Stasher Bags Review for back to school

School will be starting soon and lunches will need to be packed again. I’m so not ready! I do not like using the disposable plastic bags so I have a set of these Stasher silicone reusable bags. They close easily and tightly with their self loc feature; and comes in all different sizes for an endless number of uses. They are dishwasher safe and can be used again and again. We’ve never had an issue with them leaking.

You can also get larger 1/2 gallon sizes, including a stand up version, to store produce in the fridge or freeze items. And smaller sizes perfect for on the go snacks or keeping a pacifier clean in the diaper bag. And Stasher go that can clip to a bag and perfect to fit a phone, so perfect for the pool or beach to keep your phone clean and dry.

The zipper part can be a little hard to open so practice with your kids before sending their lunch in these. The sandwiches size is perfect for typical bread size but wider sizes, like some organic bread brands, may need the edges trimmed to fit the bag. They obviously are a little bulkier than disposable baggies, but we haven’t had an issue.

Stasher bags are made from food grade platinum silicone. Platinum food-grade silicone is safe for use in the freezer, microwave, dishwasher, boiling water, soups vide, and oven up to 400 degrees F. Stasher also participates in 1% for the Planet. They are BPA and phthalate free.

This Stasher starter set is great to test out the different sizes.

I love my Stasher Bags and plan to add even more to my collection.

This post contains affiliate links, however, the views expressed here are my own. This was not a paid review. I’m reviewing a product I purchased myself.

Stay Healthy Day 31: Why you should avoid dryer sheets and harmful laundry detergent

Healthy Steps 31:

1. Switch to natural detergents and stain removers. Natural products are typically plant-based, biodegradable surfactants that do NOT contain fragrances, dyes, optical brighteners, or chlorine bleach. It can be hard to spot the bad actors, just be diligent about reading the fine print on packaging when shopping!

2. Consider making your own laundry products. The only real way to know what’s going into your laundry is to create your own formulas. The good news is that your pantry is probably stocked with a lot of ingredients that are naturally safe for the environment – such as vinegar, lemon juice, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. (You can also use essential oils to add that fresh scent you love!)

3. Rethink dryer sheets and fabric softeners. For the most part, these are made with the same chemicals as popular detergents and can be harmful for both human health and the environment. Instead, opt for eco-friendly dryer sheets or dryer balls. Specifically, consider using wool dryer balls because they effectively separate clothes, allowing hot air to circulate more evenly and efficiently, which then reduces drying time by 10-25%.

4. Keep it cool. Almost 90% of a wash machine’s energy consumption is used just to heat the water. The solution: Turn that dial to cold.

5. Wash full loads. If you run your washing machine or dryer with only half a load of clothes or dishes, you’re not maximizing efficiency. (Same thing goes for when you clean dishes in your dishwasher!) According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical household can save 3,400 gallons of water a year by running full laundry loads instead of half loads. This is not only eco-friendly but will also help you save BIG on your utility bills.

6. Use energy-efficient machines. If you’re in the market for a new washer and/or dryer, consider getting a more efficient model to help save water and energy.

7. Hang clothes to dry. The bottom line is that keeping your clothes out of a dryer extends their life, reduces energy use, and cuts costs. Line drying – whether indoors or outdoors – is something that you can do year-round.

Read more here:

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Stay Healthy Day 23: What is grounding?

Let’s get grounded!

Grounding or earthing is a therapeutic activity involving certain activities to “ground” or electrically reconnect you to the earth. Relying on earthing science & grounding physics to explain how electrical charges from the earth can have great effects on your body, grounding can have many many benefits to ones body.

This can be done for inflammation, cardio diseases, muscle damage, chronic pain, & mood. According to one review study, the theory is that the practice affects living matrix, which is the central connector between living cells. Electrical activity exists in this matrix that functions as an immune system defense. This is very similar to antioxidants. It is believed that through grounding, the bodies natural defenses can be restored.

There are several types of grounding such as walking barefoot, lying on the ground, being immersed in water, & using grounding equipment. So get out there and run barefoot, lay under the stars, & jump into that lake.

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Stay Healthy Day 21: Avoid air fresheners

Air fresheners have been used for decades to mask unpleasant smells. They come in a variety of forms from aerosols to gels. Most contain a variety of various fragrances and essential oils. Fragrances are chemical compounds that have pleasant odors and essential oils are naturally occurring oils that typically come from plants.

Despite the fact that these scents have become increasingly popular throughout history, there is an increasing amount of concern for their effects on ones health. These air fresheners release VOC’s or Volatile organic compounds. VOC’s are a type of chemical that turns into a vapor and/or gas at room temp. It is thought that health problems arise from the chemicals and their secondary pollutants which form when said chemicals combine with the ozone that’s already in the air. They also contain a host of other toxic chemicals such as benzene, formaldehyde, toluene, mp-xylene, phthalates, and more. The air inside of our home can actually be more toxic than the air outside of the home due to these air fresheners and many other harmful home products such as cleaning agents.

These fresheners can cause problems from unintentional burns due to the flammable effects of them when ignited by a nearby flame, skin irritations when coming into contact with them, allergic type reaction, redness/irritation to the eyes, coughing, choking, or difficulty catching ones breath, & toxicity from minor mouth irritation to life threatening effects when ingested.

