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Health{ier} Sweets: Chia Pudding

I have come to terms with the fact that I will always want to eat sweets, so instead of trying to avoid them I have focused on eating healthier versions. I will be posting several more of my health{ier} sweets go-to recipes.

Have you checked out the blog Live Eat Repeat? It is full of great recipes and info. I read a post there on the health benefits of chia seeds and was intrigued by the idea of chia pudding. A few weeks later I stumbled  upon this recipe on Pinterest and gave it a try and loved it.

Here is another recipe from another great blog, Prescribe Nutrition that I have yet to try but looks delicious.

Chia

 

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My Favorite Honest Co. Products & How to Save Money Using Them {Bonus: Coupon Code!}

I have been using the Honest Company’s products for a few years now and LOVE them. They are great products and I love knowing that they are safe for my family and the environment. Here are a few of my favorite products and a few tips on how to get the most great products for your money.

Favorite Products:

1. Healing balm: Basically an organic, all natural substitute for petroleum jelly/aquaphor. I use it for dry hands, on my lips, on cuts and scrapes, as a nighttime protection against diaper rash and pretty much anything.

2. Multi-purpose cleaner: Smells amazing and gets the job done. I don’t have to worry about using unsafe chemicals with kiddos in the house and you can buy refill concentrates to use less plastic when you buy more.

3. Dish soap: Smells great and their products are some of the only ones I can find that don’t give me a skin reaction.

4. Face & body lotion: fragrance free and goes on light and smooth, I use it for myself and my daughter.

 

How to Save Money:

1. Use the free trials. When you first create an account with Honest you can order free trials of each of their bundles and only pay for shipping. This is a great way to try out their products. Note: when you sign up for a trial, you sign up for a bundle that renew automatically. Make sure that you set the settings to send shipment at the frequency you want or call to cancel if you don’t want to renew automatically.

2. If you bundle, get your money’s worth. The cost of an essentials bundle is $35.95, but you have your choice of products. This means there can be a big difference in the value you are getting for your money.

Organic shave oil: $15.95
Organic belly balm: $15.95
4-in-1 laundry packs: $15.95
Suds Up: $12.95
Sunscreen: $13.95
Total savings: $38.80

5 products at $5.95
Total loss: $6.20

3. If you have less expensive items you would like to purchase, use them for the +3 item, or buy them at Target. This way you earn %25 off (in the +3 option for your bundle) and don’t take up valuable space in your bundle at the set price.

4. Take advantage of member deals and +3 discounts. Have your eye on some of their super cute kids swimwear or nursing covers? Get %25 off of those items when you add them on to your bundle.

5. For a limited time {until the 15th} use code MARBUNDLES35OFF for %35 off any new bundle! Just click here started.

 

This post proudly sponsored by…

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How to Make Every Sweater a Long Hem Sweater

I don’t know about you, but I am in love with all of the long hem sweaters I have been seeing everywhere. Basically I want to buy all of Anthropologie. Seeing as that is not currently in the budget I came up with a solution that I am pretty excited about.

What you’ll need:
An old tank top
Another old shirt in a pattern or color you like
A shirt that is the ideal length for your body {for me that is covering my butt/hips} to use as a guide

I lined everything up using my perfect-fit sweater as a guide, then pinned, trimmed and sewed the two pieces together. I would have the hem part come up a few inches higher than your guide to allow it to work with any sweater length.

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The possibilities are endless!

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DIY Cleaning and Household Products

DIY Cleaning

I have been making my own cleaning products for a while now, but have had a peaked interest as I have seen some great info lately and it fits in so nicely with my Refresh2015 initiative.

There are a lot of benefits to making your own cleaning products, but the highlights are that they are natural without harmful chemicals, they are inexpensive and they are great for the environment.

All of these recipes include essential oils, which are great because they have cleansing/antibacterial properties and smell great, but many of these recipes can be used without and there are also some great oil-free ones from a previous post. You can purchase Doterra essential oils here or contact me for wholesale pricing at heatherleighdesignsmn@gmail.com.

