Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Time To Give Thanks

This Thursday is Thanksgiving.  Even though we know we should be thankful of our family, friends, homes etc. all year long...Thanksgiving time is a great opportunity to really take a moment and celebrate what we are all Thankful for in our lives.

Recently we have seen a lot of great ideas about how to be thankful and spread kindness etc. and wanted to share them with you.  So if you need some last minute ideas here you go!

(Photo Credit from abcnews.com)
1.  Make memories that will last for years: We loved this story about a women who has her family and friends sign her white table cloth each year, thus bringing back memories each year of the previous thanksgiving.  We just loved her idea and wanted to share it here: You can read more of her story by here: http://abcnews.go.com/Lifestyle/familys-thanksgiving-tablecloth.  Check it out and consider starting something of your own similar this Thanksgiving.  


2. Get involved with local charities: Some cities have turkey donations at local food banks.  Others have special events to feed the hungry during this time.  Check your local listings for last minute ideas and events that you can participate in to help others around you.  Also consider making a donation in honor of what you are thankful for or in memory of those who are no longer with you.  Events like Run to Feed the Hungry are charitable organizations that sponsor a 5k on Thanksgiving morning in the Sacramento region of California.  Check local listings for charitable events like this in your area. http://www.runtofeedthehungry.com/ 
Run to Feed the Hungry is owned
by Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services
and all profits directly benefit the organization

3.  Share, Share, Share:  If you are looking for a fun way to share what you are thankful for with family or friends around the table consider having everyone write down what they are thankful for at the beginning of the meal and putting it in a bowl or hat.  After dinner or during dessert pass the bowl around and everyone takes a message.  Go around the table and have everyone read the note they received.  Take turns after all the messages have been read to guess who's message was who's. 






4.  Show support with your dollar:  Black Friday shopping has started earlier and earlier as the years have gone on.  If you want to encourages business to let employees have days off for the holidays consider not doing any holiday buying on this Thursday.  Show your support that you want business to continue to care for their employees by staying closed on holidays.  There is nothing wrong with enjoying a good holiday sale, but if supporting businesses that stay closed for their employees' benefit on Thanksgiving is important to you, please consider using your spending habits to send a message.  


Warmest wishes during this time of thankfulness.

What You Can Do


Friday, October 28, 2016

What You Can Do wants you to have a Happy Halloween!

October is coming to an end and that means Halloween is fast approaching. 

We love Halloween here at What You Can Do, and all the fun and candy that comes with it. Here are some simple tips to help keep your Halloween eco-friendly, safe and inclusive for all:


1.  Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project: What kid doesn’t love dressing up and going around their neighborhood asking for delicious candy? Unfortunately though, some children have severe allergies to common ingredients found in most candies. This holiday consider also participating in the Teal Pumpkin Program. You can let families who come to your neighborhood know that you also have non-allergy items for kids who trick or treat at your house. Just paint one of your regular pumpkins teal to let everyone know. You can pass out items such as stickers, erasers, pencils etc. etc. in addition to the normal candy. This helps include everyone in the fun Halloween festivities.  You can also learn more about the teal pumpkin program here:  https://www.foodallergy.org/teal-pumpkin-project#.WBEtRTt7yhM

2.  Conscious buying:  Try not to buy fake items when you can buy those same items in an easily disposable form.  For example, avoid buying plastic pumpkins that would just go in the trash when you are finished with them. Instead purchase real pumpkins from a pumpkin patch or local grocery store. Real pumpkins can be put in the compost once you are finished with them or cut up and turned into pumpkin pies or soup.  Keeping as much plastic out of our landfills as possible is a great way to be green this Halloween. You can also decorate with old corn husks, dead branches and or leaves this Halloween instead of purchasing new. Also don't forget to roast your pumpkin seeds from your jack-o-lanterns

Check out our original What You Can Do video here which gives you ideas for keeping fall decorations green:  What You Can Do: Fall Decorations


3.  Make your own costume:  Instead of going out and buying a whole new costume every year that you might never wear again, consider making your costume from found items in your home or from your local thrift store. You can also ask to borrow costumes from family and friends. Or consider reusing or repurposing your old costumes this year and save yourself from having to buy something completely new. These ideas can help you save time, money and resources.   

