Tag Archives | eco families

7 Simple Eco-Friendly Fun Ways to Spend Fall with Your Family

Happy October 1st!

I love fall – it is my favorite season and my favorite time of year! What’s not to love? We are at our mountain home in North Carolina right now and it is fall perfection! The cooler weather, morning hikes, snuggles by the fire, chai tea, cozy sweaters and pumpkin everything. Looking for some fall inspriation?

Here are 7 simple, eco-friendly ways to inspire you!

1. Take a Listening Hike
One of my favorite fall activities is hiking! And one of my favorite ways to enjoy a hike is when we take what we like to call “a silent hike.” A silent hike is just that – we hike together as a family in complete silence. It’s amazing how the act of simply being quiet and listening can have a huge impact on your hiking experience. There have been many times that we come upon an animal grazing or fish swimming in a creek – it’s amazing. We also like to stop along the way to listen to the rustling of the trees, chirping of the birds or to watch leaves quietly wafting to the ground. It a great time to reflect within too, while still being with the ones you love.

2. Take It Outside
Fall is the perfect time to take whatever you are doing – outside! The mister and I start every morning by taking the dogs on a walk around the lake in our neighborhood. And Eben and I like to sneak away after dinner to take the dogs on another walk. It is my favorite way to start and end each day.

3. Slow It Down
Now that school is back in session, you have to admit that you are much busier than you were all summer. I know that if something isn’t on my schedule, it probably isn’t going to happen. Which is why during the fall months, we really take extra consideration to slow things down at our house. We like to schedule extra time in the morning and afternoon, just to be. We usually spend this time snuggled up chatting about our upcoming adventures.

4. Get Centered
Along with slowing down, fall is a great time to get centered. Spend time each day doing whatever it is that makes you feel connected and centered. For the mister, this means swimming – he will get up early everyday to swim his laps before heading to work. For Eben, this means a hot cup of cocoa and a really good book right after dinner. For me, I like to snuggle down with my iPad to pin my favorite eco-friendly things or end the day with a relaxing yoga session!

5. Plan Ahead
One thing that I have definitely learned along the way is that it is super important to enjoy the moment. To ensure that every moment of fall is enjoyable for my family, I like to plan ahead. I sit down with my journal and jot down things that I really want our family to do together during September, October and November. I include all of our traditional fall family activities, as well as new ideas that I can run by the boys. The idea is that if I plan these activities ahead of time, we spend the months doing fun things together without much thought – since I planned it well in advance.

6. Find an Adventure
One of my favorite parts of fall is the cooler weather – which always equals more time outside. We usually do the bulk of our camping and sailing trips during the fall months. We really enjoy the cooler days spent outside, followed by the crisp nights roasting marshmallows over the fire!

7. Get Cozy
Fall is a great time to reconnect with family and friends. We like to plan long dinner parties with friends, have family stay for extended weekends and plan unexpected get together with close friends. Last night, I kicked off my fall cravings by having a close friend over for a glass of wine at 8 pm. It was the perfect way to end a busy day, we were able to relax, sip wine and giggle about how hard it is to get into the back to school routine – it really made my week and will definitely become a tradition!

What ways do you plan to spend fall with your family?

20 Best North Carolina High Country Fall Family Activities + Rent Our Mountain House!

As soon as September arrives, I always start dreaming of a fall family trip to North Carolina.

I love living in Florida, but since the mister and I both grew up out west, we start to crave fall weather and the changing colors! Getting away to see the leaves changing colors, hiking in the early cool mornings, sipping hot cocoa, and visiting the local farmer’s market and pumpkin patch makes us very happy. We’ve been doing it every fall for 20 years! 

We made a goal to buy a house in North Carolina by our 20th wedding anniversary! Well, Clementine Cabin is almost finished and we’re sharing it with you as one of the best vacation rentals in Banner Elk, North Carolina! Yes, you can rent our vacation home! Hooray! 

So, if you’re looking for a little fall getaway, check out our mountain house and rent it yourself! 

