Ditching the Paper Towels


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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!


-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!


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).


Traffic Cone Banner



Street Tables



Lunch from Chipotle & Chalkboard Birthday Sign



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



Birthday Boy





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




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 🙂

Sun’s out, Bugs out!


Since Seattle has gotten a little bit of warm weather, the bugs are starting to come out. Insect repellents are full of crazy toxic chemicals. Last year I started hunting for better alternatives that still perform!


Every year I get sooooo many bug bites! I do not know what it is about me, but mosquitos love me. Last spring/summer I made my own bug spray that I used. It is an essential oil mixture that performed AMAZING! I did not get any bites on the places I sprayed. I don’t use this on Echo, because I don’t know the exact dilution of my mixture and it hasn’t been tested. It is super easy to make and works great. Here’s the recipe:

-4 oz. blue glass spray bottle

-Fill 3/4 of the way with water

-Add 2 Tablespoons Witch Hazel

-Add 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil & 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (I use Young Living)

-Shake before each use & spray on

Puracy Natural Bug Spray


For Echo, I really like using the Puracy Bug Spray! One of the big things that I like about it is that it is 100% DEET free. It’s also free of other nasty substances like Formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. It is made up of essential oils and botanical extracts which smell great! The peppermint, citronella, geranium, lemongrass, and Vanilla all blend well together. It isn’t greasy when you spray it on your body and then rub it in. It is recommended that you consult with your child’s physician if you intend to use it on a baby younger than 6 months. I used this on Echo last summer when he was 17-21 months old. He had no reactions or anything to the spray itself. He didn’t get any bug bites, so it performed great! It is also pretty budget friendly at $12 for a 4 oz. spray bottle. We only used one bottle last spring/summer. Puracy was definitely a better option than conventional bug sprays for my family!

Hope you are all enjoying this Spring sunshine! Have you tried natural & non toxic bug sprays? Comment below 🙂 share with friends.

Homemade Air Freshener


Did you know that your aerosol, plug-in, and candle air fresheners can be loaded with toxic chemicals?  They are FILLED with chemicals that you should not breathe in, and definitely not your little ones. Just a couple are phthalates, formaldehyde, and benzene. After researching conventional and natural air fresheners, I decided to make my own. There are so many recipes out there for homemade options! I read some that had rubbing alcohol in them, which can still be bad for you to breathe in. Others had Vodka in them (didn’t try those). I chose to use recipes that used just water or small amounts of witch hazel. My family has 2 favorite recipes that I am going to share below. Enjoy!


Lavender-Peppermint Spray

-4oz glass spray bottle

-fill 3/4 of the way with filtered water

-add 2 Tbsp. Witch Hazel (optional)

-add 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil

-add 5 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

-Shake bottle before each use!


Citrus-Mint Spray

-4 oz glass spray bottle

-fill 3/4 of the way with filtered water

-add 2 Tbsp. Witch Hazel (optional)

-add 5 drops each of orange, lemon, lime, and peppermint essential oils

-Shake bottle before each use!


Thank you so much for reading! Don’t forget to click the follow button here on the blog. You can also follow the blog on Instagram @thelilthingsblog and like “The Lil Things Blog” on Facebook. 🙂 Like and leave a comment below!

Wedding on a Budget!

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Every wedding has a budget. Some people have lots of money saved up and others don’t. For Sterling and I, we were not swimming in cash when we got married. We had just finished an internship with our church, and did not have the cash saved up to throw a huge traditional wedding (we wouldn’t have wanted that anyway). During the planning process I had to get creative, while not settling on what we pictured for our special day. Here’s how we had our perfect wedding on a budget!

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I am a “Say Yes to the Dress” fanatic! So for me, of course the dress was a super important part of the wedding. I had seen a dress that a childhood friend wore at her wedding and fell in love with it! I went and tried it on (very important, because what you love may not be what looks good on), and it looked great! The dress, alterations, and a veil would have been close to $2,500 if I bought it from the boutique I visited. Now because I am not a person who could pay that much for a dress I’m going to wear once, I started searching discount dress websites to find my dress for less. We found it for half of the boutique cost! It was a bigger size, but close enough that I could have it altered to fit perfectly. The veil was another thing I saved money on. A new veil from the boutique was $200-$400. I couldn’t pay that, even though they were gorgeous. My mother-in-law helped by making one. The veil mesh material cost probably $3 for a yard, which we then cut to the right shape, and pinned into place with bobby pins and a tiara ($20). All together, for dress and veil we paid half of what it would have cost from the boutique.