I learned about a lot of these recipes and a lot of other great tips from Samantha Huddleston. Check out her website or instagram @thehealthtogmama for some great info on essential oils and healthy living. There are a lot more recipes that I have yet to try and will post as I go. I also needed a place to keep track of all the recipes so this post is a little self-serving 😉

*Note: It is recommended that you use glass containers or safe plastics {HDPE plastic, plastics number 1 (PETE) and 2}. More info on this here.

Foaming Hand Soap – I did not realize that you could make your own hand soap and it made me really excited. I have a skin reaction to most soaps so this is ideal for me plus I always love making new scent combos. Yum!

2 tablespoons liquid castile soap (unscented)

1 tablespoon fractionated coconut oil

10 drops essential oils of choice

Air Freshener – awesome to have on hand and even better that you can re-fill on demand and aren’t spraying chemicals!

In a 4 oz. spray bottle:

10 drops purify essential oil

5 drops lime or lavender essential oil

Fill the rest up with water

Other deodorizing oils include peppermint, clary sage, melaleuca, geranium, eucalyptus

Hand Sanitzer – With dirty diapers I need a lot of sanitizing and this works great if you have sensitive skin or reactions like I do. You can also half or quarter the recipe for small bottles to put in your purse or diaper bag.

In a 4 oz spray bottle:

15 drops each of melaleuca, lemon and on guard

Fill the rest up with water or fill with half water and half fractionated coconut oil for moisturizing.

Multi-Surface Cleaner – It was really hard for me to break away from my Honest Co. multi-surface cleaner but I gave this one a try and loved the smell. Sometimes you’ve got to clean while you wait for Honest mail day right?

In a 16 oz. spray bottle:

1/4 c. white vinegar

1 3/4 c. water

30 drops essential oil

Suggested oil combos include lavender and lemon, on guard and grapefruit, or peppermint and wild Orange

Fruit/Veggie Wash – this is so easy and takes up no extra space or containers.

Put a few drops of lemon essential oil in water and soak your fruit/veggies. It’s that simple!

 

Coming soon… dish soap, window and glass cleaner, dryer balls and wood polish

 

Portions of this post proudly sponsered by…

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Tag Blanket

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I had some leftover fabric as well as a ton of scrap ribbon to use and this was a quick and easy project. It was a great way to use up leftover materials {I am a known craft supply hoarder} PLUS it makes a great shower gift. My daughter is OBSESSED with her Taggies.

Tutorial coming soon but I was anxious to share the results!

Making Your Own Baby Food

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In this post you trade a little time to save some money BUT you get the added bonus of feeding your baby food you can feel good about. I hope that some of my trials and errors can make things a little easier for you.

1. Block Off Time. I have found while it is possible to squeeze in making baby food while watching your kid or kids it is much easier to have a set time where you can focus and get it all done at once. Plus the babies and boiling water/sharp blades aren’t a good combo.

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2. Have the right equipment. We got the Baby Bullet system as a shower gift and have been really happy with it, but I know you definitely don’t need it and lots of people use a food processor. Here is what I recommend for supplies (the Baby Bullet comes with everything except the steamer basket).

  • Food processor or baby food blender
  • Small pot and steamer basket
  • Rubber scraper
  • Small containers for fridge storage
  • Ice cube trays

3. Pick your produce. Organic produce is always a great choice, but not all of us have the money to buy organic all the time. Save money by buying focusing your money toward the “dirty dozen.” I am also a big fan of buying frozen produce for baby food. I have found that with a little one you don’t always know when you’ll have time {and when you think you’ll have time, inevitably, you won’t} so having frozen food on hand means your baby won’t starve when you couldn’t find time to go to the grocery store and your fresh produce won’t go to waste when you decided to have a glass of wine and sit on the couch instead of make baby food {I have no personal experience in this at all}.

Here are some of my favorite foods for purees:

  • Bananas – a great starter food because of the mild flavor and they don’t require steaming
  • Avocados – good for your baby and also require no prep
  • Sweet potatoes – lots of nutrients and a sweet taste
  • Peas – make a nice-textured puree and are a good way to introduce veggies
  • Carrots – go organic on these, carrots can contain nitrates
  • Zuchinni and other squash

Here are some that don’t work so well:

  • Green beans – these were a big fail for me, the texture ended up very stringy
  • Pineapple –  a little stringy as well but once your kiddo is ready for combo purees it is great with banana and mango

4. Prep your produce. Peel (if needed) and steam your produce until it is “squishy” or easily pierced with a fork. Let the food cool before blending. Already soft foods like bananas and avocados don’t need to be steamed.

