DIY Skincare Products Natural Enough to Eat!

by Tiffany in Beauty

DIY Skincare Products Natural Enough to EatEveryone wants gorgeous, healthy skin that looks and feels youthful right? Well, mother nature has already provided everything that you need to accomplish this task. Before there was an expensive beauty product to address every woe from rough cuticles to dry skin, women took a more natural approach. Below are some natural recipes and methods for attaining healthy and youthful looking skin.

Avocado Oil – The fatty acids in avocados help balance your skin moisture levels and give you a dose of anti-oxidant vitamins A, C, and E to protect your skin from damage.

* Combine equal amounts of avocado oil and evening-primrose oil in a sealable bottle and shake. Optionally a couple drops of rose or frankincense essential oils.  Massage 5 or 6 drops into your skin and then cover with a warm washcloth for a few minutes.

Almond Meal – This simple ingredient makes the easiest every exfoliating cream for you skin and is gentle enough to use on your face.

Egg Facials – Yes, eggs are more then just edible. They can be a key ingredient to fabulous skin! Their high protein levels also help restore luster to your hair.

* Beat an egg white until stiff. Add one teaspoon of honey. Stir together and fluff onto your face. After 30 minutes, splash off with cold water.

* Using a cotton puff, apply egg white to your face and let it dry for up to 30 minutes. Splash off with lukewarm and then cold water.

Milk – The lactic acid in milk serves as a gentle skin exfoliant and the fat acts as a moisturizer.

* Add a gallon of whole milk to your bathwater and soak.

Oatmeal – It is more than just breakfast food. Oatmeal is soothing and anti-inflammatory.

* Put a handful of oats in a washcloth and secure with a rubber band. Dip the oats into a sinkful of warm water, squeezing every time you lift it out. Do this until the water is cloudy and then splash the water on your face and allow to air dry.

Apple Cider Vinegar – Beside having amazing healing properties, apple cider vinegar keeps skin supple. It’s heavy concentration of enzymes helps peel off dead skin cells.

* Instead of using cleanser, moisturizer and/or toner, mix about 2-3 cups of distilled water with a 1/2 cup of raw organic, unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar.

* Mix apple cider vinegar in your bath water along with Rosemary and Lavender essential oils for an invigorating bath.

Sugar Scrub –

* Oat and Brown Sugar Scrub – Mix all ingredients in a clean bowl until you have a smooth paste. Gently massage onto damp skin, and rinse off with warm water.

Carrots – Carrots are very high in vitamin A and a source of vitamin C, folacin and potassium.

* Cook 2-3 carrots, then mash. Mix with 4 teaspoons honey. Apply gently to the skin, wait 10 minutes. Rinse off with cool water.

Don’t need to visit the beauty counter, visit your own fridge and pantry!


Happy Labor Day Weekend: Important Road Trip Tips

by Tiffany in Green Holidays

Labor Day Road Trip Family

For years, Labor Day weekend has remained one of the most popular celebrations in America. After all it is the last big weekend of the season. Kids and adults alike want to squeeze in just a little more “summer”. Although some people choose to relax at home, there are others who plan to hit the road and take a trip. Here are a few important Labor Day travel tips to keep in mind.

Make sure the car is in tip-top shape

Before hitting the highway, the vehicle needs to be in tip-top condition. In order to prevent disaster on the road and avoid a holiday interruptus headache, the braking system definitely needs to be inspected. Some other maintenance items that must be checked include the oil level, the tire pressure, and the coolant. Just to be on the safe side, it is always a good idea to bring along an extra quart of motor oil. Renting a car is another option for the drivers who do not want to put any extra wear and tear on their personal vehicle. If you have older vehicles this is the way to go!!

Pack plenty of healthy snacks

To stay energized along the way and avoid any irritating behavior associated with hungry kids, it is advisable to pack plenty of snacks. Children can get especially cranky when they are hungry. I can too, to be perfectly honest. Due to the inevitable holiday traffic, it is best to minimize the number of unnecessary stops made during the trip. Some of the best snacks include apple slices, energy bars, dried fruit, trail mix, popcorn, and sandwiches. Reusable water bottles are also a must-have item. Fill them up at drinking fountains everywhere you stop.

Book a room in advance

During Labor Day weekend, hotels in Orlando tend to get booked very quickly. Instead of waiting until the last minute to find a hotel, it is advisable to book the room well in advance. When searching for a hotel, make sure that the hotel has a good rating. A bad hotel can actually ruin the entire vacation experience. While a basic hotel may suit the needs of some travelers, some people may desire just a tad bit more luxury. Some of the highly-recommended features include exercise rooms, hot tubs, in-room kitchens, swimming pools, and tennis courts. The presence of security personnel will also give the guests an extra peace of mind.

Take rest stops

A few rest stops should be scheduled on the road trip. Not only will the rest stop help the driver to re-focus, but it also gives everyone else an opportunity to stretch their legs. Pick some scenic or historic spots if possible. This is the perfect time for the travelers to take a bathroom break. According to travel experts, walking around the parking lot will help to promote blood circulation.

