zero waste (mama + daughter outfits)

Hellllooooo spring!!

During the long winter months, I took up sewing items by hand. I have never been good with a sewing machine, and while I hope to be one day, right now I find that I just don’t have the space or time to learn.

What I do instead is while Wilder is having a nap and Remy is having quiet time, I cut out patterns for clothing and I sew them. It takes me weeks to do it by hand, but being able to rest on the couch and watch Netflix for an hour or two while I stitch the fabric together is such a nice break in my otherwise long day.

The clothes are always something that we need. From dresses to shirts to shorts, we always end up wearing it all. I simply purchase a vintage sheet from a thrift store for usually $6 and under and from it, I get a few separate pieces of clothing. It’s sustainable living at its finest.

(You can see Remy’s black dress and my tan dress here, both of which I also made.) Have a lovely week!

Emory

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how to create a healthy home

Image Pixabay CC0 License

Creating a healthy home environment is something that every parent strives for, which is why so many people dedicate so much time to keeping their homes clean. Taking care of the house is a time-consuming task and can feel like it never ends, especially when you have kids. But, looking after your home and keeping it healthy involves more than just chores; there are also other ways to make your home a healthier place to live. Here are some suggestions that can help you to make your home as healthy as possible:

Improve Your Air Quality

Air may be invisible, but its quality plays a significant role in the health of your home. While there is a lot of focus on air pollution, in terms of fumes from factories and vehicles, the air pollution that is within your home is worth thinking about too. The home environment can produce all kinds of fumes, from the wood that you burn to heat your home through to cooking fumes; there are many ways the air in your home can become polluted. Air pollution can lead to respiratory diseases, and if any of your family suffers from allergies, these can be exacerbated by low indoor air quality. 

Making some simple changes around your home can make a big difference to the air quality. One of the first factors to think about is your HVAC system; if your air conditioning is not working right, it can lead to dust and allergens not being effectively filtered out of the air. To prevent this, it is a good idea to get an HVAC Repair engineer to resolve the problem as soon as you notice. 

Another useful way to improve indoor air quality at your home is to keep it well ventilated. Keeping your home ventilated will help to ensure that the air can flow freely.

Ditch the Chemicals

Reducing the amount of chemicals that you use in your home can help make your house naturally healthy. The chemicals that are used in many proprietary cleaners could be potentially harmful to people with respiratory illnesses.

If you would like to reduce the chemicals that are used in your home, you may want to consider switching to greener alternatives or even try making your own natural cleaning products.

If you do need to use chemicals in your home, don’t forget to take care around children and pets, and try to keep the room ventilated when using the products.

Deal With Mould

Mould not only looks pretty nasty, but it can also be bad for your health. Mould spores travel through the air and can cause issues for people that are sensitive to mould. Preventing mould from forming is the best course of action to keep your home healthy. To prevent mould, it is a good idea to clean up any spillages and deal with leaks as soon as you notice them. Keeping condensation at bay by opening windows when cooking is also an essential part of preventing mould.

** This was a contributed post.

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preventing plumbing problems at home

Plumbing problems can cause havoc in your home. From minor issues like dripping taps to full flooding, when something goes wrong with your plumbing, it’s a pain to have to sort it out. Even small problems can get worse if you leave them, causing water damage or driving up your water bills. Although you can address problems when they arise, there are also steps that you can take to prevent some of the most common problems. Prevention can be the better way to approach plumbing issues, saving you plenty of time and money. Take a look at these ideas to prevent plumbing problems in your home.

Insulate Exposed Pipes

Pipes that are exposed to the elements could experience problems due to fluctuations in temperature. When it’s cold, old pipes could freeze over and might be at risk of bursting or breaking. Pipes in your attic or basement, as well as some exposed pipes outside, should be insulated to prevent them from getting too cold. You can easily do this yourself if you want to, as pipe insulation is available from any hardware store. It will help to protect your pipes and keep heat in so you save money on hot water too.

Image from Pixabay – CC0 License

Regularly Check Connections

Connections between pipes and various plumbed-in items around your home can be key areas where problems form. Loose connections and leaks can cause issues, so it’s smart to keep an eye on these areas. It’s a good idea to regularly inspect your home anyway, and even smarter to take a close look at any connections that could start to leak. Sometimes these problems can be very easily solved by tightening something up or using some sort of sealant to fill any gaps. It can help to prevent worse problems later, which might be more difficult to fix.

