4 Fall Inspired Eco-Friendly Art Projects for Green Kids

I love fall – it is my favorite season. Have I mentioned that before? Ha! I love the colors, textures, and find myself crafting with Eben more during the autumn season. With that being said, the artwork really piles up around here. Many pieces get photographed and recycled, however there are pieces that we love so much we want to keep and display. Here are 4 fall inspired art projects that we have enjoyed over the year and thought they might inspire you this autumn:

1. Baker’s Twine Apple
Whenever I work with baker’s twine, it seems like I am left with a few scraps that I keep for craft projects. I recently came across an amazing baker’s twine apple project that would be perfect for those leftovers. I adore it!

+ Baker’s Twine Art
+ Domestically Speaking

2. Button Art
If you have a large button collection – this is the project for you! I love the different colors and sizes – I think it would be fun to do a set of four, one for each season, arranged on a wall together. This would be a perfect project for children of all ages too!

+ Button Art
+ Diane Payne

3. Leaf Prints
Eben loved this project because it incorporated a nature walk and pigment paints. This is a project that we tend to make over and over again each fall. It’s easy, a fun way to get our hands dirty and the perfect excuse for working together after school.

+ Leaf Prints

4. Alphabet Leaf Animals
Again, this is the perfect fall project for kids! It gets their creative juices flowing as they arrange the leaves into different animal shapes. I have to admit, Eben is much better at this than me – he is fantastic as seeing things that I never would. Are your kids like this?

+ Leaf Animal Prints

What fall inspired art project are you and your children working on?

6 Ways to Get the Most Out of Organic Stone Fruit While It’s in Season

vineyard-peach-346325_1280

It’s stone fruit season! Wondering what stone fruit is? Stone fruit is any type of fruit that has a single seed or pit – for example; apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, and cherries. Any time a particular type of fruit is in season, it’s a great idea to buy in bulk and stock up. There are several great ways that you can get the most out of the stone fruit that you purchase. It just takes a little creativity and a few different ways to preserve the stone fruit and you can enjoy it all year long. Read on for my 6 favorites ways to get the most out of these sweet fruits.

#1: Bag It!
We recently purchased a large quantity of organic stone fruit – however, there were several pieces that were not ripe. To ripen them up quickly so that we could use them, we put them in a paper bag for a couple of days. Works like a charm.

#2: Grill It!
It’s grilling season too and a fantastic way to enjoy stone fruit is fresh off the grill. Peaches grilled quickly on each side and then topped with organic vanilla ice cream is an amazing fall treat. You won’t be disappointed and it is a super fun dessert for those get-togethers.

#3: Add It!
Stone fruit isn’t only good on it’s own, or as a dessert – it tastes amazing when added to the main course. I like to add cut up stone fruit to salads, salsas, and side dishes during the summertime. It’s adds a ton of flavor and a pop of color to our meals. The possibilities are endless!

#4: Can It!
While purchasing stone fruit in a large quantity while it is in season is a great idea, what if you can’t use it all before it spoils? Can it! Stone fruits can be used in jams, syrups and salsas, so why not get to cooking and preserve some of that sweetness for later in the year. Can you image a yummy stone fruit syrup, salsa or jam during fall, winter and spring?

#5: Dry It!
Who doesn’t love dried fruit? What could be better than dried peaches or apricots. You can either dry the fruit in the oven at 200° F for three hours or use a food dehydrator to get the job done. Dried fruit lasts a long time and will be perfect as a lunch box snack during the school year.

#6: Freeze It!
Whatever stone fruit you have leftover should be frozen before it spoils. Frozen stone fruit is amazing in smoothies and desserts, just remove the amount that you need from the freezer and enjoy!

2 Healthy Magnesium-Rich Recipes, Including Cinnamon Plantain Bites!

Magnesium is one of those minerals that people are generally aware of but don’t really know what it is or what it can do for your body. Magnesium is a nutrient that the body requires in order to stay healthy. It plays a critical role in regulating muscle and nerve functions, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and making protein, bone, and DNA.

Oftentimes, people don’t get enough magnesium in their diets. While it takes a while to start noticing the effects of a magnesium deficiency, symptoms can include loss of appetite, nausea, weakness, muscle cramps, and an abnormal heartbeat. Since magnesium is critical for over 300 enzyme processes in the human body, it’s important to get a good dose of the mineral every day. Below are a few healthy recipes rich in magnesium for you to try!

