3 Ways to Save on Back to School

IMG_5910

As of this back-to-school year I have officially made it through prepping for every grade. I’ve done Kindergarten – Grade 8 three times over and as my oldest gets thing organized for his final year of high school I feel like we’ve learned a thing or two (or 40!)

If I could go back in time, of course, I would do things a bit differently from the start. But I didn’t know. Now that I do, I thought I’d share a few of the things that were my biggest learns and how we implement them from year to year.

Back to school does NOT have to be expensive. It just doesn’t. Think about the fact that every single family, from the highest of incomes to the lowest, are all sending their kids back and with that in mind – there’s no way it has to be hundreds of dollars per child (which I feel like we were once spending!)

IMG_5864.jpg

  1. Buy a GREAT Backpack – Yes, your child is going to want the Spiderman or the Paw Patrol or the [insert whatever kids are into these days] backpack if you let them choose. They just are. However, if you don’t let them choose – you can save a ton of cash over the years. A good backpack is expensive to start out with but your kids will end up using it for years and the savings in the long run is huge! El Cheapo backpacks will still cost you $20 per kid and most of them barely survive the year. Purchase a good backpack and it’ll be paid off by year 3 and they’ll still be using it 5-6 if not 8 years from now. The backpacks we’ve found to last the best are from MEC. Plus, they stand behind their products. Zipper breaks – return it and get a new one. Try THAT with your Spiderman backpack. Not gonna happen. We also learned that Dakine has a lifetime warranty on their backpacks which means essentially for $70 or so you could only purchase your child one pack for all 13 years of school. That’s a savings of $190 per kid. Plus, there’s no reason my son can’t still use his (that he’s already had for 5 years) well into his college/travel/whatever years. It’s still perfect. And we haven’t even taken advantage of the warranty yet!
  2. Reuse School Supplies – In a generation that is taught to reduce, reuse and recycle, I find it ludicrous that we were buying brand new pencil crayons each year. Sure, in the younger years they may wear them down but we found ours could easily get 2 years use. Never mind all of those pens, fine liners, and what goes wrong with a ruler? There’s simply no way our kids need a new one every year. At the end of each year we go through everything they bring home and toss the little nubs of pencils and keep anything that’s of decent size in a reusable grocery bag and pop it into the closet. The week before school starts again, we grab the bag, go through the supply list and reload backpacks. This year for all 3 children the only thing we need to rebuy is one ruler (because it was lost), a few erasers and one binder (these don’t last forever so after 3 years of use, it was time for a new one for one boy!) Not only does this save money but it also helps teach our kids the things we want them to know. Like, if something is still good – we don’t toss it and buy new just because. We use what we have. We steward it well. We certainly have to fight their consumeristic tendencies (and mine!) and this is just one more way to do it!
  3. Buy Clothes Throughout the Year – One thing is for certain, stores know that we’re going to be stocking up for ‘back-to-school’ clothes and they do everything they can to capitalize on it. Of course, it’s tempting not to cave to the newest in fall fashions, but you can save way more money by purchasing clothes that your kids actually NEED throughout the year as they need it. It means you aren’t shopping solely for the purpose of shopping and getting caught up in a ton of wants instead of needs. When my kids need jeans – we buy them. There’s no way they all suddenly need jeans in September! Shopping throughout the year also helps you take advantage of stocking up when things are on sale and purchasing at better times. January is the best time to buy shoes and buying things like jackets and shorts off-season can help save a lot.  As we took stock of closets this week we found that 2 boys could use a few t-shirts and one boy needs a hoodie or two. That’s it!

So back to school for us isn’t something we have to save for or even something that’s a big deal. Back when we were purchasing everyone’s shoes (indoor/outdoor/athletic) and everyone backpacks and lunch bags plus school supplies all new and fresh it was costing hundreds and hundreds for all three boys – and that’s before clothes.

Now, it’s not even a big deal. The final total is smaller than a quick trip to the grocery store for a few staples. Plus, our kids are learning the two steps that are way more important before we get to the recycle one – they’re reducing and reusing and those are the things that are going to make a bigger impact on our planet, lives and budget than recycling will!

A Dessert You’ll Want to Make [NOW!]

