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Earth Day Books Part 2

Sometimes it seems impossible that my family can make a difference in saving the earth.  With 3 young boys, I can feel defeated and wasteful with full trash bags, running water, and so many toys.  However, I find that if I stick with it, then small eco-conscious ways become part of their routine (soap up before turning water on, turn off water while brushing teeth, sort recycled versus trash, turn off lights as you leave a room).  These books make it easy to start the conversation on how important and beautiful our earth is.  Happy Earth Day!

GREAT EARTH DAY BOOKS FOR KIDS

I found a few great books that teach kids about being green in a fun way.  I love that there are so many fantastic children’s books about “going green.”  Bonus points, take the kids to the library to pick them out.  

It’s Earth Day! by Mercer Mayer

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

What If Everybody Did That by Colleen Madden

Biscuit’s Earth Day Celebration by Alyssa Capucilli

Michael Recycle by Ellie Bethel

The Earth Book by Todd Parr

 

 

Regifting, Redefining Holiday Traditions, and Eco-Friendly Wrap

Given the economy, environment, and busy schedules, holiday gift-giving can be overwhelming and expensive.  Here are a few ways to lessen the burden and help preserve the environment.

  1. BE HONEST.  If you are going to re-gift, be honest and thoughtful.  Do not pretend that the present is brand new (or you just forgot the gift receipt).  Own up and say that you received this gift and be specific on why you thought they would like it.  Dress it up with fabulous packaging or a hand-written note to make it special.
  2. GIVE YOUR TIME.  Instead of gifts, give your time or expertise.  Think of ways you could help a friend or family member, such as offering to take their family’s holiday picture, cook them a Sunday meal, or volunteer at an organization the family supports.  As an added bonus, you get to spend time with them.
  3. A NEW TRADITION.  My family used to get gifts for every adult in the family and it became cumbersome and expensive.  We now get presents for kids and do fun, silly stocking stuffers for adults.  In lieu of adult presents, my family adopts a low-income senior in the Chicago area.  Find an organization that your family wants to support and make it a team effort.  It is much more fulfilling to give to those that really need it and a great lesson for the kids.
  4. ECO-FRIENDLY WRAPPING.  I have long been a fan of reusing aluminum foil for wrapping (my boys think all cars come in foil) and reusing gift bags and ribbon that I have received.  You can even start a waste-free family tradition by wrapping with reusable cotton gift boxes and reusing them year after year, such as Gift It Green eco-chic cotton gift boxes:)

KEEP YOUR KIDS TOYS FRESH & FUN BY UPCYCLING AND ROTATING

Toy bins filled with toys?  Your kids bored with the same toys or overwhelmed with too many?  Every 3 months, I follow these 3 steps to keep toys fresh.

1. GO THROUGH TOYS: If your toys bins are overflowing, separate into rotate or upcycle

2. ROTATE: I rotate matchbox cars, superheroes (remember, I have all boys!), board games, etc. every 3 months.  Throw them in a bag/laundry basket and store in closet for 3 months.  After 3 months, swap again. Kids feel like they are getting new, fresh toys every few months.

3. UPCYCLE: Have you heard of Share Our Spare (www.shareourspare.org/)?  It’s been around for 1 year and they connect families in need of children’s clothing, toys and supplies with other families who want to share their new or gently-used items with others.  So next time you have a birthday party, you can ‘adopt’ a family ask guests to donate gently used items (high chair, booster seat, clothes, etc.) or provide a donation to the family.  It’s a fab way to teach kids about other less fortunate families and you are not stuck with 20 more toys that your kids do not really need.

3 easy tips to ship “green” and save money

I hate shipping costs (who doesn’t??) and I really dislike making my consumers pay high ship rates.  So, I did a lot of research and found a few easy ways to go green and save on shipping costs.

1. REUSE OLD BOXES:  I ship my packages in boxes that I’ve received.  I remove the shipping label and reuse.  I created a stamp with my logo saying that it’s a reused box (don’t want my consumers to think they are getting Sees or Zingerman’s when they are really getting a gig).  No one has complained and a few consumers promised to do it themselves.

2. USE KRAFT PAPER INSTEAD OF EXPENSIVE MAILERS:  If you do not have a fragile product, I found a great thick brown KRAFT paper that is USPS approved (LePages or 3M work well).  I wrap my gigs like a present and stamp my branding (so they know who it is coming from).  You have to use more tape to avoid punctures, but it’s 100% recycled paper and 100% post consumer content.  It saves a lot of trees and money because it is light to ship and is a fraction of the cost of mailers!

3. STAMP IT UP: I use stamps for branding to avoid waste and label costs.  BONUS…it spices up a boring brown box or paper.