New here? Get more useful information by subscribing for free to the RSS feed
Archive for Green Home
November 21st, 2013
It’s time for my newest video, The Benefits of Going Green! This is the fourth in a series of 5 videos filmed during my trip to New York City and produced by the amazing team over at Manilla. Each video covers some of the many ways we can all lead a greener life. If you missed the first video, 5 Simple Steps to a Greener Life, you can find it HERE. There’s also Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips and 5 Ways to Go Green and Save Green.
Hope you enjoy!
Benefits of Going Green
We all know we should “go green,” but we don’t all know the reasons why. Here are three important benefits of going green.
1. It saves you money
There are several ways to save money and live a more eco-friendly lifestyle. First, consider switching to energy efficient appliances (affiliate links included). Although it’s a bit of an investment up front, you’ll notice the long-term monetary benefits in your lower monthly energy bills.
Second, unplug your appliances when you’re not using them. Use a power stripto make it easy. Not only will you save energy, you’ll also save money.
2. It keeps you healthy
Eliminating toxic chemicals found in cleaning supplies, cooking products and personal care items can drastically improve your health and reduce instances of skin, eye and respiratory irritations.
Also, if it’s an option, consider walking orbiking when possible instead of driving or taking public transit. Not only is it a free option, but it will also keep you healthy and active.
3. It has a long-term impact
Going green is a lifestyle choice that has both immediate and long-term benefits. Living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle today helps ensure a more vibrant planet tomorrow. Reducing carbon emissions, recycling, eliminating plastics, and saving water are all ways we can promote long-term environmental health.
Disclosure: Please know that if you make a purchase using a link on this page, I may earn a commission and I am very grateful for your support of this site. Thank you. (Read all the fine print here.)
Photo credit: Iulia Pironea Photography via photopin cc
October 17th, 2013
It’s time for my newest video, Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips! This is the second in a series of 5 videos filmed during my recent trip to New York City and produced by the amazing team over at Manilla. Each video covers some of the many ways we can all lead a greener life. If you missed my first video, 5 Simple Steps to a Greener Life, you can find it HERE.
Hope you enjoy!
4 Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips
Conventional cleaning products are expensive and can be hazardous to your health. Not to mention the amount of paper we waste using paper towels. Green your cleaning process by following these easy eco-friendly cleaning tips.
1. Ditch your Swiffer
Single-use mop pads are expensive and wasteful. Invest in a reuseable mop with a detachable head that can be tossed in the washing machine, hung dry and used again and again.
2. Make your own cleaning products
Making your own cleaning products is simpler than it seems and requires few ingredients. The four basic staples are baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and water. If making your own products still seems like too much work, consider swapping out your current cleaning supplies with non-toxic alternatives found at health food stores as you run out.
3. Hang dry your laundry
line drying your clothing may seem antiquated, but it actually preserves the integrity of your clothing, saves you money, and uses less chemicals.
4. Stop using paper towels
For most of us, using paper towels is a habit—and habits can be hard to break. But, using reusable cloth and old linens as rags can dramatically reduce your household waste and save you up to $1,500 a year.
What’s your favorite eco-friendly cleaning tip?
photo credit: _namtaf_ via photopin cc
August 14th, 2013
I’m at war over here. A war with fruit flies. And I’m proud to say I’m winning.
The piece that I’m struggling with is that there’s nothing that could possibly be causing these little buggers to multiply like wildfire. I know how they got here- there was ripe fruit on the counter. That piece makes perfect sense. But I’m having a hard time understanding how they’re still here after we were out of the house on vacation for over a week. The disposal’s been run, the garbage emptied. counters wiped and the fruit flies have still managed to find something in our home to help them thrive. And thrive they are doing very well.
The only theory I can surmise is way back when we did have ripe fruit on the counter the fruit flies decided to lay hundreds of eggs which then hatched into larvae and then decided to stick around for a while.
The bottom line is they’re here and they’ve been calling our kitchen home.
I have always taught my kids to try their best to release bugs found in our house safely outside. Yes, I’m one of those parents. Last night was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. There were too many fruit flies and releasing them outside wasn’t working. I was finished sharing my home with what felt like thousands (probably only 50) of them.
Here’s how the fruit fly battle went down.
How to get rid of fruit flies naturally
- A glass jar. I used a glass Pyrex measuring cup.
- Apple cider vinegar
- Liquid dish soap
- Plastic wrap. I don’t use it for many things, but it was helpful for this
- A rubber band
- Fill the glass jar with 3/4 cup of apple cider vinegar.
- Add a squirt of liquid dish washing soap and mix them together with a spoon.
- Cover the top of the glass jar with plastic wrap and hold it in place with a rubber band.
- Poke small holes in the plastic wrap (so the fruit flies can get in, but can’t get out).
I woke up this morning and discovered that I’d won. There are still a few hanging around, but they’re pretty interested in the apple cider vinegar concoction. I’m guessing they won’t be around for long.
There are many ways to combat fruit flies. Some are very similar and others different.
- Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green has a similar solution, but doesn’t use plastic wrap. Might have to try that next time!
