Archive | Back to School

Onyx Stainless Steel Canister Contest

Sponsored by: Onyx

Hosted by: Southern Krazed

onyx-stainless-steel-canister-set (1)

It’s no secret that I love stainless steel and glass materials. Why? Stainless steel is a highly sustainable and trusted material for families concerned about materials breaking down over time and chemicals leaching. Stainless steel in a busy kitchen is the perfect choice and I’m super excited to be one of the bloggers involved in this canister give-away hosted by Southern Krazed and sponsored by Onyx.  My family has the largest of this canister set parked next to our sink collecting kitchen scraps for compost. The uses for canisters are endless – read more to discover why.

About Onyx

Onyx products are made with high quality food grade stainless steel and are fairly priced. Stainless steel is durable, environmentally safe, and versatile.

We are excited to bring you this amazing 6-piece Onyx Stainless Steel Canister Set Giveaway! These canisters are made of 18/10 stainless steel and are perfect for storing sugar, flour anything you can think of! They are safe and environmentally friendly! The set includes a 1 qt., 1.5 qt., 2.3 qt., 3.6 qt., 4.9 qt., and 6.9 qt. canister.
Would you love to have this beautiful stainless steel set for your own kitchen? Well, our VERY generous sponsor, Onyx, wants one of our lucky readers to have that chance! That way you can see how great they are for yourself! So, let’s get on to the giveaway!

One lucky winner will win this

Onyx Stainless Steel 6-Piece Canister Set ($170 value)!

Giveaway ends 8/6/14 at 11:59 pm ET! Open to US and residents 18+ and older.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below.

Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you are in love with stainless steel products as much as I am and would like to browse and purchase other items, please visit HERE.

Disclaimer: The participating bloggers were not compensated for this post. We are not associated with any of the companies named above. No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received Open to US and Canada 18+ only. Confirmed Winner(s) (by Random.org) will be contacted by email. Winner(s) have 24 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited by law. The sponsor(s) will be responsible for product shipment to winner(s) of this giveaway. My blog is not responsible for product shipment/delivery. This event is in no way administered, sponsored, or endorsed by, or associated with, Facebook and/or Twitter, Google, Pinterest. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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Easy Eco Clothing Stain Removal

This year, back to school means really white shirts in my house. The kids wear a uniform and the common thread between my daughters and sons is they all play hard at lunch and eat drippy food at lunch. This means by Christmas, their white shirts are permanently stained and don’t look as presentable as the school would like. My goal this year is to keep the shirts clean with keeping on top of stains the day they happen.

Easiest and effective way to treat clothing stains? Keep a cup of baking soda paste (mix with water) next to a low traffic bathroom sink with an old toothbrush. Show the kids how to scoop out the paste, rub on the stain, and leave in the sink ready to wash. If you treat the stain that day, chemical detergents are not needed! And since before and after pictures are always great – here is the proof.

Dirt stains Before:

shirt pre

 

 

Dirt Stains After:

shirt post

 

The post stain picture was taken even before the shirt was washed. It’s just a convenient way to stay on top of clothing stains. Give it a try!

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Technology & Kids Going Back To School

What do I think is the most important conversation you can have with a child returning to school? Two issues I’m talking about daily with my older children are clean food/nutrition habits and how to manage technology responsibly.

Outside influences are constant and demanding when it comes to our children and technology so I reached out to Jesse Miller of Mediated Reality to ask him for advice and best practices to share with parents with children that live in the age of technology. He speaks in schools across North America educating on the use of technology, social media, cyber bullying, with blunt delivery for pre-teens and teenagers.  Here is Jesse’s advice for what you should know with technology and kids heading back to school.

Over to you Jesse…

The new school year is upon us and new learning and engagement activities are being developed by teachers who are eager to use the technology available inside schools and the tech your kids will most likely be bringing with them in the form of a mobile device or tablet. The excitement and novelty of a new school year is usually overwhelming, but the children with smart phones, tablets and computers are juggling with a number of education concerns especially as it applies to focus, constant communication with friends, and the chronic dialogues about cyber bullying. It’s a lot to maintain while trying to focus on learning.

