Green Your Life

Do you have a desire to make changes towards more natural and eco-friendly living?

What’s stopping you?

  • Do you not know where to start?
  • Are you thinking it will be inconvenient?
  • Do you think living ‘green’ is expensive?
  • Are you afraid that people will think you’ve gone crazy?

When it comes to making changes, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and then give up before you even start.

When I started my journey towards living ‘green’ several years ago, I was a little overwhelmed with all the changes that I needed to make. But, I started with just one thing. We started recycling, then we started using cloth napkins and soon after that replaced paper towels with cloth cleaning rags. The changes seemed to snowball and now we’re quite ‘green’ – we cloth diaper, don’t own a  microwave, make homemade laundry detergent and I even use reusable menstrual products (like the DivaCup and GladRags.)

The key to making life changes is taking a baby step approach. It’s worked in areas like finances, changing eating habits and living more naturally.

If you do have a desire to change, Green Your Life by Emily McClements of Live Renewed is a resource that will encourage you along your journey and help you make small changes towards a greater lifestyle change.

This eBook is written in a very encouraging tone and the suggestions are easy and most are very inexpensive to implement. In fact, you may find that changing your habits towards more natural products and living greener may actually end up saving you money!

The book covers:

  • Green and Natural Cleaning
  • Natural Personal Care Products
  • Eco-Friendly Baby and Child Care
  • Green Around the Home
  • In the Marketplace – Better Buying Choices

Here are some of my favorite green changes that Emily suggests:

  • Replace your commerical dishwasher rinse aid with undiluted vinegar.
  • Adopt a less is more mindset.
  • Replace disposables with reusables. (Reusable snack bags are a great substitute to ziplock baggies.)
  • Buy the best quality you can afford. (Typically higher quality items last longer which helps prevent waste!)

Small Changes

Begin with baby steps and slowly green your life.

The first step, purchase a digital copy of Green Your Life.  The book is just $8.99 and includes a FREE bonus membership to the upcoming Green Your Life Challenge in February 2014!

The next step, start reading the book and choose just one thing to change.

GYL_Sharable_Quote

This post is part of a Blog Hop to celebrate the release of Green Your Life: A Guide to Natural, Eco-Friendly Living. Check out what other bloggers are saying about the great new book:

Jan. 8 – Ninth Street Notions
Jan. 9  - Red and Honey
Jan. 10 – Running Family
Jan. 12 – Five Little Homesteaders
Jan. 13 – My Blessings Homeschool
Jan. 14 – Vintage Kids | Modern World
Jan. 15 – The Humbled Homemaker
Jan. 17 – Accidentally Green
Jan. 20 – Home With Purpose
Jan. 21 – Intentionally Simple
Jan. 22 – Feed Me Mama
Jan. 23 – Saving by Making
Jan. 24 – More Than Mundane
Jan. 27 – My Humble Kitchen
Jan. 28 – Sorta Crunchy
Jan. 29 – Simply Rebekah
Jan. 30 – A Delightful Home
Jan. 31 – Gidget Goes Home

Disclaimer: I was provided a digital copy of Green Your Life.  All opinions expressed in this post are my own. This post contains affiliate links

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Establishing a Cleaning Routine_m

Since I’ve been pregnant, all of my nesting energy has been focused on simplifying our home and implementing routines in an attempt to make the transition from two to three little ones a bit easier.

While I know adding a new baby to the mix will definitely change the dynamics in our family, I believe that having simple routines in place will make household management easier while recovering from birth, caring for a newborn and helping our boys adjust to their new sibling.

I have established a morning routine, evening routine and weekly cleaning schedule that have really helped make our household management simpler.
Morning Routine

My morning routine is quite simple.

I make beds which make the bedrooms look tidy.

I start a load of laundry. I typically do a load a day which keeps it manageable and really makes it easy to stay on top of our laundry.

In the kitchen, I unload the dishwasher while prepping breakfast and then once we eat breakfast, I tidy the kitchen back up by loading the dishwasher and washing anything that needs to be hand washed.

This morning routine is simple and easy to complete every morning.

Cleaning Schedule

I also follow a weekly cleaning schedule. This cleaning schedule is very simple, focusing only on one area a day.

On Mondays, I deep clean both bathrooms.

Tuesdays are spent cleaning the bedrooms – washing sheets, dusting, sweeping, removing things that don’t belong in the bedrooms and getting rid of any clutter that has crept in (frequent decluttering keeps clutter from taking over!).

Wednesday is pretty simple, just cleaning the dining room. This involves washing the table, cleaning the floors and removing things that don’t belong in this space.

Thursdays are spent cleaning the living room.

And, Fridays are for special projects or as a catch up day if I missed cleaning an area during the week. My husband is off on Fridays so I don’t want to have routine housekeeping scheduled on this day.

Saturday and Sunday don’t have any housework assigned to them, we try to relax and enjoy the weekend and spend time working outside. We only do our morning and evening routines on these days.

