Anahita shahrvini, Author at gogoBags
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Simple Earth Day Challenge

Earth day is when I look back and see how I did in the past year in terms of respecting our nature and being a friend of Earth.

Every day is earth day in our home and on April 22nd we kind of evaluate how we have been doing for the past year. Every day we pack waste-free lunches, take our reusable bag shopping, recycle, compost, and the list goes on. Now that I think about it, this became our habit and way of life since I started gogoBags.

Seven years ago when I started gogoBags re-usable bags were a new concept now people go on zero waste challenges. It’s just awesome!

However, we should remind ourselves that doing it all is not for everyone, and it can be overwhelming. I started small. When I got comfortable with what I was doing I added new things. I’m still building on what I’m doing every day, who knows we may get to zero waste at one point. I’m just aiming for that at this time, I want to keep my focus on things that I know I can do and it’s easy for me to do.

Eco-friendly lifestyle should be sustainable.earth day 2017

My thing about going green is that it needs to be fun and easy and be adaptable to my lifestyle. Of course, I have changed a few things into also adapt my lifestyle with my green living, they are kind of hand in hand. But the key was that I made those changes in doable chunks that I thought was easy for me to do.

 

I know you are juggling life, work, managing your kids’ sports teams and activities, and a lot more, we don’t want to add to your list of todos or add overwhelm to your day. But Planet Earth needs everyone to take part in becoming greener, so my challenge for you is to start small.  Just do one thing that you are comfortable with and you know it’s easy for you to do until it becomes a habit then add to it.

Start today, every little bit helps!

 

 




Green Up Challenge!

In March We had the privilege of being featured in the Green up Challenge of Born to be Adventurous. There were articles about reducing waste to a single jar, zero waste kitchen tips and a review of our bags. In the review, Annika took photos of her sliced apple to see if they brown. There are a lot of good tips on going zero waste in these articles.

I have to give it to Annika, having two small children and doing a zero waste challenge is hard. Who am I kidding having two small children is hard enough and a lot of work on its own let alone adding the zero waste challenge to it. So, kudos to Annika for being brave and doing this with small children.

It was a great pleasure to see that our products actually helped them in their challenge.

Are you planning to go on an eco-friendly venture? Send us a message maybe we can help.




Family Day Weekend And Trying To Create Balance Between Work And Play

family day weekendI always feel a lot of pressure that I need to do lots of outdoor activities with the kids and family the whole long weekend. Specially when I see so many photos of my friends on social media spending time on the mountains, vacations, hiking, and doing all sort of activities.

Most long weekends I feel guilty, because I like to spend some time to catch up on things and don’t have the time to do all the outdoor activities, that I feel I have to do.

This family day weekend was even more busy with our Family Day Blowout Sale , but I’m proud to say I did it all and I feel good. But the difference was that I decided to not feel guilty, close my eyes on what everyone else does or expected of me and do what works for us right now.

We got to spend time with each set of grandparents, had a nice family brunch, spent a little bit of time outside just in our backyard. I managed to work a decent amount of time on my business, and spent time with the kids watching movie and reading a book. Above all I kind of got crazy and decided to repaint our bedroom, something we wanted to do for the past 6 months, so now we are sleeping in the livingroom for the next few days 😀

Talk about a fulfilled family day weekend. The key was that I had to change my mindset. I asked what was important to my children, did that. They got the free time they asked for, which meant a little bit more video game time than usual. But it got me to do everything I needed to without feel guilty, and have happy kids at the end. Isn’t that what family is about? Being happy together?

I hope you do what is best for you and your family on family day weekend, all long weekends and every day.

Happy Family Day Canada

 




Misfit Bags! What Are They And Why They Are On Sale?

The truth about manufacturing and production is that mistakes happen and you can’t sell some of the products that are perfectly working but not up to our code in terms of size and look. Meaning they are made of the same awesome fabric as others except they turned out to be a bit smaller, bigger, wider, narrower, or curved 🙂 We call them misfit bags.

No I didn’t invent the phrase “misfit bags” in fact I’ve kind of half borrowed it from story published in 2016 on Global News about misfit produce that was not going to waste anymore in Alberta.

