July 13, 2015 Family

DIY “UpCycled” Crayons

“Here’s a fun one for the whole family.

What do you do with those boxes of old, heavily used (but loved) crayons?  You turn them into a DYI project with the kids!  They can be melted down and turned into great recycled, different shaped writers that your young and older children can both enjoy.

Here’s what you need:

  1. Kitchen knife
  2. Old crayons
  3. Mini –cake or muffin tins (cute heart or various shapes are fun!)

Directions:

  1. Parents use the knife to chop crayons in to pea-size pieces. Have the kids help remove any remaining paper.
  2. Preheat oven to 150 degrees
  3. Have children fill tins with crayon pieces, mixing colors to make cool designs.
  4. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or just until the wax has melted
  5. Remove the shaped crayons after they have cooled.  If they stick to the tray, place in the freezer for an hour and they will pop out.

Tip:  If you don’t want to devote your tins to the melted wax, line them with tin foil

Now you and your kids can color away!”

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Housewares

Lint=dinner

Did you know that tests have shown that keeping the lint trap clean in your gas or electric clothes dryer... Read

Did you know that tests have shown that keeping the lint trap clean in your gas or electric clothes dryer may provide savings of up to $34 in energy costs each year (ENERGY STAR).  So basically you could go out to a decent meal from the saving of lint.

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Food

Quick Tips for a Better Pregnancy

“Pregnancy can be one of the most special and amazing times in a woman’s life.  But there’s no question that... Read

“Pregnancy can be one of the most special and amazing times in a woman’s life.  But there’s no question that it can also be incredibly difficult, too.  On top of major bodily changes, there is the constant need to make sure you are keeping yourself and your future baby healthy!  So here are a few tips to help you make your pregnancy a bit healthier.

The No-Brainers – While these tips may be obvious, they are still very important.  Cut out alcohol, caffeine, and stop smoking.  And when taking your prenatal vitamins, be sure to opt for the types that contain natural ingredients with fewer dyes and ingredients.

Water – It is important to increase your water intake while pregnant.  In addition to keeping you vitally hydrated and your skin glowing, water carries nutrients through your blood to your baby.  Water also helps prevent common bladder and digestion pregnancy problems.  And contrary to popular belief, the more fluids you drink during pregnancy, the less your body retains.  So if your feet and ankles are swollen, drinking more water actually helps!  Just remember to use a water filter (like Britta or PUR) and drink out of a glass, not plastic, when possible.

Cleaning Products – During your pregnancy, opt for all natural brands that are free of harmful chemicals such as bleach and ammonia.  And when possible, enlist a friend to help with the cleaning – you’ll avoid inhaling any chemicals and give you a chance to kick your feet up and rest!

Looking Glamorous – The natural pregnancy ‘glow’ is a real thing of beauty.  But if you still want to continue using makeup, be sure do a quick inventory of your beauty products.  Much of your current makeup may be loaded with chemicals that can unsafe for your baby.  Additionally, old makeup can be loaded with bacteria which can clog pores and cause breakouts.  Since no makeup is FDA certified as organic, look for credible sources to buy from such as our friends at Organic Beauty Now, Skincare By Alana and Yves Rocher.

Eating Right – Organic foods are the way to go while pregnant.  You’ll be avoiding harmful pesticides and preservatives used to treat the foods.  If money is tight or you can’t find organic foods, opt for fruits and veggies that traditionally contain the lowest levels of pesticides:  asparagus, avocados, bananas, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet corn, kiwi, mangos, onions, papaya, pineapple, sweet peas.  And for the carnivores, look for fish low in mercury, and avoid unpasteurized foods or cheeses.”

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UpCycle

Getting Creative After Your Coffee

As the weather gets warmer and the coffee shops roll out their newest frozen-mochajavachino (or something like that), it means... Read

As the weather gets warmer and the coffee shops roll out their newest frozen-mochajavachino (or something like that), it means there’s going to be a lot of iced-coffee cups coming your way.  Assuming you don’t take your own reusable cup every time you get coffee, you’re going to have to make a decision on what to do with those cups.  Recycle them? Sure, that’s an option.  But what else can we do with those clear plastic cups?

