Page 1


wise: (adj) informed, aware

app happy

four (free) green apps to help you navigate the aisles


for green living


kitchen cookware Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network

Š The Wise Mom, Holistic Moms Network. Issue 5, June 2011.

thewisemom 4

From the Editor


News & Announcements

10 Holistic Kids 12 Recipes For Green Living 14 Enough Already! 16 Greening Kitchen Cookware 18 Energy Audits 20 App Happy 22 Member Profile 24 Cloth Diapering 30 Green Crafting 32 Top 10 Household Products You Should Do Without 34 Volunteer Profile 36 What Chapters Are Doing Across The Country 38 Worm Composting 42 Green Yore Laundry 44 Green Travel


Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network

thewisemom EDITOR


Aimee Wood

For advertising rates and information about Sponsorship, please e-mail us at or call


us at 877-HOL-MOMS.


The Wise Mom is published four times per year and is

Nancy Massotto

distributed electronically to members of the Holistic Moms Network. For information about membership, please visit

The Wise Mom is a quarterly publication of the Holistic

us at

Moms Network (HMN), a national 501(c)(3) non-profit organization for parents interested in holistic health and


green living. The Wise Mom is the voice of the members

Interested in writing for The Wise Mom? We look for a

of the Holistic Moms Network as well as an informative

variety of submissions, from personal stories and

publication offering views, perspectives, and wisdom from

experiences from members to informative research articles

our parents, wellness practitioners, and experts in the

based upon our issue theme each quarter. Want to share

broad field of holistic living and parenting.

your photos with us? By submitting a photo to The Wise Mom, you agree that you have the right to distribute the

The information provided in The Wise Mom is not intended

image and maintain that all people depicted agree to have

to replace professional advice from a qualified healthcare

their image published.

professional and is not intended as medical advice. The articles and information presented in these pages

Email for details on

is intended as a sharing of knowledge, information, and

submitting articles or photos for an upcoming issue.

experiences. We encourage all of our readers to become informed about the many healthcare and parenting

Š The Wise Mom, Holistic Moms Network. Issue 2, August 2010.

decisions they may face and to make the choice that works best for their unique family. The Wise Mom is a publication of the Holistic Moms Network and supports the mission and purpose of our non-profit organization.

Nancy Massotto Executive Director

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network


editorsnote Dear Members, Summer is finally here! What whacky weather many of us have had this past winter and spring. Record snowfalls, long months of bitter weather, droughts, floods, and devastating tornadoes. May this sign from mother nature give us pause. What is she trying to tell us? To slow down? Change the pace of life? Make different decisions in our everyday life? May this issue inspire you to change something that perhaps you haven’t thought of or had time to yet. I know that as holistic mamas we are already doing things to make the world a better place for the next generation, but I challenge you to make ONE MORE CHANGE this summer! Will you join me? What will it be? Cloth diapering? Gardening? Composting? Getting rid of those Teflon pans? A low impact vacation? These are just some ideas you will glimpse at in this next issue. Holistic mamas are a powerful force, think of the great benefit we can make to Mother Earth by picking up just one new Eco-friendly habit! My wish is that this issue inspires you. Share with us on our Facebook page the change that you are making: As always, comments and feedback can be sent to I wish you a blissful summer, Aimee K. Wood, Editor

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network


news&announcements Exciting New HMN Sponsors! The Holistic Moms Network is excited to announce three new Sponsors this quarter who embrace the mission and vision of our community and who support raising awareness for holistic health an d green living! We welcome our new Sponsors: Floradix, People Towels, and The Willow Store into our organization! See the Online Member Savings Book for all of these great discounts and offers from our new sponsors! The Willow Store started out with WillowPads, organic reusable feminine care, and a mission - to deliver the highest quality feminine products with full corporate stewardship of the environment. Their goal? To offer solutions, not just products. The Willow Store has since grown to include a variety of natural and organic product lines for you and your family! Sprout Change offers reversible, one-size cloth diapers, WillowSprouts brings you organic nursing pads and organic wipes, and Everyday Willow helps you find items for natural living. HMN Members get free shipping on all Willow products. The use of disposable paper towels has a huge impact on the environment by


Iron deficiency is the leading cause of fatigue in women

contributing to deforesta-

in North America and during pregnancy a woman’s

tion, water pollution and

iron requirement doubles. Embraced by women for

global warming. More

over 60 years, Floradix Liquid Iron is a safe, low-dose

than 20,000 gallons of water

supplement clinically proven to prevent and treat iron

are polluted and 24 trees are consumed to make one ton of paper

deficiency. Recommended by both naturopaths and

towels - all for a single use and thrown away. Every day, over

midwives due to its natural ingredients and its non-

3,000 tons of paper towel waste is produced in the U.S., alone.

constipating formula, Floradix Liquid Iron is non-

The average person uses 2,400 - 3,000 paper towels outside the

GMO, and free of sugar, artificial sweeteners, colorings,

home each year. PeopleTowels offers an on-the-go alternative

alcohol, preservatives, additives, and pesticides.

to paper towels – perfect for parents and kids. These reusable

Considered safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding, and

personal hand towels are made from 100% organic, Fair Trade cotton,

suitable for vegans and vegetarians, Floradix is the

and the eco-chic designs are printed with earth friendly dyes.

liquid iron of choice. HMN Members can save $4.00

Reduce waste and pollution by adopting the newest eco-habit to

off Floradix using the coupon in our Online Member

help the planet – B.Y.O.Towel! Save 20% off People Towels as a

Savings Book!

Holistic Moms Member! Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

Early Registration for NLC This year’s Natural Living Conference is going to be hot, hot, HOT! And not just because it is being held in Long Beach, California but because we have amazing speakers, workshops, exhibitors, and more than a few surprises for attendees! Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truth About Our Food, and actress Mayim Bialik, who is currently writing a book about natural parenting, will be our Keynote Speakers. Exciting workshops will address non-toxic living, food and mood, vaccination choice, and cultivating happiness. There will be amazing exhibitors and an attendee goody bag packed with samples, coupons, and more! Early Registration ends July 1st! Reserve your spot today and save!

New Chapters Forming! Get connected to a local HMN community! Check out our new Chapters in Blue Earth County, MN

Sioux Falls, SD

Burleigh-Morton Area, ND

Southern Alberta

Chicago North Shore, IL

Southern Oklahoma

Loudoun County, VA

Southside VA

Madison, WI

Twin Cities, MN

NE Cincinnatic, OH

Western Suffolk County, NY

This year, the Holistic Moms Network is celebrating Holistic Living Month for the entire month of October! Kicking off with our annual Natural Living Conference, we are going to be honoring natural living all month long with special events and activities and a nationwide Open House at all of our HMN Chapters! Stay tuned for details and news of our upcoming celebration! Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network



Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network


Holistic Kids Korner What it means to ‘live green’ as a kid” by Andrew W. age 7 Portland, ME

Being a holistic kid is about nurturing the world and caring about the world. The world is part of you so if the world dies, then you die. The world is like paradise, no matter where you go, you’re surrounded by Earth. Being a holistic kid means taking care of the environment.

I’M A GREEN KID Grow a garden

Really believe in yourself and the world around you Even if you don’t think you can make a difference

Even picking up one piece of garbage helps change the world Never throw trash around, don’t pollute!

Keep planting plants - the more you plant, the more food you have! If you want to take care of yourself, take care of the world Do helpful things for our planet!


Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network


recipes for green living Recipes courtesy of Organic Valley

Strawberry Rhubarb Cobbler Genuine and amiable, fruit cobbler is the good guy of desserts. This one has a spring/early summer focus, but you can vary the fruits through the growing season--try blueberries, blackberries, peaches, etc.--or use frozen fruits (partially thawed) in the colder months. Leftovers-should there be any--can turn a hurried breakfast into a homespun meal. But then again, who said cobbler had to start out as a dessert? If you’re an early riser, why not just go ahead and make one for the morning meal? Fruit filling: 1 pound fresh or partially thawed chopped rhubarb 3 cups fresh or partially thawed strawberries 3/4-1 cup sugar 2-3 tablespoons flour (use the smaller amount if fruit is fresh) 1 tablespoon grated orange zest Topping: 1 1/4 cups flour 2 tablespoons sugar 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/4 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 5 tablespoons cold Organic Valley Butter, cut up


1/2 cup Organic Valley Sour Cream 3 tablespoons Organic Valley Milk or Organic Valley Unsweetened Soy Milk 1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Place the fruit filling ingredients in a bowl and toss the mixture occasionally while you make the topping. 2. For the topping: Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a second bowl. Cut in butter until bits are size of sunflower seeds. Whisk sour cream and milk in small bowl. Stir this into the flour mixture just until combined. 3. Turn dough onto floured surface; knead gently 4-6 times. Roll into a round that is 1/2-inch thick. Cut the dough into smaller rounds with a biscuit cutter. Gather scraps, reform the dough and cut again, for 8-9 rounds total. 3. Spread fruit filling in a 9-inch square or similarly sized baking dish. Top with biscuit rounds. Bake until biscuits are browned and fruit is bubbly, 40-50 minutes. Cool to warm or room temperature. Serve with vanilla ice cream for dessert or “just plain” for breakfast or brunch. Copyright by Terese Allen

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

Raspberry Smoothies There’s just three ingredients in this voluptuously delicious “health” drink—proof that the simplest things are often the best. 1 pint fresh raspberries (or 1 package (8 oz) frozen raspberries) 2 tablespoons honey 32 ounces Organic Valley Live Organic Lowfat Berry Yogurt 1. Puree raspberries in a food processor or blender, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer into a bowl. Use the back of a spoon to press out every bit of the bright red liquid; discard seeds. Whisk in honey until dissolved. 2. Add berry yogurt and stir until combined. Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to serve.

Copyright by Terese Allen

Linguine with Spinach, Arugula and Lemon Parmesan Cream A side dish (or main course) that features locally grown greens and Organic Valley dairy. 2 cups Organic Valley Half & Half grated zest of 2 medium lemons 1⁄2 cup Organic Valley Shredded Parmesan 12 ounces fresh linguine 2 tablespoons Organic Valley Butter 1⁄4 cup finely chopped shallots 6 cups fresh spinach leaves, cut into thick strips 2 cups coarsely chopped arugula salt and pepper to taste 1. Combine half & half and lemon zest in a saucepan. Heat over medium-high flame until the cream has reduced to Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

about 1 1/2 cups. Turn off heat. Whisk in the Parmesan a little at a time. Keep sauce warm. 2. While sauce is reducing, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add linguine and cook until barely tender. 3. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet over medium flame. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes. Raise heat to medium-high and add spinach and arugula. Cook briefly, stirring often, until wilted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 4. When linguine is done, drain it then toss it with the sauce and greens. Serve pronto. Copyright by Terese Allen


Enough Already!

by Wendy Priesnitz


Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network

As the world moves slowly out of the Great Recession, I would

As parents, we can live the green values we want our children

like to invite you to join me in creating the Era of Enough. Rather

to learn. But although learning to want and have less stuff is

than reverting back to our old unsustainable consumerist ways,

a great start on the Era of Enough, it’s not enough. Reducing

I’d like us to move from saying, “I can’t afford that right now,”

our consumption should be accompanied by engagement in

to “Thanks, but I’ve already got enough stuff and I wouldn’t

civil society, whether in the cause of reversing the damage

enjoy having any more and, besides, it’s better for the environment

created by our earlier excesses, fixing our democracies, or any

this way.” Then we will have reached the state that British author

of the other important changes that need to be made. So as

John Naish calls “enoughism” in his book Enough: Breaking

we say, “Enough, already!” in regards to personal consump-

Free from the World of More.

tion, we may also be ready to admit that we have had enough of other kinds of excesses by corporations, financial institu-

So how do we strengthen those “enoughism” muscles – and,

tions, politicians, and the like. After we get our own con-

more importantly, develop those of our children? The earlier

sumption habits in control, we can begin to take back control

we start involving our children in eco-tasks and activities, the

from these self-serving entities.

more they accept them as part of everyday life. As we learn the difficult lesson that excess is never good for Babies don’t need much – love from their parents and their

individuals, families, communities, countries, or the planet,

mothers’ breasts. A few other things might be helpful, like

we will evolve an instinct that says, “Enough.” Enough stuff.

a sling and some cloth diapers, but we can say, “Enough!”

Enough debt. Enough anger with greedy corporations that

right from the first murmur of a baby shower.

destroy our communities and the planet. Enough frustration with self-serving politicians who can’t see beyond the next

Our children can be given hand-made toys and won’t miss

election to put policies in place that protect our families, our

the excess packaging that comes with so much store-bought

environment, our food supply, our health, our jobs, and our

stuff. Or the packaging can be the toy because kids love card-


board boxes! As we avoid buying plastic and branded goods, we can request that friends and family do the same when

Once we’ve said, “Enough,” there is much work to be done.

choosing gifts.

We need to model the alternatives, create the mechanisms for mainstreaming those models, and work together in our com-

Clothes can be home sewn, bought at thrift shops, or passed

munities to create lasting change from the ground up. Won’t

on from friends. Even toddlers can help with sorting recycled

you join me in the creation of the Era of Enough?

materials and be introduced to gardening. Cycling, walking, and using public transit are all adventures for children and

Wendy Priesnitz is the co-founder and edi-

they won’t miss car rides if they don’t become used to them.

tor of Natural Life and Life Learning magazines; the author of ten books on green

As children grow older, finding the balance between what our

living, natural parenting, and unschooling;

kids want and what they need can be difficult. Avoiding com-

and the mother of two adult daughters.

mercial television means that children see fewer advertise-

Her website is

ments designed to make them want things they don’t need.

Wendy is a member of HMN’s Advisory Board and Natural Life

Instead, children’s videos and DVDs can be found at second-

magazine is a HMN media sponsor.

hand shops,, and your local library. Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network


greening your by Alexandra Zissu


This is an excerpt from Alexandra’s book, The Conscious Kitchen

When it comes to a conscious kitchen, less is always more. Transitioning your kitchen from not-so-green to greener might actually be about taking some items out of rotation rather than buying much new...If you’re downsizing, an eco-friendly way to get rid of your (nontoxic) castoffs is to offer them to friends or donate them. One caveat: Don’t do this with nonstick items; these should just be thrown away... 16

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network


Enamel-Coated Cast Iron Put one of these pricey pots on your...wish list now, or ask

All cooking materials have pros and cons – how well they

family members for hand-me-downs. Enamel is a fused hard

work, how long they last, how the environment was affected,

coating of fine glass particles. Enamel-coated cast iron has

and how they impact human health. Some are arguably

all of the energy benefits of cast iron, plus a more slippery

better across the board...The best tried-and-true cookware

(but not completely nonstick) and totally nonreactive

materials are:

cooking surface. The dutch ovens are perfect for soups,

• Cast iron

stews, and sauces, and are ideal for one-pot meals. I use

• Stainless steel

mine so frequently that it lives on the stovetop; there’s no

• Enamel-coated cast iron...

point in putting it away. Treat these pots and pans well and according to the manufacturer’s instructions so the enamel

Cast Iron

won’t wear down, scratch, or chip, and they’ll last forever.

Cast iron has been used for cooking for thousands of years. Before you spend twenty dollars on a new cast-iron pan, look

ALEXANDRA ZISSU is an eco lifestyle

to see if you happen on a well-worn find... they seem to lurk

expert, writer, speaker, and consultant.

everywhere. An aged pan is great because the surface of cast

She’s the author of The Conscious

iron becomes more nonstick over time. Rust spots can be

Kitchen (Clarkson Potter, March

cleaned and reseasoned... Bonus: Once heated, they retain

2010)—a Books for a Better Life Awards

heat so well that you can turn down your stove and use less

finalist—and co-author of Planet Home

energy to finish cooking. They also transition beautifully

(Clarkson Potter, December 2010), The

from stovetop to oven and even to broiler. Two caveats: You

Complete Organic Pregnancy (Collins,

must use fat so your food won’t stick to cast iron; also, while

September 2006), and The Butcher’s

you can cook acidic food in cast iron, a pan that isn’t well

Guide to Well-Raised Meat (Clarkson Potter, May 2011). She has

seasoned may react with the acid in the food and impart a

worked for New York Magazine, T: The New York Times Style

subtle metallic taste to the dish.

