Fig Sugar Body Scrub

Sugar scrup label photoAs you all know by now, I have a plethora of figs in the fall.  We can’t eat them fast enough or give them away enough!  And there is only so much fig jam I can eat, so I experimented with a variety of basic sugar scrubs adding in figs and came up with what I like to think is the perfect recipe!  I won’t give the secret recipe away but it only has three ingredients.  Figs, sugar and vanilla extract.  Yep, that’s it!  It’s the ratios and amounts that make all the difference and turn it into the perfect texture of a sugar scrub that smells amazing.

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Trash to Treasure

I was very excited to hear that our daughter’s Kindergarten teacher gave the children a “Trash to Treasure” project for Earth Day.  She gave about two weeks notice (awesome!) which allowed us to think about alot of potential projects.  The problem was narrowing it down.  Here are some of the ideas we initially considered:

Cup holder from large yogurt container
Magazine holder from cereal box
Nature wreath from things found outside with cardboard box backing
Flowers and other decorations made out of recycled boxes and paper
Purse made out of recycled containers
Garden irrigation system from soda and milk bottles
Handmade cards from recycled items around the house (boxes, mail packaging, etc.)
and more…

She finally got pretty excited over the pencil/crayon/marker holder idea.  Here she is with her three recycled items: a cardboard scrap from old box, cereal box, an old 2009 calendar that I had kept for the pretty pictures (we often use old calendars to make envelopes from or decorate things with).

Here she is marking the cereal box with a ruler to know where to cut.  We used one cereal box for all 3 pencil holders (and recycled the scraps of course!).

She was a little too excited to use big scissors (first time!) but the little kid scissors didn’t work very well on the cereal box.  Needless to say there was a lot of parental supervision on this part of the project to ensure all fingers remained intact!

Maybe it’s because kids just love Christmas so much but this Christmas scene for the month of December from the old calendar was the first picture she picked.

She is starting to see her project take shape and is getting pretty excited about it and telling me how she is going to make one for everyone she knows for Christmas this year or for their birthday or “maybe you know, just because they are my friend”.

Posing with her completed “Trash to Treasure” project.  Very happy recycler indeed!

Do you have any fun “Trash to Treasure” projects to share?  Let me know!

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Christmas Recycling

WAIT!  Don’t put all that torn wrapping paper and old Christmas cards you got this holiday season in the trash or recycle bin!

There are a variety of things you can do with all your post Christmas “trash” like Christmas cards, ripped wrapping paper, torn gift boxes, and used ribbons.  Here are some ideas:

Make Gift Tags From Christmas Cards

I take Christmas cards I receive from people, cut out the pretty images from the front cover and hold punch it, tie an old ribbon from past gifts around it and tie it onto a gift.  Or sometimes I skip the hole punch and ribbon and just fold the cut image and tape the back of it to the gift, (esp. if I run out of used ribbon).  Here are some examples of gift tags made from Christmas cards I’ve received.

Make Notebooks or Scrap Paper Pads from Wrapping Paper Remnants

I took the remnants of torn wrapping paper from the post-Christmas gift opening extravaganza and cut them up into 4 inch or so squares.  Then I took some bruised up gift boxes that would never be able to close again without many feet of tape, and I cut them up into long strips that I then folded over and covered in large wrapping paper remnants with glue.  One staple at the bottom is all it took to then attach the wrapping paper scraps to the “matchbox” style cover and voila! You now have a little scrap pad to keep by the phone, in your purse, car, etc.  I will warn you, wrapping paper is a bit slippery so it’s tough to write on it with pencil, but pen works just fine.

What I love about these ideas are that they are green and frugal!   Why buy gift tags or notepads, even if cheaply at the dollar store, when you can get them completely free from what you’d otherwise throw in the trash or recycle bin?  What green and frugal ideas do you have with holiday “remnants”?  I’m sure there are tons of other things out there you can do, so please share if you come across any!

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Happy Anniversary!

