Cascadian Farm Organic Goodness

WELCOME TO OUR ALMANAC! READ ABOUT ALL THINGS ECO FROM ORGANIC VEGGIE
GARDEN TIPS TO GREEN FAMILY ACTIVITIES.

GOOD QUESTIONS

Why do you grow organic?

I go organic because I feel it is the best option for my family and the Earth. Eating and using organic products puts my mind at ease, I never have to worry about what I am putting into my body or the body of my family and I feel wonderful knowing that I am purchasing products that are best for our Earth.

What is your best organic tip?

My best organic tip is buy local organic foods from your farmer's market, CSA, food co-op or local grocery store or better yet, plant your own organic garden. Also, if you are unable to purchase all organic produce, avoid EWG's dirty dozen. I also think purchasing organic personal care products is essential for heathly living, since what you put on your body is just as important as what you put in it.

What is your favorite book on organics?

My favorite book on organics is The Omnivore's Dilemma.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is "The Earth is what we all have in common." Wendall Berry.

If you had to decide, what would you be: animal, plant, or mineral?

I would be an animal, because I would still be able to venture out to explore the world around me. Also, I think it would be a great experience to live in the wild and have to catch my own food.

Coffee is the number one consumed beverage in the world. Over 400 million cups of coffee are consumed each day in the United States alone. It is the 2nd largest globally traded commodity in the world, second only to petroleum. In the tropics, local economies and communities rely heavily on the stability and income from coffee beans. With that said, have you ever wondered what impact your morning cup of joe has on the environment or the people that depend on it for their livelihood? Does consuming only Eco friendly coffee make a difference?

Traditional coffee plantations require vast amounts of cleared land, displacing entire ecosystems of native plants and animals. Many traditional plantations also use pesticides, herbicides and insecticides in mass. These chemicals not only run into local water supplies, poisoning the water, they are harmful (some even cancer-causing) to the low-wage workers that manage the fields.

However, Eco friendly coffee plantations also known as "shade plantations" leave the natural canopy of trees over the plantation that gives animals, insects, birds and reptiles a protected natural habitat complete with native plants. Shade plantations allow the animals and nature to live in harmony with the coffee crops.  

If you feel that Eco friendly coffee does make a difference, choosing "shade-grown" coffee is the best way to go. There are other types of certifications that are also important when looking for Eco friendly coffee such as; "Bird Friendly", "Rain Forest Alliance Certified", "USDA Organic" and "Fair Trade." Whichever type of Eco friendly coffee you choose, remember that you are making a conscious decision on the impact that coffee beans can have on the environment, humans and wildlife in those areas.

What does it all mean? How to break down what the label says:

1- Shade Grown: Coffee beans that have been grown on plantations with a natural tree canopy above the fields, instead of clear cutting the forest. This allows native animals, birds, insects, reptiles and plants to live in harmony with the crops.

2- USDA Organic: Pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and other chemicals are never used during the coffee bean growing process. Many of these chemicals are known endocrine-disrupting and cancer-causing chemicals, they also are known to kill native animals and poison local water sources and the soil - which is another good reason not to ingest non-organic coffee.

3- Bird Friendly: Similar to the "Shade Grown" certification, it protects migratory birds that will be lost forever due to clear cutting of the rainforest for traditonal coffee plantations.

4- Fair Trade: Fair Trade means that the family farmers are treated respectfully, are paid a fair living wage for their coffee beans, allowing them access to medical care and educational services.

Do you consume Eco friendly coffee?

Do you feel that the benefits of Eco friendly coffee make a difference?

 

photo credits: Coffee Beans, Traditional Coffee Plantation, Shade Grown Coffee Plantation,

Chances are you or someone you know has used disposable plastic diapers on their children. Have you ever stopped to wonder what impact plastic diapers have on our environment? Did you know that Americans alone put 50 million plastic disposable diapers in our landfills every day? That is 20 billion diapers a year. Each one of those diapers takes over 500 years to decompose - now that IS a dirty little secret.

There are solutions available that can lessen and in some cases completely eliminate the use of disposable diapers that will stay in our landfills for centuries. Whichever option you choose will significantly reduce this huge impact on the environment. Just think, if everyone choose one of these options, what a difference it could make. To get you started, here are my top 3 favorite options.