_MG_3360

When my son got home from Ireland he was excited to share with us the gifts that he brought and a few of the little mementos he had from his time away, but the thing I think he was most thrilled to tell us about was the airplane food.

I know what you’re thinking. That he was going to describe how gross it was. That’s what I thought too. Until he pulled out the cutest little jars with a fun little label and stated, “You HAVE to try this!”

_MG_3348

Apparently the dessert aboard his flight was out of this world and the lovely flight attendants kept bestowing them upon his little wobbly tray. They brought so many that he couldn’t finish them all, but also decided that he really wanted to share.

I didn’t get what all of the fuss was about until I tried it. Hello – mouth watering good!

I instantly googled the company and discovered why this little chocolate pudding delight was so amazing. These little cups of goodness were created by outstanding Chef’s from Britain. Also, when you buy them in the store they come in the cutest little reusable ceramic pots! Score!

FullSizeRender

Ours were just mini versions and I learned there was no way I was going to find them for purchase around these parts so I set out to find the perfect recipe to make my own!

Here’s what you need:

  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 4 ounces semi-sweet or milk chocolate, melted (I used semi – next time, milk!)
  • 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract
  • 1 orange (for juice and zest)

I combined a few of the recipes that I found online and while it’s not quite the same, obviously i’m not a world famous chef – I did discover an amazing new dessert option to add into our repertoire!

You know when you have company for dinner and nobody needs a big dessert because you’re all stuffed but you still want a little taste of sweet?  That’s what this is perfect for. Because you don’t need a lot to satisfy your chocolate craving or your sweet tooth.

_MG_3357

Combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch, and salt in a pot and mix in the eggs, egg yolks and milk slowly.

Heat the mixture until it gets all good and bubbly and then stir in the chocolates. Keep mixing and stirring over medium heat until it starts to boil. Turn your heat down and continue stirring for two minutes.

_MG_3339

Once it’s good and thick remove it from the heat and stir in the butter, the vanilla, orange extract, the juice of one orange and the zest from about 3/4 of the orange. Set the other quarter aside to add into the whip cream you’ll plop on top. Orange whip cream? You’ll be glad you did!

_MG_3343

Pour into teeny tiny containers because that’s all you’ll need of this decadence and top with whip cream (complete with remaining orange zest!)

What you’ll have is a scrumptious taste of heaven. Or at least pretty close to what we can get of it from here.

*main recipe inspiration here

 

Entitlement + Teens

IMG_5320

It’s been just over a week since our boy came back from his missions trip. A week since he travelled across oceans wide to serve in the rough communities of rural Ireland.

While he was away he was run ragged in the best possible way, rising early and going non-stop until pillows beckoned and eyes could stay open no longer.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.04.04 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.06.14 AM

While he was away he served with his hands and his feet and his voice in ways that I can’t even count. There was tangible help to elderly, there were races against arrogant children taunting that they could totally beat him, there were choices about simply being a mature teen and staying calm and cool when the locals words made him turn a deep shade of red.

What we wish for our kids when they come back from something like this is that it would continue. That they’d come home and wake up the next morning and ask how they can get involved in their local community. That they’d rise early and make breakfast joyfully for their brothers because they’ve learned that sometimes that’s what serving looks like. That they’d quickly sign up for all of the church groups that are heading out to do great things and they’d rally the troops for family prayer because they don’t know how they’ll get through their day without it.

That’s what we WANT to happen. Of course, it’s not what DOES happen.

Screen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.04.55 AMScreen Shot 2016-08-08 at 8.05.31 AM

Instead they come home weary and they crawl into their beds and in the morning there are cupboards filled to the brim with their favourite breakfast foods because that’s how we welcome them home. It’s how we want him to feel our love. With stuff. With comfort. With ease. I mean, serving was so hard – but your home now, little one. Come rest and eat some Corn Pops.

And they’re tired because jet lag is a real thing and so we let them laze around for a few days and during that time they reconnect on instagram with all of their friends and they watch a few movies and grab the playstation remotes and we tell them it’s okay, because they’ve worked hard. They’ve done a good thing.

IMG_1709

But all too quickly we’re feeding them a reward program for service and it looks something like being a sloth. Our actions are very clearly depicting that when you do something hard over there, across the world, it’s so nice to be back here in a sterile home with every comfort you could possibly want. You deserve it. Have another pillow. Well done.

