Our Green House Blogs
Finding the Sound of the Woods: Inspiring a Love for Nature in those We Love Finding the Sound of the WoodsSomewhere between birch and fir trees, with my hand in my father’s, I told him I liked the sound of the woods. It had been on a walk not too far from the cabin he’d built in Maine, and I couldn’t have been more than four years old. I suspect my love for nature started long before that moment, but no matter the when of it, I am thankful. And now, with two young children of my own, I want this for them too. But how do we sow the seeds of love for nature in our children? We can start by interacting with the outdoors, through conservation, and making ethical choices to ensure those opportunities remain possible not just for our kids, but also for generations to come. Leaning in with Our SensesThe practice of interacting with the outdoors can begin in the forest, anywhere that land meets water, or in your own back yard. Wherever life grows, there are opportunities to lean in with our senses and learn more, whether it be pollen, spores, or insects from centimeters away, or birds and deer from a distance. If you’re uncertain what forested offerings exist in your area, try searching online to see what state parks or Audubon sanctuaries might be nearby. The National Parks Service is another invaluable resource, providing programs like the Junior Rangers and Every Kid Outdoors. Explore Freely, Get CloserMy family began with taking our kids hiking at local Audubon sites and state forests, rain or shine, often in the early morning. An important factor, in my experience, has been allowing our kids to explore freely, often venturing off the path and having deep moments in one spot at length to make observations, to get closer. Their curiosity is inspirational, a reminder to let go and give myself permission to revive those qualities that tend to become dormant. Inspiration in Many FormsFor a change from free-range hikes, try building a shelter, looking for animal tracks, or bringing along a scavenger hunt. Guided goals like these can provide a sense of challenge and accomplishment during time outdoors. Appreciation for nature can happen inside the home as well. We love to bring the outdoors into our living room with a documentary scavenger hunt. See what you can find while David Attenborough narrates your journey through a boreal forest or the Amazon. This is a fun way to experience other ecosystems and habitats without even having to leave your own.Inspiring love of nature in others can come in the form of thoughtfully chosen gifts. When you choose sustainably made toys that are intended to last for years, you are modeling eco-conscious choices. At Our Green House you can find gift baskets for kids that have been carefully curated to give back to causes working to improve the health of our planet. With the Make Your Own tool you can pick and choose from eco-friendly and natural toys for kids of all ages. We all have a Wild Child within us, waiting for a spark.Who could you inspire? Shop the Possibilities: Wooden Magnifying Glass Nature Scavenger Hunt Cards Waterproof Travel Binoculars Wild Child Gift Basket
Our Green House has always been dedicated to giving back to global causes through the talented artisans we support and the sustainable materials we source. With Just Cause gifts we took our commitment to a new level by directly giving back to charities. A portion of every gift basket purchased donates to one of these Just Causes. Thank you, thank you, thank you for being part of the change. Check out the causes below, and be sure to follow us on social media to see highlights and updates.
