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 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!

Thanksgiving Food FunNov. 14th


You may have seen this image (and many more) pop up on Facebook, Pinterest, etc… It just stood out to me as the perfect dish for Thanksgiving, especially if you have kids in the house.  What better way to celebrate AND get a few veggies into ya before the pie, than with this adorable critter?  

As serious as getting healthy food into your kids is, for disease prevention and optimal health, we sometimes forget to make food FUN!  I’m planning on making this for Thanksgiving~ How about you?  Now go and play with your food!   

Playful Lisa




Grateful Monday: What is Your Life For?May. 21st

Today’s question (it’s a good one):

What is your life for?

For us over here at Playful Planet, our life is for empowering kids.  This comes so much from our co-founder, Bryan, who has an innate knowing that children come to this life already possessing a deep intelligence, often knowing more than the adults who are shepherding them in.  He has described to me the moment that his eyes met his newborn daughter, KC, for the first time, and as he looked into her eyes, he knew, she was an intelligent being and his role would be to teach her how to navigate this physical world (like how to use a dishwasher, for example!)

So we bring this belief into all that we do… How can we guide these kids to figure this stuff out for themselves so they can know their own power, and have the sense of wonder and accomplishment that comes from discovery.

What is your life for?*

Questions provided by Cafe Gratitude and their daily ‘Question of the Day’ program that helps facilitate ‘clear and present’ employees at their amazing Cafes.

Decision DharmaMar. 17th

< Back

D = Decision Dharma

Encouraging children to make their own choices by showing them the cause and effect relationship of consequences to those choices is incredibly empowering.

Many parents often feel like their job is to teach and enforce a strict set of rules. After all, how else will children be safe, learn how to behave and ensure success in the real world? The problem with giving kids a list of rules that must be followed to avoid punishment is that it doesn’t teach kids how to make wise decisions when the parental enforcers aren’t around. Just obtaining compliance isn’t a long-term strategy, because every human child has so much more potential than that.

First, they will more likely remember a rule or guidance if they understand it. Secondly, effects will be more personally meaningful for them if they understand the thinking the lead up to it. Third, parents won’t always be there. We need children to be able to think on their own two feet, with a solid capacity to weigh information, anticipate outcomes and make good choice. This method promotes responsibility and strong decision making skills.

The best part is that children’s bright minds seek this sort of engagement. No child likes to hear “because I said so!” Their natural curiosity and intelligence wants to grow to understand more.

Research suggests that teaching kids critical thinking skills can actually boost their IQ!

Simple Steps

  • Give an allowance. Giving your kids their own spending money and control over how to spend it provides real life experience with consequences. They’ll be able to learn firsthand how choosing to spend money on one item means they won’t have money for another item. They’ll learn to filter their choices through values and end up with good decisions. You can adjust the amount of the allowance to accommodate for growing levels of responsibility as a child ages or matures. Don’t fret bad choices…it’s a small price to pay for a lesson learned. Consider it a tuition payment!
  • Discuss possible outcomes of choices. Before you insist your child put on a coat to go outside, ask them what they think might happen if they go outside without one. Talk to them about the potential effects of ignoring schoolwork or being rude to a friend. Often times, your child will make the right decision on their own after looking at possible outcomes. If and when they don’t, let them experience the natural consequences of their choices, even if that means letting them feel uncomfortable for a while. The mistakes will give you something concrete to talk about when new decision points come along.
  • Use real cause and effect consequences to actions. Often times parents will come up with consequences for breaking rules that are meant to motivate, but aren’t direct results of the poor behavior. Taking away a video game, for example, isn’t a natural effect of leaving a dirty dish unwashed. The natural effect could be having a much harder dish to wash. Using logical consequences will help teach your child reasoning and make them more likely to cooperate with family rules.
  • Offer kids lots of opportunities to practice. As with any skill, your children will get better at making decision with practice. Offer your kids the chance to make age-appropriate choices whenever possible. Young kids can be given the choice between two types of foods or outfits to wear for the day. As your kids age, they can make decisions about more and more aspects of their lives if you have established a pattern of talking through decision points together as a family.

Learn More

Parent Trust has a good article about how to balance teaching decision making skills with keeping your kids safe. Zen Family Habits also has a detailed article about how to teach kids to make their own choices.

