Tag Archives | stainless steel

Mommy Footprint & Chemical Free Ice Cubes

Deep breath parents!  Summer has ended and a new chapter starts if you’re a parent…back-to-school is here. I discovered a ‘must have’ item this summer, even though I’ve used this stainless steel wonder for years, it really offered me convenience with taking my kids on many full day excursions over the last few months. For this reason – it translates into a great back-to-school convenience option and it took me not having ice-cubes one morning when I went to the farm to realize how important ice cubes are for packing up lunches for my kids. Yes!!  I’m talking about stainless steel ice cube trays and before you think I’ve gone crazy, read why they are so important to my day.

First a picture:

 

Does it look familiar?  It might remind you of the ice-cube tray your grandma used. Remember hearing the “CRaaaakkkkk” sound when she pulled the handle? The Onyx design is a ‘new take’ on this design, manufactured using high quality 18/8 stainless steel and well made to last many years in your home!

Why would I love a stainless steel ice cube tray this much when there are plenty of light-weight trays on the market made for BPA-free plastic or silicone? I’ve read enough about BPA-free plastic leaching BPA when tested & I don’t freeze anything in plastic because of leaching concerns.  When it comes to silicone it’s my personal preference; I had a bad experience years ago with a skull & cross-bone shaped ice-cube tray that was marketed as silicone. It literally smelled like I opened a new tire when I opened the packaging and I can still remember the bitter taste of the ice-cubes. I would assume this was straight PVC & plasticizers as the ice cube tray was bendy – not the silicon material it was marketed as….but it’s completely turned me off.  Although you’ll pay a bit more for the quality, stainless steel ice cube trays offer no scent, no chemicals to make it bendy, & is easy to clean & maintain.

Okay now back to my story of realizing how much I need ice-cubes on an outing to the farm. This summer we went on lots of excursions to local farms, mountains, and all-day outings. With the heat of the day my standard routine in the morning is packing up a stainless steel water bottle for each child, loading it half way with ice-cubes, the rest tap water. This would ensure the kids still had cold water to drink many hours later (great tip for back-to-school water bottles too).  Running late to get to the farm I realized I didn’t have any ice-cubes for the morning so decided to not bring water with me – no point because it was a blazing hot day. During the course of the day I spent over $12 on bottled water the farm sold ($2 a bottle), had to worry that they’d actually be recycled, and then arrived home to read a great article by TreeHugger on drinking water bottled in plastic. I can’t find that article but here is another great article to support drinking tap water from Treehugger. And after calling my local municipality and finding out we don’t put fluoride & other nasties in our drinking water – it’s worth a read: A World of Reasons to Ditch Bottled Water.

So it was even to my surprise that something like an ice-cube tray could give me so much convenience of using plain old tap water, save me money by not buying disposable water in plastic bottles, and piece of mind that I wasn’t freezing my water with any nasties leaching from the tray. I guess when people say “it’s the simple things in life”…they really know what they’re talking about.

Related Articles:


Alternatives For Freezing Food In Plastic

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Pssst Plastic & Melamine – Can We Talk?

