Gone pickin’ – WW

It’s been a while since I posted for Wordless Wednesday, so since I’ve been busy with other things and not had a chance to write much, here goes (though its not entirely wordless).

Picking raspberries in a neighbor’s vacant yard. The kids ate them almost as fast as we picked them.
Ava picking raspberries 9/24/08
Julian picking raspberries 9/24/08Mmmm, raspberries 9/24/08

And pickin’ green beans in our own yard. Had ’em for dinner last night. :)
Picking green beans for dinner 9/24/08
Green bean pickin’ in our garden 9/29/08

More Wordless Wednesday and even more WW at 5 Minutes for Mom

Green Tip of the Week #24: Getting rid of house flies and fruit flies naturally

If your house is anything like mine lately, you’ve had an infestation of flies – both of the house and fruit variety. Here are some tips I’ve run across over the past several weeks that have helped me deal with mine, naturally.

For Houseflies (or poop bugs as my daughter called them until her preschool teacher corrected her – hehe):

  • Using a fly swatter is the best way to rid your house of them
  • Hang a clear plastic bag of water (half-full) on or near your door. It will deter them from coming in your house in the first place. (I’m still trying out this method.)

fruitbowl.jpgFor fruit flies:

  1.  Fill a shallow bowl of red wine, red wine vinegar OR apple cider vinegar (I’ve had luck with all three of these)
  2. Add a few drops of dish soap to it and mix it in with your finger
  3. Leave on your counter top
  4. The fruit flies will gather on the rim of the bowl and, eventually, dive on in and drown

OR

  1. Leave out a wine bottle with an inch or so of red wine at the bottom.
  2. The flies get trapped. They go in, but can’t get out.

OR

  1. Make a cone out of a sheet of paper (like a funnel) to fit in a cup
  2. Pour a small amount of apple cider vinegar into the cup
  3. Place the funnel into the cup, but don’t let it touch the vinegar
  4. Tape the paper funnel to the cup
  5. The flies will go down into the cup but won’t be able to fly back out

Please note: When trying to rid your home of fruit flies, it’s best to rid your counter tops of fresh or rotting produce (which will attract the fruit flies and is a breeding ground for them) by either putting it in the refrigerator or covering it. You should also wash all dishes, clean all drains and empty your trash.

What’s worked for you? Have any tips to share?

Have any green tips you’ve recently learned? Please email them to me and I may include your tip with a link to your site or blog in a future post. :)

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Ditch the Disposables Challenge : Check-in #2

We are now nearly a month into the Ditch the Disposables challenge and at last count there were just over 100 people signed up! That’s wonderful news! Thank you all for giving the challenge a go.

How are you doing with it?

As for me and my switch to the MoonCup and cloth pads (for backup), I don’t have anything new to report. It went well for me earlier in the month, but I haven’t had to use them again yet. As for my switch from tissues to handkerchiefs, I can’t say I’ve been doing quite as well. I received the cloth handkerchiefs that my mom made for me and while I’ve been using them some of the time, I still find myself preferring to use tissues or, now that I’ve run out of tissues, toilet paper for blowing my nose. My allergies seem to be particularly bad lately so I’m blowing my nose A LOT.

Hope you all are faring well. There’s only one more month let in the challenge (although if you want to make the switch a permanent one, I certainly won’t argue with you). Thanks to everyone who has been a part of this, who has blogged about the challenge and helped spread the word and inspired others to give it a try as well. :)

A midwife’s labor of love

Ruth Lubic is a woman on a mission. At an age when most people would have already retired, she embarked on a new project – starting a midwife-operated birthing center in one of the poorest areas of Washington D.C. The infant mortality rate in D.C. is almost double the national average, yet after 800 babies in 8 years the center has “never lost a child in childbirth, and has cut the rate of premature births – the biggest risk factor for infant mortality – in half.”

Ruth Lubic and DC Birth Center babiesAt age 81 Ruth Lubic continues her labor of love. She believes that low-income women can really benefit from the care and prenatal education that midwives provide. The key to DC Birth Center‘s results of beating the odds she believes are, “Time [spent with the women], respect and treating people with dignity.” She thinks the national infant mortality rate is disgraceful, but believes midwives can help solve it and says that her results at the birthing center in poverty-stricken D.C. are proof that her ideas could work anywhere.

