A Better Option: Soap

I’ve alluded to the fact that we have been in the process of swapping out a lot of our products for better options as we try to reduce the toxins in our home. Some of the ways that we have made progress in these areas include purchasing air-purifying plants, switching to a primarily organic diet (I’ll write a post on this because it’s a lot easier / cheaper than most think), making our own household cleaning solutions, and choosing better beauty / personal products.

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One of the easiest swaps we have recently made involves making our own soap. As I mentioned in a previous post, this sounds so Little House on the Prairie-ish, but it’s so simple, cheap, and fun since we get to choose the scents!

This all started when I was talking to Fletcher’s pediatrician (we love her so much not only for her vast medical knowledge and kind heart but also because she provides a holistic approach to wellness that is in alignment with the way we choose to live). I was asking her about the best options for shampoo + body wash for babies and she listed off a few such as this brand and this one.

She also mentioned that you can make your own using Castile soap — this intrigued me, so a couple of months ago, Fletcher and I headed to our local co-op to chat with a lady that works in the health + wellness department. Thirty minutes later, we were out the door with a bottle of this soap concentrate along with an Amazon Prime order for some dispensers.

To make our own soap, I just fill the dispensers about 85 - 90 percent of the way with water and then add the Castile soap. You can add more / less soap concentrate depending on how “sudsy” you want your end product to be. Then, I added a few drops of essential oils (we love the Young Living brand) to add a scent. Then I give the dispenser a slight shake / swirl to mix it all together and it’s good to go!

I originally purchased this unscented baby version at our local co-op but then saw that Costco offers a two-pack of the peppermint-scented version for a much better price. It’s also available on Amazon.

I add a few drops of lavender to Fletcher’s, use lemon for our kitchen soap, and then usually grapefruit for our bathrooms.

As far as dispensers go, we use these glass ones for the kitchen sink and for Fletcher’s shampoo + body wash and these BPA-free plastic ones for all of our bathrooms and in the shower.

This has been such an easy and inexpensive way to wash your hands / body while avoiding all kinds of unnecessary chemicals and fragrances.

I plan to continue to do posts like these as a wellness theme here and there — next time I’ll share how we make our own household cleaning products that actually work!

PS I’m linking up with Lindsay and Brooke today!

Do you use essential oils?
What other types of wellness posts would you like to see on the blog?

Weekending Vol. 2

This past weekend was such a good one!

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Lots of family time, little adventures, and relaxation!

On Friday morning, Fletcher and I headed out for some garage sales — it was a cool and beautiful morning, which was perfect for walking around.

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We ended up finding so many cute things for our new little niece that will be arriving in November!

I also found two pairs (one for this fall and one for next) of camo pants for Fletcher since his current ones are getting a little small. We ran into a few of our neighbor friends while we were out and about and then after hitting another neighborhood of sales, we headed home so Fletcher could nap.

Later that evening after Fletcher was asleep, Andy and I made some homemade popcorn and watched this movie. It was SO good and kept us on the edge of our seats especially since it was very similar to the show, Prison Break.

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The next morning, Andy joined us for more garage sales and we hit the jackpot on fall / winter clothes for Fletcher! Lots of cute long-sleeved tees, button-down shirts, and sweatshirts are washed, folded, and in his dresser all ready for these cooler days that we’ve been having.

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Afterwards, we headed home for lunch and then headed back out for Parade of Homes! Fletcher fell asleep in the car on the way there, so we decided to make a pit stop at Starbucks for a coffee date in the parking lot. We sipped our lattes and chatted while Fletcher snoozed in the back seat. I ordered the “Cinderella latte” which is half pumpkin, half white chocolate and it was good, but I think the original PSL is best!

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Once he woke up, we headed to some homes in the area!

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Fletcher loved looking around at all of the homes and watching the people as always!

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We snapped a lot of pics to use as inspiration since we are in the process of decorating our home.

We’ve been talking about painting our banisters white so I snapped this photo for inspiration.

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I’ve never really considered shiplap in our home since we lean more contemporary / modern in our decor, but we both really loved this dark statement wall.