5. Puree. This is the easy part. Stick your prepped food in the blender until you get the desired consistency. Tip: if you steamed the food, use the water from the steaming, it has additional nutrients from the fruits or veggies and saves water.

6. Store for easy feeding. Now that you have your baby food you can store it to use at your convenience. Use small serving-size containers for the fridge. Food lasts up to three days in the fridge so fill up to three containers and then you can feed your baby right out of the container (if you think they won’t eat all of the food, scoop out a little with a clean spoon into a separate container – you shouldn’t put it back in the fridge if you have put a used spoon back into it). If you are worried about chemicals in plastic containers, you can find glass jars for storage.

7. Freeze for later. Freeze the extra puree in ice cube trays. Once the food is frozen, place it in tupperware or baggies. Then, you can mic up just the amount you need whenever baby is hungry. The Baby Bullet comes with a covered serving-size freezer tray but I have found that the ice cube system works just as well. You can also fill your own pouches if you like the convenience of having those on the go. I will do a post on that later.

 

 

 

5 Tips for Greener, Easier and Cheaper Household Tasks



In honor of Earth Day I thought that I would offer up some eco-friendly tips for your daily household tasks. Bonus: some fall into the easy and cheap categories too!

1. Make your own cleaning products. You can save tons of money and avoid toxic and harsh chemicals by making your own cleaning products. You can also reduce waste and save money by reusing spray bottles. Here are the recipes that I use. I use the all purpose cleaner a ton. I always add the lemon essential oil – it makes for a much better smell than the vinegar.

2. Hang dry clothes. I am a huge fan of using a drying rack for drying clothes. A lot of clothes are hang-dry only anyway and I have found that it keeps my clothes looking great plus it saves a ton of electricity.

3. Use rags/washcloths. As convenient as paper towels are, they are wasteful and costly. Make an effort to keep washcloths and sponges around for cleaning. Here is a quick way to deodorize and sanitize sponges.

4. Use products you can feel good about. Let’s be honest, not all of us have time to make all of our own cleaning products. In this case I like to keep around some earth-friendly and non-toxic cleaning supplies. The Honest Co. is one of my favorites. They have some great products that I can feel good about using with a kiddo crawling around and I can usually get some great deals on their products through referrals and promotions. They offer a free trial of their products if you want to see what they are all about. WARNING: when you do the trial you sign up for a subscription so make sure that you call and cancel if you don’t want to be charged (they send you a nice reminder email) or what I do is push back the subscription and only get products when you really need them {or when there is a promotion/deal}

5. Avoid disposable cleaning products. Swiffers and Swiffer Dusters constantly need replacing and create waste. You can re-create the convenience by making your own versions that are reusable. Here is a duster DIY. Here is a sweeper DIY.

Happy Earth Day!

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Homemade Lollipops

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I love a good party and I love sweets. Bonus points if they look pretty and can double as decorations. I made these lollipops for my daughter’s first birthday party when I wasn’t sobbing thinking about her being a toddler. Tears add flavor, right? I like this idea for wedding table numbers too.

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Here is what you need for supplies: Wilton candy melts, candy molds, lollipop sticks, and a microwave safe container.

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First, follow the instructions for melting the candy. I used a Pyrex liquid measuring cup which made the pouring easy. Then, place your stick in the mold and pour the melted candy into the mold. It helps to gently tap the mold to make sure the candy gets all the way into the mold and to get rid of any air bubbles. Keep a wet washcloth on hand to wipe access candy.

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Next, let the candy harden before removing the lollipop from the mold. Because I was making multiple of the same mold I was impatient and started putting the mold in the freezer to speed up the process – about four minutes.

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You can get candy molds in all sorts of shapes, but in a pinch you can use cookie cutters and waxed paper.

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To make a spot for the lollipop stick I used a skewer to make a hole (be very careful because it is very easy to crack the candy). Then I dipped the stick in a little of the melted candy to help it stay.

If you want more traditional lollipops, there is a recipe here. I have done it and it is pretty messy but you can pick your flavors.