Tag Archives | green projects

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

Happy 1st Day of Fall! 

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 inspo?

Here are 7 simple, fun 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, the chirping of the birds, or to watch leaves quietly wafting to the ground. It is 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 hike right out our backdoor. It’s quiet and there are always a ton of deer and turkeys around every corner. I also LOVE to take my tea and blanket and head out to the back porch to snuggle by the fire table while listening to the bubbling of the creek. 

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. This is why during the fall months, we really take extra consideration to slow things down at our home. 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 yardwork – he loves to get outside in the North Carolina fresh air and work in the yard. For Eben, this means a hot cup of cocoa and a really good book on the back deck (it’s his happy place!) For me, I like to snuggle down with my iPad to pin my favorite eco-friendly things (usually on the back deck with Eben when he’s here with us!) or end the day with a soak in the hot tub! 

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 the fall. I include all of our traditional fall family activities, as well as new ideas that I can run by the guys (when Eben is home from college). The idea is that if I plan these activities ahead of time, we spend the time we have together doing fun things together without much thought – since everything was planned 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 always schedule a trip to our mountain home during the fall season. I HAVE to visit the pumpkin patches! 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. Our best friends are visiting us next week while we’re still here in North Carolina. We have all kinds of fun things planned: bike rides, hikes (of course), visiting our surrounding small town, and peeping all of the leaves (they are already starting to turn colors!)

In what ways do you plan to spend fall with your family?

4 Fall Inspired Eco-Friendly Art Projects for Green Kids

I love fall – it is my favorite season. Have I mentioned that before? Ha! I love the colors, textures, and find myself crafting with Eben more during the autumn season. With that being said, the artwork really piles up around here. Many pieces get photographed and recycled, however there are pieces that we love so much we want to keep and display. Here are 4 fall inspired art projects that we have enjoyed over the year and thought they might inspire you this autumn:

1. Baker’s Twine Apple
Whenever I work with baker’s twine, it seems like I am left with a few scraps that I keep for craft projects. I recently came across an amazing baker’s twine apple project that would be perfect for those leftovers. I adore it!

+ Baker’s Twine Art
+ Domestically Speaking

2. Button Art
If you have a large button collection – this is the project for you! I love the different colors and sizes – I think it would be fun to do a set of four, one for each season, arranged on a wall together. This would be a perfect project for children of all ages too!

+ Button Art
+ Diane Payne

3. Leaf Prints
Eben loved this project because it incorporated a nature walk and pigment paints. This is a project that we tend to make over and over again each fall. It’s easy, a fun way to get our hands dirty and the perfect excuse for working together after school.

+ Leaf Prints

4. Alphabet Leaf Animals
Again, this is the perfect fall project for kids! It gets their creative juices flowing as they arrange the leaves into different animal shapes. I have to admit, Eben is much better at this than me – he is fantastic as seeing things that I never would. Are your kids like this?

+ Leaf Animal Prints

What fall inspired art project are you and your children working on?

Ways to Upcycle or Recycle Wine Corks

Corks are biodegradable and small, so you may think throwing them away is alright. Unfortunately, it takes a Cork Oak Tree 25 years before the cork can be harvested. Then, only the cork from the first harvest can be used for wine corks. Doesn’t it seem silly to just toss it in the trash?

Here are some fun ways I have upcycled my wine corks! I made fun stamps to give as gifts! We’ve also made tiny succulent magnets for our fridge and place cards for Thanksgiving! 

diy mini succulent wine cork planters

If you don’t feel crafty, you can recycle the corks! To recycle, you can send them to a program called Korks For Kids, a non-profit organization or to Yemm and Hart, a company that will recycle them into other products.

The mister and I enjoy our wine tasting together and as a tradition we keep every wine cork that we share in a large jar in our kitchen. We also keep corks from special occassions and write the name of the event on the date before tossing them into the jar! I have also seen them stored in shadow boxes and hung as amazing pieces of art.

How do you upcycle your corks?

6 Time Saving and Eco-Friendly Back to School Organizing Tips

bux

As a parent, I feel that one of the most important tips for back to school is being organized. I have shared a lot of my tips in the past, however, there are still so many other tips that I haven’t mentioned. Most of these tips are very simple and will save you time, energy, money – and in the long run will save the environment too. Read on to learn my 6 favorite back to school organizing secrets – get organized now so the first day of school will run smoothly!

#1: Get Yourself Ready First!
Tip number one is the most important tip that I can give you – get yourself ready first! If you try to get your children and yourself ready at the same time each morning – you are going to be overwhelmed. When Eben was younger, I would get up a couple of hours before he did – while it may seem early, I was able to exercise, tidy up the house, shower and get myself ready – all before he woke up. I never felt stressed when something popped up – because I was ready, and I could jump in to help fix any of the morning mishaps. (and believe me, over the years, there were plenty!)

