Reflecting on Earth Day through my family’s every day green choices

divya singh 1I hope you were able to reflect on ways to make changes in how you live during this year’s Earth Day on April 22. Having a baby has made me so conscious of every day choices I make for myself and my soon-to-be 4-year-old daughter. Parenting is a learning experience, and when I look back, indeed every day has been nothing short of a live classroom.

Before I was expecting, a local Earth Day event had really got me thinking of the power each of us holds to change things.

My family’s health has become my top-most priority, and eating well is a big part of that. We get farm-fresh milk from a local dairy, fresh vegetables from another farm and freshly baked goodies from local bakers. The rest, we cook at home most of the time.

We had always recycled, but we still generated some waste. That waste multiplied manifold when we had our baby and made me look for ways to reduce diaper waste. I found cloth diapers. We also have a compost bin in the backyard that helps us eliminate most of our remaining waste. The compost is used for our fruit trees and vegetable beds.

I love gardening with my kids, we use use grow tents for indoor gardening and they love it. My little daughter even know all the names of each plant we have.

The joy on our little one’s face when she plucks her own fruits and vegetables to eat is so immense that it keeps me going with gardening no matter how busy life may be. Sometimes, she just relaxes under the parasol and I realised how Parasols for your garden can be a boon on a scorching day.

Gardening is among the leading hobbies just about everywhere in the world. The popularity of gardening with the aid of home greenhouses online kits has caused an explosion of green house equipment and supplies designed for the hobby gardener. What was used only in commercial or institutional growing houses is now being used in the avid gardener’s own custom built greenhouse as well. Many of these supplies can be costly and it is necessary that you realize what you will need when planning a custom hobby greenhouse.

Growing your own produce, fruit and vegetables all year-round is making the basic gardener consider a hobby greenhouse for low cost sustainability. Hobby greenhouses, whether it is a kit, a lean-to or a stand alone greenhouse, are all great ways to become a part of this vast emergence due to the high costs of living and the concern for organic products and healthy choices.

Besides planning a place in your yard for your hobby greenhouse, the builder will guide your project through a professional and successful construction and installation process. Hobby, school and commercial greenhouses and greenhouse supplies are also items you will want to ask about in your planning stages.

For example, if you live in colder climates, you will want certain types of heating systems and particular materials in the greenhouse to aid your plants in healthy growth year round.

Misting and fog systems are common greenhouse equipment that is used in southern greenhouses and hot climates. Misting systems aid to cool greenhouses with a fine mist that depresses air temperatures when it evaporates. Greenhouse supplies for misting and fogging come in many sizes and costs and your greenhouse builder will also help you decide the proper size and will order it directly through his various sources.

Greenhouses provide a controlled environment for plant life by the common use of venting. This is where the vents are built into the greenhouse roof, and allow the heat to rise, or the mist to ascend. This allows most vegetation or floral to grow at the control of the gardener.

Another utility for healthy agricultural growth is with hydroponics. Hydroponics are usually a steel or plastic piping that allows the root to grow while it feeds on the nutrients in a water solution. No soil is necessary and the beauty of this method is the fact that it rids all plants of soil based disease and is more cost effective in the long run. Hydroponic greenhouses are growing in numbers within southern greenhouse regions. The greenhouse builder or manufacturer can either supply the hydroponics or they will point you in the right direction for setting up your hydroponic greenhouse.

While a custom built greenhouse is a permanent greenhouse due to size and land restrictions, lean-to and stand alone small greenhouses are good solutions.

Lighting for greenhouses are another greenhouse supply that you may wish to also include. Greenhouse lighting artificial lights may be required if your growing area does not provide adequate light. Grow lights are great for helping plants maintain healthy growth. It can also aid the grower in sprouting and germination of the select plant of choice.

There are also other greenhouse supply options that are useful, such as plant hangars, sprinklers, misting wands, extra doors, shelving, and greenhouse shades that roll over the roof of the greenhouse to provide more adequate shade solutions. PVC fittings, even greenhouse insulation and benches are also very popular.

If you live in an region with a short growing season, the cool weather can overtake crops like tomatoes and peppers when these would be at their peak. With greenhouses, you extend your short season so you are able to delight in the ability to have fresh vegetables longer.

Mini greenhouses, or very small greenhouses range in non-enter to small walk in greenhouses the size of a small coat closet. They are a great way to ease into greenhouse gardening. These are also built by the custom greenhouse builder and you can order kits as well. The kits may be simple inferior products due to the materials used, but at least it could be a simple solution to a new beginning in greenhouse gardening.

Anyone can grow plants, but to grow plants well takes a little knowledge, skill and the right equipment. Each city and on line resources offer excellent information on starting a greenhouse garden. A greenhouse creates the perfect atmosphere for plants to flourish; so many people are building greenhouses on their properties, and stocking them with the right greenhouse supplies.

