Save Your Egg Shells

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I have known the benefits of egg shells and been saving my egg shells for a while now. People when they come to my house wonder why I have the glass jar filled with egg shells and I am always left to explain to them why it is a good idea.

We use a lot of eggs in our house and we have a compost heap as well as lots of plants. So in an effort to get the most out of my scraps I knew I had to save my egg shells. Since I get asked so many times why save your egg shell? I figured I should research it more and share it with you here.

Why should you put egg shells in your garden?

Egg shells are very rich in calcium and all plants need calcium to grow. Some plants deplete calcium faster than others. Heavy rain and over watering can also wash away calcium from the soil making it more essential for you to replace.

How should I prepare and store my egg shells?

I keep my egg shells in a glass jar so they can dry out (do not put dirty or wet with egg yolk shells in the garden). Crush up the egg shells into tiny pieces. The smaller the pieces the easier it will be for it to breakdown and get the calcium into the soil.

How do I use them?

You can put the egg shells in the bottom of a planter this will help get the nutrients into the soil and right to roots. It will also help with drainage. You can also place the crushed egg shells in the bottom of a hole when you plant your flowers or vegetables or place around the stems of the plants.

Are there particular plants they work well with?

I have read that they work particularly well for peppers, tomatoes (helps prevent blossom end rot), broccoli, and cabbage. They also help deter slugs and cutworms (if you have a slug issue you can also put small saucers of beer in the garden, they will be attracted to that and no eat you plants).

What if I just want to compost them?

Make sure they are dry before you put them in your compost heap or bin. You can put them in as a larger pieces because your compost will work at a different rate.  I recommend that your compost be well balanced and rich in many nutrients so even if you use your egg shells in your planters and around your plants put some in your compost as well.

Now maybe when visitors to my house ask my why I save my egg shells I can give them the Barney Stinson response from How I Met Your Mother “Don’t you ever read my blog.”

Do you know any other plants that egg shells work well with?

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How to Pack a Green and Healthy School Lunch

It always amazes me how fast summer ends. Kids are heading back to school next week in parts of the country and there are some great things you can get to “green” your kids lunches:

Lunch box. Old Navy actually has some awesome metal lunchboxes, my daughter has a Hello Kitty “Go Green” one. Do not use a plastic one but a metal one or one made of recycled materials (follow the link for some cool bags).

Drinks: Do not waste money and resources by purchasing juice or milk boxes. Think of the packaging: Plastic straws, the plastic they wrap it in and the actual container. You can save money and control what they drink by putting your kids drinks in a reusable water bottle. For those of you who read my blog regularly you probably feel like this is a broken record but it makes a HUGE difference. This is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Klean Kanteen is king at our house we have a few in different colors!!! Be sure to pick stainless steel bottles not alumium (many alumium bottles have a thin plastic coating inside the bottle)

Utensils: Pack utensils for them. I carry a set around with me in my purse and it really helps me be green on the go. It is just as easy to put them into the dishwasher at night with the dinner dishes, their food containers, and their reusable water bottle.

Napkins: Pack a cloth napkin. Some kids may not go for this one… but see how they feel about it. Being green is in right now so they might be game for it. If you are crafty make them cool ones that their friends will be jealous of here is a great tutorial from The Purl Bee!

Containers: Do not put food in plastic anything (bags, containers…etc.). Find a reusable container to put these items in. I prefer the glass (check with your school to see if they have a “no glass” rule) and stainless steel containers. I use Lunchbots because even the tops are stainless steel and they last forever. Feel like you cannot part from the plastic bag? Go on Etsy and search for reusable lunch bags, there are so many amazing people there making cute bags for kids. If you eliminate plastic bags for an entire school year you have saved 180+ plastic baggies from the landfill and our ocean.

Food: I highly recommend The Lunch Box: Loaded with Fun, Healthy Meals to Go. It is a great book with tons of great recipes. I really love this book! The recipe for banana bread is perfect and they have so many other great ideas. I recently let my daughter flip through it and pick things out. The pictures are perfect.

Note: My Mom never did this but I am sure I will do it when my kids are old enough to read or at least appreciate my doodles! Paint the inside top of the lunch box with chalkboard paint and doodle something everyday, it does not always have to be lovey dovey it can be funny like a joke, random fact or some silly short story about when you were in school!

My most important recommendation is to buy a double set for each kid if you can. Sometimes your dishwasher just is not full at night or you forget. The fastest way to stop being green is to be lazy, it is commitment, so to meet yourself halfway if you get two of what you need and you will not have trouble sticking to it. Honestly you will save a ton of money in the long run.

Buy them organic and locally grown food. Even if it is just for a few weeks try to get to the farmers market before they go away for the winter and get some locally grown food.

Avoid prepackaged food. If you are going to give your kids pre-made food like Oreos buy the larger container and put an individual Oreo in a reusable bag. Beside the obvious packaging issues for the environment, think of your kids health.

My usual Lunchable rant: Really read the label of a Lunchable… it is a disgrace and we wonder why kids have health problems… Sorry I have VERY strong opinions about Lunchables you can easily make a healthier lunchable with a stainless steel lunch bot or bento box anyway!

Photo’s courtesy of Daily Voice, Kleen Kanteen, reusablebags.com, Go Lightly, Design Sponge, and Amazon.

Follow me on twitter @greenforu or Like me on Facebook Green4u blog

Home Made Baby Food… Good for Baby and the Planet

My Blogging friend Jessica at And Then There Were More was looking for guest bloggers as she prepared to give birth I jumped at the chance to help a fellow blogger out. Check out my post there about homemade baby food it is green (no packaging, natural, fresh, and cheap).

Please stop by her blog and give her some kind words of support she had a very difficult and complicated birth that almost cost both of them their lives but they are both doing VERY well. I am sure she would love to hear from you.

In a few months Jessica’s daughter Natalie will be ready to solid food so here is two baby food recipes my kids love.

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Awesome Lentils
1/2 small onion or 1/4 cut of finely chopped leeks
1 cup of carrots chopped
1 tbsp of vegetable oil or butter
1/4 cup of split red lentils
1 3/4 cups of sweet potato peeled and chopped
1 3/4 cups of of chicken stock (or water or vegetable stock)

Saute the onions and carrots in the oil until soft. Add the lentils and sweet potato and add broth. Bring to a boil and then turn heat down and simmer for 20 minutes. Puree in the food processor. This recipe freezes well and is HUGE favorite here

SPSP (Sweet Potato, Spinach and Peas)
1 1/4 tbsp of butter
3/4 cup of leeks finely chopped
1 sweet potato peeled and chopped
3/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of frozen peas
3 cups of fresh baby spinach (wash and remove stalks)

Melt butter and saute leeks in saucepan until leeks soften. Add the sweet potato and add water. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 7-8 minutes. Add peas and spinach and cook for 3 minutes (the spinach reduces in size significantly). Puree in food processor. This also freezes very well.