The Eco-Minded Mama Podcast

Back to School, Pt 1: Lunches & Supplies

August 15, 2022 Katie Season 2 Episode 16
Back to School, Pt 1: Lunches & Supplies
The Eco-Minded Mama Podcast
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The Eco-Minded Mama Podcast
Back to School, Pt 1: Lunches & Supplies
Aug 15, 2022 Season 2 Episode 16
Katie

Send Katie a Text Message sharing questions or encouragement about the show! :)

Have you found yourself feeling overwhelmed by back-to-school to-do's and supply lists and costs (or do you know that dear friend who is)??  

I've been there! Well, as a teacher. (My little one's only just now enrolling in "school" two days a week, starting next month...) 

Now, whether you’ve handled multiple back-to-school demands or you're just entering the world of Kindergarten, I want to give you several tips to make sure you’re not feeling alone in this shopping-packing-meal-prepping-kid-wrangling-frenzy.  

And even if you are pretty seasoned in this back-to-school prep, I want you to be SET APART from just "well-prepared." I want you to be SUSTAINABLE -- less stressed, less weighed down by cost, and producing less waste within the home/classroom!

Tiffany Norton, owner of Juniperseed Mercantile and The Fly Button, joins Katie Kurpanek, Eco-Living Coach and Podcast Host, to empower you with our best tips and tricks for navigating this back-to-school season sustainably.

This is the first of 3 BONUS episodes, coming out back-to-back this week, so we can share as much support with you as possible.

In this Part 1 episode, we'll be talking low-waste lunches and school supplies!

Tune in this week for Part 2 covering clothing and backpacks, and finally, Part 3 will cover minimizing waste within the classroom.  


Additional Resources mentioned in episode:


MORE SUPPORT FOR RAISING SUSTAINABLE FAMILIES LAUNCHING AUGUST 22, 2022!!
Sign up here for my Sustainable Sunday weekly emails to be among the FIRST to know what's coming and how to access the exclusive discount! (plus, you'll get a FREE 5-step starter guide to living sustainably, just for joining!)

-------
This show is brought to you by listener support, and I'm sending a huge shout-out to these patrons for making it happen: Elizabeth R, Nancy K, Sarah W, Jodi S, Julia B, Liliana S, Karyn W, Detlef K, and Kelly K!
To become a patron and receive all the perks of this community, visit www.patreon.com/allthingssustainable and join for as low as $3/month!
-------
To learn more with your host and Eco-Living Coach, Katie Kurpanek, visit www.thatminimallife.com for blog posts and personalized coaching info!
Instagram: @that.minimal.life
Email: katie.thatminimallife@gmail.com
-------
TRANSCRIPTS FOR EACH EPISODE ca

Support the Show.

Ready for more guidance right now?? Visit www.ecomindedmama.com to download your free guide to help you save $2,000 hiding in your kitchen, plus a bunch of other resources!

Follow us on Instagram & TikTok @ecomindedmama

Show Notes Transcript

Send Katie a Text Message sharing questions or encouragement about the show! :)

Have you found yourself feeling overwhelmed by back-to-school to-do's and supply lists and costs (or do you know that dear friend who is)??  

I've been there! Well, as a teacher. (My little one's only just now enrolling in "school" two days a week, starting next month...) 

Now, whether you’ve handled multiple back-to-school demands or you're just entering the world of Kindergarten, I want to give you several tips to make sure you’re not feeling alone in this shopping-packing-meal-prepping-kid-wrangling-frenzy.  

And even if you are pretty seasoned in this back-to-school prep, I want you to be SET APART from just "well-prepared." I want you to be SUSTAINABLE -- less stressed, less weighed down by cost, and producing less waste within the home/classroom!

Tiffany Norton, owner of Juniperseed Mercantile and The Fly Button, joins Katie Kurpanek, Eco-Living Coach and Podcast Host, to empower you with our best tips and tricks for navigating this back-to-school season sustainably.

This is the first of 3 BONUS episodes, coming out back-to-back this week, so we can share as much support with you as possible.

In this Part 1 episode, we'll be talking low-waste lunches and school supplies!

