We all know the earth feeds our families, but we can feed the earth too. Read today's post to learn how!
April 22nd, 2012 | 10:35 AM
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.
Even Mom can appreciate a great shoppertunity!
April 20th, 2012 | 10:22 AM
With Mother’s Day less than a month away, we want to give shoppers some creative and shoppertunistc ideas for gifts for Mom. We will also be doing a giveaway a day starting today through April 30th. For details of how to win be sure to follow our Facebook page. Continuing through May we have an amazing month of offers lined up for Mom. Yep – that’s right, a whole month!
Looking to get ahead of the game on your Mother’s Day shopping? Check out these great offers!
Some of our moms' favorite picks for Mother's Day
April 19th, 2012 | 12:01 AM
Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and we thought inquiring gift-buyers might want to know what Mom really wants for Mother’s Day. Plum District polled our District Consultants to find out what they were hoping to unwrap on May 13th and created our Ultimate Gift Guide. Purchasers beware – mom has great taste!
Sustainable fashion designers to watch in 2012!
April 18th, 2012 | 2:28 PM
“Earth-friendly fashion” isn’t just about hemp pants and organic cotton T-shirts. In fact, you can make a big impact on your wardrobe while minimizing your carbon footprint – and still be the chicest chick in town. Sustainable practices like recycling, composting, and energy conservation have become easier to implement in the average American household, and sustainability can be fashion-forward, too. Apparel and accessory designers have caught “green fever”, and some of the hottest fashion trends of 2012 exhibit conscientious design.
The clothing of Indigenous is a beautiful blend of form and eco-friendly function. It’s made with fair-trade materials that are hand knit or hand woven by artisan workers in South America. Materials include organic cotton, natural fibers like Merino wool, and dyes that are free of harmful chemicals. From flowing drape dresses to intricately detailed pullovers and coats, the clothing from Indigenous is naturally chic!
Ever stare into the cluttered backseat of your car or the void of crumpled paper that is your giant Mom purse and just sigh, defeated by your accidental collection of stray receipts, candy wrappers, and to-do lists? Ecoist has majorly upgraded that trash into treasure, with their line of adorably quirky jewelry and handbags that are made from recycled materials like food packages, newspapers, and soda tabs. Their soda tab jewelry looks like modern chain mail, perfect for Moms who love a little cosmopolitan polish. Colorful candy wrapper clutches add a rainbow burst to any outfit!
Designer Jeff Garner is blending old-world aesthetic and modern sensibilities with his line, Prophetik. Inspired by the fiercely feminine gowns of the Civil War era, Garner creates flirty dresses with sleek lines and billowing accents, contradictory details that just…work. Even better? All materials and processes are eco-friendly, from the organic dyes to the fleece made from recycled bottles. Celebs are scrambling to get their hands on one of Garner’s gowns, and it’s no wonder – slip one over your head and you’ll truly feel like a natural woman.
An all natural recipe for achieving that hip Earth-loving t-shirt
April 17th, 2012 | 1:26 PM
In honor of Earth Day (April 22nd), here’s an easy, step-by-step “how-to” on tie-dyeing – the natural way. Your kids will love this activity, especially when they see how kitchen ingredients can be used to make fun and cool-looking t-shirt designs.
Now, there are articles out there that recommend using blueberry juice concentrate or beet juice as natural dyes; however, these juices are not strong enough to leave clear patterns and vivid color (and don’t waste your time trying – I’ve already attempted with these two!). Turmeric – that oh-so-tasty spice – is the tried and true ingredient.
For a bright and cheerful yellow tie-dyed shirt (perfect for spring!), you will need the following:
To prepare your shirt for dyeing:
- 1 cup of white vinegar
- 6 cups of water
- 4 tablespoons of turmeric
- 6 cups of water
- 1 white t-shirt
- 8-10 rubber bands (I used hair bands, which worked just fine)
1) Lay the t-shirt on a flat surface and roll it up
2) Place rubber bands along the rolled-up shirt
3) In a medium-sized stock pot, bring the water and vinegar to a simmer
4) Add the shirt and simmer for 30 minutes.
