Shopping Tip

theorie shampoo

Hello! Sorry I’ve been MIA lately. I’m happy to say it’s because we are expecting another little one! I’m due in the early spring. I’ve been really tired and working to get Buddy’s big boy room ready so we can move this new one into the nursery.  The blog is going to be a bit sparse in the coming months but I will try to drop in occasionally with a small post.

In addition to this update I want to give a little tip that most people are probably aware of, but I’ve never realized. Discount stores are a great place to look for earth friendly and organic products! I usually see food containers in the dishware, but I’ve never thought to check the hygiene aisle for lotions, shampoos, make-up, etc. I stopped by Marshall’s Home Goods the other day and thought I would look through that section since I’m in need of a new shampoo. Before this baby, I started slowly switching to more organic personal hygiene products since it can be pricey. I already use Dr. Bronner’s soap and a sulfate free shampoo that was running low. I found, what I think, is a big score. A 28.6 fl oz bottle of Theorie shampoo for $15! This is going to last a long time. Just look at the label to see how earth friendly it is.

theorie shampoo

The price tag said it is normally $30 and what I found online seemed to confirm that. I just started using it and it seems to work just as well as traditional shampoo. I might just have to keep buying it, even at full price.  Have you found any good deals in unexpected places? Any recommendations for a safe deodorant?

Reusing Nursery Furniture

Newborn Care has composed a great list of ways to re-purpose nursery furniture. I hope to do something with Buddy’s crib once we are done with it. I think re-purposing is a great way to hold on to things with sentimental value, but also make them functional as they grow older.  I browsed through some and picked out my favorites.  Check out  15 Blogs with Creative Ways to Reuse Nursery Furniture for the full list.

This was an older changing table bought from a garage sale and turned into a potting bench. It turned out so cute!

This crib was turned into a really cute bench.

LOVE this idea to turn a crib into a chalkboard easel. Would probably work best with old cribs, but might be doable with more modern ones.

This is a great idea for a redo of a play table.

These are such great ideas and I’m pretty sure Buddy’s crib will be a bench in a few years!

 

Coconut Meringue Cookies

Obligatory picture of ingredients

I love sweets. I especially love homemade sweets and sweets from the bakery. I really do not like processed sweets other than the occasional candy bar. Now that my love of sweets is out of the way I present to you the easiest, most delicious cookie ever. If you like coconut that is. If not, this recipe is not for you.  It really is very simple and I think kids would like it if they like coconuts. It’s definitely not healthy, but at least you can pronounce all of the ingredients.

I usually double up this recipe, but the original is fine if it’s just for a couple of people. I cannot find the original website where I found this with the exact measurements. If you know, please let me know so I can link to it and give credit.

You will need eggs, sugar, vanilla (I made my vanilla using this recipe), salt, sweetened flaked coconut, and sugar. I would recommend a stand mixer if you have it, but a hand mixer will work fine. If you use a hand mixer you can count that as part of your daily exercise. Just make sure you switch hands so you don’t have one Hulk arm. Moving on.

Obligatory picture of ingredients

Obligatory picture of ingredients

First you will beat together 4 egg whites, 1tsp vanilla, and 1/4 tsp salt until it forms soft peaks. Slowly add 1 1/3 c sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in 2 cups flaked coconut. The recipe calls for a bit more, but I like it to have more of a meringue cookie consistency.

This isn't a stiff enough peak, but I don't have the patience for that and it's still delicious. So feel free to have a sort of stiff peak.

This isn’t a stiff enough peak, but I don’t have the patience for that and it’s still delicious. So feel free to have a sort of stiff peak.

Like a baking sheet with parchment paper. This will keep the bottoms from getting too brown. Use an ice cream scoop to plop the mixture onto the parchment paper. The recipe doubled makes 10 large cookies and 9 medium size. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 F.

Time for baking!

Time for baking!

They should be slightly brown. I usually do 20-25 minutes on my oven. They turn out a little gooey, but firm up by the next day. You can let them bake a little longer if you don’t want them gooey, but it might change the taste. I think they’re better the next day anyway.

Yummy!

Yummy!

These cookies do have a tendency to fall apart, but no one will care. Enjoy!

 

This recipe has the original measurements.

Coconut Meringue Cookies

2 egg whites

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/8 tsp. salt

1 2/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut

2/3 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat together egg whites, vanilla, and salt until it forms soft peaks. Slowly add the sugar, then beat until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the coconut.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Drop mixture onto the baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until lightly browned.

 

 

 

 

 

DIY Home Cleaning Products

Once I was pregnant with Buddy I became more aware of the products we were using in our home. I made sure not to use any harsh cleaning products, and left that stuff up to the husband. I switched our laundry detergent to All Free and Clear and then eventually started making our own. I’ve also made a room scent which doubles as a sort of all purpose cleaner. I’m gradually adding more homemade cleaning products to our home, and hope to eventually eliminate all the ones we typically buy from the store. Here’s a list of what I’ve tried and hope to try in the future. Links go directly to the post.