Tune in this week for Part 2 covering clothing and backpacks, and finally, Part 3 will cover minimizing waste within the classroom.  


Additional Resources mentioned in episode:


MORE SUPPORT FOR RAISING SUSTAINABLE FAMILIES LAUNCHING AUGUST 22, 2022!!
Sign up here for my Sustainable Sunday weekly emails to be among the FIRST to know what's coming and how to access the exclusive discount! (plus, you'll get a FREE 5-step starter guide to living sustainably, just for joining!)

-------
This show is brought to you by listener support, and I'm sending a huge shout-out to these patrons for making it happen: Elizabeth R, Nancy K, Sarah W, Jodi S, Julia B, Liliana S, Karyn W, Detlef K, and Kelly K!
To become a patron and receive all the perks of this community, visit www.patreon.com/allthingssustainable and join for as low as $3/month!
-------
To learn more with your host and Eco-Living Coach, Katie Kurpanek, visit www.thatminimallife.com for blog posts and personalized coaching info!
Instagram: @that.minimal.life
Email: katie.thatminimallife@gmail.com
-------
TRANSCRIPTS FOR EACH EPISODE ca

Support the Show.

Ready for more guidance right now?? Visit www.ecomindedmama.com to download your free guide to help you save $2,000 hiding in your kitchen, plus a bunch of other resources!

Follow us on Instagram & TikTok @ecomindedmama

Katie Kurpanek:

You're listening to all things sustainable, where we unpack topics related to sustainable living, as well as how to apply specific actions to your own life. I'm your eco living coach and podcast host Katie Kurpanek. Let's jump in. Hello, hello everybody. It has been a minute since Season Two ended and we are about one month away from being able to launch into season three, which will start releasing episodes in September. I am super excited. All the recordings of these interviews have been a blast so far and I am just so excited to bring you this content but for the moment it is currently August of 2022 and I am just popping in here to share with you three bonus episodes all about the back to school season and my friend Tiffany Norton from Juniper seed mercantile. She has been on the show before in season two towards the very beginning in the episode about shopping zero waste with five different like sustainable business owners. So she is back on the podcast and she is here with me to talk through a whole bunch of tips and tricks that we both can share from a parent's perspective and also from a former teachers perspective, about living sustainably during this whole back to school season. Tiffany is just incredible. She is capable of so many things. She's a fantastic speaker educator. She is a maker at heart and she is just really gifted with making and mending and just creating a whole bunch of things, which also includes a brand new business that she is creating alongside but separate from her Juniper seed mercantile shop business as well. So she's got a lot of great things going on which she will share a little bit about in a minute within this episode. Today we're going to be talking through tips and tricks for low waste snacks and lunches those kinds of ideas going into the back to school season and then also for low waste, and affordable typically school supplies all of it from a sustainable lens where we are just trying to help you to have a sustainable lifestyle, meaning it's sustainable for you, it causes you less stress, and it should relieve burdens from your plate. And also it is typically better for the planet. Before we dive into today's episode, I am really excited to tell you that I am launching as of one week from now, this episode is coming out on August 15. So in one week, August 22, I am officially launching something big that I have been working on for months. And it kind of connects really well to this topic. I'm not going to give it all away completely yet. But I will tell you that this thing that is coming, I'm going to be opening up a shop on my website that minimal life.com. All that is linked in the episode description and this thing that will be available on the shop is going to be all about living sustainably as a family. So whether you are a parent or a caretaker of some kind, you're expecting to become a parent. This is for you. I have designed something that is based off of my own personal experiences. Having had a baby amidst a pandemic and was completely isolated for months and was just kind of left to myself and with my partner Kevin and I just Googling and researching for hours upon hours, all these different things, all these questions that I had parenting hacks, life hacks, eco hacks, trying to figure out how to be a new parent and care for somebody other than myself while still trying to live sustainably and care for the earth. Being a new parent in itself is incredibly overwhelming. And I definitely felt that way. And I don't want you to feel completely alone in that experience, if I can help it. So I have built something that will hopefully help support you. And also give you a sense of community. If you want to be among the first to know exactly when that launches and what it is and the special discount that will be offered for only the first two weeks, then you will definitely want to sign up for my sustainable Sunday weekly emails. You can do that with the link in the show notes or just visit that minimal life.com. And then right on the homepage, you can sign up for the weekly emails. I definitely won't spam you I try to only send you things that are supportive and then you will be in you will be aware of everything that is coming and the special discount and all of that. So yay. That's my exciting news. At least for now, the little bit I'm sharing with you. But let's get back into today's topic and then the next two episodes, we'll continue this conversation around back to school sustainability with more tips and tricks on things like clothing backpacks, minimizing waste in the classroom and so on. So without further ado, here we go. Well, everybody, welcome back to this show. Tiffany Norton, you've already been on this podcast before in season two. And I'm so happy to have you back here again. For any listeners who missed the, like zero waste kind of shopping themed episode with five different business owners that were in that group chat. I would love if you could just reintroduce yourself and tell us a little bit about like who you are and what you do and what you're passionate about.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

