What We Learn From Our Planet Loving Kids

*** Stay tuned as I’ll be announcing the winner of the Plaine Products Hand Sanitizer Set!

When it comes to caring about certain things in our universe, look to the children first. You can ask them what their favorite animal is, or their favorite color, or even their favorite food and they’ll immediately go into a lengthy diatribe of why they love that particular thing. But ask them if they love their planet, you’ll most likely get a quick head nod. Add in the fact that the planet is full of nature such as flowers, butterflies, and dolphins, and you’ll immediately get an enthusiastic smile.

Earth Day was on April 22 and many schools across the world celebrated and honored Mother Earth. Students from kindergarten to middle school were able to learn something about the planet and what we need to do to preserve it. I was talking to a couple of kindergarteners and one in particular came up to me and said with a toothy grin, “Happy Earth Day! You must reduce, reuse, recycle!.” How precious is that? All I could think of was wow, a child as young as 5 or 6 years old was so enthusiastic about saving the planet. Did she understand what those words meant? You bet I asked her and we got into a brief one-sided conversation – with her mostly telling me what she thought the words meant. I knew her classroom was learning about Earth Day, but for someone as young as her to really understand the meaning and to practically preach about protecting the environment was quite a delight!

Kids are pretty amazing and unique. Through all my years of working with children, there is rarely a day where I don’t meet an amazing student. And through all the difficulties of raising children or even teaching them, if you open your eyes and ears to what they say and do, you’d find that kids are truly the heart of our future.

But why are children more interested in helping the environment than adults? As an adult, I recall my childhood where I learned about the environment and the planet from mostly my parents and a few teachers. Children are like sponges and they’ll soak up whatever is around them, be it good or bad. When I talk to my Green Team students about the environment, most of them have a general knowledge of what they should do. And most of the time, they are interested to learn more and to do more. That is what amazes me the most – the fact that they actually want to do something progressive in helping the planet.

We can certainly learn a lot from kids. As an adult, we usually tend to just brush off their comments. But if we truly want to learn from what children can offer then we must listen to their words. Below I’ve listed some suggestions on how to talk kids about the environment and get the conversation going.

  • Teach by example. Children can learn by emulating what we do so it’s important to show them that we also care about the environment.

  • Ask open-ended questions. Start the conversation going on how they feel about their planet.

  • Make suggestions. Suggest to kids how to care about the planet. Examples would be to plant more trees or start their own garden at home, or pick up trash around their neighborhood, or make signs around their schools to raise awareness of climate changes.

  • Allow kids to use their own creativity on how they want to help the planet.  Kids can offer great ideas of their own that we can apply to.

  • Give them the right tools. Have age appropriate books about helping the planet as well as any authentic online resources. Companies such as The Environmental Working Group: www.ewg.org and Keep America Beautiful: https://kab.org/  are great sites to start with.

  • Volunteer with local or statewide environmental groups. Depending on the ages of your children, there are many great non-profit organizations they can volunteer for.

In the end, our children are our future and the future of what our world will be. Kindness to others and the planet is the overall achievement we should all try to reach for.

*photos courtesy of kidsgardening.org

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.

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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.

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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

Earth-Friendly Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Kids

If there is ever a day you need to celebrate it is Mother’s Day. Not only should you celebrate it with your mom, but shout it out, party it up, and make it the biggest day she’s ever experienced. Of course Mother’s Day really isn’t limited to just one day, and if you’re going to do one thing special for your mom, Mother’s Day is THE day to do it.

But Mother’s Day doesn’t have to be just for moms. Grandmas, aunts, sisters, friends, and anyone who has been a mother figure in your life can be made to feel special on Mother’s Day. So this year, why not involve your kids to do something extra special for that wonderful mom in their life? Of course if you’re a mom and you’re reading this – just act surprised when your child hands you his homemade special gift!

Here are Top Ten DIY Earth-Friendly gifts for mom:

– Wooden Birdhouse: You can buy unfinished wood birdhouses at craft stores such as Michael’s and JoAnn Fabrics for about a $1.00 Have your kids color the birdhouses and/or decorate with stickers. Be sure to use outdoor paint if the birdhouse will be hanging outside. Whether or not birds actually visit the birdhouse, it’s still a fun, educational, and economical gift that’s from the heart.

