A few helpful tips on raising earth conscious kids
April 10th, 2012 | 9:42 AM
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.
Some of our favorite style picks in pastels we love
April 8th, 2012 | 12:25 AM
You don’t have to feel like an Easter egg in order to rock some fabulous spring shades. Soft hues of blue, yellow, lavender, and pink practically scream “So long, Winter!”, but too much pastel can be a candy-colored overload.
The key to any look? Moderation! O Magazine suggests that you try pastel accents in the form of accessories, or pair them with black or gray for a more contemporary look. Try sporting a soft, daffodil-colored T-shirt underneath your work blazer, or tuck a baby blue blouse into a sleek pair of charcoal trousers.
Love the idea of softening your look, but uncomfortable with deviating from your daily uniform? This season’s hottest make-up trends are actually cool! Pearly shades of pastel glosses, shadows, and polishes can give you a springy break from your regular makeup routine – without making you feel like a human jelly bean. Harper’s Bazaar recommends fun and flirty shades of pink for your lips and cheeks, while your eyes can have it all! Play around with bird’s egg blue, seafoam green, or peach. For a fun splash of multi-colored magic, try painting each of your nails a different shade of the pastel palette – a conversation starter that’s pretty and playful.
Family vacations don't have to be super stressful. In fact they can actually be fun!
April 7th, 2012 | 12:42 AM
“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
”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!”
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
- 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.”
Products that take care of your skin - and the planet!
April 6th, 2012 | 12:26 AM
Author Melissa Carlisle writes the blog www.MelissaStuff.com and is the mother to three boys who keep her constantly guessing about what new trouble they have discovered.
It’s that time of year . . . time to break your body out of hiding and to reintroduce your skin to the sun (and to everyone else!) But your skin isn’t ready for its close-up. Want to whip it into shape as quickly as possible but also use products that are easy on your skin and the environment? Check out some of our favorite skin care products!
Kiss My Face is one of the more established natural beauty product lines. The company creates products which are healthy, effective, environmentally friendly and economically friendly. They come in a variety of scents and products to pamper you from head to toe.
The Cream Perfume Company is known for using pure and naturally-derived oils and extracts in combination with French essential oils to combat dehydrated, sore, inflamed and damaged skin. Their products are certified to be vegan, wheat and gluten free, with no glycol and no animal testing. In addition, they smell great and don’t fade easily.
Nature’s Baby Organics products come in various scents to keep you and baby calm and happy. Made with the highest quality natural and organic ingredients to create a clean, soothing and luxurious experience, all products are allergist-approved. They contain no paraben, propylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate or synthetic fragrance. This company was started by a work-at-home-mom and all of her products are family-tested.
Earth Mama, Angel Baby uses only the highest-quality Certified Organic or organically-grown herbs and oils in their teas, bath herbs, gentle handmade soaps, salves, lotions and massage oils. Their products are 100% toxin-free, cruelty-free, and vegan, as well as free from all artificial preservatives, fragrances and dyes. These products smell great, but you do need to note that they are not tear free.
Don’t let Easter brunch take a bite out of your budget
April 5th, 2012 | 12:12 AM
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!
Avoid extra hyper kiddos and sugar surges with these tips for a sweet tooth free good time!
April 4th, 2012 | 7:05 AM
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:
- 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
- Character Band-Aids
- Mini bubble bottles
For Big Kids:
- Lego pieces
- Hair accessories
- Dollar bills
- Inflatable beach balls
- Temporary tattoos
- 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.
Orange County District Consultant Stephanie shares three great arts and crafts projects using Peeps
April 3rd, 2012 | 6:00 AM
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.
- 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!
Stephanie is a Huntington Beach native and mother of two. She enjoys jazz music, wine, food, writing, reading, good times, and anything creative.
Check out these stories from moms who have been down that dirty diaper road and have lived to tell the tale!
April 1st, 2012 | 10:25 PM
Like the children’s book proudly proclaims, “Everybody poops!” It just takes a lot of patience, smooth negotiating skills, and sometimes flat out bribery to get your little one to do it in the big kid toilet. Shannon Vetter, one of our moms in Washington, D.C. and Dallas momma, Melissa Carlisle, share their stories from the toilet trenches.
