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Back-to-School DIY Infants kids Motherhood Parenting

Baby Steps to Going Green

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Lately, I’ve been consumed with guilt over the amount of waste I personally produce. Living in a coastal town, I’ve seen enough news stories about marine animals killed by waste and plastics that I’ve worried that I personally contributed to each animal’s death somehow.

I have never, however, considered myself an activist of any kind. So don’t worry about me making some grand eloquent argument here for going off the grid and living the ultimate “crunchy” sustainable lifestyle (although, kudos to you if this is something you can accomplish and thanks for generating enough power with your stationary bike to read this blog.)

Being a mom living a modern lifestyle, there are lots of times where I choose convenience over conservation. I realize that most of us moms are constantly trying to be better and more mindful of…well…just about everything. Sometimes when it comes to the narrative about our environment, conservation can seem so daunting and helpless that it’s easier to default to, “Well, if I can’t make the big important strides for this planet, why try at all?”

Instead, there are just some itty bitty steps that, I think, are a great starting point for being mindful of the waste we produce.

Recycle often, and recycle PROPERLY

This is probably the easiest place to start. Just pay attention to the things that are going to the trash. Can they be recycled instead? And are you recycling them properly? First check the guidelines for your city or whichever company picks up your recycling. Pay attention to labeling on packing material and plastic bags – it can often be taken back to the grocery store to be recycled. Packaging for paper towels and toilet paper is often labeled as “store drop-off”! Then make sure you’re not contaminating recyclables. I’m always taking stuff out of the recycling to wash it after my husband throws things in because if it’s not clean, its contaminated and won’t be recycled.

Reusable Grocery Bags

If you want to reduce waste, why not start with the bags that literally only get minutes of use before getting tossed. I use my reusable grocery bags whenever I can PLUS resuable mesh bags for produce.

Reusable Food Storage

Too often I’ve packed snacks or lunch for the kids using ziploc bags that would get thrown away. Or buying water bottles while we’re out. Now, instead, I try to take my favorite Take & Toss bowls and cups. I even found these cute reusable ziploc bags at TJ Maxx that fit in their lunch boxes. For baby food or yogurt, I love these WeeSprout refillable pouches.

Switch to Bar Soaps

I have lots of hair so the plastic bottles I accumulated from shampoo, conditioner, and soap was feeling overwhelming. There are probably lots of local options for hand-crafted soap bars if you look around your town. For my hair, it took me awhile to find a product I like. I ended up trying a sampler of Ethique bars and found options I love for my thick wavy hair.

Menstrual cups/Period Panties

It’s an unpleasant reality, but feminine products also accumulate a lot of monthly waste. After a year or so of being on the fence, I finally tried a menstrual cup and don’t plan to go back to tampons. There’s a learning curve for getting comfortable with it, but I’ve been very happy with my DivaCup even with my heavy flow. If you can’t get onboard with the cup, how about a period panties like Thinx?

Thoughtful gifting

We go to a fair share of birthday parties for kids. For my own kids, I usually request “no gifts” because 1) my kids don’t need anything and 2) the things they do receive often go untouched or are broken in no-time (the middle child is especially destructive). I imagine other parents go through the same thing, so when the opportunity comes up, I try to do gift cards for experiences or to our favorite local ice cream shop instead of toys.

Cloth Diapering

This has been a long-term ambition of mine, especially because of the sheer volume of weekly waste disposable diapers produce. I thought about doing it with my first, but my husband was NOT on board with the idea. Then, after doing the vast majority of diapering for the first two kids, and gathering info from friends, I decided I was up to the task. I bought a cheap lot of cloth diapers from a friend and it didn’t take long to feel like I had a pretty good routine down for them. A friend sent me some info on Fluff Love University to help get me started. And then I checked out what Lucie’s List had to say about all the types of cloth diapers to choose from:


Composting

I put this one last because I’m just so lazy when it comes to composting, so I’m striving to be better about it. The kids help me create a whole lot of food waste, so I’m hoping to be better about taking the scraps we have to decompose in our very own compost pile. A friend recommends a compost pail on the counter to make it easy (and reduce odor).

