Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Colors of the Rainbow

I saw this gorgeous rainbow today shooting out of the Foothills! It reminded me of this great green family activity.....

Go outside to look at a rainbow with your child, or if there is no rainbow, go outside and ask your child to draw and color a picture of a rainbow.

As your child identifies each of the colors ask her to name a person in her life who is like one of those colors. For example, perhaps she says that her grandma is yellow because she is sunny and nice.

Then you can plant different color flowers for each color of the rainbow and for each person she named. Depending on your climate, you may be able to plant red roses, yellow sunflowers, purple pansies, and others!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Was that another world?

I think I may have been in another world and not California this past weekend. The stereotype is that there is traffic, smog and freeways in California and that is much of what I see on a daily basis. I am blessed with a beautiful backyard of trees and hills, and visiting deer and coyotes, but what I saw these past 4 days truly felt like a dream.

When I landed at Elkus Ranch in Half Moon Bay, CA this past weekend, I was in shock! I truly thought that I had found another planet. I had been up to this area to drive through, but had never spent days just BEING there. I saw sunrises and sunsets that lit up the sky. I saw stretches of land with absolutely no stores or cars. I sat on the beaches under the stars and breathed in the cool, clean air. The ocean and the bluffs, the vistas, went on forever.

Then, I did go into Half Moon Bay and met up with people cramming the streets to go to the local pumpkin patches and veggie stands- what a great reason to hit a one country road traffic jam. What an incredible lifestyle to farm and share your delicious creations with so many of us searching for this peace of heaven outside of the city.

I was floored by Elkus Ranch and all of the education and information they offer to children and people with special needs. Please read more about this excellent program here.

I took a class in Horticultural Therapy and met two incredible teachers who are passionate to bring horticulturists, gardeners and therapists into this life-changing profession. Read more about the Horticultural Therapy Institute here.

There were so many signs offered to me that I was in the right place for the right reasons. I met amazing students in my class who are gardeners, farmers, therapists - all givers of life. Each helped to inspire me to continue on this green journey toward inspiring children and families to help the earth. Another sign was simply the peace I felt in being in an area of such beauty and remembering how powerfully healing nature can be.

As I digest all that I learned about horticultural therapy I look forward to finishing an article about this topic for a journal soon to be published at Ocean Seminary College. And, as I sit with all that I have learned the past few days I look forward to sharing some new ideas about how to help families and the earth grow stronger together everyday.

One of the themes at this class was New Beginnings. Planting a seed is a new beginning. What new beginnings might you be experiencing right now in your own life?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Will be back soon

Off to a Horticultural Therapy class and I can't wait! For info on the classes check here!

Great review!

Bella Online's Preschool Editor reviewed the Green Quest app as a great educational tool for kids to learn about the environment. They recognized that parents and children can enjoy playing this game together!

Read more here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Is Going Green really a hippy, dippy, trippy adventure?

My husband continues to share, without prompting or interest on my part, that people who go green are "hippy, dippy, and trippy." Now, I think he says this because he fears that one day I will stop shaving, showering, and choose to live in a tree as I continue on my own green venture. But, perhaps he brings up a good point to ponder.

There seems to be a spectrum of green people out there. Just as there is a spectrum of people in any activist "category." This spectrum ranges from those building homes out of mud and hay and living in them leaving no carbon footprints on a daily basis to those who choose to use cloth bags instead of plastic when they shop to those who volunteer as firefly counters to help to learn more and save them. Now, of course, this spectrum doesn't include everyone, but it highlights very few examples of how much we can all choose to incorporate green into our lives.

Fortunately, with the huge amount of information and research today on going green there are less and less people who think that they have to be taking extreme measures and pulling a Henry David Thoreau living in the woods experience as the only way to contribute to the healing of the earth - not that there is anything wrong with that, but there are other ways to contribute if you are not able to leave your family behind and take off to the woods with your sandals and tent. There are less and less people that classify or stereotype people who go green as "hippy, dippy and trippy." In fact, going green has become less hippy and more hip!

So, it is up to me to continue to educate my husband about the green spectrum, the variety of ways we can all contribute to a healthier environment, from the simple to complex, from the everyday to the once a year. All of these ways matter because ALL of these steps make a difference. And, if he wants to continue to call me a "hippy, dippy, trippy" wife, well, perhaps he will just come home from work one day to find me living up in our big, comforting backyard oak tree.

