Earth Month GIVEAWAY with Plaine Products!

All through Earth Month (April) I will be highlighting some wonderful brands that are doing good for the planet and people. With the rising awareness of climate change around the world now is a great time to support companies who are giving back to the planet. My own personal journey to switching out single-use plastic to more sustainable materials has truly opened my eyes to just how much single-use plastics we have gone through in my household. My family has also gone through the journey with me and I am constantly growing and learning new concepts, ideas, and companies that are helping the planet.

***Please read through to the end for details on how to enter and the official rules.

Today, I’d like to highlight one of the best eco-friendly company in the US: Plaine Products. Plaine Products is an all-natural, environmentally friendly, sustainably packaged beauty and health products brand. Founded by two sisters who personally experienced the devastation of plastics and waste, they decided to form a new eco-friendly brand focused entirely on reducing waste. At Plaine Products, you have the ability and control in how you use and dispose your products. With the opportunity for consumers to buy a refill bottle and send old bottles and caps back, this circular recycling opportunity ensures your products are always reusable by you.

PLAINE PRODUCTS ARE:

  • Free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, silicone, and palm oil

  • Blended with whole essential oils (instead of synthetic fragrance)

  • Vegan and non GMO ingredients

  • Designed to biodegrade

  • Baby safe and hypoallergenic

  • Cruelty Free, Leaping Bunny certified

  • Free of single-use plastic

  • Carbon Neutral

In collaboration with Plaine Products, I am hosting a GIVEAWAY during Earth Month. The prize will be a Hand Sanitizer gift set (1- 16oz and 1- 2.5oz) sent to the winner. Please read through to the end for details on how to enter and the official rules.

OFFICIAL ENTRY:

1- Subscribe to my blog: www.happymomblogger.com (this is a must-do)

2- Follow me on Instagram: www.instagram.com/scgmama and Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/happymomblogger. (You can follow me on both or at least one platform.) In the Comments section (of this blog post), enter your social media handle (example: @happymomblogger, etc.)

3- Follow Plaine Products on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/PlaineProducts/  and Twitter: https://twitter.com/PlaineProducts (follow on both or at least one platform).

4- Like my Giveaway post on Instagram and/or Twitter.

5- Tell me what you can do to help the environment (on Instagram or Twitter). Be sure to tag me and Plaine Products.

EASY AND DONE! GOOD LUCK AND THANK YOU FOR PARTICIPATING!

Contest Disclosure:

Giveaway starts on Monday, April 12 and ends on Friday, April 23 (12 am PST). Contest is hosted by Happymomblogger and sponsored by Plaine Products. Contest is open to residents of US only. 18 years and older please. Only 1 contestant per household please. Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery of prize. Any violation of the rules will deem your entry as disqualified. Contest and prize is not associated with WordPress, Instagram, and Twitter and they are not held responsible. One winner will be chosen at random at random.org. Winner will be contacted via Instagram or Twitter, depending on your entry and winner has 48 hours to claim prize or another winner will be selected. Happymomblogger and Plaine Products are not held responsible for lost, stolen, or damaged products but will do everything possible to make it right. No purchase necessary to win. Void where prohibited by law.

***Be sure to check out my Ambassador Codes tab for an extra 20% off!

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

10 Easy Swaps for Earth Month

When I was a child and living at home, I’d see my mom save glass jars from food she brought back from the market. I didn’t really understand the need to save those glass jars but soon I’d see those cleaned out jars hold other unique stuff. She made pickled vegetables and stored them in the jars or turned them into drinking glasses or flower vases. I realized that there was an abundant uses for glass jars and that there are numerous ways to reuse something you already have.

Reducing or eliminating the need to buy something out of convenience is the best way in reducing waste and helping our planet. If we all do just one small act to help the environment, we are already going on a better path to cleaner air and less waste in our landfills.

Below I’ve listed 10 easy ways to make small changes to help the planet. Whether you believe in climate change or not, we can all agree that we want to live on a cleaner planet.

10 EASY SWAPS FOR EARTH MONTH:

1- Swap out single-use plastic bottles for reusable water bottles. Buying a reusable water bottle saves you money on buying single-use plastic water bottles. Plus you are eliminating unnecessary plastics in landfills.

2. Swap out single-use plastic sandwich bags for silicone or paper sandwich bags. These handy reusable bags last for many years and are compostable.

3. Swap out grocery store bags with reusable bags. Store grocery bags are usually made from a material that is not recyclable. It’s best to invest in a better quality reusable grocery bag or tote.

4. Swap out store-bought herbs and plant your own herb garden. Planting your own garden helps you have fresh herbs on hand and it reduces your carbon footprint by buying in stores.

5. Swap out polyester materials with eco-friendly materials. Materials made from organic cotton, repurposed cotton, and TENCEL are great alternatives, plus they wear well!

6. Swap out driving a short distance to get groceries to walking to the stores. If you’re within walking distance to a store, then try walking there to reduce carbon dioxide made by cars.

7. Swap out packaged produce to picking your own produce at a farmer’s market or a free-standing produce rack. The plastic packaging wrapped around produce is truly unnecessary.

