|November 25, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
Do you find yourself stressing about getting everything done for the holidays and finding enough money for all the gifts? I’m already finding myself stressed about finishing decorating the house, sure I want to go ahead and get it done but it’s not worth stress. And I only have a few gifts so far but I keep reminding myself that there is still plenty of time.
Last Christmas was spent mostly in bed as I was very sick. I’m working very hard to keep that from happening and it also has me wanting to enjoy as much of the season as possible. I still got the same number of gifts last year even though I was sick, that’s not what I missed, it was the time with my loved ones.
While I’m not suggesting anyone stop giving gifts at all, I am suggesting we rethink how many we give and what kind of gifts. Homemade gifts with meaning, Fair Trade gifts that give back to struggling communities, and donations as gifts can all be gifts that have a lot more meaning. Many years my family has done something fun together around the holidays in place of some gifts. One year we went to a Flaming Lips concert, a couple of years ago we went to a Thunder basketball game. I remember those trips far more than I remember what gifts I got. And my favorite thing on Christmas is going to my parents house in the morning and having waffles and mimosas. That is what I was the most upset about missing last year, we just postponed it but it was pretty sad to not go on Christmas day.
I have shared this video the last couple of years but it is very good so I’m going to share it again. It’s religious but the meaning goes past religion and I’m sure all of us can gain from it.
Watch Your Favorite Christmas Movie Together
My family has watched It’s A Wonderful Life for as long as I can remember. I think we all know every word. My husband and I also watch a few Christmas movies through the season. We always watch a Harry Potter movie when we put up the Christmas tree, which isn’t really a Christmas movie but most of the movies have Christmas in them. We also put up the tree right after Halloween so I guess it’s fitting, ha. One that I watched for the first time this year that was really cute is Arthur Christmas.
I love to bake and try to bake a lot during the holidays. I always bake some gingerbread cookies and if I go to parties I almost always take some kind of baked good. Decorating cookies together can be a fun family activity that doesn’t cost much money and you don’t need to be very creative for this craft since you are just going to eat them.
Kids and adults can have fun making decorations. With Pinterest you can find all kinds of ideas! I will also be posting ideas on here.
There are so many ways to give back to your community during the holidays. “Adopt” an angel off of the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree, take toys to a toy drive, make toys and blankets for animals at a local animal shelter, volunteer at a soup kitchen, offer to clean an elderly neighbor or family member’s home, offer to put up a elderly or disabled neighbors Christmas lights or tree, the ideas are endless.
Have a Handmade Christmas
Make a rule that at least one gift for each person has to be handmade. This can mean either by the person or from a store like Etsy. It can be fun to see whatever one comes up with. I try and do as much of my shopping as possible from stores like Etsy and also from handmade Fair Trade goods that help those that are making the items.
Look at Lights
One of my favorite things to do is make some hot chocolate or pick up some from a local coffee shop and drive around and look at Christmas lights. You can also check to see if any nearby towns have any really big displays. The town of Chickasha Oklahoma has a HUGE display at their park each year. I went several years ago and it was pretty awesome, so look for big displays near you.
There are many other fun things you can do as a family or with friends over the holidays, have a party and have a White Elephant exchange, play games, do a puzzle, host a cookie exchange or decorating party, whatever you and your loved ones enjoy doing. These memories are far more special than any gift.
|November 24, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
Thanksgiving is over, Christmas trees are going up, and it’s time to get your Christmas shopping done. It’s also time for the annual Green Holiday Guide! The Green Holiday Guide is full of everything you need to green your holidays this year. There will be giveaways, a Twitter Party, a blog carnival, DIY ideas, gift guides, recipes, and more.
Posts will start tomorrow and run through Christmas. The Twitter party will be on December 2nd and the blog carnival will be on December 10th so if you have a blog and want to be apart of the carnival start thinking about your post.
This year posts and ideas will also be shared on Pinterest so be sure to follow the Green Holiday Guide board. Be sure to spread the word and check back each day for more posts.
|November 23, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
Today is Black Friday, the day people camp out for “deals” and sometimes go a little crazy. This year avoid the busy big box stores and shop locally owned stores, which also have deals but are often less busy, shop online for green products, or celebrate Buy Nothing Day and skip it all.
Many of us are trying to save money, times are tough for many of us but you aren’t saving money if you aren’t buying things you were going to buy anyway. I sometimes do a little online shopping on Thanksgiving weekend for Christmas gifts but you won’t find me in any lines. After this post goes up I’m leaving dirty dishes in my sink and going to bed and I will be sleeping in! Sounds wonderful after less than 4 1/2 hours of sleep last night.
