow families to say good-bye in a treatment room or do whatever it takes to help kids feel most secure. Hunt said parents shouldn’t be afraid to ask for what their family needs. “It’s your moment,” she explains.
Last words Knowing that an animal’s death is imminent can be emotional and overwhelming. Kids wondering what to say might like this thought from my sister, another animal-lover and mama who supported our family the night our cat died at home, “I don’t like good-byes,” she said simply. “I might say instead, ‘Tell her anything that you want her to know.’”
“Bodies hold what’s inside us” The choice to bury a pet or have her cremated is more than just a question of logistics. Our veterinarian says burial seems to be easiest for young kids to comprehend. Sometimes backyard burial isn’t an option. Ninke once explained cremation to her son by “talking about our mulch pile and how things go back to the earth. Cremation speeds up the process a bit.” It may also help children if they are allowed to cremate a memento – a photo, a drawing, or even a blanket or toy -- along with their pet. 65
Loss of a Pet
“Remind kids that our bodies hold the things that are inside us,” Ninke said. “Where might pets go when our earthly bodies are tired and need a rest? I think it’s good to let kids ponder it.”
Holding a memorial service Although many families want to hold a memorial service to say goodbye, Ninke points out that most religions come up short on the topic of animal souls. The famous “Rainbow Bridge” poem talks about a place where animals go to wait for their humans. Once the pair is reunited, they cross a bridge together to a peaceful afterlife. But Ninke said constructing pet eulogies doesn’t have to be complicated. “For little kids, it can be as simple as asking, ‘What was your favorite part about Scuffy?’” she said. Simple ceremonies can also include songs, funny stories or favorite memories. Kids often like hearing the story of how the pet became part of the family.
The Grieving Process Ninke and Hunt have both seen it – a child who cries one moment and plays the next. Children may experience several emotions as they process their pet’s death, including guilt over a small infraction, like once pulling a dog’s tail. Ninke’s rule is to “let kids guide their own grief,” she said. “Invite conversation, but never force, and realize that it might come in waves.”
Hunt recommends the books Cat Heaven and Dog Heaven for children who are looking for answers to “what happens next.”
Parents might question whether they should let their own grief show, but Hunt said it’s important to let kids see your sadness so they know it’s OK to be sad too.
Remembering When a pet dies, it can be comforting to kids to keep their memory close. A few suggestions include: • Planting flowers near their grave or in another special spot • Designing a grave marker or painting rocks • Making photo collages • Capturing a paw print with paint or in clay. (Hunt has one from a beloved cat that she turned into a Christmas tree ornament.) • Creating a shrine with the pet’s collar, some photos, and a special toy. Kids might also like the experience of cuddling with a blanket or toy for a while. • Donations can be made in the pet’s name to a shelter or therapy dog association “I have had people clip locks of hair, take pictures … I’ve seen people cry, wail, sing, pray, chant and even laugh,” Hunt said. “There’s no right or wrong way to say goodbye to a friend.”
Beginning again As the days passed after our cat died, my children’s mourning seemed to shift. “Mom, it’s like a stale grief now,” my son said one day. “You forget about it, but then you remember and it’s there, and you still have to deal with it.” Eventually, though, many families decide to bring another animal into their hearts.
Ninke agrees. Although losing a pet can be difficult for a child, welcoming new love into your home can teach many valuable lessons about the circle of life. “We are born, we grow and thrive, and then we return to earth as nourishment for the next generation,” Ninke said. “Personally, I think pets are a glimpse into what humans try to emulate when it comes to unconditional love. “
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A “proper” amount of time is different for every family, but Hunt said when it feels right, it always is.
Butterfly Garden Printed photo of a butterfly placed on a chopstick. Pipe cleaner hair wreath! 68
e l p Sim
Photography by Alana Beall
T he Shining Sun Old hat box lid painted gold and orange. Add golden ribbon to create a headband & hold it in place.
Rain Cloud DIY or non-toxic painted rain drops on cheeks. Clear umbrella with tulle held in by fishing line.