Rixa Freeze at The Truth Face of Birth wrote about Lubic in her post “Time, respect and dignity,” where Mother2Midwife commented, “This is what I’ve been trying to tell my girlfriends for years! Shouldn’t this tell us that even those of us who aren’t ‘low-income’ would have better outcomes with more face time with our care providers, and more education about pregnancy and birth?”

Over at Our Bodies, Ourselves Blog, Rachel wrote about Lubic’s CBS video interview (which you can watch here) and also shares this video interview where Lubic discusses her work with the center and talks with one of her clients about her prenatal experience at the center. There’s also a very informative article about Lubic in the Washington Post from last year.

Stacy at How Sweet It Is is thrilled to see a midwife “get some awesome media attention” and thanks CBS for a great story.

Back in August, Nikki at Kirsch Family Adventures who is expecting her first baby in January 2009, wrote about her decision to use a midwife and not an OB and shares some information about the Midwives Model of Care, the types of midwives in the U.S. and tries to clear up some misconceptions regarding midwives vs. OBs.

Over at Mama Speaks, Stephanie of Adventures in Babywearing (who, after three hospital births, gave birth to her fourth child at home with a midwife) recently posted a brief review of the book Pushed by Jennifer Block and believes it is a book that should be read by pretty much everyone because you can never be too informed about modern day maternity care. “Some things you won’t want to believe, but it is full of fact and truth. It’s just a very difficult pill to swallow. But Mamas, if you want what is best for you and your baby before and after birth, this is medicine you must open up and take.”

There is still a lot that needs to be done in the United States to improve the quality of prenatal care women and babies receive which is why I think it’s such an easy choice for Ruth Lubic to continue her work at the birthing center and congressional briefings. When it was suggested that at age 81 she could be retired, Lubic replied, “I’m not tired the first time! Much less retired.” If only we all had her dedication and passion. She truly is an inspiration.

* Photo credit: Washington Post

Cross-posted on BlogHer

Green dishwashing

After something like a year and a half of being without a functioning dishwasher (thank God my husband washes the dishes the majority of the time), I am happy to report that we finally have a new (to us) fully-functional dishwasher. Woohoo! (Thank you to my hubby and my father-in-law for fixing the pipes and getting the “new” dishwasher installed.)

Now the question is – what dishwasher detergent should we use? I’d like to avoid phosphates and chlorine (for health reasons) and find something as environmentally-friendly as possible. We were using Seventh Generation or Method dish soap when washing them by hand. This topic was discussed a bit at the EcoMom meeting I attended last week, but I don’t recall what the consensus was.

What do you use in your dishwasher? Does it get the dishes clean? Leave a film on them? Would you recommend it to others? Thanks in advance! :)

My first EcoMom meeting

ecomommember.jpgOn Thursday of last week I went to my first EcoMom party/meeting at Alison’s (of Green Me) house. I didn’t even know she was local to me until a few weeks ago when I met up with her on Facebook thanks to Julie.

I picked up Melissa (‘cuz carpooling is the environmentally-friendly thing to do, yo) and we joined about 20 moms in attendance – all of us concerned with helping to make the world a better, safer, greener place for our children. Add some local food and drinks (beer and wine) to that green mama passion and I think it’s safe to say a good time was had by all.

We mingled, ate, drank, watched Annie Leonard’s The Story of Stuff (that I blogged about here), and had some discussions about organic clothing, CFLs, eating local, biking with kids and other topics. Alison mentioned my Ditch the Disposables Challenge and challenged all of the moms present to give up paper towels for the month of October. She gave us all some biodegradable Twist sponges to get us started (and some Rudi’s Organic bagels too – not for the challenge, but I was thankful for them nonetheless). The only problem with the evening is that there wasn’t enough time to talk about everything. (Isn’t that always the way?)

Alison is hoping to keep the momentum going and organize some more EcoMom meetings and I have to say I’m excited about it. It’s one thing to be involved in green living with the online community through my blog, but it’s another thing to see local moms in my neck of the woods who are interested in doing their part too.

You can read more about the evening at Green Me. To sign up to be a member of the EcoMom Alliance (which I just did tonight) and join over 11,000 EcoMom members around the globe, visit EcoMom Alliance. You can also check out the EcoMom Challenge – 10 First Steps for a Sustainable Future. There’s no cost to join, though donations are appreciated.