Cool New Ways to Use Old Toys

If you find yourself cleaning out the toy box for what seems like the thousandth time, wondering what you’ll do with the bits and pieces littering the bottom—stop short of making a desperate grab for that garbage bag. Instead of tossing well-used playthings, consider dusting them off and using in a totally different way. Plastic animals = awesome new wall hooks. Random puzzle pieces = super cool fridge magnets. Scroll down for more ideas on how to give old toys new homes.

photo: Jasmine Orchard Styling

1. Firetruck Lamp
Use your old trucks and cars to convert into an awesome lamp. Hop on over to Jasmine Orchard Styling to take a peek at her props and for more ideas.



animalhoooks_tsukifox_littlegrayfox_springcleaning_national_redtricyclephoto: Tsuki Fox via Little Gray Fox

2. Magnetic Animal Hooks
The dollar animals your kid had to have just got interesting (at least, for you!). Crafter Tsuki Fox came up with several ways to use those little creatures—we especially dig the magnetic jewelry hooks! Head over to Little Gray Fox for the how-to on a super unique way to display your baubles.



playmobilclock_jennykearny_oldtoysnewideas_springcleaning_national_redtricyclephoto: Jenny Kearney via The Gingerbread House

3. Playmobil Clock
What time is it? Time to use Playmobil people to make a kitschy clock. These little guys are awesome for imaginary play and, it would seem, a totally cool addition to counting the minutes go by. It’s an easy project—we promise! Find out how it’s done by heading over to The Gingerbread House.



dinobookends_natalieshaw_oldtoysnewideas_springcleaning_national_redtricyclephoto: Natalie Shaw via Doodlecraft

4. Dinosaurs as Bookends
A dino-tastic way to keep books in order. Your budding paleontologist will get a kick out of seeing his favorite prehistoric pal propping up his go-to nighttime stories. We love the bright colors and easy (hot glue gun alert!) DIY for this project. Pop on over to Doodlecraft for the entire tutorial.




tricycleasflowerpot_oldtoysnewuses_springcleaning_national_redtricyclephoto: Shelly Kannon via A Southern Belle with Northern Roots



5. Tricycle as Garden Decor
This could be our favorite idea of the bunch! Old tricycles are an easy upcycle for your garden. It’s a perfect perch for a flower pot filled with spring blooms. Opt to paint or leave rusty—either way, the kids will get a kick out seeing their old gear serving a new purpose. Head over to A Southern Belle with Northern Roots for more on this simple-but-awesome idea.



legocharger_stevengoodwin_oldtoysnewideas_springcleaning_national_redtricyclephoto: Steve Goodwin via Marquis de Geek

6. LEGO Charging Station
We’ve already determined LEGOs are awesome, but let’s be honest—the little pieces that find your bare feet in the middle of the night are not cool. In fact, parents might often find themselves secretly plotting a clean sweep of the entire building supply. If you’ve got a surplus of colored bricks, or your kids have outgrown their stash, then this totally rad device charger is gonna be right up your alley. Builder, blogger and dad Steve offers up an easy-to-follow tutorial over at Marquis de Geek.




gameboardshelves_vanessaalverado_oldtoysnewsuses_springcleaning_national_redtricyclephoto: Vanessa Alvarado via Thrift Core

7. Board Games for Shelves
The Candyland game has lost all its gingerbread men. The shiny car and boot are missing from the Monopoly set. No one wants to play the game of LIFE. Whatever the problem, Thrift Core has the solution. Make your own shelves out of game boards no longer getting any play. With simple tools and a few brackets, bump up your house’s cool factor in no time. Head over to Thrift Core for a full list of materials and the easy tutorial.




puzzlepiecemagnets_lizstanley_oldthingsnewideas_springcleaning_national_redtricyclephoto: Liz Stanley via Momtastic

8. Puzzle Piece Magnets
Puzzles are a great way to pass the day but make no mistake, they are a recipe for mess-making. How many sets do you have at home missing an animal, car, plane or train? By creating magnets, you’ll open up a whole new world of play. This is upcycling at its finest! To get the details on the games and the how-to, head over to Momstastic.




