9.13.2019

IT'S A SUSTAINABLE LIFE

There's been a change in our home since this year started, a shift in our mindset, a transition to welcome a lower waste and more sustainable way of life into our home. But first, let me preface by saying, we're not perfect, we probably never will be, but we're trying, and any little bit makes a difference, and I feel if we all done even a little bit, it could make a big difference!


I shared awhile back on my Instagram about the one event that started the change in our home, but in case you missed it , here's the verbiage from that post and the story of how our journey to lower waste and a more sustainable life started:

"So here's a story for ya... about 3 weeks ago we were outside and heard some rustling in a nearby bush and birds chirping loudly, naturally we investigated and were shocked to find a robin, hanging face down, with a piece of plastic bag wrapped around it's ankle and caught in a branch of the bush, it was struggling and unable to break free and though it's mate kept trying to free it, it's attempts were futile as well. I carefully caught it, held it's wings down so it wouldn't hurt itself anymore than it might already have, and gently broke the plastic string holding it captive. This robin couple were building a nest, and I thought that after all that, they might have abandoned it, but last week I took a peep in the next just because and was so surprised to see 3 tiny blue eggs. Well, yesterday the eggs disappeared to be replaced by three of the cutest l little baby birds I've ever seen and I couldn't be happier for this little bird family. I shared a little peek at them over in my stories today if anyone wants to see their adorable barely feathered selves."

After that happened, I started researching lower waste alternatives, finding reusable options and even re-purposing things like glass spaghetti sauce jars and gravy jars (you'd be surprised how nice jars like this are and all the ways you can use them for storage in your pantry), buying less single use items, and finding better options to replace items with when we ran out of something.


We're using our reusable shopping bags more, I even found some super cute mesh ones for produce, and guess what, sometimes I forget and still use plastic bags, sometimes I forget and start bagging in plastic only to be like "wait, I don't have my reusable bags with me, but here's some paper bags we can use".

One way we've been sustainable for a long while is switching to glass and stainless steel water bottles instead of buying water bottles all of the time. Basically we done it because I thought glass looked nice and the water stored in glass tasted so much better and less chemical-ish, and since my husband works in an industrial setting, he wasn't able to use glass, so stainless steel to the rescue. Now that I think back though, I'm realizing just how many single use plastic water bottles we saved from the landfill though and it's kinda an awesome feeling. We've switched to stainless steel straws when we use straws, I even carry them in the diaper bag so we can use them when we're out and about. Again, we don't always remember them, but we're getting better at it little by little!

When God created the earth He called us to be the caretakers of all that He had created, to be the ones who took care of the earth, both land and water, the animals, birds, fish and plants. Every living thing. I feel like animals (and future humans) shouldn't have to suffer for the sake of convenience for us current humans.


Did you know that over 1 million marine animals (including mammals, fish, sharks, turtles, and birds) are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean? It's currently  estimated that there are 100 million tons of plastic in oceans around the world. Single use plastics like plastic grocery bags and straws are some of the biggest offenders, as well as microplastics (which is categorized as any piece of plastic less than 5 millimeters in length) such as plastic items that has broken down into smaller bits or even those little exfoliating beads in body wash! Crazily and sadly enough, did you know that every single plastic toothbrush that has ever been created... still exists? I just found that out the other day and my jaw dropped. Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years(!) to decompose, and even then, they just break down into smaller pieces, never completely going away. Different plastics take different amounts of time, 400 years is even sadly on the smaller end of the scale, with some single use water bottles and plastic bags taking 1000 years.

It's all just been kind of eye opening for us.

So what can we do and where can we start? Here's some super simple things you can switch out now to reduce your footprint and live more sustainably:

Use paper bags instead of plastic bags when shopping (if you don't see them, ask your grocery store cashier, usually they're hidden away).

Even better, choose reusable fabric or mesh bags rather than single use bags when shopping.

Use bamboo toothbrushes instead of plastic. Amazon has them super cheap, around $1 apiece. (and then you can store them in this tooth brush holder from one of our favorite sustainable brands, Full Circle Home, that has a "dry earth" stone at the bottom to soak up water and prevent bacteria from growing).

Buy yourself a cute glass (like this one or this one both from SOMA) or stainless steel water bottle or two and start using it every single day (if you don't like the taste of your water, grab this pretty and minimal water filter pitcher from SOMA that will last you for years).

Choose and invest in higher quality items that will last (example, we were needing a new toilet brush, and instead of grabbing one for 99 cents at IKEA again like I did last time, I chose this "scrub queen" toilet brush from Full Circle Home that will last for years and it actually looks nice, plus it has the same dry earth technology built in as the toothbrush holder I mentioned above to keep bacteria and mold growth at bay). This scrub brush, reusable household cleaning gloves, dustpan and mini broom set, and dish brush are some other great high quality items we love that will last us a very long time!

