Autumn Beginnings 2017

So it’s been a while but that’s because our darling baby girl came! Our Cornelia Joy was born September 3rd and we are so in love, but who isn’t 😉

Today is the first day of Fall so I thought it was appropriate to come back with a beginnings post! You can read my last one here! Autumn is my all time favorite season! I love the doom and gloom that we get here in the valley it just makes everything so cozy and I love that. Also it’s holiday season which makes it even better, everything up till Christmas is just my fave haha.

DSC_0032

At the beginning of a new season I always reflect on the past season and set new goals for myself in the coming couple months. I’m not always as successful as I want to be with goals but then I carry them over to the next season. Doing this helps me grow better with more short term goals, because if I give myself more time, chances are I’ll forget or give up.

As for the goals I had set for myself I think I really did okay, I had told myself to take it easy and sure at times I got pretty stressed out but overall I found ways to keep calm and I worked hard to trust in God and know that he’ll provide.

I had also spent the summer prepping for our new addition and a cut in our income and I think it helped that by the end of the summer I felt ready and had the basic necessities for a baby.

white rock

In this season of Fall I don’t really have any specific goals, more just areas of life that I want to improve on.

I’m just learning what this new stage of life is. Figuring out our family of three, what does it look like being a mom. I’m so excited for it, watching our little girly grow. We are so blessed.

IMG_3483

One thing I’m going to be focusing on is a more conscious lifestyle for us in our home. When Cornelia is a bit bigger she’ll fit the cloth diapers that I had bought second hand, right now we are able to use cloth wipes for her. In the kitchen I’m already using washable ziplock bags and beeswax wraps. And I’ve started to work on a more conscious wardrobe for myself like by being more aware of the fabrics and the makers of my clothing. All of which I’ll be writing on in the next couple months so stay tuned for those exciting posts!

Another thing I want to try is a bullet journal. Generally I’m pretty organized, or at least I’d like to think so haha. I make lots of lists, I love lists. I live for lists, seriously. But I need to keep those lists a little more organized so I think a bullet journal is a good solution for that!

DSC_0036

Do you have anything you want to try this Autumn? Oh! and if you’ve got any bullet journal tips let me know by leaving me a comment!

dawn

Advertisements

Recipe Round up and Garden Update

Okay so I know I said I’d post a recipe every week and I haven’t done one in a couple weeks, buuuuut my mom was here so I was busy. She helped me do a lot in preparation for the baby, like a lot. My freezer is so full!

One thing she filled the freezer with was muffins, she made a few different kinds so I’m going to share the links for the muffins because they were from my recipe board 🙂

IMG_3068

Rhubarb Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

Banana Muffins

Double Chocolate Chip Muffins

These fancy “Third Trimester” Muffins

And my recipe for Pumpkin Muffins

IMG_3069

My garden has done quite well, except for the potatoes, they stopped growing two weeks after they started growing! I have so much lettuce I don’t know what to do with it, I love my fresh garden beans they are so yummy, and my carrots are giant. The onions have done okay, they’ve grown enough to be eaten but not really worth storing up cause I need three to equal one normal onion haha so I’ll have to try them again next year 🙂

IMG_3067

My strawberries are finally coming, and they’re perfect! My mom also brought a rhubarb plant so we’ll see how that goes next year. I also did some sweet peas and they flowered amazingly and I’m starting to collect the seeds for next year!

IMG_3070

If you had read any of my last posts about my garden you would know I had a problem with a mole and I manged to keep it out of the garden and it went everywhere else 😛 I had just shoved blackberry branches down the hole and it kept it away!

You can read the first post Here and then second one Here

The baby is due in the next couple weeks and I’m all set and just trying to relax, I’m still working but will be done next week and I’m hoping this baby waits and gives me a chance have some time off. At first I didn’t want to be overdue but now I feel like I can wait as long as I have some time off. I’m not sure what this looks like for the blog but I’m so hoping I will keep it up, I just don’t know what life will be like after.

So yeah! That’s a little bit of a life update 🙂

dawn

Sustainable Conscious Cosmetics

A big aspect of living sustainably and traditionally is being conscious of the impact you make on the environment. How can we be stewards of the earth if we’re only hurting it?