8. Swap out plastic utensils and use reusable stainless steel or bamboo utensils. Just say “NO” when you’re offered plastic utensils. It’s easy to bring your own or use your own utensils.

9. Swap out new books with used books. Yes, that new book smell is quite delightful! But gently used books keep the circular recycling effective.

10. Swap out the need to recycle by reducing and reusing. Follow the 5 “R’s” and you’re on the path to reduce plastic use! Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle.

We can all do our part to make our planet healthier and cleaner. We all wish to breathe cleaner air and let nature reset itself so that our planet can stay healthy for many generations. Try doing at least one of these swaps and you’ll soon see a difference.

***Be sure to check out my Ambassador Codes tab for some great discounts! And stay tuned for next week’s posts for an AWESOME Eco-friendly prize!

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

Get Ready for Earth Month! – Giveaways and Actions

It’s been over 50 years since the first Earth Day movement began. April 22 marks the official Earth Day, but people around the world are starting early in the month of April, and so can you.

What’s so special about Earth Day and Earth Month? It is an especially important movement where we must do all that we can to protect and preserve our precious planet. Think of Earth as your body. You do what you can to protect your body and your health. The same should be for our planet.

Whether you believe in science or just figuring things out yourself, it’s pretty evident with the drastic climate changes happening throughout the years. We live in the world of convenience and the need to have things conveniently at our fingertips threaten the future of a healthy environment.

But how do we help the planet? First, by acknowledging that we all live on Earth and it’s not a “someone else can save the environment”. Yes, other people certainly can, but if you do just one small step to help the environment, what harm can that cause you?

During Earth Month, please join me with activities that we can do to better understand the environment crisis. I’ll also showcase brands and companies that are doing good for the environment and offer some great giveaways! Today, let’s start with how you can learn more about earth-friendly activities.

EASY EARTH-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS:

  • Join or host a local cleanup. This is one of the easiest way to help the environment and your community. You can do it by yourself or with some friends. Make sure you do it safely by wearing personal protection equipment such as gloves and masks. Visit earthday.org for cleanup activities in your area: https://cleanup.earthday.org/

  • Plant an edible garden. Being in nature connects us to a feeling of serenity and peace. When you give your children their own little spot in the yard to grow some food, you’re giving them lifelong skills. Try planting carrots, strawberries, herbs, and anything that are in season. Try to buy organic or Non-GMO seeds/plants when possible.

  • Plant a pollinator garden. Pollinators such as bees and butterflies help pollinate our food. More than 35% of our food are provided by bees. And flowering plants are a delightful treat for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

  • Show your love and support for our planet by coloring in the Earth template below. Place your colored Earth on your windows and show the world how much you care about our planet.

  • Donate to charity. Gather your kids and decide on what you want to donate.  Donating your gently used items such as clothing and toys help keep the circular recycling going. You can donate either to a local donation center, church, or a school clothing program.

  • Nature walk. If you’re fortunate to live near forests and parks, then take your kids out on a nature walk. Appreciate the natural air, the voluminous trees, and the beautiful plants around you.

Follow me along this Earth Month journey this year! My next post will be a fabulous eco-friendly gift prize! Be sure to subscribe and stay tuned!

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

Celebrate Earth Month – The Future is Now.

There’s a young student at my work that told me she was going to save the planet in the future. I replied back to her, “why not start saving it now? YOU are the future of the planet”. She thought about what I said for a few moments, nodded sagely, and said she would do “just that”. I can’t begin to tell you how happy and proud I felt at that child’s declaration. Though she is young, she has the right idea and a bright future of hope, love, and kindness ahead of her.

If all it took were courageous promises from young children to make our world a better place, then we might yet have hope for the future. Children have no preconceptions of how something should be. They either do it or they don’t. And while an adult can make just as magnanimous a promise, we often hesitate based on past experiences or preconceived judgment from others. But everyone can have hope for a brighter and better planet. Everyone can do their part – whether small or gigantic – to help heal our planet and hopefully give our children, our children’s children, and their future children a promise for a healthier world.

This year, as we celebrate Earth Day on April 22, let’s make a promise to do one small act. One act of kindness for our planet, our environment, our world. Whether it’s eliminating single use plastics in your lives or saving paper by using less, any small step can eventually lead to bigger steps. Our actions are like waves in the ocean: one ripple can carry through the entire planet.

Earth Month, or Earth Day can be celebrated in many ways. Below are some popular ideas and tried and true suggestions, but feel free to come up with some of your own. Get your family and friends to perform these acts of kindness for our planet and the impact will be even greater and worthwhile. Get your children involved. Get other children involved. For they ARE our future.

