What's for Breakfast? Whole Wheat Pancakes

One of my goals after my month of Plastic Awareness was to eat less packaged cereal. And lately, cold cereal with milk just hasn’t been filling us up enough anyway. Anyone with kids also knows that breakfast for dinner is always a good idea, and a pretty painless way to have a Meatless Monday too! So I’m writing a series of posts featuring my favorite breakfast recipes.

I like to make pancakes at least once a week.  Here is my favorite whole wheat pancake recipe with some variations. (Note: this post is an update and expansion of this post from last June.)

Whole Wheat Pancakes

Spring Cleaning: A Minimalist Approach (Green Phone Booth)

I like a clean house as much as the next person, but I sure don't like cleaning. Before kids, I didn't mind cleaning too much and kept a pretty clean house. Of course, it wasn't that hard to keep the house clean when my husband and I both worked full-time and no one was dumping a bowl-full of food on the floor several times a day. But now that I have three little ones, and the amount of kid-free time I have to get anything done has shrunk to a pin-head, it's hard for me to spend those precious 5 minutes between nursing and wiping a bottom doing dishes or mopping the bathroom floor. In one of the great ironies of life, children bring more messes and infinitely less time to do anything about it.

Click here to read the rest of this post at The Green Phone Booth


Ten Tips for Sun Safety


Last year I wrote about the surprising fact that, according to the FDA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer, there is no consensus on whether sunscreens prevent skin cancer. Because both UV radiation and many common sunscreen ingredients generate free radicals that accelerate skin aging and cause skin cancer, if you use sunscreen improperly, you may be causing more harm than good. According to EWG, "Most experts agree that people should use sunscreens to protect their skin from the sun, but they disagree widely on how well they actually work." Many experts now recommend clothing and shade, not sunscreen, as primary barriers from sun exposure.

My children and I spend at least two hours and as many as six hours outside whenever weather permits, which is nearly every day in northern California. We use clothing and shade as primary barriers from the sun, and sunscreen only on occasion (beach trips and a few other occasions). Here are my some tips for avoiding sunburns and carcinogenic UV radiation without exposing your family to harmful chemicals.

Avoiding Toxins in Baby Products

Research on Toxic Chemicals in Baby Products

It seems like every few months I read a new report about the toxic chemicals in baby products. Developing fetuses, babies, and young children are especially vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals.

Formaldehyde in furniture. In the report Toxic Baby Furniture: The Latest Case for Making Products Safe from the Start (2008), Environment America reported that "baby nursery cribs, changing tables, and dressers can emit formaldehyde at levels linked with increased risk of childhood allergies and asthma." Formaldehyde is also a carcinogen.

What Does a Baby Need?

Snoozing in an Ergo baby carrier.

I have three children. My youngest is 3 months old. The more babies I've had, the less baby stuff I've wanted.  Here is a sampling of baby gear I used to own that I have gotten rid of:
  • Pack 'n' play (barely used it)
  • Exersaucer (took up too much space for the limited amount of time it was actually useful)
  • Swing (my kids never took to it)
  • Infant car seat (now we use a convertible car seat that lasts until the booster seat)
  • Play mat (not safe to use with a toddler around)
  • Changing table (now I use a towel on top of my bed)

Babies do need to sleep, eat, pee and poop, move and play. But after three babies, I know that there is very little stuff that a baby actually needs to do these things. Since babies are extremely vulnerable to endocrine disruptors and other harmful chemicals, this is the time to be super-conscientious about materials and ingredients. Here are five items that have turned out to be essentials for my babies.

Natural Nursing Pillows

Blessed Nest nursing pillow, filled with organic buckwheat hulls.

I nursed my first two children on a My Brest Friend nursing pillow, a hand-me-down from my older sister. I often let my infants take a little nap on the nursing pillow after nursing while I read a book.  I liked a lot of things about the My Brest Friend: the flat, firm surface; the adjustable girth. But there was also something I learned to really not like about the My Brest Friend: it's made of polyurethane foam, most likely treated with toxic flame retardant chemicals.

Natural Deodorant that Works for My Husband

For years, I've been searching for a less-toxic deodorant for my husband. My husband has gone along with most of my green upgrades pretty willingly, but he insists on having a deodorant that is up to the task, and so far the less-toxic deodorants have largely not worked for my husband. Now I am willing to let a thing or two slide here and there, but I did not let go of my quest for a new deodorant for my husband for one major reason: he often sleeps with our kids, and after they sleep together, I can smell the fragrance of his deodorant on my kids. Which means the fragrance is on them. 


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