Option #1: Reusable and Adjustable Organic Cotton Diapers: Companies such as Little Beetle and Happy Heinys offer reusable organic cotton diapers that are adjustable and can be used on babies from 8-35 pounds. The reusable and adjustable organic cotton diapers cost around $15-$25 each. However, since these diapers are adjustable, your child can use them the entire time that they are in diapers. These diapers come in an array of colors and patterns for your little ones delight.

Option #2:Plain, Standard Pre-Fold Diapers: Pre-Fold diapers such as the ones from Green Mountain Diapers range in price from $1.75-$2.66 each. You have the option of choosing pre-fold diapers that are chlorine free and unbleached. Just remember that you will also need diaper covers to wrap over top of the pre-fold diaper to make it waterproof and diaper pins to keep them in place. You will also need to purchase these in several sizes because your child will eventually grow out of the smaller sizes. Pre-Fold diapers generally come in white or off white, you could dye your own using water or soy based inks in an array of colors.

               

Option # 3: Flushable, Compostable G Diapers: G Diapers are plastic, latex, perfume and elemental chlorine free. G Diapers have an insert that is placed inside the reusable g pants that your child will wear. The insert can be flushed if it has solid waste in it and can be flushed, composted or thrown away in the garbage if it only has liquid waste in it. The G Diaper will breakdown in a compost bin within 50-150 days. Also, G Diapers come in a great assortment of rich, vibrant colors that are sure to please the eye.

**Tip: If you decide to use reusable diapers, you can figure the number of diapers that you will need to purchase by taking the number of diapers that child goes through daily and multiplying that by the number of days you want to be able to go between washings.

What type of diapers do you use on your little ones?

Have you found one type to be a better option for your family? Which one?


Photo Credits: x86x86, Victor Chapa, Ja-nelle, Conor Keller

 

                  

Can you believe that it is already Back to School time? Between clothing, school supplies and other school related gear, there are a lot of items that your child will need to get ready for another school year. Getting your children ready for back to school doesn't have to hurt the environment or break the bank. Here are my top 10 tips to making your back to school shopping Eco friendly and fun.

School Supplies 101: School supplies can be a huge part of your back to school budget and choosing Eco friendly supplies can be tricky. First, I suggest going through your child's supplies from last year and reusing as many of those supplies as possible. If your child's school wants the supplies kept in a plastic container, consider using last years container - after a good scrubbing, it should be as good as new. If you need to purchase new supplies, consider supplies that are sustainable made and/or recycled. My favorite Eco friendly place to purchase green school supplies that are fun is Stubby Pencil Studio.

Let's Get Trendy: Back to school clothing and shoes most likely uses the largest part of your budget. With that said, you want to get the most bang for your buck. A great way to get your school clothing shopping done without breaking the bank or harming the environment is to get creative. Your local thrift and consignment stores will have a large selection of clothing that are in great condition. If you are crafty, you can find something used and with a few snips and stitches, you can have a new designer piece of your own - think Project Runway. If your neighbors, friends or extended family has children around the same ages as your own, you can arrange a clothing swap party. Or, you can check out an online clothing swap site. If 2nd hand isn't your thing, consider purchasing clothing from sustainably minded companies that use organic and all natural fibers.

Choose Quality over Quantity: When doing any of your child's back to school shopping, consider quality over quantity. Choosing items that are high quality and will last longer is a much better option than purchasing a use once and it breaks item. Choose quality items that your child can use over and over again each school year, items such as; backpacks, supply boxes, refillable pens and pencils and hardcover refillable notebooks. Also, purchasing high quality clothing and shoes that will last the entire school year and could even be passed onto younger siblings is a huge plus.

Lunch Break: Does your child's school doesn't have a healthy, well balanced lunch program with an actual kitchen that prepares and cooks their own meals? How about a kitchen that washes and reuses trays and silverware? If not, consider sending a homemade lunch for your children everyday. A nutritious and delicious homemade meal sent to school in a reusable BPA free lunchbox is the perfect way to reduce lunchtime waste. Plus, packing your own child's lunch gives them the ability to provide feedback as to which energy fueling foods they will enjoy.

