I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOOOOVE subscription boxes for myself and now there are so many for the kiddos too! But the ones that are educational absolutely have me sold! This one is my favorite so far! All three of my girls (11,9 &2) get these. The 2-year-old version is called the tadpole crate. It is for ages 0-2 and they go all the way to 16! My older girls get the doodle crate (artistic) and the tinker crate (hands on stem). They also love theirs! Here's Ivy playing with her latest Tadpole Kit. This one taught her puzzles in like 2 minutes and she went in her room and started doing the others we have!! She also surprised me knowing more colors than I thought. Yay learning!
Try KiwiCo crates here: (and get $10 off!)
I'm all about making life easier and with the crunchy life food is a HUGE part of how I live. So wouldn't it make sense to try to make cooking and shopping a bit easier? Making meals in my crockpot makes life easier on the cooking side. But on the shopping side, not leaving the house to go grocery shopping makes my life SUPER easy! That sounds like sorcery doesn't it? While I wish there was a magic portal or a way to travel through my fireplace (Harry Potter reference), there is not. (Yes, I looked at my fireplace and cried inside for being a muggle)
Not having to leave my house to shop is great and is made possible with a little help from technology. Instacart, Butcher Box, Yumble, Fresh Direct, Amazon Pantry, Fresh or Subscribe and Save are all great ways to live the delivery life. Although they aren't all available in all areas. For example Fresh Direct does not come to lower Delaware neither does Amazon Fresh. It literally pains my soul to say this as I loved these services but I'm surviving. [barely]
Can I write a love letter to Instacart? I love you, my whole family loves you. Same day groceries? Replacements? Picking good fruit? YESSSS please and thank you. Instacart will go to select grocery stores in your area and bring you your groceries you select. They do Safeway, Whole Foods, Giant, Acme, Target and so much more. Okay so the downside for some stores prices are higher than they would be if you went to the actual store. Delivery ranges from $5.99 to $9.99 or you can join and get free delivery for $14.99 a month but there are often specials that allow you to get free delivery. There is also a surcharge to pay for using Instacart and you can tip the driver. But that is a price I am willing to pay for not having to take my 2-year-old, and preteens into the store. AND you can schedule delivery in advance or have them come in the next 2 hours (sometimes 1 hour!) It works great for when I have a recipe I want to try and I can stand in my panty and physically see what I have or don't have.
Save money and get free delivery with my referral!
Here's the link: https://inst.cr/t/TGUyqyyKC
Butcher Box is all about bringing you the best meat. Where we live it is not always possible to get organic meat at the closest grocery store (bummer) and I don't want to drive to the closest Safeway all the time so I get my meat delivered once or twice a month. The animals are humanely raised, no hormones or antibiotics, beef is 100% grass-fed & grass-finished no and their chicken is organic with all vegetarian feed.
You can try Butcher Box Here: (you'll get free meat if I refer you!)
This is for when I'm truly a lazy laze OR for when I make meals my 2-year-old won't eat. I warm up a yumble meal and there's dinner or lunch! For $6.99 or $7.99 a meal (6 meal minimum) I get premade meals for my little picky butt. I subscribe and unsubscribe (like I am now because I have a few saved up) at will with no penalty. You can pick from a pretty good selection of meals that kids hopefully will eat. While it is not all organic they do say they use organic items when possible. You can get referred here.
Fresh direct is another great tool when it comes to the typical grocery shopping although they do not have a "store" they go to but they have their own warehouse of food. They have a pretty good selection of organic foods. The downside is there is no same day delivery and they don't have a good way to keep stuff cold once it is at your house just in case you aren't home with the delivery occurs so you'll have to schedule it during a 2 hour window you're home or nearby! Delivery is $7.99 or free delivery for $129 a year.
Click here to try it out
Amazon, as they continue to take over the world and our mailboxes, has plenty of options for food delivery. My favorite is Amazon Fresh especially since they own Whole Foods now!) But they no longer deliver to my location (Boo! What happened Amazon?).
Amazon also has Amazon Pantry where for $4.99 a month you can order items to fill your pantry, dry foods, non refrigerated juice, paper goods etc. There is a good selection of organic items on here as well!
The option I use is Subscribe and Save. I get items that I know I need monthly or every 2/3 months like toilet tissue, pull-ups, lunch items, lotion, tooth paste all delivered on schedule and I save 10-20% on each item. Yay savings. You can cancel an item anytime before shipping, it's great.
Remember these are all just my thoughts and reviews of the companies listed. I make no money from sharing this info besides perks from referrals if you do try it out.