Loch Moss Monster DIY or non-toxic green face paints or makeup. Ferns, moss and other greens complete this simple look!
Spooky Tree A feathered necklace added to a black dress or outfit. A headband with vinewrapped stick & ravens. 73
Child of Nature Pipe cleaners, leaves, flowers and hot glue create this wreath headpiece & necklace. Artichoke wand.
Butterfly Garden Printed photo of a butterfly placed on a chopstick. Pipe cleaner hair wreath!
Raising Resilient Kids Of all the qualities parents desire for their kids, resilience is often one of the highest on the list. Resilience is our ability to cope with futility. It’s about all those moments in life—large and small, major and minor—they don’t go quite the way we’d like them to. Being resilient means being able to handle things going wrong and having the ability to find creative solutions to problems. It means bouncing back from emotional hurts or coping with failure. In short, being resilient is about surviving life’s adversities. How does this sense of recovery and emotional strength develop? What can parents do to help kids learn to handle failure and futility? Fortunately, childhood is filled with opportunities for children to develop resilience. Kids encounter challenges every day that bring up inevitable feelings of frustration, anger, sadness, or fear. Things such as: • • • • • • • •
Trying to make something work that doesn’t Not feeling smart enough Not being perfect Failing Wanting to hold on to a good experience Not being able to have mom or dad all to themselves Wishing to go back in time (wanting to change something they’ve done) Trying to defy the laws of nature (making magic work) Losing at games or contests Wanting to “send back” a sibling
• Not being able to know what will happen in the future • Not being big enough/ tall enough/ strong enough for their own satisfaction • Being excluded (among peers or siblings) • Not being able to control outcomes or another’s decisions or choices • Not being able to have their own way all the time It is in these kinds of situations that we tend to want to protect our children. We are inclined to offer rationalization, justification, and protection from life’s futilities. “What do you mean you don’t like your picture? It’s beautiful!” “You’re really good at this game; we’ll play again and maybe this time you’ll win!” “Oh, you don’t want to play with those kids anyway, not if they’re not going to invite you.” Our instinct is to protect our kids, but in our eagerness to do so, it’s also easy to overprotect. We tend to want to shield our kids from all of life’s difficulties. After all, we just want them to be happy. The thing is, a little unhappiness is the very thing that’s needed when it comes to a child’s development of resilience. The more we try to protect children in difficult situations, the more we send the message we’re afraid they’re unable to handle them. But they can. And they will, if they’re given both opportunity and support.
Here are four steps it takes to help children develop resilience:
|by Kelly Bartlett 77
Raising Resilient Kids
1. Allow kids to get the point of futility. They must experience adversity, frustration, and mistakes such as those in the examples listed above. There is no way for children to learn how to recover from life’s un-pleasantries if they are never in unpleasant situations. So when it happens, resist the inclination to remove hardship and soothe away your child’s unhappy feelings. Let the events unfold as they will, and allow your child to experience a difficult situation. 2. Let kids express their feelings through tears. Whether they’re due to frustration, anger or sadness, tears are a healthy and necessary step to move towards resiliency. Tears are the manifestation of feelings and allow the brain to process the emotional component of a problem. Once the emotions are expressed, children are then able to access the areas of the brain that process logic, reasoning and self-control— those necessary for recovery. They are able to develop a “work-around” and adapt to the futility of the situation. 3. Acknowledge and accept those feelings. Provide a safe environment for kids to express their feelings by allowing tears, empathizing, and supporting them through their difficult emotions. Come alongside children with a comforting hug or words of understanding to let them know that their feelings are normal and they’re not going to be shushed, punished, or shamed for them. Let the emotions flow and know that they are helping your child’s brain discover its adaptive process. 4. Offer encouragement. Help kids through their hardships with acknowledge78
ment of their strengths and capabilities. Let them know you trust in their ability to survive. Help them find success after failure. After the tears have subsided, encouraging words validate kids’ experiences and help them find their own way to move forward. “I have faith that you’ll figure this out.” “What are your ideas?” “Is there a solution that will meet everyone’s needs?” “Trust yourself; I do.”