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Venue is a huge part of a wedding! Everyone loves something different. For Sterling and I we wanted to have a summer wedding outdoors. How we saved money on the venue was choosing to have it at one of the campuses of our church. Sterling worked for the church, so he got a discount. The courtyard of our intern campus was perfect! We were one of 2 couples ever to use the courtyard for a wedding. Since it was a church, there were rules that we had to follow (no alcohol, no sit down dinner, no dancing, etc.). That’s where our personal quirks helped out too. Sterling does not like dancing and we don’t drink alcohol a lot; so we were able to make the venue work for how we wanted our ceremony to go! Now I understand not everyone works for a church and gets a discount, but being creative on the location and style of ceremony can help with your budget.

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For the guys, we added some unique touches to the outfit. We are not suit or tux kind of people and the one thing Sterling wanted was custom Converse. The guys outfit cost about $120 which included the white button down shirt, wax coated skinny jeans, bowtie, and Converse shoes. One thing I am thankful for now is letting Sterling have his say on what the guys wore, because it made our wedding that much more US. This outfit was perfect! And every anniversary, Sterling wears his custom Converse when we go out!

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Another way I saved money was not decorating with flowers! These bouquets are literally the only flowers we bought. Daisies are my favorite flowers (also one of the cheapest) and we only bought them for bouquets. Flowers totaled $60 from the flower warehouses in Seattle. Because our venue was had trees and plants already we did not need to add more flowers to it. We spent money on bulb lights for the trees, waterproof votive lights for the fountain, and goldfish to put in the fountain pond.


At our wedding, we did not do a sit down dinner (HUGE MONEY SAVER). We served hors d’oeuvres and then had fire pits (supervised) and roasting stations for s’mores. We loved having this unique touch at our wedding! Some of our favorite things as a couple is stargazing and s’mores, and we were able to have both at our wedding. For the s’mores we bought gourmet marshmallows in bulk, chocolate in bulk, and built the boxes by hand to store everything. We took an afternoon to put together boxes and it was super easy. Measure, cut, nail together, and stain. To this day we still use these boxes as planters. They are on our deck currently.

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When planning a wedding, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be creative! A wedding is a celebration of two people coming together as one, so make it unique to you as a couple! That could mean a traditional wedding or one completely out of the box. Do what you want on your big day! Have fun, be patient, and stick to the budget (you don’t want to start marriage in debt).

What things did you do to save money on your big day?

Like, comment, share 🙂

All photos in this post are copyrighted by Art Mendoza of Art Mendoza Photography.

Antique Dresser Update


For a few months our “entertainment center” situation has been really bugging me. We were using some cube shelving to put our TV on and also have a small amount of storage. It looked super cluttered and messy! So I told my husband that I wanted to take an antique dresser, give it a face lift, and use that for our entertainment center. He agreed, so my search was on!

I found an antique dresser on Craigslist for $75 that needed some TLC! We are not  super elegant antique kind of people, so we went with a dresser that had a more simple look to it. After purchasing the dresser, I came up with the design of white paint (zero VOC), simple black handles, and leaving the 2 drawer spots open as shelves. So for about $125 (way less than a brand new entertainment center) I could have a clean looking TV area! YAY!

So because I am a figure it out as I go kind of gal, I jumped right in to giving the dresser an update. First, I removed the antique hardware from the dresser. Then, I sanded the dresser. I didn’t sand it in super detail, just a rough sanding.

Then I started painting (going from top to bottom). The whole time i was painting I made sure there were no drips and everything looked even. Now here is where a little research may have helped me out! As the paint dried, there were just a couple spots where it looked like stain was coming through. They were extremely light spots so they don’t really bother me, but on the next project I will definitely look into making sure that does not happen. I applied 3 coats of matte white paint total. Be patient and go by what it says on the paint can as far as drying time.

Once dry, I added the black handles to the two large drawers.


