4 Simple Travel Tips for the Jet-setting, Breastfeeding, Cloth Diapering Mom

Flying with a baby while breastfeeding can be tough, but doable if you follow these 4 simple tips.

1 – Dress simple.
Wear something that allows you quick and easy access to breastfeeding and the restroom without a lot of fuss. The wrap top and cotton jersey material on this maxi dress from Old Navy makes for a super comfortable, cute, functional and practical outfit. Top it off with a nice pair of slip on flats that won’t take any effort to get off and on when walking through security. If flats aren’t really your thing, you can jazz up your outfit a bit with a low, cone heel sandal like these from Donald Pliner.

2 – Wear your baby.
Keeping your baby close with a baby carrier makes moving around easier on the plane while keeping your baby safe. You can even take a nap knowing that baby will be okay. A baby wrap like this one from Moby is easy to use and because it doesn’t have any special hooks or straps, it wraps up easily and takes up very little space in your bag. Plus the wide cloth straps can be easily adjusted to cover your baby and keep her secure while breastfeeding.

3 – Pack Light.
Those super cute cloth diapers can sometimes be a bit bulky for travel. Hybrid diapers like this one from Pooters make it easy for you to cloth diaper on the go. The trim inserts are made from bamboo so they take up very little space in your bag without sacrificing the absorbency you need for long trips. Place your inserts, covers, wipes and changing pad in a medium-sized wet/dry bag like this one from Planet Wise. This will allow you to carry your clean and dirty diapers at the same time with ease.

4 – Organize.
Carry a diaper bag with lots of pockets to keep you organized and make finding things like your ID and boarding pass easy while holding all of baby’s stuff. A bag like this one from Timi and Leslie has plenty of room to hold cloth diapers, a laptop, cell phone, baby toys, a Moby wrap and much more while still looking fashionable.

Lawns are unnatural and unhealthy

The United States National Wildlife Federation says of lawns:

30 percent of water used on the East Coast goes to watering lawns; 60 percent on the West Coast.
18 percent of municipal solid waste is yard waste.
The average suburban lawn gets 10 times as much chemical pesticide per acre as farmland.
Over 70 million tons of fertilizers and pesticides are applied to residential lawns and gardens annually–not so good for lungs.
A gas lawn mower emits 10-12 times as much hydrocarbon per hour of operation as a typical auto. A weedeater emits 21 times more and a leaf blower 34 times more.
Where pesticides are used, 60 – 90 percent of earthworms which are important for healthy soil are killed.

The unnatural, bad for the environment attributes of American lawns are:

they are composed of only one species of grass
they are filled with chemical fertilizers, one of the worst water pollutants in the U.S., and potentially harmful nitrate levels from them are being found in drinking water wells across the country
they receive toxic pesticide applications such as chlorpyrifos (Dursban) which causes multiple sclerosis. The EPA says 95 percent of pesticides used on residential lawns are possible or probable carcinogens. ChemLawn claims a child must ingest 10 cups of treated grass clippings to equal one baby aspirin’s toxicity, but does not mention the danger of inhaling the pesticide residue or absorbing it through the skin. The pesticides are killing off bird species.
a 1,000-square-foot lawn with a typical irrigation system consumes 25,000 gallons of potable water each year
homeowner associations require green lawns and fine members who do not comply
the large amounts of gas/electricity, oil not to mention time used to mow them
the gas used by lawn care people to transport their mowers and equipment
they did not really exist until real estate developers first sold the idea after WWII when suburban plats were established and sold to baby boomers’ parents.

Although farmers have had to submit nutrient management plans on their fertilizer use for decades, some states have passed laws prohibiting homeowners from applying fertilizer in certain date ranges, within so many feet of a waterway, on impervious surfaces like sidewalks and driveways, on frozen ground or when heavy rain is forecast, as a de-icer, and using any that contains phosphorus except on brand new lawns.

Think carefully before putting out any fertilizer because it contains the two most harmful polluting nutrients to rivers and ocean bays, nitrogen and phosphorus. They contribute to oxygen-sucking algae bloom growth which causes dead zones where fish and other wildlife cannot survive.

