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Green Living

Inspiration and fresh ideas for how to live as a sustainable family.

245 green living article submissions by the Mothering community.

How to live without electricity in a heatwave

Thanks to a freak storm bearing a name no one recognized, Washingtonians are being thrust into figuring out how to live without electricity.  The Derecho not only created a post-apocalyptic scene around town, it also led to some pre-industrial conditions.  Hundreds of thousands of people were without power.  In the middle of a heat wave.  The worst heat wave ever. I feel a little bad commenting on these circumstances since I still have power, and a gorgeous ceiling fan is whirring over my head.  But I do think that I have some experience to bring to bear for... read more

Penniless and Blessed

By Jennie Englund, M.S. Ed.Web Exclusive, November 20, 2006 As I join other Americans pouring out thanks over mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, I consider this question: does money buy happiness? My answer, based on experience, is a resounding "no." In fact, I treasure my little family's state of less-than-desirable money matters—it is a unique and absolute blessing, for which I am truly grateful. In the wake of my resignation from teaching to be a stay-home mom, there has, of course, been a great sacrifice—the illustrious financial one. But our family has reaped more... read more

Using Herbs for Customized Pest Control

  Bugs, bugs, and more bugs!  Some are cute and cuddly, others outright nasty.  Then there are those sneaky ones that can devour a garden seemingly overnight.  I have a no nasty rule in my home and on my property, meaning that I will happily spend an entire day pulling weeds because I refuse to use horrible chemicals on my plants, and on the land.  Because I love to garden, and am definitely not a fan of bugs in my home (even if those daddy long legs do keep other bugs at bay, they still have to go), my arsenal of natural and safe pest control is... read more

Ten tips: Beating the heat while beating back global warming

It’s not your imagination, it actually is hotter than it used to be.  Climate change has kicked in and we are breaking heat records left and right.  It was a spring for the record books and we may be in line for another record breaking summer.  No matter what state you live in, it is hotter on average now than it was forty years ago.  Of course one response to this heat is to crank up the A/C.  But unless you select a renewable energy  option from your utility (an option not everyone has), that response would actually cause more coal to be burned, and... read more

Make Over Your Cleaning Cabinet

I’m a lover of all plants in all of their forms, but do seem to be on an essential oil kick lately.  They are the most potent form of herbs, and when used appropriately can do wonders.  So to continue on my essential oil rant, here’s a list of do-it-yourself cleaning products that are not only safe and super easy to make, but work just as effectively, if not more so, than anything that you’ll find at a store.   All Purpose Spray 1/4 cup white vinegar (kills germs, cuts grease, deodorizes & dissolves mineral deposits) 2 cups water,... read more

The Rabbit Restaurant

And Other Gardening Secrets from My Daughter By Deborah LiBrandi Web Exclusive   Growing up, the outdoors was a place of abundance and beauty. I was raised in rural Ohio on nearly four acres of land that included 28 apple trees, a blackberry patch, grape vines and a large vegetable garden planted and tended to every summer by my family and me. We grew corn, beans, tomatoes, broccoli and sunflowers. When I was hungry, I climbed my apple tree and picked an apple. If it was late summer, I would eat a fresh, warm tomato straight from the vine. I didn’t have to wash off... read more

Good Housecleaning

By Annie Berthold-Bond My friend Rachel is pregnant with her second child. Like many pregnant women, she is distilling all of society's free-floating anxiety about exposure to toxic chemicals into nine months of serious worrying. Rachel asked me to teach her how to do nontoxic cleaning, and she was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy and effective it can be. There are five basics that I use for nontoxic cleaning: baking soda, vinegar, a good soap or detergent, washing soda, and tea tree oil. I believe you can clean everything in the house with these items. Rachel... read more

The Clothesline

By Rebecca Balcarcel Web Exclusive Fifteen dollars, a trip to the local hardware store, and I was all set. One retractable clothesline, guaranteed not to break, rust, or raise the electric bill. Since I own a perfectly-running dryer, more than a few folks wondered at my new purchase. At the store, clerks passed my question back and forth like a smelly cloth diaper. "Clothesline did you say? Let me ask hardware." "A clothesline? Let me check with domestics." "Do you mean a line for hanging clothing? Stay right there; I'll find the manager." I finally scooped the single... read more

Chicken Lessons

By Susan Biggar A Web Exclusive The best thing about our suburban house is the back garden. I readily admit it’s not a pleasant sight for anyone with a green thumb, because it’s not that kind of garden. The grass is worn thin in key places, like threadbare knees on favorite jeans. In fact, there’s not a trace of green at the two ends, which double as soccer goals in winter and cricket batting boxes in summer. The plants that survive living on an all-terrain sports field get almost no pruning or tender loving care. And the rain dries up for months on end, sometimes at... read more

Paper or plastic? Neither, if you worry about the planet.

This week I’m going to answer a question that many moms get asked at least once a week. Imagine the usual scenario:  Your little darling is screaming in the check out aisle.  He won’t let go of the magazine that he just grabbed somehow with his sticky hands, and, oh, he just ripped the magazine.  Wonderful.  And he NEEEEEDS that chocolate bar, and also the cough drops hanging from that clip.  You are keeping a smile pasted on your face.  You try reason.  Fail.  You try ‘toddlerese’.  Fail.  You try bribery, but not even that is working today.  And the lady... read more

Mothering › Green Living Articles