Tag Archive for eco friendly

3 Benefits of Reusable Shopping Bags

3 Benefits of Reusable Shopping Bags

Reusable shopping bags have revolutionized my life! They work so much better than those yucky plastic bags you get from the store. Those plastic bags are overflowing our landfills, clogging up our waterways, flying around all over the world and getting stuck in trees, power lines, and everywhere else. Guess what else? They kill animals. When animals see them, they think they might be food and try to eat them. They sometimes choke. They also get wrapped up in the plastic and can be strangled, trapped, suffocated or any number of things. Click here to see what plastic is doing to our world.

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Saving Money by Wasting Less

In childcare, we consume a lot! I hate waste. I hate wasting my time, I hate wasting my money and I hate wasting environmental resources. I can’t stand it. So how can we cut down on waste when there is so much we have to do with our kids? Families are no different than a daycare when it comes to waste. You can use the same techniques to save money in your own household even if you don’t have a daycare.

We must have disposable paper towels for hand washing. There are a thousand little messy fingers to wash throughout the day. We have to clean up tons of spills and messes. We have to cook meals. The diapers are endless. Art supplies, paperwork, messy faces, the usage of resources is unending.

By the time I buy all of the supplies it requires to run my business, there is not a lot of the income I make left for myself and my family. I try to waste as little as possible so I can keep more of the profit. I hate spending money on things that aren’t important. How can I cut back?

Let’s start with food.

How can we stop wasting so much food? My food budget for the daycare kids is over $7,000 a year. There is a lot of potential for cutting waste there.

  • Plan your menu and only buy the food you need so you make sure you will use it. Click here to see how to plan a daycare menu. This can be used for your family as well.


  • My food program allows us to serve food family style. As long as the components are on the table that should be served, children can choose how much of something they want. This helps less food end up in the trash. It’s a fact that you will have to throw away some food from their plates, but you can compost it as long as it’s not meat. This helps less food end up in our landfill and it’s great for our gardens! Click here for info on composting.
  • Grow your own food. Kids are a lot more likely to eat something they helped to grow, so growing food with them will cut down on waste. It’s much cheaper to buy a packet of seeds than the food it produces, so that helps cut waste from the budget as well. We have tons of gardening posts on the blog. Click here to get started. 
  • Learn to use the parts of the food you would normally throw away. Stems and leaves of many foods are perfectly edible and very nutritious! Click here to see some great tips for that.
  • Cook in bulk and freeze your food in portions. This helps cut down a lot of wasted time and energy. You only have to make the mess one time when you make a double batch of something but you can use one batch and freeze the other cutting down on a lot of dish washing and area clean up.
Let’s talk about art supplies.
  • Recycle used paper and let the kids create with it. They can draw on the back, practice cutting, fold it up to make creations or all kinds of things. Think of all the thinks you could do with all that junk mail!
  • Repurpose food containers and other trash. You can use a cereal box or paper towel tube to create all kinds of imagination using creations. This cuts down on your budget and the amount of trash you are throwing in the landfill.
  • Make your own paints and playdough. There are tons of cool recipes you can make in a snap. Check out Pinterest!
What about toys?


  • Get toys for less at consignment shops or garage sales. So many toys get broken in childcare, this is a great way to save a ton of money. You need toys, but getting them second hand just requires some looking and a little cleaning.
  • Less is more. You don’t need every toy ever made. Actually the more toys you give the kids the more behavior problems you will see. If they are overstimulated they get bored and act out. Save on your sanity and your pocketbook by simplifying what you have for them to play with.
  • Make your own. You can make lots of toys for less like discovery bottles and homemade books. You can also let the kids make toys as well. Instruments, books, and all kinds of stuff are even better if the kids create them. Click here to see more ways to save on toys.


What about household supplies?
  • Buy the paper towels that have the half size tear marks and use half what you would normally use. If you are dripping your bacon or fried okra onto a paper towel, one little half sheet will do the job. Lots of messes will clean up off the floor with only a half sheet.

