Shopping with Coupons, green or not green?

It’s a guilty pleasure when I get to indulge in TLC’s shows like Toddlers & Tiaras and Extreme (extreme!) Couponing, but I can’t stop watching them.  You kind of learn things to do/not to do, and decide how much effort you would put towards things like that yourself. (i.e. not a lot for me, but I’m a people watcher at heart so that’s enough entertainment to keep me entertained).  They mention tips and tricks about coupons and talk about some online resources (Krazy Coupon Lady is #1 apparently) to get yourself started.

Some places take “preloaded” coupons so you can use a card and some places take clipped paper coupons. Green vs. not-green.  I figured I would try this, but at Walmart.  (yes, groan and groan- but who seriously has time to visit 3-4 supermarkets?!).  I made up a spreadsheet- and I Lurvvvveee to put anything on a spreadsheet- divided into four main categories: cold/frozen, aisles (boxed/canned/bagged), fruits/veggies, and HBA’s (health and beauty accessories) and then specifically searched for the coupons of products that we use.

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Usually, most people peruse the coupons and make your list from there.  But we end up with so/so brands of stuff we may or may not completely use and less waste – even from a big box store- is better for sure.  And my family has super sensitive skin and stomachs, so generic off-brands are just about a no-no 99% of the time.  I have to say the spreadsheet worked out well for me- and I highlighted the items I had coupons for in red.  I had 16 coupons that saved me about $14.  I think next time I’ll try it at Hyvee, since that’s where I go for our organic veggies and meat counter requests after the local farmer’s market.  Do you go extreme?  Or what’s your easy- breezy way to still get the best deals?

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Being EcoMom Made Easy

Every time I visit a big box store, or even a grocery store,  I make a beeline for the HBA’s.  In retail talk, that’s Health and Beauty Accessories.  I look for organic, eco-friendly brands that I can find in other places.  I always hope that the one store will have a special little niche that has exactly what I’m looking for- at hopefully decent budget friendly prices.  But then I blame Missouri.  Not that I should- it can be really great at times.  But since we’re literally in the middle of everything, it takes awhile for trends and most brands to make their availability known here if they’re not sold at Walmart. (Thank goodness for Target!).

I feel so lucky to have the availability to ship whatever I want from online sites.  Luckily, EcoMom does a heft of work as well- by gathering all those organic, wooden, cloth, natural rubber, and earth happy products and putting them on their site.  They’re motto is “We do the research, so you don’t have to.”  Unlike a few other green sites that do the same thing, Ecomom has product reviews readily available (you can even volunteer for that).  They include upscale make-up for moms, books, kitchen gear, organizing tools, perfect giftsets, and even giftcards!  I’ve only ordered a few things so far, as I slowly replace each few plastic toys in our house with something better, but the quality is awesome so I really recommend them.  Where do you find green products?

 

Healthy Child Healthy World [useful printables link!]

Since I finally got around to testing out my free trial sizes of Honest products, I took the plunge and ordered my first set of diaper/wipes bundle and a home product bundle.  I’m excited to test out the sunscreen and multi-purpose cleaner the most!  The eco-green earth-friendly talk has been everywhere, with today being Earth Day and all.  The motivation behind a lot of movements was spurred on by Healthy Child Healthy World– a non-profit organization that is trying to promote a healthier environment for all kids (and families).

Former CEO of the company, Chris Gavigan, authored a highly revered book by the same name.  (I just grabbed it from the library today!).  The org has helped many families identify and remove harmful toxins in their lives to create lower allergy and asthmatic environments.  Healthy Child Healthy World works to educate families for the future of our children.  While perusing their site, I found a list of informational printables for you here.  You can print some out, or download the app to keep the pocket lists with you always.  They’ve already done the research for the healthiest brands- look for them by name.

Baby Slinging

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Get Blossom‘s and Amy Farrah Fowler‘s images out of your head, and try out reading Mayim Bialik’s Beyond the Sling book.  If you’ve ever heard of attachment parenting or helicopter parenting, the image of an unwashed hippie in dreads with a tie-dyed baby sling with the smell of patchouli over their shoulder might come to mind.  Nothing wrong with that.  Patchouli gives me headaches. But people- and trends (what works and what doesn’t) have adapted just as the ways we raise our kiddos have.  I  like to read a lot of non-fiction, and even if I disagree or find faults with a book’s message, I’m not lost on gaining some education.

Mayim is touted in both good and bad ways for this book, written by herself as a mom of two.  No one can ignore that she earned a Ph.D. in Neuroscience.  And she wasn’t a baby person at all before having kids, so she’s a strong voice now for attachment parenting, La Leche League International (she’s a certified consultant), and the Holistic Moms Network.

Bed sharing and elimination communication are not for me.  I might have to do some more research on the latter with bambina though…  I do believe, however, that raising a confident child by gently communicating with them (no yelling!) is a great and wonderful plan.  She shares a lot of the personal sacrifices she and her husband have made to create this environment for their kids.  I read her book cover to cover in just a few days, and I’ve taken some small learned habits away from it that I think make me a better mom.  Be sure to read her section on sharing toys at a playground- or not forcing “please” and “thank you” on her kids!

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Toy Talk

With the second kid’s arrival, little bambina had a plethora of toys leftover from sillyboy’s stash a few years back.  To keep things green, I planned to reuse most of his toys.  There were many stuffed animals, a few good wooden ones, and many plastic ones.  I cleaned them all with some Clorox Anywhere Spray and inspected them out for wear and tear.  The small plastic toys looked fine from the general look of them, but when looking even closer, I found that there were little cracks and parts that were almost near breakage.  Not cool for bambina.  Enter the new triple threat of toys- that we take everywhere:

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First left toy: The Winkel from Manhattan Toys.  Yes, it’s plastic.  But it’s colorful, playful, easy to grasp loops are perfect for little ones figuring out the hand/finger combo to pick things up and gum them.  Easy to clean, hard to break apart, and there’s a little rattle in the center cube.  (It also attaches to anything baby with Linkadoos, so you don’t worry about it dropping on the floor).

Second toy: Jacques the Peacock from Lamaze.  Tons of colors, fabric textures, crinkle sounds, a rattle, a mirror, and easy to gnaw on.  Also has a clip for anywhere on the go, and pops in the washer for any extensive cleaning needed.

Third toy: Not really a toy, but as an homage to pacifier clips, this is the Wubanub.  No clip needed.  Every baby and parent seems to have a different preference for the binky.  Ours is used much like a fire extinguisher, for those “break in case of emergency” situations at 3am, or public areas full of people scowling at the screaming baby.  The Soothie by First Years is sewed into a beanie-baby type of animal, and is pushed away easy even by a newborn who has no interest. Easy to clean and easy for holding.

I scoured Amazon for most of the reviews (these 3 all have 4-5 stars) instead of just heading to the toy store. So what’s your favorite top three toys? Are they actually toys, or other items re-purposed for a toy?