Monday, June 20, 2016

WYCD's Mommy Monday: Green Summer Fun with the Kids

Hey All!  

Associate producer Missy here - like many of you I have a little one at home to entertain during the summer months. There are so many options for fun, but sometimes projects can be expensive or resource heavy. This summer my little guy and I are going to try to keep things simple and eco-friendly. Here is a list of some of the things we are planning to do. 

One of the succulent gardens I have made.
Hiking - My little guy loves going on adventures. So we will strap on our backpack and take some short rides up to the hills. A quick hike to check out the scenery and get some exercise is a must for this summer. We will pack a lunch and enjoy the outdoors. And we always make sure to dispose of/carry out our trash when spending time outside.

My son and dog in our bike trailer.
Succulent Gardens - I love having collections of potted succulent gardens placed all over my backyard. Putting various types of succulents together is a simple and fun backyard activity. My favorites are Hens-and-Chicks, Jade and Christmas Cactus.  Succulents are easy to maintain, drought resistant and look good all summer long.  Check your local garden center for these beautiful plants.


Bike to the Farmers Market - Biking is such a great eco-friendly way to get around and my son LOVES riding in his bike trailer. (My dog is still on the fence...)

U-Pick Veggie Stands - These types of farms are so much fun for kids and make a great outing for the day.  Make sure to eat your pickings quickly so nothing goes to waste and always remember to wear sunscreen and hats when you are out picking in a field.

Water Play  - My son adores being out in the hot sun and playing with water. I don’t mind him using water to cool off on hot days, but we try to conserve water by playing with our water table and small buckets instead of running sprinklers continuously.  

Fun Learning at the Library - Visiting your local library is a great way to find new books to read during the summer (and escape the heat without having to run your AC at home). Many libraries offer kids story time or other fun events - check out the calendar at your area library.  

Homemade popsicles made with
plums that I got at the Farmers Market 
Eco-friendly DIY projects:  I really want to make a DIY outdoor play kitchen for my little guy. I will be on the look out for old furniture that I can repurpose for some outdoor fun.

Inspiration for a kid's back yard kitchen.
Homemade Popsicles - Making your own delicious popsicles is a great way to avoid plastic packaging that goes directly into landfills. Consider making these with those farm fresh fruits that you just picked yourself!  

Backyard Camping - What could be more fun than putting up a tent in your own backyard? Save energy and money on gas by having a staycation.

Meatless Monday - Simple and easy. We plan on grilling up a ton of veggies from our garden this summer.  I also adore this delicious Meatless Monday recipe from the blog Two Peas and Their Pod, check it out here:  http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/black-bean-and-quinoa-enchilada-bake/

Backyard Picnics - Eating outside is a fun way to keep meal time entertaining with little ones. Pack food in reusable containers to avoid single use items which go directly into landfills (or use dishes from your home if staying in your own backyard).

My paper towel roll.
Parting with Paper-towels - My goal for the summer is to use less and less paper towels. I have plenty of cloth dishtowels, and just need to start putting it into practice. This summer is a great time to break my paper towel habit.

Recycled Crafts - My son loves to draw on things, rip things apart, paint on things etc. Using old cardboard boxes and junk mail is a great way for him to have fun and be creative without having to buy new paper.

Whew! As we can see I have great aspirations for a busy and fun filled summer. We will see how many of these things we actually get to do. Comment below and tell us your plans for the summer and how you will keep it fun and green!

Cheers!

Mama Missy

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

National Parks Week and Earth Day!



This week is not only National Park Week but Friday is Earth Day.  All this week and weekend are great times to take advantage of the great outdoors.  

You can find fun Earth Day Events in your area with a quick online search, or try to make it to your local national park.

Here are some other fun ideas to help you celebrate our Mother Earth and all she has to offer:


Adding some flowers in your
veggie garden helps feed your local bees.
1. Channel Your Inner Green Thumb: Plant your home / indoor gardens this weekend.  If you live in a place where you will no longer have frost, consider planting your summer veggie garden.  In addition to veggies add some flowers in the beds or pots to add a pop of beautiful color and to help attract and feed bees.

