Creative play in small spaces for a 1-year-old

I have wracked my brain thinking of how to make play fun for Elizabeth. First child-first mamma situation? I think so 😉  But through the long Alberta winter we had, I was desperate to add some variety to playtime on long days at home!

Our upstairs is two bedrooms, and hers is technically a den, though it has a closet. It’s the brightest room in the house with lovely built-in shelves that Troy installed before we got pregnant, when the room was our office. That being said, once you squeeze a crib, change table, and a rocking chair in there, there’s not much more room! Instead of getting frustrated (which I did for a bit, near tears, wanting to give our girl a lovely playroom and all!)… I decided to work with what we have, for as long as we live in this house. 

Funny enough, one day, about two months ago, Elizabeth scootched behind her rocking chair and started pulling her little Disney books off the nightstand. She stayed there for almost 20 minutes as I hid in the distance, listening to her talk and grow up before my very eyes! *cue heart tears* That made it clear to me – that spot was a perfect “quiet space” for her!

I grabbed this sheepskin rug we got from IKEA that was in another room and put it on the floor behind the chair. I put some other little books and dolls on the bottom shelf, and moved pillows around from the window seat. And ta-da…quiet area that she visits daily! She mostly pulls books off the shelf and talks to herself, but it’s made her room more “play friendly” and that makes me happy!

Then about a month ago (when she turned ONE!), I brought up an old shelf I had downstairs and put it in her closet with some books and baskets of toys. I put her laundry basket in another corner of the room and made another cozy spot of blankets and pillows in the corner of her closet. I guess I like to envision her sitting there, reading and playing make-believe like I did as a little girl! She goes back and forth between her closet to her corner (using her crib and chair as a grounding!), and suddenly has two new play spots in her room! Nothing more was spent to make her room cozier, I just used what we had.

It made me realize how when you have to be, you can be more resourceful than you think! It just takes some creativity 😉  Play areas that make both mamma and babe happy = win win!



The essentials I started with and how I use them

For those of you new to the blog, hello! This is a new ‘category’, where I am sharing about our journey with essentials oils, specifically doTERRA. At the time, I chose doTERRA because some friends had used them and were raving about them. It was accessible. Now, just over a year in, I would choose them again in a heartbeat.

Two things I love the most about them is that they are grown and harvested in their indigenous countries. A plant will naturally thrive in the climate, soil, and geographical location it was originally created to flourish in. You can recreate habitats, but the potency and purity just wouldn’t be quite the same. For example, lavender is grown and harvested in France and Bulgaria and Frankinsence from Somalia. doTERRA also works with farmers around the world (in 40 countries!) through the Global Botanical Network and has a philanthropic element called the Healing Hands Foundation. You can read more about both of those here for the ethics side of doTERRA. These things make me a firm supporter!

So, rewind to when I was about to have a baby, and wanted to try some oils. I started with the Family Essentials Kit (an enrollment kit, which pays for your annual membership) which comes with 10 essential oils and blends. I also ordered a diffuser and purchased Clary Calm (great for hormones and cramps after baby!). You save 25% as a member with wholesale vs retail price, and I was pretty certain it wouldn’t be my only purchase!

Here is a list of the oils you get in this kit, and how I have used them in the past year:

– sleepy time rollerball (10ml) for Elizabeth with a couple drops and topped with fractionated coconut oil
– a couple drops in E’s bath
– rollerball for Mamma! (I’d put 5-10 drops in a full 10ml bottle for adults) before bed or when feeling anxious
-diffusing for relaxation
-mixed in with my skincare regime in a rollerball for spot treatment or moisturizing (I like frankincense or tea tree also for skin)

– a drop in my water bottle to aid in digestion and to balance my pH levels (you could also add this to warm water for lemon tea)
-3 drops in my all-purpose spray bottle that has 1 part vinegar and 1 part water
– diffusing for energy or to remove odours after I have burnt something!