I made my own felted wool dryer balls and did a how to post about it here. I’ve loved using them. They don’t seem to have cut down on drying time, but definitely help with static.

I’ve been using this laundry detergent for over a year. I even use it on cloth diapers with no problems. Make sure to grate the soap on fine. I prefer to use Dr. Bronner’s bar soap for ours.

I made this all-purpose cleaner and also use it as a room spray. I sprayed it in the microwave and wiped off with a Magic Eraser with no scrubbing!

I think making my own hand sanitizer is next on my list. I’m not a germophobe, but I like to keep it handy after I go thrifting. Yuck!

This mosquito repellent will come in hand for those of us in the south. It has been especially rainy this summer, and they are out in full force!

I didn’t make my own baby wipe solution with Buddy because I thought it would be too much work. It seems so simple and I will definitely try it when we have another.

Pets and Toddlers

pets and toddlers 1

Meet our newest addition, Oscar. Oscar joined at us at just 17 days old after his mother was run over. He was just 5 oz and had to bottle fed and cleaned by us. He was a bit high maintenance, but he’s now 9 weeks old and so much fun! Buddy is very used to animals since we have 2 dogs and an adult cat, but we haven’t had anything so tiny in the home with him.

pets and toddlers 1

I don’t have any expertise on kids and pets living together, but I think it’s something that can easily be done as long as you know your pet’s personality. I’ve always thought the bottom line of teaching kids how to interact with pets is respect.  Children need to understand that an animal deserves respect just as any person would. As Buddy gets older I plan on teaching him the body language of cats and dogs so he can recognize when an animal is unhappy and hopefully be safe around pets that are unfamiliar to him.  So far, we stress being gentle and petting softly. Of course he can get rough and he goes to time-out whenever he doesn’t pet gently. Our two dogs are pretty good at avoiding him when they really want to and tolerate him when he’s touching in a way they don’t like (before we can intervene). Separation is always a good option too if you can’t supervise your child around a pet. We also make sure Buddy doesn’t go near the dogs when they’re eating or sleeping.

Fortunately, Oscar is bigger now and can withstand Buddy playing with him. Up until a week or so ago we didn’t let Buddy touch him unless we were holding him, mostly for Oscar’s safety. I have shown him how to hold Oscar if he tries to pick him up, although he hasn’t tried very much. They have become fast friends now! Buddy wakes up and usually asks where Oscar is, and often says, “Oh Oscar! He’s so cute!”. He really loves his kitten.

Our pets are family to us and want our kids to grow up with animals in their life. They add so much to our family and we are so happy they have all gotten along!

oscar grooming

YumEarth Gummy Bears and Lollipops Review

P1030637

Hello! We had a wonderful week at the beach and it’s taken me a bit to get back into the swing of things. I thought I’d do a quick review of one of our favorite treats. I found YumEarth Gummy Bears at TJ Maxx a few months ago and was hooked. These are hands down the best gummy bears I’ve eaten and they’re not bad for you! Well, relatively speaking. They are a bit high in sugar at 15g for a snack size bag, but that really is the only downside. They are certified organic and free of all major allergens, including peanut and dairy. There is no HFCS and they use all natural flavors. There isn’t any food dye either. I have no problem giving these to Buddy when he’s wanting something sweet. I just make sure I brush his teeth extra good that night.

P1030637

I recently discovered their lollipops and love them too! In addition to all the wonderful qualities of the gummy bears, the lollipops are also kosher. Buddy loves these too and are a great, simple treat to bring on the go.YumEarth lollipops

Check out the YumEarth site for info on all their yummy products!

I was not paid or perked for my review. Yet another product that I love and want to spread the word!

Pinterest Favorites

We’re off to the beach for a week of family fun! I thought I’d put up some links to my favorite blog posts and sites that I’ve pinned on Pinterest. Enjoy!

We’re major animal lovers in our house. We have 2 rescue cats, 2 adopted dogs, and a toddler to prove that! Just kidding. No, really though, Buddy makes more of a mess than the 6 week old kitten. It’s kind of a zoo at our house. Anyway, this cruelty free brands list is extremely helpful if this is something important to you. Our home isn’t completely cruelty free (I don’t think), but if I’m debating between a brand that is and one that isn’t, I’m definitely going with the brand that is.

I love all things home and real estate related, and New World Home is a producer of cute, sustainable housing. We would love to have a green home one day.

When I was little my mom used to grow an avocado tree from the seed of one we had eaten. It was such much fun to watch as a child!

I’m not a sewer, but I will definitely be paying a friend to make these cute burp cloths for the next bambino.

I love these wooden pull along toys by FriendlyToys. They are just too cute.

Here is some basic info on torticollis. I had never heard of it until Buddy was diagnosed. You can read about the beginning of our journey here.