Simple as ABCOct. 19th

Weekly Health & Green Tips

Each week, a new letter of the alphabet is introduced that represents a simple idea – a reminder of the small things we can do to make a big difference in the health of our families and the well-being of our planet.


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Z = Zero Waste

Why do we assume that there will be some amount of waste associated with everything we use?

We work to reduce waste, but that philosophy still suggests that some waste is inevitable. As an alternative to that common way of thinking, some people have begun to advocate the idea of Zero Waste. Zero waste is about throwing away less, but also about looking at everything as a possible resource. In nature, there’s no such thing as an “end product,” everything is part of an ongoing cycle. Working to live a zero waste lifestyle means striving towards a more efficient, cyclical consumption of resources. A zero waste lifestyle can improve the environment and your own quality of life by helping to save you time and money.

In just one year, HP changed their business practices to commit to waste reduction and saved $870,564 by reducing its waste by 95%.

Simple Steps

  • Replace disposable with reusable. Use rags instead of paper towels, real dishes and silverware, and reusable storage containers for leftovers and lunches.
  • Form a buyer’s group with your neighbors. Everyone doesn’t really need their own ladder, do they? It’s not like each person uses it every hour of the day. Why not pitch in and buy a green product that many families can share? Start with one shared item, and see what evolves!
  • Replace paper with e-documents. Much of what we throw away or recycle is paper that can easily be eliminated. Recycling is essential, but it is still keeping the focus on what to do with waste. Save those resources altogether by nipping the paper problem at the bud. Consider reading newspapers and magazines online, unsubscribe from catalogues, and switch to electronic billing and statements.
  • Consider cloth diapers. If you have a baby at home, disposable diapers and wipes can create a staggering amount of waste in a short time. Cloth diapers and a local diaper service eliminate that waste.
  • Frequent the local library—and find libraries that lend or rent other things, too. Kids and adults can rely on the library for books, music and movies—and use the concept of a library to think about other ways to borrow things before buying. Sharing means less is produced so the cycle of waste never gets started. You don’t mind borrowing a book, so maybe borrowing other things (tools, the dress you need for a special event, even a car once in a while instead of full-time ownership), will start to make sense, too!

Learn More:

Learn more about how businesses and industries can benefit from Zero Waste at The Zero Waste Home blog offers ideas for families looking to reduce or eliminate waste.

To view a list of our past articles, go to:

simple as abc’s archive

‘Tis the Season to Do Good!Nov. 1st

I am a firm believer that our actions are always painting a picture of who we are, what we believe in and what is important to us. Especially where it comes to how we spend our hard-earned, fiercely sought-after, making the world go round money.

I love it when I find an organization that hits on all levels. Great product. Conscious citizen of the planet. Gives back. Excellent customer service. It almost sounds too good to be true, but I swear its out there.

I was very fortunate a couple of weeks ago to attend an event (Creative Alliance 10) that had a couple of exemplary sponsors, and for now I want to focus on Paper Culture.

For the earth conscious crowd, Paper Culture uses 100% post consumer content recycled paper on high-quality 130lb stock (which is very substantial and durable) and plants a tree in a US National Forest with EVERY order!hlannan_ho_h_joy_f_green_548B_2

For the hip-designer crowd, Paper Culture features really great looking, modern designs AND gives you access to a professional designer AT NO EXTRA CHARGE!

For the very busy, Paper Culture had an amazingly fast turnaround time (which I cannot personally guarantee as the holiday approaches, but in my experience I had cards in my hand in 3 business days,) AND offers a FREE mailing option. They will address and add a personalized message to every card for only the cost of the stamp. Really.

And for the skeptical, Paper Culture offers a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee.

Enough, enough already! you say. Well, I wish I could appease you, but there is another amazing thing about Paper Culture. They like to give back. A lot.

Paper has a policy of donating a portion of every sale in support of sustainability, family and education. One of their pet projects is Somaly Mam, an incredible organization named after an even more incredible woman who broke free of the sex-slave trade and has gone on to help thousands of other women do the same.

They have offered a code for all the women who attended Creative Alliance 10 to offer all the people they reach. Use this code: CA10 at checkout to know that 20% of your purchase will go to support Somaly Mam.paper_culture_lily

Disclosure: I did receive a $50 gift certificate from Paper Culture, but it was not in exchange for this or any other review. Once I knew of them, I would have shouted this out regardless.