September Favorites

September has been a super busy and fun month around here, the start of autumn and a vacation to the beach, and we're ending it with trips to the farmer's market and a visit to the orchard tomorrow! We're definitely excited to bake some apple cakes, pumpkin pies, pick some apples, and choose tons of pumpkins for decor to sit around our home (the little white ones are always my most favorite) and I'm also hoping to find some pretty mums for our terracotta planters outside too! I'll share more about our vacation on the blog in a future post but here are some of our favorites below from this past month!

I've shared before about our journey to rid our homes of toxins and live more naturally, and after finding out that most cotton is sprayed with even more pesticides that most non organic foods I was appalled, especially after finding out that those said pesticides truly never leave the cotton, no matter how many times it has been washed. So say if it's cotton towels you're using, your'e basically drying your body off with toxins after showering, great. So when I came across the brand Boll & Branch, I was intrigued with their fluffy looking towels. So when they arrived, I was super excited to open the box to find that they truly were the fluffiest, prettiest and softest bath towels, hand towels and wash clothes I'd ever laid my eyes on or touched. So, so soft, they seriously make me feel like I'm at a spa or something every time I step out of the shower and wrap one around me, and I love them not only for that reason, but also the color is super gorgeous! I wanted something light colored that would keep it bright and fresh feeling in the bathroom, but also something that wasn't light enough that it would show every piece of lint or dust that fell onto it, and this pewter color that I chose for the bath towels and washcloths is literally everything. Made from fair trade certified, 100% organic GOTS cotton and eco friendly non toxic dyes, these towels should be in every bathroom.

Candles are such a favorite during the cooler months, during autumn I love to always have a cozy smelling candle burning and when I came across Antique Candle Works, I was immediately drawn to all her lovely fall scents. The Pumpkin Spice candle smells so good, like a fresh pie right out of the oven, and while I thought it would be my favorite because pumpkin everything is always my favorite, I was surprised to find that the Autumn Leaves candle became my absolute favorite. It reminds me of freshly fallen, crunchy autumn leaves. Colorful leaves swirling about in the crisp autumn air and of my little girl jumping into a pile of leaves with the biggest smile on her face. That's been one of her favorite things to do these past few years, even at less than a year old, autumn was one of her favorite times of the year, and her love for autumn has only grown since then, maybe that's why I love the scent of this candle so much, because of reminds me of all the sweet memories we've made so far and all the moments we'll remember for years to come.

As the weather cools off we love pieces that are versatile and can go with many different outfits, so when I spied these adorable basic cardigans from a new shop that just launched, Woodmouse & Thistle, I immediately knew they would be adorable on Bella and that she had to have one (or a few) for her wardrobe. I just love that they come in so many fun colors and prints and that they're basic yet stylish, so that girls or boys can wear them. We chose the olive green cardigan and black cardigan because they're such staple colors for us in autumn and winter (who am I kidding, these pretty neutrals are good all year around), and this red one I felt would be such a fun pop of color around the holidays, Christmas and Valentines Day especially. She's already gotten a ton of compliments on them when she's worn them out, to the farmer's market and grocery store, and I just love how soft and cozy they are, great for layering and your little one will love wearing them!

When it comes to toxin free life, we couldn't stop at just body care, hair care, makeup, bedding, bath towels and mattresses, yep, we took it a step further. Undies! Haha, but seriously, why wouldn't you want to wear organic undies? I found these ones form over at PACT Organic and I can't stop wearing them, well, I mean I do wash them often, let's make that clear, and I also have enough of them that I don't have to stop wearing them lol. They're made from the absolute softest fair trade GOTS certified organic cotton and you'll feel more like you're wearing a cloud than anything else. And don't even get me started on their leggings. Pure bliss, heavenly bliss. I wear these leggings constantly on repeat and I've never had a softer pair in my life. They also sell a range of other products as well that I plan on checking out in the future, tee shirts, hoodies, dresses, socks, and even newly released items for children and babies like pajamas, undies, onesies, bibs, leggings, socks and more! Definitely adding some of those to my to buy list for Bella soon!



Pumpkin Crumb Cake

Happy Autumn! We all love pumpkin (especially around this time of year) and what better way to welcome autumn, the best season of the year, than with a delicious Pumpkin Crumb Cake! So simple, yet so delicious and only takes a few minutes to whip up! Every year, it's always a tradition to make this as our first pumpkin baked treat of the fall.

This year, I'm feeling even more festive because I'm whipping our favorite pumpkin crumb cake up in our new Staub 3.5 Quart Pumpkin French Oven Cocette from Everything Kitchens! It's the perfect thing to cook and bake in during the autumn and it's so pretty I'm planning on keeping it out as decor all autumn long! I chose the burnt orange color since it's so festive and will be great all autumn, but the matte black option is super pretty (perfect for Halloween even) and neutral as well! Made from cast iron, this durable dutch oven comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can pass it down generations in your family (what a fun heirloom piece right?!). What's great is that this dutch oven requires no seasoning and can even be washed in the dishwasher!