    • Cloth diapers could save a ton of money and resources. I don’t use them, but some providers do and it’s a great way to cut back on waste. Look into it.
    • Clean up your messes with a towel or rag instead of using any paper towels for that.
    • Send the kids to the bathroom to wash their hands and face instead of using wet wipes. You will save a ton of resources that way. I think it gets them cleaner anyway.


    • Use foaming soap in the bathroom for them. This helps them to regulate how much soap they use which is good for your budget and the sewage system. 

    • Use single fold paper towels in the bathroom for them. Mr. Kent found me a paper towel dispenser at the thrift store and it has saved me hundreds of dollars on paper towels. When I had a roll dispenser, they would tear off 5 at a time or more and use a whole roll in a day or two. I can get the bulk cases of individual paper towels at the janitor supply store (and they have ones made with recyclable materials) The towels come out one at a time. Since the kids don’t have to tear them, they don’t pull off half the roll each time they use them. This saves so much on the environment and my pocket book. 

      • Don’t use disposable dishes. It’s not that hard to wash a plate. Using regular cups, plates, and silverware saves you tons of money over the course of a year AND saves all that disposable product from filling up our landfill. We have the power to do a lot to help the environment. Don’t think it’s not important. If you care about the kids you’re taking care of, care about what kind of earth you leave for them to live on.

    • Use a steamer on your floors. It disinfects them with the heat. Steamers don’t use any harsh chemicals that will get in the air and get breathed in by you and the kids. They use very little water compared to a mop and they get the floor so much cleaner. Steamers save time and energy as well as resources. 

    • Don’t waste wipeys. I KNOW that when you need several wipes for one diaper, you NEED them. Consider wiping their hands and face first and then starting on the poopy diaper. Wipe as much of the doodie off as you can with the diaper to cut down on wipes needed. Get good quality wipes like Huggies that get a lot of it off with one pass so you don’t have to use 40 to get the job done. Use as few as you can, but as many as you have to. You gotta do what you gotta doo doo.

  • Buy in bulk. The prices are less and you will be throwing less plastic into the landfill in packaging.


  • Use vinegar to clean. It kills germs and is super cost effective, plus it’s not harmful to the environment. We use as few cleaners as possible to cut down on allergy problems. Vinegar can be used as fabric softener, window cleaner, deodorizer, disinfectant, and many other things.

There are tons of ways you can cut corners and save money on your budget while wasting less resources to leave the earth better than you found it. Our kids deserve that.

What are your best money/time/resource saving tips? I can’t wait to hear them!

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15 Ways to Stop Throwing Your Money Away on Food

Are you tired of throwing your money away? Groceries are a big expense for your family and much of it gets wasted. Get the most out of your produce. Stop throwing away what could be used. Help your budget and the earth. It just makes good sense. 

There are tons of things we are throwing away every day that are useful, nutritious, and tasty. In America we waste over 40% of the food that is grown for consumption. Forty percent folks, that’s no joke! We cannot continue to be such a wasteful society!

save money, don't throw food away, little sprouts learning

There are so many hungry people in this country and the food we are throwing away could help them thrive if we had one thing, transportation! The reason there are hungry people and people wasting in the same place is all a matter of getting the food to those that need it. We all need to do something thinking about how we could help those in need.

Many foods are wasted because they are ugly, not uniform sizes, have a mark on them, or are otherwise unappealing to consumers in some way. I watched a Food Network special one time that showed how we wasted and I’ll tell ya, I was horrified and moved to tears. There are people going hungry all around us. We need to take the resources we have, and make them last. We need to use what we have to the best of our ability and make sure we save as much of our income as we can to help others who have nothing.

In the special, the chefs on the show were challenged to feed 100 people meals using nothing that could be bought. In many places it’s illegal to feed the hungry, did you know that? You cannot just walk out onto the sidewalk and serve soup to hungry people. I am amazed by that. The chefs on the show had to go to the fields and glean produce that could not be sold, and most of it they were taking to the compost piles was perfectly good food. The show was life changing for me and for the chefs competing.

There are so many ways we can cut down on waste in our own kitchens, here are a few I want to share.

