Saying No to Non-stick Pans

We own no non-stick skillets in the McStriver family.  This wasn’t always the case, but eight years ago we decided they had to go. Growing up my family used non-stick pans for all stove top cooking.  I learned how to cook eggs in a non-stick pan with just a little spray oil.  While Mr McStriver hates the smell of eggs, I still used the non-stick pans to cook plenty of foods he loved.  I felt I was cooking healthier since I used less fat to cook.  Clean up was so easy, even if something got burnt.

Non Stick Pans Image courtesy of Gualberto107 /

So you are probably wondering why I would ever want to get rid of these modern day kitchen marvels.  Well, eight years ago someone special fly into our life, literally.  We were adopted by a sweet budgie girl.  Mr Mcstriver came home to find her hanging out in our garage.  We looked for her family but they were never found and we were only to happy to become her family.  After only a few days she had a full grip on our hearts.

Budgie Girl McStriverConcerned about her health since she had been out in the wild, we took her to a local Avian vet.  This is when we learned about things that could be harmful to birds, included as you have probably guessed — non-stick pans.  Birds have delicate respiratory systems and are affected long before a human would be by fumes.  This is why miners would take canaries into the coal mines, after all.

Non-stick pans are coated with  polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE.  The PTFE  can emit dangerous fumes that can kill a bird.  According to the EWG, Teflon can kill birds even when used in normal cooking conditions.  While manufacturers on these products suggest keeping your birds away from the kitchen, Mr Mcstriver and I were not about to take any chances.  The pans just had to go.  While cooking with stainless steel pans takes some getting used to, our girl’s health is worth it.

Since ditching the pans, we have heard of concerns about human health with these coatings as well.  An EWG study shows how quickly the pans can reach temperatures that cause dangerous off -gassing of at least 6 toxic gases.  If you want to learn more I suggest this article at EWG which cites specific toxins and related studies.  

Of course PTFE is used on other products as well, space heaters, dryers, small appliances, etc .  We didn’t get rid of the dryer but it was older which we have been told by the vet means the toxins should have burned off.  The first time we use new appliances that might have a coating we make sure no birds are around and that there is good ventilation. Even if it is winter we will open a window to make sure there is adequate ventilation. 


Linked up at Simple Lives Thursday


Less is More…

Ok, we’ve all heard the phrase less is more, but is it really true?  We in the McStriver household really do believe it!!  In fact, we’ve grown to really dislike that cell phone commercial that uses the kids to try to sell that “bigger” is better.  Is have having “bigger” debt worth it?

American Dream was killing usWe are not trying to say that you should sell everything you own and live with the bare minimums, but do you really need everything you have?  For example, we started life like a lot of Americans do.  We went to college, got our degrees, and then started our adulthoods trying to live the “American Dream.”  It started out good, we had good jobs, built and moved into a 4 bedroom house, and were enjoying life.  Well then life happened, health problems started to creep in, the economy hads been tanking, and then we were living the paycheck to paycheck lifestyle. It forced us to start looking at our priorities.  Did we really need everything we had?  It became apparent that we were not going to be able to have any kids.  We slowly realized that we didn’t need a four bedroom house that was sucking our life away from us.

So after some time (and much frustration) we were able to sell our house.  That was a major monkey of our backs.  We then bought a two bedroom condo in another part of town (which we happen to like a lot more anyway).  We have never regretted doing this.  The only regret was that the fact that we didn’t do this in the first place.  It can be chalked up to a lesson learned.  Sometimes we need to struggle to appreciate what we really have.  We couldn’t ask for more now.  We live in a friendly, safe community, have some great amenities, and good neighbors.  Cleaning is a lot easier too. After all, we have a smaller place.  Plus we are going to (barring something catastrophic) own our condo free and clear a lot sooner than if we stayed in the larger home.

I am not saying that you should never buy a home.  I am suggesting that you have enough, without breaking the bank.  If you have (or are planning to have) a large family, a larger house is necessary.  Just get what you need, and maybe add some bells and whistles in a smaller place if you can.

Grilled Staycation Dinner                 © Inspe | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Even though our housing is a huge part of our budget, there are many other areas of life that this applies to.  We would love to spend two months every year in Hawaii, but that is not possible, or at least would would be a dumb choice in our minds as it would require a great deal of debt to make it happen.  So far we have been there twice, basically every ten years. We had most of the trip paid for before we went and paid for the rest during the trip. We have tried more of the stay-cation lifestyle for the most part.  We like to enjoy the areas and things to do around us. Especially ones that are inexpensive or free.

The col thing is that we all have the freedom to choose what kind of lifestyle we want.  We would all love to have the biggest place, with a butler and maid, take luxurious vacations, eat out all the time, and to basically live it up.  Unfortunately, most of us really don’t have that much money and have to live a very simple life.  As I have gotten older though, I have learned to be more content with what we have.  All we really need is a roof over our heads,  food, functional clothing, and transportation.  Having a decent flat screen is pretty sweet too, like the frosting on the cake. 

Skiing the Race to win….

Hello from the McStriver household. We plan on watching a lot of the Olympics. We were glued to the tv on the first night of coverage. They were showing some preliminary qualifying events in skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating.


We were watching in awe.  The speed, the agility, the flips, the crashes, and did I mention the speed.  Seeing the snowboarders do flips in the middle of the air, and most of them landing upright on their feet was awesome.  We firstly thought there is no way that we could do any of this.  But then realized how inspired we are. These athletes didn’t just wake up one day and say, I’m going to compete in the Olympics tomorrow. They took baby steps.

Snowboard Wipeout

They would first learn (most of them probably at a very young age) to put the ski or snowboard on their feet.  Then they probably learned to move forward, then added some speed.  After a lot of practice, they would begin to try some variation on their routines.  They probably fell on their faces more than they want ot admit.  But you know what, they always got up and tried again.  They have spent most likely thousands of hours of practice to get where they are today.  Watching them, we agreed they are all winners in a way.

Image courtesy of artur84 /

Image courtesy of artur84 /

Should we all aspire to be Olympic athletes?  For most of us the answer is no.  But watching all of these athletes should inspire us to do something that we enjoy to the best of our abilities.  If you enjoy playing basketball, just keep playing your heart out.  Keep practicing.  You may be vertically challenged like we are, but you could make it up with speed.  You will probably fall flat on your face, and get rejected 9 out of 10 shots, but keep at it.

“Winning is not everything – but making the effort to win is.”

                                            – Vince Lombardi

We don’t need to be perfect in everything we do.  There is nothing wrong with not being the best.  The only problem is if we leave something on the court (or field, or whatever you are do)  We should all try to identify what we enjoy doing and just go after it.