Here are a few other things you can do in a regular basis to create a safe, supportive environment and encourage a child’s development of resiliency:
–– Have one-on-one time each day (with a young child), or each week (with an older one). Allow the child to decide the activity, and to take the lead in the topics of conversation. Your focus is on listening and getting to know your child just a little bit better. This creates the connection you need for encouraging him to express his feelings. –– Substitute punishment and consequences with problem solving. The unpleasantness of a punishment may work in the short-term, but it is much more effective to teach kids how to own their mistakes and fix them. Instead of approaching misbehavior with the thought of, “What can I do to you so that you’ll learn a lesson?” approach it with the perspective of, “How can we solve this problem?” This teaches kids that mistakes are fixable and aren’t anything to be feared. –– Tell kids, “It’s OK to cry.” Don’t rescue them from their feelings, but acknowledge all feelings as real and acceptable. They more they are allowed to feel their feelings
when they are young, the more capable they will be of understanding and managing them when they are grown. –– Switch from time-outs to timeins. A time-out is sending a child away to an isolated area to deal with his feelings alone. A time-in, or positive timeout (http://www.greenchildmagazine. com/making-time-outs-positive/), is a connective moment spent with a child to help him calm down and learn how to regulate his emotions. This helps a child feel better so he can do better. –– Provide opportunities for autonomy and responsibility. Give kids control over as many areas of their lives as possible. From choosing their own clothes to fixing their own food to deciding how to spend their allowance; let them make their own choices—and the mistakes that come with them. Recovering from mistakes is where resilience comes from, but kids need to have those opportunities in the first place. As developmental psychologist Dr. Gordon Neufeld says, “We are changed by that which we cannot change.” When we encounter futility, we adapt. This begins in childhood as kids are exposed to life’s frustrations and are given an environment in which they are free to make mistakes, express their feelings and learn. Most of all, it is our connected, accepting relationship with our children that will help them grow strong.
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By Megan McCoy Dellecese
World Animal Day
Make it a Family Affair!
With World Animal Day on October 4th, itâ€™s a great opportunity to open your familyâ€™s eyes to ways they can get involved in animal welfare causes. Lifelong learners and activists generally start out as active participants in causes that matter to them.
The key to a meaningful hands-on experience with animals is to make it positive. Scaring chil-
dren with images of animal abuse (the ones that even most adults have a hard time viewing) only breeds sadness, anxiety, and anger. By keeping it positive you can create a life-long love, respect, and compassion for animals. There are a number of great animal welfare organizations worthy of your familyâ€™s time. They advocate for the proper treatment of pets, farm
animals and livestock, as well as those animals bred for entertainment or scientific/educational purposes. There are also animal rights groups which are against the use of animals by humans for any reason, so if you’re dedicated to teaching your children about larger issues such as animal liberation, veganism or fur and leather opposition, research groups like PETA or the Animal Liberation Front. Consider what your family’s needs and concerns are; it’s important to find out where your child’s sentiments reside. Some groups focus on one particular animal and its plight, while others deal with farm animals, and so forth. Your son or daughter may already be thinking about how the animals that end up on your table are treated before they get there, or how pets deserve nothing but kindness from humans. Kids pick up on so much from the news, their friends and classmates, teachers, and the world around them, they may already be fully aware of (and bothered by) an animal issue. If not, do some research together and find out what touches their heart. Here are just a few organizations to start you on your journey:
The Humane Society of the United States -
We all know about the Humane Society; it’s the largest animal protection group in the country. Yes, they care for animals through sanctuaries and wildlife rehabilitation centers, but they do more than just that. They also advocate for
better laws to protect animals from harm, conduct campaigns to reform industries, provide animal rescue and emergency response services, and investigate cases of animal cruelty. You can find out more about their resources for parents and educators on their website, where there are also specific links for kids and teens. They even provide a subscription for purchase, Kind News, a magazine for K-6th grade aged children. American Sanctuaries Association - Look-
ing to hook up with an animal sanctuary in your area? The American Sanctuaries Association not only provides an extensive list of sanctuaries across the United States, but holds those sanctuaries to a variety of very strict standards while actively working to find placement for homeless, abandoned, seized and abused exotic animals, non-releasable native wild animals, farmed animals and companion animals. They often work closely with local, state, regional and national agencies and wildlife departments in this way. Browse their list of accredited sanctuaries here, or find out more about how you and your family can help. HEART (Humane Education Advocates Reaching Teachers) - After your own house-
hold, where can your little one reach more people about animal welfare issues? Their own classroom and school! Learning how to advocate for animals will strengthen her communication skills and confidence while raising awareness for animals in the process. This group focuses on human rights and environmental ethics as well as animal protection, but does a great job of showing teachers, administrators and students about the importance of awareness. Their website provides wonderful resources and articles for kids in pre-K through high school raising animal issues for kids to consider [like Is a Classroom Pet For You? (The 85
World Animal Day
Make it a Family Affair!