You bet. Thanks for having me again. I really appreciate it. My name is Tiffany Norton. I'm the owner of juniper seed mercantile, which is a zero waste store and micro manufacturer of sustainable sundries here in Colorado. And I'm also a former educator I taught for 24 years in public education, and just now have started a freelance instructional coaching business called the fly button.com. And so I come with lots of experience with sustainable living and teaching.

Katie Kurpanek:

That's awesome. Yeah, I love that. I feel like we happen to know in our circle, a lot of former teachers and so to be able to talk in this episode, particularly and you know, the next couple will be talking from like a teacher's perspective, a sustainable parent's perspective. And I think it's going to be a lot of fun to bounce some ideas off of each other. We'll just be covering some Sustainability tips for back to school season, because that is currently what we're in the midst of in August 2022. So we're going to talk through in this episode, part one, its supplies and lunches. Part two will be clothes and backpacks, and part three will be minimizing waste within the classroom. So let's go ahead and dive into Part One. And yeah, I think we should just throw around some fun ideas and tips for like, what are some low waste supplies and lunches that you can think of? Do you want to kick us off?

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Sure, I forgot to mention that. I'm also a mom. And so my boys are 15 and 20 years old. And so I remember very, very well what it was like the back to school season with the stress of trying to, you know, live your values and somehow get through this season. It was so much at that time, and I'm sure nothing has really changed. It's the never ending list of school supplies that you have to check off your list. And you know, the foods that kids want to bring to school are never the sustainable foods. You know, when was the last time your kids asked for hummus, some carrot sticks?

Katie Kurpanek:

Oh, I know. I actually today tried to give my son my toddler hummus and red bell peppers license. And he he wanted to use the bell pepper slice as basically a you know utensil to get the hummus to his mouth.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Hey, that's a great starting point, at least a flavor of red bell peppers. Yes. Yeah. So anyway. So my business actually started from a place of trying to figure out how to raise kids more sustainably in a way that I could afford. So a lot of the tips and things like that, that, that we talked about sharing today are, you know, come from my own experience and in that arena as well. So back to school, snacks and lunches. I mean, I think a great starting point is reusable containers. And I think baby food jars are an excellent size for little dips and treats like that. What do you think, Katie?

Katie Kurpanek:

Oh, yeah, I actually have been get like, not gifted, but my mother in law had repurposed one of her baby jars, baby food jars that she has saved since like, I think that the expiration date stamp on it said like 89 or something. And she has been washing that and repurposing it this whole time. And anyway, she gave me some kind of dip or something for my son the other day in that and now I've since repurpose that and have like some spices in there. So but yeah, they're the perfect size for like bringing, you know, little condiments and stuff within lunches.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Yeah, applesauce or stuff like that. I think that's awesome. Yeah. Let's see something else that I was thinking of was when you when you have leftovers from the dinner before you can put anything inside of a tortilla and make it be a burrito. And then it's like handheld, you don't really need a packaging for it. I love to do that. My kids thought it was always weird when I would do things like make spaghetti tortilla roll ups and I think it's great. I love them.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, I love that too. Because then it you know makes leftovers from dinner a little bit more exciting. Maybe at least in a kid's mind,

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

especially if there's dip Yes, yeah, your little dip sandwich in the ranch dressing and then it's super fun. Yeah,