#2: Build Chores In!
All children should have chores. Chores are great on so many levels, they teach children responsibility, pride of ownership, it builds character, and what Mom couldn’t use a little extra help around the house. It doesn’t have to be a long list of chores, instead it can consist of making their bed, feed and take care of animals, tidying their bedroom and packing up their supplies for school. After school, you can add in a few more – walking the dog, unloading and loading the dishwasher, setting the table and helping pick up the house.

#3: Snack Station!
Giving your child easy access to the best, healthy snacks for school is easy when you incorporate a snack station in your pantry and refrigerator. When Eben was younger,  we had a pantry snack station and a refrigerator snack station (you can see the lunchbox packing station here). It helped a lot too – because now that Eben is a teenager, he is pretty good at picking healthy snacks on his own.

#4: Breakfast is Ready!
Eben is not a cereal type of kid – he doesn’t like cereal, any cereal. Period. However, we don’t always have time or feel like whipping up a hot breakfast in the morning. Our solution, we make them ahead of time and either refrigerator or freeze them. This way he always gets his choice of his favorite breakfast items (these items are always healthier than a boxed cereal anyhow) and it makes for a quick and yummy breakfast time, with foods he will actually eat. And of course I also keep the refrigerator stocked with his favorite fruits and organic yogurt to go with breakfast too.

#5: Lunch is Ready!
If you have a lot of lunches to pack in the morning and find yourself spending too much time on it, consider packing your lunches the night before. Consider making a little more dinner, and packing the leftovers for your child’s lunch. Eben always loved this because he would have much rather had shish-ka-bobs, or a homemade soup for lunch over a sandwich any day! It is also a great way to give your child’s lunchbox menu a lot of diversity, the lunch is ready to go and your child is more likely to eat their lunch everyday.

#6: Bag the Equipment!
When Eben was younger, he had swimming as his P.E. activity – instead of running around every Friday morning looking for his swimsuit, swim shirt, goggles, sunscreen, and towel – I packed everything together in a bag and it stayed there. When he brought home the wet clothes on Friday afternoon, I would toss the entire bag in the laundry room and wash and repack the swimming bag for the following week. Then, it would go on a designated hook in our mudroom and would be ready to go. This same tip can be used for any sport or activity that your child has particular clothing for – just pack it and forget it.

What eco-friendly and time-saving secrets do you have for back to school?
Please leave your comment below – they support us all in living a greener lifestyle.

Teaching Your Green Kids to Love Gardening

Gardening with Children

Gardening has many advantages, and is known to benefit your children’s health and well-being. Teaching the kids to love gardening will get them outdoors, allow you to spend some family time together, and make them more rounded characters. Do some research or search online for gardening guides which will give you more information and tips. Here are five ways to help get the kids involved;

Give Them Garden Space of Their Own
A great way to get the kids out in the garden is to allow them to plan a section for themselves. Giving them the freedom to plan, build and enjoy their own space will not only leave them feeling invested in the garden, but will also allow you to spend time together, helping them create their space.

Create a Wildlife Garden
Building a garden to attract wildlife is a brilliant way to excite the kids. Wildflowers are great for attracting plenty of insects, which will encourage other wildlife such as birds and hedgehogs to your garden. Once the children have their first sighting, they’ll be invested in helping you improve the space to attract more animals! If you have enough space you could even build a pond which will almost certainly increase your sightings.

green kids gardening

Teach Them to Grow Their Own Food
Teaching your children how to grow their own produce will leave them with a skill for life. Let them pick the fruit and vegetables that they like, before helping them to build grow boxes and sow the seeds. The responsibility of nurturing their plants before harvest will teach them a valuable skill, and could be a precursor to a family pet!

Create an Indoor Garden During the Winter
Getting the kids interested in gardening during the winter months, will leave them excited and ready to hit the garden in spring. You can start small with a herb garden, before you start germinating your seeds in anticipation of planting.

Teach Them How to Compost
Although perhaps not the most exciting of topics, teaching your children how to make compost will give them a greater understanding of consumption, waste, and their effect on their natural surroundings. Start by educating them on the importance of recycling, before moving on to composting.

Hopefully the above tips will help you to get the children interested in gardening, not only will they reap the benefits; so will you.

Image via bass_nroll and theloushe used under the Creative Commons license
This post wasn’t written by me, thank you for supporting the businesses that keep Sweet Greens running!