Family * Travel * Food

Green Ways to Reuse Coffee Grounds and Tea Bags

It’s easy to think of your coffee grounds and tea bags as mere tools with which to brew a little pick-me-up. However, they can both be much more. Once your cup is empty of your favorite hot beverage, you can reuse the grounds and leaves in an environmentally friendly manner. Here are 10 ways to give them a second life.
Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Remove Odors From Skin
Cooking foods with strong odors doesn’t mean you’re destined to wear them afterwards. Rub your hands with leaves or grounds to freshen your skin before rinsing them with soap and water

Brighten Up Wood
Boil 2 to 3 tea bags in a quart of water to create a green cleaning product for your wood floors and furniture, which will also brighten and leave a shine. Traditional teas (as opposed to the herbal variety) are best to ensure tannins are present. Be sure the wood is darker than the tea to avoid staining.

Deter Uninvited Garden Guests
Your coffeemaker grounds can keep your garden free of ants and other pests. They can also be extremely helpful in keeping the neighborhood cats from turning your beloved oasis into a litter box. Sprinkling only a few tablespoons of grounds near each plant will deter felines.

Deep Clean Dishes
Your pots and pans can be cleaned without the use of harsh abrasives or synthetic chemicals. Instead, use the natural abrasion offered by grounds. If the dish needs to soak, place a tea bag or two into the warm water to allow tannins to break down stubborn residue.

Compost for Plants
Both types of grounds offer nourishment to plants that live indoors as well as those outside. For plants such as roses, strawberries and tomatoes that prefer a more acidic fertilizer, use the remnants from your coffeemaker. For less acidic-loving plants such as lilacs, succulents and geraniums, use the tea.

Pedi Pleaser
Take a few of your used tea bags and steep them in warm water for a good foot soak the next time you give yourself a pedicure. The antibacterial properties of the tea assist in removing odors while cleaning and brightening up the skin.

Fridge Freshener
Place grounds in an open container and place in your refrigerator to add an aromatic scent while deodorizing and freshening the area.

Whether you are looking to dye eggs, paper, clothing or even your hair, you can steep grounds in hot water to create an earth-friendly dye. Strain the liquid when you have achieved the desired color and leave to cool.

Home Facial
For a light exfoliator and skin brightener, create a facial scrub by mixing grounds with honey or avocado. Reduce puffy eyes by placing two cooled, used tea bags over your eyes for about 10 minutes.

Eco-Friendly Shoe Shine
Once you’ve steeped your brew, rub the damp tea bag over the surface of your dark-colored dress shoes to clean and moisturize.


Try U-Konserve for healthier lunches and snacks for kids #ad

Ever since my kids were in kindergarten, they have taken lunch to school from home. I have had my challenges when it comes to variety because after a while, it seems like you are repeating the same things over and over. I prefer to send fresh foods whenever possible and like safer options when it comes to keeping food fresh. U-Konserve containers are a great choice since they are tested BPA-free, phthalate-free, PVC-free and lead-free. 

The Large Round Container in neon green is made from stainless steel which means it's non-toxic and non-leaching like plastic containers. The lid is leak-proof so you can worry a little less about a messy lunch box coming home. 
It is perfect to store fresh fruit, veggies, salads, pasta, cheese and more. The Large Round Container is the perfect size; 10 ounces. You can wash the container in the dishwasher, but they recommend the lids be hand-washed to prolong the life and seal it provides. 
This container will last for a very long time and the best part is there is no waste that ends up in landfills. How can you go wrong? The Large Round Container retails for $8.95. I have my eye on the matching insulated food jar. It keeps food warm or cold for hours. This is perfect since my son takes hot food to school daily.  

Check out the entire line of food storage products from U-Konserve/ Kids-Konserve and follow them on Facebook and Twitter for product promotions and updates. 

Trash to Toys: 10 Recycled Educational Toys #earthday

Earth Day is a yearly reminder to consider our role in protecting the
environment.    Parents can make a positive impact by creating fun, educational
toys from everyday items that may initially seem like trash, but can be
repurposed into teaching tools.