Make Your Own Gift Basket This Beautiful Get Well Basket included: Organic Relax Tea French House Soy Candle Organic Scrunchie Organic Tea Chocolate Self Care Journal Natural Honey with Dipper Pink Glass Mug Cashew Spicy Cashews Decorative Matches Rope Basket Donates back to help sick children's wishes come true ***** This came out so beautifully! Our friend who just underwent a major surgery will appreciate this so much. Thank you! Natasha
Our founders, Mike and Pam, recently got to tell their story (in their own fun language). We’d love for you to listen to this podcast and learn how they created a gift basket brand with passion and purpose all while raising kids and keeping it real. Hear about Pam’s close encounter with a gorilla on a trip to Africa that ultimately inspired our expanding line of baby gift baskets that give back. Brand on Purpose: A Conversation With Our Green House Founders Pam and Mike Davis (EP.16) Listen Now If you love what you hear (and we know you will), please Share this podcast with your friends and family so that we can spread our message. If you’re a customer or have received one of our gift baskets, we’d also absolutely love it if you’d leave a review of Our Green House on Google! As mentioned in the podcast, we recently curated a lovely gift basket for the home that can be used as a housewarming gift, extended stay host gift, or even a holiday gift for a couple. This home gift basket that gives back includes: Natural Room Spray Natural Soap Soy Candle Palo Santo Bundle One of our exclusive 100% cotton super absorbent Turkish hand towels, All packaged in one of our incredibly versatile cotton rope baskets. It’s a gorgeous gift made even better because for each of these Our Home baskets purchased, we will donate a portion of the proceeds to Habitat for Humanity. Gift giving never felt so good! Browse Our Selection of Baby Gift Baskets That Give Back
We know how hard it can be to come up with the perfect gift note, especially when you are welcoming a new baby into the world. All those feels in just one tiny text box! Whether you are writing to your best friend, daughter, co-worker or an acquaintance, we’ve got your back with this list of common phrases to help jump-start your perfect new baby gift basket card. And, of course, when you gift with us we hand write each gift note to give it that extra personal touch! A little something for the little oneBest wishesCan't wait to meet baby ______Congratulations on becoming parentsCongratulations on the birth of your precious little babyCongratulations on your little oneCongratulations on your new bundle of joyCongratulations on your new additionCongratulations on your newest arrivalCongratulations to you and your familyCongratulations to you and your growing familyHugest CongratulationsIt will be the most amazing love you will experience.Lots of love and special wishesMazel Tov on the birth of your babyOh the joy that awaits youSending so much love to you.Thinking of you all at this special timeTry to let your parents get some sleepYou will be amazing parentsWarmest wishesWe are so Thrilled for youWelcome babyWelcome little oneWelcome to planet earthWelcome to the familyWelcome to the worldWelcome to this big worldWishing all the best in this exciting new stage of your lifeWishing you joy and happinessWishing your baby many years of good health, love, and happiness
Screen-free gifts? Is there such a thing anymore? We are unveiling our first gift guide starting with old-fashioned toys! We carefully chose 10 classic games, toys, and activities from among our fav's at Our Green House that will take you down memory lane and create new, fun memories with the children in your life.Can you say wow?We have created the ultimate gift basket full of our favorite old-fashioned toys that will awe children and adults!!
For years I thought that mindfulness was too hard for me to put into regular practice. My understanding of the concept was that it took up lots of time and I was simply too busy to figure out the "right" way to practicing mindfulness. Not that I have perfectionist tendencies or anything like that ?. "Quick mindfulness" seemed like such an oxymoron.In reality, I didn't need to dedicate hours daily to a mindfulness practice and neither do you! Mindfulness is simply focusing attention on the present moment and anyone can do that anytime, anywhere. Those little quick mindfulness moments really do add up and help me feel more grounded.I came across this short video, 10 Ways to Practice Mindfulness in One Minute or Less, the other day and thought I'd share it - for anyone else caught up in perfectionism and missing the big picture.
We've been away for a couple weeks and don't have a new Simply Plated recipe for you from Christine this week, but wanted to share this older video with some ideas for healthy snacks for you and your kids.Back in 2010 Sarah Caron (at the time, a local here in Connecticut) stopped by so we could record a video on healthy snacks. It was clearly one of our earliest attempts at video as you can see the lighting and focus here are not the best. That said, we loved having her here and the yummy ideas and the recipe she shared are timeless.We talked about cute, eco-friendly water bottles, snack, sandwich, and lunch containers/coolers. Sarah shared some of the healthy snacks that she was packing for her kids at the time and this delicious Sundried Tomato Basil Hummus Recipe.
This week our featured custom gift basket is this beautiful baby gift basket! It's loaded with modern organic baby giftsThis gift basket for the new baby girl included: Organic Bear RattleOrganic Deer ToyOrganic Baby BibWooden Peace TeetherOrganic FootieSuper soft baby bootiesKnit baby cap Wooden baby toyOrganic Pink BootiesOrganic Baby WashCute Baby OutfitOrganic Hooded Baby Towel and handwritten note cardCheck out our Gift Inspiration page so you can see the creative gift baskets other customers have designed using our Make Your Own Gift Basket feature!
