Waste Free Lunch – Why It Matters & What You Need to Pull it Off
There are a number or reasons for families to choose to send their children to school with a waste free lunch.
This video discusses some of the key reasons a waste free lunch might be the right choice for your family, and the tools you’ll want to have on hand to make lunch packing simple and efficient.
Waste Free Lunch Video
What are your families favorite healthy waste free lunch ideas?
Importance of Sleep For Children
Going back to school should not be just an excuse for kids to get new clothes and school supplies. Instead, say University of Alabama at Birmingham experts, it also should be a time to get them back to healthier sleep schedules.
Long summer days lend themselves to later nights and fewer hours of restorative slumber, something pediatricians say is especially necessary for kids to have to succeed upon their return to the classroom.
“From memory to judgment, attention span, emotional stability and even immunity, sleep deprivation negatively affects school-age children,” explains Kristin Avis, M.D., UAB assistant professor of pediatrics and a sleep specialist.
If you think your child is different and does not need the required amount of sleep, think again. Of children under the age of 18, 60 percent polled by the National Sleep Foundation complained of being tired during the day, and 15 percent reported they fell asleep at school. To curb the feeling, doctors say, get kids to bed early, starting before the bell rings on the first day back.
“About a week ahead of school starting, begin to back up their bed-time and wake-up times. This incremental change may start off rough, but it will get easier and ensure they are not miserable on their first day at school,” says Stephenie Wallace, M.D., UAB assistant professor of pediatrics.
Importance of Sleep: National Sleep Foundation Guidelines
How much sleep do your children require?
- 3 to 5-year-olds need 11 to 13 hours per night
- 5 to 12 year-olds need 10 to 11 hours each night
- Adolescents need at least 9 hours every night.
“As for adolescents, it’s a common myth that they need less sleep, and can handle only seven or eight hours, but they actually need nine hours of sleep. That’s typically the most sleep-deprived population in school,” says Avis.
A lack of one good night’s sleep can be made up for, Avis says, but going an entire school week without sufficient rest can be detrimental.
“You can sleep until noon on Saturday and feel caught up, but then you will go to bed later that night, sleep in on Sunday, and then have the cycle repeat itself into the new school week,” says Avis.
So the best bet is to make sure your child is getting suitable snooze-time every night. To guarantee their sleepy time is spent well, say both doctors, it is important to make kids’ bedrooms as tranquil as possible, which means getting rid of all those noise-makers.
Key Tips to Protect Valuable Sleep
- “On average, there are three to four electronic gadgets in a kid’’ room. It’s been shown that even sleeping with a television on deprives them of 20 minutes of sleep per night, which may not sound like a lot but adds up over a week’s time,” says Avis.
- “Cell phones are often used as an alarm clock, but for about five dollars you can invest in a real alarm clock so the phone can be turned off,” Wallace adds.
Via Newswise & University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Ms. Avis also is further examining what a bad night’s rest can do to a child. Working alongside David Schwebel, Ph.D., sleep deprivation and children’s pedestrian injury and general safety risk are being studied, with results expected by late 2011.
What steps have you taken to insure you protect the Importance of Sleep in your family?
Strategies for a Great First Day of School
Newswise —Kevin Storr
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – School looms on the horizon just like the sun. It is a warm, familiar sunset to ride into for some children. For others, especially children starting a new school or transitioning to a higher grade, it’s a desert sun bringing sweat and a dry mouth.
“Even though most children are anxious during a time of change, they can be quite happy and adjust to the new school within two weeks. But if a child does not adjust, there are issues beyond the transition,” says child-adolescent psychologist Vivian Friedman, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Friedman suggests these actions to ease your child’s transition:
3 Things to do Before the First Day of School
- Schedule a play date with a child from the new school
- Visit the playground during summer
- Take a tour of the school
The most important thing not to do is add to your child’s stress, Friedman says. Stay positive. Drop off and pick up on time. Do not cry when you leave. And do not compare them to other children. Remember, deep down, this behavior is who your child is.
