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How To Build A Cool Toad Abode For Your Pad

Having a five-year-old makes living life way more fun! It brings out the best in me. Building a toad abode uses my brain’s creative side to communicate with my son. Translating information for him so he understands life. It has sharpened my own senses. It’s a chance to TEACH! Untapping this creative Mom energy has me doing things differently. I look for the small things to inspire my son.

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The toad abode will educate the kids about ecosystems

A five-year-old is still learning the concept of time. Today and tomorrow are kinda the same to them. So, he’s taught me that the concept of time is another learned behavior.

For instance, if I tell him we’re going to visit a bird sanctuary tomorrow he always asks. “Now?” They don’t live in the past or the future, kids live in the NOW! 

So, there is no time like the present! Educating children on Climate change is more important now than ever.

So, off we went to the Bird sanctuary to let him experience Nature. A tradition that keeps sanctuaries open. It allows Wildlife peaceful enjoyment of the land. It’s a place where families go to feed the ducks and explore a nature trail. It’s a place to learn.

My son found out the smallest creatures hunt and survive close to the shores. Nonetheless, frogs also hang out near the shore.

(They’ll croak if they don’t!)

They’ll reproduce and lay their eggs in shallow water. Then, larger animals and birds will eat their eggs as food. Therefore, if they disappear in large numbers it will impact the local food chain. This potentially will devastate other wild populations as well.

Progress and Habitat Preservation

We live in an area developed with a mixture of houses, townhouses, and condos. Communities like mine are not built with the consideration of the wild residences. I think one of the biggest problems with current developments is the lack of habitat preservation.

We don’t build parks for wildlife only for our children`s pleasure. Our neighborhood used to be farmland and some of the former wildlife still reside here.

Throughout the Summer our neighbor, Mr. Frog, was talking from time to time. I didn’t really think much of it. Until one day I thought, It’s pretty hot out there for the little guy! Summer came and went… and this clever little fella found enough food and water to survive.

I consciously decided it was time to give our neighbor a new home. The Toad Abode is super simple and only takes about 30 minutes. For me, this is the first home I’ve ever built it. It`s probably your first time too!

Building materials

  • Pebbles
  • Moss
  • Small Sticks
  • Wider sticks: Driftwood works well

Dig a shallow hole to begin the foundation of the home. Place the pebbles and Moss on the floor. Stack the sticks and wider driftwood or small logs so it leaves pockets for the Frog. Cover the wood with dirt.

Stocking the Pond

Most frogs hate change. So don’t try and take a frog away from their habitat for the sake of filling the one you built. If you tried to transplant a frog from one point to another their chances of survival are slim. It could take up to two years for a frog to find the home you’ve built. So, If you can`t wait then look for Tadpoles. They’ll have a better chance of survival.

For a population to grow in your toad abode you will need a large enough pond. The pond should be 60 cm deep with lots of hiding spots, foliage, lily pads, and shallow areas.

Place the thicker flatter wood around the edges to give them a way to get out. If you choose to go with a large pond don’t stock it with fish since the fish will eat their eggs.

I chose to use a large flower pot to invite our neighbor into my backyard. Use wood in and around the edges to give them access or an escape from the pond.

Time well spent

My son and I went to the beach to find the building blocks for our Toad’s abode. We then turned it into a 10 Minute Shoreline Cleanup. We found all the materials and headed back home. It gave us a purpose instead of just another stroll on the Beach.

This is a good example of living consciously. I usually talk about shopping eco-friendly in the grocery store. Both activities take planning and require you to think outside the box!

Amphibians are the “canary in the coal mine.” Since frogs have permeable skin water passes through their bodies. Unlike us, they have no filter. However, like us, they prefer clean food, air, and water.

The three biggest reasons frogs lose their homes: Habitat destruction from Agriculture, urban development and logging habitat.

Secondly, from habitat fragmentation such as building a Dam in rivers, roads through the forest and walls.

Lastly, they lose their habitat from degradation usually caused by pollution. These three reasons are the reasons why people should make their backyards a frog friendly haven.

Educate your kids with more eco-friendly ideas and help children connect with Nature. An Ocean plastic pollution guide is a wonderful resource to help kids learn more. It teaches them that they can do things to make a difference. For example, reduce plastic in their lunches or shoreline cleanups with their friends. Find out how you can buy eco-friendly school supplies with the best educational guide to plastic pollution.

