Customer Service No-No – Best Buy Lost A Customer Today

I am writing this post mostly to vent, but I’m also hoping somebody learns something about customer service from it too.

On 9/12/15, I went into our local Best Buy to replace a teeny tiny tv screen I have had in my kitchen for years. My husband got it for me for my birthday and it hangs under my cabinet, just above my counter and folds up so you can’t see it when it’s not in use.  It was seriously one of the best gifts ever.  When I know I am going to be in the kitchen for a while, I love zoning out and putting something mindless on.  I used to use cooking time to call my nana and catch up on life, but since she passed, I find it a bit lonely. With my little tiny tv, my cooking time goes quickly and I catch up on some of my shows.

My husband was swatting at a mosquito a few weeks ago and broke my screen. 😟 It sat there all broken and sad for weeks.  Finally I got frustrated and went into Best Buy to buy a replacement.

I never shop.  I never treat myself to anything.  I am also never without 4 children in tow, so shopping isn’t usually super enjoyable.

On 9/12/15, I was all by myself and enjoyed my time shopping.  I even poked around a few other departments and ended up picking up a popcorn machine.  I have had the need for large quantities of popcorn on my children’s school’s movie night.  I bought this machine for home, but figured I would lend it to the school as well.

tv best buy image

My husband was awesome and set up my new tv right away.

The popcorn machine, however, sat in its box for a while- a few weeks.

Finally, this past week, I asked my husband if he wouldn’t mind opening it and making some popcorn for us.  He never made it.  When I asked why, he told me it was broken.  Right out of the package- broken and would never work.  The handle wasn’t attached which wouldn’t allow it to seal, therefore preventing it from turning on.

Today, 10/4/15, I  (and my 4 kids) went to Best Buy and waited in line with my broken popcorn maker for about 10 minutes.  When it was my turn, I explained to the man waiting on me that I just wanted to exchange the popcorn maker for a different one because the one I had purchased was broken.

He asked me if I had my receipt.  I did not.  🙁

He asked me how I paid. I told him I didn’t remember.

I then reminded him, I didn’t want my money back, just a machine that worked.

He told me I couldn’t do anything without the receipt.

I explained to him that the machine came broken.

He said it didn’t matter, without the receipt I was out of luck.

He told me to swipe my credit cards through the swiper to see if a receipt would pop up and then he could help me.

I did that.  After the 3rd credit card swipe, he found the receipt.

He told me that I waited too long and now I can’t return it.

What?!?!?!?!  I waited too long?!?!?!?!

It hasn’t even been a month.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t pop a whole lot of popcorn the first few weeks of September, trying to get used to 3 schools, 4 kids and full schedule of activities.

I asked him how long I was allowed to make a return.  He said 15 days.

I told him my machine came broken.  I asked him to look in the box and look at it.  It hadn’t ever been used.  BECAUSE IT WAS BROKEN.

He informed me that it was my lucky day and it was still covered under a manufacturers warranty and I could walk across the store and go grab another one and exchange it.

What?!?!?!

So I was told NO because I didn’t have my receipt.  THEN I was told NO because I waited too long to cook popcorn.

NO IMAGE

And after all that I was ALLOWED to walk across the football field sized store and pick out another popcorn maker and walk all the way back and exchange it.  Which is all I wanted from the start.

Never once did I hear;

‘I’m sorry”.

“That stinks, that you bought this and it never worked”.

“You know what, you did everything wrong here Jenn, but let me see what I can do for you”.

“Sure, no problem”.

“Let me take care of that for you”.

“Thank you”.

“Thanks for shopping with a store in your community and helping to employ local people instead of  ordering this shit off Amazon which is cheaper and so much more convenient”.

“I’m sorry”.

What I did hear was;

“NO, NO, NO, NO.  You can’t return.  You can’t exchange.  NO.  NO.  NO.  NO”

By the time I got out of the return line with my stupid popcorn popper, not only did I not want it anymore but I decided that I would no longer step foot in a Best Buy again.

My kids wanted to purchase a $10.00 movie and I said absolutely not.  Best Buy is not in my happy bubble and will no longer receive a penny from me.

One tiny gesture of kindness goes such a long way when dealing with customers.  A simple smile, a kind word, anything but big fat no’s.

