Spit That Out!

The Overly Informed Parent's Guide to Raising Children in the Age of Environmental Guilt by Paige Wolf

Blogging about green guilt, eco-anxiety, and finding practical, reasonable ways to keep our families safe and healthy.
December 11th, 2014

A Skeptic’s Venture Into Essential Oils

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Readers know I straddle the line between crunchy green mom and conventional parent. My green colleagues and I chat endlessly about organic tampons and whether to scrub out peanut butter jars so they can be recycled. But when the conversation turns to essential oils I pretty much tune out.

It probably doesn’t help the well-meaning essential oil consultants that a few have gone around professing that their oils can cure Ebola, inciting an FDA crackdown. But when it comes to sinus congestion, back pain, or even a great stain remover, I am perfectly open to exploring unconventional methods.

I finally decided to see what all the hype was about and entrusted my friend Stephanie with Good Girl Gone Green for a personalized tutorial and test drive.

She sent me a variety of pure essential oils (plant-derived extracts) as well as some custom-blends meant for specific uses.

I started with a simple and incontrovertible use – making things smell good. I had been meaning to add essential oils to my dryer balls for a while, and Stephanie recommended Purification, a blend of oils including citronella, lemongrass, tea tree, and rosemary. It made a big difference in my laundry and having a truly natural pleasant scent really is uplifting. It was also an easy fix to put a few dabs on cotton balls to place in diaper bins and rooms that get stale when sealed up for the winter.

Stephanie also had me mix a few drops of thieves oil in a spritzer with witch hazel and water to use as a disinfectant. I sprayed this on the kids’ toys, the remote, the phones – everything that desperately needed it since the kids’ noses haven’t stopped running since October.

The medicinal uses were trial and error, with nothing but some very loose anecdotal evidence to share.

When I came home from Thanksgiving dinner of course my belly was a bit sore. And randomly my asthma had been acting up. Before bed I applied Digize to my belly and a prescribed blend of raven, copaiba, and dorado azul  to my chest. To be perfectly honest, I had no expectation beyond my husband yelling at me that I smelled like a hippie. But I have to say, my symptoms began to feel better with no additional medication. This could have been coincidence or maybe the oils really worked some magic!

But it wasn’t always immediate success. I put a few drops of thieves and oregano on my husband’s chest to try to alleviate a hacking cough that was possibly bothering me more than it was bothering him. His cough did not subside but it was also possible that either one dose was not enough or I had used the entirely wrong oils.

A couple days later I had a massage appointment at a decidedly non-eco spa (I had a Groupon.) When I saw the two-gallon vat of generic “massage oil” he had by the table I was glad I had brought my own blend of avocado oil and Pan Away, a pain remedy with wintergreen, clove, and peppermint. It was one of the best massages I’ve ever had.

But the most remarkable use I found was for my occasional – but wicked – sinus pain. I put peppermint on my temples and it truly made a difference almost immediately.

After a couple weeks of playing with the oils I was actually compelled to buy a full starter set with a diffuser. And, yes, my husband thought I was insane to spend $150 on a bunch of oils. But here is my thinking: if using these oils can help my family cut back on my use of over-the-counter medications even a little, it will be worth it. And I know I will be saving money on cleaning products by making more of my own formulas. There are literally thousands of uses for these oils – some that I know are foolproof like grease-cutting, air freshening, and mood lifting. The rest run the spectrum from “Wow, this is really helping” “Can’t hurt” to “I’ll stick with antibiotics for strep throat.” 

Most of the established essential oil companies work through a multi-level-marketing model, something I am admittedly not a big fan of. However, purchasing as a “wholesale buyer” – which automatically makes you a distributer – saves you a significant amount of money. So technically, now I am a distributer. And these are affiliate links. You will not see me doing any essential oil hard sells, but if you’d like to try these out for yourself, please feel free to use my link!

And please let me know what your experience is. Did you find any miracle cures? A great way to tackle dirty floors? A scent to keep away creepy dudes on the subway? Please share!

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December 8th, 2014

Join the Buy Nothing Project to Freely Give and Receive

Have you heard of the Buy Nothing Project? A collection of independent Facebook groups popping up across the country, this project sets itself apart from Craigslist and Freecycle by asking members to join only one Buy Nothing group and ask and give where they live. The idea is to facilitate local gift economies around the world, communities that take care of their local members while conserving the carbon footprint of our giving.

