Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mission Summer Fun!

Your kids are almost out of school, dreams of summer fun dance in their heads! Perhaps you can't wait as well, yet are unsure as to how to fill the entire summer with green activities.

This week is the week to prepare. Start with the following easy steps:

1. Be sure you know where your local park is and gather up your children's favorite toys in a convenient storage basket to make it easy to transport to the park.

2. Check in with your local or nearby kids' museums to see what summer specials they have. Perhaps the kids' science museum is offering free showings of their movie about sharks. Or, the local aquarium is hosting a family fun week filled with activities.

3. If you live near a local farm check with them to see what types of activities they offer during the summer for families. Perhaps in addition to an educational tour they also have hands-on harvesting and fruit-picking events!

4. Ask your children what types of activities they would like to do this summer. Make a list and start to research those as well.

5. Once you know your area events and activities, it will be easy to plan each week around a theme. Don't forget built-in summer themes such as Memorial Day, the 4th of July and Labor Day. Those are great holidays to start tree planting traditions to honor our loved ones.

What types of green and fun activities do you plan to do this summer with your children?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My Hippy Side Came Out In Full Swing Today- While Surfing the Web

by Guest Blogger Granola Grizzly Mama

The winner of our guest blogger contest is Granola Grizzly Mama! With a fresh voice and a sharp green wit, she brings us tips from her point of view as one lean green Mama machine!
Once again my hippy side came out in full swing today as I was surfing other blogs written by moms.  For those of you who don’t know me check out the "About Me" at Granola Grizzly Mama and see what an oxymoron I really am. I basically battle between a hippy  and a conservative side, but these days, as a mother, the hippy side usually wins, unless it’s political.
I was searching the internet and reading interesting blogs when I came across a blog called: How Green Are You by Practically Green.   It is basically a five minute quiz that determines how green your life style is.  I’m happy to report I scored seven out of ten. It was kind of disappointing in some ways, but since we are still renting, I guess I will have to accept the house we live in “as is”.  My challenge to you is to take the quiz, figure out your score, and go from there. Let me know how you do.
After you take the quiz, think of ways that you could improve your lifestyle to make it greener for your and your family. These are not difficult or expensive ways… there is no need to re-do your entire house to make it as green friendly as possible. Below is a list of ten suggestions; try to implement as many as you can.
1.     Reusable bags. I always have about ten in the car and one in the stroller. They go wherever we go.
2.     We take our shoes off in the house to keeps our floors clean. This is important when little ones crawl on the floor.
3.     Make homemade items (check out my Granola Grizzly Mama Quick Sauce) in bulk and freeze for a later day. There is no need to waste a can of tomato sauce, when you can buy in bulk, make a batch of homemade sauce, and freeze it. This saves loads of waste and processing time and makes your food fresher.
4.     Buy organic whenever possible. I know sometimes it is hard, but in the long run, it is better for your health.
5.     Make your own baby food. Check out my recipes and ideas for that. I can do this for less than $10 a week and it takes under an hour to prepare.
6.     Walk whenever you can instead of driving. This is often fun with children and turns into adventures.
7.     Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
8.     Don’t use the microwave.
9.     Buy local produce whenever you can.
10.  Donate used tennis shoes to local running stores (call first to make sure they have programs in place).
I also incorporate my 2 ½ year old in the following ways:

1.     We go over trash v. recycling and she decides where each thing goes.
2.     We color on both sides of the paper in order to not waste.
3.     We find sticks, leaves and flowers and glue them on paper creating our own crafts.
4.     We plant flowers and watch them grow.
5.     She knows we don’t use plastic bags and why.
6.     She knows we don’t buy strawberries at the grocery store because we support the local growers.
7.     The farmers market is her favorite place to shop.
8.     We purchased colored bracelets that have duel purposes. She uses them to play with but we also learn colors.
9.     She knows that lemons go in the compost or down the disposal, but not in the trash.
10.  We potty trained early to save on water.
Again, while all these things may not be incorporated right now, I suggest you try to work on a few and remember to teach your little ones also.
Those are ten ideas that are easy and inexpensive to implement to make for a greener lifestyle. Let me know your top ten.