All posts filed under: Kids

Crayon Recycling, just drop them off where kids are

Crayon Recycling – To the rescue of restaurant crayons

Since we’re parents we’ve learned to eat quickly. The phase in which both of us can eat at the same time is usually short. Even in a restaurant, we’ll ingest our food like mad vacuum cleaners after a dust diet. In the beginning of our restaurant visit we’re a peaceful family but slowly and steadily we’ll turn into a chaotic pile of people. June will start singing ‘Let it go’ like we were in a huge Opera Theater, or stomp with her feet on the wall above her head, just to say ‘Mom, look what I’m doing!“. Her favorite words these days. And Mika wants what June is eating, grabs Dad’s knife, requests to be held by mommy. His arms turn into octopus tentacles. Who ever holds little Mika has to move everything on the table far away and can’t eat anymore.  We went to this restaurant in the Heights again. There was a painting sheet with crayons so that June didn’t think of dancing on the table and other fun things like that. So that’s …

Make brushing teeth fun for you toddler PLUS GIVEAWAY

There is so much value in this post: a toothpaste recipe and a fun GIVEAWAY of Jack n’ Jill’s cute toothbrushes! Brushing teeth can be really hard with kids. There is much other fun stuff to do for them. Therefore I want to share how we’re making it more fun for Juni (almost 3 years old). I’m not saying your child will all of the sudden love brushing teeth but I am confident that you can get your kid interested again in it when you let them make their own homemade toothpaste. Homemade toothpaste The toothpaste that we make was approved by two independent dentists, one of which is a pediatric dentist. Most important part of the toothpaste prep: I let my daughter June do the scooping and mixing. Here is the recipe: Yum Our homemade toothpaste is yummy AND good for teeth The toothpaste is sweet due to the xylitol. Feels a bit weird to add something sweet to a toothpaste but no worries: xylitol is tooth-friendly. It’s made from corn cobs or birch …

Connecting environment and grocery shopping for kids

The connection between our environment and our purchase decisions is easily overseen. But once you see the amount of trash that is bought with every regular grocery shopping tour, you can’t make it unseen. Since I realized how much garbage I was producing by buying packaged groceries I want to make this visible for everyone else too, especially kids. A package free grocery tour with my wonderful Hood River neighbors is a great start but now I also want to get my kids involved. As June is just 2,5 years old, I have to keep it simple for now. The environment is a too complex topic so outdoor places like the playground are our environment substitute. I made it a goal for me to pick up at least one piece of trash every time we’re there. What doesn’t seem to be something already has an effect: June picks up items that she identifies as trash and brings them to the trashcan, all by herself. Grocery shopping can be fun with kids (when they are not hungry or tired): shopping cart race with …

Toddler makes Body Scrub

Sensory fun gift manufactory: We’re making Zero Waste body scrub

Here is a sensory fun Zero Waste Gift making game for kids. I bought organic cane sugar and sea salt in bulk during the day and asked Juni in the evening if she wanted to help me make some body scrub for friends. She just loves helping and saw some shoveling fun coming up. So with a big grin she said, YES!! The ingredients for our body scrub: Sea salt (bulk) Organic cane sugar (bulk) Almond oil (glass bottle) doTerra essential oils 4 oz mason jars (can be reused for many other things) lots of spoons a large bowl If you don’t have bulk grocery shopping options close to you, see if you can find sea salt and sugar packaged in paper. This can be composted or recycled and would get you pretty close to Zero Waste. I still had the ‘We don’t want salt everywhere’ thought going on when we started so I placed the first mason jar in the big bowl to make sure most of the spilled salt would be caught in there. …

Make it pop

Rainy Sunday afternoons are great! We’re super busy in the kitchen. First we made some magical wet wipes, and then a delicious vegan snack: Cheesy popcorn  We took the recipe from gimmesomeoven.com. For the longer version including explanation of what nooch is, read there. The short version here.  Our Ingredients: 3 big Tablespoons coconut oil 1/2 cup popcorn kernels 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (nooch) 1-2 teaspoons salt Heat pot, add coconut oil, add 3 kernels, cover with lid. Wait till they popped. Add the remaining kernes. Give it a good shake every now and then. Pop! # Pop! ## Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop! ### And then be amazed that the large pot of which originally only the bottom was covered with popcorn kernels, is completely full with popcorn now. So good! Cheesy but vegan. Can’t stop munching. What are other good popcorn add-ons?  

