Girls Night Out Refreshment Recipes

Thank you everyone for visiting us during Girls Night Out event on October 12 2017. We had several folks ask for the recipes of what we served, and this is the easiest way to share with everyone. These recipes are all easily doubled or tripled, depending on the size of party you are hosting.

Spiced Cider Punch
-32 ounces apple cider
-24 ounces ginger ale
-1 cup spiced rum
-Add ice to punch bowl
-Core and slice apples and add on top of ice
-Add in rum, apple cider and ginger ale and stir
Serve and enjoy! You can add more or less rum to taste, or omit it if children will be at the party. To get the same spice that the rum gives, you can add a small amount of apple pie spice.

Pumpkin Pie Fluff Dip
-3 tbsp pumpkin puree
-7 oz jar marshmallow fluff
-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-8 oz block cream cheese
-whole graham crackers
-Allow cream cheese to soften in bowl
-Add everything but graham crackers to bowl
-Mix at medium speed until well blended.
Serve with graham crackers to dip. This recipe is vegetarian, and can be gluten-free if you use GF graham crackers.


Hope to see you at the next Girls Night Out on December 14, and don’t forget Santa Claus will be here!

Ditching the Softener

For most people, soft laundry is a must; I mean who really wants crunchy, static-y clothes? Plus, if you’re like me, that warm, fresh laundry smell is heaven. That is, until you learn that fabric softeners and dryer sheets can have tons of toxic chemicals including ethanol and chloroform. Because fabric softeners work by coating fabrics in a thin layer of chemicals, those chemicals then rest on your clothes and are vented out with dryer exhaust which isn’t good for you or the environment. While some people have little adverse reaction to the chemicals in fabric softeners, many of the chemicals are classified as carcinogens and allergens, and that isn’t including the massive amount of fragrance used in softeners which are enough of an allergy trigger on their own.


Luckily avoiding fabric softeners and their possible issues is pretty easy. For many people, just skipping the softener altogether is fine with the added benefit of less waste and less money spent on boxes of dryer sheets. However, if you don’t like the idea of risking crunchy or static-y clothes, there are plenty of alternatives such as:


  • Using felt wool balls in the dryer: they’re reusable and easy to make or cheap to buy!
  • Adding baking soda or white vinegar to your wash: they act as natural softeners and won’t leave your clothes smelling like vinegar
  • Finding natural ingredient or reusable dryer sheets
  • Drying your clothes on the low heat setting: it might take longer but it definitely works


If you’re still worried about losing out on the scents of fresh laundry, try a few drops of your favorite essential oil on the wool dryer balls. Most people who ditch the softener never look back and even find their clothes are softer than before. With such painless alternatives, consider doing yourself, your wallet, and the environment a favor and ditching the fabric softener.


For more information on fabric softener toxins and alternatives, check out:


"Don't Get Slimed: Skip the Fabric Softener" by Rebecca Sutton, Enviroblog


"Fabric Softener Alternatives and Other Safe Approaches to Laundry" by Robin Konie, Thank Your Body


Mallory McClure

Mallory is a part-time writer and Kalamazoo College graduate native to the Pacific Northwest. When not writing blogs and small business articles, she enjoys spending time with her pets, reading Victorian literature, and supporting the Seattle Sounders.


The Bees and the P’s

The honeybees are struggling. Populations have been dying at an alarming rate with Bee Informed Partnership reporting national beekeepers lost 33% of their colonies between 2016 and 2017. Considering pollination from bees is responsible for approximately one in every three bites of food we take, this is a serious issue. But what’s really responsible? And what can we actually do?

The “Four P’s”

A recent Costco Connection article, “Bees in Peril,” explains the downturn in bee populations stems from the “four P’s”: pests, pathogens, pesticides, and poor nutrition. On their own, each of these factors is difficult, but combined, they’re devastating. At the same time that bees are being killed by pests like the Asian Varroa mite, they are battling fewer food sources due to farming practices and development. Almond farmers, for instance, were among the first to notice the problem of declining bee populations and have since realized planting a single crop limits the local bee diet. When it comes to nutrition, bees are like humans in wanting and needing a diverse diet and not just almond trees (or other singular crops). As a result, many almond farmers have begun to plant more bee-friendly plants and flowers among their trees to encourage healthy bee diets.


Our Impact

Before we go blaming farmers for killing the bees’ food, however, we need to take a look at our everyday practices. Urban development is killing much of the bees’ habitat, but our habits of weeding and spraying for the perfect garden aren’t doing any favors either. Plants like the clover, for instance, are actually favored sources of food for bees but we rip many of them out in the name of weeding.


So, the perennial question in this situation is what can we actually do? For starters, if you’re a gardener, read up on plants and flowers that are bee friendly. Maybe let the clovers grow or plant some new flowers specifically to attract some bees. Second, buy honey products! Beekeepers don’t rely solely on honey profit, as pollination practices make up a significant portion of their income now, but a robust honey market can only help. Revenue from honey products can go to funding research to take care of bee colonies and their future. While we can’t solve all the P’s, we can at least help with reversing poor nutrition and protecting the bees.


To learn more about the bees’ struggle and how to help, check out:


"Bees in Peril" Costco Connection, July 2017 or The Bee Informed Partnership



Mallory McClure

Mallory is a part-time writer and Kalamazoo College graduate native to the Pacific Northwest. When not writing blogs and small business articles, she enjoys spending time with her pets, reading Victorian literature, and supporting the Seattle Sounders.