photo: Sewing with Knits via

9. A Treasured Stuffed Animal Made of Outgrown Clothes
Since most infants double their body weight within the first five months, it’s likely that your little bundle never got a chance to wear half their adorable ensembles. Don’t fret! The clever seamstress over at Sewing With Knits created this sweet stuffed animal using outgrown infant clothing. Cute and cuddly, it’s an adorable way to repurpose your little one’s unworn attire. For an added touch of nostalgia, use your favorite outgrown outfit. You’ll likely have enough fabric to remove the milk-stained portions.


photo: The Homes I Have Made

10. Bubble Wand Airplane
By adding propellers, wings and a tail, The Homes I Have Made transformed a Dollar Store bubble wand into an awesome party favor. Pop over to the blog for the tutorial.

photo: mcleod via flickr

11. Toy Wreath
What to do with all of those old toys and figurines? Make a fun toy wreath! You can use either a wire wreath from your local craft store or an old hula hoop. Affix the figurines and old toys with wire and hot glue.

photo: quinnanya via flickr

12. Succulent Guardians
Provide some protection for your plants by positioning a few old toy soldiers around the house. We love the idea of making this a scavenger hunt—how many can your kiddos find?


13. Lamps in Toyland
Light up their life with an enchanting toy lamp. Head on over to Indigamethyst for the scoop.

photo: davidwithacamera via flickr

14. Toothbrush Holder
Make their nightly brushing routine even more fun with a cool toothbrush holder.


Have you used an old toy for a new purpose? Tell us about it in a Comment.

— Gabby Cullen, Lauren Hill and Erin Lem




Cool Projects That Give Your Trash a Second Wind

5 Ways to Upcycle Your Scrap Paper

10 Clever Ways to Upcycle Your Old Baby Gear

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Fun Children Mask Ideas

You’ve got a wide-open afternoon on the horizon. Transform your crew into a masked menagerie with just a few basic supplies. From fluffy flamingos to woodland creatures, scroll down to find 10 easy ways to let your littles take a walk on the wild side.

photo: Wee Society

1. Masked Menagerie
The classic paper bag mask has gotten a modern makeover with these adorable (and free!) printables from Wee Society. New in 2016, the dinosaur and the unicorn a masked menagerie that includes a gorilla, a fox, a koala, and owl and a lion. Besides that paper bag, you’ll need construction paper and glue. Click here to get the printable kit from Wee Society.

photo: Leslie M. via Pink Stripey Socks

2. Lion Around
We’d be “lion” if we didn’t give major props to this sweet mask from Pink Stripey Socks. Wondering what it’ll take to get your kids to the Serengeti for an afternoon adventure? We can tell you that paper plates play a big role in this project. Find out what else you’ll need over at Pink Stripey Socks.

EDD_FoamMaskCraftphoto: courtesy Everyday Dishes

3. Fabulous Frogs and Flamingos
Turn your little one into a feathery flamingo or a fabulous frog with a few supplies from your local art supply store. We love how the creative folks over at Everyday Dishes use old sunglasses as a starting point. Find out what else you need to make your own version by clicking here.

woodlandanimals_nataliekramer_animalmasksphoto: Natalie Kramer via Handmade Charlotte

4. Woodland Wonders
These upcycled woodland creatures are pretty cool. Not only does this project get your littles thinking about the Great Outdoors but it’s something anyone can tackle in an afternoon. Grab a paper bag and find out how crafter Natalie over at Handmade Charlotte gets the mask shape just right.

octopus_prettyprudent_animalsphoto: courtesy Pretty Prudent

5. Sensational Sea Creature
It won’t take eight arms to pull together this disguise. Using your own (and maybe a few helper) hands, you can send underwater adventurers to the bottom of the sea in no time. Find out what you’ll need over at Pretty Prudent.

mousemask_merileeliddiard_mermag_animalsphoto: Merrilee Liddiard via Mer Mag

6. Magnificent Mouse
If it’s a game of cat-and-mouse you want, then this tutorial is a perfect solution. Merrliee of Mer Mag has delivered another incredible idea that’s easy to replicate. Get the simple tutorial over at Mer Mag.

butterfly-maskphoto: Gabby Cullen

7. Beautiful Butterfly
Making a butterfly mask could mean pretty-in-pink or wild insect right out of the Amazon, but either way, your kids will get a kick out of putting this one together. Get the 411 by clicking here.