Our souls have been restless this past week and we knew that this wasn’t how we wanted to do it. We’ve always taught our kids that being a missionary isn’t for the select few that head across the ocean but it is for all of us. If we are Christ-followers then we are called to make disciples wherever we are, not just the moments we choose, not just the times we head off and feel ready but every moment of every day.

As parents we understand so deeply the difference between telling our children something with our mouths and reinforcing it with our very lives. It’s so easy to tell our kids that missions happens right here. It’s way harder to pick up our cross and show them that it’s true.

By the very words of scripture we know that Jesus did not come to this earth to be served but to serve. But with our very words we’re showing our kids exactly the opposite. We ask things like, “What do you want to do today?” or “You’re bored? What would make you happy?” and we go on to do those very things.

IMG_5284IMG_5320

You want to go to the beach? Let’s go! You want a restful day at home? Done. You want spaghetti for dinner? Here you are! You’re annoyed by your brother? Maybe take some quiet time to regroup by yourself. Maybe put your headphones on so you don’t have to be annoyed. Maybe build a barrier because you don’t deserve to be annoyed. You deserve to be happy. And if it doesn’t make you happy – I know, that person is hard to love, they’re tiring to you, they’re so needy, they make you crazy? Probably you need some boundaries. Don’t let them wear you down. That’s not okay. YOU figure out what YOU need and YOU make sure that noone gets in the ways of YOU!

The words bring on waves of nausea and hurt the deepest part of my head. The disconnect causes turmoil in my heart and tension on every side of figuring out how we’re supposed to live and I think that it’s exactly how it should be.

I never want to feel overly comfortable; finding unending rest  and constant ease in life, I want to wrestle with which way to turn next. Sure, we can find rest in our homes and shut out the needy in the world. It’s easy. Close the door, turn on the tv and eat a bag of chips. We can even take a photo of the moment and broadcast to the world that God has given us so much joy and rest in this season. #blessed

But I can’t help but question if this is really the good life? Is this what we were made for? Jesus tells us the exact opposite but we’re struggling to find the words and actions to show our kids that this is true. Because netflix and popcorn sounds pretty great to them.

We changed our words over the weekend. We gathered the kids around and made it clear that our vocabulary was changing and for good reason. We’re breeding self-absorbed, entitled teens and we don’t like it, want it, and even more it’s not what we’ve been told to teach them. We haven’t been told to give our kids a life of ease and safety and comfort. We haven’t been told that showering them with everything they’ve ever wanted is the way to go. We’ve been given the example of Jesus life and He washed feet, while we play Halo and drink lemonade.

Our vocabulary change was simple. We made the choice, as parents, to change our sentence. No longer was our first mode of thought each day going to be, “What do you want to do today?” but rather, “How can you serve someone today?”

It’s small. It’s just a few words difference. But the entire meaning of how that changes our days is huge!

How can you serve? Here, in our city. Here, in our home. Here, in this country of privilege. Here, in your school where it feels like everyone already has more than you. Here. The place that we’ve been given. The place that God has planted us for now.

We want a paradigm shift and I may be bold in thinking it can happen but I really do. Change a few words, plead with God, feel the tension between the gifts we’ve been given and our self-absorbed nature and focus on what He focused on when He was here on earth.

Serve. There are a thousand ways but that’s another post altogether.

Are All Positive Changes Created Equal?

IMG_4848

This isn’t new around here, talking health and the importance of it. I just wanted to be clear on that.

Remember this post? If you’re new around here you may want to check it out to make sure you aren’t eating one of the same ingredients that’s in embalming fluid simply by downing your morning cereal.  Yes, I’m being serious.

As a way of introduction, I’ve always been a semi-crunchy sorta girl and healthy ways and options are how I choose to live and care for my family. I know it’s not everyone’s way and it doesn’t have to be your way. But it is my way and so every now and then I come across things that I deem important enough to talk about.

I read this article today and it made me both happy and angry. Happy because yay for moves in the right direction and angry because I hate that we even have to think about this!

In case you didn’t click the link, here’s the down low. Wal-mart is asking its suppliers to remove 8 chemicals from their products in order for Wal-mart to continue carrying them.