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Little Gus Gus loved exploring everything!

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I loved this little nook for art in the master bath!

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We really liked these modern, geometric light fixtures that were in a lot of the homes in the parade.

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We loved these modern house numbers and light fixtures, too! Also, we are forever on team black and white — love, love love!

On the way home we did a quick Costco trip and then cleaned the house before relaxing and watching a movie later that evening.

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The next day, Andy and Fletcher dressed in their football gear for the game! Andy watched the game but Fletcher took a nap during it. :)

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Go Vikings!

PS I’m linking up with Lindsay today!

How would you describe your interior design style?
Which football team are you rooting for this season?

Fall Bucket List - 2019

Today I’m linking up with two of my favorite bloggers, Sarah and Emily, to share my fall bucket list!

Take Fletcher to our favorite apple orchard

Purchase pumpkins and fall planters to decorate our front porch

Make chili on a regular basis

Try a “Cinderella latte” from Starbucks (white chocolate + pumpkin syrup)

Utilize our fireplace on the regular

Celebrate Fletcher’s first Halloween!

Enjoy cozy evenings at home, especially once it starts getting colder at the end of next month

Take lots of fall walks / hikes on our favorite trails in the area

Watch this movie which always reminds me of fall

Order some seasonal essential oils such as orange and cinnamon bark

Enjoy the football season — reading on the couch while Andy watches the game

Bake pumpkin bread for friends and family

Wear all the fall clothes -- boots, sweaters, and jackets. I didn’t get a chance to wear a lot of my favorites last fall since I was very pregnant so I’m looking forward to pulling all of my favorites out again!

What’s something you’d like to do this fall?
What movie “feels like” fall to you?

Family Holiday / Seasonal Traditions

As we enter into the upcoming season, I can’t help but get excited for all of the traditions that we get to continue doing and / or start with Fletcher! I recently had someone request that I share these and I thought it would be a fun way to remember the special things we hope to do each year!

Growing up, some of my favorite memories involved the traditions that we participated in year after year — I’d love to start some of these in our little family. Also, I am writing this post in the hope / plan that we will add more kids to our crew in the coming years, so kids is written as plural. :)

PS Here’s an old post of mine about some of my favorite holiday memories!

School

  • First + last day of school pictures on our front porch

  • Snack + catch up about their days at school upon arriving home each afternoon

  • One-on-one shopping + out to lunch trip with each kid to shop for back to school clothes

  • School supply shopping as a family

Fall

  • Growing up, we always attended a heritage celebration in my grandma’s town — I’d love to get back into this tradition

  • Family photos

  • Fall baking day with cousins - Chex mix, pumpkin bread, ginger cookies, etc.

  • Apple orchard visits

  • Football Sundays at home

  • Attending Parade of Homes is something Andy and I started doing early on in our dating days and we plan to take Fletcher this year — he LOVES people watching so we are thinking he will get a kick out of this

  • Decorating the front porch with pumpkins and fall planters

Halloween

  • Visiting a pumpkin patch, carving pumpkins, and roasting the seeds

  • Trick or treating through our neighborhood

  • Early on in our marriage, Andy and I started having pizza each Halloween night — this would be a fun tradition to continue especially since it’s a quick and easy dinner before heading out to trick or treat with the kids

  • Handing out candy to trick or treaters that visit our home

  • Having a dish of candy corn + peanuts on the coffee table — my grandma got me hooked on this tradition when I was a little girl and it’s been fun to continue it each year in my adult life

Thanksgiving

  • I’d love to start a tradition of a special Thanksgiving morning breakfast — perhaps The Pioneer Woman cinnamon rolls or something like that

  • Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as a family

  • Having our kids be involved with prepping and cooking for Thanksgiving dinner

  • Andy and I have recently started the tradition of watching Planes, Trains, and Automobiles during the week of Thanksgiving — probably won’t have our kids join in on this one until they’re much older, but it’s a fun tradition for the two of us!