What are some of the many different ways that you embrace going green - not only your own actions, but the actions that you, your kids, and your family do together? Share those here so we can all see the spectrum, and we can all see where our green adventures can take us!

Friday, September 17, 2010

What does it mean to be a Green Queen?

The mission of a Green Queen is as follows:

1. To empower herself as much as those around her.
2. To heal the earth by inspiring others to do the same.
3. To use her power for bringing people together in peace.
4. To understand that being green means making a difference - everyday.
5. To keep life simple, fun, and focused on how to make a positive impact.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Green SUV?!

s it possible? Can we actually one day in the near future have an electric car that will fit a family and all of a family's gear? It looks like the green industry's opportunities for new jobs for people will include the making of an electric SUV!

Read more about it!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

How hard can it be to choose shampoo?

Well, to answer that question, incredibly difficult unless you do some research. After looking through numerous product sites I have discovered three companies with organic, natural, and chemical free shampoos and soaps for your children, and for you! In addition, each of these companies have received the Leaping Bunny Logo, which means that their products are made and tested with no animal cruelty.

Burt's Baby Bee

We love Burt's Bees! Who could not love Burt's Bees? Their products are clean, fresh, natural and chemical free. They have a fabulous line for infants called Baby Bee - how adorable can you get?

Tom's of Maine

Tom's of Maine offers soap, toothpaste and more. Their products list their ingredients and the purpose for each ingredient online, their employees volunteer 5% of their work time, and their products are made with sustainability in mind. Excellent company with lovely products for your family.

Kids Only! Jason Products

Last, but not least, the Kids Only! line by Jason Products. Their shampoos are free of phthalate, paraben, mineral oil, wheat, gluten, fluoride and sulfates. What is in it then - pure, clean goodness.

Well, don't just sit there, go shop and enjoy some clean cleansing!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Healthy and Easy School Lunches

Healthy school lunches for your children have never been easier to make. Your kids will even enjoy helping you to prepare these lunches!

The Little Dipper - for those children who love to eat anything they can dip or nibble on

Main dish - 1/2 cup of edamame mixed with diced red peppers

Side dishes - apple slices with caramel dip, pretzel sticks to dip into peanut butter, and carrot sticks to dip into mustard

The Big Cheese - for the little ones who can't get enough cheese

Main dish - mini pita pizza - (top a mini pita with sauce, spinach, mozarella cheese and pine nuts - bake in oven for 10 minutes)

Side dishes - grapes, cucumber slices, and of course, string cheese

Hold the Mayo - for the rare child who only eats healthy food

Main dish - sushi rolls made with imitation crab meat and avocado chunks

Side dishes - mini rice cakes with peanut butter, blueberries, and a spinach salad with dried cranberries and walnuts

The Traditional - for those turkey lovin' children who can't wait for Thanksgiving

Main dish - turkey breast slices with gravy

Side dishes - stuffing, mashed sweet potatoes, and cranberry sauce

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sending your Children Back to School with Earth-Friendly Gear

This time of year can be difficult as your children want the newest trends and fashions for their back-to-school items. From notebooks to backpacks to iPhone accessories, what is a parent to do?

This time of year presents then a great opportunity to educate your children about sustainable products. The products listed here are not only earth-friendly, but also cute and trendy - an added bonus. Watch your kids grow this year to learn to respect the environment more, and to be proud that their gear can make a difference for the planet.

First, the backpack. One of the most crucial pieces of gear for your child. Ecogear offers fabulous options that are made of natural cotton, non-toxic dyes, and sustainable wood. Their Ecozoo series includes the Ecozoo Roll allowing your little guy or girl to pull and push the backpack around as opposed to the burden and pain that can come from having it on his or her back. The Ecozoo packs come in three different animal options and are too cute! The Kids Series backpack has a trendy messenger bag - all of these options are an economical $17.99.

Second, how to pack that healthy lunch and snacks? Right now at Kidconserve you are able to buy their Waste Free Lunch Kit for $12 less than their usual price. This lunch kit is $30 on sale and includes a recyclable cotton lunch bag, a stainless steel bottle, a cotton sandwich bag, and round snack containers (all pthalate, BPA and lead free). There are various cuter versions of this product, but not currently on sale.