Thanks for listening to me vent. Feel free to share your recommendations for stores to replace Best Buy for my future shopping needs. 😉

❤️J

* Shutterstock images

Review & Give Away!! Connects by Fathom Company

I am not an obsessive shopper, by any means, but I loooove finding great new toys for Little A and her friends. I was thrilled to receive a collection of Connects, by Fathom-Toys, to review.

Connects are little, colorful, plastic, chain-link pieces that come in sturdy clear containers to keep them corralled. Of course I asked- the plastic is free of BPA, phthalates and lead and is compliant with ASTM F963 and EN71.

I could hardly wait to open the containers. 6 1/2 year-old Little A and her 7 year-old cousin wasted no time getting started. I had a strong feeling that my daughter would love them, but I was surprised to see my very energetic, talkative, very busy nephew sit for 45 minutes working on a beautiful, intricate necklace for his mom- AND THEN HE CAME BACK FOR MORE! It was awesome to see these two little ones, who are usually running around, maybe secretly competing for loudest child in the family, sit together, quietly focused and creating little pieces of wearable art.

Connects: bright, colorful little links

Connects: bright, colorful little links

We’ve had our Connects for about a month now, and they have quickly become one of Little A’s go-to sources of fun and entertainment and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. She loves to sort and count them, make long strands, design and create necklaces, bracelets, spy-belts to hold her clip on spy gear, leashes for her stuffed animals, and more. I like that they are portable- they don’t weigh much and are fun to bring just about anywhere.

I love that Fathom-Company is a mom-owned business. Marcela is a sweet, determined, hard-working mom who started her company with the goal of creating a multi-use toy to engage her daughters- and she did!

“I’ll still use these when I’m a grown-up!”- exclaimed by Little A as she listed all of the things she plans to do with Connects!

Other cool ideas included in her rant:

    • Make a dress
    • Cover my whole body in them
    • Make anklets and knee braces. (??)
    • OMG- I can make ornaments!
    • Make bags
    • Make banners & decorations

She did have one suggestion for improvement as she was cleaning up a big pile of Connects: “I wish that they were magnetic, so I could just use a big magnet to clean them up!” While I think that’s smart thinking, I’m going to disagree with her suggestion. I would be too nervous to have so many tiny magnets in the house with little kids and animals! Sorry kid- you can pick them up the old fashioned way. 😉

If you’d like to try Connects, you can enter to win a Tall Pail- 950 pieces!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you’re already itching to start your own collection, you can order online and save 15% with Mommy Business promo code MB2015!

While Fathom-Company did give us a collection of Connects to review, all reviews are always our honest opinions. Plus, I love them so much I’ve already purchased more to give as gifts!

Follow Connects on Instagram for some great ideas for fun projects!

Winner will be chosen by Rafflecopter app and notified by October 10 at midnight eastern time. Prize will be shipped directly from Fathom Company.


MSTK bio picMelissa Kaye is a Boston-based green living expert, writer, radio personality, food safety advocate, mom, and wife. She is currently working her way through grief and learning how to live without her would-be 10 year old son, Joshua, who died July 7, 2014 of E. Coli. With her husband and two daughters, she has founded Joshua Kaye Foundation, which will honor what was important to Josh- community, fairness and animal welfare. 

Connect with Melissa at mommybusiness.net or on Twitter @mstkaye and @mommybiz7. 

Review: Enjoy Life Muffin Mix

Enjoy Life sent us a beautiful package with lots of their mixes to try out. It was so exciting to open the box and see all of the yummy options, along with a fancy new oven mitt, pizza cutter, spatula and wooden spoon. Such great packaging and presentation. Enjoy Life knows what they’re doing!

Such great packaging and so many goodies!

Such great packaging and so many goodies!

We have lots of food allergies in our families. Jenn’s kids are allergic to mango, peanuts, tree nuts, pistachio, cashew, and sesame.

At my house, we’ve got Little A with gluten, oats, soy, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, all legumes, cinnamon, sesame and sunflower seed. We keep things very simple and cook & bake with as few ingredients as possible. I’m allergic to clams, gluten, and dairy, and my husband, Andy, is lobster, egg, banana. The great news is that even Andy can have these mixes. ALL OF THEM!! It’s so hard to find safe mixes that don’t include egg, but Enjoy Life has solved that problem! Every box is free of the top 8 allergens. The only ingredients you need to add are: water and the oil of your choice! (I use Kirkland brand organic olive oil from Costco.)

