Monday, December 10, 2012

Smart Suzy: Still time to think of others, how many batteries? An easy home-made gift . . .

Feeling the Christmas spirit or the holiday stress? Fifteen days to go and counting. Still time to get into the real spirit of it. Back to basics. Stop acquiring and start appreciating. Think about what you might be able to do for others.

A real giving Christmas

Giving Wish List

Start by taking a look at KyForward’s “Giving Wish List” – a new feature that will be continued long after the holidays. It’s a list of items local nonprofits could use so they can reach out to the needy now and throughout the year. Check it out. Some things are so easy and simple. Every little bit helps. If each of us just did one thing. . .

Maybe right next door

Think about it. There may be a single mom (or a single dad) right next door. Here’s what one single mom – you know them, the ones who have all the responsibility two people are supposed to have and half the resources and none of the time – suggests you do:

• Offer to babysit so she can go shopping. Not all single moms have an ex-husband willing to take the children, and she may not have family to help either;
• Gift certificates are a wonderful gift. Food gift certificates for those nights after work when she is exhausted. A movie ticket, a movie rental, or a day at the YMCA is also a special treat;
• Offer to help with the holiday decorations, setting up lights, and bringing items out of storage.
• Give a monetary gift. This will help with expenses, special food items, or last minute gifts for the children.
• Include the single parent and children in holiday events. If you are going to the movies or out sled-riding, ask them to go along.
• Invite the single mom and children to your church service and offer to help them at church with the children.

The joy of Christmas is joy that should be shared.

HOW MANY batteries is that?

Thanks to Earth911′s Leah Blunt for this story: BILLIONS of batteries are one their way to the landfill.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, Americans are in the process of consuming 40 percent of our yearly supply of batteries. And with BILLIONS of batteries sold every year, that number is not insignificant. Let’s cut the clutter and include rechargeables with Junior’s new toy instead of the typical single-use variety. It’s a small change with a big impact – and rechargeables are easier to recycle, too.

These days, everything from your cell phone to your toothbrush can be recharged. Since rechargeable batteries have established themselves as an everyday staple, it’s important to make sure you are up to speed with how to properly dispose of them when the time comes.

Here are five rechargeable battery-basics to bring you up to speed:

1. Are rechargeable batteries hazardous?
When in use, the rechargeable batteries powering your electronics and appliances pose no threat. However, the heavy metal elements they contain that allow them to be recharged over and over can be hazardous to the environment, unless they are properly recycled.
Recognizing the potential environmental consequences, the Environmental Protection Agency categorizes rechargeable batteries as household hazardous waste.

2. Is it illegal to throw rechargeable batteries in the trash?
Some states have passed laws making it illegal to throw rechargeable batteries in the garbage, but not all. Call2Recycle’s recycling laws map offers a thorough run down of the laws that apply to each state. It may seem complicated, but while the legality depends on geography, the option to recycle does not. Find your nearest drop-off location by using Earth911’s recycling directory.

3. What happens if I don’t recycle rechargeable batteries?
Batteries that are thrown away typically find their way to a landfill. As the product degrades over time, the heavy metal content can seep into the ground, potentially contaminating ground water, soil and surface water.

Sometimes, trash is incinerated rather than sent to a landfill. In those cases, rechargeable batteries that are burned can still be hazardous because the ash released from smoke stacks can contain heavy metal concentrates. Heavy metals are toxic to animals and humans if ingested, so the health risk is even greater if the polluted air or water introduces them into the food chain.

4. How do I recycle rechargeable batteries?
Curbside recycling programs do not collect rechargeable batteries, so it’s up to you to find the proper recycling solution for them. Call2Recycle has made that easier than ever by offering the nation’s only free battery collection program. With over 30,000 recycling drop-off locations found at retailers, businesses, local municipalities and public agencies, there’s no short supply of options. Just look up which one is closest to you, drop off your rechargeable battery or cell phone and let them do the rest! Call2Recycle has diverted over 70 million pounds of rechargeable batteries from the solid waste stream since 1996 and over 7 million pounds just this year.

5. What do rechargeable batteries become?
Once recycled, batteries are sorted by the types of metals they contain and then processed accordingly. Once sorted, the heavy metals are then removed from the batteries and either used in a closed loop process to create new batteries, or repurposed for anything from golf clubs, to home appliances or even for steel production in cars. None of their dangerous components are introduced to the environment, so everybody wins.

Buy and recycle.

Simple gift kids can make


This scrub has a lovely, warm scent that is reminiscent of the holiday season. It smells so good you’ll want to make it for grandma! (Hint, hint.)

1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground all spice
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup oil (olive, sweet almond, or walnut oil)
Optional extra: ⅛ teaspoon ground cardamom

Mix them all together and put in a reclaimed glass jar with a lid. It will keep up to a year. Tell grandma to use it in her bath, rubbing it into her skin (not her face), then rinsing it off. Apply regular moisturizing lotion after drying off.

Christmas memories

Suzy Friend Joan’s fondest Christmas memory was when she was six years old and her father came into the house dressed as Santa. “I had no idea it was him and was so scared I hid behind a chair.” Not so for her siblings who had all the fun (and probably didn’t let her forget it!)

Have a good memory to share? Send to

Happy Monday, Suzy Friends. May all your memories be good ones. See you tomorrow.