Shannon lives in Washington, D.C. and is mom to three kiddos.
I joke to friends and family that my greatest success as a parent has been potty training my children. We’re still working on putting our shoes away, not interrupting one another at the dinner table, and getting to bed on time, but potty training was a breeze!
Consistency is the key to potty training success. My first daughter was nearly two when we began training her and I was blessed to have a daycare provider who maintained the same routine during the day that I was following at home. She was trained in about two weeks.
My youngest, our only son, was born when my younger daughter was 21 months old. During my pregnancy, everyone, friends and strangers alike, would say that I was going to have such a time with two in diapers. I took my daughter shopping for big girl panties when she was 18 months old one morning while her big sister was in preschool. She was so proud of them that she carried them into school to show her sister. Once we got home, she put them on and wore them for the rest of the afternoon. I had her sit on the potty, the actual toilet with a child’s seat, every thirty minutes just to be safe. We had books to read, a magnetic board to write on, and lots of stickers. We also had a line of M&Ms on the windowsill. Every three stickers earned an M&M. At naptime, I did insist that she wear a diaper and so we put the underwear over the diaper. We did this for a week and she never looked back. She was completely trained, nighttime too, at nineteen months.
My son and I followed the same routine. He and I bought his “big boy underwears” while the middle one was in preschool. He couldn’t wait to open the packaging and he couldn’t wait to carry them into school when we picked his sister. He immediately put them on and we started the cycle of trying every thirty minutes. He insisted on standing right from the start so that is what he did, on a stool, just like a big boy. He proudly put his stickers on everything he owned, his shirt, his cars, his swing set in the back yard and even his closet door. The M&Ms worked like a charm and even let us practice counting to three. He was 28 months old when I changed his last diaper.
Melissa lives in Dallas and is mom to three boys.
Potty training in my house has been a challenge for both of my oldest boys (in completely different ways!) and we haven’t even started with the youngest one.
My oldest had constipation issues. I went through all kinds of craziness trying to help him, like literally laying him down in the floor and pushing his legs back to try to help him go! (Crazy stuff you never think you’ll do until you’re actually a moms and doing them!) We finally discovered that milk and dairy were huge contributing factors and we cut them out until AFTER he went poop. It was like magic. He wanted his milk so badly he was willing to sit and try as long as needed just so he could have them.
The second child is only 17 months younger and was the polar opposite. I though he would be a breeze because he would want to be just like his brother but NO WAY! He didn’t care about being wet or poopy. He didn’t want to sit on the toilet, and no reward made him feel differently. Even when we were on a roll and he had pottied successfully several times in a row, we would go to someone else’s house or he would stay with my parents and completely revert. I can’t begin to tell you how many accidents we had with him. Finally, I just had to bite the bullet and put him in underwear all the time and just clean up after him. He didn’t like making a mess of his clothes so it was the only motivation we could find that worked for him.
I’m a bit afraid at this point of starting with my third, but in the end the other two did successfully potty train – and honestly those diapers get so gross that potty training is not an option, it’s an absolute necessity.
Now we're sharing our inspirations on Pinterest too
February 19th, 2012 | 2:37 PM
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!
We are giving back 10% of deals to organizations in your community
February 10th, 2012 | 5:07 PM
As a mom of three kids, I know first hand how important Moms are in the community – especially when it comes to fundraising for all of the organizations our kids and families are involved with. Moms are the glue that holds communities together.
I also know that being able to multi task is key to my survival. Now Plum District is offering me an opportunity to not only treat myself, with great products and inspirations I want, but an easy way to give back to my local community.
Coming soon, every Friday Plum District local markets are going to feature amazing deals at local businesses that give 10% of the net proceeds to a school, non-profit, or organization in your local community.
It’s easy for you to participate –as a mom, business, or organization. If you are interested in getting involved just email us at email@example.com and we will put you in touch with a District Consultant in your local market that will help pair your organization with a local business (or vice versa). She will even provide you the tools needed to spread the word about the fundraising effort!
Our goal at Plum District is to make Mom’s day by offering great values for you and your family. And now we are helping you make the day for those in your community!