As a parent, you can use this opportunity at the start of a school year to keep your kids safe and online aware while allowing them the freedom to enjoy technology by introducing the topics of social media use, Internet gaming, texting, and online behavioural expectations by setting the tone in September.

Start by considering how you would control use of the Internet at home.

You’re saying you can’t control the Internet?

Well you are right, and you can’t. The Internet is omnipresent and seems overwhelming to many parents when it comes to the expertise of the kids but you can take steps to monitor how the Internet is accessed in your house.

I never recommend filters or monitoring software unless your child has given you previous reasons to not trust their online activities but by requiring laptops, tablets, and computers to be in open areas of the home, you are preventing your child from isolating themselves when they are online. Explore control of the Internet in a number of ways with the following ideas around communication and expectations of use.

  1. Consider limiting the amount of time to use the Internet for your kids and the parents in the home. Reduce “double screen” time where they watch television and look at their iPod or phone. Consider setting the standard for the family by establishing the tone for when the phones go down, not just for the kids, but for all family members.
  2. How about disabling the WiFi or locking out the router at certain times of the day to restrict Internet access? You don’t know how to? The kid knows more than you? Why not learn how the Internet is coming into your home? Especially after bedtime – many kids find that their mobile device is a chronic distraction at night while sleeping, if you control the Internet as it comes into your home, you have a better sense of when it is usually accessed. Google is your friend on this – there are plenty of YouTube videos available. If your child has a mobile device with Internet access provided by a cellular carrier, set up a home charging area so that all phones sit overnight – this area might need to be in your bedroom if you believe your child will want to bypass the rule and sneak a peek.
  3. Do not hesitate to set rules for mobile devices. Reflect on when you were a child and the fear you had when a friend called past 8PM – your parents were guardians of communications in your childhood home and it was rude to call past a certain hour – let’s not move too far from that value of respect just because your child has their own communication tool. Set the rules as you expect the devices to be used – they will mimic your use.
  4. Is your child texting on their phone or mobile device? Have they downloaded multiple applications to text for free (parents love free) but you don’t know which? Look at the download history and don’t hesitate to ask your child about every application they use. Google that application and look at reviews, news stories and other parents reviews. Encourage your kids to read their most recent text messages out loud to encourage communication based on your expectation of appropriate use. I would highly suggest against snooping through the messages (unless you can defend the reasons to your child) as it is similar to your parents reading your diary or journal as a child – privacy trust is key when it comes to online communication but don’t hesitate to parent that communication based on the values of your home.
  5. Learn about the trends. Kids love photographs these days and send them with the eagerness of a flyer campaign. Set a value to the photos your children are placing online, ask them what the world needs to see before they post and try to encourage a sense of self as it applies to giving pictures away to the Internet – would they post the same photo if it cost $1? If the answer is no, remind them that a photo of your child is priceless to you, no stranger online needs it for likes. The current trend of Instagram or Snapchat encourages kids to post pictures online to share for fun, likes, followers, or the perception that it deletes. Users, including unknown adults, rate, and solicit these pictures and flirtatiously or without mercy comment. This can lead to a number of social media issues including bullying and digital footprint/reputation concerns as your child moves through school.
  6. Pay attention to warning signs! If phones are placed screen side down on a chronic basis and held close to the chest like a poker player with a good hand, you might have an issue around how your child is shielding communications with peers. Maybe your kid is afraid of your response to language or topic but never chastise based on emotion for what you discover. Open dialogues and set expectations of access and use -discipline as needed and always encourage appropriate use.

Going back to school is a busy and exciting time of the year. Parents, teachers and those connected kids are busy Texting, taking “selfies” on Snapchat, filtering on Instagram, posting to Facebook, Tweeting class events on Twitter, and sharing a lot of information. Keep this time safer, secure, and aware by encouraging your kids and yourself to share the minimum amount of personalized information with the online world and communicate as if the world is listening – because with social media in hand, everyone is eager for a good story to post about someone else.