bunnyrabbitmask_kersey_andweplay_animalsphoto: Kersey Campbell via Momtastic

8. Hare-Raising Fun
Some-bunny will love this mask from Momtastic. Whether your kiddo is on Easter Bunny patrol or if Peter Rabbit is the cat’s meow, this easy project will complete the package. Wondering what you’ll need to make it happen? Here’s a tip: eating breakfast cereal helps! Get the low-down over at Momtastic.

bluebirdmask_pipersmith_animalsphoto: Piper Smith via Piper’s Art Blog

9. Feathered Friend
Bring the Bluebird of Happiness home with a bright and cheerful mask like the one we spotted over at Piper’s Art Blog. Using just one paper plate, construction paper, and a little glue, you’ll be singing this project’s praises in no time. Fly on over to Piper’s Art Blog for the tutorial.

rhino-maskphoto: Erin Feher

10. A Ridiculously Easy Rhino
Make a rhino mask before playing pachyderm with the kiddos. With just a few supplies you’ll be on a stay-at-home safari in no time. Find out how it’s done here.

Which mask will your little animals make? Share with us in a Comment below!

— Gabby Cullen

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Family Activities to Make You Feel Like a Kid Again

Peter Pan didn’t want to grow up, and we think he had the right idea. While there is no turning back the clock, one of the best things about having a kid in the house is that they remind you how much fun it was to be young. Get down on their level by joining in—here are 10 ways to act like a kid with your kid.

1. Have a tea party. But be aware this involves more than simply sipping tea. You must truly believe those blocks are gooey brownies and hold up your end of the riveting conversation with Elmo and Raggedy Anne.

2. Swing on the Swings. Now is the time to dust off those old school-yard tricks. Show them how a pro jumps off the swing!

3. Eat Snacks. Because cheese sticks, crackers and fruit really are a solid midday pick-me-up, at any age.

4. Finger Paint. Better yet, don your swim suits, head outside with your art projects and let the paint fall where it may. Your inner artist will be inspired!

5. Play Dress Up. Pull out an old prom dress, heels from another era and all the sparkly jewelry that hasn’t been worn in years.

6. Take a Bubble Bath Together. Sure, it’s a very different vibe than that old Calgon commercial, but bubble beards and splash attacks are their own kind of sweet release.

7. Eat at the Kids’ Table. It may not be the most comfortable seat in the house, but we bet the conversation is just as interesting. Let them lead the way with the table talk, and you just join in when you’ve got something to add to the unpredictable banter.

8. Take a Nap. Because, duh.

9. Ride Bikes. Bomb some hills, ride through the grass and practice your skid stops. We recommend sticking some playing cards to your wheels for that motorcycle hum.

10. Play Hide and Seek. You may be bigger, but that doesn’t mean you can’t think of a hiding spot that won’t blow their minds. The best is that moment when they actually think that you have disappeared.

Do you have any other fun ideas for acting like a kid with your kid? Let us know in the comments below. 


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Bike, Boat & Bask in the Sunshine at Redondo Beach

It’s no wonder Baywatch and scenes from Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed in Redondo Beach. The quintessential beach town and picturesque locale boasts a laid-back vibe where you and the fam can soak up the seaside fun and plenty of adventures from taking a dip in a lagoon or whale watching to cruising the town and the shore on bikes–– with the added perk that everything in the heart of Redondo is accessible via a short bicycle ride! Read on for our guide to the best place to stay and where to play and dine in Redondo Beach for your next family vacay.


photo: Shade Hotel Redondo Beach

Shade Hotel Redondo Beach
Unpack your bags at the well-appointed, brand new and beautiful Shade, a boutique luxury hotel with the perfect location in the heart of Redondo Beach. Kids get cake pops and adults get champagne upon entering their room––a sweet touch to kick-off any vacation for any age. The guest rooms are sleek, hip and modern, while also being cozy and kid- and dog-friendly. The complimentary “Beach Breakfast” each morning includes delicious gourmet breads, muffins and pastries, fruits and parfaits and of course coffee and OJ served at the hotel’s Sea Level restaurant that has plenty of outdoor seating with ocean views –– not a bad way to start the day!

photo: Shade Hotel Redondo Beach

Additional free amenities are the use of a rooftop pool with sweeping views of the Pacific (perfect for watching the sunset), free yoga classes on the aquadeck, Strand cruiser bicycles and free WiFi. The environmentally conscious Shade Hotel also plants a tree in your honor for every day you pass on housekeeping, with the philosophy that “trees give shade, Shade gives trees.”