How about you? What do you do to go green in your household? What would you like to start doing?

Categories
DIY party

DIY Derby Hat

Did you just get invited to a Kentucky Derby Party, but have no clue what to wear? A big hat is a must or a bow tie if you are a fella. Don’t have a big hat? No problem! Here is a quick tutorial on how to make a fabulously simple KY derby hat to don at your party.

What’s the big deal with these hats anyways?

Originally women wore big, extravagant hats to declare their social status. Today women (and even men) carry out the tradition of Derby hats by making their own unique hat and adding their own twist. A lot of people view the elaborate hats as good luck charms.

Here is a simple DIY for making a fabulous Derby Hat:

Step 1: find a straw hat

Step 2: find your hot glue gun

Step 3: find a bunch of stuff to glue on hat. (For example: roses, other flowers, plastic horses, tissue paper pom-poms, etc)

Step 4: glue items to hat

Step 5: look fabulous wearing your new hat

——-

I found this hat and paper flowers at Daiso which is like a dollar store here in Japan.

Straw hat and paper pom-poms from Daiso

I opened the flowers and poked the wires through the straw hat to attach, then reinforced with hot glue.

Check me out! Now I’m ready for Derby!

Follow us on Instagram for more easy and fabulous Derby Party ideas!

Categories
Crafts DIY Motherhood Parenting

Valentine’s Day Crafts

I have kind of ignored that Valentine’s Day is this week. My kids aren’t in school so I don’t have to worry about making Valentines for an entire class or this nonsense of decorating a box for them to receive cards in that I see other parents on Facebook fretting over. What happened to just collecting your cards in a brown paper bag? I feel pretty lucky that my kids don’t really know or understand holidays yet so if I want to pretend like one doesn’t exist they can’t call me out on it.

I’ve never really understood Valentine’s Day and the one time a boy did try to ask me to be his Valentine, I ratted him out to the teacher. Needless to say, no one ever tried to give me chocolates in my desk at school ever again. What can I say, I’m hard to love.

I wasn’t going to do anything to celebrate this year until I stumbled upon some super easy craft ideas that would be fun for my kids and keep them busy for at least a few minutes. So if you are feeling lazy and unmotivated like me, here is a list of ideas to get you and your kids in the Valentine’s Day spirit. Make some crafts and help your kids spread the love!

My little lefty coloring her Valentines

1) Free Geeky, Math-y, Science-y Printable Princess Awesome Valentines!

These Valentines are fun for boys and girls. All you need to do is print the sheet and dump out the box of crayons! #easypeasy

2) Heart Keepsake

We watch a lot of SigningTime videos in our house and practice sign language regularly, so these hand crafts are meaningful and cute! #doublewin

3) DIY Crayon Heart Valentines

These look super fun and a great way to recycle all the crayons my little one has snapped in half! #MilMBlog

Categories
Back-to-School Crafts DIY Parenting review

REVIEW: 4 Family Friendly Craft Books

As a result of some napping miracle, both of my babies fell asleep at the same time and I was able to look over these 4 amazingly-easy, family friendly craft books. I even made it halfway through a project before I heard that sweet sound of babies stirring in their cribs. I am not a crafty person by any means. I obsess over pins I find on Pinterest and dream about the day I can complete all the cute projects on my boards. I feel like there is a lot of pressure for moms, especially SAHMs to be crafty…as if we don’t have anything else to do. I always give it my best shot, but I’m definitely more of an Amazon Prime Mom than a Pinterest Mom. These books definitely make it easy for me to be sneakily crafty and add a little flare to some everyday things, like water bottles, name tags, training plans, etc.