Did you know that a lot of the ingredients and packaging used in cosmetics are pretty harmful for the environment? Palm Oil, marine life, micro-beads, polluting chemicals, plastic packaging, and general ethics are just some of the ways the cosmetic industry hurts the earth.

I may be a bit biased when I say that The Body Shop has a great range of quality sustainable products. But they really strive to be as sustainable as they can when sourcing ingredients and packaging products. In the two years I’ve worked there they’ve completely removed micro-beads for natural or biodegradable exfoliators, created a plastic packaging from recycled methane gas, started rebuilding rain forests with Bio-Bridges, changed multiple ingredient suppliers because of more sustainable options, they even changed a fair trade supplier (because fair trade doesn’t always mean sustainable), AND right now they’re petitioning to end animal testing in cosmetics globally.

IMG_3260

Last year The Body Shop had their 40th birthday and they made a commitment to become the most sustainable company ever. The founder, Anita Roddick, believed that a retailer could be a force of good. Read about their commitment HERE.

I know there’s many other companies out there that also use sustainable practices, it’s just I’ve only really used and researched The Body Shop’s products. Lush has a great package recycling program, ethical practices, and vegetarian. Also a somewhat local company, Rocky Mountain Soap Co is dedicated to making their small-batch products as natural as they can.

sustainablecosmetics1

Anyway, today I’m going to share a few of my favorites from The Body Shop with you. These are the things I really can’t live without because I love them so much!

So starting with Body Care items…

The Body Shop tries to fragrance their products as naturally as they can using real oils and extracts, and will only use synthetic fragrance if it could harm the source. For example, the musk fragrance is synthetic because its natural alternative comes from a musk deer.

  • The best body scrub I’ve ever used, seriously, I like a really rough scrub and the Cupuacu Scrub is basically just salt with a light oil that leaves your skin sooo soft and it smells like some beautiful tropical flower.
  • Body Butters are my life, I have a giant stash under my bathroom sink and I just slather this stuff on all the time. Each Body Butter is based with Cocoa Butter which comes from a women’s Co-op in Ghana, there’s a large variety scents, each one having its own benefit for the skin. My favorites are the Shea and Peach, pictured is the Pinita Colada which is a limited edition summer scent. Another fun fact about the Body Butters is that the plastic packaging is made from recycled greenhouse gases.
  • The Showers Gels are actually a “soap free cleanser” so they’re more gentle and non-drying, which is so great because I’ve got such dry sensitive skin. There’s a lot of scent options, and I like to stock up when the limited edition scents come out.

sustainablecosmetics3

Next up are my skincare favorites, I’ve got a dry dull skin type so I’ve found these work for me. Also, I regularly use more then just these products but these are the products I can’t live without.

Most of the skincare products contain Community Trade ingredients, sourced from all over the world, each ingredient having its own story.

  • My go to day cream is the Vitamin C SPF moisturizer, it has a 30 SPF and Vitamin C is good for brightening and collagen production. For me sun protection is very important and I will teach it to my children.
  • The Himalayan Charcoal mask is phenomenal, this is great for any skin type and it gives the best deep clean for your skin. It smells refreshing and I am truly impressed with how “free” my skin feels after is use it.
  • I use the Pomegranate Face Wash and I’ve never loved another facial wash more then this one. It’s a gel formula so it cleanses deeper then a cream formula but it has a creamy feeling so it’s very gentle and it doesn’t dry out my skin. I think it’s being discontinued so I will be looking for a new wash soon, unfortunately.
  • This makeup remover is the best thing ever. The Camomile Cleansing Butter, is so gentle it’s ridiculous. It’s a balm that you put on dry make up and it just melts eye makeup away, and you rinse with warm water and your makeup is all gone. Traditional eye makeup remover always stung me and so I’m thrilled to have found this. And it’s great for travelling cause it doesn’t leak and I’ve never had a problem with it melting but I wouldn’t leave it in the car on the hottest days.
  • The Drops of Youth Concentrate is a best selling skincare product and I can say I’m totally obsessed with it. It’s a serum that helps with cell renewal because it has plant stem cells. I love it because it makes my skin look so healthy and fresh, I can’t not use it because I actually notice my skin looks dull when I don’t use it, oh and it’ll help with aging 😉

sustainablecosmetics2

Lastly, my favorite Makeup products. I am certainly not a Makeup expert, I like my morning routine to be quick and easy!

