Friday, August 15, 2014

Green, Cheap, and Cool School Supplies

Freen's First Day of Kindergarten 2009
Even in the land of endless summers, I have an end of summer pit in my stomach and with three weeks left before the Freen starts fifth grade, I've started pestering him about whether he wants a new backpack or will be happy with the old one.  He really doesn't care and the old one is perfectly fine but as I walk the aisles of brand new shiny new ones it is hard to fight the urge to partake in the ridiculous back to school frenzy.

Back in New York, the back to school shopping frenzy makes some sense, you need new fall clothes since seasons change. That is not the case here, he'll be wearing the same tee-shorts and shorts he wore all summer.  So since we are off the hook for new clothes, it just seems fair to buy a few new accessories.  Right?  and then of course there is everything on that 5th grade school supply list!!

When did those lists get so long? and why exactly do I have to buy tissues for the school?  Ok rant over.

Let's just first say that obviously the greenest thing to do is to raise a child who can preserve his pencil sharpener, pencil cases, back packs, lunch bags, dry erase markers, colored pencils, erasers, and what not year to year.

I mean really what happened to the scissors I bought last year?

Or the stapler?

The ruler?

Let alone the countless lunch bags he lost last year never to be seen again....It seems these should last. Alas, none came home at the end of the year.

If like me, you don't have children who are able to hold onto their possessions or take care of them, then you like me have the pit in your stomach that comes from the fact that you need to drop at least $200 on supplies that will be lost and have to be replaced twice by October.

I hem and haw through out the summer, seeing the Staples commercials and watching the aisles of supplies grow at Target and I walk on by while my inner battle ensues...I struggle with just getting it over with, buying the cheapest I can find, the greenest, and then of course I want the Freen to be cool so I have to buy a couple cool things to make him the envy of all his friends.  So here I am, mid-August with not a ream of paper purchased.

Last year, I used Amazon's new add-on service which made it easy to buy a lot of what we needed.  My only complaint was that even though they call it "add-on" I would sometimes get a huge cardboard box with nothing but a pink eraser inside so while convenient it was not green.  If anything it was grossly wasteful. Which is one reason I am so excited about the first idea on the list.

Green ABCs Middle School Kit
I am putting it first because it is my favorite and because it was started by a good friend back in New York.   With Green ABCs, Beth has done all the work for you but creating kits for three age ranges that can be shipped to your home or to the school with a full range of eco-friendly supplies ready to go.They can customize boxes, create them for schools, and the prices are very reasonable.

I know there are some of you who long to walk down the aisles of Staples with every other family who didn't go on vacation the last two weeks of August but for those of you who don't you can skip the store and find a good selection of supplies at Green Apple Supply and cool Eco-friendly back packs and lunch bags at The Ultimate Green Supply Store. Green Apple Supply has free shipping through August 15th.

Copyright Four Peas
Four Peas is a long time favorite of mine and Freen still has his Shark backpack and pencil case which we bought a few years ago with his full name embroidered on it. (hard to lose)

Freen at Shark Week last weekend
In honor of Shark Week Four Peas is offering a free lunch bag and luggage tag with a purchase of a Shark Backpack. They have been around since 2003 and use materials that are CPSIA compliant.  More than anything they offer cool and unique designs that can be personalized.

Cloth Book Covers - Book Sox by Kimco
 Not on the supply list, but asked for by the teacher the first week of school last year... yes you got it...Book Covers.  I hadn't thought of book covers since I was in 4th grade and owned a Stevie Nicks trapper keeper.  

I went online and found Book Sox which are cloth book covers that stretch over the text book.  They were pretty cool and did come home at the end of the year so while they may be a little more expensive than your standard paper book covers, I recommend them as a good investment.

Kimco also makes Wine Sox because well clearly I'm their target audience.  So enjoy your shopping and when you are done sit down and enjoy a nice glass of wine to celebrate the end of summer.  Cheers!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Green Bronx Machine

One man and some seeds can change the lives of many. This presentation is from 2012 and tells his story.  You can learn more about his success at Green Bronx Machine and like Green Bronx Machine on Facebook.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bicoastal Bitchin

O tells California Bear what he thinks of him.
Being a New Yorker sets your satisfaction bar very high and your expectations pretty low.  That's why they call us jaded New Yorkers after all.   For us nothing is as good, as tasty, as fast, as available, or as easy as it is in New York. In the end I think it just comes down to the convenience...nothing is as good when you have to get in your car to pick it up.

Living now in Southern California, I am often reminded that there is a fine line between jaded and disappointed.  As a New Yorker my expectations have always defaulted to low.  I went to Greece.  I didn't expect much of the ruins and they were amazing.  The museums however, I had high hopes for and I found them underwhelming.  I expected the weather here to be amazing and frankly I'm a little disappointed.  The marine layer can be tiresome.  The people and the traffic, well I expected the worse and frankly both aren't all that bad.  You just need to know how to navigate and to avoid left turns.  That goes for the people and the traffic.  I didn't think about what it really meant to have to drive everywhere with two kids and well that is the worse part but it isn't traffic it is just the fact that we have to get in the car at all.  The reality is that everyone else living everywhere in this country has to do that.  It isn't just LA living that is everywhere except New York City.  

In the end I really like it here because everyday it surprises me how much it doesn't suck.  The fruit and vegetables are amazing.  Just the tomatoes alone can bring a tear to your eye.  The weather well, once that marine layer burns off it is exquisite.  Not too hot.  Not too cold.  Goldilocks and all her bears would do just fine.  We've met great people and while still reserving judgement think the schools are just fine.  Do I bitch about it all the time?  Yes.  But that is what I do.  I am a New Yorker after all.