Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Frozen Banana Nutella Sandwiches - Delicious frozen treats

I read this recipe somewhere recently and thought it was a great idea so I tried it. Turns out, whoever came up with this is brilliant! It's delicious, really fast and easy, and a great way to use up your ripe bananas.

Let me know what you think!

From my kitchen to yours:

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Konjac Sponge - an eco-friendly exfoliant?

I was scrolling through the ecouterre website the other day when I came across an article about the environmental impact of plastic microbeads that make up exfoliants. Apparently the scrubbing beads are so small they float their way out of the sewer treatment centers and deposit themselves in the waterways. These tiny plastic particles are then mistaken for food by the local fauna which can lead to bioaccumulation and magnification through the food chain... troubling.

Even more troubling, was I contributing to this environmental disaster?

I slowly made my way to the bathroom, knowing full well what I would find in my favorite exfoliant... plastic microbeads. Yep, Guilty.

Thankfully the world wide web is stock full of helpful alternatives:
- Salt scrubs
- Sugar scrubs
- Walnut scrubs
- and Konjac Sponges

What is a Konjac sponge? Great question, I asked myself the same thing when I came across it in Real Simple. It comes from a plant that grows in mountainous regions of Asia, particularly Japan and Korea. Apparently, Konjac root has been part of the Japanese diet for over 1500 years and for the last couple century it has been transformed into a gentle exfoliating sponge. It is sometimes combined with red clay and charcoal for additional properties.

The process is simple. Let the sponge soak up water until it is fluffy, squeeze out the excess water, and then gently scrub the dead skin cells and left over sun block from your face. It be used solely with water or with your favorite face wash. This gentle exfoliant is 100% biodegradable to boot! It is recommended to change your sponge every 3 months, so I'll be testing it's biodegradability then. 

There are many brands of Konjac sponges but I gave the Dew Puff Original a try. It was $7 on amazon, you can find the exact link under the Whozits and Whatzits tab. The first one I ordered started to mold within the first week so I sent it back to amazon. I got a new one within two days and the shipping was free. It is important to let the sponge dry out between uses meaning, in my case, that I can only use it once a day. I installed a little hook on the wall for it to hang and dry. So far so good, I have been using it for 3 weeks and my skin feels clean and smooth. It is really easy to use and definitely speeds up my morning routine quite a bit. It is also much easier than making the facial scrubs. 

Take care!




Sunday, August 3, 2014

{reduce,reuse,recycle} paper shredder

This idea came to me only today as I filled my second bag of shredded materials that this could easily be used to cover the bottom of a rabbit cage, a free alternative to expensive bedding. I generally choose the recycled paper option anyway. Add a little baking soda to help absorb the odor and you are set!
As for the environmental impact of such a change in habit, I would qualify it as a "lesser of two evils" option. 

What do you do with your shreddings?
Take care!

Friday, April 11, 2014

March showers bring April flowers...

Was that how the saying went? It's definitely what is happening in NYC right now. I spotted 4 different types of flowers on my way home from the bus stop today (about a 5minute walk): Magnolias, forsythias, tulips, and daffodils.
I wasn't even trying. Take a look!

Spring has arrived!!! Yay!!!!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Bill Nye, the Science guy

Science Rules

On April 3rd 2014, I saw Bill Nye give a talk to hundreds if science teachers at the NSTA conference in Boston.
He was funny, interesting, and inspiring. 
He reminded me to take advantage of all of life's random teachable moments and that science was not only knowledge but also a process. This is good advice for all of us teachers out there. 

Let's change the world, one kid at a time.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Green Font Choice - Garamond

Concerned about ink usages but still required to print documents out? 14 year old scientist, Suvir Mirchandani, reveals a simple way to save ink - change ink font.

Mirchandani, who published two studies on topic, recommends the use of Garamond to reduce your ink usage.  The table below, taken from his 2013 paper, compares the ink usage of 4 different fonts for 5 different letters.
[Image from Mirchandani and Pinko, 2013]

Mirchandani's studies wish only to be useful, he calculated the savings a school and the government could make by simply changing fonts and the results are astounding. He estimates the government could save $394 Million a year by making the switch, that's a significant amount that could be reinvested in other sectors such as education.

