December 31, 2009

Christmas Tree Recycling, Chipping and Composting

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The coming of the New Year means it's time to take down the Christmas tree. If you chose to use a cut down tree, disposing of it ethically means making sure it doesn't end up in the landfill. Most towns have curbside programs where the trees are taken to a green waste facility where they are chipped into mulch or compost. Many communities are using disposed Christmas trees for great benefit. From electricity to wildlife restoration, christmastree.org features the following community programs:

  • Saving Lives with Vaccines - Toronto, Ontario
  • Wildlife Habitat - Porter County, Indiana
  • Mulch for Planting - Georgia
  • Dune Restoration - Gulf Shores, Alabama
  • Rebuilding the Louisiana Coastline - Jefferson Parish, Louisiana
  • Home for the Herons - Cook County, Illinois
  • Giving Back to the Community - San Diego, California
  • Improving Fishing Areas - Keene, New Hampshire
  • Building Better Parks - Clarksville, Tennessee
  • Fueling Our Nation's Industry - Tomahawk, Wisconsin
  • One Man's Trash is Another Fish's Habitat - Oroville, California
  • Keeping Communities Beautiful - Reno, Nevada
  • Turning Trees into Electricity
  • - Burlington, Vermont

    One of my favorite Christmas tree recycling comes from Inhabitots, "Last year, even the Vatican went green by recycling the Christmas tree in St. Peter's Square by using its wood to make toys for children." What's your community doing with their left over Christmas trees?
    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 30, 2009

    Organic Crib Mattresses and Bedding by Natural Mat

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    When I became pregnant with my first child over eight years ago, I searched high and low for a natural mattress. I feared flame retardants, and even though I planned to cosleep, I needed a crib for naps. Natural Mat makes organic, natural bedding and mattresses for cribs I wish would have been available back then.


    The Coco Mat is the most breathable and natural organic crib mattress. It is filled with coir from the only certified organic coir plantation in the world. Coir is made from coconut husks which are coated in natural latex to make a supportive and breathable fibrous layer. The coir is then wrapped in our unique lambswool which is bathed in a mixture made from extracts of lavender, lemon and eucalyptus making it completely anti-dust mite as well as maintaining the excellant [sic] thermal insulating properties of natural wool.


    Our organic cotton crib sheets are made from crisp 100% cotton percale.

    The are unbleached and undyed. They are machine washable and dryable.

    Both of these products are truly wonderful and every baby deserves such natural goodness for their restful times. It's worth the expense, considering how much time an infant spends sleeping. The quality of Natural Mat products is high, so you will be sure to use these products for several children and pass on to your friends.

    Disclosure: I was sent free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative.

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 29, 2009

    Extinct Manzanita Bush Found in San Francisco Presidio

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    A plant thought to be extinct for 60 years was discovered in San Francisco's Presidio. It's hard to imagine that in such an urban environment, a rare native plant would be found, but the Franciscan manzanita was found by a biologist as he drove by the Presidio. SF Gate reports:

    It's like the unicorn of San Francisco," said Daniel Gluesenkamp, who was returning home from a climate change conference in Sonoma on Oct. 16 when he spotted the plant after crossing the Golden Gate Bridge...

    The ground-hugging shrub, uniquely adapted to San Francisco's natural sand dunes, wind and fog, has not been seen growing in the wild since 1947. That's when the last known patch was bulldozed at the old Laurel Hill Cemetery, which was paved over for homes and businesses.

    Just before the bulldozers rumbled through, local botanist James Roof saved two specimens, which have been kept alive at Berkeley's Tilden Botanical Garden.

    This rare manzanita is not even protected under the Endangered Species Act because it was thought to be extinct.

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 28, 2009

    100% Natural and Organic Soap From the Rainforest

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    Wembé makes exfoliating soaps from 100% natural and organic rainforest ingredients in Paraguay. The soaps' exfoliating properties help unclog pores and keep facial skin looking healthy and clear. The company's name is "given by a Guarani tribe to a tropical plant considered as the Amazon's rare jewels".
    Our Vision
    Nature compliments the human soul and envelops it with health beauty and happiness.

    Our Mission
    To satiate the human thirst for nature; infusing our products with the purest ingredients from natural sources, certified organic when possible, using our knowledge of the power of the rainforest plants and fruits and the magic of aromatherapy, respecting our environment. Helping our community and always respect other beings.