When I heard about the Buy Nothing Project I was so excited to find one in my area. But, alas, there was nothing remotely near Philadelphia – though there were plenty in Allentown and Cleveland! So, naturally, because I am ME, I had to find out how to start my own!

It took a few days to get permission from Buy Nothing Headquarters, who worked with me to narrow down my hyperlocal area to essentially my zipcode. The members poured in – more than 100 in less than 24 hours! I just had to deal with the issue of weeding out folks who truly weren’t local enough and encourage them to start their own group!

The idea is to give your real-life neighbors the opportunity to help build a sustainable gift economy by giving locally. When you have something to share, select a real-life neighbor of yours as the recipient, someone who also lives in the region your local group is devoted to. Take the time to get to know a bit about the people you’re giving to and asking from. If you see someone who needs help finding their local home group, help them out with a link to that group and words of encouragement and support.

We would like to show the world that gift economy magic is global, accessible to any group of people who are willing to connect with their real-world neighbors by giving freely and sharing creatively. You can help make this happen by joining your own local group and model giving, requesting, and gratitude.

So what kinds of things might you post on a Buy Nothing group?

  • You have a bumper crop of basil and can’t possibly make anymore pesto
  • You bought the wrong salad dressing/diapers/paint color
  • You have an unsellable stroller with a missing wheel that a handy parent could probably use
  • You have a case of coffee mugs with your old company logo
  • You would like to borrow a powerwasher/drill/ladder/other random appliance
  • You are in search of empty egg crates/milk jugs/wire hangers for a school art project
  • You’re refrigerator broke and you have three pounds of potato salad that must be eaten immediately

The possibilities are endless! Give, Lend, and Join the Sharing Economy!

Looking for a group near you? Visit the website for a list of all our hyper-local gift economies or learn how to start your own!

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December 5th, 2014

What Happens When We All Can’t Breathe?

It’s 9:15 am on a Friday morning and I’m on a SEPTA bus heading to West Philly. I’ve been up off and on since 2 a.m. when my 18-month-old started screaming. When I finally fell back asleep around 4, my 5-year-old came into my room freaking out because he couldn’t figure out how to change out of his wet pajama pants – because he was trying to pull a shirt over his legs. My children have been dressed and fed and walked to school in the freezing wind, and I have headed back in the opposite direction to catch the bus.

I tried to explain to my five-year-old son why I couldn’t stick around school a little longer at drop off and why it was important for me to go to this protest. I told him that people wanted to build factories that would pollute the air and water because they thought it would make them money. He asked if they were going to jail. I said no. He told me he doesn’t want to drink brown water. I told him that was why I had to go. He asked me who else was going. I told him I had no idea. It was 9 a.m. on a Friday and most people had to be at offices or taking care of their children. It didn’t matter that I had mountains of work to do for my own business, mountains of laundry, or that it was “team day” at the gym. I had to be there for everyone else who couldn’t go – or simply wouldn’t go.

The crowd was diverse outside the Drexel University conference where investors and politicians were meeting to strategize on the best way to build new natural gas pipelines rather than fix the antiquated, leaking ones that already exist beneath our feet. Ways to convince the public that natural gas was the path to “energy independence,” even though much of that gas would be exported overseas. Ways to exaggerate the economic impact, dispute the health and environmental impacts, and ignore the fact that investing in renewable energy would create significantly more jobs and create a safe, sustainable infrastructure.

There were students, grandmothers, and activists who had traveled more than two hours from their rural communities already devastated by the effects of fracking. The crowd was white, black, Indian, and Asian. There were rabbis and doctors and business owners.

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Doctors took the microphone to point out the very real statistics on cancer clusters, birth defects, and the fact that more than 25% of the children in Philadelphia already have asthma (in my experience, an underestimate). Executives in blue suits and politicians with their handlers walked past us into the conference unfazed. After all, there were only 150 of us. Most people are still in the dark – or simply can not miss work to stand outside a West Philly campus with a sign.

The final speaker, who spoke on behalf of the faith groups, talked about the topic that has overtaken the media for weeks now: Black Lives Matter. It’s worth noting that fracking, oil pipelines, and refinery pollution disproportionately effect low income neighborhoods, and, yes, minorities. The asthma rates alone among black people are astonishing. These black lives matter too. ALL LIVES MATTER.

