Now that Thanksgiving is over, we need to remove our Thanksgiving decorations. We created our own eco-friendly craft using paper and crayons. The kids really enjoyed decorating the wall so much that I have now designated a wall in my living room for them to tape up their decorations.
Now that Thanksgiving and Black Friday are over, I can feel proud of myself for spending within my budget and not buying impulsive purchases. I did buy a new crockpot on sale to replace my current one (it's nearly double the size at 6 quarts compared to my old one) justifying the purchase by vowing to cook more homemade meals. From now until the end of the year, my goal is to cook all my meals at home and not eat out (except for 2 holiday parties we've been invited, too). This amounts to alot of $ in savings.
With the upcoming holiday season upon us, everyone is looking for an ideal gift for that special someone. The following are some great eco-friendly holiday gift ideas for your spouse, co-worker, children or friend.
Knit them a scarf
Organic yarn is relatively inexpensive and eco-friendly. So instead of buying clothes, start knitting a scarf. Based on your skill level, this can be achieved within four to six weeks.
Buy them eco-friendly clothing
Visit local Goodwill and thrift stores to find nice vintage clothing that can be given as a gift. This is especially for friends or family members who believe in wearing vintage clothing. For those who may feel a bit hesitate wearing vintage clothing, you can find a number of eco-friendly websites that offer organic clothing.
Sponsor a trip
Everyone knows at least one or two family members or relatives that always plan to go away on a vacation but never do because of lack of funding or too much obligations. So, for that spouse who always wanted to go on an all men’s biking tour, agree to watch the kids for the week and let him go. This will be an unforgettable gift.
Choose a theme and give a collection of gifts
Everyone has a hobby or interest. For example, if your spouse is interested in creative arts, you can put together a collection of gently used gifts purchased from garage sales or online. You might include the following items: a used drawing and painting book, a set of eco-friendly paints and brushes and a paid series of lessons from a local community college. Often these gifts are relatively inexpensive compared to buying designer or luxury brand items, but they are so much more memorable.
Host an eco-friendly kids party
Most parents have hosted a number of kids’ parties, splurging on party favors from local dollar stores knowing that these goody items will not last (and will just wind up in a landfill somewhere). Kids remember spending and enjoying time with friends more often than they remember the goodies that they received from the party. So, for your next party, plan to make it eco-friendly. Instead of giving them plastic party favors, give each attendee a bag of seeds, some soil and a used plastic yogurt container. Encourage the kids to plant the seeds and start their own garden.
Instead of worrying about spending a lot of money this holiday season, focus on giving eco-friendly gifts that will be memorable and appreciated years to come.
I have always tried to experiment using new makeup products. I'm especially excited with the number of organic makeup products available. I have recently tried products from HoneyBee Gardens. First, I was very impressed with the eco-conscious packaging (they used shredded paper as packaging material). The Luminous pressed mineral powder comes in a chic soft plastic container (not your average indulgent non-eco-friendly department store packaging).
What is organic makeup? Cosmetics is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration but it does not have the same stringent organic USDA Organic seal and standards like food. This makes sense since products you place on your skin is less likely to be absorbed than products you ingest. If you are interested in learning more about organic makeup and skin products in general, read my upcoming article on organic/natural makeup regulations that will be published next week.
If you are interested in participating in one of many different product giveaways, please sign up for the free email program to learn more. Also, if you would like to learn more about other organic products. Please post it and I will feature them on the Product Review section of this blog.
The holidays are the most joyous time of the year. For parents, it also comes with some dreadful thoughts of how to keep the kids entertained and happy without breaking the bank. The following are some great fun and free eco-friendly activities for kids this Christmas break.
Organize a park playdate
You might be tempted to avoid the outdoors due to the cold weather, but it’s actually fun for the kids and their friends to get some outdoor exercise. So organize a park based playdate and break a big thermos of hot chocolate and cookies to share afterwards.
Organize a field trip
Call your local Parks and Recreation department to find out whether they offer free tours for local parks. Often Parks and Recreation staff tends to have some downtime because it’s not the hot busy summer season and will be able to assist you. If not, they can make great recommendations on what books are available in the library for you to be your own tour guide for the kids.
Go to the library
Visit the local library and find out if they offer any story time or activities for the Christmas Break. If not, the library usually has a public bulletin board for you to post your idea of a get together. Often the local library has a community room that you can use for free to organize fun and free activities for your kids.
Host a teaching session
Get your neighborhood friends together and organize a teaching session on some fun topics for kids (each parent can take a topic to research and to teach the kids).
Get your kids to volunteer with you at the local zoo (if you are a volunteer, you don’t have to pay for admissions). Often you have some downtime when you volunteer at the zoo, so you can use the downtime to enjoy the zoo with your kids.
Choose an eco-friendly theme for the day or week
If your kids are really interested in a certain topic (e.g. water conservation), then, research and borrow a book in the library to find out more about it. Then, contact your local water council/department to arrange for a free tour. Often they will provide some free souvenirs as well.
I have been trying to limit my fruit juice intake to at most twice a day. When I do drink juice, I try to make my own. Although it is so tempting to buy fruit juices on sale, most commercial juices contain preservatives or excess sugar. Buy seasonal fruit and use a blender to make your own juice at home. The following fruits are great for homemade juices (no additional sugars are needed to enhance the taste):
All you need is a decent blender or if you are into more advance juice making, you should purchase a jr. I like making my own orange juice.
I am interested in conserving water. It's an eco-friendly way of living and sets a great example for my kids. So, I have come up with some tips on how to conserve water. If you have a refrigerator with a water filter, change the filter according to the instructions and use it instead of purchasing bottled water. This is a great cost effective way to protect the environment and save money in your wallet.
If you do not have a refrigerator water filter, purchase a PUR or BRITA system so that you can have the same benefits of a water filter instead of purchasing costly bottled water.
Use a barrel or bucket to collect rainwater. If you live near the tropics or it is during a rainy season, you can benefit alot by using a water barrel or bucket to collect rainwater. This water can be used to water the garden or lawn.
Does it take time for your shower water to warm up to the appropriate temperature? If so, have a 10 gallon bucket handy and set it up underneath the shower head/faucet to collect the running water while you are waiting for i to warm up. You will wind up with at least 8 gallons of water that is safe for watering plants or rinsing dishes. I do this at home and have seen at least $5 in savings each month in my water bill. Do you have any tips on conserving water?
Borrow a book from the library about origami (the Japanese art of paper folding). Reuse old construction or plain white paper and teach your kids how to fold different designs. This is a fun activity to do during rainy days or lazy summer afternoons.
Set up a large cardboard box and have your kids pretend that they are camping out. Make them popcorn and lemonade and they can last for a few hours there.
For rainy days, we select a theme and browse through old magazines. Then, we cut and paste select photos for the collage. I have a few picture frames specifically for the kids' art creations. They love having their artwork on display
Eco-friendly activist trying to make more healthy eco-friendly choices for my family.