CelloMom on Cars

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Car reviews & out-of-the-box articles by frugal mom: how to save greenbacks on your green choices; car accessories; (chemical) safety. Mythbusting & Emperor's clothes a specialty.

CelloMom is a winner of Top 25 Eco-Friendly Moms - 2013

What's a fun way to repurpose household items into toys or crafts?

What can you not do with an old sheet? It's a tent (if draped over two chairs), it's a boat (if artfully arranged on the floor), it's a picnic blanket (even in the dead of winter, if you set up in the living room); it's a king's or queen's mantel or a magician's cape; it a slide or a hammock for dolls and stuffed animals. And you can always curl up under it and take a nap.

Do you know any great children's books that teach kids about being eco-friendly?

Carl Hiaasen has written many stories ("Hoot", "Scat", "Flush", etc.) about children who help wildlife in his native Florida, using their pluck and ingenuity. These books are laugh-aloud funny, and great for reading aloud and laughing together.
For older children, there are the graphic novels by Shannon and Dean Hale, with fantastic illustrations by Nathan Hale: "Rapunzel's Revenge", and "Calamity Jack". These are re-tellings of the familiar fairy tales with a serious twist, both with a strong eco-message.

What organic or healthy snacks do your kids love? Please share a link to a recipe if you have one.

Trail mix seems to be a perennial favourite in our house. I buy the ingredients in bulk and mix them together to suit the taste of the week: usually it's raw almonds and walnuts or cashews with dried fruits like cranberries, raisins or oat-floured dates, all organic. Sometimes I put in SunDrops (they look like M&Ms but have natural colouring in the shells).

Can you recommend a great toy that costs less than $10? Please share a link to a photo.

CelloMom

I wish I had written this marvellous post - the "Five Best Toys of All Time" is written by GeekDad. All five are free. I so wholeheartedly agree with him that I want to share it with you: http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2011/01/the-5-best-toys-of-all-time/ And I'd say Annie has a great addition with the library card: also completely free!
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Can you recommend a children's book or series that's great for summer reading? Please include the ages it's appropriate for.

CelloMom

Selected works by Ray Bradbury Percy Jackson (8 and up: way up) Read the Greek myths first. Book of a thousand days (11 and up) Starts slow; girl empowering. Anything by Tamora Pierce (10 and up) Magic and chivalry. yes, anything by the irrepressible Roald Dahl ! (any age)
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From essential strokes to helpful tips for before and after swimming, what do you think kids should know about swimming and water safety?

CelloMom

We all need to know how to swim, so we can enjoy all the ways that our beautiful planet offers its water to us! For children, the main thing is to make them realise that they will be allright, even if they fall in. This means most of all that they learn not to panic: if you just calmly breathe in deep, you will float, even if you can't swim yet.
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