Between the Pine Trees


Just taking a quick break from gardening to write this because as I was just standing in between the pine trees, collecting falling needles, I realized how absolutely grateful I am for this little plot of land we bought almost a year ago. 

I’m using the pine needles as mulch in the garden and just being able to live sustainably and be resourceful in this way brings me so much joy. 


The simple fact that we have pine trees to gather fallen needles from makes my heart swell with gratitude and appreciation for the many blessings we have. Some people don’t even have trees in their yard and we have over a dozen different kids! 

I feel so much more connected to the land since buying this house.

From waking up to the roosters crowing to napping in the hammock while listening to the birds and crickets chirp. From saving rain water, to collecting pine needles. Gardening barefoot to picking dandelions. 

I’ve discovered a new, deeper, more meaningful appreciation for the earth. And it’s all because of this little old farmhouse. 

What are you thankful for in this moment? Please share with a comment below! 

­čśŹ

Laura

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Mom Hack Monday: Turn Bar Soap Scraps into Liquid Hand Soap

We love making something out of nothing around here. This is one of my favorite mom hacks. 
Save your bar soap scraps and start making liquid hand soap out of them! 

So it’s one less thing to throw away and one less thing to buy. A total win-win. 

You don’t need to wait until you save a cup of soap scraps if you really want to make this liquid hand soap today. Just melt a whole bar of soap! It works just the same!!

Any soap you have on hand will work. I used scraps from my homemade coconut oil shampoo bars and some locally made goat’s milk soap. 

This would be a great use for that drawer of tiny bars of soap that you’ve acquired from hotels around the country. I know you have one of those drawers. ­čśë We all do. 

HERE’S WHAT I DO:



WATCH THE VIDEO TO SEE HOW IT’S DONE 

That’s it for today’s mom hack! 

We’re off to play in Rue’s Splash Pad. Ôś║´ŞĆ 


Happy Monday!! 

<3, 

Kanga ‘n Rue 


Adventures in Organic Gardening

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We completed a few of the lingering projects we had to do in the garden. We put up a trellis for the zucchini, planted the peas and started the seeds for the broccoli and eggplant. I also started seeds for a few more tomato plants and butternut squash to go in where the lettuce and kale are now once we harvest those.

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Cattle fencing and some wooden stakes Marty cut from scrap wood = something for the zucchini to climb up on ao they don’t overtake the garden. We’ll do the same for the cucumbers once they start to get too big.

We had a major flood a couple weeks ago which was good and bad for the garden. It helped our kale, cabbages, and potatoes spring up quite a bit, but it ended up moving quite a bit of seeds I had planted a week earlier. Haha.

So now we have random cabbage, lettuce, and kale plants sprouting up in between rows and our carrots haven’t grown at all. I wonder if they got washed away with the flood.

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At least the flood gave Little Miss something to do while mama gardened.

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We’ve been able to harvest some good sized zucchini from the garden, but we haven’t gotten anything else yet. Our garlic, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes are growing steadily, and our peppers finally┬áhave grown some new leaves!

We’ve had quite a few cold days and a couple nights that dropped below 50 degrees, so they haven’t grown very much at all since transplanting them because they like very warm weather.

But all in all, with having no fencing around the garden and having not put any fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides down, I’d say we’re doing pretty good with the few resources the earth has given us.

A few things I’ve learned since starting our garden:

1.) Cucumbers need a lot of water. I have had to water them every couple of days as opposed to all other crops which I have just let the rain take care of without any issues whatsoever.

2.) Weeding is way easier to do one day after a good rain. The damp dirt is way easier to hoe.

3.) You will have to weed at least once a week to keep it under control.

4.) Rabbits like tomato, cucumber, and bell pepper plants. Protect these babies early on so you don’t lose as many leaves as I did.

5.) Leaves will grow back after bunnies have feasted on them, so don’t sweat it too much.

6.) Cucumbers, carrots, and herbs have been the hardest thing to grow. Cucumbers sprout up super quick indoors, but need to take their time hardening up before they are transplanted. I think the herbs may need more sun/heat to sprout, and I have no idea about the carrots. They are a cool weather crop and we haven’t seen anything sprout since we planted those seeds.

What do you have growing in your garden?

<3,

Laura 

Adventures in Organic Gardening 


OMG. I started planting two weeks ago and we’re finally almost done for a while!┬áAll I have left to do is plant carrots and peas and then broccoli rabe, eggplant, and butternut squash once the spring crops are harvested. And build trellises for the zucchini, cucumbers, and peas.

I can’t wait to see how much money we save on our grocery bill!

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Save on Your Water Bill With This Affordable Backyard Tool

We have always wanted space to live more sustainably. It’s so hard to do when you’re moving every few years from apartment to apartment. 