The story got me thinking of all the misfit bags I had laying around in my studio, waiting for me to make some decisions on. As much as I thought of donating them, I couldn’t go ahead with it, mostly because I like to donate products that I’m able to sell for full price not the ones that are misfit.

So I came up with the Family Day Blowout Sale!

It’s going to be very simple, all prices are reduced more than 50% no need for coupon code.

Snack bags: $4

Sandwich bags: $5

Basic Shipping  lettermail – without packaging or tracking number :$3 for orders of one bag. Additional shipping charges may apply for order of more.

You can also choose local pick up or different shipping type.

I want to be clear, that some bags may be smaller or bigger than our regular published size upto one inch. They may not look straight or may have fade screen prints. However all bags will do keep your vegetables and sandwiches from getting wilted or soggy up to lunchtime. At lunch time you can be sure to have the same quality of food that you put in the bags in the morning.

The sale is on for the duration of Canada’s Family Day weekend east coast and west coast, Feb 11 to Feb 20.

I hope that these misfit bags find a happy home and get used by families soon!

Happy Family Day Weekend Canada




Money Saving Tips That Can Save You A Lot Starting Now!

vegetables displayed in grocery store

Did you know among other foods, vegetables alone will have a price increase of 4% to 6% in 2017. Everyone is talking goal setting and resolution for the new year. I bet saving money is on the top of the list for many!

I’ve been trying to save money and educate myself on money and how to create a budget and run a family on budget and save as much as possible for many years now. So I decided to share these money saving tips with you. Habits that, some are second nature to me, and some I have to remind myself of.

There it goes,

Money Saving Tips For Your Kitchen mama's money saving tips and piggy bank with a tiara

1. Create a grocery budget

Having a budget is a great idea but you need to review your spending at least weekly and compare it to your budget. Before each grocery shop you need to know how much budget you have for that particular week and grocery shop.

2. Create a weekly meal plan

Among all money saving tips, I think this is the most important one. Knowing what you’re cooking every day not only helps with the wonder of what to eat tonight. It will reduce the amount of overwhelm around cooking and it saves a lot of time and money for you everyday. I say if you are going to do one thing, let it be this one.

It takes only an hour or so to put together a weekly menu but saves you time and money everyday. Once done properly it can be reused with a bit of tweak.

It also helps with the impulse takeout sessions when you don’t know what to have for dinner.

3. Plan on a leftover/restaurant style night

We always have a little bit of leftover. Lets save those small portions and turn them into a leftover/restaurant style dinner. Portion and store the leftover in the freezer, when you have enough for all members of the family announce a leftover night, reheat all different foods and have everyone pick their favorite. If you want to make it fun, you can create a simple menu and make it a real restaurant style dinner J

4. Have one or two meatless days

Not only it’s healthier and good for your body and the planet, it saves you money each week. It’s good for you pocket too 😀

5. Check your pantry and fridge before going to store

Having a list of what you already have in your pantry, fridge and freezer will give you that flexibility to make immediate changes to your menu and shopping list if you find something on sale that can work with what you already have. And of course saves you from spending money on things that you already have.

6. Schedule your grocery shopping

Always shop on a day that you will have enough time to prep and store properly after shopping.  It will be just waste of your time and money if you spend it buying fruits and vegetables and letting them go bag in your fridge because you didn’t have the time to store them properly.

7. Always shop on a full stomach

Stats show, when hungry you tend to buy more than your need and encourages impulse shopping. Or you may end up munching on a bag of chips while shopping which is not good for your body or pocket. (Guilty as charged this is something I have to remind myself all the time )

8. Try shopping alone

Shopping together with a friend or with children can reduce your focus on your mission. Your Mission is to go home with only the things you need for that week and pay as low as possible.

Shopping list paper or smartphone9. Shopping list is your best friend

When you have your meal plan, creating a shopping list is very simple. See what ingredients you need for your recipes, check your fridge, freezer, pantry and jot down the missing ingredients.

Having a shopping list somewhere close to the fridge and pantry to add to your list when you finish up something helps a lot too.  You can use your smartphone or a piece of paper, shopping with a shopping list prevents you from impulse shopping.

10. Buy bulk

You know what you use a lot, and your family’s favorite foods. Buy the things you are absolutely sure you will use up fast or know you can keep them long on bulk. It will save you a lot of time and money.