This sweet new wooden spoon is perfect to use with my favorite mixing bowl!

This sweet new wooden spoon is perfect to use with my favorite mixing bowl!

It was rainy and chilly in Boston today, so I spent the afternoon baking! I started with some muffins. I’m sure they would have been good just plain, but I added blueberries and a crumb topping, because Andy likes berries!

Fresh Maine Wild Blueberries- YUM!

Fresh Maine Wild Blueberries- YUM!

The muffins came out great! The flavor and feel is as good as my from-scratch muffins. To make them even more perfect, I would add 1/2-1 teaspoon of vanilla extract next time. And chocolate chips. I love blueberries, but Enjoy Life chocolate chips are my weakness!!!!!

I ate two immediately after taking this photo!

I ate two immediately after taking this photo!

 

A couple of notes:

If you’re going to add blueberries, be sure to toss them in a little gluten-free flour first. This will help them hang out in the muffin without sinking to the bottom.

They’re yummy warm, with a little butter (or Earth Balance soy-free spread) but I think the taste and texture are best after they cool for a bit.

Mmmmmm... warm with butter!

Mmmmmm… warm with butter!

 

My recipe for crumb topping:

3 Tablespoons butter, or butter substitute, very cold and chopped into little pieces

1 1/2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 Tablespoons sugar

1/2 Cup gluten-free flour

 

Mix with a fork or your fingers until it is blended and crumbly.

Sprinkle on top of muffins, bake, and enjoy!

*As mentioned above, the mixes were sent to us by Enjoy Life, so that Jenn & I could try them and write an honest review. As always, opinions on MommyBusiness.net are our own. You know we always tell truth! -M

PMU Box, where have you been all my life?

This is not an advertisement.  I don’t get paid to write reviews. I will, however, gush over your company if I like it and will spread the word as much as I can!  I  am a customer of PMU box (pick-me-up). It is a monthly subscription service where they deliver all natural sweet treats to my door step once a month.  According to their website :”Pick-Me-Up is a convenient subscription service that delivers all-natural sweets right to your door. Discover new delicious goodies in a simple, effortless way!”

 

This box bring such happiness :-)

This box bring such happiness 🙂

Full disclosure: I do know the owner.  I know that she works her butt off.  She runs this company by herself and does a phenomenal job.

It all started back when the owner was a college student. She was extremely health conscious and found herself hitting the wall of exhaustion around 3pm everyday and needed a quick sugar pick-me-up (as she would call it).  She didn’t want the conventional candy bar from a machine.  She wanted something that was sweet, yet all natural and not so bad for her body.

She quickly became the expert among friends who always wanted to know what she was eating, so PMU Box began.

I have been getting PMU Box for about 6 months.  I love it.  I am a pain in the butt customer, too, because I am gluten-free and my family is nut-free.  I have definitely had to give up some of my goodies to friends, who then gloat about how much I am missing out.  I have also found some amazingly perfect new sweet treats to add to either my life or my businesses.  I own a small chain of coffee shops and having PMU Box delivered to my home is like having a personal shopper go out and find unique treats that I never would have discovered!  Win/win!

 

May 2015 pmubox.com YUM!

May 2015 pmubox.com YUM!

I realize I am not the average customer because I have a dual purpose. I have found some killer products that I now sell at Coffee Break Cafe and I can’t keep them on my shelves!  Liz Lovely is one brand.  She makes Vegan, GMO free, gluten free, cookies that are seriously better than most products out there, gluten or not.  LOVE them.  (Not in love with the 400 plus calorie per cookie, but OMG!! And my customers love them!)

I dream about these Liz Lovely cookies!

I dream about these Liz Lovely cookies!

 

Okay, so back to the PMU box.  It is $19.99 and the box is different every month.  Did I mention how much I look forward to my delivery every month?

Not sure which month this was but am sure it was heavenly....

Not sure which month this was but am sure it was heavenly….

Mommy Business loves hearing stories about women-owned businesses, mommy-owned businesses, businesses with passion, businesses born from seeing a need that needs to be filled. Pmubox.com is a relatively new business, woman-owned and run. She hand picks each product that goes in the box and it shows.

Feb 2015 :-)

Feb 2015 🙂

Pmubox.com also offers seasonal boxes and short term subscriptions so you can give it a try before you commit.  They are also a fabulous gift! Melissa and I have both gifted PMU subscriptions to family members and everyone has been thrilled.

