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12 Fun Ways to Beat the Summer Heat

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Outdoor activities

Cold Potato

Rather than Hot Potato, try Cold Potato for a refreshing game. Use a pin to poke a hole in a water balloon, then fill it with water and make sure the balloon has a slow but steady leak.  Have everyone get into a circle and toss the leaky balloon from one player to the next, spraying everyone in the process. Be sure to toss it quickly, as the goal of the game is to pass the balloon before it runs out of water.

Play Marco Polo Without a Pool

Don’t have a pool? No problem.  Put a twist on this classic and it becomes a cool backyard game on a hot day. Decide who will go first and blindfold that person or have them keep their eyes closed. The searcher should be armed with a water gun.  Have the searcher turn around and count to 10, while the other players silently move to new locations in the backyard. When the counting ends, the searcher calls “Marco” and the other players respond with “Polo” while moving about the yard. When the searcher successfully shoots a player with water, it’s time to switch roles.

Play a Game of Splat

Fill a dozen water balloons and then draw a large target on your sidewalk or driveway and mark the rings of the target with point vaules.  Take turns throwing the water balloons at the target and calculate the points to see who can get the most points to see who won.

Create your Own Water Park

Get out the hose and fill up the plastic pool, spread out the Slip ’N’ Slide, or turn on the sprinkler to turn your back lawn into your own private water park. Set up an obstacle course with pool toys, lawn chairs, baby pools and sprinklers, and let the games begin! Have people on the sidelines of the obstacle course toss water balloons for an extra challenge.  However you play, just have fun!

Have a Car Wash

Put on your bathing suits and have kids wash the cars or their bikes.  Have a couple of buckets and plenty of rags.  Let the kids go to town and hey, if a water fight breaks out, it’ll be a great time to bond.

Visit your Local Farmers Market

This is a fun way to purchase produce that allows you to visit and talk to farmers that grow the food. Buying locally not only helps sustain your local economy, it lessens the impact the shipping industry has on the environment.  Farmer’s Markets tend to have local artisans and activities for children, making it a fun trip rather than a boring trip to the grocery store.

Indoor Activities 

Serve Up Indoor Volleyball

Or more accurately, volley feather. Give everyone a large feather (you can find them in the craft aisle of major superstores or even outside, if you’re lucky) and see who can blow the feather overhead for the longest time. Once you’ve got the hang of making the feather float, play as a team and try to pass a feather back and forth between players without letting it fall to the ground.

Play Hide-and-Seek With Stuffed Animals

In this new edition, stuffed animals do the hiding while you and the kids do the seeking. Everyone gets one stuffed animal.  Split up and hide the stuffed animals anywhere in the house (or pick one room if you’re playing with younger kids). Then, each searches to find the others’ hidden objects. When you’ve found a hidden animal, take it and put it in a new hiding spot for them to find — the kids should do the same with yours. Continue playing for as long as you all are having fun.

Act it Out

It’s easy to pop in a movie and relax in front of the tube, but that’s not how memories are made. Instead, take turns acting out your favorite flicks as one-person plays. Set a five-minute limit and watch the plot unfold.  Help the kids dress up using clothes, blankets or objects around the house.  Wait until you see an imaginative 6-year-old perform Shrek. Better have the camera ready!

Have an Indoor Picnic

We all love picnics; there is something about eating on the ground that makes it special.  Keep it inside to enjoy the air conditioning and spread out on the living room floor. Lie on a blanket and enjoy a healthy lunch like turkey and cheese roll-ups in a whole-wheat tortilla, fruit salad, and “ants on a log” (celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins).

Make Smoothies

Skip the ice cream treat and make something healthier. Blend a nutritious, delicious frozen fruit drink. Let your kids help load a blender with a half cup of ice cubes and whatever fruit they select (mangoes, strawberries, bananas, and pineapples work best). Add a little water or juice to allow it to mix smoothly. Then help the kids blend until the mixture is smooth. The natural fruit is sweet enough that no extra sugar is needed. Garnish with a straw or paper umbrella and enjoy.

(You can use the fruits you picked up from your local farmer’s market from Visit Your Local Farmer’s Market tip)

Make it a Game Night

Bingo! Sorry! Yahtzee! What do these exclamations have in common? They’re all popular games that are perfect for playing with your family.  A family game night is an excellent way to stay connected with your kids. Choose games that are age-appropriate and of interest primarily to the children. That way children can feel successful playing with family members who are older, are more experienced, and have a competitive advantage. So pull up a seat and let the games begin!

Whatever activity you choose make sure to have fun and enjoy the summer!

10 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

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Enjoy this Earth Day by choosing an activity that helps or honors this planet that we call home.

  1. Plant a Tree

Trees are not only beautiful but provide habitats for plants and animals as well. Your local nursery will be able to help decide what will work in your area.

  1. Go on a Nature Hike

Visit a local park, river or lake to see the beauty that is Mother Nature.  Take the kids along and give them a lesson on the plants and wildlife that are indigenous to your area.

  1. Clean Up a Park

Spend a few hours at a local park picking up litter so that the area is clean and useable for all.

  1. Prepare an Earth-Friendly Meal

Pick a new recipe and cook an entire meal made with locally grown vegetables and non-processed foods to share with friends and family.