- Becky from Eat Drink Better had success with the same sort of fruit fly recipe. She points out that the dish soap breaks the vinegar’s surface tension so the flies can’t land on the surface of the vinegar without sinking.
- Tiffany from Nature Moms creates a simple trap using a jar, plastic wrap and a piece of food.
- Karen from EcoKaren had similar success with the apple cider vinegar method.
How do you deal with fruit flies?
April 1st, 2013
Stainless steel appliances can give any kitchen a contemporary and fresh look. With three tween boys our stainless steel doesn’t stand a chance. Fingerprints, smudges and food end up covering most stainless steel surfaces in our kitchen.
Here are a few tips for keeping your stainless steel surfaces clean.
DON’T wipe with a damp cloth and let it dry au natural. This will cause big streaks and possibly rust. Been there.
DON’T use anything abrasive including steel wool. This will scratch and ruin your stainless steel.
If you need something a bit stronger try one of these non-toxic techniques:
Use a damp cloth (not wet) to wipe down your appliances. Make sure to thoroughly dry after wiping down to prevent water streaks and stains. This will work for most smudges and fingerprints.
Apply a small amount of olive oil to a soft cloth. Make sure you don’t over do it! Buff out the area on your refrigerator or stove top that has stubborn finger prints or smudges.
Flip over the cloth and re-buff the area with the clean side of the cloth.
That’s all there is to it!
Use dry flour and a clean, soft cloth to buff out your stainless steel. With a little muscle power your stainless will look sparkly and shinny. This might be a bit challenging on upright appliances, but will work wonders in your sink and on smaller appliances. Use this technique on your stainless steel pots and pans. Place the leftover flour in your compost bin!
One of my all-time favorite cleaners, vinegar, makes yet another appearance in helping to clean stainless steel. A simple white vinegar and water solution works wonders on stainless. Mix 3/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup water in a spray bottle and you’re ready to go. Not a fan of the vinegar scent? I happen to love the smell of vinegar, but feel free to add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to the mixture.
If you want info on how to clean your stainless steel pots and pans check out my tutorial HERE.
How do you keep your stainless steel clean?
photo credit: jhiner via photopin
May 3rd, 2012
Welcome to week two of Green Questions, Groovy Answers. A big thank you to everyone who submitted their excellent name suggestions for this new weekly column. Rebecca from Natural Mothers Network came up with the winner: Green Questions Groovy Answers. Thank you Rebecca! If you have a question you would like answered please submit it through the comment section, Facebook, Twitter or shoot me an email.
This weeks question came from @twituva on Twitter.
What should I do with my old Teflon non-stick pans? Is there a preferable way to recycle/discard them?
Despite the ease and convenience of non-stick pots and pans such as Teflon, many health conscious people are tossing their non-stick and replacing them with healthier options.
What’s wrong with Teflon?
Non-stick pots and pans are metal pans (such as aluminum pans) coated with a synthetic polymer called polytetrafluoroetheylene (PTFE), also known as Teflon. Teflon is toxic. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), toxic fumes from the Teflon chemical released from pots and pans at high temperatures have lead to many pet bird deaths and an unknown number of human illnesses each year.
Thankfully, there are many green and non-toxic alternatives on the market.
Now the 20 million dollar question: What do we do with all of our old Teflon and non-stick pans?
This is a challenging question. Do we really want to donate something that could potentially harm someone else? If we throw them in the trash they’ll end up lying around in an overflowing landfill, leaching toxins into the soil. So what’s the answer?
I decided to turn this tough question over to some of my favorite green gurus in the blogosphere to see what they had to say.
Nancy from Surviving and Thriving on Pennies says ” I donated mine to Goodwill a few years back. What I think is bad might be a perfectly good pan to others. In a way helping others get stuff for cheaper. Still bothers me though.”
Suzanne from Mommy Footprint has a fantastic suggestion and Karen from EcoKaren agrees : “tough one…many play-based preschools have sand boxes with pretend kitchens. This is the perfect spot for discarded Teflon…it won’t be heated back up!”
Deanna Duke from Crunchy Chicken suggested “As much as I hate passing the toxic buck to someone else, giving it to Goodwill is a decent option. If someone else buys it, then that’s one less new pan being purchased and, in the end, produced.” Stephanie from Good Girl Gone Green agrees that donating the pans is a good option.
Anna from Green Talk came up with a few creative uses for those non-stick pans: “I wonder if you could put a picture in the middle of the pan and create kitchen art. Lots of people have those hanging pot racks. Or maybe you could take the handle off and use the pot for plant drainage.”
Diane from Big Green Purse came up with an interesting thought “Why not send them back to the manufacturer?”
Beth from My Plastic Free Life agreed with Diane “I love Diane’s idea of sending them back to the manufacturer with a letter explaining why. I donated mine to Goodwill. I don’t like ‘passing the buck’ either, but I figure if someone wants Teflon pans, better they use my old ones than buy new ones and encourage the market for Teflon.”
What do you do with your old Teflon pans?