-a couple drops in my homemade toothpaste, along with clove oil (In a small jar, I mix 2 parts coconut oil and 1 part baking soda with about 10 drops of peppermint and clove oil). This toothpaste has TOTALLY whitened my teeth!
-diffusing for alertness
-sore muscles
-headache application (I don’t find it removes tough headaches, but does provide relief)

*On Guard
-drops in to all-purpose cleaner
-I would ingest this when I felt a cold coming on, as it’s an immunity builder
-great for diffusing to get rid of odours as well

-rollerball application for gassy tummy for E (just 2 drops in a 10ml bottle)
-apply directly or in a rollerball for adults for indigestion (it has fennel in it, which smells like licorice, which I LOVE!)

-I have added this to my skincare regime or directly as a spot treatment on zits
-can be used as a cleaner as well
-apply to cuts to help heal

-one drop in cooking is extremely powerful!
-I have a rollerball that I apply to my feet when I feel a cold coming on
-gargle this if I have a sore throat
-this is also cleansing, so can be used in all-purpose cleaners
-I didn’t use this when pregnant, because it is not recommended

-I have used this in a rollerball or with my skin care regime for moisturizing and to help with my acne scarring
-great for diffusing to encourage relaxation or calm
-this is good for cellular health, so I have often taken one drop on my thumb and held it to the roof of my mouth. The internal benefits of frankinsence and the research done is amazing!

*Deep Blue
-this one I have used on sore muscles, but find I like peppermint or even rosemary more for that. I do know people (athletes) who have found great relief with this, however.

-added to E’s humidifier
-apply to chest when I had a cold

You see, the uses are endless! I received a list of 150 uses for this kit, and it’s mind boggling the ways you can use these oils. Again, if you would like to know more, please email me at or contact me through my business website here.



New Natural Living area of the blog

If you have followed along here for the past year, you know that I have struggled with my skin for my whole life, but in a new way since my 30’s. You can read more about my experimentation last year here.  I have deduced it down to hormonal reasons, as I have noticed the acne often flairs up the worst a certain time after major life changes. Big moves. Marriage. Motherhood. Believe me, I have tried everything from getting tested for allergies to cutting out certain foods! I could probably be more aggressive in the food department, but where I have been the most intentional has been in removing toxins from our home.

When pregnant, I was super aware of my surroundings and how ANYTHING could affect my baby. Hello first-time mammas?!  In researching different things, I learned about the chemicals in candles, anything with artificial fragrance, most household cleaners, and the such. I had no idea that candles were made of paraffin wax which actually releases the same toxins found in diesel fumes, known carcinogens. YIKES! Candles made of soy or beeswax are safe, but also much more expensive. Here is a great article from Huffington Post on candles if you want to learn more. I also got super sensitive to smells in everyday cleaners and learned how the smells (chemicals) in cleaners can be hormone disrupters. YIKES again!

With a history of skin issues, and a baby on the way, I was determined to try “natural” as much as I could. Enter doTerra Essential Oils. Friends had been telling me about them, and said how they had benefited from them after having a baby, and even with their growing children. Benefits of Clary Sage on their abdomen for healing and during PMS, or having rollerballs with oil mixes for boo-boo’s. Don’t get me wrong, I believe there is a place for modern medicine and doctors! I enjoyed the help of epidural in labour, don’t get me wrong! (Hallelujah for that! 😉 )But  I also believe that God has given us natural resources that we can, and should, take advantage of!

Troy and I thought long and hard about it, and I finally purchased my membership (you save 25% off the price of oils, so a membership made sense!), the Family Essentials Kit , and a diffuser. And we’ve been hooked. It does take an upfront investment, but once you try them, it’s hard to stop! And over time, you will save LOADS in cleaning supplies and other household items because there are literally hundreds of uses for essential oils, and other things you will just stop using because of them.

