I received product in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own and as always, I only work with brands/review products that we actually love and use in our home.

I grew up drinking the most amazing water. Well water, on the family farm I grew up on in Missouri and literally nothing compares to the taste of it. Especially city water, ew. Let's be honest, I'm a bit of a water snob. I drink water from glass and stainless steel bottles because if it's in a plastic bottle, I can taste the plastic and chemicals in the water (my body probably recognizes that it's not good which is the main reason I don't love it, but also plastic water bottles aren't good for the environment so there's that too). The water I drank growing up was filled with natural minerals from the ground and honestly tasted almost sweet; it tastes so refreshing, especially compared to city water. City water filled with fluoride, chlorine and a ton of other nasty things. So after drinking city water for almost 7 years, I got kinda tired of it. I found myself always feeling dehydrated, drinking less water than I should, even when it was filtered through our water filter pitcher, it just tasted "meh" and my thirst was never really quenched even when I did drink a lot.

Finally one day I googled "is my water safe" and from there I found the EWG Tap Water Database (EWG stands for Environmental Working Group in case your were wondering). I was able to type in my zipcode, find our city and water supplier and honestly I was appalled at all of the chemical additives that I found listed as not only being in our water, but also being above health guidelines. Things like Bromodichloromethane, Chloroform, Chromium (hexavalent), Dibromochloromethane, Nitrate and Total trihalomethanes (TTHMs), all of which are known cancer causing contaminants. Not to mention all the added fluoride and chlorate, fluoride being a known neuro-toxin. No thank you. We try our best to live a natural lifestyle, ridding our home of chemicals and bringing toxin free items in and making conscious choices when when making purchases, making our own cleaners, buying fluoride free toothpaste, using herbal supplements, fermented probiotics and essential oils, sleeping on organic bedding and organic mattresses... and we thought we were doing good by using a water filter. Thankfully we now know better, and thanks to Berkey, our family is finally drinking clean, contaminant free water.

Okay, so let's back up a little bit... the only reason I knew about Berkey in the first place is because my parents had a Berkey... but why did they have a Berkey if our water was so amazing? In case of emergency of course! Our family farm that I grew up on was 30 minutes from the nearest town with any kind of big store, and sometimes, weather conditions made it impossible to get out, so we had a fully stocked pantry/storm cellar, and a big Berkey. Once when I was a teenager, we had an ice storm that left us without electricity, so no lights, running water or heat for 5 days. Thankfully my parents always thought ahead, and not only did we have warmth from the working antique wood cook stove (it was handed down to my parents from my great grandparents, it's not only the main heat source in my family's home, but they also cook on it), but we never ran out of food, even got to watch a movie or two because of the generator my dad had bought not long before, used water (from the open well I'll talk about in a second) to flush toilets, used melted snow to wash our hair, and while most people would be freaking out because they were out of their cases of plastic water bottles and couldn't get to the store to purchase more bottled water... we never had that worry. We had more water than we could have ever used, not only from the snow and ice we scooped up outside and melted, but also from the the open well that my great-great grandpa had hand dug over a natural spring (we would throw a bucket with a rope attached to it down into the well, let it fill up with water and hand pull it back up 15 feet or so) and we had our Berkey to purify the melted snow/ice and open well water so we could drink it. Nothing like an ice storm and being without power for nearly a week to build a little character and teach you some life lessons, right? I mean, I even discovered on the 6th day when the power finally came back on that I actually really enjoyed being without power, and asked my Dad if we could go completely off the grid... short story, he said no. Haha. It did prove to me that I was more resilient than I thought AND could do without technology and electricity if I had to, or ever wanted to. ;)

Anyway, getting sidetracked here so back to the main stuff... when I found out about all of the things that were in our water here, I quickly reached out to Berkey and they were kind enough to a Royal Berkey our way (along with some super cool accessories like their stainless steel spigot and the metal stand)! The list of things that Berkey Black filters take out of the water is about a mile long, its pretty amazing all of the things that it purifies from the water. Yep, Berkey is so good at what it does and so powerful, it's actually classified as a water purifier rather than a filter!

Remember when I mentioned earlier that our water had levels of contaminants that were above health guidelines? Come to find out, apparently it's a problem nationwide. Did you know that over 21,000,000 Americans drink water that violates U.S. health standards? If only everyone knew about Berkey. The Berkey water filter systems Removes 200+ unsafe contaminants, including bacteria and even viruses that conventional filters cannot! Amazing right?