pros and cons of keeping a classroom pet) and Learning Without Killing (a website to help students win a campaign against dissection) and Froguts (which provides an incredibly life-like, NSTA-approved option to dissection)]. Talk about utilizing knowledge to help breed advocates! (No pun intended; breeding is not an advocate’s friend.) Of course, it’s always smart to consider your own local organizations, as well. Find out if your humane society is truly “humane” in its treatment of its pets (meaning no-kill and providing proper nourishment, exercise, and love) and start volunteering there. Or see if there are more specific rescue groups, such as racehorse, cat, greyhound, or exotic bird sanctuaries that could benefit from having a helping hand or two. Sometimes groups aren’t in need of volunteers (or, for insurance purposes, are unable to accept
younger volunteers) for the day-to-day operations as much as they’re in need of new ideas. Perhaps your child can brainstorm some fundraising options, like a walk/run, tag sale, lemonade stand, or dance party to benefit the animals and raise awareness. This also gives them insight into the bureaucratic side of how even a nonprofit organization is run, and how it often takes breaking through red tape, dealing with a board or committee, and plenty of patience in order to do the right thing and help what’s most important--the animals. Regardless of the direction or organization that your child and family end up choosing, the greatest benefit will be the communication, awareness, and compassion that you’ll be able to share while opening your family’s eyes to the needs of animals throughout your own region, the country, and the world.
“Enchanted Fall Forest”
This time of year, children are busy studying for tests, doing homework and extracurricular activities. We want to make sure that they also take the time to relieve stress and enjoy quiet moments within. In this meditation, let’s use our imaginations to explore an enchanted forest to alleviate worries and stress. Gently close your eyes and take in a nice deep breath. Do this several times and allow your body to relax more and more with each deep breath. Notice how peaceful you become with this deep breathing. Notice how all your muscles begin to relax and feel good and loose.
with Mellisa Dormoy of Shambala Kids
It’s so calming and looks as if wet sunshine is cascading down onto large rocks. The sound of rushing water relaxes you. The water must be pretty cold because its fall now and days are growing shorter. Soon there may even be snow. Sit down a while and enjoy the spectacular scenery. Listen as the water pounds down on the rocks. Here any stress or worries you have seem to be washed away for good. The sound of the waterfall gushing down seems to make you relax more. It clears your mind and washes away any frustration and difficult thoughts. Allow the sounds to wash any worries away… just let them go.
You may notice that you’re feeling calm and relaxed here in this place. This magical forest dressed up for fall is a special place just for you. Imagine yourself now, walking down a well-worn You can come back here at any time to calm path in a beautiful forest. The trees have changed your body and mind and let go of any worries or stress. You know that everyone has worries and all their foliage and now you see an amazing display of colors – gold, red, orange and speckles stress sometimes. The difference is that you know of green. Leaves crunch beneath your feet as you how to deal with them. When you want to relax and find peace, you can come here just by thinkwalk along. The air smells so crisp and fresh. Its ing of this place and imagining yourself here. coolness tickles your nose and ears. It feels so very wonderful to be out here, in nature, enjoying This calm, peaceful place by the waterfall invites you to wash away your worries or stress anytime. the beauty of this place. Continue to breathe normally now as I guide you on this marvellous adventure!