10 Acts of Kindness for our planet on Earth Day:

  • Reduce your intake of meat. In a 2018 report, a typical home in America can produce 8.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually through their food and energy consumption. 83 percent of that CO2 is related to food production. If you give up meat (such as beef, pork, and lamb) for just one week, you can reduce your carbon footprint by between 2,541 and 783 pounds a year!  WHAT YOU CAN DO: Bring a salad to work for lunch or have salad for dinner at home. If you’re not the salad type, you can reduce meat consumption other ways such as skipping meat in the household one week per month or every other month. Try meat alternatives such as soy, Tempeh, and legumes. While every food still produces energy and carbon footprint, plant based food produces much less and has long term health benefits. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Being a vegetarian is not for everyone. Heck, it took me a few years off from being a vegetarian to realize how great it felt to not eat meat again. But that’s me though and I made changes to fit my own lifestyle throughout the years. But you CAN do it! Just start small – one day a week of no meat can already make a great impact. Or even replace one meal each day for a week. You can choose either breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Do you really need that slice of bacon in the morning? Or those sliced chicken in your salad at lunch? Or even a heavy piece of grilled steak for dinner? There are lots of innovative and DELICIOUS vegetarian style fare around you. Try it out!

  • Grow your own garden. Having your own garden – whether it’s a small patch in your backyard or acres worth – helps you control what you grow and what you eat. It also drastically reduces carbon footprint because you aren’t contributing to transportation of market produce and having to drive to the market for fresh vegetables. Imagine stepping outside your yard and picking out some freshly grown snap peas or plucking out a juicy carrot. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Decide where you want to grow your vegetable garden. Find a sunny spot but with access to shade during the day. Decide if you want a raised garden bed, in ground, or in planters. Many fruits and vegetables thrive exceedingly well in planters so don’t let small spaces deter you. Then decide what you want to grow. Check with your local nursery to see what’s in season. Decide how much you want to save and spend on your vegetable garden. Plan your growing season accordingly so that you can always have fresh vegetables. The easiest to grow and manage vegetables are: carrots, radish, tomatoes, snap peas, lettuce, herbs, cucumbers, squash, and corn. Be wary of certain types of bugs that like to enjoy your harvest and use only natural pesticides if necessary. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Gardening is truly the easiest and best way to stay healthy. It’s great exercise and you get to enjoy your bounty. Start off with a couple of large planters, good potting soil, and either seeds or seedlings. Pick easy to grow plants such as carrots and cucumbers or flowers such as sunflowers and lavender. Then, once you get the hang of it, continue with the growth of your garden and soon you will see blooms of delicious vegetables and beautiful flowers!

  • Reduce or eliminate single use plastic. Single use plastic means plastic that are used only once and then thrown away. These include plastic cups, straws, and plastic grocery bags. Remember that recycling is the LAST resort. As our planet starts to deteriorate faster than it can heal itself, we must all do our part in preserving our precious environment. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Stock up on reusable shopping bags made from recycled materials. Keep a few in the trunk of your car so you don’t forget when you’re out shopping. Eliminate the use of unnecessary straws. While you may think that one or two straws while you’re out drinking a beverage is no big deal, imagine you doing that ten times over in a week, a month, or even a year! And imagine 10 other people doing the same thing! You can fill up an entire swimming pool of plastic straws in a very short amount of time. Now imagine that in the ocean you swim in and admire. And imagine those plastic straws inside the fish you eat or around the necks of precious turtles and birds. Not really a pretty sight after all. You can also bring your own lunch in reusable containers. Try not to wrap your sandwiches in aluminum foil or plastic. And try using cloth napkins instead of paper. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Actually, you CAN! It can be as simple as putting even 1 reusable bag in your purse or front seat of your car. We all forget to bring reusable bags from time to time, but if you keep it in sight then you’re likely to remember to use them. And when you’re out getting a beverage, skip the straw. Simply drink straight from your cup. Unless there are difficulties preventing you from sipping directly from the cup, then you don’t really need a straw. And when you’re out eating, try not to leave any leftovers where you feel forced to take them home. Yes, food waste is a major problem in the US, but if you can just order the proper amount you want to eat then you won’t have any leftovers. If you do want to take food home, you can always bring your own containers or ask the restaurant to pack as much food in one container as possible.

  • Plant a tree. Trees are nature’s most powerful resources. Without trees, we would not have cleaner air and the necessary eco system for animals and insects. Trees breathe in CO2 and exhale oxygen, thus helping to clean the air around it. Human bodies produce CO2 which is toxic to our environment due to the food we consume, sickness, and bad hygiene. Planting trees or having trees in your home can have many benefits beside providing clean air. Trees can reduce ozone levels and erosion. And trees can reduce heating and air conditioner costs. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Make an initiative to plant more trees. Start a tree club or group and plant more trees where fires ruined the land or in areas where trees are desperately needed. It doesn’t have to cost much to plant trees. Pick trees such as Pine, Oak, and Cypress as they have less maintenance and can live for many, many years. Just be sure to plant ones that are suitable to the region. You can also grow trees in your own yard. Find a nice shady area and water accordingly. Once established, most trees do not require a lot of water so it also helps reduce water waste. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Planting trees might not be for everyone for whatever reasons, so start off small. Support a charity that plants trees in your honor. The Arbor Day Foundation is a great non-profit organization that plants trees for you (https://www.arborday.org/). Or if planting trees isn’t the thing for you, then you can always make monetary donations or volunteer at a tree planting organization or event.

