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About the Eco City Mama

The ECM is Tamera Kremer, a first time mom. I run my own digital consultancy in Toronto, am opinionated, and have been a city girl (Toronto & L.A.) my whole life. These are my journeys in balancing my work, life, and eco-passion while raising twins. I'm sure I'll fail more than I'll succeed, but I'm looking forward to every minute of it (well, maybe not *every* minute...).

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Interview on CityNews

A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed on CityTV about using Twitter & being a new mom by Kris Reyes. The girls and I had a blast (and they appeared to love being on TV ;-)) – check it out below!

I’m @tamera and @ecocitymama on Twitter – connect with me there!


Cloth diapering with a service just works

Fine cotton

So it’s been a couple of months since my last post, the best laid plans for blogging were set aside when the girls arrived a month early :) They’re now almost 10 weeks and we’re settling into a nice routine of feedings, diaper changes & explore/ play. Prior to their arrival I posted an entry about using cloth diapers – I really wasn’t sure what I’d be getting into with juggling the diapers and two girls. 10 weeks later & I have no regrets.

We use a service, Comfy Cotton, and although we go through about 140 diapers a week, the cost alone makes it an attractive option at about $25/wk… with the cost of disposables we would have been averaging about $70/wk. The service picks up our soiled diapers weekly & delivers a fresh bunch – we have sealed pails (one upstairs, one downstairs) with carbon filters and there is nary an odor.

Outside of the convenience the best part is how clean the girls are – no diaper rash to be found on either of them, and they let us know immediately when they’ve soiled… will make potty training much easier when that time comes. They aren’t sealed into a plastic bag, they’re next to natural cotton washed without harsh chemicals.

Of course there’s also the reduced environmental impact, regardless of what the disposable manufacturers are doing to make the diapers more eco-friendly, the manufacturing and distribution process is still a big footprint and disposables don’t degrade quickly (if at all). 

We do still have disposables on hand and in their diaper bag for when we head out, but overall choosing to use cloth has been the right choice. Not sure how things will work out once they’re on the move and crawling around, but Kev & I are going to give it our best shot to keep them using cloth.

Do you use cloth diapers? Do you use a service or launder at home? Would love to hear your thoughts!

[photo credit: Daniel Hoye via Flickr]


Decisions about diapering the twinjas

When we found out I was preggers our first thoughts were “of course we’ll do cloth diapers exclusively”… then we found out we were having twins and things that seemed completely logical and doable started to become less so. There’s a lot to be said for the relative simplicity of disposable diapers at 2am with two babies crying I’m thinking. Clearly our original plan required some further thought.

There are a lot of pros associated with using cloth: less diaper rashes, quicker toilet training, better for the environment, space saving, etc. etc. and using a diaper service makes the whole experience relatively turn-key and painless. There are also plenty of cons, especially when thinking in terms of two: the extra effort (even minimal can add up) required to clean up, the more frequent changes, the multiple pieces to assemble, etc. etc.  And all of the pros & cons matter, so what to do, I have no interest in contributing to the landfills, and there should be no reason to, but realistically, could we handle cloth only with the two of them?

Ultimately we decided on a hybrid approach, not perfectly green by any means, but one we feel we can stick to (hopefully) over the long-haul – cloth the majority of the time, and as much as we can, with backups of disposables (eco ones from 7th Gen) for when we travel or just need that convenience. Luckily, in Toronto we have a few great options for diaper services and for finding more environmentally friendly disposables, so the difficulty factor of pulling this off is hugely reduced… at least we think… quite a few peeps think we won’t last with cloth :)

Fingers crossed, we’ll see how it goes!

[photo credit: Trinitas Imaging / Udit Kulshrestha via Flickr]


Trying to build a sleep pattern before it’s too late!

I’ve been a night owl for decades now and when my brain gets going with work or stress it’s next to impossible for me to shut down and get rest. Even being as exhausted as pregnancy has made me there are many nights I’m up until 4am reading or working on one thing or another. The main difference between being preggers and not is that I’m now starting things, not finishing those that aren’t truly important to me, and then well, the cycle continues & stress builds because I can’t juggle it all, and then I don’t sleep more, and well, humph. The problem is that since I’ve always been prone to not sleep much, my body when truly exhausted and utterly worn out just shuts down for a day or so – usually when my mind decides I’ve completed all tasks successfully. Now considering there will be two twins around, and doing their own part to keep me up, not being able to sleep on demand, or regular hours will be problematic… so I’ve been trying to figure out how to counterbalance this natural tendency of mine before they get here.