The balcony from a marina front room at Shade grants a glorious vista of the boats and the ocean––and sunsets can be enjoyed right from your room. Another lovely touch: rooms facing the marina have a private balcony soaking tub, so you can relax in the bath while absorbing the sea breeze. Yes, please.

Shade Hotel
655 N. Harbor Dr.
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277


Park Your Car & Bike Everywhere… Seriously.
One of the very best aspects of a family trip to Redondo Beach is that you can literally ride your bike everywhere… even with little ones. When you stay at Shade, you’re only about a five to ten minute bike ride away from Redondo Beach Pier, whale watching and water sport rentals, Seaside Lagoon, the beach… it’s all just a few short pedals of the bike up the road!

Redondo Beach is equipped with bike paths that have their own traffic signals for cyclists. You’ll feel safer that you and your kids aren’t riding on the same street as cars.

Go to Marina Bike Rentals (a three minute walk around the corner from Shade) to rent all types of bikes for your crew. They have kids bikes, cruisers, multi-speed bikes, tandem bikes, kid’s trailers, and Kazoo Tag-alongs that attach to the back of an adult bike for a kid to ride behind (shown above).

From Marina you can ride in either direction on a bike path: twenty miles north along The Strand as far as the Santa Monica Pier or south 2.25 miles through Redondo Beach.

Cycling around Redondo Beach is an added vacation perk that’s so much fun for kids and adults alike. No need to pile in and out of the car and look for/pay for parking.

Insider’s Tip: Be sure to ask the folks at Marina Bike Rentals to give you a basket to attach to your bike (for purchases you may make en route) and locks for when you arrive at your destination–– both are included with the rental fee.

Marina Bike Rentals
505 N. Harbor Dr.
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

Redondo Beach Pier
The Pier has old-fashioned appeal as it was originally built in 1889, and reconstructed in 1995. There are dozens of souvenir shops and food vendors and locals dub it a west coast “Coney Island” filled with novelties including funnel cakes, churros, popcorn and the freshest seafood in town.

Insider’s Tip: Enjoy free concerts on the Pier July-September and free movies on the boardwalk in June.

Visit the quirky, 70’s-era, Redondo Fun Factory on the Pier before it closes. Kids will love playing the vintage quarter arcade games (beat them at Pac-Man!), Skee-Ball and riding the Tilt-a-Whirl.

Redondo Beach Pier
100 W. Torrance Blvd.
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

photo: Visit Redondo

Seaside Lagoon
The Seaside Lagoon is an appealing haven for kids and families. This large saltwater lagoon boasts play equipment, lifeguard supervision, a snack bar with food from Ruby’s Restaurant, volleyball courts and both sand and grassy areas to set up shop. Every Friday in July this summer, there will be a summer movie shown at the Lagoon. Seaside Lagoon opens May 27, 2017-September 4, 2017.

Insider’s Tip: This is a great locale to watch fireworks on the 4th of July.

Seaside Lagoon
200 Portofino Way
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

photo: Visit Redondo

Whale Watching
Take the fam on a peaceful whale watching excursion on “The Indian,”a 65-foot, 42 passenger vessel at Redondo Beach Sportfishing. The friendly crew make the journey fun with their narration of the tour to spot Gray whales during their migration. You’ll probably catch sight of many dolphins and sea lions on the excursion too. An added bonus: along for the ride on each whale watch adventure is a trained Naturalist of the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium/American Cetacean Society, who walks around the boat educating passengers about the marine life.

Insider’s Tip: Make sure everyone uses the restroom before boarding the boat. Excursions are three hours, minimum. Pack snacks and water to stay hydrated.

Redondo Beach Sportfishing
233 N. Harbor Dr.
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

Hit the Beach
Put the “beach” in Redondo Beach by taking your sea lovers to build castles in the sand and dive in the waves just south of the Pier. Avenue C Beach typically has less crowds and it’s equipped with volleyball nets for a sporty time in the sand.

Redondo State Beach
Pearl St. and Esplanade
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

Feed the Turtles & Climb Trees at Hopkins Wilderness Park
This 11-acre park is perfect for kids who love to climb trees. The site has four ecological habitats: forest, meadows, streams and a pond filled with turtles you can feed. Pack a picnic and soak up the serenity.

