Iced London Fog

Hello! It’s been a little while, we had a bit of a bumpy start to our summer but now things have calmed down so I figured I’d share a recipe.

I’ve recently discovered the joy of a London Fog on ice. It was a total summer drinks game changer. I can’t get enough of them!

IMG_0411

I don’t always have the means to go to a cafe to get one either so I’ve learned to do them at home. So simple, which I love!

Okay so you need…

iced london fog

  1. Put your ice in a glass, I used a mason jar because all our cups are puny and I like big drinks.
  2. Add your sweetener. You can use sugar, honey, or a drinks syrup, and you can always add less or more depending on how sweet you want it to be.
  3. Mix in the Tea. When I brewed mine I filled a regular mug with hot water and two tea bags. I don’t use boiling water because that can make your tea taste bitter.
  4. Lastly, pour in your milk and stir. If you prefer you can sub your milk for almond or coconut instead for a dairy free option.
  5. Enjoy with a rhubarb square or a strawberry peach galette!

IMG_0416

-Dawn

Advertisements

DIY Cloth Napkins

Hello Everyone! Hope you’re having a lovely Saturday!

Okay so I love filling my home with meaningful things.

IMG_1582

I also try to be mindful of those things I’ve brought into my home, whether it’s a new shirt or a new-to-me book shelf. I am by no means a minimalist, aesthetically it’s appealing but it’s not for me, I need the 3 different frying pans 😛

So I try to be aware of what I purchase: where it comes from, the materials, or maker. But also how it impacts the environment. I wrote a post on that topic last week, read it here if you missed it.

I was needing some brighter, more summery inspired cloth napkins. I didn’t really want to just buy some, I wanted to sew some myself so they’d have more value and to work on my mediocre sewing skills.

IMG_1261

I found my fabric at MCC, a local thrift store, for $1.50 and I had enough fabric to make 9 12×9″ napkins.

Okay so jumping in…

Materials you need are:

  • Fabric
  • Something to measure with
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Iron
  • Somewhere to iron
  • Thread
  • Sewing Machine
  1. So step one will be to measure and cut your fabric, whatever you chose. Cotton and linen are ideal, but because I bought mine second hand I don’t know the specs.

 

I cut my pieces to 12×9″ but you can adjust yours to whatever size you want.

2. Next would be to cut a little notch into the corners just under 1/2″ like this IMG_1269 (1)

3. Then you’ll want to iron down the short length side like this (for me that would be the 9″ side), remembering to press it down onto the back of the fabric.IMG_1566

4. and then trim the corner edge like this, and then iron the other edge like this

5. Next you’ll start to sew the edges down, to make it easier for yourself when you get to a corner make sure the needle is in the fabric then lift the sewing foot and turn your fabric square so the it’s straight with the hem, put the foot down and resume sewing. Remember to back stitch at the beginning and end of each napkin so it doesn’t unravel.

6. Repeat on all your napkins, and there you have it 🙂

IMG_1584

They’re not flawless because the hem isn’t rolled in but they’re perfectly imperfect. Easy and so simple. IMG_1579

You can fold them like a brochure and they fit nicely under utensils.

IMG_1585

IMG_1583 Now you can have your very own cloth napkins that you’ll hopefully treasure because you made them yourself.

Is there anything you’re sewing this summer? Tell me about it by leaving a comment!

-Dawn

More like this

IMG_0762 DIY Wreath

Why do I care so much?

Hello Everyone! Hope you’re having a lovely June so far 🙂 It’s been a while since I’ve been on here but I wanted to share something I’ve been thinking about recently.

Last time I shared about our slow simple life that we’ve managed to attain, and if you missed it you can go here and read it 🙂

IMG_1423

So I wanted to share about some thoughts I’ve had about “going green”, or being “eco-friendly” and why I find it important.

Why?

You’ve all heard about climate change, Earth Overshoot Day, and all the other scientific studies of our negative impact on our world. And sure maybe that’s a small bit of why I care about the impact my family creates. But the most fundamental reason I care so much is because as a Christian, we’ve been given an amazing home we call Earth. We recently just did a road trip through the Rocky Mountains and I am so in awe of how all creation works.

IMG_1449

In the documentary The Magic Pill on Netflix they explain about how grass-fed cows eat and fertilize the grass, which creates deep roots and new soil and it’s just one big circle of life. This is the way the world was intended to be. Maybe I didn’t explain it the best way, so go watch it right now. Oh no wait finish reading this first!

As Christians we need to express our gratitude by actually giving a f***. Sorry strong language, but I don’t care. I just think humans in general need to wake up and realize we have this amazing planet.

How?

