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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM. WE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Buy eco-friendly laundry products, conserve energy and be good to your clothes. You will keep yourDuckie Robe family healthy and looking great, save money and help the environment.

One of the main problems with laundry detergents, fabric softeners, and stain removers is that they contain petroleum, phosphates and synthetic chemicals that leave residue on the clothes. These ingredients cause allergies, irritate the skin and eyes and carry other severe health risks.

They also get washed down our drains and into our waterways which pollutes our rivers, lakes and coastal areas and are toxic to fish and wildlife.

Look for Eco-Friendly Laundry Products

Consider using eco-friendly laundry products. Always read labels and pay attention to what you’re buying, just because a product claims to be “natural” doesn’t mean it’s non-toxic.

Look for labels that indicate that the product is readily biodegradable, made with plant- and vegetable-based ingredients (instead of petroleum-based), contain no phosphates, and no allergy-inducing scents.

Ingredients you should avoid are butyl cellosolve (dangerous toxic chemical), petroleum, triclosan and phosphates. Also try to avoid chemicals known as phthalates that are used in detergents with fragrances, they have been linked to cancer.

If you must use bleach, try a non-chlorine product, use an oxygen-based cleaner instead, it is better for the environment and for your health.

Better brands to look for:

  • Seventh Generation – Seventh Generation tries to make their product as non-toxic as possible while still providing the results we are looking for in a cleaning product. They are also very transparent about the ingredients they put into their products. You can find them in the aisles almost anywhere you purchase your cleaning products.
  • Earth Friendly Products – Earth Friendly Products was founded in 1967 by a chemist dedicated to providing superiorEcos laundry detergent cleaning results using only natural, non-toxic ingredients. For more information about Earth Friendly Products, you can read my review at http://mygreenside.org/?p=5841.
  • Shaklee – Locally you can find Shaklee products (or have them ordered for you) at Eco Chic Boutique in Fargo.

Conserve Energy

About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes in a conventional top-load washer is for heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes—use less water and use cooler water.

Unless you’re dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load’s energy use in half.

More tips on how to conserve energy:

  • Wash your clothes in cold water using cold-water detergents whenever possible.
  • Wash and dry full loads. If you are washing a small load, use the appropriate water-level setting.
  • Dry towels and heavier cottons in a separate load from lighter-weight clothes.
  • Don’t over-dry your clothes. If your machine has a moisture sensor, use it.
  • Clean the lint filter in the dryer after every load to improve air circulation.
  • Use the cool-down cycle to allow the clothes to finish drying with the residual heat in the dryer.
  • Periodically inspect your dryer vent to ensure it is not blocked. This will save energy and may prevent a fire. Manufacturers recommend using rigid venting material, not plastic vents that may collapse and cause blockages.
  • Consider air-drying clothes on clothes lines or drying racks. Air-drying is recommended by clothing manufacturers for some fabrics

Source: U.S. Department of Energy

Be Good to Your Clothes

Tips for extending the life of your clothes:

  • Limit dryer use to save energy, money, and threads. Your dryer can wreak havoc on clothes by fading the colors and affecting the quality of the fabric.
  • Add a couple of teaspoons of table salt in with your detergent to make your clothes brighter and prevent colors from running.

For more tips about using salt in the wash, check out HowStuffWorks: Uses for Salt: Doing the Laundry at http://tlc.howstuffworks.com/home/uses-for-salt-doing-the-laundry-ga.htm.

Tips for Fresher Laundry:

  • Add baking soda or distilled white vinegar to detergent to clean, deodorize, and brighten clothes.
  • Turn your clothing inside out in the washer and dryer. This prevents the outside from getting worn out.
  • Switch to cold water wash—doing so not only saves energy but also prevents colors from bleeding or fading, which tends to happen with hot or warm water.
  • Make sure to button and zipper up your clothes. This prevents snags that could ruin your clothes after several washes.
  • Keep lights, darks, and delicate clothing separate to keep colors bright and clothing in good shape.

Source: Green Living Ideas

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Green Living Ideas

Green Living Ideas is a site dedicated to bringing you the best green living tips and news. They provide ideas, tips, and information to help you ‘green’ every aspect of your life: home energy, green building and remodeling, cars, food, waste recycling—and everything in between.