Alternatives to the major lawn concept are to either kill the lawn and plant a vegetable garden, one big garden of natural plants like a meadow, or at list minimize the area kept in grass that needs to be mowed. Switch to an Eco-lawn type grass seed, a drought-resistant blend of grasses that requires no fertilizer and little if any mowing. Artificial grass may be made of recycled materials and does not require watering, but it will get hot, adds to the urban heat island effect, does not enrich the soil or provide oxygen or a good home for worms and other wildlife, and does not absorb rain water to lessen storm water runoff.

Solar Day of Action, butterflies, and other Maryland green events

There will be a Pollinator Party at the Silver Spring Farmers’ Market on June 21, as part of the Pollinator Week celebrations. It will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Silver Spring Green, the Brookside Nature Center, and author Alison Gillespie will have displays, crafts, and information about bees, including items on how to help and protect them. Gillespie will also have copies of her latest book, Hives in the City: Keeping Honey Bees Alive in an Urban World. For more information, visit http://pollinator.org/npw_events.htm.

As part of Pollinator Week (June 16 -22), the Adkins Arboretum is offering a lecture on Monarch Butterflies on June 21. It will run from 11:45 a.m. to 12: 45 p.m. Jim Wilson will discuss the Monarch migration, the reasons for this butterfly’s decline, and what can be done to help the Monarchs. Admission is free for members, and $5.00 for non-members. To learn more e-mail [email protected] or call (410) 634-2847 ext. 0.

Prince George’s County Organizing for Action volunteers are holding a Solar Day of Action as part of Climate Reality Project’s Put Solar on It initiative. It will be held at the University Park Church of the Brethren in Hyattsville — one of the first churches in the U.S. to go solar — on June 21. The hours are 3 – 5 p.m. Visitors will learn what is being done to promote solar power, how the P.G. County Council is having solar panels installed on new buildings, and one private citizen’s experiences with going solar. To learn more, visit https://my.barackobama.com/page/event/detail/climatechangeactionevent/gs….

The Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary and Visitors’ Center is holding There Be Dragons! on June 22. It will run 10 – 11:30 a.m. Visitors will walk along Stump Pond looking for dragonflies and their nymphs (young). Participants will also learn about dragonflies and some of the other creatures living in the pond. To learn more, contact Karen Jarboe at [email protected] or (301) 888-1377.

Soldier’s Delight in Owings Mills is holding “Feathered Friends” on June 22. It will run 12 – 1 p.m. A naturalist will give a talk about a specific bird every Sunday in June at the Visitors’ Center. To learn more, call (410) 461-5005.

The Calvert Cliffs State Park is holding a butterfly hike on June 22. It will run 2 – 3 p.m. A naturalist will take participants on a short hike and point out the kinds of butterflies at the park. Comfortable walking shoes, a hat, insect repellent, and sunscreen are recommended. Admission is $5.00 per car. For more information, contact Karen Jarboe at [email protected] or (301) 888-1377.

The Future of Boston

What will the future of Boston look like? How will climate change really affect Massachusetts? These questions and more were discussed last week at Weathering the Storm: Boston’s Future Climate hosted by The Nature Conservancy. Speakers included: Adam Freed of The Nature Conservancy; Vivien Li, president of the Boston Harbor Association; Brian Swett of the City of Boston; and Vicki Arroyo of the Georgetown Climate Center.

Here are some takeaways from the event:

-If sea level was to rise 7.5 feet, a hurricane like Sandy (if it were to hit Boston,) would flood 60% of the city.

-The Deer Island Waste Water Treatment Plant is an example of sustainability – it was build 2′ above the 100 year flood level, has wind turbines and solar panels on site, and an operations team is researching methane recapture.

-The new Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital is another example of smart architecture for a warmer future. Their resilient design was developed after seeing the pros and cons of the hospital facilities design in New Orleans during Katrina. (Like, don’t keep the backup generator in the basement!)

-Boston is the 4th most susceptible city in the U.S. to sea level rise, after New York, New Orleans, and Miami.

-2012 was the hottest year on record by a full degree.