This week our featured custom gift basket is a Mom to Be Gift Basket including items for self-care, a necklace for mama and a sweet organic bunny toy for baby. Two of the most commonly added items in our custom pregnancy gift baskets are the belly butter and organic pregnancy tea. We love that this gift also includes a journal to record thoughts and dreams during her pregnancy!This gift basket for the mom to be included: Gift Basket or Container - Grey Pom Pom Fair Trade Journal - Naturally Dyed New Mom Sterling Silver Necklace Grey, Handmade Organic Crochet Bunny Toy All-Natural Pregnancy Oil Natural Pregnancy Belly Butter Pregnancy Gift - Leg & Foot Lotion Mama Pregnancy Organic Herbal Tea Charcoal Ribbon and a handwritten note card, congratulating the mama-to-be on her pregnancy.Check out our Gift Inspiration page so you can see the creative gift baskets other customers have created using our Make Your Own Gift Basket feature!
Babywearing is nothing new, in fact, it has been around for centuries in most cultures. Since the “baby-boom” age here in the west, it has become more of a "study" versus something natural. Meaning, researchers began to study infant crying and wanting to learn why they cry and how to soothe them. However, despite the research - one thing that has always stayed strong with keeping a baby calmer and more secure is babywearing. While babywearing has died down in western society over the past few decades, it is finally making a comeback! What is Babywearing? Very simply – babywearing is the practice of wearing your baby and/or toddler in a sling, wrap or carrier. There are so many products on the market today to support your desire to wear your baby. That said, even though it is an old tradition, it does take some time to get used to. In fact, it isn't exactly easy for every mom - but it packs a lot of benefits. Let’s go through some of the biggest benefits that babywearing has to offer. Babywearing Benefits Keeps baby feeling safe, secure and settled with you mama – which is where they want to be. When you hold your baby close to you they feel secure, knowing their needs will be quickly met. Newborns don’t understand when you put them down as you go about some chores and other household things, that you will be right back and can still get to them when they are hungry or need a diaper change. Some newborns will be easier than others, but all infants eventually learn that you will, in fact, come back. This is why you often hear moms with a newborn saying, “my baby never wants to be put down!” Well – because they don’t! Does it mean you cannot ever put them down? Of course, not – we need to eat, shower and get things done but just know that in these early days, you may find yourself wearing your baby a lot more than you anticipated! Supports breastfeeding – by helping mom to recognize early signs of hunger more easily and can begin to nurse her baby without the baby crying. This awareness of learning your baby’s needs and cues will increase bonding and your confidence as a mama! Supports physical development - physical contact with young babies aids the healthy development of their brain. Infants carried regularly also have more stable heart and breathing rates. They are in a state of quiet alertness – which helps them to grow and learn better. Helps support spinal, pelvis and hip development – it keeps spine and legs in optimal position for growth. Laying flat too much or in a device keeps them in an unnatural posture, however while carried - the tiny physical adjustments that they have to make to the movements of carrying, help to develop their muscle tone and sense of balance. Helps their social development – because they are upright with you and can see the world around them! They are close to your face and learning from your expressions and responses as they attempt to communicate back. When you talk to other people, your baby is a part of the conversation and shares the experience with you. Types of Babywearing Sling - a long piece of sturdy cloth, worn over one shoulder and across your stomach Slings are ideal for newborns, as small babies can easily nestle into the fabric. Older babies and toddlers can also “sit” in the fabric like a hip carried seat. Wrap – a long piece of fabric, wrapped around your torso and usually over both shoulders Wraps are very versatile and inexpensive. Carrier – a soft padded material that has a more structured seat with two shoulder straps and buckles These carriers tend to be more ergonomic, so they’re great for outdoor activities and other times when you’re carrying the baby for long stretches. What about mom? Babywearing has benefits for you too mama! Being close to your baby not only benefits your baby but you as well. It will increase bonding and can help ease the symptoms of postpartum depression and stress. Wearing your baby also keeps you hands-free. Enabling you to get those chores done around the house that you are wanting to do. I have personally mastered washing dishes and doing laundry with a baby on me, but it takes practice. Note: in the beginning, I recommend getting help for these things so you can rest. Physically, you will benefit too. If worn correctly, it will strengthen your core muscles after those nine months of pregnancy which has no doubt, weakened them. Babywearing is so amazing for many reasons. But, it is going to be different for everyone and every baby is different. Therefore, I encourage parents to at least give it a try to see if it works for you!