4.  Stay Safe:  Make sure that you and your family stay safe this Halloween by always having a flashlight or other type of light with you when walking the streets at night. When in costume, it can be hard for drivers to identify pedestrians walking around the neighborhood. Stay out of danger by letting cars know where you are with flashing bike lights, reusable flashlights and or reflective gear you can wear. Nothing says Happy Halloween like staying safe.

We hope everyone has a safe and Happy Halloween!




Saturday, September 10, 2016

Momma's Mondays: Making a difference this school year.

September is here.  And that means by now most kids are back in school and the new year is in full swing!  To finish out our #WYCDbacktoschool campaign, we wanted to share a few great ways that you and your kids can be involved with your school or local community this year. Check out these simple ways that you can help make this a great year.

Volunteer in a classroom or with School Sporting Events: Giving your time is one of the easiest and most helpful ways that you can make a difference this school year. Schools can be short staffed and rely on parents to volunteer their time to help make the classroom a better place for learning. Even if you only have one hour of time, helping out a teacher with a classroom full of kids is a great way to give back to your community school. Check with your local district and find out what their specific needs are.  You can also enquire if any of the after school sports programs need outside volunteers.  

Help with a Beautification Project at your School: Even the most well-maintained schools around the country could use some help with beautification projects on campus. Check with your local school and see what needs they have. Simply taking a few hours out of your weekend to plant some flowers, a tree or help clean up the school garden is an easy way to make a difference. Your kids can even get involved planting or picking up trash.  



Got any Artistic skills?  Petition to Paint a Mural: Some schools have indoor or outdoor walls that might need painting. If you happen to have good painting skills and have the motivation, consider petitioning the local school to approve a community focused mural.  Sharing your creativity will not only showcase your talents but will also make the school more beautiful for those attending daily or driving by.



Pick up Trash on your Walk to and from School:  Unfortunately for our Earth, trash has become a daily reality to see on the streets, anywhere you go.  If you are lucky enough to live close enough to be able to walk to school, consider starting a trash clean up project on one of those mornings or afternoons. Leave your home a little earlier than usual and bring along trash pick up tools and bags.   Just doing your best to help keep trash off of your path to school is a meaningful way to give back and an easy project that your children can be a part of.


Support Activities and Clubs with Donations:
If you find yourself short on time this school year, consider using your dollar to help support your local schools instead of volunteering. Many schools hold fundraisers throughout the year to help fund programs such as sports and/or arts. Sometimes just being able to give financial support goes a long way to help make the lives of our children better.






Donate to organizations supporting our teachers and schools: Consider making helpful donations to an organization that provides much needed products to teachers and school based programs like Material for the Arts if you live in the New York City Metro area. Check your local listings to see if there are organizations in your area that accept donations for local school distribution.

If your school community is lucky enough to not need help this year, consider other ways that you can help share the importance of giving back and helping those in need with your kids. For example you can: Volunteer at a local soup kitchen with your kids on the weekend.  Teaching our next generations how to give back is very important. This school year consider spending a few hours one weekend volunteering as a family for your local food banks or soup kitchens.  Being out in the community is a great way to show how important giving back is.

There are so many ways that you can help this school year and help teach our children how important it is to be the change you want to see in the world.

Comment below and tell us your plans for the school year.

Cheers!
The What You Can Do Team


Friday, August 26, 2016

What You Can Do Goes Back To School

It’s starting to get darker outside earlier, leaves are starting to turn and kids are back in school (or heading back soon) in towns all around the country.  

August is almost over and fall is coming. Back to school time always means new pencils, books and other gear for the start of a new school year. While a shopping trip is a fun tradition, reusing supplies from past years can save money and keep trash out of the landfill. Sprucing up an old backpack or adding new erasers to old pencils can give life to items that you already own.

However sometimes repurposing old items is not possible and we have to buy new for back to school. Fortunately there are some great eco-friendly options to consider when shopping - check out the ideas below:


Eco-friendly backpacks

These adorable kids backpacks come in a variety of styles and are PVC-free, made from natural cotton canvas and rope materials. "The buttons and buckles on this bag are made from recycled plastic parts and sustainable wood parts. All colored materials used in the construction of this bag are treated with toxic-free dyes.” Check them out here for your little ones:


Reusable Lunch Boxes

School lunches are a BIG part of the daily school life routine. Consider getting one of these cool bento box reusable lunch boxes. These little guys keep food warm or cold and by reusing everyday, you are not throwing away bags and packaging.   Check them out here: http://www.omielife.com


Pencils

Pencils are a way of life when it comes to back to school.  Everyone needs pencils. This school year consider finding a pencil that is eco-friendly like these recycled newspaper pencils from Treesmart. Not only are they useful for homework but they are also super cute!  Check them out for you kids here:


Paper

Everyone needs paper and binders for school. So why not choose from a variety of recycled binder paper or recycled loose leaf paper. The ultimate green store has a variety of options that you should check out!  