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As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their monthly subscription boxes for review. Ecocentric Mom Box - August 2013It’s so amazing getting this box in the mail every month. I just received the August Mom Discovery Box and it was full of great products that I had never tried before. It seriously seems like these boxes are more incredible every month. How do they do it?

Monthly subscriptions to Ecocentric Mom range from $17-$21 a month.  The value of the products inside the box well exceed that price, plus you can save hundreds of dollars with the discount codes provided exclusively to Ecocentric Mom subscribers.

It’s a great service to learn about healthier products that can reduce the amount of toxins in your household.  To find out more about the service or to get next month’s box sent to your mailbox, visit EcocentricMom.com.

Here’s what was in this month’s box:

Pure + Remedy Gentle Hydrating Facial Moisturizer & Vitamin C Concentrate Facial Moisturizer ($3.50-$4 for travel size, $20-$24 for full size) Safe, non-toxic holistic skin care. The gentle hydrating moisturizer promises to provide long-lasting hydration and the Vitamin C moisturizer is supposed to reduce age spots and skin blotches. Magic in a bottle.

Possum Hollow Farm Soap ($5.50 full size bar) I’m a soap lover from way back and, I have to tell you, I couldn’t get enough of this soap. It smells like heaven and is very moisturizing. The heavenly soap is hand made in small batches by a family-owned business, Possum Hollow Farm Soaps are all natural and developed to be gentle on all skin types.

Suncoat Sugar Based Natural Mascara ($14.99 full size) and Suncoat Girl Nail Polish ($8.99) If you’re looking for a Suncoat - The Peelables Super Natural Mineral Nail Polishmascara free of synthetics, fragrance, parabens and alcohol, look no further. It’s non-toxic and works! The nail polish is the first water-based ordorless eco-friendly, peelaway polish featuring natural colors and mineral pigments instead of synthetics. My favorite part, no nail polish remover needed and my girls love it!

Moontime Tea’s Organic Fertility Blend ($19.99 for 30 tea bags) Red raspberry, nettles, red clover and peppermint (all organic) blended into a caffeine-free tea that has been used since ancient time to support reproductive function.

ips All Natural Chips ($1.59-$1.99 per bag) The world’s first snack chips made with egg white protein. A combination of non-GMO corn, egg whites, and other natural ingredients, these crunchy chips have 7 grams of protein per serving, half the fat of fried chips and fewer carbs than baked chips. They are also gluten-free. The family favorite was the aged white cheddar.

Untrash Compostable Bags ($4.99-$6.99 per box, $24.99 for a Compost Can) Untrash’s mission is to rid the world of plastics and unnecessary waste with YOU and Mother Nature in mind. These bags are really awesome!

Truebar by Bakery on Main ($1.89 per bar) Gluten-free, non-GMO, kosher, dairy and casein-free, these bars have nothing to hide. Made with low-glycemic ingredients and 5% chia seeds, these are a great bar to stick in your bag for a mid-day snack. Yum!

MacroLife Naturals Coco Greens and Berri Reds Nutrient Rich Super-Foods ($22.99 7oz 32-Day canister) A powdered supplement you can mix into milk or water for children’s supplementation. This products is full of vitamins and probiotics and doesn’t contain common allergens or other harsh ingredients.

$10 Gift Card for The Keeper or The Moon Cup – Innovative internal feminine hygiene products.

$5 Instagrad Gift – A college savings plan for your kids that is easy to share with family and friends.

If you’re interested in signing up for your own Ecocentric Mom subscription, click here.  You can choose from a mom, mom-to-be or baby box. Shipping is always free. They also make GREAT gifts!

Ecocentric Mom box

Use code “ECOMOM10″ for 10% off the monthly $21 subscription plan!

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

 

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When we moved to our current home I found a piano on Freecycle.net and had it moved along with our furniture.Playing the piano It has been my hope that one or both of our girls will develop a love of the piano. Both my husband, Christopher, and I play a little and Christopher’s side of the family is full of amazing musicians. His mom is an incredible pianist (she was playing by ear at three!), his dad plays beautifully and his brother is a fantastic jazz drummer. Surely some of those musical genes made it to our children.

