I have been using white vinegar in my washing machine rinse cycle for years now. My clothes come out of the dryer smelling fresh and feeling soft. But until now, I haven’t been able to get rid of the static cling.
Thanksgiving provides the perfect inspiration to do good deeds. I take advantage of this time of year to talk to my kids about being thankful and appreciating what we have. This often leads to a discussion about the people in this world who aren’t quite as fortunate. Since I can’t afford to buy a turkey for everyone who needs one, we brainstormed some other ways we could brighten someone’s day. We plan to do these ten good deeds (plus more!) over the next two weeks.
I love the idea of building houses for people in need. However, being a full-time parent to two small children kind of limits my ability to spend a month in an impoverished country building houses for the homeless. So I found another way to offer my support and perform my next good deed.
What do you do when your parents, in-laws, siblings or even your spouse doesn’t agree with your green parenting choices? I know I’m not the only one dealing with this issue. Whether it’s a grandparent who sneaks your kids to McDonald’s or a sister who insists on buying your children plastic toys from the dollar bin, it’s hard to say no.
We are fortunate to live in the country in an area teeming with wildlife. It is not unusual for us to find an injured animal – a chipmunk attacked by a cat, a squirrel hit by a car or a baby bird abandoned by its mother. Rather than help the animal ourselves (which is both dangerous and ineffective), we do a good deed and call our local wildlife center.
Trick-or-treating. Halloween parties. Zombie runs. No respectable zombie is complete without fake blood and face paint. Of course, dressing up like a zombie is no fun if your costume is actually making you sick. Conventional face paints and fake blood usually contain heavy metals such as lead, chromium, nickel and cobalt. They also have fragrance, dyes, parabens and petroleum products. These hidden toxins have been linked to everything from lifelong skin sensitization to cancer and birth defects.
For our next good deed, my son came up with the idea to give flowers to strangers and to friends. He is a plant enthusiast, has his own flower garden and regularly begs to go to local nurseries. So he began picking flowers from his garden to hand out to people we encounter during our day.
My daughter is getting ready to turn one year old! For the past six months, she has been fed a diet free of sugar, salt and preservatives. I made all of her baby food from scratch and the breastfeeding is still going strong! After all of that hard work, the idea of feeding her a first birthday cake full of sugar and processed junk isn’t very appealing. Instead, I plan to serve my baby girl a healthy, natural, organic birthday cake that will still delight her.
In my county, public school is starting in two days! As I mentioned before, we are homeschooling my son. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have to worry about school supplies. In fact, I would argue that I end up buying many more school supplies than I would if my son went to a typical school. I am responsible for both the teacher supplies and the parent supplies. So it is even more important that I choose products that are safe and eco-friendly.
The first thing I think about when summer approaches is whether I am stocked up on sunscreen. I use plenty of sunscreen on my kids, and I apply it often. Despite my best efforts, sunburns happen. Rather than running out to the store to buy a bottle of conventional sunburn treatment full of toxic additives, I make my own sunburn relief using natural ingredients from the kitchen.
As someone who eats out a lot (probably too much), I am no stranger to styrofoam take-out containers. For my tenth good deed, I committed to using reusable containers to bring my leftovers home. Of course, there are times when I forget to bring my containers. That’s why for my next good deed I am joining Better World Betty’s mission to get restaurants to stop using styrofoam take-out containers.
For my next good deed, I decided to make some more donations to people in need. Rather than write four separate posts about four different ways I have decided to donate, I figured I would combine them all into one.
I asked my son what our next good deed should be. His reply was, “Since monsters are more important than people, we should donate money to monsters so they can buy people to eat.” You can’t argue with that logic. Instead of donating money to monsters, we decided to give back on our recent mini vacation and help clean up the beach.
My husband and I just celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary! Of course, we have two kids, including a nine-month-old baby, so a romantic getaway wasn’t an option for us. Plus, I wanted to celebrate in an eco-friendly way, which meant avoiding lavish cruises and unnecessary gifts. I came up with the following ideas for celebrating your anniversary in an eco-friendly way.
Many classic Father’s Day gifts are full of toxic chemicals. I know I would feel a lot better about giving a gift that is well-made and free of harmful toxins. Whether the dad in your life is an avid fisherman, gardener, sports enthusiast or chef, you can find eco-friendly, safe gifts for him.
Sports equipment is a classic Father’s Day gift. If you plan to buy sporting gear for the dad in your life, make it even better by choosing eco-friendly products.
Summer is the season for wasting water – swimming in the pool, running through a sprinkler, washing the car, watering plants and the lawn and taking multiple showers to wash off the sweltering heat. For my next good deed, I decided to find ways to conserve water and hopefully make up for some of the water that I will inevitably waste this summer.
Bug bites are also a fact of life during the summer months. When they get itchy and inflamed, you may be tempted to reach for a chemical solution. But natural bug bite remedies are easy to make, and most ingredients can be readily found in your home.
In honor of Memorial Day, our next good deed is to help a service member. I am amazed at and thankful for the courage that it takes to be a member of the Armed Forces, especially during times of war. And I am grateful that I can raise my children in a country that is being protected by so many brave people. I feel like nothing I can do will be enough to repay these people.