Part 2: endless uses for your home-grown herbs

Now that your green thumb is fully flexed, how are you going to make use of all those blooming beauties? Aforementioned, your lush mint is begging to be muddled into a mojito for a porch party, and everyone knows that basil brings life to a spaghetti sauce and steals center stage in a caprese salad. But did you know your herbs can go beyond the kitchen and brighten other parts of your life? Think natural remedies like sore throat soothers and stress reducers, acne relief, and breath freshener. The natural powers of these little leaves will surprise you. Read below for just a few of the infinite ways your new plants will better your mind, body, and home.

Mint grows like weeds – you’ll have plenty for its vast and various uses. Besides flavoring meats and drinks, its unique cooling and cleansing characteristic (thanks, menthol) means you can chew on a sprig as a breath freshener (really). Yet, the best way to take advantage of mint’s wondrous vigor is to infuse it into your morning wake-up routine. Make this concentrate and enjoy it in quite a few ways: steep a few handfuls of fresh mint in a pint or two of hot water for about ten minutes, strain through a sieve, then let cool and chill. Add ¼ to ½ cup to your bath for a tingly wash, use it as a final rinse after shampooing, a mouthwash (maybe better than chewing on leaves, right?), or a foot soak before a pedicure. Mint is delectable with veggies and salads, but it can also lift and pamper you with these quick invigorators!

Lo and behold, thyme has one of the highest antioxidant levels among herbs, as well as potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins A and C, making it a truly underutilized resource for health and beauty. Recent studies have provided the proof: thyme reaps similar or better results than benzoyl peroxide. Ready to make a toner and mask for clear skin straight from nature? Blend or process 1tbsp fresh thyme leaves, 1 tbsp sour cream, ½ tsp lemon juice, and 1 tsp raw honey. Apply to a clean face, leave on for 15 minutes, and rinse well. Use this mask once a week. Another concoction is made by mixing 1 tbsp thyme with 3-4 tbsp of witch hazel, letting it steep for at least 20 minutes, then straining. Store it in a small jar and use it as a toner once a day. Apply these antioxidant-laden products as components to your anti-blemish regimen! And maybe even do it while your dinner is getting delicious in a thyme-infused marinade. Or you can sip thyme tea in the morning instead of coffee to boost spirits and sooth your stomach. How’s that for resourcefulness?

Oh, basil. So much more than an Italian kitchen staple. The herb is a natural anti-inflammatory and high in antioxidants. Like thyme, it has healing powers. Its antiseptic properties help with blemishes, but also soothe skin, increase circulation, and anti-age your face. Here’s a simple wash/mask: muddle 20-30 basil leaves to make a paste. Mix this with distilled water and use it as a face wash every other day, leaving on for 3 minutes before rinsing. You can combine the paste with organic yogurt for a 20-minute mask as well. Need some more healing? Boil basil with water for a facial steam to cure headaches, gargle a few crushed leaves and water for a sore throat, or throw some in tea to calm a cough and sharpen your mind. You can also use the paste to relieve insect bites! Basil is truly a natural all-in-one remedy.

Rosemary – beautiful, curative, with an assertive pine-like fragrance that’s pure aromatherapy. The herb contains phyto-chemical compounds that are known to promote health and prevent disease. Consuming the herb is excellent for obtaining several minerals, especially iron and folic acid, but its home applications are worth taking advantage of. Make a natural air freshener by combining a handful of leaves with 1 sliced lemon or orange and a splash of vanilla extract in a pot of simmering water. Be sure to watch the water levels as your house fills up with a refreshing scent that lasts for days. For more home improvement, make a natural disinfectant spray. Steep a few sprigs of rosemary in a gallon of hot water and baking soda for ten minutes. Strain, cool, and store in a spray bottle. You can use this spray on just about anything that needs a fragrant disinfecting, from counter tops to floors, and everything in between. You can also display rosemary as a wreath, garnish, or a dinner plate decoration. Its beauty and fragrance will brighten and enliven your home.

Did you know your herbs could reach such heights of usefulness? I want to know how your plants are thriving and how you’re applying these gorgeous herbs to your eco-friendly life! Share below!

The Best Way to Remove Stains Naturally

Bleach is the most common method today for removing stains from clothing. However bleach is an acid which means every time you use it, it literally eats away at your clothes. And while on its own its not toxic, the gas it releases can trigger allergy and asthma attacks.

The internet is full of natural ways to get rid of stains, including sunning, lemon juice and peroxide. So this morning I tested all 3, in addition to bleach, to see which method worked best.


