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All posts in green neighbor

Homemade Baby Food Safety Tips

I’ve always admired new moms and dads who prepare homemade baby food for their little ones. When my older son was ready for solids, I never considered making my own vegetable-and-fruit concoctions. Instead, I simply purchased jars (and jars and jars) of organic baby food and called it a day.

 A few years later, when I was pregnant again, I reconsidered my stance on DIY baby food. “If other moms can do it, so can I,” I proudly thought. Before my younger son was even born, I ordered a baby food maker — and never took it out of its box. The truth is, when it came time to start feeding him steamed and pureed meals, I was intimidated by the process.

 What I should’ve done was start practicing with my baby food maker when it first arrived, before my overwhelmed new mommy brain kicked into high gear. Because, as it turns out, making homemade baby food really isn’t that hard. As the Plum Organics website explains, if you can mash a banana in a bowl and mix it with a little bit of breast milk, formula, or water, you can make baby food at home.

 However, there are a couple of safety concerns to keep in mind when preparing homemade baby food, especially because the risk of getting a foodborne illness is higher for infants than older children or adults. According to Foodsafety.gov, you should never use dairy products made from raw, unpasteurized milk, honey, or home-canned food when DIYing baby food. All fruits and vegetables, even if they’re going to be peeled, should be washed in clean, running water, separate cutting boards should be used for meat, poultry, and fish and for non-meat foods to avoid cross-contamination.

 Once the baby food has been prepared, don’t allow it to stand at room temperature for more than two hours. Fruits and vegetables can be stored in the refrigerator for 48 hours, while meat, poultry, fish and egg dishes can only be refrigerated for 24 hours. Finally, frozen baby foods should be defrosted in the microwave or on the stove, never in warm standing water or by leaving them on the kitchen counter.

Conserving Water In and Out of the Home

I love my home state of California – it’s one of the best places in the world in my book. But being a California resident these days is a little nerve wracking, as we’re finding ourselves in the middle of one of the biggest droughts in history.

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Garden Safety Tips

If you’ve spent an entire day gardening, you know it’s not for the weak. Gardening is hard work! In order to design a garden that’s safe for your family, it’s important to take precautions. Here are some tips…

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Lawn Care with Pets

If you have a pet that spends time outside, you know that lawn care can be tricky business. Growing grass becomes a bit more complicated with a dog spending time in your yard. Dog urine contains high amounts of nitrogen, as a result of breaking down protein in their food. This can act as a fertilizer but also have consequences on a lawn when exposed in frequent and larger volumes. Female dogs’ urine, in general, is more acidic since it is usually eliminated in larger quantities at one time. This can create burn spots on lawns. Male dogs’ urine is also high in nitrogen, but may have less consequences as males tend to mark their urine in smaller amounts instead of releasing it in large quantities. Whether your dog is male or female, there are preventative steps to keep both your pet and lawn safe and healthy all season long.

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How to Teach Children to be Earth Friendly

April 22nd marked the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, which began as a grassroots protest and has evolved into a worldwide movement. As kids, we were taught the mantra “Earth Day Every Day,” although, at the time, the message was more about conservation than environmentalism.

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10 common household items recycled in inventive ways for Earth Day!

It’s that time of year again—you know the time I’m talking about…Earth Day time! That’s right! Time to celebrate Earth, her beauty, and come up with ways to keep her clean and pretty and healthy. In other words, Earth Day is the perfect day to re-evaluate ways to recycle, up-cycle, and ways to protect our environment. Today I want to share with you some innovative ways to up-cycle 10 items in your home, which basically means giving new life and purpose to 10 items instead of throwing them out!

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The best vegetables, herbs, & flowers to plant this spring

Maybe you’re lucky enough to live in a warm climate with year round gardening, but the majority of us are anxiously awaiting the last frost in order to begin spring gardening season. Gardening is science, and when you’re getting started, it’s important to research, plan ahead, and develop a schedule in order to ensure success. So how do you know what to plant and when?

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top 10 best tips to remember while planning a garden

As the weather gets warmer, we all look for more ways to spend quality time outdoors. One of my favorite ways to enjoy the fresh spring and summer air is spending time in the garden. Starting a garden is a fun and ambitious project. It requires a lot of time and effort but the results are so rewarding. Are you looking to plant a garden this year?

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Going Green: Vivint Smart Thermostat

The temperature at my house is a constant topic of conversation and frustration. There is always a steady stream of complaining about it. Someone is always freezing to death while someone else is dying of heat.

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green strategies that increase organization in the home

A new year means a fresh start. Did you know that January is Organization Month? After exchanging gifts and packing away holiday decor, there couldn’t be a better time to clean out and get organized at home.

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how green living brings happiness

By now we’re all really aware of the term “going green.” It seems every where we look we find eco-friendly items, practices, and even buildings. Sure we know that green living is good for the earth, but have you ever stopped to think about how green living can also be good for you too?