“Character styles are persistent, not permanent. A child who approaches life with fear may also be a cautious adult,” says Friedman. “An easy-going child is likely to continue to approach life with a positive attitude. Help your child to see the glass half-full rather than half-empty. When a child has a negative view, after acknowledging how he feels, ask him how else he might view that situation or how someone else might see it.”
How does a parent know if a child is just discomforted or if they are truly traumatized?
Friedman says whining and threats to run away or harm oneself should be seen as symptoms of underlying issues. She says you need to “look for symptoms such as nightmares or other sleep disturbances, a return to bedwetting in a child who has not done so for a time, startle responses and generally anxious behavior. These are symptoms of trauma.”
Watch your child. If their emotional, behavioral or social behavior is out of the ordinary for longer than a couple weeks, you should consider seeking outside help.
What do you do to prepare for the First Day of School?
Parents everywhere are preparing to send their children back to school. In the US they are expected to spend 18 Billion dollars on back to school, an average of 563.49 per family with school aged children. Buying power like this can be influential. If parents make greener purchases, manufacturer’s will respond.
Some green these choices may be cost a little more, but many will actually save you money! Our children watch everything we do, so making green choices is a teaching opportunity too.
*Be sure to label your water bottles – they are pricier – so you’ll want a chance at getting them back if they get left behind!
School lunches are the second largest source of school waste (first is office paper) – 2.7 Billion juice boxes alone. If every family in the US sent their child with a waste free lunch, we would save 3.5 Billion Pounds of trash from going to our landfills or being incinerated.
The good news is that this is an area where you will save money, on average, almost $250 per year per child. If you work on one thing this back to school, make it your goal to send your child to school with waste free lunches. For more information check out www.wastefreelunches.org. Vow to stop buying prepackaged lunches and individual sized “convenience” packaging. I know it’s a little easier, but the alternative doesn’t have to be overwhelming. You just need a system.
* Prepare lunches the night before, so you aren’t in a rush during the morning.
* Buy reusable beverage containers and fill with water, milk or juice (it really is best to skip the juice).
* Buy healthy snacks in larger packages and use reusable containers to send them in lunches – I keep a stack of containers in the pantry next to the items to be packed so they can be gathered together quickly.
* Wash and prepare fruit and vegetable snacks once for the whole week, then just pull what you need into a container when preparing lunches.
* Use insulated metal containers for leftover pastas, soups or other warm lunches – bonus using leftovers reduces waste saving money and the children get a warm lunch too.
* Use sandwich containers for… uh… oh yeah… Sandwiches. They don’t have to go in plastic wrap!
* Read my posts on plastics so that you understand the numbers and can choose carefully or better yet, avoid entirely. Safest way to use plastics, understanding the plastic numbering system.
As a bonus – lunches can be much healthier when you pack them yourself and avoid prepackaged options – you don’t even want to know all the %*# they put in pre-packaged food!
Note – we only use plastic for dry snacks & sandwiches – not for items that need to be reheated.
If I could do it again I would select stainless steel containers!
* When shopping for paper products look beyond the recycle symbol – Ideally you want a product that contains 100% post consumer waste.
* Avoid Binders and other products made with PVC’s.
* Look for products made with recycled material, scissors, pencils, notebooks – these days it’s all available.
Buy School Supplies from eco friendly companies like:
Treesmart – they make both Plain and colored Pencils with 100% recycled newsprint they also make pens and rulers out of recycled content, shipping is included in their pricing.
Sustainable Group – they make school and office supplies out of 100% post consumer content and have a great corporate ethics – their back to school kit is $39.99 with shipping.
Product review and Giveaway coming soon from both Treesmart & Sustainable Group!
Avoid products that look cool on the surface, but dig a little deeper and the romance ends. Products like Smencils that are made of recycled newspaper, but are scented (scents are largely unregulated and can contain toxins) and the pencils are packaged in plastic tubes creating more waste.