The Body Shop uses Marula Oil from a Women’s Co-op in Nambia in most of their makeup, and it’s all 100% vegetarian and cruelty free. They’re also making an effort to reduce packaging by creating refillable products and wrap single eye shadow colours in paper not plastic.

  • The Matte Liquid Lipsticks are fantastic. They’re so long lasting, I used them for my brother-in-law’s wedding and they lasted till dinner time! My favorite colours are Nairobi Camellia (Nude) and Sydney Amaryllis (Red).
  • Just this year the Body Shop came out with create-your-own eye palettes, this is so great because you can customize your colours. I love eye shadow because I feel like it brightens my eyes so being able to make my own palette is great.
  • The Fresh Nude Foundation is by far the best foundation I’ve ever used. In the past I could only use BB Creams because foundations would feel heavy or drying but these ones don’t at all. They’re great for smoothing the skins appearance but not looking unnatural or cakey.
  • This Contour Kit is a huge hit for me, because I love the colours (there’s 2 options for light and dark skin). The contour isn’t too orange and the blush isn’t too pink. I also use the contour and bronze colours for a natural eye shadow look and the highlighter on the brow bone. Seriously if I was stranded on an island all I would need is this Contour Kit and mascara.
  • And then my favorite brush is this Sun Luster Brush, it’s great to use with my Contour Kit. The Body Shop has a lot of quality make up brush, all made with synthetic hairs.

sustainablecosmetics4

 

I am by no means basic (clearly) when it comes to the cosmetic products that I use, which is why I think it’s even more important for me to be using sustainable options.

I do need to find a mascara that I love and I will soon need to find a new face wash. Also I’ll eventually need to find a new hair conditioner because the one I use has been discontinued but I’ve got a stash for now haha.

I am hoping to expand the range of brands I use, keeping in mind the company’s values and supporting more local companies, so if you have some favorites please share with me!

dawn

One Thing You Absolutely Need in Your Home

Hey guys! How’s it going?! The typical BC summer has come at last, I can’t say I’m all that thrilled but I’m surviving haha. It was just Canada Day weekend, and I had a really good weekend. To celebrate Canada Day we went to a friends for a fire in the evening, we roasted hot dogs and played some hilarious minute to win it games. Then once it was dark enough we played sardines and we were all running around like kids and to end the night we had sparklers. I think the nesting bug has finally come for sure as I did some deep cleaning on Saturday morning and Sunday, which I’m very happy about, I was starting to worry it wouldn’t come haha 🙂

Anyway that’s not what I’m really sharing today! So moving on !

one thing you absolutely need in your home (1)

 

Okay so, part of learning to live traditionally and sustainably means choosing a different way to clean your home. You need to find something that’s more eco-friendly and a little more versatile. And I’ve been using this one thing for almost two years now, and now I can’t live without it. You need to have it in your home, and a big bottle of it too!

Wanna know what I’m talking about?

It’s White Vinegar!

vinegar1

Seriously guys, vinegar is the mostly magical thing ever. You don’t just eat it. It’s a fantastic antibacterial, great deodorizer, and many more uses which I’ll be sharing.

You ABSOLUTELY need to have it in your house. Vinegar is a modern-homesteader’s staple!

First off, vinegar is a mild acid that has been used in the past for industrial, medical, and domestic methods, but mostly just cooking now. You can get it at any grocery store, it’s so affordable, and it takes forever to expire. I buy a 4L jug for $5 and it takes me a few months to go through. There are many different types of vinegars but I find the white is the most versatile.

vinegar2

Okay now, the many magical uses of vinegar… (There’s actually way more but these are my everyday uses)