This little plot of land in the country is allowing us to fulfill that dream in a variety of ways. One of my favorite ways right now is collecting rain water. 


We got this rain barrel a few weeks ago and I’m loving it! After just two small rains, the 65 gallon barrel is already full. 

I’m excited to see how many gallons of water we save by using my new favorite yard tool. 

USES FOR RAIN WATER

-water gardens, house plants, trees, compost, etc. 

-drinking water for animals

-animal baths 

-beauty products (in place of distilled water in apple cider vinegar rinse for hair, body spray, etc.) 

-in place of tap water in homemade cleaning products

-dish washing 

-cleaning projects (mopping, steam cleaning, etc.) 

-outdoor showers 

-outdoor water play

You can also create a filtration system and use rain water for cooking if you wanted to! 

All you have to do to install your rain barrel is place it on top of two large cinder blocks so gravity will force the water out of the spouts (one spout is for a garden hose and the other is up high to fill buckets), and route a gutter directly into the rain barrel with a flexible gutter extension. 

We planted perennials around it to cover up the cinder blocks and put a nice planter of annuals on top just to help beautify it a bit.

Rue loves it too! 

What’s your favorite sustainable living project right now? 

Happy Thursday! 

<3,

Laura 

Mom Hack Monday: Non-toxic Swiffer Wet Jet Refills

Disclaimer: When you click on the affiliate links below, I will receive an itty bitty commission from Amazon.com.

I’m so happy to share this mom hack with you all because I love the convenience of using my Swiffer Wet Jet, but I hate using the toxic chemical cleaning solution┬áthat comes with it. Many conventional cleaning solutions contain dozens of lung-harming ingredients, carcinogens, formaldehyde, chloroform, and other hormone disrupting and cancer causing chemicals and fragrances. And there’s no sure fire way to know exactly which┬áchemicals┬áthese household cleaners contain because according to the Environmental Working Group, only 7% of cleaning products adequately disclose their contents!

SEVEN PERCENT.

These chemicals enter the blood stream once absorbed by the skin and inhaled through the lungs.

If you have kids, you know they basically live on the floor for the first 5 years of their lives. And they have a tendency to get into E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G.┬áThat’s why I like to make sure that whatever we use to clean the entire house (floors included)┬áis safe enough to put on your skin or ingest.

Here’s Rue with the rag I was using to wipe down the counters. Good thing it’s just vingear and water on that rag!

While there are several healthier options on the market, I have found that homemade is safer, cheaper, and creates less waste. So we use our homemade vinegar all purpose cleaner for everything.

The cap on these Wet Jet cleaning solution bottles DO NOT twist off. I even tried using a screw driver to pry it off and it just wouldn’t come off. So I came up with an easy way to remove the cleaning solution that comes with the Wet Jet and replace it with my homemade vinegar all purpose cleaning solution.

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Coconut Oil Shampoo Bar Recipe

Since September of last year I have been doing the no-poo method of washing my hair. It’s a non-toxic, eco-friendly way to wash your hair. Sounds great right?

Well…I started with the baking soda wash and vinegar rinse. It made my hair very dry and brittle and impossible to comb┬áso┬áI switched to a more conditioning┬ácoconut milk shampoo recipe that I found from Dr. Axe.

I have combination hair so I altered Dr. Axe’s┬árecipe because it┬áwas making my hair way too oily and weighed down. I took out the coconut oil entirely and just did a mix of:

1/4 c Dr. Bronner’s liquid castille soap
1 can of coconut milk
30 drops of rosemary essential oil
20 drops of peppermint essential oil

That recipe worked wonders for me (with an apple cider vinegar rinse) for about 10 months. I only had to wash my hair 2-3 times a week and on occasion, I did a baking soda rinse to clarify any build up.

Then we moved to an area with hard water.

All of a sudden, my hair was waxy and hard to brush and nothing I did would fix it. I did a little digging and found out that we had hard water and that Dr. Bronner’s does not work in hard water.

So I tried the BS/ACV method using distilled water. Didn’t work. I tried honey, aloe vera, and Shea Moisture shampoo. Nothing worked. I was sure my no-poo/low-poo journey was over so I switched back to conventional shampoo.

And boy did that┬ájust anger me! I couldn’t get through half a day without my hair being greasy, and it was so silky smooth that it just completely fell flat and had no body or texture.

I missed my homemade shampoo. Determined to find something that worked, I found a super simple, three ingredient recipe for a coconut oil shampoo bar.

I have to say, I didn’t have high hopes for this working because nothing else did, but after a month of washing with this and rinsing with an apple cider vinegar/water mixture,┬ámy hair went back to normal!

This shampoo makes my hair soft, shiny, manageable, and full of body! It’s easy to blow dry, but looks good even if I air dry it.

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See?! ­čÖé

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