  1. Carrot tops: Did you know carrot tops and the greens of many plants are tasty and nutritious? You can cook them down like greens with some fat and seasoning, you can use them in stir fries, eat them raw in a salad, or just about any other way you can think of to eat greens, carrots can be eaten that way as well.edible carrot tops, saving money, little sprouts learning
  2. Cruciferous vegetable leaves: Broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, and the outer leaves of cabbages can be eaten as greens as well. The stems are also super tasty and can be cooked right along with the main part of the vegetable we are used to eating. Click here to see how I roast my veggies like broccoli.
  3. Radish greens: The greens of radishes are a bit spicy and delicious in salads or cooked down as well.
  4. Corn cobs: When you are processing a bushel of corn, don’t throw away those cobs! They can be boiled down to get the last of the nutrition and flavor out and used in soups and chowders. Corn broth is AMAZING! (Don’t forget the husks can be used as well for wrapping tamales, making dolls or other old fashioned crafts)
  5. Tomato cores: If you take out the cores and pulp from the tomato for your recipe, don’t throw them away, juice them, blend them up and cook them down for sauce, save them in the freezer in a bag for the next time you make stock, they will add amazing flavor.
  6. Vegetable skins: When you peel your carrots or potatoes, or other veggies or cut stems and other things off of them, save those in the freezer as well for making stock. You can fill a big stock pot with water, add your vegetable scraps and some seasonings, and boil it for 30 minutes to an hour. You will end up with an amazing stock for soups, stews, and sauces. Super yummy and you’re saving all of that stuff from the trash! That saves it from going to the landfill AND keeps more money in your pocket! Even if you have orange peels, lemon peels, grapefruit peels, or lime peels, you can boil them in water on the stove for a room freshener or you can steep them in vinegar for a couple of weeks to enhance the cleaning power of your vinegar. use veggie scraps for nutrition, little sprouts learning
  7. Apple cores and peels: Apple scraps can be fermented to make apple cider vinegar, click here to see how to make it. 
  8. Herb stems: Herb stems can be boiled in stock to add flavor. They can also be cooked in olive oil or butter and then removed before you add your other ingredients to the pan when starting a sauce, casserole, or stir fry. They will flavor your oil and add a depth to it. saving money on food, stop throwing it away, little sprouts learning
  9. Onion tops: Onion tops can be saved and used to flavor cooking oil as well or thrown into stock. You can also slice up the green tops and use them in your recipe in place of green onions. onion tops, money saving, little sprouts learning
  10. Sweet potato vines: Sweet potato vines are edible. Instead of tossing them all way when you harvest your sweet potatoes, cut the leaves off the stems and cook them as greens. They are tender and delicious!
  11. Garlic scapes: When you trim the scapes off of your hard neck garlic to encourage bulbing under the ground, don’t throw them away, chop them up and use them to flavor soups or sauces or stir fry them and add texture and flavor to your dish.
  12. Pepper cores: When you core your hot or sweet peppers to use in your recipe, save the cores and boil them up to add amazing flavor to your stock.
  13. Watermelon rinds: Watermelon rinds can be pickled and eaten. They are a tasty treat, click here to see how to pickle them.
  14. Potato skins: Potato skins make a great snack, trim them from the potato thickly and bake them in the oven until done, add some toppings like cheese, bacon, chives, or whatever you like and you have a delicious snack or side dish!
  15. Vegetable skins and peels: Another thing you can do with your skins and peels is dehydrate them and grind them up in your blender. You can add them to dishes like soups and casseroles for added nutrition, use them as a thickener for sauces and soups, sprinkle them under pizza sauce to add vitamins and minerals to your pizza, or use them in breads and cakes to add nutritional value to those goods. stop throwing away money on food, little sprouts

There are so many ways to preserve your food to make it last longer. Click here to see how to dehydrate greens and herbs and here to see how to store produce so it will last as long as possible. If you need a tutorial on how to make a nourishing soup stock from your bones and scraps, click here. It’s easier than you think!

If all else fails and you cannot think of one single thing to reuse your scraps for, please don’t send them to the landfill, mix them with leaves or dried grass and compost them for enriching your yard or garden. How you do keep from wasting food at your house?

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