Now What? What to do after Christmas

Now What?

The gifts are all open, friends and family have returned to their respective homes, the ball has fallen, and the kids are back in school. The holiday season has officially come to a close, leaving us with the annual question of “Now what?”

 

Although this question can be an ominous one correlating to all that life may hold for us in the coming 12 months, for many it also applies to right here and right now. The sudden calm after Christmas can leave people dazed or even in a state of shock when they realize they have a bit of post-holiday cleanup to complete. It can be hard to know where to start or what to do when it comes to reorienting your home back to normal. We are here to help with 5 After Christmas Activities.

 

  1. Donate Old Toys

If you’re like most families, the quantity of toys in your home this time of year probably spikes quite a bit. When new and exciting Christmas gifts join those that came before it can feel like you’re living on the Island of Misfit Toys. Sneaking unplayed-with toys out of their room in the dead of night may be the easiest option but encouraging your children to choose which toys they would like to donate can help teach generosity, the importance of cleaning up, and critical decision making skills. Once you and your kids have decided which toys they can bear to part with there are a few choices on where you can donate. Below are some of Whidbey’s second-hand shops and charities that accept lightly used toys.

donate, toys, reuse, more life

 

 

  1. Recycle Your Tree

Now for that (maybe less than lush) tree currently gracing your living room with its presence. It’s always a little sad when the time comes around to take down the Christmas tree, but the end of its needle droppings is usually welcomed. What’s not welcomed is the question of what to do with it. If you live in a house with a wood burning fireplace it might be a little tempting to chop it up and throw it in, but this is a BAD IDEA. When pine needles catch on fire they don’t burn slowly like wood, but instead spark out in all directions which can be a huge fire hazard in a home. Instead, what you should do is deposit your tree at one of the island’s Solid Waste drop-off locations where they can be put with other yard waste and recycled properly:

Recycle your Christmas Tree

  1. What You Can and Can’t Recycle

“Did you know that household waste increases by more than 25% from Thanksgiving to New Year’s?” (King5) It’s little wonder why this increased waste occurs. However, it doesn’t make the statistic any less startling. To put that in perspective, since the average American produces about 4.5 lbs of waste a day (EPA); Whidbey Island theoretically produces an additional 3,500 TONS of waste every holiday season. If there was ever a stat to make you want to recycle, that should be it! However, in order to be an effective recycler you need to know what can and what can’t go in that little blue bin of yours. So here’s a quick rundown of what can and can’t go in your recycling bin.

Recycle wrapping paper

CAN Recycle

●       Cardboard boxes

●       Plain paper boxes and bags

●       Plain wrapping paper

●       Holiday Cards (w/o embellishments)

●       Tissue paper

CAN’T Recycle

●       Bubble wrap

●       Cellophane

●       Tinsel

●       Plastic Bags

●       Holiday Lights

●       Ribbons

●       Bows

●       Foam Packaging

 

 

  1. Give to the Food Bank

During the holidays it’s very easy to get caught up in the good cheer and generosity of the season. But the time immediately after the holidays can be especially difficult for charities and food banks. The financial exasperation many experience directly after the holidays can cause an all out stop to donations for a while; but unfortunately, needs don’t cease just because Christmas is over. Donating to charities and especially food banks is something critical to do throughout the year and not just in November and December. Below are some local food banks who could do a great amount of good with your post-Christmas donations.

donate unused foods

 

  1. Throw a Regifting Party!

We all have that one gift (or 5) that we simply didn’t want or need. Yes, Aunt Kathy meant well, but what on earth are you going to do with a crochet pillow of her cat?? Often these gifts are begrudgingly placed deep into the depths of our closets never to be seen again (or at least not for a few years). However, it doesn’t have to be this way! We know you aren’t a fan of seeing Whisker’s face on a pillow every day, but who is to say your friend Bethany might not LOVE it? Unwanted gifts don’t need to sit gathering dust in the closet, especially when there’s a simple solution of how to find someone who might actually find use or enjoyment in it.