I hope you know what I mean by the onion arms. I mean if you have a middle school kid, I'm sure you do. I'm "au naturale" but I don't want to smell like the natural outsides right? So what do you do about deodorant? You may ask. Or you may ask what's wrong with the regular old deodorant and antiperspirant? Well, I'm glad you asked.
Traditional deodorant contains aluminum as a main ingredient. This is what acts as an antiperspirant. It basically clogs your pores says no sweat shall pass.
Now, remember what you put on your skin gets absorbed into your body. Aluminum in the body can mimic estrogen, and could really mess with your hormone levels. There are also studies saying it is linked to breast cancer and Alzheimer. So yeah, let's err on the side of caution with that right?
I'll link a good article from Times if you want more detailed description than my non medical degree can give.
Once my Toms phase was over I discovered Schmidt's at my local health food store. It's a little more expensive than Tom's ($8.99 on their website) but it works. No you won't stay dry but you will smell good all day. They also have some great scents! My favorite is the Ylang Ylang & Candula. I've also tried the Rose & Vanilla but for me it is overpowering and I don't love rose that much. But if you love floral smells it is perfect for you!
I love the various essential oils Schmidt’s use. But please note if you’re allergic to an essential oil in the deodorant get a different scent. The hubby used a their bergamot deodorant and he was red and itchy under his arms and who wants that?
These not crunchy enough for you? Then forget deodorant all together and use a lemon! I know, you’re looking at me like “Ashley has lost it” But no, try it for a day… or when you’re out of town and don’t pack deodorant by accident. Where would I get a lemon out of town you are asking? Room service or those areas they have the tea and coffee they usually have lemon wedges right? Seriously, just slab some lemon juice under your arms and you’re good to go.
It works! Read more about my love for lemon pits here.
You said Brad Pitt does it so you want too also right? Oh, that’s not the reason you want to learn about lemon as deodorant? What about when you’re out of town and don’t pack deodorant by accident. It’s perfect for that moment. "Where would I get a lemon out of town?" You're asking? Room service or those areas they have the tea and coffee they usually have lemon wedges right?
Seriously, just slide a lemon wedge under your arm and you’re good to go. Beware, if you just shaved you may want wait before applying lemon but I do it right away with no issues.
The science behind it. Lemons have tons of potassium and magnesium in them. And by tons I’m definitely being as specific as I can. These minerals both have antibacterial properties which Is part of the reason under arm sweat skins right? Bacteria. Plus, lemon can balance pH when it is applied to the skin. If that isn’t enough, the citric acid in the lemon helps kick any odor as well. I’m telling you it works.
Remember it isn’t a antiperspirant, you will sweat… It just won’t smell horribly. Not saying you stink, just admitting I do when I forget deodorant. But my mom is a nurse practitioner and tells me sweating is important so I’ll take her word for it and you should too. But if you don’t here’s a link to a post on sweating.
Try it for a day and let me know how it goes!
Want to get into the crunchy life but don't know where to begin? Here is the Crunchy Rice starter kit. The top 10 things (plus two) we cannot live or go without! Each item has a link that talks more about the why behind the reason.
I love Lavender and you should too. No pressure. But here are 20 different uses for lavender that I've compiled from other sites so you don't have to just take my word for it!
1. Helps treat acne:
Lavender oil is one of those few natural ingredients you can look up to for getting rid of acne troubles. The oil has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can fight the bacteria that cause acne and inflammation (1).
Simply dab some lavender oil on your acne blemishes using a cotton swab, and see the desired results.
According to University of Maryland Medical Center, aromatherapists use lavender extensively for treating acne.
2. AIDS WITH ECZEMA: Eczema can be a very embarrassing skin condition, but only if one doesn’t have lavender oil handy. This is because the oil has the ability to relieve itching and reduce the symptoms of eczema . It also decongests the irritated areas on the skin by adding moisture, thereby accelerating the healing process.
3. Can Detoxify The Skin:Given the obnoxious variety of environmental toxins and other pollutants our skin is exposed to most of the time, it is not surprising to know that our skin’s health is deteriorating with each passing day.
But we have lavender to the rescue – it contains powerful antioxidants that can fight against the harmful effects of pollutants on the skin.
In one study conducted by the Howard University College of Medicine, Washington, DC, it was found that lavender oil was one of the few potent essential oils that can inhibit the growth of skin bacteria (4).
