Top 5 Reasons to Get Your Girl Outside

Alpengirl 3As you know, I’m busy sunning myself on a beach getting K-Bear outside this week! Outdoor time is incredibly important to our family, whether it be snorkeling with the fish, digging in the sand, or hiking a mountain trail. I got my start at an early age, thanks to outdoor-loving parents.

Even better than the family hikes they dragged me on was the week-long canoe camp they sent me to each summer when I was 13 and 14 (insert shout-out to Alton Jones!). It was such a young, impressionable and often-times awkward age, but I remember vividly the power of the friendships I built, the freedom I felt, and the connection to nature I established. It was a mighty feeling to canoe all day and set up camp each night, all while learning how to pee in the woods, cook a meal for a team and wash dishes with minimal water. I came home each summer feeling like I could conquer anything!

So it is with happy memories that I feature this guest post by Lauren Caselli, a guide at Alpengirl Camp, an overnight, outdoor summer adventure camp for girls ages 11-17 in Montana, Hawaii, Alaska, Washington and Norway. A Manhattan desk-jockey-turned-wilderness-junkie, she left her NYC apartment for the wide open valleys of Montana. After 22 years in the traditional education system, Lauren learned more about her passions, her values, and herself during 18 months of wilderness exploration than she ever did in the halls of her public school. An advocate of writing-as-self-discovery, she manages the Alpengirl blog. Continue reading

How to Avoid Arsenic in Rice

Sadly, two new reports from Consumer Reports and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) show worrisome levels of arsenic in rice and rice product including breakfast cereals, rice flour, rice pasta, rice cakes and crackers.

Yes, this is the same arsenic people have used for centuries to commit murder. Continue reading

Two Chemicals to Purge from Your Bathroom

Among other things, fall often means it’s time to deep clean, and your bathroom is no exception.

I’m not just talking cleaning products here, although you should most certainly evaluate those as well (Remember, a solution of 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water is naturally anti-bacterial and works wonders!). But I’m talking beauty products, air fresheners and shower curtains.

Over the past few years, I’ve fully replaced my bath and beauty products with all-natural solutions, and feature glass doors on all our showers. I ditched all artificial fragrances too, and I gotta say, I never miss ’em. I have two good reasons: tricolsan and phthalates. Thanks to Healthy Child Healthy World for reminding me why and defining it well so I could share it with you. Continue reading

Basil #Pesto: Quick to Make and Easy to Freeze

This time of year, my favorite crop to scoop up by the armful at farmer’s markets is fresh basil. I make a batch of pesto nearly every week, freezing it in portioned batches to enjoy all year-long. Come spring, as I use my last cube, I am sad only long enough to remember that in just a few months, the basil will be bursting forth again, beckoning me and my food processor to get whirling. Continue reading

From Toddler to Sous Chef: How to Get Your Child Cooking this Summer

As a mom, who doesn’t like a little more help around the kitchen? I can’t think of a better time to solicit help than summer, when extra hours have us – and our kids – begging for activities.

When K-Bear turned 18-months-old, I quickly learned she wanted to help with everything, including cooking. Her little body would exert all the effort she had to push a stool from the corner of the kitchen right up to the counter next to me where she would eagerly ask for a boost up. Ever since, she’s become my favorite sidekick in the kitchen. Continue reading

Joining the Compost Revolution Easier than You Thought

I hate to waste, I love to garden, and yet I only started composting this spring. I can’t honestly say what took me so long to join the revolution, but now that I’m on board, I’m hooked!

It’s easier than you might think and with the abundance of fruit and vegetable scraps hitting your kitchen these days, there is no better time to start. Play it right, and you can have fresh “black gold” in time for the fall planting season! Bonus: it ‘s cheap! Continue reading