Green Moms Profile: Caryn Chmielewski

Text: "Green Moms Profile: Caryn Chmielewski" / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So; Photo: Three silicone-wrapped glass bottles (yellow, green and blue) on a granite countertop

Welcome to Earth Month! This month, I’m going to be profiling a number of “green moms” who purposely live in a sustainable way.

For our second Green Mom profile, welcome Caryn Chmielewski. She lives in Springfield, Virginia and has a 15 month old daughter.

Why is it important to you to parent your kids in a “green” way?
I choose to parent “green” because I have serious concerns about the safety of most consumer products available in the U.S. today. While I don’t particularly want to go back in time, I do truly believe that many of the products we used to eat and live with (food, storage containers, cleaning products, etc.) used to be much safer and healthier prior to the 1980s (approx, I would have to do some research to support my gut feeling here). I could go on about this topic (i.e. American businesses being permitted by government to sacrifice quality and safety for convenience and bigger profits, etc.) but I will stop there. Ultimately, I want my daughter and any future children I might have to have the best possible health and part of that, in my opinion, means choosing to give her organic, natural, whole foods as much as possible and using safer/greener storage items (glass over plastic, for example).

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What I’ve Been Reading

Photograph: Painting of the Jefferson Memorial framed in the branches of a cherry blossom tree

This guy was painting multiple paintings with multiple paintbrushes simultaneously. Seriously.

Spring has sprung, with flowers and thunderstorms in our area. We’ve even had water tables and bicycles out this week. With my parents now living in our area, Sprout had his second sleepover with them yesterday, where they plied him with ice cream and homemade cookies. Grandparents.

For your articles this week, we’ve got commentary on raising non-racist kids, Finland being awesome, being an ethical parent, and many other topics!

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Cooperation in Flight: The Cherry Blossom Kite Festival

Text: "Cooperation in Flight: The Cherry Blossom Kite Festival / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So" Photo: Multi-colored kite flying on a cloudy sky in front of the Washington Monument with other kites in the background

Kite-flying does not come easily to my family. In Ocean City a few years ago, my mom and I sprinted through the sand over and over again to be met with a diving kite on the end of a limp string. We fell over laughing, but we never did get it up in the air. Thankfully, we had a lot more luck in both kite flying and cooperation this past weekend at the Cherry Blossom Kite Festival in Washington D.C.

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Green Mom Profiles: Jen Mendez

Text: "Green Moms Profiles: Jen Mendez / We'll Eat You Up, We Love You So" Photo: Photo of a boy and a girl underneath a shelter made of sticks

Welcome to Earth Month! This month, I’m going to be profiling a number of “green moms” who purposely live in a sustainable way. If you’re interested in green transportation in particular, check out the Family Biking Profiles I did last year for Bike Month in May! 

Our first Green Mom profile is of Jen Mendez, who lives in Southern Maryland with two kids, who are four and six years old. She’s one of the most holistically sustainable folks I’ve ever met. I first encountered her at D.C.’s annual urban agriculture festival Rooting DC. Last year, she provided invaluable input into the Outdoors Family Challenge and highlighted it several times on her website and podcast. She runs the PERMIE KIDs Community Supported Education Network and its Facebook page, which has loads of great resources.

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Guest Post: Spring into STEM!

Cleaning out the garden with Sprout

Gardening is all about science, from the life cycle of a plant to the nitrogen cycle of the soil. I combined both of those loves in a guest post for Raising Nerd about using gardening to teach your mini-nerds about science, engineering and math. It’s heavy on the ecology, but touches on a bunch of areas.

Here’s a preview:

Dirt covered the table. Dirt covered my son’s hair. Dirt covered everything. While I wanted to be annoyed, I really wasn’t. It was all in the name of learning – and growing food in our new garden.

While trowels and compost may not seem like obvious tools for teaching science, vegetable gardens can be incredible classrooms. That day, my son was learning about the life cycle of plants while we started tomato seeds.

The best part is that gardening provides the potential for kids of all ages to learn. While my three-year-old is just beginning to learn the basics, even I’ve learned quite a bit in my years of gardening. If you don’t garden yet, consider planting a few flowerpots so you can share the benefits with your kids.

Read the rest at Raising Nerd!

What You Don’t See

“So what time do you get home?” I asked. I desperately wanted to know how my friends had managed to solve the conundrum of living in the suburbs with young kids – how to spend time with them while also getting them to bed at a reasonable hour. They had just told me that they got their one-year-old to bed by 7:30 pm, a feat that has never happened at our house.

“6:30,” my friend replied, shrugging. “We grab her something out of the fridge and do the bedtime routine.”

I blinked. They didn’t have dinner together. Or much time together at all on weekdays. I literally had not considered that possibility.

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What I’ve Been Reading

Photo: A fake banana tree made out of pineapples on a green tray

Yes, it’s a banana tree made out of pineapples. It made adorable sense for a monkey-themed birthday party. Although we have a zillion extra bananas now.

We have entered the wonderful world of one-year-olds again! Little Bird has been exceedingly adorable lately and even slept through the night recently. He hasn’t repeated that feat again since, but I’m looking forward to it being a trend. While he still isn’t fond of the “s” word, he’s much less resistant to sleeping at this age than his brother was.

And now for our badass parenting links for the week, from parenting strong-willed kids to woke Teen Vogue to solving the play deficit.

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