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Archive for the ‘Traditions’ Category

Valentines Day is often affiliated with binging on chocolate. Or is that just me?? But individually wrapped candies and chocolates generate so much trash.

And I have a particular hatred for Hershey Kisses, mainly because those stupid little flags somehow ALWAYS end up all over the floor, never making it to the trash, or recycling, or wherever. We don’t even buy them. I’ve actually banned them from the PathToGreen household I hate them so much. And yet I still find those darn flags in our house. It’s like an infestation.

Ok, enough ranting. Back on track.

It’s surprisingly easy to make your own homemade chocolate, and with much less trash. I’ve blogged about this before, and thought it would make a nice reposting for Eat Chocolate Day. (Yeah, let’s face it, that’s really what this holiday is about for me.) Check it out here, and get started making your own chocolate, and passing on the excess trash.

And with a small investment in some heart-shaped candy molds, you could really make some attractive treats!

Also, here are some great links about where to find fair trade chocolate. Because companies who produce chocolate (or anything for that matter) without the use of slave labor deserve our full support and are worth the extra dollars. Here and here are some great sites that list specific brands that use fair trade cocoa.

And on a personal/side note, this will be the first Eat Chocolate Day in several years that I haven’t had a (poorly planned) dentist appointment scheduled. Bring on the homemade chocolate!

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Husband’s work had a gift exchange this year, but it was something a little different. They had a Yankee Swap, but instead of buying a gift, everyone was supposed to bring a handmade, homemade gift they made themselves.

In addition to being less commercial and (likely) more eco-friendly, it was a great way to showcase everyone’s talent (or lack of talent, as some of the gag gifts suggested). And it was just plain cool.

Gifts ranged from knitted scarves, bookmarks, screen-printed pillowcases, framed photographs, baked goods, mini clay sculptures, mix CDs, and so much more. What a cool idea, and so completely obvious. It seems like just one more thing to have to do in an already busy time, but I had so much fun making my gift, and I imagine others did too. What a great way to bring some meaning back into gift giving. I usually try to make most of my gifts anyway, but it was fun to know that everyone had made theirs too. Usually, I’m the rogue crazy environmentalist offering homemade lip balm and vanilla extract, wrapped up in a reusable bag made from an old umbrella, and it felt good to not be the odd one out for a change.

So what did I make? I wasn’t sure where to start, but I wanted to definitely make something fun and whimsical. Then husband asked, “what’s a Yankee Swap without a Yankee to swap?” And it was all over from there. I had to make a Yankee. Uncle Sam was my inspiration (whom I have now decided bears the surname Yankee).

And here he is, himself. Uncle Sam Yankee.

   

Did anyone else give or receive cool handmade gifts this year?

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For me, with a new year, comes a renewed commitment to doing more for our planet. Here are a few things I will (hopefully) do for this year. Little by little I’ve been gradually eliminating commercially-made household products from my life. Here is the list of commercial products I aim to phase out this year:

  • Chapstick. I have a recipe to try, but just haven’t got around to it yet.
  • Lotion. Not sure about this one, but willing to at least give it a try.
  • Soap. I’ve never made bar soap before, but why not, that’s the last remaining item in the shower that’s not made by me.
  • Toilet paper. I’ve been holding out on this one for way too long. Disposable paper towels and tissues have already long since been out of my life, and it’s time to move up to the next level.
  • Sunblock. That stuff is full of terrible chemicals anyway. I might be better off with the sunburn. Going to try the sunhat thing (ick, I hate hats) or maybe try adding vitamin C to the lotion I make. Yeah, it’s more likely to be the vitamin C lotion.

And even though it sounds just a tad like cheating, I’ve decided that if my recipes for these things don’t work, I can get them from local artists/vendors who make their own handmade lotions, chapsticks, soaps, etc. if I need to. But I’ve gotta try my hand at making them first.

Well, there you have it. More weekly recipes to look forward to this year, as long as I can stick to this plan…..

What are your resolutions this year to help our planet?

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So tomorrow is the Solstice. We’re planning on celebrating the darkest day of the year and the return of the sun by having a “dark day” at home. This means no electric lights, no computer, and no TV once we get home from work. Candles are ok, and electricity for cooking or heating the home is ok too. I’m looking forward to a relaxing evening to slow down, reconnect with my husband, and forget about everything for a day. And maybe getting up around 3am to see the rare solstice lunar eclipse might be involved too. Anyone else have plans to celebrate the solstice? What are your winter solstice traditions?

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