Very interesting concepts:
This post is in partnership with Samsonsite but all opinions are my own.
Traveling has been an important part of my life since I was in college, and while both my husband and I worried that we’d have to stop once we had kids, we’ve managed to continue to take trips with our babes several times a year. In fact, both of our kids (now 4 and 2) have been traveling with us – by car and by plane – since they were newborns. That said, traveling with little ones is quite different than traveling on your own (just ask my husband, who works for a band and flies at least twice a week, about the stark contrasts between when he travels for work and with our family!). One difference I’ve consistently noticed is how much more challenging it is to make eco-conscious choices when traveling with kids. When you’ve got children with you (especially little ones), there are more messes, more requests for quick food, more stops, more garbage, and just general excess that ultimately isn’t very good for the earth. When we flew to California a few weeks ago, we really made an effort to make the trip more eco-friendly. And it worked. As we near the end of Earth Month, I thought today would be the perfect day to share some of my tips in hopes that it will help those of you with little ones who would like to make your travel more earth conscious as well.
1. Take reusable water bottles. It’s no secret that disposable water bottles are terrible for the environment, but they’re everywhere, and when you’re traveling with kids, they’re admittedly quite convenient. We always bring one of our own reusable bottles for each of us though, whether we’re driving or flying. We fill them up in the drinking fountains at the airport, and if we’re traveling by car, we either fill them at stops along the way or bring a big water jug along with us.
2. Pack snacks from home. We fill reusable containers with snacks for both air and land travel, and for road trips we also bring fruit and sandwiches we make at home. The packaging alone from airport snack shops and/or fast food restaurants is incredible wasteful, and you’ll say some money too.
3. Bring a stroller. Obviously this will only work with little ones, but the great thing about strollers (especially double strollers, like we have) is that you can walk farther and longer than if you’re trying to go on foot with toddlers or preschoolers. And walking is always the best mode of transportation to explore your destination when you’re trying to be eco-conscious. If you have a baby or toddler, a carrier or sling works too. And along the same lines, if your kids are old enough, you can rent (or bring) bicycles as a family and get around that way.
4. Choose eco-friendly luggage. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve been listening to me rave about our Samsonite ECO-Nu suitcase (we have the 25″ Expandable Spinner in Granite/Midnight Black) for over a month, and for good reason. This is hands down the best piece of luggage I’ve ever owned, and it’s perfect for trips with kids because it’s super lightweight but, thanks to its big pockets and Hidden-Expansion System (which keeps the expansion zipper discreetly tucked beneath the main zipper), fits a seriously impressive amount of stuff. It’s also incredibly easy to transport (which any of you with kids know is key for travel when you’re trying to wrangle a million things at once), thanks to its awesome four wheel Saguro Wheel System. Best of all though, its fabric, including the lining, is made completely from post-consumer recycled plastic bottles. All of it. Bottles are melted down into a liquid polymer, then purified into filament yarn, and finally woven into the high quality, durable fabric that is used to make the ECO-Nu. How cool is that? Our Samsonite ECO-Nu has also been a great way to teach our kids the importance of making green choices when purchases travel supplies. I really love how the line is so clearly designed with both the traveler (whether with kids or alone) and the earth in mind. In fact, we’ve already decided that once the other pieces of luggage we own are no longer usable, we’ll be replacing all of them with ECO-Nu pieces.
5. Turn off the lights and down the thermostat. We are so good about this at home, but I’ve noticed that when we stay at hotels, we are more forgetful about doing these things when we get out. We’ve started to make it a game with the kids, where whoever remembers to turn out the lights and down the thermostat first is the winner. It’s actually a great way to get them in the habit of doing it wherever they are. (Bonus hotel tip: reuse linens and don’t request the sheets to be washed nightly.)
6. Visit natural places. Sure, my kids love loud, fancy mega kiddie/family fun center type places, but they honestly love forest preserves and state/national parks (which are infinitely less wasteful) just as much (if not more). We took my daughter to the Grand Canyon when she was 16 months old and she still regularly asks to see pictures from it! Even if we’re just taking a day trip to another town, we get outside and explore nature and other unique characteristics of where we are. It’s amazing what you can find and all of the ways you can teach your kids about the environment that way. (The fox sculpture you see in some of these photos was made entirely from recycled bicycles. So cool!) I remember reading that people tend to care more about issues if they have personal connection to them, so this is an ideal way to encourage your little ones to care about the earth from an early age.