Recently, researchers have linked repeated exposure to cancers-from the formaldehyde in them, neurotoxicity, and effects from endocrine disruption. Headaches and respiratory problems are also major side effects from exposure. The VOC’s talked about earlier, have been shown to combine with the ozone already in the air to make the secondary pollutants also discussed earlier. These include: formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, acetone, picric acid, and methyl vinyl ketone. These chemicals also have been known to stick to objects in the home such as furniture and are then re released into the air long after the smell is gone.

So how do we get the same pleasant effects without the use of such harmful products? How can we rid our homes or work spaces of the odors we bought the air fresheners for? For one, get to the bottom of the smell. Find the source of this unpleasant odor and properly deal with it. If you are unable to find the source of the smell, try leaving small bowls of baking soda around the home to absorb the odor. This is the same concept as having the bowl of baking soda in your refrigerator. The baking soda doesn’t just mask the smell, it actually absorbs it so you are getting rid of it entirely vs just covering it up. You also need to make sure all appliances are properly ventilated so as not to have lingering smells from cooking. Open the windows or doors while cooking to let the smells out and the fresh air in.

A great way to combat air quality is with greenery. Fill your home with plants like the spider plant, snake plants, or peace Lillies. These plants naturally filter the air in your home. When cleaning, make sure your vacuum has a HEPA filter that will suck up settled particles vs spreading them around causing recirculation. Regularly clean your home, especially areas that can cause smells such as toilets and sinks. This prevents the smell before it even has a chance to start.

Finally, if you’ve tried all the above and then some, but still want that fresh autumn scent or that crisp spring smell floating around your home, try natural alternatives. DIY your own “air fresheners.” Make your own sprays with safer ingredients such as essential oils. Take fruits, herbs, and spices and put on the stove to simmer for a potpourri like effect. Get creative with your DIY. There are tons of recipes and websites out there with helpful tips to choose from. Below, you’ll find one of my favorites for fall.

Autumn Spice: simmer apple cider on the stovetop with a cinnamon stick, orange slices, & cloves.


Toxic Chemicals in Air Fresheners

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Natural mosquito treatment for your yard

Do you treat your yard for mosquitoes?

Do you know that most main stream mosquito control companies use chemicals that are harmful to bees and other pollinators? The bee population is already on the decline and they are one of the major pollinators that help us maintain our food supply. This is why it’s very important to me to use methods that will be pollinator friendly.

If you don’t mind doing the treatment yourself, it can be done very easily, it just requires some time. I use mosquito barrier, a garlic-based mosquito repellent. I have my own sprayer and spray all of my bushes, tree trunks, low hanging leaves, and even the grass. It is very affordable. Some pest control companies may use a garlic-based product like mosquito barrier. If you do not want to do the work yourself, find a mosquito company near you that uses a garlic-based spray. This will keep away mosquitoes but be friendly to bees and other pollinators.

There are also plants that repel mosquitoes and other pests. I have not yet tested the effectiveness of this method but they will be going in my landscaping when we do our backyard. These plants include citronella lemongrass, rosemary, marigolds, lavender, eucalyptus, catnip, mint, lantana, fennel, basil, and thyme.

Mosquito dunks are also helpful and can be broken in 4 pieces and tossed up on the roof/in the gutters, to kill mosquitoes in the standing water in the gutters. These dunks can be tossed into ponds, fountains and any other standing water feature.

Murphy’s Mosquito Sticks are also good at helping repel mosquitoes. These are an incense type stick you put in the ground and light. So if you have young ones, you may want to keep this out of reach or avoid this option.

Wearing light colored, full length, light weight clothing is helpful, especially for infants too young for repellent. Natural repellents like Badger Bug Balm or Earthley’s Pest Aside are great to apply.

These are my go-tos! Have you tried any of these?

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Natural non-toxic insect repellent

With the warm weather here, the bugs are out!

But don’t be too quick to grab a store-bought bug spray. Almost all contain DEET, which is a toxic ingredient and better kept off your skin.

Luckily, safer natural options do exist!

Did you know about these risks?

Deet is the most effective and widely used insect repellent but it has many harmful effects like:⁠

  1. The use of it with children can cause seizures and can increase their risk of WNV infection.⁠
  2. Deet has the potential to cause effects on pregnant mamas with the development of the fetus.⁠
  3. The chemical ingestion of deet causes a peak plasma level in the body, causing toxic effects like seizures, hypotension, & coma.⁠
  4. For many people deet can cause skin reactions and allergic reactions like redness, rash, swelling, & hives (especially if applied for an extended amount of time). ⁠

⁠Have you tried a natural bug spray or repellent? If so, comment below your favorite ones?

I have used Badger Anti-Bug Balm and this year using Earthley’s Pest Aside (I love the smell!)

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The oil spill that started Earth Day

The oil spill that started Earth Day…

The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 spewed an estimated 3-million gallons of crude oil into the ocean, creating an oil slick 35 miles long along California’s coast and killing thousands of birds, fish and sea mammals.

Following the spill, the region became ground zero for some of the most significant conservation efforts of the 20th century.

The Jan. 28, 1969, blowout was caused by inadequate safety precautions taken by Unocal, which was known then as Union Oil. The company received a waiver from the U.S. Geological Survey that allowed it to build a protective casing around the drilling hole that was 61 feet short of the federal minimum requirements at the time.

The resulting explosion was so powerful it cracked the sea floor in five places, and crude oil spewed out of the rupture at a rate of 1,000 gallons an hour for a month before it could be slowed.

It was the worst oil spill in the nation’s history – until 20 years later, when the Exxon Valdez dumped 11 million gallons of crude off the coast of Alaska.

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