Katie Kurpanek:

I love that.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

What about like the charcutterie board trend I think that this is the a good starting point for A lot of people could just picture making a little snack board. I had bento boxes when my kids were little do you have bento boxes,

Katie Kurpanek:

I don't personally own one, I have something kind of like it. But I've also seen them in a bunch of like the Zero Waste stores that are in our area in Colorado. And they're pretty awesome. The little like compartments and

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

stuff are really nice. Yeah, those are lots of fun. There's all kinds of directions online for how to make like fun and easy things that you can fill a bento box with. I think if it's like snackable and small, it's sustainable, because then you can just pick and choose from whatever little random bits you have in your pantry or in your fridge and throw them in and make their little lunchbox recovery. So one thing that I wanted to share about specifically today is about making your own reusable lunch bags and napkins and beeswax wraps. And a lot of people don't know how easy it is to make these things. You don't have to spend a lot of money to purchase like the silicone bags, which are great. But you know, it's a another thing to spend your hard earned money on. That's already expensive enough during this season. In our store, we sell of course, reusable napkins and sandwich bags. But they're so easy to make yourself if you have any basic sewing skills, like if you can sew in a straight line, either by hand or with a sewing machine. To make your own like fold over top sandwich bag like the old fashioned sandwich baggies that you just have like the flap that sticks into the other flap, and then you wrap it over the top. Yeah, I wish I had drawn a diagram that I can show you. But for everyone who's just listening, you can't see it anyway. So I don't have to describe this like with my words as best as I can. What you want is like a long rectangle of fabric that's like maybe seven inches across like the size of a sandwich across. And then the length of it is gonna be like three times that long. So you're gonna fold the fabric over almost all the way and then fold the rest of like the other bit of it down underneath. So it's kind of like it's making a Z. Okay, you picture it. Yeah, like it was fine. And so then you just sew down the edges straight stitch right down each side. Okay, you can do it by hand, or you can do it on a machine, it doesn't have to be pretty. And what that does is that little bit that was folded over the backside, like the other part of the Z can now flip over the top of the bag to close it up.

Katie Kurpanek:

Oh, and then you could just add like a little button or something on the front. I don't even know, okay, no,

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

I just hold itself self still, oh, tomorrow, if you want, I could run down and go get it. But that would mean that we would have to recording.

Katie Kurpanek:

That's okay. Most people are just gonna be listening. Yeah,

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

patrons would just be waiting for me to come back. So anyway, we sell those but you can make that out of, you know, old flannel or, you know, baby clothes, or like, you can really make them anything you want. You just can't really store wet things in a bag like that. But they're great for nuts, or dried fruit or even sandwiches or something like that. Yeah, napkins, you can just cut old knit fabric like T shirts or baby rompers or whatever you want. You don't have to finish the edges. You don't have to sew or anything, you can just cut them and, and those are really great napkins that you can use them reuse and reuse them. But if they get lost, you can kind of shake yourself off of like, like guilt of losing your napkins because at least it got many more uses than it would have if it had just gone to the final resting home of so many articles of clothing.

Katie Kurpanek:

And kids are just notoriously messy. And I love the I love all the different like cloth napkins strips that we have at home. I have a huge stack that came from like a baby blanket, just a bunch of squares cut from a baby blanket and that huge stack. We go through just constant you know cleaning up little messes in the kitchen or you know, when my son gets old enough to actually send to school, I can send him with those. Like you said it doesn't matter if they get lost really. But also like I don't care at all if he stains them because I did not go out and buy like a super pretty patterned cloth napkin that I don't want to get damaged. So I love those.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Excellent. Okay, beeswax wraps. Okay, um, so these are pieces of fabric like your napkins, but they're actually soaked with a solution of melted beeswax and pine rosin and some kind of oil usually hobas What you'll find on tutorials online, and so your fabric becomes kind of a flexible, a little bit sticky, waterproof piece of fabric that you can use to like wrap up a sandwich and so then instead of using your cloth bags that I was describing, you know, you can carry something that's a little bit woozy or gross. You can cover bowls, you can like microwave things with it. I mean, it's super, super useful stuff. And you can buy those, of course at zero wasters, but they're so easy to make and there's lots of tutorials online that will just tell you just those three simple ingredients, it's really easy, you just melt your beeswax and, and the pine rosin makes it a little bit sticky, and then a little bit of oil to make it softer. And you can put them in the oven, put your fabric, you know, on a cookie sheet and drizzle the stuff on top and just like put it in the oven and melt it and then spread it around with a brush. And it will last you forever. And if you ever need to, like re wax it, you just, you know, repeat the process again,

