Post #381… a 2010 Holiday Review!

christmas partyAnother Christmas come and gone in a whirlwind here at the Mom Goes Green household! I hope your holiday was wonderful and filled with every blessing imaginable!  (Now I’m getting back into the groove with post #381 and gearing up for the New Year!)

As always, we had amazing and magical fun!  Santa delivered exactly what was requested so the kids are thrilled (and nothing will be sitting, unwanted, under the tree!).

As every box and package was UNpacked, they were broken down and flattened and made their way into the recycling can… even the wrapping paper.  The recycling can is FULL… and the garbage can?… hardly a thing added!xmas wrp pile

Tissue and bows were set aside and have made their way into storage for reuse next year too!  All other family gifts were also given in bags recycled from last year so I didn’t need to purchase a single supply!  Some family members even gave back the gift bags with a smile and a “Here… for next year!”  Ahh, they know me well!xmas gft bg

I’m also happy to report that at every gathering, our families used the REAL silverware, plates, bowls, glasses, cups and serveware… not a disposable in sight! Bravo, family… and thank you!

We’ll soon be weeding out old (but usable) clothing, toys, books and other household items to donate to charities that serve the less fortunate.  I know we all tend to give before the holidays but xmas place setremember, the need exists 365 days a year so it’s never too late, or too soon!  Let the giving continue!

In the coming days I’ll give you more tips and tricks to wrap up the holidays and get you sent off into the New Year…

… But for now, I simply wish to say I hope your Christmas or holiday was as wonderful and magical as ours!

Don’t let your silver “tarnish” your green reputation!

slvrware tarnishBy now, plans are likely well underway for your big holiday celebration. Maybe you’re hosting a party, celebrating Christmas Eve or Christmas Day at your house and (hopefully) pulling out all of your loveliest silverware and serving pieces (instead of all the throw-away stuff!).

Do those lovely pieces include silver?  Have you CHECKED your silver?  Maybe there are long periods between uses and you might want to check now to make sure they haven’t tarnish…

If they have, fear not! You can clean them without using any harsh chemical cleaners and concoctions.

Here are three easy and safe ways to get them sparkly and clean:

  • Line your sink with aluminum foil.  Place the silver on the foil and add boiling water, one cup of baking soda and a dash of salt.  Let the silver sit and in a few minutes the tarnish will transfer to the foil!  Then just rinse and dry.  (Remember to recycle the foil!)
  • You can polish and clean them by hand using a soft cloth and toothpaste.  Rinse them with warm water and dry.slvrbowl tarnish
  • Another by-hand formula is 3 parts baking soda to 1 part water.  Clean them with a soft cloth with this solution… and again, rinse and dry.

So, shine ’em up, keep the chemicals at bay and let the party commence!…

The ultimate guide to keeping your holidays “green”!

christmas bulbThe holidays seem to be moving toward us at warp speed! We’re nearing that two week deadline and, if you’re anything like me, you still have plenty to do.  (Okay, so maybe I am one of the few dragging dreadfully behind but, humor me for a moment and let me feel like I’m not alone!)

There are plenty of ways to avoid the excess and waste of the season, as well as making gifts selections that are fabulously green and giving.  So that we (okay, so that I) don’t waste any more time getting to it, let’s just throw it on the table and get it all out of the way now!

Here are my four must-read posts that will help you through (click below and read on!):

  • My favorite gifts guide – a list of all the tangible gifts that I enjoy giving, because they happen to be great gifts and they are also fabulously green ideas too.
  • My favorite gifts that “give back”: – a list of gifts that give to a worthwhile cause:  wildlife, nature or the environment.  Sometimes we don’t need to give those tangible gifts that clutter the recipient’s home… giving to a cause in the recipient’s honor may be the biggest present of all!
  • Green party planning – a list of all the ways you can keep your holiday soiree goin’ green.  From decorations, to your menu choices, to your clean-up… there are simple ways to keep from abandoning all of your green principals!
  • Wrap it up in a big “green” bow – a list of all the ways those tangible gifts can be given without creating mountains of trash.

FACT: the average household output of trash actually increase by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.  There are a lot of opportunities to misstep this time of year…gift w cones

Hopefully, this ultimate guide will help see to it that your household isn’t one of them and the gifts that you give will be useful, practical and, sometimes, just simply serve a cause.

The clock may be ticking, but there is always time to make wise choices.

Happy green holidays, my friends!