    This facial soap smells absolutely wonderful, and it can also be used as a shampoo.  From Yerba Mate to Black Clay, you are sure to find a blend that you enjoy.

    Disclosure: I was sent a free sample of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 24, 2009

    Largest Copper and Gold Mine Would Destroy Bristol Bay, Alaska

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    An international mining group is planning North America's largest copper and gold mine at headwaters of Bristol Bay, Alaska. Environmentalists are outraged, as this is a "vital ecosystem" for salmon and other species. The National Resource Defense Council explains:
    The only way to extract the low-grade ore from the region would be to use a brutal and pollution-prone technique known as hard-rock mining, which includes powerful explosives and massive drilling equipment. At one of the proposed mines in Pebble, a remote, roadless area sandwiched between two national parks, spongy, lake-studded tundra would be scraped away, leaving a yawning two-mile-wide, 2,000-foot-deep pit in its place. This would be the largest open-pit mine in the world -- wide enough to line up nine of the world's longest cruise ships end to end and deep enough to swallow the Empire State Building. At a second mine, explosives would be used to create a series of underground cave-ins to extract ore.
    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 23, 2009

    100% Natural, Gluten-Free Freeze Dried Fruit Snacks in New Flavors

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    We've tried Funky Monkey 100% natural freeze dried snacks before, and they were a big hit in my family. Now, we have tried three new flavors:

    My favorite new flavor is Applemon, but my daughter loves the Pink Pineapple. My kids love Funky Monkey, and when I told my daughter they were not organic, she said, "I don't care. They are good!" All of our samples disappeared quickly.  These snacks are gluten-free and vegan, and they contain nothing but fruit. They do stick to your molars, making the flavor last in your mouth for awhile. The product label claims these snacks are "raw", but my understanding of raw does not involve any processing, including freeze drying.


    Disclosure: I was sent free samples of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 22, 2009

    iPhone App Helps You Choose Sustainable Seafood

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    The seafood industry is plagued by environmental and social consequences. From questions of sustainability to slavery, eating ethical seafood can be a challenge. The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Guide is now available for your iPhone, including a sushi guide.

    Our new iPhone application brings the latest Seafood Watch recommendations directly to your iPhone or iPod touch. Now you can make sustainable seafood choices quickly and easily--whether you're eating at your favorite restaurant or shopping for dinner. And at a time when the world's oceans are severely overfished, your seafood choices make a big difference.

    Seventy percent of the world's fisheries are either in decline or are already fished at their capacity. Fortunately, there are many types of tasty fish that are plentiful and are readily available. Through your iPhone, iPod Touch or mobile device with internet connection, you can search by fish and a color-coded grid identifies fish by: Best Choice, Good Alternative and Avoid.


    This iPhone application is free!
    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 21, 2009

    Happy Winter Solstice!

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    Happy Winter Solstice!


    Photo by di northey (on the road)

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    DIY Eco-Friendly Dual Flush Toilet Retrofit Kit

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    40% of indoor water use is consumed by toilets. You've probably experienced the need to double flush on a super low flow toilet or the rush of gallons of water on an older toilet model. Brondell has a solution: the PF100-W Perfect Flush, Eco-Friendly Dual Flush Toilet Retrofit Kit. This retrofit kit installs easily in about 30 minutes and gives you the option of using less water for flushing when needed, which occurs 80% of the time someone uses the toilet. No longer will the old adage "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down" apply. Simply choose "half flush" or "full flush" depending on your needs.  This retrofit kit takes 4 AAA batteries that last for 20,000 flushes.  I have not personally tried this product, but I think it is a better solution for Americans than the Brondell bidet style Swash Ecoseat.

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 18, 2009

    Natural Laundry Detergent Vaska Uses Herbs to Clean

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    Vaska Scent Free Laundry Detergent was created by fashion designer Julia Fry. Using "advanced botanical solutions" in a formula Julia calls "herbatergent", Vaska laundry detergent is safe for your skin and greywater/septic systems.

