Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Eco-Moms: A New Marketing Trend

According to a report released by EcoFocus Worldwide, eco-conscious parents were identified as a powerful new trend for marketing. These days parents feel that being eco-friendly is not only a part of leaving a positive legacy, but also has to do with setting a positive example for their kids. Linda Gilbert, the CEO of EcoFocus, says that eco-moms are “a new archetype that will define next generation products and communications.” In fact the 21st century is already proving to be full of eco-minded parents, with 35% of moms sending their kids to school with zero-waste lunches.

This report also found that parents who behave in an eco-friendly way noticed positive changes in their health and quality of life. For example, 2 in 5 eco-moms are more physically active from leading a greener lifestyle. And most moms conclude that a greener lifestyle helps them spend more time together as a family, with almost “70% of parents agreeing that being eco-friendly provides them with teachable moments with their kids.”

Although this report clearly shows the facts that there is a growing movement of eco-conscious parents, it also hints to companies that this is their new demographics of consumers to target. I agree that the population of eco-minded parents is growing, which is increasing the demand for eco-friendly products. Obviously I won’t be complaining if I see a greater number of companies producing green products, but I am concerned that that real intention of being eco-friendly will be lost in an effort for companies to sell more new products. I don’t want to just buy a product because the packaging says it’s green, I actually want products that are better for the environment, produce less waste, and use less chemicals.

As this EcoFocus report clearly states, eco-moms have considerable buying power, so let’s continue to ask for the best quality products for both our families and the planet. Of course there have been eco-friendly products out on the market for decades, but it’s still good to know companies are recognizing the growing demand for environmentally friendly products!

Read the article here!

What do you think? Leave me a comment!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cleaning with Natural Ingredients

To get things clean around the house you don’t have to depend on tough, chemical cleansers. I am constantly seeing ads for new cleaning products that produce “sparkling” results. Sure there are plenty of products out there that will “do the job for you,” but what kinds of chemicals are they made of? Call me old fashioned, but I think there’s nothing wrong with using a little elbow grease to get the job done. Besides I don’t want to pollute my house and family with strong chemicals when I can use natural ingredients to do the same thing!

There are three main natural ingredients that I use in my house to do a variety of jobs. All three are affordable and you probably already have them in your kitchen.

1. Vinegar.

Vinegar is my staple cleaning product because it works as an all-purpose cleanser. I prefer to use distilled white vinegar for cleaning. Costco sells huge containers that last a long time. Mix 1 part vinegar with 1 part water in a spray bottle and you’ll have something to clean most parts of the house. You can play with the proportions according to what works well in your house, but it is best not to increase the amount of vinegar in your solution. Vinegar heavy solutions are too acidic and can eat away at tile grout.

If you have tougher spots to clean, try adding a few drops of normal dish washing liquid to help cut the grime. And don’t worry about the smell; it goes away as soon as the surface dries. Vinegar is safe to use on most surfaces, except marble. It also acts as a deodorizer and disinfectant. Always test your surfaces with your solution in an inconspicuous area before use. Use a vinegar solution for glass and mirrors, in the bathroom (toilet, sink, tub, countertops, floor, etc.) and in the kitchen (appliances, refrigerator, stovetop, countertops, floor, etc.)

2. Lemon juice.

Lemon juice can be great to clean your home, plus it smells fresh. Lemon works best to clean and shine metals such as brass and copper. It also works to get rid of soap scum and hard water deposits. If you mix lemon juice with baking soda, you can make a cleaning paste to get out stains and scrub surfaces. To make furniture polish, mix 1 part lemon juice to 2 parts olive oil.

3. Baking soda.

Baking soda works like an abrasive cleanser as well as a deodorizer. Put a box in the refrigerator to absorb odors or anywhere else you might need to neutralize smells. Mix baking soda with water to make a paste to scrub out grease and stains.

Depending on the cleaning project that I have, sometimes I find it useful to look up natural cleaning recipes online. For example, I recently looked up a recipe to naturally polish silver. I found a great recipe which consisted of warm vinegar, water, and lots of salt and it worked pretty well!

What are your ingredients for natural home cleaning? Leave a comment!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

You'll like making baby food from home!

If you are a new mom like me, at some point you will begin to introduce your baby to solid foods. My baby is just over 6 months old, so I began this process a little over a month ago. I have enjoyed making my baby food at home. Depending on the brand, a lot of store bought baby food is not as nutritious as it seems, and they may also contain a variety of chemicals or preservatives. By making your own baby food, you can control the quality of ingredients that your baby will eat. Plus, homemade baby food costs a lot less and you create less packaging waste. It is easy to make your own baby food! Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

-Buy organic and pesticide free fruits and veggies to decrease your baby’s exposure to toxic chemicals.

-Keep it simple! An old trick is to mash or blend the food you are already cooking for yourself to give to your baby.

-Use these guidelines when deciding what foods to prepare:

0 to 4 months: Breast milk or formula only

4 to 6 months: semi-liquefied rice and grain cereals (such as oat and barley)

6 to 8 months: puréed or strained fruits and veggies

8 to 10 months: Time to get creative! It’s now appropriate to introduce small amounts of dairy, mashed fruits and veggies, small amounts of protein, small finger foods, non-citrus juice

10 to 12 months: cut fruit, bite sized cooked veggies, protein, finger foods, iron-fortified cereals, cheese and yogurt, non-citrus juice

-When introducing protein, get creative and change the variety. Try things like black beans, lentils, fish and tofu!

-Use highly nutritious veggies like squash, avocado, sweet potato, and carrots.

-Remember to make sure baby has a well balanced diet. Variety between meals ensures that your baby is getting all the necessary vitamins and minerals. Variety also means that your child will learn to like an array of foods (and hopefully be less picky in the future!). Try not to depend on giving your child only simple carbohydrates like processed cereal or breads, which just don’t have much nutritional value.

Check out these useful websites:

My baby’s current favorite food is blended sweet potato and peas. Do you have any suggestions for awesome homemade baby foods? What is your baby’s favorite food? Please leave a comment!

Photo by tiffanywashko at Flickr