One last type of greenhouse structure to consider is the luxury greenhouse. These are very large solarium’s and greenrooms, some with many stories and swimming pools, water fountains and foliage resembling that of a vacation hideaway. Again, ask your greenhouse builder for more information on building a luxury greenhouse and planning your custom greenhouse.

When we started solids, my daughter started daycare around the same time. I struggled with the reality of balancing life and work with the option of serving prepackaged food versus preparing fresh food. Eventually — between breast milk, some freshly prepared food and some store-bought jars — we found our balance.

Soon after our daughter’s first birthday, we bought our first house. The house came with a yard that was landscaped with native species of shrubs and trees. It attracted some rare species of birds that I have gotten to see thanks to our little one who encourages me to spend time outside with her, rain or shine. The freedom from having to water the yard even in the driest of Oregon summers is such an advantage.

Every new parent knows the amount of stuff we accumulate when babies arrive in our lives. Trying to fit all the stuff in an apartment when we had our baby made me very conscious of how much “baby stuff” I was going to get, either as gifts or buy on my own. I did not stop myself from buying something if I really liked it, but I had to make a conscious effort to say “no” to a lot of gifts. Moving into a house hasn’t changed much in terms of lack of storage space, and I continue to use stuff from close friends and pass down stuff to new families as soon as I get the opportunity.

Celebrating birthdays has been another occasion where I have put my green choices to great use. I call these “gift exchange” parties and encourage friends to bring used or recycled toys. I send home potted seedlings as return gifts that our friends’ children can plant to enjoy their fruits.

As a mother wanting to raise a like-minded daughter, I am already starting to reap the benefits of sowing these “seeds” of conscious living. My daughter saves her toys to give away to other little ones, and whenever the kitchen tap or shower faucet has running water flowing with full force, my little one reminds me to use it just as much as I need and to not waste too much water in the shower.

I hope you have been inspired to make some small every day changes in how you live to benefit the health of our Earth.

“Simplicity Parenting” with Kim John Payne

Kim John PaynePurchase this one-of-a-kind API audio recording for only $9 and learn how to:
– Define family values for our children
– Put limits in place to guide our children to our family values
– Develop a multi-faceted foundation of connection with your children, being careful that connection isn’t based on a sole factor
– Understand the power of simplicity in reducing stress and boosting connection, creativity and relaxation among both parents and children within a family
– And so much more!

Kim John Payne is tonight!

APM 2015 logoToday is the day! Kim John Payne is speaking on “Simplicity Parenting” tonight at 9:00 pm EST/6:00 pm PST during a special API Live teleseminar as part of the 2015 Attachment Parenting Month: “Parental Presence: Birthing Families, Strengthening Society” — helping families worldwide put in practice what we know is critical for investing in early secure attachment.

Very basically, our lives cannot be too busy for our children. But in our very busy lives, what can we do to slow down and simplify in order to give our children the presence they need to thrive?

Kim John PayneKim John Payne, world-renown author of Simplicity Parenting, is the very expert to inspire any family — no matter their life circumstances — on how to give a bit more presence to their children. He helps parents look at 4 realms of their home life to reduce stress on both children and their parents, allowing room for connection, creativity and relaxation:

  1. Decluttering
  2. Increasing predictability
  3. Soothing schedules
  4. Unplugging.

e4aee175-1115-4d03-bb68-c3009e6c4d4fKim John Payne and his Simplicity Parenting is a vital link in connected parenting. This API Live teleseminar promises to renew your focus on life balance, both for yourself and your family!

Enjoy this huge value for only $9 for API Members. (It’s free to join Attachment Parenting International (API), and you can join before you register for the API Live teleseminar to enjoy the discount!)

Register now to get a “seat” to tonight’s event — from the comfort of your own home or wherever you happen to be, as you join the audience via your phone. And if you can’t be on the teleseminar tonight, register anyway — everyone who registers gets a recording of this API Live teleseminar to listen to at their convenience.

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Who is Kim John Payne? And why I want you to join me on his API Teleseminar

“Imagine your life with a sense of ease as you begin to limit distractions and say ‘no’ to too much, too fast, too soon. …For those who want to slow their children’s lives down but don’t know where to start, [Kim John Payne] offers both inspiration and a blueprint for change.” ~Simplicity Parenting.com

basketball-1442709It’s hard not to over-schedule our children. There are so many classes, teams and other activities offered at younger and younger ages. As parents, we believe that our children will benefit by becoming involved in a wide range of endeavors, mastering as many of them as possible. Perhaps, we say, our children can find their talents early and have the opportunity to develop their skills sets — and self-confidence — sooner than we did ourselves.