Keep Your Drains Clear

Blocked drains can cause many issues. Keeping them clear ensures everything is working as it should be. Drains can get blocked due to what you put down them, as well as problems outside your home. Make sure you keep food out as much as possible and avoid pouring oil down your drains. A professional RootX treatment will take care of roots from trees and plants trying to get into your pipes. This can prevent damage and avoid the need for putting new pipes in too, so you can save a lot of money.

Know Where Your Shutoff Valve Is

One of the most important things that you can know is where to find the main shutoff valve for the water supply in your home. This can help to prevent flooding and disaster if anything does go wrong. It’s also important if you want to attempt any basic plumbing tasks around your home, as you will often need to turn off the water first. You might be able to check your property inspection report to locate the valve.

Aim to prevent plumbing problems in your home and you can avoid all kinds of issues that could be expensive to fix.

** This was a contributed post.

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recipe: checkered cookies

This recipe was largely inspired by the Checkerboard Cookies found in the recipe book “Fika.” The recipes in it are so simple, delicate, and tasty, I thought that using one to serve at Easter (and beyond) would be a nice treat. 

Checkered Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

Ingredients:

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon juice
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

Steps:

1. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and flour. Mix well and form into a soft dough.

2. Separate into two pieces, placing one in another bowl. Sprinkle cocoa powder over one half of the dough. Mix well.

3. Divide the light and dark doughs into two pieces each- making four in total. Form each piece into a log approximately 1 inch in diameter. Carefully place one light log next to a dark one. Then place one dark log on top of a light one, and the remaining light log on top of the dark one. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F. Remove dough from fridge and wrap and cut into approximately 24 equal pieces. Put cookies onto a non-stick cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Let cool before removing from sheet.

Emory

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how to cure anxiety

This post has a bold title for a reason- while there is no “cure all” for general or crippling anxiety (in fact, anxiety exists to help you), I do so strongly believe in these methods working to help alleviate symptoms that I wanted to get your attention!

If you are a sufferer of anxiety then please read on. If you aren’t, that doesn’t mean that you will go through your entire life without experiencing it at some point. In fact, it can hit anyone at any given moment. For the more sensitized people (myself included), it can become almost unbearable.

Now I’m not writing this from a doctor’s standpoint. I’m writing this from someone who has lived with anxiety probably my entire life, and suffered from pretty bad anxiety over the last 1.5 years. I now feel 90% better than how I felt last year. I do still have some of my physical symptoms, for just as the body takes time to heal a broken leg it also takes time to heal from nervous energy. But I no longer have my persistent anxiety, and that is due to these natural methods. So, I am not deterring anyone from going to a doctor to seek help. I’m merely stating what helped me, and what I believe can help you too (if you are wanting it to)!

Everyone who has anxiety has their own unique story. I won’t get into mine much, but I will say that it began after much stress and change about 1.5 years ago. From there, the horrible physical symptoms arose. I went from being completely healthy and happy to incredibly dizzy, upset stomach, heart palpitations, eye floaters, lump in the throat, shaky hands, weak legs, moody, tinnitus, and more. These symptoms never let up. For 24 hours a day I experienced them, and could barely function. I suffered, my children suffered, and my husband probably suffered most. It was horrendous.

After over a year of so many tests, I kept on hearing the same thing from doctors. “Your results are normal. I don’t know what you have, but it could be ______ (insert illness/disease). I’m referring you to a specialist. By the way you also have anxiety and should go on anti-depressants.” Then they would wash their hands clean of me. I never went on them, and I became so tired of that cycle and living in constant fear that I knew that something needed to change.

Like so many people with anxiety, I spent hours researching natural and alternative ways to “cure” it. I would tell myself to get over it and do everything I could think of to mentally push it away. I tried ignoring it, which only made it worse. I didn’t realize that what I should’ve been doing was fully accepting it- even calling it on! Sound crazy? I know, but it works.

First things first. The changing moment in my life came when I downloaded the DARE app. You need to as well. No, this isn’t an ad. What it is is life-changing. Download it, go off by yourself somewhere, and listen to it all. Take it in. The type of anxiety that you have will become clear, and the amazing founder of the DARE Response will tell you how to start living peacefully with your anxiety. That day.

You will also most likely be sent the e-book. Read it. If you aren’t, here is a free link. The password is dare2016.

