DIY Cleaning Wipes

I love the convenience of pre-made wipes. They have helped me sweep away an infinite number of messes with ease over the years; even before I had babies. But, once I had babies, I suddenly had two problems with my favorite store-bought wipes. First of all, they were expensive to buy again and again and secondly, the ingredients were too harsh to be around the new, sensitive noses in my home. Now that my children have grown into toddlers, we have even more reasons to use wipes and they are so willing to help me in all my cleaning endeavors. I decided that we needed a reusable, natural solution for our wipes and now I am excited to share that with you.

We make these wipes all the time. I give them as gifts, I stash them in my car before road trips, I even share them with the neighbors. There are so many times that these wipes have come in handy, that I love recreating this simple project over and over again with my children.

The materials are simple. Reuse a jar and upcycle a teeshirt or other cloth. I use Thieves from Young Living for my concentrated cleaning supply and rely on water for the rest of the work. I’ll share how to put it all together in just a few simple steps. The next time you need a rainy day activity, ask the kids to help assemble these useful household wipe jars and you won’t regret it!

wipesMaterials:

  • Thieves Household Cleaner
  • Water
  • Tshirt
  • Scissors
  • Jar

Step 1:

Cut the tshirt into a simple shape for wipes. I find that rectangles, about 6 inches by 8 inches work best.

Step 2:

Add ¼ capful of thieves oil to the jar. Just that small amount will do the trick. It has the best smell and is an all-natural option for cleaning. If you want to use these wipes for baby bottoms, try tea tree oil mixed with water. Fill about 1/3 of the jar with water, then shake to combine.

Step 3:

Stuff the wipes in the jar one by one. When they are all inside, turn the jar over to soak all the wipes.

 

Voila! It’s that simple to make your own effective cleaning wipes. Now you’ll be prepped and ready to tackle the next mess. There are so many amazing uses for Essential Oils in the home. I am a distributor for Young Living Essential Oils and I would love to share my tips with you anytime! Email me to set up a phone call or one:to:one meeting if you live in the area.

If you loved this post, check out what the rest of my friends whipped up with their Essential Oils. You’ve got an early start on the Holiday, so make the most of the time to DIY special gifts for your loved ones.

Essential Oil Sea Salt Gift Set at DIY Show Off

Peppermint Bark at Mama Teaches

Peppermint Twist Face & Body Scrub at Eat Sleep Be

Lemon and Lavender Sugar Cookies at O’Boy Organic

DIY Bath Salts at My Scraps

DIY Cleaning Wipes at Eco Incognito

Santa’s Helper Stress Away Scrub at Oily Oh My

DIY Soaking Salts and Body Mist at The Lunar Fae

Homemade Peppermint Bath Bombs at Making Lemonade

Looking for more DIY Essential Oils Projects? When you buy a Premium Starter Kit this month, you’ll receive a FREE e-book featuring projects from several creative bloggers like Darlene from Fieldstone Hill design. Sign up NOW.

Eco Incognito’s Holiday Gift Guide

Inspired by the Holiday Gift Guide from Momastery.com, I decided to curtail our wish list to something that would help us focus on the spirit and joy of Christmas. This year we’ll ask for:

1: Something you WANT

2: Something you NEED

3: Something to GIVE

4: Something to READ

To me, this has the opportunity to be a very fulfilling gift season and I love the idea of sifting through the abundance to the things that really come out as memorable gifts. In that spirit, I’m sharing a few of the ideas for my 2 and 3 year olds that are really going to have some ZING under the tree and bring us joy throughout the year.

1: When it comes to toys that I want my children to have, I always turn to Mama May I. I have been so inspired by Jessica and her wonderful shop since even before Hannah was in utero. I used to while away my spare moments reading her blog that triumphantly described her day-to-day exploits with her sweet daughter. In the years, her business has grown by leaps and bounds because the COLORS oh my goodness, the colors and the CREATIVITY, oh my goodness the creativity. I could literally sit in front of the computer screen reading her product descriptions for hours because each one is so sweetly delivered. Perhaps, Jessica will combine them all into a book that I can loveable leaf through or keep on our bookshelves for rainy days ;)

This year, we have our eyes set on the Animal Action game. There are so many ways to use these creative tiles, and they grow really well with inspired activities as our children grow. These will help us get exercise as we act out the animal actions together as a family.

Photo credit: Mama May I

Photo credit: Mama May I

Check out all the amazing toys at Mama May I here.