In the distance you hear a waterfall, and you carefully walk towards the rushing water sound. As you come to the path’s end, you see the rushing stream. You see the most beautiful white waterfall right in front of you.
You feel so good and refreshed now. You can feel renewed fresh energy entering your body and refreshing you completely. You’ve done a terrific job today. Now, you can just drift off into wonderful, deep sleep for beautiful dreams and a very peaceful night. Goodnight and sweet dreams.
For more meditations and guided relaxation audios, visit Shambala Kids online.
Green Mama Guilt
Of An Eco-Sinner |by Christine Escobar
While I get by perfectly fine without them, when my mother comes to visit, she’ll often bring me a roll or two as a kind gesture to help ease my responsibility of cleaning up after my family of four. While I don’t use paper towels for every job, they’re put to use at our busiest times. Even though my family and I reside in a small 2 bedroom apt, just returned to driving (a small Honda Fit) after 3 car-free years, drink filtered tap water, shop thrift, buy organic food, grow our own vegetables in the summer, recycle, and bring our own bags to the grocery, I still feel the dreaded shame whenever I reach for a roll of paper towels and kid myself into trying to mop up a spill with a single sheet. It must be all that green guilt: the problem no one wants to talk about, but most everyone who tries to live green has faced.
Take, for example, my friends. They own nice little flocks of chickens, use rags for all messes, don’t drive, breastfeed, eat mostly vegetarian, cloth diaper, bake their own bread, make their own soymilk and nut butters and yet, they still feel terrible that they can’t do more for the environment. When those friends and I get together, our conversations invariably sound like this:
“So, I was thinking of buying some of that organic grass fed beef that everyone keeps talking about, but I keep wondering, if it comes from a farm in Indiana and has to travel all the way here to Illinois, wouldn’t it be better for the environment if we just ate less meat, or bought it down at the farmer’s market when the farmer is already in town in the summer, instead of having it individually delivered by a truck that’s going to spew more pollution making that extra trip to deliver it to us?”
Image by Alicia Solario
“Hello, my name is Christine and I use paper towels.”
or this: “I really want to cloth diaper, but I’m concerned about the amount of water I have to use to flush the diaper contents first before maybe having to put them in a pail to soak, not to mention the amount of water used to wash them. But if I go with a service that washes their diapers in bulk, how can I be sure their method conserves more water and who knows what chemicals they may be using to get them clean, so maybe I should just go with those biodegradable disposables, but then they have to be flushed too and who’s to know how long they take to actually biodegrade and is that in a commercial composting operation or home compost pile?” It’s enough to drive anyone insane. But, it wasn’t always that way. When I started living more naturally after the birth of my eldest 13 years ago, I felt confident I was doing better for his health and development. Soon I realized the benefits to our budget and better yet, to our local community and environment with less waste and pollution emitted. However small our share of conservation was, it had to add up in some way, especially combined with the efforts of others. So how did things change so quickly over the years? How did I and so many other ordinary people trying to do their fair share get so positively neurotic about living green? If this was supposed to be an empowering way, then how could using a paper towel once every blue moon cause such undeniable remorse?
Maybe We’re Just Spoiled Rotten Jen Pleasants, a mom of three living in San Francisco, is author of Bag Green Guilt, a guide to dealing with eco-anxiety. Pleasants says she
could have stopped having kids at one child, since “there are already enough people on the planet”, but her husband didn’t share her worries. “He convinced me that through our guidance our children would help make the world a better place, so I gave in,” she explains. Pleasants writes that Americans can be downright “spoiled” with all the choices we have of what type of water to drink, (bottled, tap or filtered), and how in poorer nations, the reality is finding any clean drinking water at all. I asked Pleasants if our green guilt stems from the myriad choices we wade through daily. “That can be overwhelming and a source of stress especially when choosing between conventional products and eco products,” she says. “I feel bad when I go the traditional route either because of price or convenience, when I know in my heart that was not the right choice by the earth.”
