How do we inspire our kids to be more grateful?Nov. 4th

PP Question_NOVGratitude rock

So, in today’s modern world, how do you inspire children to grow up with an attitude of gratitude instead of an “attitude”, if you know what I mean? Many psychologists have studied gratitude and its effects on our well being.  People who are more grateful seem to lead more satisfying lives and are more resilient in a crisis or under pressure. I for one definitely want that for my whole family! Rudolf Steiner, known for creating Waldorf Education, said this “Gratitude is the basis for love. When children deepen their appreciation for the natural world, they deepen their love for all of creation.”  An easy way to start is to simply as your kids,  “What are three things you are grateful for today?”  Or, for younger ones, try a rhyme or a song that appeals to you. Giving thanks before a meal is another powerful way to inspire gratitude. Here’s a sweet one for the younger kiddos:



The eagle gives thanks for the mountains,

The fish gives thanks for the sea

We give our blessings for the food
We are about to receive.



We’d love to hear your ideas, as different ideas appeal to children as they grow and develop into adults.

For more resources, check out “G=Gratitude Attitude” in our Simple as A-B-C’s.



Here are 5 Tips for saving our kids from Scary Sugar Stories on Halloween, without being a bad “Witch”. Truthfully, I’m dreading bringing this up, talking about SUGAR on Halloween? The most poorly received public presentation I ever made was talking to a corporate group about office culture and nutrition, bringing up how sugar creates health problems and how the office should not allow employees and solicitors to populate the break room with sugary delights. Not only were there crickets in the room but the glares I got for the rest of the week drove home how sugary rituals are part of the joy people took in their workdays. So, please allow me to spare you the details of why we want to limit the sugar in our diets for another day (or by special request) and merely provide a small pitch and resources to help make Halloween time a less sugary event, should that be on YOUR list of priorities.


EVENTS – Many community centers, churches, and organizations have events designed to be fun alternatives to trick or treating. Having the kids wear themselves out in bounce houses, bobbing for apples, playing games for prizes, etc… may just wear them out enough to make Trick or Treating a smaller part of Halloween rather than the main event, or eliminate it altogether. To find events in your area, google Halloween events in your city or county, or contact a local news provider.

Switch WitchSWITCH WITCH –  If “trick or treating” is the absolute favorite activity and does produce prodigious amounts of candy, consider using a “Switch Witch” approach Just remember to set up the story some days before Halloween. You can also call it the “Candy Fairy” if your children are scared of witches and don’t like the thought of her creeping into their houses while they sleep. You can either dump all the candy or let your child keep a few of their favorites and get rid of the rest.

Candy Trading



CANDY TRADING   some dentists offices accept candy trade-ins for little prizes and send the sweets as little gifts to our troops overseas. My 5 year old did ask the question “if sweets are bad for us, why are they good for the troops?” I think my answer mentioned that they’d only be getting a few pieces each so it wouldn’t send them to the dentist’s office straight away with a cavity, but it would nicely remind them of being a kid again.

Sugar Substitues


SUGAR SUBSTITUTES – If you are motivated to bake, there are many sugar substitutes that taste great hidden in cookies and other treats, and are far less harmful than refined white sugar. Also, if you are supplying treats for your community party or for trick or treaters, consider giving out glow sticks or other party favor toys instead, most small children will like them even better than edible treats and you and your kids won’t be tempted to sample the goods.

Learn MoreLEARN MORE about the effects of refined sugar on children’s bodies and why too much candy can be harmful to their health. Do it together and make a game of learning more, and let them teach you, too, so everyone will respect the decision to limit sugar in the family diet. For small children short and sweet explanations work best, like “it gives us tummy aches or gives us tooth aches”, and as children get older, invite them to watch a documentary like one that we recommend: Katie Couric’s “Fed Up”. 

A More Sustainable Lunches Continues… the HORROR of ziplock bagsOct. 15th

ziplocksI have a confession to make: I use ziplock bags, a lot of them. Before my son started kindergarten, it would take at least 6 months to go through the box of ziplock bags, but suddenly, with packing school lunches for a picky eater, I have been going through 1 box every month. I hate to think that I’m contributing to the giant trash gyre of the pacific, or to my family’s exposure to endocrine disruptors released by plastics. Plastic, a ubiquitous part of modern life, is very hard to eliminate from the household. I remember one playdate I went to where the house was pretty much plastic free. I was so envious of the amount of jars and pretty ceramic containers that they had. So, I’ve tried to start, with one container at a time, one less processed food at a time. After all, my cupboard used to be full of Teflon non-stick pans  and one by one I replaced them with safer (and more expensive) options. One step at a time, I CAN do this!! I’m not much of a seamstress, so luckily there’s Etsy with lots of options for hand-made reusable bags.handmade bags When choosing fabrics, you want to look for BPA and phthalate free material as the liner, as some are made with cheaper PVC plastic that is not safe for packaging food. When I googled “do it yourself sandwich bags”, the first link was to a better homes and garden article which says to use the PVC fabric because it is easier to sew than ripstop nylon. If you are handier at sewing than I am, you can look at do it yourself materials on the internet like this. Your kids will enjoy picking their own fabrics and you can teach them how to sew with this really easy first project. You can even sell them for your PTA fundraiser instead of candy or other junk food popularly used as fundraiser fare. So, who’s with me in dumping plastic ziplock bags?

