Orange, Chicken and Walnut Salad

Sweet and salty tastes make this protein packed salad satisfying and delicious

The Secret to Better Tasting Coffee

Make better tasting coffee - no sugary syrups required!

DIY Pretend Doctor Kit

Make a functional pretend doctor kit for your favorite little ones.

Farm Girl Apron Tutorial

Turn old jeans into a cute gardening apron with this tutorial.

Wine Cork Pendants

Turn used wine corks into cute charms.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Healthy Feeding Options for Babies from The Honest Company

This post is brought to you by The Honest Company.


Moms (and dads!), have you had a chance to try anything from The Honest Company? You may have seen their super cute diapers at Target or their shampoo at Costco. I'll freely admit that even though we are a cloth diaper family, when we need disposables - because we occasionally do, we always buy the ones from The Honest Company (which you can try for FREE by clicking here. Free diapers? Heck yes!).


Honest Feeding

Honest Company makes a whole lot of awesome things from vitamins and supplements to diapers (these are my favorite disposables!) and even cleaning supplies. They recently added to their huge product catalog by launching a new Honest Feeding Line. Whether you're a nursing mom (I am!), or a family using formula - or a little of both, you'll find great high quality products that I'm sure you'll love.

The Honest Feeding Line includes:

Baby DHA: Carefully sourced from premium fish oil with added Vitamin D3 that provides critical support for brain and eye development. It earned the highest Five-Star IFOS rating for purity, potency, and freshness. There are no hexane extracted ingredients (this was super important to me). It tastes lemony and while you can mix it into baby food, formula or expressed breast milk, Baby A will take it straight from the dropper - no fighting to get him to take it. This has definitely not been the case with other brands of supplements we've tried in the past so for all these great features AND baby friendly taste, this is a Creative Green Living favorite product! 
Baby A gives The Honest Company's Baby DHA two baby sized thumbs up!
Other products in the feeding line include: 

Lactation Plus: Highly targeted, scientifically formulated blend of botanical extracts and organic ingredients designed to help support breast milk production. It comes in an easy to swallow capsule instead of a questionable tasting tea. 

2-in-1 Nursing Cover + Scarf: Designed in collaboration with Piece & Co., stylish year-round accessory and easy privacy cover for nursing made of soft and breathable 100% organically grown cotton.

Organic Nipple Balm: Organic, lanolin free salve helps to soothe pain and irritation and encourage healing to relieve and revitalize nursing nipples. 

Nursing Pillow: Foam-free and specially designed to offer stable support and comfort for both baby and mom, with a superior patented surface that gently angles baby to encourage optimal feeding position.

Natural Feeding Baby Bottle: Features a highly innovative design using medical-grade silicone and peristaltic nipple to closely mimic natural breastfeeding, squeezable bottle and integrated tri-vent system to reduce gas, colic, reflux, and spit-up. 

Natural Feeding Peristaltic Nipples: Medical-grade silicone with flex accordion design allows baby to feed in natural, wave-like motion to provide easy assimilation and transition between breast and bottle-feeding.

Certified Organic Premium Infant Formula: Meticulously blended using ingredients sourced from trusted organic farms, made without GMOs and “Honestly Free” of gluten, pesticides, carrageenan, hexane-extracted DHA, antibiotics, growth hormones,, and artificial colors and dyes. 

Formula Dispenser: Convenient 3-compartment solution for easy, hygienic feeding: anywhere, anytime.


Please note: While I have not personally tried every product in the feeding line, I have tried several things from the feeding line (and lots of their other products) and can truthfully say I have never tried something from The Honest Company that I disliked. For this reason, I feel confident recommending this company as a whole, including their feeding line to you!



Try it yourself!

The Honest Company makes it super easy to try their products right from their website and you can bundle products together to save even more! Their bundles let you set up auto shipments so you never need to worry about running out of diapers, formula or other essentials. Or just pop in from time to time to order what you need as you need. 


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Sponsored post disclosure: Compensation was provided by The Honest Company via MomTrends. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions of The Honest Company or Momtrends. I only recommend products and companies I personally enjoy and think my readers will as well. For more information, see my full sponsored post and review policy.

