How to Make an Eco-Friendly Gift Card Snow Globe as a Holiday Gift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are giving a gift card this holiday season, don’t just slip it into a card – make it into a snow globe. It will take giving a gift card this holiday to a whole new level – especially if you are giving it to  a child. Eben and I decided to do this project for a Secret Santa party that he will be going to – it was a super fun gift to make, read on to learn how. These are perfect for last minute gifts too!

What you will need:

  • glass mason jar
  • water
  • eco-glitter
  • glue gun
  • gift card
  • tiny ornaments

This is actually a super easy do-it-yourself project that only takes a few minutes to complete. Secure the gift card to the lid of the mason jar with hot glue. Fill the mason jar with water, add eco-glitter and a couple of tiny ornaments, screw the lid on super tight – you now have the perfect way to give a gift card!

Give the Gift of Experience This Holiday Season + 5 Ideas

Give the Gift of Experience This Holiday Season + 5 Ideas

Hello, Friends! Can you believe Christmas is only a handful of days away? If you haven’t finished your holiday shopping, you are officially a last-minute shopper! No worries, you can still surprise everyone on your holiday list and those gifts can be eco-friendly too! Read on to discover five of my favorite last minute holiday gifts that don’t require you to even leave the comfort of your sofa.

1. Give the Gift of Experience
One of my favorite gifts to give is the gift of experience. A few years ago I gave the mister scuba diving lessons and this year part of Eben’s holiday gift is art lessons. I have given the gift of annual memberships to botanic gardens and science museums. The possibilities are endless, just consider what your recipient enjoys and go from there.

2. Give a Gift that Helps Someone Else
Have a do-gooder on your holiday list? Consider giving a gift certificate to Kiva – your recipient will go through a list of loan applicants and pick a hard-working borrower to give a micro-loan too. This is a great way to help entrepreneurs in other countries who need a little help, the best part when the entrepreneur pays the loan back, you get to re-loan the funds to another entrepreneur!

3. Give the Gift of Your Time
I was telling the mister the other day that the best gift that I could ever receive is the gift of someone offering to take Eben for the weekend. Since we live very far away from most of Eben’s grandparents, we have never left him for a long weekend. Wouldn’t a romantic long weekend with your loved one be the perfect gift! The possibilities here are endless as well, just think of something that you can do for someone else and wrap that up as a gift.

4. Give the Gift of Nature
I love to receive a gift in the form of a living plant or something that can be planted in the yard. Even better when the plant is of edible variety. Eben and I gave the mister a lemon tree one year as a birthday gift – and it is a gift that he seriously enjoys every day. He is always watering, pruning and checking for lemons – and seeing how much the tree has grown is a delight. Plus, giving him lemonade all year long has been a sweet gift that he really enjoys.

5. Give the Gift of Your Expertise
Are you a fantastic chef? Can you sew a mean pair of pajamas? Are you great at web design? A beautiful photographer? Whatever it is that you are an expert at consider giving that as a gift this holiday season. If you are a fantastic cook, arrive at your recipients home with all of the ingredients necessary to cook a fabulous meal for them. Spend the time teaching your recipient how to prepare and cook the meal and then enjoy it together!

Do you give the gift of experience during the holidays? I would love to hear about the gifts you are giving this holiday season.

Last Minute Holiday Gift: DIY Vegan Brownies In A Mason Jar

Hello, Friends! We are down to the wire with only 6 days until Christmas. Have you finished your holiday shopping? Don’t forget your children’s teachers and the neighbors. You can still put together organic succulents in recycled paint dipped cans or miniature Christmas Trees made using recycled wine corks. If you are going to be baking this weekend, you can throw together a few simple, vegan brownies in mason jars.

What you will need:

  • 2 cups organic flour
  • 1 cup organic carob chips
  • 1 tbsp organic baking powder
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

You can either layer all of the ingredients separately in the jar or to save time mix all of the dry ingredients and top with the chocolate chips.

Attach a tag with the instructions to add:

  • 1/3 cup of your favorite neutral oil
  • 1 3/4 cup organic almond milk.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

Enjoy!

Old Study Sheds New Light on Sugar Industry’s Controversial Past

Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), recently uncovered a controversial 1968 study funded by the International Sugar Research Foundation (ISRF) and have compiled a new paper based on their findings.

The 1968 study, titled Project 259, studied the effects of sugar on rats. According to the historical documents the researchers uncovered, preliminary findings revealed that ingesting large amounts of sugar may be associated with heart disease. Shortly after these findings were uncovered, the ISRF pulled funding from the study.