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i’m dreaming of a green christmas

With the holidays right around the corner the hustle and bustle of the season is in full effect! It can be challenging to get it all done with a smile on your face, make that next to impossible. But there is something about the holiday spirit that makes us go the extra mile.

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real vs. fake — the christmas tree debate

The debate over real vs. fake Christmas trees has come up each year, for as long as I can remember.  As with many debates, just when I think I’ve got a handle on which is the correct side, sure enough, I get surprised at the actual facts.  Here are a few facts for you to mull over until the debate comes up again next year when even more studies have been completed.

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green monday

If you are serious about your Christmas prep like me, then you already know that the second Monday in December is known as Green Monday.  Sitting two perfect weeks before Christmas, Green Monday is the day when shoppers get serious about gifting, and getting the house hung with boughs of holly goes full tilt. While Green Monday is the busiest shopping day of the year for retail, (I know, you were thinking Black Friday, right?), this year let’s pledge to make it a different shade of green.  

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green for all ages

Everyone is talking about going green these days but how can we really apply this idea to our life? Here are a few age specific ways to teach green principles to every member of your family.

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sustainable cooking

Sustainable has become a popular word in recent years, especially in regards to food. Sustainable, by definition, means able to be used without being completely used up or destroyed and able to last or continue for a long time.

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orange is the new green

There are few things that bring more family fun come October than a trip to the pumpkin patch.  The colors are gorgeous this time of year and if you head on out to a local pumpkin farm you can enjoy the full spectrum of orange pumpkins, along with green, white, and some beautiful marbled tabletop squashes.  When it comes to selecting that oh so special pumpkin to grace your front porch this fall, why not go green?

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saving energy in the bathroom

The bathroom probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think about reducing energy consumption in the home. However, there’s actually a lot you can do (besides cold showers in the dark) to make sure that your time in the bathroom is as low impact on the environment (and the budget) as possible.

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saving energy in the kitchen

Hello autumn! We are so ready to spend cool fall days around the kitchen table with family, preparing delicious pumpkin pies, pierogis and banana loaves. It is a time of tradition so whatever you and your family loves to do together, we are willing to bet it has something to do with the kitchen.

While the change of season certainly sees us spending more time indoors and therefore using more energy, it is also time to be more conscious about the energy we are using when we aren’t busying our selves over a hot stove.

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How to Make Your Windows as Energy Efficient and as Safe as Possible

The hours of warming sunshine are getting shorter, the colors on the leaves are changing and with this time of year our minds start trying to come up with ways  to stay warm!  One of the biggest culprits of heat stealing are those beautiful windows that can let in such light and warmth. 

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getting your home ready during fall

Although I don’t like to admit it, the first frost and the chill of winter are quickly approaching. Fall is the perfect time to prepare your home to withstand

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green basket programs

Autumn is a time of harvest and the perfect opportunity for the family to learn a little about the origin of your food.  The local food movement is going strong with many towns and cities hosting weekly farmer’s markets

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city bike-sharing programs on the rise

When New York City launched its bike-sharing program last summer, I wondered if it would simply be a short-term fad. After all, who besides bike messengers would want to cruise the city streets of Manhattan on a two-wheeler?

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everyone can live green!

Do you hear people talking about “green living” and get a mental block or even feel so guilty you just want to bury your head in the sand? Well, there’s no need to! There are simple ways to make a

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get involved in your community garden

I remember when my husband and I lived in New York City, I would always get so excited when we passed by a community garden. There’s something so special about a green space like that, especially in an

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how can farmer’s markets save you money?

Every Sunday in my neighborhood, there is a farmer’s market that has the most delicious and fresh California produce. We try to go every week to snag some samples, peruse the homemade goods, and just get some fresh air. It can be a real gamble whether the farmer’s market can save you money

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frequenting farmer’s markets can simplify your life

Grocery stores are LOUD in every way!  From the fluorescent-colored serial boxes, rows of canned goods, toy, diapers, baby food, various packaged goods screaming out at you, to the rattle and squeak of shopping cart wheels surrounding you, a trip to the grocery store is usually the worst part of a stressful day.

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a beginner’s guide to the farmer’s market

Seeking out a one stop family friendly destination for fun, food and a little time in the sun this summer? Look no further than your local farmer’s market! Farmer’s markets are becoming a popular destination not only for picking up the freshest and most local seasonal produce and flowers, but farmer’s markets are also

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farmer’s market and family

I was fortunate to have lived in a very small village in France. One of the great privileges of living there was getting to shop at the beautiful & delicious open Marche each week. We had our choice of fresh milk, fruits, vegetables, cheeses, bread, flowers & much, much more. Once I was gifted a few

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demand response: beneficial to community and consumer

A few months ago I came across an article debating the benefits and downfalls of demand response programs. My first thought was, what in the heck is demand response? I’ll do my best to answer this first question in a minute. My second thought was, do I even need to read this article? Does it apply to me? and the answer is “Yes!” If you are

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