Magazine, Lifetime and Details magazines, The New York Observer and Women’s Wear Daily.

Stainless Steel Cast iron is heavy. This makes it a tough choice for cooking something you want to be able to pick up and swirl, like a sauce. For this kind of freedom in a safe cooking material, opt for stainless steel. Look through your pots and pans; you

Over the past decade, her stories have also appeared in The New York Times, The Green Guide, Plenty, Cookie,, Bon Appétit, Health, Vogue, Teen Vogue, Self, Child, Time Out New York, Harper’s Bazaar and The Huffington Post, among other publications.

might already have some. If shopping for new, avoid stainless-steel pots and pans constructed with cores or exteriors

She speaks often about all things eco-friendly at private firms,

made with other metals, like aluminum. If you can’t locate

mothers’ groups, schools, non-profits, and industry expos, and

such an item, make sure the interior of the pan... is only

consults about green living for individuals and organizations.

stainless steel...

Though she should probably be on a biodynamic farm in Vermont, or growing dill in Finland, she actually lives in New York City, across the street from where she grew up, with her (organic) family.

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network


why do an energy audit?

By Laura Stukel

Five Reasons an Energy Audit is Better than the Dentist, and Three Ways to Get Started Admit it, you know where your home lacks energy efficiency. “I always need a sweater in the TV room.” Or, “The baby’s room gets so hot in the summer.” You schedule a trip to the dentist twice a year to keep things on track in your mouth. Why not schedule once for an energy audit? Here are five reasons why an energy audit is better than the dentist: 18

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

1. You can start with the big picture. An energy auditor looks at your house as a system. The auditor will give you in-

So here are three painless ways to get started:

formation that will serve as a home improvement plan. You’ll know which projects will save you the most money fastest so

First, check out this great video from the friendly crew at

you can pick exactly where you want to begin.

GreenHomes America. They explain exactly what to expect during an energy audit, and the elements that you should

2. You hate when you know you are being “sold” on some-

absolutely insist upon in an audit.

thing. Without an energy audit your option is to guess at the problem and hope you called in the right contractor. Guess

what? When you ask the window guy why the TV room gets


so cold, he’s going to tell you it’s the window. And if you ask the heating guy, I’m pretty sure he’s going to sell you on

Once you know what goes into a good audit, you can find

a new furnace. Stop guessing. Stop listening to sales pitches

an auditor for your area. There are two national groups that

for individual products. Instead, with the results of an energy

certify energy auditors: Residential Energy Services Network

audit in hand you’ll be equipped to call just the right con-

(RESNET) and Building Performance Institute (BPI). At

tractor, and tell them what you need so you get just the right

the very basic, RESNET certifies energy raters. BPI certifies

quote at just the right price.

contractors that may do audits, installations or both. Check their directories for professionals in your area:

3. Many energy audits pay for themselves. An audit will point out free and low-cost actions you can take to make


your home more comfortable and save money. For example, one of my clients learned they had never learned to lock the


windows properly. They saved money just by fully closing the


windows each winter and summer! Lastly, your local utility company may have resources on low4. The right guidance can help you save more money. In

cost rating resources or incentives to get started. Details vary

addition to planning the work the right way, as mentioned

by utility, so call your local office for information.

in point #2, auditors are familiar with rebate and incentive programs in your area that might help with project costs.

And just like the dentist, stop putting it off and schedule this check-up for your house! It’s not going to be as bad as you

5. It’s pretty darn cool! An energy audit uses technology


tools to pinpoint where your home is leaking energy. In my home, my 2 and 4-year-olds raced through the home as the blower-door test was running (it’s essentially a giant fan that

Laura is a Chicago-area EcoBroker and Energy Consultant; see

pulls air out of your house and a computer that monitors

her site This article is a reprint from Practically

how much). We literally felt the drafts under the bedroom


doors and it made us all more in touch with how our home works to keep us cozy, and the role we all play in saving energy. Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network



happy four (free) green apps to help you navigate the aisles By Lindsey Blomberg

What we buy has an impact. Whether we’re shopping for food, clothes or a cup of coffee, if we made our purchases based on which items were made using the least amount of pollutants and contributed to the least amount of waste, the environment (and our health) reaps the benefits. But reading labels isn’t enough when so many products, from cosmetics to cleaners, mask their toxic ingredients with clever marketing. Smart phone apps can help you determine which companies care about health and sustainability and deserve your hard-earned dollars. GoodGuide GoodGuide is powered by scientists, nutritionists, environmental lifecycle analysts and toxicologists, and it has been widely featured as a “must have” green app for good reason. Using your phone’s camera, you can scan the barcode of whatever item you plan to purchase, and through a database covering everything from apparel to household cleaners to appliances, 20

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

GoodGuide will rank the product based on Health, Environment

Shoppers can clearly see what manufacturers don’t want

and Social Responsibility. Through the ranking, you can

them to notice, such as excessive sugar and sodium, tricky

discover details like whether the product contains carcinogens or

trans fats, high fructose corn syrup, controversial food colorings,

produces toxic waste and whether the company that makes it

as well as additives and preservatives. The app also offers

has a safe working environment. As founder Dara O’Rourke

recommendations for healthier alternatives. Hemi Weingarten,

says, “Our hope is that when enough people use this information,

CEO of Fooducate, says there’s a definite connection be-

we’ll not only make the marketplace a more transparent place,

tween the environment

but we’ll also get companies to produce better products.”

and healthy eating. “Once

shoppers see all the chemicals, they opt for the


healthier options the app

With the livestock industry producing more greenhouse gas

offers,” she says, “usu-

emissions than cars, going vegetarian is a great choice for the

ally much less processed

environment. But animal products and byproducts are found

products. These tend to

in more than just the meat aisle. Products like skin cream

be products that are more

can contain proteins from cow’s neck ligaments, for example,

eco-friendly as well.”

listed simply as “elastin.” That’s where the Animal-Free app

comes in. It’s a full-featured reference guide for those who want to avoid any animal ingredients that may be lurking

Find Green

in items they purchase, even those claiming to be “green”

If you’re traveling and

or “all-natural.” While you’re looking at the ingredients on

want to find an organic

a label, find and match them with the ingredients listed in

coffee shop or restau-

this app’s comprehensive library and discover whether it’s

rant—or you forgot to bring a pair of hiking boots and need

animal-free, sometimes animal-derived, or always animal-

an outdoor gear shop—Find Green, a GPS-enabled app

derived. If the product does contain animal-derived ingredi-

available in the Android Market, can point you in the right

ents, Animal-Free will list an alternative animal-free product.

direction. Scroll through categories that include over 100,000

Animal Free App.

listings of everything from Food and Dining to Bicycle Shops to Recycling Centers. Once you select the type of green establishment you’re looking for, decide whether you need it


to be within walking, biking or driving distance. Find Green

The Fooducate app is designed for anyone who wants a better

will then pull up a map with directions to get you there, as

handle on ingredients, nutrition labels, marketing hype and

well as a detailed description of the business. After you arrive,

health claims—and it’s currently only available for iPhones,

you can rank the relative “greenness” of your experience, and

though the company is working on a Droid-capable version.

even write a review for future patrons.

Scan barcodes in the supermarket aisles and they’ll be matched to a list of more than 200,000 unique food products.