Early on, probably around month 3 or so, Kev & I were in a boutique kids store in the Beach browsing and looking at cute and hip onesies and I saw a tester jar of “Earth Mama’s Belly Jelly” on a shelf (linking to Grassroots because it’s the cheapest pricing I’ve found on it so far). Although thinking I would prefer not to have stretch marks, what really sold me was the over-powering scent of lavendar emanating from the test jar. I am a sucker for lavendar, but it usually doesn’t put me to sleep, so when I picked it up I wasn’t thinking “sleep aid”, but it has become a crucial part of my un-winding at the end of the day nevertheless.

It doesn’t always knock me out (as is evidenced by my posting this at 2am), but it does always work to calm my stress, deepen my breathing, and yes, make my belly feel soothed :) I plan on taking it with me when I head to the hospital to use as part of my comfort regimen and keep me focused and calm during the birth.

The fact that it’s made by two herbalists is something that I can feel good about using every day safely – if you’re anything like me, I highly recommend checking it out, and I don’t think you even need to be preggers to use it, seems like it’ll be a perfect massage oil as well.

[photo credit: TONI.R via Flickr]


Finding locations for fresh produce in the city

Not only am I a veggie, but I also am lucky enough to live in an area rich in locally owned and operated farms – Southern Ontario. But… I live in the urban jungle of Toronto, don’t own a car (I do car sharing), and am constantly pressed for time, which makes roaming around trying to find “grown in ON” produce not so much fun… especially in the winter; farmers markets just aren’t everywhere. K & I are constantly trying to figure out healthy options to have each night that are rich in good stuff for the growing twins as well as for keeping my own energy up (oh, and did I mention I am a really fussy eater, aka strange vegetarian who doesn’t like a lot types of vegetables too? ;-))

Luckily, we have a vibrant community of people in this city who are committed to finding sustainable ways to bridge our urban/ rural gap – I just found out about a new website called “You Are Where You Eat” that is essentially a local search engine for area farms, farmer’s markets and foodboxes. It’s community powered as well so you can add your own listings, it also shows a summary of the types of food available and by seasonal freshness. Umm, colour me, THANK YOU!! I. Must. Check. These. Out. What a cool idea… and incredibly helpful to me personally.

[photo credit: Geo_JL on Flickr]


Options, options, options

… but which ones?

I’m in the process of setting up a baby registry for my mixed shower in January. Not only am I completely overwhelmed with what on earth I could possibly need to buy for the newborn, and how much I need since there are TWO of them coming, but also throw in wanting to be as “green” as possible and well, I feel like I’m running in circles with 80 Firefox tabs open at once and multiple search terms in Google for local options.

It’s not the same as dialing in to a Babies ‘R Us or a Sears when you’re dealing with essentially boutique stores that carry limited stock in comparison to the big boys.

Considering I’m due sometime in Febuary (the “due date” means nothing when you’re having multiples) this will be my obsession for the next couple of months I’m sure.

So far I’ve found a couple of great options – Kai Kids (who are having a sale on the Danforth this weekend & Kev and I have bought a couple of snugglies from already – literally a couple though which means 1 per kid ;-)) and Organic Lifestyle who have a store on Avenue Rd. I’ve found a few more which I’m adding to a dedicated page as I continue to explore, but haven’t had a chance to check them out yet.

Anyone have any other favorite retail stores in Toronto or online stores that can do registries to share?

[photo credit: Eden-lys on Flickr]


Who am I? Why am I here?

And so begins the obligatory “Hello World!” post on this newly minted site :)

I don’t claim to be the end all be all of eco-living. I also don’t claim to be a super mom, or a tres chic mom (most of the time..), in fact as of this moment I’m not technically a mom since I’m just over 6-months. I’m just me, Tamera, preggers with twins for the first time at age 35, living back in my hometown of Toronto, ON with my S.O. and my pooch, and running a strategic digital consultancy. I’m also involved with the sustainable movement in Toronto and founded SustainabilityCamp, an unconference that had its inaugural event in mid-November this year.

I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to be the perfect “organic” mom to the twinjas, but I’m going to do my best to keep the planet in mind while I go. Hopefully I can share some of my successes and my challenges, and some tips and resources for raising kids environmentally-friendly and aware from the start, while also giving myself a wee place to vent too :)

I would love to hear from you, the interwebs, too and if you have any tips or resources for being sustainable, please feel free to share! We’re all on this planet together after all & I *know* I don’t have all the answers!


[photo credit: -Merce- on Flickr]