Thursday, March 4, 2021

7 Tips For Eco-Friendly Laundry


7 Tips for Eco-Friendly Laundry
This post is in partnership with Samsung, but all opinions are my own.

If you've been reading here for a while, you know that living an eco-conscious lifestyle is extremely important to me. (If you're a new reader, here is my very abbreviated background: I grew up with eco-activist parents, I was president of my high school eco club, I interned for an environmental organization throughout college, I ran an eco-friendly clothing label for 15 years, and now I make it a priority to teach my kids concrete ways to respect and help the earth.) I've shared a lot of tips over the years for ways to be more sustainable in our daily lives, but I recently realized that I'd never shared one of the easiest ways to make earth-friendly choices at home: through our laundry. Today I'm sharing 10 tips for making an eco-difference, right in your laundry room.

7 Tips For Eco-Friendly Laundry

1. Use eco-friendly laundry detergent. 
Most commercial laundry detergents contain harsh chemicals like dyes, phosphates, and chlorine. In addition to their potential to irritate skin, they can be harmful to the environment. Thankfully, there are quite a few options for eco-friendly detergents today, and you can find them at most stores and/or online. Look for unscented and "free" detergents without dyes or toxins.

7 Tips For Eco-Friendly Laundry
7 Tips For Eco-Friendly Laundry

2. Choose an eco-friendly washer and dryer.
This is the most important tip! When we moved into our current home a couple of years ago, we quickly realized that neither the washer or dryer were working properly. We did a lot of shopping around, and ended up purchasing a Samsung AddWash™ Front-Load Washer and Samsung 7.5-cu Gas Dryer. They are genuinely our favorite appliances we've ever owned, and we have been absolutely thrilled with how well they work. And their eco-friendly features make them truly stand out. 

 First of all, ENERGY STAR certified washers use about 25% less energy and 45% less water than regular washers. (Front loading washers in general also use less water and are more eco-friendly than top loaders.) ENERGY STAR certified dryers use about 20% less energy than regular dryers. Our Samsung Home Appliances washer and dryer are both ENERGY STAR certified. Samsung AddWash™ Front Loader Washers like ours also feature energy-efficient motors, and have special eco-friendly technology that dissolves detergent even at low temperatures, allowing it to quickly penetrate fabrics while saving energy. Their size makes it possible to do large loads at once, saving both water and energy. And the AddWash™ door is a game changer - it allows us to throw in forgotten pieces of laundry during a cycle, so we can reduce our water and energy consumption by avoiding the need to do an additional load. We also love our Samsung 7.5-cu Gas Dryer's vent sensor, which detects duct blockages and reminds us to clean our vent, ensuring our clothes get dry more quickly, which results in less energy usage. It has Eco Normal and Eco Dry settings as well.

7 Tips for Eco-Friendly Laundry
Dryer Balls

3. Try dryer balls.
We used conventional dryer sheets for years, until I realized how many harsh chemicals they contain. I decided to try reusable dryer balls instead, and was considerably impressed at how well they work to soften clothes and reduce wrinkles. You can even add essential oils to the wool ones if you like your laundry to have a scent. And if you prefer dryer sheets or liquid fabric softener, there are earth-friendly options out there for those too.  

7 Tips For Eco-Friendly Laundry

4. Do full loads
There are plenty of times that my husband and I just want to get caught up on laundry and the temptation sets in to do a small load, but the best way to do laundry in an eco-conscious manner is to do large loads at once in effort to be less wasteful with water and energy. This is yet another reason I love our Samsung AddWash™ Front-Load Washer and Samsung 7.5-cu Gas Dryer. Their sizes allow for us to do large loads at once, and the AddWash™ door on the washer allows us to quickly add more laundry if we discover a few more pieces we need washed after a cycle has already started.

7 Tips for Eco-Friendly Laundry

5. Use non-chlorine bleach
Bleach works for removing tough stains from whites, but it's not good for the environment. There are many more earth-conscious products available, usually advertised as non-chlorine bleach. I have found that lemon juice actually works really well too. 