I guess it truly doesn’t matter how many times I write or acknowledge in my head that certain every-day actions are not healthy, if it’s convenient and saves me time, I seem to fall into the ‘convenience’ trap. And this is one reason I struggle and dislike plastic so much. After all plastic was created to save us time and money since this material was so much cheaper than glass and more ‘durable’ (doesn’t break as easily). Plastic is a man-made material that has been polluting our bodies since it’s creation because of untested chemicals and regulations, but still we are all addicted to using it. The alternatives are so much more expensive, heavy, and not as durable with breakage, etc.  Right?  So why do we need to break the habits of purchasing and using so much plastic?  We are hurting ourselves….and in some cases killing ourselves with all of these man-made ‘convenience’ based chemicals. I believe that even though you can purchase BPA-free plastic that unless the plastic is cared for properly, chemicals will leach out.  It doesn’t matter who you ask – if you purchase plastic sippy cups, bottles, cups, bowls, plates, colanders, food/liquid containers, ice cube trays, etc., about how to care for a plastic item they will tell you not to put it in the dishwasher or microwave. Why is that?  Because the material of plastic is not strong enough to not ‘breakdown’ in these machines; therefore, chemicals will leach through cracks, scratches, etc. My weakness since becoming a mom is always trying to purchase items that are dishwasher friendly because I love the time the dishwasher saves me and I readily know this about myself.  What are materials that are dishwasher safe and don’t leach? Stainless steel, glass, enamelware, and glassware (Corelle) are good places to start.  So although I’ve been pretty good over the last 2 years of ridding my kitchen of most plastic there are a few items that won’t be coming on my journey into 2011. I finally have enough glass and stainless steel cups that my IKEA plastic tumblers are being retired to the back of my kitchen cupboard. Yes, they are BPA free – but they are beat-up and worn making them very poor candidates for the dishwasher. I will not miss you, although you have served me very well over the years.  All my pans, storage / freezing containers are stainless steel, bake ware is glass, and utensils are stainless steel so I’m almost plastic-free. I also, of course, have stainless steel ice-cube trays and popsicle molds because I’ve always been uncomfortable freezing in plastic.

So what is my message in this article?  Try to not heat food or liquid in plastic or clean plastic in the dishwasher. . . the convenience is great but heating plastic at high temperatures is not healthy for your family. And while we are on this topic, I noticed that Melamine dishware being advertised for babies and young children over the holidays. The same rules go for Melamine as plastic since this synthetic polymer is created with formaldehyde. Although these Melamine dishes can be marketed as ‘BPA-free’ ….I don’t think parents want formaldehyde leaching into their children’s food either as Melamine by itself cannot be consumed.  Follow the rules of using these materials and you’re probably okay. But in a world of tempting convenience I always smile towards the trends that were around before the age of plastic.  It’s taken over 2 years to get to the point where I can retire my plastic kitchenware so don’t feel overwhelmed if this is one of your goals. Little by little….it can be done.

Happy New Year everyone!  I look forward to sharing more ‘greener’ journeys together in 2011. You are welcome to email me questions or post comments to the Mommy Footprint Facebook fan page.

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Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray Give-away!

The ultimate spring contest give-away is here at Mommy Footprint with summer backyard BBQs quickly approaching.  Stainless steel ice cube trays are also the perfect gift for new moms that want to freeze home-made baby food and not worry about freezing food in plastic with the worry of BPA and phthalates.  Just in time for sunny days, complete the below contest form and I’ll draw a winner May 3rd.  Thank you to our friends at The Tickle Trunk for donating this awesome give-away.  We are talking high end stainless steel, food grade 18/8, and BPA-free ice cube trays.  Feel safe about making ice cubes again and these trays have the easy-to-use handle that quickly pops out the cubes.  Mommy Footprint especially loves stainless steel for freezing food or liquids.  Here is the link for this contest – enter and at the same time, share the word about Mommy Footprint with your friends.

http://mommyfootprint.com/mommyfootprint-referral-form/#usermessagea

 Picture courtesy of The Tickle Trunk site:

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Less Is More Theory and Experiment

I’ve noticed with interest that dollar stores in my community are going out of business.  You would think in this economy where people are trying to save money that the dollar store business would be going strong.  Could it be that consumers, especially parents, are realizing that less is more?  I believe so.  Back-to-basics, sustainability, quality, craftsmanship, safety are words that parents are willing to pay more for.