  • Use separate bins to sort your Recycling. Most people in the US or even the world have a hard time figuring out how to recycle properly. You may think that all plastics can go in the plastic recycling bin or that not rinsing out food in containers actually hinders your recyclable containers from being recycled. All it takes are a few trash bins to sort out your waste properly. They don’t even have to be big bins or expensive ones. If you have room for them in the house, then a great visible place would be in the kitchen. Otherwise, the garage is a great place to keep them as well. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Typically, you’ll need at least 3 bins if you’re starting out: one for recyclable goods such as paper, certain plastics such as PETE #1 and #2, and glass food containers. One for beverage containers. Make sure the containers are made from recyclable materials such as aluminum, glass, and plastics made from PETE materials #1 and #2. Be sure to check with your local recycling facility to make sure they accept these materials. You can even earn money by properly recycling them. And the third bin would be for food waste. Food waste includes items that you can’t compost (a separate compost bin is another bin to add but only if you compost for your garden). Be sure to rinse out and dump out all the food scraps from your recyclable containers before putting them in the bin. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: As I mentioned above, you can start off with just 3 separate bins. Once you get into the cycle of recycling, you can add more bins such as a compost bin to be used in your yard, an electronics bin such as batteries and any broken and old cords and cables (just be sure to properly recycle these instead of throwing them away in the trash), and an “unrecyclable” bin. What goes inside an unrecyclable bin? Things that are hazardous waste materials such as paint and aerosol cans, motor oil, and anything that contains toxic chemicals. Check your local recycling centers to find out how to properly dispose them.

  • Reduce paper waste. You can reduce paper waste by printing on both sides of the paper. This should be a fairly easy thing to do. We all print out documents at one time or another. But we don’t always keep those documents either. Thus, tons of paper gets wasted if we don’t practice printing on both sides. Better yet, try not to print at all. If you can send something electronically, do so. It’s unnecessary to print something unless you need a physical copy. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Here are some suggestions for reducing paper waste – If you’re in school, ask your teacher if you can send homework electronically; proofread carefully before you print to avoid mistakes and needlessly reprinting; and Upycle paper by creating crafts, using them as scratch paper, putting them in pet pens, and using them as wrapping paper for small gifts. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Everyone is guilty of wasting paper now and then. I work at a school and I see tons of paper being wasted. So the best advice is to remind yourself whenever you feel inclined to print something. Do you really need to print it? Or can you save the document on your computer or email the document to someone instead of mailing it?

  • Grow plants for pollinators. Natural pollinators such as bees and butterflies are so important for our eco system and our food source. Bees help pollinate food such as fruits and vegetables, wheat, and certain nuts and seeds, and of course an abundance of flowers. Pollinators also help other plants grow in rural areas or areas that desperately need plant and food crops. WHAT YOU CAN DO: The best plants for pollinators are native plants. Native plants are plants that grow in your region or area. You can search this up easily online by typing in: native plant zones. Native plants help pollinators remain in their area to support local agriculture. It also ensures that these pollinators remain healthy. Just be sure to plant as much organic as possible. Avoid using toxic pesticides for they can greatly damage the health of pollinators. Next, find plants that are specific to bees and butterflies. Best plants for pollinators are: lavender, milkweed, sunflowers, coneflower, oregano, salvia, yarrow, and many others. The best types of flowers are ones that are open with flat petals so they make easy landing places for pollinators. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: It’s fairly easy to grow plants in your garden. If you live in an apartment or somewhere that prevents you from having a garden, then try container gardening. Even if it’s a few planters outside your front door or windowsill will help these important pollinators. Many plants thrive well in planters so don’t let space hinder you! And if you have a well, black thumb, then consider growing minimalist plants such as herbs and succulents. As long as these types of plants flower, then you’ll likely find bees and butterflies roaming around them.

  • Walk, ride bicycles, or carpool. We have become so dependent on our motor vehicles that we tend to forget they cause a majority of pollution on our planet. Reducing our carbon footprint is essential in helping our planet heal and replenish. Whenever we can walk or use non-engine types of vehicles such as bicycles and skateboards to get around, we are helping to reduce pollution and carbon dioxide as well as living a healthier lifestyle. WHAT YOU CAN DO: If you live close enough to your work, then consider riding your bicycle, walk, or even taking local transit. If you live too far, then try carpooling with a nearby co-worker and take turns driving. Try walking or bicycling to your nearest grocery store instead of driving. And try to buy all your groceries and personal necessities in one trip to avoid the unnecessary multiple trips to the store. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: It really does take determination to reduce your carbon footprint. Not everyone is able to walk, ride, or carpool around town but if you can eliminate even one day of not using your motor vehicle, you are lessening the impact of your carbon footprint.

