In The District:

Making Composting Easy and Fun

We all know the earth feeds our families, but we can feed the earth too. Read today's post to learn how!

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The purpose of composting is pretty simple: to reuse your organic trash and renew your soil. Adding compost to your yard can make your soil, plants, trees and lawn healthier. Plus, you’ll cut down trash headed for the landfill by 30%.

We chatted with two Plum District Moms to see how they incorporated composting in their homes.

Ginger, of Los Angeles,  says ever since installing the compost bin and utilizing a “food scraps” container (a small metal bin right near the sink), she’s amazed at how much less trash she’s producing and how good it feels to re-cycle. Her family’s daily routine includes a trip to the backyard with their food-scrap-filled canister to “feed” the compost bin.

Liz, of Denver, recommends a simple black trash can ($12) with the bottom cut out and air holes punched in the sides. You can also Google the word “composting” to see if your city offers free containers. The Department of Sanitation in your town just may surprise you!

Here’s what to put in your new compost bin (it’s an easy equation):

Half green, half brown, a little water, a little air flow, and heat.

  • Green is your vegetable and green plant scraps, or your nitrogen: carrot peels, apple cores, lettuce scraps, pepper cores, orange peels, potato skins, celery tops, grass clippings.
  • Brown is your dead plant matter, or carbon: last fall’s leaves, deadheads and old twigs from your bushes, grass clippings that you let dry in the sun for a day or two.

The key is getting the mix right. Water the bin until the mix is moist like a sponge. Then make sure there are some air holes, put the lid on and let it heat up! If you have the mix right (the 50/50 split) it shouldn’t smell at all. If it does start to smell like ammonia, you’ve got too much green stuff. Add some brown.

(Note! Here’s what you should not put in the bin: No meat, no fats. No steak bones, or cheese rinds, or leftover bacon, or last night’s salad with blue cheese dressing).

Now that you’ve collected your bin, you can keep it right in your garden. The sun heats it up, and the good compost-making worms and bugs will crawl right in. When it’s time to harvest, just lift up the trash can, and that handy hole in the bottom lets the rich brown compost fall out! You can distribute the compost through your soil to increase its richness and feed our earth!

Composting is a great daily activity for you and the kids. It teaches the whole gang to be conscious of the earth and reinforces how even the littlest effort makes the biggest difference.

Liz Easterly writes StapletonMoms.com in Denver, where she keeps a little backyard garden and a $12 trash can compost bin that her two boys help care for. Ginger lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles, CA and loves working for Plum District.  Since starting composting a year ago, she feels a little better about doing her small part to leave a healthier planet behind for the next generation. 

Surviving the Family Road Trip

Family vacations don't have to be super stressful. In fact they can actually be fun!

ROAD

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” — Henry Miller

It’s spring break season and for many of us that means it’s time for a family road trip. Whether you’re packing up the mini-van and heading cross country to visit Grandma and Grandpa or finally taking that trip to Hawaii, traveling with little ones can be a challenge. To keep them from shouting, “Are we there yet?” every two minutes and actually using travel time to bond with your family, we’ve asked some of our road trip all-stars how they make it work.

Jill – San Diego

2 kids ages 10 and 13

Off-Road Adventure

 ”We took a two day road trip to Baja, Mexico, it was off-road for most of it! Six months later we did two and half days of airport travel from San Diego to Montevideo, Uruguay!”

Surf’s up!
“I actually believe kids need to know how to feel bored, and overcome it on their own. However, I put a big box between them of books, pens, paper, etc., and we listen to music, talk, play “old school” travel games…and sometimes….GASP…feel bored! In our family you aren’t allowed to use the word ‘bored’ because my husband says, ‘only boring people get bored.’”

 

Heather – Fishers, Indiana
4 kids – Kaitlyn (8), Sadie (6), Porter (4), and Logan (16 months)

Bag of Tricks

“We went 1,500 miles in three days once for a family reunion. I packed a Mary Poppins bag to take in the car. I bought two huge reusable bags and filled them with all kinds of activities — in gallon-sized Ziploc bags — to pull out every couple of hours!”

Heather’s ‘Mary Poppins’ Bag of Fun:


- dry erase board and dry erase markers
- pipe cleaners & instruction book
- chalk and construction paper
- Bingo sheets w/ stickers to mark them
- brand-new spiral notebook and crayons/colored pencils
- mazes, dot-to-dots
- joke books
- new coloring book & crayons
- “how to draw” books & blank paper
- books
- Custom CD mixes
- Portioned out snacks (goldfish, granola bars, juice boxes, suckers, etc.)

Tara — Atlanta, Georgia
3 kids ages 2,7 and 8

 

 

American Idol Car Edition

“To keep everyone entertained I sing. I’ll sing Lionel Richie, Green Day, Coldplay, Katy Perry, cartoon theme songs, show tunes — even The Brady Bunch! The kids like to ask questions about whether or not the song is ‘old people’s music.’ It works every time!

Shannon — Frederick, Maryland

3 kids ages 5, 7, and 10

Making Something Old New Again

“I pack each of the kids a bag of things that I have either purchased for the trip or things from the house that I don’t think they have played with in quite some time.  These include books from under their beds, games from the basement closet, a few easy crafts that I find in the dollar bins, snacks and drinks, car game books that I make from online printables and magazines to cut up.  They also LOVE to write on index cards so I buy a pack or two for them to use.”

Fun With Peeps

Orange County District Consultant Stephanie shares three great arts and crafts projects using Peeps

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A note from Stephanie: Peeps are the delicious and absolutely adorable marshmallow candies! You’ll be thrilled to create these easy crafts with your kids. I have surrounded my home with these tasty delights and I actually enjoy Peeps even more once they’ve sat out for a while, rather than fresh out of the box!

Peep Wine Charms

  • Tie a colorful string or thin ribbon onto the middle of a toothpick and insert through the center of a Peep chick or bunny.
  • Pull string through to the other side and tie a bow around the base of a wine or champagne glass.
  • Choose different shapes and colors for the most variety, depending on how many guests you will be entertaining.
  • Keep your eye on your Peep charm during your special celebration and never lose your glass!

Easter Tree decorated with Yellow Peeps

  • Find some dried branches on the ground around your neighborhood, or your own backyard.
  • Spray paint and let dry overnight, or keep au natural.
  • Arrange branches in a tall vase.
  • Prop colorful Peeps on the branches and decorate the table for added festive flair.

Peep Straws

  • Grab a box of Peep chicks or bunnies and insert a festive plastic straw through the center of the Peep – then wipe the straw clean with a damp paper towel.
  • Decorate your favorite plastic cups with these playful straws and set the kids table for sweet fun!

About Stephanie:

Stephanie is a Huntington Beach native and mother of two. She enjoys jazz music, wine, food, writing, reading, good times, and anything creative. 

Celebrate on Pinterest with Plum District!

Now we're sharing our inspirations on Pinterest too

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We decided at Plum District that it was time for us to get in on the action at Pinterest. This week we are kicking off our Celebrations theme on plumdistrict.com – great local offers that will help you plan any event. Our mom salesforce are now not only bringing you the best deals,  but now they are sharing their online finds and creativity. Check out our party inspiration boards to find ideas for boys’ and girls’ birthday parties, gifts, adult dinner parties, and more!