I love that doTerra oils are grown and harvested in their indigenous countries from around the world, making them super potent and certified therapeutic grade oils due to their purity. They also have a philanthropic element, helping farmers in these countries to build businesses, and I love that.

So, from time to time, I will be sharing how I use these oils at home. I love knowing that there are few, if any, chemicals in my cupboards for Elizabeth to get into. I am still working towards investing in dishwasher and laundry soaps (doTerra has both!), as our budget allows. Though I have recently tried making my own dishwasher tabs, but the jury is still out on that! I also love knowing that there are fewer and fewer toxins in our home that could potentially “disrupt” my hormones – hopefully helping clear my skin issues for good. I know there are a lot of other elements to this – such as diet, sleep, exercise. But slow progress, right?!

And the very last thing I want this to come across is a soapbox… I really hope it doesn’t. I just really love the oils, I love having fewer to no chemicals in our home, and would love to help others on that journey!

You can visit my doTerra website here, to start learning more. But please feel free to comment or send me an email at if you would like to learn more and jump into getting your home toxin-free!


Just yesterday  I used my oils three times by 10am…

  1. Diffusing lavender and pepermint
  2. Soaking my hair brushes in hot water with a few drops of tea tree oil (cleansing)
  3. In a spray bottle, I use 1/4 water, 3/4 apple cider vinegar, 3 drops cedarwood (known to help hair growth), 3 drops rosemary (mmmm), and 2 drops tea tree. This has helped as a conditioner and remove residue in my hair!

Then by nightfall I had… 

…used a lavender rollerball on Elizabeth’s feet at bedtime…

…a rollerball of frankincense and lavender on an owie she got…

…rubbed Rosemary on my sore shoulders…

I hope you enjoy my little posts moving forward of how we are learning to live toxin free and using doTerra! As always, thank you for stopping by!!


Shop your home: Dining buffet update

There’s this sweet little secret I have seen in the design world called “shop your home”, where for those who want, or need, to be budget-friendly, you are encouraged to scour your own closets and walls to update your home when the urge arises. Rather than buying something new every time you want a fresh look, you rearrange what you already have.

As a new mom of a little one who is now on the move, with toys scattering the floor from sun-up to sun-down, I find if I can have little pockets of pretty here and there that she can’t touch, it makes me happy!

The plant on our dining room buffet was dried to a crisp, a Christmas plant, so when I threw it out, I decided to update the whole buffet look. It had been the same for about two years, so it was time! Here is what it looked like before (minus the flourishing plant! Oh how I loved that plant 😦 )

I still really liked it, but I didn’t have a new plant to replace the old, and new decor just isn’t a priority right now. So, one night after Elizabeth had gone to bed, I pulled everything off and roamed our rooms, looking for something new. I am trying to keep photos of us to a minimal right now, as we want to sell our house, but I had to indulge with a couple!

Here is the new look…

The lamp was in our downstairs livingroom, which we never use, so up it came. It adds such nice warmth to the room at night. The large antique gold frame is from the farm I grew up on, and had a photo of a long-lost relative. So out she came. I love the layered look! I have been collecting old books over the years – some of grandparents’ and some from garage sales. The herbs on the corbels are becoming parsley, and it makes me so happy to see something growing! Those corbels we got for a steal at a local street market a couple years ago. The photo of Troy and I was one week before our wedding, standing in Starbucks with my soon to be sibling-in-laws, and it’s one of my favourites of us. And of course, our little Elizabeth, 5-days-old.

If you were to walk around our home, you would see these colors throughout that are shown on the buffet: navy blue, gold, black, green, and creams.

I also added a leaf to our table because it feels more grand (even though it takes up a bit more space) and we could use the “office space” right now 😉 AND I like to think it encourages me to have people over more often!

