Lean Green Mommy Machine

Thoughts on health, wellness, living green and motherhood


Real Food Bloggers Need To Get Real

I have plenty of family and friends who think I’m a bit over the top with my healthy living. They think I take things a bit far or question my sanity as well as the time I spend on certain things. But they have no idea the multitude of things I don’t do or choose

The biggest garden we can plant where we live.

The biggest garden we can plant where we live.

not to stress over. There is plenty out there that is bad, dangerous, toxic, healthier, better…that I am just not worrying over.
I can’t.
It’s not realistic for me to function like that. Or try to function, since I know I would never actually be able to function while doing the “best” of everything. We all have to determine what is best for our family’s personally and for us that is a mix of things.
But I do love to share knowledge of things I find helpful, healthful and interesting. I’m kind of a health and wellness nerd so what is interesting to me may make you fall asleep. Still, I try to share things that I think may improve someone’s health or give them great options. Or simply make them think.
But we have a serious problem with Real Food Bloggers. They seem to live in some counter-reality. I mean, I get that their lives are real and that there are others out there who live a similar life, but not the majority.
They write about the simplicity and ease of living a real food lifestyle and making everything you eat from scratch and anything you can’t make you buy local every other day….or whatever.
They have 1, maybe 2, kids and a nanny, housekeeper and enough money to blow on fancy gadgets to make themselves and their family even more healthy.
They live in California and have access to 40 different varieties of local produce year round.
Essentially they live a life that no one I know actually lives. And them singing the praises and simplicity of real food from where they are just makes it all seem unrealistic and unattainable. It is not actually encouraging people to improve their eating and make better choices. It is overwhelming them with the idea that somehow they are supposed to dive right in and find it so easy. It’s not easy and sometimes there are limits. Location, lifestyle, work, children, money…all potentially limiting factors. (Yes, money. Please, for the love of all things healthy, real foodies STOP saying things like, “If you think organic is expensive, you should try pricing cancer.” I LOVE Joel Salatin but that quote did not magically make money appear in my bank account. If you use this quote then you have no clue what it is like to struggle with money. You aren’t helping your cause. Just STOP.)
I am hoping to see more realistic Real Food Bloggers start popping up and sharing what they do and how they do it. People from all over with all different budgets and numbers of family members, talking about how they manage to make life just a little bit healthier for their family while not going mad. That’s a lot more real.


Leave a comment

Cloth Diapering: No Washer, No Dryer, No Problem

I considered cloth diapering for quite a while before I actually took the plunge. I was worried I wouldn’t be able to handle the work, the laundry, all of it. I began toying with the idea when my third daughter was a toddler and I was thinking of having a fourth child. I didn’t actually start until my fourth child was about 15 months old.
When I started I learned what kind of diapers I prefer (and they weren’t the ones I thought I would) and what kind of diapers my daughter needed to wear.
I also learned that cloth diapering is not hard, not a burden and not stressful. I really wish I had done it MUCH sooner. Just imagine the money I could have saved…..
Since I myself was a very worried, cloth-curious mom, I totally get why people worry. Now that I am a cloth convert I always try to offer cloth as an option to new and pregnant moms. Often they hadn’t considered it, didn’t know people still used cloth or were just too worried (like myself). I like to try to talk it out with moms to see where their worry is to see if I can help alleviate it.
Now, I’m not saying cloth is for everyone. I love it. LOVE. And I think it is possible for everyone but if you aren’t interested then that’s fine. Just own that. Don’t hem and haw and act interested when you really aren’t. My feelings won’t be hurt, promise.

I’ve heard a lot of excuses as to why people can’t use cloth. But honestly, very few people truly CAN’T do cloth. There may just be enough of a challenge to deter you. And like I said that’s fine, own it. It’s up to you.

But if you DO want to do cloth, if you’re really committed, you can work around challenges.

One of my dearest friends in the world is Clara. She and her husband are at the beginning of all that marriage, kids, figuring out life stuff. As young as they are though, they are making some very wise and responsible choices. I wish I had been as smart when I was that age.

Clara has two gorgeous little girls. One of them is still in diapers. They live in a little apartment above a vet clinic in a small town. They have no washer or dryer (or even hook ups), yard or outside space to call their own.

Know what? They cloth diaper that little sweetie of theirs. Clara figured the easiest way (also the least expensive) to do cloth while washing by hand. She uses flats and utilizes the Diaper Bag Fold and then uses a variety of covers (such as Flip, a favorite) that can be used over and over and easily wiped clean.

Know what other awesome thing she does?


Don't you just love freshly washed diapers on the clothesline?

Don’t you just love freshly washed diapers on the clothesline?

This it the walkout from the apartment. Those are her diapers and wet bag.

She’s making it work because it matters to her. No excuses.

Not always easy but worth it in her eyes (and mine).

What cloth diapering hold ups do you have? Would you like to know how to work through them?

