Archive | PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES

It’s Time for More Eco-Friendly Spring Activities for Families!

Last spring, we provided some eco-friendly activities to help your teens get out, get active, and get green. Now with spring almost here again, we want to help provide a few more simply, environmentally-friendly activities you can share with your kids once the warm weather arrives.

With today’s technology, kids and teens don’t get outside as much as they should. In fact, researchers have found that today’s kids play for about four hours a week. This is much less compared to the 8.2 hours their parents played outside when there were kids. And after being cooped up all winter long, it’s time to get outside and get active!

One of the best places to get active is at your local park or nature trails. Whether you have little ones or teenagers, there’s plenty you can do at a nearby park. Whether it’s playing on the playground, having a scavenger hunt throughout the nature trails, or even picking up trash along the way, there’s no excuse to not get outside. And if you’re one of the owners of the 770,000 drones that have currently been registered with the FAA, spring is a great time to put it to use. Flying it around the park can be a great way to get some fresh air and cool pictures or videos.

Another great activity to do with your family is visit your local farmer’s market. This will not only allow you to purchase some fresh fruits and veggies for home but will help you teach your family about healthy, locally-grown food. Knowing where food comes from, and the benefit of eating fresh foods, can start your child off on an eco-friendly path early on.

Or instead of visiting a farmer’s market, why not try growing your own goodies at home? Having a garden at home can be an ongoing project and can teach your family about responsibility. Whether you’re planting fruits and vegetables, flowers, or some small herbs, the entire family can get involved in learning how to plant, care for, and harvest your new crops and plants. With some supervision, your kids can learn the responsibility of taking care of their very own garden.

Along with gardening, you and your family can get started on some sustainable gardening practices. Setting up something like a rainwater harvesting system can teach the whole family more about sustainable practices. Furthermore, your kids can see the direct impact when they get to use the rainwater to help their garden grow.

Whether you’re getting your hands dirty with some dirt, picking up trash at your local park, or simply getting out and enjoying nature, there are plenty of ways to get your family outside and doing eco-friendly activities everyone can enjoy.

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

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Valentine’s Day is almost here! When Eben was younger, I always surprised him with a Valentine’s book scavenger hunt! He’s a full-grown adult now, folks! Even though he just graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree and is applying to Grad School, I still have to surprise him on Valentine’s Day (he’s my only kid!)

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 them!

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#2: DIY Mixed Valentine CD
Whether you are looking for a quick gift for your spouse or your teen –  I adore this DIY mixed Valentine CD 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 with 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. Don’t make it too mushy if you do it at school. You could even mail a box of hearts to someone far away!

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#4: Keep It Simple
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! The holiday countdown is here! 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

Every year as an 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?