Small Businesses Supercharging Southwest Michigan

Big businesses dominate the news cycle: Amazon’s buyout of Whole Foods, Apple without Steve Jobs, the perils and pluses of Facebook Live. Because of this, it’s sometimes too easy to forget about the small businesses; yet, they might be more influential than we give them credit for. A recent infographic in 269 Magazine shows that 99.6% of businesses in the state of Michigan are small businesses, and 49.8% of the Michigan workforce is employed by those businesses. I don’t know about you, but I was shocked at how high that number is, almost half of Michigan is tied to small businesses

With those kind of numbers, the amount of money flowing locally must be impressive too. In fact, according to local giant Quicken Loans, for every $100 spent at a small business, $70 stay within the local economy as opposed to $43 with non-local businesses. It’s pretty hard to beat a 70% retention rate, especially when you think about the human component of your local economy. That $70 is going into things like paying friends and family who work locally, maintaining the stores on main street that are unique to your town, and the local artists and artisans who sell to those stores. Plus, it’s been shown that multiple small business bring more local jobs with them than one large chain store. So those businesses are helping build robust local economies and a diverse range of jobs.

Really what this all comes down to is, shopping local is great! You can confidently support the people and town you love when you know that you’re part of what is keeping southwest Michigan so interesting. And for our part, we’re proud to be one of the small businesses employing half of the Calhoun county and Michigan workforce.

If you want to learn more about small businesses in Southwest Michigan check out:

"Small Business in Southwest Michigan" 269 Magazine, Issue 9: May/June 2017

Small Business Saturday & How it Impacts your Local Economy” Zing by Quicken Loans, 23 November 2016

Mallory McClure

Mallory is a part-time writer and Kalamazoo College graduate native to the Pacific Northwest. When not writing blogs and small business articles, she enjoys spending time with her pets, reading Victorian literature, and supporting the Seattle Sounders.

New Product Line-Cedar Ravine

These scarves and headbands are thoughtfully designed to evoke the spirit of some of America's most beautiful places, like the misty beaches of rocky coastlines, the unlimited expanse of the desert, and the rich fall hues of dense forests.

Cedar Ravine supports the preservation of wild spaces through partnerships with various environmental groups. With each sale they adopt one square foot of land for protection in the Northern Rockies, the Central Appalachians, and the Northern Sierras in conjunction with Nature Conservancy programs.

The beautiful scarves and headbands showcase original nature photography and low-impact fiber-reactive synthetic dyes that limit waste while creating exceptionally rich colors.

Made exclusively in the USA by small businesses that focus on high-quality specialty crafts.

Featured product photos by Stephanie Parshall Photography with our very own Alix Curnow modeling.

Supporting Local Companies has Consequences!

From the beginning we have believed that where our merchandize comes from matters. Buying from Michigan companies not only cuts down on shipping distances, but also has impact on our communities. Recently we were delighted to discover that one of our favorite companies is having an impact is one of the most devastated communities in the nation, Flint.

At the Green Scene we have been carrying Stormy Kromer for almost two years. Right from the beginning we have been in love with this company. Based on the way we are treated as retail partners we were not surprised to learn about the relationship that has developed between Stormy Kromer and  St. Luke N.E.W. Life Center.

We now know that every time we sell a Stormy Kromer cap or vest we are having an impact on the lives of some very grateful Flint, Michigan residents.

What’s Hiding in Your Home

Ok, ok I stole this title from Capital One, sorry, it just worked! While our home is not completely cleared of the items mentioned in the article attached, it doesn’t hurt to know about them so we can all work on removing them. I have been finding that white vinegar can replace many of them.

Here is a list of the chemicals environmentalists call the “dirty dozen“. It will surprise you.

Smartwool, how to care for?

At the Green Scene we frequently get questions about how to care for Smartwool socks. Lots of customers are worried about wool and how to wash it or if it can be machine washed at all. No worries! Just follow these simple suggestions and your socks will care for your feet for a long time.

How to Wash

  1. Machine wash cool or warm water.
  2. No Bleach.
  3. Turn socks inside out.
  4. Tumble dry low.
  5. Do not use fabric softener. (wool dryer balls is a much better idea)

One of the things you will find is that you can get by without washing them after every time you wear them. The merino wool used in Smartwool is naturally anti microbial which greatly reduces foot order.


Life Goes On

Over the past six weeks my team has said goodbye to 3 of our members. We planned to create a short video for each one but they are all gone now so I will just tell you about them.

Kate Samra joined us last fall as a Senior at Marshall High School. She was dual enrolled at Kellogg Community College while completing her high school credits and attending the Battle Creek Math and Science Center. As a student Kate was one of the founders of the Environmental Club and MHS Gay Straight Alliance, as well as a peer educator with Project Trust. She is now attending the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Garrett Sander also joined our team in the late fall and was also a Senior at MHS. Garrett was also involved in the Environmental Club and GSA as well as a Junior Leader with the Alaska Great Lakes Project in 2014. He recently returned from a backpacking and hiking trip to the Adirondack Mountains with the Land Sea Program of Kalamazoo College where Garrett will major in Philosophy.

Shannon Hicks joined us in early January. She recently graduated from Marshall High School where she played Varsity Soccer and Golf. While at the Green Scene Shannon was always very excited to learn about our earth friendly products and promote them to her friends and family. Shannon is playing soccer at Trine and will be studying engineering.

While we are sad to see our seniors leave we are very proud of their accomplishments and with them well in their college careers!

Cool Morning Has us Thinking.

Woke up and the temperature was in the 50's. Not ready for summer to be over, but know that fall will soon be here. How long before we break out our Stormy Kromers? To get us in the mood here are some of our favorite Kromerisms.