Ditching the Paper Towels

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How many paper towels do you use in a day? I have been taking a look at the amount that we use as a family, and I have been shocked. Paper towels are not able to be recycled so that is a lot of waste that we are creating. Here is a look at a typical day in my house:

*we use the choose your size paper towels

Morning: 3 sheets

Lunch: 3 sheets

Dinner: 2 sheets

Dog: 2 sheets

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Total: 10 sheets/day, 310 sheets/month, and 3,720 sheets/ year

That is a lot of waste to be making everyday which makes me think twice about using paper towels. On top of that, I struggle with the chemicals that they are treated with to make them white and hold together. I want our food and bodies to have the least amount of contact with these chemicals as possible. There are a couple things I still use them for: bacon, dog messes, and cleaning the bathroom.

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I decided to make “paper towels” out of fabric, so that we can cut down on waste and chemical exposure. I used flannel to make 13×13 towels. To make them I cut out 13×13 squares, then folded the edge over about 1/4 inch, then used a zig zag stitch to sew the folded edge. I washed them after sewing the edges, and then cut off the strings from freyed edges.


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I love using them! They are gentler on Echo’s skin (I feel like) when I clean him up after meals. They are just as easy to grab as a normal paper towels. I keep them in a big jar on the counter. I felt like it was a great small step to take in the kitchen to go a little greener. This is something we will definitely continue to use going forward.

UPDATE:

I have had this post sitting in my drafts for so long, because I wanted to add a bunch of statistics on paper towels but I just never did it. So now it has been a year since I made these fabric towels. We absolutely love them still! The jar is still on the counter and they are just as convenient to grab as paper towels. This step of cutting out waste made me feel good. I’m all about taking little steps forward and switching things out as you go. Every little step matters 🙂

Thanks so much for reading! What is one little step you have made to help the environment? Comment below 🙂

DIY Popcorn Costume

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Every year I really enjoy making a homemade costume for Echo. One year he was a duckling, last year he was a Lego block, and this year he was a bucket of popcorn. The town that we live in does trick or treating at the businesses, and everyone loved Echo’s popcorn costume! He looked so cute!

Materials:

-Large cardboard box

-brown packing paper

-packing tape

-white string

-white tissue paper

-red and white acrylic paint

-yellow watercolor paint

-hot glue gun

-tacky glue

-painters tape

My first step was cutting the box to fit Echo. The box we used was long, not square. I taped the box shut like it would be if i got a delivery. Then i stood it up lengthwise.  I cut the bottom off so it hit right above his knee. Then I cut an opening in the top leaving about an inch and a half around the edge. I then took two long pieces of scrap fabric (or you could use sturdy string) to make straps to hold the box up. You can secure it with hot glue or tacky glue. Before recycling the remnants of the box, cut two small (about 6″x4″) pieces to make signs for the front and back of the box.

The part that took me the longest probably was painting the stripes on the box. For one color you can section off the stripes with painters tape to get straight lines. For the other I had to freehand it, because the painters tape peeled off what I already painted. Oops! The stripes should be about an inch apart. I think I did three coats of paint on each color stripe. While you’re at it with the paint you can paint your small sign pieces red. After it dries, paint on the word “POPCORN”. Then attach it, using tacky glue, to the box once it is completely dry.

For the popcorn kernels, I rolled up 6″x6″ pieces of brown packing paper into balls. I then used the packing tape to tape completely around it to make it keep its shape. I probably made 30ish of these balls. I then took the white tissue paper and cut it into 6″x6″ pieces.  I took one of these pieces and wrapped it around a ball, pinching just below the ball. That is where you tie a piece of string to keep that shape. You can then take the ends of the tissue paper and fold them under and tape them to the ball. This creates dimension. And then you have your popcorn kernel! Then you just repeat that a bunch of times.

 

Next was attaching the popcorn kernels to the box, a shirt, and a beanie. I used safety pins to attach them to the clothing items, and tacky glue for the box. For the red shirt I only did one row of popcorn around the collar. On the inch and a half edge at the top of the box I attached a row of popcorn using the tacky glue. Then I grabbed one of E’s beanies and safety pinned more popcorn to that.

The last step was to paint a little bit of yellow watercolor onto each of the popcorn kernels to mimic butter. You do not want to drench the tissue paper in water otherwise it will fall apart and rip.

