page contents

living eco-friendly on a budget + ​natural parenting + fresh takes on theology

≡ Menu

Uncategorized

Some of you know that I teach a class called Attached at the Heart (based on the book of the same name) geared toward parents, potential parents, of kids pre-conception through preschool. People often ask me what we cover in the class, so here it is:

Week 1- Charting a New Course: Introduction to Attachment Parenting
We’ll start our course with a look at how culture impacts parenting choices and examine what attachment theory is and why it matters to our families.

Week 2- Prepare Yourself for Pregnancy, Birth and Parenting + Use Nurturing Touch
Expecting and potential parents will gain an understanding of options surrounding pregnancy and birth while those post-partum can reflect on their experiences. Then, we’ll explore how to use massage, babywearing, and play to connect with babies and kids. This session includes a live demonstration of the 4 major categories of baby carriers along with safety and developmental considerations for each. Caregivers are invited to bring their own carriers for hands-on help.

Week 3- Respond with Sensitivity + Ensure Safe Sleep Physically and Emotionally 
Babies and young children can communicate physical and emotional needs intense ways like crying and tantrums. We’ll talk about how parents and caregivers can leverage this communication into a strong relationship. Additionally, parents will increase their understanding of infant sleep patterns, creating safe sleep environments, and the importance of responding to a child’s nighttime needs.

Week 4-  Feed with Love and Respect + Balance Your Needs
From breast or bottle to solid foods, meals are a time for parent-child connection. We’ll explore finding healthy methods that work best for your family. Additionally, we’ll  develop strategies to nourish your own emotional and physical needs while meeting your child’s needs.

Week 5- Practice Positive Discipline
The key difference between positive discipline and permissive parenting is setting healthy boundaries, but what does that mean and how do you enact it? Leave this session armed with over 25 practical ways to connect with your kids through gentle discipline.

Week 6- Provide Consistent Loving Care + The Ripple Effect of Parenting 
Empathy can be every parent’s secret weapon for addressing overwhelming cries, tantrums, and misbehavior, but this ‘language of love’ doesn’t always come intuitively. Thankfully, there are strategies you can use to help. Additionally, we’ll talk about choosing a caregiver when you are away from your child and staying true to your style of parenting in the midst of a culture filled with competing ideas.

Want to learn more or register for the session happening in Fall 2014? Visit the course homepage.

{ 0 comments }

 I just submitted this to Mothering.com for publication, but you get a sneak peek!

 

I am writing from Pathways to Child Flourishing, Attachment Parenting International’s 20th Anniversary symposium.

 

Peggy O’Mara (founder of Mothering.com) got hung up in the mass flight cancellations do to a fire in Chicago, but spoke via video. One of the things she focused on is the term attachment parenting (AP). I frequently encounter people who get hung up on this name. O’Mara shared that when she started her parenting journey, “In the 70s there was no name ‘Attachment Parenting’ just a desire to parent more naturally.” I am so grateful to live in a decade where we have a vernacular about gentle, responsive parenting. Moms and dads, feel empowered by common language; don’t feel limited by a label! O’Mara succinctly said that, “Attachment Parenting is not about rules but a way to see the world.” When you feel limited by attachment parenting as a label, embrace that one of the eight tenents is balance. Some things will work for you and your family, others won’t. The heart of AP is not checklist, but a desire to parent from the belief in the innate goodness of our children and ourselves.

 

One of the goals of this symposium is to address this reality that while research and science clearly support the ideas of AP, many of us who advocate AP (from researchers to educators to parents) spend a huge amount of time and energy correcting misconceptions or feel the need to reframe or defend our choices. So far this morning, Dr. Darcia Narvaez spoke on moral development in children and adults from an anthropological perspective, and Dr. Kathleen Kendall-Tackett presented research on the benefits of breastfeeding, not from the milk-content standpoint, but on the physiological benefits to mothers.

 

One of the questions that I run across is this ideas that attachment parenting is some newfangled trend–and thus should be discounted. In reality, something like attachment parenting has been around as long as people have been around.  At the Pathways symposium, Dr. Narvaez presented* the Konner Hunter-Gatherer Childhood Model.

See the model’s points in bold below, followed by my view on modern applications.

-Soothing perinatal experiences

The perinatal period lasts from several months before birth to one month after birth. Obviously, the hunter-gatherers were not going to an OB for regular ultrasounds and labor inductions at 41 weeks. Their pathway was going with the flow. Now, there were some good, empowering things (birth as natural function versus medical event) and some really, really bad things about this (high infant and mother mortality). In this age of options–OB or midwife, home or hospital, epidural or not, vaginal or surgical delivery, meeting baby’s nighttime needs via safe bedsharing or crib–making soothing choices for pregnancy, delivery, and post-partum has the potential to be even more possible than for our prehistoric counterparts.