Katie Kurpanek:

that is similar smart. Well, and I haven't personally used those very much like I did sell them when I worked at a retail shop before but it so I'm trying to picture once it's baked in the oven, and then it comes out is it you know, is it very, like sticky on the outside? Or it's just kind of flexible? And moldable? Yeah,

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

it's just sticky enough that it will like stick to itself. Yeah, pretty nicely. And, and if you sort of like really press it down onto the rim of the bowl or something like that, and fold it over, it'll, it'll stick to itself. So if you if you don't use the pine rosin, it'll still be waxy and waterproof, it just won't have that nice stickiness to it. So the rosin actually is just enough to help it stick to itself so that those things kind of stay put. Yeah, if you weren't gonna use the pine rosin, then a little button or even a rubber band or something. You don't have to do any sewing if you don't want to.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah. Oh, that's so fun. That'll be it. That would also be a fun activity to involve your kids with, like, if they're old enough to help with that. I think that they would have a blast. Just kind of like pouring it over the fabric on the baking sheet. And yeah, playing around with it. That's really cool. Yeah,

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

it can be super hot, though. So be careful with Oh, yeah, the burning. But there's probably lots of ways that we could have fun with it. Maybe it should be the subject of one of our next workshops.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yes, I would love that. Yeah, anyone tuning in, who doesn't know Tiffany and I had, you know, put together a whole series of workshops over this summer and Tiffany's got two locations where the University of mercantile in Littleton, and the downtown Littleton location has like the cutest patio, I tell everybody, it's like, if you want to go hang out at the cutest, you know, coolest spa in town, it's gonna be the university patio. And people just walk by and they're always kind of looking and wondering, like, what are you up to, but, and then your shop is just right there. So I would love to do a workshop like that would be really fun. Those are all awesome tips for like, you know, low waste lunches. One more I had thought of too, was with, we kind of touched on it with leftovers, but whenever I'm packing, you know, lunch to go with my son, and then when he goes to school, I would do it the same way. Like trying to pack as much, you know, food that we already have, that doesn't come in a lot of packaging. Like it's usually going to be healthier to eat that way anyway. But I'm always trying to minimize like the amount of packaging that goes into it. So I do have like those snack granola bars and whatever that we take when we're just in a pinch. But I'm really trying to be just aware of like, how many different types of you know, fruits, veggies, lagoons, beans, like what, how can I get creative, kind of like that charcutterrie board that you were talking about that style of packing lunch, and then whatever he does not end up eating, we compost at home and so that I feel better about any food that was kind of wasted, because like, I know that he can just take it back to our home, we can compost it in the yard. I have a workshop on how to compost if people are interested in that. But I also know like you can just Google and see if one composting might be available in your city, it might be available for residents. And if not a lot of compost, like collection services are popping up all over the states now. So that could be a really good option for people to look into as well.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Yeah, for sure. And when you were saying about granola bars without with the packaging, one idea that you could explore is the bulk bins at Sprouts for example, they have those fig bars in like fig flavor and blueberry and maybe a couple of others that don't come in packaging at all.

Katie Kurpanek:

I have never seen that I'm gonna have to go check my local sprouts because I don't know if I've missed it, but I haven't been able to see those. That's, we always get other snacks like kind of like trail mix and pretzels and like all those fun things, but I'm definitely going to go look for some fig bars. And they're pretty easy to make yourself to. Yeah, yeah.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

But a lot of my tips involve making things and you know, partly that's because I'm a maker and you know, so that was how I solved everything when I was younger mom was I would make the granola bars and make baked oatmeal and make baggies and make diapers and make lotion and make you know, and it really can get to be quite a lot but but whenever I'm doing it I always remember my grandmother and a book that I'm trying to remember what the name When the book was, I think it was called Making mend for victory. I think it's what the book was called. And it was a book that was put out during World War Two, for people to like, learn how to make new clothes out of their old clothes and like how to make things like that was part of the war effort was to be really thrifty and make do with what you have, instead of buying new things. And so it always made me feel like really connected to my roots to do that. And so for me, it was kind of meditative to make all the things but I recognize it's a lot to try to just make all of your own stuff.

