Simple choice: disposable or reusable?

solo br cupsOkay my friends… it’s as simple as this.  We had a choice.

Many people were going to visit our house.  The keg was calling out for a party.  Do you buy disposable cups or reusables? Quick! Make your choice.

It sounds crazy, I know, but I found myself facing this ridiculous question.  What… do… you … do?

I went to the dollar store. I bought cups. I bought reusable cups. I walked away from the disposables… and guess what?  We were just fine.  Everyone followed the rules.  They used the cups. They deposited them back into the kitchen.  They found their way into a (full) dishwasher. They were washed. They were stored for the next gathering. We threw NOTHING away. We won’t need to spend more money next time either. The next time, “we already have cups”.

Success. Yes. No trash. That’s all you need to do.  Wise choices, my friends.  Wise choices.

For Father’s Day… help him “go green”!

dad super wordSunday is the day to celebrate fantastic fathers! Our Sunday will be spent celebrating my amazing husband…”fab dad” to our kids!!!  As always, he’s literally asked for “nothing” and just wants to spend time with me and the kids… likely fishing, picnicking and enjoying what’s slated to be a wonderful “weather day” (Phew!).  Every year he just wants to enjoy the pleasures of the great outdoors and, of course, his family! 🙂

Hopefully you already have some terrific plans in the works, but if you are pressed for that last minute gift idea, here is my list of “great green ones” that are easy to find (or “do”) and he’s sure to love:

  • Plant a tree – it’s amazing to watch them grow over time, so add a special one to the yard. (We have one in its ninth year… it’s just incredible and we have loved watching it grow and bloom!)
  • Make a gift – recycle, upcycle and reuse!  Your own home is the perfect place to find supplies to create something that says “I cared enough” to make this for you!fshing
  • Electronic solar charger – free power from the sun!  And dads love their electronics.
  • Bamboo knives or grilling set incredible bamboo is sustainable and this is perfect for the grill master!
  • Organic brew – ideal for accompanying him at the grill!
  • Organic coffee – for his morning (or all day) pick-me-up!
  • Reusable water bottle – to keep him hydrated while he’s working hard or working out!
  • iTunes – no more CDs to eventually end up in the trash.
  • Solar powered landscaping lights or a solar flashlight – (are you seeing the trend?) again, free energy!
  • Adopt nature and animals in his name or give a membership to a nature center or arboretum – my list of favorites is in a previous post here.
  • “Give your time” and get outdoors – make him king for the day and hike, bike, picnic, fish… whatever makes him happy, your time will make him the happiest!

Jim kuk picWith that I simply want to wish my amazing husband another wonderful Father’s Day! He is the best husband, the greatest dad ever, a dedicated son, and works so hard so that I can be home with our kids.  He single-handedly supports our family AND he’s a published author (with more on the way!) and I am so very, very proud of him!  Add to that the fact that he tolerates ME, goes along with my green ways and encourages me (always!)… I couldn’t ask for more.  We love you, honey!

Happy Father’s Day to every amazing dad out there!  We celebrate you! And for every dad that is joining this mom in her journey to going green… THANK YOU!

MORE unregulated terms you should know about!

pest freeSo, I’m at it again… looking at labels and learning… a lot!

I’ve talked about the non-toxic labeling, fragrance-free vs. unscented, PLU produce labels and certified-organic vs. organic ingredients.

Now I have two more that you do need to know about:  “Pesticide-Free” and “Chlorine-Free”.

Maybe you’ll be surprised and maybe you won’t, but the reality is… NEITHER of these labels or terms mean a thing either.  They are undefined and, once again, completely unregulated.chlor free2

Like some of the other terms I mentioned, any manufacturer can place these words on their label to give you peace of mind about what you’re purchasing.  And ONCE AGAIN they can do it, just because the terms aren’t regulated.  That doesn’t mean that ALL products that use these terms aren’t legitimate, but the problems is it’s sometimes difficult to really know.

I can add a good note though… it just so happens that the term “Dolphin Safe” IS strictly defined, so when you see this terdolph safem, you can rest assured about your purchase!  As a life-long dolphin lover, I’m happy that this actually means something positive.

We have quite a list going, don’t we??? Maybe it’s time to break out a notepad, just to keep it straight since, sadly, we can’t always believe what the labels are attempting to tell us.

Chicken nuggets… (what ARE they anyhow?)

chix nugThe idea of chicken nuggets turns my stomach. I know they have (somehow) become a staple of American kids’ diets, but for my entire life, I have found them disgusting.

Recently there has been a bunch of hub-bub about what’s really in those chicken nuggets… and patties too (and I really wonder if they are worth of having “chicken” in the name at all!).

My kids, like me, consider them fairly gross.  Have you SEEN this photo? Yes, that pink stuff right there (that looks like strawberry soft-serve ice cream) IS the stuff those nuggets are made of.chix nuggs

Want to know what’s in them? It’s called “mechanically separated chicken”.  A machine actually removes all of the disgusting leftovers after the quality parts are removed… it removes the tendons, tissue, cartilage, organs, and other chicken extras, and grinds them into a fine poultry paste. An ammonia wash is used to kill the bacteria and, because it looks (and now tastes!) horrible, artificial colors and flavors need to be added to make them edible.  In reality, with all of the other additives, only about 50% is even some chicken “part”… and that doesn’t even get into the nutritional side of the story. The sodium and fat content is appalling.

I tried to show this to my kids and my daughter said, emphatically, “No… Mom! I can’t watch!” If you want your kids to break-the-habit, try to get them to take a look. (I actually have two videos… this one shows the kids rejecting the nuggets, but I will warn you… the embedded video below shows kids STILL willing to eat the grossness they saw… a testament to how we’ve allowed this “food item” to become acceptable!)

Just like any other food item, not all chicken nuggets and patties are created equal.  There are some semi-decent products out there but, buyer beware. If it says “mechanically separated chicken” on the package, throw the box and RUN! … because that icky pink stuff is what you’re buying.

Instead, pack up some healthy food (in reusable containers!) when you’re on the go… or serve up a rainbow of healthy foods in a muffin pan when you’re at home.  Just reconsider chicken nuggets.

Truly, there are so many better, healthier, nutritious options… chicken nuggets are not really chicken nuggets.

… and the flip-flops lived on…

flp flpsI’m a “flip-flop girl”… I LOOOOVE my flip-flops! And most of my friends know about my obsession too.  If it’s above 50 degrees… FLIP-FLOP TIME!!!

It’s needless to say, however, that the lifespan of a flip-flop can be somewhat limited.  They wear out, they break and, well, sometimes they just start looking pathetic.

Want to help those tired, poor flip-flops live on? (Clearly, I also enjoy “saying” flip-flop!…) but sincerely… there is a fabulous use for them after they outlive their original purpose.

From now until May 21, Terracycle has teamed up with Old Navy stores to collect those flip-flops.  Deposit them in the collection bins at any Old Navy location in the U.S. and Terracycle will be turning them into playground materials.

The playgrounds will be given to a few schools and organizations that participate in the Terracycle Brigades too.  My children’s school participates in the Drink Pouch Brigade so hey, who knows… my old flip-flops may just end up being a part of my kids’ playground!ONTC flip

We’re all preparing for summer (anxiously!) and pulling out everything that has been put away for far too long. If your seasonal wardrobe includes some flip-flops that have seen better days, make your way to an Old Navy store before they make their way to the trash…

… beloved flip-flops can live on!