As always, thanks for including Mommy Business in your life!

J

 

Simple & Quick Scratch Ticket Bouquet!

I have spent the past 3 days with some kind of electronic device in hand, on Pinterest looking for the best way to create a scratch ticket bouquet for a fundraiser this Saturday night.

I have $100.00 to spend and I want to make it look fabulous.

I found all kinds of cool pictures, but when I click on the link to learn how to create it, there is either a dead link or a website that has nothing to do with the original picture.

I decided to figure it out on my own and  create a “how to” post so that others can read a real post about the real pictures :-).

I purchased a cute container with a really sweet flower on the front- no need for me to decorate!  I took it to the floral department and put a gazillion of those floral foam balls inside to see which fit the tightest.  I found one that wasn’t perfect but would work.  I had the rest of the supplies at home already so I only spent about $10.00 at the craft store.

Supplies:

Scratch tickets

Lollipop sticks or skewer sticks

Floral foam

Container of choice

Shipping tape

Crinkle cut basket filler

Cellophane

Ribbon to tie a bow

supplies for scratch ticket bouquet

supplies for scratch ticket bouquet

Tape the lollipop sticks to the back of the scratch tickets.  Be sure to not tape the bar code on the back. You want to make sure the person who wins can redeem the ticket and they won’t be able to without the bar code.  The heights can vary.

Stick the sticks in the floral foam

I had to secure the ball in place with a little tissue paper.  You don’t want the tickets moving from side to side.

sticks in floral foam

Sticks in floral foam

Cover the foam with something that looks nice. I used a little crinkle cut basket filler.

Before crinkle cut and cellophane!

Before crinkle cut and cellophane!

Wrap with cellophane, tie a bow and you are finished!

final product! Took 10 minutes to make.

Final product!
Took only 10 minutes to make.

These baskets are usually great sellers at fundraiser/auctions.

We’d love to see how yours come out! Share pics in the comments!

 

True business perseverance…. Small business spotlight!

In New England we have gotten a LOT of snow.  They say this was worse than the blizzard of 78.  I heard one news reporter say Boston got over 100 inches since January 28th.

giant snowman

To say that it has been difficult to run a business is a complete understatement!  Between closing full days mid-storm, closing early, opening late,it has been a nightmare for my business and all of my small business friends.  Then when it finally stops snowing, there is the cleanup.  After the 70 inch mark, there was just no place to put the snow anymore.  The snow mounds are so high, you can barely see out of most windows.  Then there are problems that come with so much snow that you just don’t even think of, leaks that never existed suddenly appear.  Heavy snow on weak roofs have caused some roofs to cave in and collapse.  My husband had to get on our roof twice and shovel.

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

My deck, you can see the umbrella attached to the picnic table

A local business in my neighborhood has had to close their business for the four weeks.  It is a dance studio called In Sync Center of the Arts.  They are one of the most well run and talented dance studios in my area.  What drew me in to this dance studio 5 years ago was how many classes they offered- not just for dance, but taekwondo, lego club, music lessons, and drama. I have four kids and I loved that all of them could take a class at once and I would get a whole hour all to myself :-). In the lobby, they have big screen tv’s that show all of the classes so you can see everyone at once.  LOVE IT!

The week before February vacation,  Insync’s next-door neighbor’s roof collapsed.  Thankfully it was empty and nobody was hurt physically.  Financially, it is devastating.  There are 5 business all in this little strip mall and they are all closed.  If I had to guess how many people were employed between the five businesses I would say hundreds.  Hundreds of people out of work because of something out of their control!  It’s heartbreaking!

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

The UPS store is the roof that collapsed, to the left of Insync.

Teri, the owner of Isync, was trying to unplug and relax for a few days during Feb vacation with her husband and kids.  She actually left her phone in her hotel room while out for dinner, only to return to hear about the nightmare she has now been living for weeks.  She had to cut her vacation short and rush home to make sense out of her new situation.  She was not allowed on the property. The electricity and gas is shut off and everything is roped off until it is deemed safe.

Most people would curl up into a ball and feel sorry for themselves, but not Teri.  She had her team up and running the next day seeking out temporary space for her business.  They brought their phones and laptops to a fabulous little coffee shop (mine 🙂 ) and worked as a team and didn’t stop until they found space that would work.