When Is Green Guilt a Really Good Thing? “Shawna Coronado is a green lifestyle expert living in Warrenville, IL and the author of the book Gardening Nude: a health plan based on stripping away excuses about getting outdoors and enjoying nature. She believes harboring some guilt is good for us psychologically and can be a great motivator, if it’s the right kind. “Everyone has some sort of guilt,” she explains.” Some people have the guilt but don’t tap into it, some people use it to do better and do more with their lives. I want that green guilt, so I can use my common sense.” 89
Green Mama Guilt Coronado says we can reduce the ill effects of green guilt by not holding ourselves up to an impossible standard. “There is no way in modern day society that you can be 100 percent green,” she says. She remembers vividly her recent struggle to wean herself off paper towels. It took four months to accomplish the goal and grow accustomed to using cloth rags. “I know that sounds so simple, but for me, it was a big deal,” Coronado recalls. “We went out and got a bunch of wash rags and we fold them in half and leave them stacked in the kitchen. I used paper towels for everything. I started this practice a little bit everyday, initially it was torture, I didn’t like it, I didn’t feel that it was sanitary. That was my first battle, that it was sanitary. It was easier to throw them away than deal with it in a responsible way. Well it is easier to throw it away, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t work involved somewhere.” Could the reason we have such difficulty adjusting to a simpler way of life be biological? Coronado theorizes that we may have tendencies from our ancestors that helped us survive harsh climates. “I think instinctually people are hoarders,” she says. “The reason we put on more weight is an instinctual thing. Scientists say we are trying to fatten ourselves up for the winter, trying to gather up things to help us survive. Humanity is prone to hoard, because we are saving up for that rainy day, because we think we will need it.” “Cultural imprinting” may be needed to break the cycle of hoarding and affluenza: endless dissatisfaction falsely remedied with increased spending creating greater debt and anxiety. 90
“We can break that habit.” Coronado explains. “If you look at [life during] World War I and World War II, our grandparents learned to live with less. They reused. Everything from a coffee can to a nail was saved. If we can get more and more people on our cultural bandwagon, then that’s awesome ...that’s a brilliant idea.”
So We’re Not Really Deprived, But We Might be Unskilled Derek Markham pens NaturalPapa.com and spends much of his day online writing for a number of blogs and tweeting to his over 14,000 Twitter followers about sustainable living and natural family life from his town of Silver City, New Mexico. He lived for 6 years with his family of four in a 120 square foot trailer on a friend’s property with nothing more than a long extension cord providing power. He still admits to feeling cynical and guilty about the kind of impact his choices have made toward helping the environment. His worst moments came when he would opine on a topic close to his heart believing he could make a difference. Hoping for a large response, the effort sometimes wouldn’t amount to much. “Maybe 200 people will read it,” he says, “You’re competing against funny cat pictures.” Markham tries to offset his eco-sins, like the “huge Suburban from the 80’s” he rarely drives, by structuring his life simply and has learned to look at his sparer way in a positive light, instead of how some critics may view it: deficient. “It’s not what’s the problem I’m helping to alleviate, but instead what’s the solution that I’m being a part of,” he says of his rationale.
Green Mama Guilt He believes we’ve lost our personal connections to one another and nature. We purchase things to fill that void when really we’re looking for something that requires much more thought. “We’re a cop-out culture, I don’t say that in a mean way, but we’re an instant culture,” he explains. Markham has taken to baking his own bread, which he learned from a community group that emphasized reskilling (re-learning skills like canning, knitting, and baking among other activities commonplace during our grandparents’ years.) Markham believes this type of education can be incredibly fulfilling, rebuilding personal connections and motivating us to live greener. “Some people would approach it from a personal sense of accomplishment in knowing how to do things,” he says. “You know how to do that and can impress all your friends. Yearning for old fashioned handmade touches compels us, Markham says. “It becomes a story instead of going down to buy something and plugging it in and “we’re done.” It takes you out of that consumerist cycle. It’s humbling to think of.” So perhaps that’s it after all. Begin with small steps, think positively, learn something new, be creative and don’t worry if you don’t save the world at the end of every day...hey, at least it’s a start.