Lastly, for the most valuable of tools, the pens, pencils and notebooks where your children will write, learn, memorize, and become wiser throughout the year, there is Red Apple School Supplies Green Apple line of products. They offer beautiful notebooks for $6.99 and up, paper, pens, pencils, pencil cases and more, all made from recycled material. Their Banana Paper notebooks are made from banana leaf fibers - very unique and lovely!

Wishing you and your children a great school year of learning and pride with their eco-friendly gear.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

National Wildlife's Green Hour

Green Hour ideas here from the National Wildlife Federation! Great ideas to go green at least one hour a day and have fun while doing so!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Green Ideas on a Cold Day

Yes, I understand that 60 degrees may not be cold for those in the Northeast, but for those of us in Southern California, that temperature qualifies as cold. So, what to do on a cold day with your children? What green activities can be done indoors?

1. Plant an indoor herb garden
2. Draw a design for your bird feeder
3. Design your queen or king on your Green Quest app
4. Read a book about animals
5. Write your own list of indoor green activities

Monday, September 6, 2010

Green Quest App

For those of you embarking on the Missions with your children on the Green Quest app, here is a great set of ideas to help you build a birdfeeder from one of our Green Quest app parents!

3 Birdhouse Craft Ideas to Accomplish "Mission Birds"

Peanut Butter Pinecone
1.Tie a heavy string, or twine to the top of a large pinecone.
2.Cover the cone with peanut butter or suet (purchase at bird-feed
3.Press sunflower seeds or a birdseed mix into the peanut butter or suet.
4.Opt to press on and roll the pinecone into gourmet items, such as 1-cup cornmeal, 1-cup uncooked old-fashioned rolled oats, or 1 cup chopped dried fruit. Use dried fruit such as small, chopped pieces of apple, raisins, dates and plum.
5.Hang your delicacy from a tree branch. If possible, hang it from a spot where you can see it (like a tree branch or bush outside your window).

Milk Carton Bird Feeder
1.Get an empty milk carton and rinse it out, being sure it is clean and dry.
2.Cut a 2" - 3" diameter hole in each of the four sides of the carton, about 2" from the bottom. Then, poke two small holes at the top of the carton and thread a long piece of string or twine through them.
3.Fill the bottom of the carton with birdseed and hang it from a tree or shrub. To attract birds to the area scatter some seeds on the ground below the hanging bird feeder.

Bird Platter
1. Using an aluminum pie pan, punch several nail-sized holes in the bottom for drainage. As with many aspects of these crafts, adult supervision is required. 2.Place the tin on top of an old hanging plant container.
3.Hang from a tree limb or a pole or simply place the pan on top
of a fence or deck post. Voila! Instant bird buffet!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Green Labor Day!

Have a fun and green Labor Day! You can choose from many different ideas, but here are a few to start you out:

1. Get outside - take a walk in the park or a hike in the mountains with friends and family.
2. When planning for your BBQ feast for family and friends, use reusable plates and cups.
3. Buy produce from a local farmer's market.

Please share any other ideas you have!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Easy ideas!

Going green does not have to be a complicated task or a burden. Going green is only adding one action to your daily life, and then repeating that action for at least two weeks so it can become a habit.

B.F. Skinner theorized that reinforcing the behavior helps to create actual change. For example, a child who plants a flower and receives a "thank you" from his mother receives positive reinforcement to continue this behavior.

The challenge with going green is that we often don't understand the immediate positive reinforcement of our actions. Each of our individual simple green actions can result in a large difference in improved air quality, a reverse in global warming and so on. We may not see these mass changes and positive reinforcers in our lifetime, but our children and grandchildren will.

So, to help each of us continue to practice simple daily green actions, provide a positive "thank you" or a smile to help reinforce those behaviors. When you see someone in the grocery store using their own tote bag to carry out their groceries, say, "thanks for helping the environment." Or, when you bring your own coffee mug to a cafe for your daily beverage purchase, pat yourself on the back for keeping trash out of landfills.

These actions are really quite simple, and most you are probably already doing. So, congratulate yourself for simply, wonderfully, going green.