She ended up with two spaces, one by day and a high school for the night classes.  The high school is perfect because there are so many class rooms that it allows many dance classes to go on at the same time.

Amazing strength, creativity, and the drive to go on.  All admirable qualities that I believe most entrepreneurs have.  Teri has a crazy awesome team loaded with talent and is clearly flexible.

Awesome, talented staff!

Awesome, talented staff!

I am honored to be a customer of theirs and I love how they are handling this situation.

There is so much negativity and tragedy shown on the news and social media, I just had to share how a real life woman turned some serious sour lemons into delicious lemonade 🙂

insynlogo

Why Aren’t These Vocal Smoke Alarms For Sale?!

Somehow, this video of Hank Phillippi Ryan’s investigation of smoke alarms from 2004 has made a resurgence today on Facebook. It is alarming (no pun intended!) and extremely moving. It caused me to spend over an hour searching online to find a product.

In case you didn’t click the link above, or can’t watch it right now, the video shows Hank Phillippi Ryan meeting with families of fire fighters and filming nighttime testing of their smoke alarms, with frightening results. None of the children wake to the sound of the beeping alarm. OH MY GOD- they sleep right through!!! In the second half of the video, they test a (then) new kind of alarm- a vocal alarm that allows the parents to record their own voice- calmly but urgently calling their children to wake up and evacuate the home. ALL of the kids wake up and all but the child in his crib leave their rooms! By this time, I feel a bit shaky- quite emotional. seriously- I WANT THIS ALARM!!! Like, now. I’ll pay $100 and I want 2. Immediately.

Poking around online, I see that they are not currently for sale. I read several papers, including this very official study from 2006, that demonstrates the same outcome. In fact, the median time to awaken was 20 seconds in the voice alarm group compared with 3 minutes in the tone alarm group!!

WHERE THE HELL CAN I GET ONE?!

This Dateline video from 2013 features a doctor/researcher from a children’s hospital who also points to the child’s name and parent’s voice as important factors in waking the child quickly. The alarms we have in our home do have voice, but it is not my voice or my husband’s, and they certainly don’t call our the names of my children. Where is the study that shows my kids will wake up to this strange voice quicker than the beeping alarm?

I did find lots of old comments from people saying things like “well, wouldn’t the parents wake up and run to the kids anyway?” so, maybe there wasn’t enough interest in the personalized alarms until now. After seeing the videos, I’m guessing everyone I know will want one if it means their kids will wake up and get out in the event of a fire. Would you want one?

photo credit: Push and hold to test weekly via photopin (license)

Yummy oooey gooey black bean brownie recipe!

I am on a mission to get more protein in my children’s (especially my daughter’s) diet.  They won’t eat very many green things and are super picky.  I think most kids with food allergies tend to be picky, and mine are no different.

I have been trying to master this black bean brownie recipe for weeks but up until today they tasted like….  well… beans!!

I adjusted a few things this morning and it was a hit!!  They are SO GOOD!!!

 

black bean brownie 3

 

Here is my super easy recipe!!

 

Ingredients:

1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 eggs
3 tablespoons coconut oil or vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  ( I use Vermont Nut Free cocoa powder)
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I also broke up a nut free chocolate bar for the topping and added nut free butterscotch chips)

Throw all of the ingredients in a food processor or blender to puree, except the toppings.  I added a touch of water to the blender to help it along.

Black bean brownie

Grease a pan (I used a glass pie plate) and pour in.  Place your toppings on top.   Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.  Let cool.

Dig in and enjoy!!!

-J

black bean brownie 2

Tips from a Pro: How to Get That Coffee Shop Taste at Home!

I opened my first coffee shop (Coffee Break Cafe) at the age of 25 because I was sick of bad coffee and even worse service. I had exhausted all of the coffee chain possibilities in my area and knew there had to be something better. My husband and I (boyfriend back then) worked in the restaurant industry and had access to a lot of different coffee companies. We bought whole bean coffees and brewed at home back when people still bought instant coffee in a can (wait, maybe they still do?)

We drank a lot of coffee.

By the time we had opened our first location, we were completely hooked. Coffee is like wine or cheese- at first the cheap stuff tastes pretty good but, as your palate develops, you find that you can no longer tolerate the inferior. It happens to most people who drink a lot of coffee. Once you discover the good stuff, it is REALLY hard to go back.