– Flower Pot: Flowers speak volumes when it comes to gifts. Have your child plant flowers in a pretty pot or a DIY ceramic or terra cotta pot. Best flowers for Mother’s Day are Sweet Peas, Sunflowers, Pansies, and anything that has a beautiful fragrance and are easy to maintain.

– Mother’s Day Coupon Book: Moms are notoriously busy so this year have your child create a coupon book of things you’d like for them to do for you. Coupons can include a “free breakfast day”, “free dishwashing for the week”, or “shoulder massage week” (I’m going to hint to my son that that’s what I’m hoping for!:) ).

– Tea Cup Cozy: If moms love drinking tea (or even coffee), make DIY cozies. Cozies can be made with leather, cardstock, or sewn together with really pretty and colorful fabric.

– Garden Sign: For moms who love to garden or even as a decorative plant stick for indoor plants, make your own garden signs by using rocks, popsicle sticks, bottle caps, wood, and anything else you can find around the house.

– Herb Infused Olive Oil: When it comes to cooking, moms always appreciate high quality cooking oils. So pick up some top notch olive oil and have your kids turn them into gourmet-style infused oils. Simply add organic fresh herbs such as rosemary, thyme, and basil to create a personalized olive oil. Put the olive oil in a pretty decanter glass bottle for best flavor.

– Embellished Mittens/Gloves: Take plain mittens or gloves and decorate them with stitching. Sew on flowers, lace, and beads to make the mittens and gloves extra unique.

– Homemade Sweets: Remember when your mom made you freshly baked cookies and cupcakes? This Mother’s Day treat your mom to fresh cookies and/or cupcakes made from scratch.

– Fragrance Bath Salts: Bath salts make great therapeutic gifts which you can personalize with your mom’s favorite scent. Try bath salts infused with lavender, rose, or any fragrant scent. For a DIY recipe, check out Botanical Alchemy & Apothecary’s Bath Salts idea: https://botanicalalchemyandapothecary.com/diy-bath-salts-mothers-day-gift/

– Special Mom’s Book: Write a book or journal about your mom. Write things about her that makes her unique and all the reasons why you love her. Add photos and drawings to make it extra special.

Remember that showing your mom your love doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. It could be as simple as a heart-warming hug or a thoughtfully drawn card. However you plan on celebrating your mom and the mother figures in your life, give it that extra “oomph” by putting your own personal touch to it.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Being a Mother

Being a mother means that your heart

Is no longer yours; it wanders

Wherever your children do.

 

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 – How will you celebrate Earth this year?

Our planet, Earth is indeed a beautiful planet. If you looked at it through a telescope or from outer space, you’d see the peaceful colors and vibrant life within it. It’s the only planet we can live on for now and until scientists and other experts tell us another planet is habitable, I’m going to try and help save my planet for now. Well, “saving” may be too astronimical of a word but each day I try to remember to do something that will help preserve the planet for my children and their children and so forth. Each year, on April 22, is what we call “Earth Day”. Earth Day is celebrated throughout the world and each nation has their own ways of celebrating Earth and finding ways to help make it better.

We can all make a difference in how we want our world to be. We as individuals can either make things better or make them worse. Basically, there are 3 categories that people may fall in. The first category are those who are constantly finding ways to help the planet, preserve the planet, and make the planet better. They are always recycling, reducing, reusing and never falter in their endeavor to make the world a healthier place. Then there is the second category where most of us may fall in. These folks try to remember to recycle and turn off their lights and electronic equipments when possible. They do what they can to be environmentally  conscious. Then there is the third category where people do not care at all about the planet. They don’t bother with the environment and have no personal reasons to recycle, reduce, and reuse. They don’t know the difference between carbon footprint and their own footprints. Therefore, it’s up to the first and second categories to help make the planet a healthier place for everyone else.

It’s not hard to do something to make the world a healthier place. Even if it’s within your little town or city, any movement you make to help your environment can improve the outcome of our planet. Below I’ve outlined some guidelines in how to reduce your carbon footprint on this planet. According to Green Living of National Geographic, they explain carbon footprint as, ‘Your carbon footprint measures the total amount of greenhouse gases emitted as a result of your daily activities. When you drive to work, run the appliances in your home or sneak off for a weekend getaway, you cause the burning of fossil fuels, which provide the energy needed to power your lifestyle.’