Spices not only add variety, flavor and health benefits to the foods we eat, but they can also do the same for our beauty. Exotic and fragrant in nature, spices are power-packed little antioxidants that can help prevent skin damage and premature signs of aging. These five rich spices, which can easily and inexpensively be incorporated into your beauty routine, and that many of us use to cook, will warm and awaken your senses… as well as your skin.
Cloves not only add a sweet, warm and spicy scent but also have natural antimicrobial, anti-fungal, antiseptic and stimulating properties. They can be used in helping to get rid of breakouts and scars. Clove oil is also great for dental hygiene and can be found in toothpaste and mouthwash.
Cinnamon is one of the more popu-
lar and flavorful spices; it warms the skin and helps to kill bacteria and prevent infections. You can even mix a small amount of cinnamon and honey together to dab on pimples as an at-home blemish treatment. Sensitive skin should be especially careful (or altogether avoid) when applying
Autumn Spices |by Brandie Gilliam
Photography by Amy Fooladi
it directly because cinnamon can be an irritant.
Rosemary is great for a number
of skin types, including sensitive skin due to its powerful anti-inflammatory, regenerative and astringent properties. Look for rosemary in hair care, hand and body washes, cleansers, body scrubs, and hand and body lotions. Rosemary also mixes very well with mint.
Nutmeg adds a delicious taste to the
dishes it enhances as well as a seductive scent. It’s known for decreasing muscle fatigue and aches and increasing blood circulation. A small amount of nutmeg can also be combined with milk or honey for a paste to place on pimples. It’s also a great natural aphrodisiac for the man in your life!
Pepper works wonders in many skin-
care products like body scrubs and massage oils because of its ability to naturally increase blood flow and circulation. Black pepper also has anti-bacterial properties. A small amount can be mixed with yogurt or yogurt and honey to help even out skin tone and act as a gentle exfoliator.
Photography by Amy Fooladi
Ask Hana Haatainen Caye
Hayley writes: I found a gorgeous set of real silver serving pieces and silverware at an estate sale. They need some polishing for sure! Is there a non-toxic way to restore them back to their original condition? GG: Congratulations on your estate sale find, Haley, and good for you for being concerned about the toxins in silver cleaners. Metal polishes are some of the most toxic cleaning solutions found in our homes. The good news is that you can clean your silver without the sulphuric acid and petroleum distillates found in commercial silver polish. Choose a pan large enough to hold your silver pieces and line it with aluminum foil (or use an aluminum pan). Place the silver on the bottom of the pan in a single layer, with as much of the silver touching the aluminum as possible. Dissolve 2-3 tablespoons of salt and 1-2 cups of baking soda in enough boiling water to completely cover the silver. Let it sit for a few hours. A chemical reaction will occur, converting the silver sulfide (tarnish) back into silver. Drain & rinse each piece with hot water. Using a soft cloth dampened with olive oil, gently rub the silver to restore shine & protect from tarnishing. Voila! Not only will your silver be shiny, but you also found a brand new science experiment for your kids to enter into the next science fair! NOTE: If the silver is extremely tarnished or ornate, you might have to repeat the process until the tarnish is gone completely.
