Archive for Family

July 26th, 2017

5 Ways to Create a Non-Toxic Dorm Room

5 Ways to Create a Non-Toxic Dorm Room Groovy Green LivinI walked into a store last week and found myself lost in multiple aisles dedicated to back-to-school “necessities” for a college dorm room. I’m still in full summer mode, so it’s hard to wrap my brain around anything having to do with back-to-school. I realize that someday in the not-too-distant future, I too will be embracing a dorm room set-up for my own children.

As families send their children off to college it’s important to think about their safety on many levels. Limiting a child’s exposure to toxic chemicals in their dorm room is a great place to start.

By taking the time to purchase non-toxic essentials for your college student’s dorm room you’re helping to foster a healthy few years away from home.

Here are a few areas to focus on when shopping for a non-toxic dorm room

Dorm Room Bedding

It’s hard to believe that we spend almost 1/3 of our lives spent in bed and it’s probably more for a college student! Since we’re spending so much time horizontal it’s crucial to focus on the safety of our bedding.

Many conventional bedding options contain formaldehyde and chemical dyes. Making the switch to organic bedding will help create a safer sleep environment.

While organic can mean pricey, organic bedding doesn’t have to cost a fortune.When looking for those extra long twin sheets for a dorm bed there are a few organic options out there for budget conscious college students.

PBTeen also has a few organic sheet and comforter options that are priced right.

Personal Care Products

Take the time to find safer personal care products for your college student.

Here are my picks for shampoo and body lotion. I also have a few personal care product favorites that can be found in my bathroom (click on the links for my suggestions).

Laundry Detergent

When it comes to laundry detergents, some really are safer than others. Send your child off to college with one of these brands:

Reusable water bottle

If your college student hasn’t made the switch to a reusable water bottle it’s time! My favorite is the S’well Teakwood Water Bottle. The bottle keeps your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot for 12 hours. It’s made from stainless steel and is non-toxic, non-leaching and BPA free. For every bottle sold, S’well will plant one tree through the American Forests Foundation. They are a bit pricey, coming in at close to $40 for a 17 oz water bottle.

I also like the Hydro Flask insulated stainless steel water bottle ($28) which comes in a wide variety of matte colors and the exterior never sweats. The insulated stainless steel water bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 6 hours. As added bonuses, Hydro Flask comes with a lifetime warranty and donates 5% back to a charity of your choice.


Parents secretly hope that their college student showers more than once a month while they’re away at school. Most conventional towels are bathed in chemicals that can be harmful to your body. When stocking up on bath towels for the dorm room try to buy organic when you can.

I really like Magnolia Organics Bath Towels and the price is right ($17).

Do you have any other suggestions for creating a non-toxic dorm room?

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy my FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

Disclosure: Some links in this post are affiliate links meaning,at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support! 
June 8th, 2017

How to Prepare Your Child for Overnight Camp

How to Prepare Your Child for Overnight Camp Groovy Green Livin

Overnight camps throughout the country will start over the next few weeks. Both my husband and I went to sleepaway camp and we have successfully passed this tradition on to our own children. The reasons why I love sending my kids to camp is long but allowing a child to develop “broadly as a human being” tops the list.

Getting your kids to go to an overnight camp isn’t always easy. For a child who’s a homebody, the thought of leaving for weeks can be overwhelming and anxiety provoking. Especially when you break the news to them that their 4-8 weeks will be spent without technology. Yes, that means no cell phone for 4 weeks! As a parent, this is truly a highlight.

For some children, this will be their first adventure away from home and for others, this is an annual experience.

Here are a few tips from a seasoned overnight camp family to help prepare your child for their sleepaway adventure.

Visit the camp

Most camps have a visiting day before the official start day. If you can arrange some time to visit the camp your child will have an opportunity to check out the camp before they move in for a few weeks. Seeing the camp will help ease anxiety and remove some of the unknowns.

Pack together

Our camp sends out a detailed list of what the kids need to bring. We have learned to follow the list but remove items that are never used. For example, the list suggests rain boots. My kids have never worn rain boots and this is a heavy item to include in the duffel bag if they’re not going to wear them.

Involve your children in the packing process. Let them label their clothing and pick out their shirts, shorts, and bedding. Use their age as a guide for how much or how little control you can hand over.

Having your child participate in the packing is crucial. They begin to come to terms with going to camp. It becomes real. They also need to know what they’re bringing with them. My sons were very excited while we were packing together once they saw all of the ‘fun’ equipment being packed into the bag. We packed a fancy flashlight, a fan with a water mister, an organizer to hang on the bunk and other camp necessities.

Talk about homesickness

Before you child heads off to camp take the time to talk about feeling homesick. Almost every child misses home at some point over the summer. It can be devastating to receive a letter from your child letting you know that they are miserable and want to come home now. If you do receive one of those letters don’t hesitate to reach out to the camp to let them know. Generally, those feelings turn around pretty quickly and the next letter will let you know that camp is amazing.


Anxiety about camp can show up at unexpected times and in unexpected ways. If your child is acting out or acting differently it could be a sign that they’re anxious about camp. Take the time to listen to your children and help them find strategies to work through any concerns prior to their departure.

Other articles to help prepare your child for summer camp:

How do you prepare your child for overnight camp?

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy my FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.


April 27th, 2017

Unique Mother’s Day Gifts For the Moms in Your Life

Nothing makes me happier on Mother’s Day than a gift or card hand-crafted by one of my kids. Each signature or message inscribed is yet another way to preserve those fleeting moments of their childhood. I don’t save much but one of these treasures is almost always a keeper. If you’re looking for another way to show some love to the mothers in your life here are a few unique gift ideas that could be paired nicely with one of those homemade cards or crafts.