"Children are natural learners, and often see educational opportunities that
adults can miss," says Richard Peterson, vice president of education for Kiddie
Academy® Child Care Learning Centers.  "Anyone who’s given a child a new toy and
then found him playing with the box can appreciate a child’s gift for creative

Want to feed your child’s imagination, while helping the environment?  Kiddie
Academy ( offers the following ideas for creating recycled
educational toys:

Computer Keyboard:  An outdated keyboard is a perfect teaching toy, as it
includes the entire alphabet to assist in early literacy exercises.  Challenge
your child to sing the ABC song while locating each letter on the keyboard.

Shoebox to Mailbox:  Children love getting mail.  Reinforce both reading and
writing skills by creating a family mailbox from an old shoebox.  Encourage your
child to write notes to family members, and leave notes for them as well.

Water Bottle Instrument:   Fill a clean, dry plastic water or soda bottle with
rice, bells, beans or coins and shake them to hear a variety of new sounds.
Glue the top on to secure the contents.

Junk Mail:  Instead of immediately sending your unwanted mail to the landfill,
allow your child to play with the envelopes and letters.  She can pretend to be
a postal carrier while getting additional exposure to printed words.

Magazines:  Glossy photos in magazines are perfect for creating collage art that
provides fine motor skill practice with scissors and glue.

TV remote:  Children love pushing buttons.  An unused television remote control
can be used for number and math play.  Simply remove the batteries and ask him
to find the numbers as you call them out.

Clothing:  Dramatic play is an essential teaching tool that allows children to
explore social roles, practice problem solving and language skills.  Add no
longer needed pieces of your own wardrobe to the toy chest to encourage your
child’s imagination.  She can literally “try on” a different role by wearing
your skirt, hat or shoes.

Linens:  Your child can use a worn out sheet or towel as a cape, picnic blanket
or as the roof to a play fort.

Toilet Paper Tube:  Empty TP tubes are a favorite art tool in classrooms.  Save
a box of them, and give them to your child along with a few craft supplies to
see what he can create.  Binoculars, stamps and creatures are popular choices.

Boxes:  While it’s tempting to immediately recycle a box, your child can have
hours of fun using an empty box for creative play.  What seems like trash to you
could become a school bus, secret hideout or magic castle.


Cleaning up the sick germs with CleanWell

We are going on week 5 of sick germs circulating in our household. As soon as one person gets better, another gets sick. It has been an ongoing battle and I am sick of it! Thankfully, I received some cleaning products from CleanWell just in time to clean the sick germs up.
CleanWell products are made with botanical ingredients to help kill germs and disinfect surfaces safely. This is especially good when breathing problems, small children and pets are involved. I love that these products have no harsh fumes and will give me the same results of chemical cleaners. I love the wipes for quick clean-ups on counters, tables and even the dog kennel. I tried the all purpose cleaner for the first time and was quite pleased with the results. I really like it for sanitizing the toilets seats, bathroom and kitchen sinks. It has a nice scent without it being overpowering. I am always careful about what I use around my younger children since they are allergy sufferers. I really like the CleanWell line of products and highly recommend them. There are sold at many retailers nationwide and you can check out their store finder for a specific location.

Be sure to check out Cleanwell on the web, Facebook and Twitter for product updates.

I received products for review purposes and all thoughts/opinions are my own as always.

A safe product for your home | CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes

I received a container of CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes to test out in my home. I love to clean and although I use a variety of products, I am very particular about what I use to clean specific things around my home. One thing I take extra care with is my son's activity table... and by activity, I mean he uses it to color on, paint, eat, drink and everything in between. I am always so careful about washing it down a couple times a day and making sure it is rinsed and dried before I allow any food items on it.
The great thing about CleanWell Botanical Disinfecting Wipes is that they kill over 99.9% of germs, kills cold and flu viruses* and get this... there is no rinsing or wiping required even on food contact surfaces and children’s toys. This is good news for me since I am so nervous about using something harmful around my little guy's stuff. It has a thyme-based formula and deodorizes really well. Unlike other household wipes, you are not required to have to wash your hands after use. I have been using them to clean off his toys and it has made my life so much easier. 