Regifting Party

Throw a Regifting Party!

 

Regifting Parties are basically White Elephants thrown after Christmas with the intention of finding better homes for those unwanted gifts. The concept and rules for the Regifting Game is simple and match White Elephant almost exactly. So makes some warm drinks, grab a few good friends, and have a great time discovering new treasures!

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Posted on January 14, 2020 at 12:18 am
Windermere Whidbey | Category: Events, Things to do on Whidbey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Blonde Lawns on Whidbey Island

Blonde Lawns on Whidbey Island

Hello Summer! Can you believe it’s here? That beautiful time of year filled with beach walks, swimming lessons, trips to Kapaws Iskreme and so much more! Here on Whidbey we have countless summer traditions we treasure greatly. From our Old Fashioned 4th of July Celebration to the Whidbey Island Fair, there is so much to cherish about this time of year. One tradition you may be unaware of is actually more of a movement.

Blonde Lawns.

Through the course of the summer months you can watch the emerald grass of this evergreen island fade to a sandy shade. Before you know it, this rock will be rocking a brand new blonde look.

What’s with the lack luster lawns? Well, it all has to do with conservation.

It’s no surprise to anyone that Whidbey tends to be a rather environmentally conscious. We love taking the extra step to ensure the beauty and resources we enjoy today will be around for tomorrow. One of those resources we care deeply about are our aquifers.

Aquifers:

Aquifers is the scientific term for ground water. Deep below the grass you walk on are pockets of “permeable” soil which store water that can then be tapped into for use. Annually these aquifers are recharged by the rain that falls to the ground.

According to Island County, Whidbey Island’s sole source of potable water comes from the ground.1 Sounds great, right? I mean, it’s Washington and it rains here. We should be good.Whidbey Island

Unfortunately, not all is good in the aquifer hood.

According to a report released by the Washington State Department of Ecology, “increasing demands for water from ongoing population growth, declining stream flows and groundwater levels… have put Washington’s water supplies at risk.” Whidbey is by no means immune to this water depletion; in fact, seawater intrusion and our lack of rain fall in comparison to the rest of Western Washington puts us in a pretty tight spot.

So, what does this have to do with the blonde lawns of Whidbey (I think you can guess).

The summer months, when there is little rain, poses a particularly difficult dilemma for island aquifers. Between keeping ourselves hydrated in the summer sun, watering plants, animals, and filling the pool in the backyard we use A LOT of water.

This increase of use and lack of resource hits hard on our aquifers and our wallets! Many newcomers to Whidbey are shocked when that first summer water bill comes in. The rules of supply and demand are no strangers to Whidbey Island water.

So how can we save our aquifers (and our wallets)? By going blonde!

Grass is far more durable than people sometimes realize. More times than not the golden grass that takes over Whidbey in the summer will be green again by next spring. Blonde lawns DON’T mean dead grass.

So, save yourself time, money, hassle and save our precious resources. Let your lawn go blonde!

 

Resources:

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Posted on June 10, 2019 at 11:06 pm
Windermere Whidbey | Category: Places, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Geocaching on Whidbey Island

Geocaching on Whidbey Island

Why is Whidbey Island the Perfect Place?

It is no secret that Whidbey Island is an astonishingly beautiful place. It’s the kind of atmosphere that draws you outside to enjoy the many state parks and breathtaking beaches. Countless trails dot the landscape all across the island. These trails and parks are what make Whidbey Island the perfect place for one very special activity: geocaching.

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What is Geocaching?

Geocaching is a hobby that has been around for almost twenty years, following the significant improvements on the global positioning system. The concept of the game is simple; go to a location indicated on your app/GPS, find the hidden treasure, re-hide and repeat. Geocaching’s simple, yet successful, concept attracts millions from across the globe to get outside and participate. On Whidbey Island alone there are over 300 caches!

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From the Geocachers:

We asked a few Geocachers about the draw to the hobby and they gave us a wealth of knowledge.