You can read more about this pretty pumpkin french oven here and also purchase here. The best thing is that Everything Kitchens has it on sale right now and it's seriously such a steal! It's the perfect fun, yet useful item to add to our kitchen during autumn. I mean can you imagine how this will look on a Halloween table or you could bring it to the in-laws with this dessert for Thanksgiving,Your family will want to know where you got that pumpkin french oven! Everything Kitchens offers free shipping on all orders over $49.95, every day, and no sales tax on orders (except in Missouri). They truly are "everything kitchens" since there is seriously no kitchen related item that you can't find on their website, whatever you need, I can pretty much guarantee that they have it.

This is the dessert I'll be making all autumn, hope you all enjoy making and eating it as much as we do!


4 eggs (beaten)

1 29 oz. can pumpkin puree

12 oz. half and half (or heavy cream)

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 box butter (or yellow) cake mix

1 1/2 sticks (melted) butter

Combine eggs, pumpkin, evaporated milk (or half and half), sugar, pumpkin pie spice, nutmeg and salt. Mix well; pour into a baking pan or french oven very lightly oiled. Sprinkle dry cake mix over top. Drizzle with melted butter; do not stir. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour and 10 minutes 1 hour and 10 mins (just whatever you think since every oven cooks differently, I cook it closer to an hour and 10 mins because I like it where it's just starting to brown on top). Let cool before serving.


Pumpkin Struesel Muffins

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone#PeriodConfidence #TryTheDivaCup #CollectiveBias

During that time of the month, I always gravitate to comfort, so when aunt flow makes a visit, it's all leggings, cozy throw blankets and comfort food! Especially when autumn rolls around. So this month I've whipped up a batch of my favorite pumpkin struesel muffins and they're seriously too good share, oops, I meant too good to not share. Lol. Though I might secretly want to keep them all, I just have to share the recipe with you so you can try them too (I'll be sharing the recipe towards the end of this post). Another new addition to my life is The DivaCup! My mom and friends have been trying to get me to make the switch for practically forever, so I finally decided to go for it, and am I ever glad I did.

The DivaCup is available at most retailers nationwide (this handy store locator will help you find your nearest retail location) and I grabbed mine at Rite Aid the other day in the feminine care aisle! Maybe you're one of my friends reading this and you're like "it's about time she switched lol", or maybe you're wondering "what is The DivaCup?", well I'm here to share a little more about it below ladies!

The DivaCup is a reusable, bell shaped silicone menstrual cup that is made for women and girls of all ages! Menstrual cups have existed since the 1930's when women were searching for alternatives to the choices of the time, but though menstrual cups have been around for awhile, their breakthrough into the feminine hygiene market has been more recent, really only in the past 2 years or so. What are some reasons to choose The DivaCup over other feminine care options? The DivaCup offers 12 hour leak-free protection (sign me up for that, seriously), it's made from 100% healthcare grade silicone to ensure comfort and durability, it's also better since it's free of all chemicals, plastics, BPA, latex and dyes. The DivaCup is a great option for period care since it's easy to clean, is reusable which makes it more convenient so you don't run out of pads or tampons, just wash it off and reinsert! Since it's reusable, it's also eco-friendly because it not only saves money (the average cost for feminine care per year is $150, but with The DivaCup, it's only $39.99) but also cuts down on waste since there are no strings, wrappers or plastic.

The DivaCup is ideal for every activity, and can be worn wherever life takes you, from sports to sleep, dancing, hiking, swimming, reading, cooking, sitting at your desk, hiking, biking, whatever your passions in life may be. It's also great for traveling if you're an adventurer! The DivaCup sits low at the base of the vaginal canal for easy insertion and removal and it actually collects menstrual flow, rather than absorbing, which means it doesn't dry out or disrupt the vaginal pH, so no chafing and also leaves no residue (those scented tampons are the worst). The measurement lines on the cup are super handy if you're tracking your flow and to clean The DivaCup, just wash with warm water and the DivaWash! Suggested cleaning is every 10 to 12 hours, or around 2 times a day every day during your cycle. Further instructions for washing can be found here. The great thing about the DivaWash is that it's gentle, fragrance free formula is ideal for sensitive skin, it's naturally pH balanced, has a concentrated formula that helps reduce our eco impact, is manufactured with no animal testing or animal ingredients of any kind, and with it's 100% plant based formula it's better for your body with no added parabens, sulfates or petrochemicals.

