Monthly Archives: June 2009

Keeping Kids Green and Busy While School’s Out

With the kids at home more, summer is a time that can be a little bit challenging for green parenting. Somehow you have to combat all the boredom that comes from having more free time, while facing the fact that the weather is warmer. Here are some of the things I do:

1. Try to get the kids outside early and late in the day.

I have a lot of sympathy for them wanting to be inside during the hottest parts of the hottest days. Who wouldn’t prefer that?

But even on the days that it breaks 100 degrees F around here there are times that they’ll willingly play outside. Rather than let them turn on the TV first thing in the morning, as they would love to do, I boot the kids outside to play. They can come inside when it really starts to warm up. Then I do it again when the day cools off sufficiently.

This also has the advantage of limiting the need for sunscreen. My kids generally aren’t out in the most powerful of the sun’s rays, so I don’t have to apply sunscreen to them so often.

2. Make homemade popsicles.

Sure the store has cheap ones, but they’re often little more than sugar water.

I prefer to make my popsicles from smoothies, but you could use regular juice or pudding if you prefer.

3. Hit the library.

Hot days are great for spending at the library. Get some new books for your kids to read while not having to run the air conditioning in your own home. The library’s there, after all!

4. Combine lawn watering with running through the sprinklers.

We have water restrictions starting up in our area, which means watering only on certain days and only after 6 p.m. and before 10 a.m. and only for 10 minutes per section on timed sprinklers.

On hot enough days, 6 p.m. is still plenty hot enough for running through sprinklers!

And of course there are always local swimming pools, beaches and so forth if you want to cool off during other parts of the day.

5. Crafts!

Within certain age ranges, it’s easy to come up with kids’ craft ideas. My kids love saving magazines and other things that might otherwise go into the recycle bin for a path through their crafting table first. Saves me a lot not having to buy everything they craft with, and the reuse is a great habit.

As kid get older, they may have particular ideas about what they will be willing to do, but if you find something they really enjoy making, try to encourage it.

6. Have friends over.

It won’t necessarily help to keep the kids cool, but having friends over certainly helps with the boredom factor. I always tell mine no TV or computer time with friends over.

7. Know when to give in on TV and computer time.

Really, it’s not the end of the world if kids watch a bit more TV or spend more time playing on the computer during the summer. What matters is that they get enough activity overall.

Really Pleased With Our Water Usage

Let’s face it. I’m normally not that excited to get my water bill… any bill really. Where’s the fun in that?

But with all our efforts to conserve water around here, I was really excited to get our bill over the weekend.

We used just 16 units of water for this two month period. That’s down from 19 units for the same time frame last year. Pretty good, especially considering that average residential usage in our area I’ve seen quoted as 30 units per month.

I won’t say our lawn is thanking us for our efforts, but that’s been done in as much by gophers as by lack of water, I think. We have one really pretty weed with purple flowers that I hope continues to spread.

The garden, which I will truly miss when we move, has been one of our big outdoor water changes. The ugly watering solution really seems to be helping us cut down on how much water that needs.

Overall, I hope we can do so well wherever we end up living when we move. I just had to share my delight at seeing how well we’re doing, though.

Clearing Out the Freezer Before the Move

Getting ready for a move takes so much effort. It’s not just cleaning out the garage, excess toys and so forth. Some ways using up as much as I can from the freezer is just as much trouble.

It’s not so hard using the things I froze because they were on a good sale. It’s using up the chicken bones and such that I saved for soup that is a bit challenging. Not exactly the right weather for that to be a popular meal.

I could move it, I suppose, but I’d rather use it up and have to restock than deal with trying to keep things cold during the drive up.

Nice thing is, it means I will know what’s in there and not be wondering later on what that mystery package in the back of the freezer is. It’s good to clean things out sometimes anyhow.

Glad to be Reusing Moving Supplies

Getting ready for this move is rather time consuming. I’m managing bits of time for regular work, but it’s tough. Especially since we had a scheduled, 8 hour power outage yesterday for some sort of work the power company has been doing in our area.

We still haven’t found the house we’ll be moving into, but I’m doing a bit of packing every day so it won’t be such a chore when the time comes. There are always things you don’t need to have out all the time.

The nice thing is that we have a lot of boxes to reuse. Many are from a previous move of ours, and in between were loaned to one of my sisters for her move. It’s nice that they’re still in good enough shape to be used for this. We also have a few boxes that my mother had from other things.

Packing materials will mostly be old newspapers, which I have my mother and my inlaws saving up for us. Why buy bubble wrap and such when we can get the newspaper for free?

This whole process will no doubt also be a reminder of how much stuff we have that is only rarely used. Most of it I really don’t mind, especially the various antique dishes from my great aunt and grandmother.

It should be interesting to see how little we can spend on moving supplies.

Minimizing the Moving Clutter

One thing about moving – it encourages getting rid of the junk. Salvation Army is getting a lot of stuff from us!

We’ve been working slowly on cleaning out the garage before, but now it’s urgent. Why move anything we don’t have to?

We’re also wanting to get rid of about half the kids’ toys. They have so many that never, ever get played with. That’s how it is with the usual excess resulting from birthday presents and holidays.

I’m looking forward to having all this stuff gone, even if by some chance we get to stay here.