I already knew about and loved Berkey, but my husband who had never heard of them until I mentioned them, was kind of skeptical at first. His tune changed after drinking Berkey purified water though. He'd been complaining for the longest time that our water just didn't taste right, he noticed it, I noticed it, we had all noticed it. And now, we all notice the difference. We can all taste the difference, and we feel so much better now that we're drinking more water too and not constantly on the verge of dehydration.

Berkey offers 6 different size water purifiers, the travel Berkey, the big Berkey, the Berkey light, the royal Berkey (which is what we have), the imperial Berkey, and the crown Berkey. The Royal Berkey is best suited for 2 to 5 people and has been perfect for us, it holds 3.25 gallons of water and we refill it daily. I've even started using our Berkey purified water to cook with, and my husband mentioned that his morning coffee tastes better now that we're using purified water. He's also a fan that he doesn't have to spend money buying new replacement filters every few months like some other filters require. The Black Berkey filter elements (that use a unique combination of absorption properties and an ion exchange process to purify the water) have a lifespan of 6000 gallons, or around 4 years, if your family uses the average of 2 to 4 gallons per day. When factoring in the cost of replacement filters, your cost to enjoy purified drinking water is less than 2 cents per day. 2 cents per day for your family to be able to enjoy water that's free of chemicals, contaminants, bacteria, neuro-toxins and more, I think it's a worthy cause and a good investment.

You can check your water with the EWG here and head on over and grab yourself a Berkey here afterwards, I can promise you'll thank me. Do you know what's in your water?



Adventures with my husband and littles are my favorite, especially when we're exploring one of my favorite places on earth. McConnells Mill State Park in Pennsylvania. It's a place filled with evergreen trees, rocks bigger than houses, a rushing river, ferns and moss everywhere. It looks more like you stepped into a forest in the pacific northwest than somewhere in Pennsylvania. I've always had a bit of an obsession with the PNW which is probably why I love this particular state park so much.

I fell in love with McConnells Mill State Park when my husband took me out there a few months after we got married. It was in the autumn, the trees were so colorful and it was just gorgeous, so now of course I'm always trying to talk him into another trip out there every chance I can. We've been many times, in the spring, summer and autumn, but never in winter... until now.

On President's Day we had a blue sky filled with sunshine, a whole chicken with carrots and potatoes in the oven, and 3 hours to kill while said chicken roasted. I said "why don't we go out to McConnells Mill" and much to my happiness, he thought it was a great idea.

We grabbed our hiking boots on, hats and cardigans on the kids, a baby carrier, a reusable water bottle, a bottle of rice milk for Bodhi, Bella's little adventure backpack and her wood and glass magnifying lens (one of her favorite Christmas gifts, we got at Lil Bellies), the diaper bag, snacks, the camera, and of course ourselves haha, and headed out the door.

We got there and thankfully were able to grab the last parking spot that was close by (there's only 4 parking spots nearby, you have to walk down a HUGE hill if you park in the main parking lot) and headed off on our adventure. Unfortunately we didn't get very far on the main trail that we typically go on since it got icy pretty quickly, if it had been just Frank and I, we may have tried to to further, but to err on the side of caution since we had the kids with us, we decided to head back and check out some areas we had never explored close up before.

It was the best decision ever. I've always wanted to get a closer look at these areas and we finally got a chance to! We found the coolest rock formations, indentations in rocks that were so unique, the most beautiful ferns and moss, and moss that was covered in a thick blanket of ice with ferns growing out of it, trees growing out of rocks, icicles as big as an adult human, little spaces and cave-like spots to crawl into and under in rocks bigger than houses, icicles that looked like a frozen waterfall, carvings in rocks from the 1930s, spaces where rocks had split apart that you could walk into, and so much more. It was just awesome.

Bella had such a blast, she was clamoring up and over giant rocks, hiking up hills, climbing into the cave-like places we found, pretend ice skating on frozen puddles, inspecting things with her magnifying glass, picking up pieces of giant icicles. She was in her element for sure, she loves being in nature and it was awesome so see how fearless she was and all the things she was brave enough to do completely unprompted!

Bodhi loved it too, he stayed in the ring sling most of the time because there were lots of cliffs he could easily fall from and since he's fast and pretty much runs everywhere at full speed, I wasn't taking any chances. I did take him out once for a photo on a mossy rock, he was pretty happy about that. He was fascinated by the gigantic rock formations and wanted to touch lots of them. We also seen some dogs that people were walking so that also kind of made his day haha, he loves animals.

Bella is already asking to go back again, and I can't wait to go back again too (and definitely with Bodhi in a back carrier next time instead of a ring sling lol)! It's the most beautiful place and there is always something new to see and discover. That's the best thing about nature, no matter how many times you visit the same place, you'll always notice something new and fascinating.