Friday, August 28, 2009

Re-usable snack and sandwich bags!!

I'm quite excited. I just happened to be poking around Craigslist and I came across a lady who is local to me, that sells some pretty cool stuff.

What caught my eye were her reuseable snack and sandwich bags. They are really neat - with fabulous patterns on the outside and a nylon inside. I'm going to cut and paste her ad for you to read. I am so impressed with her idea that I'm ordering some for my kids and some for gifts. The price is reasonable - especially when you consider how much it costs to buy zip top and flip top sandwich and snack bags. And don't forget the forever cost of those, too. Right below her information you'll find her etsy site - I encourage you to go check it out. If you buy from her, you can have it shipped pretty much anywhere at a very reasonable cost. There is more than bags there, all of it is pretty cool! Drop me a line if you get one.

Here's what she had to say:

"Get your kids ready for back to school!!!! I got tired of wasting money on sandwich bags and came up with an idea to make reusable ones one day after watching my mother wash and hang her plastic sandwich bags at home. I thought there has to be a better way. The bags that I came up with are convenient to use and are very easily maintained. They are made with 100% cotton exterior and are lined with water- and stain-resistant nylon. Nylon has has no lead, phthalates, or BPA in it. There are no exposed seams and they close with a strip of high quality hook and loop tape across the top. After using,simply shake out the crumbs, turn the bag inside-out and wipe the liner down, or if you have a messy snack one day just toss it in the washing machine and line dry.

My kids love them and use them daily for sandwiches, grapes, cheerio's, trail mix, carrot and celery slices, you name it, it goes in these bags! My 2 year old daughter especially loves them for car rides, not sure what entertains her more, the snacks inside or the fun of opening and closing the Velcro!!!! These reusable sandwich bags have the potential to take the place of hundreds of plastic sandwich bags in their lifetime. Help do your part one bag at a time!

The gusseted sandwich bag measures approx. 6 1/2 x 7 1/2". $7 each The snack bag measures approx. 5" by 6". $5 each A Sandwich bag and Snack bag set- $11 per set Discounts given for orders over 5 bags. Tons of different prints available, including boy and girl children prints! Just in time for back to school!!! Or get your order in time for the holidays, makes great stocking stuffers!!!! "

What a great way to use less disposable plastic. I'm impressed. Do check it out.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Dishwashing Blues

Our dishwasher broke. Sigh... You know, washing dishes has to be one of the least exciting things one can do. And let me tell you, we do a lot of it around here!

I read that washing by hand uses much more water than washing dishes in the dishwasher. With that in mind, I began to search for a new one. After much deliberation, I chose one of the Maytag Quiet Series 300 dishwashers. This one has the ability to do a short cycle, which I really like, as well as several longer ones. It also has a macerator, which means that it can chop up little bits of food and dispose of them. (which in turn means scraping is good enough to put things into it!) It also came into the mid-range in price, which is good. There are some very very efficient ones out there - but they cost a bit more than I can afford at the moment. I think we made a good choice with this one.

I can hardly wait to get it installed - Wednesday cannot come soon enough. It will be great to have a quiet, efficient unit to wash our dishes. I like to do ours on a short cycle and air dry - something this can do. Is this something you do, too?

Once it's in and we've used it a bit, I'll let you know how it's doing.

Next up - the hunt for a large size, high efficiency washer and dryer set. Ours is very old and I think they are on their last legs, judging by the interesting sounds they make. We have managed to keep them going, but I need to be prepared to replace them, so I think now is a good time to start looking.

Does anyone out there have a set they think is exceptional for doing a load a day (and sometimes two on diaper days)?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rainy Days and Toddlers....

Always get me down... or they did - but not anymore! I think I've discovered a secret. They like to be busy. So I got to thinking about how to channel the energy of a little person and direct it into something fun that's indoors and doesn't make them scream at their baby sibling.

Before I go any further - if you are Canadian you probably remember Mr. DressUp. He was my favourite guy on TV with Casey and Finnigan and Aunt Bird and Susan and.. yeah, you get the picture. But there was one thing that he did that really put him above all others. It was the way he made stuff and got those scissors of his to make that great sound when they cut the construction paper! I can still remember that from when I was really little. Now, he's not on TV anymore and I don't even know if there are videos - but he did leave a legacy that is much 'greener' than most. He made stuff out of junk.