  • Use non-toxic cleaners. Toxic cleaners are the ones that have ingredients you can barely pronounce and a list that goes a mile long. These man-made cleaning agents do more harm than good to the environment, your health, and your property. Harsh cleansing agents actually break down compounds making them weak and fragile. Whenever possible, use natural cleaners or make some of your own. Great cleaning agents that are non-toxic and have proven results are vinegar, lemon, and salt. Essential oils from plants are also great for cleaning and detoxifying germy areas. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Invest in some really good and high quality natural cleaners. My favorites (that are also cruelty-free) are: Earth Friendly Products or ECOS, Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, and Ecover, to name a few. If you want to make your own, try using baking soda, vinegar, and add in essential oils of lavender, mint, or thyme. Many essential oils have wondrous healing and antibacterial properties plus they add a nice, natural scent to your homemade cleaners. BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: Non-toxic cleaners ARE a thing! Some people may be skeptic to the efficacy of all natural cleaners but lab and home testing results have proven how effective they are. In fact, due to their natural ingredients that work with nature, they can prevent breaking down of certain materials that can otherwise get damaged by harsher cleaning agents. Non-toxic cleaners are also important if you have allergies and are sensitive to certain ingredients and scents. If you’re stuck on using the typical conventional cleaners, try using just one natural cleaner to start with and see how they work out for you.

  • Use natural beauty products. This one should be fairly easy to take on. I’ve been using natural beauty products for over 20 years and I noticed a huge difference in how my skin and body feels and looks. It might take a few times of using the product to see a noticeable difference and that’s because natural products use ingredients that work with your body and build up a natural balance rather than just temporarily hiding it or masking the problems. In time, your body will be in tune with the natural ingredients and the products you use so that your skin and your body will actually reject the harsher, non-natural products. Sounds crazy right? Natural beauty products are also gentler on the planet because they do not leave toxic residue in landfills and oceans. WHAT YOU CAN DO: Check out EWG’s (Environmental Working Group) (https://www.ewg.org/) database on natural beauty products. They help range over 70,000 beauty products on the level of toxicity. After you’ve had a chance to check out the database, head on over to your local beauty supply store or search online. Typically, the natural beauty product brands do not cause any adverse reactions but always check the ingredients list and try a sample if possible. My current favorite beauty brands are SIBU, Pangea Organics, Andalou Naturals, and Aveda (certain ingredients in their products might cause allergic reactions to some users). BUT WHAT IF I CAN’T DO IT?: There’s no such thing as using something that’s not natural. Even washing your hands in just water is natural. We all want to live a healthier lifestyle right? Then using non-toxic ingredients on our face, our body, and in our hair should be simple enough. Natural beauty products aren’t necessarily expensive and you can even make your own products. Start off on something small as switching to a more natural shampoo or using an essential oil blend as a moisturizer. Since I’ve been using natural beauty products for so many years, I get an immediate adverse reaction if I happen to use something that isn’t natural. It’s due to my skin going back to it’s original state when we were younger and didn’t need or want beauty products on our skin. You can be as scientific as you want, but it all comes down to letting your skin and your body readjust to a gentler and safer beauty routine.

This year, as we celebrate Earth Day, consider making a positive change for the environment. We all want to live with cleaner air and healthier food and we want to ensure that our children’s children and their future generations will have a better future. For some great resources on helping the environment, check out the following websites:

https://www.epa.gov/recycle/how-do-i-recycle-common-recyclables

https://www.ewg.org/consumer-guides

https://earth911.com

https://kidsgardening.org

https://www.sunset.com/garden/flowers-plants/plants-pollination#plants-pollination_15

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

 

Earth Day Celebration – April 22, 2018

EARTHDAY

Each year on or around April 22, the entire planet celebrates and honors Earth Day. As a movement that started by one single person over 40 years ago, Earth Day is still a very important day across the world with even more emphasis on saving our planet in the recent years. If you look around you – and we’re not even thinking about what we see in the media – you already notice the trash that is laying on the ground when you walk to your nearest Starbucks or in the grainy sand at your local beach. Whether or not you believe in reducing waste around the world, our planet is in dire need of some help and care.

There are hundreds of ways of helping our planet and it can start with just one single act. Encourage your children to learn about being stewards for our planet so that they can help our Earth for their children, their children’s children, and all future generations. The single act of kindness towards Earth can be as simple as reducing your purchases. Or bring reusable bags when you go to the stores. Or turning off all electronics for an entire day. These single solitary acts can lead to even bigger rewards as the years go by. Imagine how much waste you can cut at home and in our landfills! And imagine the electricity bill you’ll save and the single plastic bags will eventually be diminished around the world. In California, there is a law that removed single use plastics at commercial stores so it’s up to you to help reduce waste where you live!

This year’s focus around the world is: End Plastic Pollution. That could be anywhere from your home, to businesses, to the ocean. As it is, our oceans across the world is vastly filling up with trash. The oceans connect all of us – humans and sealife and if we don’t do something soon, our ocean will become one giant waste dump. Consider this –“Plastics now pollute all dimensions of our oceans from the sea surface to the seafloor, on remote beaches and in Arctic sea ice. The impact ocean plastics have on marine species is well documented, but increasingly scientists are concerned about the potential threat of plastics to species at the top of the marine food chain: humans.”  