7. Choose local. Shop locally. Eat locally (especially at places like farmer’s market and food trucks, or farm-to-table and/or organic restaurants). On top of the fact that choosing local is almost always better for the environment because the carbon emissions are much less than products that have to travel far to reach you, your kids will be excited to visit places that are different than familiar chains or that they’re used to frequenting at home.
8. Camp. Full disclosure: we have not yet been camping with our kids, so I can’t say this is a tip I have tried myself. But so many of our friends with older children have camped with them and absolutely loved it, and we’re looking forward to our first family camping experience this summer. Camping uses less energy and less water, and it’s an incredible way to help your kids connect with and develop a respect for the earth.
These are all simple, easy ways that can add up to truly make an impact on the state of the earth. If you have any ways that you make travel with kids more eco-friendly, I’d love to hear them!
Yes, it snowed here in Chicago last week, and here I am, clearly in denial, writing about swimsuits. Despite our complete lack of spring here (and apparently in much of the rest of the country as well) however, the swimming pool still opens next month. And summer is my favorite season, so it’s nice to have something to look forward to when you have to pull your winter coat and boots from the back of your closet in mid April, know what I’m saying?
I am way into the high waisted bikini bottoms I’ve been seeing around for the upcoming season, as well as all of ruffles gracing suits this year. The pieces you see above are some of my favorites that I’m currently eyeing. I’m especially smitten with #6. That color is everything.
Who else is giving this winterish spring the middle finger and swimsuit shopping? Which piece above is your favorite?
Why does the United States military – and various police departments around the country – continue to spend tens of thousands of dollars per dog to buy potential working dogs from Eastern Europe?
Not long ago on DOG TALK® I spoke to Dr. Karen Overall at the University of Pennsylvania vet school on the topic of the high cost to our police departments and military of continuing their practice of buying untrained dogs from overseas. Dr. Overall is overseeing a program to breed high quality working dogs right here in the U.S. However, this will take some time to get up and running as a reliable source of these much-needed canine workers.
Right now, there’s someone doing something with rapid results to bring more working canines into the community – while saving the lives of dogs in shelters. Brad Croft thinks we’re wasting valuable money and time in the United States when our shelters are full of canine candidates that can be transitioned to work with the military or a police force. Croft founded Universal K9, a company that identifies dogs in shelters who would be good prospects for police work – especially those high-drive, high energy dogs who didn’t work out as family pets. Where purebred young dogs imported from Europe cost $ 10,000-$ 20,000 each (and still require extensive training), Croft says dogs from shelters are an inexpensive and highly effective resource to help combat crime. Each shelter selects dogs to be donated to the program based on their personality traits.Traditionally, the Universal K9 detection dogs cost approximately $ 3,000-$ 6,000 each, factoring in the professional training period that usually takes 8 weeks.
This week on DOG TALK® I talked to Brad Croft about how he goes to shelters seeking these high-drive dogs and shapes them into valuable working dogs. Universal K9 exists solely to save dogs from shelters to train them for law enforcement and detection work, as well as for military veterans.
Brad also runs the Detection Dog Program at Animal Farm Foundation, where their mission is to secure equal treatment and opportunity for “pit bull” dogs, many of which Brad has taken from Animal Farm Foundation to transition into important work with law enforcement. Using AFF’s philosophy that all dogs are individuals and should not be categorized because of their breed, Universal K9 trains the dogs to prepare them to work with police departments helping them detect drugs, explosives, and weapons. Universal K9 has already placed 46 of these dogs from the Animal Farm Foundation Detection Dog Program into the field in a number of police departments across the country, where they are assisting police officers in fighting crime – while getting a new lease on life.
Tracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.
Tracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.
Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.
You already know all about my long time love affair with all things avocado, so I’ll skip the gushing and just leave you with this round up of my favorite recipes from over the years here at Bubby and Bean that incorporate avocado and happen to be incredibly easy to prepare. Click on any of the images or links below them to see the recipes in full. I’m getting hungry just looking at them.
If you’ve made any of these, I’d love to hear which was your favorite. And if there are any recipes staring my beloved avocado that you think I simply must try, please leave links in the comments or shoot me an email!
I like lists. I like making lists. I like using lists. I like crossing things off of lists as tasks are completed. When I saw the new book Train Your Dog Now! Your Instant Training Handbook, from…
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