-Reuse them.  They’re usually sturdier than you think, and make great spare glasses for around the house.  Use them at your next party for cocktails or beer.

-Plant in them. They make great planters, and there’s something nice about being able to see all of the soil. Drill some holes in the bottom to allow for drainage – and keep it elevated enough to allow water to drain out. Alternatively, flip them over and use them as a terrarium to keep your plants warm and moist in the cool night air.

-Get crafty! There are plenty of things you could do with them, and don’t forget that they’re already circles!  Consider cutting them into bracelets and wrapping them in fabric or spray paint to make flashy bracelets for the kids.

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Doing A Bit Better

Chevrolet Announces Low-Impact Labels by 2013

“Doing A bit Better, just got… well, a little better.  Beginning with the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet plans to apply... Read

“Doing A bit Better, just got… well, a little better.  Beginning with the 2012 Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet plans to apply eco-impact labels on all of its brand-new vehicles by 2013. As the first of any automaker to present its cars in this manner, Chevrolet’s Ecologic label allows customers to assess environmental impacts associated with any particular Chevrolet vehicle in all stages of its product life.

With these Ecologic labels, GM makes itself more attractive to environmentally conscious consumers. According to GM North America President Mark Reuss, “Customers want companies to be honest and transparent about their environmental efforts and sustainability goals, and rightly so. Putting an Ecologic label on each Chevrolet is just one more way for us to share our environmental progress.”

The numbers and data on the Ecologic labels are determined by independent, third-party sustainability agency Two Tomorrows, a company that provides environmental audit and assurance services to companies.

Source: Forbes”

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UpCycle

GreenYour Pet (Part 2)

Green Your Pet We all know that humans need to reduce our carbon footprint, but what about your pets’ pawprint?... Read

Green Your Pet

We all know that humans need to reduce our carbon footprint, but what about your pets’ pawprint?  A green pet isn’t just for hippies anymore, but a way to help the earth and keep your pet healthy too!  Here are a few things you can do:

Buy Eco-Friendly toys.  There are plenty out there made from recycled and sustainable fibers.  Check out DAbB’s Things We Love: Pets section for our favorite picks!

Protect the Birds!  Keep your cat indoors.  They are natural hunters and a big threat to outdoor life.  Most vets recommend keeping them indoors due to fatal risks such as cars and disease.

Feed Them Natural and Organic Pet Foods.  Animals can also be affected by the chemicals in food.  Feeding them food that is sustainable and organic  leaves you with a happier, healthier animal.

Put Poop in its Place.  Use biodegradable bags for dogs that decompose and steer clear of clumping clay litters for cats.  The clay is strip-mined and is harmful to the environment.

Recycle a Pet and Adopt!  Save an animal and hundreds of dollars by shopping at a local animal shelter.  There are over 70,000 puppies and kittens a year that are abandoned and need a home.

Now go out and reduce that pawprint!

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Housewares

One Man’s Concussion is Another Man’s Treasure!

“Here at DAbB, we are always thinking about ways to recycle objects we no longer use (or our kids have... Read

“Here at DAbB, we are always thinking about ways to recycle objects we no longer use (or our kids have grown out of) and use them in new ways. Well, if your home is like ours, you have more than one old skateboard that is no longer being used.  There are so many great ways to turn old and unused skateboards into something fun and new – and one of our favorites is the wall mounted skateboard clock.  It’s perfect for any skateboard loving child (or let’s face it, some adults) at home.