I hope to find these wipes in a larger size so that I can always have them handy around the house. I would have loved to have these when we went on our recent beach trip. They would have given me great peace of mind. I look forward to trying out the spray cleaners too. You can find their products at Whole Foods, and

Stay connected with the CleanWell family of products on the web, Facebook and Twitter


Get inspired with Miracle-Gro's The Gro Project

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Miracle-Gro for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
We are in prime gardening season and everyone seems to be getting into it. Miracle-Gro is doing The Gro Project to help you get some fun ideas to make your garden project easy and enjoyable. After all, who want what should be a fun time to feel like a chore? I just love the fun garden projects on the Facebook page. The "toyranium" is something that you can do with your little ones and they will feel a part of growing their very own plants. They can learn how plants are good for the environment and hopefully grow to enjoy gardening for life. Check out the short video below:

With the cost of food constantly rising, it is a smart move to grow your own fruit and veggies. This year, we did a lot of outdoor containers for our fruits and veggies and did an in-ground garden bed with our ornamentals.  We made sure to start with Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Potting Mix for our containers. It is made to keep the right amount of moisture so you prevent over and under-watering.
So far we have strawberries, pickling cucumbers, green beans, hot peppers, Meyer lemons and herbs. We started our planting about 4 weeks ago and it is astonishing how much they have already grown! We have baby green beans rapidly popping up as well as many blooms on our cucumbers and peppers. I really think that I will check out an indoor garden project that my son can help with. He really enjoyed planting the strawberry plant for his daddy as you can see!
The strawberry plant has gotten so big and we can't wait for it to bare actual fruit! 
Be sure to "like" Miracle-Gro on Facebook to join The Gro Project. If you want to share your own creations on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook, be sure to use the hashtag #MiracleGroProject

Visit Sponsor's Site

Wordless Wednesday | Lemon tree update

My dwarf Meyer lemon tree is still alive and look at the ginormous lemon on it! I brought it on before the first frost and it has been sitting in my office, by the window. It has lost all of its leaves except for three and I will be picking my fresh lemon this week. Just had to share!
Shelly, Mom Files

Our Great Wolf Lodge Experience

We had the great pleasure of experiencing Great Wolf Lodge (Concord, NC) to end our summer off with a splash! Unfortunately, the weather was not the best but it did not stop our adventure. Lucky for us, Great Wolf Lodge has an amazing indoor water park that is kept at a comfortable 84 degrees. Before I go into that, I will start by telling you our first impression when we drove up to the resort.

The entire family fell in love with the beautiful grounds and the enormity of the resort. The gorgeous wolf statues were huge! We were promptly greeted by a gentleman at the front entrance and directed to our parking spot. Then we entered through the front doors and immediately started oohing and ahhing. It was so beautiful inside, almost overwhelming at that! Our experience at the check-in desk was fast and the clerk was extremely professional and helpful. We felt as if we were the only guests on the property with the type of customer service we received. Truly first class!

Once we got our wristbands and room information, we headed up to our Family Suite. What a lovely suite it was! I can't begin to tell you all how clean and pretty the room was. There were so many wonderful details including the signature wolf towel on one of the beds, rustic decor, an in-suite safe, microwave/fridge/iron & ironing board, balcony with table and chairs and one of my favorites... the signature paw print embossed toilet paper. You can absolutely tell how much the resort management and staff care about their guests by how immaculate the property is inside and out. We had an abundance of towels, blankets and extra pillows. The beds were so comfortable and we slept soundly. We were amazed at how quiet it was in our suite since the resort was super busy and packed with so many families. Another great plus is how environmentally friendly the whole facility is by having recycling bins in each suite as well as all over the resort. Even the hair dryer in the room had green standards!

The hubby loved the balcony and enjoyed catching up on some reading and of course, sipping on his Dunkin Donuts coffee. The resort had so many food options to satisfy every family member. Believe me, we tried almost every spot! We had everything from pizza, ice cream, doughnuts, salads and so much more. I think our favorite place was the sweets and bake shop. Hey, we were on vacation!

