New Years Resolutions

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I love making to-do lists. Mostly because if I don’t write it down, it usually doesn’t happen. My sister joked recently that her boys call her notebook her “brain.” Maybe it’s hereditary. And since I relish writing things down, I really enjoy a good list of New Year’s Resolutions.

Here’s one of mine for 2017:

Limit screen time for myself and the girls (for real this time)

I’m constantly trying to figure out ways to limit screen time but it always seems to end up back where we started… waaay too much screen time. And, since it seems like all my oldest daughter’s friends have the latest iPhone and all of them participate on all the social media platforms they possibly can, limiting her screen time has gotten harder and harder. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) estimates that our kids “are spending an average of seven hours a day on entertainment media, including televisions, computers, phones and other electronic devices.” Yikes!

There are plenty of studies showing a link between too much screen time or poor quality screen time and:

  • Obesity
  • Irregular sleep schedules and shorter duration of sleep
  • Behavioral problems
  • Loss of social skills
  • Violence
  • Less time for play

And while researching an article I’m writing for Earth911, I learned a lot of disturbing information about those volatile rechargeable lithium ion batteries that are inside those devices that provide all that screen time…

According to Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, lead author of the “Children and Adolescents and Digital Media Technical Report” and assistant professor at UCLA, an average day includes “school, homework time, at least one hour of physical activity, social contact and sleep — which is anywhere from eight to 12 hours for kids. Whatever’s left over can be screen time.” Source: CNN.com

Instead of taking away screen time, I’m going to try to make ways to encourage non-screen time activities. For example, instead of interacting with a screen, we are going to find more outside activities to do as a family.

Hiking at Shaver Lake

 

Make more trips to our local library… we have one so close, we can walk to it which is an added bonus.

Visiting the library with cousins

To find out more about Media and Young Minds, visit http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/138/5/e20162591. You can also make a Family Media Use Plan with this helpful tool at www.healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan.

 

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EDITOR’S NOTE: EACH TUESDAY MY GREEN SIDE BRINGS SIMPLE TIPS FOR GREEN LIVING TO THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAMWE ALSO HIGHLIGHT A FAVORITE GREEN SITE EACH WEEK. STARTING OCTOBER 13, 2014 A NEW TIME FOR THE CHRISTOPHER GABRIEL PROGRAM MEANS A NEW TIME FOR THIS SEGMENT… YOU CAN NOW STREAM THE SEGMENT AT APPROXIMATELY 835AM (CENTRAL) EVERY TUESDAY AT WDAY.COM OR, IF YOU’RE IN NORTH DAKOTA OR WESTERN MINNESOTA, LISTEN ON YOUR RADIO AT AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: As we head towards a New Year it is always a good idea to take a moment to examine if there are any eco-friendly additions you could make in your day-to-day life.  As Oprah so beautifully put it, “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.”

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Start recycling. To reduce the amount of waste you produce, stop buying disposable products when there are reusable versions available. Reuse everything, donate gently used items to charity and always recycle as much as you can. The energy saved from recycling a single aluminum can will operate a television for three hours.
  • Bring your own bag. Paper or plastic? Neither is the best choice. Twelve million barrels of oil are used to make the 88.5 billion plastic bags consumed in the United States each year. And it takes four times more energy to make paper bags. (Source: The Daily Green) The best choice is to bring your own reusable shopping bags. Put a few in your car so you have them handy on your next shopping trip. And if you happen to forget your reusable bag (as we all do), choose paper if you will recycle it or plastic if you will reuse or recycle it.
  • Clean Green. Instead of buying costly cleaning products that are full of toxic chemicals, use greener cleaning options like white vinegar, baking soda and some lemons. Healthier for your family, your wallet and the environment.
    • Tub and tile cleaner: Use half a lemon with a sprinkle of baking soda on it to scrub your tub and tiles. I also clean my kitchen sink and counter tops using this method.
    • Oven cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda in your oven and spray it with water, making it into a paste. Let it sit, periodically spraying it when it dries. Then wipe off. Your oven will be sparkling clean without the toxic fumes.
    • Window cleaner: Fill a spray bottle with water and ¼ cup white vinegar. Use a soft cloth or newspaper to wipe.
    • All-Purpose Cleaner: Full strength white vinegar will disinfect and clean just as effectively as harsh toxic chemicals without harming your family.
  • Stop Buying Paper Towels. According to MaryJanesFarm, Americans go through about 2.5 million tons ofChristmas time paper towels annually, and even the ones made from recycled materials usually end up in landfills. Use organic cotton cloths instead.
  • Buy Less Stuff. My Nana grew up during the Depression-era and her motto has always been, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”! All of our homes are filled with stuff we don’t need. There are even TV shows that help us get rid of all the stuff. Let’s start not buying the stuff we don’t need in the first place. Before you enter a store make a detailed list. Before you purchase something not on your list ask yourself where you’ll put it when you get it home. Do you really need it?
  • Take Five Minutes Each Day To Breathe: Or meditate, or pray. Anything that will reduce stress and help you to stop and refresh your body and soul.

