Monday, March 31, 2014

DIY: May as well be my middle name!!

Admittedly, I am a bit of a DIY freak!! I'm a big believer in a can of paint, it can fix just about anything in my book. Sometimes my ever so frugal hubby loves it, sometimes he wishes I would just let him buy something new already. But I can't help myself, I was born this way! When we need more storage, I don't buy a console table or hutch, I find an antique four drawer dresser for $25 and show it some love! 
Dresser before..
Dresser after!

Beat up old dining room table?? 
Nothing a 220 grid sanding sponge and a can of furniture paint won't cure! 

Dining chairs just needed a little sprucing with some paint and new fabric! 

Desk looking haggard???
(Are you noticing a pattern yet?)

Desk before...
Desk After!

You can give your entire house a little facelift with a little bit of creativity and a lot of patience from your spouse! Personally I love keeping pieces in my house that have history, what's the fun in having your personal space look like a Target catalog? They don't make furniture like they used to anyway.

My DIY addiction also happens to feed my thrifting addiction.. BONUS!! 

I'm sure I will have plenty more to share on my DIY journey! As always...

Essentially yours, 


Friday, March 28, 2014

green baby fair time!!!

The Green Baby Fair is coming to Miami!! 

Twice a year, The Gathering Place presents The Green Baby Fair. This is the first year I will be attending and I'm so excited to see all the awesome vendors with so many of their "green" baby products!

The Green Baby Fair will be held at the Little Haiti Cultural Center on April 5th from 10am - 4pm. General admission is $10 online or $15 at the door. Children 13 and under are free, this is a family friendly event. For more information, visit Green Baby Fair online.

Good news!! The wonderful people at The Gathering Place  are generous enough to let me raffle off a free ticket to one of my lucky readers!  Just enter to win below! 

Can't wait to meet you there!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Essentially Yours,


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Homemade: Laundry Detergent

I've been making my own laundry detergent for a little over a year now, and I don't think I can ever go back! I can't describe how satisfying it is to walk past certain aisles in the grocery store silently whispering to myself, "I don't need you, or you, or you." 

When I set out to make most of my own laundry/ cleaning products, I did it because it was a part of us really cutting back and becoming more aware of what we consume on this planet. I also LOVE the idea that I wouldn't need to be fearful of my boys coming in contact with any nasty chemicals. Sure, I had cut out any meat fish or poultry with any antibiotics or fillers. (Even though you still have to be concerned with Chlorine soaking when it comes to poultry, more on that later) it just didn't make much sense to me that I was trying to feed my family safely, but all the while still allowing them to come in contact with harsh chemicals in almost every other way. 

Off I went on a complete overhaul of our cleaning supplies as well as our medicine cabinets! I tried a couple of recipes before I found the perfect fit. So here it is, it's so simple & cost effective! (Bonus!)

You will need:

4 cups of Zote soap shredded
You can use either the pink or white bar, depends on the scent you like most.
I use the grater blade on my food processor to shave it down, then the regular chopping blade to shred it into tiny pieces.

If your really lucky you can find the kind that comes already shredded into tiny flakes.

You can also use Fels Naptha. 
I recently gave this a try and was not disappointed. It's a much stronger scent though, depends what you like really.

Then 2 cups of 20 Mule Team Borax

2 cups of Super Washing Soda

Mix ingredients well in a bowl and store in an air tight container (we use glass, just my preference), and that's it! It's so simple and takes no time at all!

Hope you enjoy, we definitely have!

Essentially Yours,


Thursday, March 20, 2014

Tip of the day: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!

Leftover jam, jelly or pickle jars??? Put those babies to work! I wash mine and reuses them as glass Tupperware. Last year I banned all plastic Tupperware from our home, but replacing with good quality all glass alternatives can get a bit pricey. (I had ALOT of Tupperware) 

In order to keep up with my rambunctious boys and their full schedule of outdoor time, I make their food in batches so I can have their meals ready in a flash. So I need LOTS of glassware! Don't get me wrong, I love all the awesome cutesy and durable products like wean glassware, but at $5 a pop for 5oz jars? We're talking MAJOR commitment here for a full overhaul.

So my thrifty nifty mommy brain kicked in and I decided to reuse what was right in front of me! Isn't that what it's all about anyway? Reduce? Check! Reuse? Check! Recycle? Check! (Except for the hubby, he's still working on it)

Essentially yours,


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Products I Love: No more tears...

I am loving the shampoo and conditioner by Nature's Baby Organics. Both of my boys have curly hair so they tend to need conditioner to keep the frizz down. (especially in this South Florida humidity!)
I'm always on the hunt for an all natural option for the boys. I figure it makes no sense for me to remove all harsh chemicals from our home only to use chemicals directly on their scalp! Trouble is, not all organic shampoos work well with curly hair. They mostly dry it out. These are delicate, but still very hydrating.

