Wednesday, August 1, 2012

DIY - Stuffed Animal Chair

Here's a fun DIY project you can do with all the stuffed animals your kids have collected over the years.  My bunny just loves stuffed animals, especially dog ones.  We are certainly not over the stuffed animal stage yet but we had so many, that I was thrilled when I saw this project on Martha Stewart one day.  The Stuffed-Animal Chair is so cute and easy to do.  My daughter was happy we weren't going to get rid of some of favorite friends.  We used a hot glue gun and many, many glue sticks, you can also sew them on if you might want to reuse them.  Here are some pics to show you how we did.  Definitely an earth friendly project that gives and old chair a fun new look!

Our chair from Target.

Getting started...It's best to take your time placing them so that they fit together perfectly.

And here we are, our finished product!

You can also do a theme chair like, Reptiles, Dogs, Cats, Sharks or even Hello Kitty :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

DIY Green Cleaning...Natural and Cheap Cleaning Recipes

Here are some recipes for safe and non-toxic cleaners for your home that will get great results at a fraction of the price.  Best of all, you may already have all the ingredients in your home.  Happy Cleaning!

Windows & Mirrors

White Distilled Vinegar or Lemon Juice

Mix 2 tbsp of vinegar to 1 gallon of water.  Pour into a spray bottle and it's ready for use.  Spray on windows and mirrors and scrub with newspaper which doesn't leave any streaking as paper towels do.

Clogged Drains

Baking Soda
Boiling Water
White Distilled Vinegar

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda into clogged drain followed by 2 cups of boiling water.  For very clogged drains.  Pour 1/2 cup vinegar after the baking soda and cover while it bubbles and works it's magic, then follow it by pouring 1 gallon boiling water.

Floor Cleaner

Dish washing Liquid
White Distilled Vinegar

 Mix a solution of 3 drops dish washing liquid to 1/3 part white distilled vinegar, 1/3 part alcohol, and 1/3 part water. Spray sparingly and mop.

To Kill Germs

Spray full strength white distilled vinegar to doorknobs and wipe dry.

Shine Chrome Sink Fixtures
(remove lime buildup)

Distilled Vinegar
Table Salt

Make a paste from 2 tbsp of salt with 1 tsp of vinegar and clean.

Much Safer Oven Cleaner
Baking Soda

Make a paste from baking soda and water and coat the inside of the oven and leave overnight.  Put on gloves and scour, then wipe with a moist glove.

Keep me posted if you try any of these or if you already use some of your own recipes!
For more cleaning recipes and info:

Cleaning with Vinegar
10 Ingredients for homemade cleaning

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's in the bag? A trip to my local health food store.

So I just love making a trip to my local health food store , especially when I'm going to buy toiletries.  I thought it'd be fun to post my finds this trip.   This large canvas bag I got from a prior trip for only $5, the only problem is I don't always remember to bring it with me!  I'm working on it.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle...If only I could remember to bring the bags!    

Tom's of Maine Children's Toothpaste $4.59
Outrageous Orange Mango

 What is outrageous is the price. :)  I usually stock up when it is on sale.  Walmart and Target also carry it for less.  But this was a new flavor "Outrages Orange Mango" and Bunny just had to have it.
$13.99 Color: Poppy Seed
This is the only one I have tried so I stick to it.  Most importantly the box says "To Cover Gray Hair"

Age Reversal Pomegranate Eye Serum $12.45
Being a former Esthetician you'd think I was religious with my skincare, truth is I'm so lazy when it comes to creams and such.  But it's time my friends, it's time.  I can see my eyes drooping in pictures.  So here goes another try, I swear I will use it this time :)

Refreshing Facial Cleansing Towelettes $4.89
I told you I was lazy.  This is such a good product for me.
Cleanse, tone & hydrate...just wipe and throw away. $4.89

A little sweet treat!  We just love this blood orange flavor.  I especially love that it's not made with high fructose corn syrups or additives, or artificial coloring, etc.  yummy! 