IMG_4718

I can give a little, teeny, tiny fist pump to that. Getting rid of formaldehyde from your make-up? That’s great. Removing Triclosan from your toothpaste and cosmetics? Fantastic.

Why? Because in animal studies,  the chemical Triclosan has been found to alter hormone regulation and formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

Can I just say that as women, we do NOT need anything else messing up our hormones. Am I right?

And as a Mama of 3 boys, I’m also not messing with anything that might give them unhealthy doses of hormones that shouldn’t be in their body.

_MG_2997

Even if we’re on different wavelengths in terms of life, I feel like we can agree that we wouldn’t knowingly and intentionally harm our body with things that can cause cancer or alter our hormones. Would we?

And if we would for ourselves, we at least want to guard our children, do we not?

I think there are a few things to consider when it comes to this article and the moves that Wal-Mart is making.

  1. We can applaud them for making a move and getting press on taking steps in the right direction as far as chemicals in products.
  2. They are asking companies to remove 8 ingredients. 8!  Can I remind you that the U.K. has a list of 1,400 ingredients that they’ve banned and Beautycounter has a Never List of 1,500.  So while I can slow-clap along with Wal-Mart, I’d rather yell and scream about companies that are doing WAY BETTER!_MG_2995
  3. The beauty industry is huge. It’s a money making beast and we might as well stop thinking that the people who are making the majority of the products we grab from the drugstore care about our health. They don’t. They care about profit margins.
  4. While Wal-Mart removes 8 chemicals I know we can do better. In fact, we ARE doing WAY better. I implore you to educate yourself. Know what you’re using and what’s in it. Care about your health, your kids health and the environment to boot! (checking out these apps is an easy way to inform yourself!)
  5. If I passed around a bottle of formaldehyde, would you immediately think that your face was a great place for it? No. Think about that the next time you put on foundation or powder or eyeshadow.IMG_4953

So, yay Wal-Mart? But not really. All I can assume is that our collective voices and collective dollars spent are making a difference. So let’s keep making our voices heard! And we know how our voices are heard when it comes to big business, right? It’s where we spend. So if we want changes to come and more toxic chemicals banned, if we want ingredients lists that actually contain every ingredient and if we want safer options on our supermarket shelves, then we need to let them know we want better because our families, our very bodies, deserve better.

I’m truly so thankful for companies that are making a difference. Companies like Goop, The Honest Company, Beautycounter and more. They’re making positive changes and I’m so happy to support each one of them with my dollars. Wal-Mart, you can do better than 8!  These companies are!

 

A Day in Her Life: Guest Posting

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 7.40.37 PM

Hey Friends! Just wanted to give a quick shout out that I’m over on Our Nest in the City today sharing a bit about what my normal days look like!

Of course, it’s summer so they aren’t totally normal but fun nonetheless.

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 7.40.22 PM

I did a guest post for her a few years ago as part of the same series so it was fun to look back and see my days when the boys were much younger compared to now when they’re mostly MIA. *tear*

IMG_4755

Go check  out her blog! She’s young, fun, creative – has three of the cutest little meatballs you’ll ever see and lives in a part of Canada I’d love to visit sometime.

Here’s today’s post.

And here’s the one I did a few years back for her!

Happy Wednesday, homies! (it is Wednesday, right?)

Holding Tight + Letting Go

IMG_5238

We feel them flutter inside of us when they aren’t yet able to live in the world on their own. Our very bodies giving them everything they need, giving them their very life.

We bring them into the world through groans and whimpers. We breathe breaths so deep and pray prayers so strong and we say words implying we may not be able to handle this much longer. And then, in but a moment, it all changes. We grasp them close right up onto our chests. Their skin on ours as we hold them tight.

We’re intoxicated by every piece of them. Smitten with their very presence. We know love in a brand new way. Never before have crooks of necks and little toes brought us so much joy. We all but melt when they hold onto our finger, never daring to let go.

We stand outside their school and watch as their peering eyes dart across the cluster of parents until their gaze finds ours. We lock for just a second before they rush out all smiles and, backpack bouncing on their back, throw their arms around us and we breathe them in. Again.