As a teacher, I will definitely be making the switch on my handouts.

Take care!


Mirchandani, Suvir, and Peter Pinko. "The effect of font type on a school’s ink cost." Journal of Emerging Investigators March (2013): 1-7. 
Web. 30 Mar. 2014. Mirchandani-2013.pdf>.

Mirchandani, Suvir, and Peter Pinko. "A Simple Printing Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction." Journal of Emerging Investigators 
March (2014): 1-5. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. Mirchandani-2014-Ink-Cost-2.pdf>.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

{Ultimate Cuteness} Olinguito

Welcome to Ultimate Cuteness, the sporadic themed post where I get to share the cutest nature pictures found on the internet.

This week we discover the Olinguito (pronounced oh-lin-GHEE-toe), a new species of tiny mammal discovered in 2013 in the Andes canopy. This relative of the racoon may have been observed before 2013 but confused with the Olingo.

Oh its cute enough as an adult, but as a baby... it's to die for! Look at those fluffy ears!!!

Just soak in the cuteness...
Take care!

For more information: 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

BYOB #bagitnyc

[Picture Credit]
Have you heard of Bill No.1135? How about the Ban the Bag movement? Well, it's happening in NYC and it might be happening or has happened where you are...

The objective is simple, reduce the number of single use plastic bags used - you know the ones, the ones that are so thin you need to double or triple bag in order to carry home some apples (... or candy... no judgement).

Did you know that NYC spends 10 MILLION DOLLARS a year just to get rid of plastic bags? Ridiculous, right? Don't believe me? I hear it from NYC Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability, Ron Gonen himself.

These plastic bags are such a low quality of plastic "film" that they are not worth recycling because no one is really interested with the resulting plastic product. (This being said, there are some very creative individuals out there...) So our bags end up in landfills somewhere or for many of them they remain in our environment floating around our streets, and wrapping around tree branches. These bags won't degrade for years and they release toxic particles in the environment. Either whole or in particle form, these plastic bags frequently end up as very unhealthy and in many cases deadly snacks for marine organisms.

Instagram #bagitnyc
The bill proposes the add a convenience fee of 10 cents for every bag you use. Why? In hopes that this 10 cent fee will motivate us shoppers to bring reusable bags with us.

Whether or not you think this bill should be put in place, using reusable bags is a good idea - not just for the environment but also for the sake of your hands that may have to carry heavy bags up all the way up to your oh so quaint 5th floor walk up.

BYOB can also mean Bring Your Own Bag...

Take care!


Want to take action?

Participate on Instagram by geo tagging pictures of plastic bags seen around NYC, add the #bagitnyc for it to add it to the ever growing community map

Bring it to the classroom! http://www.bagitmovie.com/downloads/EducationPacket_7.pdf

Need more info? 




Want to read opposing views? 

Interested in alternative uses for plastic bags? 

Bag it. Dir. Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar. Perf. Ray Anderson and Noam 
     Chomsky. Docurama, 2011. Film. 
Gonen, Ron. Hewitt's Ban the Bag Even. The Hewitt School, New York. 1 Mar. 2014. 
     Address. NYC Deputy Commissioner for Recycling and Sustainability 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Pesto Pesto Pesto

The calendar tells me it's spring although the weather is not really supporting these claims here in the big apple. Although most days still require me to bundle up, there are other signs around: the ducks are back, most of the snow is gone, and I suddenly have the urge to cook!

This resurgence of the domestic goddess may only be a result of being on spring break but regardless of the reason, I'm on a mission to master the art of PESTO.

[Picture Credit Inspired Taste - my own to come]
What you will need:

2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
2 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  

Let's get cooking.


1 Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
2 Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
Makes 1 cup.
Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

(based on a recipe from Simply Recipes.com)

I'm off to the grocery story because I am missing most of these ingredients.

Take care!!

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