Some products are pricier at the health food store.  I no longer have a problem justifying it.  It used to be so hard to purchase some items because of the price alone.  But I know how much better these products are for me and my family.  Although some products are ridiculously overpriced, I usually find another brand at a lower price.  There is so much more variety in natural and organic products nowadays.  I also think how much money I used to spend on makeup and perfumes in my former life, so it balances out.  So go venture out to your local health or natural food store in your area and see what they have.   

Have you tried any of these products?  What natural/organic products do you love?  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Refreshing Herbal Iced Tea

It's the perfect time for some refreshing and good for you ice tea!  So instead of reaching for some soda or juice or the powdered ice tea kind, here's a great way to drink some healthy tea when it's hot outside. We've heard all the benefits that tea has.  Easy to make ahead and have ready.  Just boil some water and mix in a couple of teaspoons of Organic Loose Mint tea, Steep for about 3-4 minutes and pour into Mason Jars and refrigerate.  You can add a lemon slice right into the jar and sweeten with raw honey if you'd like.    You can use different teas of course.  I just made a fresh batch of Mint Ice teas.

 Fresh Minty Iced Tea

 Tea is a cup of life! - Anonymous

You can use any kind of tea you like.  I love organic loose tea.  Organic because just like fruits and vegetables, the soil is rich and nutrient dense and pesticide free.  And loose leaf tea, because you get the full flavor and health benefits in the pure leaf.  High quality loose teas are made from the Camellia Sinensis plant which is the finest hand picked buds.  Also taken into consideration is the time of year that it is picked, and of course the growing conditions will greatly affect the quality of the tea and just like fine wine the tea will retain most of it's nutrients, characteristics and its distinct flavor.

 Organic Mint Loose Leaf Tea and Iced Tea 1 oz

Usually the tea found in tea bags will contain smaller pieces of the tea leaves also called tea dust.  It will give you a quicker brew but it will lack the full flavor of the larger loose leaf tea.  Also loose leaf tea will save you money because most of them can be re-steeped giving you several cups.  And now that I've set you up for wanting good loose leaf tea here it is my shameless plug for my Etsy shop: Tea & Sensibility  :)  I just started this shop because of my love for a good cup of tea.  

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Honey Bunny Granola Bars

Another healthy snack redo for my honey Bunny :) and yours too!

Honey Bunny Granola Bars

 ( organic ingredients are best)

4 cups Oats
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 tsp. Sea Salt
2 Tbs Ground Flax Seeds
3 tsp. Vanilla
1 cup raw Honey
1/3 cup Raisins or Cranberries
1/3 cup Chocolate Chips

  • Mix all ingredients together - Keep mixing at first it will be crumbly.
  • Grease 11x13 pan
  • Press dough firmly in the pan - you can use bottom of measuring cup to pack it in.
  • Bake at 325F for 22-25 minutes or until edges brown.
  • Let cool completely, loosen the edges and flip over on a cutting board
  • Cut into strips - 14-18 bars depending on how wide you cut
  • Store in Ziploc bags to prevent drying up
You can drizzle with, honey, white chocolate or chocolate if you'd like

Saturday, June 2, 2012

5 easy steps to get healthier today!

We read and learn many healthy things we should do and we know we need to start making changes, but the task seem so overwhelming.  There's a lot of information out there and sometimes it's contradicting each other.  Getting healthier can seem like so much work, but if we take it one step at a time we can all do it.    We know we need to, so here are some easy steps you can start right away.  Any change you make is going to be an improvement.  So let's go!  Let's get started...Today!

Start the morning with a cup of warm water with lemon

I know coffee is usually the first thing we reach for in the morning.  But what if we started each day with a cup of warm lemon water.  You will need about 1/8 of a slice of lemon in your water. 
Here are some of the benefits:
  •  Hydrates your body.
  • Boosts your immune system 
  • Lemon is high in Vitamin C, B, Phosphorus, Riboflavin, Magnesium and Calcium
  • Alkalizing & helps detoxify the body.
  • Improves and cleanses the liver.
  • Aids digestion
  • Freshens Breath
  • Aids in Weight Loss - Lemons are packed with pectin fiber which helps fight hunger cravings
Click here for more information on benefits of lemon water.