4. Heals Burns:The antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties of lavender oil again play a role here. The oil is beneficial in healing the burns, and also helps treat the scars caused by them (or scars caused by injuries (5)). In addition, lavender oil also acts as a pain reliever.
Just add a few drops of lavender oil to the burnt area after keeping it under running water for about 10 minutes. Doing so can accelerate the healing process. However, keep in mind that you must consult a doctor immediately in the case of serious burns.
5. Can Help Heal Insect Bites:Though not a serious problem, insect bites can indeed mess up with your daily activities. But that wouldn’t be the case when you have lavender oil handy.
Simply add a few drops of lavender oil on the insect bite or gnaw, and see the itching and swelling decrease considerably.
Lavender oil can act as a good insect repellant (6), and it has been traditionally used for treating insect bites (7).
An Australian study had revealed the presence of scientific and clinical data that support the traditional uses of lavender (8).
However, do exercise caution while using the oil on children for treating insect bites. According to The University of Arizona, lavender oil must not be used on children below the age of 2 years (9).
6. For Treating Tired Muscles:We know how tired our muscles can get after a long day at work; and we also know how heavenly a good massage can feel at that point of time. This is where lavender oil comes around as something you shouldn’t ignore.
Ideally you can prepare a lavender bath by adding 4 to 6 drops of the oil to a large bowl of warm water. Soak your hands or feet in this bath for about ten minutes, and feel refreshed and relaxed.
Lavender oil has been found to be excellent for treating tired muscles, especially that of the feet and head (10). You can also rub a little amount of lavender oil to your feet before going to bed – this, apart from soothing your tired feet, can also soften and hydrate any rough spots or patches on your feet (11).
7. As A Toner:Lavender tones and makes your skin firm as it boosts circulation, thus resulting in an adequate supply of oxygen and nutrition to the skin cells. This helps in keeping the cells healthy and boosting their renewal process.
You can make a toner at home with lavender and water. Boil 100 ml of water in a bowl and then put in the lavender buds, so that they are completely submerged. Cover the bowl, leaving the brew to steep for a few hours. Drain the mixture into a clean glass bottle and refrigerate it. Spray some of this lavender water on a cotton pad and gently wipe your face with it (after washing your face in the morning). This will refresh your skin like a toner.
Benefits Of Lavender Oil For Hair:Essential oils are becoming increasingly popular due to their added benefits to your skin and hair. Lavender oil is one of these oils that can promote hair growth and treat various hair problems like hair loss, alopecia, dandruff, etc. It can be diluted with a carrier oil to promote healthy hair and scalp.
Following are the ways lavender oil can be beneficial to your hair.
8. Controls Hair Loss:Lavender oil is extremely effective in treating hair loss. This is because it cures insomnia, stress, anxiety and depression, which are the common causes of hair loss (12). Regular massage with this oil helps in controlling hair loss and improving hair growth by increasing blood circulation.
According to certain preliminary studies, lavender oil, when combined with other herbs, can help fight hair loss (13).
[ Read: Benefits Of Ravintsara Essential Oil ]
9. Treats Alopecia Areata:Alopecia areata is an auto immune disease characterized by hair loss in patches. Dry scalp massage with lavender essential oil helps in treating this condition as well as ensuring significant hair growth within a few months.
A Scotland study had proven the efficacy of essential oils (including lavender oil) in treating alopecia areata (14).
A therapeutic massage increases blood circulation to the scalp, thereby treating hair loss.
10. Treats Dandruff:Lavender essential oil can help you get rid of dry itchy scalp and dandruff. You can mix 15 drops of lavender essential oil with 2 tablespoons of olive or almond oil and heat the mixture for about 10 seconds. Massage your scalp with this warm oil mixture and put on a shower cap. Wash off with a mild shampoo after an hour.
You can also mix five drops of rosemary and lavender oils with three tablespoons of some unscented oil. Massage the oil into your scalp and leave it undisturbed for 10 minutes. After that, wash your hair with shampoo – this is another effective way of treating dandruff (15).
According to Francesca Fusco, MD, a noted dermatologist from New York, lavender oil can help treat various scalp conditions (16).
11. Helps In The Treatment Of Head Lice:Being a powerful antiseptic, lavender oil can relieve your scalp of lice, lice eggs or nits. Massaging your scalp with this oil can kill both the lice and nits. To get rid of head lice, massage your scalp with lavender oil 20 minutes before shampooing.
12. As A Good Conditioner:Lavender can be used as a conditioner as well. You can prepare a hair rinse by boiling ¼ cup of dried lavender in 2 cups of water and adding a few drops of lavender oil. Rinse your hair with it and leave for 15 minutes. This will make your hair shiny and fragrant, and treat dandruff as well.