Jesse Miller @mediatedreality
Jesse Miller is a social media safety educator based in Vancouver, BC – information about his work and programs available for schools & parents is available at www.mediatedreality.com

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Talk Body Science Before Heading Back To School

Not something you expected to be covered in a back-to-school series, but I’ve been thinking of ways to talk more openly about sex with my kids over the summer with new questions arriving and finding I didn’t have the answers I wanted or the right words in that moment. Funny how you can be so close to your children and get to the point of discussions about your body, sex, body parts, etc. and not be able to communicate properly. Something that surprised me because I’m very comfortable talking about most things with my kids. After checking out Meg Hickling’s book called Boys, Girls, & Body Science and also her SUPER helpful DVD where you watch Meg give her presentation about body science to parents/teachers and then a difference presentation to children – I learned a different approach that I honestly wish I had learned 7 years ago when my oldest started preschool. Because as Meg says multiple times, preschool aged children are the easiest to discuss these topics with and I totally agree. If you tackle the topic of sex and stick to treating it like body science, rather than an uncomfortable topic….you are on the path to open, honest, and must easier dialogue with your children.

 

What has taken me so long to initiate more conversations on this topic? My children don’t get sex education in their school, unlike most of their peers, which is really too bad. A lot of parents I’ve talked with rely on their children receiving sex education at school, because the topic has been avoided at home. After learning my body science from Meg, even if you’re children do get the talk at school, you should be asking questions and keeping the dialogue open. I was really surprised to learn that children as young as Grade 2 and 3 can start having nocturnal emissions or start menstrual cycle. If you are like me and will be handling sex education at home, I urge you to check out Meg’s lecture & books via your library or the websites listed at the bottom of this article. She empowers you with the ability to find the words to properly express body science. Do you still think children of a certain age are ‘too young’ to learn about body science?  Here are some facts I learned from Meg that convinced me that younger children are ready and a great audience for sex education:

– sexual abusers admit that they target children that are uneducated about body parts because it proves a gap in communication between child and parent increasing the chances of abusers not being ‘told on’ .

– children as young as 7 years old can experience a period (girls & scientific name menstruation) or wet dream (boys although the scientific name is nocturnal emission) and worry that something is wrong with them.

– dispel myths that friends or cousins have taught the child. If they aren’t learning body science at home or school…where do you think they are getting information?

– give children the opportunity to understand mechanical curiosity.

– whoever says ‘no’ rules.

What is my recommendation on speaking about sex? Gather a group of like-minded moms together and order the DVD as a group. It’s a really great launching pad and I’ll be sharing my copy with many of my friends who have expressed discomfort. Having a copy of the DVD among a few families is cost effective and a great resource.  The relief you feel at understanding this can be explained as ‘science’ is really liberating and the stories and tips from Meg with have you laughing out loud wondering what the big deal is! And why you weren’t saying “the penis goes into the vagina to deliver the sperm to the ovum” from the time your kids were in preschool. And if you are like me and all your children are older than preschool, don’t worry – there are many chapters in the book “Speaking of Sex Book” that can help with speaking to older children. Meg gives you the body science tools to initiate body science discussions with kids of all ages and I’m already thinking of questions I can ask my kids to test their body science. The only people experiencing discomfort are adults and when you are given the tools to provide factual information with easy-to-understand words, the discussions get so much easier!