It’s time to take a more holistic approach and start inventing new ways to replace synthetic chemicals and materials with natural alternatives. Communities around the world have an opportunity to harvest Planet, People Products. Support small organizations that are working to support these small villages, local artisans, and grass-root organizations. Do you want to make a difference in someone’s life in a meaningful way? Buy products from small companies working with villagers. These Seagrass market bags are a good way to support artisans in Vietnam. It’s our pledge to work together to create a more natural, healthy, and Eco-friendly planet.

For more frog-friendly reads click the link below

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The 8 best must-have gift ideas at the local Christmas Market

What I love about the Christmas season is a local Christmas Market! They’re held almost every weekend and can be easily missed! To plan a Christmas market spending spree you have to do some homework. They advertise through bulletins, online, and word of mouth. So, If you plan to buy local for Christmas then mark your calendars!

It’s a good place where small companies get together and gather their wares for sale. A family affair with fresh goodies and fun! As a newly conscious shopper, I’m on the lookout for plastic!

I ask questions like show me something not made from plastic. Or I’ll say gee, I wish it wasn’t packaged with plastic. (YES! I am that person) I only do this now because this feedback can make a difference!

If everyone did this I`m sure companies would take notice. But, for now, those that voice their ecofriendly opinion are few and far between!

Knit blankets

People that knit blankets have the power of a superhero! Their patience level really is a superhuman quality. One vendor at the Chrismas market sold Chucky knit blankets (love them), toques, and sweaters. She separated those made with a mixed wool and polyester blend away from 100% wool.

The cost of a 100% wool product is more expensive than the latter. However, to the sight and touch, they’re both very similar in texture and softness.

For this reason, many people often purchase the cheaper version. So, eco-conscious shoppers will need to pay more for higher quality natural material.

Scarfs

Though, it would be wonderful to find a version that isn’t more expensive. Thus, I went home and hunted online to find 100% natural clothing. In the hopes, I’d find something with the same prices as a polyester blend.

I found this extra-large 100% cashmere Winter scarf and it’s the perfect gift under $40.00

Confections

Another key product to an eco-friendly Christmas gift is FOOD! There is nothing like homemade jam and chutneys at Christmas! The different flavors are so diverse.

Jam

I ‘ve never made Jam at home and wouldn’t even know where to begin! But, I’m sure those in the know would tell me its simple. However, jam varieties are easy to find so it’s almost better to purchase it and save your time.

I noticed the vendor at the used mismatched canning jars. (Saving money and reusing containers) You would never find a company reusing containers in a grocery store. So, this is another great reason to support these local events.

Honey

Honey is nature’s vomit in a jar! Kidding! Sorta! It does come from a Bee’s mouth! However, the honey doesn’t lie in its digestive tract. What I like about honey is how sweet it tastes!

What I like about buying honey from a local Christmas market? Giving support to local beekeepers. They will turn honey into an experience. Who knew? Honey can be mixed with other lovely natural ingredients. Ingredients such as lemon, ginger, cinnamon, and other spices.

Upcycled stocking ideas

We have to start thinking about reusing the throwaways. There are so many lovely ideas at the local Christmas market. You can find wayward toys that have been discarded. No home means landfill bait! The toys that were once loved but now the kids have all grown up.

Tree ornaments

For instance, alphabet blocks can be separated from a set so easily. When someone finds them separately or in a small group they will always find doubles. So what would be the point of collecting them? One woman decided to create Christmas tree ornaments with them. She turned the blocks into cute robots with arms and legs each with their own letter.

Green, silicon snack bag

Household essentials

Snack bags

Ideally, these sandwich bags would come from recycled material. However, when the alternative is single-use plastic these reusable silicone food storage bags are a lifesaver! As a global community, we must stop supporting the use of disposable sandwich bags. The single-use plastic is devastating our planet’s ecosystems with consequences we haven’t yet come to realize! These food-grade silicone storage bags are a good alternative and you will save you money too. No more wasting money on a product you just throw away! This is your chance to make a shift to an eco-conscious kitchen. Great for the kid’s lunches, leftovers, or a snack for the road!

Shampoos and conditioners

They say that water bottle companies are only selling plastic water bottles to us. It’s a sobering statement that can also apply to Shampoo companies. We’ve all used a bar of soap to cleanse in the shower. But somehow the shampoo companies have convinced us that if the product doesn’t come in a plastic bottle it’s not good enough for our hair! While out shopping at the Christmas market I came across a vendor. She was selling organic shampoo and conditioner bars for all hair types.