Guest Blogger: Rebecca Wolthers, parent educator and aspiring green mom

Guest Post: 5 ideas to get us out of a lunchbox rutOct. 12th


When we think of school lunches normally food items such as a sandwich, mini pizza, cookies, a pack of juice come to mind. These are what usually form the lunch box of a child. Why is that so? Mainly because they are convenient and children like them too. No preparation time is required, saving you time and effort, and all you have to do is pop them in your child’s bag. Children also love you for that. But are parents really doing a favor to their kids by giving them such items for school lunch? Not really. Not only are these highly processed but they also contain high levels of sodium, preservatives and sugar, making them unhealthy. School canteens also do not always have a variety of healthy options available. Besides, it is better for you to pack homemade lunch for your children rather than giving them money to buy something from school. Not only will that ensure that the food is hygienic and nutritious but it will also save loads of money over time. Since most kids are unaware of the health hazards of unhealthy food, it is up to you to provide them with nutritious meals and help them eat healthy.

Last night’s leftovers

No, there is no hard and fast rule that school lunches can only include chips and cookies. Last night’s leftovers will work just fine. Did your child love the meatballs from last night? You could make some extra and maybe add some rice with it. There you have a healthy lunch ready and something that your child would be eager to have. You could prepare chicken chunks, make chicken and egg spread for a sandwich, fry or bake boneless fish. There are plenty of options for you to consider. Just make sure to pack everything properly to ensure freshness and safety. You could use a thermos for warm food. Include reusable utensils and cloth napkin for ease.

Fruits and vegetables

Pack them such that they can be eaten easily. A child would prefer sliced apples and oranges rather than a whole one. The downside is that they would turn brown by lunch time and your child would rather skip them. Use lemon juice on them to avoid that. Bananas could be given as they are. A bag of grapes is also a good idea. Rather than buying jams and jellies from the stores, you could prepare these at home. The ones available in the supermarket contain very high sugar levels plus preservatives. Some children tend to prefer smoothies over eating fruits. If your child is one of them, you could skip on whole fruits and instead prepare a fruit smoothie, with maybe just a small portion of some vegetable, like spinach. Believe me they would not be able to spot the difference. The best part is that this could be prepared the night before and frozen.

Dairy products

Smoothies are a good way for your child to consume dairy. If not, you could give them the small tetra packs of milk available in the market. Another option is yogurt that you could freeze at night and it would be ready to be eaten by lunchtime. You could add fruits to the yogurt to make it more appealing to a child’s palate. But while you are working on adding dairy to your kids’ diet, think about choosing organic dairy products. You will be doing a favor not only to your children but also to the environment. Factory farms are still injecting artificially produced hormones into cows that make them give more milk. This is not natural and definitely not healthy for you, your children, or the cows. Opt for organic milk even if it costs slightly more.


How can you incorporate grains in your child’s lunch? Whole grain or whole wheat bread should be preferred over white bread. Prepare rice cakes at home and sprinkle them with fruit syrup or maybe peanut butter to make them more appealing. Whole grain crackers are also a good idea and you could also include cheese in the lunch box to go with them. Making cookies at home of whole grains, such as oatmeal raisin cookies instead of the usual chocolate chip, will add nutritional value to their desserts. 


Meat does not necessarily have to be a part of your child’s diet to get them to take in protein. If they do not like it, do not fret. There are alternatives. Egg is a great source of protein, and packaged perfectly for on the go. Hard boiled eggs are easy to prepare and eat. Nuts are also good for lunch or snack time. You could prepare chicken salad or a tuna sandwich if they are into these.

Final thoughts

Children who have healthy, well balanced lunches are better able to concentrate in their class than those who go for the less variations. So there is another reason you should ensure that your children are being supplied with a healthy lunch box. There is also the issue of food allergy to consider. If a certain kind of food does not suit your child, it is best to have their lunch packed from home. Kids may not be as careful about their food choices even if you have instructed them about it beforehand. It is better to be safe.

Author Bio:

Batool Ali is an international blogger who loves to write on different disciplines such as Health, lifestyle, fashion, finance and education.

A More Sustainable Lunch Continues….Oct. 8th

Today’s entry focuses on how to reduce waste and packaging when it comes to the lunchbox. In our featured video, Lily shows us not only what the contents of her lunch look like but how it is packed.

