Archive for the ‘Other’ Category

Real Mermaids Don’t Need Glitter

Sparkle is in. Who doesn’t like shiny objects? Mermaid sequins are like sparkle crack; you can’t look away, you can’t stop yourself from petting them, and unlike fidget spinners, you are not irritated by their very presence. But real mermaids? They may be beautiful, enticing, and yes, sparkly (as well as murderous) but they definitely don’t do glitter. Why?

Because glitter is gunking up the ocean. I first read this National Geographic article about how the sparkly menace lasts just as long in the sea as it does in your carpet. Falling under the category of microplastics, which includes any plastic measuring less than 5 millimenters, it contains the same chemical-sucking properties as any other microplastic; durable to last a long time, tiny enough to be consumed in fish and biomagnified up the food chain right back to the preschool kids pouring it on that adorable picture of a blue giraffe that you might hang on your wall for a month.

My new year’s resolution was to (gasp) stop using glitter, not because I can imagine a world without sparkle but because I actually love the sparkle of the ocean so much more.  So far, despite a few birthday party craft snafus and a refusal to come to terms with the fact that maybe pipe cleaners fall into the glitter family, it’s been easy. But then, I am not a teacher trying to distract screaming children with shiny objects or a sequined up tween or a Mardis Gras float.

Glitter

  • Single use plastic
  • Magnet for pollutants
  • Too small to be filtered out by water treatment plants
  • Small enough to be consumed up the food chain
  • Does not biodegrade

Glitter alternatives:

  • Eco-Glitter – Glitterevolution  and EcoGlitterFun make biodegradable glitter!
  • Make your own glitter – epsom salt, salt or sugar mixed with food coloring
  • Mariah Carey movie – just…no

 

 

This Mental Floss article has some fun, weird glitter history.

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Sustainable We

Family Project 2018: Trash Wars – The Fight to End Single-Use Plastic

Small garbage can.  Doesn’t seem like much of a problem, right? But then the enemies start swarming in from a family of four: plastic straws, bags, spoons, you name it. Used once and tossed in a landfill feeder  that only happens to hold about 2 full kitchen bags

and a few smaller bags for the week.

We could spend more and get a bigger can from the city. OR we could change our habits now and make less grody garbage permanently.  Get in line, troops, your lunch is about to go green.

Battle 1: Lunch

Turns out (new parent spoiler alert):

4 PEOPLE MAKE A TON OF GARBAGE.

Seriously, even the little one. She throws stuff out like a champ.  She uses bandaids for like 15 minutes each.  She breaks stuff just to make the automatic garbage open its jaws on her command. She even purposefully (maybe) refused cloth diapers just to up her landfill game.  I say No Way, Baby.  To be fair, she would be perfectly fine keeping all the garbage actually inside the house and making art with it or something.

So, anyway, project Sustainable We was born. We talked a bunch about garbage and how long it stays around and how trash on the ground can get into the ocean and hurt animals and such.  Kids are on board to save turtles. We are a go.

The first single-use plastic I had to consider was the plastic zip snack/sandwich bag. This actually began organically when big sis went to kinder last year and we needed lunch solutions.  She is a picky eater who would rather not eat than eat something listed in her ever-changing bible of “Gross Stuff Mom Tries to Force-feed Me That Maybe Qualifies As Torture”. I had to try a variety of snack options to get her fueled for the day and some were wet and couldn’t touch others and there were days where I threw away more food than she consumed.

Ultimately, our plastic zippy baggy replacement system included the following:

Lunchbots stainless steel bento box

lunchbot

Love this little darling.  Fits just enough for my kids and gives the ability for some separation. Dishwasher top rack safe, easy to open and close and stays cool with an ice pack. Plus cute colors = Winning.

The only drawback is that the two sides are not completely airtight from each other, so I still needed a way to house the small veggies that had some moisture like carrots and snap-peas hastily washed in the dark pre-mornings.

Voila! Silicone muffin cups!

lsiliconemuffincups

Bonus: Can also be used for playing shell games after lunch.

They fit perfectly in both sides of the bento box, allowing me to recreate the much-desired-but-seldom-purchased crown jewel of single use lunches: the Lunchable.