I am asked, all the time, why brewing coffee at home doesn’t taste as good as it does when you buy it at the coffee shop. I think there are a lot of reasons why, but I am here to explain how SIMPLE and AFFORDABLE it can be to brew really good coffee at home.

The beans:
Starting with the best quality coffee is the most important aspect of a really good brew. You want it to be freshly roasted (within the past few days is best) and if you own a grinder, you should always buy your coffee in whole bean form. If you don’t own a grinder, buy smaller quantities of pre-ground coffee more frequently. That way it will always be fresh. You will want to ask for the beans to be ground for a french press, which is coarse.

Coffee should be purchased whole bean and roasted very recently.

Coffee should be purchased whole bean and roasted very recently.

Nice course grind for the French press.

Nice coarse grind for the French press.

 

One misconception I hear frequently is people think that darkly roasted coffee is “stronger”. Darkly roasted coffee actually has less caffiene than a bean that is roasted light or medium. It might taste “stronger” but it is not.

I am slightly biased, but we do have the best beans around!  Check them out here!

Equipment:

Let’s briefly discuss grinders.…. You always want a burr grinder. Blade grinders shred the beans with inconsistent results, while burr grinders make even particles that allow the water to steep evenly through out. You can get a decent, inexpensive burr grinder just about anywhere. Depending on how much you grind you might want to spend a little more, your choice. This is a decent inexpensive one here…   Higher end, more expensive, the one we use at home is here.

Rancilio is the one we use at home but there are many others out there.

Rancilio is the one we use at home but there are many others out there.

Our grinder with freshly roasted beans.

Our grinder with freshly roasted beans.

Our Rancilio burr grinder!

Our Rancilio burr grinder!

Up next is a French Press. You can get them for as little as $10.00 or as much as a couple of hundred dollars. The one we have at home was about $40.00 and is perfect, check it out here.

Water:
Since water is the main ingredient in coffee, it needs to be clean, and free from any foul odor or taste. A good filter goes a long way. If you are using a french press you have to get the water to a boil. If you are making iced coffee, your ice cubes should also be made with filtered water.

How to:

While waiting for the water to boil (just fill a pot, no need to measure) put the beans in the grinder. We add the grinds right to the french press. The ratio of coffee to water is typically one tablespoon of coffee to a cup of water. You can adjust to your taste of course.

I don't measure the water, just fill the pot and let it boil.

I don’t measure the water, just fill the pot and let it boil.

At home we usually don’t measure. At work, we don’t brew without measuring. (Consistency is the key to success in business!) At-home brewing can be a bit more flexible; you can brew to what you like best. Add a little more coffee beans if you like it a little stronger and a little less if you like it a little weaker.

When it’s just off the boil for a minute, pour the water right on top of the grinds in the French Press and let sit for about a minute and a half. You will see the top looks like foam. (This is called bloom.) This means the grinds are starting to release some of their aroma. The water is becoming infused with delicious flavor, and did I mention the smell? Your house will smell so good!

Coffee foam!

Coffee foam!

After about a minute and a half, agitate with a wooden stirrer. Wood is best because metal may accidentally tap the sides and break the glass. I usually use chopsticks.

Chopsticks make great stirrers!

Chopsticks make great stirrers!

stirring the coffee!

Let sit for another minute and a half or so.

Next, press the top plunger stick down, using just the weight of your hand. You don’t want to press too hard or fast, or the grinds will escape into the coffee you are about to drink. You want to push all of the grinds to the bottom.

pressing down, coffee french press

You are ready to drink. OMG, nothing better than freshly brewed, high quality coffee.

Hot, freshly brewed coffee!

Hot, freshly brewed coffee!

I almost always drink my coffee iced. So, I let my coffee sit until it reaches room temperature and then pour over ice…. YUM.

Feel free to post questions in the comments below- I love talking coffee, business and mommy business.

**Affiliate links are included in this post. The products are actual products that I use and recommend. Amazon is an easy, reliable place to order them. If you choose to purchase through these links, Mommy Business will receive a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you.

You Asked; I’m Answering! My Recommendations to Replace the Plastic Items You’re Afraid You Can’t Live Without.

