Sun’s out, Bugs out!

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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!

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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

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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

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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

Materials:

-dresser

-tarp

-screwdrivers

-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

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

Supplies:

-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

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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:

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

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

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

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

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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.

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

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

DIY Dryer Sheets

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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.

Supplies:

-Mason Jar

-Distilled White Vinegar

-Filtered Water

-Cotton cloth/t shirt

-Thieves Essential Oil

Instructions:

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.

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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.

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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!

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