  1. Freshen laundry, I always pour in a bit (about 3/4 cup) when I wash a load of towels.  It helps keep my towels smelling clean.
  2. Fabric softener, having a bit in your rinse cycle will help soften clothes so you don’t need a softener which actually clogs washers and dryers.
  3. Washing machine, if you pour some in an empty washer and run it, it will actually give your washer a nice sparkle and for front loaders help with the wet dog smell.
  4. Extra dirty dishes, pour some vinegar in your “pre-rinse” compartment of your dishes if they need some extra boost. Really great if you found something growing in a tupperware and you need the extra antibacterial properties.
  5. Dishwasher, if your dishwasher is getting a bit clogged up, pour some in and run an empty cycle.
  6. Sinks, if your sinks are clogged, pour some baking soda in the drain, add 1 cup of vinegar and let it sit 10 minutes then pour boiling hot water down the drain. Also, sinks are some of the yuckiest places in the kitchen, so I like spray them down from time to time with vinegar to get rid of any lingering bacteria.
  7. Coffee pot cleaner, coffee pots will often times have bacteria hiding around somewhere so I’ll like to run some vinegar through it to be safe. I always rinse twice to be sure that the vinegar is gone and you wont taste it in your coffee!
  8. Kettle cleaner, we have fairly hard water here and sometimes I get a mineral build up in my kettle. I fill the kettle with water and about 1/2 cup vinegar, make it boil and then let it sit for 20 minutes or so. When I pour out the water the build up is usually gone, if not I scrub the inside and do it a second time. And then of course rinse after!
  9. Cleaning counter tops, I’ve made an all-purpose cleaner using vinegar (recipe for it HERE) that really is all-purpose. Some people may forget that your kitchen is actually so gross, and needs a little extra cleaning power, vinegar is a great natural way to clean your counters. Good for stoves too! We have a glass top stove so it’s easy for me to wipe the whole thing down, but it works on basically any surface.
  10. Fridge, again an area people forget about. I just use my cleaner spray and then wipe down the inside. You should especially use vinegar as an antibacterial if you have meat juice spill in your fridge or even freezer!
  11. Bathroom, I use the all-purpose cleaner in my bathroom as well to wipe down the counter and sink, but also in the shower/tub.
  12. Toilet cleaner, I use my cleaner spray and wipe down the whole toilet with it, even inside the bowl. It’s great at removing any yuckies and bacteria.
  13. Washing produce, vinegar is good if you’re worried about pesticides or any bacterial on your produce. Fill the sink with cold water and a cup of vinegar and soak the produce. Some people say it’s helped berries last longer, I have not tested this but I use this method to remove the wax from apples.
  14. Colour stay for clothes, soaking your clothes in vinegar diluted with water will actually helps your clothes hold on to their colour longer.
  15. Fruit flies, this is probably one of my best tricks with vinegar. Take a drinking glass, pour in a little vinegar, squirt some soap in, and fill the cup with water. You want the bubbles to go over the rim of the cup, the flies are attracted to the smell and then get stuck in the bubble and drown! For this one you could use apple cider vinegar as well too.

There’s my somewhat long list on how I use vinegar all the time and why I could not live without it. It’s a huge part of my weekly routine and I will actually panic a little if my jug is running low.

DSC_0010-2

There are so many different uses that I didn’t mention, like ways to cook with it or cosmetic reasons because I mostly use it as natural cleaning agent.

DSC_0013-2

For my all-purpose cleaner recipe go HERE

 

Was there a method that I missed and you use all the time? Let me know by leaving me a comment!

dawn

 

Summer Beginnings

Starting the end of August I’ll be on maternity leave, and it’s not going to be easy. My income will be cut in half and so we won’t have a whole lot of disposable income.

Preparing for this baby has me feeling like I’m preparing for the coming long winter like our great great grandparents had done. There’s so much I need to get ready and plan for. I need to stockpile food and make sure I have things for the baby and for ourselves so we stay sane.

DSC_0018

I know we’ll be okay because I have faith that God will provide for us because he really truly has so far.  But I also need to be diligent in my preparation; I believe he provides but he doesn’t just give hand outs to those who just sit around asking for hand outs.

Don’t get me wrong, I am so beyond excited to be able to spend that time with my baby and I will learn so many sufficiency skills but let’s be honest. I am STRESSED. Preparing for this is hard, and I might have a hint of understanding how my great grandparents had felt when preparing for their own winter.

