Saturday, April 13, 2013

How to make a summer beach dress in 10 min

Have you been to the mall lately? Summer clothing is coming out and it seems dresses and skirts are big for women this year. The light dresses with fun colours that I have noticed.

Now, I have to start off with I am cheap when it comes to clothing... But I also don't want to work too hard to make clothing (sometimes). So here's my summer dress that cost me $2 and 10 min to make!

Let me show you how it's done.

First grab a top that fits snug/comfortable on you.

Then lay it on the fabric double sided with right sides together.

Cut along the top while gradually going outwards down to how ever long your toes goes until. You can draw lines too... if your too scared to cut. (I sure was)

Next sew the top of the shoulders together right sides together. (When sewing a stretchy fabric remember to slightly stretch the fabric so it doesn't wave. (I only took this photo after being finished the dress... So your looking at the centre seam is what connects the shoulder together)

Next sew along the edge of the dress. (I have a surger, but it would work just fine if you zigzaged the edge)

Finally double fold the arm holes and sew along the edge.

I like leaving the bottom unsewn as it won't fray and leaves a wispy feeling.

Sometimes I cut the bottom at an angle and sometimes I cut the front shorter then the back in a 'u-shape' Can you see the u-shape?

This was by far the most fun project I have made as it was incredibly fast, cheap and fixing a need that I had... the wanting of a light summer beach dress!

Happy sewing and thrifty living!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Eating local: What to ask your farmer?

I was surprised to find out how many local food options there are here. I live in a small city 86,000 people and there are 3 local farmers markets starting up in May. A farm that does organic beef and chicken (and treat their animals kindly). Right beside the beef farm is a produce farm and I must add its HUGE! There is a Cheeseworks farm close too!

The point of me telling you how many local foods/farms are around my little city is if you google 'local produce' 'farms' or a synonomous term, you too might be just as surprised as I was! 

That is just what I found doing a quick search

So of course now that our home is almost 100% organic foods we headed out on a search for farms that we could purchase from almost year round. Our family spent 2 days going to farms and learning how the farmers care for their animals, produce and workers. We also pet and met a whole lot of animals! All the farmers seemed so open and proud of what they were doing: Building a community of healthy natural living!

We are changing to local foods because of...
Safety: I wonder how safe or natural it is to use pesticides on foods. They spray produce during each stage of growth and in turn absorbing a toxic chemical that kills every other thing on that farm except the one growing produce. Pesticides are chemically engineered to kill everything but that one plant. There is no way that could be good for me or my family's health so we have gone organic and are purchasing many foods locally.
Environmental Impact: Buying local increases local farming which has decreased significantly within the last 20 years thanks to the large corporations and manipulation. Large companies that are Genetically Modifying foods seed spread (like normal plants do) and contaminates other natural farmers crops. Once they are found with these crops that now have the genes from the GM crops they are sewed and put out of business. The next part of environmental impact is that these foods are being picked before they are actually ripe (about 1-2 weeks) and chemicals are put on them to help them travel great distances. Pollution is also another thing to consider as many foods are put through a large corporation then travel by plane from one truck to another truck to your grocery store.

We spent about an hour talking to each farmer. We wanted to know at the very least if they were:
  • local
  • organic
  • humanely raised
  • sustainably raised
  • grassfed
  • pastured and/or free range
  • “free” of X
  • sprayed
  • fertilized
Here are some questions my future hubby and I came up with to ask them.

  • What do the animals eat?
Organic food, grass, including hay and alfalfa in winter (for cows), bugs, grass, outside things, as well as either local or organic grain (for chickens). Does the feed include corn and soy? If yes, are they genetically modified?

  • Where do the animals live?
Regularly outside or on pasture
  • Do you use any medication, antibiotics or hormones?
You do not want any of these in your foods

  • How do you fertilize?
Organically, composted cow manure, sustainably, fish oil, anything that sounds like it started with the earth or an animal. It's ok if a farmer says they are not certified organic if they have full organic practices as the product will be significantly cheaper.