Better Back to School – Clothing and Shoes
By Tania Reuben
myEarth360.com was founded by Lynn Hasselberger in 2008. It is a website dedicated to bringing consumers products that enable them to easily transition to an earth friendlier lifestyle while educating them at the same time.
Lynn’s story began a couple of years earlier in 2006 on her sons entry to first grade. As she looked around her son’s school, went to soccer games and attended school functions, she realized that she was in the epicenter of the “eco battle”. Flats of water, Gatorade, juice boxes, and single serve lunch snacks. A generation being raised in an environment where convenience trumps all. Her goal became to raise awareness and offer solutions.
The I Count for my Earth campaign was born. Launched at Lynn’s son’s school in January 2008, this school program–FREE to schools–was designed with the goal of empowering students to take care of the earth and inspire others to do the same.
Lynn’s website, myEarth360 shares the eco-friendly products she uses with others. Offering:
eco-practical; household products, school supplies, water filtration, reusable shopping bags.
eco-chic; handbags & accessories made from recycled materials, Rain Tees illustrated by children living in endangered rain forests and sustainable fashion.
While visiting myEARTH, don’t forget to check out her blog. It is a further extension of her passion for issues that impact the earth and our children’s health; a platform to not only help others take small steps through personal (often humorous) stories about her own family’s journey, but to motivate others to use their voices to help make change on a global level. She helps other organizations like End Water Poverty, Green House Neutral Foundation and Save The Frogs spread their word via social marketing.
To give back even more, myEARTH360.com offers the Shop and Share program to schools and non-profit organizations –a virtually effortless, paperless ongoing fund-raiser that also helps raise awareness in the communities.
Lynn recently sent me a few of her wares to try out.
SKOY cloth – An ultra absorbent 100% biodegradable cloth made of cotton and wood-pulp cellulose. Keep fresh by tossing it in the dishwasher or mircrowave.
Refresh’n Dryer Towel – Think chemical free Dryel.
Crayon Rocks – Super cute rock shaped crayons that are not made with petroleum and have a tripod grip (perfect for little hands). A great stocking stuffer!
Grow a Note Cards – Plantable Greeting Cards – handmade in San Diego, CA. How fun is that!
Ready to Check out myEARTH360.com for yourself?
The winner of the $50 gift certificate is Benita G! Congratulations check your inbox!
HOW TO ENTER:
There are a few ways you can enter, leave separate comments for each entry.
Become an Email Subscriber to PND using the form in the sidebar.
– The subscription must be confirmed. You will receive and email that you must reply to for your entry to be valid.
– Already a confirmed Subscriber. Complete any one of the additional entries options – Leave a comment letting Diva know you’re subscriber name and the entry option you selected.
1. Go to myEarth360 and tell PND what you would do with your $50 gift certificate.
2. Stumble, Digg, or Technorati favorite this post. Leave a comment with your name and the link.
4. Become a Fan of Pure Natural Diva & myEARTH360. Post this giveaway as an update, leave your FB Name or Name with a copy of your update in a separate comment. One entry for each.
5. Tweet this giveaway. Copy and paste “Diva Giveaway: Win a $50 Gift Certificate from myEARTH360 http://bit.ly/22PECh @purenaturaldiva”. Then come back and leave the direct link to your tweet (go to your twitter account, click on the words when your tweet was sent (ie. 5 seconds ago) and copy and paste that link in comments.
6. Write a post on your blog linking to my blog and to the – Good for two entries. Leave this comment twice so you get both entries!
This giveaway will run through midnight on December 3, 2009 PDT, with winner being announced December 5, 2009. Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 24 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen.
Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S & Canada!
By Tania Reuben
Tree Smart is a company based in Oregon that makes something useful out of old newspapers. They turn it into a myriad of products, most notably pencils! They make both regular pencils & mini-colored pencils. As well as rulers and pens.