School bus

You Have to Get There: How your child gets to school can have a huge impact on the environment. Whether that impact is positive or negative is up to you? If you live close to the school, consider having your child walk or bike each day. If walking or biking isn't an option, consider carpooling with other children that live in your neighborhood or have your children ride the local school bus. If you absolutely must drive your child to school, remember not to idle in the pick up/drop off line - turn your car off while you wait.

A Rainbow Of Books

Books, Books, Books: If your child goes to a school where you need to purchase their textbooks or if your child is starting college, consider purchasing your books through a used textbook reseller. Many online resellers and campus bookstores sell used books and you can also find them online at eBay, Craig's List or my favorite BigWords. Once your child is finished using a textbook, you can usually sell them back to these vendors as well.

Get the Gear: If your child is signing up for extra-curricular activities or sports and will need the gear to go with it, consider purchasing used gear. You can purchase used sports gear at stores such as Play It Again Sports or through online classified sites such as Used Sports. Most of the gear that you will find at these establishments are in like new condition and still have plenty of playtime left in them.

Go Digital: If your child's school will allow it, consider going digital. It can be much more Eco friendly to store your child's agenda, homework and other important documents on a PDA or Netbook. Also, taking notes on a laptop is much easier than filling up notebooks and using ink pens - which are hard to recycle.

Time For Change

Encourage Change: Get involved with your child's school, help them to become more Earth friendly. Suggest that each classroom have it's own recycling and composting area. Encourage your child's school to plant and harvest an on campus garden that the children can help maintain and enjoy. Suggest that the school schedule Eco field trips that immerse children in the environment. Also, meeting with your child's principal to discuss the importance of making the school as sustainable as possible is very important, if changes are going to be made.

Live Green at Home: As with most things in life, children will learn by how you as a parent live. Lead by and be an excellent example for your child to follow. If you pick up litter, speak out about sustainability, eat organics and love the environment - changes are, so will your child. If we all make small green choices everyday, that our children grow up modeling, we all benefit in the long run.

What ways will you green your children's back to school?

Leave your comments below!

Photo Credits:

LockersCrayonsClothing, lunchbusbooks,change

 

My family made a cross country move last weekend and while moving can be a lot of work, it doesn't have to have a huge impact on the environment. There are many things that you can do before, during and after your move that can make your transition as Eco friendly as possible. Here are 8 tips that my family used while making our move, hopefully next time you move, these tips can help you too.

1- Get it Sold: Usually, the first thing that you will want to do before moving is sell your existing home. During the listing and selling process, consider using a website with fantastic pictures and details of your home for potential buyers to view rather than those costly home listing fliers. If you do opt for the fliers, instead of loading the 'For Sale' sign box with them, leave them inside your home by the front door. Hopefully, then only really interested buyers will take them and less will find their way to the landfill.

2. It's Time to Downsize: My family decided that the best way for us to make our move as Eco friendly as possible was to majorly downsize. This took a lot of preparation time, but we were able to sell several thousands of dollars worth of things that we no longer used or thought that we would no longer need. You can sell your items via eBay or Craig's List or donate them to your local charitable organization. This saved us a lot in the long run, less things to pack, transport and then unpack when we arrived at our new destination. It also gave us a nice amount of money to use towards moving expenses. Plus, it was nice to see my previously loved items go to new homes where they will live a second life.

3. Pack it Up: Once you have decided exactly what items you are going to take with you, pack it up the Eco friendly way. If you are doing your own packing, consider using recycled boxes, bubble wrap and other packing supplies (you can find a great supply on Craig's List or Freecycle.) My family decided to use a large supply of reusable recyclable plastic bins with locking lids that we have used on our previous moves. This bins are fantastic because they are water proof, have locking lids with handles for carrying, stacked nicely on top of each other in the moving van and can be reused in our new space for storage of season items. Any bins that you are unable to reuse after your move, can be sold or donated. Also, I used linens to wrap up breakables and valuables. I figured I will be taking the linens with me, so they should be put to good use in the process. If you do need to purchase packing supplies, consider choosing supplies that are made of recycled materials.