Insider’s Tip: Bring change to buy turtle food from the dispenser near the park entrance, so kids can feed the turtles.

Hopkins Wilderness Park
1102 Camino Real
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

Monkey Around at Veterans Park
Stop by this scenic park before or after your beachgoing adventures to let the kiddos play on the playground while you take in the ocean view. On Thursdays from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. there’s a farmers market here in the Park where you can buy fruits and vegetables, baked goods, plants and more.

Veterans Park
309 Esplanade at the corner of South Catalina Ave. & Torrance Blvd.
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277


Turquoise Restaurant
Dine on authentic and delicious Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food right in Redondo Beach’s Riviera Village at Turquoise. The menu is bursting with healthy, organic dishes you can enjoy family-style. Kids can share the sandwiches, which are big enough for two. Order the littles the organic peanut butter panini which comes topped with grape molasses and grilled green apple slices. Don’t miss the homemade yogurt and hummus at this bright and cheery spot with friendly service, where you can also pose for a pic in front of the huge photograph of Greece on the restaurant’s back wall.

1735 S. Catalina Ave.
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

IShabu Shabu
Japanese hot pot is one of the latest trends in dining out. Order up your ingredients at Ishabu Shabu: locally sourced beef, seafood and veggies, then cook them in the broth of your choice in a hot pot in front of you. Be sure to indulge with the strawberry mojito and the decadent, oversized Brick macaron ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

IShabu Shabu
1212 S. Pacific Coast Hwy. #200
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

photo: Joan S. via Yelp

The Green Temple
Vegetarians unite at The Green Temple where the zen vibe is as refreshing as the veggie cuisine. This restaurant has been a cherished part of the community for over 15 years and they pride themselves on sourcing their ingredients from local farms. Kids can opt for the “junior portion” of many dishes and they’ll devour any variety of the quesadillas while you gobble up the vegetarian edition of The Blue Plate: a flavorful homemade veggie burger topped with mushrooms, onions and gravy and served with mashed potatoes and broccoli. Hydrate with an array of fresh squeezed juices or rejuvenate with a Dragon Shot––an herbal extract prepared to result in an array of outcomes from opening your heart to strengthening your immunity.

The Green Temple
1700 S. Catalina Ave. #103
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

photo: Captain Kidd’s

Captain Kidd’s Fish Market
Renown for serving Redondo Beach’s freshest seafood since 1976, Captain Kidd’s affords visitors the opportunity to custom design their meal by choosing their cut of fish including swordfish, halibut and Arctic cod or seafood selection of crabs, lobsters, clams and mussels from the fish case, choosing how they’d like it prepared and adding on any array of side dishes from garlic french fries to macaroni salad. Kids can order from the “mini pirates” menu from a selection including fish and shrimp and kid-faves: corndog, grilled cheese and more. Captain Kidd’s has three patios for dining with a view and they’re dog-friendly.

Captain Kidd’s Fish Market
209 N. Harbor Dr.
Redondo Beach, Ca 90277

For more information on all Redondo Beach has to offer, go to

Where’s your favorite place to go in Redondo Beach? Tell us in the comments.

–– Beth Shea

All Photos by the author unless otherwise noted.


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15 Earth-Friendly Websites

Good news, Kermit! Being green just got a whole lot easier. In order to help you respect your mother (earth), we’ve created the ultimate list of eco-friendly websites. Each one is brimming with trusted resources and creative ideas to help you create a lifestyle that’s not only natural but practical too. Scroll down to see them all.

1GirlieGirl Army
You’d like to go green, but you think it means giving up all your glamazon gear. Think again. GirlieGirl Army is a website dedicated to making the world sustainably beautiful. You’ll find tips for consigning and shopping vintage, discover the new and cool “green” fashion brands, pick up natural wellness tips and more. The contributor list is impressive, ranging from vegan chefs to doulas and fashionistas.

2. Healthy Child Healthy World
After Nancy and James Chuda lost their only daughter to non-genetic cancer most likely caused by maternal exposure to pesticides, they took action. From diligently working to influence policy makers and legislation to demanding corporate accountability from manufacturers, the Chuda’s non-profit supports parents in their efforts to create safe and healthy environments. This organization is a go-to resource for trusted brands, products, and healthy living solutions.