My Green Side’s web pick of the week:

The Green Guide
The Green Guide and www.thegreenguide.com are published by The Green Guide Institute (TGGI), an independent research and information organization for consumers. Dubbed the “green living source for today’s conscious consumer”, The Green Guide is an invaluable resource for men and women, from young adults to grandparents, striving for a healthy and “greener” lifestyle. It is TGGI’s vision that one day The Green Guide will be, for millions of consumers, the go-to source of information about practical everyday, environmentally responsible and health-minded product choices and actions. Their goal is to ensure that The Green Guide and www.thegreenguide.com serve as your most practical, reliable, and trustworthy content source for product choices and daily practices that are better for health and the environment.

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by Wendy Gabriel

GREEN TIP: Simplify, simplify, simplify.Happy New Year!

Yes, it’s that time of year again. That magical moment when we all are able to take a deep breath and begin anew. Take one last look back at the old year and then onward into the new year.

Many people believe that going green takes more money than continuing to do business as usual. That could not be further from the truth. Being green is about living simply, sustainably and thoughtfully.

Here are a few resolutions to add to your list:

1. Clean Green. Next time you go to the store to pick up some cleaning products bypass the toxic chemicals and buy some white vinegar, baking soda and some lemons. Healthier for your family, your wallet and the environment.

Tub and tile cleaner: Use half a lemon with a sprinkle of baking soda on it to scrub your tub and tiles. I also clean my kitchen sink and counter tops using this method.

Oven cleaner: Sprinkle baking soda in your oven and spray it with water, making it into a paste. Let it sit, periodically spraying it when it dries. Then wipe off. Your oven will be sparkling clean without the toxic fumes.

Window cleaner: Fill a spray bottle with water and ¼ cup white vinegar. Use a soft cloth or newspaper to wipe.

All-Purpose Cleaner: Full strength white vinegar will disinfect and clean just as effectively as harsh toxic chemicals without harming your family.

2. Stop Buying Paper Towels. According to MaryJanesFarm, Americans go through about 2.5 million tons of paper towels anually, and even the ones made from recycled materials usually end up in landfills. Use organic cotton cloths instead.

3. Buy Less Stuff. All of our homes are filled with stuff we don’t need. There are even TV shows that help us get rid of all the stuff. Let’s start not buying the stuff we don’t need in the first place. Before you enter a store make a detailed list. Before you purchase something not on your list ask yourself where you’ll put it when you get it home. Do you really need it?

4. Take Five Minutes Each Day To Breathe: Or meditate, or pray. Anything that will reduce stress and help you to stop and refresh your body and soul.

From The Sydney Morning Herald: How to keep your New Year’s resolutions

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Eco Child’s Play
Eco Child’s Play (ECP) is a blog devoted to informing and discussing “Green Parenting for Non-toxic, Healthy Homes”. Eco Child’s Play provides news, information, and opinions on natural, green parenting to help families live more healthy, eco-friendly lifestyles.

Editor’s Note: Each Wednesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living to The Christopher Gabriel Program. We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1020am (CDT) every Wednesday at WDAY.com.

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