I chose the lavender scent because I usually bathe them in the evenings after dinner. (If you are a mom of boys, I need not explain why) I use lavender EVERYTHING! Soap, lotion, I even sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil in their bath water to help soothe them and transition smoothly into dreamland. 

Hey, I need all the help I can get!

Essentially Yours,


Sunday, March 16, 2014

Essential Oils: On The Go!!

Minivans. Who doesn't love them?? I'm personally a huge fan, having two boys 15 months apart, my minivan quite possibly saved my life... Or at least (what's left of) my sanity. 

Did I mention my oldest son was only 15 months old (wasn't walking yet btw) when I brought my little nugget home? So yeah, I frickin' love my minivan! It makes me sad to think of the day we grow out of it.

However, there is essentially more space which means more cracks and crevices in which I find stinky socks, old snacks, etc... I need air fresheners in the worst way! I'm a big believer in Aromatherapy - and I don't know about you but I just can't function in a stinky or stale environment. 

When I first laid eyes on the essential oil car diffuser, I squinted as they glistened a bit and I managed to whisper "Hello Lovah". (Quote Carrie Bradshaw much??) I just about died and went to heaven! 

My husband was constantly buying those stinky trees from the gas station that give me a headache! 
Warning!!! Side Note:
Ever since I banned all chemical ridden cleaning products and detergents from my home and started making my own, (more about all my natural  homemade cleaning products soon!) my sense of smell has become so sensitive! I can't even smell a burning Yankee candle without immediately sniffing out all of the petrochemicals in it. I used to love those candles!

A gift and a curse really, I can't go anywhere without my nose being completely offended. I've heard over the years in the "natural community" that all of these chemicals we inhale on a constant basis not only are unhealthy but that they can de-sensitize your nose to the point where it becomes normal and adapts to the stank. I will take my newly offended nose any day of the week! (No offense old nose) 

This week I'm burning Grapefruit essential oil in the car and it is divine! 
 Pressed from the rind, Grapefruit is more than just a fresh scent, its cleansing and invigorating properties have made it a favorite among essential oil lovers like me! Grapefruit’s fresh and invigorating aroma is sure to uplift the mood and please the senses. When used aromatically it helps balance and uplift  your mind and reduce anxiety. I need all the balance I can get with these two little guys in the back!

I'm always on the hunt for new natural car scents, I'll keep you posted!

Essentially Yours,


Essential Oils: Rooty Tooty, Fresh & Fruity!

One of the biggest surprises about essential oils, is that you can safely ingest them. (Some, not all) This Fruit Dip recipe is a favorite with my boys, it's light fresh flavor as well as scent makes it a great sensory experience for them as well!
All you need is:

8oz pack of cream cheese
8oz of sour cream
1/3 cup of honey
2 tsp of vanilla extract
3-5 drops of Lemon essential oil

It won't disappoint!

Essentially Yours, 


Montessori Living: Practical Life

The Montessori method encourages child led autonomy, but whenever I introduce the boys to a new facet of their independence it boggles my mind how they take it up another notch instanly. 

We've been working on "cutting" with my boys, they cut fruit mostly. But this week my 3 year old wanted to cut his sun butter and jelly sandwich. But first he wanted to try his hand at spreading the condiments on the bread, (this was a first) since I've learned to put my "control" of the situation aside and put his needs first I let him try. 
He did it! The look on his face was worth the agonizing three minutes in my head as he dragged that sun butter across, tearing the bread apart. ( In my mind all I could hear is: "I've pierced the toast!" from "The Bird Cage") as I bit my lip and tried to stop thinking of how much faster it would be if I just did it myself, we were late once again for a meetup!

But we both learned a lesson that day, he learned he can make his own sandwich and I, well I learned to stop quoting movies in my head while my children are talking to me. (Old habits die hard) No seriously, I'm amazed at how much I learn from them on a daily basis. They teach me something new each day, and this journey we've decided to take together is exciting and full of changes. For ALL of us!

Essentially Yours,


Products I Love : Shoe fly don't bother me...

I've mentioned before how much Mosquitos just love me! Well, it seems my boys have also inherited my wonderfully sweet O blood type that turns these Florida Mosquitos into something right out of the Twilight novel! I am currently searching for the right DIY essential oil repellent recipe but until then, this is my go to all natural product:

Badger Bug Balm, this stuff works wonders! I've searched high and low for a natural product that ACTUALLY works, this is definitely strong enough. It's awesome, and the push up stick is super convenient for wiggly toddlers on the go! Beware: the strong scent is not suitable for those with weak stomachs. I pride myself on my iron stomach and if I use too much even I can get a tad queasy. 