Okay moving on!

dsc_0116

Okay so at the beginning of every season I always sit myself down, and make some goals for myself. It helps me get through a year without going crazy because it gives me a short term goal to focus on so I can actually achieve things that I want to do. It gives me a time frame in which to learn a skill or mark something off my “to-do list”. Sometimes I don’t always attain a goal (like I’ve been trying to cook at home 3 nights a week for seriously, the whole last year) but that’s where I give myself grace and keep it on the list and each season I get better 🙂 See my very first post with my goals HERE.

Looking back at what goals I had set for myself in Spring Beginnings, I can say I managed to do 2 out of my 3 goals. Sorta haha

  • I can honestly say I’ve cooked from scratch way more then I have in our almost two year marriage, can’t promise it was at least 3 times a week consistently.
  • I can also say that I minimized what was in my home, but I’m also still slowly working on that one. No rush on this one but as long as its done before the baby comes I’m happy. I’ve got a big pile of things that need to go to the thrift store and I’ve been slowly adding stuff to that pile.
  • I have not had the energy to really work on developing my waste management. I do try to reuse ziploc bags where I can and obviously continuing to recycle, but I really wanted to work on using less plastic so that’s something I will revisit in the fall, with research during the next couple months.

This summer I’m not really going to give myself any goals other then, take it easy.

dsc_0113

I want to relax this summer. Growing a human is hard so I need to be taking extra self care. I have this tendency to over stress about the future sometimes so my goal is to not do that. Ultimately, trust in God and let him carry us through this year.

Often times when I get stressed like this I’m always go, go, go. I’ve got all this stuff on a list that I need to finish as soon as I possibly can, but this summer I’m going to be more relaxed about that.

Like the baby’s room, I’m the type that needs it set up NOW. We’re taking our guest/storage room and we’ll be making it into the nursery. So before my parents came in March, I swear you couldn’t even get into this room it was just so full, I cleaned it up enough that they could sleep there. And then it took me until this week to finally get it empty enough that I was satisfied and that we could actually start setting up the nursery.

summer beginnings

This is just very unlike me but I’ve been impressed with my relaxed attitude and patience that I hope it carries out for the summer. I still have that list but I’m going to take my time with it and RELAX.

One other thing is that recently I’ve been doing a lot of looking into zero-waste lifestyles and sustainably shopping. I’ve looked into all sorts of things like eco-friendly laundry detergents, where to buy sustainable clothing, and going plastic free. Part of this is because in the coming fall, I might not find as much value in plastic wrap over meat or milk. So I’m learning ways on how can I make my stuff last longer and not feel so awful about throwing away a ziploc bag that I paid for (money going in the garbage). Another part is knowing that we’re doing at least a little damage to our earth, you can’t deny that, by polluting it with garbage that doesn’t break down for hundreds of years. I’m not trying to be a hippie or crunchy, but as a Christian I think we need to be stewards of the earth as well as good neighbors. 

So this Summer I am preparing, and relaxing, and researching. Winter is coming.

(sorry I really really really needed to sneak that in, we’re GOT fans)

 

Do you have any goals or plans for the summer? Let me know, by leaving me a comment!

If you want to read about my garden go HERE

dawn

Simple Garden Update #1!

So I started my garden the end of March (with my parents help). We have been fortunate to be given a little area to garden by our landlords and I gotta say, I’m absolutely loving it! You can see how it started HERE!

As a kid, I always had to help my mom weed and pick beans or spinach and I hated it. I thought it was so boring and weeding was literally the worst thing ever. My parents had a huge garden and we always had home grown food.

Now I love going out to my little patch to water and weed. I don’t even mind the weeding anymore haha. Maybe it’s because this growth is mostly my own efforts; yeah sure I’ve had questions and difficulties so I’ve called my mom but it’s still all me doing the work. I love learning new skills and it’s so calming to just sit with my hands in the dirt, which I never thought I would ever say or even think! I appreciate this opportunity that I have to mini homestead in my little area.

This is it now…

garden update1

So far I’ve had to deal with some nasty weeds (horsetail) and a terrible mole uprooting a couple onions and beans! FYI solution for moles, (this was a tip from my parents) find the hole and shove some blackberry branches in there, haven’t had an issue since I did that! But I still don’t have a solution for horsetail so if you do let me know! If I don’t pull them weeds everyday they’ll take over my garden!

