Play These Games: 101 Delightful Diversions Using Everyday Items

If you have kiddos at home - and out of school -  I'm sure you are looking for the cure for, "I'm bored!" At least I know that I am!

Well, I have a great book to share with you written by Heather Swain. A Mom and  former third grade teacher, this lady knows how to keep the kids busy with easy games using things that you already have laying around the house {pencils, balloons, glue, chalk, envelopes}. Does that sound great??

The book is called, Play These Games 101 Delightful Diversions Using Everyday Items. To my delight there are options for one on one play or groups - indoors and outdoors, making this book a great resource for those Birthday parties as well. If you want to keep the kids minds and bodies moving this summer you will find Play These Games a great resource. I also love teaching kids to be resourceful - Let's make something, not buy something! Over on the Amazon page you can use the "look inside" the book feature to check out a few of the games.

Newly Released Children's Book about Sound (Music!)

Today I am happy to share with you a children's book, my children's book.  It is finally available on Amazon as a kindle ebook. It has been a long process that I have learned a lot from. I'm sure there will be many more lessons to come as I try to get into all of the other arenas. But for now, I am happy to take a deep breath and enjoy this first little success...

The title is Play Me a Song, World! and as the title suggests it has nothing to do with going organic.. It is about music, which is my true profession and passion. I work as a musician - I play and teach viola, violin, and piano.

I wrote this book for my daughter almost 5 years ago to try to share my love of music with her. I didn't want to read her a book that introduced the instruments of the orchestra or a composer, I wanted to make her aware of sound. What an amazing sense it is. It evokes emotions like none other but at the same time is somewhat unexplainable. Why do some sounds make us sad, others happy? I don't know the answer to that question but I do know that some of the most powerful moments in my life were created by sound (or music!). That is what I wanted to share with my daughter, and now with the rest of the world.

I hope you will check it out. If you do, please come back and let me know what you think!

Organic Cents Seeks Guest Bloggers

Are you interested in becoming a Guest Blogger on Organic Cents? If so, drop me a note. I am looking for some new voices to add diversity to this site. The topics would need to fit into an Eco-category but you would have plenty of freedom beyond that! Wondering why you might want to Guest Blog?? Here are a few reasons..

1. Great tool for increasing traffic on your own site.
2. Expand your social media influence.
3. Write about a new topic that isn't featured on your own site.
4. Add it to your resume.
5. Networking - the more people who see (read) you the more chance for opportunity!

Garden of Eatin' Holds up to the Guacamole

Did you know that today is National Guacamole Day? Me either - until I was contacted by Garden of Eatin'. In the spirit of celebrating the avocado (which happens to be one of the healthiest foods out there) they sent me a bag of their Red Hot Blues to try and see how it holds up to a big scoop of Guacamole. Well - I was already pretty familiar with their chips but more than happy to dip a few for the sake of research!

Whether you like your guac spicy, salty, or a little bit sweet - the last thing you want is a flimsy, thin chip that can't hold the dip. These delicious chips are hearty enough to stand up to the heaviest of guacamole, so you can enjoy the perfect bite without breakage.That is my first praise of Garden of Eatin' chips.

More importantly - Garden of Eatin' chips are  non-GMO, made with organic corn and harvested by sustainable farmers. I'll admit my family does not go 100% organic, 100% of the time. It can be hard - and expensive. But - choosing organic chips over GMO laden varieties is not hard!! They taste better and for the most part, you can get them for cheaper than the leading brand (can I say Tostitos? have you looked at the prices on their bags??)

Garden of Eatin' has lots of varieties (check them out) but Red Hot Blues are my favorite. If you like spicy - you will love them!

To further prove this chip has guacamole fever, Garden of Eatin’ will also be sponsoring the guacamole contest at the 28th Annual California Avocado Festival this October. Need a good Guacamole recipe? I love this Alton Brown recipe or watch the video from Alton Brown's "Good Eats" show (I love that show. science and cooking. yes!)

Top Picks for a Waste Free Lunch

Waster Free Lunch

There are so many great products on the market for packing waste free lunches. Not only is it a great concept for the environment but you'll find that it will save you a lot of money too! I included choices that will appeal to the youngest kids up to the older ones, who don't want anything too cute. Feel free to share your favorites too or ask questions about the ones above.

Ecologica Furniture Giveaway

Ecologica Furniture has just announced a new Giveaway! It looks like they will be having a giveaway monthly so following them on Facebook would be the best way to stay in the loop. This month they are giving away their Flora Coffee table shown above. All of Ecologica's furniture is made from reclaimed wood so each piece is one of a kind! All you need to do is head over to the Ecologica Facebook page and find the post that looks like the photo above, then like, comment and share it! Pretty easy!

Reduce Water Bottles at 40% off

Zulily has a great deal to pick up for back school. A company called Reduce has sets of water bottles that sit neatly in the fridge, ready to grab and go. They're cute, BPA and lead free and not just help you reduce waste and save money - I also like that they can help kids, help themselves! We're going to give these a try this year. Zulily's sale has them at 40% off starting at $9.99 for a set 5 bottles. There are also single bottles in lots of sizes. If you have tried these - leave a comment for us!

Eco School Supplies: The Basics

Back to School is here again! If you are curious about some eco options and brands, there are tons of options out there - from big brands turning greener to the old school guys that stayed true. Here are the basic school necessities (pencils, pens, crayons, paper, notebooks) in eco-friendly options. Many of these can be purchased on amazon and locally at office supply stores like Staples. Clicking on the photo will take you through to the source. If you have some favorites - please share!

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Ecologica Furniture Giveaway

Ecologica is hosting another great giveaway. This time you can win one of their Santos Chairs, pictured above. All of Ecologica's furniture is made from reclaimed wood. Each piece is unique and I think - pretty cool. To enter they want you to become one of their Facebook fans and then like, share, and comment on the giveaway. Pretty easy. The full details are on their blog.

Birthday Parties for Charity

If you are a parent, you have probably been to your share of Birthday Parties. Celebrating Birthdays is such a big deal when they are young, but it seems so difficult to find original ways to make the day special that don't create tons of waste. Bags, decorations, toys, disposable plates and utensils, goodie bags - these are the typical fare.

Have you ever wondered what you could do to make your child's party eco-friendly? There are several companies out there that focus on turning the party into a way to give back. One of my favorites is EchoAge. Founded by two Moms who saw all the waste with the typical kids party, they created an online service that allows you and your child to select a charity, send invitations, and track RSVPs. Guests make a donation through the EchoAge website rather than bringing a gift.

After the party is over, half the money donated goes to a big gift that the child has selected and the other half to the charity the child selected. It is such a great way to teach empathy and honestly one larger gift will probably be better for the child rather than 10 or 20 small toys. Wouldn't you love to go to a party like this? No last minute run to Target, wasted money on wrapping or gift bags..

 Other ideas are to center the party around community service. You can use a site like GenerationOn as your inspiration or contact a local group that interests your child. A few ideas are: A Beach Clean Up Party, Volunteer at a Soup Kitchen Party, Collect Canned Goods for a Local Food Pantry, Make Homemade Dolls or Cards for Children in the Hospital. Anything that is close to your child's heart will make the start of a great theme. By hosting party like this, your child may start a trend in your community. Imagine all the good deeds that could come from that!