Eco Friendly Gift Giving Ideas – With Christmas quickly closing in on us, we’re in the gift giving frame of mind. It’s at this time of year that I reflect on what we’re giving and receiving. I’m trying to be a little more conscientious with my gift giving this year by giving gifts that create memories and experiences, not garbage. I wanted to share some ideas so you can help be a green giver this year.
Ideas for No Waste Christmas Gifts:
- Create a one-of-a-kind online slide show from your photos (smilebox.com is great for this) – my husband made one for my birthday (he made my show with PowerPoint) and I just love it and watch it often.
- Give tickets to a sporting event, concert or festival
- Plan a weekend getaway – skiing, surfing, fishing or wine tasting are some fun ideas
- Give seasons passes to a local museum or attraction
- Get old and/or damaged furniture and take it to be fixed, recovered or restored
- Plant a fruit tree – the gift that will keep giving (you may have to hold off until warmer weather depending where you’re located)
- Give the gift of fitness with a pass to a local recreation or fitness center
- Spa gift certificates are always a hit – you could even turn it into a girls weekend
- Give a subscription to Netflix
- Give the gift of education with Lynda.com which offers access to thousands of easy-to-follow video tutorials on software, creative, and business skills. GC’s start at $25. I absolutely love Lynda.com by the way and they aren’t even paying me to say that.
- Get bikes repaired and serviced
- Give theater or movie tickets
- Make coupons for free babysitting services along with a gift certificate to a great restaurant
- Send your family or friends eBooks with the click of a button. Kobo and Amazon both gift eBooks
- Plan a family bowling night and let the competition begin
- Know someone who’s having some financial hardships? Most grocery stores sell gift cards now. I’ve given this gift before and I know just how much it was appreciated.
- Classes or lessons including: art, pottery, music, golf, language, dancing, cooking, auto repair, computer design, photography, etc.
- Give a ready to eat meal that can be kept in the freezer until needed
- Give a small savings bond, investment or educational savings plan
- Finally, and I love this one, donate to a favorite charity or organization in the individual’s name you’re buying for. For example, there are fantastic organizations where your child can choose to donate goats, chickens, ducks, sheep and other animals for children and families in Africa. It’s always great for kids to learn the value of giving as well as receiving.
The Victoria Inner Harbour on Victoria Day Weekend.
Have I mentioned how much I love the city I live in, Victoria, British Columbia? This summer will be my 15th year here and I’ve loved every second of it. I truly believe that Victoria is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.
This past long weekend we were fortunate enough to be invited on our friend’s boat to participate in the annual Victoria Day sail past. This is a fun event where boats gather in a “sail past“…or parade if you like, right into the inner harbour of Victoria.
All the boats were decorated with colourful flags and there was a dress code in which all people aboard the boats had to be dressed in white and navy. As we approached the inner harbour there was an important official (admiral or commander I’m not sure) standing at the end of his boat and everyone on our boat had to stand at ease, very seriously and then stand at attention. Our flag was then ceremoniously dipped into the water – here’s the original history behind that: Nautical etiquette required that merchant vessels dipped their ensigns in salute to passing warships, which acknowledged the salute by dipping their ensigns in return.
It turned out to be a stunning day and I had the opportunity to see my beautiful city from a new vantage point. A big thanks to the Muirhead/Labarca family!
Click for your free printable iPhone 5 template download
After 3 long years, my cellular contract is up and I’m finally, finally able to upgrade from my iPhone 3G. Yes, I said 3G. Considering the fact that I’m a bit of tech toy junkie I consider this wait to upgrade a momentous triumph – also considering I’m about the least patient person I know.
Finally this past weekend I got my new phone and I couldn’t be happier with it. I was able to pick out a free cover to go with the phone (although the choices were pretty slim) so I picked a very simple see through cover, purple in honour of my daughter’s favourite colour. After I got home, I thought that it was actually a pretty boring cover and I had to do something to spruce it up. I had the idea to add some nicely designed paper to the back cover. This wasn’t a novel idea but I measured everything and laid it out properly using illustrator and had it fine tuned to one sixteenth of an inch. A few posts back I added a free Project Life journaling card template so I thought I’d just use the same design elements to create the printable iPhone templates to go under my phone case.
They turned out so well… I just love them. I’ve decided that they’re too nice to keep for myself so I want to share them with you HERE. Just print and then cut out. I used an xacto knife with a swivel blade for the little hole where the camera is and it worked really well.
Enjoy and let me know what you think.
Healthy and nutritious sprouts
For the past couple of years I’ve been trying to make healthier food choices for myself and my family. I’ve learned a lot over that time and continue to pick up little tidbits here and there. Years ago I dated a guy who was a vegetarian and he loved sprouts. Since he always had them around the house I used to make myself cucumber, cream cheese and sprout sandwiches – oh so yummy. I had forgotten all about those sandwiches until recently when I saw sprouting seeds for sale in the garden centre. I bought a few packages of seeds and almost bought a sprouting tray but at the last moment decided against the sprouter which was about $25. When I got home I jumped on to my computer and looked up how to grow sprouts. It turned out they were really easy to start and although the sprouting trays are nice they really aren’t necessary.
Health Benefits of sprouts:
- Rich in essential nutrients including vitamin A, C, B1, B6 and K; Iron, Phosphorous, Magnesium, Potassium, Manganese, and Calcium
- Excellent source of enzymes
- Contain up to 35% protein
- Very easy to digest
- Great for weight loss, high in fiber and low in calories
How to grow your own sprouts:
Growing sprouts in a jar
All you need is a glass jar (mason jars are great for this), cheese cloth or nylon sock (I had some new ones that I’d never worn), seeds and water. Pour your seeds in the jar and stick your nylon sock on the top of the jar, add water, swirl around and then drain out. Do this a few times just to get rid of any dust or debris. Fill the jar with water so that it’s covering the seeds and then leave it somewhere bright but not in direct sunlight. The following day rinse the seeds again and fill again with water. Do this everyday (usually about 3-4 days) until you see little tails coming from the seeds. At this point, drain as much water from the jar as possible and then just leave it. In a couple more days your sprouts will be ready to eat and enjoy!
Cucumber, cream cheese and sprout sandwich – yum!