After six months I’ve found my long hair healthier than it has ever been!! The shampoo has controlled my oily scalp and kept the ends tolerable. Don’t get fooled by the clever marketing ploys. Stop using bottled shampoo and conditioners and start using all-natural products without the packaging!

Food wraps

Another product every kitchen needs are those sweet-smelling beeswax food wraps! I think very highly of these food wraps. It’s essential in every low-waste household. Use them to wrap your produce, cover bowls of leftovers, or open a stubborn jar. If we don’t share the simplest solutions like beeswax paper how will we ever stop using saran wrap!

Vendors that go to a local Christmas market use it as a side hustle. This event gives them extra play money at the end of the year. Support these people because they manage to be creative, upcycling items, and promoting local ingredients.

Give these eco-friendly gifts for Christmas or Birthdays each year. Encourage your friends and family to use eco-friendly products. Like beeswax paper instead of Saran Wrap! Give them the incentive to change their ways with you. Last but not least shopping locally reduces the amount of packaging waste. When you buy online the plastic air pouches, bubble paper, and styrofoam ruin it. It defeats the purpose of an eco-friendly purchase.

It’s time to take a more holistic approach and start inventing new ways to replace synthetic chemicals and materials with natural alternatives. Communities around the world have an opportunity to harvest Planet, People Products. Support small organizations that are working to support these small villages, local artisans, and grass-root organizations. Do you want to make a difference in someone’s life in a meaningful way? Buy products from small companies working with villagers. These Seagrass market bags are a good way to support artisans in Vietnam. It’s our pledge to work together to create a more natural, healthy, and Eco-friendly planet.

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How To Cut Your Christmas Spending In Half.

Ahh, Christmas time! The time of year where we deck the townhouse with boughs of LED lights. While singing our favorite Justin Bieber tune Oh Despacito! Tiny tots their eyes are all aglow with…(wait for it!) Minecraft. (I know it’s corny but all of it’s true!) The times have changed for Christmas traditions! We spend WAY more money! So let’s try and cut your Christmas spending in half!

Canadian’s are spending money on things that are the next best thing. The latest and greatest gadget! But this will lead us into more debt not to mention stress. We definitely don’t need more of this!

We do it even though the images from the media show us our waste is piling up! Too much trash! Recycling is only a bandaid. Species and ecosystems remain at risk. What can you do to help? Simply, cut your Christmas spending in half!

Our friends invited us over for dinner and we talked for hours about the kids. Oh! how they’re super spoiled during Christmas time! (all year long really!) Kids are in love with toys.

We talked about toy companies and how brilliantly they market their products. They’ve innovated toy models from basic into something with a new novelty. They can shift their shapes, make new noises or light up! Yet, they’re still fundamentally the same.

My friend said she asked her family to give her child previously used toys. She knows that this will help to reduce our carbon footprint.

Marketing Vs Christmas spending

However, her clever thought never materialized. Her family believed it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t the Christmas spirit! So, what is the Christmas spirit?

The modern-day Christmas spirit has become a marketer’s mandate to increase sales. Consequently, the marketing of the Christmas spirit has generated greater fourth-quarter earnings. 

It’s effective and their marketing tactics make it hard to break tradition. The tradition of opening our wallets year after year. But, we shouldn’t let our economic ability to buy new toys be the driving force of Christmas. The loss of income should not be the reason families consider buying less.

Finding ways to make positive memories and traditions should be fun. It will take some planning, but once we get into the moment, it’s a stress-free experience. It’s the simple things that become popular amongst family and friends. Not how much money we spend!

Decorate and bake

Hang the mistletoe! It’s a time-honored tradition that’s been handed down through the ages. It’s romantic and adds some fun to a holiday.

Baking your own cookies, Christmas bars or cakes make the house smell like home. It’s the sweet smells that make the longest lasting memories. How many people grow up and remember the taste of Mom’s cooking? Yes, it’s a memory that will outlast the gifts we receive on this special occasion.

Baking also reduces the amount of packaging we throw away. It also reduces our reliance on Palm Oil commonly found in cookies. Palm Oil is the number one threat to the deforestation, habitat loss and extinction of wild animals. So bake till your heart’s content knowing you’re making a difference!