Benefits Of Lavender Oil For Health:As stated earlier, lavender has an important role to play in aromatherapy. The usage of both lavender flowers and lavender oil offers various health benefits as follows.
13. Helps Treat Insomnia:Lavender essential oil is considered a traditional medication for promoting sound sleep (17). In folklore, people often filled their pillows with lavender flowers to sleep peacefully. This herb is beneficial for those suffering from insomnia, restless leg syndrome and exhaustion, as it soothes the nervous system and induces sleep and relaxation. This is because its scent induces alpha waves in the area of the brain that is responsible for relaxation, thus making you fall asleep faster.
You can make your own sleep spray by combining 5-6 drops of lavender essential oil with ½ cup distilled water and 1 teaspoon of witch hazel. Pour it into a spray bottle and drizzle onto clean skin or fresh linen before going to sleep. Lavender tea prepared from dried lavender flowers is also beneficial in this regard.
A study conducted by the University of Southampton, United Kingdom, had concluded that lavender might have considerable effects on treating insomniaand inducing sleep (18).
Another American study had supported the mild sedative effects of lavender, and had stated that the herb had practical applications for promoting deep sleep in young men and women (19).
A Korean study had proved the efficacy of lavender fragrance in treating insomnia (20).
14. Helps In The Treatment Of Anxiety And Depression:Lavender essential oil is effective in curing anxiety and depression through its calming, sedative, and anti-convulsive effects (21). It is often used in herbal remedies for promoting relaxation and treating restlessness (22).
You can place lavender plant in the corner of your room or place a few lavender stems in a small vase. Its soothing aroma will not only relieve stress, but also repel mosquitoes.
In one Korean study conducted on patients suffering from terminal cancer, hand massages with a lavender oil mixture were found to have a positive effect on the pain and depression of the patients (23).
Another study conducted on postpartum women had shown that lavender oil could bring down the levels of anxiety and depression without any adverse side effects (24).
15. Cures Headaches:Lavender has proven to be effective in providing relief from migraine headaches and preventing the onset of a new headache. Massaging your temples, neck and forehead with lavender oil relieves neck and head tension, and promotes relaxation (25), (26), (27). This cures a variety of headaches like migraines, general headaches, gastric headaches, nervous headaches, sinus headaches and tension headaches.
An Iranian study involved 47 individuals who suffered from migraine headaches. They were divided into two groups – case group and control group. The patients in the case group were made to inhale lavender oil for 15 minutes, while the ones in the control group inhaled liquid paraffin for the same time period. It was found that the individuals in the case group had reported a decreased severity of migraines (28).
16. Aids In Proper Digestion:Indigestion is a common problem these days, which is characterized by abdominal pain, vomiting, belching and burning sensation in your stomach leading to peptic ulcers. Lavender enables the body to digest fats by soothing the lining of the digestive tract and promoting the secretion of bile. It also relieves gas and constipation.
Drinking lavender tea is a great way to relieve nervous intestinal disorders and indigestion. For this purpose, cook one tablespoon of lavender buds with boiling water and use this water to make tea.
An Iranian study had proven the role of lavender in treating indigestion, and other stomach problems like flatulence and upset stomach (29).
17. Heals Wounds:Lavender oil has powerful antiseptic properties. Topical application of this oil to wounds, cuts, and scrapes increases cell growth, thereby facilitating quick healing of wounds (30). Its antimicrobial properties protect the wounds from infection.
You can dilute lavender oil with olive or jojoba oil by mixing one part of the former with 10 parts of the latter and applying it to the wound.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, lavender is used by herbalists for treating wounds (31). It has also been found that lavender was used to disinfect wounds during wartime (32).
18. Relieves Nausea:Lavender essential oil is effective in alleviating the symptoms of nausea or motion sickness (33). For this purpose, place a drop of lavender oil on one end of the tongue, behind the ears or under the navel.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lavender oil is ideal for preventing motion sickness (34).
19. Can Reduce Bloating:Overgrowth of bad bacteria in the body can cause bloating. Lavender contains polyphenols that help in reducing the ‘bad’ bacteria in your blood, thereby helping you to get rid of bloating. If you suffer from bloating, you can sprinkle some dried culinary grade lavender on to your Greek yogurt. This will reduce bloating as well as facilitate proper digestion.
Lavender has been found to treat irritable bowel syndrome, of which bloating is a symptom (35).