To find a copy of the book called Boys, Girls & Body Science you can simply click here or it’s available in many bookstores across Canada via www.chapters.indigo.ca, www.amazon.ca and via the website www.harbourpublishing.com

Meg Hickling on DVD, The New Speaking of Sex can be found by clicking here or visiting www.woodlakebooks.com

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Litterless Lunch Solutions

I’ve been asked for my opinion on what is the best litterless lunch solution for back-to-school and with so many great options it comes down to each lunch solution being compatible with different foods a family enjoys packing. I have several lunch containers from reviews over the years so I thought I’d photograph different combos and share with pictures rather than descriptions – sometimes a visual is more helpful. I do have a few rules I stick to with packing any food for my children (and self) so I’ll list these before the pictures:

– I don’t use plastic. I don’t care if it’s BPA-free, phthalate free, recycled, etc, etc. At the end of the day, I don’t trust plastic or want it near my children’s food.

– Ditto on the plastic for water bottles. I also don’t use aluminum water bottles that have liners. I trust 18/8, stainless steel bottles and these are what I use for myself and children. On hot days, I include a couple of ice cubes (made from stainless steel ice trays) into their bottles to keep water icy cold. This is a great trick for back-to-school and keeping water delicious.

– Stainless steel is my favorite reusable material for back-to-school lunches. I like using single walled stainless steel systems for most days – I find it keeps food at just the right temperature. Ice packs, etc. normally aren’t required. To keep food hot however, double walled stainless steel is needed. All thermos systems I’ve seen that keep food hot, have a bit of plastic around the top. I tried out the Laptop Lunches system from Organically Hatched and like the size for when I pack soup or leftovers for the kids.

– With lunch bags I’m sticking with organic cotton. I wrote an article months ago about non-stick diaper bag liners and discovered some brands contain teflon. It’s really turned me off of lunch bags – no knowing what they are insulated with. I love the Graze bags…I used them all last year when sending kids with a hot lunch and needing somewhere to put a stainless steel utensil.

– I love tiffins. They are my #1 system because I’m very rushed in the morning and don’t have time to work within the set confines or spaces that other systems offer. They are air-tight, fun for the kids to use and we’ve never lost a piece because kids can’t close the system unless the containers, lid, and latch are ready to be secured. I’m also making more items from scratch for lunches so these foods tend to be larger in size and won’t fit into traditional systems. Also note that tiffin is the name for a style of system – it’s not the brand name. There are many different suppliers making tiffins, I can only vouch for and recommend the tiffins sold via Green Planet Parties.

– Encourage your school to only be using reusable products for food, snacks, and lunches. If you’ve been asked to provide plastic sandwich bags with your back-to-school supplies, supply a few cloth bags as an alternative.

Now here are some pictures!  First up, you know it’s going to be tiffins. Here are two pictures so you see how a full apple (or larger whole fruit) can go in the top container because the lid is domed. This picture also shows how you can easily partition a container to separate fruit, veggies, etc. – I use parchment paper.

This sized tiffin is recommended for preschool to all elementary school aged children for back-to-school. A light-weight system that gives plenty of options with three roomy containers.

The next most common question I get asked with back-to-school is how to transport hot food (soup, left-overs, stir-fry, etc.) with back-to-school. In order for food to stay hot you need to have a double walled system. I picked up a Laptop Lunches thermos from Organically Hatched and it’s very roomy, stainless steel, and will grow with your child because it’s not marked with commercialized characters. It’s great to have a lunch bag to accompany a thermos because normally you need a side container of fruit, cutlery, and a cloth napkin to include. I used my Graze organic cotton lunch bags for this all last year when bringing left over Shepard’s Pie for my kids or soup. I love knowing they can be composted when they are tattered and torn. Here is a picture of this system:

My last visual is for parents that love to pack multiple smaller, separate containers for back-to-school. You’ll definitely need a lunch bag to keep them all together. I know parents love the lunchbots. I’ve had them leak on me before, so I tend to gravitate to a container that has clips and a silicone ring; this usually means that it’s airtight. You can find lunchbots here and greentainers (with clips) here:


For tips on navigating through greener back-to-school shopping, check out these articles:

Limit Your Food Packaging: Make Your Own Granola Bars


Save Money & Green Back-to-School Supplies!

How To Bring Green & Healthy Values Back-to-School

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