There are some great eco-friendly deals out there and these can be used while you stay in your PJs and you can get it all done quickly and get back to spending time with your family. I will be updating this post all weekend as I find deals so keep checking back. And let’s not go nuts this year and instead use these deals to save us money and time, not to buy junk we don’t need and take us away from our family.
Here are some deals that will be taking place online on Green Friday (and some will go on all weekend).
Conscious Box- get 20% off of a yearly subscription.
Ecomom- $20 off orders of $50-$99, $40 off of $100-$199, $80 off of $200+
And other great deals!
100% Pure- Free Gifts with orders and free shipping.
ReUseIt- Lots of great sales.
GreenCupboards.com- Black Friday Sale – Get $10 Off $40+ PLUS FREE Shipping All Weekend! Starts Friday use Code ‘BLACKISBACK10′ at GreenCupboards.com.
Gaiam.com- Lots of sales.
Soda Stream- Free Shipping and a special gift with the purchase of any home soda maker. This Thanksgiving weekend only, every soda maker purchase will include a limited edition 12ct Holiday Taste Sampler Pack. While supplies last.
OnlineShoes.com- Save 25% when you spend $100 or more. Plus FREE Shipping. Shop hundreds of gifts, from snow boots to slippers. Use code 2THANKFUL.
CleanWell- Save 25% on All CleanWell Orders for Black Friday / Cyber Monday
Nimli- Black Friday amazing deals with gifts & fashion accessories starting $9.99
Gifts with Humanity- Site wide 25% off sale.
Abe’s Market- 50+ brands on sale for 25% OFF
Only Pet Natural Store- 10% Off Holiday Gifts for your pet with code HOHOHO. Expired 11/30/12
Natural Candy Store- Lots of sales on candy.
WeeDecor- Sample sale, lots of great deals.
Envirosax- 50% off sale.
Ma Snax- November 23 thru 26th. Use coupon code CYBERSNAX at checkout. Min $30 purchase to qualify. Applies to retail orders with ground shipping.
Bouncing Woolies- Sale on dryer balls.
New (11/23 5:15 PM/CT)-
Natural Joy Beauty- SAVE 15% during THANKSGIVING SALE. Online sale starts Now – midnight MST Sun, 11/25. Use promo code: BLESSINGS
Kelly’s Closet- Lots of sales.
Hugo Naturals- 35% off and free shipping. Use code BLACK35
Crunchy Betty’s Natural Market- SAVE 20% AT CRUNCHY BETTY’S NATURAL MARKET – NOW THROUGH SATURDAY ONLY.
New (11/23 7:20 PM/CT)
Alex+Von – Lots of great deals.
New (11/24 3:00 PM/CT)
Nourished Kitchen- 40% off all weekend long
New (11/26 8:00 PM/CT)
Bags, Beads, Jewelry, & More- 10% off with coupon code BAGS10
Earth Divas- 25% Off on all retail orders using the code, EARTHDIVA2012. Good through Tuesday, December 11, 2012
ChicoBag- 40off40 and get 40% off of orders of $40 or more.
Good Greetings- Get 20% OFF Your Holiday Card Order with code: SAVE20NOW. Expires 11/31/12.
Remember to keep checking back for more deals and if you have found one please post in the comments below or share on the Facebook page. Hope you are having a great holiday weekend!
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclaimer for more. Photos from the Etsy stores are property of the shop owners.
|November 22, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
Today has been a very busy day and even though it’s past midnight and tomorrow starts early, it’s not done. I cook the whole meal for my in-laws and my husband and myself. So far I have made two batches of homemade rolls, one for tomorrow and one for a meal with my family on Saturday, homemade cranberry sauce, and two pies. I have also prepped a few things for tomorrow’s cooking. And I have done two loads of dishes and have one more, plus hand washing left. AND a coffee cake to make for the morning.
It’s a lot of work but yummy and only once a year, thank goodness. I will need to get up tomorrow around 6-7 (I HATE mornings so this is quite early, and I likely won’t be in bed until 2-3 a.m.), depending on if the turkey seems thawed before I go to bed. I will be making mashed potatoes, green bean casserole (with homemade alfredo sauce in place of canned soup), and the turkey. It’s so nice to get so much done today so I have less to make tomorrow.
I’m very grateful to have so much food to put on the table and of course I’m also very thankful for my dishwasher! I’d love to hear about your Thanksgiving prep and what your plans are for Thanksgiving. Just share in the comments below or on my Facebook page.
|November 20, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
I love advent calendars. When I was a kid a sweet neighbor would always give my brother and me one of those paper ones filled with chocolates. It was so much fun to get to open one of the doors each night and get a little treat. While those advent calendars were fun they are full of questionable chocolates and not very eco-friendly. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have an advent calendar, there are many wonderful, greener options out there. Here are just a few.