Sandra, a long term Geocacher, expressed “so many activities today [are] related to being indoors and sedentary in nature,” but she believes breaking that trend is what brings people to the hobby.

“Geocaching [is] directly related to being outside, the benefits are exercising your brain and your body! I’ve also been introduced to wonderful like-minded people who enjoy adventures.”

Bill, a fellow Geocacher, echoes every word of Sandra’s beliefs in the benefits of Geocaching. Asked why he started he simply said, “it was a way to get out!” As a retired man Bill is grateful to have geocaching for a hobby. Its something that keeps him active, helps him meet new people and discover new places.

So how easy is it to get into Geocaching?

Step 1: Download the App

This is the easiest part! Both iTunes and Google Play offer Geocaching as a phone app. All you need to do is search for it and download.

Step 2: Set Up a Profile

Setting up a profile allows you to save those caches you have already found and will start to develop statistics after you’ve been participating for a while.

Step 3: Start Finding Caches!

The app will immediately give you directions to the caches nearest you. You will follow it to the location and after that you are mostly left to find the treasure.

geocahing, whidbey island, washington

We Gave it a Try:

We decided to give it a try ourselves and it was great! We discovered there was a geocache right next to our Coupeville office. When we got a little lost and confused, we found out there was a helpful hint to guide the way. After a little snooping we found a tiny pill box with the visitor log!

 

 

 

 

 

Overall it was a pretty great experience and we can’t believe there are SO MANY more caches to find and places to discover on Whidbey Island! Sandra stated it best, “Whidbey Island is a magical place to live and geocache in… I loved discovering the “Mother of All Erratics” in the Saratoga Woods near Langley, (as well as) new trails and Dugualla State Park on North Whidbey, and secret places in Deception Pass State Park. We have lived on Whidbey almost 38 years and all of those places and more were discovered through geocaching!”

Go get out there and explore!

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Posted on June 3, 2019 at 10:53 pm
Windermere Whidbey | Category: Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Fourth of July Celebration on Whidbey Island

Fourth of July Celebrations on Whidbey Island

Carnivals, parades, BBQ’s, music, and of course huge firework shows make an incredible Fourth of July celebration on Whidbey Island. There are small events up and down the island but the two hot spots for firework shows and lots of activity are Oak Harbor and Freeland.

   Carnival Rides, Whidbey Island, Forth of July

Freeland Celebrations: 

The celebration begins in Freeland on July 3rd with their annual “Celebrate America” event at Freeland Park. Starting mid-afternoon there will be face painting, bounce houses, music, and live entertainment for you to enjoy! This year the event will feature a magic show, circus tricks, martial arts demonstrations, a dance team, and a Neil Diamond tribute band. At the end of the day, the party will go out with a bang with the largest fireworks show on Whidbey Island beginning around 10:20 pm. For a full schedule of events click here! https://whidbeycamanoislands.com/event/celebrate-america-2018/.

Oak Harbor Celebrations:

In Oak Harbor, Independence Day festivities take over the whole town! The carnival will be open June 29th through July 4th with rides, classic carnival food, games, and so much more!  You can purchase your carnival tickets ahead of time here ( https://oakharborchamber.chambermaster.com/eventregistration/register/7591 ) to avoid long lines at the event. On July 4th the party continues with a day that is jam-packed with activities. It all starts with the annual Rotary Pancake Breakfast, grand parade down Bayshore Drive, and throughout the day you will be able to check out the street fair on Pioneer as well as enjoy live music at Smith Park. Finally, to wrap up an eventful day, you won’t want to miss the firework show that starts at dark. (Rumor has it that it will be the tallest show ever!)

Forth of July Map, Whidbey Island, Forth of July

We can’t wait to take part in the fun this year! If this is your first year experiencing the bustle to take place on the island, you won’t be disappointed! If you have been, we want to know what your favorite part is!

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Posted on June 22, 2018 at 5:48 pm
Windermere Whidbey | Category: Events | Tagged , , , , ,