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8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Is it that important to teach kids how to take care of the earth? We all know it’s important to care for the earth because that’s what we will be leaving for our kids, but it’s also important to be a good example for them. We need to teach them what they can do now and in the future to help our earth as well. It takes a village to make a change. Everyone has to work together for change to happen and the damage we have done to be reversed.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Over the past few years, we have seen some serious results of the way we’ve been living on this planet like there is no tomorrow. I want our grandchildren to inherit a wonderful, healthy place to live so we have to teach the next generation how to be good stewards.


The climate is changing, the earth is groaning for us to stop the damage. Are we listening? Have we made any changes? Does anyone care?

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

The society we live in is a disposable one. We don’t care what we waste. We don’t care what could be reused or donated instead of piled in a landfill. Why bring a cup to get your coffee when they have perfectly good ones there at the store? What about shopping bags? What about saving energy or fuel? It’s up to all of us to make a difference. Small changes can add up over time, so it’s important that we look at the small things.

Before I realized what was going on, I could use up a 12 pack of Bounty paper towels in my daycare in a month. That was one of the small changes I made, to pay attention to what I could use a washrag for or something else that could be reused. I still use paper towels, but two rolls last me about a year. I use them for very few things.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Daycare is messy business, so it’s tough to find ways to cut back on wasting resources. I have gone from getting approximately 10 plastic bags a week from the grocery store to maybe 25 in a year when I forget my bags. I have even taught my husband to ask not to have a bag when he buys just one thing. Ten bags a week is about 500 a year! I reuse some of them to send home soiled clothing but that’s a LOT of bags I was throwing away and then recycling. Eventually we pared it down to what we do now.

There are so many ways I can save resources in daycare AND it saves me money as well. I love that I’m being a good example to my kids. They know where the recycle bin is and if they are going to throw something away that’s recyclable, I tell them, put that in the recycle and they do it. That’s teaching them early what needs to be done.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

 

Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Why should I care if my kids learn these lessons? There are many reasons, I’ll name a few here to get you thinking.

  1. It is SOOOO much easier to be disciplined to do something if you are used to doing it. There are many habits I really wish I would have been taught as a child. When I became an adult, it was so hard to discipline MYSELF to be a good worker, to clean up after myself, and other things. I wish I would have been a disciplined child, but I just wasn’t. I would love for my kids to have good earth friendly habits as second nature BEFORE they are the ones responsible for it.
  2. It teaches them respect for resources and doing the right thing. It’s in our nature to cast off doing what isn’t fun. An object at rest stays at rest. If kids feel compelled to recycle, pre-cycle or upcycle their trash instead of piling it all on someone else to deal with, that feeling stays with them. Teaching kids how hard it is to acquire resources or how things are made teaches them a greater appreciation for what they are choosing and using.
  3. They will be here after I’m gone. When I’m too old to make my shopping choices or to guide anyone else anymore, someone will need to carry on my beliefs about caring for the environment. The lessons they learn now will take them into the future.
  4. We need MORE people to care. I believe children are the future. They are the ones that will unite together to form a larger group of people who care if we teach them young. They can teach others as well.
  5. Kids have such unbridled passion. I remember seeing my daughter learn about being a good steward of the earth. She is still shouting it from the mountaintops. Young people have such vigor for what they believe in. I believe she is changing the world and I believe SHE can change our future.
  6. If they don’t take care of it, there may be nothing left. As quickly as we see the environment changing, we may not have much time left to make a change. If we don’t get as many people on board as we can now, it may be too late when these children are grown.
  7. It’s fun. Thinking of creative ways to care for the environment around us can be made into a game. It’s like a puzzle trying to figure out the best ways to make a difference. Kids can make it more fun for us as we teach them that it’s a pleasure to make this choice!
  8. It helps kids think about something outside of themselves. It’s never too early to teach children their wants and needs aren’t the most important thing. It teaches them empathy and patience if we show them that materialism is not good for anyone. Learning where many of our products come from is a big eye opener for kids and adults.

It’s a great and valuable lesson to teach children or other adults why these issues matter. Making small changes is a great way to take baby steps in making a different future than we are headed for now. Think of one thing you can do today to change the future and invite some kids to do it with you. You will plant a seed in them that will make a difference in our world for generations.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Green Tips

  • Start using reusable shopping bags.
  • Bring your own cup instead of getting a disposable one.
  • Serve food on real washable dishes and can the paper and Styrofoam products.
  • Chose glass as often as you can and recycle it when you’re finished using it. Glass can be recycled indefinitely and lasts nearly forever in a landfill.
  • Turn your heat or air two degrees cooler in winter and warmer in summer to save valuable resources. You might not even notice two degrees.
  • Start composting your food scraps for your garden or your neighbor’s.
  • Buy from bulk bins using your own containers to save packing. If you don’t have bulk bins, buy the biggest package possible so there is less packaging involved.
  • Use as little soap, shampoo, detergent, etc. as it takes to get the job done. Start by trying using half and see if things are still getting as clean.
  • Use vinegar, a great disinfectant, to clean as many things as you can. It’s great on glass diluted by half, it makes a great fabric softener, it can be used for tons of things and doesn’t leave harsh chemicals in the water supply and air.

