Apr 19th – Watch the documentary “A Place at the Table”, today.

Food and nutrition in our country has been of great interest to me, so tonight I am taking a moment to watch the documentary, “A Place at the Table”.  I had first heard about it several weeks ago on ABC’s “The Chew” as they discussed the issue of hunger in our country.  Below is a blurb about the movie from it’s website, http://www.takepart.com:

Fifty million people in the U.S.—one in four children—don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Directors Kristi Jacobson and Lori Silverbush examine the issue of hunger in America through the lens of three people struggling with food insecurity: Barbie, a single Philadelphia mother who grew up in poverty and is trying to provide a better life for her two kids; Rosie, a Colorado fifth-grader who often has to depend on friends and neighbors to feed her and has trouble concentrating in school; and Tremonica, a Mississippi second-grader whose asthma and health issues are exacerbated by the largely empty calories her hardworking mother can afford.

Ultimately, A Place at the Table shows us how hunger poses serious economic, social and cultural implications for our nation, and that it could be solved once and for all, if the American public decides — as they have in the past — that making healthy food available and affordable is in the best interest of us all.

You can find “A Place at the Table” on iTunes, or check out select play dates at http://www.magpictures.com/dates.aspx?id=e016f484-4c9a-4401-8fbc-e19eb2119389

If this documentary is not of interest to you, consider watching another documentary of a social issue that is of interest to you.  Information is knowledge and knowledge can charge inspiration to make change for the better.

Apr 18th – Use both sides of a piece of paper.

Such a common sense idea, yet we often forget how easy this is to do, and continue to use brand new paper in our printers.  Reusing and recycling quite often takes a few extra minutes, but the payoff is a big if we would all make these changes.

According to the EPA, we use about 71 million tons of paper and paperboard each year (and keep in mind, we only have just over 315 million people in this country).  Break that down by paper used by person and it almost seems absurd.

Better than recycling is reusing, so opt to reuse any and all paper you are able, even if you need to sort through your papers for a few extra minutes.

Make it a game and see how far you can stretch the use of one piece of paper, for print-outs, notes, and a crafty art project.

Apr 17th – Ditch the coffee stirrer today. Avoid it by putting in your sugar and cream first or use a piece of pasta.

What a fun idea I just found, and a great way to eliminate one more unnecessary item that goes to waste.  Rather than grab for a disposable coffee stirrer (plastic straw, wood stirrer or plastic spoon), opt to go without the stir by adding your sugar and creamer first, then the coffee…. or if you must stir, consider using a reusable/washable spoon or a pc of pasta (i.e. spaghetti) which you can crunch of after or put in the compost.

 

Apr 16th – Today, make a commitment to be a helper.

In reading thoughts yesterday on Facebook about the tragedy in Boston, two posts made an impression on me that noted while it was obviously a terribly tragic event, we were also reminded of the amazing side of humans who bring such care, help, thought and support to others in an event such as this. And that the number of helpers and good in people still far outweigh the few who create such atrocities.

Many invaluable thanks to those who were helpers yesterday, and to every one you know who is a helper on any given day in each of our lives.  Try to be one yourself, we need you.

One friend posted the quote you may know from Mr. Rogers about helpers, and also something for kids if they happen to learn of this event.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers.  You will always find people who are helping.’  To this day, especially in times of “disaster.” I remember my mother’s words, and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world” – Fred Rogers

On a closing note, please consider taking a moment today to commemorate the lives of the innocent people we sadly lost, peace to their families, and health to those who were hurt.

Apr 15th – Earth Day 2013 is April 22nd this year. Today, plan your activity for how you will celebrate.

Because calendar’s can book-up quickly, plan today how you would like to celebrate Earth Day this year.  Many communities plan activities for Earth Day, so you will need to google or find your community calendar to see what may be going on in your neighborhood.  If there is nothing planned near you, consider volunteering some time with an environmental cause of your choice (tree planting, beach clean-up, take a composting class, etc.), or if you prefer, possibly donate to a cause that you would like to support.

Whatever you choose, show the Earth a little love sometime in the next two weeks :).

Apr 14th – Test your home for radon, today.

According to the EPA, radon is estimated to cause 21,000 lung cancer deaths per year, and is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the US.  You can’t see, smell or taste radon gas, so you would probably have no idea if it is in your home or not unless you test for it.