According to Earth Day Network – *Plastic items can make their way to the ocean in a vast number of ways. Some plastic items are simply thrown away in open spaces or streets and carried through storm drains and waterways into the ocean. Other items may fall out of garbage trucks or may be dumped into improperly managed landfills, some of which spill directly into the ocean. Hundreds of small cities and towns do not have any waste management infrastructure, and people are forced to dump their waste in open spaces. You may ask what’s wrong with a small piece of plastic ending up in the giant ocean. Well, the direct result of this poor management is the accumulation of millions and millions of tons of plastic floating around the world’s oceans. If nothing changes, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish (by weight). This plastic has very damaging effects on the fish and other organisms that call the ocean home. That six-pack ring you threw away can go on to harm sea creatures in several different ways.

So you ask yourself, “why” should I be concerned with all this waste around the world? Well, if us humans continue to consume and waste more than what we singularly need, consider the millions of people that live on this planet and what that impact will be in the future. Landfills have already been filling up and new ones are opening up to contain all the waste that can’t be depleted. What if a landfill opens up in your neighborhood? That probably wouldn’t be so great with all the bad smells and garbage laying around the area. But you never know – that could happen.

So this year, and every year after, do one kind thing for our planet and go from there. Below are some tips on being Earth-Friendly:

  • Before buying anything new, ask yourself if you can use something else you already have instead.

  • Select products without plastic packaging.

  • Avoid fabrics with plastic microfibers, such as nylon and polyester.

  • When at a restaurant, ask that no straw be brought out with your drink. If dining out, say no to disposable silverware.

  • Put your produce in reusable mesh bags.

  • Make a plan for how you’ll reduce, refuse, reuse and recycle all the plastic in your life.

We are all living on this planet and we are all stewards of Earth. Whether you are 5 years old or 80 years old, you can do your part in helping the environment. Remember that it takes one single kind act to help make this planet more beautiful and more habitable – for all of us.

For more resources, please check out these earth promoting sites: http://deliciousliving.com/green-living/have-eco-week#slide-0-field_images-306031https://earth911.comhttps://blog.veestro.com/how-to-make-the-most-of-earth-day/

Happy Earth Day!

Sources: *Nicholas Mallos, Ocean Conservancy. *Earth Day Network

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm

 

Week 4: 2017 Healthy Start – Reducing Food Waste

FOOD

During Earth Month I feel like I need to be extra diligent in protecting the environment. While I try to do my best every day, sometimes it’s good to take a deeper look into what I actually do to help the environment and how I can improve the results. One of the biggest concerns that have been forefront in my mind is food waste – or being wasteful in general. Each year at least 40% of food is wasted in the US, according to the NRDC database. Consider how many hungry people there are in our country alone, that’s a phenomenal amount of quality food that could feed those hungry mouths. Many of  these hungry people are children who if lucky, will get a nutritious meal once a day.

Besides all the other things people waste in general, food waste is really unnecessary when you factor in how food end up in our landfill and accumulates illnesses and unhealthy habits. With too much waste, our world creates an influx of diseases through improper disposal of food thus leading to toxic air quality and pollutants. Wasting food is such a major problem in the US that there are hundreds of organizations – private and government – dedicated in reducing food waste through education, proper food distribution, and proper disposal. It doesn’t take much for everyone to reduce their impact on food waste and increase their efforts in cleaning up the environment.

So what should we do to eliminate food waste? There are some simple and basic steps that you’re probably already doing right now. Bear in mind that landfills fill up and eventually must be closed down due to overflow. Just imagine if a new one opens up in your neighborhood or city. How do you think it will affect your air quality, your health, and your children’s health? Below I’ve outlined some basic steps you can take to reduce your food waste. It may take a few days or even a few months to get a good system set up and to make it a natural everyday habit. But diligence and compassion with how food works will eventually pay off for your health and the health of our planet.

STEPS TO REDUCING FOOD WASTE:

REDUCE AT THE GROCERY STORES – Some may live on very limited monetary budgets while others have more money than they can use. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be careful when we’re grocery shopping. Grocery stores need to make money off of us therefore stores will line their shelves with thousands of types of food that we don’t really need. Factor in the food they place at checkout counters and stands, it’s no wonder that America waste so much food every year and gain unnecessary weight. Do we really need that extra pack of chips or cookies? Most likely not if you’re just buying for the sake of buying. In order to reduce waste in grocery store shopping, make a list of what you plan to buy based on what you want to cook during the week. Find creative recipes if you’re stuck on what to make for dinner. Don’t buy groceries on an empty stomach as feeling hungry can send visual signals from your sight to your brains leading you to want to buy more food. Turn on your “blinders” so that you are only buying what is on your list and what your family truly needs. Consider how much money you can save by only buying what you need and not what looks good at the moment in the grocery stores.