Evey 2 foot stack of newspapers they use manufacturing their products saves one pine tree.
Tree Smart recently sent me a few to try out. They were great. They write nicely, sharpen and have erasers on top, just like any other pencil .
The mini colored pencils the colors were comparable to others I’ve used and are about the size of a regular crayon.
The Tree Smart Pen looks and feels like a cardboard tube and fared better when handled with wet hands than I thought they would – the water dried and it looked as good as new in minutes. A small piece of smooth bamboo makes the pocket clip which is a little larger than it’s plastic counterparts, but didn’t get in the way when writing.
There products also make great promotional items ~ through September 30, 2009 they are offering free set up for custom art with a minimum 1000 piece order.
All in all – I can’t think of why I’d ever need a pencil made from a tree again!
Treesmart has agreed to give a lucky reader a $15 dollar gift certificate.
Wait – there’s more…
Earlier this year I was invited to sit in on a round table with PBS and the Creator of Super Why, Angela Sontomero.
In general I’m pretty strict in the quantity and quality of the shows I allow the kidlette’s to watch. We typically limit TV time to Saturday mornings and perhaps one or two other times a week they will talk Dad into turning on a show. We use a DVR, which is great for bypassing all the promos!
Super Why is an excellent programming choice for parents who want to instill reading in their children. The makers of the show actually create the curriculum they want to covered in an episode and build the show around the curriculum. More typically, a lesson is squeezed into the storyline somewhere.
Both my 2 year and 4 year old love the show and it has given us an additional forum to discuss reading skills. My daughter is constantly telling me what letters various words start with. That’s what I love about this show, it instills the desire in your children ~ they want to learn more and will start asking you questions about words and letters. Super Why music is also the top music request in the car! Check out the Super Why Three Little Pigs ONLINE now.
Check out some of the Super Why interactive games online.
The show’s creators and Super Why also created a reading camp curriculum that has been used around country. The one week camp has had a measurable improvement in attendees reading skills. PBS & Super Why are sharing the curriculum materials at no cost, so you can create your own camp…. on your own or with a few other families. CLICK HERE TO LEARN MORE.
PBS has agreed to give a lucky reader a Super Why DVD ~ Goldilocks and the Three Bears & Jack and the Beanstock.
WINNER – Jess – Has been notified and has 24 hours to claim her prize!
$15 TreeSmart Gift Certificate & Super Why DVD!
HOW TO ENTER:
There are a few ways you can enter, leave separate comments for each entry.
Become a Email Subscriber to Pure Natural Diva using the form in the sidebar.
- Already Subscriber. Leave a comment letting me know you’re an email subscriber and have completed any one of the additional entries options.
1. Go to www.treesmart.com – tell PND what you would use your gift certificate towards.
2. Stumble, Digg or Technorati Favorite this post. Leave a comment with your name and the link for each. Leave a separate comment for each entry.
3. Follow @purenaturaldiva on twitter (use link on the sidebar). Tweet this giveaway. Copy and paste “@PureNaturalDiva – Diva Giveaway Super Why DVD plus $15 Tree Smart Gift Certificate http://bit.ly/15T1xD”. Leave your twittername & tweet link in comment.
4. Become a Fan of Pure Natural Diva on Facebook and post this giveaway as an update, leave your FB Name or Name with a copy of your update in a separate comment. One entry for each.
5. Add the Pure Natural Diva Button to your Blog. Grab the code from the Sidebar. Come back and leave a comment that includes a link where the button is located.
6. Write a post on your blog linking to my blog and to either PBS or TreeSmart website – Good for two entries. Leave this comment twice so you get both entries!
This giveaway will run through midnight on Sept 30, 2009 PDT, with winner being announced the morning of October 2, 2009. Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen.
Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S
By Tania Reuben
Looking for the ultimate in sustainable back to school supplies? Look no further than The Sustainable Group’s Back to School Kit.
