Friday, July 27, 2007

Un-Green Addictions - Please Help!

I have several addictions, shall I call them, that are quite un-green. Here are five of them in no particular order. I welcome suggestions or alternatives:

1) Addicted to Ziploc bags. For snacks. For clean diapers. For dirty diapers. For paperwork I don't want to get wet. For clothes that are already wet. I am addicted to Ziploc bags.

2) Television. Not me. My children. Or shall I say, I have *let them* become addicted to television. Can I make some excuses? My children, when they are in my home, do not watch television unless it is PBS Kids. Otherwise, they watch videos of television progams. When do they watch these shows? At 5:30 a.m. when they are up and I am basically not. During food preparation time (lunch and/or dinner). When they have had an extremely active day and want to chill out. I also happen to think that they do learn some important things from television. I know there are quite a number of you, like The Not Quite Crunchy Parent, who have some excellent reasons *why* children, especially those under two, shouldn't watch television. I don't want to start a debate - I am looking for ideas for television alternatives, especially when it comes to providing children with "down" time and/or some unsupervised play ideas for two children under three. (Although, just to show me up, my children are quietly drawing as I blog this.) I need more than, "Try books." or "How about coloring pages." I would like to know exactly how you utilize these methods; what's your story?

3) The Buying of the Lunch. Not only is this a money-waster, but when I purchase my lunch from the cafeteria at work, whether it be from the hot food line or the salad bar, it comes in a single-use only plastic container. I can't help thinking as I toss the packaging I just purchased 15 minutes prior, "And so ends the life cycle of the food storage container." Waste. Reasons why I don't make my own lunch: sheer laziness and a rush out the door in the a.m. I am addicted to the buying of the lunch.

4) Kraft Singles: Not just Kraft singles, but several other foods that are not just "convenient" but in my mind have some kind of memory associated with them. Grilled cheese just tastes better with Kraft singles. Individually wrapped slices be damned. What's your "comfort" product?

and finally

5) McDonalds. There. I've said it. McDonalds, McDonalds, McDonalds. I have created my own monster. It's my fault. The children like the french fries and those G-d-forsaken toys from China. I need your help. Do you have a "special" (do you "think" I use the "emphasis" quotes "enough"?) treat for the kids when you're on the road that diverges a bit from your everyday fare?

Update: I have to share some link love immediately after seeing Mom Go Green's latest post. Prepare to be amazed.

Update to the Update: Is it Sailboats Made of Recycled Materials Week and I wasn't told about it? Look at this awesome offering from SusieJ.


MC Milker said...

LOL - I think most of us crunchy types will admit we aren't completely green! I DO advocate no TV for those under 2 but, that's a goal...not an edict and my DS too watched some, mostly at relative's houses, prior to age two!

At 5, he watches occasional videos - mostly National Geographic or movies produced prior to 1975 when I urgently need to get something done! We do not have broadcast or cable TV - so "watching a show" is a non-issue.

Otherwise, when I just need a break he listens to story CDs
(Classical Kids CDs, and classics from the library), looks at his mountain of books or makes up elaborate stories with his Playmobil figures...which I do not think he would be able to do had he spent much time in front of the TV when younger.

It was tough though until he was about 3 and finally developed an attention span. My friends with several children find it easy to avoid TV by having them play with each other...if they have been TV kids, it does take a while for the whining to stop...but they do figure it out.

I think providing lots of open ended toys helps as do lots of books, CDs and drawing materials! i hope some of these ideas work for you.

I enjoy reading your blog!

Gift of Green said...

Thank you so much!!! I think you have hit the nail on the head when you write "I do not think he would be able to do had he spent much time in front of the TV when younger." Unfortunately, I have let them spend time in front of the TV and now I kind of need to de-program them from the TV programs! LOL! I will make an effort to encourage playing, instead of TV watching. After all, it is *me* who's turning on the television. I think the story CDs might be a hit with my kids - I'll have to try that idea out. Maybe some comfortable seating for them like bean bag chairs might provide a cozier, more inviting place for them to read, which they love to do anyway. Thanks so much for visiting - I'm glad I saw this topic addressed on your blog.

