Posts tagged ‘affordable’

10 Fall Activities to Enjoy Before Winter

fall colors 101709 5

Fall is a great time to get outside and enjoy the colors and beauty of Wisconsin.  Before those cold winter months arrive, check out these fall activities with your family and friends!

  1. Go to an apple orchard. Fall is the best time to head over to an orchard for some fresh fruit! Apple picking is a fun activity for the whole family and supports local farms and orchards.  Plus, you can take home baskets full of fresh, healthy fruit!  The Cooking Mom has some great apple recipes to make the most out of your haul.
  2. Go on a hike. Wisconsin has over 2,500 miles of beautiful trails to explore!  Travel Wisconsin has a great list of trails all over the state, from lake shores and forests to prairies.  Looking to stay local?  Head over to the Lakeshore Nature Preserve near UW-Madison for a great view of Lake Mendota.  The UW-Madison Arboretum is also full of gorgeous colors during the fall and has numerous trails for your family to explore.
  3. Make some fall crafts. Stock up on fall leaves, acorns, and other trinkets while you’re on a hike so you can spend those colder fall days indoors making fun crafts with your kids.  Check out our Pinterest page for some ideas!
  4. Go on a bike ride. The League of American Bicyclists has repeatedly ranked Wisconsin as one of the top bicycling destinations in the nation.  Its numerous bike trails are perfect for a sunny fall afternoon with some family or friends.  Get outside and enjoy the beauty of Wisconsin while getting exercise as well!
  5. Visit your local zoo. Fall is a great time to take one last visit to your local zoo before the cold weather settles in.  The cooler fall temperatures are perfect for most animals to be outside and easily viewable for visitors, and the fall leaves will add a little more color to your trip.
  6. Visit a farmer’s market. Support local farmers by purchasing locally grown fruits, vegetables, baked goods, and other products at a farmer’s market.  The Dane County Farmer’s Market occurs every Saturday morning from 6:00 am until 2:00 pm around The Wisconsin State Capitol Square.  After November 8th, the market will move indoors to Monona Terrace.
  7. Play football. We’re in the heart of football season!  Grab your family and friends and head outside for a friendly game of football.  It’s a great way to get exercise, enjoy the outdoors, and spend time with those you love.
  8. Go horseback riding. Fall is the perfect time for horseback riding because the trails are full of color and the temperature is perfect for wearing pants and boots.  Many farms and ranches have kid-friendly options and will teach you everything you need to know for a great experience.  Check out Travel Wisconsin for a list of horseback riding locations.
  9. Take some friends and family on a hayride. Madison Parks offers special event hayrides in November for $2 a person. The hay wagon will take you on a scenic tour of one of Madison’s parks and will even include a view of the holiday lights in November.  For more information, head over to the Madison Parks website.
  10. Spend a night under the stars. Grab some friends, a blanket, some pillows, and snacks and find an open spot in your backyard for some stargazing.  It’s a great way to spend quality time with your friends while viewing constellations that are only viewable in the fall.

What other fun activities do you like to do in the fall? Leave a comment below!

Image: mywisconsin.blogspot.com

Advertisements

October 29, 2014 at 12:53 pm Leave a comment

Healthy Lawn Care

Image

Collectively, Americans spend about $40 billion annually on lawn care including grass seed, sod, and synthetic chemicals.  Much of the money we spend on our lawn cares goes towards products that “help” grass only in the most superficial ways and that actually degrade the soil underneath, pollute our drinking water and lakes through contaminated runoff, and can pose serious health threats to pets and wildlife in the area, including birds.*

However, maintaining a pristine lawn doesn’t have to be harsh on our wallets or on the environment.  There are other options for caring for our yards that can be more cost-effective and help our communities avoid many of the negative environmental impacts of overspreading synthetic chemicals, for example.

