Happy Mother’s (Earth) Day!

Mother’s Day is almost here! I could give you a long list of ideas but I happen to be a mom too(!) and I’m going to go easy on myself today (yes, I’m taking Mother’s Day weekend off a little early!).

mom tgsIn the past years I’ve gotten everything from a “dogtag” necklace with my children’s names and birthdates (made of silver recycled from film {from Mommy Tags}) to a stainless steel water bottle and this year will be no different… this year, a rain barrel!!! Woohoo!  Who knew something like a barrel for Mother’s Day could be so exciting!

If you ARE still looking for ideas, I assembled a pretty decent list in my recent Valentine’s Day post and all are appropriate for this holiday, so no need to reinvent the wheel.  But if you want those ideas just click here and take a gander.mother earth

For this Mother’s Day, whether you are being celebrated, celebrating your Mom or another special lady in your life, just remember to keep Mother Earth in mind too. She is quite extraordinary and she shares her gifts with us every day of the year.  Just like all other moms, she never takes a break!

And finally, I wish a very truly Happy Mother’s Day to all of the moms who constantly join me on this journey… we all “work” so hard for our families and keep Mother Earth in mind all along the way too… and THAT is quite extraordinary as well!

Enjoy & I hope you feel the love…

Simple gift-giving tip: One gift for one whole year…

Wouldn’t that be nice… purchase ONE gift and you’re done for the whole year??? Well, that’s not exactly what I meant but we can all dream, can’t we?!?!

gift fab bagSincerely, I feel like I’m constantly purchasing gifts for some sort of occasion.  The problem is that we often feel pressured to fulfill someone’s wish list, but there is nothing wrong with fulfilling some of our own wishes too, so how about using gift-giving occasions as an opportunity for spreading a little green cheer.

Here’s is what I have in mind… right now, choose one green, environmental and/or eco-friendly item… and choose to buy it EVERY time you have a gift giving occasion. Sound impossible? Well, it’s really not. I’ll give you a couple of ideas to get you started:

  • Reusable water bottles – it’s impossible to shop and NOT run into reusable water bottles, in every color and style possible, for everyone, of every age.watr bttles
  • Reusable bags/ totes – anything from shopping bags to fabric totes,  to sport packs and kids’ carry-alls (extra points for organic cottons, upcycled and reclaimed fabrics!).
  • Books – every bookstore has a diverse supply of eco-themed books, regardless of interest or age.
  • Movies – a quick search will turn up everything from Wall-e, to Planet Earth, to An Inconvenient Truth… there is something for everyone.
  • Clothing – who doesn’t love a comfy tee?  Buy organic cotton with an earth-friendly message and the message will be spread even further than the recipient!

If your recipient has the technology to accommodate, you can also go another step greener and buy e-books or iTune gifts!

So, do you think you could do it? I bet’cha you could. Will I? You bet’cha, I will!

Paint your Valentine’s Day red, pink and GREEN!

valent greenAhh… the holiday of romance!

Valentine’s Day is the day to share your feelings and express your love to the special ones in your life, but if you want to share some love with the environment and add a little bit of “green” to the occasion too, consider these wisest of choices:

  • Cards – did you know that the purchase of Valentine’s Day cards ranks #2 just behind Christmas?!?  One BILLION cards per year, in fact!  So consider buying only cards printed on recycled paper or paper alternatives (hint: the backs of cards reveal their content).
  • Chocolates – always a favorite, make sure those you purchase are organic and fair-trade so you’re assured that there hasn’t been destruction and risky/unfair practices used in order to give your beloved a sweet treat.choc organic
  • Flowers – buy locally-grown flowers and those you know haven’t been doused with harsh pesticides and chemicals that are harmful to the environment and growers, or have been flown in from some other region of the globe. When the recipient takes a whiff, you want to be sure the scent is pure sweetness and it isn’t covered in chemicals and preservatives from its long, long trip to your florist.  Also consider live, locally-grown plants as another option.
  • Body products – pick products that are made with organic & natural ingredients and minerals (like Kiss My Face), instead of those containing harsh additives, colorings and chemicals.
  • Jewelry – forget the mass-produced jewelry found in commercial jewelry stores and instead opt for something that is locally-made or a choice that helps others through your purchase (see Hands Up Not Hand Outs to see exactly what I mean!)
  • Soy and beeswax candles – avoid pollutants and toxins expelled by many candle products and choose only soy or beeswax options.
  • Create something – no one ever said you needed to buy a thing to express your love, so make a card, write a poem, create something special and it will often mean more than anything you could buy, and you often need look no further than your own home!flowers3
  • Wine – choose organic and/or locally-produced wines.  They do exist, and all you need to do it ask!
  • Organic dinner – dine in and make a completely organic dinner.  When you select the ingredients, you know that there is only “goodness” contained in your meal.