Some effective ways you can shop your home:

  1. Use books as part of your decor, using cover colour schemes as a theme.
  2. Use fake and real greenery wherever you can, based on your natural light.
  3. Rearrange your photos or insert new ones for a quick update
  4. Buy some fresh flowers (tulips are cheap right now!)
  5. Add warmth with a lamp or candle.
  6. Mirrors add great layer and texture and help bring in shape and light to small spaces.
  7. Look for things that are different texture and sizes and mix and match in different spots.
  8. Pick anything that makes YOU smile!

Having beauty in the home doesn’t have to be a matter of finances – but a matter of collecting things that tell your story and things that you love. Itching for something new? Shop your home! You might be surprised what you find 🙂

17 ways to save money and live healthier at home: Part 2

Continued from yesterday’s post about ways to save money and live healthier at home, here are a few more ideas…

  • Buy reusable squeeze packs for healthy on-the-go snacks for babies and toddlers. I just bought these ones off Amazon, in the hopes that I could trick, ‘er, get Elizabeth to start liking vegetables again. Seriously, she’s suddenly HATES them!  That girl could live on dairy, avocado and oatmeal. These squeeze packs will come in handy for yogourt, smoothies, etc as she gets older. One friend said these work great for picnics in the summer!
  •  Take leftovers for lunch. When Troy doesn’t have access to a microwave for his lunch, he takes wraps, a banana, peanut butter and/or honey and makes a simple protein wrap. Either that, or we will hard boil some eggs for quick protein.
  •  Buy just the greenery in the floral section, instead of frequent bouquets. I love flowers or any plant, but have had a hard time keeping them alive in our home. Buying flowers for our table on a weekly basis just isn’t an option! One thing you can do to get your pretty ‘fix’,  is to buy the greenery in the floral section at Safeway, and stick that in a vase on your table. I find the variety they carry varies, but for $10-12 you’ll have greenery on your table for literally months if you keep refreshing the water! They often have anything from eucalyptus to fern, to larger leaves, which offers you a variety to choose from. It’s much cheaper than weekly flowers, won’t die like plants do, and you still have something alive and pretty to enjoy!
  •  Just don’t buy pop and you’ll get used to not drinking it or wanting it. Enough said, for health and budget reasons  😉 If you need to for a party, buy no name brand.
  • Buy a package of bulk blank cards and use them for birthdays, thank you’s, thinking of you, etc. Homesense often has beautiful cards to choose from, in 20 packs, for around $8. I’m not a big cards person, as I’d rather spend money on the gift, and don’t tend to keep cards unless the words in them are super meaningful! With an average of $5 a card normally, you’re saving yourself A LOT and still have something on hand when you want to share a sweet note (because it’s still good to be thoughtful and prepared!)
  • Shop Facebook swap sites or thrift store for clothing for your family. There is no shame in used clothing! Just watch for stains and quality. I have found some adorable sweaters and jackets for Elizabeth at Value Village!
    1. Keep your wardrobe simple. One mom friend said she has two Lululemon Wunder Under pants that she uses as her basic wardrobe. Since she takes good care of them in the wash, they will last for years. There are also multiple Pinterest posts on ‘capsule wardrobes’ and how to keep your closet simple and lovable.
    2. Shop in thrift stores in higher end regions of your city, as you will find even better treasures based on the socio-economic status of that region.
  • To save on hair care, go to a home-salon, as they have less overhead, and prices are always cheaper.
    1. Buy shampoo/conditioner in bulk, as this is usually cheaper (depending on brand)
    2. Dye your own hair, rather than the salon. My hair grows SO quick, that I only have it professionally done 1-2 times a year, and I do my own roots the rest of the year!
  • When hosting friends, keep it simple, and ask them to bring something. It’s okay to do a simple meal like spaghetti or chilli rather than that fancy, multi-ingredient Jamie Oliver meal you’ve been aching to try. People just want your company anyway, and you don’t want to give up community!

I hope that list was helpful and sparks some thoughts for you and your home and family. It’s certainly not exhaustive, and I would love to hear some suggestions you might have! Feel free to comment below so others can see your ideas!

Thanks for popping by!