  1. Evaluate your Recycling

Take the time to evaluate your recycling and see if there are ways to improve upon it or establish a system.  See our earlier blog  “How to Create a Recycling System that Fits Your Lifestyle” HERE.

  1. Get Unplugged

Many people do not realize that most household appliances use electricity even when not in in use.  Be sure that all your appliances are unplugged when not in use to eliminate waste.

  1. Plant a Garden

Don’t have the space to plant a tree?  Try planting a renewable vegetable or herb garden.  If you have a smaller yard, the vegetables and herbs can be planted in larger pots and placed on decking.

  1. Go Paperless

Switch all you paper bills to E-bills and pay bills online to eliminate excess and unnecessary paper.

  1. Give your TV And Cell Phone the Night Off

Spend the evening without technology and electronics.  Read a book, have a family game night or visit friends and family.

  1. Pay it Forward

Donate to your favorite charity or organization- time, energy or anything you can give.

Make an “Egg-cellent” Organic Easter Basket

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Easter is a great time to celebrate Mother Nature, so skip the plastic grass and artificially sweetened candy and opt for organic treats and eco-friendly gifts.

Pick a Basket that can be Reused

Chose a reusable container that can be used again and again. Sand pails and toy toolboxes make for fun toys that can be played with later.

Recycle a basket and give it a fresh look with new ribbon.

Ditch the Fake Grass Filler

 Stay away from the dreaded and irritating plastic grass that finds a way to stick to everything in your house.  Use shredded fabric from old clothes or blankets to add color and texture.  Or go with shredded newspaper, magazines or printer paper.

Fill your Basket with Organic Treats and Earth-Friendly Toys

There are many different organic treats that can be put into the Easter basket; here is a list of a few great options:

Vegan Organic Easter Bunnies and Assorted Chocolates

Sjaak’s makes an all-natural, sweet dark chocolate bunny and assorted chocolate boxes. It’s 100% organic, Fair Trade Certified and completely vegan. Visit the SJaak’s website HERE for more information.

Surf Sweets Natural Jelly Beans

Their complete line of all natural, organic gummy candy and jellybeans is completely free of additives, dyes and preservatives. Surf Sweets stands by their motto of “If it doesn’t exist in nature, you won’t find it in Surf Sweets.”  Visit the Surf Sweets website HERE for more information.

Yummy Earth Organic Candy

No chemicals, no artificial flavors, and no corn syrup. The line includes many different candies from lollipops to sour jellybeans in 21 delicious flavors with real fruit extracts and delicious taste! They have something for everyone!  Visit the Yummy Earth website HERE for more information.

Lifekind Certified Organic Cotton Bunny

A cute, cuddly and healthy bunny for Easter that is sure to delight children of all ages. The huggable, floppy-eared, handmade bunny is a Lifekind® original. Made with safe, certified organic materials, it’s covered in super-soft terry fleece, the body is stuffed with organic buckwheat hulls, and the head, arms, and legs are filled with organic cotton. Visit the Lifekind  website HERE for more information.

Made by Me Wood Toys

Made by Me toys are beautiful wooden toys that are designed and crafted in Vermont, USA. All their products are made from local sustainable hardwood.  These toys are great as they are not only fun to play with but you get to build and decorate them too.  These toys come in many different designs such as trucks, racecars, trains and more.  Visit the Little Cool Toys website HERE for more information.

Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs

 You do not need to use harsh and toxic chemicals to dye your Easter eggs.  Chose the safer and healthier option by using organic products that can be found in your kitchen.

Boil eggs with all natural ingredients, such as brown onion skins for orange, red cabbage for sky blue or carrot tops for green. Or experiment and see what colors nature can give you!

Soak hard-boiled eggs in grape juice for lavender, beet juice for pink or strong brewed coffee for brown.

Have fun with all the organic possibilities out there, and here’s wishing you a happy, healthy Easter!

How To Green Your Holidays…

Here are some helpful tips on how to stay green this holiday season from food to decor and even gifts.

Making Your Holidays Eco-Friendly!

With the holidays here, we begin our traditions. And why not help those traditions have a smaller impact on our world?  Here are a few tips for keeping your holidays green:

Decorations

Why not use decorations from last year and years before?  It may not be trendy to reuse decorations, but it can create fond family memories.  I remember using the same ornaments year after year as a child, and my family uses many of them still.  The decorations then become more meaningful and allow us to feel nostalgic during the holidays.

If you find some of your decorations are no longer to your taste, be sure to donate them so that they can provide holiday cheer for other households.

Use edible objects for holiday centerpieces, such as apples or holiday candies in a bowl or glass canister.

Baked goods like decorated cookies on platters make fun displays with color!

Making your own decorations is always a greener option than buying new ones.  If you do decide to make your own, use raw materials that are less harmful to the environment.  Things that make beautiful decorations are grass, twigs, dried flowers, and even scratch paper… the possibilities are endless.

Holiday Cards

Email fun family photos for Christmas cards…it saves on paper! But if sending a card in the mail is what you desire, have kids make them by drawing colorful and fun pictures. Hand-deliver cards when possible for a personal touch!

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