They lie fevered on the sofa and we stroke their forehead and whisper that it’s going to be okay. We push aside all else in life. In this moment there is nowhere else to be but right there beside them, rubbing their hot little back.

We sit at the side of their beds as they tell tales of their day through tears. We listen and nod as they describe the harsh words spoken and we take their hand and tell them we’re right here. We talk about brave. We talk about courage. We talk about loving in the midst of the hard. We pray that it wouldn’t have to be so hard.

We roll over in our sleep to make room for them in our bed when they’ve had a bad dream. We even bought the biggest mattress just so we could accommodate this moment. So we could clutch them in our arms when they’re feeling a bit afraid.

We share wisdom when trials come and we hold their arm as we pray that God would guide them through it. We quietly wipe away the tears while eyes are still closed so they don’t see. We plead that God be with them.

We dream together, sitting across the table, as we make plans for the future and balance out the pro’s and the con’s. We guide as best we can and we tell them how proud we are of who they’ve become. The journey they’ve been on. The path they’ve taken.

And then somehow we’re supposed to let them go. Somehow, we’re supposed to open the clutches of our fingers from around theirs and we’re to release them.

We’re to unwrap the tendrils we’ve woven so closely around them. We’re to give up the control that we felt while they were in our home, the ways we could see what they were up to throughout the normal days and the way we could share a few words here and there in between comings and goings.

I know, I really do, I know in the deepest part of my gut that this is good. That the years that we’ve put in are preparing them for just this time. But the thought of how we’re to let go after holding them so close for all of our lives simply eludes me.

We’ve clutched and grasped and held tight and fastened our hearts to theirs and now, the embrace, this dance, this mobile of moving figures interacting and affecting each others lives is supposed to end. The music fades and the cameras pan out. I don’t want the closing credits to roll.

We have one more year until our oldest graduates high school. Mama’s of littles, I have no idea how this happened. It’s true what they say about time being a thief.

I’m learning to loosen my grasp on their lives, to release them bit by bit. But in an honest moment I can say I sure don’t want to.

Yes, it’s a beautiful thing to see them shine in the world. Yes, we want them to be brave. Of course, we know there is a proper time for them to make the shift and be released more tangibly from our grasp. My head knows it’s right and good.

My heart, right now, still says no way. Please stay.

Faves + Saves

IMG_5214

I’m constantly hitting the save button on articles I just love. Things that make me think outside of my suburban box or interesting facts I just didn’t know before.

I love having ALL OF THE KNOWLEDGE! Which I get is impossible but why not try? Every time my kids hear me say the words, “statistics say…” or “I just read this study…” they laugh. It’s become that comical. I contend that there are smart people out there doing smart things and I can glean from what they’re finding out. It would be ignorant not to!

These are some of the things I’ve saved lately and some of my favourite tangible things that I’ve been using/reading/loving!

IMG_5214

My boy just got back from Ireland and one thing I love when people travel is getting magazines from across the pond. Simple Things has become a fave so I put a request in for it and he didn’t disappoint!  Why is everything European just cooler?

Plants need sunshine so why wouldn’t we?! Why it’s important to get outside this summer!

You’d think with the advancement of technology to help us do things faster, we’d be less busy! Turns out that’s just not the case.

IMG_5216

Having lavender in the garden is the best. I constantly have a vase of it in the bathroom to freshen it up plus it looks so pretty. Also – lavender lemonade?  Yes please! Go plant some, yo!

I love getting rid of stuff so this post made my heart all swooney!

IMG_5217

Aluminum-free deodorant is by far the thing I get asked about the most so I’ve been doing a bit of research. I don’t use deodorant apart from about 3 times per month when I know there’s going to be a lot of sweating involved but I’ve been using this one when I feel I need it with great results.  You can get them in a little tester size which I appreciated, so you’re not dropping mega-cash on a product before you know it works.

Did you all know that I use to be a photographer?  True story. I’ve never been able to figure out how to take great pics with my phone though. Here’s some help we could all use to pretty up our instagram feeds!

IMG_5223

The process of moving towards a more chemical/toxic free life is interesting and takes a loooooong time. It seems just when I get one thing figured out, my eyes are opened to a new area that I should think about. Perfume is one thing I knew I shouldn’t be using but couldn’t not. I just love it too much and I found alternatives made me smell like a hippy. Until now! I’ve been using Beautycouter’s Citrus Rosemary Body Oil instead of perfume and I’ll never go back! Not only does it smell fantastic but my skin is hydrated too! Win!