Salmon Salad Bowl

This power veggie bowl features fresh salmon and a raspberry balsamic glaze. It’s rich in flavor and antioxidants, and organic too!

Ingredients:

  • 4-oz organic grilled or baked salmon
  • 3-4 cup organic seasonal greens
  • 1/2 cup organic slices zucchini and squash
  • 1/2 cup organic raspberries
  • 1 tbsp organic balsamic glaze
  • 2 tbsp cinnamon avocado or olive oil
  • dash of organic sea salt
  • dash of organic pepper
  • 2 organic thyme sprigs
  • organic parmesan crumbles
  • organic lemon juice

Luckily, salads are super easy to throw together. After slicing the veggies, sautee in a skillet with oil, salt, and pepper. Once the vegetables and salmon are cooked, begin to build your bowl. Greens first, then veggies, then salmon. Top off with the balsamic glaze, thyme, and the remaining oil. After tossing, throw in some raspberries with a touch of lemon juice and parmesan.

Cinnamon Spice Plantain Bites

These heavy-packed protein bites are full of spices, are grain-free, and require no baking!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut or almond flour
  • 1/2 cup plantain flour or ground plantain chips
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup nut butter of choice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cloves (ground)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp ground anise
  • 1/2 tsp butter or vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp molasses

Begin by grinding up the plantain chips. Then, after mixing up the dry ingredients, add in nut butter extract, molasses, and honey. After mixing, roll into bite-sized balls. Freeze right away and use coconut or almond flour to roll the bites in after they’re frozen. To maintain freshness, store in fridge or freezer.

Natural Remedies To Ease Your Lower Back Pain

For many adults, lower back pain is an ever-present factor in their lives. Whether caused by age, genetic factors or lifestyles, it can become too much to handle. In fact, about 69% of Americans say that this pain impacts their daily lives. While many adults turn to medication to treat their pain, it is not the only option.

There are plenty of ways to incorporate lower back pain management into your holistic health routine. This guide will help you incorporate these methods into your lifestyle and control your risk factors going forward.

Natural Treatments For Lower Back Pain

For many people, there is not a cure-all remedy for lower back pain. It generally takes a combination of changes to help you find relief. While you should always consult a physician about your pain, consider the following methods as well.

Exercise
When you strengthen your body, you strengthen your ability to support your spinal column. This is especially true when it comes to your abdominal strength. A strong core can make your entire center more steady and improve your posture. Yoga can be especially useful for strengthening, loosening, and aligning.

Massage
Massage therapy can help release tension in your back muscles that may be pinching nerves and causing pain. A massage therapist can also work with you on lifestyle changes and stretches to better care for your back.

Postural Treatment
Chiropractic adjustment and relating treatment can help align the spine and improve your posture. Your chiropractor may even incorporate massage and physical therapy to provide a more holistic healing approach.

Anti-Inflammatory Food
To nourish and heal your body, it’s essential to fill it with quality food. By avoiding refined grains, sugars, and fats, and eating nutrient-rich food instead, you can calm inflammation. This then calms your pain.

Controlling Your Risk Facotrs

While natural treatments can help ease your current back pain, it’s also important to practice prevention. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 80% of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lives, there are ways to control your risk:

    • Maintain a healthy weight
    • Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
    • Work to improve your posture
    • See your physician for preventative care
    • Learn what treatment methods work for your body

Remember: You are in control of your life. While low back pain may be a factor, it is not in the driver’s seat. By trying some of the above treatment methods and taking care of your health as a whole, you can control your pain and live the most vibrant life possible.

How Drones, Coffee Beans, And The Queen of England Might Change The Way We Drive

Americans rely heavily on their vehicles, as the average American drives 29.2 miles every day. But many drivers are reluctant to substitute their conventional gasoline-powered vehicle for one that’s more eco-friendly. That might soon change, albeit in a more sluggish way than some other nations, due to environmental regulations, increased reliability, and some creative uses for caffeine.

In a recent report published in Consumer Reports, it was revealed that incorporating new technology and fuel efficiency efforts into traditional cars is actually making them a lot less reliable. In the magazine’s survey of 640,000 vehicles, the all-new vehicles or models with newly updated tech were more likely than older models to have a “wonky engine, jerky transmission, or high-tech features that fail outright.” Electric cars, on the other hand, fared quite a bit better, largely because many of these electric models don’t use the same mechanical systems conventional cars do.