Monday, March 23, 2015

30 Creative Recycled Craft Ideas You Can Make Yourself!


Looking for recycled crafts that don't look so....recycled? Each of these 30 ideas is either so clever you'll be impressed or are so stylish you'd never know they were recycled in the first place. I think that these just might be the 30 best recycled crafts from the internet if I do say so, myself!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Six Questions to Ask Before You Jump Feet First Into an Electric Car



Our family has had our Electric Vehicle (EV) for almost two years. It has over 30K miles and is the only car our family of two adults, two kids and two dogs has (we drive a Ford Focus Electric, in case you’re wondering). If you’re in the market for a fuel efficient car or looking for something that gets the best MPG’s, make sure you check out electric cars in your search for your next vehicle.

Not sure if an electric car is for you? Ask yourself these six questions to find out:


Can its “cold weather” range get me to and from work?
EVs excel as commuter vehicles. They are quiet, accelerate well, and save lots of money on fuel and maintenance. When we got ours, we immediately started saving $260 in just commuting gas costs. Just don’t base your decision on its mild weather range. For example, I commute 25 miles each way to work - 50 miles total. In the summer, the Ford Focus Electric’s (FFE) 76 mile range is even higher, closer to 80-85 miles. The FFE handles my 50 mile commute in stride and even allows for an out of the way errand on the way home. But in the winter with the defroster on, I’m limited to 50-55 miles and pretty much have to come straight home. 

I used to work 35 miles away. During the summer, this was a non-issue. In the dead of winter, though, I had to “trickle charge” on a standard (120 volt) electric outlet on the outside of the building at work to top it off. If your commute is pushing the boundaries for your car's range, check out Plug Share, an EV charging station map (it has a smart phone app, too) to see if there is a charge nearby or check out the building you work at. Your manager might not mind letting you plug into the standard outlet that's on the side of the building or in the parking garage.


How often will I need a back up traditional gas vehicle?
Those who already own a gas-powered car as a second vehicle won’t need to worry about this. Although, if you can afford a Tesla Model S, you won't need to worry about it then, either. If you're looking at going all-electric for your family's only vehicle, you'll need to be more like us.

Since we were going all-electric for our only car, we had to consider carefully. Our minimum criteria was that we wanted to be able to make it to the airport and back (a 71 mile trip) without charging or renting a car. We also visit my wife’s parent about once a month - a 50 minute drive away. Both are very doable with our 76 mile average range. It’s even doable in the winter because we have become just that skilled in our driving habits. Not only is it doable, but we know that there are charging stations at the airport if necessary, and an outlet in my father-in-law’s garage. 


People often write off the possibility of an electric car due to "lack of infrastructure." In reality, there are electrical outlets everywhere! Every house, every business, usually has an outlet of some kind somewhere. Remember, etiquette is to ask before plugging in and offer to compensate for electricity used. 

That left us with needing to rent a car about four times a year for longer trips. Renting for longer trips is nice because all those miles go on a rental rather than your bread-n-butter vehicle (if you have a limit to how many miles you can use on your lease, this is a bigger deal). The way we calculate, the money saved on oil changes alone pays for the few times a year we need a rental car. Now, if your EV has DC quick charging, you could go on a longer trip up or down a major highway and charge your battery to about 80% capacity in 20 minutes. Ours does not. The truth is, we didn’t need it and loved the car so much that we didn't let it hold us back. But we certainly want it in our next EV mostly because its a nice perk.


Will it fit our family?
Trips to Ikea, and Christmas trees we handle soundly with a roof rack. No problems there. The real issue is internal storage. If you have small kids, I recommend bringing the family stroller with you to the dealership to see if it fits. Our first mammoth stroller would not, but our current stroller: a Bumbleride Indie 4 does fine- even with the reduced trunk space in the Electric version of the Ford Focus. 
Just one more reason to love our Bumbleride Indie 4 stroller: It fits in the trunk with room to spare.
The Leaf would have even more room. We are Costco members and routinely bring both our children, both of us, and fill the shopping cart with groceries. We can fit everything and everyone in the car with no problem. 

If we were to have a third kid, though, that would be tough, unless one of them were big enough to no longer need a car seat. Now, we have fit three children in the car, all correctly fastened in their car seats - but to be honest it's a huge pain and not something we would want to do every day. Most sedans/hatchbacks are going to be the same. I wish Ford would make a plug-in version of its spacious Edge. By the time our kids are both long legged teenagers, we will have outgrown our FFE, but that's still 10 years away. We are hoping for a plug-in SUV in our price range to be available ASAP as our family’s needs slowly change and grow.