LINDSEY BLOMBERG is an editorial intern at E. This article first appeared in the May/June 2011 issue of E – The Environmental

Fooducate assigns each product a letter grade along with brief


explanations and warnings about its nutrients and ingredients. Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network


June 2011


Jennifer Dengler

Denver, CO chapter

would love to be a biking family, but that has not worked for our only means of transportation. We are not any different than other families trying their best to live a green lifestyle. We only have one world to enjoy and need to do our best to keep this land health for future generations. Tell us a little about yourself: I moved to Colorado with my husband, Rolf, when I was 6 months pregnant. We moved to our new home all alone, no friends and no family in the area. I researched some groups in the area that were focused on moms and raising healthy, happy kids. The Holistic Mom Network showed up in the groups I was searching and I called Peggy the leader and she offered me to meet some of the moms and kids in the park. All the moms were so kind and open to learning new approaches to parenting. I felt so welcome and able to express my views on parenting and knew I had a group of like-mined women I could rely on for advice. As far as our holistic interests, we try to live organically and to the earth. We cloth diaper, nurse, co-sleep, love nature, and are open to learning new ideas. We just try to keep it simple. How do you live a green & eco-friendly life? To live green, we first start with food and we try our best to buy only local and organically grown foods. We also try to minimize our trash and we are conscientious of our waste. As mentioned previously we cloth diaper and try to make choices about fair trade, organic clothing. Beyond this we have other ways we try to be green aware. Our biggest angst

Tell us about the adventure you’ll be taking and why: When Rolf and I met we made a pact that no matter what we would not lose our sense of adventure, love of travel, passion for other cultures, and focus on nature and healthy living. We try daily to minimize our impact on nature, eat sustainable foods, and enjoy the world. We intend for our expedition to be a continuation of our current lifestyle, but allow us to simplify and enjoy more time in America’s wilderness. This year-long trip isn’t a ‘vacation’ – it is a way of increasing and strengthening the simplicity in our lives, being a model for other families who want to spend more time outside, who want to learn how to simplify, who need a little motivation and inspiration to get out, and who want some tips from others who have been there. We will rely on the land and people we meet along the way to sustain us spiritually, mentally, and nutritionally. This expedition will be filled with happiness, love, and compassion, but also with hardships that we are sure to encounter during a year on the road. These trying times will strengthen our family bond, build our character, teach us important lessons, test our strength and will, and show us the value of positive thinking.

is not having a “green” vehicle option on the market. We

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

How we picked the route: To begin the route we first decided what was important for us to see and do and we knew we wanted to explore all 50 states. The top of the list was making sure we get to see friends and family that we have not been able to see for years due to finances, time, or logistics. Next was making sure to hit all the major wilderness areas in the US and reconnecting with nature. Another component we wanted to incorporate in the route was the ability to see many of the men who impacted the life of Dieter Dengler. If you are unaware of Dieter’s story you can learn more at http:// html. It was important for us to be able to thank these men, hear their stories, and record the history for Tayden who will never know his grandfather in the physical sense. This expedition is multifaceted. It is less about us and more about those we care about, the things we are passionate about, and being able to assist others. We are dedicated to raising $10,000 for each of our charities, both of which were created by two men who are absolutely passionate about teaching youth about the outdoors. We are so moved by these charities and have formed a great relationship with the founders. We encourage you to visit their sites and learn more. Furthermore, we are here to bring awareness to our partners and sponsors who are also very concerned about the future health and well-being of our youth and nature. Please take some time to visit their sites and support these phenomenal organizations who are unselfish in their mission and busting their tails to make an impact for the youth of today and for future generations. Some may question why this matters, if you are one of them I would suggest reading Last Child in the Woods, to see what a true impact nature has on child development and how child effect nature. If you are questioning why we need nature, I would suggest meeting us on the trail! In the end, we will conserve only what we love, we love only what we understand, and we will understand what we are taught. ~ Baba Dioum, 1968 Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network




By Caitlin Serotkin

“You use CLOTH diapers? Really?” I get that question quite often.

diaper. No stuffing inserts, pinning or folding. These are a great

Both of my children have worn cloth diapers instead of disposables,

choice for childcare providers not familiar with cloth diapering.

and I’m here to tell you it’s not only easy, it’s fun! Every family has different reasons for using cloth, including environmental concerns, health concerns for baby, cost savings and style.

Prefold Diapers Prefolds are the type of cloth diapers your parents used on you; cotton layers sewn together in an easy to fold rectangle. Instead

Today’s cloth diapering industry has produced a dazzling array

of fussy diaper pins, we now have Snappi fasteners. Snappis are

of choices for parents. Long gone are the days of folding, pin-

three-pronged rubber fasteners that quickly and easily holds the

ning, and rubber pants. Long gone are the days of bleach and

prefold on the baby, making prefold diapering easy and painless.

dunking diapers in the toilet. There is a cloth diaper to work

You put a waterproof cover over a prefold, just as you would over

for every baby and every parent’s preferences. Most diapers and

a fitted diaper.

covers come in adjustable “one size” options, so you can use the same diaper from infancy to toddlerhood, never having to buy bigger sizes. Consider your cloth diapers an investment. Each individual diaper will keep approximately 600-1200 disposables out of the landfill per child. You will save hundreds--and possibly thousands-- of dollars using cloth. Using the most economical type of cloth diapers you could spend as little as $200-$250 to diaper your child, whereas using disposable diapers, you’d spend around $2000-$3000. The cost savings and environmental benefits are even greater when the same diapers are used for more than one child. With all the benefits of cloth diapering, and all the choices available, there is no reason not to try cloth! Pocket Diapers These diapers have a waterproof outside and a soft inside. Inside the pocket, between the outer fabric and the inner fabric, you place an insert for absorption. They go on your baby just like a disposable and are fastened with either snaps or velcro. They are a great choice because you can increase the absorption simply by adding extra inserts if needed. . Fitted Diapers These diapers are entirely made of an absorbable material. They snap or velcro just as you would with a pocket diaper or disposable diaper, but you put on a waterproof cover over the fitted. Covers are generally made of either PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric) or wool. All in One Diapers The name is self explanatory; these diapers are waterproof on the outside, with all layers of absorbable material sewn into the Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

Natural Fiber Diapering If using entirely natural fibers is important to your family, or if your baby is one of the few sensitive to synthetic diapers, there are great choices for diapering with natural fibers! The thriftiest choice is cotton prefolds with a wool or PUL cover. Wool is breathable, soft, and waterproof when lanolized properly. You can also use natural fiber fitteds (bamboo or cotton) with a cover. There are several pocket diapers and all in one diapers that have only natural or organic inners touching baby’s skin. These are my favorite choices for ease of use while also having a natural fiber against the skin. Work at Home Mom diapers (WAHM) In addition to the larger brands, there are countless work at home moms making diapers, covers and wool. Many work at home mom diapers have become favorites for the cute fabric prints they use, as well as the satisfaction of knowing your money supports a fellow mother! So, go check out your local cloth diaper store, or one of the many online retailers and try out some cloth for your baby! Caitlin Serotkin is a mother of two little ones, ages 3 years and 9 months. They keep her busy and on her toes! She is also an employee at Abby’s Lane and co-leader of the Woodbridge, VA chapter of the Holistic Moms Network. She had cloth diapered both of her children, and is also passionate about homebirth, breastfeeding, and eating well! In her life before children she was a martial arts instructor, business analyst for a small company and graduated from the University of Virginia with a B.A in Economics. 25

Cloth Diapering: Better for the Planet by Catherine Bolden

Cloth diapering is a great way to live greener but it can be overwhelming for moms to weed through all the information. Catherine Bolden of The Willow Store, a new sponsor of the Holistic Moms Network, offers this helpful Cloth Diaper Terminology list to guide you to making the best choice for your family! Cloth Diaper Terminology Cloth diapering doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, once you figure out the basics, it’s actually really easy. To start with, you need to understand that there are two primary components to any diapering system. 1.The waterproof layer (outside) 2. The absorbent layer (inside) Once you have these two basic components, the rest is really just customizing the diaper types to fit your needs and preferences. Here are some of the most common terms used in modern cloth diapering: AIO (all in one) All parts of the diaper are in one piece. Once wet or soiled, the entire diaper gets washed. AI2 (all in two) There are 2 separate parts to the system. A waterproof cover or shell, and an absorbent layer. AI2’s are more economical because the covers get reused more than one time (usually up to 3 times) before washing is needed. Adjustable Elastic Elastic in the legs and waist sections that you can change the length, shorter for smaller babies and longer for bigger kids. One of the most adjustable ways to change the size of a diaper. Aplix The brand of a hook and loop closure. This is similar in style to Velcro, which is another brand. Bamboo Fiber that is soft, fairly absorbent. Used in cloth diapers. Manmade fiber, due to the process it has to go through to make the fabric. Biodegradable Inserts 26

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

Also known as disposable inserts, these throw-away, single use absorbent layers require a waterproof diaper cover. They are rectangular, and if (pee only) composted in your garden, are supposed to biodegrade within 6 months. When placed in the landfill, they will decompose faster than disposables, but it is unknown exactly how long this takes. Booster Inserts/absorbent layers that are added to the regular absorbent layer to increase absorbency. Booster Sets With Sprout Change from The Willow Store, the booster set is a Softsleeve that is already stuffed with an inside, or prefold, and ready for extreme absorbency, and behaves very similar to a pocket diaper (stuffable) and an AI2 system in one product. Changing Pad The waterproof layer between the changing surface to keep baby and surface clean. Cotton Fiber that is traditional to cloth diapers, typically soft, absorbent. Often available in bleached and unbleached. Bleached uses chlorine bleach, unbleached is naturally cream colored. Cover A diaper cover can also be known as a shell or wrap. This is the waterproof layer on the outside of the diaper that keeps pee/poo inside and clothes dry. You will need to add the absorbent layer (prefold, diaper insert, fitted, etc. before the diaper is ready to be worn. Covers are most often made from PUL (poly urethane laminate, see below), nylon, wool or polyester fleece, and have some type of closure, most often snaps or Velcro-type material like Aplix or other hook and loop. Diaper Service Company that rents out diapers, most often cotton prefolds, they pick them up and wash them for you. Doubler Inserts that are intended to be used as added absorbency to another insert, prefold or flat. They are typically smaller than the main absorbent layer.