Another tried and true favorite from the Badger brand is... 
Their All Season Facestick also works great on wiggly toddlers in a hurry for some fun in the sun!

I'm sure I will be posting more products as summer approaches. But as always... 

Essentially Yours, 


Essential Oils: Ouchies!

It's inevitable, my two year old is constantly tripping and falling all over the place. I blame myself, I was the clumsiest kid!! Now it seems I have passed that wonderful trait along to my little guy. His legs look like those of a cheetah with all the bruising. 

This week, he took a tumble. He scraped his tiny knee on concrete, and it was the worst he's had in his tiny two years of life. (Insert Mommy guilt here) 
All the moms of older rambunctious boys, feel free to laugh at me now. I am aware these will get worse as they get older and more daring. For right now though, this is tough for me to see. Especially when he is usually so resilient and does not cry most of the time, this time was different. I digress! 
I raced over and cracked open my bible: 
I immediately applied Lavender to soothe the pain and burning. I then applied a few drops of Melaleuca essential oil to assist in the disinfecting and healing of it all. Essential oils are created inside aromatic plants that are both volatile and oil soluble. They're natures magic healing oils as far as I'm concerned! Their healing properties seem endless!
(Please excuse the chubby toddler fingers, it seems like every picture I take has teeny fingers creeping into the shot.)

 I'm so glad in times like these I don't have to rush to the medicine cabinet and grab some chemical ridden product from my local pharmacy, all the while insecure and wondering "what is actually in this and what long term effects can this have on my child"? I love having natural options to offer my family, as well as modeling for my children that they don't always have to reach for "drugs" every time they have an issue. We have everything we need right here in nature.

Essentially Yours,


Totschool: Everything's coming up Rainbows!

Lots of rainbows and four leaf clover crafts this week in honor of St. Patty's Day. The boys always enjoy beading crafts. Finding green and yellow beads with clovers at the craft store was a bonus this week! 
I'm always saving recyclable products around the house with the best intentions of using them in our crafts (toilet paper rolls or egg cartons), only to find out my husband has thrown them away! Not even recycled them, thrown in the garbage! (I know, he's working on it) I was finally able to pull it off this week using toilet paper rolls in our latest rainbow craft.

As you can see, they also double as a train whistle! My boys are both train obsessed, I love seeing how creative their growing minds get with finding new and innovative ways to incorporate some sort of train correspondence to whatever it is we are doing.

After all these rainbows they were ready for a little transferring and grabbed my "oh so crafty" transferring tray I set out this week... 
Don't judge me. 

It's been a long week and I'm fresh out of creativity. They actually seemed pretty interested in this transfer tray because....

They had a better idea. (I told you they were train obsessed!) 

Tune in next time to see what other activities they can commandeer! (Gotta love those leadership skills they are honing!) 

Essentially Yours,


Thursday, March 13, 2014

Essential Oils: Lavender

If your anything like me, a born and bred New Yorker currently living in Florida's tropical climate (while secretly planning my escape back to my beloved city). Then you too are under constant attack by (killer, I'm sure of it) mosquitos on a daily basis.
My saving grace has been some Lavender essential oil. It removes that pesky itch/burn. A few drops applied topically should do the trick, just another example of all the healing power nature and it's plants has to offer!

Gearing up for St. Patty's Day!

March madness is in full effect at our house! Between a host of birthday parties, (four this month already!) and car shopping (so much fun with a two and a three year old in tow). Needless to say we have a late start on our tot school St. Patty's Day activities. The boys sure have been catching up today, diving head first into all things green! We started the morning off with a little four leaf clover lacing... 
This went well, but was over pretty quickly. I used dollar store four leaf clovers and punched holes in them with a standard hole puncher. I also used pipe cleaner to weave in and out (turns out not that flexible). Next we painted four leaf clovers using cut up green bell peppers... 
This was a hit, for a few minutes. We quickly moved on to painting rainbows... 
This kept their interest for quite a while, and I love how focused they were with each individual Q-tip. They were very proud of their rainbows and gently put them on our outdoor craft table to dry. 
(Don't you just love chubby two year old fingers???) 

After all the excitement died down they jumped right into some sensory play with sand and all things dinosaur!

Mmmmmm, yummy Stegosaurus??? 

Save your appetite for some corn beef and cabbage next week little guy!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Blog Launch - It's Official!!

My much awaited, highly anticipated (mostly by my close family and friends who were tired of my blog rants) blog is finally a reality! Please, be patient with me. As I navigate through this uncharted territory with zero extra time on my hands, and a barely functioning laptop! Cant wait to share my journey with everyone! (With all this spare time of course)