Categories
DIY Motherhood Parenting Pregnancy review

REVIEW: KNOWHEN Advanced Ovulation Test Kit

When my husband and I finally decided to start trying to conceive (TTC) for our first child I was a little worried I’d have trouble getting pregnant. I have endometriosis (a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside the uterus) and have been receiving treatment for it for more than half my life. When my doctor gave me the green light to start trying I bought an ovulation monitor to help track my cycle to give us a better chance for conceiving. I loved how accurate the monitor was and I found it fascinating to track the changes in my body from day-to-day. The downside to using the monitor was peeing on a stick (POAS) every morning and buying a new test kit every month (there is a limited supply of one-use strips). I just looked back at my Amazon history and found that I spent hundreds of dollars on ovulation test kits over the course of our TTC period. I used multiple ovulation tests, took my basal body temperature every day, and even gave up alcohol and caffeine during the process. It took me almost a year to get pregnant. As much as I think it was worth it because it resulted in my beautiful daughter, I also think it is insane to spend that much time and money on baby-making, a thing that happens by accident to most people.

Categories
DIY Motherhood Parenting Recipes

Thanksgiving Ideas

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that is easily overlooked when it comes to decorating and making a big fuss. You probably still have some Halloween candy lingering in the pantry and a decoration or two out that you’ve been too lazy to put away and are just calling it a “fall pumpkin”now instead of a Jack-o-lantern. Now is the time we start to rack our brains for Christmas gift ideas and Thanksgiving is just an event that falls in the middle of all this chaos.

My husband and I live on the opposite side of the country from our families so we won’t be able to celebrate and give thanks with them this year. I was almost going to ignore that Thanksgiving was even happening, but some of our dear friends, who we share this military life with, have invited us to spend the day with them and their family. It feels nice to have a place to go and share the day with friends and for that I am truly thankful.

So now I’m ready to get in the Thanksgiving mood. I pulled out all my fall napkins and tablecloth, but the house still doesn’t have that fall feel that I was hoping for…maybe it’s all the 90 degree days we have been having. I love FamilyFun‘s craft projects because they are usually pretty easy and I seem to always have the supplies lying around the house. For instance, I have 4 larges vases of pine cones sitting on my mantle from last Christmas. I’ve been trying to justify that it is an “all-year” decoration, but you and I both know I’m just lazy. FamilyFun Magazine gave me the idea to put those pine cones to good use by making a Fall Garland (see instructions below).

Categories
Back-to-School DIY

Back-to-School Mini Series: Duct Tape Projects

 

Here is the answer to yesterday’s POP QUIZ:

  1. Mandarin – With more than 955 million speakers, Mandarin claims the top spot as the world’s most common language — and one that often requires professional translation services.
  2. Spanish – Its prominence in the Americas as well as in Europe makes Spanish one of the most common languages, with 405 million speakers.
  3. English – English used to be the second-most common language, but Spanish-speakers have increased much more rapidly over the past 15 years. Still, scholars have named English the world’s “most influential language,” due to the number of speakers (360 million) and the number of countries in which it is spoken.

I like to pretend to be crafty every now and then. I get all of my ideas from Pinterest and am successful at completing most of the projects that I attempt (there are a few Pinterest fails every now and then). I am always so fascinated when I find craft ideas using Duct tape; I never would think to use it in such a way. I remember a girl, when I was in school, who made a purse and backpack out of Duct tape. I thought that was the coolest thing I ever saw. If you are interested in trying your hand at Duct tape crafts check out these projects below and tell us what you’ve made out of Duct tape! 

Categories
DIY Motherhood

DIY Dog Gate

A lot of our friends worried about the safety of our baby before we even brought her home from the hospital. Not because they thought we were going to be bad parents, but because of the size of our dogs. We have a 100 pound Great Pyrenees and a 200 pound Daniff (Great Dane/Mastiff mix). Their size is very intimidating, but they are by far the sweetest dogs in the world. Our friends would ask silly questions like: “What if they carry her away?” “What if they step on her and you can’t get them off?” Um, I’m not going to be leaving my baby unattended on the floor the first day home from the hospital….now the 180th day is another story.