3. TreeHugger
The hard-working editors and experts at TreeHugger strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions and product information. You can sign up for a weekly or daily newsletter in order to dtay up-to-date on topics such as design, tech, business, living and science.

4. The Green Mama
Ready to take a seat on the go-green caravan? It’s time for you to meet the Green Mama, more formally known as Manda Aufochs Gillespie. She specializes in helping her clients make fun and easily maintainable healthy lifestyle changes. We love her because she jokes about the “green police,” a label she saves for people who are more eager to judge than to support. Here’s a green mama with whom we can all relate!



5. Mothering
Beware, this site has so much useful information, you could end up browsing for hours. Yes even (gasp!) right through nap time! We especially like the active forums that range from buying and selling gently-used goods to an age-based Q&A. Simply sign up to meet thousands of like-minded parents.



6. Living Pretty Naturally
Filled with helpful tips on how to treat your body from inside out, suggestions on how to cook foods that are best for natural beauty, and what not to put on your face, Living Pretty Naturally is where you’ll want to go for a killer sugar scrub recipe or for the latest natural cosmetics reviews. There’s a section for him, her, and even baby!     



7. The Eco-Friendly Family
We love this site because it’s designed with the modern family in mind. From cool new products to how to keep it eco-chic, the Eco-Friendly Family is a go-to resource for people who don’t want to sacrifice style in their quest to help save the planet.

Extra Eco-Credit: You’ll find a ton of DIY tutorials that are actually easy to do.



8. Groovy Green Livin’
Started by a self-proclaimed “recovering attorney” Groovy Green Livin’ is a website devoted to helping people make simple changes which lead to a greener life. What exactly does that mean? Author Lori Popkewitz Alpe outlines six steps to help get you started, which include switching to non-toxic cleaners and saying goodbye to paper towels. 



9. Peace Love Organic Mom
Filled with product and service reviews and saving tips and coupons, PLOM is a great resource for parents that want to start their path to greener pastures.

Extra Eco-Credit: Explore PLOM’s Pinterest page for vegan desserts, eco-friendly party ideas, and more.  



10. Environmental Working Group
If you want straight facts without the frills, the Environmental Working Group is where you’ll find them. EWG has a simple mission—to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. They tackle key issues in energy, farming, and consumer products, and their investigations are eye-opening.

Extra Eco-Credit: Their consumer guide section is one of the best. From sunscreen to pesticides in produce, you’ll find an environmental “grade” on over 80,000 products. We especially love their Skin Deep Cosmetics database.



11. Kitchen Stewardship
Don’t be fooled by the name, this website is more than just green smoothies and tips on how to keep your kitchen stocked with organic fruits and veggies (although it’s a great resource for those too!). The site also includes countless product reviews and tons of tips on how to eat well and spend less while entertaining, packing healthy lunches, and feeding kids with food allergies.

Extra Eco-Credit: We also love Kitchen Stewardship’s YouTube channel, perfect for when you’re in the mood to watch rather than read.



12. Happy Mothering
This site feels like a visit to an old friend’s house. The host, Chrystal, is a mother of two and began her journey towards a more natural lifestyle after being diagnosed with (and beating!) melanoma in February 2007. Her site is full of creative ideas on how to take a more holistic approach to everyday family life. It’s practical and reliable, just like that childhood friend.

Extra Eco-Credit: Happy Mothering has a great section on Essential Oils, and how to incorporate them into your home.



13. Mother Earth News
If you’ve ever had a chance to flip through the magazine you know Mother Earth News is stocked with tons of information on how to live a more earth-conscious life. The website is no different. Browse sections dedicated to topics such as Homesteading and Livestock, Natural Health, and DIY projects, or watch videos on organic gardening before finding recipes for fresh, healthy eats.

Extra Eco-Credit: There’s also a podcast! Click here to find out more.



14. Petite Planet
This site is filled with fun, sustainable crafting ideas, toy and gadget reviews, as well as first-hand accounts from moms in the know. Browse the various categories, which include health, bath & beauty, feeding, clothing and green design.