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Fitted Diaper A diaper with just the absorbent layer, and not waterproof layer. Has a closure on it, either hook and loop or snaps usually, occasionally closes with a snappi or pins. Flat Large, square piece of single layer, thin fabric intended on being folded down several times into a rectangular shaped prefold and then closed around baby with a snappi or pins. Front Snapping Wings of the diaper fold towards the front of the diaper and close like a disposable closes. Gussets Extra space and/or piece of fabric near the leg openings that provides an extra barrier to keep messes contained. Hemp Fiber used as an absorbent layer, works well for heavy wetters and overnight. Nearly twice as absorbent as cotton. Most often comprised of 55% hemp and 45% cotton. Hybrid Diaper A cross between a cloth-only reusable diaper and a disposable. One part is reused, one is tossed, like the insert. Hook and Loop A type of closure, looks like Velcro Insert Absorbent layer, rectangular shaped, either set onto the waterproof cover or stuffed inside a pocket style diaper. Lanolize Process in which you add lanolin (natural sheep oils) to wool to make it almost waterproof. Most commonly done before you first use the covers, and as needed after washing the covers. Liner Typically the layer right next to baby’s skin. An extra layer that is meant to either keep baby extra dry (fleece) or for lifting poop off diapers without needing to rinse (flushable kind). Silk liners can reduce infections like yeast. Effective when used as a barrier to your diapers so you can use diaper cream as needed, and diapers don’t get coated in cream.


Longies Handmade, long wool pants used as a diaper cover Mattress pad The waterproof layer that sets between baby and the mattress to keep the mattress dry if the diaper leaks or child has an accident. Microfiber Synthetic fiber used to make textiles, using very tiny fibers. These fibers are typically very absorbent, and dry quickly after washing. Most common fiber for inserts found in pocket diapers. Due to the wicking nature of the fiber, it is not suitable for direct contact with baby’s skin, as it is known to cause rash because it wicks all moisture and oils from surfaces it touches. Minky/Minkee Soft polyester fabric, made of microfibers. Used next to skin or in covers of some diapers, common also in children’s clothes and blankets. One-size diaper A diaper that has more than one size setting (like small, medium and large, typically fitting from near birth to potty training ages, depending on the brand. Pail Container, most often a 13 gallon garbage with a lid, that holds the soiled diapers until washing. Pail Liner Waterproof bag that sets inside a diaper pail to keep the mess and scent contained, and pail clean. Pins Safety pins with a locking head so kids can’t undo them, fastens cloth absorbent layer around baby. Pocket Diaper Diaper with a waterproof outer layer, porous inside layer and a pocket-shaped opening on one or two ends of the inside layer intended to be stuffed with an absorbent layer. Prefold Rectangular shaped absorbent layer. Typically folded into thirds, uses closure like pins or a snappi. Center strip of fabric typically has extra layers for increased absorbency. This is most often what is used in diaper services. 28

PUL Polyester Urethane Laminate. Waterproof layer adhered to polyester knit fabric. The waterproof layer in the majority of styles of reusable diapers. Repelling Not absorbing liquid. Absorbent layer does not absorb. Liquids sit on top of fabric, like beads, or run off to sides of the diaper, typically causing leaks. To test for repelling, you must first try pressing water into the fabric, like the pressure from a sink, to see if it soaks through. Rise The measurement from the top of the front side of the diaper, between the legs and to the back edge of the diaper. Side Snapping Diaper that closes with the front panel on the outside, and the wings underneath the front panel. Great for older children, who figure out how to take their diapers off. Typically only available in snaps. Sized Diaper Type of diaper that comes in several sizes, like small, medium and large. Frequently based on a combination of age and weight. Typically trim on small babies, because there isn’t a lot of extra fabric. Snap Down Rise Sizing of the diaper is made smaller or larger by adjusting the setting of the snaps on the front of the diaper. This shortens the length of fabric in the front of the diaper, making the rise smaller, and decreasing the size. Snappi Diaper fastener that uses small plastic teeth to hook fabric, with a stretchy plastic band that pulls taught to keep the diaper fastened. Works great with prefolds. Side Snapping Diaper that closes with the front panel on the outside, and the wings underneath the front panel. Great for older children, who figure out how to take their diapers off. Typically only available in snaps. Shorties Handmade shorts used as a diaper cover, and made from wool

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

Snaps Plastic (can be metal) closure that is commonly used in both the covers and absorbent layers of cloth diapers. Stripping Washing cloth diapers in a solution of dish soap (typically Dawn brand) to remove any detergent or hard water mineral buildup, residue or other leftovers from the washing process. Stripping will also remove diaper cream residue that reduces absorbency in cloth. Sunning Setting cloth diaper components in direct sunlight for several hours to use the natural UV rays to break down stubborn stains and naturally bleach (without added chemicals) diapers. The UV rays from the sun can also reduce bacteria counts and reduce odors in diapers. With a bright sunny day, the process can take as few as 3 hours, on an overcast or rainy day, it can take up to 24. You can do this indoors, by setting the diapers in the sun next to a window as well. If you would like, you can also use a small amount of lemon juice to speed up the process, but is not required. If you do, just be sure to re-wash the sunned diapers to remove the juice. Trainers Training pants are used when kids are first learning how to use the potty. Typically a one-piece unit with an absorbent layer, and padding between the leg areas. Some brands have a waterproof layer that is useful overnight and for naps or car rides. You do not have to use trainers. Some use diapers and go straight to kids underwear. Other kids need some more time, and do well with training pants. The purpose of trainers is to make sure the child feels the process, and learns to recognize the feel of being wet. The absorbent layer is intended to reduce the need to change a lot of extra clothes for when the occasional accident inevitably happens. Styles that are pull-on are useful to help foster independence and make it easy for kids to pull it up. Wet Bag A bag intended to carry soiled cloth diapers when you’re not at home. Frequently lined with a waterproof layer, like PUL, and fabric outside. They typically close with zippers, hook and look or drawstring.

Wicking Fabric pulling moisture from one location to another. Can be good if the porous layer is wicking moisture to the absorbent layer, not so good when the moisture gets wicked to the outside of the diaper, and causes leaks. If there are wicking issues that create leaks, typically this is due to an improper fit, or repelling issues. Wipes Washable cloths that you reuse. Great combination to cloth diapers. Simple to use, can use with plain water or a wipe solution, wipe as usual and wash. Wipe Solution Liquid that has been formulated for moistening cloth wipes. Wool Natural fiber from sheep hair. Frequently used as the waterproof layer in a diaper cover if the family wants to use only natural fibers and avoid plastic. It is a very breathable fiber, and is great for preventing rashes and yeast infections. Wool can go without washing for up to several weeks, unlike most covers.