Some people held signs that said “I Can’t Breathe,” the final words of Eric Garner when he was held in a chokehold by a police officer. I didn’t know how I felt about those signs. Should we be co-opting the mantra of another important movement? Was this inappropriate or completely relevant?

I certainly don’t want to take anything away from the current movement against racial inequality. But it is important for people to understand that pollution is also an issue of racial inequality (p.s. don’t miss the pro-fracking commercial in advance of this clip!) Truth: minorities suffer the most from industrial pollution.

There were 150 of us protesting the pollution of air and water for 1.5 million Philadelphians. Yet thousands across the country have marched day after day in protest to the racial inequality invoked by corrupt police. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be pissed off about Ferguson. And you should definitely be pissed off about Eric Garner. We want to avenge this man whose breath was unjustly taken by a chokehold. But we should also want to avenge all of our breaths taken by the chokehold of these corporations and politicians.

Today I had the opportunity to speak to brilliant, motivated people. We networked and brainstormed about ways to spread the word and get the truth out there. After all, the truth is what pushes us forward and sets us apart.

A few people, assuming I was there as publicist for a participating nonprofit, asked me who I was there representing. I simply said, “My children. All children.”

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December 1st, 2014

Easy Apple Cranberry Crisp Recipe with a Healthy Topping Twist

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Greek yogurt is better than ice cream.

OK, nothing is better than chocolate Haagen Dazs, but Stonyfield Organic Vanilla Greek Yogurt and Cafe Latte Greek Yogurt are definitely a satisfying healthy swaps for most lame store bought ice cream.

It’s easy to make that swap at 3 p.m. on a Tuesday, but how about as a dessert topping? I tried it on my favorite holiday (and everyday) dessert recipe featuring simple seasonal ingredients.

Apple Cranberry Crisp

1. Preheat oven to 325

2. Use some coconut oil to grease up a glass baking dish

3. Peel and slice about 3 cups of apples and pour into pan with 2 cups cranberries, a cup of sugar, and a dash of lemon juice.

4. In a separate bowl, use your (clean) hands to blend together 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup oats, 1 cup brown sugar, and about 5 tablespoons of softened butter.

5. Toss the little crumbles you made on top of the fruit and then bake for about an hour.

This is a dish I enjoy both piping hot and cold out of the fridge. But either way, add a few tablespoons – or a whole container – of the Stonyfield Greek yogurt of your choice and let me know what you think!

This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

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November 24th, 2014

The Best Apps to Make Urban Parenting Easier – Plus Promo Codes!

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I’ve said before that there is no way I could accomplish half of what I do without modern technology. I seriously don’t even know how working mothers did it just ten years ago. Who has time to constantly shop for groceries and diapers? And how can you possibly do that when you are living in the city with limited or no access to a car?

I am super thankful for these smartphone apps and wanted to share with you my favorites with some lovely referral codes that will get you some amazing savings – and, in full disclosure, some kickbacks to me! :)

Here is the honest scoop and the best codes around!

FRESH DIRECT
This grocery service has been an absolute game changer, saving us from hour-long shopping trips at least once per week. Fresh Direct has a very good organic selection and the meats and fish are always fresh. I’ve been super happy with the service and quality. There are still a few random items they don’t have in stock that we have to buy from other places, like Sunbutter and dark chocolate chips. But they cover about 90% of what we need on a weekly basis – and even allow you to buy baskets from our local CSA!
Use this link to get $100 off your first two orders!

POSTMATES
This is a brand new God-sent app which allows you to place deliveries from literally anywhere. You know how for some reason no Vietnamese restaurants use Grubhub? Or how you wish there was a way to have someone bring you tissues and orange juice when you are sick in bed with two kids in front of the TV? Now there is!
Use code qmxg for a $10 delivery credit

INSTACART
This service is similar to Postmates but narrows your shop selection to Whole Foods, BJ’s Warehouse, and a few other shops unique to your coverage area (ours covers Reading Terminal Market which is pretty awesome!) The big plus here is getting items from warehouse stores without needing a membership.
Use this link for $10 in free groceries!

UBER
UBER offers carseats – as in you don’t even need to shlep your own! There is a fee, of course, but what easier way to get to the airport with children? Avoid parking at Frozen on Ice!
Use code paigew20 for a free ride up to $30

P.S. If you live in Philly and just need a cab, be sure to download the 215GETACAB app which will make that task substantially easier.