Stop drinking soda

If you are still drinking soda, then I'm talking to you.  It's no secret, the news is everywhere, soda is really bad for you. Here are just some of the reasons you should kick the habit today:
  • Drinking soda is linked to many diseases including cancer, obesity, and diabetes. 
  • Soda contains about 10 teaspoons of sugar per 12 ounce can!  
  • Diet soda is still soda and it's filled with artificial sugars that have been linked with many diseases. 
  • Soda is also filled with empty calories and makes you crave sweets! 
  • Soda stains and corrodes your teeth.  
  • Soda corrodes your teeth enamel 10 times more than fruit juices.  
There's so much more negatives to drinking soda.  Some of us are drinking several cans a day so stopping cold turkey may be really hard.  You can start by decreasing the amount you drink per day and go from there.  There are also many other options out there for substituting soda.  Start off slowly and decrease little by little until you no longer drink it.  Watch this and read this  for more info.

Get more sleep

I am still working on this!  I am such a night owl.  Staying up late is really the only time I have to myself.  I don't want to waste it by sleeping :)  The truth is our bodies need 7-8 hours of sleep each night to function properly and children need more.  Here are some ways getting more sleep helps us to be healthier aside from providing needed rest and giving us more energy.  Read this for more info.
  • Optimizes immune system function which helps fight off colds, flu, etc.
  • It boosts good heart health.
  • Reduces stress.  Be happier and less stressed.
  • Clearer thinking and better memory
  • Weight control. 
  • Live longer
Now this being said, I know some of us have trouble falling asleep so click here for some help with that.

Drink more water

 Notice I didn't say drink 8 glasses a day.  If you're already doing that then kudos to you.  This is an impossible task for me personally.  So I will say drink more water and your morning lemon water will count too.  If you drink 1 glass per day, increase it to 3.  If you drink 4 glasses per day, increase it to 6.  The more you start drinking the better.  8 glasses is ideal,  but going from 0 glasses to 8 can be daunting.  Just increase your intake and soon enough you'll be drinking 8 glasses per day. It's important that you try and be earth friendly and opt for a filtered pitcher rather than all the plastic bottles. Our favorite is Zero Water, recommended to us by my sister Madeline.  It comes with a small gadget that lets you test the water you normally drink.  It shows the levels of toxins in our water.  After passing your water through their filter it should read zero!  And it does!  We had fun testing different waters and were amazed at all the high levels.  I think we all know by now the benefits of drinking water, but you can click here for more info. 

Eat more fruits and vegetables 

You can do this everyday with every meal.  Eating more vegetables is huge and as always organic is best.  Did you know that the recommended serving an adult should have is 5- 9 servings per day! For children it is 5 servings per day. I used to have trouble with this so now I drink more than half of my servings in my morning vegetable juice.  Here are some ways to increase your fruits and vegetables:
  • Make fruit and/or vegetable juices
  • Make fruit smoothies, frozen fruit is a great option if you can't get organic.
  • Add a fruit and a vegetable to every meal, more if you already do this.
  • Add vegetables in your meals when cooking.  Like for example cutting up spinach into your lasagna, you don't even taste it and most importantly neither do the kids.
Click here for a great website for getting your kids to eat more fruits and vegetables.

I hope you are inspired to take some new steps that lead you down a healthier path.  Please comment below if you have any additional suggestions, questions and please keep me posted if you incorporate any of these into your daily routine.  Thanks again for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Portobello, Spring Onions & Potatoes...Meatless Mondays

So in preparing for the 3 day juice fast - cleanse Hubby and I are planning to do soon,  it is recommended to prepare your body the week before by not eating certain things like dairy, meat, sugar, caffeine, etc.  While shopping at our favorite organic farm Blooming Hill in Blooming Grove, NY,  I looked around to see what I could make in terms of dinner so that it would not be a week of only salads!  They had huge beautiful spring onions that they were grilling for us to try and they were so good.  So here is what I came up with and both Hubby and I loved it.  Yums!