– Walk to work (if it’s within reasonable distance). Walking is actually one of the greatest ways you can to reduce your carbon footprint.

– Walk to the grocery store (if it’s within reasonable distance).

– Take public transportation

– Carpool

– Buy organic. According to the USDA organic farming laws, toxic pesticides, herbicides, germicides and soil may not be used on food grown for consumption. Neither are chemicals, hormones, and antibiotics allowed to be used on livestock. Irrigation, water, pest managment, processing, and many other strict regulations are set forth to maintain proper organic practices within the US. Organic means a safer ecosystem and healthier living.

– Buy locally grown food and products. This also help reduce carbon footprint as less fuel is used to transport such goods. Some locally grown foods do not use toxic pesticides or chemicals but be sure to check with your local farms first.

– Reduce, reuse, recycle. You’ve probably heard this many times. It’s fairly easy to do this if you keep up with it. Reduce by using less materials that may harm the environment. Reuse by reusing what you have on hand. Recycle everything that’s possible.  Check with your local facilities on their own regulations on what is and what is not allowed to be recycled.

– Bring your own reusable bags when shopping. Reusable bags can be easily stored in your purse or in your car. Be sure to buy bags that are made from sustainably grown materials or made from recycled materials to reduce raw ingredients from being used even more.

– Use solar energy where possible. Solar energy requires energy from the sun, which is a free source of energy. You can use solar energy to charge your electronic equipments and your house. Solar panels are quickly becoming popular in homes and you can probably find good companies out there that will save you a lot of money on your energy bills.

– Reduce your overall buying. Buying less, especially products that are harmful to the environment could make you feel better about how you can help the environment.

– Buy from companies who protect the Rain Forest through the Rain Forest Alliance.

There are probably a lot more ideas and ways of conserving energy, reducing your carbon footprint, and helping the environment. Good resources are companies like: http://www.earthday.org/, http://www.epa.gov/, and http://practicallygreen.com/ (which has really great ideas, products, and ways of living “green”). You can probably think up some of your own ways in helping the environment.

This year, we still plan on hosting an “Earth Day” event but just not sure what we plan on doing yet. EarthDay.org is a good place to visit on how you can help with the environment. So no matter what you plan on doing to celebrate Earth this year, any step towards improvement is a positive step. You’ll feel better and happier that you are doing something to make the world a healtier place to live for yourself and your future generations.

Top 10 Reasons to Choose Organic

I didn’t always know that organic food and products were beneficial to my body and to the earth. When I was growing up, I just ate whatever my parents cooked and indulged in the occassional junk food now and then. My parents came from families who used only natural ingredients in their food and they avoided using chemical pesticides on their fruit trees and vegetable gardens. They themselves, coming from an older generation didn’t know that the term “organic” nowadays mean food and products are not chemically treated and that they are better for the environment and for the bodies. And that’s because food many years ago were not so harshly genetically modified and chemically processed and treated. In a sense, food back then were innocent and more pure.

But with the population and the economy growing throughout the years and scientists and companies wanting to produce more products at a faster pace to meet the demands of the consumer, food became less innocent and pure. The normal foods you put on your plate were getting genetically altered to be bigger but not necessarily tastier, the crops sprayed with chemicals for longer preservation, and our planet depleting in natural resources. People were no longer living green and trying to build a better future for their next generations. It isn’t easy trying to be green all the time or trying to buy organic everything, but here is a list taken from organic.org on the reasons to go organic. And perhaps as we learn along the way, we can help ourselves become healthier, smarter, and happier.

1. Reduce The Toxic Load: Keep Chemicals Out of the Air, Water, Soil and our Bodies
Buying organic food promotes a less toxic environment for all living things. With only 0.5 percent of crop and pasture land in organic, according to USDA that leaves 99.5 percent of farm acres in the U.S. at risk of exposure to noxious agricultural chemicals.

Our bodies are the environment so supporting organic agriculture doesn’t just benefit your family, it helps all families live less toxically.

