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Eco-Friendly in Israel

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I have been wanting to sew a face mask since the corona virus started but only now did I get around to doing it. We have made bandana masks, masks cut out of socks, we tried all kinds but this is a good quality mask that should last. It is reusable and machine washable. I see disposable face masks lying around everywhere, which is a real shame. There's no need to spend a small fortune on disposable masks just to throw them out at the end of the day.


For this face mask you will need:

~A piece of fabric about 30 square cm. I used an old lightly used shirt.

~Needle and thread

~ Scissors

~A large dining plate to use as a template

~A pencil


Instructions:

1. Using the plate as a template, draw a circle onto the fabric by drawing around the plate.

2. Cut out the circle.

3. Fold the circle into quarters and cut along the folded lines. You should now have 4 quarters of the fabric circle.

4. Place two quarters together with the right sides together and sew along the rounded side.

5. Now do the same with the other two quarters of fabric.

6. You should now have two similar pieces which you place right sides together and sew around the outer edges. Leaving a small space of about 3 cm unsewn.

7. Once that is done, turn it inside out through the small space that you left unsewn and sew in one rubber band on each side.

And done!






Due to the corona virus my family and I have been on lock down now for almost two months. That is 5 kids between the ages 3-11 and my husband and I not leaving the house for anything but groceries. Thankfully the government has now eased the restrictions and we can go to nature reserves, small shops and the younger kids even started school/daycare last week. You would think with all that time at home I would have been able to do a lot of writing but honestly, this is my first blog since before the whole corona crisis started. My days were busy while trying to be a full-time teacher, chef and cleaner. We did however do a lot of gardening and other fun projects together as a family. So, with all the craziness of us all being locked up in a small house together for 2 months we had some awesome times. I must say, I have thanked G-d endless amounts of times, for being lucky enough to have a garden during these times because that is where we spent most of our time.

Now retrospectively I will give you a few ideas of some eco-friendly activities that kept us occupied for the last few weeks. These ideas may still be useful for those of you still on lockdown, but they can also be great ideas for the summer break.


1) We regrew vegetables from cuttings and planted seeds from vegetables that we ate. For example, we planted red pepper, tomato, melon and sunflower seeds in small recycled pots. We rooted in water and planted carrots, sweet potatoes and lettuce. Part of the kids daily chores has been to water our plants take care of the garden and they love watching the plants grow.


2) In the springtime there are plenty of wildflowers (and since we don’t mow our lawn that often, we have a lot of little flowers and weeds growing in our garden too.) We took advantage of all the pretty small colorful flowers, picked them, dried them and made them into beautiful pictures and cards.

3) Using dried flowers you can make so many different crafts, book marks, mandalas, clay wall decorations or mobiles, cover with resin or sticker paper and make into coasters, decorate candles or picture frames. Spring will last year-round with these pretty dried flower crafts.



4) Back-yard camping was a big hit with the kids. We always go camping during Pesach so we decided to continue our tradition this year as well. If you don’t have a garden, try making a make shift tent anywhere in your house or balcony, it’s just the feeling of sleeping in a cozy small space that the kids love.

5) Bake your own bread, biscuits and cakes. Teach the kids some life skills and have fun baking. Instead of spending money on bread wrapped in plastic, with very few ingredients you can have delicious fresh bread. You can even experiment with sour dough by creating a starter from scratch. I found an easy recipe and instructions to follow, it’s basically just one cup of flour with half a cup of water. You can follow these instructions to try it for yourself. https://www.feastingathome.com/sourdough-starter/.


6) This next project is for kids old enough to use a hammer and nails (my boys are 7 and 9) and they love building. We took apart a few pallets and reused the wood for making simple things like benches, coffee tables, shelves, and flowerpots. With a little adult guidance the kids did a great job.

7) DIY body scrubs and other beauty products. There’s no need to throw out your coffee grout, it makes a wonderful body scrub. It’s nourishing and great for the skin. Here is a simple and easy recipe: Ingredients:

1/2 cup coffee grounds

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup coconut oil

Mix all ingredients and place in a glass jar (can be a re-used coffee or jam jar).

8) Make toys out of recycled objects. Boats out of milk jugs or cartons, snake pillows out of old stockings, collect bottle tops for making into wheels for cars or games likes noughts and crosses. Let the kids use their imagination, the ideas are endless.

9) Upcycle olive and pickle cans and decorate them with pretty paper, ribbons and strips of fabric and use them as desk organizers.



10) Teach your kids about natural insecticides. Make your own with one of these recipes: https://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/8-natural-homemade-insecticides-save-your-garden-without-killing-earth.html

11) Make your own play dough, this is a lot of fun for the little kids but even the older kids (and myself!) had fun creating things that air dried. We made beads and pendants for making necklaces, small bowls using a leaf for shaping, small objects for creating key chains and much more. Here is a simple and good recipe:

1/2 C White acrylic paint

1/2 C Water

2 C Flour

1 C Salt

Enjoy! And please do share with us your own ideas. Stay safe!

One of the hardest things to find is a good eco-friendly tooth paste. Of course, that's no excuse to keep on buying plastic tubes packaged in boxes. I found a solution (a much cheaper one as well for that matter). I make my own, just what I like to do. The recipe I found is quite good and uses ingredients that you most likely have at home. If you don't like the salty taste from the baking soda, you could add a few drops of stevia to sweeten it up. But it works, it is healthy for your teeth and gums and it gives you a fresh breath. Here is the recipe:


Baking Soda Tooth Paste

4 tablespoon baking soda

4 tablespoon coconut oil

20 drops of peppermint essential oil, (can be replaced with any other essential oil for a different taste).

Mix all ingredients together. I made mine in a recycled glass jar.


This is why it works:

Coconut oil, which has natural antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. Coconut oil fights the fungal infection caused by Candida albicans. It also protects the teeth against cavities and is readily available. Coconut oil (76 oC) forms the base of many homemade toothpastes.

The alkaline nature of baking soda neutralizes the pH of the oral cavity. It also has mild abrasive properties to remove stains from teeth.


I was researching the topic of oral hygine and found an interesting fact that my kids will like. Cocoa powder contains antibacterial agents and can fight plaque. It can function as an abrasive and has been shown to remineralize teeth better than fluoride. I still didn't have a chance to try this but I will let you know how when I create a chocolate flavored tooth paste :-)


Another product we need for oral hygiene is a good mouth wash. This mouth wash will keep bacteria away, help fight cavities and give you fresh breath. Here is the recipe that I use.

Natural mouth wash

1 cup purified water

2 drops tea tree essential oil

4 drops peppermint essential oil

2 teaspoons baking soda

Add all of your ingredients to a glass bottle and give it a good shake. Use twice a day, in the morning and at night, after brushing your teeth. (Shake well before use) While the essential oils inhibit bacteria, it’s better to be safe than sorry and make a fresh batch every week.


It goes without saying that we switched to bamboo tooth brushes. I am still in search of a good eco-friendly tooth floss. I know they exist but I was hoping to find something in my area. Will update you all when I do. Enjoy trying these recipes and let me know what you think!



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