Browsing Tag

environment

11 Ways to Reuse Common Items to Make them Useful

FAM, self By April 10, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , 1 Comment

Baby Clothes QuiltFor this week’s SC Johnson 30 Green Days Challenge, we are talking about household items we can reuse. I thought I would stretch the whole family to use items around the house we don’t really need to create things that are either beautiful or serve a function needed to be filled. We are getting crafty. Of course there are many ways in which we already reuse items—pickle jars become Lego storage, coffee tins collect coins in the laundry room and broken terracotta pots become drainage at the bottom of other potted plants.

But let’s get creative, shall we? On our island we don’t have the option of running to a store to pick up something we forgot, so we are often forced into thinking outside the box with the items that we do have at our disposal.

 

Cork Bag Clip.jpg

1. Make bag clips out of wine corks.
2. Use the kids’ old baby clothes to make an heirloom quilt.
3. Make mittens out of old sweaters you may have (ahem) shrunk…
Dresser Jewlery Tray
4. Transform a tiered serving tray into much needed jewelry storage.

5. A CD spindle becomes a bagel holder for the kids’ school lunches.
6. Broken crayons can be melted into new, multi-coloured ones.
Bobby Pin Jewlery7. Glue broken jewelry onto bobby pins to dress them up.
Credit Card Name Diary8. Cut your name off an expired credit card to make an adorable name tag for a special writing journal.
Chopstick Garden Support9. When ‘disposable’ wooden chopsticks get too stained from soy sauce, stick them in the garden to hold up seedlings.
10. Use pantyhose that has holes and runs to train rosebushes. The hose are much less constricting to plants than twine.
11. Use old pennies to tile a floor or make a backsplash.

Of all the 30 Green Days Challenges, this past week’s recycling goals were perhaps the hardest for my family. Turning off lights and unplugging chargers are very easy to remember, and only take seconds. Washing jars, peeling labels and taking the time to investigate our community’s recycling policies took a bit more time, and made me feel quite guilty for not recycling properly all along. Interestingly, however, it became one of the most satisfying and rewarding of all of our goals. In addition to feeling as if we had accomplished something as a family, I noticed that the kids are taking daily chores more seriously, and have become more mindful of how all of their actions affect the environment.

In all, our past 30 days have been exciting and very easy. We have truly transformed some of our behaviours as a family and none of us want to stop searching for more ways that we can care for our planet.

While SC Johnson is the sponsor of the 30 Green Days Challenge, all opinions and comments within the post are my own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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10 Ways to Conserve Energy Usage

Going Green: 10 Ways to Conserve Energy Usage

FAM, health, kids By March 19, 2014 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Living on a small island 60 feet from the mainland is idyllic. We put groceries in a wheelbarrow, barge to school and compost all we can.  As enchanted as it is, island living requires planning and energy. Typically I think of energy as the stamina to chase kids or dig for hours in the garden. We try to maintain and grow energy in our bodies by eating well and being efficient but I am a bit disappointed in myself for not paying enough attention to the energy we waste in our home.

I have been invited to participate in the SC Johnson 30 Green Days Challenge and will be sharing tips for making green-minded decisions each day. Many of my goals require simple common sense, and I am excited by the thought of being mindful in order to make my home more efficient and responsible to the planet.

This week our household focus is energy and we are starting small. As much as I want to replace the motor on my barge with an electric model, trade my car for a Tesla or install solar panels, my family and I have decided we will take a few baby steps first.

10 Ways to Conserve Energy Usage:

1. Use an appropriate appliance for what I am cooking. No more tiny pots on big burners or heating up the whole oven when the toaster would suffice.

2. Unplug chargers when they are not, well, charging.

3. Make turning off lights more of a priority in the kids’ morning routine. In fact, make a game of it!

4. Replace the seal on the fridge door so that the door closes properly.

5. Fill up my front-load washing machine to the brim every time. This shouldn’t be difficult with the mounds of dirty clothes produced by two boys.

6. Use the oven’s convection setting that I always forget I have.

7. Wear more sweaters = less turning the heat up.

8. Shut my computer down when I am not using it (gasp).

9. Put a towel under the door from my storage room (the one I have never used) which is 2 inches too short, allowing heat to escape.

10. Learn how to microwave well so I can make perfect morning eggs using a more efficient appliance than the stove.

The SC Johnson Green Choices website has a ton of tips to help you make green decisions too.

Small changes make a big difference.

While SC Johnson is the sponsor of the 30 Green Days Challenge, all opinions and comments within this post are my own.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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summer picnic tips

Inspired Summer Picnic Tips

EAT, entertain, lunches By May 16, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

We love lazy summer picnics filled with giggles, soft blankets and sandwiches with crusts cut off.  SO we’ve come up with a few inspired summer picnic tips to enchant your family as you lead them into the lazy days of summer.