2: Something everyone needs is a durable and dependable bag. I think the girls will adore these backpacks from Pottery Barn Kids. The bonus of buying out of the back-to-school season is that they’re part of a deep discount so that’s a win for me! Plus, we can stuff the bags with a water bottle and some art gear to build up our craft supplies.

PBK backpack

3. I put a lot of thought into what we can give this season. Originally, I wanted to get a subscription to a local Garden, where we would be able to take friends with us throughout the year. However, my friend Pamela Badolato just launched the Plaid Pajamas project to help ensure underprivileged kids in the area have a festive and soft pair of PJs to celebrate the season. Any way that we can give back, especially with friends, is a welcome opportunity to exhibit the true character of Christmas. You can help, too! Donate here or check back to see as new names are added to the list: http://www.plaidpajamasproject.com/.

 

4. We absolutely love to read. This season, I’m so very thankful to have a great selection from our library. We can check out the classics and bring a few new seasonal favorites into our home to bring some variety to the evening story routine. I’ve noticed that a few of the books we borrowed from the library became instant favorites earlier this year and now it’s time to add them to our collection. The girls are getting Where the Wild Things Are and Dandelion. Last week, Kelly Whalen from The Centsible Life hosted a tweetup at Barnes and Noble to show us their special Holiday offerings. I love that it is truly a one-stop-shop for holiday gifting for all ages and they’ve added some neat social features to help find the perfect gift. Did you know that you can tweet with the hashtag #BNgifttip to get a suggestion for anyone on your list? The social media elves even helped me pick my next read!

#bngifttip

In a land of Cyber Mondays and endless battery operated toys, it can be easy to become a Grinch. Trust me, I’ve been there! But what I found worked for me was to simplify. That way I can accept anything that comes our way with gratitude (even itchy, polyester pajamas) because the true meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with what comes in a box. Rather, it’s about shining the love and light of the magic of the season with everyone, everywhere.

Disclosure: I received promotional items from Mama May I and Barnes and Noble to facilitate this gift guide. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Xfinity Moms visit the Philly Design Home

When my friend Joey Fortman of Real Mom Media said she was throwing a party at the Philadelphia Design Home, I knew it wasn’t to be missed! This million dollar estate that is custom decorated by featured area designers was filled to the brim with inspirational home wonders. Each year Philly Mag hosts the event to raise funds for a deserving local charity. This year, MANNA benefitted from every eager visitor. To find out what the design home features, you can take a virtual tour, or better yet, be sure to check it out yourself next year!

Photo credit: Philadelphia Magazine

Photo credit: Philadelphia Magazine

photo 3

We pulled up to the breathtaking estate and discovered an immaculately landscaped lawn paving the way to a garage with, not one, but TWO Mercedes inside. The home itself leaves nothing to be desired. Everything is incorporated thoughtfully and the design elements include everything from lighting to greenery to high tech upgrades from Comcast. We were fortunate that our tour included a showcase of the Xfinity options taking place behind the screens. They wired the home with security features and a handful of apps to turn the home into a true smart home.

terrarium

My favorite room in the house was the master bedroom suite, which at a staggering 1200 square feet is bigger than my entire first home! I could easily have fallen asleep amid the dozens of pillows on the luxurious bed after a soak in the tub. The rooms even included elements the entire family would enjoy.  The simulated family of 5 adorned the children’s rooms with creative designs and minimal clutter. Plus, the home included plenty of spaces for entertaining, lounging, or playing in the game room. It also had an amazing pool! I hope you have a chance to check out the Design Home next year and all the Xfinity apps that make this high-tech space so special.

 

Disclosure: I attended the Xfinity Moms event at the Philadelphia Design Home and agreed to share about my experience on my blog. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Comcast provided a media gift in exchange for my attendance. 

Popcorn Playtime #kidsinthekitchen

One of Hannah and Audrey’s favorite snacks is popcorn. Hannah loves to make it, Audrey loves to eat it, and they both squeal when they toss it all over the place. I felt inspired by their enthusiasm for the fluffy treat, so I engaged them with a popcorn inspired activity. The word “activity” is a loose interpretation because this is sort of a guided movement visualization designed for them and delivered by me in the moment. I’m not sure how to describe it because I’ve never experienced it with anyone else, but when it flows, it just feels fun for all of us.

brown bag popcorn

I’ll share it with you as I shared it with them. Let’s get started as popcorn seeds. We crouch down, really tiny and nestle our way into the ground. Take a deep breath in as you feel the soil around you and the sun start to rise over you. Let’s take another deep breath. That sun is really starting to warm the soil. Now that it’s getting hot, I’m ready to move. I feel a little shaking happening. My seed is ready to burst into a corn stalk. Let’s start growing! Reach up to the sky and feel that sunlight. Let’s grow a little bit at a time and feel that sunshine. Oh, I think the sun went down, we might shrink a little bit or pause our growing. Ok, here comes the sun, let’s stretch again. Really high this time. Reach up like tall, strong, organic corn plants ready for a harvest. Now stretch out your arms and hold out your corn cob. Pluck that cob and let’s get ready to make popcorn.

