Peaceable Kingdom Great Cheese with game open_HREarth Day may be over, but taking care of our planet is important the whole year through! Peaceable Kingdom turns ordinary moments into teaching moments through cooperative play. Peaceable Kingdom’s cooperative games (many of which are 100% green) have players work together as a team against the game, not against each other. To “Mom,” this means more fun and less aquabbles! For little ones who are exceptionally strong-willed and like to win, this provides an opportunity to learn the value of teamwork. Players win as a team or they lose as a team: it’s that simple. As players work together, they help each other, and learn the valuable lesson of what can happen when everyone comes together to address a problem – all while having fun, of course!
Green games, such as The Great Cheese Chase, can help open up a dialogue with your children about living a sustainable lifestyle. Peaceable Kingdom’s cooperative games are just the thing for starting this conversation! All of the games listed below are made with soy-based inks on FSC paper and include game parts made with corn-based plastic and FSC wood. 

Cooperative games from Peaceable Kingdom include:

•The Great Cheese Chase
•Hoot Owl Hoot
•Count Your Chickens
•Stone Soup
•Lost Puppies
•Mermaid Island
•Race to the Treasure
•Seeds for the Birds
Mom” absolutely loves the concept of a cooperative game where children learn to work together to solve a problem – all under the guise of play. The Great Cheese Chase is entertaining, easy to learn, and fun for the entire family. “Mom’s” little one loves to play this game where all of the mice must get to the cheese in the attic before Tiger the Cat!

To learn more about Peaceable Kingdom, their many cooperative games, or to locate a retailer near you, please visit

*Company generously provided samples and images for this piece.*

How to Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Environmental sustainability is a phrase on everyone’s minds these days, especially with the debate over fracking on the news and rising prices at the gas pumps. But if you’re honest, chances are those saved dollars are much more important to you than whatever the future of the planet may be. In the end, one person can only do so much to help the environment on a grand scale, but a single individual can consider the environment in ways that will make a huge difference to a family’s financial bottom line. One of the biggest monthly expenses on the ledger tends to be household utilities. Luckily you can do a lot to impact your gas and electric bill that will save the planet and your wallet. Here are a few ways to improve your home’s energy efficiency rating starting today.

All of the changes you make must start with a shift of mindset. Becoming more energy efficient at home generally means instilling some new practices, and it will take conscious effort to succeed. Make a list of any home habits you have that could be considered wasteful. One of the most obvious is leaving too many lights on. Make it a part of your routine to shut off the lights in any room that’s not being used, and you’ll see a real difference in your monthly electric bill. Additionally, switch out your standard light bulbs with long-lasting energy efficient ones. You’ll go through far fewer bulbs a year, and the light they give off is fantastic. Pick up a couple of energy efficient power strips and plug all of your electronics and appliances (except the refrigerator) in, so you can easily shut them down when they’re not being used.

Any appliance that generates heat is a big energy user and waster. Do regular maintenance on the oven to insure it heats up as swiftly as possible, or replace it with a modern, energy efficient model. If you’re heating water on the stove, try not to overfill the kettle and you’ll cut down on the amount of gas or electric you use.

The largest part of your expenses will involve heating and cooling the house. Regrettably, you could be spending a significant percentage of that money heating and cooling the neighborhood, if your home isn’t sufficiently sealed and insulated. Check out the doors and windows, and look for gaps or leaky spots. If you own the house and will be staying for a while, consider replacing old windows with new ones that are better sealed. Pick up blinds and curtains designed to keep the house’s temperature consistent. And if you can, raise your standard thermostat temperature a degree or two in the summer, and lower in the winter. Shedding that extra layer of clothing or grabbing a blanket will pay off at the end of the month.

Consider more significant ways to impact your home’s energy efficiency. If you can afford to trade in your old boiler, washer/dryer and other appliances for green certified models, you’ll be doing your part not just for the family, but for environmental sustainability. And as a longer term plan, look into greener energy sources for your home. Adding solar or wind power to your home will drastically reduce your energy requirement over time. And it could add to the value of your home. Check out some tracker mortgage sites to see how you can increase the value of your home through improved energy efficiency.

Why You Should Send Your Kids to Eco-Camp This Summer

Summer is nearly upon us, and if you have yet to consider which camp you’ll send your kids to this year you’re a little late to the game. If you never attended camp as a child, then you lack have the fond memories that endear many parents to a particular locale and prompt them to send their kids there. So you might be swimming through a sea of summer camp brochures that all look the same. How do you choose? One great way is to pick a feature that interests you as a way to narrow down the options. And by considering only eco-friendly summer camps you can seriously slash the length of your list and ensure that your child goes to a camp that offers more than just the opportunity to swim and pull pranks on other cabins. Here are a few great reasons to choose a green summer camp for your kids.