- Held or kept near others constantly

- Prompt response to fusses and cries

- Nursed 2-3 times per hour initially

Babywearing is the first thing that comes to mind for me on these next three points of the model. While I don’t have to worry about a wild animal sniffing around if I leave baby on the living room floor and he cries out, I recognize that baby needs to be close to me. I am his safety, security, food source, and even his biological regulator for breathing and temperature. A baby is defenseless, so keeping him on me in a carrier makes sense (and doubly so for those of us who have older kids who aren’t yet up to the task of appropriately tending to baby).

Now let’s get honest about that nursing thing. Read the bullet point again–that’s not once every 2-3 hours, this is 2-3 times each hour at the beginning. Whew! While my oldest son was that newborn that could nurse 24/7, my body was not up to the task of that frequency. Let’s just say the words popped blisters and leave it at that. But, I get the point of this vision of nursing: watch your baby not the clock, offer a breast as one of the first strategies to sooth crying, and don’t worry about nursing too much. Babies have tiny tummies that need frequent fillings. Nursing while babywearing (while still observing all safety rules) and safe bedsharing are ways to meet baby’s frequent nursing needs.

Frequent nursing and proximity to baby keeps crying to a minimum, which has added physiological benefits for baby and caretaker: less cortisol (stress hormone) and more oxytocin (the so-called love hormone, released during nursing and skin-to-skin time).

To continue on the breastfeeding track, here’s the next Hunter-Gatherer Model point:

- Nursing continued for 2-5 years

A term that I love for this is full-term nursing, which I take to mean reaching or transcending the age that the World Health Organization advocates, “Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended up to 6 months of age, with continued breastfeeding along with appropriate complementary foods up to two years of age or beyond.” In the U.S. in 2007 only 22% of babies were breastfed at 12 months, so going until two–or as long as is mutually agreeable thereafter–is even smaller. Yet, breastfeeding after infancy has great benefits! Somehow, our culture has forgotten the simplicity and normality of offering breastmilk as part of a well-rounded early childhood diet.

The last three characteristics in the Konner Hunter-Gatherer Childhood Model are the three that I struggle the most with:

- Frequently cared for by individuals other than mothers

Free play in nature in mixed-age groups

Positive social support: high social embedeneness

As I’ve shared before, I feel limited by Silo Parenting, the opposite of the historical alloparenting model where grandparents, older siblings, and others all help to care for a child. A dear friend grew up in Columbia and shared with me that although her parents both worked, she was always taken care of. There was an aunt, uncle, older cousin, etc. to help get the house and kids taken care of. This kind of extended family care is wildly different from my single-family-home lifestyle.

Something intrigues me about living more as a tribe (even as complicated as I’m sure that gets sometimes). I’ll confess that I occasionally whittle away my kids’ naptime daydreaming about intentional community–or at least having a dear friend move into the house next door and share daily life. The kids could play self-contained together in the back yard while one parent cooks dinner and the other one does some work from home and others are on or off-site. Then we eat together and share the highs and lows of the day, clean up (while the cooking parent gets some time to him or herself), and then retreat to family spaces for bedtime. Throughout the days, kids of all ages teach and learn from each other through play and exploration.

Ok, back to reality…not only is the alloparenting/tribe model very different than my silo style in terms of home life, compare this to today’s educational model of sitting in a classroom of same-aged kids for six hours a week at age three and thirty-five hours a week at age five. It’s a different era now, I get it, but Dr. Narvaez pointed out that single-age environments actually increase competition rather than cooperation. This also puts kids with peers more than elders (meaning anyone older, from teenager to great-grandma), which makes life lessons that much harder to learn. (Gabor Maté addresses these ideas in Hold Onto Your Kids.)

It’s these last three that I see just as much value in as the earlier points, but they are so wildly countercultural it is hard to know where to begin engaging them. Throughout human history, we’ve benefited from amazing advances from sanitation to fetal surgery, from hand-to-mouth living to (relative) affluence. But, as much as we’ve progressed, would we do well to embrace these most ancient parenting traditions? When we contemplate that hunter-gatherers have occupied 90% of human history, are not these the genuinely tried and true methods? Is there a way to capture the best of modernity and the best of the past?