We can peel all the kernels off our cobs. Let’s imagine we’re peeling off row by row and placing in them into a bowl. Take as much time as you need and let me know when you’re done with a smile. Moving right along, let’s imagine that we are the popcorn while it heats up and pops. This is going to be fun! Let’s crouch back down like we are teeny tiny kernels in a big giant bowl. Do you feel the heat? Start to wiggle, a little more bouncing, now JUMP! JUMP JUMP JUMP with all the kernels! Let’s keep jumping for 30 seconds, then we’ll take a little pause for a deep breath. Now we’re another kernel. Wiggling and shaking and ready to pop. Ok, JUMP JUMP JUMP with all the kernels! We’re going to jump, then pause, then jump again one more time. Deep breath. First we wiggle, then we get up and go. JUMP JUMP JUMP!

Wow, would you look at all the popcorn around us? I think this is going to be a great snack! Let’s eat.

toddler popcorn game

Of course we ate popcorn after this much fun. Hannah helped prep it and Audrey helped spill it. Thats why it became a little outside game, too. We had a blast with popping our kernels. What have you been up to lately?

popcorn sensory bin

Join us for the linky party by sharing your own posts about cooking with your kids. #Kidsinthekitchen strives to encourage learning and loving food. Tune in every Friday for recipes.

Come join my co-hosts, Melinda of LookWhatMomFoundSarah of Play to Learn with Sarah,Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.

An InLinkz Link-up


25 Things I do for my Health Every Day

My life has changed a lot in the past three years. Let’s face it, that is bound to happen with the emergence of two little ones. With the responsibility of motherhood has come the awareness that everything in my life begins with me, and I get to make the choices if those influences are positive or negative. This has been particularly poignant over the past 6 months because I have noticed the connection between physical, mental, and spiritual health.

1 Timothy 4: 7 Exercise is good for your body, but religion helps you in every way. It promises life now and forever.

Each day, I turn my will over to God by connecting through scripture. I have two amazing bible study groups, one online and one at home, that help me learn and understand the word of God. For these, I am grateful. I have been encouraged to sing praises about my experience so that others who feel the same way will know I feel it, too. For my spiritual health, my mental health, and my physical health, I am always happy to accept company in the charge.

25 Things I do for my Health Every Day

  1. Wake up with gratitude
  2. Smile at my children
  3. Thank The Lord for this day.
  4. Breathe
  5. Stretch
  6. Drink water
  7. Pray
  8. Read scripture (*almost every day)
  9. Respond to scripture
  10. Meditate
  11. Walk
  12. Laugh
  13. Talk to friends
  14. Hug my husband
  15. Sing
  16. Eat something fresh
  17. Spend time outside
  18. Spend time nurturing my body
  19. Diffuse essential oil blends
  20. Cook foods with local ingredients
  21. Share my joys
  22. Write about my journey
  23. Give praise for my progress
  24. Love myself
  25. Read for pleasure

I have room to grow because of all these steps. Life is a beautiful journey and I am so happy to be present in this delightful moment. May God’s peace be with you as you choose steps for your health and happiness each day.

Our health is a gift from God. How we use that is our gift to God. 

 

Ketchup Doesn’t Grow in a Tube: #Kidsinthekitchen

One of the first foods that I questioned on my organic quest was ketchup. I have loved ketchup my entire life, primarily because it counted as a vegetable in my home and got me out of some sticky situations involving canned green beans. Anyone who had something to say about MY ketchup needed pretty compelling evidence that I should not continue to apply a layer to my chicken sandwiches and then smear them through the gobble-worthy goop.