We want our children to be happy and successful. We want to give them the very best start in life. But maybe encouraging our children to fill up their days with activities isn’t the way to do this.

I’m contemplating this right now. My 9-year-old daughter — who is already involved in 4-H, church, a monthly science day camp and occasional community service projects — brought home a school flyer about joining a 3rd-grade basketball team. She wants to do it. I don’t.

I am not taking this decision lightly. I don’t want to prevent my child from an activity she may enjoy, but I also feel that what she has going on is enough for now.

I want her to be able to fully enjoy her childhood, unfettered by the pressures and stress of a packed schedule. I would rather she be able to enjoy a few activities to the fullest. I know that the number of possible activities will only increase as she grows older, and I don’t want her to burn out. I don’t want practices and classes and busyness to get in the way of our strong attachment and intentionally slow lifestyle at home. I want to continue maximizing parental presence as she grows into the more turbulent preteen and teen years, being able to provide gentle guidance aligned with our family values as she finds who she is as a unique person.

I feel like our lives are balanced well right now, and I don’t want to upset that balance with nightly practices and weekly games on top of full days of school and after-school homework.

She is my oldest daughter, so we’ve been figuring out Attachment Parenting (AP) together — paving the way for the rest of the family — since her birth. And while we’ve been doing AP for 9 years, each stage of development opens up new challenges in navigating her attachment needs.

So I’ve been wrestling with what to do about 3rd-grade basketball. Go ahead and sign her up, and upset the balance we have with an intense schedule of practices and games? Or say “no” to another activity at this time? Perhaps I should say “no” and instead substitute an activity with a more flexible schedule, such as music lessons? I could teach her to play the clarinet myself, even.

e4aee175-1115-4d03-bb68-c3009e6c4d4fAs I continue on my parenting journey, I am glad to have access to the network of AP experts offered by Attachment Parenting International (API) through the API Live teleseminars. And how timely is it that the next API Live teleseminar — on Monday, October 19, at 9:00 pm EST/6:00 pm PST — is with Kim John Payne, author of Simplicity Parenting!

You may have been following along with API Reads discussions on Simplicity Parenting. But even if you’ve never heard his name before, you’ve likely heard about Kim John Payne’s concepts on simplifying — which are becoming more and more influential as parents try to slow down in our fast-paced culture — in order to reduce stress on children and their parents and allow room for connection, creativity and relaxation:

  1. Declutter the home environment
  2. Increase predictability and rhythms of connection and calm
  3. Soothe schedules
  4. Unplug from media, consumerism and adult concerns.

This is exactly what I need at this moment in my parenting journey! I very much look forward to listening to Kim John Payne’s teleseminar on October 19 — to find validation and gain perspective on the direction I should take with my daughter and the increasingly overscheduled childhood that our society promotes. Register to join in!

Kim John PayneAre you wondering who this Kim John Payne is?

My introduction was this 2012 Huffington Post article about how simplicity parenting is the better way to prepare kids for the future, rather than getting our children in as many activities as humanly possible.

Aside from reading his book, Kim John Payne’s biography from his website speaks volumes about both his experience as a parent educator and his heart as someone who truly wants to help families to slow down so parents can enjoy their children and children can enjoy their childhood — and grow up to be successful adults in our society:

519zubFyxUL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Kim John Payne, M.Ed, is the author of the #1 Best Selling book, Simplicity Parenting. A consultant and trainer to more than 200 North American independent and public schools, Kim has been a school counselor, adult educator, consultant, researcher, educator and a private family counselor for 27 years. He regularly gives keynote addresses at international conferences for educators, parents and therapists, and runs workshops and trainings around the world. In each role, he has been helping children, adolescents and families explore issues, such as social difficulties with siblings and classmates, attention and behavioral issues at home and school, emotional issues such as defiance, aggression, addiction and self-esteem, and the vital role living a balanced and simple life brings. He has also consulted for educational associations in South Africa, Hungary, Israel, Russia, Switzerland, Ireland, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Kim has worked extensively with the North American and United Kingdom Waldorf educational movements. He has served as Director of the Collaborative Counseling program at Antioch University New England. He is Co-Director of the Simplicity Project, a multi-media social network that explores what really connects and disconnects us to ourselves and to the world. Kim is the Founding Director of The Center for Social Sustainability.

In addition to authoring Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier and More Secure Kid, he also authored The Games Children Play and The Soul of Discipline, and coauthored Beyond Winning: Smart Parenting in a Toxic Sports Environment.

He has appeared frequently on television including ABC, NBC, CBS and Fox; on radio with the BBC, Sirius/XM, CBC and NPR; and in print including being featured in Time Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Parenting, Mothering, TimesUnion and the LA Times.