Use homemade toxin free cleaners (I usually use white vinegar with Young Living Thieves essential oil mixed in a glass spray bottle) and some reusable "paper" towels when cleaning up messes (these "clean again" absorbent cleaning cloths from Full Circle are my new absolute favorite AND they soak up up to 7 times their weight in liquid to reduce paper towel waste n a big way).

Take the labels off those glass spaghetti sauce jars (or whatever you may buy in a glass jar) and reuse the jar. We've found endless uses for these!

We've also quit buying single use plastic sandwich/storage bags and instead we now use these reusable Ziptuck bags from Full Circle! They come in a ton of sizes for every thing you might need them for!

Stainless steel straws are another favorite that is easy to switch out, you can find a decent sized pack of them for around $5 at Homegoods or any similar store (and this product cleans them and your reusable water bottles amazingly well).

These bamboo adhesive strips from PATCH are our new go to when it comes to minor scrapes and cuts and are a great alternative to plastic bandages!

We're also loving these reusable food wrap sets from Seed & Sprout as an alternative to single use plastic wrap when covering leftover food in the fridge!

There's just so many little things you can do that are incredibly easy to switch out, and become more sustainable, these things I suggested above that we do are just a small list of many things!


we're making changes in our home, striving for progress rather than perfection, trying to teach our little ones about the importance of living sustainably and doing our/their part. These little ones and their little ones and all of those who come after will be the ones inheriting our planet, the ones who have to live with every choice of convenience we make. Do you do any of the things above? Let me know if you try any of them!

COZY STYLE WITH PINKBLUSH

If you know me very well at all, you'll know I'm a simple person who loves simple things. While I do love dresses and wear them often, you'll rarely ever find me in what people normally consider fancy, I don't even own a pair of high heels and I tend to gravitate towards comfortable, casual, minimal and bohemian. With the autumn season fast approaching, I needed a few things to spice up my wardrobe since I had gotten rid of most of the fall items I had, last year I was pregnant and the shirts that I did have had mostly gotten too worn to keep, so of course a few additions to my closet was in order. I don't shop often for myself but when I do I want to make sure that they are items I'll wear again and again until they can't be worn anymore. 



I just bought an adorable cardigan and a couple of dresses last week, and my jeans that I've had for the past few years are all still in great condition, so I just needed a couple long sleeve shirts to complete my fall/winter wardrobe. Thankfully, one of my favorite women's clothing shops, PinkBlush offered to send me a couple (thank you Pink Blush)!

I chose simple, cozy styles because I know that's what I'll wear the most and as a stay at home mama, I'm at home most of the time so it made sense to choose comfy (but pretty) things. Taking care of little ones, wiping noses, holding babies, teaching homeschool, cooking, cleaning... on the weekends we go to church and afterwards usually find ourselves outside, probably at the lake or a state park and of course fall festivals and the pumpkin patch during autumn, basically I just want to be comfy but also feel my best in something that looks nice!



I found these two super cute tops, this grey knit one with the accent buttons on the back and quilted patches on the elbows for a cute accent that I love. I know it's going to be absolutely perfect for so many weekend adventures and it'll be great for home as well! The other one I chose is just a simple charcoal heather gray top, but sometimes less is more and simplicity always speaks volumes to me. I'm going to love it for lazy days, soup making days, and nature days paired with a pair of black leggings (or even jeans) and whatever footwear matches  the occasion. It'll be adorable with boots and jeans!

Are you looking for any cute things to add to your fall/winter wardrobe? Head on over to PinkBlush and check out all they have!


7.18.2019

SUMMER FAVORITES

Summer is here and we've been enjoying all things outdoors with our little ones! Playing outdoors and making mud pies, sitting out in the sunshine, picking flowers and going for walks, lake days... it's just the best! I'm already looking forward to so many more fun things that we'll cram in before summer ends... and of course more time spent with my favorite people. I always love to share some of my favorites and it's been a hot minute since I've shared any, so here are some new favorites below!


TEA COLLECTION
I recently picked out a few new items for Bella and Bodhi from our ever favorite, Tea Collection. I chose this beautiful dress for Bella, which she actually wore for Easter! It's super pretty on the website, but even prettier in person and the raised multicolored threads make it so fun, Bella calls it her "confetti dress" and I have a feeling it's going to get a lot of wear this year! For Bodhi I grabbed this adorable little ocean inspired tee shirt that's perfect for summer, can you imagine it paired with a little pair of shorts for a trip to the aquarium? So cute! I've recently discovered that I LOVE dressing Bell and Bodhi to match, so when I spied these adorable beyond words matching sea turtle dress for Bella and romper for Bodhi, well, they immediately jumped into my cart. Make sure to head on over to Tea Collection and check out all of their new arrivals!