Katie Kurpanek:

I love that I love that you feel so connected to like your family's history personally. And then, I mean, so much of what we recommend is really just getting back to basics, it's getting back to the way that people used to do things, and in other parts of the world, the way they still do things today. But yeah, those activities, you know, a lot of it can be time consuming if you're doing a bunch of DIY, but I also think when you can involve your kids, you know, safely like you mentioned, getting them involved, it's just another like way to spend time together. And now you can spend time together in a productive way. And then they'll be more willing to probably use the things that you've made or eat the things that you've made, because they were in the process.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Oh, I agree. That's such a good point. And another good point is that once you have made these things and kind of choose in which things are worth your investment, and in which things you want to delegate to other folks, then you can really appreciate when you're buying handmade clothes or handmade lotions, or soaps or whatever, that you know what it takes to do those things by hand, but you still value it. You just don't want to do it yourself. So you find the right people who are doing those things for you. Absolutely.

Katie Kurpanek:

Well, let's let's talk about supplies. Because I think we gave a lot of like great tips focused around like lunches, and eating and just kitchen stuff. But what about all of those supplies, like I know, as a teacher, it kind of pained me every year to send out this like two page long list of supplies that we said we needed. But honestly, a lot of the time at least at our school, we had leftover supplies of these things from the previous school year. And yet we were still required to like send out these lists. I know not every school is like that. But anyway, I feel like there are a lot of ways that parents and teachers can be very conscious of what types of supplies they're asking for or bringing into the classroom.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

I know as a teacher for 24 years, we always had very specific things on the list, like you needed the 24 pack of Crayola markers. Yes. And the reason for behind some of that is that, you know, there are some brands that just are higher quality than others. But we would collect all the supplies and then distribute them. So like we would have the basket of scissors and the basket of markers and maybe 10 baskets of markers, like a basket of supplies on every desk. And I think that now that the pandemic has happened, you know, we're I'm always looking for silver linings. The idea of having kids keeping their own supplies that they don't have to share, is it kind of a two edged thing, you know, on the one hand, that is a bummer for some kids who don't have the executive function to keep track of that stuff or for whom it's a burden to try to gather all those materials and things like that. But But I think it does save on the waste and the need to repurchase time and time again, if you've got a kiddo who can keep track of a pair of scissors year after year, there's no reason to buy another pair of scissors. And then you can just replenish when it's time. So when you need more scissors or more scissors, but like more pencils, or more glue or whatever, then you go and buy more pencils or more glue. But you don't have to just buy the like, I mean, I'm sure you remember having a classroom closet that's just like bursting with sticky notes and index cards and oh, yeah, yeah, rulers,

Katie Kurpanek:

things that I'm like, I definitely will not even go like the sticky notes. Especially I will not go through these in the next year, maybe even two years of teaching. That's how many sticky notes I had ended up with. So yeah, it I think there are a lot of benefits, like you said now to the way that the schools are kind of shifting classrooms are shifting and parents can be aware of just what their own child needs. Yes, but I yeah, I think one. One place that I like to refer people to look for school supplies, and I'll do this myself is thrift stores of all places like I've found a lot of thrift stores that have just kind of these Ziploc bags that are sometimes full of random items. Like maybe it's a whole bunch of pens, pencils, crayons all in one bag, or they've got them you know, more organized but a lot of those can be found there that are still like in very Be very good condition and then also things like binders, clipboards. What else pocket folders like a bunch of your very basic supplies you can find at a thrift store in very good condition. So that's one place I would recommend people turn to. And then, like you were talking about brands with the Crayola markers I just learned yesterday, I learned that apparently, Crayola Crayons I don't know if all of them all crayons are this way. But Crayola crayons are made with animal products. So any families that are listening that are vegan like that might be important to them, maybe they don't want to buy that brand. But also most big brands of crayons also are made with like paraffin wax, which is you know, a byproduct of petroleum. So if they're not being recycled properly, then they are going to like live forever in landfills. And so anyway, now I started Googling, like, well, what are vegan crayons or sustainable alternatives? And you can buy a whole bunch of them online that are made like the ingredients list is very short. You know exactly what kind of like food based wax it's made from and you know that if they end up in the trash or somewhere like it's not quite as bad. Yeah, those are just