  • How do you manage pests and disease?
“Grown inside” or chemical free” “crop rotation” or “we don’t spray” are probably some of the best answers, but “integrated pest management,” “we spray as seldomly as possible,” “zero day to harvest rated sprays,” are also on the right track.

If you want to get to know your farmer then ask these questions:

How was the growing season last year/this year?
How did you get into farming?
What crops are coming up next, seasonally? Are they growing on schedule? Any complications?
How do I store X unfamiliar food that I’m purchasing from you?
What’s your favorite way to prepare X?

Now go and Google farms in your area. You might be surprised how close some are to you! 

Happy natural healthy living! 

Thursday, March 28, 2013

How much water do you need?

In my journey to becoming healthier the hardest part for me to stay consistent is water consumption. I will go a whole month drinking lots of water then the next month barely anything... even with my outrageous fitness regime... Whoops. However I know I am aware of my lack of water consumption as our little cookie and my future hubby always has a glass of water in front of them (from me). Double Whoops! I know, I'm just being extra lazy...
Benefits of Water: Water is your body's principal chemical component and makes up about 60 percent of your body weight. Every system in your body depends on water. For example, water flushes toxins out of vital organs, carries nutrients to your cells and provides a moist environment for ear, nose and throat tissues.
Lack of water can lead to dehydration, where you don't have enough water in your body to carry out normal daily functions. Even mild dehydration can drain your energy and make you tired. 
So how much water should you be drinking?: Most health experts recommend 2.2 - 3 litres of water for the average adult (men need more then women). Of course when it is hotter outside or you sweat more you are loosing more water and will need to consume more. With daily exercise it is recommended to consume 1.5 - 2.5 extra cups
Children need 1.3-3.3 litres of water a day based on age, weight and gender.
Pregnant women should be consuming anywhere from 10-13 cups of water a day. 
**The amount of water listed above is total amount consumed including ingested foods containing water.
Now if you are exercising, you need at least 1.5 more litres of water (of course this depends on how much you are sweating out). Its generalized.
Now we are talking PEE! Your pee should be slightly yellow to colourless during urination.

My goal for the week: I purchased a large mason jar from a thrift shop last week and only need to fill it up 3 times. Yes even with my outrageous workout schedule... It's enough water. It's huge!

Happy healthy water consuming (into the body) living!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Yikes, switching my blog spot...

This morning I was a very grumpy girl! Don't worry friends it only lasted about 10 min. 

Why you ask? 

I have had nothing but problems with blogger. My posts have randomly been deleted and I have run out of space to upload photos on multiple occasions. 

Yes, today I decided enough is enough. I am officially switching to

Yeah I know they have some things to update and add but I think it will be a good move in the long haul.

I sure hope to see all of you there!

Happy natural thrifty living!


Saturday, March 16, 2013

How to get rid of the stickiness under stickers or labels

You know that stickiness that lays behind stickers/labels that you cannot get off without scrubbing your heart out and even then its still sticky?!?!

This is my little cookies bunk bed frame that we got for free! But it came with half ripped off boys stickers...

Of course with the rest of this blog and my life I am trying to stay away from chemicals so "goo-gone" is out of the question. Plus I can save a couple dollars by NOT buying more stuff!

Baking soda to the rescue!!! Well that and coconut oil. Or any oil for that matter...
Baking soda has natural abrasives that removes the stick so the oil can loosen everything up!

Thats it! Equal parts coconut oil and baking soda, mix together and rub on sticky area. I let it sit for about 5 min then wiped it off!

This works for all things sticky, glass jars that you want to reuse or peeling stickers on your vacuum!

Happy de-stickafying!!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

To buy or to not buy Organic

Are you considering going organic?? Our family has made the switch!

Price: So far we have learned that organic lemons, kale, and spinach is almost always cheaper then non-organic. Red, green and yellow peppers are almost double the price as non-organic and everything else is negotiable.