Reusable Water Bottles

Staying hydrated during the school week is so important! Check out Mama Missy's absolute favorite kids' water bottle made by CamelBak. Small, portable, virtually unbreakable, BPA free and with an easy hook on the top for little fingers to hold. This reusable water bottle is a must! Check out all the design options here:  http://shop.camelbak.com/kids-water-bottles/l/209   


Erasers

Everyone makes mistakes. Why not erase them away with these recycled rubber erasers. Check out these cute and easy to hold erasers made from other recycled rubber products.  Check them out here:




Back to school time is an exciting adventure.  
Make sure to keep things green and eco-friendly with some of these great options.  


And comment below and tell us how you go green for back to school.

Cheers!  Mama Missy

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

WYCD Momma Tuesday: DIY Kids Projects

If you've followed this blog, you know that I love DIY and working with reclaimed products. I am constantly on the quest to reuse products instead of buying new and creating more trash for our landfills. Since becoming a mom, I try to incorporate DIY and reclaimed items into my child’s toy collections. I have high hopes for fun things that I could make for my son over the next several months. Below are some cool ideas - I plan on executing at least a few of these:

Tire Sandbox
1.  Recycled tire sand box - My son loves going to the sand box at the park. Unfortunately sand can get super messy very quickly, so a large sandbox in our backyard wouldn't really be ideal for keeping our place in order. However, a small one like the one pictured is a more manageable size and a great use for an old tractor or truck tire. One could even make a shade cover with scrap fabric and rope or an old umbrella. 


Wooden Pallet Climbing Wall
2.Wooden Pallet Climbing Wall - I don't know about all kids but in my experience toddlers LOVE to climb. I love the idea of this pallet climbing wall - something simple and easy for them to climb up and down on and work on their motor skills.  



3.  Kids Outdoor Kitchen or Tool Bench - My son just got a used log cabin house for our backyard and I would LOVE to build him a tiny little kitchen to go inside. I love the idea of taking found items like bowls, cups and old faucets and crafting them together into a tiny play kitchen that he can use in his new little house.

Chalk board
4.  Fence Chalkboard - I love chalkboards and have made several reclaimed ones from old windows. I think it would be so fun to have a little chalkboard space outside, along our fence, for my son to draw on. I could also use it for decoration when I have people over.

Kids Outdoor kitchen,

Donut Tire Swing via Pinterest
5.  Painted Tire Swing - One of our favorite parks has a really fun tire swing that all the kids love to ride. I think hanging one for my son and painting it a cute color would be awesome.



6.  Backyard Ball Runs or Water Works - If there are two things toddlers love - it is water and balls. Making some sort of ball run or waterfall along the fence would be so much fun. I have seen these toys made out of old plastic pipe, water bottles and tupperware.



Water feature along fence

I always have big dreams of the projects I am going to do. I may not be able to accomplish all of these, but will keep you posted on my goal to create some of these cool projects by the end of the fall.  Also please comment below and tell us about your cool kids DIY projects. Send us your pictures!!

Happy Creating,

Mommy Missy


**Pictures via pinterest



Monday, July 18, 2016

Giving Up the Go-To Paper Towel

In several What You Can Do posts, we have mentioned trying our best to go green by giving up paper towels or using paper towels that come from recycled materials.  This summer I decided to try hard to give up a few non eco-friendly habits - starting with my dependence on paper towels. Giving up paper towels has always been a goal of mine - but honestly I have never attempted it out of sheer certainty that I could never do it. I will be the first to admit that using paper towels is easy and convenient.  Got a spill?  Grab a paper towel. Gotta clean a messy face? Grab a paper towel. A few weeks ago I went to a friend's house for a play date. Of course my kid got peanut butter all over his face and I asked where her paper towels were. She said "oh actually we don’t use paper towels.  There are some dish towels over there." She continued on and said "I know it’s weird but we try."  I responded, "No!  That is not weird at all.  It’s impressive and something I have always wanted to attempt." 

