So have you made your Summer Fun Checklist or Summer Bucket Lists yet? Pretty much everyone knows they want to enjoy the summer months and squeeze as much fun as they can from them…but how? It is always a good idea to have some sort of plan so that you know exactly what you want to accomplish and when the kiddos say they are bored you have an idea of what you might want to do. Your kids can even help you make your list so everyone has some input.
I put together the list above with some things I want to do with my family. Some are a given, like eating watermelon or reading books. Others are not as likely but certainly things we would love to do, like renting a yurt or going tubing. We already checked off some of these items this week… bowling, getting ice cream, and visiting a children’s museum!
What is on your list?
A Guest Post from Hannah Walton aka The Cheapskate Mom
Summer is here and the pressure is on to find cool ways to entertain the kiddos that don’t hurt the wallet or the planet. Leave mainstream summer vacation ideas in the dust and you will find that frugality, fun, education and environmentalism go hand in hand. You don’t need to spend a fortune on a wasteful water park or fly half way across the country to entertain your kids – mix nature with some creativity and you’ve got a winning solution for a blissed-out summer. I’ve outlined some exciting for green summer fun on the cheap to get your wheels spinning:
1. Nature Walks Meet Modern Treasure Hunting
Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game that uses GPS devices (such as smart phones) to find “treasure” boxes (aka tupperware and other sealed containers). As long as you have a GPS enabled device, you can login online, find some “caches” near you (you will be surprised how many caches are located in your neighborhood!), gather the kids and start your modern treasure hunting adventure. Once you find your treasure box, you leave a treasure behind and take a new one. Caches are everywhere – city streets, parks and hiking trails: geocaching is a terrific way to get the kids excited to be out in nature and looking at their world in an all new light.
2. Gaze At The Stars
Star gazing in the summer can be as simple as lying on a blanket in your back yard and looking up at the big night sky. You could get a little more fancy by adding telescopes to the mix – if you don’t have one , ask around at work and in your neighborhood – astronomy hobbyists will often be more than happy to help out and may even volunteer to attend your star gazing party and offer their expertise. Be sure to check your local paper as you may find a free star gazing night being hosted by a local astronomy club where you can check out the night sky in a park, looking through lots of different telescopes zoomed in on all sorts of outer space bling!
3. Make A Movie
If you have a smart phone or a video camera (pretty inexpensive these days), spend a day or a week making a movie. Have the kids write, direct, design, scout out locations and even film their own movie. Have a rule that you can’t spend any money on the movie to get the kids thinking outside the box (by reusing the box): repurpose trash into props and costumes and use nature as your stage. Learn about video editing together – lots of free apps and programs abound on the web – and when you are finally done – have a movie screening night in your home complete with a “red” carpet (that you repurpose, of course). You will always have your Summer of 2012 movie for your kids to keep and remember for years to come.
4. Start A Garden
You can garden if you have a huge backyard or just an old coffee canister with some dirt. Not only is gardening great for the planet – and a wonderful life-long hobby to introduce to your children – it can be great for your wallet as you can actually eat what you grow. You can use found dirt and seeds from vegetables you eat – or plant a garlic clove – you could even get fancy and start composting your food and give every kid a little area in your yard or their own window sill if you are an apartment dweller like me. Gardening is a great way to teach kids about how patience and work pays off big.
5. Have a Low Wallet & Carbon Footprint Summer Vacation
Camping is the perfect way to spend time as a family, have fun and learn about nature while having quite an adventure. Camping means going swimming, meeting other families, long hikes, camp fires and getting creative with camping cooking. Another frugal and green vacation idea is to swap homes – do you have a city place while friends live in the country? Bring up the idea of a week long or even weekend house swap and see what happens – it’s a great way to go somewhere different without paying a lot for not-so-green accommodations!
6. Construct A Backyard Obstacle Course
Get the kids out of the house and into the creativity zone : have the kids plan out an obstacle course adventure. Take old boxes, tires, ropes, coffee canisters, wood (anything goes just make sure to supervise, of course) and then let the crew construct their very own obstacle course – a fun group activity sure to give way to lifelong memories of summer fun from way back when.
The Cheapskate Mom is a mom-focused blog magazine all about surviving the recession in style with lots of eco-friendly and DIY ideas, crafts, giveaways, recipes and projects. For more DIY summer ideas, check out Games For Kids Summer Parties.
Related: JT SplatMaster toys for summer fun on the cheap.