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

another fun craft idea is to save all those little bits of crayons that you come across at your thrift store and melt them to turn into like chubby crayons. Yeah, there's loads that you can get. But you can also just use the little silicone ice cube, the little silicone ice trays and make you know chubby, recycled crayons that those are pretty fun too. But I also wanted to say about binders that you can find in any teacher supply closet or at the thrift store. If you cut them, cut them apart and use a binder clip, you can make your own clipboards that are also dry erase boards. I used to love taking my students outside or on field trips around the school and stuff. And if they had to still write something, it was nice to have a clipboard. So I would say never buy whiteboards or clipboards for your students to use just like you know, take old binders and cut them up and use a binder clip at the top. It's perfect

Katie Kurpanek:

smart because then most of the binders have like that clear plastic sheet that kind of is attached to the outside. So that's the whiteboard part. Yeah, that's really smart.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Speaking of whiteboard markers, I just discovered well one you can recycle markers that have plastic barrels TerraCycle has a box but I also just discovered a different recycling place here in Colorado we have a place called the Alliance center and they have a free hard to recycle program and so you your highlighters or Crayola markers or anything that has a barrel you can recycle. But I did find Stabilo I think that's how you say it sta the ILO is a Swedish company I believe and they have like wooden colored pencils and wooden markers and things like that. And I just bought a whole bunch of them just to like educate folks in the shop and and offer them for sale if people want them. But they have these big fat chubby crayons that are water soluble. So you can use them on whiteboards, chalkboards, paper, they make great highlighters, they're watercolor crayons. So if you were to draw a picture with them, and then use a wet paint brush over them, it would turn them into like watercolor paint. When you use them on your board, you just like you don't have to worry about having them dry out or losing the caps, which is a perennial problem for Yes. Or kids like, you know, you know, the things that kids do with their whiteboard markers, but, but they're just, it's just crap. There's no cap, you sharpen it, just like you would any colored pencil. And to erase it, you can either just use a microfiber cloth or something and rub real hard or take a wet cloth and you know, clean your board at the end of the day or you know, keep it kind of damp and erase as you go. I was really excited to find those.

Katie Kurpanek:

That is super cool. I've never even heard of those. So I'm definitely going to look that up now. That's

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

called Three and one Woody.

Katie Kurpanek:

Okay, cool. Woody, like wood with a y at the end? Yes. Okay. Awesome. That's cool. I'm gonna make sure to link all these things, too. I didn't say that at the beginning. But I'll link a bunch of the resources that we're talking about in the episode description. So if people are you know, driving or doing whatever while they listen to this, you know if any of that catches your attention, you can just go back and click the episode description and find those links.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

I have recently discovered rocket book Have you have you ever heard? Yes, yes. Actually have my rocket book right here. This is a really cool this is for lefties. They've got a spiral at the top here. So that you don't, you know, bring your writing hand on the knot. That thing is a problem. But like it gets in the way, like eliminates a good portion of like how much you can write on that page. Yeah. So it's this URL Little bit plastic covered paper. Each page has a QR code right here. And then I don't know if you can see them these tiny little icons at the bottom. And it's an app on your phone that you're going to say what do you want each of those icons to go to. So when I'm writing my notes, use one of these friction pens that's like an erasable heat the racing marker. And so you're going to mark one of these icons down here at the bottom. And let's say if I mark that X right there, it's going to automatically when I scan this page with that QR code right there, it's going to go to my Google Drive in a folder called blog post ideas. Yeah, and when you're done, you know, you scan it, it automatically goes to wherever you told it to go. And then you just use a little cloth, damp and erase the whole thing, or you can blow dry it,