Either way, here are my top 10 favorite activities that I’ve been dreaming about for a fall family trip. We’re sneaking away to North Carolina in the next several weeks:

  1. Staying at our favorite getaway (Clementine Cabin!)
  2. Wrapped up in a blanket sipping cocoa on the porch (listening to the creek!)
  3. Bouldering at Hebron Rock Colony
  4. New River pumpkin patch and corn maze
  5. Boone Farmer’s Market
  6. Sitting by the river at Banner Elk Winery
  7. Stopping to shop and antique in quaint little shops (they are everywhere!)
  8. Smores on the fire pit
  9. Caramel apples at Kilwin’s in Blowing Rock
  10. Grabbing a pretzel at Lost Province Brewing Co. 
  11. Shopping for stocking stuffers in Blowing Rock
  12. Mast General Store in Valle Crucis
  13. Apple Picking at The Historic Orchard at Altapass
  14. Dinner on the patio at Over Yonder
  15. Hiking, Hiking, Hiking
  16. The fall colors! Need I say more! 
  17. A picnic on the grass by the New River 
  18. Grabbing a Dutch Creek icecream
  19. Music in the Park at Valle Crucis
  20.  Spending time with the boys 

Do you have a fall family tradition that you look forward to? I would love to hear – leave a comment below!

9 Eco-Friendly Family Activities To Do This Spring

As the spring season approaches, it’s easy to start thinking about the warm weather and longer daylight hours, but it’s important to also think about the earth. Earth day falls on April 22nd each year, but it’s important to think about how to be eco-friendly year-round. Below are a few ideas of how to keep your family entertained and environmentally conscious this spring.

Make Recycled Crafts

Making fun crafts can be a great way to spend time together and make something fun. To add an eco-friendly spin to crafting, challenge your kids to create something that is entirely made up of recycled or reused materials. Depending on their age, you can give them a handful of materials to choose from, or you can let them loose to find things in your home and yard that are going to be discarded that they can use to make something new. This can help them develop their creativity as well as see that new things don’t have to be made up entirely of new materials.

Garden Together

Gardening is a great family activity that is also very eco-friendly. As the ground thaws in the spring, it’s a great time to get outside and get started on your gardening for the year. Your kids can help you with many gardening tasks, just make sure to take into account their age and ability levels when you’re asking them for help with different tasks. Plant some fruits and vegetables to be a little extra eco-friendly!

Find Ways to Save Electricity

There are many ways to use less electricity in your daily life, but if you work as a family to brainstorm ways to use less electricity, it can stick better in your kids’ minds. There are 5.5 million miles of local distribution lines for electricity in the United State’s electrical grid, and taking some of the stress off of that system can help it work more effectively and save energy. Something as simple as unplugging a device once you’re done using it or making sure that you turn the lights off when you’re the last one to leave the room can help save a lot of electricity over time. Figure out some specific ways that your family can decrease your electricity usage to make sure that you can actually cut back in your daily lives.

Bike Around Your Town

Once the weather is warm enough, start taking weekly bike rides to explore your town and the surrounding areas. It’s a great way to have fun family bonding time without worrying about polluting the environment. You can find new places that you might not have noticed if you were driving around your town, get some good exercise, and bond as a family. That makes bike riding one of the best eco-friendly spring activities for your family.

Cut Back on Your Water Usage

Similarly to saving electricity, talk as a family about ways that you can use less water. Only 1% of the water on earth is suitable for drinking, and while we can take that for granted in developed countries, it’s important to think about conservation. Some easy ways to cut back on your water usage include taking shorter showers, turning off the water while brushing your teeth or washing your face, and using a dishwasher instead of washing your dishes by hand. Ask your kids what they think they can do and try to achieve those water-saving efforts together.