PLAN MEALS AHEAD OF TIME – Whether you are a one-person household or a family of ten, planning your meals throughout the week not only saves money but your insanity during those busy weekdays. This step goes along with reducing at grocery stores because if you make a surefire plan on what you want to cook during the week, your grocery bill will also be rewarding. Here are the basics: Start by cooking what you’re good at and what you know. You can try new recipes later when you’re getting the hang of reducing food waste. Then check what’s already in your refrigerator and pantry and add only what you’re missing. Learn about portion sizes and whether you’re feeding for one person or just a few. Stock up on key essential kitchen items such as grains (rice, quinoa, barley, etc.), spices such as salt, pepper, and garlic, dried herbs such as thyme, basil, and cinnamon, and common sauces and oils including ketchup, olive oil, and vinegar (balsamic vinegar has a wide variety of culinary uses). Next, be sure to incorporate two types of protein, one or two grains, and a vegetable medley to make at the beginning and work into the rest of your meals. For instance, sauteed medley of broccoli and peppers can be used as a side dish for one meal, then incorporated into enchiladas for the next, and then added into soups or stews later in the week. Next, double duty your ingredients. If you’re using tortillas, start off with some quesadillas for the whole family. Then save the rest for Asian wraps or something else that’s creative. When you have no choice but to buy certain food items in bulk, such as bread and rice, find clever and delicious ways to stretch them out during the week. One of my favorite uses for rice is to make fried rice where I can add as many ingredients into it as I’d like. The next two steps are buying frozen ingredients. Frozen food are flashed-frozen to retain nearly all or most of their fresher counterparts. If you live in climates where certain fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to come by, rely on frozen foods since they last longer and you can easily use only the portions you need. The final step in meal planning is cook and freeze. Freeze in the portion sizes you’ll want to defrost later so that frozen food stays fresher longer instead of having to refreeze the portions you don’t need. Soups, stews, and lasagna for example are great to make in larger batches and freeze for later consumption.

REVIVING FOOD – Sometimes food may be stale, wilted, or badly seasoned and we feel inclined to toss them into the trash. But most oftentimes these types of food can be saved and revived to taste better. For wilted fruits and vegetables, a quick soak in ice water for five to ten minutes can revive their appearance and taste. Or, chop them up and add them into soups and stews and no one will know the difference. Stale bread and crackers work really well when toasted and crisped. You can even turn old bread into delicious and nutritious croutons for your salads. Small bits of crumbs in bags can be sprinkled over salads or baked into casseroles. If your food is too salty, add vinegar, lemon juice, or brown sugar to dilute the dish or simply add more water. You can also pop in a raw, peeled potato in soup to absorb some of the salt and save the potato for another dish. Burned food can be scraped away and if you still have some of that leftover burnt taste, add in something sweet or spicy such as hot sauce or barbecue sauce. And for those overcooked dishes you can easily puree them into soups or sauces. Add in some milk base, fresh or frozen vegetables and you get instant and yummy soups and sauces.

FREEZING FOOD – Freezing food is perhaps one of the oldest trick in the book when it comes to saving food. While we generally use the freezer to keep ice cream and frozen vegetables in their natural state, did you know that you can freeze cooked food for up to three months depending on the type of food? But just putting cooked food into the freezer isn’t really proper as most of them can still end up being wasted. Here is a guideline to proper food freezing techniques: 1- Freeze in portions to keep your frozen food as fresh as possible. If you don’t plan on eating that entire loaf of bread then freeze only the slices you don’t plan on eating. Use muffin tins to freeze soups or stews so they can easily pop out for a quick lunch or dinner. Freeze berries separately on a cookie sheet and then transfer to a plastic bag so they’re not stuck together when you pop them in the freezer. You can freeze practically anything as long as you know what you want to eat throughout the weeks. 2- Keep frozen food airtight to prevent freezer burns. Remove meat from supermarket trays and wrap well with plastic wrap or freezer paper before storing in zip-top bags. Squeeze excess air from plastic bags and containers, and avoid opening the freezer door unnecessarily. 3- Leave room for liquids as most liquids expand in the freezer, so leave about half an inch at the top of containers to account for this. 4- Blanch certain foods before freezing in order to preserve quality, color, and vitamin content. To blanch food, clean your produce, pop it in a pot of boiling water, then cool in ice water. 5- Label and organize your frozen food so it’s easier to see what’s inside and how long you’ve kept it in the freezer. Large plastic bags are great for soups and purees as they can lay flat in the freezer to save space. Be sure to label the date your food is put into the freezer and what type of food it is. 6- Defrost safely to prevent food contamination and food waste. Defrost properly by allowing it to thaw in the refrigerator portion and not on the kitchen counters. You can microwave most frozen foods by using the proper settings on your microwave.