It's still tomato season here in Connecticut, so this week's farm fresh recipe makes use of delicious fresh tomato, zucchini, and peppers for a flavorful turkey chili. While the recipe calls for jars of crushed tomatoes, if you've got lots of fresh tomatoes on hand, you can also simply take a couple of pounds of them and either grate them or run them through your blender until they're crushed. Ingredients: olive oil 1 zucchini, diced 1 yellow onion, diced 8 oz white mushrooms, sliced 1 jalapeño, finely diced 1 green pepper, diced salt & freshly ground pepper to taste 1 teaspoon garlic powder 1 pound ground turkey 2 18 oz jars crushed tomatoes 2 carrots, diced 1 tomato, diced 15 oz can black beans 2 ears cooked corn, cut off the cob (or 15 oz can corn) 2 tablespoons chili powder sour cream, for garnish shredded cheddar cheese, for garnish Directions: In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once pan and oil are hot, add zucchini, onion, mushroom, jalapeño, green pepper, garlic powder, and salt & freshly ground pepper to taste. Saute until browned to draw out their flavors. Set aside. In a large pot, over medium-high heat, cook the ground turkey until browned and crumbled. Add the sauteed veggies, crushed tomatoes, carrots, fresh tomato, beans, corn, and chili powder to the pot. Stir well. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Simmer for 30 minutes. To serve, top each bowl with sour cream and shredded cheddar. Add some fresh diced tomato on top for a pop of color and serve alongside some warm cornbread for a hearty, comforting dinner.
Oh, the breastfeeding blog – one that many might read openly or with only one eye open! I will cut to the chase before I dive into some breastfeeding basics to follow with breastfeeding – it is challenging! There is so much breastfeeding controversy out there with all kinds of social media arguments and information. It can leave a new mother confused, nervous and overwhelmed. She probably has heard terms all over the place such as “breast is best” or “fed is best”. Breastfeeding is both scientifically and mentally/emotionally proven to be best for babies. But, it is not something that is generally achieved with ease. I personally have always wondered, if it is so natural - then why is it so difficult for many mothers to successfully breastfeed? The answer to that varies from mom to mom. As we all are learning to support one another, the best thing you can do to help another mother is to use no judgment with any choice she makes about breastfeeding. It starts with mom… Yes, you mama – breastfeeding begins with you even prior to giving birth to your baby. This is because the psychological and emotional impact that you have towards breastfeeding goes a long way. Every mom is different. Some moms are highly motivated with a strong, positive mindset about breastfeeding before birth. While others are worried, anxious and scared. Does it mean that having a positive mindset will stop all the breastfeeding challenges? No, it doesn’t. But a positive mindset can help a mother to overcome the challenges better. More importantly, your baby can feel all of your worries and anxiety and when they're born, they can sense it even more. The best thing you can do for yourself if you are still pregnant, or even if you have already delivered, is to sit every day, hand on your chest and another on your heart, taking deep breaths and repeat the affirmation below (or one you like). Like with all things in motherhood, the biggest challenge while learning to breastfeed – is to give yourself a lot of grace along the way! Also – just know that every mom you know might want to give you their breastfeeding stories, both good and bad, just like they might do about their birth experiences. Always know that your experience will not be exactly the same as theirs! Yes, there are many stories and things to watch for about difficult latches, thrush, mastitis, cracked nipples or other problems associated with breastfeeding. But above it all, it is a learned art and sometimes a little help is needed during the learning process. As a new mother or a future new mother, you need to equip yourself with as much knowledge as possible. This will help ensure that your breastfeeding experience is successful from the very beginning. Breastfeeding Basics Let’s go over some basics! The Latch