11. Check out the discounted section of your grocery store

Some grocery stores have misfit section or produce on sale section where they sell perfectly good to eat produce that do not look good or can spoil if left on the shelves longer. Take advantage of these but again make sure it’s not an impulsive “ Oh it’s on sale let’s buy this” shopping. Make sure you actually need it for that week, or that you can change your menu to include the sale item (this is where knowing what you have in your pantry comes handy)

12. Look for sales and stock up

If something you use a lot is on sale, consider buying more to stock up your pantry or freeze.

13. Buy value packs and freeze

Consider buying in value packs, especially when you buy animal protein. At home you can portion out and freeze for later.

14. Buy Generic or No-name brands

I’m not saying to buy everything generic, but you can save a lot by buying generic or no-name brands in areas that you can, like salt, sugar, flour.

15. Adjust your meal plan

If you bought something that can go bad soon, eat them first. That means you may have to change your meal planning not the meal itself but when you have that meal.

Lettuce and Spinach in Fresh gogoBags16. Take the time to store everything properly

I can’t emphasise this enough, I mentioned this earlier as well. When you get home, take the time to take everything out of the packaging (hopefully you came home with as less packaging as possible )and store properly. Find out how to store different vegetables properly. Not everything needs to be stored in the fridge.

You can even wash and prep some of the ve
getables for your use during the week. But make sure to store them properly if washed and cut.
Fresh gogoBags can come handy here.

17. Cook from scratch

Cooking from scratch is healthier as most helpers are full of salt, sugar and most time ingredients that you can’t pronounce, and it will save you a lot of time. For example, you can pay about $6 for a jar of spices where you can mix your own dried herbs and spices and have it in a jar in your spice cabinet. It probably will cost under $3 if you buy everything in bulk section of your grocery store.Couple cooking from scratch

When cooking from scratch why not cook more and freeze the extra. The frozen portion comes handy on the nights you don’t feel like cooking and saves you a ton of money on take-outs.

 

When I started meal planning and keep track of what I buy, I soon realized that we don’t have that many variety of meals and our shopping list is pretty much the same. Now I do meal plan not only to save money and time but to be able to explore and cook new dishes and get my children try different foods.

These are the things we do every week to be able to eat healthy on a budget. It may seem a lot but when you just go through couple of weeks the rest will be easy and can be kind of streamlined.

Do you have a money saving tip want to share? Would love to hear from you in the comments 🙂

 

 




Waste Free Lunch Tips and Tools

Back to school is upon us and I’m sure like me the subject of sending lunch to school, the what and how is on mind of many parents. I’m sure many schools are running a waste free lunch policy as most schools are trying to reduce the amount of lunch waste in their schools.

I’ve been sending waste free lunch to school for the past 6 years with ease and thought to share my tips and tools here. Truth is that I used to be so dependent on my Ziploc bags. I even washed and reused them as much as possible to get as many use as possible out of them. What a pain!

Like many I had started to cut down on disposables and failed so many times that I didn’t think this was possible at all, that I could actually do it for more than a few months in a row. Luckily I took a different approach to my waste free lunch journey. I decide to do the things I’m good at and forgive myself for the rest.

Here are a few things that I think let to my success:

  • Starting Small
  • Paying attention to my family’s needs and habits
  • Being flexible
  • Adjusting to meet my children’s new habits and likes

They say you can do anything with the right tool and that’s right. In waste free lunch, the right tool, right size and the right number is the most important to your success. Over the years we moved from using all reusable bags to a mix of reusable bags, plastic containers and thermos for hot lunches. However honestly my waste free lunch kit has not changed much. I invested in quality items then and have been reusing them every day of school days and for summer picnics for the past 6 years.

My Waste Free Lunch Kit

Waste-free-lunch

  • Reusable Lunch bag
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Reusable stainless steel utensils
  • Reusable utensil bag (Keeps utensils clean before and the lunch bag  after used 🙂 )
  • Reusable plastic or stainless steel containers, in different sizes and depths
  • Reusable snack and sandwich bags

Size is important! I use a variety of sizes for plastic containers; smaller ones for dips, deeper one for yogurt, and shallow ones for cheese and veggies (if I’m not using a bag). I also use both snack and sandwich size bags for packing smaller or bigger sandwiches or snacks.