Games

Family Games like “Find the pickle”  is played when a pickle-shaped ornament. It’s hidden somewhere on the Xmas tree, the person who finds it gets an extra present (maybe it’s a chocolate or a Christmas cookie).

Elf on the shelf is a popular children’s game! The elf observes the family throughout the day and reports back to Santa Clause at bedtime. The next morning the little elf turns up in a different location around the house. Kids are on their best behavior and it becomes a game of hide and seek for the entire month of December.

Gift experiences

To change up Christmas means that habits have to change by using the imagination. Yes! for some, this is going to be difficult. However, it’s time to challenge current ideas and assumptions.

Christmas is part of the plastic pollution problem. So we need to break down Christmas spending and figure out creative solutions. The gift of a thrilling or humbling experience could be the best way to avoid giving the kids to many gifts.

The experience will give families connections with one another. In addition, making alternate or opposite plans will also greatly reduce stress. It offers us a mental break from the usual traditions!

Set a budget!

Set a small budget for gifts and allow older children to pick a category like something they need, wear or read.

Choose family memberships to theme parks, Museums, Recreation Centers. To cut Chrismas spending consider a DIY gift for family members. There’s a lot of great ideas to be found on Pinterest or Instagram.

Making gifts can start a great tradition that some family members won’t be able to resist. It’s fun and creative and another good way to make lasting memories. By reducing the amount we give offers the best way to alleviate our financial and emotional stress too!

What needs to happen to shift the paradigm of Christmas? When do we stop throwing toys away from Christmas past? We should hand them down to the next generation.

Don’t expect retail chains to change. We have to shift our perspective as a collective. The moral of the story here is BUY LESS.

The timeless tale of the Christmas Carol nails it on the moral head. Christmas should be the time of year where people give to the needy. The time where families share moments in life, NOT things! Let’s get creative instead of hitting the Mall!

Cut your Christmas spending in half! Practicality, imagination and re-evaluating the purpose of Christmas will make a huge difference in our happiness throughout the year.

Starting out your eco-living lifestyle can begin in a place you least expect it! Find out what kind of upcycled goodies and local goods can be found at a Christmas market. I list 8 necessities that will get you on your way. Necessities like Shampoo and conditioner bars. Check out The 8 best must-have gift ideas at the local Christmas market

It’s time to take a more holistic approach and start inventing new ways to replace synthetic chemicals and materials with natural alternatives. Communities around the world have an opportunity to harvest Planet, People Products. Support small companies working to support these small villages, local artisans, and grass-root organizations. Do you want to make a difference in someone’s life in a meaningful way? Buy products from small companies working with villagers. These Seagrass market bags are a good way to support artisans in Vietnam. It’s our pledge to work together to create a more natural, healthy, and Eco-friendly planet.

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Seven everyday essentials for a more meaningful life

Smart people are working hard to make eco-friendly alternative products. So, it’s fairly easy to find everyday necessities and these are some of the options! These suggestions are biodegradable and will offer up a more meaningful life! It’s a startup guide for those wanting to help change the world. By making these basic necessities you are voting with your dollars.

It’s really that easy and doesn’t have to break the bank either. You can make a positive impact for under $50.00. It’s a little stewardship mixed with consumerism! Spend money wisely so sea creatures aren’t harmed. Stop CO2 from seeping into the atmosphere from landfills. Don’t buy the usual plastic laden products. These are the top seven products I’m excited to share.

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

Pablo Picasso

Toothbrushes

I used my old plastic brushes until the bristles flattened out. They did the job and its time to buy new ones. There are a gazillion bamboo toothbrushes online. Bamboo is eco-friendly because it’s a fast-growing tree so harvesting the wood is more sustainable. The farmers don’t use pesticides and most importantly it’s not 100% Plastic! I bought a box and I was immediately impressed with the quality.

Tooth Paste

We rely on an assortment of Soap products every day. Our parents have trained us to use a toothbrush and toothpaste. But, we just throw them away when we finish using the tubes. Tubes are not recyclable. Therefore destined to become landfill.

I thought it would be better to make my own toothpaste. However, there are like six ingredients that come with their own packaging. Since we’re reducing packaging waste it’s not wise to make it yourself. Just too much waste!

