Accidentally Green

A 2012 Top 25 winner, Hilary Kimes Bernstein helps readers learn about healthy choices that honor God and happen to help the environment through Accidentally Green.

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

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

A few fun ways I've reused and repurposed household items into toys is by:

- Washing emptied screw top containers for a matching game. My young children have fun playing with a variety of emptied bottles; they try to find the matching lids and screw on the tops.

- Using emptied squirtable condiment bottles for outdoor water play.

I save emptied toilet paper rolls for a variety of crafts, and I've found that paper egg cartons can be used in crafts, sorting games, or to start vegetable and herb seeds with your children.

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

Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax" immediately comes to mind. I've really liked teaching my children about nature - and a natural lifecycle - through books like Shel Silverstein's "The Giving Tree" and Natalia Romanova's "Once There Was a Tree."

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

My children love fresh fruits and vegetables. Apples, carrots, bell pepper slices, and bananas are typical, easy-to-serve snacks in my home. If I have a couple minutes to do a little peeling, my children love to munch on orange slices and chunks of avocado, too.

What's a great cleaning product you've discovered?

Hilary Kimes Bernstein

I love to use castile soap, because it effectively cleans just about everything. By simply diluting a couple squirts of castile soap with water, I'm able to clean counters and toilets, or I use the mixture when I mop my floors. (I like to use the peppermint soap ... it leaves my bathrooms smelling minty fresh.) My favorite aspect of castile soap is that it's safe. Now my 3-year-old loves to help me clean bathrooms and I don't have to worry about exposing him to dangerous chemicals. When I'm not using castile soap to clean my home, I can use it as hand soap, bath soap ... and even as shampoo or toothpaste if I want to be really resourceful.
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What is your best tip for keeping the bathroom clean?

Hilary Kimes Bernstein

Picking up the bathroom every day is the best way I keep my bathroom clean. This also includes rinsing and wiping off my children's toothpaste spit in the bathroom sink before it dries. Aside from keeping things tidy, I like to keep reusable washcloths just for cleaning, a box of baking soda, and a bottle of scented castile soap in the bathroom. (Peppermint, almond, and lavender are some of my favorite soap scents.) When the sink starts to look dirty, I fill the sink about halfway full with water and a splash of castile soap. I scrub the sink and top of the vanity with the soapy water, then finish off by wiping down the toilet with the soapy water. Similarly, I squirt a tiny bit of castile soap in the toilet bowl, sprinkle some baking soda, and then scrub with a toilet brush. Everything ends up clean ... plus it smells great and doesn't leave a harsh chemical odor or residue.
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What's the craziest or funniest thing you felt driven to do while pregnant and nesting? (If there's an image that goes along with your story, please share the link with us!)

Hilary Kimes Bernstein

On my due date with my first child, I desperately felt the need to scrub the bathroom floor on my hands and knees. It didn't matter that it was awkward to clean with my huge belly in the way ... I HAD to clean it. I couldn't bring my precious baby home to a house that had a dirty bathroom floor, right? Secretly I hoped my cleaning frenzy would induce labor, but it didn't. (My water broke three days later.)
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