Radon is a radioactive gas that comes from the decay of uranium that is found in nearly all soil and moves up from the ground into a home through cracks and holes in the foundation.

You can test for it by buying a ‘do-it-yourself’ kit or by hiring a professional qualified tester.  Kits can be found at Home Depot, on-line or possibly other home/hardware stores.

Apr 13th – Do something you have had on your “To Do” list for a while… or take it off your list completely.

Make a bold decision today and de-clutter your mind by either doing, completing or eliminating something you have had on your “to do” list for a while.

Clearing your mind and living life in the present is much easier when you take away the nagging feeling of things you need to do in the future.  Do it or don’t, but stop giving yourself the feeling of procrastination and live with a little less weight on your shoulders as of today.

With Spring being a time of renewal, start it with a clean palate :).

Apr 12th – Reusable idea for today, save your glass spaghetti sauce jars (or similar glass jars) and use for your drinking glasses.

Another wonderful suggestion from a dear friend, is to keep those glass jars as drinking glasses.  I love this idea especially as I adore eclectic mixed/matched collections of cool items such as this.

This is a great idea for a family with kids (or reckless roommates!) that have been know to be careless with your glassware (not that we want kids to be throwing glasses around, but at some point, they can probably learn to live with breakable items, and the glass of the spaghetti jars are a little thicker).

With plastics being so rampant in our daily life, we are making an effort to decrease the use of them in our household and replace them with non-toxic options as much as possible, especially in the kitchen where they can leach into our food/drinks.  This idea costs nothing (aside from buying the food), is free of toxins and keeps one more item from having to go in a landfill or require recycling.

Apr 11th – Give or receive something today that is not related in any way to money.

In our society, a great percentage of our time and efforts are related in some way to money – How much can we earn? How much does something cost? What will the return, benefit or consequence be to us in terms of our wallet?  It is easy to become engrossed simply by our monetary system, and in turn, is the basis of many, if not most, of our decisions daily.

While money is obviously key in our lives, it is helpful to be reminded sometimes in our busy lives that there truly is more to life than the dollar, including our happiness.  For today, make an effort to give or receive something just for the sake of exchanging good energy without money being the motivation or reward.  Note, this could be a material item, a verbal exchange or a compliment or positive suggestion, even a hug or positive physical exchange…. be creative.

Apr 10th – Clean your home with environmentally friendly, homemade cleaners today.

Whether you clean the house yourself (like I am doing today), or you have a housekeeper, try using some environmentally safe solutions which can be homemade or commercially bought products.  For today, I am going with homemade and will talk about store bought another day.

For an all purpose cleaner, try 1/2 cup vinegar, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/2 gallon of water.

There are a lot of natural solutions, below is a helpful comprehensive list from EarthEasy.com of various environmentally friendly products you can use, with an added note about Borax, which I found helpful:

  • Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
  • Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Avoid using soaps which contain petroleum distillates.
  • Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
  • Borax – (sodium borate) cleans, deodorizes, disinfects, softens water, cleans wallpaper, painted walls and floors.
  • White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax build-up.
  • Washing Soda – or SAL Soda is sodium carbonate decahydrate, a mineral. Washing soda cuts grease, removes stains, softens water, cleans wall, tiles, sinks and tubs. Use care, as washing soda can irritate mucous membranes. Do not use on aluminum.
  • Isopropyl Alcohol – is an excellent disinfectant. (It has been suggested to replace this with ethanol or 100 proof alcohol in solution with water. There is some indication that isopropyl alcohol buildup contributes to illness in the body. See http://drclark.ch/g)
  • Cornstarch – can be used to clean windows, polish furniture, shampoo carpets and rugs.
  • Citrus Solvent – cleans paint brushes, oil and grease, some stains. (Citrus solvent may cause skin, lung or eye irritations for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.)

Is Borax Safe? Borax is considered a mild skin irritant similar to baking soda. The MSDS lists borax as a health hazard of 1, similar to salt and baking soda. A health concern with borax is with its potential to disrupt the reproductive system. Studies have not been done in humans regarding this; however, potential reproductive issues in mice are suspected from high levels of ingested borax. Use of borax for home cleaning formulas, where no borax is ingested, has not been shown to pose health hazards. Borax is a natural substance which is non-carcinogenic, does not accumulate in the body, or absorb through the skin. It is not harmful to the environment.

Check out the full article at the below link, which includes lots of great cleaning solutions:

http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm#d