7 Tips For Eco-Friendly Laundry

6. Steam those stains. 
Pre-treating and stain remover products are usually filled with harsh chemicals that aren't earth friendly. Steaming is a great way to remove stains without any chemicals at all! This is another feature I love about my a Samsung AddWash™ Front-Load Washer - it uses the eco-friendly power of steam to remove stains. And it releases steam from the bottom of the laundry tub (most washers release from the top), which allows every item in the load to get saturated

7 Tips For Eco-Friendly Laundry

7. Wash clothes in cold water.
I choose the warm and hot water options on my a Samsung AddWash™ Front-Load Washer. when necessary, but the majority of the time I choose cold. (It even has an "Eco Cold" water setting!) Most of the energy used by washing machines is to heat water, so when you opt for cold, you're simply using less. (Cold water helps colors stay bold and bright too!)

7 Tips for Eco-Friendly Laundry
7 Tips for Eco-Friendly Laundry

If you're looking to green your laundry, I hope these tips prove useful. And I'd love to hear anything I might have missed!



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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

6 Ways to Make Family Game Night Extra Fun


Family Game Night
This post is in partnership with YumEarth

If you ask my kids what they'd like to do on a weekend evening, you'll receive one of two responses: conflicting ideas that result in an argument with each other (this includes movie night, which we love but means having to agree on a movie), or family game night. Playing games together for a couple of hours is truly the one activity everyone enjoys, and usually even without a fight (!). And since my husband hasn't been on tour with the band for the past almost year now, we've really mastered the family game night, let me tell you. Today I thought I'd share some ideas for how we make them especially fun (with minimal arguments!), with some help from our favorite game night treat: YumEarth organic and allergy friendly candy! (BTW: YumEarth is hooking you up with an exclusive code to get 15% off on YumEarth.com. You can use SWEETS15 from now until 4/30/21, and they always offer free shipping on all orders over $40. Pretty sweet!)
 

1. Take turns.
Yes, take turns in each game, of course, but take turns in all other aspects too. Take turns with who chooses the game. Take turns with who goes first. Take turns with who cleans up each game. (We usually write game names on folded pieces of paper and pick them out of a bowl.) Doing this makes things fair, helps avoid arguments, and also teaches etiquette and important social skills. 

Family Game Night

2. Bend the rules.
If your kids are older, you can probably ignore this one. But if they're little (mine are 5 and 7), making up your own rules can open up a whole new world of games for you. For example, my 5 year old doesn't really get Monopoly yet, so we change the rules to make it easier for him to be included. Doing this also keeps old games new and fresh!


3. Have favorite snacks on hand. 
We love a good bowl of game night popcorn, but our absolute favorite snack is (new!) Organic Chewys from YumEarth. Now, you guys already know how much we love all YumEarth organic candies. (Current other faves: YumEarth Organic Lollipops, YumEarth Organic Giggles, YumEarth Gummy Bears, and YumEarth Organic Chocolate Roll'n Stones.) But Chewys make for the absolute best game night treat. These delicious fruit chews come in orange, lemon (my favorite), strawberry (my kids favorite), and cherry, and are organic, non-gmo, gluten free, and vegan, which makes me feel good about giving them to my family. They also contain no high fructose corn syrup or artificial dyes and are allergy friendly (free from peanuts, gluten, tree nuts, milk, eggs, fish, shellfish and soy). Did I mention that they're individually wrapped, which makes them perfect to put in a bowl by the games so we can all enjoy?

Family Game Night
Family Game Night

4. Turn off electronics. 
With the exception of music, we make sure everything but the lights are turned off for game night. There is no TV, no tablets, or phones. My husband and I keep our phones on silent because we're the worst offenders! It's nice to be present and focused on the game and each other.


5. Mix it up. 
My kids got into the habit of wanting to play the same couple of games every game night for a while, and it started to get boring for all of us. We made a new "rule" that we can't play any of the same games two game nights in a row. Much more fun!