So far they both love to play but don’t want to take lessons… They also enjoy making up their own songs to go with a dance or theatrical piece they’re regaling us with, which is wonderful, but composing takes up a lot of paper. To conserve paper and make a permanent spot for writing notes and, if lessons are in their future, to write down practicing schedules, I thought it would be a great idea to paint both inset panels on the face of the piano with chalkboard paint. So when I was given the opportunity to try Lullaby Paints, I jumped at the chance.

A little bit about Lullaby Paints:

  • Lullaby Paints is non-toxic, doesn’t have an odor and contains no VOCs (volatile organic compounds). It’s safe enough that the girls could help me with our chalkboard piano project.
  • Lullaby Paints has 32 amazing colors and they will match other paint samples, color swatches or furniture pieces. Their Chalkboard Paint collection is offered in sixteen colors. The low-sheen finish is ideal for all kinds of chalks and is fully washable to make masterpiece after Preparing to paintmasterpiece after masterpiece.
  • Chalkboard Paints are also available as a kit, including paint (sufficient for a board of thirty square feet with two coats) a roller, tray, chalk and edging tape. And, their safe formula means kids can paint their own chalkboard – perfect for artwork, poetry, or anything their imagination can dream up.
  • The paints were developed without chemicals which have been shown to cause asthma, allergies and eczema in children.
  • Lullaby Paints are safe for use on baby’s walls, cribs and toys. Also safe for pregnant mothers to use.
  • A gallon of Lullaby Paints provides more square feet of coverage than a traditional gallon of paint. One gallon of Lullaby Paints provides 560 sq. ft. of coverage and one gallon of traditional paints provides 375 sq. ft. of coverage.

It was hard to chose the color because there were so many. I finally picked the Chalkboard Paint color Pavarotti which seemed appropriate for inspiring young minds to make beautiful music.

Painting!

The paint was easy to use, no odor (as promised) and I felt confident that I wasn’t exposing the girls to anything that would adversely impact their health. They even have Healthy Child Healthy World‘s Our pianostamp of approval, which to me means they really are as fabulous as I thought.

The girls were so excited to help and I’m so pleased with the color and how the whole project turned out. I wasn’t able to capture the color as well as I’d hoped in this photo but it’s stunning in person.

For more information about Lullaby Paints, visit http://lullabypaints.com/. To read a great article about why you should avoid conventional paints, especially if you have children, read 5 Unbelievable Facts About the Paint on Your Walls.

 

 

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As part of my partnership with Ecocentric Mom, I receive one of their monthly subscription boxes for review. It’s Ecocentric Mom June Mom Boxreally fun getting this box in the mail each month and the girls love it too because there is always products they can try. I just received the June Mom Discovery Box and it was full of great products I had never tried before. This has been my favorite box to date (and that’s saying a lot!).

Monthly subscriptions to Ecocentric Mom range from $17-$21 a month.  The value of the products inside the box well exceed that price, plus you can save hundreds of dollars with the discount codes provided exclusively to Ecocentric Mom subscribers.  

It’s a great service to learn about healthier products that can reduce the amount of toxins in your household.  To find out more about the service or to get next month’s box sent to your mailbox, visit EcocentricMom.com.

COUPON CODE: To recieve $3 off a month’s subscription, use the code ECOMOM3OFF. (Valid through July 13th, 2013)

Here’s what was in this month’s box:

Lauren Brooke Cosmetiques Lip Colour ($12.00 full size Lip Colour) The lip colours are made with organic ingredients like shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil and pomegranate oils. There’s also a light organic citrus berry flavor. AWESOME!

Happy Seeds Watermelon Foaming Hand Soap ($5.45 travel size, $9.99 kitchen and bath size) Their soap isHappy Seeds Watermelon Foaming Hand Soap formulated using gentle organic fruit and vegetable derived cleansers and soothing organic aloe vera. Happy Seeds products are always free from sulfates, parabens, synthetic dyes, fragrance and GMOs. They are also gluten, soy and nut free. The girls absolutely LOVED this product and have requested more of it.

Food Should Taste Good Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips ($1.29 1.5oz bag) Food Should Taste Good was created in 2006 with the goal of making a unique new snack with great taste, real ingredients, and sophisticated flavor. All chip varieties are gluten free, cholesterol free and have zero grams trans fats. They are also certified Kosher.  Plus, many varieties are certified vegan. The sweet potato tortilla chips were delicious!