20. Hair loss yay!:Lavender essential oil has also been shown to be quite effective for treating hair loss, particularly for those who suffer from alopecia, an autoimmune disease where the body rejects its own hair follicles. A Scottish study reported that more than 40% of alopecia patients noted an increase in hair growth when they regularly rubbed lavender essential oil into their scalp.
How To Incorporate Lavender Into Your Daily Life?Here are some quick pointers on incorporating lavender into your daily life, to best avail its benefits and to lead a relatively relaxed life.
My mother and I would always go to Karyn's Raw Food, a food place in Chicago that had a great salad bar and yummy vegan food. I'd always make a yummy salad topped with almond pate and cayenne pepper. (begin mouth watering now) But I moved (and Karyn's closed *tear*) So why not make it myself?
Especially since the in-laws gave us an awesome Ninja Chop. *does my little ninja dance* (yes I have a dance that goes to how excited I am every time I use this thing) It makes my blender feel unnecessary. I even tried to make baby food with it but I failed. I will try again and succeed this time. (but yet again, I digress)
So I soaked about a cup of almonds overnight, you only need to soak them for about two hours but I went to bed so two hours became overnight. Then its time to *hiya* ninja chop or use your food processor (there's no fun dance associated with a food processor but if you have one let me know. In my mind it's something like a hula hoop dance hehe).
Then you add a tablespoon on oil I used olive oil but you can use sesame oil as well. Then add a teaspoon of braggs amino acid and a few tablespoons of water to get the mixture nice and pureed. Then mix It mix it! You can also add a carrot or celery in there too but I wanted mine simple and I was hungry. It took about 5 minutes (if that). Then boom add it to a salad and top with cayenne and salad dressing... Lunch!
Sorry my picture is just what I sent to my mom... I mentioned I was hungry right?
Stretchmarks are a right of passage for motherhood. Buttttttt if you could minimize that right of passage, you probably would right? Well, moisturizing the skin and keeping it elastic so it can stretch to fit a little human, is the best game plan. While nothing is fool proof when it comes to strechmarks here are a few oils to help! These are also great for skin with eczema
I made wine... But after our fruit picking adventure over the weekend, we still had tons of grapes left over. So what to do with them? Make grape juice of course. I found two recipes online, one that called for cooking the grape juice and one that didn't. But which one was better? I didn't know, so we tried them both! I'm obviously not using Concord grapes so it won't be the typical grape juice but its grape juice right?
Recipe One: Requires Cooking
Here's the recipe on Simply Recipes
We started off rinsing and taking the grapes off of the stem. (their step number one was picking the grapes but uh yeah, we had already done that. #winning
This was not a fun process and my middle daughter eventually quit even after my henny penny speech, If you don't know who Henny Penny is click here..
Recipe Two: We Called it the Lazy Way
I put all the grapes in the blender and mixed them up and added a few table spoons of water. Then we used cheese cloth and drained it into a container. Boom, the juice of grapes.
In my opinion the cooked version tasted better. The lazy way tasted thicker and I'm sure germ wise it wouldn't last as long as the cooked version.
We went berry picking over the weekend! And went CRAZY! It was my first time picking anything (I know I'm so late) but we had a blast and Jake really taught me how to do it right and what to look for when knowing if the fruit is right... (One of the perks of having this city girl loving this country raised man) So we got grapes, raspberries and blueberries. But what the heck do you do with it all? I had no clue.
So I made a pie. But how many pies can you make? (I did the crust from scratch too, I felt very very achieved)... I used this recipe for it all. It's not my favorite for crust. Usually I like Sally's Baking Addiction Crust but I decided to try something different. I didn't hate it though! I'd add more sugar to their recipe if you do it. I also didn't have corn starch or gelatin to make it stick together like it should, but the family liked it still. (yay!)
But we still had everything else left. SOOOOOOO I got a wine making kit (thanks Amazon). Now, I learned that making wine from grapes is a bigger process than just making fruit wine, takes longer blah blah and I don't have the patience for all that especially my first time. The kit (you can find it here on Amazon) had basically everything I needed to get started. Except bottling supplies. So I got started!
I followed the instructions for the raspberry wine using our 3 pounds or raspberries (about 12 cups) and got my hands very dirty!
Then 6 months later! It was done and stabilized and we drank it! Can you say STRONG????? One glass and that was enough for me. We still have a bottle in the panty.
I'm a mom of 3 girls and a husband who I converted to the crunchy life. I buy a lot and try a lot so you don't have to.