There are soap companies that make toothpaste balls instead of traditional paste. They buy their ingredients in bulk. So it’s best to buy from them to reduce packaging waste.

Beewax Paper

I have used plastic cling wrap for as long as I can remember. It has to go! But, not having the option of covering a bowl of food is not practical. We do a lot of dishes and it doesn’t make sense without it. Emptying the contents of one container into another makes twice the amount of dishes! I would rather keep the food contained in one bowl and cover it. Having cling wrap reduces the amount of elbow grease, water, and electricity. All important reasons why Beeswax paper is a necessity

Another advantage of using Beeswax paper is its ability to keep vegetables fresh longer. Ther’s nothing worse than wilted lettuce bought three days ago! I used to use a plastic bag from the grocery store to wrap and store in my crisper. Although we’re told its best to reuse our plastic bags. It’s really just best to avoid them in the first place. This is where beeswax paper comes in handy!

Lastly, there was an unexpected use for the sweet-smelling paper. I have a terrible time opening the lids on a jar. I`ve banged lids down on their edges, used a cloth, or pried them open. The grip you can give will undue the tightest lids with your beeswax paper

Pela case

Buying an eco-friendly product leaves a smaller environmental impact. But, quite often these companies will also make a social impact as well! Buying a biodegradable phone case will make a statement. It’s a piece that will catch the attention of others and start a conversation. According to Pelacase, more than 1 billion plastic phone cases are made each year.

There isn’t much we can do with the plastic problem we’ve already created. But it’s important to decide today that we will no longer support the industry. There are viable alternatives. These phone cases are a prime example. Once we’re finished using the case all we have to do is throw it into the back yard compost pile. It will disintegrate gracefully back into the Earth. Awww sounds too good to be true!

Another positive impact of purchasing this phone case is the element of charity. They donate a portion of proceeds giving one person fresh, clean water for one year. The belief that giving water to a community in Kenya will allow girls to go back to school. The woman will earn money and families within the community will benefit.

Shampoo Bars

Shampoo bottles are the most popular way to get our shampoo. Stores have a wide range of products for thick, curly, fine, oily dry hair. You name it! If your hair grows there are many companies that will make it healthy. The Canadian population throws away 60 million shampoo bottles a year.

These bottles are recyclable. However, only 9% of worldwide trash is recycled! What households should do to reduce the amount of plastic is to stop buying it. There is an alternative way that ends trashing shampoo bottles. Shampoo bars! Simple and effective.

They promise us the same healthy hair without the nasty plastic packaging. Try to find a local supplier. I ordered Goat’s milk soap with tea tree oil from a farmer. I was pleasantly surprised because the soap didn’t leave a residue. My hair felt soft, clean and it smelled good.

Bed Sheets

Cotton’s grown with a tonne of pesticides and water. It’s also one of the most popular fabrics bought today. Organic cotton is a better alternative however Beechwood is even better. This plant is fast-growing and doesn’t require the use of pesticides. Faster growing plants require less water and can produce more material we need for sustainability. Beech Bliss bed sheets are 3x softer than cotton. It helps to regulate body temperature keeping the body cool in the summer and warmer in the Winter. When searching for an Eco-friendly alternative try and find something made from 100% Beechwood.

Pillowcases

Silk pillowcases are such a treat! Every time I go to sleep the satiny pillow caresses my skin and makes me feel at peace. It’s not only perfect for pampering its great for your hair and skin. Silk is an eco-friendly product because it’s not manmade material. Silk is a renewable resource with less of an environmental impact than most other fibers. It’s hypoallergenic. Plus, there are no chemicals in the process. Look for Peace silk pillowcases for a truly ethical purchase.

Living a meaningful life depends on the habits of everyday shoppers. You can make a difference in the lives of others and help to change the world. One good deed a day will help to create that change. This could mean you made an ethical choice to support the eco-friendly industry. Good on you! I hope you see where I’m coming from and make your next purchase meaningful! Then give it away to spread the word!

I hope these basic necessities help you move your life into a more meaningful life. Changing these seven things can make a difference but there is more you can do!

For instance, while walking through the park you can take a package of wildflower seeds with you. Planting more flowers offers wildlife food. Each seed planted makes the world a little more beautiful. After all, we all love pretty things!

Next, you can save money by doing something as simple as unplugging your devices. It’s incredible how much money can be saved if we do this one simple task. Find out how else you can save money with these 37 ways to live a better life.