Washing and caring for our reusable!!!

Washing and caring for the reusables are key to our family’s health. This could also be the deal breaker if it’s too difficult or time consuming to do. The key is to make it very easy to wash and reuse the bags and containers. You need the whole project to be sustainable and trouble free on it’s own. Of course the plastic containers are washed with the rest of our dishes every day. It’s the reusable bags that can both be a pain and time consuming. They too can be streamlined and easy to do. There are two ways to tackle the wash of reusable bags, Dishwasher or Washer/Dryer. In both cases it’s important to to have the right number of bags for your family’s use.

Washer/Dryer technique

Most of us don’t do laundry every day. If you choose this technique you need to know how many bags you need to last you between your laundry days. I like to wash my reusable bags with my tea towels and kitchen linen on weekends so I have enough bags to use for one week. Every day I use one bag and then throw them in my kitchen laundry basket. On weekends I wash and dry every thing, have them ready for Monday use. This seems a lot of bags but I only invested in one week worth of bags and have been using them for the past 6 years.

Dishwasher technique

Of course there is the dishwasher technique which I recently discovered with our bags. gogoBags can be washed in dishwasher and it’s way easier than washer dryer since you don’t have to unfold them. Just shake the crumbs out and place them on the pins of the top rack where you place the glasses. They get cleaned very well but don’t get dry, so you need to give them a place outside the dishwasher to dry out when you empty the dishwasher. With this method you will only need 2days worth of bags in case your bag doesn’t completely dry out overnight.

The good thing about reducing waste and being eco-friendly is that no matter how little you do, it make a huge difference in the bottom line. So go ahead and be honest with yourself, see what works for your lifestyle and what is easier for you to do, start there and build on it as the time goes by. Just start and get your kids involved too. Believe it or not we are raising children for a waste free culture!

Good luck with your waste free lunch project!




Summer Lunch. Easy, Light, And Nutrisious!

Summer dinners are mostly BBQ or picnic sandwiches on the beach, but during the day I crave some easy light summer lunch to enjoy with the kids at home or outdoors. Something nutritious and easy to make on the run as I’m either running out for some sort of activity or rushing to get some work done on my business during that time of the day.

As much I like to have meal plans, most days I don’t know exactly what I’m making for dinner until 4pm. Well 4:3ish is my lucky hour for cooking and cleaning the house. I guess this timing stuck with me from the time I worked outside the house. Now even if I have the day off of gogoBags, I still do other things until around 4:30. During school year I just have leftovers for lunch. Summer time is different though, I can’t give these kiddos leftovers all the time plus when you have BBQ most nights, there is not much of a leftover to eat the next day.

My challenge is to come up with fast, nutritious and filling ideas for summer lunches. I was craving something light, yet salty and delicious and came up with this sandwich for today’s summer lunch:

Summer Lunch Open Sandwich

 

It takes only a few minutes to assemble this sandwich if you have all your vegetables and bread ready to go. I always keep washed vegetables in gogo Fresh Salad Bags to make healthy food on a second’s notice.

For this open sandwich I used:

  • Hummus
  • Salami  (any kind of meat or form of protein will do)
  • Apple slices (I substitute apples, when I’m out of tomato)
  • Salad greens (I use baby Arugula when I have them)
  • My favorite dressing

washed vegetables ready to use in Fresh Bags

Assembly is easy:

Spread the Hummus on the bread, place the salamies in proper order on the sandwich, top up with apple slices and salad greens, salt and pepper and then a tiny splash of salad dressing or reduced balsamic vinaigrette.

Bon Appetit




Celebrating the very First “Buy Canadian Day”

buycanadian_day

On June 25th for the very first time in the country we are celebrating a “Buy Canadian Day”!
How amazing is that?

With the way the economy moves and how we need to conserve energy and live (a little) greener, buying Canadian not only make sense but it’s a must to make a Greener Canada possible.

Research shows that “For every $100 spent with a BC local business, $46 is re-circulated back into our BC economy” This is only for BC, now imagine the affect we can have on the wealth of our country by switching to made in Canada products. Need help finding a Canadian product our friends at Buy Canadian First have whole list of Canadian products and retailers.