The average bottle of ketchup does come from tomatoes, which is great because tomatoes are loaded in vitamins like C and K. However, the third ingredient is generally HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP. This sludge makes the ketchup taste great, but it’s got a bad rap in the organic community for dozens of reasons. My main beefs with HFCS are that the body is not able to process it and that it comes from genetically modified corn (GMO.) Basically, when we consume HFCS it stays in our body and creates blockages that can lead to obesity, heart disease, or cancer. I don’t want any of those things for myself or my family, so now that I’m aware of the ingredient I can take simple steps to avoid it. For one thing, I can buy organic ketchup. Generally organic ketchup still has sugar because that’s what takes your average tomato from marinara to ketchup, but the sweeteners are derived from plants and not modified with chemical processes so our body is able to process them. I also like organic ketchup because it has no GMO ingredients. In my book, anything that kills bees is NOT a good thing for our planet. Except my dog Baja, who I forgive for his bee cravings because he generally picks the ones who would otherwise eat my deck.

Firmly rooted in my decision to abstain from conventional ketchup whenever I can (although I do cave from time to time like last night at Moms Night Out because… French Fries), I finally mustered the courage to make my own. Making something from the food in jars cookbook by Marisa McClellan has been on my to-do-list for more than a year. The reason that it has taken me so long is that I am terrified of canning. Even after three in-person demonstrations with the lovely Marisa herself, I still don’t have the gumption for canning. But a few days ago, I thought to myself how long I keep ketchup on my refrigerator door and wondered- what if I bypass the whole step of canning and just keep it chilled?

When my backyard tomatoes turned ripe in abundance, I gathered them with Hannah’s help. She even took a picture of me during our harvest. I love the way she sees me.

eco incognito tomato harvest

 

Audrey took the prime role of ketchup assistance and helped me toss tomatoes into our cast iron pot with onions and red peppers for a good, long boil.

ketchup baby

After the boil, we smushed the tomatoes through a sieve to separate the seeds and skins.

baby chef

Back into the pot, the tomato soup received a healthy dose of sugar, vinegar, molasses, and spices. Of course I didn’t have the right ones for the recipe on hand, but I did my best.

cast iron ketchup

WOW! The smell of this ketchup is intoxicating. I never thought I could love ketchup more, but making my own has shown me the truth. It’s like I had a ketchup baby.

Ketchup in a Cast Iron Pot

Ingredients

  • 8 pounds roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 2 cups cider vinegar
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 TBSP Molasses
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 1 cinnamon stick, crushed

Instructions

  1. Boil the tomatoes, onion and red bell peppers for 30 minutes.
  2. Strain the skins, bay leaf, and seeds, then return the pulp to the pot.
  3. Add cider vinegar, sugar, molasses, garam masala directly to the mixture. In a spice bag, infuse the crushed cinnamon stick, mustard seed, and pepper flakes into the pot.
  4. Simmer over medium-low heat for 90 minutes until it is thick.
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Join us for the linky party by sharing your own posts about cooking with your kids. #Kidsinthekitchen strives to encourage learning and loving food. Tune in every Friday for recipes.

Come join my co-hosts, Melinda of LookWhatMomFoundSarah of Play to Learn with Sarah,Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.

 

 

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Young Living Enrollment Bonus $20 GIFT CARD

Young Living Oils are my personal key to a green lifestyle. I was not always the type of person who could whip up my own bugspray, or massage her baby’s feet or even considered the effects of the ingredients in my cleaning supplies. Nor did I ever consider taking my own personal hygiene into my own hands and preparing a DIY beauty regimen. But, in a short 9 months having essential oils in my home, I feel like I can do it all. In the time it took me to get used to essential oil applications, I could have grown a baby. In fact, I’ve already done that twice, so is it really that hard to believe that I could have become a self-proclaimed oil aficionado?

To be fair, there IS something in the air around here. I have been diffusing daily for about a month now, in addition to my general routine of cleaning with essential oil based products, so I really feel that my house is full of rejuvenating scents. I’m harnessing all this positive energy and business building opportunity and sharing these gifts with you. For one week only, from September 9-16, 2014, any new distributors (who purchase a premium starter kit) under me will receive a $20 paypal gift card as my THANK YOU. 

Now is a great time to enroll because the Premium Starter Kits include 2 upgrade oils: Sacred Frankincense and DiGise. Check out what you get for $150:

YL Premium Starter Kit

If you’re like me, you’ll probably want to know a little bit about the oils before ordering, especially if you are considering taking this on as a business venture. I love their “Seed to Seal” guarantee, which affirms their stewardship of the planet and its inhabitants. Read more here…

As much as we can learn online about oils from amazing resources like the Oily Family Facebook group for Young Living Distributors, the real knowledge comes from experience. How do I feel when I diffuse oils every day for a week? Do certain oils smell better than others? Where can I apply oils to feel direct topical relief from stress or athletic injury? Only you will know what works best for you and your family. Plus, what works for me may not work the same for you so I wouldn’t want to make any promises. But, I am always willing to share about my experience using these oils every day.

