Sunday, October 23, 2016

Sustainable Treat Ideas for Halloween

Americans consume nearly 600 million pounds of Halloween candy per year, most of which, is individually packaged. Imagine the amount of waste that produces. Millions and millions of plastic wrappers serve their purpose for a brief moment then get tossed - or probably littered on the streets.

No, I'm not going to be the Debbie Downer and tell you to stop letting your kids trick-or-treat or to turn that porch light off to avoid passing out candy. Why? Halloween is my absolute FAVORITE holiday. I could even sit here and argue that it is the most family oriented holiday that exists in America.

So how do we continue to celebrate our beloved celebration of ghouls and goblins without ending up with buckets of trash? We rethink it. Yes, there IS way to partake in trick-or-treating without contributing to our already obvious garbage issue.



Photo: Personal Creations

Okay, I know what you're thinking. What kid wants fruit on Halloween? You'd probably be surprised! With the constant rise in food allergies, many kids/parents might give you a high five for providing a safe item for them to eat - that is if they are not allergic to fruit. 

You can also make the fruit more fun like making mandarin oranges look like jack-o-lanterns by using a magic marker or making bananas look like ghosts. Apples are a great fall fruit to pass out or even small, decorative pumpkins. In season produce is always better!

Inedible Treasures


Gems, sea shells, etc. This would be a fun treat for children to get that wouldn't cause waste or cavities! I would have opted for pretty rocks over candy any day. Of course, I was a strange child.

Homemade Treats
Photo: Whipped Bakeshop

Cookies, cupcakes, cake pops, homemade chocolates, caramel apples - the list is endless!

Treat Bags


Fill paper bags with bulk candies or popped popcorn. Right a fun reminder on the bag to compost or recycle it after use because this is only zero waste if the recipient avoids tossing the bag into the garbage. We have to remember that getting the normal way of thinking to reduce, reuse, or recycle before tossing is going to take time. 



Packets of herb seeds, pumpkin seeds, or flower bombs would be a fun treat to give children to encourage them to grow their own plants!

Palm Oil Free Candy

If you still would rather hand out packaged candy, at least - at the VERY least - opt for palm oil free treats. A lot of the candy that we consume is terribly destructive to endangered species' habits. Orangutans, Sumatran tigers, and Sumatran elephants have all been effected by deforestation due to palm oil farming. Palm oil production and farming practices have also been found to violate many human rights and worker's rights. Because of the cheapness of this product - almost half of the goods we consume contain it. Avoiding it can be tricky considering that companies do NOT have to disclose verbatim "Palm Oil" on their ingredients list.  To keep it simple - here is a list of candies that are either made with no palm oil or are made with sustainable palm oil. Download the full list HERE.

Also check out Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's Shopping App!

Avoid Passing Anything Out Altogether


Why just hand out treats? Go above and beyond and do something a little more creative! Set up games like bobbing for apples or pumpkin ring toss, hand out apple cider, set up a pumpkin painting area, etc. Seriously, how many of your neighbors have you taken the time to get to know? This is a great opportunity to really connect with them and provide a safe and fun activity for kids on Halloween.

Photo Credit: Kid's Birthday Parties

Halloween doesn't have to be wasteful if we rethink the way we distribute treats! With a little preparation and thought, we can add a little "green" to our black and orange holiday.

What do you pass out on Halloween that is waste free and sustainable?

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Laundry Day with The Simply Co

Have you ever took a moment to read what was in the laundry detergent you use? Sulfates, bleach, various dyes, fragrances, and many other hard-to-read ingredients are listed on nearly every single bottle of detergent on store shelves. We've gotten used to thinking that in order to get our clothing clean, we need a complicated concoction of chemicals to strip the dirt, sweat, and stains on our favorite shirts and pair of pants. But do we really? Do we really need to wear our chemical washed clothing against our most sensitive, largest, semi-impermeable organ? Caring about what we ingest doesn't stop at food, make-up, or toiletries. It should also include our cleaning products.

Recently, I tested the laundry powder from The Simply Co. There's not many cleaning products on the market that I'd trust to wash my infant son's clothing. The Simply Co's laundry powder hit all of the check boxes for me:

  • Non toxic - super important with pets and a baby
  • Made sustainable
  • Reusable Packaging
  • A mission I STAND behind!

The laundry powder consists of 3 simple ingredients: baking soda, washing soda, and organic castile soap. Combined, these ingredients tackled the toughest loads of laundry I could produce. With a houseful of pets, a baby, and a husband I was able to thoroughly clean everything we dirtied. It perfectly cleaned my clothing with only a tablespoon or two of product - seriously, this stuff will last me a LONG time unlike the store bought jugs that require a 1/4 cup or more to "work".

It didn't stop there! I also used the laundry powder on carpet and furniture stains as well as removing grime from my sinks! Because of the simple, versatile ingredient list, this laundry powder can be used for several applications around the home.

If you're looking for a laundry powder to replace your multitude of chemical laden bottles, I urge you try out The Simply Co! We shouldn't have to always worry about what is in the things we use and thankfully, The Simply Co has our backs!