4. Home Sold-Time to Green Clean: Once your home sells and you have packed up all of your belongings, it is time to give your home one last good cleaning. Consider using all Eco friendly cleaning supplies and when you arrive at your new home, only stock green cleaners in your new kitchen, bath and laundry room.

5. Moving Day: If you are using a moving company, consider choosing one that uses green moving methods including recyclable packing materials, low emissions bio diesel fuel efficient trucks and Eco friendly business practices. If you are moving yourself, remember to pack everything up with Eco friendly packing supplies and then rent your own bio diesel truck if possible.

6. Make It Fun: Moving can be super hard on the entire family, especially if you are all traveling via the moving can, as my entire family did. My husband, nine year old son, 2 dogs and myself all traveled cross country together in a moving van. However, we were able to make it fun by talking, singing, playing games, reading and watching movies. Just continue to remind yourself that a few days of traveling will all be worth it.

7. Bring Your Own Body Fuel: Traveling can be hard on your body, especially if you are eating fast food or truck stop "convenience" store items. We stocked a cooler full of easy to eat, organic snacks, fruits and veggies to keep us going on the road and when we did stop for a meal, we tried to pick the healthiest option available. Also, while traveling bring a reusable beverage mug for each member of your family. It is super Eco friendly and much more affordable to refill a mug at the gas station. And those coffee breaks will be imperative during your move!

8. Time to Get a Good Green Rest: If your move is going to take several days of traveling, you will most likely need to stay in a hotel or two. Try to choose hotels that are committed to sustainability and Eco friendly practices. Green hotels lists hotels that choose water and energy saving equipment and techniques, use Eco friendly cleaning supplies, organic linens and also recycle and compost all waste. Now, that is something that can be celebrated with a good night's rest. You deserve it!

Now that you have made it to your new home, it's time to get unpacked and start living life again. Remember to reuse, donate, sell or recycle any of your packing supplies and enjoy your new space.

How will you or have you made your move Eco Friendly?

Please leave your comments below!

 

Photo via Alden Jewell

Last month, I wrote about the benefits both ecologically and economically of harvesting rain water. Ecologically, harvesting rain water to irrigate your gardens or flower beds and to wash your car, flush your toilets or to purify as a source of drinking water is a great way to recycle rain water. Economically, using the 600 gallons of water for every 1 inch of rain that falls on your 1,000 square foot roof can equate to thousands of gallons of water that you can reuse each year, saving you a lot of money.

However, many of you had questions about rain harvesting. Today, I am going to answer some of these questions such as; is the rain water that washes off my regular roof contaminated? Where can I buy a rain harvester? How do I set it up? How do I use it, once it is installed? And how to keep mosquitoes from breeding inside the rain harvester?

Hopefully, this will answer some more of your rain harvesting questions and give you more information as to what you will need to start harvesting your share of the rain.

 

Question: Is rain water that washes off a roof contaminated, will it hurt my gardens?

Answer: The water that washes off of your roof may be contaminated with chemicals, moss or even bird droppings. You can filter the rain water that comes off of your roof with a "floating extractor". A floating extractor floats in the water in the rain harvester, it intakes water from the middle of the tank where the water is at it's purest. The floating extractor is attached to the spigot, so when using the water, you will always be using the cleanest part of the water. You can also purchase a downspout filter that will capture any larger debris that finds its way into your downspout. Many rain harvesters that purchase from your local garden center will come with a built in filtering system. Just make sure to clean the filters on a regular basis.

Question: Where can I buy a rain harvester?

Answer: You can purchase a rain harvester from many local gardening stores. Garden stores typically sell 55 to 75 gallon rain barrels with leaf screens and built in spouts for $50-$250 dollars. It depends on how large and what type of a system you are looking for. You can also make your own rain harvesting system for a fraction of the price. This DIY Rain Harvesting Video shows you exactly how to make one.

Question: How do I set up the rain harvester?

Answer: Setting up a rain harvester is simple. First, decide which rain gutter you want to use for rain harvesting. Position the rain harvester directly below the downspout on level ground, I suggest using concrete blocks to raise and level it. Set the rain harvester on top of the concrete blocks with the spigot facing the garden. Cut the downspout to fit directly above the rain harvester and wait for a good rain storm. Here is a great video on How to Install a Rain Harvester.

Question: How to I get the water out of the rain harvester?