Katie Kurpanek:

I heard microwave to have you a whole notebook that

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

like version of it, that you just put it in the microwave in order to be raised. But you can't do that with all of them. But the microwavable one, you can only do that like five times as well. I don't know what happens on the fifth time if it just like spontaneously combust. It instantly composts right into ash on the bottom of your microwave. So, so I thought that was super cool. I'm excited about that. And my son is excited about using one for his notebook this year. And we had, he's a freshman. He's a sophomore this year, actually, in high school. And he loves the idea of brand new school supplies, like a new notebook or like a fresh start. And I think that even periodically throughout the school year, it's nice to have a fresh start. But we never use all of the pages in a notebook you use like the first half, you know, typically, and in middle school, sometimes that's like the first five pages, like how many notebooks did kids go through it where they only use like the first five pages. So this is a cool way of getting like a fresh start as often as you want. So you just take a picture of the pages that are worth keeping. And the rest, you can just erase, he doesn't need eight notebooks, he can just have one notebook. And so each week he can take his notes, and then kind of go through and think about what's worth keeping and what's not. I think it's a really important study skill also, to revise and think about your notes and that sort of thing. And the other thing that I really love about it is, you know, I know you can take notes on a computer. And that's a pretty sustainable way to do it, too. But what he and I have been talking about is the analog experience of writing notes is much better for your brain. But it also signals to the people around you that you're focused. And so your teacher knows that you're paying attention or like as an instructional coach, if I'm taking notes in a meeting or something like that, I want the person that I'm talking to to know that I'm not multitasking and that I'm not going to get distracted by the other things on the page. Yeah, having a physical pen in my hand and paper that I'm writing on, really helps, I think maintain that level of focus that older kids need to so I loved the opportunity to add that to our sustainable Back to School Talk. because not everybody's kids are a little anymore.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, no, I'm so glad that you brought that up. I completely forgot about that. I had heard of it. Last summer I saw someone using it. So they told me all about it. They told me about the whole microwave thing, but I don't know if they knew that it could only be microwaved five times. But that reminds me though that I mean, that would be something I would want to invest in just for myself to like, you know, back to school tips and beyond.

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

Yeah, yeah, I'm definitely loving using mine. You have to make sure that that you don't leave it in the car accidentally erasing notes and as a lefty you know, sometimes if if my hands like are sweaty if I sit out on the patio and I get hot sometimes I smudge my writing just a little bit with my markers, but

Katie Kurpanek:

which that could happen to you with regular like, you know, ink or lead from a pencil to maybe not as bad but

Tiffany, JuniperSeed:

yeah, I mean, you always know a lefty by, you know, the little footprint on the back of their hand.

Katie Kurpanek:

Yeah, my son is apparently a lefty, like every everything he's done with his hands so far, like it's always his left hand is dominant. So I'm excited about that. And also interested to see this play out as he grows, because I've never like I've never had to think about writing on that side of the notebook and how the spiral thing might actually get in the way. Yeah, for sure. Interesting. Cool. Well, let's talk about clothes and backpacks... There you have it. That is the little mini episode that I have for you today. But we will be back tomorrow where Tiffany and I continue the conversation about living sustainably in the back to school season. Specifically regarding clothing and backpacks. You definitely don't want to miss it. Tiffany is just full of tons of ideas and shares so much more in that episode. So tune back in tomorrow. If you want to receive the weekly emails that I send out with like sustainable tips. I call them sustainable Sundays. And also there are some emails that are going out with each of these bonus podcast episodes that you might not want to miss. Either way, you can sign up for that, again, linked in the show notes. There's my website, that minimal life.com right on the homepage, there's a box that allows you to just put in your email and that's it you will be all set. It also will give you a freebie just for signing up. So you will get a FREE Guide with like five simple steps to get started living sustainably straight to your inbox just for joining. So all of those perks and you will also get all of the information that I have coming about the really big launch happening in one week. I can't wait to get that out to you. So that's it for now and I can't wait to share with you the next bonus episode tomorrow. Have a great day everyone