SusieJ said...

Yes -- ziploc bags. I gave up trying to not use them. They save me so much space in the freezer, and time.

McDonalds - NO WAY!! I usually feel so bloated after I eat there.

I run my washer too much.

And I'm buying Activa yogurt -- I know it's a waste of packaging -- but it's great for quick meals for the kids.

And ... chicken broth. I use it all the time.

Anonymous said...

o.k. second attempt to post. my two cents on the TV thing: I keep it in perspective. My 4 yr old has been addicted lately but he's also the first one to say "let's shut it off". and if I say, "let's go (fill in the blank with most anything)" he generally hops off the couch and we are on to the next activity. sure he loves his tv but he also plays great with his brother, loves to read, loves to play teacher and a roll of tape can keep him occupied for a very long time. In short, I'm not too worried in the long run. RD

Renee said...

Last sprint we did the TV turnoff week thing. I was hard. Hard. Hard. Hard! But I felt like I was in need of a 12-step program. We really needed to do it. We got this book on how to draw animals and I had my DD5 sit next to me and draw pix while I "computered" and my other DD napped each day (this was the normal TV free-for-all time). After the long hard week, I realized the hard part was over. And I wasn't going back. So now I let them watch 30 min a day which they usually pick at 7am to watch Curious George on PBS Kids. Works for me, as I actually can enjoy a cup of coffee. And that's it. They don't really ask or wheedle for more TV. Now that they are off the tube, they also can entertain themselves better. Ellen Currey-Wilson -- who lives near us and I met -- wrote a book "The Big Turnoff" and I'd recommend it. Like many things, it's harder to think about than actually do.

As far as McDeath, I read Fast Food Nation, and that was enough for me. We are also blessed with a cool semi-fast diner here in Portland called Burgerville that is committed to sustainable, local, etc., but also makes killer burgers with local grass-fed beef. Local potatoes. Etc. Try to find an alternative if you can.

OK, can't remember any of the other 5, so I'll stop here :-)

Gift of Green said...

Thank you, ladies for all your advice. I feel like I just had you all over for coffee! Last night instead of turning on Dora when they asked for it, I printed out some coloring pages from NickJr. instead and they were very happy with those drawing with their colored pencils at their litle table. I think roll of tape might have done the trick too, RD. SusieJ, you crack me up...what is wrong with chicken broth, exactly? Am I missing something? : ) Renee, I am curious about The Big Turnoff and will check it out from the library.

Stacey@Look, Mom, Look! said...

Ziploc Bags: I just try to reuse them as much as possible. Like when I just put dry cereal or crackers in them for snacks for the kids. I have also tried to put stuff into plastic reusable containers. They are still plastic but at least I use them a zillion times.

As for TV. My kids also probably watch a little too much TV. It's hard when they are tired but it's not time for naps/bed...on goes the tv for a little rest. Or if it's early morning. I am DEFINITELY not a morning person. I need a good couple cups of coffee before I can entertain anyone.
As for my love affair with McDonald's cheeseburgers. I also read Fast Food Nation and now I literally get sick if I eat my favorite combo #2. Talk about a psychological deal on that. It grosses me out now. I am still mourning my loss but it's overall better for my health. Of course, my trips to Taco Bell are not any healthier but I haven't read a ton of info specifically about their food/business, so that's still on my "want/need" list.
Michigan is so behind in the overall "healthy eating out" category (just look at our obesity stats), that it's frustrating to try to eat healthy on the go.

I waste a ton of water at my house and that's what I need to work on next. It will be hard because I love taking baths to relax, my kids all take baths and we have tons of laundry to do. Let me know if you come across any good water saving tips that are family friendly.
I guess we are all green works in progress :)

Heather @ said...

Definitely try reusable plastic containers. I think it's kind of like breaking an old habit, but once you start using them it just becomes more natural. Then you use fewer ziplocs, thus don't need to buy them as often. I definitely use ziplocs for stuff like freezing foods, but use far less now. I totally understand the dirty diaper thing -- I use to use ziplocs and then started using the plastic bags our newspaper is delivered in. Still plastic, but it's reuse, right?