1.  Head to a fabric store and use pinking shears to make cloth napkins so the edges won’t fray.  It’s great for the environment and you can design themed, beautiful picnics at a low cost.
2.  Use individual jars for salad and dressings so you can shake and serve.
3.  Don’t forget baby wipes and hand sanitizer.
4.  We have lots of printables on our pinterest pages so you can do nature walks and scavenger hunts.
5.  Bamboo plates always look stunning and are earth friendly.
6.  Ditch the tech and opt for old-fashioned entertainment like cards, etch-a-sketch and throwing a ball.
7.  Make a picnic playlist for every summer and your kids will have years of happy memories associated with the songs.
8.  If you have little ones, include a few favourite dolls or stuffies with tiny dishes.  Enchanted.
9.  To help teach responsibility and respect, throw a garbage bag and some plastic gloves in the basket and do a mini garbage cleanup of the site when you are done.  Picking up litter of others will instill many lessinons in your children.
10.  Opt for tealights in mason jars for twilight picnics.  It will be both safe and beautiful!

Enjoy – and don’t forget the bug spray!  Add your ideas below!

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Seventh Generation goes Plant-Based

baby, FAM By January 23, 2013 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

Don’t you love saving?  Money, coupons, trees….  Seventh Generation has a counter on their site indicating how many trees/barrels of petroleum they have saved by switching to plant-based ingredients in their baby products.  Baby Personal Care and Baby Home Cleaning are the first USDA Certified Biobased baby lines on the market today (meaning they are derived more from plant-based ingredients, than petroleum-based).  We’ve tested the baby hair and body wash, bubble bath, wipes and diaper cream and are thrilled with the result.  (And let’s just say that the products can often be found in bathrooms other than the one the kids use…)  Johnson & Johnson announcing it will begin to reformulate its products to get rid of all toxic ingredients in their baby care products by 2015.  Now that’s a reason to hug a tree.

www.seventhgeneration.com

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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5 Ways to Green your Halloween

GEAR, toys By October 16, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

Green Your HalloweenTake the spookiness out of Halloween with healthier choices that are easier than you might think. Start with these simple 5 ways to green your halloween – steps to avoid toxins, sugars and you’ll be well on your way to enjoying a safer, ‘eek-o’ friendly Halloween with your kids.

1. Non-Toxic Face Paint In its ‘Pretty Scary‘ report on heavy metals in face paints, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found an alarming 10 out of 10 face paints tested contained lead, a neurotoxin. Instead of gravitating towards a pack of face paint or make up from the likes of the dollar store that may or may not contain lead or other nasties, invest in a set of quality non-toxic lead-free face paints that will last well beyond Halloween. Another great option is to wear a reusable mask.

2. Healthier Treats Now more than ever Halloween treats with less sugar and additives than the average rocket or caramel abound. From organic chocolate to fruit bars and apple crisps, the possibilities are endless, you just have to keep an eye out. One to try are Bug Bites from Endangered Species Chocolate. Another alternative is non-food treats that last a little longer like recycled newspaper pencils, recycled crayon sticks, colourful soy rock crayons and if you want to really lead by example, compostable toothbrushes.

3. PVC-Free Treat Bags Avoiding PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and the poisonous chemicals it can off-gass is always a good idea, especially when it comes to items used by kids. Choosing PVC-free bags, backpacks, and toys means nasty dioxins won’t be leaching or off-gassing into the air and causing potential hormone disruption, respiratory issues and more. For Halloween, give the nasties a miss and go for a PVC-free treat bag like this Envirosax pirates bag or this pretty pink sweet treats bag. Both can hold up to 44lbs of goodies!

4. Swap a Costume Save money and reduce your carbon footprint by trading costumes with family and friends. Alternatively, go to National Costume Swap Day Canada and find a costume swap event near you. It’s a great way to change things up without spending a lot and let’s face it, does anyone really want to wear the same costume twice, even if you haven’t outgrown it?

5.  Make Reusing Part of Halloween Consider ways to decorate without buying new and you’ll not only save money but help teach your kids about the value of reusing. Here’s a great idea for making spooky eyes in the bushes with toilet paper rolls and for these clever ghost lights use old bleach bottles. Using what you already have around the house also works great for costumes. Make a jet pack out of pop bottles for your little rocket man or transform an old t-shirt into a scary skull for an easy adult costume. After the 31st, be sure to reuse your pumpkin for pie, muffins, scones or any of these 23 Ways to Use Pumpkin Puree. For the more adventurous, try a pumpkin hair mask or pinata from these 10 Fun Things to Do with Pumpkin.

These are just a few ideas to get you started. With just a little thought and planning, it’s easy enjoy a ghoulishly green Halloween!

– Louise Campbell, co-founder eco boutique Lavish & Lime

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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5 Reasons You Should Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

5 Reasons You Should Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

EAT, lunches By August 21, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , 3 Comments

Back to school means back to a routine, back to feeling crazy busy and back to packing lunches. Aside from the daily content question of what to pack, have you given much thought to how you’re packing your lunches? A waste-free lunch by definition is one that contains no throwaway packaging or food leftovers. In terms of lunch gear products, re-usability is the number one factor when packing a waste-free lunch. A second factor, critical for your child’s health, is non-toxicity and a final factor to consider is durability. If you’re going to invest in reusable lunch gear, it makes sense to ensure it’s made to last. It also makes sense to encourage your child’s input on colours and patterns to encourage them to pack up their re-usables for taking home.