I cut up an old bath towel and stained it with mustard. I sat the towel in the sun 8 hours to let the stain really sit in. I then washed the towel, cut it up into 4 pieces, labeled each one – bleach, sun, lemon juice and peroxide, and then applied methods respectively. I then placed them all in the sun for 4 hours to see how much the stains improved. The picture here shows the results. Sunning alone proved to be the next best method for whitening, next to bleach.

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6 Easy Ways to Help the Planet

Imagine a world without trees or parks, birds or animals, Just concrete, buildings, smog and billions of people.

As horrible as this is to imagine, this could be our future if we do not take steps to protect our environment and regulate the companies and people that only wish to exploit it.

Here are 6 Easy Ways We Can Help the Environment…

1.) CARE!

The planet is a living breathing thing. It sustains us and keeps us alive. There are ways to live in harmony with the environment.

2.) Promote Biodiversity.

Biodiversity is the variety of species in our environment; it is what makes this world what it is. Biodiversity is essential to survive. We are all interdependent on each other in ways scientists have yet to discover.

3.) Endorse Clean Energy.

Clean energy, renewable energy or green energy refers to energy produced from renewable resources without creating adverse effects on the environment.

4.) Protect Natural Resources

Drinking Water, Fossil Fuels, Rain Forests, Coal, Petroleum, Marine Animals, Animals, Birds, Natural Gas are all is a finite resources, this means, one day we will run out.

5.) Buy Local whenever possible.

When you buy local food and products you are helping the environment in many ways.
You are;
· Lowering environmental impact
· Reducing fossil fuel consumption
· Promoting local jobs
· Growing your local Community

6.) Educate Yourself, your family and friends.

Do not be fooled by tricky wording. It is so important to know what is really going on around you. Politicians and corporations have used the negative marketing against the environment in the news for years. It is a way to manipulate the information given to society. This allows them to get what they want, no matter the health or safety costs to you. If you do not seek information from both sides, there is a good chance you are misinformed.
Right now there are companies trying desperately to (Just to mention a few):
· Drill in environmentally protected land. (State Parks)
· Build a pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico that will not benefit us once built.
· Earth Fracturing or “Fracking” for natural gas is polluting soil and water all over the country, and much more.
· Off shore drill in Alaska

The most powerful tool is knowledge. Don’t be misinformed. Understand what is going on and how you can help.

Supreme Court restores open access to Seattle PD’s dashcams

Washington restored the public access to Seattle Police Department (SPD) dashcams. The Supreme Court decision cleared a storm brewing here for years. Click and see what they have to hide.

The perception of police brutality in Seattle has drawn fire for the frequency and intensity of some of the interactions like this one caught on video by a casual cell phone on a bright summer day.

The action today by the Supreme Court specifies access for any and all of the video recordings of SPD dashboard-mounted cameras excepting only the ones involving litigation.

The entire court found the department had violated the law by restricting access in telling KOMO Reporter Tracy Vedder that SPD had no response records available – no list of audio recordings or dash-cams videos.

The 5-4 decision finds: “Neither the statutory text nor the legislative history suggests that categorical delay was legislative purpose,” the majority opinion as written by Justice Steven Gonzalez, joined by Justices Charles Johnson, Debra Stephens, Sheryl Gordon McCloud and Justice Pro Tem. James Johnson.

“Any journalist, any activist, any citizen who’s just had a rough time with a police agency now has this tool available to them.” – Eric Rachner

Eric Rachner had fought the stonewalling SPD for years to see videos of his own arrest. He and his attorney James Egan spoke today addressing the positive outcomes from the ruling by the Supreme Court.

Attorney James Egan reflected on the ruling emphasized the positive outcomes against the backdrop of SPD’s reputation for excessive force.

“I understand that transparency’s hard, but transparency is what happened as a consequence of your lawsuit,” Egan said.

Supreme Court: Dash cams in cop cars are ours – citizens, media, me and you too

Celebrating the victory for the people of Seattle, City Councilman and head of the head of the Public Safety Committee, applauded the ruling and doesn’t anticipate any problems with SPD following through.

“We have to be transparent, we have to give information, give video upon demand,” Harrell said. “And I think this is good for the public.”