Before you order, remember that Essential Oils have SO MANY uses that we could never list them all. I think that’s one of the main reasons we can be intimidated before making a purchase. I’ve narrowed it down to 5 “umbrella” concepts to show the broad applications for these amazing oils. You can do anything with yours and I can’t wait to hear how you use them all over.

5 simple steps

For this week only, I will send a $20 Paypal Gift Card to anyone who signs up as a distributor after clicking this link and orders a Premium Starter Kit. Remember, you can get started for as little as $40, but this special gift from me to you is only available for those who order a Premium Starter Kit for $150 as shown in the picture above. 

 

*only valid for new enrollees under #1894323. please allow up to 6 weeks for your gift card to arrive via email. no hokey pokey business y’all. let’s keep it clean here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

California Suite: Barley Sheaf Players

Support local arts in Exton by seeing a play at Barley Sheaf Theater!
Last weekend I had the delightful pleasure of watching the Barley Sheaf players perform California Suite. The dynamic cast of 12 acted out a myriad of personalities one might encounter on a spy cam in a luxurious hotel near LA.
photo from Barley Sheaf Players

photo from Barley Sheaf Players

Deep inside the room, we watched as exes reconciled on behalf of an estranged child, a raucous night threatened a marriage, a foreign movie star prepared for awards night and a pair of tennis enthusiast couples fought off the blues of a lengthy group vacation. The intimate portrayal of what really happens behind hotel doors sparked from a showcase of terrific actors. Between each scene, a vivacious maid cleared the space with an inspired musical sweep.
The stage designer Wayne Grinwis created a picture-perfect replica set and Michele Murphy’s costumes helped each character look the part. I sincerely congratulate DirectorsLindsay Franklin, Allie Greet, Andrea Grinwis, and Christine Robinson and the cast and crew on a fantastic production! Eco Incognito gives the play a green thumb.

Catch it for the next two weeks:

California Suite runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 p.m. from September 5 through September 20.

Reservations are available either online at www.barleysheaf.org or by calling the box office at 610-363-7075. After California Suite, the Barley Sheaf Players’ season continues with Accomplice, opening October 17. For more information about these shows and The Barley Sheaf Players, please visit their web site at www.barleysheaf.org.

Real Food Diet #kidsinthekitchen

Earlier this week I started a program called 40 Days to a Personal Revolution to ignite my yoga practice in preparation for teacher training later this fall. You might wonder, “What the heck does this have to do with kids in the kitchen?” Although, the primary focus is on yoga, our health relates so heavily to the foods we eat that they recommend practicing a discerning diet of primarily real, whole foods. A few years ago, when I first read a recommended yogi diet I thought, “OMG I’m going to starve.” Surprisingly, I have learned over the better part of a decade that healthy eating doesn’t feel anything like starvation.

To kickstart my 40 days, I took the recommendation to have a fruit fast. A day of eating only fruit seemed like a simple enough challenge with the abundance of watermelon and peaches from our CSA. Little did I know that my husband, Zac, had baking plans up his sleeve for a Labor Day weekend celebration. I decided to qualify Apple Pie and Banana Bread as items that would count in my fruit fast. It was too hard not to take a taste after an afternoon joyfully stirring, mixing, and baking together as a family.

daddy daughter baking

 

Join us for the linky party by sharing your own posts about cooking with your kids. #Kidsinthekitchen strives to encourage learning and loving food. Tune in every Friday for recipes.

Come join my co-hosts, Melinda of LookWhatMomFoundSarah of Play to Learn with Sarah,Paula at Frosted Fingers and Sara at Sensibly Sara, each week linking up a post, new or old, that feature the theme Kids in the Kitchen. It doesn’t matter what you are doing as long as you are doing it together, enjoying it and learning something along the way.

You’ll find so many more ideas on the #KidsintheKitchen Pinterest Board.

 



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Greenfest Philly Sunday September

This Sunday I’m heading down to Headhouse square with the girls for Greenfest Philly. I’m so excited to see the event and to check out all the activities for the whole family. We are planning to go to kid’s yoga, the clothing swap, and the bug tasting, among many other fun booths. 

One of the main reasons I love getting out and meeting people who are active in green living is that there is always a tremendously positive energy in the crowd. The event is free and open to the public, but there is an option to buy a GREENFEST CARD for $30 with great bonus perks. Check it out!
greenfest philly