This costume does not hold up in rain, so make sure you have an umbrella with you if there is a chance of rain.

 

This costume turned out so cute! Hope you and your little ones enjoy this DIY Halloween costume! Thank you so much for reading! Like and share this post 🙂 what was your little one for Halloween this year?

Third Birthday!

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Beep Beep! This year I did a cars & trucks theme for Echo’s third birthday party. He is obsessed with them! So here are the snapshots of the celebration! I shared some pictures on my Instagram page, but wanted to write a blog post too (even if it is really late).

 

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Traffic Cone Banner

 

 

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Street Tables

 

 

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Lunch from Chipotle & Chalkboard Birthday Sign

 

 

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3rd Birthday Sign (one of my favorite things to do!)

 

 

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Birthday Boy

 

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Happy Birthday! E isn’t a fan of cake, so we do cookies.

 

 

 

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Time for presents!

 

We had so much fun celebrating Echo with family and friends! What has been your favorite party theme for your child? Share below 🙂

Baked Kale Chips

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I searched around the internet for an easy kale chip recipe that I can do in the oven. I do not own a dehydrator (YET!). Most recipes had a lot of steps in the recipe, so I threw a couple ingredients together and hoped it worked out. It did! These kale chips have become my favorite crunchy snack! They are hubby, toddler, and friend approved. I took these to a superbowl party and they were all gone very quick. I have also taken them to church groups and they LOVED them! Hope you enjoy the recipe!

KALE CHIPS 

Ingredients:

-1 bunch of organic kale

-Herbamare seasoning salt

-Sari Foods Company nutritional yeast

-organic olive oil (or avocado oil)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Destem and cut 1 bunch of kale into bite size pieces. Place kale in a large mixing bowl.

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Drizzle 2 Tablespoons olive oil over kale. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon Herbamare over the kale. Then sprinkle 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast on kale.

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Mix to make sure all the kale is coated.

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Pour onto a cookie sheet, and spread the kale out into a single layer.

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Dust all the kale with a little bit more Herbamare and nutritional yeast. Place in the oven for 15 minutes.

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Watch the kale closely, it will start to burn pretty quickly after the 15 minutes. Enjoy!

I personally eat the chips on the same day I make them. They are so addicting! I did try storing them for a day or two and they start to lose their crunch. So I would recommend eating them the day you make them.

Let me know what you think of them! Comment below and tell me how they turn out! 🙂 What is your favorite healthy snack?

The Third Year

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We celebrated Echo’s third birthday! One thing I love to do after his birthday every year is write a post about what we have learned and positive things from this past year. So here we go!

  1. Holy Rollercoaster of Emotions! This was definitely the year that E found more of his voice. That meant that he was using more words and talking more (YAY!), but there was also the tantrums and testing. I’m going to speak to our situation for a minute and share what worked for us. Pretty early on when he was yelling at me, flat out saying no to me, and having complete meltdowns, I realized that Echo responded better when I was firm but calm. He didn’t respond to me or my husband yelling at him. We were just basically telling him that yelling was okay by doing that. Not to say I don’t have my bad days and lose my patience completely. For us, I give him the “mom look” (you know the I mean business look) and firmly correct him.                                                                                                                                                                      IMG_1641
  2. Next Level! To go along with the first point, Echo found a whole other level of energy. He is always doing laps around the house, his school, and exploring outside. This is honestly something that I love. We can go to the park, play outside, go on errands and E is totally up for it. Sometimes it can get him in trouble (point number 1), but I honestly love that he is an active energetic toddler. We have daily dance parties, and love being outside.
  3. Unique! Each kid has their own personality. E has always been very observant and slow to warm up to people. That’s just how he operates. I was so happy that he has made friends at school! It took a little adjustment period, but he loves playing with his friends now. There are still moments where he gets overwhelmed and will pull back. For the most part though he is becoming more social. We just had to take it at his own unique pace.
  4. Treasure Each Moment! This is a personal one. A few weeks ago I wrote about our losses in 2017. I think it just made me treasure each moment with Echo more. He is our first baby, so every moment is a first with him. Time is going by so fast! I love our little adventures, everyday moments, the rare toddler cuddles, and conversations with him. Everyday I try to be present with Echo and soak up these moments.                                                                                                                                                                IMG_1656

I really enjoy doing these recaps of our year. Sharing little thoughts as we head in to the next one as a family. I’m ready for more firsts and learning lots! What was your favorite thing this past year? Comment below.

