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5 Last Minute Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Surprises for Your Family

Twig-and-Thistle-Apple-Stickers

Valentine’s Day is almost here! When Eben was younger, I always surprised him with his Valentine’s book scavenger hunt! Now, that he is older, I am looking for simple, fun ways to show him how much I care on Valentine’s Day. This is especially great since Valentine’s Day really crept up on me this year! If you are like me and need a handful of last-minute, simple Valentine’s Day surprise ideas that are eco-friendly too – read on and relax we still have a few days. Ha!

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#1: Add a Little Organic Love to Lunch
I am a little obsessed with heart shapes in food – especially for Valentine’s Day. For starters, these heart and heart apples are perfect for Valentine’s Day lunchbox – even teenagers will enjoy!

Mixed-CD-Valentine

#2: DIY Mixed CD Valentine
Whether you are looking for a quick gift for your spouse or your teen –  I adore this mixed CD valentine from Dandee Designs – so old school. I remember receiving a mixed tape from a boyfriend in junior high – it was full of love songs from Boyz II Men and Tony! Toni! Tone! – how funny is that?

Heart-Attack

#3: Give a Recycled Heart Attack
When Eben was little, I surprised him by plastering his bedroom in recycled cut out hearts. On each heart, I wrote something about him that I love. You could do something like this on a smaller scale too, such as in a lunch box or school locker. Just don’t make it too mushy if you are doing it at school. You could even mail a box of hearts to someone far away!

Twig-and-Thistle

#4: Keep It Simple
I know that I can put a lot of pressure on myself to think of a fun and creative way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Eben and the mister. However, I have learned over the years that it doesn’t matter what I plan, the simple act of spending the entire day celebrating my love for them is all they want. Whether it is sweet notes in their lunchboxes, a heart-shaped breakfast, or a “fancy” dinner – it’s the quality time together that really counts.

Winter-Camping

#5: Plan a Getaway
Several years ago, I wanted to celebrate with an experience so the mister and I surprised Eben with a long weekend of winter camping. We picked him up early from school on a Friday and headed to the beach for a few days of camping. If you want to surprise your family with a getaway, think easy – mini-day trips or even visiting somewhere new close to home.

What surprises do you have planned for your family this Valentine’s Day?

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!

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!

How to Make a Healthier Gingerbread House for the Holidays

 

Last night as our advent activity, Eben and I made a gingerbread house. While those store-bought gingerbread kits seem very simple, making your own gingerbread house can be too! You can use ingredients that you already have on-hand, use your creativity, and there is no packaging waste either.

This year, we decided to make a healthier version of the gingerbread house using ingredients that we already had in our kitchen cupboards. And while there are still a handful of chocolate candies used in the decorating, most of the ingredients are better for him. The best part, it took less than an hour to make and we laughed and chatted while we made it, and our house smelled fantastic when we were done! Read on to learn how to make a healthier gingerbread house with your children for the holidays and add it to your weekend activity list.

 

Step 1: Gather Your Ingredients

  • graham crackers 
  • carob chips
  • shredded coconut
  • miniature chocolate pieces
  • yogurt covered almonds
  • square cereal pieces
  • ice cream cones
  • cinnamon sticks
  • peanut butter
  • baker’s twine

Step 2: Choose your Design

Eben and I decided on a simple cottage design inspired by the ingredients that we had on hand in our kitchen. We wanted a sweet look and choose our colors to match the orange yogurt covered almonds that we had.

Step 3: Construct the House

You will need 4 graham crackers squares and 4 graham cracker triangles. Use a serrated knife to cut the graham crackers into a triangular shape.

We melted carob chips and used them to “glue” the house together. We then placed it in the freezer for a few minutes to speed up the hardening process.

Step 4: Add the Roof

Choose your favorite square cereal to construct the roof. We used peanut butter to secure the “shingles” on the roof starting from the bottom and then layering each level until we reached the roofline. We added the shingles to all four sides of the roof.

Step 5: Add Doors and Windows

We used more cereal and miniature chocolate pieces to make the front door and windows – attaching those to the house with peanut butter as well.

Step 6: Add a Little Color

We used orange yogurt covered almonds to the peak of the house!

Step 7: Make the Trees

We used sugar ice cream cones turned upside down and adorned with miniature chocolate pieces (also attached with peanut butter) for our miniature forest of trees.

Step 8: Make a Wood Pile

We tied a small stack of cinnamon sticks together with baker’s twine to make a stack of firewood to place next to the house.

Step 9: Add the Snow

We sprinkled shredded coconut all around the gingerbread house and then added the trees and woodpile to the finished display!

Step 10: Eat and Enjoy!

After all of our work, Eben didn’t want to eat the house immediately – he said we should at least wait a day and enjoy looking at it before we devour it.

Do you make gingerbread houses with your children? Have you ever made a healthier version? How did it turn out?

Helping Holidays: 4 Green Gifts That Give Back

 

The holidays are all about celebrating acts of giving, making it the perfect opportunity to make your gift giving smarter this season. There are so many amazing businesses out there that give back when you purchase one of their products. These companies are tied to doing good somewhere in the world every time a purchase is made. Read on for my 4 favorite gifts that give back – and if you hurry you can still get these goodies by Christmas.

1. Warby Parker Glasses
Eben and I both wear glasses and love the stylish, affordable frames from Warby Parker. For every pair of glasses that you buy, a pair is donated to a person in need. If you don’t wear glasses, that is alright – Warby Parker also offers fantastic sunglasses.

+ Warby Parker  

2. Feed Bags
I have been familiar with FEED Bags for a very long time – I remember first seeing them in Whole Foods back when we lived in Georgia! FEED Bags come in a huge selection of styles and sizes and with each purchase a portion of the proceeds go towards feeding the children of the world.

+ FEED Projects

3. TOMS Shoes
Most likely you are already familiar with TOMS shoes – for every pair you purchase a pair is donated to a child in need. With a great selection of shoes for everyone on your list, TOMS is the perfect holiday gift!

+ TOMS

4. Bogo Brush
Every year I stick a toothbrush in the holiday stocking – this year I will be stuffing a brush from Bogo Brush! Bogo Brush is another company that donates a product to a child in need – in this case, an eco-friendly toothbrush made from waste – because a healthy smile is a happy smile.

+ BOGO BRUSH

Do you have a favorite gift to give that gives back too?