What does it mean to be green? With snow covering the ground this time of year, it’s hard to imagine the color green! I asked my three year old Henry and he told me it was a color. Duh. A color with many shades. I looked out the window but all I see is white. Imagining the green grass I wonder,  can’t we all be some shade of green of this New Year?

I don’t profess to do everything “green”. I try to make everyday choices that I feel are safe for me, my children and for the environment. I recycle and try to not be wasteful with electricity. I unplug items that are not in use. I turn my SUV off when I’m not in it. Yes, an SUV! See, I’m not 100% Green but I am a shade and everyday this shade varies. I write this to show people that you can do something and be some shade of green.  Being Eco friendly and living a green lifestyle, buying organic and choosing natural toys – isn’t always easy but it is possible.

Everybody can do something. You don’t have to do everything and you shouldn’t try or you’ll go crazy and be a zillion shades of who knows what color! Instead make choices that are good for you and your family and that make sense. Teach your little ones through examples. In my home my biggest “green” task is using everything non-toxic and natural. Cleaning products, personal care products, home care products and nutrition products. I green my home and my body as much as possible. I am, however, not perfect.

When it comes to going green and being some shade of green there seems to be so much pressure (trust me I know). The media loves this “go green” phrase and every other advertising or product has words that say green, natural, Eco or organic on them. Friends are being competitive when it comes to what brands they buy or who’s doing what. It’s enough to turn someone away. Even though I have a green website and it’s mostly all I write about, read about or research, I find it overwhelming. Just trying to buy a car that isn’t loaded with toxins is driving me crazy. It seemed less complicated four years ago when I was doing nothing but that’s just it. Taking the easy road because it’s less complicated and takes less energy isn’t the right thing. Neither is going over board and doing too much right away to overwhelm yourself or your family.

So where do you begin to go green and live a more Eco friendly natural lifestyle? What can you do that won’t make you go bonkers or just stop trying ? I’m going to tell you from my point of view and having gone too far and doing too much too soon, what I advise. I wish I could have read an article like this and had a place where I could begin. With New Years on the horizon this seems fitting and perhaps these tips for buying organic and going green will help you with some resolutions.  Maybe I would have felt less out of control and confused if I had read an article helping me learn about how to go green and live a more Eco friendly natural life style.  With all the pressure from friends, family and media to be more earth friendly and buy this, drive this, don’t do this, it’s hard to know where to begin.

Guess what?  The canvas is blank and it is your canvas to paint anyway you like with as many shades of green as you please. That’s the best part, there really is no competition and each family is a unique as a painting. My advice: sit down and figure out what is going to work for your family now and what your priorities, obligations and motivations are. How can you work going green into your life for five minutes each day? Sit down, grab a piece of paper and write down the following:

1. What do I want to teach my kids about sustainability and being Earth friendly?

2. What products do I use in my home that are toxic? List personal care products and cleaning products.

3. What foods can our family make switches to that are hormone free and healthier? Can we garden or could we afford to start buying locally?

4. What jobs can I give our family members to cut down on energy or waste (Maybe have a child in charge of turning off the lights or rinsing out the recycling)?

5. When it comes to driving, can our family car pool or walk more? Is it possible to save on gas and have our children choose one activity verses three (Maybe you’re child would be interested in helping you decide how more errands can be accomplished with less driving)?

Involve the family this New Year and decide what is going to work from the list you create or turn it into more of a go green brainstorm and the entire family decide where to being painting the canvas green! If you decide to start with buying non-toxic cleaning products, research alternatives and start there, make that your start line. When you’ve accomplished that switch and are happy with a brand then move on to the next thing you’re ready to tackle as a family. Taking the easy road and doing nothing is what I did years ago and looking back, I’m not proud. It makes me sad actually. So start somewhere, anywhere and long term you’ll be happy you did. With each year being a New Year, paint this one a brilliant shades of green!

Useful Websites to help you on your artistic Eco-friendly natural living journey:

Safe Mama

The Smart Mama

Eco Child’s Play

Healthy Child Healthy World

Environmental Working Group

5 Minutes for Going Green

Healthy Green Moms

The Soft Landing

Organic Mania and the moms from the Green Moms Carnival

Healthy Toys

Natural Pod

Green Baby Guide

Enviro Mom

Green Living Ideas

Trying to be Greener

Crunchy Green Mom

Green Irene

Eco Office Gals

I’m positive I’m forgetting some other fabulous resource to help you go green this New Year and begin living that eco-savvy life style but the list of links will give you a great start.  Feel free to comment on your favorite site or resource.

Why not? Great tips for free!

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