TGIF! Have a great weekend and Mother’s Day all! I am hoping to kickstart my weekend this morning with a viewing of Dark Shadows at the theater and then watching the Central East Regional CrossFit games on ESPN3 since some of the guys/gals from my gym are competing. Go team CFNA! It would be lovely to go in person since they are in Columbus, OH but I think my kids would be bored out of their minds. The rest of the weekend is pretty up in the air. We have been invited to a picnic and there is an herb festival the next town over. Lots of possibilities.
Stuff I am Reviewing…
Nature Box – This is another one of those monthly box deals and it is all about healthy snacks. We enjoyed our box and would have enjoyed it much more prior to going paleo since a couple of snacks were grain based. The dried cherries were phenomenal though, yum! My husband also really liked the dried veggie crisps and my kids did enjoy some non paleo snacking for a time. My kiddos never had a fig newton before trying the ones in this box, LOL. That kind of blew me away.
This concept is really awesome if you have a hard time sticking to your guns when it comes to healthy snacks. I don’t think they are organic but they are pretty natural and without artificial sweeteners, HFCS, food dyes, and other nasty stuff. The promo code HEALTHY may be used for 25% off your first month of subscription, if you care to give them a try.
Full Circle Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Collector - We got this shortly before Earth Day and I gave it a try. I didn’t realize at the time that it relies on bio plastic baggies to collect the kitchen scraps and I am not a fan of that but it it is still a good kitchen option for those who are not composting. It sits on your counter and you just drop the scraps in as you collect them. Every 3 to 4 days you are supposed to remove them but we typically went longer than that. There was no smell, which is a bonus, but it did attract fruit flies. I will be donating or freecycling mine as I just don’t like having to use plastic bags.
A Hadaki Cosmopolitan Tote bag – They consider it an eco-friendly option because their products are AZO free, contain no Phthalates / DEHP or DBP. I think we differ somewhat in our definition of eco friendly but I do not mind plastic based tote bags so much because they are durable and reusable. This particular bag is quite awesome in size and I can see myself taking it to the farmer’s market, the local pool, and to BlogHer12 in New York City (only 3 months away!) to carry all my goodies.
Astroglide Natural - Got some of this last week. I am not going to go into how I personally like it since that’s none of your business. :) I do however like that so many of the companies that make these personal lubricants are removing the toxic ingredients! Astroglide has no glycerin, fragrance, parabens, or alcohol. I also ran the ingredients list through the Skin Deep database and all scored a 1 or 2. Pretty good.
Books I am Reading…
The Other Baby Book: A Natural Approach to Baby’s First Year was one of my recent reads. I am not expecting nor will I ever be again, or that’s the plan at least, but I still enjoyed reading this book. I think it would have been much more beneficial to read a book like this when I was newly pregnant instead of the standard What to Expect books. It challenges many of the conventional ideas on birthing and baby care and it is so refreshing! It really takes a look all aspects of bringing a life into this world and caring it, and re-frames normal. I liked that it strongly advocates for attachment parenting and using your intuition as a guide, keeping birth interventions to a minimum, breastfeeding on demand, co-sleeping, and elimination communication among many other things. The tone was also very upbeat and encouraging, not scary. A+
168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think - Just finishing this book. It basically addresses the fact that we all have 168 hours a week to work with and that most of are not actually crunched for time we are just not using that 168 hours wisely and in ways that make sense for our dreams and goals. If we make sure to fill those hours only with things that deserve to be there, we build the lives we want. I really enjoyed this book.
Fifty Shades of Grey - Had to read it after all the media buzz and I was kind of surprised to find that I was not the least bit shocked by this book. I adored it actually and ordered the next two pronto. The author has been quoted as saying it is like the grown up version of Twilight (but with BDSM instead of vampires?) and I agree.
Other Link Worthy Stuff…
Love this Kickstarter Project for an iPad Sustainability story.
Hoping to make and eat soon… these Raw Lemon Pie Bars and these grain free Cake Batter Balls.
This Climate Change Carnival at Big Green Purse has many awesome links including one of my own articles. Check it out when you get the chance.
BlogHer Green also featured my stinky towels post.
Enjoy your weekend!!
TGIF! Have a great holiday weekend and spend lots of time hugging your babes and other loved ones. I am not religious so I tend to view this holiday as time I get to spend with my kiddos (and extended family) as they do something they love, like hunting for colorful eggs and getting some little treats. Whatever this season means for you… enjoy.
