For many people, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s a place where we prepare food to nourish and protect the whole family, and it is where we gather together. In the kitchen, we eat together and discuss our day, and our hopes and dreams. It’s a place friends sit when they call in for a coffee and a chat. And it’s the place our kids spread out their homework each evening. This room is important to us, and so it’s vital that we make it as safe, comfortable, efficient, and green as possible.
Pots, Pans, And Utensils
When it comes to pans and kitchen utensils, opt for versions that will stand the test of time. Items that require replacing regularly place a burden on manufacturing processes and landfill. Cast iron or stainless steel are healthier choices than non-stick varieties. Opinion is often split on this, but the former will certainly last longer.
Wooden spoons, spatulas, and other utensils tend to have a limited shelf-life. Opt for quality items, rather than their cheaper counterparts that will soon break down.
Limit the number knives you purchase by opting for those you can sharpen yourself. This will ensure that they remain efficient and will require fewer replacements.
Cups, plates, and bowls, etc. don’t last forever. At some point, they’ll lose a handle or become broken. Rather than binning them, find ways to repurpose them, so they are useful elsewhere. They could be used in the garden, perhaps. Or you could smash them into smaller pieces and use them to create a mosaic.
When it comes to cleaning, ditch the harsh chemicals that are harmful to the planet and health. This includes dishwasher detergent, washing powder, soap, floor cleaners, and countertop cleaners, etc. And don’t forget specialty cleaners for surfaces like granite or stone. Opting for natural cleaners will give you the peace of mind that you’re not introducing toxic chemicals into your living space.
Toss out your paper towels and disposable cloths and choose long-lasting washcloths and tea towels instead.
The kitchen generates the most waste, not just in terms of food products, but also packaging. There are several ways you can reduce the waste you create.
- Wherever possible, purchase food that isn’t already pre-packed.
- Take your own reusable shopping bags to the grocery store and keep a supply in your trunk, so you never forget.
- Create your shopping list based on meals for each day of the week to avoid wastage.
- Reuse and repurpose bottles and jars. Even tins and milk cartons can be used as planters, etc.
- Make your own meals rather than buying processed food or ordering takeout.
- Buy in bulk to reduce packaging and transfer items into bottles and jars.
- Plan your meals in advance and create food that can be used for several different meals.
Establish a compost bin for food-based waste such as vegetable peelings, egg shells, etc. Make sure you sift through any waste and recycle wherever possible. Keep an eye on what goes into the bin and find ways to either reduce or repurpose it.
Selecting eco-friendly kitchen appliances and running them in an efficient manner benefits everyone. It helps reduce resources and, therefore, saves you money. Appliances are becoming more energy efficient and so become familiar with the Energy Star rating system.
Using your appliances efficiently is also important. For example, the refrigerator can consume from 9% to 15% of your overall electricity. There are several ways you can optimize its efficiency.
- Purchase a fridge that is big enough for your needs, as packing it full of food will use extra energy.
- Close the door between uses, even if you’re going back and forth.
- Ice makers and dispensers consume more energy, so select a model without these if possible.
- Place the refrigerator away from heat sources such as the oven, which will require it to work harder.
- Allow food to cool first, before placing it into the fridge or freezer.
There are pros and cons of gas and electric cookers. Usually, this will come down to personal choice. However, whichever you opt for, cook efficiently to reduce the fuel you’re using. Simple changes like using a pan lid will help food to cook quicker and thus reduce fuel. Don’t keep opening the oven door to check on progress.
Kitchen Furniture And Fittings
If you need to replace cupboards, countertops, tables, chairs, etc. figure out the best way to do this. Do you have to replace them or can they be upgraded or repaired? Where replacements are needed, can the old items be put to use elsewhere? For example, in the garage or shed? Where possible, opt for secondhand items from places like Craigslist or Freecycle. When buying new items, look for furniture made from eco-friendly materials and created using green production methods. You may need to do a little research, but the results will be worth it.
When it comes to food shopping, buy local. The fewer miles your food has to travel between the farm and the kitchen, the better. It will also cut down on your own gas consumption. Find local co-ops and farmers’ markets and shop there wherever possible.
Arrange your family’s meals around the seasons. It may be a novelty to have access to a diverse range of vegetables all year round, but think about how far they have traveled and the fuel they have consumed. And don’t forget all those emissions as a result of travel. It’s good to know where your food is coming from and eating seasonally is healthy. Seasonal food is picked at the right time, meaning it’s had optimum sun exposure and is full of vital nutrients. This also adds to the taste.