From toys, to beauty products, and even our produce ~ I would rather buy organic, pesticide-free for my children.  Shopping in smaller amounts, rather than filling up my cart, without thinking through what I’ll truly need to use.  There has been much buzz about pesticides to avoid with food and mainstream press is starting to write about how toxic most personal care products are.  From organic food, to organic shampoo/soap, to safe toys made from natural or stringently tested materials come at a higher cost.  As a parent, I’m willing to pay a few extra dollars for products I know are coming from business that care and source products with the safely of my children at the forefront.  Most bios from mompreneurs include the fact they were deeply unsatisfied with answers, product selection and product knowledge from traditional stores.  I challenge anyone reading this to an experiment we’ll call the ‘Less-Is-More Theory’.  Walk into your local department store and ask the store clerk or manager questions about their toys, bath toys, personal care products, produce, water bottles, etc.  I myself started doing this when I noticed most store chains have started branding their store label on stainless steel water bottles; Old Nay, The Bay, London Drugs, Superstore, even Dollar Stores.  Not one of these retailers could tell me anything about their store branded stainless steel water bottles.  They had no idea what stainless steel grade they were or that there were different steel grades out there.  I hear about dollar stores that simply ‘dip’ the outside of water bottles to coat god-knows-what material underneath.  I’m not saying these retail stores are doing this, but from a quality issue, I’d like to know more about the grade I’m purchasing so I know how to care for it.  If you are nervous about purchasing bath products (personal care or toys), food or water containers, or plastic toys and the store cannot answer simple questions I would not purchase them.  Here are some basics that they should be able to answer:

What grade of stainless steel is this?
What type of plastic is this made from? Where is it manufactured?
Does this product contain phthalates, parabens, fragrance, BPA?
Is this toy (bath or not) PVC free?
What pesticide is used on this produce item?

If the person cannot answer your questions ~ don’t buy it.  Now finish this challenge.  Contact any of the store owners from this list of businesses and ask them the same questions.  I would bet a lot of money, they can answer your question, plus give you more than you expected:

Green Planet Parties
Healthy Kitchenware
H2Ox2
Kai Kids
Natural Pod
Nayla Natural Care
The Tickle Trunk

The list goes on, but you start here and receive top notch customer service and product knowledge.  You will never think again that getting Dollar Store bargains for these types of products is a good idea.  Dollar store priced stores have their place for certain types of products in my opinion; however, the health of your family is not an area they where they specialize and no price tag can be put on the future health of your children.

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Stainless Steel Alternative For Your Plastic Water Cooler

What a find!  Here is a stainless steel, plastic-free alternative for anyone missing their traditional plastic water cooler or dispenser. We’ve all used the plastic water coolers either located in a workplace office kitchen or as the drinking water system in our home.  These water coolers are top to bottom built with plastic and I’ve always wondered about the ‘filter’ within the system, not to mention the bottle containing the water might be made from polycarbonate plastic.  This is the type of number 7 plastic that leeches chemicals when used for liquids, gets broken down with use, or is heated.

It’s strange thinking back about paying to drink this ‘purified’ and ‘safe’ water.  My previous family doctor even told me not to drink tap water while pregnant.  Now in post-BPA world and reading about what water is actually the best to drink, tap water filter systems or just plain old tap water are proving to be the best bet.  Over the last year I know many friends after checking the recycling codes on their bottles and discovering they were coded 7, contacted the suppliers and found out the bottles did contain BPA.  For anyone with these traditional systems in your office or home, check what code is on top of the plastic bottle.  If it’s coded a number 7 (with the recycling arrows in a triangle around the number), you should call the company and check if it’s made from a polycarbonate plastic. If it is, this plastic is leeching BPA into your water.

Check out this practical and beautiful (!!) stainless steel system as a replacement.  Doesn’t it make you think cottage at the lake, Martha’s Vineyard?  Picture from Life Without Plastic site

The Life Without Plastic site lists this product as a liquid storage container for not only water but wine (hello!), honey, milk, oil, any type of liquid. What a wonderful piece to incorporate into entertaining company or a summer BBQ.  You can even fill it with tap water and let your family help themselves throughout the day.   This product called The Superfustinox is made and imported from Italy.  The European standards are the highest in the world for safety – nice to see a stainless steel product that isn’t being made in China.   A wonderful investment for summer time entertaining – I can speak from personal experience that wine tastes lovely from stainless steel.  <smile>

Available in fridge size (3 litre), medium (10 litre), and large (20 litre).  These stainless steel water storage systems sound and are functional but look romantic as images of the cottage (you may or may not own) come to mind.   Great find over at Life Without Plastic!

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