Although this is not my photograph, I wanted to show you what the indoor water park was like. Truly amazing and everyone had a blast! There was something for every age. The water slides were incredible and the outdoor pool area was very nice and lots of fun! It was almost impossible to get the kids out of the water. Something I noticed was that EVERY lifeguard on duty was very focused and constantly looking around to make sure all the guests were safe. That truly made us feel at ease, especially with a 4 year old that can't swim yet.
The other big highlight of our visit was the Northern Lights Arcade. We ALL had so much fun and I can't remember the last time I laughed that much, non-stop! There were so many other activities but we did not have the time to do everything. We are planning to visit again when it is during the off-season.

Little William loved the story-time at night at the big Clocktower. He was completely mesmerized. He still continues to howl "Great Wolf style", as he likes to put it.
It was hard to get really clear photos with all the crowds and chaos going on but overall, we had the most wonderful experience at Great Wolf Lodge. I truly could go on for hours telling you even more but you need to go check it out for yourself. You and your family would NOT be disappointed! This was the most fun family getaway we have ever been on and we can't wait to do it again!

We want to give a big thank you to the entire Great Wolf Lodge staff for making us feel so welcome and comfortable. There was never a moment that we did not hear "We hope you enjoy your stay". That we did!

Stay connected with Great Wolf Lodge via the web, Facebook and Twitter for discounts and deals. 

I received a discounted rate from Great Wolf Lodge and all thoughts/opinions are 100% my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Scotch-Brite Botanical Disinfecting Wipes for back-to-school

It's back-to-school time and this means new clothes, school supplies, books and of course, all those pesky germs. I think almost every school year from kindergarten all the way to middle school, one of my girls got sick during the first week back.
This year, I will be sending the teachers things like Kleenex and Scotch-Brite Botanical Disinfecting Wipes. These wipes kill 99.9% of household germs and can be used around kids, pets and food. They leave no residue, don't require rinsing and are made from botanically pure plant extracts. It's nice to be able to breathe easily while you clean.

You can find these wipes at most Walmart stores and other retailers as well. They are priced at around $2.99 for 35 wipes and $4.99 for 75 wipes. I did see them last week at Walmart for $1.97 for the 35 count. I bought one for my husband to keep in his desk in the event someone uses his phone or computer. You can't beat one step sanitizing. These are so convenient and I am sure your child's teachers would appreciate them in the classroom!

Stay connected with Scotch-Brite via the web, Facebook and Twitter to learn about new products and special offers. Also be sure to grab a coupon here to help you stock up.

I hope your kids have a great new school year with fewer illnesses!

I received a product sample for review and all thoughts/opinions are 100% my own.
Shelly, Mom Files

Washy Wonder Review

Do you feel like the cost of resealable bags have skyrocketed? I know I do. I don't buy them as often as I used to and if I can, I wash them to reuse them. I receive a neat gadget from Washy Wonder that is a bag saver system that you can use in the dishwasher. 
The way it works is you put your bag over the Washy Wonder paddles and attach  them to the prongs on your washing rack. It works on both straight and bent prongs. Once you have the paddles attached, you will find that your bag will fit more securely. Then you just let it run through your washing cycle along with your dirty dishes.
It did clean the bag well and I like the idea of the burst of steam to help sanitize the bag. The winning points for me is the fact that I can reuse my expensive bags, you can also wash reusable cloth bags and it is a smart choice to cut down on the use of plastic bags to help out the environment. I did find that I had to remove the Washy Wonder with the bag and transfer it to my dish drainer to let it finish drying off. Even through the full dry cycle, it remained wet.

Over all, Washy Wonder is a great item to have and I keep it stored in the dishwasher so I remember to use it. There is a special on their website where you can buy one set and get one free.

I received a product sample at no cost for review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Shelly, Mom Files

Meyer Lemon tree update one year later

I just had to share the latest update on my dwarf Meyer lemon tree that I planted last year. Thankfully it is thriving!! I was so afraid since over the winter months most of the leaves fell off and it looked kind of pathetic. I waited until the temperatures stayed above 55 degrees before taking it back outside. I added some more premium potting soil on top and fertilized it. After a few weeks and several rain showers later, I have a full bush that stands about 2 feet tall and it has actual blooms on it!
Do you see the little pink blooms? The tree is loaded with them! I will keep my fingers crossed that we will get some actual lemons this year. I am so excited and will be sure to post another update in a couple months. Hmm, I might have a little green hidden under my purple thumb after all!
I have been thinking about possibly planting a dwarf key lime tree. I guess I better see what happens with this one first and them go from there :)
Shelly, Mom Files