To lease or buy?
In this unique situation - for a few more years at least, I recommend leasing your electric car for three reasons. 
  1. There is a DC quick charge format war, Chademo vs Combo vs Tesla Super Charger. Remember when Blu-ray and HD DVD were competing to be the standard? Yeah, exactly. 
  2. Technology is changing fast. If there is a bigger battery in just a few years, you may want to trade out without risking the extra depreciation. 
  3. If you purchase outright, you will not get your federal incentive ($7500) until your next tax return - and only as long as you get taxed at least that much each year. But if you lease, the credit is rolled into the lease (although only part of it in the case of the Chevy Volt). If you still want to keep the car at the end of the lease, just purchase it at its used price. Eventually that tax credit will be done, but for now you can drive an EV for the price you would normally pay in gas each month.

Do I have to get a home charging station (EVSE)?
No, but most people will want one. You’ll need at least a normal electrical outlet near your parking space. Apartments and condos may have issues here. We went a full six months “trickle charging” each night on a normal 120 volt outlet in our garage (at the rate of about ~4 miles/hour). The reason we upgraded to a level 2 EVSE (240 volt outlet) was to guarantee a full battery by morning if we got back home after midnight. 

The other issue we ran into was when we needed to rapidly charge (at a rate of about ~17 miles/hour or 4.8 kWh) between morning errands and afternoon errands. There are lots of fancy cords and stations on the market upwards of $2000. We got ours from Clipper Creek for just $550. It just plugs into a clothes dryer style outlet. The only installation required was to install the 240 volt outlet next to our electrical panel (which cost less than $100). The only thing I would have done differently is to get this version so we could take it with us and plug in at RV sites across the country.


If I am keeping the EV long term, am I financially prepared to replace the battery?
There are no oil changes, no gears to switch in the transmission, and the brakes are used less due to regenerative braking. Be wise. Save this maintenance money for the big unknown: the longevity of the battery. This isn’t really an unknown, since there are pioneers in this area with concrete data

If you are going to keep your EV long term (for 100,000 miles or more) you have to purchase it knowing that eventually it may need a new battery. Now, if 80% capacity is still good for you 100,000 miles later - and depending on your driving habits, it just might be- you may not have to spend the money. Nissan is the first company to publish replacement cost for its battery, $5499 plus labor. While prices are expected to come down over the next few years, batteries also will be getting bigger. A half price battery that’s double the size may still cost $6K and up. For us, it is worth it and we went in emotionally prepared for the commitment.


I hope this helped you!

As the newest member of the Creative Green Living team, I'm excited to talk more about electric cars with you. 

If you have a general question about electric cars, my personal experience with our Ford Focus Electric or are considering purchasing an electric car, please ask a question in the comments. I'll be sure to answer, and if the answer is long enough, I might even make your question the topic of my next article!



About the Author: 
Joe describes himself as a skeptical researcher and a hesitant convert to an eco-friendly lifestyle. An accidental electric car enthusiast, Joe has fallen in love with both the money-saving and planet-saving powers of electric vehicles and wants to empower as many families as possible to make the switch to electric car technology. Interested in having Joe test drive your electric car or write about your brand? Contact us here.


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Friday, March 20, 2015

How to Make a Bag from a T-Shirt (no sewing required!): Craft Lightning Day 5



Welcome to Craft Lightning Day 5! On thursday, I showed you how to turn old can lids into garden markers. If you missed it, click on the photo to go to that tutorial:



What's this Craft Lightning business? Glad you asked! This week, with the help of my friends Angie of The Country Chic Cottage and Carolina from 30 Minute CraftsI brought you a new recycled craft each day this week PLUS featured 6-10 other recycled crafts. Its a veritable recycled crafting extravaganza!

Today I have a super easy way to turn an old t-shirt into a market bag. This method requires no sewing so it's perfect for making with older kids in school or with your scout troop.  Or also for sewing-machine-less adults. Or for those who own sewing machines but are scared of them. You get the picture.