Leave a comment

Upcycle Those Old Jeans

We have a dry erase board in our kitchen. It’s on the wall side-by-side with a cork board. We had huge dreams of organization in mind. I can’t say it serves us exactly how we envisioned but that’s probably my fault. I’m pretty scatter brained and disorganized by nature.
Our most recent set of dry erase markers ran dry the other day, so my husband picked up a fabulous 10 pack of lovely colors. There’s nothing quite like a colorful new pack of crayons, pencils or markers to get you excited! No? Is that just me?

Anyway… Our old parkers had magnets attached to the lids.

Always on the board when you need 'em!

Always on the board when you need ’em!


The new ones…

New Marker


So how do I keep all of these markers near the board (and out of the hands of my mischievous 4-year-old?

Don't be foold by the cuteness, she can wreak havoc.

Don’t be fooled by the cuteness, she can wreak havoc.


This is how

Marker Pockets



I cut the pockets off of an old pair of jeans I had in the fabric bin. I kept the back part of the pocket on like this

Inside of denim pocket



I then hot glued magnets to the back of the pocket. I just used some advertising magnets we had hanging around on the fridge. Everyone has a bunch of those they never even use, right? I suggest peeling the front off a bit. The hot glue will stick better to the papery residue left behind rather than the shiny coating originally on the magnet.

magnets glued on back



So there you have it! Some old jeans upcycled into marker holders for our dry erase board. This could be a fun way for teachers to hold their markers as well.

Marker Pockets


Leave a comment

Greener Still

Going green is gaining ground. Almost everyone is trying to throw some green into their lives. Maybe you recycle or buy recycled stuff. Perhaps you repurpose, buy organic, farm sustainably, buy local. There are so many ways to take better care of the earth and the people and animals who inhabit it.
Perhaps you are wondering what’s next.  What more can you do?  So I thought I would highlight a few green options you may not have thought of.

Un-Paper Towels

The average kitchen can go through quite  a lot of paper towels, especially if they have kids.  But if you switch to these pretty and functional un-paper towels all you have to do is toss them in the laundry when you are done with them.  You get to lessen your environmental impact AND coordinate with your kitchen!  You can find them from many WAHMs (Work At Home Mom), like Rumpsack, maker of the roll below (and also maker of awesome cloth diapers ).

Mama Cloth

Another way to pick pretty, soft and fun fabric in an effort to go green is mama cloth.  Mama cloth is what those in green circles call fabric menstrual pads.  Soft on the skin (hello, MINKY!!) and no nasty chemicals not to mention no dumping in the landfill.  There are both commercial and WAHM makers of mama cloth.  You can find many, like Pampered Mama and A Crafty Cottage, on Hyena Cart.

Diva Cup

If you’re replacing your disposable pads perhaps you want to also replace the vast number of tampons you use and toss each year.  You could try the Diva Cup, a reusable menstrual cup that is latex, BPA and plastic free.  It can be worn for up to 12 hours through any activity.

Reusable Produce Bags

There’s a good chance you already take your own reusable shopping bags to the store (if not, why??).  Perhaps, like me, you have then been frustrated by the vast amounts of plastic bags you use for your produce.  Enter the reusable produce bag!  They are lightweight so as to not add weight to foods you are paying for by the pound.  They are also breathable and can easily be tossed right into your shopping bag in the car.

Dryer Balls

You can eliminate dryer sheets be making or buying wool dryer balls.  This can eliminate wast as well as harmful chemicals that are often in these products.

Coffee Sleeve

If you frequent the local coffee shop or just drop in on occasion this is a fun way to be doubly green.  You can find tutorials online teaching you how to turn an old sweater in a coffee sleeve.  This reuses a sweater you may have tossed AND saves on those paper sleeves at the coffee shop.  Double duty!  You can easily stash one of these in your purse, car, or briefcase so that you have it on-hand (even if you do go the extra step of trying to use a reusable mug, sometimes coffee is impromptu!)

I hope this list has inspired you to find new ways to add a bit more green to your life.  🙂

Leave a comment

Reorganize and Repurpose

So, Pinterest has inspired me to want to organize my linen closet (well, many things but the closet was at the front of my mind the last couple days). It has also given me so much interest in repurposing everything I see. If you are on Pinterest you know how inspiring and addicting it can be.

Today I decided I would tackle the closet which seemed to be vomiting towels and sheets every time you opened it. I also decided I wanted to get it done quickly and between other duties (such as house work, cooking, and caring for kids – my own and those I get paid to care for).
I totally slacked at taking a before picture but you can ask my husband, it was bad.
I started with the crate from some Clementines. we have saved many of these as we were sure we could reuse them somehow.

I took an old fleece blanket that no one used and cut some to fit the box. I hot glued it all around the edges then finished it off with the stitched edge of the blanket (just to make it look a bit nicer, though I didn’t cut it neatly or anything).

I then put some jelly jars inside full of cotton balls and Q-tips. We had a small organizer thing under the sink and I put that inside with small bottles of shampoo, shower gel, mouthwash and lotion. Those are a lot of contact cases in the back of the box. They often come in my box of saline and my teenage daughter has actually had friends forget theirs.