5) Pour out water and vinegar; remove shirt and place in a bowl of cold water
6) In the medium-sized stock pot, bring water and turmeric to a simmer
7) Squeeze the water out of the shirt and add the shirt to the simmering water and turmeric
8) Simmer the shirt for 1 hour and then turn off the heat and let the liquid come to room temperature
9) Remove the shirt and rinse it under cold water until the water runs clear
10) Let the shirt hang dry
And that’s it! Let your kids enjoy their homemade, tie-dyed shirts and feel good knowing that they’re synthetic-free and eco-friendly.
Saturday we gave back a little to our Earth and our beautiful city
April 16th, 2012 | 12:31 PM
In the spirit of Earth Day a few of us Plummies volunteered for The Natural Areas Program at Golden Gate Park. We woke up and drove to the park on this gloriously sunny Saturday morning and were greeted cheerfully by our enthusiastic and very knowledgable gardner Dylan. Dylan told us that we would be working on an area of the park called Oak Grove. He explained to us the history of Oak Grove and how he and the team at Golden Gate Park work in coordination with volunteers to restore indigenous plant life to areas of the park.
As we walked through the area, Dylan would point out rare and locally specific plants that none of us had ever heard of or realized were specific to the San Francisco area. We were quickly tasked with helping promote the growth of these plans. We put on some gloves and began working away and weeding anything that might prohibit the growth of these plants. For Maggie, Sasha and myself this was a couple hours on our Saturday well spent. It was really amazing to help contribute to beautifying such a robust little ecosystem in our big city.
Help celebrate Earth by organizing a work or family event and spend a couple hours giving back to our beautiful planet! Try searching the National Park Service or contacting your local recreation department.
Go Green and Clean!
April 14th, 2012 | 9:25 AM
Deb Clem offers her advise and easy recipes for keeping your home dirt and germ free using eco-friendly cleaners.
A few years ago in a bold and crazy move, I got rid of all the toxic cleaning products in my home. My motivation to go green was prompted by the knowledge that we were breathing chemicals all day long and it wasn’t good for me or my daughter Rosie’s asthma. I fondly said goodbye to the scrubbing bubbles and set out to find a better way to clean.
I’ve probably tried every “Green” cleaner out there (and yes, I put that in quotes for a reason. Some aren’t good for the environment at all). I really like the Seventh Generation line and some of the Melaleuca products, but at the end of the day, many green products are pretty pricey. Once I discovered that most have one magic ingredient, I decided to make my own.
Essentially, it’s easy (and cheap) to make an effective hard surface cleaner. Vinegar is the base, and no, it doesn’t smell great, but with a little essential oil you can customize your cleaner and mask the smell of vinegar. Here’s the recipe:
2 cups white distilled vinegar
2 cups water
20-30 or more drops of essential oil (I like lemon but rosemary is delightful too).
You can also make your own furniture polish that’s 100% safe for the environment – no more toxic fumes from the Pledge bottle.
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
20-30 drops lemon essential oil
Because this mixture contains oil, you have to be sure to shake it before using.
I will confess that I still have some store-bought products around. There aren’t enough hours in the day for me to make it all! Two of my favorites that work well are the Method scrub and Simple Green all-purpose cleaner. Both clean well, smell great and are better for the environment.
The one thing I can’t give up? Toilet cleaner. I still haven’t found a way to get the bowls sparkly bright without a few toxins. Oh well. I’m trying!
Easy and delicious for the whole family
April 13th, 2012 | 12:18 AM
Here’s a GREAT Mom dish brought to you by Las Vegas District Consultant, Maria Oakes! It’s quick, easy, tasty and healthy – all things we moms look for in every meal we make!
Pick any Taverna, Cafe, or restaurant anywhere in all of Greece and you will find a “Horiatiki” salad on every menu. The Greek-style salad is a staple in Maria’s home. It can be served as a side dish when you’re missing that healthy extra- oomph or even as a meal in itself! Prep time is just about 5 minutes….literally as long as takes to cut the vegetables and drizzle the Olive Oil.
- Tomatoes (as close to home grown as you can, is the best)
- English Cucumbers preferably (but other Cucumbers work just as well)
- Red Onions give the most flavor (but white or even green are great in a pinch too)
- Green peppers (or get crazy and throw in yellow, orange or red too)
- Kalamata olives (or whatever olive you might fancy)
- Feta Cheese – the favorite is FRENCH Feta (shhh, don’t tell the family)- mainly because it’s creamier and doesn’t have the bite that some of the others have!
- Freshly baked bread- French Loaf, Baguette or Italian Round all work great!
- Simply chop your veggies up to bite size pieces
- Drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil (yes, always Extra Virgin – you can find some that are very tasty AND inexpensive)
- Season with salt, pepper and Oregano to taste
Reduce, reuse, recycle your way to greener living
April 12th, 2012 | 12:01 AM
I don’t just tell my kids to “reduce, reuse and recycle,” I get them involved so they understand how to do it. Reducing the amount of trash that we all create, reusing items as much as possible, and filling the recycling bins with anything and everything recyclable are important steps to living greener. There are many ways for your family to help protect the environment from unnecessary waste — here are three easy tips that have been successful for us.
Carrying a lunchbox is a great way for kids to reduce and reuse.
I cringe when I think of all the brown paper lunch bags that I threw away from elementary through high school. Not only do my kids take lunchboxes each day, their sandwiches, fruit, crunchies and drinks are packaged in reusable containers. The goal is to create as little garbage as possible. Much of the time they have no trash after lunch — with the exception of their napkins (if they even use them).
Keeping reusable grocery bags in your car will force you to remember them.
At this point we own about 20. Whenever I go on a big grocery trip, I unpack everything and put them right back in my car. Most of them are in my car and a few are in my husband’s. This way we have them available whenever we run into the market. It’s become so normal for us that my kids will remind me if we start to walk into the store without them.
Recycling is one of the most important green living lessons to teach your kids.
We are fortunate to have recycling picked up from our neighborhood every other week. My kids know what goes in the recycling bins (we have three) and what goes in the trash. They will even correct me if they see something in the garbage that doesn’t belong there. One of my son’s responsibilities, at age 5, is to transfer the kitchen recycling out to the big bins in the garage. When we are out and have to drink from disposable bottles or cans, we will take them home if can’t find a place to recycle them in public.
Shannon Vetter is a mother from Frederick, Maryland. She has two daughters ages 10 and 7, and one 5-year-old son.
Skincare Tips from Plum District's Experts - Our Moms!
April 11th, 2012 | 3:06 PM
Ah, post-winter skin. That pastiness! That flakiness! That general ickiness! After a few months bracing harsh winds and soppy snow, your face could use some major TLC. Of course, year-round skin care is a vital part of maintaining a healthy complexion. We chatted with some of Plum District’s trusted network of Moms to get their tips for healthy, gorgeous skin for the whole family.
Melissa Carlisle – (District Consultant – Dallas)
My biggest skin secret is to exfoliate, wash and moisturize. Yes, ma’am, the exact same advice your mother probably gave you as a 12 or 13-year-old girl. But the truth of it is, there’s a reason for each step. When you skip a step, your skin pays the consequences.
Deb Clem – (Regional Manager – Kansas City)
I grew up in the 80′s when it was still cool to slather on the baby oil and bake in the sun. My mom always made us wear sunblock when we played tennis (which was so uncool) but I thank her now as my 40-something year-old mommy skin looks great. I wear SPF every single day and as the sun’s rays get warmer in the spring, I make sure that we’re all covered and that there’s plenty in my tennis bag. My other tip for great skin: water. Nothing gives you a springtime glow better than hydration.
Shannon Vetter – (District Consultant, Frederick, MD)
Springtime can be a difficult and deceiving time for us moms to adequately protect our kids from the sun. It can be cool and breezy and still the sun can do damage to our kids’ skin. My second daughter is so fair, with pale skin, blue eyes, blond hair (the kind we pay for with BIG bucks!) and freckles. I always think of her as the barometer for the five of us. If I adequately protect her, then we are all fine. I put Neutrogena face 70 SPF sunscreen on everyone including myself.
I always use the lotion, rather than the spray. I think that the sprays create a lot of waste. It takes a bit more time to slather up the kids with the lotion, but then I know they are covered and protected…at least for the next two hours when I need to re-apply!