Do a Park Clean-Up

Litter is a big problem everywhere, but especially in the places that see a lot of foot traffic, like popular parks or walking paths. Every time that you go to a place like that, challenge everyone in your family to pick up a certain number of pieces of litter. If you’re worried about what’s on the litter, you can pack gloves to use to pick up the litter as well as hand sanitizer. Over time, your family will be responsible for picking up a lot of litter and making the earth a little bit cleaner of a place.

Exercise Outside

When the weather starts getting nicer, it can be easy to want to spend every moment possible soaking in the outdoors. It’s a great opportunity to encourage some healthy habits with your kids by finding new ways to get moving outdoors. Depending on the size of your family, you can arrange games like soccer or basketball, or you can try for more solitary forms of exercise, like yoga. 28% of Americans have tried yoga at some point, and doing yoga outside is a great way to soak in the good weather and take care of your body at the same time. Getting outside to enjoy the weather while also getting out some energy and helping your body is a great way to spend the spring.

Go on a Flower Hunt

A flower hunt is a great way to spend time outdoors and keep your family entertained. Next time you’re at a park, challenge everyone to find as many different types of flowers as they can. If you can, have everyone take pictures of their flowers instead of picking them so that you aren’t disrupting nature too much. After you’ve found as many flowers as you can, go home and do some research to find out what kind of flowers they are.

Play in the Rain

Spring means a lot of rain in many climates, and playing in the rain can be a very fun activity. You don’t want to get sick from spending time out in the rain, so make sure that you’re being smart about it and properly layering up in raincoats and boots, and not spending too long outside. Once you’re done, dry off and warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate or tea and watch a movie to get the full rainy day experience.

Being eco-friendly and bonding with your family can go hand in hand with these springtime activities. Teaching your kids about the importance of being eco-friendly is a great way to help prepare them to have eco-friendly habits as they grow up.

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?

5 Eco-Friendly Ways to Plan for Thanksgiving Dinner

Hello, Friends! I am pretty excited, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. Thanksgiving is going to look a lot different this year. Most gatherings will be super small or social distanced.

Either way, it will still be a ton of fun and work! To get you started, there are many eco-friendly ways to green your Thanksgiving dinner – all of which are easier to implement if you plan ahead. Many of these ideas will save you money and time while cutting down on the amount of waste that can accumulate from a big family dinner. Read on to learn my 5 favorite eco-friendly ways to plan your Thanksgiving dinner and start planning today!

1. Decorating 101
You don’t have to spend any money when decorating for Thanksgiving, instead use items that you already have or consider bringing natural items indoors. We always have a handful of pumpkins leftover from Halloween that we use as Thanksgiving decorations. And Eben and I like to take a nature walk to collect natural elements (pine-cones, acorns, branches, and leaves) to display as our Thanksgiving table centerpiece.

2. How Much is Enough?
It is really easy to go overboard when planning the Thanksgiving menu. Consider the dishes that you will be serving and ask yourself if you are making more than is necessary. Choose a few dishes that you are sure your guests will love and skip the rest. Also, consider which parts of Thanksgiving dinner you want to or can afford to purchase organic and whenever possible, avoid pre-packaged items.

3. Consider the Table
Do you have enough dinnerware for everyone at your dinner party? If not, consider borrowing place settings from close friends or family members instead of purchasing new. If you aren’t a china and tablecloth kind of family and choose to go with disposable place settings, choose a great compostable version that is made from 100% recycled materials.

4. Think Seasonal
When choosing fruits and vegetables for your Thanksgiving menu, think seasonal. You want to avoid purchasing produce that is imported from far away. You may consider joining a local CSA for the holiday season – not only will you have delicious, local foods to serve this Thanksgiving, but you will be supporting a local farm too.

5. Plan for Leftovers
What do you plan to do with the Thanksgiving dinner leftovers? If you are planning on sending goodies home with your guests, have glass reusable storage containers ready to go. If you made more than your family can consume, you could donate some of the leftovers to a local food bank, freeze them for later or have a menu plan for the days after Thanksgiving so all of the leftovers will be used.

How do you green your Thanksgiving dinner? I would love to hear – please share your thoughts in the comments!