It is often the case that making eco-friendly choices promotes a simpler and safer way of life. If you think about it, this makes sense. Eco-friendly suggests being in balance with the planet and its natural cycles. We eliminate unnecessary processes that consume resources and go back to what is readily available and in abundance.
When you’re a parent, tasks which once upon a time were simple become increasingly difficult to do. It’s not because you’re any slower in yourself, or because you’ve forgotten how to do them – although we may think to ourselves that this is the case – but more often than not, it’s because you have a distraction in the form of a small human being constantly needing attention.
When you are putting time into cleaning and tidying, they rarely want to leave you alone and undo all of your hard work. So what can be done to help alleviate their boredom?
In Every Job that Must be Done There Is an Element of Fun
You find that fun and *snap*, the job’s a game. Mary Poppins speaks both sense and the truth – there is always fun to be found in whatever task you have set before you. If you are cleaning, invite them to race against you to see how fast you can get the job done. It can be something as simple as wetting down a window which is to be squeegeed, or brushing up bits into a dustpan. They’ll be tiring themselves out whilst they’re doing it and learning some valuable life lessons as they go – you can’t lose.
Look for the Bare Necessities
Are they bugging you for a reason? Do they need the toilet, are they hungry or thirsty? Or are they just bored? Follow Baloo the Bear’s advice and sort out your kid’s basic needs before setting yourself to task. It may be that they just want a cuddle or some reassurance before you get started, so set some time aside to make sure everything is A-OK with them before putting your mind to other things.
It means no worries – so take their mind off what you’re doing and distract them with fun and games. If they’re happy sitting down with their gadgets, head on over to https://getshowboxapp.com and see what films and shows are available to keep them entertained. Or you could keep it classic and crack out some board games – these are guaranteed to keep them busy for hours while you finish the tidying up. If you are clearing, try and steer away from anything that will add to the mess; avoid suggesting arts and crafts, for example, as this will just take more time to tidy up at the end and you will need to rely on other methods to keep them happy while you’re clearing yet again.
The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway
If you’re busy inside and have a secure garden, send the children out! Fresh air never did anyone any harm, and gloves, hats, scarves and coats were invented for a reason. There is so much to be explored outside and so much imagination for the little ones to use. Why let it go to waste? Kill two birds with one stone; while they’re outside having fun, get your jobs done as quickly as you can!
This is a collaborative post with Yourorganicchild.com
One thing that we all want to do as parents is to instil a sense of right and wrong in our kids. No matter what religion we are, we all want our children to have an intrinsic sense of what they should and should not be doing in this world. More and more these days, climate change is an important topic, so it makes sense that you should introduce the issue of being eco friendly to your kids as soon as possible so they grow up with an understanding of its importance. This should even be a factor when you’re decorating their rooms – here are some tips on how to make them planet friendly…
Choose Nurturing Colours
If you want your child to grow up with a good understanding of nature, then why not bring early, natural colours into their rooms? Paint the walls a calming shade of blue or maybe yellow, or green, maybe the most earthy, natural colour of all, and make sure that you use paint that’s free of toxins. If you want to add decorations and embellishments then go for more colours that can be found in nature like bright jewel tones that can be found in flowers. Use bright, pretty pictures of flowers and animals to decorate the walls. You could even put up posters of endangered animals like polar bears and tigers so your child grows up with a good understanding of natural beauty.
Choose Sustainable Furniture
Make sure that you go for furniture made out of natural materials like wood and metal rather than plastic. If you’re looking for big pieces of furniture, make sure you go for quality that will last a long time like kids’ cabin beds from Cuckooland, rather than plastic that will fall apart quickly and that won’t be sustainable. Look around for good quality used furniture that you can buy at second hand stores or on Craigslist. If you do need to use plastic, make sure that the materials that you use are free of toxins such as BPA, Phthalates, and PVC – these are banned in some countries and shouldn’t be around children.
Use Energy Efficient Lighting
First of all, make sure that you use sunlight and natural daylight as much as you can in your child’s room. Make sure that you open the curtains and blinds every morning – not only will this provide important Vitamin D for your kids, but it’ll also help to lower your energy bill. (Make sure you tie up the blind cords so your child can’t reach them!) Another way to lower your bills is by switching to LED bulbs in the electric light fittings. Not only will they last for longer but they also use considerably less energy.
Use Recycled Items
If you want to get a mobile, try to get one that’s made out of recyclable materials like felt, along with wall hangings made out of natural cotton and decorations made from ceramic, along with a corkboard to pin favourite pieces of art or photographs. You could also use antiques to brighten up the room – look through antiques and thrift stores for interesting kid-friendly pieces.