Shopping cool Made in Canada products is already fun. But we’ve decided to make it even more fun 🙂

This weekend June 25th and 26th post a photo or a link to your Canadian purchase on social media with a #BuyCanadianDay #gogoBags and you will be entered to win a Fresh Celery Bag to keep all your greens fresh and crisp this summer.

Here comes the juicy part if your purchase is gogoBags you will be entered 3 times more, but you still need to do the social media post.

The draw is on posts with proper # tags as shown above, on any or all of the following social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. You will receive one point for each social media platform.

Happy BuyCanadianDay!

 




Today I Ate a Rainbow Giveaway!!!


Eating fruit and vegetables has never been an issue in our home. I just have to cut and serve it, it’s the main dish that I have trouble getting my daughter to eat.

When I had the chance to try “Today I ate a rainbow” kit, I thought to myself great, love to try it but don’t really need it.

Man I was wrong!         logo_new2

I’m so glad that I was open to the idea and tried this amazing product. Within a day I figured out that, yes, we eat a lot of fruit and vegetable and different colors but we were missing couple of colors all together and I had no idea. This product made me realize that I’m not offering a lot of purple and yellow vegetables and my children got more interested of what they were putting in their bodies. And they started to try new things just to cover a color 🙂 The purple vegetables on the right side of the picture below is actually purple bell pepper we found in farmer’s market this summer. Yumm!

2014-08-19 11.21.16 One thing that was very fun for us, was watching all the videos on “Today I ate a rainbow” website together with my daughter. I learned a lot and my daughter got very excited about the whole healthy eating as well. She especially loved Kia’s daughter, Hannah, helping out in the videos. The only thing I got myself into is that now she demands that I cut and present vegetables like Kia the lovely lady behind the book and the product. If you have picky eater I really suggest watching the videos together, it will get your child excited with healthy eating.

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Unfortunately we don’t do well with charts and keeping records. So the board doesn’t get filled and updated everyday. But having it on my fridge helps me a lot in serving vegetables and cooking. Now I’m more aware of all the colors that I plate for the kids to snack on and all the colors that go into my salads or other cooked dishes. The picture below is my Rainbow kit on the fridge from the early days that the kids liked to track what they ate, now I just do it.

2014-08-29 10.00.11

I highly recommend having the kit even if you are not a chart person and know that you won’t go ahead and keep record. Just having it there on the fridge makes a huge difference. Specially now that the kids are in school, it’s “Today I Ate A Rainbow” that helps me make sure my kids get all the vegetables they need during the day.

Now for the fun part “Today I Ate A Rainbow” generously offered to do a giveaway of their popular “Rainbow Kit”  for you! Our awesome reader. To make this even more fun, I’m adding a GoGo fridge set, which is the 3 different sizes of fresh bags to keep those colorful vegetables fresh and sexy looking crisp in the fridge without plastic.

The winner will receive the combined prize in total value of $81

  • 1 The Rainbow KitIMG_8407-web

 

  • 1 GoGo Fridge Set _MG_9314_web

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

The contest is open to residents of Canada and US and will close on October 21st midnight. The winner will be announced here and contacted via e-mail. It is the responsibility of the winner to provide us with correct mailing address within 3 days of announcement.

Good Luck!!!

 

Snack Happy 🙂

 

Anahita




When We Go Camping, We Go On a Green Camping

2014-07-03 09.49.03
Camping doesn’t come naturally to me I’m more like a picnic type of girl that loves to take a shower and sleep in her comfy bed at the end of the day.

But we go camping anyways, and I love it when I’m there, more because I have a good excuse to read and finish a book or two within our camping time. Disconnecting from the world for a few days too, is kind of neat and recharging 🙂

Of course when we go camping, we go on a green camping. We wash our dishes, take our compost and recycling back home with us. And we try to create as less garbage as possible by taking most of our food in reusable GoGo Fresh bags.