*In her talk, Dr. Narvaez referenced Konner (2005): Hunter Gatherer Childhood Model; Dr. Hewlet and Lamb 2005; Naravae, Panskepp, Shore, Gleason, 2013

{ 0 comments }

Plastic is Forever, Especially in the Ocean

Did you know that plastic never goes away? The plastic in that disposable fork from lunch will exist forever because I didn’t want to keep track of a real piece of silverware. Wow! All of that, just for one little meal.

Yes, plastic can be recycled if—IF—

  • facilities exist for recycling that particular type of plastic
  • there is a market for whatever that particular type of plastic can be recycled into (It is not a 1:1 re-creation: a plastic drink bottle cannot become a new plastic drink bottle.)
  • the item actually makes it to a recycling facility and not a landfill. (How much plastic actually gets recycled: think about broken toys, old synthetic fiber clothing, disposable forks, etc.)

But, recycling plastic is not a simple, clean solution. It takes tremendous energy in terms of shipping the recyclables, re-processing the plastic down, re-production of a new item, and re-shipping. Each one of those steps uses additional energy and creates additional pollution, all because I had a quick need.

Plus, what about the plastic that doesn’t get recycled, say—the pieces that blow out of my recycling bin or the tiny pieces (called nurdles) that slough off at the recycling plant and become litter? Ultimately, they end up in the ocean and then in us: storm drain to creek to river to ocean and then in a gyre, like The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Here, they may be mistaken for food by sea life or birds and consumed. They may become home to barnacles or other critters. In either scenario, they are then (plastic included) eaten up the food chain both in the ocean and on the land. Here is a 30-second clip from NBC that explains this phenomenon. I recommend the movie Addicted to Plastic (available on Netflix at time of writing) for more on garbage patches, plastic up the food chain, nurdles, and more.


 

While a garbage gyre  sounds big and overwhelming to me, it also seems abstract and distant. I don’t live near the ocean, I don’t eat much seafood. But then, the reality of plastic in our ocean came right to my feet. On this summer’s beach vacation we noticed quite a bit of trash wash up with the morning tide. It wasn’t enough that the beach looked junky (though this certainly is the case in other parts of the world, as in the video above), but it was enough that we couldn’t dig or walk without encountering little bits regularly. My kids commented on it, stepped on it, tried to play with it. Then today, I saw that creepy image I encountered while watching Addicted to Plastic:  a piece of foam that had been adrift long enough to grow some hitchhikers. Either this came in with the rough waves or a bird brought it to shore. While a great garbage patch sounds like a distant curiosity, the world is smaller and infinitely more connected that we’d ever like to think. 

Barnacles on polystyrene

Barnacles on polystyrene. (In the name of awareness, let me call out that additional plastic in this picture includes swimsuit fabric and the deck planks.)

This find led to some great conversations with our three-year-old about why we are selective about the things we bring into our home. While we have these conversations regularly, here was something tangible tied to living creatures to add to the observations we’ve made about mountains of waste at the county dump, the “stinky” (in his words) smell when we walk into a big box store filled with synthetic products, and the litter that we see in our local stormwater management streams.

To further our conversation, I decided to survey the litter that I found on a short stroll. Out of all of the trash, I found one thing that was a natural material: a peanut shell. Everything else was plastic. Take a look…did you know that all of these things are plastic? From balloon ribbon to a foam-coated coffee cup to a snack pack. Yes, even the cigarette butts contain plastic fibers. None of these things will ever biodegrade. Over time, they can break into tinier and tinier pieces of plastic that can flow into water or be eaten by animals, but they never go away. Plastic is forever.

Plastic From Beach

 

This week, is there one plastic-centric habit that you could change? Could you bring your own stainless steel cup to the coffee shop or  or bring some ceramic thrift store dishes into the office that you can wash after lunch each day? Could you drink a glass of water instead from of a one-use plastic bottle? (The most common kind of trash I encountered on the beach was plastic lids to one-use water bottles. Cigarette butts were number two.) Maybe your next step is to take an inventory of the plastic things around you that you didn’t even realize  were plastic. Could you make a buying plan for the next things you want to add to your home (e.g. choose a new shirt made of natural fibers rather than synthetics or purchase a used item so that you are not participating in the production of additional plastic items)? Another idea is to prioritize where plastic makes sense for your family and where other options could work. Contemplative, purposeful plastic use is possible for everyone, and a low-plastic lifestyle can be achieved through small steps across several years. What one thing can you do this week?