ONE DELIGHTFUL SHOP
Small shops will always be my favorite. Most people don't know this, but I actually used to own an etsy shop way back when, so I know first hand how much hard work and love goes into each item, and how exciting it feels to get that notification for a sale. That's why small shops have such a special place in my heart. I recently was introduced to the most delightful little shop, no really, it's called One Delightful Shop, and all of the items they offer are speaking my language for sure. Since I'd consider myself an honorary Narnian (haha, I mean, I've read and re-read the books enough times) this shirt immediately caught my eye and I knew I pretty much needed it. I mean, not only does it have wise words from Aslan, but a mama can never have too many comfy tees. This one is no exception, in fact, I'd actually say I'm happily surprised at how soft and comfortable it is, buttery soft is a slight under-exaggeration. Of course when I found her custom leather key-chains I grabbed a couple of those too. These "MAMA" and "HOMEBODY" key-chains are perfect for me, simple and minimal but so beautiful all at the same time.


VITAL PROTEINS
I'm all about finding ways to help our little family live a healthier, natural lifestyle and recently we added collagen from Vital Proteins into our daily routine and we're loving the results we've been seeing so far! Collagen is known for helping hair shine, nails grow strong and skin glow, and it's also great for muscle recovery, bone and joint health and even gut health! We all know this mama needs it while losing alllll the hair during this postpartum time (pretty sure I'm currently going bald hahaha, it feels like it at least), it's nice to know this strawberry lemon beauty collagen can help support healthy hair, skin and nails for my body! Frank was most interested in collagen for it's bone and join benefits, so I got him this collagen coconut coffee creamer for his coffee, and he said he could tell a difference for the better, in the way he felt even a day after drinking it!


We use Full Circle products in our home not only on a daily basis, but multiple times a day, I love how functional and useful they are. The modern and minimal look call my name every time and they actually look nice sitting by our kitchen sink which is so nice!  I've mentioned this bottle brush before, but I think it needs mentioning again, out of all of the bottle brushes I've used over the years, this one is by far my most favorite. Fun fact, they also have reusable storage bags... and they're amazing! Heavy duty bags with reusable zipper tops, these "ziptuck" bags are the best and we've been using them for so many things lately: toy storage, crayons and notebooks for the car, snacks, pantry items... the list of uses is pretty much endless! Anything you would use a zippered storage storage bag for, you can use these for, except with zero waste and you save money since you don't have to keep buying new ones after one use.


You guys, we're so obsessed with alllll of the SOMA products. I've had my eye on this stunning water filter pitcher for the longest time and it's just the best now that we own it. It's simple, modern and minimal looking and it holds 10 cups of water! That means no more constantly refilling after pouring one glass of water haha, it's pretty awesome. They also sent over a couple of extra water filters for it so we should be set for filters for the next 6 months so that's pretty cool too. And have I mentioned how much I love their glass water bottles? Their new 17 ounce water bottle might just be my favorite so far and definitely helps me with my water intake every day! They also just released these new ceramic mugs! The double wall ceramic design keeps your beverage hot or cold and is super sleek, grab one and take your coffee on the go when you're in a rush!


Switching up the artwork and decor in our home is something I really enjoy, it freshens up a space without too much effort and Smallwood Home signs are not only pretty but so affordable as well! I recently grabbed this one as a few others and I'm so excited about them, and how unique is this world map scroll?! So many designs to choose from and their custom signs have my heart too, love, love them.


Let's just say Bodhi is all about toys. He'll spend the longest time laying on his play mat and swatting away at his little hanging planet rattles above him, playing with his rattle ball or chewing on it, snuggling with and chewing on his stuffed knit puppy, you name it, he just loves toys. I spied this fun activity gym from Skip Hop a few months before he was born and just knew he would love it once he got old enough. We had one similar for Bella when she was an infant and she simply loved it, jumping was so much fun for her and she loved playing with all of the little toys around the seat too. I'm such a huge fan of activity gyms like this because little ones can have so much fun playing with and in them while mama has her hands full cooking dinner or vacuuming. I'm SO excited at how much Bodhi loves this Skip Hop Activity Gym already!