There are many more things that can be super effective. Check into it and make small changes today!

For more on Little Sprouts Learning Garden please visit our website or Facebook page.

8 Reasons to Teach Kids to Care for the Earth

Getting to Know Your Meat

Get to Know Your Meat

Have you ever stopped to think about where your meat comes from? The USDA says that roughly 8-20 percent of U.S. meat supplies come from foreign sources, but also said that only the portions that are imported directly as meat are obvious.

“While it is relatively easy to track the amount of meat imported by the U.S. (2.1 billion pounds of beef and 0.8 billion pounds of pork in 2011) and the number of livestock that enter the U.S. (2.1 million cattle and 5.8 million hogs in 2011), it is more difficult to estimate the amount of meat produced in the United States from animals that originated abroad. ERS estimates derived using data on imported livestock by weight category and assumptions about animal growth patterns and the timing of production from imported animals show the share of domestic production attributed to foreign-born animals is significant and trending upward.” – How Much U.S. Meat Comes From Foreign Sources?


We have become very disconnected from our meat. Food blogger and author, Jamie Schler wrote on the Huffington Post about going shopping with her French husband in the U.S., this was his first trip the States.

“He glanced over the display: perfectly aligned Styrofoam platters each holding a perfectly cut, sliced and trimmed steak, chop or burger, each as gorgeously and evenly red as a fine bottle of Bordeaux. Clear plastic stretched across the surface of each piece of meat, displaying to, yes, perfection the item now shiny and smooth, as shiny and smooth as the waxed apples and eggplants over in the produce section. My husband turned to me, shaking his head in disappointment, and said, “You Americans really do not want to know that you are eating an animal, do you?”- This Little Piggy Went to Market: Where Does Your Meat Come From?

And he is right. Ask most Americans where the meat they are eating came from and they will tell you a name of a grocery store, and that’s all the information they can give you because that’s all they know. And chances are, we don’t really want to know where the meat came from or how it got to our grocery stores.

“It’s one thing to pick your own strawberries or buy green beans and fresh corn at the local Farmers’ Market, but it’s very different when you talk about where that New York Strip Steak or pork loin came from.  Do you want to have the conversation about the way chickens are raised before they are braised in your Le Creuset Dutch oven?  Probably not.  As Allison Bryant told me, “If you knew how those chickens were raised, you would probably eat more red meat.”- Honor the Animal

Is it possible to break away from this American habit of not knowing what we are eating? Yes it is, and it’s not as hard as you may think.  Buying local meat not only helps you have connection with your meat, it also helps our local economy. A much larger amount of the money you spend on local food will stay in the community and help strengthen it. It’s also likely safer because a lot of meat bought in grocery stores can contain meat from multiple animals making it hard to track if there is a problem. Local meat means you can also make sure that the meat is raised in a way that meets your standards.

You can find local meat in many places around the state. Locally owned natural food stores, like Native Roots Market in Oklahoma City, often stock local meat and can let you know where it came from if you want to know more about it. Even some chains around the state have local meat at times. Farmer’s markets and straight from the farms is another great way to get local meat. And one of the best ways to buy local meat is the Oklahoma Food Cooperative. All of the food they sell is local and they always disclose where the food came from and give you information about the farms. When you order from the Oklahoma Food Cooperative you know you are helping support Oklahoma’s farmers and ranches

As food recalls become more and more common, maybe it’s time to take cue from the French and get to know our food a little better.

 

Shop Oklahoma for Christmas

Finishing up your Christmas shopping? Be sure to support local stores to help your community while you shop! There are so many great ideas for ways to shop locally this Christmas.

shoplocal2

  • Gift Certificates to Local Shops
  • Keep It Local OK Discount Card
  • Gift Certificates for Local Restaurants
  • Donate in Recipients Name to a Local Charity
  • Shop Locally Owned Stores for Unique Gifts
  • Local Food and Drinks for Host/Hostess Gifts
  • Check Out Local Craft Fairs
  • Oklahoma Food Cooperative Membership
  • Gift Certificates for Local Services

There are so many ways to support local businesses this Christmas. We will be sharing some of our favorite gift ideas on our Facebook page until Christmas. Be sure to like us so you don’t miss any ideas!