With just a little planning, packing waste-free lunches is easy – and important. Here are five reasons why you should pack a waste-free lunch for school..

It’s good for the environment. The average student’s lunch generates a total of 30 kg of waste per school year, or an average of 8500 kg (18,700 lbs) of waste per school per year, according to the Recycling Council of Ontario. Waste-free lunches reduce the amount of garbage going into our landfills, including plastic bags that actually never go away. Pack only what you think your child will eat and keep it cold with a freezable lunch bag or eco-friendly ice pack to ensure minimal food waste at the end of the day.
It’s good for your child’s health. Packing lunch into re-usables means your child will most likely end up with a healthier lunch as you’ll be avoiding prepackaged and heavily processed foods loaded with sugars and additives. You’ll also be able to control the materials your child’s food comes into contact with, ie. choosing non-leaching glass or stainless steel food containers over plastics that may contain endocrine disrupting chemicals which affect hormone levels.

It’s environmental stewardship by example. If your kids see you making the effort to reduce the amount of waste you’re packing for them on a daily basis, they’ll begin to understand the importance of reducing our footprint on the earth. Then there’s the knock-on effect of their friends seeing how little waste they’re generating, and so on, and so on.

It can save you money. It is estimated that packing a disposable lunch complete with plastic baggies, plastic spoon, juice bag costs $4.02 per day compared to a waste-free lunch packed with reusables at $2.65 per day. That’s $20.10 per week versus $13.25 per week and a saving of $1.37 a day or $6.85 a week. Clearly, the cost of a throwaway lunch adds up – and quickly. Waste-free lunches mean buying larger package sizes, even bulk and can actually become money savers for families.

It can help prepare you for the inevitable. If your child’s school hasn’t already introduced a ‘waste-free lunch challenge’ or ‘litterless lunch day’, it likely will – and soon. More and more schools are introducing the concept of environmental responsibility to students and lunch waste is an ideal way to demonstrate it.
Tips for packing a waste-free lunch

Avoid boxes of individually prepackaged snacks and instead buy regular size boxes of cookies, crackers, tubs of yoghurt and simply transfer small amounts into reusable snack containers and pouches.

Flexible and reusable fabric snack pouches (with either a zipper or velcro closure) are ideal for recess as they can be rolled up and stored in a pocket when empty.

In the rush to get out to the playground, juice tetra packs and drinking boxes you think will make it into the recycling box, often don’t. Non-leaching, double wall insulated and highly durable BPA-free stainless steel water bottles that can stand up to the occasional knock or fall off a desk are a smart option.
Don’t forget reusable cutlery with your packed lunches – and on hot lunch days too. Otherwise your child will more than likely be provided with a one-use disposable plastic fork or spoon.

Happy packing!

– Louise Campbell

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Easy Ways to Be Good to the Environment

LIVE, nourish By November 13, 2011 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

kids and environmentAs a parent there are so many things to consider – but what good is all of the hard work on attachment parenting if we have no planet by the time the kids reach 21?  We need to stop hurting our planet – and fast.  With all of the things to remember as a parent or through pregnancy, you don’t need more to think about (and feel guilty for), so we’ve come up with a few easy tips that could easily become habits.  Remember that kids learn what they are shown.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Green One Bags

GEAR, home By January 6, 2010 Tags: , , , 1 Comment

firenzie_blueDenimOne of our resolutions this year is to proudly announce to the grocery store clerk… ‘no thank you.  I don’t need bags.  I have brought my own.’  Little did we know that few cloth bags are created equal.  First there are those with skinny handles that cut into your hands or shoulder, then the crappy ones that develop holes, and finally, there is the ‘useless’ group – too small for any real groceries and good for only 2 wine bottles (what use is that?).  UrbanMommies tried the stunning organic GreenOne Bag and we were thrilled beyond belief. 

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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Kid's First Aid Kit

FAM, health By August 24, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 3 Comments

Summertime! The park! The beach! The campground! Uh oh! The bee sting! The sunburn! The knee scrape! Summer brings lots of outdoor fun but also the possibility of outdoor injuries. No need to keep the kids inside, just follow these environmentally-friendly tips. Recommended products are available at Whole Foods Market.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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ABC But Please No PVCs!

books, GEAR, home, toys By August 24, 2009 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , No Comments

school suppliesIt’s time for back-to-school scrambling which usually includes shopping for brand new school supplies. But which school supplies are safe for your kids?  Last year, a report was released by Environmental Defense and the US-Based Center for Health, Environment and Justice outlining guidelines for purchasing safe back-to-school products. Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC is found in many common school supplies and other children’s products and is of key concern in the report.

Jill Amery

Jill Amery is a mom of 2 small boys and the Publisher of UrbanMommies, a stylish digital lifestyle magazine filled with fitness, style, health, recipes and savvy mom advice to help you through pregnancy, birth, and raising your kids.

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