This reusable advent calendar is made from linen and totally reusable. You can fill each bag with any treat you want. It can be found on the Etsy store Milch & Honig for $39.00. (They are selling out fast so if you want one hurry!)
This advent calendar is great if you are short on space! The reusable containers have magnets on the bag and are great for sticking on your fridge. It comes from the Etsy store Moore Magnets and is $48.00.
This calendar is more like the ones of my childhood. You open little doors and get chocolates but these chocolates are Fair Trade. It’s from Divine Chocolate and is around $8. They are out of stock online but check places like Whole Foods.
I recommend using natural candy from the Natural Candy Store to fill the reusable advent calendars. Most of my holiday post won’t be up until after Thanksgiving but I wanted to give people a chance to get these ordered. If you have found other great eco-friendly advent calendars, share in the comments below.
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclaimer for more. Photos from the Etsy stores are property of the shop owners.
|November 19, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
Thanksgiving is almost here and one of my favorite foods on Thanksgiving is mashed potatoes. There is a 5lb bag of organic potatoes just waiting to be peeled, cooked, and mashed on Thursday. I feed four people for lunch on Thanksgiving but I make a huge pot of mashed potatoes because they are my favorite leftovers. I love to make potato soup out of them or just heat them up with a bit of cheese on top.
I was raised on REAL mashed potatoes. I don’t know if I have ever had instant because normally my mom, grandma, or aunt would bring them family Thanksgivings and all made them very similarly and they were real. Another must for my mashed potatoes is real butter. I will say I likely use too much butter in them but the taste is so much better and I will still argue it’s healthier than using fake butter.
It should be noted that my mom, that raised me on butter, is an RN and studied nutrition. She was avoiding trans fats before it was cool. Now don’t go just eating a stick of butter everyday, you can over do just about any food. However, in moderation (not something I use during Thanksgiving, ha) butter can add many good things to your diet. Butter contains healthy things like lauric acid, vitamins A, E, K, and D, conjugated linoleic acid, and many other beneficial things.
Saturated fats are one of today’s enemies but should it be? Saturated fats help you absorb vitamins and other key nutritions. An Israeli study came out not long ago and showed evidence that saturated fats may not be as bad as they are made out to be.
“The question hinges on whether saturated fat raises cholesterol and causes heart disease. One way or the other this trial is a test of that hypothesis. It’s arguably the best such trial ever done and the most rigorous. To me that’s always been the story. If saturated fat is bad for us, then these trials should demonstrate it. They imply the opposite.” – read more, NY Times
What more info? Check out Keeper of the Home’s post called Good Fats, Bad Fats, and Why I Eat Plenty of Butter, it’s a very interesting post with tons of information. So this Thanksgiving, skip the toxic chemical filled fake butters and go for real butter. The best is organic, grass-fed, and raw butter but do the best you can. We will be using organic pasture butter in our potatoes.
Do you use real butter? Did you know about all of the benefits from butter?
|November 16, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
Making your own cleaners helps to avoid nasty ingredients that can cause everything from rashes, to asthma, and even cancer! It’s so easy to make your own cleaners and it can even save you money.
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Tea Tree Oil
- Baking Soda
- Washing Soda
- Essential Oils (Whatever scents you like)
- Liquid Castile Soap
- Distilled water (or just boil water for 10 minutes)
- Soap Nuts
- Empty spray bottles and jugs
Mix 2 cups of distilled water, 1 teaspoon of tea tree oil, and 2 teaspoons of liquid castile soap in a spray bottle. To use, spray, let sit for 5 minutes or so, and wipe with a damp cloth.
All Purpose Spray
- 2 cups of distilled water
- 2 teaspoons liquid castile soap
Mix 2 cups of distilled water and 2 teaspoons of liquid castile soap in a spray bottle. To use, spray and wipe with a damp cloth.
Color Safe Bleach
- 2 cups hydrogen peroxide
- Distilled water
- Gallon jug
Pour hydrogen peroxide in jug, fill with water and mix. Store covered.
To use just soak items in this solution for 10 to 30 minutes.
- 2 tablespoons of tea tree oil
- Distilled water
Put the tea tree oil in a spray bottle, fill with distilled water.
To use, clean surface, spray mold killer, let sit for at least 30 minutes, and then wipe off with a dry rag. Repeat for severe cases.
Toilet Bowl Cleaner
- 1 cup White Vinegar
- 1/2 cup Baking Soda
Pour vinegar in to bowl, swish around with toilet brush, leave for about 10-30 minutes. Once it’s sat for awhile come back, scrub if needed, add baking soda, let sit for a minute, and flush. This will not only clean your toilet but also helps keep the drain clear.