Oklahoma Food Coop Gift Guide

Oklahoma Food Coop Gift Guide

The Oklahoma Food Coop has many wonderful gift items currently available. There is a wide range of gifts, you are sure to find something for everyone on your list! When you Christmas shop through the coop you are helping to support local producers and artists, as well as the Oklahoma Food Coop. Here is just a small sample of the great gifts you can find at the Oklahoma Food Coop this year.

 


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Fresh Cedar Wreath- Cedar Spirit

Lotion Bars

Organic Peppermint Lotion Bar- Soft and Tweet

Foaming Scrub
Lavender Foaming Body Scrub- Theraganics

Chalk Board Labels

Chalk Board Labels- Celtic SuperCenter

OU Pen

OU Pen- 42 Minutes Woodworking

Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Truffles- Backyard Bounty

Oklahoma Food Coop Cookbook

Oklahoma Food Coop Cookbook

December orders close on Thursday, Decemeber 11th. So get your orders in now.

DIY Holiday Gift Guide


DIY Holiday Gifts

Do-It-Yourself gifts are a fun way to give a unique gift. They are perfect for everyone on your list, especially the hard to buy for! We have put together some of our favorite ideas to help you get started.

popcorn

Popcorn Seasoning Kit

Peppermint Vanilla Lip Scrub

Peppermint Vanilla Lip Scrub

DIY Ornaments

Fabric Ornaments

sugar scrub

Sugar Scrub

homemade perfume

Solid Perfume

Gingerbread Playdough

Gingerbread Playdough

Etched Spoons

Etched Spoons

DIY Wreath
Diy Wreath

Reed Diffuser

Reed Diffuser

Peppermint Bath Bombs
Peppermint Bath Bombs

Share your favorite DIY holiday gift ideas in the comments below. And check back all month for more eco-friendly holiday ideas.


Small Business Saturday Deals

Today is Small Business Saturday. The weather is lovely and it’s a perfect day to get out and do some holiday shopping. Shopping locally helps your community in many ways and today you will find many great sales at local stores. Below are some we have found.

Shop Local in Oklahoma

Backyard Bounty (OKC)- Grab some food and coffee while getting your shopping done at Urban Agrarian. For one day only Backyard Bounty has a pop up cafe in the store.


Urban Agrarian (OKC)- Check out their build-your-own gift basket station to make a beautiful gift.

Green Bambino (OKC)- Get a scratch off card which is worth at least 10% off your entire purchase. There are even some cards that will make your purchases free.

Shop GOOD (OKC)- Buy one get one 1/2 off on all Shop Good tee shirts. 20% off all men’s & women’s clothing, shoes & bags. Buy one get one free clearance rack. Plus a free gift with your $50+ purchase (while supplies last) and complimentary hot coffee.

Collected Thread (OKC)- 3rd Annual Shop Garage Sale, Love Well Handmade sale as well as 10% off the entire shop.

The Changing Table (OKC)- Earn double Baby Buck Loyalty Rewards.

Ragsdale’s Conversation Emporium (Ada)- All books, vintage clothing and fabric, games, and selected art 50% off. Small business Saturday only.

The Woodland Emporium (Sulphur)- First 10 customers that spend $45 or more on Small Business Saturday will receive a free gift. Other deals going on as well.

SMITH’s Okie Twister Co. (Sulphur)- All fall items are 40% off.

Owl & Drum (Tulsa)- All fabric on sale. 20-50% off select gifts.

2nd Hand 3rd Eye (Tulsa)- 20% off of the whole store.

Okie Crowe (Tulsa)- Free Okie Crowe soap with $20 purchase in-store and online while supplies last. One per customer.

The Bookerie, the Favoring Brave store (Tulsa)-  Get a free mini print with a $30 purchase.

Theraganics (Tulsa)- Spend $25 and get a free canvas tote. Every purchase gets a free gift, a shower pouf, soap sack or face brush.

Old Pink Truck (Tulsa)-  20% OFF

Garden Deva Sculpture (Tulsa)- 40% off Holiday, 25% off all in-stock metal art.

This Land Press Store (Tulsa)- Grand opening! First 50 guests will receive a complimentary stocking stuffer, and purchases over $50 will come with a gift subscription. Cider and cookies, as well as new merchandise and special offers throughout the store

Grogg’s Green Barn (Tulsa)- Get cash back for the spring.

River City Trading Post (Jenks)- Drawings for $25 prepaid America Express gift cards. Spend $100 or more and your name goes in for the drawing. Free totes while supplies last.

The Vintage Phoenix Vendor Mall (Broken Arrow)- 5% – 60% off.

Bouncing Woolies (online)- Dryer balls as low as $5 in FUNK style. Free shipping on all USA orders of $100+


Have you seen other deals around your town? Share in the comments below or on our Facebook page. And share the graphic above on your social media to encourage your friends to shop local this holiday season.

