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!

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“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!

A Note from Megan Gardner Regarding Digital Doorstep

As many of you know, Digital Doorstep, our merchant for our recent Starbucks/Fandango offer, had technical complications with providing e-gift card codes for Plum District customers. I want to start by apologizing for any inconvenience or disappointment this has caused you. Plum District’s goal as a company, and mine as CEO, is to always “Make Mom’s Day.” Clearly this offer has fallen short for our customers, and for that I am sincerely sorry.

As a result, we have worked tirelessly with the Digital Doorstep team to resolve the problem and we are relieved to report that there is a resolution. As of this evening, Digital Doorstep has assured us that all codes that have not yet been redeemed should be working now. This includes the codes that showed an “invalid code” error message or showed “already redeemed” when they were not. We have tested codes to verify this is in fact true. You should receive your e-gift cards as promised. We ask that if you are still experiencing an issue with your code, please contact help@plumdistrict.com so we can report any outstanding code issues to Digital Doorstep and provide you with a quick resolution.

We realize this is an inconvenience for our customers and for that we sincerely apologize. We have learned through this experience that we need to better qualify our merchant partners to ensure their ability to fully deliver a customer experience that meets our standards. At Plum District, we truly strive to delight each and every one of our customers. We take it personally when we do not meet that standard. It is our commitment to you that we will continue to strive to bring you great offers every day.

Sincerely,
Megan Gardner
CEO, Plum District

Plum District’s Solution to Last Minute Shopping – Print n’ Go Gifts!

Last minute shopping has never been so easy

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The hustle and bustle of the holidays has a certain charm, but it can also be annoying … finding a decent parking spot at the mall … wedging your way through isles at Target … waiting outside a store at 4am to get that in-demand gift … and finally running to Walgreens at midnight on Christmas Eve because you ran out of tape while wrapping the stocking stuffers. Oh, and who can forget that pesky budget you promised to stick to, but somehow those dollars just don’t go far enough.

Plum District gets it, because we have all been there. Our lists our expanding, our budgets are tightening, and the mall is just not seeming all that appealing when you have to load and unload three kids. So we present you with our solution to last minute shopping on a budget - Print n’ Go gifts! We are totally serious – just pick out a local experience, an online deal, or a much needed vacay, and 3 clicks later you can print out a giftable voucher. Stick your voucher in an envelope, attach a bow, and you are good to go! You look like a total champ, gave someone twice the value of what you spent, saved a bundle doing it, and never had to leave the house. Take that Santa!

Our challenge to you – shop last minute … it’s easy!

Check out this adorable comic strip series that Colleen from the Web Production team created!

By Colleen Smith

 

Find Your City, Find Your Code

Like your local Plum District Facebook page and claim a $5 promo code now and all week. Grab a new code every day Monday 12/4/11 through Friday 12/9/11. Just click on your city below to get started. Don’t see your city? Then click Everywhere to like our national Plum District page!

 

Here are the rules for using your code:

Offer valid until December 11th, 2011, 11:59p at plumdistrict.com only. Limited quantities available. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. Discount applies to Eligible Purchases (“Eligible Purchases”) which are active deals only; not applicable towards taxes or shipping. Not valid for cash or cash equivalent. Deals cannot be put on hold during offer period. All sales are final. Offer is not transferable or valid for resale. No price adjustments are allowed on previous purchases or on purchases made with this discount. Promotion code cannot be used by multiple people and is only valid for a single purchase per person. User may claim one code per day. Promo codes may not be stacked or combined. Only 1 promo code can be used per transaction.

Plummies Give Back

SF Home Team Helps Out SF Food Bank

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Tis the season to lend a helping hand, and the Plummies from the home office did just that by donating time at the San Francisco Food Bank this week.

Plummies packing food

Integrated Marketing Manager Melissa Shymko, Web Producer Kate Goepferd, and Sales Operations Manager Margaret Godsey are hard at work

In just under two hours, the team was able to help provide food to more than 5,000 people in the Bay Area. From sorting donated food to bagging rice, they spread a little good cheer to the community.

National Account Manager Graham Pickles labels and packs up rice that will feed hundreds of SF families

We know life gets busy (especially in December), but it’s always a treat to help those in need and reflect on our blessings. It’s a wonderful life! Happy holidays!