Of course a healthy mom and baby is the most important aspect of any birth, but a woman’s wishes for her birth are important too. This is an excellent post on this topic.

I’m going to shamelessly plug myself here because I LOVE this lemonade. It’s so easy and so yummy in the summer.

Using an old hose as a doormat is such a cute and thrifty idea. I’m hoping to make one for our back patio.

I love this necklace made from a recycled glass bottle. I hope the hubby sees this post.

That’s it. Some of my favorites from around the web.

*I was not paid or perked to highlight any of these posts/websites. I just enjoy them!

Felt Dryer Balls

dryer ball core

I knew before Buddy was born that I wanted to wash his clothes in something that didn’t have quite as many chemicals as traditional laundry detergent. I started using All Free and Clear to prep his clothes before his arrival and continued to use that his first year. I then made the decision to switch to homemade laundry detergent using this powder detergent recipe. I didn’t use dryer sheets because of the chemicals, but his clothes came out with a lot of static in the winter. I searched for chemical free alternatives and all the felt dryer balls I found were very expensive. I finally found this tutorial on how to make them yourself. I did make some changes to the beginning so that I wouldn’t have to use as much yarn. You will need 100% wool yarn, crochet needle, pantyhose, and wool sweater. Make sure your yarn isn’t treated in any way or it will not felt.  I purchased the yarn at Michaels using a 40% off coupon. I bought a grey sweater and red sweater at Goodwill for $1.50 and $3 each.

First, you will need to cut your sweater into strips. You can do any size, but mine were about an inch wide and 6 inches long. You will wrap these around each other to make the core of the ball. I used 3 strips, but you can use more if you want to make a larger dryer ball. Mine will be a little bigger than a tennis ball when finished.

dryer ball core

Then take your yarn, wrap around and tie a knot to hold the strips together so you can begin to wrap.

core with yarn tiedIt will not be in the shape of a ball, but that’s ok. Once you begin wrapping it around it will begin to shape up. I usually just go in a clock wise motion around the strips of sweater so it will squish into the ball shape. Once I had a decent covering with the yarn it was about the size of a golf ball.

core with yarnJust continue to wrap the yarn until it is completely covered and to your desired size. I make mine a little larger than a tennis ball. They will be a bit smaller after washing. Then, you will take the crochet needle with yarn threaded through and pass through the ball. Don’t go right through the center. It will not go through the sweaters. Just go far enough in that it will hold the end of the yarn through the washing process.

dryer ball with needleCut off the remaining yarn.

I promise this is a little bigger than a tennis ball. I have really small hands!

I promise this is a little bigger than a tennis ball. I have really small hands!

Now you will put them in the panty hose. You will tie a knot in between each ball. Otherwise, you will have a felted mess. I didn’t use dental floss or thread because it kept slipping whenever I tried that. You could do this and reuse the panty hose for more dryer balls, but I thought the 33 cents for knee highs was worth saving myself the frustration. I just cut them out. You will wash the dryer balls on the hottest setting. I tried them with and without a regular load of laundry. They felted much, much better when they were in with some other things. I think the agitation helps.

dryer ball in hoseI was able to fit 5 or 6 into each knee high at this size. After washing, put them in your dryer on the hottest setting as well. You now have pretty, felted dryer balls!

felted dryer ball

I was able to make 6 or so balls of this size using the sweater core. My sweater was 100% wool, although I’m not sure this is necessary since it will be covered by the yarn. I just figured it wouldn’t hurt and didn’t want to chance it. I also made a set for darks using a dark brown yarn. You will get some pilling and lint on them, but you can use a sweater stone to remove most of it. Dryer balls are a great way to keep static away without chemicals. They also seem to cut back on dryer time for many people, but I didn’t notice this with our dryer.

I think this would be a super cute craft for the fall. You could make a few from different colors and put them in a wood bowl on the coffee table, or in a glass vase on the mantle. They are so easy, earth friendly, and cute!

Whole Mom Giveaway

Check out our giveaway through Whole Mom! We are giving away a  Jane Goodall Collection Gorilla, Ever Earth Ramp Racer, and Green Toys Tugboat. These are all big hits in our house!

Earth Friendly Tots Giveaway

Playing with Food

playing with fruit

One day I was thawing out some frozen blueberries for Buddy and noticed how pretty the paper towel looked after the juice had soaked in. I thought it would be fun to take several fruits and let Buddy play with them on some cardstock and see what kind of print he could come up with. I used strawberries, blueberries,cherries, and an orange, but the possibilities are endless.

playing with fruitI just sat them on the paper to give him the idea of what to do, and he took it from there. Of course, he had to take a few bites every now and then.

playing with food

He kind of used it as a stamp. You could probably cut some of the softer fruits into shapes if you think they’ll also use them like a stamp.

final food printYou can see that the orange didn’t do much. Maybe a dark grapefruit would work better? It was a fun, easy activity and Buddy enjoyed eating his “paint”.