For starters, there are more of these camps out there than you might imagine, and there’s bound to be one relatively near your home, so it’s not like you have to ship the kids halfway across the country to give them the green camp experience. Even amongst eco-friendly establishments there is a lot of variation, with some offering lessons in sustainability while others tout the humane treatment of animals. So if there are certain lessons you want your kids to learn along the lines of environmental friendliness, you won’t have to settle for something that they are already learning adequately at home.

But what are the real benefits of choosing an eco-friendly camp over other types? For one thing, it could give your kids an experience that they won’t find anywhere else. Sure, your school district has a recycling program in place, and they may even source local farms for fresh food in the cafeteria, but are they teaching your children about the value of organic goods? Do they realize what happens to a can or bottle if they throw it in the trash instead of the recycling bin? Without the education to accompany these initiatives there’s really no call for kids to develop an awareness of their own role in a society that creates rampant pollution and waste. These are things they can learn at a camp run on eco-friendly principles.

Of course, in addition to real-world instruction that they can bring home and use throughout the rest of the year (and their lives), you’ll almost certainly be sending them to a healthy environment, in every sense of the word. And they’ll obtain the knowledge and skills to make eco-friendly changes in their lives and their communities when they return. Bike Camp in Oregon, for example, gets kids out in the world and exercising by teaching them to safely ride and repair their bicycles. Camp Ecology in Colorado uses the abundant natural environment of Aspen to teach kids why and how to protect natural resources. And the Longacre Leadership Program in Pennsylvania helps kids to develop a community spirit and environmentally sound sensibilities as they spend the summer working together on a 200-acre organic farm (it’s almost as good as a masters in strategic leadership with an emphasis on sustainability).

Those are just a few of the possibilities when you seek an eco-friendly summer camp for your kids. The point is that there are many options to explore when it comes to giving your kids the opportunity to expand their horizons at a summer camp. And if they learn to appreciate the environment in the process, so much the better for the future of our planet.

Be Sustainable through the Holiday Season

The holidays bring a sense of cheer and time for sharing gifts and making memories. Spread that cheer by hosting a more sustainable home throughout the holidays. Being mindful of energy use, lighting options, and usage tactics will help ensure a happy and eco-friendly holiday.

Be prepared.
Getting your house ready for the holidays doesn’t just mean preparing for the hoards of extended family visiting to celebrate. Energy consumption gets quite high during the holidays and the first step to a sustainable holiday involves offsetting that usage by keeping rest of house energy efficient and running smoothly.

Simple repair and maintenance, particularly in the kitchen, will help keep your home running smoothly. Kitchens often turn into small bakery factories during the holidays which pump out delicious cookies, pies and other Christmas treats. Cooking holiday meals and will require less energy with equipment kept in prime condition. Ensure the vents on appliances big and small are clean of dirt or dust. Replace any necessary arms or attachments on KitchenAid parts and other counter-top equipment or burnt out coils on larger items like stoves or refrigerators.

Although lowered energy consumption is a key component of sustainability, water consumption should also be considered. As this post notes “replace your sink faucet and with a low flow faucet” for lowering water use as these faucets can have “water saving features that use 30% less water.”

Outside of the kitchen, control energy-use through operating power strips which make it much easier to turn lights and other electronics on and off at once. Unplug unnecessary auxiliary electronics as DVD players, stereos, and chargers often use energy even when not being used.

Be equipped.

Holiday lighting schemes light up neighborhoods and towns with ornamental cheer. Be equipped with Energy Star qualified LED lights which lights burn brighter and longer while using a lot less power and wattage. A single 7-watt bulb found on traditional light strings uses the same amount of power as a 24-foot long string of LED lights.

No longer limited to mere strings, energy efficient LED options are available for dangling icicle lights, tree wraps, statues, nets, balls, and many more options for illuminated holiday decor. In addition to their increased efficiency, Energy Star lights maintain significantly longer lifespans and are cover by a three-year warranty, burn at a cooler temperature, and can safely host several lengths of strands connected end-to-end without overloading the power source.

Be Vigilant.

Vigilance is key for several things in life, and a sustainable holiday season is no different. Setting timers for lights and hunting down rebate and recycling programs for older lighting options will lessen the cost of decorating and lower the amount of energy consumption without adding extra work.

Incorporating timers into holiday displays will ensure the lights don’t burn during the hours when no one is really watching. Timers help absent minded folks who forget to shut lights off before bedtime and allows display shine beginning at dusk for those who arrive home from work after dark. Different timers can be used to achieve maximum efficiency from larger displays by staggering the lighting display to coordinate with neighborhood traffic and lifestyle. Staggered displays shine in their entirety during the “high traffic” hours and then can be reduced to smaller illuminated displays later in the night before shutting off entirely.