Directions

You will need:

A drill
An old skateboard
A clock kit (see below)
Picture hooks
Picture wire
Paint (optional)
Epoxy

  1. Make sure the skateboard you are about to drill a hole in does not have some sort of deep emotional connection to the user that you are unaware of.  No one wants to spend the next week trying to overcome any deep “trauma” your child may sustain from the loss of their childhood relic.
  2. Mark where you want the clockwork shaft to be.
    1. Your decision on where you want the hole to be will be dependent on the look you’re going for, as well as, the length of the clock’s arms.
    2. Next, decide if you want to paint the board, or leave it as is.
      1. If you are going to paint underneath, mark the wheel hardware with tape to protect it from the paint.
      2. Clean the board.  Yes it is true.  You may want to shine up the board using your favorite beeswax.  Any organic beeswax will work.
      3. Now follow the clockwork manufacturer’s directions to attach movement to top of skateboard and hands to underside of skateboard.
        1. We like the clock kits available at Clockkit.com or Klockit.com (yes, both are close)
        2. At either of these sites you will find different style of arms, numbers and even templates to make sure you place the numbers in the right location.  Very easy.
        3. If the installation doesn’t fit correctly, you can use epoxy in the hole to hold the kit in place
        4. Attach sturdy picture hooks to top of skateboard at the upper corners. Stretch and tie wire between hooks. Mount on wall.

Done!”

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Doing A Bit Better

DAbB is officially on Tumblr!

“Today, we drank the eco-friendly kool-aid and joined the internet sensation of Tumblr.  Now we can honestly say that we’re... Read

“Today, we drank the eco-friendly kool-aid and joined the internet sensation of Tumblr.  Now we can honestly say that we’re on at least 4 social networks (who can keep track?).  Follow us on these awesome networks and show us some love (and maybe we’ll do the same for you!)

Twitter  Facebook 

Tumblr Pinterest 

Joooooin us…..”

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Family

The Fridge Isn’t Enough – What to do with Your Kid’s Artwork

“Not that you don’t love your kid’s artwork, but what should you do with it all?  We all have stacks... Read

“Not that you don’t love your kid’s artwork, but what should you do with it all?  We all have stacks and boxes full of our little artist’s creations. Here are few suggestions on how to reuse and display their little master pieces, so there are no late night runs (you know, when the kids are asleep) to the recycle bin!

Use as gift wrap – kids designs make beautiful wrapping paper for birthday gifts.  Trust me when I say, people will be asking you who made the amazing paper creation.  Your kids will be happy knowing others get to enjoy their work as well!

Laminate- run on down to any printer that has a laminating machine or use the one you have at home.  Take the kid’s art and turn them into beautiful placemats, pet food mats and/or bookmarks.  They are great gift ideas for friends and family.

Frame It – frame and mat the art work.  It’s a great way to decorate the kid’s rooms, your office and more.  They also make great gifts for friends and family.

Make a Book – compile your favorite pieces and make a book the whole family can enjoy.

Lastly, a great way to preserve the work is to scan it all and you can look back at them forever.  Then get your child to agree to recycle the originals without the midnight run to the recycle bin!”

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Food

Monday Tip of the Week – Being a Greener Professional

“Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day, that we forget about our better-living-goals when we’re on the go. ... Read

“Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day, that we forget about our better-living-goals when we’re on the go.  Here are some reminders and possibly new ideas that can get you going!

Morning Coffee
If you’re not the type to make your own coffee in the morning (which could potentially save you over $300 a year), then you’re probably stopping into the local coffee shop before you hit the office.  Here are some ways to Do A bit Better at your java-stop:

-Bring your own cup.  You’ll get a discount on your coffee, and you’ll stop seeing those white paper cups pile up in your recycling bin

-Skip the sleeve – If you insist upon the paper cup, consider not using the sleeve or reusing the sleeve.  There’re also a variety of reusable silicone sleeves for sale across the net.

-Pour it, don’t packet! Sugar packets and stir sticks add up. Pour your sugar from the provided dispenser instead of tearing open a few packets, and let nature do the stirring for you. If you keep your sugar and milk at the office, it will stay hotter longer.

Lunch time!
If you work downtown, you’ll notice how many people scuffle around in a hurry to get their lunch and go. You’ll also notice everyone carrying a paper bag, with a sandwich also wrapped in paper inside – followed by a paper soda cup. That’s a LOT of waste. Consider this, instead:

-Bring a reusable bag – they’re not just for grocery shopping anymore!