I bought the knock-off of these shoes and have worn them to shreds and I can’t find them again! It’s all I can do to not buy these while they’re on sale! Anyone else love slip-ons for summer?! (and every other season)

What are you loving/eating/devouring/putting on these days? Tell me, tell me, would ya?!

 

Make Your Own: Salad Dressing

IMG_5174

Simple eating is the way of summer, don’tcha think? In our home, salads become a full dinner and everything that is going to get cooked is done outside on the grill. Watermelon and cherries become our snack and dessert of choice and we’re not sitting down around the table quite as formally as we do in other months. Instead we’re standing around kitchen counters, letting the drip from our peaches run down our arms, or we’re sprawled out on the deck eating from plates on our lap.

IMG_5096

These are the beautiful parts of summer. More relaxed, less busy, long, hot, slow days. It’s just the way I like it!

We discovered a new favourite salad dressing this week! If you’re like us, you’ve realized that many grocery store brands of salad dressing just don’t pack the flavour punch you want. We’ve long since abandoned buying those and we just stick to making our own now. Once you have a few staple ingredients in the house, it takes just a few minutes and the taste is out of this world. Not to mention you’re skipping the sugars or the preservatives in prepackaged varieties!

IMG_5171

This is the one we’ll be eating for the rest of the summer. Or at least, I will be!  *praise hands*

Summer Salad Dressing

  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup raspberry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard (or powdered mustard if that’s what you have on hand!)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped rosemary
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme (dried works too as a substitute)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste

I’m assuming there are only a few ingredients here you’ll actually have to buy and the rest you’ll already have on hand.

We grabbed some lettuce from our planter boxes, chopped up some local fruit (our faves have been local peaches, blueberries or nectarines!) threw in a cheese of some kind when we were feeling really fancy – parmesan, goat, feta – you choose, and if you want some extra crunch add some pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds or nut of some kind. The possibilities are endless and the flavour is pretty near perfect!

Happy Summer, Friends!

Pokemon Go + Parenting Wisdom

_MG_3332

_MG_3332

So, Pokemon Go. Are you catching them all?

I’m sure not, but to say it has my youngest enamoured would be an understatement. I wasn’t going to touch on it, but the more I read online, the more I shake my head.

The first posts I read about it were fear based. Things like, did you know your child’s location has to be turned on and that it uses data! Watch your bill for the huge suck that it’s going to be on your phone plan. Things like, be warned about the in-app purchases and the lures that your kid might walk towards, hidden in a dark alley while someone evil and scary awaits.

Have you heard of geocaching? Right. But geocaching is dubbed as good family fun! A way to get your kids outdoors and be adventurous. A great activity for quiet summer days to bring out the investigation skills in your child. Who knows, they may be the next Sherlock Holmes!

_MG_3334

We do understand that Pokemon Go and Geocaching are the same thing, right? That to geocache you have to enable location services, that it uses data and that other people may be out looking for the same cache that you are. We were so thankful for the time that we were out searching and a car drove by yelling, “Wrong side of the street!” THANK YOU, you gloriously gracious people.

The more days that pass and the more incidents I hear all related to this one silly app,  the more I roll my eyes and shake my head in full on teenage fashion.

You walked into a highway? Your kids were out alone? You fell off a cliff?

Since when did we decide that because something had the word Pokemon in the title that we could simply abandon all sense of logic?

As I overheard one person say, “Stupid’s gonna find a way!”

Now I’m not saying that the people who were mugged or hurt are stupid. Don’t get all riled up. But what I am hearing is that people are leaving good sense behind when it comes to this app and I just fail to understand.

If we don’t let our kids walk around town unattended without a phone in hand, why would we let them with a phone in hand?

If we don’t feel like we should enable location services on our devices, then why would an app change that?

If we don’t have a data plan big enough to handle a simple gps then why would we hand our phone over to our children for endless hours of play?

I contend, it’s not Pokemons problem. It’s a human problem.

Nobody said your child has to have this app. Nobody said they should wander the streets without a parent. Nobody said it was wise to walk while staring down at a device.