    BENEFITS
    Biodegradable: Won't contaminate septic tanks or groundwater.
    Hypo allergenic: Perfect for people with skin and scent sensitivities.
    Softer clothing: Laundry comes out really soft, no need for chemical additive fabric softeners.
    Herbal ingredient: Herbal lavender extracts are naturally anti-bacterial and purify clothing.
    No static cling Leaves clothing cling-free.
    HE: Ecological and designed for modern high efficiency washing machines, doesn't corrode or clog plumbing.
    Happier laundry room: Rich, sensual aroma enhances consumer's experience in the laundry room.
    Concentrated: You won't have to carry a lot of heavy bottles or boxes home, and then to the recycling.

    Vaska products have been "Recognized for Safer Chemistry by Design for the Environment, U.S. EPA."

    I am always amazed how many young children I work with at school show signs of sensitivity to laundry detergent, especially in the winter. They complain of itchy skin and try to wiggle out of their clothes. Many parents underestimate the effect chemical detergents have on their children's skin.

    Disclosure: I was sent a free sample of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative


    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 17, 2009

    Cadbury Workers Unite Against Kraft's Hostile Takeover

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    The parent company of my favorite organic, fair trade chocolate Green & Black is involved in a hostile takeover by Kraft. Workers at Cadbury have united in a Keep Cadbury Independent Campaign. Food Biz Daily explains:

    Cadbury workers are to launch a bid to keep the UK confectioner independent and fend off a hostile bid by Kraft...

    Unite is also contacting all Cadbury shareholders to urge them to reject Kraft's bid.

    The union said it will highlight what it claims to be "Kraft's plan to pay for the company through massive borrowing, Kraft's poor record in takeovers and falling share value and the union's concerns that Kraft will move all investment decisions out of the UK and into the Kraft boardroom overseas".


    I certainly don't want Kraft in charge of making my favorite chocolate! I hope the Cadbury workers are successful in blocking this hostile takeover.
    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 16, 2009

    Natural Deodorant Uses Crystals to Keep You Fresh

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    Staying fresh smelling naturally can be challenge. I've tried many natural deodorants, only to be disappointed by the end of the day. They work fine if you reapply them several times a day, but who is going to carry deodorant around in their purse or backpack all day? Crystal-based deodorants offer good protection and an alternative to aluminum-based ones that have been possibly linked to breast cancer. Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal products do work, and they are hypoallergenic, non-staining, phthlate-free, paraben-free, aluminum-free, and offer 24 hour protection.

    I am not used to using a wet deodorant and spilled it on the floor when apply it.  I usually just use homemade mix of baking soda and herbs for my body odor protection. I am also sensitive to scents, so I prefer deodorants that do not smell.

    I haven't put Naturally Fresh to a super sweaty test, but it holds up well for normal usage.  It is important to note these products are super safe.  According to the Environmental Working Group's cosmetic database Skin Deep, Naturally Fresh products received a hazard school of 0 out of 10!  That's the lowest score you can earn.

    Disclosure: I was sent a free samples of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or neg

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 15, 2009

    Copenhagen's Famous Tivoli Amusement Park Will Be Wind-Powered

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    It is fitting that the city hosting important climate talks would move towards powering one its most famous attractions with wind power. Tivoli Amusement Park has been open since 1843, and now an offshore wind turbine will power the park. Eco Friend reports:

    The park has already made strong efforts at recycling and energy efficiency, and is now looking for ways to go carbon neutral.

    Tivoli Amusement Park has partnered with Danish Oil and Natural Gas, and the partnership has resulted in an agreement to install an extra wind turbine off Copenhagen's coast. The turbine is undergoing final tests now, and when installed next year, it will be able to provide all the electricity the park needs.


    Earlier this fall, the idea to turn a closed Ford plant in Michigan into an amusement park was scrapped in favor of renewable energy manufacturing plant. Perhaps the park would have won favor if it had been powered by wind like Tivoli Gardens.
    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 14, 2009

    BPA-Free Silicone "Skinned" Glass Makes Little Kids Feel Big

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    Glass is truly the safest material to drink from, but often parents are worried young children will break glass and be injured. Silikids has a solution with its food grade silicone-sleeved glass cup for young children. Silikids Siliskin Glass provides a non-slip surface for little hands to grasp and feel like big kids drinking out of a real glass.