-Skip the soda – on top of it being incredibly bad for you anyway, those soda cups pile up in the landfill. We have a water carbonator in our office to substitute for soda, and the carbonated water helps trick our bodies into thinking we’re drinking something more sugary! Win-win.

Meetings
You’ll impress your clients and business partners if you look a little greener!

-Don’t provide bottled water – leave some empty glasses and a pitcher of water on the table for all to enjoy.

-Put your presentation on a thumb drive – all of those paper versions you pass out will likely just get tossed out anyway.  If you HAVE to print it, print on both sides to use half as much paper!

Now you’re on your way to being the model professional for a better world!”

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Garden

Mulching the Funny Pages

“You know those times when you realize your parents were right about something? Sigh… this is one of those times.... Read

“You know those times when you realize your parents were right about something? Sigh… this is one of those times. Many staff members here remember using newspapers in their family’s garden as kids, but never really knew why. We all hate weeds. Using the good ole Sunday newspaper is incredibly useful for keeping weeds at bay, if not completely keeping them out of your garden. This method doesn’t involve chemicals that might harm your produce, damage your plants, or cause health problems for your family. It’s also cheap and super easy.

What You’ll Need
A large amount of newspapers (The size of the Sunday paper finally comes in handy!)
Organic mulching materials such as:

Grass clippings
Pine Bark
Leaves
Straw

Steps
Open up a section of the newspaper and place it right on top of the soil and tightly around your plants. We recommend you have at least 12 pages thick. Make sure you overlap the edges so light and weeds can’t pierce through the paper. (Make sure you don’t use glossy paper from coupons, inserts, etc! These typically contain mild toxins from the ink.)

As you lay the paper down, place 3-4 inches of mulch over the top. This amount of mulch will help to keep the newspaper down and it looks great. And now you’re done!

The newspaper mulch will not only keep the weeds down, it will also fertilize the soil, cool the roots of the plants in the summer heat, add organic material to the soil, and save water. Earthworms will be active underneath the mulch, tilling the ground for you and adding worm castings, which is pure gold for plants.

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Family

A Little Green Mother’s Day Love

“Another Mother’s Day is just around the corner.  Why not think about it a little differently this year?  Sure moms... Read

“Another Mother’s Day is just around the corner.  Why not think about it a little differently this year?  Sure moms like store bought gifts, but you can make her day extra special (and green) by simply doing a few of the following:

-Let mom sleep in – nothing like 8 hours of sleep to make her happy!

-Give mom control of the TV remote – If she wishes to watch cooking shows all day, let her be

-Handmade cards – always a winner

-Skip brunch out and prepare a special meal in – just make sure you do all the heavy lifting!

-Use eco-friendly frames with pictures of mom and her all her favorite people (that’s you!)

-Create special memories, a nice nature walk with the family, trip to an art gallery, etc.

-Bake her cookies – with organic flour!

-Give her a five minute foot massage

 

Remember – a little love goes a long way!”

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Solar

Solar Calculators – Meet Computer Calculators!

“You’ve seen the Solar calculator.  Now check out the Computer calculator. No, it’s not in your “Start” menu.  Rather, it’s... Read

“You’ve seen the Solar calculator.  Now check out the Computer calculator. No, it’s not in your “Start” menu.  Rather, it’s a calculator created by Utah-based firm, Xi3 – to show you how much you could be saving (not by going solar, but rather, by going modular).

 

Xi3 claims that their new “modular” computer uses up to 95% less energy than the average household computer – at a modest 20 Watts of electricity to operate.

In fact, the savings calculator isn’t the only thing they have in common with solar installers. Xi3 also offers a leasing option (cleverly named “ecolease“), in which it claims that the potential energy savings (mostly for small-medium sized businesses) actually offset the monthly lease payments – which they call “Getting a Free Computer”.

Another added benefit of the system is its ability to run multiple instances of the operating system on several linked-up machines.

So if you’re looking for a way to cut down on the power bill and you’re not quite ready to go solar, maybe green-tech is the way to go!”