Recycling centers often offer programs for recycling old lights. These centers often partner with stores and manufacturers to offer rebates and coupons in exchange for recycling traditional incandescent light strands. These rebates typically range from $2 or $3 dollars per strand or up to 25% off purchases of energy-efficient LED lighting options.

About the Author

Katei Cranford is a freelance writer who loves keeping her energy consumption low while lighting up her neighborhood with holiday displays!

*LED Christmas Light by Flickr Creative Commons user: Tiger Baby*

Toys to Teach Sustainability

With sustainability and preservation being on the lips of many parents, teaching our children is the first step. It isn’t easy gaining the interest of our little ones when it comes to serious issues, but that isn’t the case anymore. With toy companies gearing towards recycling, preservation, and education, it is easier than ever to teach our children about going green while they enjoy their playtime. Here are a few toys that teach kids about the environment while sparking their creativity:

Uberstix Scavenger Recycling Series: Pirate Ship and UFO
This set is unlike the normal DIY sets of the past. Once your child opens the box they find a set of instructions and a list of recyclable items they need to find in order to build the ship or UFO. After a fun scavenger hunt the set shows how to use these recyclables to build the ship and gets a fully functioning pirate ship or UFO to play with. This toy teaches how to use recyclable items for other uses while sparking creativity and ingenuity.

Eco-Friendly Wooden Eco House
The doll house of yesteryear got a green make over. This eco-friendly doll house is made of recycled wood and materials and comes complete with full rooms and a family. It also includes environmentally conscious themes such as recycling, rain water collecting, wind turbine, and solar panels. It aims to teach your little one about recycling and alternative energy sources that will sustain earth’s natural resources. This is a fun and educational set to help your child learn to go green.

3 in 1 Solar Power Transforming Robot Kit
This kit is perfect for your robot loving youngster. In this kit your child learns about solar power by putting together this transforming robot. Running completely on solar power the robot transforms into a tank and a scorpion, but not until it is put together. The kit comes in pieces with instructions for your child to put it together. It is an educational and fully functioning model kit for your little one to learn about the power of the sun.

Wind Power 2.0
This kit is suggested for children age 10-15. This 133 piece kit explains how wind power can create a stored power source and lets your child build their own rechargeable wind power system. It comes with a manual to show how to build the turbine, attach it to the charging dock, and even includes 8 designs for building battery powered models. It includes one AA rechargeable battery for the docking stations.

After building the models the AA battery powers them for hours of fun. If they complete the 8 models the creativity kicks in. They can experiment with the pieces to create models of their own design and power them. This kit is a great way to get your little builder into sustainable design and technology. It teaches green power, design, and electricity all while having fun.

Whether your goal is to teach greener energy, recycling, or spark creativity, these toys can inspire children of all ages. Eco friendly toys are becoming more available and the lesson of earth friendly living is priceless. This year take the earth in consideration and give your children hours of entertainment and creative learning.

About the Author

Writer Angie Pomilia is also a content contributor for Brainz, a topical website urging us to learn something new and share it with others — whether it’s a list of the best dollhouses for girls or 14 easy meals every guy should know how to make.

Top Eco Luxury Resorts

Not all travelers are looking for a manmade paradise when they hit the road. Certainly you want to be comfortable and well provided for when you take off to parts unknown, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you want a whole slew of overblown tourist traps (complete with paid entertainers and lavish synthetic settings). Many people have begun to embrace a different style of travel known as ecotourism. Rather than looking for the next big spectacle to take them away from the drudgery of their daily lives, a lot of travelers want to get away from it all, reconnect with nature, and do less to harm the environment along the way. So if you’re looking to reduce your carbon footprint on your next walkabout, even as you enjoy the luxuries to which you have become accustomed, here are a few great resorts that could fit the bill.

1. CESiaK – Sian Ka’an, Mexico. The Centro Ecologico Sian Ka’an (CESiaK for short) is part of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, an ecological model of sustainability located near the Mayan ruins of Tulum on the Caribbean Coast of Mexico. If you thought that white-sand beaches, warm waters, and eco-friendly attitudes didn’t mix, think again. This beach resort situated on a 1.3-million-acre park employed local labor for building (and staffing) and uses solar and wind power for all of their buildings, plus filtered rainwater collected from cisterns.

2. Longitude 131˚ – Northern Territory, Australia. You shouldn’t have any trouble finding this establishment since its geographic location is right in the name; but just in case, look for the world’s largest monolith peeking up out of the desert. Situated on top of a sand dune just a stone’s throw from Uluru, this hotel consists of 15 so-called “tents” that are like little luxury cabanas on stilts. They barely disturb the desert floor and everything runs on solar power. Plus, all the entertainment comes from the natural surroundings.