Mom and entrepreneur, Catherine Bolden, created WillowPads and The Willow Store back in 2005. She recognized that disposable feminine products failed to meet today’s women’s standards for comfort, cost and environmental impact. For years, she experimented with creating a reusable feminine pad that maximizes absorption, while minimizing bulk. Shortly after launching WillowPads, Catherine expanded her product line to offer additional solutions for modern families, and WillowSprouts was born. WillowSprouts has grown to offer reusable nursing pads, baby wipes, and diapers. True to our mission, WillowSprouts emphasizes premium quality, with the greenest possible organic solutions. For more information, please visit



By Rachel Teichman

green accessories...with Ease Moms and daughters love to share accessories. Or at least daughters love to borrow them! Making jewelry and other crafts is a great way to spend your time together. It’s also nice when you create with the environment in mind, using minimal new materials, and reusing things you might have otherwise discarded. Here are five projects to get your recycling creativity going. Green there, done that! 30

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network


Jewelry Box

What to use:

What to use:

Plastic lid from a small container such as yogurt

Washed and dried small plastic berry container

Long piece of ribbon from a gift you have received

Wide ribbon, fabric or paper



What to do: Cut the center out of the lid so you are left

Glue stick

with a ring. Tie the ribbon on to the ring and wrap it all


the way around until all of the plastic is covered. Tie it off

What to do: Glue a piece of fabric to the inside of the top and

again and enjoy your one-of-a-kind bracelet. Brace yourself

bottom of the box. Weave ribbon through the holes around

for compliments!

the edges of the top and bottom of the box, and tie a bow with each piece if you want to. Fill with jewels!

Ring What to use:


Pull tab ring from a milk or juice carton

What to use:

Stickers or a magazine,

Piece of cardboard cut from a box or other packaging

Glue stick and scissors

Hole puncher, pen or skewer

What to do: Rinse and dry the pull tab ring. Attach stickers to

String or ribbon

the circular part of the tab. Or you can cut out small images

What to do: Carefully punch a lot of holes in the cardboard

from the magazine and glue them to the circle. Green bling!

with a hole puncher, pen or skewer, making sure to aim away from yourself. Tie a long piece of string to the cardboard

Accessories Holder

through one of the holes. Weave the string in and out of the

What to use:

holes making any pattern or no pattern at all! When you are

Memory card game cardboard grid, or another grid

done tie off the string and cut any excess. A hole in one!

Long piece of ribbon from a gift you have received Scissors What to do: Keep the grid its original size or cut it down to make smaller. Tie the ribbon on to one corner of the grid and start wrapping it around the outer and inner edges. Tie off the ribbon when you are done. Then tie a piece of ribbon to each of the top corners if you want a handle to hang it from. Attach barrettes to it, or bracelets or necklaces with clasps.

Rachel Teichman brings her art and business backgrounds to everything she does. With two small children she is always looking to reuse things in creative ways. She blogs about creating with her kids at

Make a green scene.

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network


Top Ten household products you Toss

the should

and why

Making the change to a greener cleaning routine is a great choice for you, your family, your pets, and the Earth. If you’re not sure where to begin, take a look at my list of the Top Ten Products you should Toss - and why. 1. Bleach:

Chlorine bleach, in its numerous incarnations,

there is evidence that overuse of antibacterial products can

is the subject of 40% of calls to poison control centers across

compromise your immune system, and encourage the growth

the nation. It’s also incredibly hazardous to the environ-

of drug-resistant bacteria.

ment: its industrial use results in the creation of dioxins, a family of chemicals which are among the most toxic and car-

3. Drain Cleaner: These preparations are highly caustic,

cinogenic known to man. Instead of chlorine bleach in your

and are corrosive to skin and mucous membranes. They can

laundry, use powdered or liquid oxygen bleach to whiten

also be fatal if swallowed, and inhalation of fumes can cause

and brighten. Oxygen bleach works well for cleaning most

injuries to the mouth, nose, and throat. Why subject your-

surfaces, too.

self to that if you don’t have to? Grease clogs can usually be broken up by pouring a kettle full of boiling water down the

2. Disinfectants: If they kill germs – which are single-


celled organisms – they’ll kill your cells too. You may not


notice the absence of a few cells here and there, but cell dam-

4. Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Bleach, caustics, phosphates,

age can add up to major harm over years of exposure. Also,

and petroleum based surfactants are some of the nasties in

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

conventional toilet bowl cleaners – and you’re sticking your

leum- and phosphate-free automatic dishwashing detergents.

face right over the fumes while you scrub. Protect your health and the environment by sticking to an enzyme-based bowl

10. Glass Cleaners: Why use toxic ammonia when


warm water and white vinegar work just fine? Or, look for glass cleaners with plant-based surfactants; most of them

5. Tub and Tile Cleaners:

Like toilet bowl clean-

double as surface cleaners.

ers, tile cleaners often combine bleach and caustic chemicals. Toss the harsh stuff and try oxygen bleach, white vinegar and

Other cleaners to watch out for: wood floor polish, oven

lemon juice, or an enzyme-based cleaner to power through

cleaners, dusting sprays, and ‘fabric refreshers’.

tough shower residue. You don’t have to take my word for it: you can go to the

6. Air fresheners: Most air freshener sprays use ‘Lique-

Household Products Database and see for yourself what’s in

fied Sweetened Petroleum Gas’ to deliver that fresh chemical

your current products. The more you learn, the more you’ll

scent into the air. Ditto for those plug-ins. If you want your

agree that cleaning green is the best choice for you and your

home to smell fresh, try burning natural soy candles scented


with essential oils, or incense made from natural resins. Candita Clayton founded her

7. Laundry Detergents: Chemical fragrances are

company, Your Life Organized, in

considered proprietary formulas and are not tested by the

2001, following the birth of her

FDA (or by anyone but the chemical companies) for safety.

second child. Since then, she has

With the exception of air fresheners, laundry detergents

helped people reshape their lives

contain more of these questionable chemicals than any other

and home environments through

product in your home. Also, petroleum based surfactants

organization and eco-friendly living.

(read, bubbles and degreasers) can be hazardous to you and

Candita’s ventures have since

to the environment. Natural, phosphate-free, biodegradable

expanded to include 5 Steps to Green a pioneering

laundry detergents get your clothes just as clean, without all

certification program for professional organizers and

the side effects.

entrepreneurs which she developed in conjunction with Green Cleaning Coach Leslie Reichert; as well as

8. Floor cleaners: Studies show that we absorb half of

the Home Health Checkup which provides in-person

all substances that contact our skin. And a lot of skin con-

or remote assessment and support for people looking

tacts your floors – bare feet, baby’s knees, Spot’s tongue.

to “green” up their homes and improve their family’s

Why use chemicals that can leave residues for you to track

health. Other imprints include The Six Figure Orga-

through the rest of your home? A citrus-based cleaner and

nizer, her coaching program for professional organiz-

degreaser is great for floors, and totally non-toxic.

ers. Candita is the author of Clean Your Home Healthy: Green Cleaning Made Easy (Morgan James Publishing,

9. Automatic Dishwashing Powders/Liquids: You wouldn’t put bleach in your food – or petroleum


derivatives, phosphates, or untested chemical fragrances – so why use them on your dishes? Choose enzyme-based, petroCopyright ©2011 holistic moms network


June 2011


Jessica Kirby Blue Earth County, MN

What project are you working on now? Project is a very broad and inclusive term in my life. I am currently working on house renovations, building the BEC chapter, getting more involved in my community, trying to conceive a brother or sister for Tyler, and I think of myself as Tell us about yourself (occupation, hobbies, children, etc): I am very lucky to have been married to my wonderful husband Chris for 11 years! After many years of enjoying our marriage, we were surprised with the gift of a wonderful little boy, Tyler, who was born February 11th, 2010. I have a B.A. in Psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN and currently work with the Community Preparation Services of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program. My passions include vaccine education, organic eating, homeopathic healing, attachment parenting, breastfeeding, and intactivism. I am excited to be a part of such a wonderful group and am discovering all sorts of new ideas and practices to be passionate about! I have spent the last 6-8 years of my life getting in touch with my spirituality and practicing the Laws of Attraction. I love to connect with people and get to know what their passions are. One of my guilty pleasures is watching Real Housewives! It’s terrible, but I find it fascinating! In what capacity do you volunteer with HMN? I am the chapter leader and founder of the Blue Earth County, MN chapter, and I volunteer with National as an Online Member Community Administrator. 34

my biggest project as I am continuously working on learning more about myself and how I can contribute the most in life. Why do you volunteer with HMN? I volunteer for HMN because I love being part of a national community of like-minded parents and want to do what I can to support the community and I find it extremely rewarding when I get to meet more people in my local community who are looking for support and/or want to learn more about being holistic. What got you interested in HMN? I was on a very popular birth board forum about support for parents who don’t vaccinate and one of the members posted that she just got back from her Holistic Moms Network meeting. I posted “What is Holistic Moms Network?” and she posted the website. I immediately got on the website, looked to see if I had a chapter in my area, and unfortunately the closest one was hours away. I am learning how to listen to my feelings and let them guide me along my path in life and for the first time in many many years I felt some excitement that starting an HMN chapter was something I was supposed to do and about 10 minutes later I had my member and leader application filled out and had figured out how I could squeeze the membership and leader fee out of my budget. I knew the money was for a good cause and a very small contribution toward what I knew was going to be a life changing experience. Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