15. Eartheasy
The professionals have arrived. The founders of Eartheasy have been living off the land for more than 30 years, which led them to create a website focused on bringing sustainable solutions to a wider audience. There’s a vast shop filled with everything from kitchen utensils to water filtration systems, and a blog with helpful articles and posts on all sorts of eco-friendly topics.


Want more? Check out Red Tricycle’s 2016 Green Living Power Moms.

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.

—Gabby Cullen & Aimee Della Bitta

Feature photo: Simply Bike via Flickr

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9 Ways to Serve Up Pigs in a Blanket

What do you think of when you hear Pigs in a Blanket? Depending on where you grew up (or when) it could mean sausages in pancakes, hot dogs in biscuits or even bacon wrapped sausages! Here are  variations that are sure to please the kiddos and are perfect fare for kid’s parties, picnics and lunchboxes alike. Read on for our faves.

photo: David Kessler via flickr

1. Classic Quick Pigs in a Blanket

This easy recipe requires just two ingredients (hot dogs and refrigerated dough) and only four steps. Click here to get the simple how-to. And if you’re feeling more ambitious, check out the recipe from Epicurious that includes making your own dough!

Variations on the Classic

2. Add a spoonful of chili to each center along with the hot dog for a mini chili-dog.

3. Add a slice of cheese or a teaspoon of shredded cheese to get the ooey-gooey feeling.

4. Use pepperoni and a little pizza sauce to make your own pizza rolls.

5. Sub a veggie sausage or veggie hot dog to make a vegetarian version.

photo: kae71463 via flickr 

6. Corn Dog Pigs in a Blanket
AKA a corn dog not on a stick! Perfect for snacks, lunches and picnics this variation on the pigs-in-a-blanket theme has us wanting more. Whip up a batch of megas (and sub in sausage if you prefer) or use mini-muffin tins to get bite-sized snacks to serve at your next kid’s birthday party. Click here to get the recipe.

photo: Bethany King via flickr 

7. Pancake Pigs in a Blanket
This version of pigs in a blanket requires only that you perfect your pancake skills a little so that you can get decent sized, well-cooked pancakes. Simply wrap the pancakes around some sausage and serve on a plate with maple syrup and, if you wish, powdered sugar.

8. Bacon Pigs in a Blanket
Same ideas as the above pigs, but instead of using sausage in your “blanket” use several slices of bacon. Works best if the bacon is a bit on the crispier side.

9. Pigs in a Pig
For die-hard meat lovers, use bacon as your blanket! Just wrap your favorite sausage in a slice of uncooked bacon and place in oven to let sizzle. For a scrumptious adaptation, try the brown sugar sprinkled version here.

Have you made pigs in a blanket before? Do you adapt the recipe at all? Tell us below!


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12 Sites to Buy and Sell Baby Clothes

This one is a no-brainer. Schoola was started by a mom and former teacher in 2013 with the goal of bringing paint brushes, gym equipment, and other desperately needed items to underfunded schools.

Buy from them: You can find clothing and accessories for babies, kids, juniors and women with specialty sections for petite, plus-size and maternity. Browse thousands of items at your own pace, or create a custom collection for seasons or brands. 40% of the sales proceeds (minus the cost of inbound shipping) is donated to a school of your choosing.

Sell to them: Simply box up new and gently used clothing (original retail value over $30), add the printable, pre-paid label and send them off. You can choose to receive $2 for the average online consignment payout or give $7.21 to a school of your choosing when you donate to Schoola.

Why you’ll love it: Over 30,000 schools have benefitted from Schoola clothing drives. The company has also partnered with Malala Fund, VH1 Save The Music Foundation and Girls on the Run. You can organize a clothing drive for your own school, and even earn reward points for telling others about Schoola.

Get started at

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9 Easy and Delicious French Toast Recipes

Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, it can also be the most exciting. Shake up your routine French toast with one of these indulgent combos so good, you’ll want to just brunch seven days a week. And who are we to stop you? Click through the slideshow to find your favorite.

French Toast Stuffed with Strawberries and Bananas

Your Sunday morning just got way more delicious. Whip up this stuffed French toast recipe from Heavenly Home Cooking and your whole crew will be satisfied. You can customize the fruit included to suit your family’s tastes. To snag the recipe, click here.

photo: Heavenly Home Cooking

What’s your favorite, pancakes or French toast? Tell us in the comments below. 

—Susie Foresman

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