Archive of ‘Life’ category

10 Fruits & Vegetables You Should Buy Organic

organic fruit and veggetables

Would you knowingly feed your family a juicy serving of DDT or a crisp bite of a toxic pesticide? Didn’t think so. But many of us unknowingly do this everyday when we serve our family their healthy servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. “But I thought DDT was banned in the US?” You ask. Well, yes- you’re right. However , even though uses of DDT and other toxic pesticides have banned in the US for over 20 years, they can still be absorbed from the soil our fruits and veggies grow in.

And although the traces of these toxins may be minimal in the foods you eat, children (and pregnant women) are in more danger due to the amount the consume and childrens’ small body mass. So, please buy certified organic when you can.

Here is a list of 10 fruits and vegetables you should consider always buying organic when feeding them to your family.

Tip: Check your local farmers’ market for your produce needs! Their fruits and vegetables typically are pesticide free, cost less, and are more fresh! Bonus: you’ll be supporting your local farmers!

Peaches

Summer’s blushing fruit contains high residues of iprodione, classified as a probable human carcinogen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and methyl parathion, an endocrine disruptor and organophosphate (OP) insecticide. Methyl parathion has caused massive kills of bees and birds. According to Consumer Reports, single servings of peaches “consistently exceeded” EPA’s safe daily limit for a 44-pound child.

Apples

Apples may contain methyl parathion. Both fresh apples and baby food applesauce can also contain chlorpyrifos, an OP which has caused large bird kills. CORE Values IPM apple growers are trying to phase out OPs.

Pears

Pears, both fresh and in baby food, can also come with methyl parathion, as well as the OP azinphos-methyl, which is toxic to freshwater fish, amphibians and bees.

Winter Squash

Dieldrin, a chlorinated, carcinogenic insecticide, exceeded the safe daily limit for a young child in two-thirds of positive samples. Another potent carcinogen, heptachlor, also showed up. DDT and its breakdown product, DDE, were detected in baby food squash.

Green Beans

Green Beans can contain acephate, methamidophos and dimethoate (three neurotoxic OPs), and endosulfan, an endocrine-disrupting insecticide, which showed up in baby food, too. Acephate disorients migrating birds, throwing them off course.

Grapes

U.S. grapes contain methyl parathion and methomyl, a carbamate insecticide listed as an endocrine disruptor; imports may contain dimethoate.

Strawberries

The enhanced red color of strawberries comes from the fungicide captan, a probable human carcinogen that can irritate skin and eyes, and is highly toxic to fish. While the lethal soil fumigant methyl bromide doesn’t show up on the fruit, it has harmed California farm workers, and depletes the ozone layer.

Raspberries

Watch out for more than thorns! These berries can contain captan, iprodione and carbaryl, a suspected endocrine disruptor that has also been found in plum baby food

Spinach

Permethrin, a possible human carcinogen, and dimethoate dominate spinach’s toxicity ratings, but CU notes that residue levels have been declining as U.S. farmers reduce use of these insecticides. DDT has been found in spinach, which leads all foods in exceeding safety tolerances.

Potatoes

Pesticide use on potatoes is growing, CU warns. They may contain dieldrin and methamidophos, and children eating potatoes risk getting a very high dose of aldicarb, CU says.

Plus 2 more:

Note: In an update to its 1999 report, Consumers Union announced two more foods high in chlorpyrifos or other pesticide residues: tomatoes and cantaloupe.

Descriptions of pesticides from CHEC’s Healthhouse

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3 Simple Ways to Go Green

2008 seemed to be all about “going green” and for good reason….we must change some of our habits. Whether you are a green advocate or a so-so about the movement, there are a few small things we can all do that will make a big impact.

1. Ditch the “Paper & the Plastic” and opt for reusable grocery sacs. If you collect a few here and there (usually cost as little as $1.00 each) you will have plenty to use. I suggest you leave them in your car so they are handy for those quick trips into the store. Bonus: You’ll be carrying in fewer bags because the cloth hold so much more!

2. Turn off your computer at night. I am very guilty of not doing this, but I vow to change in 2009! Why waste so much energy by keeping your computer running all night long? In reality, your computer will run better with time to rest.

3. Use green cleaners. So many people I know are hesitant to change from their regular cleaners to all-natural ones. You really can clean anything with combos and variation of vinegar, baking soda, and lemon. Check out one homemade green cleaner here. Not ready to mix up your own? Try eco-friendly cleaners like Method and Seventh Generation which cost no more than their toxic counterparts.

These are just three simple tips to going a bit green. Please, share with us changes you have made!

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Room Color Inspiration

While reading through Domino, one of my favorite mags, I was inspired by their Paint Palette Combo Gallery. Maybe I was so inspired because I love color…or perhaps because I will be moving a redecorating soon– regardless, here are a few of my favorite color combos!

Bold Orange & Brown

Blue & Beige

Sophisticated Grays

I hope that these photos inspire you to play with color next time you find yourself painting! You can head over to Domino Mag for more fab paint combos and also get the specific paint names shown here.

Share with us: What color combos do you love?