Next, was figuring out how to make open shelves in the drawer spots. I decided to use my hubby’s strength and saw the fronts of the drawers off and paint the drawer white.  We also drilled holes in the middle of each drawer spot, in the back, so that we could fit cords through.


I am so happy with how the dresser turned out! A successful DIY project!





-sandpaper (not a fine grit)

-paint brushes

-white matte zero VOC (volatile organic compound) paint

-4 handles

-saw (optional)

Have fun, be patient, and be creative! Let me know how your projects turn out! Thank you so much for reading! Like, share, and comment!

DIY Baby Wipes


I Just made a new batch of baby wipes yesterday, so I wanted to share the process with you all!


-Seventh Generation “unbleached” or “recycled” Paper Towels

-Large sealable container (that can fit half of a paper towel roll)

-2 1/2 cups hot filtered water

-2 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Castile soap

-2 Tbsp. Organic coconut oil

How To:

  1. Cut the paper towel roll in half with a sharp serrated knife.
  2. heat 2 1/2 cups filtered water in a bowlimage
  3. Add 2 Tbsp. organic coconut oil, stir, and melt completely.
  4. Add 2 Tbsp. Dr. Bronner’s unscented soap and stir.image
  5. Place one half of the paper towel roll in the wipe container/tupperware.
  6. Pour the water/oil/soap mixture directly over the paper towel roll.
  7. Press down the saturated paper towel roll.image
  8. Close the lid tightly, and flip upside down.
  9. After a couple minutes flip back over and open the container up.image
  10. Make sure the entire roll is saturated, then gently pull out the cardboard tube.
  11. Lastly, transfer to the container you use for wipes. Pull up the middle so that it feeds through the container opening easily.image

*The whole process takes less than 20 mintues

*Wipes will not last as long as store bought wipes. Mine usually last about 1-1 1/2 weeks.

Ok that was a longer post! It is worth going through this process, because you do not have to worry about what ingredients are in your wipes. These are safe and mostly natural ingredients. Like, follow, share, and comment! Thank you!!!

Diaper Pail Life Hack


As a new mom, the cost of all the things a baby needed shocked me! My husband and I bought a diaper pail right before our son was born. We got multiple refills for it (about $7 per refill). Our son was born and we went through the diaper pail bags VERY quickly! I got to a point where I did not want to buy any more refills because they are pretty expensive. I tried taping a normal garbage bag in different ways to the pail, totally made it more complicated than it needed to be. I finally realized I can use the plastic part of the refill and a normal garbage bag. So here is how you do it:


You need a normal kitchen garbage bag and an empty plastic part of the refill.


Unfold the trash bag and shake it so it is not clinging together.


With the open rim of the plastic piece facing up, feed the garbage bag through the middle of the plastic piece.


Take the drawstring edge and fold it under the plastic piece. Continue tucking around the whole plastic piece.



Once the edges are all tucked in, open the top of the pail and feed the bottom of the bag into the pail. Place the plastic piece where it would usually be placed.


That’s it! An easy way to save some money on baby supplies!

Thanks for reading! Like, follow, comment, and share!

DIY Dryer Sheets


The very first change that I made in my house, to go a little greener, was to throw out dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are chocked full of dangerous chemicals! So I started experimenting with making my own safe dryer sheets.


-Mason Jar

-Distilled White Vinegar

-Filtered Water

-Cotton cloth/t shirt

-Thieves Essential Oil


The first step is taking a cotton cloth/t shirt and cutting it up into pieces. I cut mine into about a 4in. X 4 in. square.


Next, in a mixing bowl, add 1/2 cup white vinegar. Then add 1/4 cup water and 10 drops of Thieves essential oil. Stir them all together, and then pour into the mason jar. Side note: Thieves is an anti microbial essential oil. It will help fight bacteria and give your clothes a good scent.


Once you pour the mixture into the mason jar, add your pieces of cotton cloth/t shirt. Seal the jar tightly, and let the cloth soak for a minute or two. Then you want to turn the jar over so that all the cloth is soaked. And that’s it! A Super easy way to cut down on harmful chemicals!


When using a dryer sheet, ring out excess vinegar mixture before throwing it in the dryer. Thank you so much for reading!