  • Starting gratitude journals for each kid as they get older

Winter

  • Sledding

  • Ice skating

Christmas

  • Andy and I have started the tradition of putting up our Christmas tree the weekend after Halloween so that we can enjoy it longer

  • Continuing our tradition of watching Home Alone the night that we set up our Christmas tree

  • Holiday baking day with cousins — sugar cookies, peanut butter blossoms, Chex mix, Muddy buddies, Oreo truffles, etc.

  • Visiting Santa at the mall

  • Writing letters to Santa

  • Helping out a family / child in need around the holidays

  • Putting together and sending off shoeboxes of gifts for Operation Christmas Child

  • Christmas jammies — most likely Burt’s Bees since we love that brand

  • Christmas music!

  • Watching all of our favorite Christmas movies

  • Attending a performance of The Nutcracker

  • Driving around to look at Christmas lights while listening to Christmas music

  • Attending a Christmas Eve service at church

  • Decorating gingerbread houses

  • Looking at Christmas decorations at the local mall

New Year’s

  • We always had a “fancy” family dinner of crab legs, lobster, shrimp, and sparkling white grape juice. I’m not a huge seafood person anymore, but I’d love to start this tradition up with our family. Maybe we make it into a family game night as well.

Birthdays

  • Special birthday dinner either at home or at a restaurant

  • Birthday parties with their friends

Valentine’s Day

  • Little gifts + cards at their place at the table in the morning

Easter

  • Egg hunt with cousins

  • Easter baskets

  • Attending church as a family

  • Attending a Good Friday service

Summer

  • Picnics in the park

  • Swimming at the gym’s outdoor pool

4th of July

  • Pic with cousins in their matching patriotic tees

  • Watching fireworks

  • Andy and I have always done a trip to the mall on the 4th — not sure if we will continue this as our kids are older though

What are some of your favorite family traditions?

September 2019 Goals

Woohoo for September! According to the blog, it seems like I’ve been slacking on goals but in all reality, I’ve been accomplishing a lot, just not documenting it! I did a quick look back to see when the last time I touched on my goals and it was June — let’s recap those quickly before breezing through my new goals for this brand new month.

June 2019 Goals:
Click here for the original post

  1. Order Updated Pictures of Fletcher
    Didn’t get around to ordering photos yet, but I made a ton of progress in organizing ALL of Fletchers photos from birth until now. I can do a post on photo organization if you guys are interested — I feel like I have a solid process down now (almost 8 months later, ha ha).

  2. Update Fletcher’s Baby Book
    Still need to work on this — I’m going to make this one of my goals for this month.

  3. Work Out Five Days Per Week
    Done! I’ve been doing three days of strength training and then walking (with Fletcher in the stroller) as much as possible — we have been taking advantage of this gorgeous weather.

  4. Weekly Manicures
    This only happened three times or so throughout the summer. Our summer was so crazy — I’ll touch on this more in an upcoming post … still recovering from it! ;)

  5. Update My Library Request List
    Done! I’ve been back in my reading groove and will have an updated book review post this month as well!

September 2019 Goals:

  1. Really Solidify our Routines
    Now that we have Fletcher’s nap + bedtime routines down, I’d really like to work on setting up routines for our days / weeks. For example, hitting the gym, meal prep, cleaning schedule, etc.

  2. Start a New Tradition of a Fall Baking Day
    My sister and I talked about doing this with the kids sometime early this fall before her sweet little baby arrives in early November! We’re hoping to make all kinds of treats like Chex Mix, cookies, and of course our favorite pumpkin bread!

  3. New Makeup
    I want to switch my makeup products this month — my dermatologist gave me some suggestions so I’m hoping to try those out.

  4. Update Fletcher’s Baby Book
    I want to get all caught up on this, stat!

  5. Participate in Our Favorite Fall Activities
    I have a post prepped for Thursday that covers our fall bucket list and I want to prioritize doing these activities this year especially since our fall weather last year was a bust — it was SO rainy the whole month of September! We hit the first apple orchard of the season yesterday and tonight I’m looking forward to one of my favorite fall traditions — watching You’ve Got Mail! I always watch this movie at the start of the season as a “kick off” to fall. ;)

What’s something you’d like to accomplish this month?
Favorite thing about September?