Thursday, May 21, 2009

two green things

Here are two "green" things we've been doing over here. These are the "white cloths" (as Ken has named them) that we use as a paper towel alternative. I inherited this habit when I married him and I have to admit I was still a big paper towel user in the early years of the marriage. Now I've come around almost completely and use a paper towel only occasionally. These cloths are super soft and absorbant and perfect for every use around the kitchen and elsewhere too. They are "birdseye weave" diapers (the non-folded kind). Obviously these have never been used on baby bottoms.
Rainer helps hang out the white cloths.
Another thing I am trying is these metal tins for lunches. These are great in my lunch--I tumble orange sections in them or just whatever--anything that doesn't need to be microwaved. I've tried sending Faith's lunch in them too, to mixed reviews. She liked the tin at first, but we've had issues with the textures melding or the pb&j "leaking" which she is super picky about. For now I'm still very wasteful with the teen lunches, packing a traditional lunch with plastic bags in a paper lunch bag. Hopefully, the boys can use these tins though when they start preschool next year . . .

21 comments:

Joy said...

I like the concept on the tins, but I know my kids would freak about everything running together too. We pack everything into little ziplock plastic bowls and use Wrap-N-Mats for sandwiches. That actually might be a good alternative inside the tin since it doesn't take extra room.

We've talked about doing that with our "white cloths". Right now those are used as glasses cleaners, dust cloths, a blankie by one member of the family, and to sop up spills. Kitchen cleaning is done with an old, chopped-up towel, and darker colored kitchen towels. We use cloth napkins religiously as well. My hubby was a profuse paper towel user when we married too. He's come around now. ;)

Kyrie said...

We have the two-tier tiffin for my hubby- I wrap sandwiches in waxed paper before packing them in the tin, then let the raw fruit and veg run free :) Works great so far!

greenchickadee said...

I was just going to suggest wax paper or parchment paper or even freezer paper, which you can get in a HUGE roll at walmart. (Iknow, horror!) but looks like Kyrie beat me to it!

Little Ol' Liz said...

Perhaps your teenager(s) would be interested on bento style lunches? There's tons of info on the net and products available online that help with flavor-meld issues. Your basic product being the use of curly lettuce to separate items, then eat as a salad. There are the Laptop Lunch sets that come with 4 compartments for the ultra picky, yet fashionable crowd, and the plastic is certified safe for food.
Best wishes.

Jessica said...

I've used plain dish towels for 'white cloths' but I really love the idea of the plain weave diapers! I'm trying to get rid of the paper towel dependency and those might be the perfect solution.

gardenmama said...

Aww, what sweet pictures of little Rainer he looks vibrant! I like this post! We use cloth napkins in our house. When I pack a picnic (that we will be eating soon after) I will wrap an apple, sandwich or anything else that may be loose in a cloth napkin and then into a lunchbox sized basket (that one of our tea sets came in) it has a nice latch on it and things fit pretty snug so, no bruising of fruit or mushing of sandwiches! I guess this may not work for food that could stale if not being eaten right away...

Sarah said...

We use the diapers too! The only thing we use paper towels for is to drain bacon, so one roll lasts forever. I use insulated lunchboxes because I want their food to stay cool.

Suzanne said...

How bout switching to unbleached wax bags? Or even parchment paper. They all break down:-)

MiCo said...

Very inspiring! I'm going to pick up some of those diapers and see if our family can forgo paper towels- this will be a challenge!

Saver Queen said...

Why not try tupperware? I like the idea of using lettuce leaves as dividers, too.

I forget if I already told you already, but I wanted you to know that I gave you an award for your wonderful blog: http://saverqueen.com/2009/05/20/awards/

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you have looked at the Kashi web site, but they have a series of "daily challenges" which look great! Today's is actually to find alternatives to paper towels! They must have read your blog yesterday :-) http://www.kashi.com/challenges/664

-Jill

Christine said...

That is funny about the diapers. Because my mother used cloth diapers some 37 years ago... and with those extra she never used for its purpose... she still uses them around the house to this day! ha!

Toni said...

those diapers are a fabulous idea for apaper towel substitute, they are very absorbant.I am working on getting rid of napkins and papertowels.

Leslie said...

these are great...i love that tin and using even fewer paper towels would be great....i have been able to replace the napkins but had not figured out what to do about the paper towels

Mary Beth said...

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions and the "white cloth" love, everyone. Plastic is out as a lunch possibility because for several reasons I'm trying to reduce or even eventually eliminate our use of plastic. I think I'll use the waxed paper idea, and yes, go that route for the teens as well (wax paper bags for them).

suna said...

I had those tins for my daughter right before she started kindergarten. On the first day of school filled it up with sushi (her favorite). A few hours latter I got a call from the school because she had managed to bang her face into the sharp edges of it and needed stiches. Makes for a good 1st day of school story.
I have since made some snack pouches. I have a pattern if you want. Maybe your family is not as "active" as mine.

Mary Beth said...

Suna--that is so interesting because it has been an ongoing debate around here as to whether or not the edge on those tins is too sharp for the little boys. You have now officially answered my question! Thank you!

Saver Queen--that you so much for the award! I am touched by your kindness and nice words. Thank you!

Sally- That Girl! said...

I have been making cloth napkins out of scraps and wanted to do something about paper towels and didn't know what to do! Thanks for the idea!!! I bet these are good for drying dishes too! I use flour sacks now.

My whole family uses the laptop lunch kits for lunchtoplunches.com. They are plastic, but we have not used any plastic bags or paper bags in two years. My middle schooler loves it because she gets much more creative lunches than a paperbag would ever allow.

Its_Lily said...

I gave up papertowels a while ago too and switched over to the scrap t-shirts. My d-i-l couldn't believe I used them to clean windows, "don't you get streaks?" Nope, not one little bit. She's a convert now as well.

Kelly Jane Dahl said...

I know this is an old post, but I've been thinking about it since reading it and feel like I would like to try out the "white clothes" in our house. I'm wondering if you could share your storage strategies. Where do you keep the clean clothes? and then where do you put the dirty clothes after using? Thanks for sharing!

Mary Beth said...

Hi Kelly Jane. Storing the white cloths is easy. We have an entire drawer in the kitchen devoted to them. I learned early on not to bother folding them--we use them too fast. So they just get tumbled in there, unfolded. We do have a laundry room just off the kitchen. It's very very unfancy, but we are lucky to have it. I usuallly drape the damp white cloths over the sink or put them in the hamper. They have to be washed frequently because they are damp. We don't really have an ideal solution for this, but it works.