    The Siliskin Glass is a clean alternative to plastic drink-ware. For toddlers who want to drink from a "big kid" cup. Silikids makes this easy to do with a small BPA free silicone covered glass. This Siliskin glass helps prevent slipping and adds extra protection to the glass inside. Glass is the cleanest option for drinking and it lasts because it's reusable, and recyclable. The Siliskin is hypo- allergenic, has no open pores to harbor bacteria and is dishwasher safe. Two simple ideas have come together to make the perfect drink ware better for your family and the environment.

    Even though there are a lot of BPA-free plastic cup products on the market, I still feel safest with real glass, and I don't have to worry about placing them in the dishwasher.

    Silikids also makes Silibibs. These bibs are easy to put on and easy to clean. They are even safe for the dishwasher. I personally prefer cloth bibs, but many parents prefer silicone for the ease of cleaning.

    If you visit www.silikids.com, you can use the discount code OHBABY to receive a 15% off any order through 12/31/2009

    Disclosure: I was sent a free sample of these products to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 11, 2009

    Natural Hand Sanitizer Protects Hands for 2.5 Hours Using Silver

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    There's a plethora of natural hand sanitizers on the market now. SilvaPlex offers a unique choice for natural hand sanitizers, as it provides protection for up to two and half hours. At about $4 a bottle, this sanitizer is affordable, but I wonder about the safety of silver.

    -SilvaPlex® is naturally made with Chitosan- Silver Complex®, a formula that creates on your skin a barrier against bacteria for 2½ hours.

    -SilvaPlex® has an excellent anti microbial efficacy on a wide spectrum of microorganisms.

    -SilvaPlex® is a powerful antibacterial composed of Silver Complex and Bio-Polymers.


    Silver nanoparticles have become a popular way to provide antimicrobial protection. From socks to appliances, they are everywhere, but are they safe? Green Living Ideas cites Friends of the Earth's concern with nano-silver:

    Silver has long been known to be a potent antimicrobial agent. However, its use has exploded in recent years, in medical applications and also in many consumer products, including children's toys, babies' bottles, cosmetics, textiles, cleaning agents, chopping boards, refrigerators and dishwashers.

    Much of the silver used in these products today is manufactured at the nano-scale, meaning it is present in extremely tiny particles that behave differently than larger particles and are especially potent. Studies suggest that the widespread use of nano-silver poses serious health and environmental risks and that it could promote anti-bacterial resistance, undermining its efficacy in a medical context.

    Sure, I'm afraid of the swine flu and MRSA, but I think I'll stick with good old handwashing for now.


    Disclosure: I was sent a free sample of this product to review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review be positive or negative

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 10, 2009

    Shopping Online Uses 40% Less Fuel than Going to the Mall

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    I sometimes wonder if shopping online is really more eco-friendly than running out to the store. Sure, you can often find more green products online than you can in your local stores, but what about the emissions of shipping? According to Reusablebags.com, e-commerce is earth-friendly:

    "Shipping 10 pounds of packages by overnight air -- the most energy-intensive delivery mode -- uses 40 percent less fuel than driving roundtrip to the mall. Ground shipping by truck uses just one-tenth of the energy of driving yourself." - Center for Energy and Climate Solutions

    All products, even the ones you find in your local store, come from a warehouse. When you shop online you cut out one trip the items you purchase have to make - rather than shipping from the manufacturer to the warehouse to the store they're shipped straight from the warehouse to you. Not only do you reduce the amount of energy and resources used in transporting the items, but you also cut out the need to light, heat, cool and run a brick and mortar store.

    Think of it this way- shopping online is like carpooling, your package shares a ride with hundreds of other packages rather than hundreds of people driving to several different stores.


    I think one exception to this information is if you are already going to a store for multiple items, then it only makes sense to buy what you need there instead of ordering online. For example, there are a lot of wonderful natural beauty products online, but I would rarely order them if I can find a comparable product at the coop where I am already buying my organic groceries.
    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 9, 2009

    Eco-Friendly Bamboo Scarf Packaged in Earth Friendly Reusable Bag by Wish Wrap

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    I'm a scarf person. I love scarves and wear them three out of four seasons. Wish Wrap is a unique company that allows you to chose a "wish" to give with each gift.

    So, let's say you've selected a blanket as a holiday present for someone special. You may choose a wish like 'warmth' to go with it. But, that's just one way to go. Perhaps the blanket represents 'peace' or 'laughter' to you. Pick your wish based on your relationship and what the gift means to you. Make it personal. When your gift is delivered, the blanket will be specially packaged to send the sentiment of 'warmth' or whichever wish you've chosen.