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Solar

Solar in the Tampa Community

Tampa Electric is showing the local community how they invest in renewable energy sources by supporting what they call the... Read

Tampa Electric is showing the local community how they invest in renewable energy sources by supporting what they call the Renewable Energy Program. Solar panels produce electricity from the sun’s rays, and installing solar panels is one example of how Tampa Electric is doing just that. They are working with various community-based businesses to provide a portion of the electricity used to support this program.  The following are a few of those highly visible, family-friendly locals.

The Florida Aquarium
In Tampa’s Channelside District, the Florida Aquarium’s Explore-A-Shore pavilion hosts a 10,000-watt solar array that helps support Tampa Electric’s Renewable Energy Program. In addition to the solar installation, Tampa Electric and the Florida Aquarium installed an interactive display to teach children about the benefits of solar energy.

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Tampa Electric joined with Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and the University of South Florida’s Power Center for Utility Explorations on a 15,000-watt solar panel system at the zoo. The solar panels are installed atop an elephant shade structure and an adjacent maintenance building. The project includes a Renewable Energy Learning Center that provides research opportunities for USF and Tampa Electric to study the technical, economic and environmental benefits of a renewable, grid-connected photovoltaic system for Smart Grid electric power production.

Museum of Science and Industry
Explore Tampa Electric’s first solar panel system at the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) in Tampa, Florida. This system is directly connected to the same electrical system that sends electricity to your home or business. The entire system consists of 60 solar panels, each containing 216 crystalline silicone cells, with a total rating of 18,000 watts of electricity.

Manatee Viewing Center
Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, Florida (near Tampa Electric’s Big Bend Power Station) is home to the company’s largest solar panel system, rated at 23,800-watts. A 40-panel system is installed atop the Manatee Viewing Center’s education building and eight pole-mounted panels are located throughout the parking area.

Solar in Tampa is one way that the city of Tampa is taking care of its citizens and its environment.  To hear more about Tampa Electric and renewable energy, please visit www.tampaelectric.com/environmental

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Health & Beauty

Gentlemen: Green thy Faces

“Shaving is a regular task that not many of us guys like doing, but need to do anyway.  So, the... Read

“Shaving is a regular task that not many of us guys like doing, but need to do anyway.  So, the least we at DAbB can do is help you feel like you are reducing your footprint while you shave.  Here are three quick tips to help make your shaving routine a bit more green:

Turn off the water – this may seem obvious, but shut off the water while you shave.  The average Joe can save up 3,000 gallons a year!

Go Au Naturale – Next time you go to the drugstore, look for all-natural shaving creams and aftershaves.  Just look for plant based products that are certified organic and/or not tested on animals.  Or, you can enlist a bar of organic soap to make a thick lather suitable for shaving.

Ditch the disposable – Between plastic handles, metal blades, rubber grips and god-knows-what’s-in-those-lubricating-strips, disposable razors create a huge amount of waste.  So look for a more earth friendly solution.  The absolute best choice is a good, old fashioned straight razor – it can be sharpened for great results & used over and over.  But we realize that the thought of putting straight razor to your neck can be a bit intimidating – let’s face it, we’re not all John Wayne.  So why not pop for an electric razor to cut down on your waste?  Many new electric razors on the market are gentle on your skin and offer a close shave.  If you must use disposable, try one of the new eco-friendly razors from Schick!

Go forth and shave!”

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Food

Put a Cork In It

“Nothing says “Sonoma Countryside” like an abundant collection of wine corks filling a tall glass floor-vase in the corner. What... Read

“Nothing says “Sonoma Countryside” like an abundant collection of wine corks filling a tall glass floor-vase in the corner. What happens, though, when corks (inevitably) overflow? What do you start to do with all of those extra corks?  Well we found these inspirations for DIY projects that will make you regret any of those corks you’ve ever thrown out.  Sorry, we don’t have any DIY projects lined up for boxed wine (no judgement!)

The first place our minds went was to the material – cork – traditionally used for wine, insulation, and… corkboards! So how does the cork make it from your Pinot Grigio to the wall? Check out these instructions from Wineintro.com. The hardest part will be finding corks that are exactly the same size. After not much work, you’ll have a great looking corkboard for the office or the kid’s room, or for recipes in the kitchen.