Turtle Moon Health All Natural Mosquito and Tick RepellentTurtle Moon Health All Natural Mosquito and Tick Repellent ($12.00 full size) We are in full mosquito invasion season here and I’ve tried so many different natural repellents without much success… until now. I sprayed myself ventured out at dusk and I came back in the house without a bite. I LOVE this product so much. It smells awesome AND it works!

Brigit True Organics Magic Healing Skin Balm Stick ($5.50 .15oz) Brigit True Organics offers organic olive oil body care that is formulated for super sensitive skin. By combining non-allergenic, food-grade ingredients they offer gentle, effective care. 100% natural and 74-99% organic, nothing artificial. The Magic Healing Balm offers soothing relief for cuts and burns, as well as mosquito bites, stings, eczema and psoriasis. My oldest daughter has extremely sensitive skin and I have been able to use this product on her for a variety of issues without any redness or itching (which seems to happen with almost every other product I’ve tried on her skin).

Essence of Antiquity Pomegranate Lip Scrub ($6.95 full size jar) I’m completely addicted to this product. It’s made with organic sugar and powdered pomegranates.  It smells amazing, tastes delicious and works!

Shea Terra Organics Rose Hip Black Soap Face Wash ($18.00 4oz jar) Based on an ancient African formula, using real African Black Soap, this wash works like microdermabrasion to get rid of dead skin, even skin tone, firm skin and fight acne. Wonderful!

Green Leaf Living Lotion Bar ($6.00 full sized lotion bar) This company makes their handcrafted products in small batches… no parabens, SLS or phthalates. The scent I received was grapefruit and it serious smells so amazing I could eat it. I love this product!

Jenuinely Clean Laundry Power Wash ($9.00 for 40-80 washes) Jenuinely Clean is a line of non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products that is an alternative to chemical cleaning. These cleaning products made from essential oils, natural minerals and plant-based soaps. And it works!

EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bar ($2.29 per bar) EcoTrek Fitness Whole Food Bars are created from high nutrient ingredients and avoid refined sugars, artificial sweeteners and GMOs. They contain a wide variety of green foods like Ecocentric Momspirulina, wheat grass and spinach and they taste fantastic!

I also received a 10% off coupon for The ECZEMA Company in this month’s box. WOW!

Disclosure: I am a part of the Ecocentric Mom Blogger Team and receive monthly subscription boxes for review. All the opinions expressed are completely my own. Affiliate links appear in this post.

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Sometimes I come across a product that I know I will love, sight unseen. That was the case with e-cloths from mycleaningcloths.com. The company approached me about reviewing one of their products and, after reading about their products, I was sold. But, to provide a fair review, I have been using my e-cloth (kitchen cloth) daily for over two weeks. Well, except for one brief day after I had washed it and thought I lost it… it was found in my daughter’s doll house. Apparently, it looked like the perfect bath towel for her doll. E-Cloth

I am always encouraging non-toxic cleaning for the health of our families and the environment. The e-cloth is the ultimate chemical free cleaning product. You just use water. I don’t have to worry about my daughter’s helping me clean with it (or “dry” their dolls with it) because there aren’t any toxic chemicals on the e-cloth.

Here’s why you should use e-cloth:

  • Chemical free cleaning. There are no toxic cleaning products needed, you just use water. And a recent study conducted by the Silliker Group showed that (using just water) e-cloths removed over 99% of bacteria, locking them away inside the cloths’ fibers, where they stay until the cloths are rinsed. For more information about the study, visit http://www.mycleaningcloths.com/what-is-e-cloth/. And, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most common store-bought cleaning products that are stored under kitchen or bathroom sinks contain ingredients that are considered hazardous waste.
  • Saves you money. The cloth takes the place of paper towels, disposable sponges, etc. and you don’t need to purchase a myriad of cleaning products because you just use water with the e-cloth.
  • Saves you time. Just add water and clean.
  • Reduces your waste. You don’t need to purchase disposable cleaning products that just end up in a landfill. According to the EPA, every day 3,000 tons of used paper towels are discarded in landfills. And it takes 51,000 trees per day to replace those paper towels.