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Holiday Decor Inspiration: Cranberries

With so many different ways to decorate your home for the holiday, I suggest trying to pick something that you love (could be a color, a theme, or an item) and streamline your holiday home decor around it. Your holiday decor will appear more thought-out and really pop. We loved these holiday decor ideas we found at BHG all inspired by cranberries!

Simple Mantle Decor: Fill glass cylinders with fresh cranberries and white candles. Use different height cylinders and candles for interest.

Cranberry garland decor

String cranberries to make a festive garland. Attach to mantle with small hooks.

Outdoor Holiday Decor

Take the cranberry decor outside! Line your porch or front step with cranberries atop fake snow in a glass cylinder or other vase.

Crannberry table decor

Carry on the theme by freezing Cranberries into ice cubes to keep your holiday spirits cold.

Cranberry Wreath

Simple way to make a bold statement! Glue cranberries to a cardboard cut out of your families last initial. {Tip} Many craft stores sell cardboard letters in various sizes that are very affordable.

Cranberry Centerpieces

Cranberry centerpieces: Glue Cranberries to foam spheres of different sizes. Display atop candle holders, vases, or cake stands.

Do you use cranberries as decor? Share with us your tips. Or let us know what other “theme” inspires you!

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Simple Entertaining: Overnight Guests

During the holiday season, many of us find ourselves entertaining guests overnight. Whether it be relatives who have traveled in order to stay with you, or a friend passing through looking for a place simply to rest their head, here are a few simple tips that can help you make their stay more comfortable.

  • One easy thing you can do that will have your guests wanting to return is to make their sleep more comfortable. You may not have the same budget as a luxury hotel, but investing in a couple extra pillows and a really comfortable blanket will leave guests in a sweet slumber. By leaving an extra blanket in their room, your guests can fell just as warm and snugly as they desire.
  • If you are one of those households that have 3 remotes just to turn on the TV, Satellite, Tivo, etc. your guests will most likely be completely lost and intimated to turn anything on. If your guests’ room has a TV, confusing alarm clock, or other complicated electronics…putting together a simple electronics “manual” would be very thoughtful. You can do as little as type a few instruction up and leave it in their room or as much as putting together a small “how-to” binder (like pictured here). This tip is also good for babysitters and house sitters!
  • If your guests will be staying a long period of time, putting together a quick schedule might be helpful. Let them know when you are busy working (and/or attending other obligations) and when you will be home. This will enable them to feel comfortable making their own plans. You can even put together a little “suggestion” list of things for them to do or places to visit if they are not familiar with your area.
  • Make a guests truly feel welcomed by putting together a small care kit for them. Include some sample sized toiletries, extra tooth brush, aspirin, and anything you know they love. For example, a special tea they drink or their favorite coffee creamer for the mornings.

These are just a few simple and thoughtful ideas to help you be a fabulous hostess to your overnight guests. Making them feel comfortable is key…. and of course enjoy their company!

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Simple Holiday Decor: Winter Berry Wreath!


Guest Post

Emily from My Little Window Shoppe shares her simple and creative tips for making an impressive holiday wreath. She proves that it doesn’t take a lot to make something fabulous!

Hello Thoughtfully Simple readers! This is my favorite Winter Berry wreath! I have it at home proudly displayed and since I thought it was so pretty, I took a few pictures of it and put it up on the front page of Little Window Shoppe a week ago. Since posting it up, I have had a lot of questions about it! So, due to popular demand, I wanted to write a quick tutorial with easy steps on how to make your own gorgeous wreath this year.

Supplies
  • An old or new grapevine wreath base (size = your choice). You can buy these at Michaels for about $3 – $6. Mine also has extra dried twigs included in it, in fact you could dry your own twigs and make a base out of it…just secure it together with floral wire.
  • A bunch of your favorite freshly picked Red Winter Berry Stems – (the artificial stems are also found at various craft stores).
  • Floral Wire – to secure everything in place and to make a hanger for your wreath.
  • Scissors and/or a wire cutter
  • (Extra) Ribbon – if you want to add a ribbon to your wreath.

Simple Steps

Once you have your grapevine/twig base and your Winter Berry stems, start weaving them into the base and secure them with floral wire. If you can’t keep it in place with just the wire, you can also use hot glue (I like to avoid glue if at all possible on this project, but it can definitely help hold it all together if nothing else is working).

Finally, once the stems are intertwined and secured, you can use your floral wire to make a hanger for your wreath or to attach a pretty bow. This is a fun and easy little project for the holidays and will help you to save a lot of money too! Many of pre-made berry wreaths are selling for about $20 to $40 (depending on the size). So, have fun and keep your cash this season.

Author Bio
Emily {Little Window Shoppe Founder and Editor-in-Chief}

We were so thrilled that Emily was interested in guest posting with us! She’s the kind of girl who reads every inch of the Pottery Barn magazine the day it comes in the mail just to glean ideas from each and every page {we love that}! Her site My Little Window Shoppe was created from a true passion. Emily explains:

“I especially love to window shop when it’s “shoppetique” style (”Shoppetique” ~ my own little combination of shoppes and boutiques). To me, there’s something so cheery and personal about shoppes that I find absolutely beautiful. I quite enjoy the eclectic feel and seem to find artistic creativity in every nook and cranny.”

Want to know more about Emily? Check out her daily blog and also read “20 Fun Facts” about her!

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