Routine: Some people say its a lot of work to find all organic foods as you need to go to one place for meat and another for fruits and veggies and another for the extras. We have also changed our routine from buying all groceries at the store to going to our local farmers market for meats, fruits and veggies and an egg lady that comes every 2 weeks to our home. We have also started the process to have a hopefully luscious garden in our backyard.

Not-So-Secret List of fruits and veggies you should buy Organic:

Green beans

Safety: I wonder how safe or natural it is to use pesticides on foods. They spray produce during each stage of growth and in turn absorbing a toxic chemical that kills every other thing on that farm except the one growing produce. Pesticides are chemically engineered to kill everything but that one plant. There is no way that could be good for me or my family's health so we have gone organic and are purchasing many foods locally.

Environmental Impact: Buying local increases local farming which has decreased significantly within the last 20 years thanks to the large corporations and manipulation. Large companies that are Genetically Modifying foods seed spread (like normal plants do) and contaminates other natural farmers crops. Once they are found with these crops that now have the genes from the GM crops they are sewed and put out of business. The next part of environmental impact is that these foods are being picked before they are actually ripe (about 1-2 weeks) and chemicals are put on them to help them travel great distances. Pollution is also another thing to consider as many foods are put through a large corporation then travel by plane from one truck to another truck to your grocery store.

Happy natural pesticide-free eating!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Going gluten-free? Its easier then it looks!

Remember I said this blog is all about how we are changing different parts of our life to become more thrifty and healthier? Well this might be the biggest change we have implemented so far.
We are no longer eating food that contains gluten in it. Thats right people! No gluten! Let me tell you... gluten is in EVERYTHING! Well not everything... almost everything pre-made, including sauces. This might not be a move for your family yet or ever for that matter. But I truly believe it is a great change for my family. We all feel so different!

It was tricky for the first week but is getting easier every week that passes. I glance at the products list of ingredients in the grocery stores (the very few food items now that we purchase that are pre-made).
Here is a list of common ingredients/foods that are other names for Gluten:

semolina(durum wheat)
modified wheat starch 
wheat starch 
wheat germ 
wheat bran 
whole wheat
cracked wheat 
cake flour
matzo flour
matzo meal 
malt flavouring

This change has benefited me the most as I no longer feel bloated after every meal or get diarrhea... TMI? Sorry! My future hubby (sheesh I LOVE saying that!) felt lethargic and full of gas for the first week and now has more energy then ever. 

There are sooo many gluten free options out there too now. We went to our favourite grocery stores to check out our options. There is pasta, breads, cupcakes, (not that we eat much of any of that... but just in case... and sauce mixes all GF!

Ok here are my 2 FAVOURITE Gluten Free recipes that no one would ever know are missing gluten!

Banana Bread from Nature Moms Blog
I use my Vitamix to blend almonds into almond flour. Its our cookies favourite type of banana bread now! Yay!

The second delectable food is Quinoa Brownies! I promise no one would know it has quinoa in it. I made it with our little one and didn't tell my sister, her hubby and my man until after they ate it. None of them believed us until we showed them the mess in the kitchen :) Whoops...

I didn't realize how many meals we make at home already that are gluten free. We have never ate much pasta or bread so that isn't missed much. Our grocery shopping has changed completely from going down every isle to walking around the veggie and fruit section for the longest part of our grocery time then to meats (which we are even eating less of these days).

This has made us eat at home more often and try different foods. It has also lead us to eating more sushi (which I will never complain about!)

We have been doing this for a whole month now and it is a welcomed change as it has decreased our food budget and making both of us feel healthier and not bogged down.

Happy thrifty healthy and as always crunchy living!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Vitamix intro into our Whole Foods life

We have just discovered the Vitamix. Well not just. We picked it up the end of December... If you haven't heard of it before you can go checkout there site. It is everything they promise and MORE!

Whats in here? Banana, Kale, strawberries, blueberries, apples, coconut oil, an orange and pineapple!

