Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Easy way to get your veggies! Join a local farm

Harvest season is coming up in October. If you want to join Sweetwater Organic Community Farm in Tampa (they also deliver to St. Pete Farmer's Market) you need to click on the link below to join. Memberships are going fast.

It's a less expensive way to get your locally grown, organic produce (and it MAKES you eat your veggies! They pick them the same day you swing by to pick them up!)
Many schools are starting to see the benefits of having their own organic farm on school property... not only does it help kids see that their food does not come from plastic containers, but it also will get them more interested in eating their veggies.
Let us know if you your child's school has started something like this. 
Since first lady Michelle Obama planted a garden at the White House in the spring of 2009 and invited schoolchildren to help tend and harvest the produce, more school gardens have been sprouting up across the country.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announces it will award $1 million in grants for eligible high-poverty schools to start community gardens.
The goal: to teach students about gardening and nutrition and to provide fresh produce for school meals. Some of the harvest may also be given to students' families, as well as to local food banks and senior-center nutrition programs (
Improving nutrition in schools is part of the first lady's Let's Move! initiative to fight childhood obesity.

School gardens "give kids exposure to where food comes from and encourages them to try foods they might not otherwise try," says Kevin Concannon, USDA undersecretary for food, nutrition and consumer services.
They give teachers an opportunity to talk about soil, water, sun, health and science, and the gardens can be used for math and art programs, he says.
Concannon has visited school gardens fromMaine to Missouri to California.
When a second-grade girl took him on a tour of her elementary school's 2-acre garden in Riverside, Calif., she waxed eloquent about strawberries, he says, pointing out that they contain vitamin C. "This was music to my ears," he says.
Estimates suggest that about 15% to 20% of schools across the country have gardens, says Mike Metallo, president of the National Gardening Association, a non-profit group that provides gardeners and teachers with information and resources.
Since 1982, the gardening association has given out 9,310 grants and awards worth $3.7 million, reaching 1.4 million young gardeners, he says (
"We've supported everything from small herb gardens at inner-city elementary schools to large, raised-bed vegetable gardens in middle schools," Metallo says.
The group is taking applications for its youth gardening programs, which are financed by corporations.
"In most areas of the country, schools can do a spring garden and fall garden and get parents, kids and community volunteers to maintain them throughout the summer," Metallo says.
The gardening association also provides money for indoor gardening projects with light tables and curriculum, he says.
"It teaches students about roots and stems and the process that is going on. A lot of times, they can grow lettuce and herbs quite easily.
"Kids love to plant seeds. They love to watch them sprout and grow. It's magical."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Safer cleaners better for baby and you!

A few years ago I started switching out harsh household cleaners for safer cleaners. Yes, I bought a few that didn't seem to do the job, but I eventually on Method and Seventh Generation. Now that I am pregnant, I'm glad I made the switch.

According to USA Today, spray cleaners send thousands of babies and toddlers to the emergency room each year.

Nearly 12,000 children under age 5 go to the emergency room each year because of injuries caused by household cleaning products, according to a study in today'sPediatrics. About 40% of those injuries - or nearly 4,800 cases - are caused by spray bottles, which typically don't have child-resistant caps, according to the study of 267,269 children.
Spray cleaners can contain a range of hazardous chemicals, from ammonia to bleach. More than 740 of all small children injured by cleaning supplies in 2006 had symptoms that were life-threatening or caused long-term disabilities, the study says.

Spray bottles usually have bright packaging, with fruity or flowery scents and bright colors, and the spray handles make them feel like squirt guns, she says.

Many stores now sell safer household cleaners or you can make your own for much less. shares a few safer cleaners you can make:

Household Cleaner Instructions

All-Purpose Cleaner 1/2 cup vinegar

1/4 cup baking soda

1/2 gallon water

Mix ingredients above to store and keep.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner 1/4 cup baking soda

1 cup vinegar

Mix ingredients above. Pour into basin and allow to set for three minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse.

Rust Remover 1 lime


Sprinkle a little salt on the rust. Squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Let the mixture set for two to three hours. Use the leftover rind to scrub the residue.

Glass Cleaner 1/4 cup white vinegar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1 quart warm water

Mix ingredients above. Pour into a spray bottle or apply with a sponge. For lint-free results, wipe dry with crumpled newspaper instead of paper towels. Buff to a shine.

Furniture Polish 1 lemon

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 teaspoon water

Extract the juice from the lemon. Mix with oil and water. Apply a thin coat to the wood surface and let set for five minutes. Use a soft cloth to buff to a deep shine.