You may notice that the kitchen is not assigned a day. That is because I’m in the kitchen everyday and part of my morning and evening routine is to wash and put away dishes. And, every time I wash dishes, I also wipe down the counter tops so the kitchen stays clean.

Evening Routine

 

My evening routine begins right after supper is finished. I tidy the kitchen and load the dishwasher/wash dishes. I’ve found that ending the day with a clean kitchen helps to get the next day off to a good start.

While our boys pick up their toys each evening, we straighten up our living room and sweep the living areas.

By the time we’re finished with our evening routine, our home is tidy which makes our evenings more relaxing.

These cleaning routines, coupled with living with less, is really making a difference in our household management. And, we’re certainly hoping that it eases the transition to becoming a family of 5!

Do you follow any type of cleaning schedule? 

Living with Less

Over the past few years, we’ve been simplifying our home of excess and have become more mindful of the things we allow into our home.

Living with less has proven to have wonderful benefits. We’re spending less time shopping, spending less money and our home is clutter free.

One of the biggest benefits to living with less has been an easy to manage home.

Having small children and keeping a perfectly clean house is impossible (and is not my goal). However, not having an overabundance of stuff has made keeping our home tidy easier.

During the day, the floors never look clean and there are toys and books in random places which may appear to some to be a mess. But, we focus on the fact that the ‘mess’ is manageable.

Each night, we spend about 10-15 minutes as a family tidying up our home.

Our boys are learning to pick up their toys and books and put them away. They don’t always cooperate and some nights are much easier than others but they are learning. Our toy rotation makes this routine easier. Every toy that they own is not always accessible to them. We keep about half of their toys on a shelf in their playroom with the other half stored in the playroom closet along with puzzles and games.

My husband and I spend this same time encouraging the boys as they pick up, tidying our living areas and sweeping the floors.

At the end of our clean up time, our home is tidy and becomes a relaxing place to read bedtime stories to our boys and for my husband and I to relax in once the boys are sleeping.

Living with less makes our home management easier and are evenings much more relaxing.

What are benefits you have found to living with less? 

Having a Christmas Baby

When we found out the due date of our second baby, I was sad.

He was due December 31.

I did not want a Christmas baby!

While December 31 is not Christmas, December tends to be all about Christmas with parties, festivities and family gatherings throughout the month.

Growing up, I always thought December birthdays must be awful. You get all of your presents basically at one time, instead of spread out. I was sad that our baby was going to have an awful birthday.

I spent my entire pregnancy hoping he was at least one day late. Something about January 1 seemed much less Christmas-y than December 31. And, I absolutely did not want him to come before Christmas.

Well, all my hoping didn’t matter. He was not overdue. Instead, he was early. 9 days early, arriving in the early morning hours of December 22.

I was thrilled to have my sweet, tiny baby in my arms. And, his early arrival certainly made for a memorable and special Christmas but I was sad that he was born so close to Christmas Day.

During his first year, I often thought about how we were going to make his first birthday special, as well as future birthdays. I just wanted to separate it from Christmas – trying to make the most of the fact that I thought it was an awful birthday.

His first birthday fell on a Saturday that just so happened to be the day a family gathering was scheduled. I was so afraid that his birthday was going to be overshadowed by Christmas.

However, our family made it a wonderful first birthday. Everybody stopped the Christmas festivities to have a small birthday party – complete with cake and singing – for the birthday boy.

After his first birthday, my attitude began to change about his birthday.

If we, as his parents, didn’t think or act like December 22 was an awful birthday, our child wouldn’t grow up thinking that it was a bad date.

I started to think positively about his birthday.

December 22, 2011 was winter solstice – how neat is it that he was born on the first day of winter?

December is a month of fun, yummy food, friends and family – truly a wonderful time of year and a wonderful season to celebrate a birthday!

And, thinking positively about his birthday has made all the difference. This year, there was no sense of dread or worry about trying to make his day special because it was so close to Christmas.

Instead, I focused on making his birthday special because we were celebrating the day of his birth!

birthday balloons

This year, he woke up to a hallway full of balloons on his second birthday! He loved the balloons and both boys had a lot of fun playing with them.

birthday giftWe gave him his birthday gift which was a wooden barn that his daddy made and I painted for him. He loves farm animals and farming. We moved his animals into the barn as soon as it was opened!

We had plans to go out for breakfast as a family that morning but big brother woke up with a fever so we had to stay home. We ended up waiting until the next day to have birthday cupcakes since I try to avoid giving our boys sugar when they’re sick. The day wasn’t necessarily ideal due to sickness but that’s real life and is not enough to ruin a birthday. (Having this mindset is proof that an overall positive attitude makes a world of difference – especially when it comes to life with little children!)

And, I laugh at my childhood thoughts about December birthdays being bad because you receive all of your gifts at once. As a mama who desires to live minimally, it’s actually a beautiful thing – the bulk of the gifts are received at once which means we are not bombarded with gifts all throughout the year!

Parent’s of Christmas babies, December birthdays are not awful! Just have a positive attitude and joyfully celebrate the birth of your child.