I am asked everyday for product recommendations. What do I use for cleaning products, which deodorants and lotions are safe, which brands of shampoos are safe, what do I send to school for lunch- and what do I pack it in? I am always happy to be asked these questions because it means that people are paying attention and wanting to make safe choices- for themselves, their children, their pets, and the planet. Since this article hit our Facebook newsfeeds, lots of people are wanting to ditch plastic- YAY!! (Please don’t rush to throw away in the trash though- recycle, reuse, or donate!)

Let’s tackle things in order of importance- For parents, that means:

Baby Bottles & Milk Storage
There are “safe” plastics but I really don’t trust that any plastic is safe, so I chose glass Evenflo bottles. I pumped and stored milk in Evenflow 4oz glass bottles- but you could also use Ball jars! They would stack really well, but you might lose some of the ease of pouring or just popping a nipple on a bottle. Cap rings and sealing disks are made of plastic, but I don’t worry because they won’t really have any contact with the milk. These bottles also pack well with the Medela ice pack (which I still use to pack drinks and snacks for long trips or outings!) For baby and kid food storage, glass is an obviously great choice- tiny Ball jars and plastic lids (for easy use and washing!) are more budget friendly than these adorable Wean Green sets, but sometimes cute is called for! Stainless steel is another great option. If you have a severe nickel allergy, or if you just want to add some color to your tot’s lunch, use silicone baking cups to hold the food in place. I love LunchBots Trio and LunchBots Cinco for packing lunches and snacks. My kiddos have food allergies, so we bring food pretty much everywhere we go (except Chipotle, Blue Dragon, and Lime Leaf, where they can easily accommodate our allergies!) If I’m sending food that needs to be kept cool, I sit the LunchBot container on top of a slim ice pack. To send hot/warms foods, Thermos’s Foogo Line is great. They come in basic blue and pink!

Sippy cups & water bottles
These are a big source of leaching chemicals because the drink inside sits, exposed to the plastic, for long periods of time over varied temps. I’m a big fan of letting kids drink from real sturdy glasses at home. When your out and about, you can use glass with a Lifefactory silicone covered bottle. I have dropped mine from above my head, onto the pavement and not had a break, but if you prefer another option- I also love the thermos line of water bottles- they have sleek 16oz and 24oz bottles for grownups and cute Phases and FUNtainer bottles for the kids. The grown-up versions are great for water or coffee or tea! These are all super easy to clean with the OXO water bottle cleaning set or a soapy pipe cleaner if your feeling crafty!

Meal Time
Being a believer in trusting kids to learn to use real glasses, I also think stainless steel child size utensils are the best way to go- nobody needs to be chewing on plastic utensils! (If your kiddo has a nickel allergy and will be chewing on them, you can opt for this great wood set.) If you feel strongly about not risking your dinner plates, or if your little one insists you “keep it separated” try this cool divided dish. It’s sturdy and can go right in your fabulous dishwasher!

Food Storage
Plastic wraps is something I hear so many people say they can’t give up-but it’s not healthy and it’s terribly wasteful. I love covered glass dishes for food storage. My favorite is Snapware by Pyrex. You can see what’s inside, they’re stackable, and they just pop in the dishwasher to wash. If you must wrap something, opt for aluminum foil (it’s recyclable,) parchment paper or this nifty bee’s wax wrap. (*contains jojoba)  Instead of plastic snack bags, opt for unbleached paper snack and sandwich bags by If You Care or this really cool silicone sandwich bag!

Other Things to Consider

  • Choose restaurants whose take-out containers aren’t styrofoam. If they use solid plastic, transfer the leftover food to glass as soon as you get home. Opt for compostable take-out containers whenever possible. Read more, interesting info about chemicals used in take-out and food storage containers here.
  • Skip canned food and opt for jarred or frozen. It tastes better and won’t be soaked in the chemicals that line the cans.
  • If you’re a smoothie or juice fanatic, consider a glass vessel instead of plastic for your blender. Even if you’re ok with the plastic while you’re making your drink, store extra in glass in the fridge or freezer. I like the tall Ball jars. I also love to freeze smoothies in silicone popsicle molds like these.
  • Use stainless steel or cast iron cookware. I love the stainless steel pan the lives on my stovetop and my Le Creuset enameled cast-iron!. The less expensive Lodge skillet gets good reviews, too.

If I left out what you were hoping I’d answer for you, let me know. I’ll be happy to answer any questions you have or recommend my favorite products in the comments below.

 

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