 

December 2017 Glowing Beets Box

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I’ve been really excited to share the December 2017 Glowing Beets box with you all! I look forward to getting this box every month, and I really enjoyed the December box! I am an affiliate with Glowing Beets, and share my 100% honest thoughts about the boxes. If you want to subscribe, enter “TLM10” at checkout and it will save you 10% on your first box!

Johnny Concert Eyeshadow Brush

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How chic does this brush look? I absolutely love the look of it! To me the matte black handle and the black and white brush makes it look amazing. This brush is vegan and cruelty-free. It is so incredibly soft too. Another great thing is that it is $6! I have been shocked at what makeup brushes cost in the past, but this one is definitely more affordable.

Johnny Concert Amplified Eyeshadow in Skull

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The second product in the box was a full size Johnny Concert eyeshadow in SKULL. It’s a slightly off-white metallic color. It is very glittery to me, so I would wear it on top of another color. I also thought it added a good highlight to the inner corner of my eye. I was very impressed that this eyeshadow is made of lots of organic ingredients. It’s also free of talc, synthetic fragrance, parabens, dimethicone, and lots of other bad ingredients. This eyeshadow is vegan and cruelty-free. Overall it’s a great clean product.

akar SKIN Nutrient Boost Eye Serum

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This is a power packed little bottle. The Nutrient Boost Eye Serum is 100% organic and wild harvested. It has ingredients like goji, pumpkin seed oil, rosehip seed extract, and then Shiitake mushroom extract (which I have never noticed in a product before). This serum is not floral smelling at all, it is very earthy/musky. The price tag is high, but you literally only use 1 drop so the serum will last a while. My under eye area soaked this right up, one of the better eye serums that I’ve tried.

akar SKIN Ruby Tint Lip Butter

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I opened this little jar up and immediately thought of jelly. It has more of a gel like consistency, than other lip butters I have tried. You just need a small amount to nourish and hydrate your lips. Just like the eye serum, it is 100% organic or wild harvested. It is pretty sheer, so there isn’t a lot of tint to it. It’s a great natural color. I like that it is not super pigmented. It has a floral-citrus scent. Overall, a really great product that melts onto your lips.

Such a great December box full of good quality products! Can’t wait for the January box! Don’t forget to enter “TLM10” at checkout for 10% off your first box. What kinds of products do you like to read reviews on? Comment below. Thanks so much for reading!

Loss (*Trigger Warning*)

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I have struggled with the right way to write about this subject. What do I say? How do I encourage other women and families that are going through this same thing? My number one thing with this blog is that I want to honest, authentic, and encouraging. Beyond this point is the raw emotions and words of what I have gone through this past year. I’m not looking for pity, I am hoping that in sharing my experience I can let other women know they aren’t alone in this.

Why was the first time so easy? 7 months into marriage, Sterling and I got pregnant with Echo. I gave birth to a happy, sweet baby boy and we were over the moon. We went back and forth for a bit as to whether we wanted to have another baby. It has now been over a year and half since starting to try and conceive. January and May will be forever in my heart. Though I lost the pregnancies very early (at 5 & 6 weeks), I hold onto the thought of meeting those babies one day.

I struggle to find the right words and even questioned whether I wanted to share anything about this. My family never talked about infertility or miscarriage. They always talked about how easy it was for women in my family to get pregnant. In January when I got the positive test and then lost the pregnancy, I was not sure how to feel. I was confused, sad, and overwhelmed. I thought I did something and it was my fault that the pregnancy didn’t stick. How was I supposed to cope with losing a pregnancy? I didn’t cope well. Then in May having the same situation happen again, really took a toll. Just after the second loss  I met with my midwife where we discussed it all. She referred to the pregnancies as “chemical pregnancies”. I walked away from the appointment confused and frustrated again because I felt like my losses were minimized and brushed off. It is really tough getting a positive pregnancy test and then have that taken away. The highs and lows of these emotions have taken its toll on me.

It is now January, and I still don’t know how to feel. I don’t have the right answers. We have not gotten pregnant. And I’m emotional. I tell my story and share my emotions in hopes that I can encourage other women who are going through loss. Each story is different, but you are not alone. You don’t have to grieve alone. One thing that really helped me was sharing all this with my closest friend. Knowing that I wasn’t alone, and that I had my husband and my friend in my corner. You are so strong, and this hurt will be healed.