Buy it HERE



Saturday, September 3, 2016

Seasonal Produce for Fall

Fall is nearly here and that means delicious, tuberous veggies, berries in some parts, apples, tomatoes and more. By eating what is grown locally and in season we save money, eat better, and support local farmers. Please, enjoy this infographic of Fall's seasonal goodies!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New FAQ Page!

Hi Everyone!

Sorry it's been forever since I've posted anything. I'm telling you, motherhood is no joke. The little one consumes most of my time which I'm definitely enjoying - ugh, he's growing too darn fast! Mix that in with me returning to work and I have just enough time to shower and eat at the end of the day.

Please don't think I have forgotten all of you or that I have decided to stop posting! I actually lay in bed at night thinking up great posts to share with you, I just never get them finished! I'm sure a lot of you can relate, right? Well, I will be a little slow in getting anything completed for the next coming weeks, maybe months and that's because of one important thing....

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Zero Waste Strawberry Jam

So I was definitely running out of room in my freezer. I got a little lazy during strawberry season and just froze the entire bounty rather than can them immediately like I normally do. What can I say, I was a little preoccupied having a baby. I had the realization that I needed to do something with these strawberries when I went to put half of a green pepper in the freezer and it wouldn't fit. Yea, I should probably clean that sucker out aside from just the strawberries....for another day....maybe. Luckily, this sudden need to make jam came at the perfect time considering we finished off the LAST jar of last year's batch last weekend while camping. It's a good thing, too, because I can't do without my strawberry jam!

This recipe is SOOOO easy and completely zero waste, too! I can't think of a better way to utilize a garden full of strawberries than this. It's the perfect way to preserve the freshness of summer to enjoy in those awful, cold winter months. Pair this jam up with that easy Zero Waste Peanut Butter recipe and you'll have a match made in heaven!

Now, if you've never canned before, never fear. I'll explain it briefly here and have a more in depth post later on how to water bath can. It's pretty fool proof. No need to worry about blowing up yourself and house with a pressure cooker. I may or may not have a fear of those.

Zero Waste Strawberry Jam




  • 2 Quarts of Strawberries
  • 6 Cups of Sugar



Place jelly jars, lids, and rings in a pot of water and bring to a boil to sterilize. Only pull them out when ready to fill.

Clean strawberries and remove stems. Mash strawberries while they cook on medium to high heat in another pot. Once mostly mashed, add sugar and bring to a boil slowly. Once sugar is completely dissolved, cook rapidly until the jam comes to a gelling point. Once the mixture comes to the gelling point, you'll be able to run your finger through the jam on the back of a spoon and it will stay separated. Like Moses parting the waters. Once thickened, remove jelly jars from boiling water, fill with jam, screw on ring and lid, and place back into boiling water for about 15 minutes. Take jars out of water bath and place in a cool place to seal. Sealing should take about 10-20 minutes.


Sunday, July 3, 2016

Happiness in a Capsule

I've basically overhauled every facet of my life to line up with my zero waste values except one area. The area I've been most dreading since I've started this journey. It's here, that I realize I have a consumption problem - a materialism problem. Over the last year, I've searched for every possible excuse to put this on the back burner and getting pregnant seemed like the absolute perfect reason to put it off even longer. Well, I have no more excuses. It's time to tackle this. My obsession with clothing has gotten out of control. 

For many years, shopping for clothing was always been a way for me to "feel good", to "let off steam" - it made me happy for a brief moment. I'd go to a store, find a lovely piece, wear it for awhile, then the inevitable happened every time - the "new" wore off. What then? I was back on the hunt for another piece of instant happiness, and that was the deeper issue. I was searching for happiness - so why was I searching for something so important in clothing? Obviously this is why I was never sustained for very long and just ended up shopping again in a week or two from my previous excursion. Maybe my happiness doesn't lie in more clothing, but less? I'm sitting here writing this as I stare over at my closet and quickly realize I have 30+ pairs of shoes, yes, really.

Because this is obviously a very unhealthy past time for me and does NOT meet any of my zero waste values, I've decided that I need to do something now. No more waiting, no more excuses. I need to quit the unnecessary purchasing and focus on me in a whole new way that will actually result in the happiness I desire.

Over the last couple of years, I've noticed the rising popularity of capsule wardrobes. Everyone is talking about them! A capsule wardrobe is " a collection of a few essential items of clothing that don't go out of fashion, such as skirts, trousers, and coats, which can then be augmented with seasonal pieces." In my case, I'm shooting for 40 pieces total - not including socks and under garments. I see a lot of people aiming for 33 and 37 but I like solid, even numbers.

I'm very excited to get started on this project and plan to keep you all filled in on my progress. My goal is "simple" - maybe...

1. No shopping for clothing for the rest of the summer - so until Sept 22. (I'm working on seasonal wardrobes)


2. End up with 40 pieces of clothing - including the seasonal items. 

3. In the future, only replace pieces with second hand or sustainable items/high quality items that won't go out of season and can be worn multiple times in several ways.

4. Find my happiness and personal style.

Stay tuned for how I plan to tackle this seemingly daunting task!