So if they’re more reliable, why are Americans so resistant to buy them? Comparatively, the U.S. is behind the curve (or curb, as the case may be) in terms of exploring alternative fuels. Parisian officials recently announced the city will be phasing out the use of all fossil fuel-powered vehicles by 2030, with the entire country promising to do away with non-electric cars by 2040. And her Majesty, the Queen of England, just added more electric-powered vehicles to her already established eco-friendly fleet. But according to a study from April 2017, 70% of Millennials (presumably, American Millennials) don’t want an electric vehicle. Even though they’re actually less expensive to run and wouldn’t pollute the planet, it looks like the U.S. has some catching up to do.

That could be because amenities have yet to catch up with the electric vehicle industry. Charging stations are few and far between and charging takes much longer than filling up a gas tank, making it less convenient to go electric. The ever-innovative Amazon may have just come up with a solution, as the company recently patented a drone that would charge an electric vehicle as you’re driving it. The plans seem like something out of a sci-fi movie, but so do self-driving cars.

Maybe Millennials would be more likely to embrace alternative fuels if their car required something they often use for their own energy supply: namely, coffee. Statistics show that Americans consume an average of 1.64 cups of coffee per day, but soon, our cars might need a java boost, too. Researchers at Lancaster University in the U.K. have managed to simplify the process of extracting oil from coffee grounds so that it takes only 10 minutes. The new process is also much more eco-friendly than extracting oils from corn or soybeans because it doesn’t require the use of harmful chemicals. Experts say that with this new all-in-one method, they could produce 720,000 metric tons per year. In the near future, coffee and cars could be even more of a match made in heaven than they already are (no comedians necessary).

Maybe one day, fueling up your car will be as easy as contacting a drone or emptying the remnants of your morning cup of coffee into your vehicle. For now though, the onus is on the individual to make eco-conscious decisions when it comes to their transportation, even when it isn’t always easy.

7 Easy Ways to Adopt a More Eco-Friendly Lifestyle

Although everyone celebrates Earth Day on April 22, there are so many opportunities to help “keep it green” all year-round! For those who want to adopt an eco-friendlier attitude throughout the year, there is more you can do than just recycling cans and plastic bottles. You can adopt an eco-friendly lifestyle and attitude.

The benefit of adopting an eco-friendly attitude is not just related to conserving resources and the environment. In fact, the therapeutic and preventative effects of eco-friendly choices can be reflected in human health. Humans who eat organic meat and pesticide-free vegetables, for example, avoid ingesting harmful chemicals and hormones that interfere with the body’s natural ability to digest and process food. However, an organic diet is not the only path to a healthy, eco-friendly lifestyle. By following some of these tips below, you can help conserve the Earth’s natural resources, positively improve your health, and maybe even save a little money as well.

#1: Adopt a Natural Cosmetic Routine
There are so many chemicals that go into the average cosmetic product. By using natural products, you will be reducing the chemicals that you are putting on your skin, and eventually into the Earth. You can also adopt green habits by purchasing fewer beauty products in general, and by looking for products with two-in-one capabilities, for example, a conditioning shampoo. Why use two plastic bottles when one will do?

#2: Exchange Traditional Eyewear for Laser Surgery
Laser eye surgery has gone from being a luxury to a common and reliable procedure that makes glasses and contact lenses a thing of the past. Laser surgery corrects the cornea, so light falls accurately on the retina. By exchange your eyewear for laser surgery, you will be saving the materials necessary to make the glasses or contacts, as well as the fluid needed to clean them on a daily or monthly basis. If you need advice on the advantages of exchanging conventional contact lenses with surgery, you can find Lasik consultations in Minneapolis and many other states across the country.

#3: Eat in Season
Although most fruits and vegetables are now available year-round in the average grocery store, you can usually spot the ones that are in season. They are the juiciest, most delicious looking ones in the store. Eating vegetables that are grown in the appropriate season reduces the likelihood of ingesting harmful preservatives that are used to keep produce fresh during long distance travel. And not only that, seasonal produce usually tastes way better too!

#4: Exchange Cotton for Bamboo
Cotton is probably one of the most used fabrics on Earth but to grow it, you need a huge amount of water. There is an alternative to using cotton, however. Bamboo can be used to create an incredibly soft fabric that is fast becoming a popular choice for bedsheets and pillow cases. Bamboo is not only soft and requires less water to grow, it also absorbs moisture from the skin, in addition to removing harmful bacteria.