Cut to today:

My dish towel pile that makes it easy to grab a towel to clean up.
This is the same spot where my paper towels use to be.
I am currently running paper towel free!!!  But it hasn’t happened overnight. It is hard to change one’s habits. The first few days I kept reaching for the paper towels, and when they weren't there I would get mad and begrudgingly go find a dish towel. After a few days I realized if I was going to be successful - I had to make it as easy to grab a dish towel as it was to grab a paper towel. Usually I keep my towels inside a cabinet. But in order to make this work I moved my dish towels to a spot on my counter…right where the paper towels use to live. I also discovered that the non-absorbent dish towels wouldn’t help me clean up anything. So I switched them out and only keep the most useful towels on the counter. 
Ditching paper towels does mean more laundry, but I am lucky that my washer is right next to my kitchen. So if something is super dirty, I just toss it into the washer where it can stay until I have enough laundry to run a full load. I also went ahead and put wash cloths in my kitchen to clean my son's dirty hands and face after meal time. I also have to do my best to avoid constantly using a new towel every time. Otherwise I end up with so many towels hanging from my fridge door that I can barely use the handle to open the fridge.  

It's not perfect, but at least it is a start.  And honestly I am so proud that I have been able to keep this new habit up for over a month. Now my only problem is that I am not sure what to do with the Costco-sized package of paper towels in my garage!



Are you paper towel-less?  What are your tricks and tips?!

Comment below and tell us. 

Cheers!


Missy

Friday, July 1, 2016

Friday Fun: Happy Fourth!

Here at On the Leesh we have several co-workers who love the Fourth of July!  Not only is it a great day to get together with friends and family, but it is also a wonderful time to celebrate all the great things we love about the country we live in.  Here are several tips and ideas to make your Fourth of July the best it has ever been.

1. Delicious Food: First and foremost let’s shout back to Amanda our Director of Production’s post about Fourth of July from several years ago. Check it out and learn what Amanda loves about the Fourth of July and what she loves to eat!   You can find her post here: http://whatyoucandoseries.blogspot.com/2012/06/my-favorite-holidays-almost-here.html  - She also gives some great tips for making your own citronella candles! 


2.  Go Green:  Keep the one-use items to a minimum.  I know it is super easy to use paper plates and napkins for large gatherings but if possible try using reusable items during your holiday bbq. Reusable glasses, cutlery and plates can save a lot of waste from going into our landfills.  If you are un-able to do this consider buying a product that is recyclable or compostable instead of Styrofoam or paper plates.  

3.  Remember Our Service Members:  The Fourth of July is about celebrating our country. What better way to celebrate than by paying tribute to our service members who have fought for our country.  A lot of communities hold Fourth of July parades where service members are either honored or participate in.  Take a moment to say thanks to those people this holiday.  Or if you have family members, who gave their time to the service, remember to give them a hug and say thank you the next time you see them.

4.  Fireworks:  Fireworks are beautiful and fun.  Who doesn’t love getting together with friends and lighting sparklers and or having a small celebration in the driveway.  But before you light your fireworks this year make sure that you are doing so in a secure location where your fireworks cannot catch anything on fire.  Also make sure that fireworks are legal in your area.  Some counties don’t allow the use of fireworks.  Make sure that you are always safe and responsible when participating in this activity. The summer months bring fun but also dry hills and fire risks.  


5.  Stay Hydrated:  The Fourth of July means lots of time out in the sun, pool, parades etc.  Remember that nothing is more hydrating and good for your health than water.  Make sure to stay hydrated this summer by carrying your personal reusable water bottle.  If you need ideas for great water bottles check out our Associate Producer Melissa’s favorite here:  https://www.lifefactory.com/product/glass-bottle-with-straw-cap-and-silicone-sleeve-22-oz-huckleberry


6.  Bring out the Grill: Nothing says a happy Fourth like bbqing! If at all possible consider using a propane bbq instead of a charcoal one.  Charcoal produces three times the green house gas emissions as propane grills do.  Let’s do our best to keep our Fourth green.

We hope you all have a wonderful, happy and safe holiday.

Cheers!

What You Can Do