Monday, April 25, 2011

Participate in The Milk Bag project (Change 116)

Our elementary school has decided to participate in The Milk Bag Project.  This project entails local charity partners crocheting the outer 4L milk bags into sleeping mats, which are then sent to Haiti to help earthquake victims.

For those of you who don't know about this project, I've attached two links to explain what it is and how it works.  ( and

I've been collecting clean bags from our house, and sending them to our school.  To date, the school has collected over 1000 bags, enough to make 2 mats.

DS's class has offered to co-ordinate the collection and distribution of the milk bags.  Every Wednesday morning, I volunteer in his classroom, and part of my work is preparing the milk bags for assembly.  The children and I sort the bags by type, roll them in bundles of ten, and package the bundles for delivery.  They have great fun sorting the bags, and I am deriving great satisfaction knowing that we are keeping plastic bags out of the landfill, while helping a very worthy cause.

I urge everyone to locate a partner in their area, so you can benefit from this worthwhile cause.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Use eco- and body-friendly blush (Change 115)

I went out and bought a new cosmetics product this week.  I was getting ready for a meeting, putting on make-up for the first time in about two weeks, and dropped my package of blusher on the bathroom floor.  Ugh.  That was a bit of a mess.  Cracked the cosmetic into about 4 large pieces and several smaller ones, and lots of dust all over the floor.  It also cracked the lid in half and broke off the hinge part that keeps the lid on.  Into the garbage it went.

I purchased a replacement product - made from organic ingredients, free of "harsh chemicals, parabens, and synthetic preservatives".   The container is actually pressed paper (instead of plastic), which is recyclable.  It also passes the Skin Deep test, scoring a 3 on the scale.

I guess beauty doesn't have to come at a horrible environmental price.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Purchase as many "dye-free" food items as possible (Change 114)

In conjunction with my change to make more things from scratch, I am also resolving to purchase foods that do not contain artificial colours. 

We've noticed over the last year that our kids seem to really react to highly processed foods, especially those containing high concentrations of sugar, dye/colour, flavour and chocolate.   This was really brought home last week when my doctor suggested that we start eliminating artificial colour from our diet, due to recent studies that investigate whether or not food dye causes or accelerates hyperactivity in children.

Some of you may have followed the debate in news about the FDA investigating the evidence. (;  Unfortunately, the FDA found that there was not enough research to warrant labels on products, but stated that further study was needed.

However, we are going ahead with an elimination diet.  It will be a slow process, as we remove coloured cereal, crackers, breads, baking supplies and processed fruits from our diet.  I hope it means that my children will be healthier and happier, and that DH and I are less stressed about our active children.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Purchase "less cruel" eggs (Change 113)

For those who know me, you are probably doing a double-take at the title of this blog entry.  For those of you who don't know me, DD1 is allergic to eggs, so I never have them in the house.

Well, almost never.  See, DH and I have a little secret.  We eat eggs when DD1 is away.

DH loves when the kids have a sleepover at the grandparents', because this means he can have eggs for breakfast every morning.  I got thinking about our ethical choices last weekend, when the kids went to my parents for a one night visit. 

Part of our date night ritual is to stop at the grocery store and buy fixings for breakfast.  Eggs, bacon or sausages, special treats (danishes, etc.) and lovely fruit.  This time, I decided to try buy a more environmentally-, or at least animal-friendly, choice.  And discovered, to my dismay, that there aren't many options at the local big chain store.

The links below take you to websites that explain the difference between caged chickens and more cruelty-free choices.

Although I watched "Food, Inc." and I've read several of Michael Pollan's books, the impact of factory farming shocks me every time I research ways to not support the system.

We ended up purchasing "free range, nest laid eggs", but after reading the definitions from the above websites, I'm still not convinced we made the best choice. 
Our next date night will involve a trip to the local health food store, to see if we can get Canada Organic, BC SPCA certified or Certified Local Sustainable eggs.