If you’re looking for another way to show some love to the mothers in your life here are a few unique gift ideas that could be paired nicely with one of those homemade cards or crafts.

Mother’s Day: Let the Kids Do the Cooking

How about a meal whipped up by the kids? That sounds like a perfect Mother’s Day to me. Their ages may dictate how much or how little they can prepare, but all ages can participate in some way. There are a few great cooking tools out there to help enhance the cooking experience for your kids. My kids have mastered cooking a few basic foods that will hopefully keep them well-fed when it’s time for college. Allowing my kids to be active participants in the cooking process has always been important to me. They stir, they pour and they help in every way possible. Use this family cookbookto keep track of favorite family recipes.

What I Love About Mom Fill In The Love Journal ($10)

This gift is similar to those construction paper cards I was talking about. Unique Mother's Day Gifts Groovy Green LivinWhat I Love About Mom Fill In The Love Journal is a great way to preserve a small piece of their childhood and it’s all about you! Each child can personalize the book with their own comments and memories.

Donate a Year of School ($58)

International Rescue Committee (IRC) has put together a list of rescue gifts that help those in need. Their gift ideas range from donating a year of school to a child in need to providing a newborn baby kit to mothers in Zimbabwe. In Afghanistan alone, IRC helped educate more than 13,000 girls in 2015. $58 can supply the tuition, books and other supplies a girl needs to attend school for a year.

Grow Pizza Kit ($10)

Unique Mother's Day Gifts Groovy Green LivinI’m in love with this Grow Pizza Kit that comes with everything you need to grow a pizza garden. The egg carton garden includes 6 packages of heirloom seeds (sweet basil, heirloom Rutgers tomatoes, green bell peppers, greek oregano, Italian parsley, scallions), starter soil, pizza recipes, wooden plant ID stakes, growing instructions, pencil & 100% recycled fiber egg carton planter. They also have a Little Fresh Veggie Garden if pizza isn’t her thing.

How do you celebrate the moms in your life? Or how are you celebrated? 

P.S. If you liked this post you might enjoy our FREE Groovy Green Livin NewsletterReceive new posts and special opportunities delivered right to your inbox! Sign up HERE.

 Disclosure: Some links are affiliate links meaning,at no additional cost to you, I may get a small commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for your support! 


July 26th, 2012

Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy

Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy Groovy Green Livin

Did you know that seven out of ten people are allergic to poison ivy? We just returned from a family vacation with one child covered from head to toe with poison ivy. Poison ivy symptoms are pretty straight forward:

  • Skin is extremely red and itchy.
  • There are red streaks or general redness where the plant brushed against the skin.
  • Small bumps or larger raised areas are found in random spots where the plant oil touched your skin.
  • Skin blisters and fluid may leak out.

Preventing poison ivy

The saying goes “leaves of three let them be”. Learning how to identify poison ivy and then avoiding it is the best way to prevent an allergic reaction. It’s true that poison ivy always comes in “leaves of three”, but so do many other plants.

  • Learn to identify poison ivy if you’re allergic.
  • Teach children not to touch unidentified plants.
  • Remove clothing and wash all exposed skin carefully after a hike.
  • Be aware: dogs and cats often don’t get poison ivy buy they can carry the oil on their fur.

Natural Treatments for Poison Ivy

We started off applying over-the-counter itch relief medicine, but that didn’t work. The rash was too wide-spread. I decided to reach out to some of my trusted green resources to see what suggestions they had for keeping poison ivy in check.


Amity, the Editor of Green Child Magazine, had interesting advice: Pour rubbing alcohol on the affected area and then wash it immediately with cool water and soap to remove as much of the plant sap as possible. Dry the skin and apply the meat side of a banana peel on the skin to help dry out the rash.


Abbie from Farmer’s Daughter, Danika the Beauty Editor from Greenwala and Anna from Green Talk all suggested trying jewelweed.  Jewelweed is a plant that’s been used for centuries to treat poison ivy. Unfortunately I didn’t have time to whip up this remedy, but maybe I’ll whip up a batch just in case there’s a next time. Click HERE for the recipe.


Tamara, the Executive Director of Lead Safe America has used this remedy several times and swears by it:  1. get in the bath. 2. get out of the bath, 3. do not dry off, 4. while wet lather up completely (on affected areas) with IVORY soap. 5. do not rinse. 6. let soap residue dry on body – it will sap all of the oils out of the poison ivy.


A paste made of baking soda and water works well for itchy bug bites and the same is true for poison ivy. A  Turmeric paste is also helpful. Turmeric contains a nutrient called curcumin and it’s known for its anti-inflammatory properties. The problem with these remedies is they can get very messy and are difficult to apply when the rash covers large portions of the body.


Andrea from Frugally Sustainable shares two bath “recipes” to help sooth poison ivy.

Oatmeal bath. In a blender, blend 2 cups of oatmeal until powder in form. Then add to a bath filled with warm water. Soak in the tub for upto 20 minutes. Repeat as needed for itch relief.

Epsom Salts bath. Add 2 cups of Epsom Salt to a bath of warm water and soak in the tub for 15-20 minutes.


Elise Marshall Jones of MommyBites says when her husband had poison ivy he swore by “burning” them with the hottest setting on the hair dryer. Every time he itched he would go get that blow dryer and crank it up.

I’m not sure this would work with a young child, but for adults it sounds like it would at least ease the itch.

Have you tried any of these natural poison ivy remedies? What works? What doesn’t?

[Photo used under Creative Commons from John /Flickr]


About Lori

Hi! I’m Lori, a recovering attorney, writer, and mom to three boys. Join me as I uncover and share the latest info on healthy living. Learn more.

Click HERE to contact Lori

Lori on ABC World News

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