For years, the SPD had violated the Records Act, which specifies public rights to this data. The stonewalling by the SPD has brought a backlash from the community, led here by the Seattle TV station KOMO in case: Fisher Broad. V. City of Seattle, docket number 87271-6.

In a statement on KOMO.com, Holly Gauntt KOMO News Director summed up years of stonewalling by SPD: “Police have always used them to defend themselves, or in their cases against citizens.” Parting thoughts reflect clear light on today’s action by the Supreme Court: “Now citizens have the same right.”

Canoe-N-Scoop Trash Cleanup, nature talks, and other Maryland green events

The Fair Hill NRMA in Elkton seeks volunteers for a Trail Work Day on June 14. The hours are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Participants will help staff clean and maintain the park’s trails. Volunteers should wear clothes that can get dirty and wear sturdy shoes. Participants should bring work gloves, insect repellent, snacks, and water. Workers will meet at the maintenance shop at 8:45 a.m. For more information, contact Steve Youngkin at [email protected] or (410) 398-1246.

Blue Water Baltimore and Baltimore City Recreation & Parks seek volunteers for Canoe-N-Scoop Trash Cleanup at Middle Branch Park on June 14. The hours are 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. All canoeing, kayaking, and trash pickup supplies will be provided, but participants should wear clothes that can get wet/dirty. Volunteers under 16 must be accompanied by an adult, and small children who weigh less than 55 pounds are not allowed. Registration is required. To learn more, call (410) 254-1577 or visit www.bluewaterbaltimore.org.

The Fair Hill NRMA in Elkton is holding “Life in the Stream” on June 14. The hours are 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. A naturalist will take participants on a stream hunt to look for various animals. Attendees should be prepared to get wet and wear rain boots or the like. Participants will meet at the Nature Center for a talk on stream life. Admission is $2.00. To learn more, contact Jo Ann Kricker at (410) 398-1246 or [email protected]

The Gunpowder Falls State Park in White March is holding “Wading in the Water” on June 14. It will run 10 – 11:30 a.m. Participants will use a seining net to catch fish and then study them. Registration is required. For more information, contact Todd Easton at [email protected] or (410) 592-2897.

The Sierra Club seeks volunteers for the Ruth B. Swann Park Stewardship Work Day on June 14. The hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participants will remove invasive species from the park. There will also be a picnic lunch and lessons in plant identification. Volunteers should wear long sleeves and sturdy shoes. Gloves are also recommended. To learn more, contact Marc Imlay at [email protected] or (301) 283-0808.

The Baltimore Free Store will be holding its next free market at the Northside Baptist Church on June 14. The market will accept donations 10 – 11:30 a.m. and then give them away 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, e-mail [email protected] or visit http://freestorebaltimore.org.

Soldier’s Delight in Owings Mills is holding “Feathered Friends” on June 15. It will run 12 – 1 p.m. A naturalist will give a talk about a specific bird every Sunday in June at the Visitors’ Center. To learn more, call (410) 461-5005.

Chimney and hearth training for professionals in the midwest

The Midwest Chimney Safety Council is hosting a workshop for professional chimney sweeps and hearth installers August 8 – 10, 2014 at the Boy Scout Camp at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

The workshop will consist of training in wood-burning stove installation, Class-A metal chimney installation, and codes and standards involved in the process. Professional installer and veteran chimney sweep Steve Hoover from Versailles, Missouri is heading up this portion of the workshop.

Gary Hart, a veteran sweep from High Ridge, Missouri will demonstrate how to build metal chase tops for manufactured chimneys. Gary has been making his own chase tops for years. Participants will also get hands-on experience building cement crowns for masonry chimneys. Three different types of crowns will be built using forms. Various instructors will assist with this project. Other classes in health and safety will be offered.

The workshop is open to professional chimney and hearth technicians and masons. Membership in the MCSC is not required. Camp sites or cabins are available to participants on a first-come, first-served basis.

The MCSC offers free chimney safety educational classes to the public in areas where a member lives. Classes include choosing the best gas or wood-burning heating appliance, chimney and fireplace safety, and historic chimney restoration.

Please contact the Education Director and MCSC President Marge Padgitt for more information at 816-461-3665 or [email protected] See more information and register on the website at www.mcsc-net.org.