I kicked off the weekend with a good CrossFit workout… rowing, running, burpees, situps, pushups, squats, rope climbing, kettelbell swings, and hip extensions. Most of these were AMRAP or as many rounds/reps as possible. It was a tough one! I dived into my car afterwards and downed a dark chocolate coconut water. Lots of magnesium and potassium for recovery, plus it tastes like chocolate milk. Bonus! I will probably take a bath in magnesium flakes later too.
My post last Friday about my thyroid had some concerned about my carb intake. I am aware that there are a few in the WAPF blogging world who have suddenly decided that a high carb diet is best and that eating ice cream and pretzels for dinner is the way to go. First, I am not buying it, AT ALL. Second I am not low carb, nor is paleo low carb. What I am experiencing with my thyroid was due to calorie restriction. Not eating enough caused my body to be severely stressed, which made my thyroid go crazy. I upped my calories and things are improving. I can’t say everything is 100% fine now but that is because it is really darn easy to send your thyroid into a tailspin and really darn hard to work your way out of that. That is just the way it works unfortunately.
As for being me being low carb or paleo being low carb…. nah. This morning I had a cup of greek yogurt mixed with 4 Tablespoons of Linwoods Ground Flaxseed, Cocoa, Strawberries and Blueberries. I also had the coconut water. By 8:00 a.m. I already had over 60 grams of carbs and 50 or lower is generally considered low carb. I will end the day somewhere around 100-130ish grams. So no, not low carb. If you eat dairy like I do or have lots of fruits and veggies I am not sure how you can go low carb. I prefer to concentrate on getting good quality carbs instead of relying on junk carbs (like grains) and sometimes that is harder but oh well. My health is worth it. Love this satire article posted by Lea of Nourishing Treasures about all the reasons why going high carb is good for you. Losing weight from amputation?? I really shouldn’t laugh but I can’t help it.
Okay on to other stuff.
On My Bookshelf…
Reading Before They Are Gone right now. It is about a Dad who is uniquely positioned to see how climate change is affecting our National Parks and he decides his kids need to see them before they are forever changed. Thus he takes them on a year long journey to visit these endangered places. So far, very good.
Just finished Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Women. It is an amazing book and I highly recommend it. Kettlebells are what you see in the photo at the top of this post and I have fallen deeply in love with them. Yes, I even wear a miniature size kettlebell necklace daily. This book demonstrates why they are so awesome and superior to dumbbells. I can testify to what the book says about how they manage to work deep muscles, down in your core, that dumbbells are ineffective with. My first workout with kettlebells I was sore for days and I had been working out 3-4 times a week with dumbbells for over a year and never got all the deep muscles that the kettlebells did. I was also used to heavier circuit machines weights… think 100+ pounds. After using Kettlebells once I could barely get on and off the toilet and had to get assistance taking my clothes off. I knew from there that these were miracle devices. Just one move, the Kettlebell Swing, works 9 different muscle groups. It would take 9 different dumbbell exercises and their corresponding reps to get the same results. The author also talks about how she was a workout junkie and had to workout 2 hours a day to keep her physique. Now she works less than half that, thanks to kettlebells.
On the docket is All the Money in the World which is supposed to be a good book about changing your perspective where money is concerned, to view it as a tool instead of a resource.
Also plan to read Pandemonium, the sequel to Delirium, which I loved. It takes place in a world similar to the one in the movie Equilibrium (which rocks BTW!) where everyone has decided that emotion is the source of all strife and so they medicate it out of you. In this book series they surgically alter the brains of their citizens to make love and deep emotion impossible. Why it is that I love dystopian novels so much cannot be explained. I think maybe it has to do with the inner strength required to stand up to the establishment.
Link Love for the Week…
My lovely friend Stephanie at Good Girl Gone Green is giving away some organic and natural hair conditioner that she uses in conjunction with no poo to combat dryness. Make sure to stop by and check that out.
The aforementioned friend also alerted me to this article written by Annie Leonard of Story of Stuff fame. It is about consumer guilt surrounding Apple products. It was timely for me because this month or next I plan to get the iPad 3 and it is a source of guilt for me. It will be my first iPad and the only other Apple products I have are my iPod and Shuffle which I bought 8 years ago and still use to this day. I think I am doing pretty good not buying things I don’t need or upgrading just because a newer, better model is out. Maybe I can ease up with the guilt.
Mark Sisson at Mark’s Daily Apple wrote a great article on Why Eating Meat is Ethical in response to the NY Times Essay contest. He is limited as to what he can bring into his argument because there is a word count and also a request not to mention issues like sustainability, factory versus pastured, local , etc. That is just plain ridiculous but his article is good. It might be said that in many ways he avoids the question by highlighting why we shouldn’t even question the ethics of meat because we aren’t questioning the ethics of plant based diets, which is also riddled with environmental problems and death to animal life. It is not a cop-out IMO, it is a valid point.