Answer: Gravity is the simplest and most budget friendly way to remove the water from your rain harvester and into your yard. All you need is a spigot at the bottom of the tank. Unless you need the water to move up to a higher level than where the tank is situated, if so, you will need a pump. You can purchase a pump from your local gardening store as well.

Question: How do I keep mosquitoes from breeding in the barrel?

Answer: To prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the barrel, make sure that the barrel is always covered or has a screened top.

I hope this helped to answer some of your rain harvesting questions.

If you have other questions, please leave them below and I will answer them for you!

 

Photo Via wwarby.

DSC_0188 by New Amsterdam Market.

The best way to find fresh, local and organic foods that are healthy and delicious is by utilizing your local farmer's market. You can find a lot more than just fruits and vegetables at your local farmer's market too. You can find handmade personal care products, handcrafted items for your home, organic honey, bread, cheese, eggs, milk, meats, wine and even handmade apparel and jewelry. Here are my 6 tips for making the most out of your trip to the farmer's market and getting a great deal while you are there.

 DSC_0215 by New Amsterdam Market.

1- Go Local: Find a local farmer's market that is close to you at Local Harvest. Local Harvest is a great website because once you find a farmer's market in your area, you can find out more about the farmer's and vendor's that you will find there. Sometimes, the farmer's market will have it's own website where you can find out more about the local vendors and products that they provide.

2- Get Planning: Before you head out to the farmer's market for the day, make a meal plan. There are several questions that you should ask yourself when making your meal plan. Do you know what fruits and vegetables are in season? What meals can you make using these ingredients? How much will you need? You will want some flexibility however, since the farmer's market may not have all of the fresh ingredients that you will need.

Orderly by Sweet.Eventide.

3- Come Prepared: Hitting the farmer's market first thing in the morning is when you will have the best selection. Just remember that once the sun in high in the sky, it may get hot. Remember to pack your sunscreen, sunglasses and hat to protect your body from the sun. Also, don't forget to bring your reusable bags or a large basket to carry all of your goodies home in and small bills to pay for your purchases. If you are looking for a great deal, visit the farmer's market much later in the day.

Laurie Walter @ Applooza '08 by Lawrence Farmers' Market.

4- Ask Questions: One of the best things about a farmer's market, that you will never get at the grocery store, is the ability to interact with the farmer directly. Do you want to know more about the farm where the products are produced? Are you wondering how to use an ingredient that you aren't familiar with? Do you want to know if the products are organic? Just ask, you can learn a lot by asking just a few simple questions. You may learn that even though the products aren't labelled organic, doesn't mean that they are a member of the dirty dozen. Many small farmer's can not afford the organic certification, so their products may be organic, but not labeled as such.

DSC_0217 by New Amsterdam Market.

5- Shop Around: Your local farmer's market may have several vendors that sell the same or similar products. Shopping around to view what quality, price and quantity of the products that you are looking for can save you money. Once you find a vendor that you enjoy and create a relationship with, you may save even more money, since the farmer will remember you and is more likely to give you a discount.

Aneka Rasa House Salad 2.17.07 by Nodame.

6-Try Something New: While shopping at your local farmer's market, you will probably encounter fruits and vegetables that are unfamiliar to you. Give these new foods a try, you may just find that you really love jicama, cherimoyas or Chayote Squash.

What tips to do use to make the most of your farmer's market experience? Leave your comments below!

Photo Credits:

Bags Photo: Orderly

Jicama Photo: Nodame

All Other Photos: New Amsterdam Market

You may live in a community where you are allowed to capture falling rain water from your rooftop for reuse. This type of irrigation known as rain water harvesting is a budget and Eco friendly way to reuse rain water to irrigate your gardens or flower beds or even to wash your car and flush your toilets. You can also purify the water and use it as a great source of drinking water.

Since the average U.S. household uses nearly 250 gallons of water per day, the benefits of harvesting rain water can really add up. A household with a 1,000 square foot roof can capture over 600 gallons of water for every 1 inch of rain. Depending on the annual precipitation in your region, this can equate to thousands of gallons of water each year.