#5: Exercise Outside
Have you ever had a gym membership that you never used? Gym memberships can be costly to the consumer and, in addition, use up an inordinate amount of electricity operating treadmills day and night. Walking, running, or biking outside is free, uses no electricity, and it exposes the participant to a much needed dose of Vitamin D.

#6: Use Your Slow Cooker
Slow cookers can be a huge time-saver. Simply throw some ingredients into the slow cooker before work in the morning and you can come home to an absolutely delicious meal. Using a slow cooker offers many eco-friendly benefits as well. Cooking with an oven can generate a lot of heat. As slow cookers use less far less heat than conventional ovens, using one can help keep the kitchen cool, reducing the burden on your air conditioner. Slow cookers also use about the same amount of energy as the average lightbulb, so they can even save you money on your power bill!

#7: Limit the Amount of Tech Time
Watching television and using the computer, in addition to texting on cell phones, can consume an inordinate amount of time and electricity daily. By limiting the amount of time spent using these gadgets, you will not only save money, but you will also have more opportunities to interact with other humans. Another eco-friendly tip, many of these devices (like televisions) consume power even when they aren’t turned on. Investing in a power bar with a timer can shut off the power at the source at a predetermined time of night, then turn the flow back on in the morning.

All of these behaviors are simple ones that do not require a lot of money to adopt. By changing actions that can become toxic over time, or by adopting habits that allow reconnection with nature and other humans, you will be doing your part to save the Earth. And in the end, more than just the Earth will thank you. Your body will too!

3 Eco-Friendly Home Improvement Projects That Boost The Value Of Your Home

When it comes to home improvements, many people seem hesitant to commit to projects that require a substantial investment. However, there are a number of renovations and improvements that not only increase the value of your home but serve as eco-friendly solutions as well. Here are just a few sustainable home improvement projects that can increase the value of your home.

Roofing

Your home’s roof is obviously a critical component of its structural integrity. If you’re in the market for a new roof, consider opting for one of the many eco-friendly roofing materials available. New metal roofs, for example, may contain anywhere from 30% to 60% of recycled metal content and are 100% recyclable at the end of their service lives. Plus, while a traditional asphalt shingle roof has an average lifespan of 12 to 20 years, metal roofs can last between 40 and 70 years when properly installed and maintained.

Another eco-friendly benefit of metal roofing? Its energy-efficiency. Metal roofs have a unique cooling quality that allows them to reflect radiant heat from the sun. This can reduce energy costs by between 10% and 25%.

Plumbing

Many homeowners are uneasy about the idea of messing with their home’s plumbing system, but tankless water heaters have a number of eco-friendly benefits. Tankless water heaters are extremely efficient. They use only the energy necessary to heat the amount of water that you’re using, unlike tank heaters which heat several gallons of water at a time. A tankless water heater and can save you as much as a 20% on your energy bills.

“Tankless units (also called “on demand” units) heat water only when you turn on the faucet,” explains Family Handyman. “They usually operate on natural gas or propane. The main advantage is that they eliminate the extra cost of keeping 40 to 50 gallons of water hot in a storage tank, so you waste less energy.”

Furthermore, How Stuff Works says that tankless water heaters typically come with a federal tax rebate of $300. Considering the fact that they can last up to 10 years longer than traditional tanks, they’re certainly an investment worth looking into.

Countertops

Finally, natural stone countertops are a sleek and eco-friendly alternative to traditional materials. In fact, of the 93% of homeowners who are updating countertops during a kitchen renovation, the majority are choosing natural stone materials. They don’t require as much energy to produce since they’re all-natural, and they’re incredibly durable and long-lasting. They don’t stain, can withstand hot temperatures, and are almost impossible to scratch.

Homeowners that value individuality as much as sustainability will also be pleased to hear that natural stone countertops are one-of-a-kind. Their natural qualities and unique markings make them a warm and welcoming addition to any home.

Ultimately, these are just three of the countless eco-friendly home improvement projects that increase the value of your home. Never be afraid to experiment with any number of sustainable solutions, and most of all, don’t ever think your efforts don’t make a difference. Each and every eco-friendly home improvement project is another step toward a sustainable future.

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