My husband is responsible for tent, sleeping bags, BBQ & Fire starters and things related to that department. Kids are responsible for their entertainment, everyone packs their own cloths and they all go in one big bag. This is the list I’m responsible for,

  1. Reusable dishes
  2. Buckets and dish soap
  3. Towels and table cover
  4. Proper bag for our compost to bring home with us
  5. GoGo Fresh bags
  6. GoGo sandwich bags
  7. GoGo toothbrush bags
  8. Our first aid kit from roadtrip
  9. Pot and pan _ kettle and teapot
  10. Of course food and cooler

 

I have collected a few pictures from our camping trip this year.

Green camping needs a bit of an effort and preparation but it’s not hard at all. You just need to take things in a way to make it easy and natural to camping green. Something else I wanted to mention is that,  yes! we we reusing few plastic bags for garbage and cleaning up after our dog. We are not living a 100% plastic free life but we cut the plastic bags as much as we can. You can do the same, it takes only one plastic bag at a time.

Share with us what you do at your camping trips that can count for living green.

Happy camping!

 

 




Things that I just don’t travel without

It’s finally summer, my favorite season of all, when I recharge!

In summer time, we go on a lot of road trips, short and long ones. Our longest was when we drove from Vancouver to San Francisco. That was when the kids where 2 and 4 years old. I know!

1433682_48964806

Packing for our road trips has changed over the years, but there are things that I just don’t travel without:

  • Water
  • Snack – Lots of snacks
  • GoGo Snack bags – a bunch (this is to portion the snacks for the children) keeps our car clean and kids on proper portion
  • Peppermint oil – great to calm down bruises, headaches, and lower fever
  • Tea tree oil
  • Guardian oil diluted in water in spray bottle (to keep our hands clean instead of the alcohol soap)
  • Thermometer
  • Band aid
  • Polysporin
  • Tylenol – just in case all the other home remedies don’t work

And for entertainment in the car:

  • Music
  • Books
  • Audio books
  • Pencil Crayons
  • Paper
  • Cards
  • Word games

I’m proud to say our road trips no matter how long, are tech free. I believe kids need to be bored and daydream and pay attention to the road while driving. Then they will get creative and makeup their own play.

Our road trips has changed over the years, in a way it is easier, we don’t carry car seats, car seat trays, potty and stroller with us anymore 🙂 Yay there!

But now that the children are 7 and 9 years old it’s way more difficult to keep them entertained. They get into arguments, disagreements, and they decide to tease each other once in a while. I know siblings. Right?

I love it when they get along and start singing their long out, it’s quite wild and loud but you gotta give it to them for their team effort.

Something that my kids learned early and well is how to do camping and road trip in a greener way. We always pick our recycling and compost home, if we can’t find proper cans for them. We also don’t do disposable dishes; our reusable ones are way better and more eco-friendly!

Hit the road with your children, there are things they see and lessons they learn that they can’t do it anywhere else.

 

Anahita

 




Green living goes beyond green in our house – it’s how we care about each other!

 

When I think of green living I think of a way of life. I think of values that not only apply to what we recycle but also to the way we run our lives.  The way we share with others… the way we buy… the way we watch TV and their endless commercials.

When I go to a kitchen store I get overwhelmed with the number of products that they sell that we don’t really need and can get by without.

Do we need so many different cutters? One to cut boiled eggs… one to cut avocado… one for apples… I could go on and on.

Yes, having them would be nice, maybe!

But can’t we get by with the number of knives we have in the kitchen? If we do, we have saved the energy spent producing, shipping, and then recycling of these products.

To me living a green life means being satisfied with what you have and keeping it in great shape.

living-green

Father’s day is coming up and in my family we try to keep it fun and personal, I mean very personal! It’s something we do together or for dad that counts, not what we buy. The kids get to make a card or craft if they decide to and we do a nice home made brunch. Not in bed, breakfast and bed sheets don’t go together in our household 🙂

We make a certificate of some sort to give as a gift to dad. A nice hike …. some “me-time” – something that he needs to do for himself and is not doing because he is busy taking care of everyone else in the family. Or a certificate for a car wash …. taking the garbage out for a month… cleaning the BBQ – something that he has to do all the time and would love a break from !

Green living goes beyond green in our house it’s how we care about each other, our neighborhood, our city and our planet.

What do you do to have Green Father’s Day? Share it with us in comments!

Happy Father’s Day!

 

 

 




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