Next I took an empty oatmeal canister, removed the paper and then cut it in half. I left the lid on the top side to give it a bottom.

I then took the legs of an old pair of jeans and cut them off to fit the canisters. I hot glued the bottom edge and the inside.

And finally, here is the finished product. This reveal would be far more dramatic if I had remembered the before picture. But trust me, this is awesome and my husband and 15-year-old were very excited.

Leave a comment

Greedy Green

Green is more than a color. It is a way of life.

It’s also a buzz word that seems to sell products and get attention. Wether people are going green because it is fashionable or because it means something to them, it is a good thing.   Anything that makes people aware of what they eat, drink, slather on, use up, and so on, is helpful.

But lately it really occurred to me that there are two different kinds of “green” people.

The first are the Traditional Greens.  They take every reasonable step in their lives to make a difference on the impact to the earth as well as the people on it.  They recycle, bike to work, repurpose, buy local.  There are so many ways to make a difference.  I find that the Traditional Greens continue to adapt and evolve ways that they can be more, well, green.

Then there comes along the second group of greens.  The Greedy Greens.  I have recently noticed this different group of greens that seems to only care about the green things that directly impact their individual or family selves.  They eat organic as much as possible, don’t use chemical laden personal care products, buy organic clothes for their kids.  All of these things are great, however, they seem to have forgotten about one thing.  The earth!  They don’t want the pesticides and chemicals on them and their family (who really does?!) but they don’t find recycling worth their time.  They can’t imagine repurposing or up-cycling things.  And cloth diapers?  They are SURE that the environmental impact of washing those diapers completely off-sets the benefit of not dumping all of those disposables in the trash.  I actually hear that a lot and it is NOT at all true.

I’m not saying that the Greedy Greens are bad people.  I actually know some amazingly wonderful ones.  I just don’t think they have really taken into account the bigger picture.  We are stewards of this earth and I think we all have a responsibility to keep it healthy for generations that follow.  I think everyone should recycle.  If you don’t want to pay the guys to come pick it up then collect it yourself and make a once a week trip to the drop-off center (they’re everywhere).  Switch from paper napkins to cloth. Take shorter showers.  Turn off lights and electronics and unplug them when not in use.

Not everyone can put solar panels on their house or wind turbines in their back yard (I can’t do either!).  But every person, every family can find a way to impact this earth for the good of ourselves and those that come after us.

1 Comment

The Sound of Addiction

As I sit on my couch and begin hearing the tiny tink sound coming from my kitchen I realize something….I’m addicted.
The tink is coming from jars of peach preserves. They are sounding off that they are officially sealed. Ready to be stored away for a colder, grayer day when peaches are no longer fresh and ripe everywhere you turn. A time when the only peaches you find sit in the grocery store after riding across the country in large semis. They taste like hard, watered down versions of themselves.
But it isn’t just peaches or peach preserves I’m addicted to. It’s making preserves. A few days ago a saw a recipe for strawberry preserves on one of my favorite websites (www.weelicious.com) and decided I wanted to try it. It was a very simple recipe without a lot of ingredients. That is right up my alley.

After I was done, I had two jars of delicious strawberry preserves (not quite sweet enough for my household but mentally noted and adjusted for next time).  So I went on with whatever else I had to do.  But I kept looking to the kitchen.  I began to think about all of the blueberries I just bought. I couldn’t help myself. I HAD to make more preserves. I needed to see if the blueberry ones were as good as the strawberry ones. I changed the recipe up just a bit to suit my tastes.  They were wonderful!  And the color was so intense.  My jar of blueberry preserves sat there like a deep purple jewel.  I had created something delicious, beautiful and able to be stored away for another day.  I was hooked!!

I was chronicling my preserve making adventure on Facebook when my BFF, Julia, offered me a multitude of peaches for my preserve making pleasure.  A full on addict, I naturally accepted.  So, yesterday her husband hands me 3 grocery bags of peaches.  Peaches are the more time-consuming to prep for preserves, of the few fruits I have tried.  But the results are incredible.  It tastes like a little jar of peach pie.  And did I mention I am making these with significantly less sugar than traditional recipes call for?  The fruit is just speaking for itself.

I got through all of the peaches and thought, whew…finally done.  But before I go sit down to my PB and Peach preserve sandwich…..I still have 1 more pint of blueberries in the fridge. I should make more preserves really quick! Well this time my addiction got ahead of me because I forgot that I need TWO pints of berries to fill a jar with preserves.  But somehow I don’t think I have to worry about them going to waste.  Yesterday, my 13-year-old was more than happy to take a spoon to the left over peach preserves that didn’t fit in a jar.  Maybe I’m not the only addict.

I want to line my shelves with glistening jars of jewel-toned fruitiness that I have prepared with my own two hands.  And I want to pass them out to friends and family for Holidays, special occasions and just because I love them.  But for now I am going to finally sit down for a few minutes.  I have no choice. I am out of fruit.  However, I have received another offer from my BFF….she has more peaches ripe for the taking!