Magical wet wipes

“Oh wow! You make your own wet wipes!” This sentence often comes with an awestruck look. I want to show you though, that it is super simple. So simple, even a toddler can do it. To be exact, June will show you in a second. The steps: Make a tea with camomile and calendula Let cool, strain, add some soap and olive oil Soak cotton wipes, fold and put in container Now, here comes June: Dang! That WAS easy, right?  That’s all the magic behind homemade wet wipes. Now you go and get yourself some bulk ingredients and make your own wet wipes, momma. It’s a great way to keep your little one busy on a rainy Sunday afternoon.

Homemade Pizza

Frozen pizza costs somewhere between 8 to 12 dollars or so. We’ve got three in the freezer and call them ’emergency pizza’, throw them in the oven when we’re super hungry and didn’t plan anything aka were surprised by how fast time went by and just realized how late it is due to a cranky toddler. Today, I was a better mom. At 10am I thought about homemade pizza. And I was again surprised how fun and easy it is to make pizza from scratch. How to make homemade pizza Dissolve 1 tablespoon active dry yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 cup warm water. Measure 3 cups all purpose flour and whirl 1 teaspoon of salt under, roughly. When yeasty water is bubbly, mix everything in the food processor or with a handheld mixer until a dough ball forms itself. Forget about it for a while (min. 1,5 hours). I got all ingredients packaging free in bulk. With lots of flour on kitchen counter surface and rolling pin make round pizza thingis and distribute tomato sauce over them. Plus …

Cubes for a better world

Ok, that’s a bit of a cocky statement. But what the heck…? You might know, that this blog started with the can challenge that I gave myself. I’m working on it. I’m already much better in cooking without cans now. I’m cooking from scratch, with lots of beans and veggies, mostly vegan and it’s much more fun. There are always recipes coming up that ask for canned ingredients. Mostly people seem to be used to canned stuff nowadays. There is never the equivalent mentioned of the un-canned version. For beans I found helpful ‘dry-beans-soaked-beans-converter’ online, here is one for example. One canned ingredient was kind of tricky though: canned pumpkin puree. Most recipes that I found online for pumpkin puree required a two million hour baking time for the pumpkin. Roughly. That plus the cooking or baking time of the actual dish always seemed to be too much of a hassle. Luckily I accumulated a lot of pumpkins from our weekly CSA box, didn’t know what to cook other than pumpkin soup and finally decided to make pumpkin …

Incredible coconut

Lets talk coconut. Coconut comes in different shapes, be it the brown nut that dad opened for us in summer for the thick coconut flesh as a snack, be it the young coconut that is cut open and enhanced with a splash of rum to a fabulous coco frio when you travel Central America, be it coconut oil, small coconut flakes, large coconut shreds, coconut flour…. I also find that coconut is a great helper in my efforts to reduce waste. There are so many things I can make myself with coconut or coconut oil for body care that can easily avoid packaging of tons of industrially produced things. But check out the list below of all the ways I’ve been using coconut for recently: Young coconut: Here is a short description of How to open a young coconut Milk from young coconut is a great drink, highly valued by my toddler Milk from young coconut replaces dairy in cooking and baking here every now and then, instead of packaged cow milk or vegan milk (packaged almond, rice, or hemp milk). Coconut …

Bulk life upgrade

You may remember, this blog started 6 months ago with a simple challenge, the can challenge. I wanted to cook without using canned stuff. At that point, I just had a bunch of dishes in my cooking repertoire which all contained at least one canned ingredient, and the variety of dishes was also not very big. Looking back, I think, that challenge was the starter of a really big life change.  Basti and I are now taking turns in being chef for the day. I cook lots of new dishes, entirely without canned ingredients, often without any packaging involved and when ever possible fresh and vegan. What’s different? We signed up for a csa farmers box from Hood River Organic. Every Wednesday a friendly person drops off a box with fresh veggies and fruits straight from local farms. While I was also trying to reduce the plastic packaging I more often chose products packed in glass jars. And then I realized that I could actually reuse those for food storage. Nowadays I can hardly wait patiently until …