This is a collaberative post with yourorganicchild.com
Public speaking can be scary, no matter what age you are. For children, the experience is entirely new and even more petrifying. Mastering public speaking from a young age can be fantastic for you child’s confidence. Children are uninhibited, so it’s the best time for them to get used to those scary things. You can see the benefits of social speaking for your child’s career prospects on sites like gingerpublicspeaking.com. You should encourage your child to take part in as many public speaking opportunities as possible. Be careful not to push them into anything they don’t want to do. Pushing too hard could cause them to be even more against public speaking! Gentle encouragement is all it takes. If they do have an event coming up, it’s your job to ensure they’re ready. Here are some things you can do.
Image from Pixabay
PLENTY OF PRACTICE
Practice makes perfect. Never is that more true than with regards to public speaking. The more your child knows their speech, the more confident they’re going to feel. Help them practice as much as possible. It’s important they’re performing to an audience, rather than alone in their room. If they’ve only practiced in front of the mirror, it’s possible their mind will go blank at the time. Help get them ready by listening to their speech. That way, you can encourage them and suggest improvements. It may be worth inviting other people to hear, too. Performing to other adults will be much better practice for the main event. If they get used to performing to your friends, the speech itself won’t seem so daunting.
Image from Flickr
TEACH THEM TO HIDE NERVOUS HABITS
Nervous habits, such as those discussed on CalmFocused.com, can affect public speaking. During your practice sessions, help your child conquer their nervous habits. When we’re nervous, we often fidget and avoid eye contact. Point these behaviors out to your child to enable them to recognize when they do it. The more confident your child looks, the better their speech will go! Talk to your child about projecting their voice and looking into the crowd. If it helps, show them examples of good public speakers. Children are good at imitating behavior. Once they’ve seen how to do it well, they’re more likely to get it right.
MAKE SURE THEY GET PLENTY OF SLEEP THE NIGHT BEFORE
Even with all your preparation, your child will be nervous the night before the event. If they’re tired on the day, they’re less likely to perform to the best of their ability. Do your best to ensure you child’s sleep is as good as possible. Do everything you can to take their mind off things the night before. It may be worth waking them earlier than usual the morning before. That way, they’re sure to be tired come that night. Stress to them the importance of being well rested. They may want to keep practicing when they should be asleep. If that’s the case, put their speech somewhere they can’t find it.
This is a collaborative post with Yourorganicchild.com
When you discover that your child has a particular talent, it can be both exciting and emotional. Not only are you pleased that your son or daughter has a passion for something that they’re really good at, but you’re also keen to encourage them and see where it takes them too. Nurturing your child’s talent doesn’t have to be a difficult, expensive or energy-zapping process. Instead, it can be rewarding and fun!
If you’ve been wondering just how you can nurture and grow your child’s talent, hopefully, these ideas will help. You might need to invest a little time or money, but when it comes to you kids’ future, that’s a small price to pay.
First up, you might want to look into coaching or lessons for your kid. If they excel in anything to do with the sports or the arts, like acting, singing or dancing, you might want to look into classes that can not only improve their talent but open them up to opportunities too. You might already know of coaching venues in your area, or, if not, search online to find beginner dance classes in your area. You can do the same for acting, singing, or sports too.
Next, you could consider sending your child to a workshop that can work on their talent. Say they like to write. You can find a bunch of activities, events, and workshops at literature festivals. You can also find writers that mentor or coach. They often host workshops for children. What you need to do here is research. Before you know it, you’ll find the right workshop to help your child develop their writing further.
Regardless of what their talent is, reading will always help. Not only will your child be able to learn more about their interest or talent area, but they will improve their reading abilities and vocabulary too. If your child shows a particular talent in an academic subject, like science, for example, you’re going to want to encourage them to brush up on their knowledge as much as possible by reading anything they can get their hands on.
Then, you might also want to think about entering your child into a competition. It could even be something that you’re child has asked to do too. Competition is healthy for children. It teaches them a range of skills and disciplines. Whatever talent your child has, you should be able to find a contest for it. Whether it is sports, education or arts related, you’ll be able to nurture your child and see how they compare to other talented kids by doing this.
Finally, you might want to try and get them as much experience as you can in their talent field. You want your children to be happy and healthy in life, regardless of how talented they are, so it will feel natural to you to want to do this. You can work on sharing the things you know that could benefit them. Get them experience in their field, encourage them to learn and do more and generally be there for them when they need you the most.