PRIMARY
I'm sure by now you've noticed that I tend to not dress Bella or Bodhi in a ton of loud prints or character clothing. I mean, some of it is cute yes, but it's just not really my thing if I'm completely honest. I'm more of a simple design, neutrals, muted colors or earth tones kinda gal, so naturally I dress my little ones the same way most of the time (not to say that they don't ever wear bright clothing or clothing with characters on them, because they do on occasion). Unfortunately it's not always easy finding things like that, but fortunately, Primary makes it simple. In fact, the first outfit Bodhi ever wore was actually from Primary: this sweet and simple footed snap overall in white. It is still one of my absolute favorite outfits he has ever worn to date, and you can bet I already have it put away for his baby box, that's an outfit I'm never parting with. Their clothing is so soft, and so simple and just so perfect. We've owned their footed snap overalls, regular long sleeve bodysuits (the spruce color is so good), and their thermal knit long sleeve body suits and I've been so impressed with everything. Stains wash out fairly easy (even the white outfit he had) too which I love! Definitely going to be grabbing both of the kiddos a few items for the summer from Primary.


DR. BRONNER'S CASTILE SOAP
Hands down our most loved and used soap in our home is the Dr. Bronner's brand. I tried their lavender castile soap on a whim one day when I found it on sale in the clearance bins at our local grocery store, well that was 5 years ago, and we haven't looked back. We all have sensitive skin in our family, so one of the main reasons we kept coming back to this soap is because  it didn't irritate our skin, no more unexplained rashes or itching right after showering, the scent wasn't overpowering so no headaches from artificial fragrance. When I started switching our products to more natural options this one stayed around because thankfully it's made from organic and fair trade ingredients, plus it has one of the best rating on the Think Dirty app that I use to see how good (or bad) a product's ingredients are before purchasing. While I do love their lightly scented products (they're scented with natural ingredients like essential oils) I'm the biggest fan of their unscented baby line and that's he one that I've been mostly purchasing for the past couple of years. I also recently got this unscented baby balm I'm excited to try, and this Sal Suds biodegradable cleaner that is gonna make spring cleaning a breeze!

6.25.2019

MAKING MEMORIES ALONG WITH all® OXI

This shop has been compensated by all® laundry detergent. #allOXIatWalmart #sponsored


Before becoming a mom, I never realized the insane amount of stains I'd be treating on a daily basis, and I'm pretty sure that amount quadrupled when we welcomed our baby boy into our family last year. My little ones best and nicest outfits always seem to be the ones that stains find their way onto of course, so I had two choices...I could let them be stained and they would become "play" outfits, or I could take time out of my already busy day and treat the stains to hopefully get them out. Little did I know that those weren't my only options, there was now a third option at my fingertips! We've forever been lovers of all® laundry detergent, and during a recent shopping trip to Walmart, I was strolling down the laundry aisle to grab some all® OXI laundry detergent and that's when I discovered all® OXI stainlifters and the entire line of all® OXI laundry detergents!

You guys, two words: life changing.


Of course, I grabbed a few other things (and some all® free clear OXI too) and threw in our cart (because never-ending laundry means we go through a lot of detergent...anyone else?) and I was even able to score a great deal (and stock up, yay)! Currently at Walmart, when you spend $15 or more when purchasing all® OXI laundry products, you can get $5 in Walmart eGift cards! All you have to do is shop all® OXI Laundry products at your nearest Walmart, complete the registration form (found here), upload your all® receipt and redeem your egift card! Easy-peasy!


Now thanks to all® OXI stainlifters and all® OXI laundry detergent, I don't have to stop and take time to pre-treat stains during my busy schedule, whether that be taking care of our two little kiddos, vacuuming up all of the never ending crumbs, washing the endless amounts of bottles and snack dishes, or even doing laundry (which yes, even as minimalists, we still somehow seem to have mountains of laundry)! Most importantly, and I'm sure any parent can agree, I don't have to pause the memory making to treat stains. Playing together, making memories and letting them enjoy being little has never been easier since all® OXI stainlifters has such great stain-lifting properties! In fact, I dare say I don't even worry about stains anymore, I can actually be more a present mom and enjoy the moment rather than wondering how on earth I'll ever get that stain out later on.


As I've shared before, all® laundry detergent is the only brand we've purchased and used in our home for years, and I'm just so happy we've found yet another reason to love them even more! With its amazing stain removing power, all® laundry detergent and all® OXI stainlifters laundry detergent is our family’s best ally to take on any new activity – stains and all.

Have you tried all® OXI stainlifters yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Grab some on your next Walmart run and don't forget to stock up (there are so many summer adventures and memory making left before school starts again). Don’t forget to take advantage of the $5 Walmart eGift card promotion when spending $15 or more on all® OXI products! What are some of your favorite activities to do as a family that usually end up with messy clothes?