Spring Onions with Portobello and Red Potatoes
(serves 2 - all ingredients are organic)
  • 12-15 small long red potatoes
  •  2 portabello mushrooms
  • spring onions
  • cilantro
  • 1 tbsp of crushed garlic
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • olive oil
 Wash and cut potatoes the long way.  Heat some good olive oil in a pan and place potatoes sliced side down on pan.  Let cook for about 1-2 minutes or until lightly golden.  Cut spring onion diagonally (thick slices), clean and cut portobello mushrooms into long slices, chop cilantro and set all three aside.  Bake potatoes in the same pan at 375 for about 10-15 mins until soft and done.  Be careful with the hot handle on the pan and put pan back on stove top on medium heat.  Add garlic, mushrooms, spring onions and cilantro.  Add more olive oil and mix all together. Season with sea salt and pepper and mix again until spring onions and mushrooms look cooked.  Wow!  You would not believe the flavors, this was so good and filling!  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Beet-Orange Juice & Beet-Carrot Muffins

I've been trying some new juices lately, because after awhile we've gotten into a bit of a rut juicing the same vegetables and fruits day in and day out.  I briefly saw a recipe with Beets & Oranges, but then I couldn't find it.  I figured we could add a couple of things and tasting as I went along here's the juice I came up with.

Beet-Orange Juice
(all ingredients are organic or local)

3 Oranges
1 Lg Beet
6 Carrots
1/2 inch of Ginger
1 Lemon

Juice all ingredients and enjoy!

As I juiced the beets and the carrots, the colors of the red and orange pulp looked so beautiful, I almost felt bad throwing it away and since I don't have a compost I thought Muffins!!!

 Beet Carrot Muffins
(makes 12 small muffins)

3 egg whites from cage free eggs
1 cup beet & carrot shredded (or from pulp of Beet-Orange juice)
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
2 cups King Arthur unbleached white whole wheat flour
2 tbs Madagascar pure vanilla extract
1 organic applesauce (single servings cup)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt

Heat oven to 350.  Mix all ingredients together, then fold in beaten egg whites,
pour in muffin pans and bake for 20-25 minutes.
You may drizzle with honey once cooled.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Gardiner NY Cupcake Festival 2012

Finally the day for the long awaited Gardiner Cupcake Festival came.  We missed it last year so we really wanted to make sure to make it this year.  Wright's Farm hosted it and it was a huge success.  There was so much activity to fill the festival, pony rides, live band, contests, bounce house, lots of vendors and of course CUPCAKES!  Lots, and lots of cupcakes.

Yes, Bacon...Oh my!

These elaborate animal cupcakes were by Deising's Bakery
Bunny chose the yellow chick!

Bettie's Double Decker - Cupcakery Cafe

Studio Cupcakes by Twisted Soul

My choice was Sweet Maresa's Upstate Cupcake - Sage & White Chocolate Cupcake, a cupcake after my own heart!  Sweet Maresa's cupcakes are organic, natural, vegan, using local and regional ingredients!  And most importantly, it was delicious!
Sweet Maresa

Sweet Maresa's Upstate Cupcake

Peace, Love, & Cupcakes in Woodstock NY

Hubby's Cupcake from Kokopelli

Hubby's Chocolate Sundae Cupcake 

From Kokopelli's

Wright's Farm Apple Cider Cupcakes!

Laura's Sweet Specialty Bake Shop in Sugar Loaf, NY

One of our all time favorites Moxie's Cupcake's

Bread Alone in Woodstock, NY

 Didn't get to try these but we have had their bread! Yummy!

There were many more!  If you're local to the Hudson Valley make sure you make it next year, and if not I've provided links under the pictures for all the Cupcakes we visited at the festival!  Enjoy!