    Wish Wrap offers many eco-friendly products, like Eco-Chic Bamboo Scarf. I absolutely love the colors of this scarf (my favorite is pistachio), and it is super soft and versatile.
    Finally...an earth-friendly fashion accessory that the style-conscious can wrap their arms around! This lightweight, supersoft scarf is made of sustainably-grown bamboo plant fibers. At 30"x74" its extra-long - wear it like a shawl or around your neck. It travels well, and even works as a cover-up for new moms.

    Not only is the bamboo scarf exquisite, the unique eco-friendly packaging used by Wish Wrap is very cool and reusable. In fact, the jute bag is a gift alone!
    Our packaging is truly eco-friendly. It's made of jute - a fiber that grows faster and in less space than bamboo. It's recyclable and biodegradable. All our gift bags and boxes fold flat to take up less room in shipping and storing. Less space means less energy, another environmental offender.

    Disclosure: I was sent a bamboo scarf in order to complete this review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 8, 2009

    Heifer International: Meaningful Gifts That Change the World

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    Every year, I struggle to find gifts for my parents. They really don't need anything, and I don't want to buy gifts that will just end up at the Salvation Army or be sold at a garage sale in the near future. Last year, I purchased a Community Supported Agriculture half share for my father. This year, I've decided to give a Heifer International gift to my dad.

    Choose a meaningful gift to give a loved one and help children and families around the world receive training and animal gifts that help them become self-reliant.

    "I loved my Heifer gift. I don't need more chocolate or knick-knacks. Knowing that a family gets a goat for milk, and can be self-sufficient is a great positive thing to bring into the world. It's wonderful to know a family has been given help in my name."

    -- Eileen, Rochester NY


    I chose the "Hope Basket" for my father.
    The Heifer Hope Basket, with its chickens and rabbits, offers just that to Heifer's project partners. What can be more hopeful to a struggling farmer than a gift of fast-multiplying livestock? Rabbits are easy to care for and reproduce quickly, allowing their owners to sell the offspring for extra income once they've fulfilled Heifer's "Passing on the Gift" promise; and chickens lay eggs and provide manure for vegetable gardens. That's why this gift of Hope goes on and on, lasting much longer and helping more families than the usual gift basket filled with pastries or presents ever could.

    I hope my father appreciates the Heifer gift. During this season of excess and overconsumption, I feel it is important to extend the spirit of giving to those with the greatest need.
    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 7, 2009

    Naturally "Healthy" Frozen Sorbet by Jolly Llama

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    Ever looking for a sweet frozen sweet for your family? Jolly Llama frozen sorbets are made from natural ingredients and come in squeezable containers. This whole fruit sorbets contains no dairy, gluten, or genetically modified corn sweeteners; however I wish they were organic. They do contain "non-GMO soluble corn fiber", which I am not too sure about.

    Because we make our sorbets from sun-ripened whole fruit - never concentrates or juices - each Jolly Llama bursts with the mouth-watering freshness of real fruit and retains the rich store of nutrients that nature intended. Our Acai "superfruit" sorbet is particularly high in antioxidants. All of our sorbets are low in fat and each averages just 75 calories per tube. To make our sorbets even healthier, we fortify them with Vitamins A & C (50% RDI or greater) and naturally healthy fiber (10% RDI or greater).

    The reviews in my family of Jolly Llama range from "yum" to "too sweet". My five-year-old son likes them, but he can't finish a whole tube, which my daughter does not mind finishing for him. She is the biggest Jolly Llama fan in the family and loves the strawberry flavor. I think the cold sorbet feels good on my sore throat.

    Disclosure: I was sent free samples of Jolly Llama's sorbets in order to taste them for this review. No prior assurances were given as to whether the review would be positive or negative.

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 4, 2009

    Fight and Prevent Mold Without Bleach, Ammonia, or VOCs

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    Concrobium Mold Control is a product that fights and prevents mold without using bleach or ammonia. It also does not contain any VOCs. I personally do not have a moldy spot to really try this product out, but I do get a little pink mold along the molding of my shower door that is hard to clean. I sprayed Concrobium Mold Control on this spot, and the pink mold did wipe away easier than with a sponge alone. I also sprayed the entire molding hoping that this product would prevent future mold growth. 