TEACHING KIDS ABOUT WASTING LESS – Kids learn naturally by what they see so it’s up to parents to teach by example (good examples of course!). While we may be inclined to teach our kids to finish their food, proper food consumption is equally important in maintaining the health of our children. Here are the steps in helping our kids be more mindful of food: 1- Feed them your food. Unless they’re infants or just starting to eat solids, children can eat the same food you eat. If you do plan on serving infants the same food, simply puree the food or cut it into smaller pieces. Serve yourself a smaller portion knowing that you’ll probably end up finishing what they don’t. 2- Serve tiny portions to ease your child into accepting new or unusual foods. Studies show many children have to try a food up to fifteen times in order to accept it. Start with small portions and minimize untouched food. You can always offer seconds when they’re interested. 3- Save tiny portions for the next day or the next meal or incorporate them into something else. Use leftover milk for your coffee or tea. 4- Limit snacks. Teach children early on to eat during regular meal times instead of snacking in between. This prevents unhealthy eating habits, saves money, and reduce waste from packaging and wrappers. 5- Prevent food fights. Kids of a certain age will test their limits by throwing food during mealtimes. Stay nearby young children to intervene and to make sure they are eating and handling their bite-sized food properly. 6 – Packing lunch for school-aged children can be quite daunting at times. You may end up with a lot of leftover food that if your child is diligent enough, might bring them back home. Start by packing their lunch in reusable containers and ask them to bring home any leftovers. Ask them why their food aren’t eaten and you can plan better for their future lunch. Give smaller portions and always include healthy foods in their lunch bags. It’s perfectly okay if your kids don’t finish everything in their lunch containers now and then as long as they’re not sneaking food from their friends or if there might be some other hidden food issues. 7- Have your kids help you with the preparation and cooking during mealtime. Involving your kids in the preparation and cooking process gives them ownership and teaches them how much time and effort is made into cooking. Teach them how to serve themselves (within limits) so that they learn proper table etiquette at a young age. 8- Garden at home is a wonderful way for kids to learn about the farm to table method. Give your child his/her own garden area to plant easy to grow fruits and vegetables and herbs. They will learn to appreciate nature and how food is a valuable asset to the world.

DECIPHERING DATES ON PRODUCTS – Food expiration dates are quite mysterious. Decades ago, food in cans were discovered to contain their original taste and quality. Yet often we throw away perfectly edible food just because the stamped date on the product tells us to do so. According to SaveTheFood.com, food expiration dates have nothing to do with safety, and are only loosely related to quality. They’re the manufacturer’s best estimate of when the product is at its freshest or “peak quality.” Many foods will still be good to eat days, weeks, or months after those dates, depending on the food. So why do we automatically throw food away after the expiration date? Well, because we are mostly programmed to think that certain foods are “bad” for you after the expiration date. While that may be true for certain types of food and how you store them, most products are still edible and remain in their original quality. If the expiration date doesn’t tell you when food goes bad, then how do you know if it’s still good? The difference is between contamination and spoilage. Most of the microbes that spoil food are harmless for humans. In fact, some favorite foods and beverages, like yogurt, cheese, and wine, are made using controlled spoilage. However, contamination is due to a pathogen – a microbe that can make us sick. Poor handling of food is a common culprit in food contamination. Here is a breakdown of the date labeling: “Best before” dates refer to quality rather than food safety. It’s the date before which the brand stands by its product (unless it’s been opened or left out in warm temperatures). Foods with a “best before” or “use by” date should be safe to eat after the date has passed, but they may no longer be at their very best. This is true for “best by,” “best if used by,” “enjoy by,” and other similar expressions. “Sell by” dates are meant for store staff. They actually build in quality so that if the food is sold by that date, you can still get it home and have top-quality shelf life for some time. “Freeze by” is a good way of preserving food past its “best before” dates. Almost any type of food can be frozen if done properly – meat, milk, cheese, eggs, bread, unused pasta sauce are just a few. For a directory of food storage, click on this link for more info: https://www.savethefood.com/food-storage. When it comes to expiring food, you can always rely on your eyes and nose. For most food, your senses can tell you when it’s time to toss the food or salvage as much as possible. For slightly molded fruits, you can cut out the offensive part as the rest of the fruit are safe to consume. Milk, yogurt, juice, and sauces can be sniffed or take a small taste test to know if they’re edible or not. Of course food left out in certain temperatures should always be questioned especially if left out in warm temperature or in the “danger zone” between 40-120 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

COMPOST – Composting is one of the easiest and most efficient way of reducing food waste. While we should strive to not have too much food to waste in the first place, instead of throwing out food, we can compost certain types of food to create natural fertilizers and nutrients for our garden and for the environment. Many companies naturally compost their food waste as a way of giving back to the planet. Composting benefits agriculture, reduces our reliance on synthetic fertilizers, diverts methane-producing organic materials from landfills, and improves soil’s water retention capacity so you won’t need to water as much. For easy steps, follow the guidelines from NRDC: https://www.nrdc.org/stories/composting-way-easier-you-think.

DONATE TO FOOD BANKS – Food banks are there to help those who really need it. But most of these food banks or food pantries are non-profit organizations that rely on the generosity of people to donate food or money. If you do have an abundance of food leftover and after you’ve tried all of the steps above, consider donating your food to a local food bank. Most food pantries accept canned goods because they last longer and they’re easy to store. But there are also others that take in perishables and unused food from restaurants and grocery stores. Food banks help those who can’t afford enough food so it helps them and you as well.

Food waste shouldn’t have to be a problem in the US but because convenience often wins over common sense, oftentimes we toss out food without thinking about it first. Consider that wasting food uses up precious resources such as water, fuel, labor, and money, reducing food waste should be one of the most important tasks we take on to help improve our world. Try these techniques above to help you reduce food waste. It could be anything as simple as saving fresh fruits and vegetable scraps to be made into broths. Or buying less food at grocery stores and restaurants. Or taking leftovers home from restaurants and making sure to eat them within the next couple of days. Any small step towards saving food and wasting less can make a bigger impact for the future.

*resource – SaveTheFood.com

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm