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Organic

The Uncommon Life

Raising Your Children Green by Oh Dear Drea

July 30, 2012

Hello! I’m Drea!

I’m a single mama to one beautiful daughter, Miss Marlowe Paloma. The two of us share a tiny home in sunny South Florida, just two miles from the ocean. I’m always striving to keep my home for the two of us as natural, organic, and earth-friendly as possible… vegan too! The choices we make in our lives and in our home will forever affect our children and all following generations. I like to know I’m doing what I can to help make this Earth and life a little more healthy, simple, and naturally beautiful for my little one. I’ve put together a short list of simple changes we can all make (or partially make) to live a more eco-friendly, natural life. I hope you enjoy!

Pesticide-free gardening (Weather permitting, not so much in the Florida summer.)
Herb and vegetable gardens are great. You know exactly what products/chemicals/pesticides are going on the herbs and vegetables you will be putting in your body. There are millions of natural and organic gardening tips out there to use in your home. Here is a list of some of the tried and true natural gardening techniques we’ve used.

Natural and homemade products
Toxins, parabens, and chemicals are a no-no in this household, as these are all bad for the body and many cause or increase your chances of developing cancer. Only natural soaps are going on our skin and on our countertops. You can find a list of my favorite beauty products (for mama and baby), here and even a natural deodorant recipe, here. The deodorant works, trust me… I work on a small, hot food truck, in the middle of summer, in Florida.

Organic, Unprocessed, Vegan Food
We try to buy organic food as much as possible. We keep processed foods to the very minimum. There are no chemicals and preservatives going into your meals (and your body) when you cook organic food from scratch. And of course, you get to share the joy of cooking with little ones. We’re proof that it most certainly can be done on a budget… take a peek at our pantry. Skipping out on processed, “convenience” foods sufficiently reduces your budget by taking out processing, shipping, chemical, and packaging costs. And it makes sense that being vegan would be a lot more inexpensive too, since you’re re placing animal proteins with legumes. Beans are cheap cheap cheap… and extra delicious. Being vegan is also 100% more sustainable for our earth, but of course, not everyone has to be vegan to be beneficial. Just being aware of where your food is coming from, and making a few conscious choices from there (such as one meat free meal a day), can make a big, big difference.

Cloth napkins
I try to eliminate paper products as much as I can in our home. It seems like a huge waste to buy something, just to throw it away. There is a drawer for dining napkins, hand rags, and counter rags. By using cloth, not only are we saving tress, but we are also eliminating any of the chemicals used in processing paper (such as chlorine). So it’s nice to be able to choose what soaps we want to use on our linens, we only use free-and-clear soap here. You can buy cloth rags just about anywhere. I’ve found some really adorable ones on Etsy. As an extra bonus, you can even find cloth napkins made from vintage and up-cycled materials, such as the ones from dot and army.

Cloth diapers
Cloth diapering is the best way to keep chlorine and other chemicals off tender baby butts. There are a ton of places selling them now, and there are so many different options and styles to choose from. As a bonus, outgrown diaper inserts make the BEST clean-up rags, as they are so incredibly absorbent. I’m still using Marlowe’s newborn diaper inserts in my kitchen, and she’s almost two now! And of course, it keeps our landfills free of hundreds and thousands of diapers. Even using one cloth diaper a day, keeps 365 diapers out of a landfill for the year! Amazing!

Drea picked out her favorite organic, eco-friendly baby gifts from UncommonGoods. Check out her collection here!

The Uncommon Life

Wheat Grass in the House (and the tortoise, and the cats)

June 19, 2012

At UncommonGoods, we’re big proponents of “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle.” Nothing goes to waste, if we can help it. Last week, our Creative team did something super-top secret with 24 flats of wheat grass. Afterward, rather than throw it away, Adam, our staff photographer, walked among our desks offering some to any takers. He left the rest on a shelf in one of our break rooms.

I happened to be tortoise-sitting last week for some neighbors who were out of town. Since Roberta – that’s her name – eats only greens, and the occasional flower when she gets lucky, I wondered if she could eat wheat grass, too.

A quick web search turned up both the type of tortoise she is (sulcata, or African spurred tortoise–a desert type) and the answer to my question: Grass is great. I learned that desert tortoises evolved to make the most of high-fiber, low-protein greens like grasses, and that lower-fiber, higher-protein supermarket greens that people eat are bad for their health.

I brought some flats of the wheat grass to Roberta’s lair, and she went nuts for it.

Chomp chomp chomp chomp! It was like watching a dinosaur movie.

This is what one of the flats looked like after she had had her way with it for a couple of days.

Cats, too, enjoy the occasional blade of grass, so I gave a couple of flats to a friend who has five; three in the office and two at home; and to another friend who has two. All seven are rescues, saved from heartbreaking lives by the kindness and cat-craziness of my pals.

Here’s Pumpkin, nibbling.

Pumpkin again, really getting into it. Check out those fangs!

Gloria isn’t sure she wants to get involved.

Gloria, sending a telepathic wheat grass inquiry to her Martian overlords.

Beta is living the compleat wheat grass lifestyle: eating it, pretending to be a lion stalking in an African savanna, and finally, using it as his throne.

It doesn’t get much greener than taking something already green and re-using it–and finally, via the magical mystery of a tortoise’s digestive system, turning it into garden fertilizer. I decided to spare you photos of that.

The Uncommon Life

Fall Giveaway!

October 7, 2011

ETA October 10, 2011: Congratulations to our Fall Giveaway winner, Joanna Z!

Joanna said, “I love the smell of ripe apples on the trees, the crisp, cool mornings, and pumpkins showing up at every grocery store, every produce stand, and on just about every front porch.”

Thanks to all who entered for your fabulous fall stories!


Colorful leaves, warm beverages, new fashion, and Halloween. What’s not to love about fall? To celebrate our admiration for autumn, we’re giving away some of our favorite fall goods! Read on to find out how you can win.

Vawn and Mike Gray aren’t novices when it comes to creating kiln-formed glass art. In fact, they developed their own process to turn old glass bottles into fused-glass masterpieces using an energy efficient, computer-controlled oven.

We love Vawn and Mike’s recycled glass nightlights. Their Recycled Pelican Nightlight and Recycled Sandpiper Night Light are so popular, we added another bird to the lineup, just in time for fall!
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