Seventh Generation "Lorax Approved" Giveaway

There is a new arrival of products from Seventh Generation that are gentle on your baby or toddler, safe for the planet, convenient and most importantly, "Lorax approved"! In partnership with Universal Studios’ motion picture debut of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax* also known as the “Speaker for the Trees” who brings environmental truth and ecological hope to all, Seventh Generation will feature limited edition Lorax prints on all their diapers and training pants. These prints are intended to remind parents and caregivers of the lessons of The Lorax, and encourage family reading and environmental awareness while creating a few smiles.

The Seventh Generation family of Free & Clear baby products continues to deliver on your needs as it expands in March, with the addition of NEW Overnight Diapers. Moreover, Free & Clear diapers have been redesigned with new, improved tabs for better fit while Free & Clear training pants now have an absorbent core that is made with more renewable materials.

As a MyBlogSpark member, I received a prize pack containing a pack of  Seventh Generation Free & Clear Training pants and a copy of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax storybook. These training pants are so cute and are free of chlorine processing, free of fragrances and latex and are also very absorbent. We still use training pants for our son at night so these are great! William is completely into all things The Lorax so he is enjoying the cute designs. Starting March 2, you can register for a free The Lorax scrapbook with the purchase of any three Free & Clear diaper products, until supplies last
We are LOVING our copy of the book The Lorax as well. I read it to my son last night and he was completely drawn into the story. He has been convincing his big sisters to read it too him too. I love that the book is printed on recycled paper.  The Lorax storybook is a fun way to teach our little ones how important our planet earth is.

How would you like to win a Seventh Generation Diaper Product and a copy of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax storybook? One lucky Momfiles reader will win this cute prize pack. Just enter in the Rafflecopter widget below:

Dr. Seuss' The Lorax Prize Pack Giveaway

DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX will be in theaters March 2! We are looking forward to it especially because our almost 4 year old son shows great interest in it. I just love the story behind The Lorax. Recycling, repurposing, reusing and being kind to our environment is important to my family. Hey, I want a Truffula Tree and would love a hug from a Bar-Ba-Loot! :) From the looks of the trailer, I am sure the movie will be amazing! I showed it to my teenager daughters and they want to see it as well.
If you are a Facebook user, you are encouraged to join The Lorax in speaking for the trees and to add a Truffula Tree to your Facebook profile picture. Your participation builds awareness for the reforestation efforts taking place with The Atlantic Forest in Brazil, which has been generously supported through a contribution made to The Nature Conservancy by Universal Pictures. I very proudly changed my profile picture to show my support :)
Bar-Ba-Loots are adorable bear-like creatures who live to play games and eat sweet fruits in Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, a 3D-CGI comic adventure from the creators of Despicable Me and the imagination of Dr. Seuss. Credit: Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment
Check out the trailer:

About the Film

Genre: 3D-CG feature 
Cast: Danny DeVito, Zac Efron, Ed Helms, Taylor Swift, Rob Riggle and Betty White 
Directed by: Chris Renaud 
Co-Director: Kyle Bald 
Written by: Cinco Paul & Ken Daurio 
Produced by: Chris Meledandri, Janet Healy  DR. SEUSS’ THE LORAX will be in theaters March 2!
Executive Producers: Audrey Geisel, Cinco Paul, Ken Daurio 

From the creators of Despicable Me and the imagination of Dr. Seuss comes the 3D-CG feature Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, an adaptation of the classic tale of a forest creature who shares the enduring power of hope. The animated adventure follows the journey of a 12-year-old as he searches for the one thing that will enable him to win the affection of the girl of his dreams. To find it he must discover the story of the Lorax, the grumpy yet charming creature who fights to protect his world. Danny DeVito will lend his vocal talents to the iconic title character of the Lorax, while Ed Helms will voice the enigmatic Once-ler. Also bringing their talents to the film are global superstars Zac Efron as Ted, the idealistic youth who searches for the Lorax, and Taylor Swift as Audrey, the girl of Ted’s dreams. Rob Riggle will play financial king O’Hare, and beloved actress Betty White will portray Ted’s wise Grammy Norma. 
Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax is the third feature created by Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment (Despicable Me, Hop).