 

{ 0 comments }

The Amazing, Versatile Canning Jar

As a family who minimizes plastics, glass canning jars come in handy in many ways in our house. They are affordable, versatile, and easily washable. It took us several years to gradually weed out our plastic containers and switch to Pyrex and jars, but now that is the primary way we store food.

I frequently get asked how often we deal with breakage.  I am, by far, our family’s worst culprit of dropping and breaking glass items.  In all honesty, these glass items are so sturdy that a drop doesn’t necessarily mean breakage anyway, especially on a more yielding floor like hardwood. 

As for the kids: yes, we let them use glass.  Usually they choose the stainless steel dishes and cups from the cabinet, but have glass in the mix, too. Both boys’ first drink of water was self-fed from a tiny open glass at 6 months old. Our kids are very careful with breakable items because they’ve seen the mess when accidents happen. (It usually happens when I am pulling something out of the fridge and a jar slips from my hand and lands on the tile kitchen floor. It stinks when something breaks and we have to sweep it up, but it doesn’t happen often.)

Without further ado, check out some of our favorite ways to use canning jars:
Read more…

{ 1 comment }

 

 

Granola bars are a necessity in my house for my picky tummy in the morning, but the gluten-free, dairy-free, wholesome variety tend to be pricey. About a year ago, I started devising this recipe to be a bar alternative and discovered that they are sweet enough for a dessert. My kids are crazy about them and they are so easy to make!
Read more…

{ 1 comment }

I was 24 weeks pregnant with my oldest son (I’ll refer to this as PG1) when I woke up one morning and felt like someone had kicked me between my legs. I felt bruised from the inside and outside. It was painful to walk but also painful to lay down on my side. I made an appointment with my OB practice and I was diagnosed with diastasis of the pubis symphysis, a more extreme version of the symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD) that many women experience late in pregnancy. Diastasis symphysis pubis (DSP) is such an extreme separation of pubic bones that they are considered dislocated.  For simplicity, I am going to refer to all of these as SPD in this post, but for the record: SPD can also be referred to as pelvic girdle pain (or PGP), pubis symphysis pain, and a few other names that may refer to the same specific issue or some broader ones, like pelvic instability, which may also refer to issues with the sacroiliac joint (naturally, when the front of your pelvis spreads the rear pelvic joint is impacted, too). The pelvis naturally widens during pregnancy, especially in late pregnancy, to accommodate for delivery. This increased pelvic girth and flexibility is part of a woman’s amazing ability to birth a baby. But for me, it happened too much and too soon. The obstetrician (OB) I met with at the time told me that my diastasis was the most extreme case he’d seen in over twenty years of practice, but there was nothing to be done save for taking pain medication and making some small comfort measures. Getting a second OB opinion didn’t yield me any additional hope. From a physiological standpoint, the doctors were correct— the gap wasn’t going to close itself during pregnancy. But, there is more to health and healing than mainstream western medicine’s focus on medication, surgery, or bust. For my next pregnancy, where SPD became intensely painful at just 20 weeks, I knew better and utilized many strategies to make the pregnancy considerably healthier and happier. So, here’s what I know now through two pregnancies and four years* of pelvic instability.

Symphysis Pubis

Location of the symphysis pubis

Read more…

{ 6 comments }

Cork Flooring Review – 1.5 Years Later

It is hard to believe that we finished our basement remodel almost a year-and-a-half ago! We hemmed and hawed over many decisions, but picking eco-friendly flooring was especially difficult for us. Ultimately, we picked USFloors/Natural Cork.  We went with their Greenguard Certified Almada line, which is click-together planks (so it needs no off-gassing glues to install it). Not only is it made in the USA, but they use solar at their facilities. Win, win, win!

Though our contractors had never used it before, they installed it easily over an underlayment of  QuietWalk Floating Floor Pad. They put double layers of the underlayment in places where our floor wasn’t completely flat.

It turned  out beautifully! But, would it endure? Would it work as well as it looks?