Pay attention to the weather

When traveling a long distance, the weather can change drastically from one area to the next. This means that someone in the family needs to keep tabs on the weather. By downloading a weather app to your cell phone, the co-pilot can easily stay updated on the forecast.

There is no denying the excitement of a Labor Day weekend road trip and preparation is one of the keys to having a great time. These tips should steer vacationers in the right direction!

Labor Day Road Trip Tips

This article was written and provided by Fiona Moriarty of Hipmunk, the ultimate platform for all your travel needs.


3 Steps to Creating a Minimalist Kitchen

by Tiffany in Green Cleaning

Steps to Creating a Minimalist Kitchen

Less really is more, especially when it comes to practicing minimalism in the kitchen. And while there are hundreds of books and magazines that can steer you towards creating the ideal minimalist kitchen, the truth is that most of us don’t have the time or resources to spend on remodeling or even on purchasing new equipment.

The good news is that practicing minimalism in the kitchen does not require that you spend big bucks. It’s all about getting back to basics and eliminating all the extemporaneous things from your space. You can achieve the clutter free existence and peace of mind that come from minimalism simply by cleaning, re-organizing and rethinking the space and equipment that you already have.

Step #1: Rethink Your Stuff

In order to practice minimalism, you are going to have to rethink everything that you have in your kitchen. That means emptying out your cupboards – all of your cupboards – and deciding whether or not the items are truly worth the effort of keeping them clean and the space of storing them.

As you take each thing out of your cupboard, ask yourself how long it has been since you used it. If it has been longer than a year, out it goes. Feel free to sell it if it is still in good condition. But by no means allow it to clutter up your cupboard or counter space any longer.

Now, before you put anything back onto or into your cupboards, remove it from the kitchen altogether, because before you can truly go minimalist in your kitchen, you will need to clean out and rethink your space and what it is used for.

Step #2: Clean Out Your Space

Before you put even one item back into or onto your cupboards, it’s time to clean your space from floor to ceiling. Grab some vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. While you’re at it, repaint or resurface the counters if you can afford it (you can find both paint and resurfacing materials at most do-it-yourself home goods stores).

Take this opportunity to fill in any nail holes, replace light bulbs and clean out any light fixtures as well. You see, practicing minimalism brings the focus on the basics; the floors, the surfaces, the walls, and you want these to be clean and in good repair and not draw your attention because of the dirt or flaws.

Step #3: Rethink and Reorganize Your Space.

If you are like most of us, you probably weren’t blessed with a professional sized kitchen that enough room to store all of your gadgets and foodstuffs out of sight, leaving your kitchen clutter free. While going through your items will help reduce the clutter, reorganizing your space will reduce that clutter even further.

And while we are on the subject, just because you have always used a particular cupboard to store pots and pans in does not mean that you have to continue to do so. While your cupboard and counter spaces are empty, take a good hard look at every surface and determine what would best fit and how it could best be used.

Designate specific cupboards for specific uses (food storage, pan storage, dishes, electronic items etc.) Then only allow yourself to put as much into that cupboard as can comfortably fit. Do not stack things to the point that they fall out if you open up the cupboard door. If you have too much to fit comfortable, weed out the excess, keeping only as much as you actually need to get the job done.

Putting It All Together

With just three simple steps, you too can find yourself living with a minimalist kitchen where the focus is on the food and its preparation and where your attention is not diverted by dust collectors or prevented by having to work around gadgets and gizmos that you never use anymore. Now sit back and enjoy preparing and eating your food with the peace of mind that only a minimalist, clutter free kitchen can bring you.


We Got It! Our Suburban Homestead…

by Tiffany in The Homestead

new houseYay!!! I am so excited to share with you all that I am a new homeowner. My husband and I closed on our homestead in June. We bought in a suburb of Columbus (20 minutes away from downtown). It has over half an acre, a nice patch of woods, and a creek running through it.

The urban/suburban part has always been important to me. I am not a fan of rural living (been there, done that) and I personally feel that the vehicle for change…for our environment, our food system, and for our society in general needs to happen in cities. We need to green the cities, not move out of them.

I would like to tell you how we planned and planned for this moment but we actually didn’t. It just kind of happened. My family had been renting a duplex and we deliberately picked a more run down neighborhood because we wanted to pay less for rent and have more money for play. I was able to garden in raised beds, collect rainwater, compost, and even grow food and fish with aquaponics.

The duplex was a cozy 1100 square feet that I actually loved. It required us all to be together…a lot. Our family/living area was also a home office for two, a gaming area, and a TV watching area. In general I loved the money we saved living there (rent, utilities) and I loved small house living.

