Posts Tagged ‘green living’

Just put your kids in a bubble.

After reading a recent article at Inhabitots then looking around my house, I have decided the only way to keep my kids safe is to place them in either

a) an individual bubble

or

b) a group bubble so they can play together

It seems that every day there is a new study out or another recall warning of the dangers of pretty much every item my kids come into contact with.

The Inhabitots article I came across for example, warns of the toxins contained in some types of flooring and wallpaper. Our kids are surrounded. If not at home, at school, at the babysitters or at Grandma’s.  The study found, among other things, toxic substances in flooring that negatively impact the immune system and brain development. Ahh, there goes my baby crawling on the floor, and I was worried about the dust bunnies he eats, turns out the kitchen floor is the problem.  They go on to site a Swedish study that “found that children exposed to the vinyl flooring that emits phthalates, may be as much as twice as likely to develop autism.” Another reason to be weary of vinyl flooring and wallpaper? High levels of lead, you pregnant ladies are not in the clear either. Click here to read the full Inhabitots article.

So that is that, I don’t have the $$ to rip up my vinyl flooring, I guess I’ll just try to contain Mr. Baby Man  in less toxic areas of my house for now. Maybe am incentive for more outside time?

While we are on the subject of toxic substances, lemme say a few quick things about BPA.

Upon reading various articles in The Globe and Mail, I have learned that

  • Teenagers  carry about 30 per cent more BPA than the rest of the population
  • Men who are exposed to high levels of BPA are more likely to experience sexual-performance difficulties. Does that make you enjoy your daily can of Pepsi more? Realistically the amount of BPA in a can of pop is probably harmless, but when you add it to the masses of other places BPA is suspected to be reaching us from…
  • Higher exposure to BPA =  A significantly increased risk of cardiovascular disease. 45% increased risk to be exact.
  • Levels of BPA are so high in some waters, that people are banned from swimming .  Too bad we can’t ban birds, fish or dolphins from swimming in certain parts of the ocean.  The same study found that BPA levels  were even higher in sand since BPA’s claim to fame is sticking to things and sand particles are the perfect candidate.

Great news for Canadians!

After a 4 year study we can all  do the non-toxic dance because Canada has FINALLY declared BPA a toxic substance! The researched showed that 91% of us have BPA in our bodies. It is about time! When will everyone else follow suit?

( Shout out! Happy Wedding Day to Kim & Tommy!!)

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Eco-Easy Date Night Ideas

In an effort to create some memories that last forever with minimal waste or carbon output try these Friday night (or anytime) date ideas! Feel free to mix and match!

Although you should definitely use reusable table wear, I thought this ad was way too funny!

Some of these day time date ideas would be considered work for all but the most committed greenie, get out and give them a try!

  •  sign up for habitat for humanity
  •  apple picking in fall
  •  visit a farmers market
  • go for a bike ride picnic
  • clean up a park
  • if you can get your hands on one, go for a canoe or kayak ride (just don’t use a motor, ok?)

  My babysitters are usually  available during the evening  so here are some night-time date ideas that I’ve given some extra thought to

  • Scope out  a pretty well-lit park and settle in for a night-time picnic, if your date wants to volunteer to make up the basket even better!
  • Head to a restaurant that serves organic or local food. This is usually better suited for someone who lives in a city so public transport or even your feet can be taken advantage of. Luckily for me (who lives in the country) there are many little bed and breakfast spots/little restaurants nearby that have  great local organic selections. Another note, if you tend to leave lotsa food on your plate consider bringing  your own take out container in place of those waste full styrofoam thingies or foil.
  • Take a walk around and browse used book stores. Consider this little equation: great deal + exercise + loads to talk about + a new book = great date. If you don’t love to read,consider looking for  pretty books for decorating.
  • Go together to the liquor store and choose some organic wine or beer, stop in for some organic snacks on the way home and enjoy together
  • This idea is probably better suited to a couple that lives in the counrty or has a fireplace, but spiked hot chocolate and a campfire is another great option.
  • If you live in the city, go spontaneous and do a random  mass transit date. Choose a stop randomly and this is where your date will take place!
  • Do it up old school. Like real old school. Soda shop and stroll, or coffee and stroll, or beer and stroll, or milkshake and stroll. You get the idea.
  • I am a board game addict. Try a 2 player board game by candle light for a pretend it’s a black out kinda night.
  • For a stay at home movie date, to save money and be eco friendly borrow movies from  the library or sign up for Netflix.

No time for a date but still want to do something eco-friendly together? Conserve water and hop in a shower for two. If you have kids, turn the monitor on and remember to lock the door, as not to scar them for life… 

If you have a great eco date idea I would love to hear it!!

Dollarstore Eco?

I was at the Dollarstore the other day and as always my eyes were scanning and searching for green items.  I have never hip checked a kid before, but  that tween stood between me and my eco-friendly future! She was blocking the  Envirosticks! I want it!Luckily she moved on before there was a confrontation….

Envirosticks, they must be green!! Ohhh, something I will use, is super cheap and it looks eco friendly!  This a perfectly guilt free purchase! Sigh, what every shopaholic/ecoholic dreams about. Why get so worked up about pencils? That’s just who I am.