 

Almada Cork Floor in Basement

Almada Cork in Marcas-Areia

The answer, thus far, is yes! Here’s the rundown on our observations:

    • It is naturally warm under our feet and has a bit of bounce, which is great for my back issues. Even in the winter, I could walk on it with bare feet comfortably.
    • Our basement has moisture in the air (which a dehumidifier takes care of) and this low-level of humidity has had no negative impact.
    • It hides dirt very well, but is cleaned easily with sweeping when needed.  We’ve used a variety of green cleaners on it without issue (vinegar and water; diluted Murphy’s Oil Soap; or all-purpose cleaner with borax and castille soap)
    • The only thing that has damaged it was dropping a 50 pound table top. The corner of the table knocked out a small chunk of cork. (I suspect tile or cement would’ve cracked or chipped in same this situation.) The divet hasn’t grown since it happened (which was shortly after installation…boo). Though we haven’t yet replaced the damaged plank, our contractors replaced a defective plank for us with relative ease.
    • The kids drag baskets, push baby stollers, ride rocking horses, and propel themselves on ride-ons without issue. Almada is a higher-end cork floor, but we learned that cork is a product where you get what you pay for. The additional layers of protective coating on this brand are worth it!
    • We have one small section of mild buckling , but this is probably due to the nature of our uneven floor rather than the product. The cork deals with the slight unevenness fabulously. It isn’t visible, just a small rock when I step on a particular intersection of planks. This is like a squeaky spot on a hardwood floor, except this doesn’t squeak.
    • The color is holding true. We’d read that one concern with cork is that it fades. We don’t have much direct sunlight in the basement, so this is something I’ll not really be able to test down there. That said, we have leftovers from our basement project, and we plan to re-floor our kitchen with it down the road, and we do have a sunny kitchen.

Almada Cork Floor in Basement

{ 1 comment }

Tips for Hosting a Yard Sale

We’re planning a yard sale for May 15. Here are my tips from past yard sales:

  • Pick the right season- pick a season (or day) that is warm enough you want to hang out outside and cool enough to not be miserable.
  • Involve others- bigger is always better when it comes to getting people to stop at your yard sale. Invite family, friends, and neighbors to set up shop along with you. Then, advertise as a multi-family or community sale.
  • Advertise- I advertise on Craigslist and by posting signs.
    • Craigslist: include date, time, address or intersection, and if you don’t want early birds, say so! (Expect early birds and have in mind a way to deal with them. Early birds are usually looking for things dirt cheap or scour for valuable things for really cheap that they turn around and sell. I usually tell early birds to come back when we are all set up. If they start rifling through our stuff anyway, I never, ever give an early bird a great price. I think it is a rude practice and inevitably slows down my set up time every time.)
    • Posted signs: Be sure to remember where you put your signs so you can take them down promptly. Make your signs clear and don’t overwhelm them with details. Make sure you can read them from a passing car. Make the date and time large and use arrows. Use one color of paper and design style so people know they are following the right path. Put signs up at intersections near your house, but not too far away. Posting signs is illegal in many areas, so proceed at your own risk.
  • Don’t make price tags- People will disagree with this, but personally I don’t put a price on anything unless it is more than say $2 or $5. It is a waste of time, in my opinion, to tag cheaper items because people will haggle over everything anyway. Also if they talk to you about what they are getting you can upsell other things (e.g. “Did you see the bathmat that matches that shower curtain? How about both for $7?”) Also, price stickers makes clean up tougher because if you are donating leftovers some charities (almost all in my area) will not accept yard sale leftovers. So, if you have good stuff left over that is worthy of donating you would need to remove every tag.
  • Negotiate less at the beginning of the day when you have the most time to sell things. But, as the day goes on be willing to sell cheap. To me, the point of a yard sale is to get rid of stuff with the added bonus of making some money. Who wants to lug all of that stuff back in if it doesn’t sell?
  • Prepare lots of change and small bills and keep it close at hand. I like to wear my old reversible apron from waiting tables that has lots of pockets. Twenties and larger go into my pants’ pocket for security, but smaller bills and change stay in the apron.
  • Use plastic bags. In my world, these are normally evil, but they are just great for yard sales. When people have paid for their items, tie it up in a bag. It makes it easy to see what is paid for if they stick around to peruse.
  • Hold the cash that people give you in one hand or set it on a table while you make change. I’ve had people try to scam me by saying they gave a larger bill than they actually did. Don’t put their money in your pocket until proper change is given.
  • Keep track of the money you make. Either know exactly how much change you started the day with or keep a tally of each purchase. If you are selling items for other people, keep a small notebook and write down the price and their initials.
  • Table tops are premium real estate. While it is tempting to fill your card tables with knickknacks to make your sale look tidier, instead use table tops to feature the things that are most valuable. Use as many tables as you can! It is much easier for customers to see what you have.
  • Going through piles of clothes stinks. If you can keep clothes on hangers and hang them from a rack or tree branch, do so.