On the drawbacks list was the lack of a fourth bedroom, since my two autistic boys have issues that make sharing a room a bad idea all around. The kitchen was dated and in need of a remodel, we couldn’t have pets or farm animals, the garage was tiny and could barely fit a car in it, and we were limited on what we could do inside and outside the home.

So what made us move?

Well, it is a long story and it involves the death of my mom recently. But the short of it is that I finally committed to staying in this area and laying down roots in a place of my very own. A lovely creek, called Blacklick, winds all through our city and I thought it would be out of our budget to own a home that backed up to the creek but I found a creekside home that had just been listed for under market value because it needed some serious updates. Well, that house had five offers in a matter of two days so our realtor directed us to another creekside property just down the street that was a bit pricier but included over a half acre. It was being offered via short sale and had been on the market for a year due to some sticky issues with flood insurance requirements.

Short story…we now own the house. We can raise rabbits, chickens, and ducks, and we can keep bees. I can have a huge garden, I have room for lots of fruit trees, and we have the most insanely beautiful creek (with plenty of fish) right in our back yard. We have already started our orchard with two apple trees and two pear trees with more to come.

A view of our backyard from the house…I think that playset will be upcycled into a chicken coop next year. You can see the beginning of our orchard front and center.

suburban homestead with fruit trees

Go past that expanse of lawn (which will soon be garden) and you come to a lovely patch of woods. Here we have the compost bin, a firepit, and plenty of trees for firewood.

Woods, compost bin, firepit

Go through the wooded area and you come to a real gem. The creek looks tame in the picture below…it hasn’t rained in a couple days. During heavy rains though that creek rages and raises about 6-8 feet. We often see kayakers go by.

creek backyard

Also love the existing garden at the house. It is all ornamental…lots of hosta and flowers but I often overlook the “pretty” plants in favor of edibles, so to have that part taken care of is awesome.

flower collage

The drawback, at least for me, is that the house is huge. It is 2500 square feet. I don’t want or need all that space but did get our four bedrooms, a nice finished basement, and a two car garage. I have a suburban homestead that I pretty much adore and I am dropping hints to my Dad that he should move in with us and utilize some of this extra space. Though one extra bit space I love is my new home office with a large window that overlooks the yard. The wood burning fireplace and a bathroom just for the husband and myself are kind of nice too.

What excites me most is that this property will allow us more room to homestead. We plan to start slowly, not wanting to alarm any neighbors or bite off more than we can chew at this time. In the garage we are starting to construct raised beds, set up a 250 gallon aquaponics tank, and build rabbit hutches. We have many projects to keep us busy through winter.


This is what I call prime city living!


Why is One-on-One Time with your Kid So Important?

by Guest in parenting

mom and child quality time

Each day, most of us struggle to complete our necessary chores. In the midst of all these necessities, it’s easy to forget to slow down and pay attention to the little things, like spending quality one-on-one time with your kids. Everyday chaos means that some of life’s opportunities to create good and long lasting memories are often missed. Children won’t remember whether or not you took out the trash or made dinner, but they will remember the time that you built a fort out of sheets and blankets in the living room.

These times matter because they make each child feel special and loved. At the same time, you get to know your child better.

Why One-on-one Time?

Family time is excellent for building strong relationships, but these moments don’t work the same way as alone time with each child. All that time telling kids to do this or that makes it seem like everyone is operating on autopilot. One-on-one time is a great chance to really teach your kids with actions. This time is especially important for younger kids.

During this time, it’s easier to get your point across because there are fewer distractions from brothers and sisters. You may even find that you pay better attention to your child during one-on-one time and get to know how they think and what’s going on in their lives. This strengthens your bond with each other. If your child has been acting out in order to get your attention, this time will help to reduce these negative actions. You may even be able to help build your child’s self esteem as you show them that you value their individual needs, desires and strengths.

Spontaneous or Scheduled?

One-on-one time with your child can be either spontaneous or scheduled. Some spontaneous time might involve doing some household chores together, running errands, taking care of the family dog, playing a game or doing some volunteer work. A planned date is also a fun way to spend with your child, as the anticipation makes it more special.

Plan the event in advance by putting it on your digital calendar or a paper calendar that your child can see. Make it something that your child likes but that your other kids won’t feel jealous about. Leave the electronic devices at home and don’t fall into the temptation to finish any errands. Just enjoy the moment.

How much time is enough?

The number of minutes isn’t what is important. The important part is that your child has your undivided attention. Be available during these moments and really listen to what your child is saying. If being spontaneous doesn’t suit your child’s personality, schedule things and start small, such as a half hour trip to the park or a pet shelter or whatever suits your child’s abilities and interests. So long as you both enjoy the time together, you’ll both benefit from the experience and be more likely to do it again.

BIO: Patricia Dimick is a Denver based freelance writer and a fun stay-at-home mom. This passionate coffee drinker loves to write about parenting topics and enjoys DIY projects. Patricia spends her free time playing table tennis or enjoying trips to nature with her precious daughter and loving husband. You can reach her @patricia_dimick.