A similar but less expected way to reuse those same-size corks is to make a DIY bath-mat, which will add a touch of elegance and spa glamour to your bathroom. Freshhomeideas.com published this great step-by-step guide for creating such a luxury for your home.

Now that we’ve covered the office, the kid’s room and the bathroom, what about the kitchen?  One of the great properties of cork is its ability to diffuse heat – which makes it perfect for a Trivet and will be sure to impress your friends during the next dinner party. While you can use the same square-frame concept as the corkboard or the bath-mat, but if you want to step outside the box (get it?), try a circular pattern instead, and for about $3 you can have one like this one from greenluv.org.

Interested, but not a drinker? Corks are often available from wineries if you ask – they may charge a small premium or shipping on the used ones from the tasting room, but it’s still a lot cheaper than buying them from the craft store!

There you have it – now you can empty out that trophy-jar of corks and start over again, but with a few neat accessories around the house – accessories that you made yourself – and accessories that helped you Do A bit Better!”

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Health & Beauty

Caring about Personal Care

“Let’s face it – when the latest mascara or lipstick commercial comes on, we generally think “that product will/won’t work... Read

“Let’s face it – when the latest mascara or lipstick commercial comes on, we generally think “that product will/won’t work on me”. We’re probably not thinking “I wonder if there’s any lead in that”. Sadly, though, there probably is. And sadly, millions of us will apply that lead to our lips every day.

The FDA currently regulates things such as Drugs, Food, Water, and even some electronics. Cosmetics, unfortunately, are out of the FDA’s jurisdiction, and therefore, regulated by someone else: The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Committee. While there is one representative on the committee from the FDA, the FDA has little-to-no say as a result.

So how do we find some miracle compounds that will beautify us 100% naturally and organically? Chances are even the “safe” products will contain at least one chemical considered harmful to the human body, and generally in micro-doses.   Here are a few of the baddies we recommend steering clear of if possible:

Parabens – These are preservatives found in almost all Americans surveyed by the Center for Disease Control. It has been linked to breast cancer, developmental disorders, and reproductive disorders. Keep an eye out for propyl, isopropyl, butyl, and isobutyl.  They’re often found in shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and scariest of all, personal lubricants.  Yikes.

Phthalates – Yup, just like your water bottles. Many nail polishes and detergents include these cancer-causing chemicals, and most things that simply list “fragrance” as an ingredient include them as well.

Tricolosan – This is a popular microbial pesticide, which is harmful to the thyroid function as well as reproductive hormones. Often found in hand soaps and cleaning products.

Oxybenzone – This little guy disrupts hormones and has been attributed to low birth-weight in newborns.

Formaldehyde – Sounds like a no-brainer, right? If you use hair-straightening products, there’s a good chance you’re spraying this on your head. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, it’s a carcinogen.

Hey, we’re not saying you should throw your makeup bag out. It would be virtually impossible to avoid everything, every day. Start by looking out for the list above. If you can’t seem to find a better alternative in your local stores, try looking online.  There are several beauty retailers whose sole focus is to provide the best products that are the best for you and your family.”

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Food

Monday Tip of the Week – When to Choose Organic

“Obviously, it’s a better choice to “choose organic” as much as possible.  But when organic choices aren’t available, or don’t... Read

“Obviously, it’s a better choice to “choose organic” as much as possible.  But when organic choices aren’t available, or don’t necessarily make it into the grocery budget, which organic products should we consider over others?

Meat, Dairy & Eggs
Organic meat, dairy & eggs cannot be raised with growth hormones, and the animals aren’t fed with anything grown with pesticides. Even more importantly, animals raised organically aren’t given antibiotics, which means they don’t develop any antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Potatoes & Peppers
Non-organic potatoes are treated with twice the amount of chemicals, including pesticides and fungicides.  Fungicides are added directly to the roots (which is, the potato itself).  Peppers, alternatively, have such thin skins that they absorb pesticides more quickly than other fruits and vegetables.