So it’s our 12 year wedding anniversary this week!  It feels like only 2 years but somehow we have reached 12 years of marital bliss, with some downs and challenges thrown in there too.  But our marital bliss or the ups and downs of the last 12 years is not what this blog is about…it’s about living green day by day, right?  So what does a wedding anniversary have to do with living green?  In my opinion…alot!

You see, part of living green day by day is being aware of what the impact is of even the simplest things in your life.  So for wedding anniversary gifts, which often include a cheesy card that would make your kids barf and perhaps some flowers or even jewelry, I can’t help but think of the impact of those anniversary gifts.  The card is made of paper, which usually is made of trees (or sugarcane or other plant material), and unless it is FSC certified or made of 100% recycled paper, it has an impact, right?  What about the dyes used for the ink?  If it’s made of soy-based ink, not too bad, right?  Then you get into the whole money thing–now I’m not a cheapskate (ok, yes I am, I admit it!), but paying $3 or $4 or even more for a card that someone looks at for a few minutes, maybe displays on a table for a few days, and then throws away (or recycles hopefully!), I find it a complete waste of money and resources.  I’d rather get a handwritten poem — written on scrap paper of course 🙂 — or a funny card made from scratch with something silly on it.  Or bake me something delicious with chocolate or make me a wonderful handmade cappuccino with love poured all over it.  But that’s just me…or is it?

As for flowers, sure they are pretty, but please, pick some from my garden and bring them in for me.  Even better, how about you weed the garden for me as my anniversary gift?  Just whatever you do, please don’t buy flowers that are obviously dyed to be more “vibrant” or flowers from a store who imports them from across an ocean.  It makes me jittery just thinking about the carbon impact of transporting those flowers all around the globe.  And are they sustainably grown?  There is no FSC equivalent for flowers like there is for paper that I’m aware of…anyone know of any label or “certification” for fair trade or sustainably grown flowers like there is for veggies?  There are still transportation CO2 emissions associated with however “good” they are labeled.

And jewelry…ah yes a very common gift from husbands to their wives for anniversaries and other occasions.  I love rocks, but they usually consist of the kind I find in my backyard or at the beach or on a hike in the Shenandoah Mountains.  Please don’t give me a diamond harvested from a country that is poor and exploits its workers.  Why should people have to die to give us diamonds?  I have a diamond…my engagement ring…but other than that, please no diamonds as I can’t bear the thought of someone dying so that I can have something sparkly and shiny.  I’ll just clean my handmade glass vase from a local artisan if I want to look at something sparkly and shiny, thank you very much.

So on my 12th wedding anniversary, why am I feeling like the luckiest woman in the world!  Because I was given a cute card with hearts on it?  Because I was offered flowers shipped from overseas?  Because I was surprised with a little velvet box of some shiny diamonds?  No.  Not at all.

I am the luckiest woman in the world because I have a husband who, while not exactly the most “green” person I know, knows me well enough that he is ok with spending our anniversary hanging out and enjoying our time together as “enough” of an anniversary present.  He gave me time and laughter.  And that is the best gift of all.

And when he does get me an anniversary gift, it is something like this for our 10th wedding anniversary (10 year “traditional gift” is aluminum):

Yes, those are roses that he handmade out of aluminum foil, in my old glass vase, with green fake grass from who knows how many years ago from an Easter basket that I reuse every year.  Foil and  plastic Easter grass is so not “green” in and of itself, but these “flowers” have been sitting on my kitchen windowsill for 2 years now.  Well, they haven’t been just sitting there.  They have been serving a very important purpose…as a drying rack for plastic bags that I wash and reuse.  🙂

So what’s the best “green” gift you have ever received?  Was it an actual item, or an experience?  A day spent together?  Our best memories aren’t the things we receive, but rather the experiences, the laughs, and the time with those special people in our lives.  And for that I am truly grateful for the wonderful memories my husband has shared with me over the last 12 years.

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