DIAPERS.COM
Diapers.com has an app so that you can place that order for diapers, wipes, or a new sippy cup the second you think of it. There is an extensive selection of eco-friendly brands and delivery is free and insanely fast – usually overnight. And since Diapers.com has so many offshoots like Vine, Soap, and Wag, you can add anything to your free order, from toothpaste to dog food.
Use code STOBOOK which applies to the whole line of Diapers.com stores, including Soap.com and Vine.com.

ZULILY
This flash sale site for moms also offers grown-up clothes, accessories, and even home goods. There is a pretty good selection of eco-friendly brands to keep your eye on, and you can tag your favorite brands to get sale alerts. Just beware the shipping drag – it can take weeks to receive your order so don’t order anything you need right away!

AMAZON
An obvious one, I know. But here are a couple tips: They offer a free month of Amazon Prime membership at least once per year so be sure to take advantage. There are also some really cool kids shows on there. Plus they are rolling out a new grocery delivery service, so I’m sure there will be some specials and promotions offered as this growing market starts competing for new customers!

ARTKIVE
My kids bring home a TON of artwork from school. This handy app allows you to take a picture of their work, save it to your online “artkive,” and even print a book after you’ve accrued some faves! I just need to get better about letting go of all the hard copies after I’ve saved them virtually! They usually give a print credit with signup and occasionally email other offers.

BERRYCART
This is a new app for savings on organic and healthy grocery brands. The downside is you really need a hard copy receipt to use it (i.e. not compatible with Fresh Direct), but if you buy a few key things here and there you can make a few bucks!

EBATES
Last but not least, do not attempt any online shopping without clicking through Ebates first! I have been using this site for 10 years and have accrued $1800 in cash back. It’s no joke – especially around the holiday shopping season when they amp up the bonuses!

Do you have any other apps you use to make life easier?

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November 11th, 2014

Speak Out About Philadelphia’s Plans for a Fracking-Fueled Economy

Corporate interests in Philadelphia have announced big plans to build more natural gas pipelines in Philadelphia. Some want to use this clearly hazardous system to position Philadelphia as “America’s Next Energy Hub” – at the same time forgetting the dangerous and antiquated pipeline system already in place and in dire need of repair.

We need to pay attention to what this could really mean.

Philadelphia City Council has announced public hearings this week surrounding the city’s energy future. They are accepting in person and written testimony. I urge you to consider attending or writing a letter on your own behalf.

Here is mine.

Dear City Council Committee:

I am writing to submit my testimony on Philadelphia’s energy future.

Building an additional natural gas pipeline in Philadelphia is an unsustainable and hazardous approach to energy growth, both economically and environmentally.

Philadelphia is held up as a model green city, having made great strides forward in various industries. A further investment in new natural gas infrastructure would be a huge step backward for this city, its workers, and its families.

Pennsylvania currently averages one natural gas leak for every three miles of distribution pipe, making the Pennsylvania one of the leakiest systems in the country. The highest concentration of risky pipe is under Philadelphia, with 89 leaks per hundred miles of mains — eight times the national average.

One in five miles of Pennsylvania pipeline — nearly twice the national average — is older than 1960, federal data shows. During the past 10 years, gas explosions killed 10 people and injured 21 in the state. A look beneath the surface of Philadelphia’s streets reveals a PGW system where potentially fatal hazards are commonplace

Governor Corbett has been quoted in saying this pipe needs to be repaired, but that funding it, “isn’t as nice as building a park or building a bridge, is it? Oftentimes, isn’t it the emergency that causes movement, rather than planning?”

I argue that we are, in fact, in a state of emergency.

Natural gas is not only a contributor to climate change, it significantly effects air quality. The Philadelphia area already has some of the worst air in the nation. The biggest single reason the region’s air quality is so bad is the South Philadelphia Refinery, which currently generates more than 73 percent of the toxic air emissions in Philadelphia, and 31 percent of all toxic emissions in the five-county region.

Perhaps that is why my five year old has severe asthma – and almost every single child in his preschool class carries an inhaler.

We know that true significant and sustainable job creation can be built on clean energy jobs. Philadelphia companies are innovators in solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative energy sources. Researchers have shown time and again that it is possible to fuel the entire world on alternative energy, if we could only surpass the political barriers.

Make no mistake – it is the financial interest and false promises of natural gas companies that is holding us back. The number of long-term lucrative jobs created by natural gas drilling has been greatly exaggerated, and the economic benefit to Pennsylvanians has yet to be seen. And the plans to export the fuel overseas will do nothing for the energy bills of Philadelphians.

