Latest posts in Queen of Green

How to write a bucket list

January 28, 2015 | Leave a comment
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My mom and I riding our horses in the Canadian Rockies. Under this cliff I discovered a wolverine den!

I scoff at New Year's resolutions.

In my experience, they're laughable, especially when it comes to execution — take up running, eat fewer sweets, etc.

Then I was inspired by a friend's annual bucket list Facebook post. I wrote my own (shared at the end of this blog) and invited my Mom to join me.

Thirteen tips for a great bucket list (from a first timer):

  1. Be aspirational — aim high!
  2. Stay positive
  3. Write it down
  4. Be bold — make it your own, not what you think others expect
  5. Pick some easy ones
  6. Pick some hard ones
  7. Start writing it today
  8. Include one thing you can do TODAY!
  9. Mix it up — activities can touch all aspects of your life (work, play, family, etc.)
  10. Make it fun — your life is likely already filled with nagging "to do" lists
  11. Do it with a friend, your kids or your partner (you can share ideas, talk through your choices and even hold each other accountable in the long run — but only if you're into that...)
  12. Share it and post it — Facebook, your blog, work cubicle or your fridge
  13. Don't just write it — DO IT
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How to have outdoor winter family fun

January 21, 2015 | Leave a comment
Photo: How to have outdoor winter family fun

Want to make the most of winter? Have we got a challenge for you! (Credit: Katie Loftus)

At this time of year I often wish I were somewhere warm and sunny. In winter, the temperate west coast rainforest experience is, well... dark and wet.

Then I discovered bird bingo!

As keen Winter Family Challenge testers, my two-year old and I saw a huge flock of red-breasted mergansers diving, a double-crested cormorant feasting on a fish — all while a bald eagle perched nearby.

Has your family got what it takes to play bird bingo? Sign up today and join our Winter Family Challenge!

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Try tree-free paper

January 13, 2015 | Leave a comment
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Harvested bamboo grown in China to make paper products. (Credit: Albert Addante)

You use hankies instead of facial tissue and rags instead of paper towel — good for you!

But globally, humans cut down 27,000 trees per day just for toilet paper.

Now you can perform the "toddler test" with tree-free toilet paper (it unravels just as fast) and clean up cat puke with tree-free paper towel. Even wheat straw — which makes excellent bedding for cows and horses — can make paper.

I quizzed Albert of Caboo:

What makes tree-free paper products eco-friendly?

Trees need to be replanted and can take up to 30 years to grow. Bamboo and sugarcane are grasses. They grow back without replanting and are harvested every two years.

The sugarcane used is a byproduct of the sugar manufacturing industry (sourced from Thailand) — Caboo turns this waste into a new product. And bamboo (grown in the Sichuan province of Western China) minimizes carbon dioxide and generates up to 35 per cent more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees1:

  • One hectare of bamboo sequesters 62 tons of CO2 per year
  • One hectare of young forest sequesters 15 tons of CO2 per year
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Six Christmas tree options

December 18, 2014 | Leave a comment
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A real tree might just afford the same health benefits as forest bathing!(Credit: Theresa Hannah)

Real, fake, potted, planted — I've tried out many a holiday tree.

Three years ago, I accidentally killed a potted cedar. Last year, my houseplant, a Norfolk Island pine, did the trick. (It's still alive.) This year, I have a real table-top tree (toddler-sized) destined for the chipper.

Bringing a tree into your home seems kind of weird. But it has occurred to me why people prefer a real one:

  1. They're eco-friendlier than fake trees.
  2. That smell. It's a form of forest bathing — breathing in natural substances, called phytoncides, or wood essential oils, can help fight cancer!
  3. Contact with nature reduces stress and blood-sugar levels and makes people happy.
  4. You own an indestructible vacuum.
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How to regift

December 16, 2014 | Leave a comment
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This year I will regift and spend time making preserved lemons for family and friends. (Credit: Joshua Becker)

I regift. And I don't feel bad about it — and neither should you.

It takes a lot of thought and consideration to regift, even more than buying new.

Why I regift

  • We already own one. (And it's impossible or a hassle to return or exchange.)
  • I know someone who would appreciate it more than me.
  • I want to own less instead of organizing more.
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