3. Bardessono – Napa Valley, California. Dubbed the “greenest luxury hotel in America”, this resort has the creds to back up the claim (if their status of LEED Platinum certification is any indicator). Heating for rooms (and water) is geothermal, photovoltaic panels provide energy, a vertical garden covers the walls of the hotel lobby, and a massive compost (called the “Earth tub”) turns kitchen scraps into fertilizer. Talk about sustainable.

4. Camp Ya Kanzi – Kenya. With Mt. Kilimanjaro providing a scenic backdrop, you’ll feel the closeness of nature every time you look out the window. And with an eye on sustaining the view, the “Camp of the Hidden Treasure” used local building materials (cutting down nary a tree in the process). In addition, energy and heating come from solar panels, rainwater is collected and filtered from rooftops, and cooking takes place thanks to eco-friendly charcoal created from coffee husks.

5. Capital Coast Resort and Spa – Paphos, Cyprus. Although there aren’t many Paphos hotels that can claim to uphold any standards of ecotourism, this one has met local certification standards to be listed as a green/sustainable property. Not only is it adjacent to historical Cyprus attractions like the Tomb of the Kings and the Paphos Lighthouse, it also overlooks beautiful Paphos harbor. And in addition to checking its environmental impact, the property is also friendly to diverse communities, actively welcoming LGBT guests.

Think that you could live the American “Green” Dream? “Mom’s” recent article on unearthed (pun intended!) the top 6 sustainable homes in the US. From a 5,000 square foot dream home to a house made from pop cans and used rubber tires – we ask you, could you live in one of these homes? Visit to see the full article!

Feel simply luxurious in one of Marigold Fair Trade’s Organic Chaela Tops! This breezy, flowing top is great as a cover-up over your yoga clothing, or just alone, dressed up with a silky scarf or chunky necklace.

In addition to their brightly colored, flattering Chaela Tops, Marigold Fair Trade offers a complete line of clothing, with everything from dresses, jackets, skirts, and yoga-inspired items. For those seeking sustainable clothing options, by making a purchase from Marigold Fair Trade Clothing you are empowering a disadvantaged woman to make herself more economically self-sufficient. Since 2004, this phenomenal company has been working with a co-op of over 200 women from the slums of Mumbai, India and an association of 5000 organic cotton farmers to create stylish, high-quality fair trade clothing and housewares that are available for purchase online.

For more information on Marigold Fair Trade Clothing, and their programs, please visit You will simply fall in love with their mission and their planet-friendly clothing line!

*Company generously provided samples and images for this review.*

Founded in 2009, the Peek A Bamboo line is made from eco-friendly & super-soft bamboo, and features clever sayings on their bodysuits that have been screen printed using eco-friendly water-based inks. The creator of Peek A Bamboo, Tim Gilroy, took the time to answer some of “Mom’s” questions about this adorable new line of clothing for infants and toddlers.

An Interview with Tim Gilroy, Creator of Peek A Bamboo

1. Tell us about your eco-inspired company:

Peek A Bamboo is a creative clothing brand featuring the luxurious natural resource of bamboo. With the market growing for sustainable products, we have launched a line of baby bodysuits with the goal of providing an eco-friendly, premium quality brand. Bamboo clothing is extremely soft, breathable and cozy, just perfect for your little one. Our original artwork is fun, creative and conveys the message of living green through the whimsical nature of bamboo. We are proud to offer a brand that helps reduce the impact on the environment and lets people feel good about what their baby is wearing.
2. How do you choose to go green in your own life?

I make a very conscious effort to recycle, conserve water and buy organic products.

3. Guilty green pleasure?
In the process of developing the Peek A Bamboo brand, I have ordered many samples of bamboo clothing. My guilty pleasure is ordering samples of shirts in my size so I can wear them. Bamboo clothing is so soft, I just can’t resist.

4. Can you offer any encouraging words for those with a small sustainable business?
Be passionate about what you do. Most people in the sustainable industry believe in what they are doing. If that energy carries over into your business practices, then clients and customers will want to support your business.

*Image courtesy of Peek A Bamboo.*

Teach your children to be environmentally responsible from an early age with Envirosax Kids™, super-cute reusable shopping bags! Forget those plain sacks sold at the grocery stores, Envirosax Kids™ makes it FUN to be green! Available in a variety of kid-pleasing designs, these bags are lightweight, portable, and even waterproof! Not just for shopping, the bags are extremely roomy and can be used as a beach bag, to hold extra toys, as an overnight bag for a summer sleepover – you name it! The best part? Envirosax Kids™ reusable bags roll up into a small, compact bundle that can fit in the palm of your hand. It can easily be tucked into a purse, backpack, diaper bag, or jacket pocket, if need be. This is one smart bag!

To see the various designs available or to order your own Envirosax Kids™ bag, please visit

*Company provided a sample, images, and information for this review.*