Ahh, yes… Valentine’s Day. The holiday of love… just make sure your expression of “red-hot love” has a little bit of “green” intertwined too… what you do after that, well… you’re all on your own!

How to keep your birthday parties green!

bday ckeI hardly blinked and my kids’ birthdays were staring me in the face again! Besides the celebration of the two amazing days that they arrived, I knew it also meant lots of planning… for parties, presents, treats, favors and everything that goes with their big days.

I also knew that I didn’t want to get sucked into the vortex of waste… something that seems to go hand-in-hand with any celebration!  So, was I able to keep it green? You bet I was, and here’s how:

  • Gifts – only one gift each:  a new bike.  The outgrown versions will be donated to a charity so some deserving kids can ‘get their pedal on’ too!
  • Party – hosted at home, I pulled out all the dishes, the cups and glasses, utensils, serveware… every last thing.  Use of disposables: NONE!
  • Wrap – all wrapping paper was recycled, gift bags were flattened and saved, along with ribbons and bows.
  • Decorations – yes… I tried to talk my kids out of balloons, but they insisted… so I insisted on the biodegradable versions and they will be properly disposed of.
  • Waste – there was none.  At the end of the night, I asked my husband if he had taken out the trash… he said he hadn’t, but there wasn’t one piece of trash that was added to the can during the course of the entire party.  Even the cake box… recycled!nyln bag
  • Party favorsjust like last year, no plastic junk here!  I instead opted for drawstring tote bags (picked up at the local craft store for $1.99 each!).  They’ll get used by the kids again and again!
  • Treat bags – everyone at my kids’ schools traditionally brings a treat bag for their friends on the day of their birthday.  Instead, we gave their friends a recycled paper mini-notebook and pen.

Each year I seem to get a little better at this!  For every choice you make, there IS a greener, more environmental option… don’t let yourself go down the usual road just because it’s what you’ve always done.  That’s a route you don’t need to take.

Remember, “green parties” are NOT just for St. Patrick’s Day or politics!

Where, O where, should the Christmas remnants go?

xmas strgeThe post-holiday wrap-up is being wrapped up! So sad to see it all come to an end, but alas… it’s back to the less dreamy and festive real world!

Hopefully we’ve all made wise choices about bidding a fond farewell to everything that’s come our way throughout the season and even thought ahead to preparing for next year (… yes, next year!).

Make sure all of these activities made your “to do” list, including:

  • Recycling your cut Christmas tree.  Check out Earth911 to make sure it gets recycled into mulch or composted, or if you have woods or a ravine near your house, add the tree back to nature and animals will surely turn it into a wonderful winter habitat.christmas tree_live closeup
  • Recycling materials from gift packaging, boxes from shipments and everything that gets a thumbs-up from your recycling can. If you have a lot of boxes, list them with BoxCycle or save them, along with any reusable packing materials, for when you need to ship something.
  • Folding and storing all gift bags to be put back into circulation next year. Even ribbons, bows and tissue paper can get more than a single use.
  • Taking advantage of those clearance sales and purchase LED lighting for next season’s energy-efficient decorating. Check out HolidayLEDs.com… they’ll accept your old incandescent lights and give you a 15% discount on a new LED purchase (now, until February 28, 2010)!
  • Making way for new gifts… but simultaneously continue to gather items around home (clothes, toys, books, household items) that will now be cast aside and donate them to charity for the ultimate in reuse.
  • Recycling all of the Christmas cards you received with St. Jude’s Ranch for Children.  (This non-profit organization cares for abused, abandoned and/or neglected children.)  They accept used greeting cards and the children remove the fronts, attach them to a recycled paper back, and turn them into new greeting cards… and then sell them! This is a great option to traditional paper recycling and a great cause to support.  Your cards will christmas cardsbe accepted until February 28, 2010.  Just bundle them up and mail them off to:

St. Jude’s Ranch for Children
Card Recycling Program
100 St. Jude’s Street
Boulder City, NV 89005

I’m certainly anxious to get my life back in order after some fantastically crazy holiday madness… and if you love to organize and clean, I’ll send you my address.  Be here in an hour.  I’ll leave on the lights and one massive pot of (organic) coffee!