Besides being the ultimate in water recycling, rain harvesting also reduces storm water run off which can pollute and contaminate our waterways once pesticides, lawn chemicals, oil, grease, bacteria and debris are washed down the storm drains. Rain harvesting is also a great solution for areas that are prone to drought and water rationing.

When choosing a rain barrel, you will want to consider the size of the area or the ways that you will be using the water. If you plan to use the rain water to simply water your small backyard garden or wash your car, a traditional and inexpensive 55 gallon rain barrel should suffice. They come in an assortment of styles and colors, so you should be able to find one that will look great in your backyard.

If you plan to use the rain water for all of your gray water needs or have a large garden, yard or farm area, you may want to consider a larger rain water collection tank or cistern. Rain barrels are easy to use and install within a few minutes with only minimal tools required. You can even make your own, any large container can be used as a rain barrel.

Do you harvest rain? Would you consider rain harvesting? Please leave your comments below.

Photo via aussiegall.

A lot of people feel that their pet is a part of their family. We want out pets to live a happy and healthy life. Caring for your pet in an environmentally friendly way is a great way to have a positive impact on the Earth. Green pet care can be easy and affordable, if you follow my six simple tips to reducing your pets environmental impact.

1- The Recycled Pet: Why buy a pet, when you can adopt one? There are over 70,000 puppies and kittens born in the United States every year. Give a pet from your local shelter, a second chance at a wonderful life. If you can't find your perfect match at your local shelter, choose a pet from one of more than 13,000 animal shelters across The United States at Petfinder. If you live a lifestyle that doesn't allow you the time, energy or finances to support a pet full time, consider renting a pet. That's right with services such as Flexpetz, people who are unable to have a pet full time can have local access to a variety of pets.

2- Remember to Spay or Neuter: Once you have selected and brought home your perfect pet, remember to schedule to have your pet spayed or neutered. With over 70,000 puppies and kittens being born each year, having your pet spayed or neutered is the responsible thing to do. The ASPCA has a searchable Spay/Neuter database, where you can find a low cost provider in your area.

3-Choose Sustainable Pet Goodies: When choosing toys for your pet, consider goodies made from recycled or upcycled materials and organic, sustainable fabrics and fibers. There are many fantastic pet collars, harnesses and leashes available in sustainable materials that will look adorable on your pet. You can find recycled ID tags to ensure that if your pet is ever lost, he will be quickly returned to you. There are even fantastic pet beds made using recycled plastic bottles or organic cotton. If you are crafty, you can make your own pet clothing and toys using scrap pieces of fabric or upcycling worn out pieces from your own wardrobe.

4- Dispose of Poop Properly: Pets create millions of tons of waste each year and most of that waste ends up in a landfill. The worst part, in most cases the waste is enclosed in a plastic bag first, making it virtually impossible for the waste to decompose. When you take your pup for a walk, remember to clean up the waste with biodegradable doggy bags and then dispose of it using a pet septic system.

5- Iron Pet Chef: If you want to know exactly what your pet is having for dinner, you can make your own pet food. However, if you don't want to become a pet chef, you can choose natural and organic pet food and snacks. Organic pet foods are made using meat and poultry that has been raised in a sustainable and humane way and that is natural and free from added ingredients that may be harmful to your pet and the environment.

6- Give Your Pet a Natural Bubble Bath: When caring for your pet, choosing pet care products that are free from harmful toxins is the best option. You wouldn't put chemical laden shampoos and body products on your body, so clean your pet with good, green products that are good for him and the Earth.

What steps do you take to green your pet? Leave your comments below.

Bunny Photo Via Flickr.

Wool Pet Toys Photo Via Flickr.

Gingerbread Dog Goodies Photo Via Flickr.

Family meals are more than just the act of sharing food. Meal time is the perfect time for families to reconnect with each other. It strengthens families, and makes your relationships with each other stronger, healthier and happier. It isn't surprising to hear that families that eat meals together have children with better grades, more of a positive outlook on life and a healthier diet.

How does one prepare meals that are healthy, vegetable based and something that everyone in the family will enjoy? It's actually really simple with a few creative tricks up your sleeve. Here are my favorite three ways you can create meals that everyone in your family will enjoy so much that they will be asking for seconds.

