Family Time: Must-haves for green moms

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

It's not enough anymore to just teach your kids to look both ways before crossing the street, pick up after themselves and play nicely together. Modern moms need to teach children lessons on how to help preserve the environment for years to come. "The best way to teach is to lead by example, so if you want your children to grow up to be eco-minded adults, show them how to do it by greening your own habits now," says Emily Smith, vice president of the Disney Online Mom and Family Portfolio. Disney offers a list of the top six green products that can easily be incorporated into your everyday family routine.

- Reusable water bottles - You want your kids to drink plenty of water because it's good for them, but you're concerned that all those plastic bottles ending up in landfills aren't good for the environment. The solution - reusable water bottles. Easily available in stores, reusable water bottles like those used by cyclists and hikers are a great alternative to disposable bottles. By using them, you help reduce the waste stream and save money on more expensive bottled water. To really go eco-friendly, try a stainless steel bottle that is naturally durable and BPA free.

- Composting machine - Turn your leftover table scraps into compost and you will rank as the "Queen of Green" in your children's eyes. A composting machine makes the job super easy, but you can also make compost with a simple composting barrel, available in any home improvement or garden store.

- Reusable razors - Did you know that about 2 billion plastic razors end up in landfills each year? That's the estimate by the Environmental Protection Agency. So replace your limited use disposable razors with a reusable one that allows you to keep the handle and only switch the blades. You'll reduce the amount of trash going into the waste stream and your legs may thank you since reusable razors are often better quality than disposable ones.

- Reusable shopping bags - Plastic bags wind up in waterways and harm wildlife, or they end their life in landfills where they'll remain forever. Reusable cloth shopping bags are better for the environment. And you can make your own fashion statement by choosing fun, funky or fashionable totes to function as your shopping bag.

- Compact fluorescent light bulbs - Not only do CFLs consume much less energy than conventional incandescent bulbs, they last longer, too. You'll save money on your energy bill - not to mention your annual household light bulb budget - by replacing the incandescent bulbs in your home with these energy-saving alternatives.

- All-natural cleaning products - Long gone are the days when "natural cleaner" meant "good for the environment, but not so good for cleaning." Today, a plethora of products made from natural ingredients are gentler on the environment than harsh chemicals but as powerful at cleaning as common chemical cleansers.

-- ARA

Family Screening Room

“A Christmas Carol”

Rated: PG (for scary sequences and images)

Length: 96 minutes

Synopsis: Ebenezer Scrooge (Jim Carrey) begins the Christmas holiday with his usual miserly contempt, barking at his faithful clerk (Gary Oldman) and his cheery nephew (Colin Firth). But when the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet to Come take him on an eye-opening journey revealing truths that Scrooge is reluctant to face, he must open his heart to undo years of ill will before it's too late. This version of the Charles Dickens classic is directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Violence/scary rating: 3

Sexual-content rating: 1

Profanity rating: 2

Drugs/alcohol rating: 1

Family Time rating: 2.5. This is basically a good family movie, but some of the ghosts are a little scary.

(Ratings are judged on a five-point scale, with 5 being “bad for kids” and 1 being “fine for kids.”)

Book Report

“Dodsworth in New York,” by Tim Egan

Ages: 6-10

Pages: 48

Dodsworth wanted adventure. He wanted to see the world. He especially wanted to visit New York City. What he didn’t want was to be joined by a duck. A crazy duck. A duck that misbehaves. Young readers will laugh out loud at the duck’s silly antics as Dodsworth has the unexpected adventure of his life in the Big Apple - and beyond.

Did You Know

According to, there are 4,265,555 babies born in the United States each year.

GateHouse News Service