They offer a Green Back to School Kit for $39.99 (shipping included) that contains:
(1) 1.5” ReBinder recycled 3 ring binder
(2) ReBinder replacement covers
(6) RePouch recycled slash pocket dividers
(6) RePocket eco-friendly pocket folders
(2) ReWrite 8×10 recycled notebooks with lined paper
(2) ReWrite 8×10 recycled notebooks with graph paper
(2) ReWrite 5×8 Recycled notebooks with blank paper
(3) ReMark eco-pens
(6) ReSleeve recycled CD sleeves
(3) RePlay recycled CD cases
Not having school aged children myself, I enlisted a few people look it over. A mother of two high school girls, a seventeen year old boy (senior), a twelve year old boy and a school teacher.
The kids all loved the covers – they thought it would be fun to customize the look of their binders with drawings & doodles. Even the toughest audience – the high school senior though it was “cool”. They were all excited to learn why this was a better product for the environment too.
The twelve year old liked that the binder dividers were angled, so contents placed in the folders would stay put.
The teacher and the mother were concerned about how the binder (ReBinder as they call it) would hold up to the rigors of school life. So I investigated further and found out the ReBinder is made with chipboard that is 100 points thick 25-40% thicker than standard Binders on the market as a result you can expect it to be more durable.
When the ReBinder eventually succumbs to the wear and tear your student puts it through, don’t despair. There are 2 replacement covers, unscrew the old one, put the new one on, and you have a brand new binder. When you use up the covers in your kit, you can order more.
When the covers are done, they aren’t only recyclable, they’re compostable too! It is difficult to recycle conventional binders at all – due to how difficult in is to separate the rivets and vinyl from the chipboard and you certainly can’t put them in the compost.
When doing a cost comparison between this Back to School kit and other supplies, be sure to remember that with the covers it’s as if you are getting 3 binders, not 1.
How green are they? The ReBinder, Dividers, Folders, CD cases are 100% Recycled fibers. They are also FSC certified. This is a company that is doing their best to be part of the solution and they have a great line of eco friendly products to go with their mission. The Sustainable Group has been an innovator in sustainable office supplies since 2003 and their products are used by companies like MTV, NIKE and Home Depot.
Now that you’ve read all about their great Back To School Kit, I’m sure you’d like one! The Sustainable Group has agreed to give one lucky PND reader!
HOW TO ENTER:
There are a few ways you can enter, leave separate comments for each entry.
Become a Confirmed Email Subscriber to PND.
- Confirm the email in your Inbox – check junk mail folder.
- Already a confirmed Subscriber. Leave a comment letting me know you’re subscriber and would like to enter.
1. Go to www.sustainablegroup.net – find a cool fact about their company and their green efforts and share it in a separate comment.
2. Stumble your favorite Pure Natural Diva post. Leave a comment with your name and the article you stumbled.
3. Follow @purenaturaldiva and @rebinder on twitter (use link on the sidebar). Leave your twittername in a separate comment.
4. Become a Fan of Pure Natural Diva on Facebook, already a fan – post this giveaway as an update, leave your FB Name or Name with a copy of your update in a separate comment.
5. Tweet this giveaway. Copy and paste – @PureNaturalDiva – Green Back to school Giveaway – $40 Eco Friendly back to school kit – http://bit.ly/37P7Zr. Then come back and leave the direct link to your tweet (go to your twitter account, click on the words when your tweet was sent (ie. 5 seconds ago) and copy and paste that link in comments.
6. Write a post on your blog linking to my blog and to the Sustainable Group website – Good for two entries. Leave this comment twice so you get two entries!
This giveaway will run through midnight on Sept 2, 2009 PDT, with winner being announced the morning of Sept 3, 2009. Winner will be chosen using Random.org from all valid entries and notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours to contact me before another winner is chosen. Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.
Check out more Green Back to School Tips!