 

Photo via Flickr

 1- Spice It Up: It is amazing how a little bit of spice, can take a meal to a whole new level. If you are serving organic baked potatoes with sour cream as a side dish, add a little fresh cut dill from the herb garden. Having family pizza night? Add fresh oregano and basil from your herb garden. By drizzling your favorite steamed and sauteed vegetables with organic extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, fresh cracked pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, you can give take veggies a whole new taste. A tad of organic brown sugar and a dash of cinnamon can turn a sweet potato from ho hum to yum yum.

Photo Via Flickr

2- Get Saucy: People enjoy food that tastes good. If your family isn't crazy about eating steamed veggies, it's time to get creative. You can add a homemade light cheese or teriyaki sauce, to get anyone craving those goodies from the garden. If you having raw veggies with your afternoon meal, add a little dip. Children especially love to dip their foods. Some excellent options are homemade ranch, strawberry vinaigrette, peanut butter, hummus, sour cream, soy sauce or tzatziki.

 

 3- Dress Up a Salad: Many children and some adults may not be too excited to find a salad on their dinner plate. The ingredients that you put in the salad and the dressings that you use, can have a huge positive impact. Try adding fresh organic strawberries, grapes and apple slices to a salad and then drizzling with a sweet strawberry vinaigrette dressing. Another favorite at our home is a salad dressed with organic green apple slices, almond slivers and a homemade honey Dijon dressing. These salads always have everyone asking for more.

What tricks do you use to spice up family meal time?

  Springtime is here and with it comes time to do some spring cleaning. Although giving your home a deep down cleaning may be necessary, poisioning your home with toxic chemicals is not. You can give your home a good green clean using Eco friendly cleaning products that you make yourself. These cleaners will clean just as well as their pricey, chemical laden counterparts and at a fraction of the price. You will be pleased to find how simple, affordable and safe making your own green cleaners can be.

Here are my recipes for making my eight favorite green cleaners.

What you will need:

- Several reusable spray bottles and jars.

- Water

- Baking Soda

- Eco friendly dish-washing liquid

- Eco friendly dish-washing detergent

- Borax

- Organic White Vinegar

- Tea Tree Oil

- Lemon Juice

- Your choice of essential oils

How to prepare the green cleaners:

I Can See Clearly Now Glass Cleaner

- Mix 2 cups of water, 1/4 teaspoon Eco friendly dish-washing detergent, 3 tablespoons of organic white vinegar and several drops of your favorite essential oil into a spray bottle. Spray directly onto windows and mirrors and wipe clean with a reusable cloth.

Scrub A Dub Bathroom Cleaner

- Mix 3/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of Borax, 3 tablespoons of Eco friendly dish-washing liquid, the juice from one lemon and your favorite essential oil into a reusable jar. Use a stiff bristled cleaning brush to scrub mildew and dirt away.

Clean As a Whistle Disinfecting Spray Cleaner

- Mix 3 cups of water, 4 tablespoons of Eco friendly dish-washing liquid and 25 drops of Tea Tree Oil in a spray bottle. Spray anywhere that needs disinfecting for a good green clean.

Go Spot! Go! Spot Treatment

- Mix 1/4 cup dish-washing detergent and 1/3 cup water in a spray bottle. Spray directly onto spot, then dab with a clean cloth until dirt is removed.

Freshen It Up Room Freshener Spray

- Mix 35 drops of your favorite essential oil with a spray bottle full of water. Spray anywhere that needs a little freshening and enjoy the fresh scent of your home.

Happy Feet Floor Cleaner

- Mix 1/2 cup organic white vinegar, 1/2 cup water and your favorite essential oil in a large bucket. Mop your wood, tile and laminate floors until they are squeaky clean.

Make It Shine Furniture Polish

- Mix 1/2 teaspoon organic olive oil, 1/4 cup organic white vinegar and Lemon Grass essential oil in a jar. Dip clean cloth into mixture, polish and renew your furniture.

Hot Spot Oven Cleaner

- Mix 1/2 cup Baking Soda, 1/4 cup of water and 3 tablespoons of Eco friendly dish-washing liquid into a thick paste. Apply to your oven and let sit overnight. Clean thoroughly with a clean wet cloth in the morning.

Do you have other do it yourself green cleaners that you use in your home?

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