[Photo used under creative commons from Jerry Pank/Flickr]
Linked up to Natural Mothers Network
April 9th, 2012
Fish generally ends up on our dinner table once or twice a week. Salmon is a family favorite with other types of fish being hit or miss. About a year ago I was part of a fish CSA. I loved the concept of buying fresh fish from local fishermen, but what I learned quickly was that I had a lot to do before the fish was ready to eat. The fish were delivered whole-with everything intact. That meant I had to filet it and remove all the parts that weren’t edible. For those of you who don’t know me well, I’m a bit squeamish. I don’t do well with blood, gore and guts. I tried to be a trooper and gave fileting the fish my best shot. It didn’t end well and I turned to my husband, kind friends and neighbors who took over the fileting process. As a result, my fileting days were short lived. So now I frequent the market in search of safe and sustainable fish.
Walking up to the fish counter at the grocery store or at a farmers’ market can be a bit overwhelming. The signs placed in front of each type of fish are confusing unless you know what each term means.
Here’s a general guide to buying safe and sustainable seafood:
Buy wild when possible (in most cases)
Farm-raised fish are generally placed in crowded cages and given antibiotics and exposed to pesticides. Their living environment is less than desirable. Wild fish are out in the wild-living and swimming as they were meant to be. Wild fish aren’t exposed to the same toxins as their farm-raised cousins.
Smaller is better
Larger fish generally have a higher chance of being contaminated with mercury and other heavy metals. The reason for this is bigger fish tend to live longer and have more time to accumulate these toxins. Smaller fish have a shorter life expectancy and are less likely to be polluted by heavy metals. Pregnant women and women of child-bearing age need to be careful of mercury levels in all fish, whether wild or farm-raised.
Do you want to eat fish that traveled for days to reach your table? Think about all the fuel used for transport. Try to buy fish from a local source.
Avoid added coloring
Farm-raised salmon generally has artificial color added to give it that nice pink color. When salmon are raised in a farm-raised environment they are fed “fish meal”, made up of ground fish parts, and as a result, the fish color is a shade of gray rather than pink. Coloring is added because consumers expect their salmon to look pink.
You have the right to know where your fish is coming from. Ask the person behind the counter or at the farmer’s market questions about added coloring, chemicals and anything else you might want to know before purchasing the fish.
More fish info
Say no to GE salmon HERE.
Where do you buy your fish?
March 12th, 2012
Stainless steel is where it’s at in my kitchen. I’ve really been working hard to make my kitchen a “Teflon Free Zone”. The Teflon pots and pans are being swapped out on an as needed basis. The Teflon cooking utensils have slowly been replaced by their wooden and stainless steel counterparts. I finally tossed the scratched and scary non-stick cookie sheets and replaced them with stainless steel cookie sheets from ESP. Love them (as much as anyone can love a cookie sheet).
My quest for a few cast iron pans is still on, but for now stainless steel is where it’s at in my kitchen. Our family is a family filled with wannabe cooks. I am not Julia Child by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like to cook. My husband is an amazing cook and my three boys have expressed an interest in cooking. Let’s just say they can scramble a mean egg and make toast the perfect shade of brown.
Suffice it to say, our stainless steel pots and pans are constantly in use. As you probably know, stainless steel pots and pans are not non-stick. There are times when things don’t stick, but with my kids cooking the pans are generally covered with ‘stuff’ that doesn’t want to come off.
A little TIP for cooking with stainless steel: heat the pan first and then add cold cooking oil.
How to clean stainless steel pots and pans the green way
For the past umpteen years I’ve been using good ol’ fashioned elbow grease to clean our stainless steel pots and pans. I usually let the pans soak overnight and then in the morning wash with hot, soapy water. I never wash the pans in the dishwasher-this could damage the stainless steel finish.
Friends of ours were visiting a few weekends ago and we cooked dinner together. One of the pans took a beating and was a challenge to clean even after soaking overnight. We decided to look into a few other ways to clean stainless steel.
- Cover the bottom of the pan with vinegar. Sprinkle in some baking soda. My kids love to watch the interaction between the vinegar and baking soda-they will fizz and bubble. Let the mixture sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse it out and wash.
- Heat the pan after use and then pour in hot water. Once the water is hot use a wooden cooking spoon to scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen and remove excess food. After you’ve loosened most of the food, dump the water from the pan and wash in warm, soapy water. Don’t put hot stainless steel into cold water in the sink-this could warp the pan.
- Fill the dirty pot or pan with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Let it cool to the touch, then wash thoroughly with hot, soapy water and dry.
- For tough stainless steel stains and burns: Mix together equal parts baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply it to the burned or stained area. Allow the paste to sit for 15 minutes before scrubbing it away with sponge or a clean cloth. Wash the pot with warm, soapy water or poor in a cup of vinegar and sprinkle in baking soda. Add a half cup of water, and allow it to simmer on the stove for at least 20 minutes. Pour the mixture out and scrub the pot clean.
How do you clean stainless steel pots and pans?
photo credit: Cooks & Kitchens via photopin cc
This week I’ve linked up to The Green Backs Gal and I Thought I Knew Mama.