{ 1 comment }

Decoration Inspiration

As we continue to spruce up our house using as much as possible that is used, repurposed, and/or refinished, I crave do it yourself (DIY) inspiration. Since I am home sick today and I don’t have the brain-power for writing or the energy much of anything, surfing the web is a good way to pass the time in between naps. Here are two of my favorite decorating-focused blogs that make me want to get better quickly and make the most of the beautiful spring weather that has suddenly appeared…


The DIY Showoff is a great blog that features the writer’s own home (their barn patio blows my mind!) plus DIY links and instructions from many other blogs.

Young House Love is a pretty well-known site about making the
most of a smallish house. I love this blog because our houses have similarities and it gives me hope for getting beyond some of the big issues we face in our house.

{ 0 comments }

9 Changes for 2009- #8 Reusable Bags

  1. Cut out commercial breakfast bars
  2. Cut out canned beans
  3. Ditch premade hummus (and all those containers)
  4. Use only environmentally friendly dish detergent
  5. Shop Used First
  6. Use only environmentally friendly laundry detergent
  7. Stick to green toiletries

  8. Ditch plastic grocery bags

American Beauty made the plastic bag seem ethereally beautiful, but the truth is that plastic bags are anything but beautiful.

As you probably know, reusable grocery bags are hot, hot, hot and a great alternative to disposable plastic bags. Reusable bags are everywhere! At my house, our favorite bags for the grocery store are large plasticy ones from Trader Joe’s that my brother-in-law gave me for the Christmas before last (pictured). We also have a good-sized stash of those $1 ones that every grocery store has. We have gotten all of those for free at fundraisers or as gifts. In fact, we’ve spent a grand total of $1 out-of-pocket for our entire reusable grocery bag stash and that was on the red, white, and blue one in the picture that was Old Navy clearance that was too cute to pass up for that price (pictured).

So, barring generous family members and fundraiser freebies, how can you build your bag stash for cheap? Start with your own home. See what you have around. Our reusable bag collection started off as collection of logoed canvas totes that I’d gotten for free at various events. Haven’t been to any conferences, on any sport teams, etc.? Good news, other people have. Logoed canvas bags are a dime a dozen at yard sales and thrift stores. Okay, actually they are usually a quarter to a buck a piece, but you get my point…used is cheap! True, a canvas tote or messenger bag may not be the trendy, new, typically seen reusable bag, but it is a great, cheap, uber green option. You can spend a bundle on cute, matching bags from some great sources or you can buy used, locally for almost free. Plus, buying used means you can totally avoid debates on production cost & eco-friendliness of the materials used in reusable grocery bags. Used is always the greenest option!

Though we’ve spent almost nothing for grocery bags, we have ponied up for reusable produce bags. I am seriously obsessed with these from AMK Designs.

We not only use them ourselves, but I have bought many sets to give as gifts. No volume discount, no “in” with the vendor, I just love the product THAT much. The carrying case for the mesh bags is brilliant. It keeps like feather-light bags together when not in use and clips to my grocery bag, so I take the produce bags with me by default. And the fabric choices are just so fun!

Yes, the reusable produce bags are smaller than the voluminous plastic ones at the store, but really—does a head of lettuce really need a bag? We use our produce bags for things that really need to be gathered like green beans, apples, and potatoes. But celery, tied herbs, bunched carrots, broccoli, an eggplant, etc. are already self-contained so there is no need to package them just for check out. It takes a little bit of a mental shift to buck overuse of the produce bag, but it can be easily done. And, you’ve got to wash the produce at home anyway, so it’s not like a shopping cart touching the lettuce for five minutes really matters, right?

Oh, and a final warm fuzzy: reusable bags save money. I love that some grocery stores give a bag credit of $0.05 per bag when I bring my own. It is a small amount, but if I figure five bags a week for a year, that is $13 I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Free money is always good in my book! Plus, at the farmer’s market the vendors are often so tickled by my reusable produce bags that they cut me a discount.

A few reusable bag tips:

  • Take your bags out to your car the next time you go out. They don’t do you any good at home! Go and hang them on the front door handle right now.
  • Always forget your bags in the car? Keep one bag on the front passenger seat so you see it, or if you usually drive with a passenger in the front with you, keep one in the storage area in the driver’s side front door.
  • Make yourself go back to the car and get a bag if you realize you’ve forgotten it, even if it means leaving your full cart for two minutes. This broke me of my forgetting habit very quickly!
  • Don’t just limit your reusable bag use to the grocery store. They work at the library, Target, clothes & retail shopping, yard sales, etc. My favorite for retail shopping is one that folds up into purse-size (white bag on left in top picture).

{ 4 comments }