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 lanilupul@gmail.com 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!!

xo

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10 little things we did in our home this year (that made a big difference!)

2015 has been a year of creating our home as husband and wife. I fell in love with cooking and hosting in ways I never thought I would. I’ve always loved making a place cozy and pretty (ask my parents!), but to have such a big space has been both daunting and delightful 🙂 It’s a work in progress that takes time, so I am learning.

But there have been a few simple, practical, and life changing things that we experienced or did around our home that I think are worthy of sharing. I could name many many more and go into great length about all the things we’ve learned this year, but as I wrote this out, this list got long enough!

Enjoy my little list of 10 things we did in our home that made huge impact…

#1 – We bought bikes

IMG_0443The last bike I ever owned was pink, with a banana boat denim seat. Yep, that was back in the farm days. In my adult life, I’ve never owned one, but for years have wanted to. In an effort to find something outdoors that we both liked and was easy to do almost anywhere, we went to SportChek in the spring and each bought a bike. We didn’t get high end ones, because for me, it’s mostly street and trails that I’m after.

On warm summer evenings, it was an easy way to get in some free quality time together, explore our new community, and get some exercise. Win, win, win and money well spent!

#2 – Read the book Explicit Gospel, by Matt Chandler, within the last year.

IMG_1823I couldn’t get enough of it, so I read it twice. I have been a Christian since I was about four-years-old, but never have I ever heard the gospel, Christ’s redeeming work and sovereignty so well explained as in this book. I’ve walked through a few years of untangling some false belief systems about myself that were more based on fear than faith, and to be honest, am still processing with the Holy Spirit areas of my life where my ‘good behaviour and nature’ was born out of fear. He talks in depth about our life ultimately being for God’s glory, and if so, then why would God ever leave you to your own devices as far as sanctification goes? His chapters on moralism, grace-driven effort, and how our churches can be led by the three b’s more than discipleship (butts, budgets, buildings), really hit home!  If you want to grasp the depth and grace of the gospel, then we totally recommend this book as a must!

#3 – Vinegar and water all-purpose spray

vinegar-bottleI know there is a BIG push to go all natural in our homes. DIY and simplify. And I’ll admit, I’m onboard that in some ways. But it takes time, trial and error, and money to get it right!  In an attempt to use less chemicals on everyday used areas, one simple thing I’ve done is mixed 1-1 vinegar and water in a spray bottle, and keep it under our kitchen sink. I use this for a counter top cleaner and a floor cleaner. And sometimes even in the bathrooms. It cleans like a dream and no nasty chemicals! Troy will often come in and smell vinegar everywhere and say, “You’ve been cleaning!” Now that I’ve got used to the lack of toxic smell, whenever I smell something like Vim or Spray ‘N Wash, I nearly gag. And now with baby coming, I am ever more mindful of chemical smells. Slowly but surely, I’d like to eliminate them all, but for now, my vinegar and water is a great inexpensive compromise!

#4 – Always kiss goodnight, and good morning

We’ve just always done it, and I love it. It connects us at the end of the day and at the start of the day. It reminds us that we’re a team, in this together. Try it, I’m sure you’ll love it!

#5 – Cut cable 

We found before summer that the main channels we watched were HGTV and maybe a sports channel. In an effort to find ways to trim our budget, we opted to keep Netflix, and cut our cable, which saves us now about $75 a month. We still watch what seems like enough TV (it’s a relaxer for us both!), but I like that we aren’t governed by what is on at a certain time. We can watch when we want, what we want.

 

#6 – DIY and thrifted finds

IMG_0824It’s no surprise if you’ve read my blog before, that we love to restore and repurpose and add our own touch to our home. We moved into this 2500 sq ft home last Christmas, and suddenly found ourselves with a lot of rooms and space to fill. Which we are still working on 😉 I’m not one to walk into a showhome and love it all usually. I find they lack character and personality. I love things that make a home particular to the ones that own it.

DIY and shopping on kijiji or garage sales are a great way to customize your home on a budget. Everything from our kitchen table to office desk, to coffee table have been refinished or built, along with many things on our walls. We are currently saving up for some new chairs, and we are super excited about NEW! 🙂 But for now, this has certainly helped us stay within budget and add our own touch to our home. You can read more about our home and thrifted finds in this post here.

#7 – Go for drives together

We realized something lately – we have the best conversations when we’re driving home from somewhere, the sun is setting or has set, and we’ve got time to kill. Just us and the wide open road. Some nights it’s been raining, and some nights have been beautifully warm. For whatever reason, driving inspires us to dream, talk deep and share our hearts. We’ve now joked that when baby comes, if we just need a date night, we’ll go for a drive! And hey, if you add ice cream to that then it’s even better 😉

 
#8 – Appreciation

IMG_1824It sounds so simple, but I think it’s had a profound effect on our first year of marriage and our home. A while back, I got these little notes through a newsletter subscription that I could print off and leave in a cupboard for us to fill out at whim. So we did. Leaving notes of ” God gave you…” or “I love it when you…” Or even the blank ones, that we would fill out whenever. But more than written notes, I find that a strength that Troy and I have cultivated is appreciating what each other brings to our marriage and home.