Heat 1 cup vinegar in a microwavable bowl for 1-2 minutes (should steam and loosen food inside of the microwave). Wipe out with a dishcloth and warm soapy water.
Pour 1/4 cup baking soda down the drain. Follow with 1/2 cup vinegar and cover drain tightly until finished fizzing. Flush with one of gallon hot water.
Liquid Dish Soap
(Don’t use in dishwasher!)
Fill a bottle with half distilled water and half castile soap.
- Washing soda (I use baking soda instead)
- Citric acid
- Course salt (just make sure to get salt with NO iodine)
Visit My Healthy Green Family for instructions.
Sprinkle some baking soda on the surface and scrub with a damp cloth. Then just rinse.
Daily Shower Spray
- 1/3 cup vodka
- 3 1/2 cups distilled water
- 20 drops or so of tea tree oil
Mix all of the ingredients in a clean spray bottle & spray the shower daily. For more information visit the original daily shower spray post.
- 6-8 Soap Nuts
- 4 cups of Water
Boil water, add soap nuts, cover, remove from heat, and leave overnight. In the morning, strain out the soap nuts, which can be composted, and store in a container with a lid. Use 2 tablespoons or so per load.
If you aren’t going to use in a day or two, store in the fridge as there are no preservatives to keep it from going bad. You can also pour the soap nut liquid into ice cube trays and just throw a cube or two in with each load.
My Must Have Supplies
Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. Read my full disclaimer for more.
|November 11, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
I’ve posted this recipe before but thought with Thanksgiving coming up it needed to be posted again. I never ate cranberry sauce before making my own, I only starting making it because I was making Thanksgiving dinner for my in-laws and they liked cranberry sauce and I couldn’t bring myself to buy any with HFCS or in a BPA lined can. I read several recipes and it seemed simple enough. While making it I tried it because I cook by taste and figured out, I do like cranberry sauce! Just not the crappy kind in a can.
It’s super easy to make and so much better. You can change it up to fit your taste, some people like to add apples or other fruits. Play around with it and see what you like. This is what I make, quite basic but so good.
- 1 (12 ounce) bag fresh cranberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup orange juice
- Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan.
- Bring to boil
- Simmer until berries pop and if like me you like your cranberry sauce less lumpy just cook until it’s the texture you like. Be sure to stir every once an awhile. You can also put it in the blender for a bit after it cools if you like it even smoother.
- Chill until ready to serve. (though I end up eating a few spoonfuls while still warm)
This dish is great for taking to family gatherings and parties because most people think homemade cranberry sauce is really hard to make, you can choose if you want to let them think that or share the little secret. If you make homemade cranberry sauce, is this how you make it or do you add other things in it?
|October 31, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
I love homemade pizza but it can take awhile to make the dough, this recipe helps fix that. We didn’t like it as well as homemade pizza but it was a nice, quick dinner.
The original recipe called for a can of biscuits and jarred sauce, I don’t use either so I adapted it to work from scratch.
What you need-
1 cup of Kitchen Simplicity’s Homemade Baking Mix
1/3 cup of Milk
1/2 cup of pizza sauce, see recipe below
1 1/2 cup of mozzarella
Anything else you like on pizza
7 ounces of tomato paste (one jar for the brand I use)
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Some water (just make it as thin as you want)
1 teaspoon or so of sugar (to taste)
Whatever seasonings you like, I use oregano, garlic powder, rosemary, and salt.
Mix everything, let it sit for 10 minutes and then use and freeze leftovers to use later.
If you make more of the baking mix than you use, try Kitchen Simplicity’s Quick & Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie, it’s very good. I make it at least once a month.
Do you ever adapt recipes that call for packaged food to work for a real food diet? Let me know if you try this one.
|October 29, 2012||Filled under Uncategorized|
Climate change may have been no where to be found in the debates but an interview on MTV has broken President Obama’s silence on the issue. Here is what he had to say.
Of course, the fact that people would try and “debate” over climate change and not just what we need to do to address it, is pretty depressing. Climate scientists agree overwhelmingly but we still have to debate over it? Shows the power that corporations have over us.
One thing is clear, President Obama has made it clear that he agrees with climate scientist on climate change, while Romney’s opinion has changed and I believe the latest is that he isn’t sure if it’s human caused or not. Sadly, both President Obama and Romney have spoken about how they want to use “clean coal” something that is made up.
So what do you think about the fact that climate change wasn’t in the debates and President Obama’s comments on it in the MTV interview?