  • reduce, reuse, recycle may be words that seem over played but they really cut to the basics and are in the right order of operations. If you are striving for a more whole foods diet for health reasons for example, you will have the bonus of reducing plastic and cardboard packaging that are ubiquitous in the processed food aisles of the grocery store. You may also be using more bulk foods, which will prompt you to have glass or tin containers to hold your bulk foods, and nearly completely eliminate plastic containers and throw away boxes. Instead of grabbing a box of “insert comfort food here” you may learn how to make more things from scratch, one recipe at a time replacing such things as granola bars and cookies and turning them into secret power foods with nut butters and coconut sugars instead of processed sugars and empty calories.
    • DO THIS MORE: Bulk foods are now widely available



AND LESS OF THIS: health food stores have attractive and tempting packaging!



Sometimes it is easier to get kids on board than to “sustain” sustainability, so we want to hear about your “reduce” and “reuse” hacks, including containers, bento boxes, lunch bags, etc… especially home made and low cost options. Here’s a great read on high quality sustainable and safe lunch boxes, Here’s some wild ideas from a sustainable restaurateur to cut your food waste, including how to tell if your eggs have gone bad, and some pretty wild ideas on how to eliminate packaging in your kitchen or pantry.

Coming soon, a guest blog on healthy lunch ideas, organic and humane products, local and home grown produce, and recipes galore!!

Question of the MonthOct. 2nd

PP Question_Leaf

How do you pack a more healthy, sustainable lunch for your kids?

lunch bentos

With everyone caught in the Back to School frenzy, our October topic is all about our desire to explore how to pack our kid’s lunches in a way that aligns with our values regarding keeping our planet and our bodies clean and sustainable. With many modern parenting issues, there are often more questions than answers that come up, and we are all about taking ideas and putting them into action. For some, sustainable may be about organic, for others, about going vegan, or even dabbling in urban permaculture. In the end, we all have to make it work within our family’s budget and time constraints. It isn’t a contest to see who is the greenest parent, but comes from a desire to put good things in our children’s bodies so that they can feel healthy, happy, and energetic. We want to show our kids how to be stewards of the earth and make good choices for themselves and their future families. The resources that come out of making these inquiries will hopefully help you come to terms with the lunchbox struggle in a way that fits your values.

This month we will be sharing ideas, recipes, and yes, PLAYING around on Youtube! Stay tuned!

Grateful Monday: The Science of GratitudeMay. 18th

This isn’t breaking news, but it’s a great reminder. We’ve learned that gratitude is key to a peaceful life. We have heard that happier people are more grateful people. They beam with light because of joy and maybe that joy is buried deep because they see the good in their lives and appreciate it.

Just some food for grateful thought on Gratitude Monday…and a video, because it is just so fun to watch.

Grateful Monday: 10 of the best quotes about gratitudeApr. 27th


“Piglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.”
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh    

“In the end, though, maybe we must all give up trying to pay back the people in this world who sustain our lives. In the end, maybe it’s wiser to surrender before the miraculous scope of human generosity and to just keep saying thank you, forever and sincerely, for as long as we have voices.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia    

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
Eckhart Tolle, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose    

“My expectations were reduced to zero when I was 21. Everything since then has been a bonus.”
Stephen Hawking

“Some people grumble that roses have thorns; I am grateful that thorns have roses.”
Alphonse Karr, A Tour Round My Garden    

“When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears.”
Anthony Robbins  

“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings…”
William Arthur Ward

“[Gratitude] turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.”
Melody Beattie

“What separates privilege from entitlement is gratitude.”
Brené Brown

“In ordinary life we hardly realize that we receive a great deal more than we give, and that it is only with gratitude that life becomes rich.”
Dietrich Bonhoeffer


this list was procured via GoodReads

Our favorite links of Earth Day 2015:Apr. 22nd

Happy Earth Day!


photo credit to HuffPo

Can we just call it Playful Planet Day?!  (cheesy grin here)

There are so many mentions of Earth Day across Twitter and Facebook and All The Places on Earth Day. We thought we’d share just a few favorite links for FUN:

This guy (and his tiny Winnie the Pooh) is something else. Check out what he did.

Environmental Books for Kids from CommonSense Media

Here are some Instagrammers to follow via HuffPo GREEN – the beautiful photos!

and speaking of beautiful photos, you don’t want to be missing our very own Pinterest board called Glimpses of Beauty – Our Playful Planet in Photos

Enjoy Earth Day (every day), make a difference.



Grateful MondayApr. 20th

Can you imagine the earth with no buds on the trees, flowers blooming, a bird’s nest, a baby’s giggle, a child learning to jump?


Today is a grateful day, a day for remembering these things, and the millions more.

Gratitude settles in and destroys anxiety, like magic. But a magic unlike the magician provides, with trap doors and slight of hand. It’s real and lasting and can appear with a simple stop to look.

Every day is a grateful day, a day for remembering these things that soothe your soul, the things that create a hole in the ribs for the bees to escape.

Then they go out, they make honey, and it is sweet.