I was told by someone that the founder, Barry McDonagh, was largely inspired by the brilliant Dr. Claire Weekes. So step two, read everything that you can by her. Do you like Audrey Hepburn? If so then I highly recommend her audiobook “Panic Away.” It will put the DARE Response into perspective and give you a more rounded understanding of how tricky anxiety is and how you can live peacefully with it. Reading/listening to her material is as important as doing the same of McDonagh’s.

Let’s discuss food. If there are two foods that you should try to eliminate it’s caffeine and refined sugar. What does caffeine physically do to a body? It increases your heart rate, makes you excitable, can make you dizzy, give you racing thoughts, the inability to sleep, and more. It can even make you anxious. Those with anxiety already suffer from these issues. Why would you want to increase that? So please, it will be very hard, but the first thing that you must do is cut out all caffeine. You will feel like garbage for days or weeks but I promise you that it will help you in the long run! (If you happen to miss the taste then opt for decaf instead.)

Why sugar? It has also been linked to mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. While I tried to cut it out of my diet completely, I found that it was incredibly difficult. Instead, I have cut down on it a lot. Even doing that is better than consuming a lot of it.

Now of course there are foods that can help reduce the effects of anxiety. I didn’t find that they worked for me, perhaps because I didn’t stick to a plan where I ate them regularly. However, I don’t dispute their effects. So, I will include them here. They are: Brazil nuts, fatty fish, eggs, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, turmeric, chamomile, yogurt, and Green tea (try herbal). Finally, water. Drink more water!

Now for what I know does help- V I T A M I N S! The day you stop drinking caffeine, please begin take a Vitamin B complex. There are so many studies on how this vitamin helps to lower stress in the body. I promise you that it works! I can always notice a difference on the days that I don’t take it as I generally feel more irritable. This is one of the most important vitamins to take in this new journey.

Magnesium (with Calcium) is also said to be the world’s most natural relaxation pill. Some of it’s benefits are it promotes a better sleep and it relaxes your nervous system. In order for it to work properly, Magnesium needs to be taken with Calcium. You can actually buy both together in one capsule!

Probiotics. Again there is just so much research on how good gut health improves your overall health and mood. I find that taking one is also very important if you are wanting to get over your general anxiety.

Acupuncture is something that has also changed my mind towards all the wonderful benefits of Eastern medicine. It also helps that the doctor who administers my acupuncture is a kind, affirming man. The key is to find one that will tell you that they can cure your anxiety, and will reassure you each time you go in. I actually went to another acupuncturist before finding him, and found the process to be painful and uncomfortable. Don’t stop searching until you feel like you found someone that can help you, and that you actually leave feeling better than before you went in! Acupuncture helps release endorphins to ease anxiety. With regular treatments, and a credible acupuncturist, it is just so beneficial.

Finally, exercise. I know that health professionals say that exercising two or three times a week is what you should always aim for. But I say that if you can do it everyday, please do! It doesn’t have to be long or strenuous. 20 minutes or so of jump rope or a YouTube workout (my family loves Chloe Ting) to get the heart rate going does wonders for reducing your anxiety levels. Or, going for a longer walk. Anything helps and it is one of the best defences against anxiety that you will find. 

To sum up:

– Download the DARE Response app and read the book
– Read/listen to everything you can by Claire Weekes
– Eliminate caffeine and sugar
– Eat anxiety-reducing foods
– Take Vitamin B, Magnesium with Calcium, and a Probiotic
– Consider acupuncture
– Try to exercise everyday
– Most of all, find someone who can tell you everyday that you will get through this! Anxiety is not a life-sentence and you can easily live with it with just a bit of work on your part. I promise that you will be ok!

This may all seem like a lot and perhaps even difficult. Aside from acupuncture, it won’t cost you more than your average grocery bills. You definitely don’t have to do them all at once, but instead, maybe adopt them over a period of weeks or months. It is work, but so is living with anxiety. Anxiety is more than a full-time job. My goal in posting this is to stop anxiety living your life for you, and for you to gain that control back!

Please consult your doctor if you are suffering from anxiety, and are wanting to explore more natural methods before considering anti-depressants. Or, if you are already on them and want to try any of these methods in addition to taking them. I talked to a professional before going trying each of these natural methods and followed their suggestions in doing so.

Lastly, you are not alone! I am always here if you need to talk. If ever you feel like reaching out, my email address is helloscarlettblog@outlook.com. Also, if you would like to let me know what has worked for you, please leave it in the comments below. You got this!

<3

Emory

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