Here’s how my blackberry branches look shoved in the mole hole.mole remover

We also went away for a week and it didn’t rain much so they didn’t have a whole lot of water and when I got back they were looking pretty sad. But with a little plant food and regular watering they sprung back up. I’ve also got a stockpile of coffee grounds to sprinkle with that I’ll do later this week for a waste-free fertilizer.

I’ve already been able to harvest some beautiful radishes and will probably plant another row before July!

IMG_2843

Also, up until today I didn’t have proper garden markers so I made some real quick with Popsicle sticks that I had stashed away.

simple garden markers

And that’s the garden so far! I’ve been so happy with it’s progress and that I’m really learning self-sufficiency skills!

I’m going to be posting a veggie dip recipe soon, so watch for that. You can see that recipe HERE now!

If you have any thoughts (or tips for horsetail) leave me a comment!

dawn

 

7 ways to save money on groceries

Starting last year I realized how out of control our spending was when I took a look at our money situation. It made me realize we needed a budget and a better way to make our  monthly payments work. So I created a “payment plan” or a “budget” whatever you want to call it.

A big area of spending was food and obviously something needed to change.

I chose a very specific amount that we were allowed to spend on groceries, it was hard at first but now after doing it for about 9 months, I think I’ve mastered it. That being said, I had to learn some ways to cut costs and I’m going to share some of these ways with you!

  1. Have a Budget, and stick to it. This has been the absolute most important way for me to save money. First of all, I pay in cash so I can’t overspend. And then when I go through the grocery store I use the calculator on my phone and add up every little thing I put in my buggie. If I was just throwing whatever in the cart I know I wouldn’t be able to keep track of what I was spending.pexels-photo-26799
  2. Shopping Sales! This is a bit of a no brainer, but it takes some planning. Either you find sales in store or you can look through the flyer. I prefer to look through a flyer first because then it gives me an idea of what I can buy for certain meals, which leads to my next tip. street-market-fruits-grocery
  3. Take a List with You, again if you’re just mindlessly throwing food in the buggie, there’s no way to track what you’re spending or you could buy something on a whim and then end up throw it out months later because you never ate it. I feel hopeless if I forget my list at home, and then I always forget to buy something that I really needed and will have to go back for on another day. pexels-photo-128402
  4. Meal Plan, some people feel like this doesn’t work for them but the way I meal plan is so simple. I make a list of the meals I want to make, or can make (by knowing what’s on sale). I just write a list and as I cook them though the week I just cross it off the list. Having this plan helps me make sure that when I make my grocery list  I have everything I need for this so I don’t have to run to the grocery store mid week, which goes to my next point. pexels-photo
  5. Shop every other week or even once a month, I do groceries every two weeks, because then it saves me constant trips to the store which can lead to extra unnecessary spending. Also how can you stick to a budget if you’re shopping every couple days? Unless you’re amazing at keeping track of what you spend every time you go, it would be pretty difficult to really understand what you’re spending. I am not good at tracking spending like that so it’s easier for me to stick with my budget all in one shot. pexels-photo-375896
  6. Buy in Bulk, you might not notice savings with this one automatically, but when you’re not having to buy meat every time you shop you save some in the long run. Also goes for staples foods like flour and sugar, obviously you don’t want to buy anything you know you won’t use because you’ll end up throwing it away when it goes bad and that won’t save you money.food-vegetables-beans-green
  7. Have a loyalty card, this really only works if you stick to one brand/store, sure you can have multiple loyalty cards, but its best to accumulate points or benefits if you shop somewhere consistently. Different companies have different systems so you need to see what works best for you. In my area we have superstores that earn you points when you shop certain items and when you reach a threshold you can discount your whole bill by a certain amount. Or there’s Save on Foods (my preferred method) where every dollar you spend you earn a point and then you can redeem points on certain food items to get them discounted.  fruits-grocery-bananas-market

I have really found for myself that being able to save on groceries has really depended on these 7 methods. Oh and bonus tip! Bring your own reusable bags! Most places are charging for bags now and you will most likely end up throwing them away after.

If you have any other tips to add let me know by leaving me a comment!