We purchased this about a month ago with healthy living in mind. Hoping it would help increase our green food intake and promote our whole food beliefs. We were right!

I use it every day! Most days twice! I make a smoothy in the morning before work and after work if I work into the evenings instead of eating a big meal before bed. Or if I feel like a snack in the middle of the day I will make one then too!

Before the Vitamix it was impossible to get my future hubby to eat the full amount of servings of fruit and veggies every day. Now, a piece of cake! Well... not cake, veggies! HA-HA-HA

Don't get me wrong, I love eating fruits and veggies not blended. Its very important for your teeth and gums to eat crunchy foods to strengthen the ligament around the teeth and also to help self cleanse your teeth. (Wow, just my little burst of dental info for you) But if you aren't getting enough just eating veggies and fruit that way then this is a great boost up! I also personally believe we should be eating more then what is recommended based on Canada's food guide or the US food guide. Go check out what the healthiest people are based on diet!

This one has banana, orange, strawberries, apples, carrots, kale, blueberries, pineapple and coconut oil.

This thing (Vitamix) is unbelievable! I put in apples cut in half (seeds and stem), grapes (including the vine), entire oranges and it blends it up so fine you cannot feel a single seed, texture or anything! I make my own homemade almond flour, coconut flour, peanut butter, and ice cream now!

The other morning our little cookie asked for orange juice with breakfast so I put in a whole orange, blended it for no longer then 1 min, added water, blended again for another min and voila homemade orange juice! It does not get fresher then that! Our little girl loves strawberry banana smoothies (with kale and coconut oil). Best way to sneak in known 'super foods'.

Now we have upgrated to 'green smoothies'!! Even little one likes the green smoothies now. Don't start with green smoothies right away, start your tastebuds out with fruit and a few veggies  :)

This is not only keeping more chemicals out of our foods (by not buying things in containers or pre-made) it is also much cheaper and fun/good to know for children understanding what they are eating!

Happy healthy Vitamixing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

How to make Leggings

This is one of the simplest projects I have done yet :) Yet they look great! Thanx to the amazing selection of very affordable fabric at Fabricland!

Step 1: I wrapped the fabric around my leg deciding how high I wanted them to be with seam allowance on either side.

Step 2: Sew the long edges together. I recommend surging or zigzag stitch.

Step 3: Sew the top. Fold the top over an inch or an inch and a half depending on your preference. Sew.

Step 4: Sew the bottom. Fold the top over 1/2inch and sew.

Step 5: Hand sew buttons where you like them. I put the long seam to the back so its not noticeable, put it on my leg and decided where I wanted the buttons to go. I think the double buttons look a little better :)

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Remember exercise?

Back to Healthy Living! I believe exercise is the second most importing thing to living healthy. First in my opinion, is a healthy natural diet full of whole foods.

Remember this blog is about ALL ASPECTS of going natural and becoming more healthy.

I have been working more (thankfully), which means I need to exercise and stretch more. The benefits of my job (Registered Dental Hygienist), like many occupations I sit for most of the day and sometimes need to lean over which is taxing on your body. Sitting is not the benefit, being forced to exercise and stretch daily is the benefit as it is leading me to a healthier life.

So future hubby and I are back to exercising! What does that mean? I go to yoga for the best stretches I've ever had 4-5 days a week. We are training for a half-marathon in the spring, and I have been working on toning the rest of my body with an app I have on my iPad.

I have been practicing Moksha yoga in an indoor warm environment. Some days I just go for the warmth on my muscles. I know the running, yoga, and toning sounds like a lot, but its only an hour and a half out of my day and feels so great for my back!

Happy healthy living!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

DIY Glass Cozy

We have a family of 3 and no dishwasher (well except me). Family that lives downstairs, and friends and family that come over at least 5 times a week.

When people come over the most common request is a drink. We have water at our house which looks the same in all of our same looking cups. I was washing cups every day like it was going out of style. So I came up with an idea to decrease cup use!