A few other things to know about the DivaCup: It's available in TWO sizes, the DivaCup Model 1 is Recommended for women under the age of 30 who have never delivered vaginally or by caesarean section; and the DivaCup Model 2 is Recommended for women age 30 and over, or for women who have delivered vaginally or by cesarean section. Even though I'm not 30 yet, since I'm a mama and have had a vaginal birth I went with the Model 2 and it's been great! Seriously so much better than tampons and pads, and much better for vaginal health since as I mentioned above, it's made from healthcare grade silicone which means you're not coming into contact with chemicals such as surfectants, adhesives and additives that the other alternatives have.

If your flow is regular, you can insert the cup on the day you'll start so you are worry free (because let's face it, many a good pair of undies have been ruined by that time of the month). An interesting fact that I learned recently is that the average woman's monthly flow is between 1 and 2 ounces. Since The DivaCup holds 1 ounce over the course of 12 hours, most women seem to find the cup is not even half full when they go to remove and clean it. When positioned correctly, the cup is leak free and you can't even feel the cup. Yep here I am wishing I'd have switched to the cup sooner.

If you still are on the fence about switching or have any questions, it's always a great idea to consult with your healthcare provider first and also to read over the user guide (found here). Another reason I love DivaCup is that their care team is available to answer any questions and concerns via email (support@divacup.com), phone (1-866-44-3482) and even on their social networks! If you're new to DivaCup, their awesome and super helpful team is the best team to contact and they'll even talk you through insertion, removal and any other questions or concerns you may have! You can also find the store locator here!

Anyway, as I mentioned above, I found the absolute best comfort food muffins that you'll definitely want to whip up as soon as aunt flow makes her next arrival. Here's the recipe below!

Pumpkin Struesel Muffins

2 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon black-strap molasses
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
2 cups all purpose flour

6Tbsp powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with some cute cupcake or muffin liners. Combine streusel ingredients in a bowl and set aside. When fully combined, transfer to a baking sheet to break up chunks into no larger than pea size. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Mix in egg, vanilla and pumpkin until mixture is smooth. Add remaining dry ingredients, stir until mixed well. Pour or scoop into your cupcake/muffin liners and sprinkle well with the streusel mixture. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan. While muffins are cooling beat together powdered sugar and milk and drizzle over your cooled muffins. Enjoy!

These muffins are seriously so good you won't want to stop eating them AND they're perfect for any comfort food cravings you might have during that time of the month. Do you crave comfort foods during that time of the month too? What do you love most about the DivaCup?


Harvest Squash Chicken Soup

Autumn is my most favorite time of year, so naturally lots of soups and yummy baked treats are made in our home as the weather turns chilly. I found this recipe a couple years back and it's become one of our absolute favorites, not only because it's delicious, but also because it's pretty healthy too! Of course, I was super excited to make it recently, because 1. I hadn't made it in awhile. 2. The weather is already starting to cool off somewhat which makes me crave warm and hearty soups and stews. And 3. I just got the french oven of my dreams! Yep, this 7.5 quart Le Creuset signature French Oven in white! Everything Kitchens, was so kind to send one my way to try out and I am just loving it.

A french oven has been at the top of my wishlist for awhile, something that's so versatile that you can cook or bake nearly anything in it, that could be used on a stove-top or even in the oven, I feel like the uses are endless! As a plus. Everything Kitchens offers literally anything at all that I would ever need for the kitchen, for cooking and for entertaining! So fun right? I'm always needing little cooking gadgets and you can never have too many good dishes, bake-ware and cookware.

Located in Springfield Missouri, Everything Kitchens is also located online where you can purchase items no matter where you live, and you'll seriously want to since they have some of the best prices on items around, plus they have all of the top name brands and even some up and coming brands! This Le Creuset french oven that Everything Kitchens sells is perfect for all the soups and stews and roasts this autumn and winter (well, anytime really) and I'm so excited to share one of my most favorite soup recipes to make in it below!


2 garlic cloves (minced)

5 carrots (peeled and cubed)

2 cups butternut squash (peeled and cubed)

1 sweet potato (peeled and quartered)

1/2 yellow onion (quartered)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 cups chicken broth

4 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)

3/4 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary (minced)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

1 cup water

2 cups fresh baby spinach (chopped)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees and toss your vegetables in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes (or until the vegetables are tender). In the meantime, bring the chicken broth and chicken breasts to a simmer in your stockpot or large french oven, add your herbs, salt and pepper, and cover and cook while the vegetables are roasting, about 15 minutes or so. You can use precooked chicken breasts or even pre-roasted whole chicken, but for raw chicken breasts, cook about 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and tender enough to shred with a fork. Add half of the vegetables to the soup, and place the other half in a blender or food processor. Make sure all of the onion quarters into the blender and puree the vegetables with the 1 cup of water. Add the vegetable puree and chopped baby spinach to the soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more, until the spinach is wilted and the soup is hot. Enjoy!

What soups are you looking most forward to making this autumn? Do you have a good recipe I might like? Drop it below so I can make it! Don't forget to head on over to Everything Kitchens to scoop up this Le Creuset french oven and any kitchen items you need!