Anyway upon closer inspection on their website I decided to grade them and see if they are really a good eco buy or not.

PRO

  • made from sustainably grown forests
  • uses non toxic ink to put print on pencils
  • when it gets down to the nubby bit, you can recycle the little metal piece and compost the eraser
  • They are also great to write with, and with my son in grade 1 now we use pencils ALOT
  • CON
  • While they use sustainable forests, why cut down any trees at all when you can make pencils out of recycled materials, like O’BON.
  • They are also pretty boring to look at, next time I’m looking to but some eco pencils, I think I’ll spice it up a little with these super cute designs, also from O’BON.
  • The package is mainly plastic,  why would you bother to make a recyclable pencil with a package that ends up in the trash?

So Envirosticks turned out to be a decent eco buy for the dollarstore, but if I was paying full price I would choose a recycled alternative.

While I was at the dollarstore, I also found some bamboo elastics. While I really did know better, that bamboo production for textile like things is not that eco friendly, I was on a roll and bought them anyway. I always need elastics for my little girls’ hair and at least the package was made from recycled material! I have not come across any other eco friendly hair elastics, so if you know of someone who sells them let me know!

Moo!

One of my biggest challenges in switching over to  greener choices is trying to keep all the picky eaters in my house happy. Sometimes I can’t accomplish this, for example Organic milk.

My husband prefers the milk he’s used to, I forced him to have a blind taste test and he had no problem choosing his usual milk. He claims that the organic milk was a little too sweet, my 2 year old on the other hand didn’t notice a change.

I  aim to try a few new products every week . One new item I purchased last week was organic milk.  I picked it up and made the decision to spend the $6.29 price tag for 2L.  I figured it was a good thing to switch over and worth the extra cost since organic milk contains higher beneficial fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamins than conventional milk.  Then there’s the growth hormone, rBGH. It’s use is banned here in Canada as well as in Europe, however unless it’s labeled rBGH free, or organic, dairy products from the U.S. still contain it. That rBGH seems to be an all around bad idea, what with the links to breast and colon cancer as well as the poor cows that have to produce so much milk that they can become malnourished. As a breastfeeding mom, I feel for them! For now I’ll keep buying the conventional milk for my husband, and my babies will get organic. I’m also going to make a habit of checking the label to see where my dairy products are coming from!

On another note,

Last week I had a great opportunity to make an easy shift in my spending to green. It is my Dad’s birthday this week (Happy Birthday Dad!!) and after digging around for info, I found out he needed some new t-shirts. I don’t have a big budget for birthday gifts, so I had to try and come up with a gift that was eco friendly, useful and inexpensive. My sister discovered that he was in need of some t-shirts. I was thrilled to find organic cotton shirts at wal-mart! I picked up 3 of them for $7 a piece!!

Last week’s  grocery totals for my One in a Million Challenge:

  • organic meats from Bluefield Natural Products Inc. $40
  • various organic, fair trade and eco friendly products at the grocery store $40
  • Birthday gift for Dad $21

Totals for O.I.M.C. last week: $101

Compulsive early Christmas Shopper

When September rolls around I usually start to prowl around for some deals on gifts for Christmas, more specifically toys.

With 3 kids I spend hundreds maybe even thousands of dollars a year on toys for birthdays, holidays and sometimes bribes.
This made me start to think of how disposable these toys are. Besides throwing the toys themselves in the garbage, how much packaging do we have to get though to get to these toys, that usually goes into the garbage too! I personally have spent 15 minutes getting a Barbie set out of its package! I’m still trying to find out exactly how much tons of waste  toys produce a year in Canada, but just to get a broad idea Mattel sells approximately 3.4 million Barbies a year. That’s just Barbie! If they changed to eco-friendly even in their packages imagine the waste it would save!
Don’t even get me started on the toxins in toys, craft supplies and children’s apparel. We’ve all heard enough about that, if you feel like refreshing your memory however, check out Green Phone Booth.

I decided to do a little organic Christmas toys shopping at http://www.raspberrykids.com/, first of all pretty much everything on this website is so cute I would literally buy at least 90% of what they sell. They have decent shipping rates and if you spend enough money then shipping is free! I also have a promo code good for 15% off (type in savvymom15 at checkout), as far as I know this coupon is good until the end of September. There are a ton of online sites that sell items  similar to these. I like this site for 2 reasons 1) It’s Canadian 2) I had a 15% off coupon.

Right now my kids are still at an age where I can influence their Christmas wish list, so why not teach them quality is more important that quantity? I understand that they will still want what they want, so I keep a small amount of my Christmas budget for last-minute-non-eco-friendly-gotta-have-it-toys.

Here is  great green idea: make your own  toys. If you can get the kids involved all the better!! I am a horribly un-crafty person but I could at least put together a play first-aid kit, with things I have around the house (syringe for baby medicine, gauze, plain button up white shirt for lab coat etc.) or a food set (tape up boxes, glue the lid on to jars and put pastas into it etc.) Bonus you get to REUSE what you already have = free and eco-friendly!(oh and I can bribe the kids with them)

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