Tag Archives | eco holidays

5 Budget and Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Shopping Tips

5 Budget and Eco-Friendly Holiday Gift Shopping Tips Sweet Greens
While this time of the year is the most wonderful  – it is also the busiest. You may feel like there are so many things that you need to prepare and buy and deciding where to start can be overwhelming. Instead of getting things done ahead of time, many of us tell ourselves we will get everything done when the holidays get closer. Then, the next thing you know the holidays are upon us and we end of spending too much money, getting completely stressed out, and not making the best choices – not exactly the feelings that you want to experience. It happens to the best of us, right?To get your holiday shopping off on the right foot, I thought I would share my favorite budget and eco-friendly holiday shopping tips. These are all tips that I use every year to make sure that this time of the year is definitely the most wonderful without breaking the bank or losing my head!

1. Make a List – Check it Twice
Every year, I create a simple holiday gift list in my iPhone. It includes the name of everyone on my holiday shopping list, gift ideas for each of them and my spending limit per person. Since my list is on my phone, I can consult and update it at anytime. Then, I mark off each person as I finish their holiday gift shopping. This has saved me a lot of time and money and I never have to ask myself – did a buy a gift for so and so? Or, how many gifts did I buy for Eben or the mister? I just check the list and I am done!

2. Start Early
The earlier that you start your holiday shopping, the better. Just think, if you finish all of your holiday shopping early, you can spend the day after Thanksgiving at home, snuggled up with your family and a yummy warm beverage. I can’t think of anything more stress-free then having all of the holiday shopping done before December even arrives. It really frees up all of December to focus on making fun memories with my family. This is another place that #1 comes in, if you shop early picking up items when you find them on sale – you save a ton of money.

3. Shop Locally
Instead of hitting the closest big box store this holiday season, consider supporting small, independently owned businesses. Many towns have a shopping area that is filled with adorable shops that focus on the work of local artisans and many have eco-friendly options. In my opinion, a handmade gift is the best gift! You could also give a gift from your local farm, such as; fresh vegetables, fruits or dairy items. Another option is to check out Etsy for fantastic handmade goods, you can click here to shop Etsy shops located in your local area.

4. It’s All About Quality
Each year, I like to focus on purchasing the mister and Eben quality gifts that they will enjoy for years and years to come. I focus on items that I think they will really enjoy and steer clear of items that are disposable, or would only be enjoyed temporarily. My favorite items to purchase for them include; books, experiences (see below), heirloom quality items that they will keep forever and gifts that focus on their favorite hobbies.

5. Give the Gift of Experience
I am a huge fan of giving the gift of experience, some that I have given in the past include annual passes to local nature and science museums, state parks, botanical gardens, art centers and even scuba lessons. I think gifts that allow the recipient to learn something new or go to place they have always wanted to see builds memories and brings much more happiness long-term than any material gift could ever could. Plus, it’s just another excuse to spend more quality time with my family – and that is the best gift of all.

What are your favorite holiday shopping tips? Please share them in the comments section – I would love to hear! 

Green Tip: Pick an Organic Pumpkin

Green Tip Pick an Organic Pumpkin

Did you plant your pumpkins and gourds last spring? If so, you should have a bounty of them to use for decorating and baking this fall. If not or if you live in Florida like me, that’s alright, you can find lovely organic pumpkins and gourds at your local organic farm, farmer’s market or organic grocer. Do you need help locating great organic pumpkins in your area? Check out Local Harvest to locate a farm in your area, and enjoy autumn!

Where do you get your pumpkins?
Do you purchase local organic ones?

How to Make a Simple Upcycled Flying Ghost

how to make an upcycled ghost

A few years ago, we wanted ghosts that we could hang on our front porch that will blow in the breeze. How fun and spooky, right? Eben and I had a super fun time making the 4 large ghosts, it is a really fun memory! They only cost us $5. We had everything to make these, except the white sheets which we paid $2.49 each for at the thrift store. Want to make ghosts with your little goblins? Read on to get started.

Here is what you will need to make 4 ghosts:
  • 2 queen or king sized white sheets or bed skirts
  • 4 hangers
  • Wire or twine
  • Any type of plastic bag
What to do:
  • Cut the sheets into 4 large pieces, cut the edges so they are jagged
  • Stuff fabric scraps into a plastic bag and tie it around the top of a hanger
  • Hold the ghost by the neck. Eben thought “choking” the ghost was fun and made gagging noises while he did it. This is when I wrapped wire (or you can use twine) around the neck.
  • Insert a piece of wire at the top of the head for hanging.
What do you think of my upcycled flying ghosts? What is your favorite Halloween memory?

How to Make Your Own Organic Hot Apple Cider

Make Your Own Organic Hot Apple Cider

Have you checked out the price of organic apple cider at your local grocer? Wow! $7.99 a gallon. Instead, of breaking the bank, make your own! It’s perfect for filling up reusable mugs and snuggling up with your family this fall!

Ingredients:
  • 2 quarts organic apple juice
  • 1/2 cup organic brown sugar
  • Place all whole spices in a tea infuser, these will be removed before serving
  • 1 tsp organic whole allspice
  • 1 tsp organic whole cloves
  • 3 organic cinnamon sticks (broken up)
  • 1/8 tsp organic ground nutmeg

Preparation:

Stir everything together in a saucepan over medium heat until it simmers. Let it steep for 20 minutes. Remove the tea infuser and serve in mugs.

Serves: 8

Enjoy a hot cup of apple cider by the fire with a good book or your family. You could also enjoy a yummy Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie to go with it.