Chemical fertilizers typically contain high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and other elements that can help grow strong grass and grass roots, but too much of a good thing can be bad.  In fact, when we overspread fertilizer on our yards, 40-60% of this fertilizer can ultimately leach away and pollute our ground water and have the potential to eventually reach and pollute our precious lakes.  This spring, consider spreading less fertilizer than in previous years and less than might be recommended by the lawn care product company.  If necessary, add water-insoluble organic fertilizers and do not fertilize your lawn when there is heavy rain in the forecast, in order to prevent extra runoff.

Additionally, leaving grass clippings on your lawn after mowing can add nitrogen back into the ground through the natural breaking-down of the clippings.  Similarly, allowing plants like clover to grow in your yard in addition to grass can help prevent erosion, smother weeds, and clover also naturally fixes nitrogen in the soil, reducing the need for fertilizer application.

Image: http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/gallery/wasteprev/wpclp2.htm

May 14, 2014 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

April Showers Bring… Spring Cleaning!

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
image credit: http://pureella.com/green-spring-cleaning-tips/

It’s that time of year again; time to get started on your annual spring cleaning.  No matter what your spring cleaning project may be, here are some tips to get you started on not simply spring cleaning, but green, spring cleaning that is good for you, your home, and the planet.

Most importantly, when cleaning-up or cleaning-out, we should keep in mind the after effects of our actions.  For example, scrubbing the counters with harsh chemicals and massive amounts of paper towels will leave our kitchen full of toxic chemical fumes and a ton of waste.  Instead consider wiping down the counters with a mixture of vinegar and baking soda using a reusable cloth.  Similarly, if cleaning-out and getting rid of things is your priority this spring, don’t just throw items in the trash.  Instead consider making something out of that “junk” or putting those old clothes and toys together as a donation to your local Resale Shop or host a garage sale to find your used items a new home.  One person’s trash can be another person’s treasure.

Ultimately, neither spring cleaning-out nor spring cleaning-up need adversely affect the environment or your family by adding waste to landfills or toxins to the air.  Instead, consider how the spring cleaning choices you make in your own home actually have the potential to be Earth-friendly.

 

Check out these sites for more information: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/wellness_articles.asp?id=1073

http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/20-diy-green-cleaning-recipes-141129

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-hints-tips/cleaning-organizing/10-green-home-cleaning-tips.htm#page=0

May 1, 2014 at 1:27 pm Leave a comment

Going Green by Giving Green

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I hope you all had a good one! Of course, this means that for those of you celebrating or helping your friends celebrate the holiday season, there are only a few hectic weeks left to find, make, or buy meaningful gifts for the people you care about. Time sure does fly this time of year…

One of the dilemmas I always face during the holiday season is: How do I make my friends and family feel special without giving into the wastefulness and consumerism that, unfortunately, is all too prevalent? Or in other words, how do I give green gifts?

If you are anything like me, you find yourself wishing for a compilation of green gift resources. Luckily, some people have already given thought to this issue! For example, TreeHugger published this online 2010 Gift Guide, and The Daily Green has this guide, which has gift ideas separated out into useful categories. You might find similar guides, like this one from National Resources Defense Council, at other popular green websites.

Another great option for green gift giving is to make the gifts yourself. If you are crafty, handmade arts, crafts, and clothing are sure to make someone very happy. The website Not Made of Money put together a list of homemade gift possibilities that has some really good ideas. Homemade fleece scarves and blankets, for example, are cheap and easy to make and are sure to leave a lucky recipient warm and cozy as the weather gets cold. If you have culinary skills, homemade breads and cookies or home-canned jams, sauces, and salsas are other great ideas. I used several pints of raspberries, strawberries, and cherries I picked during the summer to make jars of gift jam for friends and family, which, apart from some minor mishaps with the giant canning pot, turned out really well. Gifts that are made from scratch or cleverly pieced together from older items not only make recipients feel good–they also might be even greener than store-bought green gifts.