Fellow CrossFitter and green mom blogger Paige wrote about why she is doing CrossFit and is not going to go paleo. For those not familiar, CrossFit and paleo go together like peas and carrots. She quoted me in her article as well as fellow paleo gal Deanna Duke of Crunchy Chicken.
Spotted this article, The Toxic Truth About Gluten-Free Food and Celiac Disease, this week and enjoyed it as well. I too am not down with the gluten free trend I see. Gluten free junk is still junk no?
This HuffPo article, More Americans Went Without Medicine Last Year, made me appreciate how deal sites like Groupon are making it easier to get medical services you might need or want. I support these sites/deals because I want to see more of them. I get chiropractic care, acupuncture treatments, and just recently bought lab work of all things. The lab works includes a complete Thyroid profile, lipids testing, Vitamin D 25-hydroxy test, Iron profile, blood-count, C-reactive protein test, glucose, and Potassium. It’s good to have all this info so you can see where you are with nutrients and adjust your diet where necessary. You may think your diet is healthy and meeting all your requirements but what does your blood say? I hope to see naturopathic services on these sites soon. I think that so much of our healthcare problem in this country can be fixed with diet and exercise instead of medication but we still need a way to access cheaper services directly and deal sites are filling this need for many.
Also wanted to share that Abe’s Market is now offering sample products of many of their natural, green products and food. You pick the 3 samples you want, pay $2.00 for shipping, and you get to cheaply test some great products. They sent me a sample box and I really like their idea/concept. They also happened to send me some NutCase Crunch (a paleo cereal) which is a big favorite of mine. How did they know??! I also got a vegan soap with Yerba Mate leaves and an organic Cocoa Calendula Balm for irritated skin. All of it was great and I see some other stuff I would like to try as well. Can’t beat the price either. Check it out when you get a chance.
And I am done, done, done. Do you have any good links to share?
When my two youngest kiddos were little, I wore them close to me via ring slings, pouches, and wraps. I knew nothing of these amazing devices when my oldest was born but they sure would have been a lifesaver since he was my neediest baby by far. Wearing your baby was something that I was introduced to when I looked into attachment style parenting and it just seemed like a no-brainer way to not only deepen the bond with your child but also a great way to minimize gadgets and gear meant to entertain baby. The baby benefits from having a secure, safe environment that is close to mom and makes them feel protected in the same way swaddling does. Cooking, laundry, household chores, hiking, traveling, etc all became much easier for mom (or dad) when you can just put on a sling and wear your babies around. Baby wraps and slings are amazing!
Comfy Joey is a company that offers absolutely gorgeous ring slings and pouches. They are functional of course but also beautiful. I LOVE the colors. Their linen slings come in lots of great colors. If I were still in my sling years I am sure I would own several! The ones that really stood out to me were the mesh water slings. These can be worn wading in the pool or in the shower. Love them! I always stuck my babes on the bathroom floor with some toys and hoped they wouldn’t get into stuff while I showered. How much easier … and fun… life could have been if we could have showered together with one of these slings. ;)
The company is also mom owned which I always preferred in my sling buying days. It is owned and operated by Ayesha Ghatala Shoaib. Ayesha discovered babywearing after the birth of her second child and founded Comfy Joey when he was only a few months old. Now Ayesha is the proud mother of four. She still considers babywearing a valuable tool as she runs her business while raising her children.
The company has graciously offered to give one of my readers a $100 voucher to Comfy Joey. Woot! The giveaway will run from today through Sept 30th. To enter please like Comfy Joey and Gather for Good on facebook and then leave a comment on this blog post. For a second entry please share this blog post with friends and leave a second comment letting us know that you did, and how. A winner will be chosen at random.
Not only do you have an opportunity to win the prize you are also helping out with a great cause just by entering. 10 cents will be donated by Gather for Good to Bruce Roseneberg’s FIGHT against Stage 4 Melanoma Cancer for every valid entry made in this giveaway. You can read more about Bruce’s fight against cancer here. You can also help support Bruce’s fight by shopping at Comfy Joey and using coupon code BRUCE. 15% will be deducted from your total purchase price when you use this code, and that same 15% amount will be donated to Bruce’s cause. You can also donate to Bruce directly through paypal at rosenberg [at] comporium.net.
This giveaway made possible through Gather for Good.
UPDATE: We have a random winner!! Material Girl Green! Congrats!!!