Organic Recipe: Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Eben and I are a little obsessed with pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. It’s only September 9th and we have already baked a huge batch. They are delicious. We have been baking these together since he was a toddler and now that he is a teenager, we have the recipe memorized. They make our house spell like pumpkin heaven. You should definitely make a batch – here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups organic flour
  • 1 tsp organic baking powder
  • 1 tsp organic baking soda
  • 1 tsp organic cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp organic nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup organic butter
  • 1 1/2 cups organic sugar
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla
  • 1 egg or egg replacer
  • 1 cup organic pumpkin
  • 2 cups organic chocolate chips or vegan chocolate chips

Preparation:

1. Combine organic whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a bowl and mix together.
2. Add butter and sugar in a stand mixer, mix well. Add vanilla, egg and pumpkin and mix well. Gradually add the flour mixture and mix well on medium speed. Add organic chocolate chips and stir together.
3. Bake in traditional oven at 350 degrees for 18 minutes.
4. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes and enjoy.

What is your favorite fall cookie?

 

5 Spooky Fruit and Vegetable Halloween Treats for Healthy Kids

Halloween is my favorite holiday – mostly because it is an anything goes, don’t hold back, get as creative as you want holiday! I have been adding a little spookiness into Eben’s snacks by getting creative with fruits and vegetables. He seems to enjoy these “sweet” treats just as much as a sugary alternative – maybe even more. Read on for 5 spooky fruit and vegetable Halloween treats that I have used as inspiration for celebrating the holiday with my healthy kid.

#1: Jack o’Lantern Fruit Plate
This may be one of the easiest treats in the bunch – simply peel, cut and arrange a selection of organic strawberries, clementines, blueberries and grapes and you have a Halloween treat that is sure to please everyone!

+ Jack O’Lantern Fruit Plate
+ via Wholesome Dinner Tonight

#2: Veggie Skeleton
Looking for a fun way to get your child to eat more vegetables this autumn? Look no further than this adorable veggie skeleton. This, along with the Jack O’Lantern Fruit Plate would be perfect for your child’s class Halloween Party or your family’s spooky get together!

+ Veggie Skeleton
+ via Feeding Four Little Monkeys

#3: Pumpkin Oranges + Banana Ghosts
Yum! These goodies are definitely calling my name – I bet the bananas would be even better if they were slightly frozen! These would be great for a kids party – just grab and go.

+ Pumpkin Oranges + Banana Ghosts
+ via Kid Party Food Ideas

#4: Apple Teeth Treats
While these little yummies might take a little more time to prepare – I bet they are worth all of the compliments you would get at your Halloween party.

+ Apple Teeth Treats
+ via All Recipes

#5: Halloween Sweet Potato Fries
I want to whip up a batch of these yummy sweet potato fries to go with Halloween dinner. Not only does my family love them – but the spook factor will win them over for sure.

+ Halloween Sweet Potato Fries
+ Babble

7 Simple Ways To Green Your Halloween

Halloween is quickly creeping up on us and it’s time to start planning. It’s a good idea to start early to prevent any last minute trips to the store to buy Halloween stuff that has a high-impact on the environment and your health. The best part about Halloween is that you can use many things that you already have in your home – things that you can use to decorate, plan a party, and use as costumes. Let’s get started with my 7 favorite ways to green your Halloween.

1. Repurpose
In our new space, we have a large entry way on the main level that I wanted to decorate for Halloween. However, I didn’t want to purchase anything new – I took a look around my home for things that I could repurpose into Halloween decorations. For example: I took the large glass jars that usually hold flour and sugar in our kitchen and transformed them into apothecary jars full of scary items. The idea is to get creative and use what you already have on hand.

2. Reuse
Since Halloween is our favorite holiday we have a lot of decorations that we have been using for years. I like to find my Halloween decorations at our local thrift stores or we make them ourselves. Since these decorations are only used in October – I don’t feel the need to buy new decorations every year saving us money and saving the environment. Other ways to green your Halloween would include reusing costumes, swaping with a friend or using pieces from an old costume to make a new one.

3. Do It Yourself
A couple of years ago, the mister made a spooky picket fence and tombstones for our front yard. These were made using salvaged wood that we saved from a construction dumpster and no-VOC paint. He has also made two tombstones for our front yard – this time using a salvaged wooden palette that he found in a dumpster. Again, you want to get creative and find new uses for items that are no longer being utilized.

4. Treats
When it comes to Halloween candy – try to go organic and buying less is always better. Yummy Earth has a great selection of lollipops and gummies that fit the bill. If you are going the chocolate route, choose chocolates that are fair-trade and organic, if possible. And when it comes to candy packaging, you want to choose the candies that are minimally packaged.

5. Party Supplies
Almost every Halloween we have a party – some things that I do to keep the party as eco-friendly as possible are: using cloth tablecloths and napkins for the table, skipping the disposables and using our every day dinnerware and making the food ourselves, rather than purchasing pre-packaged items. When it comes to treats for the kiddos, we keep the goody bags minimal and try to choose the most eco-friendly items to go inside.

6. Pumpkins
Every year when we take our annual fall trip to North Carolina, we visit our favorite organic pumpkin patch to pick up pumpkins and gourds. We enjoy spending the entire day at the farm supporting the local farmer and community. The idea is to think local when it comes to picking your pumpkins, support a local farm rather than picking up the pumpkins at the big-box store. And don’t forget to bake the seeds for a yummy treat and use the pumpkin for baking when the holiday is over.

7. Bag It
There is no need to purchase a new Halloween trick or treat bucket for your child each year. I understand that your child wants the Star Wars bucket that matches their Halloween costume – believe me I have been there. If you do purchase one, it should be a one-time purchase, choose a bag that can grow with your child or use a reusable shopping bag or a pillowcase. Eben received a cool pillowcase-like Halloween bag many years ago from his Godparents – and he still uses it to this day!

What ways do you green your Halloween?

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