Baby Food
It pretty much goes without saying that, when it comes to our little ones, the food we put in them should be just as gentle as the products we use on them.  Babies don’t have the immune systems we do and can’t handle the harsh chemicals on food as well as we can.

So when you make your next grocery list, consider investing a little more in the important things – You’ll be glad you did.”

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Twitter
Men

The Honey-do List: The Almighty Oil Change

“We have all been asked to change the oil in our family’s car.  Since this activity is a “normal” part... Read

“We have all been asked to change the oil in our family’s car.  Since this activity is a “normal” part of our husbandly duties, the staff of DAbB wanted to give you some ideas on why/how you should recycle the oil.

The facts:

-In nearly every town in the US, it is against the law to throw used motor oil out in your household garbage.  So just don’t do it.

-One gallon of used oil can contaminate up to 1 million gallons of water.

-Recycling used motor oil keeps the oil out of our ground water, which means you and your kids won’t be drinking what you just dumped out of your car.

How to:

-Refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for specific instructions on changing your oil.

-Remove the drain plug underneath the vehicle (again, follow your car makers’ instructions) into a pan large enough to hold the entire contents of the crankcase.  Most cars hold between 5 and 6 quarts of oil.
(Just one other note here.  We recommend changing your oil when the car has had a chance to cool down for a few hours.  The draining oil may be hot otherwise. You can also buy a drain pan specially made for recycling oil.  We really recommend buying these pans.  It makes the entire project really easy.  We like these from Oilfiltersonline.com.)

-Once the oil has completely drained, we recommend changing your oil filter. Your oil filter will have residual oil in it, so be careful not to let any of the oil spill on the ground.  Place the open end of the filter face down over the drain pan.  If possible, let the filter sit in this position for at least 12 hours to ensure all of the oil has drained from the filter.

-Once the used oil has drained, replace the drain plug as directed by the owner’s manual.  Make sure to clean up any drips with rags.

-After the used oil has been drained, the old oil filter removed, and the new filter is installed, add the new oil. Your owner’s manual provides recommendations on the viscosity grade, performance level, and amount of oil required for your vehicle. Most automobile manufacturers recommend that you use an oil meeting the latest International Lubricant Standardization and Approval Committee (ILSAC) specification.
(Oils certified by API as meeting this specification may display the API Certification Mark “”Starburst”” (API’s Engine Oil Program) and API Service Symbol “”Donut.”” Diesel engine manufacturers typically recommend oils meeting a specific API diesel oil service category. Oils certified by API as meeting one or more of these categories may display the API Donut.)

-The owner’s manual will also help you find the oil fill cap. Remove the oil cap and add the amount of oil required by the instructions in the owner’s manual. Do not overfill. Use a funnel to prevent drips and make sure to completely empty each container of oil.

-Carefully remove the oil drain pan from under the vehicle (take care not to burn yourself with hot oil or spill any on the ground). Using a funnel, pour the used oil into a clean container with a lid that screws on tightly (for example, an empty milk or water jug or the empty oil bottles from the oil just added to the engine).   But again, if you use one of the recycled pans this step is very easy as the drain spout is built into the pan.

-Lastly, go to earth911.com to find where to drop off your oil and oil filter!

You’re done.  Now, only 82 more things on your Honey-Do List.”

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UpCycle

Save the Landfill – AND Your Sanity

“We all hate it. We’ve all complained about it.  After a vacation away, we dread it – Junk Mail.  In... Read

“We all hate it. We’ve all complained about it.  After a vacation away, we dread it – Junk Mail.  In fact, we spend about 8 months of our lives opening junk mail.

So what do you do about all of those credit card offers and catalogs? Sure, we can recycle them – but there’s got to be a way to get to the source, right?

There are several services out there whose main goal is to reduce junk mail, including DMAchoice.org, who can help you opt out of catalogs, donation requests and magazine offers.  There’s also OptOutPrescreen.com, who can help you opt out of all of those annoying credit card offers.

Not comfortable giving out even more personal information? Then consider this neat upcycling idea from CraftingAGreenWorld.com, which demonstrates how to make a notebook out of junk mail!”

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