Martha Ann writes: With pets and kids, the rugs in our house are looking pretty bad. In the past, we would have called one of the commercial steam cleaners, but as I learn more about chemicals and indoor air quality, I’m wondering if there is a way we can do it greener on our own? Will we have to rent a steam cleaner? GG: I hear you, Martha Ann! There were years when we had four kids and as many as a dozen or so dogs and cats tromping across our carpeting. What a mess! Back then, I wasn’t green-conscious and simply rented steam cleaners from the grocery store. Not anymore. You have a few of options. One, using the carpet attachment, you can clean your rugs with a steam mop. I’ve done this with mine and it has worked beautifully at restoring the color and luster. When it comes to stains, distilled white vinegar saves the day. If you’re using a steam carpet cleaner with a tank for a cleaning solution, simply fill it with undiluted vinegar and follow the instructions on the machine. The vinegar smell dissipates quickly, so no worries about lingering smells! For spot cleaning, add a 50/50 mix of distilled white vinegar and water in a spray bottle, spray on the stains, & blot with a clean white cloth. Repeat, as necessary, until the stain disappears. For stubborn stains, make a paste by combining baking soda and vinegar and work it into the rug with an old toothbrush. Allow to dry and then vacuum. There are also some commercial eco-friendly carpet cleaners on the market, but beware of “green washing.” Always research before purchasing!
Hana Haatainen Caye, is a wife, mother, grandmother, and author of the book Vinegar Fridays, who shares her passion for common sense greener and healthier living.
More you Know
eco: Lead Poisoning
Did you know the CDC regards toxic lead exposure as the “#1 environmental hazard to children in the U.S.”? Many parents are surprised to learn the lead epidemic is far greater than the occasional batch of tainted toys from China. Lead is a known neurotoxin that is a danger to everyone, but young children are especially susceptible to lead poisoning because of the way their bodies absorb and retain lead. Even small amounts of lead can lead to brain and cognitive impairment, impaired bone and muscle development (by inhibiting the bodies ability to absorb key nutrients), digestive issues, anemia and more. Prevention is essential. In an effort to clear up the confusion on this issue, October has been deemed National 96
Lead Poisoning Prevention month. These tips from John Cullen and Anne Dages Nutt, of LockUpLead™ will help keep your children – especially those under age 6 and most vulnerable – safe from the dangers of lead exposure. your child’s blood lead level num1 Know ber with an accurate test. If it is close to the action level of 5, take steps to reduce the lead exposure. If your pediatrician seems complacent, or can’t answer your basic questions, look for one who can.
use safe lead practices when dis2 Always turbing any older paint by following the
3 C’s “Control, Contain, and Clean up all dust and debris”.
in a hope built before 1978, be 3 Ifsureyoutolive use certified renovators for any remodeling or construction work.
unsafe practices, such as paint 4 Ifdustyouthatseeisnâ€™t controlled or contained
with plastic drops and dust suppression, or use of power tools or flame torches for paint removal, call the EPA hotline at (800) 424-LEAD or OSHA at (800) 321-OSHA. Building demolition without proper dust control can poison neighbors within a thousand feet.
to prevent the dust generated by window friction surfaces from entering the home. Donâ€™t use a regular vacuum or dry duster, as this only spreads the invisible toxic lead dust throughout the room.
Photo by Joseph Hart
windowsills and window troughs 5 Clean with a lead dust cleaner on a regular basis
Upcycled Activity Halloween Flying Ghosts
When it comes to Halloween decorations, using what you have is better for both the environment and your bank account. These flying ghosts make an EEK-O-Friendly addition to your family’s haunted house.
|by Jennie Lyon
Materials: • • • • • •
Sheet Scissors Hanger Marker Twine Wire
1. Cut your sheets into squares that are the size that you want your ghosts to be. We made ours large and we were able to get 3 out of a full size sheet.
! O BO
2. Take a piece of wire and punch one end through the top of the sheet (which will be the head), then twist it to make a loop to hang your ghost by.
3. Stuff the head with either leftover sheet pieces, scraps of fabric or even a small ball (we used a ball). 4. Tie underneath the head with twine before twisting it tight, enter the hook for the cloth hanger at the neck, then tie the neck together super tight holding the hanger in place. 5. Have someone hold the ghost by the wire hook while you use your scissors to cut the bottom of the ghost. The more jagged, the spookier it will look. 6. Finally, use a permanent marker to draw a ghost face (if you desire) on the head. 7. Hang on your front porch and scare the neighbor children Halloween night! 98
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Fall is the perfect time to get back to basics with nature-centered activities, green Halloween, kid-friendly seasonal recipes, and a real-l...