One for crackers, one for ham or turkey, one for veggies and one for an oreo or two. I can even fit a baby cheese in there, too. Mom for the win.

BUT…

These are the lunch solution and there was still a critical problem: snack time <insert horrified face emoji>

Snack time was the real culprit of snack bags, hence the sneaky snacky cute little plastic half-bags with Elsa and BB-8 on them luring my half-people down the landfill well.  Seriously, the magic seal is like the pied piper of garbage.  Go ahead and use me only once, it sings. I will get crumbs in me and you can’t ever get me dry again even if you dare to wash me out. Tra-la-la.

NO! GO BACK! I say. GO BACK TO YOUR CONVENIENT BOX, YOU LUNCH BALROG!

And then I got these adorabchicobag.jpgle little snack bags:

ChicoBag Snack Time!

Every time time I unfurl their little two-inch of velcro I feel like Captain America. These bags are made of rePETE food-safe material, adjustable to fit a sandwich, adorable to fit your lunch style and pretty easy to wash. I hand wash to avoid velcro sucking the life out of unsorted laundry loads, but I don’t find it a bother. The biggest learning curve was teaching my kids to NOT THROW THEM AWAY! Fortunately they only had to pick through one yucky garbage bag to learn that one.

These bags are the ultimate weapon in the fight against single-plastic snacktime. Arm yourselves.

So the price breakdown:

Bento box $25

Muffin Cups $6.99

Snack Bags $14.99

Sustainable lunch = priceless.

Well, actually the supplies ran about $46.97, but if not using plastic saves even one turtle life than it’s worth every penny.

 

Harvest Time at Applecheeks

As a follow-up to my last post, Applecheeks is having a wonderful sale – 10% off until September 16!  Check out their Facebook page for some of the many participating retailers or head on over to Applecheeks site.  I plan on stocking up and trying out some of the bamboo boosters.

To sweeten the sale, like sugar on top of a fresh apple pie, Applecheeks is hosting a great giveaway to celebrate getting 8,000 fans on Facebook.  Check out the blog post to enter to win one of six little bundles, which include a diaper and insert!

Mmmmm….apples in fall are my favorite.

Mom-azon

Amazon.com is one of my more frequently used shopping sites because of the variety of products and prices, and usually extensive user reviews.   I’ve also made hundreds of dollars selling my old textbooks.  I just found out that Amazon also has a great feature for caregivers called Amazon Mom.

Amazon Mom is a free program.  You give them your stats to tailor ads to your Amazon account and they give you 30% off of select diapers and wipes, 15% off of other categories like Grocery and Household Supplies and free Amazon Prime 2-Day shipping for 3 months on eligible items, or longer, if you spend at least $25 in the Baby store.

I bought many baby items from Amazon, either because it was the best price or because it was the only place I could find things. I used to wait until I had enough to get the Super Saver shipping, so I think free shipping is great.  I live far from my family so I am always sending gifts and it will be nice to not worry about shipping charges for awhile, and 2-day shipping at that.  So that way when I’ve been up all night with a feeding baby and I forget someone’s birthday until just before, I won’t have to waste tons on express shipping!  Yay!  Plus, I’m sure I can spend $25 in the baby store.  I’ve even bought cloth diapers from Amazon!

There is also a Subscribe and Save program which lets you save even more if you put eligible items on an automatic delivery schedule.  Who knew?

Born Green Girl

Today is July 2.  My daughter turns four months old today.  It was a year ago on July 4 that I found out I was pregnant and my world got a little bit greener.  I was always environmentally conscious but that day I began to shift my focus from the big picture of world issues to the littlest picture of all – my baby girl.

Everything I did suddenly became a risk/benefit analysis.  I stopped using paraben-laden cosmetics, banned BPA products from the house and worried about everything from gas fumes to pool chlorine.  I also gave myself carte blanche to buy fresh organic food.  It’s been a long road from Pop-tart Jersey girl to crunchy Californian.  My daughter, however, was born a crunchy Californian.  And I continue to do everything in my knowledge and power to keep her life green.