2.  Support Our National Parks: If you can’t get outdoors this week/weekend consider making a donation to the National Park Service in honor of their 100th birthday!  The NPS currently has two major campaigns going on to support the Yosemite Conservancy and the Grand Teton National Park foundation. Go to their website to learn more about how you can give back to our National Parks:
https://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/donate.htmThroughout National Park Week (April 16–24) every national park will have free admission.


Use those old pine cones!
3.  Get Crafty: Consider doing some fun craft projects with your kiddos! For the little ones why not try making homemade bird feeders out of pine cones, peanut butter and bird seed. This is a fun easy project and can help attract beautiful birds to your yard. Check out these steps from My Kids Adventure Blog:  http://www.mykidsadventures.com/pinecone-bird-feeder/

For older kids try making custom stepping stones out of recycled glass and tile to place in your yard! Here is a how-to from Instructables:  http://www.instructables.com/id/Recycle-ceramics-into-awesome-Mosaic-stepping-ston/


Associate producer, Melissa, found
this big gulp cup at her local park.
4. Do a Little Clean Up:  If you are able to visit one of our beautiful national parks or a local park this week - consider bringing a trash bag to pick up trash that's been left behind.  If we all did our part to help remove trash, our world would be a much more beautiful place. Can’t make it out to a park(s)? You can also do this in your local neighborhood. Just take a walk within a mile of your own home and pick up any trash you might see.  

Into the park trash can.
No matter what you choose to do this week - get out and enjoy the scenery in your area and give Mother Nature the thanks and support she needs to stay beautiful.  


Be the change you want to see in the world.


Friday, February 5, 2016

Living Green on a Budget: Part 1

Maintaining healthy and green living habits can be hard even if you don't have any obstacles in your way.  Now add kids, families, full time jobs, pets etc. into the mix and it can be even harder to live an eco-friendly lifestyle.  On top of that pile stack living on a tight budget.  Often times items that are green or eco-friendly are not as cost effective for the average household.  I feel as if I struggle with this problem often...can I afford this more earth-friendly item over it's substantially cheaper, but less green item?  This is not an easy task especially for a person like me who loves to stay on budget but desperately wants to help make the world a better place for my young son.  I am no expert but I thought I would share with you today a few of the items that I purchase or things that I do in my everyday life to save money that are also be eco-friendly.



In the Kitchen

Honest Company Dish Soap.  I do a lot of dishes.  Just between the three of us in my family we generate so many items that need to be washed. This plant based dish soap is eco-friendly and comes with a lot of suds power.  Because of the price point on this item I am able to purchase it for my own dishes and save money in the process.  It smells nice, fights grease well and doesn't contain any harsh chemicals which helps keep my hands from feeling dried out after I wash.

Cleaning



Cleaning with distilled Vinegar is a great option for cleaning around your home.  Not only can you use it for cooking, canning etc. but it is also an excellent and inexpensive cleaner.   A lot of appliances that we use everyday have clean cycles that encourage you to purchase some sort of brand specific clearer in order to get that item cleaned.  Both my coffee maker and my washer recommended brand name solutions to clean out my appliance. I recently used this trick twice in my kitchen.  Once in my coffee maker and the second time in my washer drum.
In both of these cases, I have found that using clear distilled vinegar is just as good as the solutions  that were recommended.  And it saves me from using harsh chemicals around my family. You do have to be careful to make sure that the vinegar you are buying isn't made from synthetic chemicals either. By using this more eco-friendly product, not only am I keeping my house from being exposed to harsh chemicals or pouring those chemicals down the sink, but I am also able to save money purchasing vinegar which, unlike a lot of cleaning chemicals, can be used for a number of different things.

Saving on Utilities

During the harsh winter months it can be hard to keep the electricity or gas bills down if you live in a cold area.  Many times this past fall / winter I have exceeded my utilities budget because it was just too cold to keep off the heaters. However, if you have the option to run your heater at a low setting or turn it off all together, you can save on resources and on money. Remembering to turn off lights around your home or to use natural light when you can is another great way to save money.  I was recently able to bring my own bill down by turning off my heater during the day and wearing a sweater inside.   This was actually a win win for me since I have so many amazing sweaters that I hardly wear.  This practice forced me to go to the back of my closest and pull out those cozy sweaters.

Being eco-friendly on a daily basis all while trying your best to provide for your family, can seem like a hard task.  But there are ways to help be good stewards of our planet and help your pocket book out at the same time.
Comment below and tell us how you stay on budget while still helping to keep our plant safe.  We always want to hear about ways that our fans are making the world a better place.