“All we know is that the plug got pulled and nothing got published,” Stanton Glantz, a professor of medicine at UCSF and a co-author of the new paper, told CNN.

Glantz continued, explaining that very little is known about what the researchers themselves were allowed to do with the data they compiled in that fateful 1968 study.

The study, which seemingly provides hard evidence of the negative effects of ingesting too much sugar, was never published. Countless studies have proven that sugar, as well as other factors, have an effect on oral health. Age, for example, affects oral health in that 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. There’s no reason to hide this information. So why hide the effects of sugar on other health issues?

According to an analysis published by the same UCSF researchers in JAMA International Medicine last year, it’s been suggested that the ISRF later sponsored a study that concluded fat to be “the dietary culprit” in heart disease and related health issues.

The ISRF, now called the Sugar Association, contested the analysis brought forth by UCSF researchers.

“[It’s] not actually a study, but a perspective: a collection of speculations and assumptions about events that happened nearly five decades ago, conducted by a group of researchers and funded by individuals and organizations that are known critics of the sugar industry,” a representative told CNN.

This isn’t the first time a large industry or corporation has attempted to cover up potentially harmful findings, either. Glantz has compared the ISRF’s actions to those of big tobacco, calling them “manipulation science.”

Another such instance of manipulation came in 2015, when The New York Times reported that Coca-Cola had paid scientists to muddle the link between high sugar content and obesity. In addition, The Associated Press discovered that candy makers had funded skewed research in 2016.

These studies can make or break a big industry, which helps, in part, explain why big players might not want the results getting out. But at the same time, research that reveals the health effects of certain foods is critical to shaping federal dietary guidelines.

“Industry-funded research often shows results that are in line with the sponsors’ interests,” Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University, told The Verge.

When it comes to medical research, facts such as “99.7% of adults believe a healthy smile is socially important,” and “one in five Americans doesn’t have an ideal bite,” are rarely disputed because the public trusts in the validity of the scientific findings there. It appears the food industry may be another story altogether.

“This wasn’t about science. This was about marketing,” Nestle concluded.

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Make Your Holiday Dinner Party More Sustainable

Our annual holiday dinner and white elephant party is quickly approaching! It is definitely my favorite part of the holiday season, next to watching Eben and the mister open their gifts. It is always a wonderful night full of family, laughter and fun. The white elephant gifts we picked this year are next level! We try ever year to make our holiday dinner party waste free – here are some of our tips so you can make your holiday party waste-free too!

1. Ditch the Disposables
While it can seem easier to serve the holiday meal or cocktails using disposable plates, cups, napkins and flatware, I highly recommend skipping it. Not only is it wasteful, it’s expensive and costs the enviornment a ton when you fill up the garbage can. Even if you don’t have china or a full set of dinnerware, use can use your daily dishes and dress them up with cloth napkins and a fabulously decorated table. It really only takes a few minutes at the end of the night to load the dishwasher and you save a ton of trash in the process.

2. Start from Scratch
When it comes to preparing a meal for your family – especially during the holiday season, it’s always amazing if you can start from scratch. Not only will the meals taste even more delicious, there will be minimal packaging waste since you are making everything from scratch. I suggest putting together a menu of 4-5 dishes and then making those items from scratch, this way you won’t be terrbily overwhelmed, but you will be left with a meal that your guests won’t forget!

3. One Dessert Only
I have a rule when it comes to holiday dinners or any dinner party, I only make one dessert. I have a couple of delicious recipes that are simple to make and always a huge hit. I pick one and only one to make. I have found that we have less food waste at the end of the night and we aren’t left with a ton of desserts once the guests go home.

4. Plan for Your Leftovers
I try to convince the mister to only make enough food for the holiday dinner – however, we are always left with at least a week of leftovers. Sometimes we get tired of having the holiday meal over and over again for days on end. Instead, we package up some of the leftovers to go home with our guests – or put a menu plan in place to use those leftovers in a different way. For example, every year the mister makes turkey matzo ball soup with the leftover turkey! Amazing! Nothing is worse than throwing food away, so have a plan in place to prevent that.

5. Go Reusable!
When it comes to gift wrap, I am a huge fan of reusable bags that can be used again and again. If gift bags aren’t your thing, then I suggest choosing a recycled wrapping paper that can be recycled at the end of the day. If you receive a gift that isn’t wrapped in a recyclable or reusable paper, you could keep the paper to use in those crafty projects you plan to do with the children after the holidays!

YOUR TURN: What is your favorite eco-friendly way to make your holiday dinner party more sustainable?