Troy is extremely hard working – a real man’s man. And this girly girl loves it! His heart near explodes when I tell him how thankful I am that I married him, that I love how hard he works for us, or when I recognize the heart and soul he’s put into a project. Likewise, Troy is over-the-top thankful for every meal I cook, how clean I keep the house, and for simple things I do like get the groceries. He thanks me.

It sounds so basic, but simple recognition and appreciation helps us both feel noticed and makes us want to do even more for the other!

 
#9 – Coconut oil

IMG_1822Seriously, Lord, well done. What an amazing creation! We have come to use coconut oil for everything from a cooking oil, lotion, lube (hey, let’s be honest!), polishing leather, in the dog’s water (fresh breath and soft coat), to oil pulling (makes me gag, so I can’t do it for long!). I can’t think of a purer product that has so many uses! We have found that Costco has the best price for the amount that you get.

 
#10 – Make decisions together

We just do it, naturally, and intentionally. Everything from how to spend our free nights together to finances – we talk about it all. I’m sure there’s some things that seem trivial, but I love that we just naturally consult with the other. I think it shows we care about what the other thinks, and that, again, we’re in this together. Neither of us has a ‘my way or the highway’ attitude, and I do hope this is something we continue to cultivate over the years!

I hope you enjoyed my basic list of things that came top of mind that were simple and some deeper that have impacted our home this year!

Burlap, boughs, and berries: An inexpensive way to add Christmas decor

Yes, I am one of those that is dreaming of the Christmas decor as soon as Halloween is over. Since it snows so early here (first big snow fall today actually!), I figure we may as well find something cozy and beautiful to enjoy inside while the earth gets covered in a snowy blanket for the next five months!

With a baby on the way, I am ever more conscious of what we’re spending right now, so I wanted to share with you an easy and inexpensive way we added some coziness and Christmas to our bungalow.

Burlap! Boughs! Berries!

I had some burlap leftover at home, but with the 40% off coupon from Michaels (they have it every week!), I was able to grab another roll for $4.50. Win win! I find it’s been useful for tucking into our Christmas tree to make it look more full than it really is, as a tree topper, and around mini tree pots and our chandelier.

Troy came home one day with a handful of boughs from Home Depot for $5, and I, of course, went and bought one more set. Cedar? I can’t remember! But they smell delicious and he knows I looooove that smell! Using burlap and boughs, I decorated the chandelier over our dining table. I’m hoping it lasts until Christmas!

Red berries come in handy in many ways – on our Christmas tree, tucked into garland, and on our entry-way coat shelf, mixed in with some boughs. You can find them at the dollar store, Michaels, or stores like Walmart.

If you’re feeling your budget is a little tight this Christmas for decor, you could spend anywhere from $20-30 just getting some burlap, boughs and berries (and throw in a candle!) and it will add so much coziness in such an easy fashion. Here are some pictures of our home below and how I have used the triple B 😉

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$100 decor update

Recently, a friend of mine texted asking if I would decorate her built-ins in her livingroom. She has two boys under 3, and was looking for something to spice up the space, but still be functional.

Shop for someone else’s home on someone else’s dime? Heck yes! 🙂  Her built-ins are tricky, as the top shelf is super tall. Working with the vases and some frames she had, I opted to find ways to add some warmth, texture and more color. I could tell she liked red, so I chose a secondary color in turquoise.

BEFORE

BEFORE

I found pretty much everything at Homesense:
*wooden frame (I filled it with a red door photo of my own that I had at home that I took while travelling)
*globe (her husband does international justice work so it seemed appropriate!)
*two dish clothes in red stripe with tassels
*turquoise candle
*turquoise pear figurine
*floral for smaller vase on right
*pussy willows (free, I had lots at home)
*turquoise picture frame
*some green berries for the second shelf to add some nature
*and she found some hard cover books at home that we added in
*we left the baskets in the bottom, as they have the boys books in them!

All for $92 🙂

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They have since hung one of the 8×10 gold frames on either side (within the built-in) and filled them with new black & white photos. My suggestion was, in the long run, to find something like a wooden shutter in a fun pop of color that could lean against the top shelf wall, to fill in all of that space. And my husband, Troy, suggested building a closing screen/shutter for the TV as well.

Amazing what you can do with what you have, $100, and just a little bit of creativity!