Giving thanks as Thanksgiving goes green!

thanksgvg tblTo me, Thanksgiving has always felt like the holiday with the greatest “green potential”. There are no gifts, costumes, candy or extra, elaborate frills.  It’s simply about family gatherings, feasting on the bounty of the season and giving thanks for everything we have.  There are so many ways to avoid over-abundance… (well, with the exception of over-eating!)

Everything from the decorations, to the food, to the clean-up can be exceptionally green.

Here are the things to keep in mind:

  1. Invitations – forgo the paper invitations and send Evites instead.  You’ve probably already handled this task, but this rule goes for any gathering!  And if you do need to mail invitations, look for those made of recycled paper.
  2. Decorations – in many cases, you need only walk into your own backyard: leaves, acorns and twigs can be turned into amazing arrangements. Combine them with colorful gourds, indian corn, squash and apples and you’ve just captured the season!  Afterward, compost or add them back to nature.
  3. Food – visit your local farmer’s market for all of the most amazing produce.  Go organic.  Think acorn squash, sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, apple and pumpkin pie! And seek out an organic, hormone-free, steroid-free turkey (if it will be a part of your feast).
  4. Drinks – serve organic drinks or consider a local brew… or, if you’re lucky (like me!) and surrounded by local wineries, a local wine!crncopia
  5. Tableware and serveware – stop saving “the good dishes” and silverware!  Use them!  Glasses, cups and stemware?  Get them out! Forget the disposable “anything”.  You can even score inexpensive cloth napkins and table coverings at any dollar store.
  6. Consider the temperature – ovens heat a house quite quickly… and so do lots of people… so turn down the thermostat or, in warmer climates, keep ceiling fans circulating or windows open to keep the indoors comfortable.
  7. Recycle – that should go without saying, but just remember to make it happen.  Cans, jars, containers, bottles, anything and everything possible.
  8. Don’t waste leftovers – keep only what you know your family will eat.  Send the rest home with your guests.  Start thinking about containers now (no styrofoam plates or plastic-wrap, please!).  You can even ask guests to bring their own glass or ceramic dishware… why not?! And if you compost, toss in those food scraps.
  9. Clean-up – use your dishwasher, but make sure you fill it first.  For the big jobs, you’ll need to use some elbow-grease, but be sure not to leave the tap running endlessly.  And get out your green cleaners.  You can get back to “shiny & clean” without harsh chemicals.
  10. Although it has nothing to do with being green… give thanks. Ask everyone at your table to share a thought. It will certainly put happiness in the air, and that’s absolutely free!

Now, if you need some of those ‘leaf, acorn and twig’ decorations I mentioned, email me… and then back up a truck… I have enough in my own backyard to supply your whole neighborhood!

Keeping it green for Halloween!

j-o-lanternHalloween is just around the corner… and it’s the ideal time to let the creativity flow.  But it’s also an opportunity to make some fantastic green choices.

While that creativity is in action, remember to give these green tips a try!:

  • Crafts & games – this is a great chance to upcycle materials, from jars & cans, to toilet paper and paper towel tubes… crafts don’t require a trip to a craft store!  And choose games that don’t require major purchases, like “Rotten Pumpkin” with a miniature pumpkin (played like “Hot Potato”) or create a large jack-o-lantern from paper and play “Pin the Nose”.  All of the paper can be recycled afterward.
  • Costumesyour own closets and drawers are a great resource!  Visit your local thrift store.  Or organize a costume swap with your friends.  Avoid face paints, unless you make them yourself… they often contain some harsh chemicals that you truly don’t want on your children’s face!
  • Decorationsnature provides plenty of resources, from pumpkins and gourds, to mums and leaves, to cornstalks and Indian corn.  After the season, they’re all completely compostable.fall decrtions
  • Partiesavoid disposable anything.  Use real serveware, cups, silverware, fabric table coverings and napkins.  If you MUST purchase disposables, at the very least, choose paper over plastic.  Try to help carry these rules over to classroom parties too.
  • Treats & candy – organic candies would be fabulous, but not easily found, so just be conscious to avoid some treats that are over-wrapped and over-packaged and, truly, treats don’t need to be candy.  Consider recycled-content pencils or mini-notepads.  Avoid plastic trinkets.
  • Treat bags – cellophane bags are the easiest to find but, with a little extra effort, you can find Halloween-themed paper bags instead.  Reusable bags are also ideal for collecting the loot!
  • Over-abundance of treats? – Consider pilfering some of your kids’ haul and drop it off at a homeless shelter!

Happy planning, Happy Halloween and be sure to keep it green and “EEK”-o-friendly!