What are your holistic passions?

learned a lot about homeopathic healing which is also

My biggest passion is vaccine education. The night I

quickly becoming a passion!

found out I was pregnant I called my mom to tell her. After the initial excitement, she told me “whatever you

I guess I could have made this answer a lot shorter by simply

do, don’t vaccinate.” That one statement started me on

saying my baby’s health is my greatest passion!

a research and education journey that became the most important and best decision my husband and I ever made.

What is one un-holistic thing you could not give up?

Little did I know that keeping my family vaccine free was

I think if I had to, I could give up anything, but screen time

just a small part of what would become my family’s new

would be the last to go! Sorry, but I just got a DVR and cable!

lifestyle. While pregnant with my son I began to see the

Who knew there was so much drama going on!

importance of diet when creating a strong natural immune system and my next passion of organic eating was born.

What is one green/Eco-friendly thing you are passionate

For me this included eliminating processed foods, GMO

about and why?

foods, HFCS, MSG, food coloring and as much sugar as

I have recently become very passionate about chemical

possible. I also knew I would be breastfeeding, but had

free cleaning. I have not entirely converted due to financial

no idea how much effort it would be to make it the 15

restraints, but it is a work in progress and high on my priority

months (and still going) while pumping and going back

list. I think chemical free cleaning is essential for the health of

to work. Breastfeeding had to become a passion in order

everyone in the family!

to continue as long as I have. It is also one of my proudest accomplishments to date. Since joining HMN I have also

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network





Union County, NJ Earth D


A number of our moms and their kids got together to celebrate

to make a world (Color with blue and green markers, spray

Earth Day! It was a rainy day, so we celebrated indoors with a

with water and the colors “melt” together. Then paste onto

picnic, play and crafts including: using shrinky dink paper to

black paper and add little silver star stickers for an out of this

color our own worlds and make necklaces, using coffee filters

world activity!) and planting some seeds in recycled baby food Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

What Holistic Moms are doing across the country

gr e e n


On April 9-10, 2011, approximately 2,000 people attended the Green Festival


jars. Everyone had a wonderful time, and we hope to make this a yearly tradition! Toni Morton SC Midlands Co-Leader Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network

in San Francisco, CA. Holistic Moms was proud to be an exhibitor with a comfort station. They were able to provide a small private nursing area with changing tables, a play area, and a small table with HMN information. The local chapters represented were: American River, Monterey, Marin, San Mateo, San Francisco, East Bay, and San Jose. Jen Oh San Jose Chapter leader 37

ByMary Gilbertson

wormcomposting 38

did you know... the average American throws away approximately 1.4 pounds of yard trimmings, kitchen scraps, and other compostable materials each day? What if we diverted that material from the waste stream and created something valuable? Many of you are probably aware of the

also the worms commonly sold at a bait

benefits of building a compost pile. Home

shop. Red wigglers are idea for vermicom-

composting is a wonderful way to turn those

posting because they are able to consume

kitchen scraps into “organic gold” and keep

their weight in scraps each day.

them out the waste stream. But what about when the weather gets colder? Or for those of us where it snows? Ok, I admit, I do strap on my snowshoes to trek out to the compost pile. But what if you want to keep composting, but don’t want to

However, these worms will not survive freezing temperatures. Their ideal temperature range in 59 -77 degrees, so the bin should not be left out in the hot sun, or in freezing temperatures. We keep our bins in the basement.

venture outside to the compost pile in the

Under perfect conditions, a worm will pro-

middle of winter?

duce a new cocoon (which looks like a very

The solution is simple: WORMS! Worm composting, also called vermicomposting, is a great way to compost year round. It’s also good for folks in apartments, or places where an outside compost bin isn’t feasible. A worm bin can be built for less that $15, and is a great way to let your children explore the process of composting, reducing waste, and gardening. Vermicomposting is a very forgiving process, and with a few basic guidelines, you too can have fun with worms!

The worms The worms used for vermicomposting are red wigglers (Eisensia foetida). These are

tiny yellow lemon) every 7-10 days. In 3 weeks, 1-7 baby worms will emerge. These new worms will reach breeding maturity in 60-90 days. When worms excrete their manure, there is a bit of mucus surrounding each granule. It hardens when exposed to air. These “castings” are essentially a slow time-release fertilizer! Vermicompost is organic, rich in nutrients, and won’t burn your plants. I add a small handful when transplanting seedlings.

The Bins There are many different types of bin, from very simple to quite elaborate. A 10 to 15 gallon plastic bin is a perfect size to create a quick and easy worm bin. You’ll need to get Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network

two of the same sized bins. Drill air holes in one lid for venti-

Similarly, by leaving the lid off your worm bin for a few min-

lation. Like us, worms need to breathe. Drill holes in bottom

utes before harvesting your worms will send them heading to

of one bin for drainage. Don’t drill holes in the second bin, as

the bottom of the bin, as the worms don’t like light.

this bin will be used to catch any liquid that may drain out. Stack the bin with holes inside the one without holes.

Troubleshooting Prevention is easiest way to avoid problems. The simplest


thing to do is make sure that you bury the food waste! If

Prepare the bedding before adding worms. We use shredded

you maintain the proper moisture level, and don’t over feed

paper from my husband’s office (another way to keep materi-

your worms, you bin shouldn’t have an unpleasant smell. It

als out of the waste stream!). Other bedding materials that

should just smell “earthy.”

can be used include leaves, shredded newspaper, coir (coconut fibers), or dried grass clippings. Mix with enough water so it

The question that I get asked the most is “What about fruit

feels like a wrung out sponge. Squeeze a handful – if a few

files?” It goes back to what you do in the bin. Fruit files

drops of water appear, it’s perfect. Worms breathe through

won’t burrow to find food scraps to lay eggs. They won’t lay

their skin. Too much water and they may drown and/or suf-

their eggs on top of the bedding material.

focate. Too little water and they will dry out. The holes in the bottom of the bin will allow excess moisture to drain out of your bin. Don’t forget to use this “worm tea” on your plants!

When all else fails, rescue some of the worms and add the contents of your bin to your outside compost pile. Restart your worm bin, and enjoy the accelerated decomposition of


your outside compost (before the frost hits, anyway!). At

Worms will eat almost any type of kitchen scrap! Banana

this point, I usually consider it an offering of worms to the

peels, tea bags, coffee grounds and paper filters seem to be

“compost gods.”

their favorite foods. Avoid feeding your worms meat, dairy, oily foods, excessive salt, vinegar, or animal feces. Nevertheless, I’ll still add the few bites of macaroni and cheese left on my son’s plate. The smaller the size of the food, the faster it will be composted. I’ve heard of people who puree kitchen scraps in a blender before giving it to their worms. Not me; I’m lazy. I’ll chop up my cantaloupe peels, and crush eggshells in my hands, but that’s about it.

Harvesting To harvest, stop feeding your worms for a few weeks. Then, push all the contents of your bin to one side, and add fresh bedding material to the other side. Put some “fresh” kitchen scraps on the new side, and after a week or so, most of your worms will migrate to it. Then, simply scoop out the nutri-

You can find all sorts of information about vermicomposting online. Additionally, I recommend obtaining a copy of “Worms Eat My Garbage” by Mary Applehof. So, what are you waiting for? Happy worming! Mary Gilbertson shares her home with her husband, son, and a whole lot of worms. She is a member of the Portland, ME HMN, a Maine Master Gardener, a Certified Permaculture Designer and the founder and co-organizer of the Greater Seacoast Permaculture Group ( Mary’s interests included developing her suburban homestead by organic gardening, worm composting, and reducing the size of her lawn!

ent-rich worm castings! Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network



Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network


green your laundry routine By Kimberly Mendes

LAUNDRY - a meaningless chore of washing dirty socks and stained t-shirts, or an opportunity to make a positive difference in your health and our environment?