It seems to me we’re too easily swayed, friends.

If location services has always been a no in your family, stick to your guns and don’t let them play. But maybe do a little searching into why. Is it fear based or is it legit?

If going out by themselves isn’t something you allow then keep the house rules the house rules. Pokemon does not win here. Wise parenting does.

We know it’s against the law to operate a device while driving and no officer is ever going to let you off because you were about to nab a Pikachu, so probably we should stick to the laws of the land.

It’s not rocket science, people. We are to parent out of wisdom not because our kids are whining for something. When did that change?

_MG_3336
He walked to Starbucks with me. I take that as a parenting win!

Maybe if we go back to calling it geocaching it’ll sound nerdy and the allure will wear off quicker. But for now it hasn’t in our home and so I’m going to leash up the dog and walk around the neighbourhood with my son, y’know, like we always do in the evening. Sure, there’s a bit more of a spring in his step on these walks lately, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m going to tell him to look up when he’s walking and if he wants to look at a screen he can stop and check it. Y’know, like has always been the case. We’ll probably even keep our eyes aware of who might be around us, like we usually do.  And I’m going to bank that we’ll make wise decisions about where we are and aren’t going to walk, y’know, like normal.

Parents, please don’t abandon wisdom for an app and please don’t let an app fill you with fear. Neither is good. Instead find the balance in the tension of your normal parenting days and follow through with the things your family has deemed important.

We liked geocaching. Well, the kids did. I tolerated it. So, we’ll Pokemon in the same way. An activity that we all do together sometimes. And when we do, we have a pretty great time!

Rosewater Toner [DIY]

_MG_3186

You have no idea how amazing my house smells right now. None. You couldn’t possibly. But you can, because I’m going to tell you a little secret so that your house can smell this amazing too.

_MG_3178

Making rosewater makes your home smell delicious. Like, I just keep taking great big inhales sort of delicious. And I have this fear that it’s going to fade which means I’m just going to have to keep making rosewater on a constant and perpetual cycle!

Why rosewater, you ask? Or maybe you didn’t, but I’m about to tell you anyway.

_MG_3182_MG_3186

Turns out there’s this thing called Rosewater Toner. It also turns out that I’ve fallen absolutely head-over-heels for it. Remember when I made these toners back in the fall? Well, I figured this couldn’t be much more difficult so after a bit of research I realized this might be even easier. And prettier. I’m a fan of pretty.

_MG_3195

What’s up with Rosewater Toner and why do I love it so much?  There are a number of reasons but here’s the short list;

  • rosewater toner is a great part of natural skin care
  • rosewater toner balances pH in the skin
  • rosewater toner reduces redness
  • rosewater toner minimizer the appearance of pores
  • rosewater toner is full of antioxidants
  • rosewater toner can be used over top of makeup to moisturize your skin
  • did I mention it smells amazing?

Here are the three ingredients you need before you start

  • roses (choose organic, pesticide free ones so you aren’t spraying chemicals on your face!)
  • distilled water
  • witch hazel

To make Rosewater Toner you simply pull the petals from your roses in he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not fashion and place them into a pot. Add enough water to just barely cover the roses so your rosewater is good and potent.

_MG_3246

I placed a small lid inside the pot to keep the rose petals right down in the water and then simmer your rose petals on as low of heat as possible until the colour is pulled from the leaves.

_MG_3250

_MG_3254

Strain your petals and your left with decadent rosewater! All that’s left is to add a few drops of witch hazel to prolong the life of your rosewater and to make it an effective toner for your skin.

_MG_3258

_MG_3260

Look at that gorgeous colour. I’ll show you again in case you missed it!

_MG_3267

Pour it into a mister and you’re all set!

IMG_0004

This rosewater is obviously super fresh and so I keep mine in the fridge to help it last longer. Plus, the cold mist on your face is beautifully invigorating! It can keep for about 2 weeks. Just in time for more roses to have bloomed in the garden!

I suggest you make an extra for your best girlfriend, or maybe your Mom. Especially if you stole the roses from her garden like I did! (love you, mom!)

Don’t feel like making your own? Beautycounter has a Nourishing Rosewater Mist that I use daily!

Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 7.34.36 PM