Okay in our house we’re not 100% zero-wasters. It’s near impossible, especially when we don’t have the resources to make it work. BUT I make an effort to be ever so mindful of what impact we make. Some examples of what we DO do are…

  • Sustainable food packaging, like beeswax wraps and reusable ziplock bags.
  • Biodegradable cleansers, like dish soaps, laundry detergents, and body soaps.
  • Composting food waste, like using eggs shells as fertilizer or our city’s composting program.
  • Buying local because of fuel emissions.

I could keep going but I’d be here for a while.

Some areas we are unable to make it work, like my extensive effort to make our cloth diapers work for Cornelia has not worked. Or we don’t have a bulk food store in our area so lots of food gets bought prepackaged. But I’m always trying to improve and be grateful for what we’ve been given and the resources we do have.

imageToSave

It can be overwhelming at times, but then I just remind myself why I do it.

What kinds of ways do you try to be “green”?

-Dawn

Homestead Skills

Hey guys, what’s up? It’s been awhile, oops 😛

I wrote a little post quite some time ago about my homesteading dreams, you can read it HERE, I wonder if any of you share that dream with me? I love the idea of becoming independant and being able to provide for my family with my own work, whether it be this blog or my own garden or a BnB that I’m running. The idea of living traditionally has me day dreaming!! But like I said in that post I have to wait. and I’m still waiting.

homestead-dreams-2

My waiting is not a loss though, there are a few skills that I can be learning right now that will help me later when I’m living my dream. And you can learn them too! So here’s a handful of basic skills you can learn now 🙂

  • Sewing: and mending clothes is a huge part of being sustainable. In some cases it’s cheaper to sew together a blanket or an outfit. And if you’ve got a small hole that can be repaired! I’ve started to sew a few of my own clothes but I greatly need to improve my sewing capabilities before I can master sewing.
  • Gardening: being able to grow your own food is such a wonder. Vegetable seeds are so cheap and depending on your piece of dirt the seeds might last a couple years. Having a garden is so valuable for providing food, this past summer I managed a very simple one! You can read about it here!  IMG_3069
  • Cooking at home: is 1. cheaper 2. you don’t need to rely on someone else to feed you 3. not as much wasteful packaging 4. healthier. So all around a worthy skill to have and develop. One of my favorite dinners is just chicken fried in spices and sauteed veggies, easy, simple and takes just about as long as the pizza delivery guy.corn and potato soup1
  • Practice food preservation: living in Canada you can’t always get good peaches anytime of year and you’d have to buy some gross syrupy canned peaches. or fresh beans from your own garden (which saves money).  This is an area I’m not as skilled because I don’t have all the proper canning bits and baubles but would love to learn. DSC_0049
  • Budgeting: for a while I had gotten really good at this one but then when Cornelia came I didn’t have much energy to be so diligent but it’s so important. If you have no idea where your money is going it becomes difficult to have savings or to spend money on matters and not wasteful junk that fills your home. Luckily the New Year is coming and that means a fresh start.

So yeah these are just some basic skills you can work on if you’re stuck renting a small space like myself! If you want to read the first post you can find it here.

Is there a certain skill you’re working on right now or one that you’ve mastered? Let me know by leaving a comment!

-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

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

Lemon Pepper Veggie Dip

It has been a sad rainy week here in the Fraser Valley, although I don’t mind 😉 It means I don’t have to water my garden and maybe the promise of a not too hot summer for my pregnant body? Anyone else feel the same? Probably not. Haha

lemon pepper dip recipe

Okay I promised in one of my last posts to share a veggie dip so here it is today! I’ve made this dip for other foods (mostly perogies, to be honest) and it was actually a perogie dip recipe that I’ve adapted. Originally it was based with sour cream, lemon juice, lemon zest and other spices but I made it a little simpler and quicker to make.  So I’m just gonna jump right in!

lemon pepper dip2

 

Here’s what you’ll need…

lemon pepper veggie dip recipe

I use Olympic brand of Greek yogurt because they locally source the milk from BC and they also have really big tubs, also make sure it’s plain so you don’t get any conflicting flavours. And then I use Trader Joe’s Lemon Pepper in a grinder and really I just guess and say it’s about a tablespoon amount.

lemon pepper dip6

Now, just mix everything together in a bowl and it’s ready to serve! I’m serving this fresh cut veggies, even radishes from my garden!

lemon pepper dip4

This dip goes really well with other foods like perogies, of course, but also BBQ chicken or steak, and roasted potatoes. It’s a great summer recipe because of the freshness the lemon adds. Also, by using Greek yogurt you have a little added protein to your plate.

lemon pepper dip3

I love that it’s made from scratch, and it’s so simple and easy (If you regularly read my blog then you know I LOVE simple and easy).

This dip is healthier then using ranch dressing or any other type of store bought dip which can have hidden gross stuff, which isn’t good for healing your gut. The Greek yogurt and lemon juice have healthy tummy promoting bacteria! Just like a traditional diet should 🙂

lemon pepper dip1

Give it a try and tell me what you think by leaving me a comment!

dawn