I have been collecting boxes, tissue rolls, baby food jars, lids, bits and pieces of this and that and building a little box of creativity. Together we will make recycled art. A little bit of glue or tape or a staple here and there, some colouring, some ripping and tearing and, of course some scissors cutting paper (courtesy of Mommy) and we are set.

If you have kids - it doesn't really matter how old they are, making something out of nothing can be really fun. We've already done the milk carton birdfeeder, and made a lantern out of paper so this week we will explore other options - maybe a snow globe with some leftover glitter and confetti stuff I've saved, or binoculars from the toilet paper rolls, or maybe even melted broken crayons to make new fun big ones. The possibilities are endless and it gives a second life to something I would have recycled - and even better, to something that might not even be recyclable.

If you don't have kids - those birdfeeders made out of a milk carton never go out of style for the birds.
(p.s. I posted a picture to share what we made today. A mix of leftovers, reuses and stuff that he got in goodie bags and from a gift - all in all a wonderful, messy, creative afternoon!)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shameless Plug!

OK.. not green related, but I entered an Ikea contest for a room makeover. Should you feel so inclined - please pop over to the following link and vote for my entry. (we desperately need a makeover in this room - seriously - it's a hodge podge kinda space) I like a lot of ikea things, especially since many come from sustainable forests or are bpa etc. free. Not all, but a lot of things there are actually good for the environment.

THANKS!!!! :-)

The Urban Attic - My Favourite Consignment Store

I went shopping for a little china cabinet. Oh, I looked all over as I knew just what I wanted. I stopped at the Urban Attic in Surrey and there it was. A lovely little black number - just the right size. But I kept searching because we all know you shouldn't buy the first thing you see. Two weeks later I ended up back there and thankfully, it hadn't sold.

The owner is wonderful and as we chatted, I lamented that it hadn't been distressed as most of the other refurbished pieces by the same person were. I agreed to buy it if she could help me distress it - and she did right then and there. It is now just perfect and is sitting in my eating area in my kitchen (we don't have a dining room). It holds all my favourite things from my great grandmothers dishes to my favourite teacups. And provides a lovely spot for my bears to sit on.

Buying new isn't all it's made up to be. I know, as I searched and still couldn't find what I wanted. But buying used - or refurbished - is perfect. You can find just the right thing and know that you've given an item a new life. Whether you choose to use it as is, refinish it yourself or buy it already done, it's a win/win situation for you and the environment.
If you are in Surrey, B.C. - stop by the Urban Attic. I think it will be worth your while. You can browse a little online at but there is so much to look at there, that the website really doesn't do it justice.

Cool at Last

Well, we broke down and bought the A/C and fit it into our window. A piece of trivia for you all - if you have retrofitted windows, the brackets included do NOT fit into the track. Thankfully we had help and we made it work. And true to Murphy's Law - the weather has changed and it was only 20 degrees today! But it sure did help to cool our house while it was hot. I plan on keeping it on only when it's too hot - otherwise we will use fans on the cooler days to circulate the air.

I received my electric bill and since I am now only $30 away from being caught up to the current usage (we are on the equal payment plan, so it gets evened out at the end of the cycle which is September for us) I am going to ensure we keep our usage of all thing electrical down to acceptable levels. After last year's high bills due to the cold (and portable heaters) I think we'll do better this year anyway with our new windows.

I've been happily hanging my laundry to dry - and it's working well for me. I think that we've used about 3 dryer loads in as many weeks and that's basically been my husbands work clothes as it's easier to iron them when they've been in the dryer and taken out while warm.

I was lucky enough to win a set of President's Choice cleaning products and a lovely red fabric shopping cart on wheels - so I will be sharing about each of the products as I use them. The cart is great - perfect for a few bags worth of groceries - minus the bags. I can also see myself using it for when I'm out with the kids since I can pack it nicely with their stuff and pull it along with me. This is something I suggest you check out if you have Superstore (Real Canadian, Atlantic) or a Loblaws near you.