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Category Archives: green ideas, things & stuff

amazing discovery! how to hull a strawberry with a straw

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I saw this youtube video floating around that showed how to hull a strawberry with a straw. it really works!! I was amazed at how quick I could hull and clean up my strawberries.  I have these  great stainless steel straws from ecojarz that worked perfectly! I love stainless steel straws. I also have smoothie straws from ecojarz that are thicker that I would use for the strawberries if I wanted to stuff them with something. And this straw cleaner is a must have. It’s the best. The sturdiest and really cleans well. I use it for M’s sippy cup straws too 

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green baby: home made play dough!

this was so easy to make!! the recipe makes a very large batch, and I only had enough salt for one batch but wanted 4 colors! so instead of adding in one color of the food coloring like it indicated, I just made the recipe w/o food coloring. then I divided that cooked play dough into 4 separate bowls. I added a different color of food coloring to each bowl. I had the “market pantry” (target brand) 4 pack of food coloring. each bottle was .3 oz and I used the entire bottle. red, blue, green and an orange/yellow. now I don’t recommend doing this b/c you then need to knead the food coloring into the dough ball. needless to say my hands are still VERY stained! I have tried soap, vinegar and nail polish remover. the green food coloring is the only one that really stuck to my skin! and that was the third color I did out of the 4. WEIRD!!! once the 4 color doughs were mixed, I then divided each ball into two balls. so it was enough dough for two balls of each color. we are giving one set as a gift and the other to keep. it was very helpful that my cousin already made this recipe for us as a christmas gift so I knew the consistency to look for. kinda hard to explain but a good indication is when you are trying to stir and the dough just clumps up into a huge ball and sticks to the spoon. it is very soft a pliable.

Homemade Play Dough recipe from art nest

makes about 2.5 Cups

1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cups of salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 TB vegetable oil (I used sunflower seed oil)
1/2 TB cream of tarter (this is 3 tsp, now I want a 1/2 tbsp measuring spoon!)
*food coloring – I use the liquid kind

Mix all of the ingredients into a saucepan. Add the food coloring to your liking. – Children can help with this step

Adults only –
Set your stove top to medium-low (about a 2.5 on a glass top stove). Stand by the pan and stir occasionally. When the batter look is gone and the ingredients start staying together when you stir (5-8 minutes), remove the pan from the heat. Lay out some wax paper and scoop play dough onto the wax paper. I can usually start kneading right away, but make sure that you check the dough for heat – you don’t want to burn yourself!
Once the dough has been kneaded into a nice texture, place in an airtight container or zip lock. The snack sized zip locks work beautifully.

HOW TO: Recycle Holiday Cards Into Next Year’s Gift Tags

HOW TO: Recycle Holiday Cards Into Next Year’s Gift Tags

by Jennie Lyon, 12/26/10

posted at inhabitots

After the holidays have come and gone, you will be left with a huge stack of holiday cards and gift packaging, which usually get tossed into the trash or recycling bin. Instead, you can reuse both your holiday cards and gift packaging by upcycling them into next year’s gift tags. This is a super simple process that takes less than half an hour, leaving you with a cute stack of holiday tags to adorn next year’s gifts — and it’s a great activity to do with your kids. Won’t friends and family smile when they see their holiday card turn up as a gift tag on their gift next year? Read on to learn how to create these fun gift tags in a few easy steps.

Have your children collect all of the holiday cards that are displayed on your mantle and the gift packaging that’s stacked in the garage or left lingering under the Christmas tree.

To create the gift tags you’ll also need: A hole punch, scissors, a paper cutter, and twine

Have your children help you remove the colorful, decorative fronts of the holiday cards from the backs and cut off the parts of the gift packaging that you want to use.

Using your paper cutter, scissors, and a hole punch, your children can help you transform the front of the holiday cards and decorative parts of the gift packing into tag shapes

You and your child can write “To:” and “From:” on each tag, along with a holiday greeting. Then thread twine through the punched holes of each tag. Then, admire your work and pack them away in a safe spot until next year.

homemade sugar scrub

homemade sugar scrub. what a great idea!

nice to have a body/beauty product that is chemical free and that you know exactly what is in it. Plus making it yourself is significantly cheaper than buying a fancy chemical laden one at the store.

saw on the nest Green Living Board the following two recipes, I used the second one but changed some things up. it came out great! I just eyeballed the ingredients.