Supplies

  • Old T-shirt (note:bottom hem must be intact)
  • Rotary Cutter & cutting mat
  • Quilting ruler or straight edge (optional but useful!)
  • Scissors
  • Large safety pin
Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

How to Make Stamped Plant Markers with Recycled Can Lids: Craft Lightning Day 4



Welcome to Craft Lightning Day 4! Yesterday, I showed you how to make some adorable ladybugs from recycled egg cartons. If you missed it, click on the photo to go to that tutorial:


What's this Craft Lightning business? Glad you asked! This week, with the help of my friends Carolina from 30 Minute Crafts and Angie of The Country Chic Cottage I'm going to bring you a new recycled craft each day PLUS feature 6-10 other recycled crafts. Its a veritable recycled crafting extravaganza!

Today I'm going to show you how to turn can lids into cute plant markers! I love their rustic chic look.




Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 
**I use a Pampered Chef Smooth Edge Can Opener which unglues the can instead of cutting it - therefore no sharp edges! I cannot recommend this can opener enough, especially when using cans for crafting with kids.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

{Kids Craft} How to Make Ladybugs from a Recycled Egg Carton: Craft Lightning Day 3



Welcome to Craft Lightning Day 3! Yesterday, I showed you how to make cute plant markers with clothespins and washi tape. They coordinate nicely with the planter I showed you how to make on Monday. If you missed it, click on the photo to go to that tutorial:

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to Make Plant Markers from Clothespins:
Craft Lightning Day 2



Welcome to Craft Lightning Day 2! Yesterday, I showed you how to make an a super cute giftable plant container. It's a quick and easy way to dress up a small plant or flowers to give as a gift! If you missed it, click on the photo to go to that tutorial:


What's this Craft Lightning business? Glad you asked! This week, with the help of my friends Carolina from 30 Minute Crafts and Angie of The Country Chic Cottage I'm going to bring you a new recycled craft each day PLUS feature 8 other recycled crafts. Its a veritable recycled crafting extravaganza!

Today I have easy to make plant markers using clothespins. They even coordinate well with the planter we made yesterday to make a super cute gift.


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

How to Turn a Can into a Giftable Planter:
Craft Lightning Day 1



At Creative Green Living, we are all about recycled crafts! This week, with the help of my friends Carolina from 30 Minute Crafts and Angie of The Country Chic Cottage I'm going to bring you a new recycled craft that you can make in 15 minutes or less each day PLUS feature 6-10 other recycled crafts. Its a veritable recycled crafting extravaganza!

My craft for today is a cute, giftable planter. It's an easy way to dress up a 4 inch pot to make it 10 times more adorable and ready for gift giving.


Supplies

  • Clean and empty 28 ounce (or larger) can
  • Wide burlap ribbon that is as wide or wider than the can
  • Baker's twine
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • Plastic spoon or chopstick to help with gluing
Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

Saturday, March 14, 2015

How to Make a Personalized Captain America MagicBand



If you haven't been to Disney World lately, you may not know about MagicBands, but let me tell you - they are awesome! You can load your park tickets and credit card info onto your band and then use it to:
  • Get into Disney parks
  • Get into your Disney resort hotel room
  • Pay for purchases
  • Pay for food / use your dining plan credits
  • Link your ride photos to your My Photo Pass account
and MORE! So cool.

The only problem with MagicBands. They are plain. Bo-ring! I mean, I suppose they are "simplistic"....if you're into that sort of thing.

When we got the MagicBands for our recent trip to Disney World, I knew they were crying out for a makeover. For my Captain America loving husband, I decided to make him a Captain America inspired band. He loved it and got so many compliments on it, too! Here's how we made it....


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

Thursday, March 12, 2015

How to Make a Rainbow Wind Chime from Recycled Cans



I love crafting with recycled cans and wind chimes are one of my  favorite things to make with them! (check out my Fourth of July Wind Chime and my Halloween Ghost Wind Chime posts!) 

Wind chimes are fun projects to make with kids and a fun way to decorate your porch or garden. Make this rainbow wind chime for St. Patrick's day, to celebrate the arrival of spring (AKA "rainbow season") or just because!


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Recycled Cardboard Tube Cuff Bracelet



Being a green lifestyle blogger, I've seen my fair share of recycled crafts. My favorite ones are the ones where you would have no idea what it was made of. This, my friends is one of those. Would it ever occur to you that this punky cool cuff is made from a recycled cardboard tube? Me neither! My friend, Heather, from Dollar Store Crafts  did a great job with it. Be sure to click the link below to go to her full (and super easy) video tutorial.


Supplies

Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 


Directions

Find the directions online at Dollar Store Crafts' YouTube Channel: Paper Towel Roll Cuff Bracelet with Washi Tape


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