I found that the kitchen e-cloth worked great for removing grease and grime on my stove top. It worked beautifully Kitchen e-clothon my counter tops. It made my stainless and sink shine. There is also a scrubbing pocket attached to the e-cloth which was perfect for removing stuck on messes. The e-cloth can also be used dry for dusting.

So, I love it and will continue to use it. I’m also going to purchase the Deep Clean Mop because, frankly, I’m tired of cleaning my floors on my hands and knees and I completely trust that the mop will perform like the kitchen e-cloth has performed.

For more information about e-cloths, visit http://www.mycleaningcloths.com/.

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As you know, I am passionate about non-toxic and sustainable living. It can be a little overwhelming and very expensive to wade through the products that say they are healthy and to find the ones that really are healthy, natural AND effective. So My Green Side is SO excited to partner with Ecocentric Mom as part of their blogger team. Ecocentric Mom takes the time, money and guesswork out of researching products, brands and ingredients so you can discover and try different products that are safe for you and your family. Here’s how they work:

Ecocentric Mom offers 3 specifically tailored types of membership boxes. The best fit for you will depend on your stage of motherhood. They offer a Mom box (for Moms of all stages), the Mom-to-Be box (to help pamper you during this wonderful time) and the Baby box (for newborns to 18 months). Each box is filled with items specific to the box type. Please visit The Boxes page for more detailed information about each box type.

To celebrate my new adventure with Ecocentric Mom, I am offering My Green Side readers a 10% discount on any subscription plan you choose. Just be sure to sign up here and enter code ECOMOM10 at checkout.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. YOU CAN STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 1220PM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: When grilling during the summer (or any time) use these simple tips to reduce waste and keep your grilling a little greener.

  • Use a Better Grill.
    • Conventional charcoal burns dirty and produces greenhouse gases. If you have a charcoal grill, look for organic or natural lump brands. Natural gas is the most energy-efficient; however, infrared grills are the greenest as they heat quickly, use the least energy, and use less gas than regular gas grills.
    • Grills made of cast iron or stainless steel are the safest because they remain non-toxic at any temperature. Watch out for models made from chrome-coated aluminum, which can become toxic if the aluminum oxidizes. Stay away from lighter fluids, which release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air.
    • Buy an a grill that is sized to fit your needs. A larger grill uses more energy because it takes longer to heat.
  • Non-Toxic Cleaning.
    • Before you turn on your grill, clean the grate with baking soda instead of store-bought chemicals. Use a wire brush and a paste of equal parts baking soda and water.
    • After your cookout, take a halved onion and rub it over the grate to get rid of excess food. Brush olive oil over the grate afterwards so the food won’t stick the next time you grill.
  • Set a Sustainable Table.
    • When serving your guests, go with reusable cutlery, glasses and plates. Use cloth napkins instead of paper. If you can’t use reusable dishware, cutlery or napkins, choose biodegradable, recycled , or unbleached picnicware.
  • Serve Sustainable Foods.
    • Fill your menu with greener options by choosing USDA certified organic or local grass-fed meat. If you’re a vegetarian, try certified organic soy hot dogs and burgers. Instead of using tomatoes and onions sprayed with pesticides, shop at your local farmer’s market to pick up your produce. You’ll also find pesticide-free meat products.
  • Recycle & Compost. 
    • Make it easy for guests to recycle by placing recycling bins next to the trashcan. Make sure each can has a label clearly marked: paper, plastic and aluminum. If you have a lot of leftover food scraps, compost the proper foods. Remember to never compost dairy or meat products.
  • Prevent Pests. 
    • To keep pests from plaguing your cookout, throw sage and rosemary on the hot grill. Mosquitoes hate these plants and will stay away, and the herbs add a pleasant aroma to your get-together. Another mosquito prevention trick is to set out a cup of sugar water. The mosquitoes will flock to the sugar water and stay away from your guests.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

Grilling Addiction

GrillingAddiction.com is an excellent place to find grilling tips, tricks, techniques and recipes all year round. One of my favorites is Grilled Pizza Margherita and the Cedar Planked Potatoes with Rosemary and the… I could go on and on.

 

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