Winter may just be getting started, but the gardeners in your life are already planning for next season. Drs. Sonya and Astrid Newenhouse put together this handy list of green garden gift ideas, which also appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio (listen to the Garden Talk show here). They break out gifts by price, which is really helpful to cash-starved graduate students like me!

Whatever gift ideas you choose this year, if they are both environmentally friendly and thoughtful, it’s a win-win for you AND your friends and family.

Stay Warm and Be Green,

Matt

December 6, 2010 at 9:51 am 1 comment

Do-It-Myself Projects

Speaking of love, ever since I discovered Re-Nest I have been obsessed with it. It’s a wonderful blog that offers fun, creative How-To’s and tips on how to live a chic, eco-friendly lifestyle (and do really fun projects). I hereby declare 2010 to be the year I try to make new things, fix items in my apartment when they are broken, and (*eek*) maybe even try a new recipe (cooking is not exactly my cup o’ tea).  Here are things I plan on doing thus far; I think you would have fun doing them, too:

  • Let’s make vases and cute containers out of glass bottles and tin cans. This Re-Nest article explains how easy it is to transform recyclables into art (and potentially gifts!). This would be very fun to do with children (as long as the paint is kid-friendly).
  • What do you get when you mix water, a picture frame, and an old blender? Handmade paper, of course! I have always wanted to do this; even though my current kitchen is about the size of Harry Potter’s under-the-stairs closet,  I think this is still possible.
  • I may have to have my adept cooking friends help me with this one: pickling. This article gives detailed instructions on how to pickle anything you want. Bring on the cucumbers!
  • Maybe it’s partially because I don’t want to drag my garbage all the way down 5 floors to the dumpster and consequently freeze, but I would genuinely like to live a more packaging-free life. We all already have glass and plastic sandwich and lunch containers, but if you need some more ideas, check out this Re-Nest article (see? I’m obsessed).

If you don’t have the time, desire, or ability to do these sorts of things, no need to fear! Here are some great Madison-area shops that offer recycled goods:

  • Re-Thread has just come to Madison offering handmade clothing out of pre-owned (and cleaned) clothes. They also have a buy-trade-sell system, so check it out on their website.
  • Featured on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, Eco-Friendly Flooring is a Madison, WI supplier and installation contractor of eco-friendly flooring products. I will be a renter for some time into the future, but I can’t wait to use this service for my home someday!
  • Last but definitely not least, is Anthology, a locally-owned boutique that offers locally-made art and products to make beautiful creations. I am proud to say I bought a handmade ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ coaster there before its popularity resurfaced. 🙂

Go forth people and have fun in your kitchens with your kids and friends. Feel free to send us your ideas; we love hearing them!

Wishing you the best,

Melissa

February 18, 2010 at 6:38 pm Leave a comment

Bags, bags, everywhere!

It is now illegal to dispose of clean, usable plastic bags in Madison. Time to break out the reusable bags!

Did you know that it is now illegal to throw away usable plastic bags in Madison? The City Council put this into effect on Sept. 1st, 2009. There will soon be recycling stations throughout Madison where citizens can dispose of their plastic bags. Here is a news article with more information.

If you’re like me, you get annoyed when you see a plastic grocery bag stuck in the branches of a tree, and when your house is overflowing with plastic paraphernalia. One way to save money and to reduce the consumption of plastic and your carbon footprint is to use reusable bags when shopping.  Many stores offer a 5-15 cent reduction per bag, and these savings are by no means insignificant. They can be found in many different sizes, styles, colors, and materials. Reusable Bags has good-quality, affordable reusable bags for men, women, and children. What I especially found practical were LunchSkins reusable sandwich and food bags.

It takes up to 1000 years for plastic bags to biodegrade in our landfills, so every reusable bag used helps, especially since 88.5 billion plastic bags were consumed in the U.S. last year (EPA).

Shop with a good conscience and have fun!
Melissa

October 20, 2009 at 3:43 pm Leave a comment


Visit Our Website!

Archives

Eco-Events

December 2017
M T W T F S S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031