Be the change you want to see in the world.  Come on, let's show them what you can do.

Cheers!

Missy-






Friday, December 11, 2015

Last Minute Eco-Friendly Stocking Stuffers.


The Holidays are a special time and here at What You Can Do we love finding 
Eco-friendly gifts for the holidays.  
Check out these great products if you need some last minute stocking stuffer ideas.

For the Kids:  Eco Star Crayons.  These crayons are non-toxic and made from 100% recycled crayons.  They have a unique shape that make craft time for your little one fun.  I got some of these for my best friend's son last year and he loved them.  You can find them here:  http://smile.amazon.com/Crazy-Crayons-Stars

















For Her:  Recycled Vintage Copper Earrings.  Beautiful handmade earrings from Brooklyn. Recycled materials remade into a great piece of Jewelry.  I bought some of SdVdesigns in the past and she makes a gorgeous product.  https://www.etsy.com/unique-recycled-vintage-copper-star




















For Him:  Eco-friendly socks.  What is more fun than filling someone we loves stocking with socks!?  These great socks that are made right here in the USA and are made from recycled cotton. Check them out here: http://www.fairindigo.com/solmate

For the Pooch:  Eco-Friendly Dog Toys.  Westpaw designs is a pet supply retailer based in Bozeman, MT.  All of their products are eco-friendly and made from recycled materials.  My dog Lola has one of their dog matts made from 100% recycled water bottles.  These great toys (that fit inside a stocking) are made from left over blanket fabric from other products that WestPaw produces.  They come with fun squeakers inside.  You can check these and all their other eco-friendly animal products here:  https://www.westpawdesign.com


Friday, October 23, 2015

Inspiration for the one minute movement: Living green in NYC

We've been celebrating our NYC roots this month as What You Can Do screens at the Brooklyn Web Festival (October 9-10) and NYC Web Fest (November 13-14). When we launched What You Can Do more than 5 years ago, we found plenty of inspiration for the one minute movement to change the world in our hometown. Living in the city can encourage greener lifestyle choices such as taking public transportation, minimizing waste (to accommodate our tiny apartments) and volunteering through the many leading nonprofits based in the city. We were excited to see WalletHub recently rank New York City #1 on their list of America's Greenist Cities: https://wallethub.com/edu/most-least-green-cities/16246/

Below are NYC inspired tips to help our environment and our communities. Please comment below to let us know your one minute ideas for living greener in NYC or your hometown.






Thursday, July 30, 2015

#ChangeTheWorldIn5Words

We all spend a lot of time on social media over here at What You Can Do headquarters - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. Current trending topics from around the world often catch our eye on these platforms - particularly on Twitter. On any given day there are at least 3 or 4 different trending hashtags devoted to a special day or statement. Some of these trending topics are hilariously random and funny like #nationallipstickday. And some topics are timely and inspiring. This past week a specific trending topic stood out on Twitter. It was the hashtag: #ChangeTheWorldIn5Words.

If you are a fan of What You Can Do, you know that our series is dedicated to promoting easy ways to enact big changes for our world. It was great to see so many people and organizations taking a moment to spread such an uplifting message with just a few words. At one point my twitter feed said that there were over 65.2K Tweets with this hashtag. We too contributed several sayings to help inspire people to help change the world. Here is a list of just a few of our tweets and favorites spotted throughout the day while this hashtag was trending. We welcome your comments below with your ideas to #ChangeTheWorldIn5Words or tweet us @WhatYouCanDo.  It is not too late to spread the word about change.















Thursday, July 9, 2015

10 easy ways to #gogreen this summer

Hey Everyone! Summer is in full swing and we have 10 easy ways to help you Go Green this season! It only takes a minute to make small changes in your daily routine to help make our world a better place for ourselves and future generations. Check out these simple and easy ways to make a difference at home and on your summer travels. 

Let us know your favorite ways to go Green during the summer by commenting below. 

1. Refills Over Landfills



2. Green Your Lawn 



3. Keep Parks Clean



4. Green Your Summer BBQ



5. Buy Local



6. Natural Beauty



 7. Enjoy Sustainable Seafood



8. Save Energy



9. Help Save Our Bees



10. Ban the Bag