However, the jobs created by energy-efficiency (auditing and implementation through various means) and alternative energy production and installation are thriving.

Philadelphia can set an example of not only sustainability but of innovation. And, most importantly, this city can stand up for its most important asset – the health of our workers, our citizens, our families.

I hope that Philadelphia will be on the right side of history for the futures of our families. Please allow our children to breathe clean air, our innovators to thrive, and our city to grow in a way we can all be proud of.

Sincerely,

Paige Wolf

"Fracking Site in Warren Center, PA 06" by Ostroff Law - Fracking Injury Lawyer. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fracking_Site_in_Warren_Center,_PA_06.jpeg#mediaviewer/File:Fracking_Site_in_Warren_Center,_PA_06.jpeg

“Fracking Site in Warren Center, PA 06″ by Ostroff Law – Fracking Injury Lawyer. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons 

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November 8th, 2014

Annedroids Inspiration for National Recycling Week

“One persons junk is another person’s potential engineering solution!”

I adore 11-year-old scientist Anne on Amazon’s TV series Annedroids.

Where most people see junk, Anne sees possibility. When faced with a problem, no amount of failure ever dampens her spirit. That’s why her character was recently named one of TV’s Best Role Models of 2014 by Common Sense media. And that’s only part of why it’s a show I genuinely enjoy watching with my five-year-old.

Available on Amazon Prime Instant Video, Annedroids. is a live-action adventure series about a young female scientist, her human friends and their android assistants, and the amazing scientific discoveries they make. The series spotlights, through trial and error, how science, technology, engineering, the arts and math (STEAM) can inspire children to do great things.

Anne uses things found in her junkyard to create new inventions, so we celebrated National Recycling Week by making our own creation out of trash found around our house. We’d love to make a real-life android, but unfortunately, our “Steve Jo” doesn’t have quite the capabilities as the TV robots.

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On the “Reduce, Reuse, Robocycle” episode, Anne and the androids help Nick build a lawn-mowing robot to help him with his chores. Our robot’s capabilities include scaring the dog, antagonizing the baby, and displaying our love of both dairy and non-dairy products.

Fortunately we live in a city full of upcycling inspiration, living just a couple blocks from Philadelphia Magic Gardens, a massive, winding mosaic made up partly from junk!

 

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Tune in to Annedroids for your own inspiration and a show that will definitely make the most of screen time.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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November 5th, 2014

Promises Forever: New Philly Destination for Personalized Heirloom Gifts

I still have the personalized, hand-painted bench with my name on it that was bought for me when I was born. I can’t say the same for any of the other toys, clothes, or tchotchkes I’m sure my parents were inundated with over the course of my childhood.

That’s why people love to buy personalized gifts. And hand-painted quality wood is something that can sustain for generations, creating an heirloom rather than landfill fodder.

Now Center City Philadelphia has its own destination for hand-painted furniture and accessories, custom-designed in-store. Promises Forever is a new kids furniture, toy, and gift shop offering personalized, custom pieces. In-house artists strive to make each item a special gift, adding creative flair to produce heirlooms to pass down through generations.

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Promises Forever stocks high-quality wooden nursery furniture from brands like KidKraft and Lusso, as well as smaller room accessories like chairs, stepstools, frames, bookends, and toy-chests. The shop even sells one-of-a-kind refurbished antique furniture.

The shop also offers quality wooden toys from companies like Hape and Brio; handmade-in-the-USA 3-D pendulum clocks from Modern Moose; and organic mattresses and bedding from Naturepedic and Lullaby Earth.

Visit at 1912 South Street in Philadelphia or shop online at www.promisesforever.com.

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November 3rd, 2014

It Wasn’t a Zebra – It was RSV Disease

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for MedImmune. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Back when my now-five-year-old was about 15 months old he got sick. Not just run-of-the-mill cold sick, but inconsolable, high-fevered, and listless.

A trip to the pediatrician diagnosed him with a double ear infection and prescribed a round of antibiotics. But after a day or two, he still wasn’t seeming any better.

We took him over to the ER at Children’s Hospital where triage doctors and nurses seemed baffled. They scanned his belly for abdominal blockage and found bronchiolitis with a chest X-ray. But they couldn’t seem to account for why he was so incredibly feverish and lethargic. They even toyed with the idea of giving him a spinal tap to check for meningitis. Meningitis. 