Lemon Sugar Scrub

2 1/2 cups of sugar

1 cup of extra virgin olive oil

4 tablespoons of lemon juice

peppermint vanilla salt scrub

  • Sea salt
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Vegetable glycerin, optional (usually about an ounce or so; it’s less expensive than oils and helps stretch your oil supply)
  • Vitamin E (about 1/2 tsp)(works as a preservative)
  • Organic vanilla extract (about 1.5 tsp)
  • Peppermint essential oil, organic if you prefer (20-30 drops)

Instead of grapeseed oil you can use unscented almond oil, sesame oil, or jojoba oil.  You can use olive oil, but the scent is difficult to mask.  You can either get a small bottle of vitamin E or just cut open and drain 2-3 vitamin E capsules.

for the sugar scrub I made, which I am calling Vanilla Cookie Sugar Scrub, I followed the peppermint vanilla salt scrub recipe above, but I used sugar instead of salt, grapeseed oil (super cheap at trader joes), vitamin e oil (also super cheap at TJ’s) and some regular old vanilla extract. Skipped the peppermint. I had everything but the vitamin e oil already hanging around my cabinets. I used about 2 1/2 cups sugar and maybe 1 1/2 cups grapeseed oil. I didn’t really measure anything. Just stirred it up until it looked right. Put it in half pint ball jars. It filled four. I wanted to get some decorative labels or something for it, but didn’t have time. Next time!

I found these links helpful and hope to try out the ideas/recipes:

http://www.marthastewart.com/article/natural-beauties-body-scrub?comments_page=4#conversation-container

http://www.marthastewart.com/article/natural-beauties – lots of ideas, not just body scrub.

http://spas.about.com/od/homesp1/a/bodyscrub.htm

http://beauty.about.com/od/skinflaws/ht/saltscrub.htm

http://fromnaturewithlove.com/recipe/default.asp

DIY Christmas Gifts

for the past million or so years, Chris and I give out something homemade. For awhile it was wine, which we love to make! Then one year it was cookies, last year peppermint bark and rolo pretzels (making those both again this year too!). But this year I tried something new for some of my female relatives – homemade sugar scrub! such a great idea. I might need to make these seven layer cookies next year. Doesn’t help that I am craving them like crazy, but the real kind from Brooklyn, not the kind here in Massachusetts.

Here are some other great ideas:
Top 10 – green, simple and frugal holiday gifts from Simplifying the Simple Life, I really like the Knit dishcloths and soap idea, as well as the Buckwheat heating pad idea.

Brown Eyed Baker has a nice list of Homemade Food Gift Ideas

I liked this link for the Best Hot Cocoa Mix

list found on the nest.com Green Living Board

Candy and Sweets

oreo truffles
salted caramels
espresso bark
bacon truffles
Hot Chocolate On A Stick
Slice-and-bake Cookie Dough
vanilla sugar
caramel, chocolate and/or white chocolate popcorn
homemade pancake/waffle mix with syrup
chai tea mix (or mexican hot chocolate )
jalepeno jelly
wine jelly
homemade biscotti w/ small gourmet coffee
cookie mix in a jar
cake in a mug (microwavable)
Cupcakes in Mason Jars (suitable for mailing) or Pie in Mason Jars
Apple Butter (Crock pot recipe)

Savory Foods

chutney or salsa
rosemary plants (get now, grow bigger)
homemade pasta sauces (canned? frozen?) w/ pasta
homemade dog treats
beer bread mix
Seasoning mixesMeat rubs

Paper and Crafty

photography cards
kid’s book-on-cd or tape read by you (with book) (use Audacity )
“best of” personal recipe book / Family cookbook
photo calendar (pics of family events, like birthdays, anniversaries/weddings, etc.)
homemade greeting cards
prepped scrapbook
personalized stationery
assorted printables

Alcohol

homemade Kahlua
Limoncello
Skittles Vodka
Blood Orange Vodka
Coffee Infused Vodka

Home Spa

Lotion Bars
body scrubs

Simple Sewing Projects

Purse Organizer
Lego-containing Playsak
embroidered/stamped pillow cases or tea towels
Felt Sphere Ornament
Bed Caddy
Silk Lavender Eye Pillows
Eyeglasses or Camera Case
Snuggie/ Slanket knock-off

I’m Green & Famous

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remember a few weeks ago when I blogged about the Orleans Farmers Market?! well I wound up on the cover of the home section of last Sunday’s (8/1/10) Cape Cod Times! check it out here. The article is really great too!!! I had no idea I would be in the photo. I thought the guy only took pics of the kids!

Cape Cod Times/Steve Heaslip

awesome BPA free food storage

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I just bought the rubbermaid BPA free premier line of food storage containers. you can get a 20 piece set at target for just $19.99. they are stain resistant and the lids snap together. see a full list of BPA free rubbermaid products here. my friend Laura recently got them and raves about them. so I am sure to love them!