2. Reduce if Not Eliminate Off Farm Pollution
Industrial agriculture doesn’t singularly pollute farmland and farm workers; it also wreaks havoc on the environment downstream. Pesticide drift affects non-farm communities with odorless and invisible poisons. Synthetic fertilizer drifting downstream is the main culprit for dead zones in delicate ocean environments, such as the Gulf of Mexico, where its dead zone is now larger than 22,000 square kilometers, an area larger than New Jersey, according to Science magazine, August, 2002.

3. Protect Future Generations
Before a mother first nurses her newborn, the toxic risk from pesticides has already begun. Studies show that infants are exposed to hundreds of harmful chemicals in utero. In fact, our nation is now reaping the results of four generations of exposure to agricultural and industrial chemicals, whose safety was deemed on adult tolerance levels, not on children’s. According to the National Academy of Science, “neurologic and behavioral effects may result from low-level exposure to pesticides.” Numerous studies show that pesticides can adversely affect the nervous system, increase the risk of cancer, and decrease fertility.

4. Build Healthy Soil
Mono-cropping and chemical fertilizer dependency has taken a toll with a loss of top soil estimated at a cost of $40 billion per year in the U.S., according to David Pimental of Cornell University. Add to this an equally disturbing loss of micro nutrients and minerals in fruits and vegetables. Feeding the soil with organic matter instead of ammonia and other synthetic fertilizers has proven to increase nutrients in produce, with higher levels of vitamins and minerals found in organic food, according to the 2005 study, “Elevating Antioxidant levels in food through organic farming and food processing,” Organic Center State of Science Review (1.05)

5. Taste Better and Truer Flavor
Scientists now know what we eaters have known all along: organic food often tastes better. It makes sense that strawberries taste yummier when raised in harmony with nature, but researchers at Washington State University just proved this as fact in lab taste trials where the organic berries were consistently judged as sweeter. Plus, new research verifies that some organic produce is often lower in nitrates and higher in antioxidants than conventional food. Let the organic feasting begin!

6. Assist Family Farmers of all Sizes
According to Organic Farming Research Foundation, as of 2006 there are approximately 10,000 certified organic producers in the U.S. compared to 2500 to 3,000 tracked in 1994. Measured against the two million farms estimated in the U.S. today, organic is still tiny. Family farms that are certified organic farms have a double economic benefit: they are profitable and they farm in harmony with their surrounding environment. Whether the farm is a 4-acre orchard or a 4,000-acre wheat farm, organic is a beneficial practice that is genuinely family-friendly.

7. Avoid Hasty and Poor Science in Your Food
Cloned food. GMOs and rBGH. Oh my! Interesting how swiftly these food technologies were rushed to market, when organic fought for 13 years to become federal law. Eleven years ago, genetically modified food was not part of our food supply; today an astounding 30 percent of our cropland is planted in GMOs. Organic is the only de facto seal of reassurance against these and other modern, lab-produced additions to our food supply, and the only food term with built in inspections and federal regulatory teeth.

8. Eating with a Sense of Place
Whether it is local fruit, imported coffee or artisan cheese, organic can demonstrate a reverence for the land and its people. No matter the zip code, organic has proven to use less energy (on average, about 30 percent less), is beneficial to soil, water and local habitat, and is safer for the people who harvest our food. Eat more seasonably by supporting your local farmers market while also supporting a global organic economy year round. It will make your taste buds happy.

9. Promote Biodiversity
Visit an organic farm and you’ll notice something: a buzz of animal, bird and insect activity. These organic oases are thriving, diverse habitats. Native plants, birds and hawks return usually after the first season of organic practices; beneficial insects allow for a greater balance, and indigenous animals find these farms a safe haven. As best said by Aldo Leopold, “A good farm must be one where the native flora and fauna have lost acreage without losing their existence.” An organic farm is the equivalent of reforestation. Industrial farms are the equivalent of clear cutting of native habitat with a focus on high farm yields.

10. Celebrate the Culture of Agriculture
Food is a ‘language’ spoken in every culture. Making this language organic allows for an important cultural revolution whereby diversity and biodiversity are embraced and chemical toxins and environmental harm are radically reduced, if not eliminated. The simple act of saving one heirloom seed from extinction, for example, is an act of biological and cultural conservation. Organic is not necessarily the most efficient farming system in the short run. It is slower, harder, more complex and more labor-intensive. But for the sake of culture everywhere, from permaculture to human culture, organic should be celebrated at every table.