Teaching Your Child to Love The Planet

A few helpful tips on raising earth conscious kids

blog2

Spring is here! It’s time to kick the kids off the couch and commune with nature! Teaching your children about the environment doesn’t have to feel like a lecture series. Make learning about our big, beautiful planet fun and exciting with these easy and cost-effective outdoor activities.

Get a Green Thumb: Planting flowers and trees allows children to beautify their yard with splashes of vibrant color. Picking out seeds is half the fun and kids will love getting to help decide what to plant. After sowing the seeds, kids will see that with a little water and patience they can sprout a beautiful bouquet of blooms and food. Planting herbs and vegetables shows children how to contribute to the dinner table and save some greenbacks!

 


Take a Walk: Get exercise while simultaneously discovering the many wonders of the natural world with your family. Whether it’s a state park trail, a beach, or even your subdivision, pick a serene setting where you can stroll and discuss a variety of environmental topics. Explain how to recycling, why we don’t litter, or something as awesome as how bees help flowers multiply. Having a beautiful backdrop for these conversations illustrates why making smart, “green” choices is so important.

 


Read a Book: The library is a great resource that many of us forget to tap into. At your local branch, you’ll find a multitude of books (and even some e-books for on-the-go reading) to help illustrate eco-friendly ideas. Check out your books or read them aloud with your kiddo. The best part? The card is free, the books are free (if you get them back in time!), and you’re reducing your footprint by sharing books instead of buying your own!

Regardless of your teaching methods, these experiences will give your children a greater appreciation for their environment and their eco-friendly mama!

Leneille Brathwaite lives in Atlanta and is a mother of one adorable 1-year-old. She’s a mom on a mission to stay on budget but still have fun.

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.”

Under $30 – Easter Brunch for 8

Don’t let Easter brunch take a bite out of your budget

Easter Brunch for Under $30

There are endless wallet-friendly recipes you could make for Easter brunch, and the most befitting ingredient is obviously eggs. You need a solid meal between tearing through the Easter egg baskets and waiting for the Easter egg hunt to begin. Have some fun by making dishes that the kids can pitch in with, but keep the cleanup minimal by going for a “one pot” approach. Forget made-to-order eggs, here is an easy family-style brunch for under $30.

The Main Dish: Egg & Chorizo (or Soyrizo) Casserole

Cost of ingredients: $12

  • 1 dozen eggs
  • 12 oz chorizo or Soyrizo, crumbled
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 3 oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 12 oz pre-shredded hash browns
  • 1 small container of sour cream
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat eggs in large bowl and combine with bell pepper (or any vegetable you like), milk, pepper jack cheese and Soyrizo or chorizo. (Soyrizo is a delicious vegetarian alternative to chorizo available at all Trader Joe’s for about $4.) Evenly scatter hash browns in bottom of greased 9×13-inch rectangular casserole dish and pour egg mixture over them. Bake for 45 minutes until eggs are set and sprinkle remaining cheddar cheese on top. Bake for additional 15 minutes or until cheese has melted. Great garnished with a dollop of sour cream or your favorite hot sauce. You’ll love the crispy potato crust on the bottom.

Something Sweet: Ooey Gooey Monkey … err … Bunny Bread

Cost of ingredients: $10

  • 2 cans of pre-made buttermilk biscuits
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 sticks of butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour the granulated sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl and remove the biscuit dough from the cans. Separate each biscuit into four pieces and roll into balls (this is a great job for the kids). Place all of the dough balls in the bowl and use your hands to coat them in sugar. Add more granulated sugar if necessary. Arrange the dough balls and pecans in a greased Bundt pan, making sure nuts are evenly distributed. Combine melted butter and brown sugar in a bowl and pour mixture over the dough. Bake for 30 minutes and let cool. Remove from pan and place in center of table. Kids have so much fun pulling apart the sticky sweet monkey bread.

*This meal is about 8 adult servings.

TIp: Use your remaining budget to buy some fresh fruit to slice up, or sneak a bottle of champagne for the grownups!

 

 

 

The Candy-Free Easter Egg Hunt

Avoid extra hyper kiddos and sugar surges with these tips for a sweet tooth free good time!

Easter

Sometimes it feels like the holidays have become synonymous with candy. Every month there’s a new celebration that leaves your overflowing pantry with chocolates, lollipops, and other irresistible treats. With Easter Sunday comes jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and Cadbury eggs (not to mention Grandma’s famous sugar cookies)!

Our Indiana-based District Consultant Heather has some great ideas on keeping the cavities at bay, but still keeping the festivities fun during your family’s annual Easter egg hunt.

“I color-code some of the eggs so each child gets their designated surprises,” she explains. “ For example, my daughter Kaitlyn gets to find all of the purple eggs this year!”

This tactic helps keep things fair on the playing field and lets you plan out appropriate surprises for each age group.

Trying to cut out some of the sugar-crashes and chocolate smudges this year? Well just say “no” to the traditional Bunny delivery, and say “hello” to candy-free Easter egg hunt. Here are some fun, non-candy items to hide inside plastic Easter eggs for all ages. Bonus tip: Have your kids help decorate the plastic eggs with colorful markers or puff paint before you stuff them with goodies.

For Baby Hunters under the age of 3:
- Goldfish
- Cheerios/Fruit Loops
- Animal Crackers
- Mini-plush animals

For Little Bunnies ages 3-6:
- Pennies and coins
- Bouncy balls
- Puzzle pieces hidden among a bunch of different eggs
- Stickers
- Character Band-Aids
- Play-Doh
- Mini bubble bottles

For Big Kids:
- Lego pieces
- Hair accessories
- Jewelry
- Dollar bills
- Inflatable beach balls
- Temporary tattoos
- Gum

For everyone:
- Family coupons which can be redeemed for bigger prizes (like a family night out to the movies, a book, or a Barbie)
- Real eggs – Hard boil and decorate some real eggs the night before and have everyone help paint them. The kids will love finding the eggs they helped decorate.

What non-candy items do you plan on including in your Easter egg hunt this year? Let us know.

Fun With Peeps

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

peeps (1)

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

pinterest_boybirthday

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!