Family Game Night
Family Game Night

6. Cozy up!
In the winter especially, we love doing game night on blankets by the fire. It's more comfortable than sitting at a table, and it's the perfect excuse for snuggle time afterward. We love to end each game night with a cuddle session (we know those days are numbered as these babes get bigger) with a handful of our beloved YumEarth Chewys

Family Game Night
Family Game Night

If you have other tips for a successful family movie night, I'd love to hear them! And if you want a fantastic movie night snack that you'll feel good about giving to your family, visit YumEarth's store locator to find out where you can pick up their new Chewys, or shop online and use code SWEETS15 for 15% off your order of treats. I know you'll love this unbelievably tasty organic allergy friendly candy as much as we do!


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Monday, March 1, 2021

Easy Lunch Kabobs


Plant-Based Lunch Kabobs

I originally shared this recipe (if you want to call it a recipe) a couple of years ago, but I've started making them a whole lot lately as my daughter is hitting that period in the school year where she's getting bored with the same old lunch. (I'll admit we make her the same thing pretty much everyday.) They're incredibly easy to make and fun to eat. I have two versions I make: a savory sandwich version, and a sweeter fruit version.

Plant-Based Lunch-Kabobs, 2 Ways
 
Easy Lunch Kabobs
Serves 1

SANDWICH-KABOB INGREDIENTS
1 cheddar cheese stick or plant-based cheddar stick (I like Daiya brand) 
Bread 
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Romaine Lettuce

FRUIT-KABOB INGREDIENTS
1 mozzarella cheese stick or plant-based mozzarella stick (I like Daiya brand) 
Bread 
Strawberries
Grapes


Cut both cheese sticks into cubes. Cut bread into small squares. Cut romaine lettuce into small, foldable pieces. Cut the tops off the strawberries, and cut the tomatoes in half. For the sandwich-kabob, layer cheddar cubes, bread, tomatoes, and romaine lettuce onto a skewer and repeat until filled. For fruit kabobs, layer mozzarella cubes, strawberries, and grapes until filled.  

Plant-Based Lunch-Kabobs, 2 Ways
Plant-Based Lunch-Kabobs, 2 Ways

You guys already know how much I adore Daiya and their seriously delicious, better-for-you plant-based comfort foods, so it's probably no surprise that we've fallen in love with their new Deluxe Cheeze Sticks as well. Whether I'm making these kabobs or just throwing one in Essley's lunchbox, Daiya Cheeze Sticks are the perfect school lunch staple. Available in Cheddar Style and Mozzarella Style flavors, they're great for a quick snack on the way to activities too. They are also dairy, soy, and gluten-free, and a good source of calcium. And most importantly, both of my kids love them. (So do their parents!)

Plant-Based Lunch-Kabobs, 2 Ways
Plant-Based Lunch-Kabobs, 2 Ways

I admittedly eat these for lunch or snacks myself all the time. So good!



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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Lemon Mango Prosecco Spritzers


Mango Lemon Prosecco Cocktails

Yes, this is a summer inspired drink. Yes, summer is four months away. But I firmly believe that's even more reason it enjoy it now. This is such a delicious after dinner treat, and, when the weather finally does warm up, incredibly refreshing. It combines some of my favorite flavors too (lemon + prosecco). 

Mango Lemon Prosecco Cocktails

Makes 2 servings

INGREDIENTS
3 cups prosecco, chilled
1/2 cup mango sorbet
1 lemon
handful of blueberries

Pour the prosecco equally into two glasses. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze into each glass. (A strainer helps to catch the seeds.) Scoop 1/4 cup of mango sorbet into each glass. Top with blueberries. Serve immediately.

Mango Lemon Prosecco Cocktails
Mango Lemon Prosecco Cocktails
Mango Lemon Prosecco Cocktails

Maybe I'll put on a tank, cut off shorts, and flip flops next time I make these, then close my eyes and pretend I'm not surrounded by two feet of snow... Enjoy!


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