The latch is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome. A well-latched baby will effectively massage your breasts and extract your milk – cueing your breasts to make more and more! The baby will regulate how much your milk will come in. This can often confuse many mothers, thinking they are not producing enough. Their breasts most likely are not being emptied well enough to make more. Latch Tips Let the baby come to your breasts, not you putting the baby on them – this is a natural instinct that babies know how to do once they are put near the breast to search and find. Make sure a large amount of areola/breast tissue is in baby’s mouth. Baby’s chin should be firmly pressed against the breast and baby should be able to breathe freely through the nose. Always remember: breastfeeding is not nipple feeding! Babies don’t need much, especially in the beginning but they need it often – every two hours and be allowed to latch on as long as needed! You might need to wake them a lot in the beginning to latch. Once the latch is established, you and baby can find the right position that works for you and is the most comfortable for feedings. Quick Tip: Is baby getting enough? How will I know? First, you need to recognize the open-pause sucking rhythm. This tells you that your baby is transferring milk and swallowing. Secondly, what goes in must come out. Baby should produce about six to eight wet diapers daily and have three to five bowel movements. Note: it is common for a breastfed baby to go awhile in-between bowel movements too – their bodies are absorbing all of the nutrients and vitamins in breastmilk at a rapid pace with their growth! Engorgement Tips The first milk to come in is a yellow-thickish type of milk that is called colostrum a.k.a liquid gold. It's super rich in nutrients and antibodies and the perfect first meal for baby! Within five days or so, your milk will come in and for many, engorgement then becomes a challenge. Despite how full and hard your breasts will all of a sudden feel – supply and demand is how to keep it going – so even though you may want to hold off from a feeding because of it or baby becomes a bit frustrated with how fast your let down is with the engorgement – don’t skip feedings! This will only worsen your engorgement. Warm showers hitting your chest and breasts can help soothe before a feeding or a warm compress for 5 – 10 minutes prior. After the feeding – apply a cold compress for about fifteen minutes to reduce inflammation. Lightly massage, while nursing, the hard lumps you feel in your breasts. Manually (or use an electric pump on low setting) extract some milk to soften the areola prior to a feed and lengthen your nipple so baby can latch properly to extract the rest. Sore Nipple Tips This one is always so hard for many mamas in the beginning! There are many nipple balms out there, we at Our Green House particularly like this one. Hopefully, that will be enough to help soothe you but if not, here are some more tips. Free your breasts! Air drying and allowing your breasts to be free from bras and clothing after a feeding helps heal them. Apply a little breastmilk on each nipple and let it air dry. Need more? Try: 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 cup of filtered water, raw coconut oil, powdered infant probiotics, and organic cotton balls. After each feeding – mix ACV and water and use a cotton ball to apply to each nipple (kills yeast and bacteria). Next, apply a small amount of coconut oil and sprinkle some probiotic powder on each nipple. Place a small piece of paper towel in-between your nipple and nursing bra. You can even use this combination as a preventative! (source: Natural Mama) If your nipples become cracked or bleeding and unbearable to nurse – find a pediatric dentist in your area to assess for lip or tongue tie if there are no lactation consultants available. My own breastfeeding journey has been up and down – read here to learn how it challenged me, especially after my C-Section with my second daughter. It takes time mama to get it down and no matter how long you breastfeed or if you decide not to do it at all, do not let this determine your worth as a mother. You are an amazing mom, who is doing the best you can – always remember that. Bonus! Grab this free pdf: Breastfeeding: Pumping, Storing, and Returning to Work