I started this blog to take you through my journey of going green, and to share family life with you all. This is my real life. It’s hard, not perfect, and crazy. I really hope that in sharing my struggle and hurt, that it helps you in some way. If you are feeling depressed or hopeless please talk with a doctor or counselor.

Thank you so much for reading! How have you overcome loss in your life? Comment below.

November Glowing Beets Review

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In my October review, I got to announce that I am now an affiliate with Glowing Beets. Glowing Beets is a monthly subscription box of non-toxic and cruelty-free products. I have been a customer for 2 years, and because I love it so much I wanted to share it with you all! If you want to sign up for a subscription, you can use my code “TLM10” at checkout for 10% off your first box. This is a 100% honest review of the products that I received in the November box.

Plaine Products Shampoo & Conditioner

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The first products up are the Plaine Products Shampoo & Conditioner in Rosemary Mint Vanilla. I absolutely LOVE the packaging of these two products! They came in little 2.5 oz metal bottles. Love the idea of cutting down on single use plastic bottles by refilling these. They also refill the full size products. These products are vegan, cruelty-free, biodegradable, sulfate free, and color and kid safe. These two contain lots of natural and organic ingredients. The smell is amazing! It’s a very clean and refreshing scent of Rosemary, Mint, and Vanilla.

Ok so performance-wise, I have used the shampoo & conditioner once (I will use it again after the holidays). After washing my hair, conditioning it, and letting it air dry, my hair felt super dry for the most part. Then behind my ears on the underside of my hair it did not get it clean. I have had this issue with a different brand of natural shampoo before. For the moment, I was not impressed with the performance. I know some products your body needs to adjust to and kind of balance itself out, so I will definitely use the entire bottle of each product and update you all!

Abbey Lane Farm Lip Balm in Chocolate Mint

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So buttery! This stuff is so moisturizing. I love really rich and melty lip balms, and this one is just that. I got the chocolate mint flavor which is very refreshing. The chocolate part is not super overpowering which I like. This lip balm is also a good mix of natural and organic ingredients. This lip balm contains beeswax. If you love buttery lip balms, check out Abbey Lane Farm.

Graydon Face Glow

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Graydon Face Glow is a tinted primer and illuminator. Man this stuff is illuminating! I put this product on under my makeup as a full face primer, and it gave me such a glow. I like to glow, so I loved it! The scent of it is almost a powder fresh vanilla type scent to me (there is no baby powder in it). I like that it isn’t a floral scent. I also love that the ingredients list has lots of fruit extracts.

My one drawback to this product is that it is tinted. This product would work for me during the summer after I get some sun. I cannot use this during the winter though because it made my face darker than my neck and body. So I will pull this product back out in the summer!

St. Alabaster La Belle Vie Soy Wax Candle

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Ok so I am a candle-aholic, and was so excited to see a candle in the box! Bonus this candle has a wooden wick which makes it crackle and have that cozy glow. The candle has a pretty strong scent. It is a yummy smelling citrus scent of pineapple, rosemary, and lime. The packaging is a glass jar with metal lid, and a paper with the Glowing Beets coupon code that can be put in your garden and it will grow. Love that idea of making the paper have multiple purposes. The other great thing I read about this company is that you can take your empty candle jars to “Belle Vie” to recycle them. So cool to see companies cut down on waste.

This was a great box to get to try new things, even if they aren’t the best fit for me. I love trying new things! I love the mix of body care, home care, and beauty in this box. Thanks so much for reading my honest thoughts about the November Glowing Beets box! Have you tried any of the products from this box?

October 2017 Glowing Beets Review

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Glowing Beets is a monthly subscription box that I have purchased for the past two years. I get so excited to receive it every month, and seriously love it! You receive about 3-4 products that are either full size or deluxe samples. Each product is carefully picked so the box includes clean, cruelty free, and quality items. I love the mix of skin care, body, and cosmetic products. The box costs $29.95 + $5.99 shipping.