    Traditionally, homeowners have tackled mold with bleach solutions, essentially poisoning the mold micro-organism. That leaves users and their families exposed to harmful chemicals.

    And bleach only provides short term relief from mold. When the mold reappears, the toxic cleaning cycle begins again...

    Concrobium Mold Control® is a revolutionary way to fight mold, with no bleach, ammonia or VOCs.

    Unlike traditional "wet kill" products, Concrobium works as it dries - hardening over the moldy surface to form an invisible film that physically crushes the mold micro-organism underneath.

    And Concrobium stays on surfaces to provide continual resistance against mold regrowth.


    Concrobium Mold Control states their product is eco-friendly and a "100% natural solution", although full disclosure of the solution is not given other than stating "two other ingredients" are combined with baking soda to create a "patented tri-salt polymer". It certainly has to be better than bleach.

    Disclosure: I was sent a quart of Concrobium Mold Control in order to complete this review. No positive or negative assurances were given prior to reviewing this product.

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 3, 2009

    Jet Trails Reduce Sunshine by Up to 10 Percent

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    The controversy and paranoia around jet contrails have led some to believe this condensation left by airplanes is "actually chemicals or biological agents deliberately sprayed at high altitudes for a purpose undisclosed to the general public". Whether this conspiracy theory is true or not, Britain's Met Office has discovered contrails reduce sunshine. The Telegraph reports:
    Analysis of contrails from one large military aircraft circling over the North Sea showed the creation of a thin layer of cloud that, at its peak, covered an area of more than 20,000 square miles...Globally, vapour trails are thought to cut sunshine levels by less than one per cent, but this figure could rise to 10 per cent in areas under busy air corridors, such as the south-east of England, according to The Sunday Times.
    Given this new information, I wonder if busy flight paths will be considered when selecting solar array sites in the future.
    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 2, 2009

    Gluten Free Cooking: Bob's Red Mill Shortbread Cookie Mix

    gluten free shortbread mix.jpgBob's Red Mill Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix is a new product for celiacs and their families. Unfortunately, this product does not come in a recyclable container or contain organic ingredients, but they are gluten-free. Each cookie contains 29 grams of carbohydrates, so they are not diabetic-friendly, however, there are only eight grams of sugar.

    Ingredients: Potato Starch, Sugar, Whole Grain Sorghum Flour, Cornstarch, Tapioca Starch, Sea Salt, Xanthan Gum, Natural Vanilla Powder (sugar, cornstarch, vanilla extract).

    Making this mix is rather easy, although we used twice as much water as the package required. It is not a kid-friendly mix, as most gluten-free ingredients are difficult to work with for little hands. The dough did roll (and re-roll) out easily between plastic wrap (bottom layer of parchment paper works best), and small cookie cutters are best. The finished cookies are excellent and taste is not compromised by the gluten-free ingredients.

    Bob's Red Mill uses "an ELISA Gluten Assay test to determine if a product is gluten free," so you can be assured this product is allergen-free for celiacs.
     

    Disclosure: I was sent a free package of Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie Mix to try out in order to write this review. No prior assurances were given as to the positive or negative nature of the review in exchange for the product.

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking

    December 1, 2009

    Ikea Holiday Soft Toy Gifts Support UNICEF and Save the Children

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    Not only are Ikea soft toys a super deal, the purchase of these toys contributes to global educational programs. Of course, there is nothing natural about these toys made from polyester and synthetic rubber, but the money goes for good causes and they are super soft and uniquely designed.  My children also enjoy playing with them.

    Last year the program raised over $7 million with these plush animals that donate 1 euro ($1.47) to UNICEF and Save the Children with every toy purchased November 1 through December 24...Ranging in price from $1.49 to $19.99, these lovable creatures make a great stocking stuffer or featured present for kids of all ages.

    Designed for children of all ages, I would not want my baby chewing on the synthetic rubber, and there are many other natural soft toys on the market. Although Ikea is known for environmentally responsible practices, I think I would prefer to just give money to a charitable organization and purchase a more eco-friendly gift. Ikea does make some nice wooden toys though.

    Disclosure: I received a Barnslig and a Korall Krabba in order to write this review. No assurances were given as to whether the review would positive or negative in exchange for the product.

    Jennifer Lance Permalink social bookmarking
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