Stay connected with Dr. Seuss' The Lorax on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

For the giveaway:
One (1) winner will receive:
• Lorax T-shirt
• Lorax Tote Bag
• Truffula Tree Pencils
• Lorax Mustache
• Lorax Activity Card
 Prize Pack valued at $30, courtesy of Universal Pictures

Enter in the widget below and be sure to complete the mandatory entry to qualify for extra entries.

Seventh Generation prize pack Giveaway {$80 value}

**Contest Closed** Winner is #146 Kim Smith~ Congratulations! 

I received a really lovely prize pack featuring Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid in all 4 scents: Fresh Citrus & Ginger, Lemongrass & Clementine Zest, Lavender Floral & Mint and Free & Clear. I am so happy that Seventh Generation products are safe for my family and the environment! I love the Fresh Citrus & Ginger scent. These dish liquids are non-toxic, biodegradable, free of dyes and synthetic fragrances and are made from plant-derived cleaning agents. I am really pleased with how well the dish soap works on cutting grease and getting my dishes sparkling clean. My daughters love all the scents and this means even more help with the dishes...lucky me!

DID YOU KNOW...If every household in the U.S. replaced just one bottle of 25 oz. petroleum-based dishwashing liquid with our plant-derived product, we could save 5.2 MILLION gallons of oil, the equivalent to removing 11,000 cars from the road for one year. Learn more.

Enter the “Nature Makes Perfect Scents” sweepstakes here and you can have the chance to take a trip for two to visit one of the sourcing sites of Seventh Generation natural dish liquid fragrance ingredients. Visit Seventh Generation to learn more about each scent’s origin.

Along with the Seventh Generation dish soaps, I also received a very nice Le Creuset stoneware 3 qt rectangular dish, a set of 3 organic cotton dish cloths, 2 Twist scour pads and 2 Twist loofah sponges. Is this not a wonderful gift? I know I will get great use out of all these items! This gift set is an $80 value and one lucky Momfiles reader will be able to win it.

To enter: Let us know which of the Seventh Generation natural dish liquid varieties you most interested in trying.

For extra entries (please leave a separate comment per entry method) you can do all or any of the following:
~ "like" Seventh Generation (you can share which of the natural dish liquid varieties you are most interested in trying or which essential oil sourcing site you would be most excited to visit on their wall)
~ "like" Momfiles on Facebook (feel free to post on the Momfiles wall letting us know you entered)
~ Follow Momfiles via Google Friend Connect
~ Follow Seventh Generation and Momfiles on Twitter
~ Tweet this giveaway (once daily) and leave a link to your Tweet:
Enter the #7thGenDishLiquid #giveaway @momfiles from @SeventhGen & #MyBlogSpark!

Giveaway is open to US Residents only and will end at 9:00 pm EST on November 3, 2011. One winner will be chosen at random and contacted via email. Be sure to leave your email address if you do not have a Blogger profile. Momfiles is not responsible for any lost or stolen prizes.

Disclosure: The Seventh Generation Natural Dish Liquid prize pack, product and information have been provided by Seventh Generation through MyBlogSpark.

Shelly, Mom Files

Lemon tree update #3

For those of you who have been following Momfiles for a while you might recall that I planted a Dwarf Meyer lemon tree back in May. It was wee bitty little thing (see picture below) and I was not sure if it would even grow. I updated again 7 weeks later and you were able to tell that it did indeed grow! I don't have a green thumb at all so I was really happy with the progress.

Well now I am happy to report that my little plant has turned into a bush! Look how big it got! It has now been 5 months and it is still doing well. I actually brought it indoors since our temperatures have been flip-floppy. I keep it in a sunny area of the house and plan to re-pot it in the early spring in a bigger container and return it to the outside deck. I actually found a little caterpillar that had fallen off of it and that explained why a few leaves were chewed up.

I may not get any lemons for a while, but I sure am thrilled that my plant is still alive :-)

Shelly, Mom Files
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