Lead Exposure and Christmas Photos

Christmas photos of kids, pets, and families wrapped in lights are cute but they may not be safe.

Every year we see adorable photos of kids, pets, and families wrapped in Christmas lights. There is a hidden danger though.

 


This time of the year you will see photos of kids, pets, and couples wrapped in Christmas lights. Sure these photos are cute but is there a hidden danger?

One big danger is the fact that most Christmas lights contain lead. According to one CNN analysis four common brands of Christmas lights contained lead levels that are considered to be dangerous to children. And many experts say no level is safe.

“There is no level at which lead exposure is safe,” Dr. Trasande said. “Even at one microgram/deciliter — the lowest level in a person’s blood stream that we can detect — that level has been associated with cognitive impairment in children.”- read more

A quick search on Pinterest and you will find hundreds of photos of babies wrapped in lights, some with the lights in their mouths. This is very concerning given the amount of surface lead found in Christmas lights. Also in many of the photos the lights are plugged in, adding an extra danger to the situation.

Protect Yourself from Lead Christmas Lights

  • Don’t let children handle the lights.
  • Wash your hands after handling lights.
  • Wear gloves while handling lights.
  • Choose Made in the USA lights when possible, generally they have lower levels of lead than imported brands.
  • Buy lead-free lights.
  • Vacuum often with a HEPA filter vacuum and/or wet mop.
  • Dust often with a wet rag.
  • And of course, skip the photos with people and animals wrapped in Christmas lights.

Artificial Christmas trees often contain lead as well, so use the same caution with the tree. Also look for trees that use PE tips, it reduces the amount of PVC and lead.

Be sure to share this post to help prevent lead exposure this holiday season.

7 Great Thanksgiving Recipes

 

7 Great Thanksgiving Recipes

 


Thanksgiving is almost here. Still not sure what to make? Check out all of these great recipes.

What’s on your Thanksgiving menu this year? Share in the comments below.

8 Reasons to Shop Locally for the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching. This holiday season you can help support your community by shopping locally. Here are eight reasons why it’s important to shop locally.shop locally

  • Create Jobs – “If every American spent $64 on something made in America, we could create 200,000 jobs right now.” [source]
  • Keep Money Local – Sales taxes help fund vital services in our communities. Also, local businesses are also more likely to spend money locally, keeping more money in the community.
  • Creates a Diverse Community –  Shopping locally encourages people to businesses that are unique and an alternative to chain stores.
  • Better for the Environment – Many locally owned businesses also offer local products which require far less transportation.
  • Better Customer Service – Local businesses owners are passionate about their businesses and connected to the community. This often contributes to better and more personal customer service.
  • Helps Your Community Grow – Keeping tax dollars in your community and creating demand will help encourage new businesses and help your city grow.
  • More Support for Nonprofits – Studies show that nonprofits receive 250 percent more support from small businesses than larger businesses.
  • Connect with your Community – Shopping locally helps you connect with people in your community and learn about more things going on around you.

Encourage your friends and family to shop locally this year by sharing this post and this graphic. And post your favorite local shops in the comments below!

shop local


Easy Ways to Winterize your Home

With just a few easy steps you can get your home ready for winter and save on your heating bill. 

With just a few easy steps you can get your home ready for winter and save on your heating bill. This post contains affiliate links.

After a mild start to fall, Oklahoma is starting to see cooler temperatures. This means it’s time to think about ways to winterize your home. We want to keep the energy we use to heat our homes in our homes and reduce the overall amount needed.

Winterizing you home can help you save money on your heating bill and stay warmer this winter. It’s important to do this each year to keep your home in good shape for the winter.

8 Steps to Winterizing Your Home


 

  • Stop the draft. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates drafts can waste 5% to 30% of your energy use. You can use a rolled up old bath towel, buy draft stoppers, or make your own out of scrap fabric.
  • Hang heavy curtains or shades to help insulate windows and keep heat in.
  • Change your furnace filter. A dirty filter restricts air flow and increases energy use.
  • Also be sure to have your heating system serviced, so you know it’s running as efficiently as possible and is safe.
  • Keep your fireplace damper closed unless a fire is burning to help prevent heat loss.
  • Turn your ceiling fans around. Having your ceiling fans move in a clockwise direction helps push hot air from the ceiling towards the floor.
  • Insulate your water heater with an insulating blanket. This is especially important if your hot water heater is in your garage. Check out this video for more information.
  • Get out the sweaters and blankets. The cheapest way to save money this winter is to use less heat by dressing warmly. Keep nice warm blankets around the home and be sure family members have comfortable warm clothing to wear at home.

 

field peas and ham soup
Bonus Tip- Cook up some of this yummy field peas with ham soup, it’s sure to keep you warm!