Kim strives to deepen understanding and give practical tools for life questions that arise out of the burning social issues of our time. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, USA, with his wife and 2 children.

I hope you’ll join me in the audience — on our personal phones from the comfort of our living rooms, mini-vans, benches outside of our child’s sports or dance practice, or wherever we are on October 19 — to learn more about, and inspired by, what Kim John Payne says about simplicity parenting. Register today!

(Oh, and if you can’t make the teleseminar on October 19, or just want to listen to it again, everyone who signs up for this API teleseminar gets a recording to listen to at their convenience. Register for the recording here.)

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Creating secure attachments through parental leave

By Barbara Nicholson, cofounder of Attachment Parenting International (API) and coauthor of Attached at the Heart with Lysa Parker

APM 2015 logoEditor’s note: This post was originally published through Parent Compass, an occasional message from API’s cofounders looking in-depth on how Attachment Parenting (AP) intersects with wider society. In celebration of AP Month this October, the latest Parent Compass explores this year’s theme: “Parental Presence: Birthing Families, Strengthening Society.” Sign up to receive future issues of this API newsletter, and we hope you are inspired this AP Month to continue striving to balance parental presence with work responsibilities.

“We have decades of research that tells us how important it is that a bond is established between parents and young children beginning at birth,” says Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. “The  need for time to form secure attachments is critically important. It’s one of the most important things you can do to build a foundation for a lifetime of healthy development.”

This quote was in reaction to the announcement that Netflix is offering up to 1 year of paid parental leave for its employees who give birth or adopt. Of course we rejoice at such progressive policies, but the sad truth is that few companies currently see the long-term benefit to their employees to instigate such policies.

Dr. Shonkoff went on to say in his remarks: “Babies need a sense of safety, predictability and responsiveness. We know from research that all areas of development — whether it’s cognitive development, emotional well-being or social development — has its foundation in this secure relationships. We do a lousy job as a society supporting parents after the birth of their babies. It’s unconscionable with all the deep scientific understanding we have now. It makes no sense to not offer more of that flexibility and support.”

Because of the overwhelming research, and our advocacy for infants and toddlers, Attachment Parenting International is in full support of strong parental leave policies, similar to those in many countries around the world. Sweden’s policy is probably one of the most generous, with 480 days of paid parental leave.

In the meantime, we are amazed at the creativity and dedication of parents to find solutions that will keep their bond with their children strong. From tag-teaming work schedules to enlisting grandparents and other invested family and friends, and creating cooperative childcare with trusted caregivers, many parents are finding solutions to keep their attachments strong. Some parents obtain loans to stay home longer: Many credit unions and banks will give loans in support of a family need, just like they would finance a car. But later this loan can cause a problem if you are not financially secure to repay. And unless you have scotland debt help near you which can help you in repaying the finances over a period of time with the help of their deeds, I don’t think it is a good plan taking such loan.

Lysa helps a lot with the care of her 2-year-old granddaughter, and I am often on-call for family friends that are juggling young children and work schedules. We feel so much compassion for these children who need consistency and trusting relationships — not a constantly changing cast of caregivers who may love children but who are also looking for higher paying jobs and less stress. We are amazed that even in the best university daycares, there is a large turnover every semester of childcare providers. There is such disconnect with the research and its application!

API Support Groups can be a wonderful resource for parents who do not have extended families nearby. Finding friends that have the same parenting values is another critical component in deciding on a non-parental caregiver.

As we move into another election cycle, we encourage all of you to pay attention to candidates who seem to have a particular understanding and compassion for babies and young children, and strong supportive policies. A strong mayor or city council member can have a tremendous impact on community awareness and progressive policies. Look into your state’s policies, too, as they vary tremendously. You might be pleased to know that your state has stronger leave policies then your place of work, and you can stagger the leave of each parent, allowing for more time at home.

Good luck to all parents who are looking for creative solutions! Talk to your local API Leaders, API Support Group members and Attachment Parenting families from around the world on API’s online Neighborhood forum for ideas, too.

Inspired to better balance parental presence with the busyness of our lives?

e4aee175-1115-4d03-bb68-c3009e6c4d4fAPI announces a special API Live teleseminar event on October 19 at 9:00 pm EST/6:00 pm PST as part of AP Month. Call in from the comfort of your home or while on the go to listen to and learn about Simplicity Parenting from Kim John Payne. Register today! Can’t make it that day? Everyone who signs up gets a recording of the teleseminar to listen to on their own time.

Kim John PayneKim John Payne helps families recognize the importance of parental presence, even more so in this day and age when so many pressures are taking the focus away from connected parenting. Through this teleseminar, you’ll walk away with a renewed focus for yourself and your family. To get a taste of his message, follow along on the API Reads discussion of his book, Simplicity Parenting.api reads logo

 

 

 

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