Women account for as

much as 85 cents of every dollar spent in the retail marketplace. When we open or close our purses, we have the power to encourage companies to reduce chemicals and pollution, protect the air and water, and keep our families and wildlife safe.

CUT THE CHEMICALS Avoid companies that use toxic ingredients, test on animals or contribute to pollution in their products. Chances are if you have difficulty pronouncing the ingredients, they are probably not very safe. Then there are the companies that avoid listing the nasty chemicals by disguising them under names that sound natural or with lines like “derived from vegetable”. In order to be your own health advocate, you must conduct your own research. Stick to certified organic ingredients when possible. AVOID: 1,4 Dioxane (carcinogen, ground water contaminant and bi-product of ethoxylation), benzene, LAS, APE, NPE, Napthas, PEG, DEA, TEA, oleochemicals (derived from plant/animal fats), petrochemi42

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NOTE: “Free and Clear”

cals (derived from petroleum), phthalates, SLS, dyes, fra-

nervous system disorder) toxins.

grance, chlorine bleach, optical brighteners, UV enhancers &

is free of dyes and fragrances, but not necessarily free of other

a plethora of others.

toxic chemicals.



Time for a new washing machine? Choose an Energy Star,

Your skin, the largest organ of your body, absorbs up to 60%

High Efficiency model. It will use 50% less energy and only

of what is directly applied to it - including the detergent

18-25 gallons of water per load vs. a conventional top-loader

residue from your clothes and the sheets you sleep in. The

which uses 40 gallons.

products you use on a daily basis enter into your bloodstream and add to your body burden, or the amount of chemicals


present in your body. Chronic health issues and skin disor-

The average family washes almost 400 loads of laundry a year.

ders like dermatitis, eczema or psoriasis are on the rise, and

Using cold water to wash whenever possible could save you

exposure to harsh laundry detergents can trigger horrible and

over $100 per year.

sometimes debilitating symptoms, including extremely dry, itchy, cracked, scaly, flaking, oozing and inflamed skin and


rashes. These not-so-natural products can also contribute to

Enjoy Mother Nature’s scent of fresh air and the warmth of

asthma, allergies, autism, cancer, headaches, nausea, vomit-

sunshine by air drying your laundry. Your dryer is the #2

ing, immune system & reproductive disorders, MCS multiple

energy hog in your home. The average family can save over

chemical sensitivities, as well as disorders with the kidney,

$85 and more than 720 lbs of carbon dioxide per year by line

liver, lungs & heart.

drying. Remember, you don’t have to go all or nothing, every

MAKE MOTHER NATURE PROUD by making conscious

little bit helps!

choices that will promote positive changes in your health and our earth – one sock, one fish and one child at a time!

DROP THE ADDICTION There is a powerful connection between scent, memory and

Kimberly Mendes – Mommy of two

emotions. Companies have pulled the wool sweater over

little girls. Loves: family time, nature,

our eyes – making us believe that clean should have a certain

holistic health, green living, flea mar-

“fresh scent”, then pack their laundry detergents, stain

kets, eco-interior design, photogra-

removers, fabric softeners and dryer sheets with these toxic

phy, meeting new people & learning

filled fragrances. Without this emotional aroma, consumers don’t believe their laundry is clean. Many become addicted to the scent, constantly craving more and more, which is why it’s referred to as the “Nicotine of Laundry”. Don’t be

new things! Member of Southwest Chicago Chapter HMN - moving our family to Rhode Island in July. Owner of (organic laundry & personal care),, and

a scent addict. Drop the fabric softeners and dryer sheets along with the nasty side effects of these neurostimulant irritants, hormone disrupting phthalates and CNS (central

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network


Enjoying a



By Michelle Vackar

Vacations are a time to relax, have fun and enjoy each other’s company. Granted sometimes getting ready for the vacation can be crazy and then when we come home we need a vacation to recover from our vacation. It sometimes feels we are going in a circle. 44

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network

Recently I was exposed to a term that I had not heard of

er pace, walking in the woods/forest. Observing the flora and

before, low-impact travel. I wondered what it meant, so I

fauna, listening for waterfalls (if there is one on your trail),

queried the term and I was amazed it was something that

following animal tracks – trying to identify tracks of differ-

our family has done for years, as well as what my parents did

ent animals. Hiking allows you to see firsthand what is really

when I was younger; I just did not realize it. It kind of made

in the woods and to truly enjoy the beauty of the area. Have

me chuckle.

you ever really looked at the tree bark of a white birch tree? Compare the leaves of a maple to an oak leaf? Sitting along

The term low-impact travel has a variety of layers to it, one

the river and watching the ducks/loons coast and enjoying a

aspect of it is getting close to nature and exploring it; second

peaceful afternoon breeze can transport you to a new level of

using energy resourcefully and conservatively; third, visiting


and supporting your local community (in the area you visit or close to your home); fourth, leaves your area in better shape

Biking is a great form of exercise but also a wonderful way

than when you arrived; fifth, minimizes the stress in packing,

to see travel from different places in an area. Many communi-

when on the vacation and coming home; and fifth, you enjoy

ties have developed biking trails and they are located online

each other’s company!

so that you can find where they start and stop, the condition of the trails, etc.

With a variety of different dynamics of family life, enjoying low-impact travel doesn’t mean that you necessarily travel

Water recreation seems to be a natural for many

to exotic places, drive/fly/ride a train to your destination,

children. Kids seem to gravitate towards water. You can spice

which are all great ways to visit and see something new; but

it up (depending upon the age of the children) by taking a

you can also enjoy your local community and/or neighboring

canoe ride, paddle boat, or just hanging out at the beach or

cities and towns because I am almost positive that there are

lakeshore. Closer to home, you may also have soak parks and

unexplored areas that you can visit or revisit with a little twist

you could take a picnic after playing at the park.

to the experience.

Horseback Riding. Many national and local state parks In terms of incorporating low-impact travel into your home

have horseback riding trails and overnight stays where fami-

there are a number of themes that help define the activities

lies can enjoy this experience first hand.

you select for your family:

Bird watching seems to be something that seems to Visiting museums is a great way to immerse yourself in

be regaining popularity. My daughters who are 6 and 3 have

the culture, learn the history of the area, and discover what

enjoyed watching the birds in our backyard, seeing what they

made it unique. Specifically, every town has museums dedi-

eat, where they like to perch, what their nest looks like, and

cated to local history and lore.

how big they are. Many nature centers have an area where different bird houses are scattered so that families can watch

Camping is a fun way to enjoy the stars at night and listen

which birds like to go to which birdhouses.

to the evening/night sounds of the woods. For example, listen to owls hooting, look for the big dipper in the night sky, and

Going Local is an awesome way to support the com-

enjoy the smells of a campsite as you cook over an open fire.

munity you live in or when visiting a new town. Have lunch

Hiking allows you to experience your surroundings at a slow-

or dinner at a locally-owned restaurant rather than a chain

Copyright ©2011 holistic moms network


in order to get the flavor of the area. You are on vacation, wanting to experience the area, learn about it, and explore it! Visit local handicraft area in the town, see how the local artist design and create pottery, stitchery, etc. There are many talented artists who have a lot of beautiful items to share, as well as make great souvenirs to take home.

There is more to a vacation than going to a resort destination. By visiting local communities you are spending your money with independent business owners/artisans and not only do good for the community but open yourself up for a whole new experience. And you just might be doing some small part to improve our world. Michelle Vackar is a member of the HMN Indianapolis Chapter, a mom of two daughters who are very curious so their days are filled with crafting or embarking on creative learning activities. 46

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network

members in their hmn t-shirts

Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network



Copyright Š2011 holistic moms network

The Wise Mom, June 2011  

Welcome to The Wise Mom's June 2011 issue, the digital magazine for members of the Holistic Moms Network!

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