Strangely, I was not panicked. I knew there had to be a simple explanation and my maternal instinct told me it was something less catastrophic – but what?

Fortunately after a few hours of administering fluids intravenously his fever came down and he started to act more like himself. We left the hospital with no real answers but the confidence that our baby was on the mend.

The next day we received a call from a hospital nurse to inform us that he had tested positive for RSV. Wait – I had heard of RSV. I knew it was a respiratory virus that could be extremely dangerous for babies but was usually manageable and passed without any serious damage. But why hadn’t that been the first thing the doctors and nurses mentioned? Why was I only hearing about this now? Why were they looking for zebras when he was so clearly demonstrating the symptoms of RSV?

RSV is a common seasonal virus, contracted by nearly all children by the age of two. It typically causes mild to moderate cold-like symptoms in healthy, full-term babies, but it is also the leading cause of hospitalization for babies during their first year of life in the United States.

Despite being so common, many parents aren’t aware of RSV; in fact, one-third of mothers have never heard of the virus. While every baby is at risk of contracting RSV, babies born prematurely are at increased risk for developing severe RSV disease. While my son was not a preemie, preterm infants are twice as likely as full-term infants to be admitted to the hospital for RSV-related symptoms.

RSV occurs in epidemics each year, typically from November through March, though it can vary by geography and year-to-year. Symptoms to look for include persistent coughing or wheezing; bluish color around the mouth or fingernails; rapid, difficult, or gasping breaths; and high fever (especially if it over 100 degrees in infants under 3 months).

RSV is very contagious and can be spread easily, much like a typical cold. There is no treatment for RSV disease once it’s contracted, so prevention is critical. To help minimize the spread of RSV disease, all parents should wash hands and encourage the same for all children and caretakers; keep toys, clothes, and blankets clean; steer clear of people who have recently been sick; and never let anyone smoke around your baby.

Don’t panic: Remember – for most babies RSV is not much worse than a common cold. But if your baby is one who presents serious symptoms, just make sure you know what to look for to get the care he or she needs. For more information, visit www.RSVprotection.com.

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October 31st, 2014

DIY Jake and The Neverland Pirates Costume

I refuse to buy made-in-China junky Halloween costumers for $50 a pop – simply refuse! In the past I have borrowed used costumes, bought used costumes on Ebay, and occasionally been known to piece together things on my own. But this year when Sam announced his plan to be “Jake” from DisneyJr’s “Jake and the Neverland Pirates” and have his little sister be “Izzy,” I was ready to go totally D.I.Y.!

It was still more than a month before Halloween when I passed a $1 costume rack outside a local fabric store and saw this bizarre blue and yellow top (which originally had sleeves and was not cut in half – got too enthusiastic before remembering to take a photo).

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I bought a couple yards of yellow ribbon for another $1. I don’t have a sewing machine (nor would I know how to use one), so I pulled out a hot glue gun that I hadn’t used since I was 12 (and way into very bizarre crafting). I’m pretty sure the hot glue is seriously toxic, but I figured this will only be worn once (and hopefully not eaten by baby or dog.) Fortunately clean lines were not a requirement for a child pirate costume.

I searched my bounty of buttons collected from the sewing kits of deceased relatives and found four perfect yellow buttons (sewing buttons I can do). And just for fun I sewed on a couple of cute gold pirate-looking buttons at the top – a true original!

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I also needed a red bandana which ended up being magically provided by Applegate Farms in my swag bag at ShiftCon.

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For the shirt, I took a random hand-me-down white t-shirt and used some leather string that I randomly had to create the “X-loop” at the top of the shirt.

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Hand-me-down blue jeans and timberlands complete the look. Total cost = $2.

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Now for the Izzy costume.

I wasn’t surprised to find a pair of purple pants in Evelyn’s stock of hand-me-downs. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a pink peasant-style blouse pretty much identical to the one Izzy wears. The boots I pulled out are pretty random, but definitely give the illusion of pirate style.

For the loot-bag necklace all I needed was a scrap of yellow fabric (I used a microfiber cloth), some more of that leather string, and something small and circular to wrap (I chose a wooden egg). The bandana – which she wore for exactly 13 seconds – was just some pink scrap fabric. Done. Cost = $0.

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Can you beat my $2 upcycled costume? Would love to hear about your DIY and upcycled costumes!

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy my monthly newsletter. Receive green living news, discounts, giveaways, and events delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

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