Ursa Major Brighten Up Vitamin C Serum

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The first product in this month’s box is the Ursa Major Vitamin C Serum. I have been wanting to try this brand for probably a year (not joking). There is whole line of skin care for men and women. This serum is full of organic ingredients and is very clean. It has a fresh, musky floral, and citrus scent. This is a lightweight facial serum that really brightens and hydrates. You only need a super small amount, so this bottle will last a little bit. It retails for $54.

Moondani Natural Breath Mist- Mystical Mint

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Next up I got the Moondani mint breath spray. I was so happy to see this in the box, and to discover an alternative to gum or sprays filled with chemicals! The ingredients are clean or organic. When I first sprayed it in my mouth it was intense (because I don’t usually use sprays), but after a minute it had a nice refreshing taste. There was a small taste of fennel, but mint was definitely the prevalent flavor. It retails for $12.99. Overall, a very crisp and refreshing mist to keep in my purse for when I’m on the go.

True Moringa Simplicity Facial Oil

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This month I got a second face oil, the True Moringa facial oil. This one is pretty cool because it came in a roller ball packaging, which I have never seen before. It is made of only cold pressed moringa oleifera seed oil. This oil has a unique scent, almost like a musky nutty smell. I really like it. This oil absorbs very quick and didn’t leave my skin feeling greasy at all. Definitely one to check out if you aren’t into floral scented face oils! It retails for $26 for a 1 oz bottle.

2 Year Customer Appreciation Gift:

Kari Gran Lip Whip- Currant

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I was so so excited to receive this little gift! Just like with Ursa Major, I have been wanting to try this lip whip for the longest time. I got the lip whip in the color currant which is a dark berry color with a slight shimmer. It has a thick consistency, and adds a good tint of color. This is such a moisturizing product! The ingredients are organic and clean. The whip retails for $21. Another thing I really love is that Kari Gran is based out of Seattle! I love discovering products that are local to me.

That wraps up my review of October’s box. I just became an affiliate with Glowing Beets which I’m sooooo excited about! If you sign up using my code I will get a perk. I always want to keep everything 100 with you! I am promoting this subscription because I love this box, and pay for it every month. It allows me to try a variety of products and fits my family’s budget. My code is “TLM10” which will get you 10% off your first box! Enter it at checkout when you sign up on www.glowingbeets.com.

Thank you so much for reading this! Have you tried Glowing Beets?

Great Finds at JBF Issaquah!

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Are you ready to get your shopping on? I attended the Primetime shopping at the Issaquah “Just Between Friends” sale on Thursday night. The Issaquah sale goes until Sunday, so you still have time to shop this great sale! Today, Friday, is a regular shopping day. Saturday is the half off day, and then Sunday is the 75% off day (everything without a star and marked donate). You can go to “Just Between Friends” website for all the details on the Issaquah sale.

Here’s the fun part of shopping these sales, I get to share with you the great deals I saw or purchased at the sale!

One of my favorite things at the sale is the “Melissa & Doug” toys and puzzles. I have found a tool set and some chunky puzzles at previous sales. This sale I checked out the food and kitchen accessories because Echo LOOOOVES his kitchen. There were so many different sets and ranged from $12-25 for the small ones. I picked up this wooden Velcro cookie set (so cute!) for $16. That is a 20% savings from it’s retail price of $20.

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One thing I was on a mission to find was rain/snow boots! We live in a town that gets a bit of snow, so I wanted to gear up for the cold weather that is quickly approaching. I found these red “Land’s End” boots that are in great condition for $8. These boots retail for $50-80. For this calculation I assumed it was the $50 boot. That is an 84% savings! Love it!

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The next item that I purchased was an “H & M” fleece lined coat for $12.50. Echo didn’t have a heavier coat for this winter so I snagged this one! These coats retail for about $35, which means the coat was 64% off. It is in such good condition and am excited for Echo to wear it.

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The last item I purchased, that I’ll share with you, is a long sleeve flannel button down from “Gymboree”. The flannel shirts from Gymboree retail for about $32, and I paid $5. That’s another 84% savings!

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There are so many great items at the sale. One item I saw but didn’t pick up was a pair of white high top Converse (personally can’t do white with a toddler). They were priced at $18, and retail is $69. So someone can grab them for a 74% savings.

Anything you need from nursery to toys to clothes, the Issaquah sale has you covered. This sale they have lots of Halloween costumes for the kiddos. Hope you all get a chance to go check it out! There is still time to shop!

Thanks so much for reading! Do you shop consignment clothing?