Everyday one person is allowed one glass. How do we keep them straight? Glass Cozies!

I picked out different fabric colours and styles that I had at home, first for my family then for friends. It is a loop of fabric with an elastic band sewn inside the fabric. I just measured the width around our glasses and added some extra fabric to give the scrunchy look.

This has solved all my dishwashing problems! I no longer have to wash 6 glasses when there were only 3 people home.

Happy homemade living!

Friday, January 11, 2013

How to Naturally Unclog Drains

On a bottle of Draino: Only use in a well ventilated area. Meaning do not breath this stuff in as its toxic to your health. Hmm... This is not something I want to subject me or my family to. Nope, no way!

I've been growing my hair for the last 2 years and have noticed that our bathtub drains are clogging up.

It must be a mixture of shampoo, bodywash and hair. (Can't wait to start no-poo shampoo... for a later post). I used to only have to do this once a year and now its every 4 months... Two bathroom sinks and a bathtub... I used to buy Draino in the past but I couldn't bring myself to buy it until I tried a natural alternative.

And would you believe it? It's our very favourite two products in our home here! Baking soda and Vinegar! Cheap, but extremely effective, natural and non-toxic to the environment

How to Unclog Drains:

1. First grab a funnel or if you don't have one make one out of paper. Pour 1/4 cup baking soda down the drain. Make sure it is pushed down as far as it can go.
2. Pour 1/4 cup white vinegar down the drain and cover quickly with a plug. It fuzzes up pretty fast. 

I left it for an hour came back to it and all the hair was lifted up so I could easily grab it out. I repeated the steps and have a perfectly draining bathtub and sinks! You can use this for your kitchen sink too! I only had to do it once for my kitchen sink and do not do it as regularly.

Happy Natural, Thrifty, Healthy living friends!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Cloth Napkins vs Paper Towels

Cloth napkins vs paper towel... That is the real question.
Do you know how many paper towels are used in your house every month? Me neither... Until I counted... I buy my paper towel at Costco I think packages of 12. We used that package in 8 months... 

Whats all the hullaballoo?
Consider this, you'll probably use thousands and thousands of rolls, which is equivalent to an entire forest. Imagine a local forest that you've walked through being completely cut down just for paper towels! It isn't just trees that are being consumed, its the entire process of making them including chemicals that go into it. To increase absorbency, they've been subjected to dioxins and other ingredients (the process isn't disclosed on the roll of paper towels). They are also bleached to give them their white colour. The dangers of chlorine bleach have been well documented. Infants and toddlers are especially vulnerable to the effects of chlorine bleach. Finally, they can take up to a year to decompose but then again remember the chemicals that go into the process of making them? It is leaking into the water system and causing harmful effects.

For me and my family this was a no brainer and a simple fix! 

I went out and purchased some organic terry cloth and flannel for reusable cloth napkins. I purchased it with my Fabricland membership on the back isle that only cost $3 per meter and matching thread of course! 

I cut out 10" x 12" rectangles. I probably cut 30 of each. Then sewed right sides together close to the edges.
Make sure you leave a 2 inch opening to flip the fabric. 

 After flipping the fabric, tuck the opening in and iron flat.

Then top stitch along the edge. This makes a BIG difference! (I made 2 different colours so don't be confused...)

I wrapped them around a paper towel holder for the meantime but I think I would like to add snaps so they can be laid more evenly.

The man only started using them once I tucked the paper towel away. We have had them for 2 months now and we all love them! They feel so soft on our faces and are very durable. We use them for simple kitchen wipe ups and meal times. We have a whole other section of rags for cleaning the home instead of using paper towels. Our waste has gone down substantially just from not using paper towels and I must say I haven't noticed an increase in the laundry as they are quite thin.

Overall a great investment! Its Thrifty, natural, homemade, and a great present wrapped in a cloth bow!

Happy sewing and living a more environmentally conscious life!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

DIY Natural Pet Stain Remover

We have a little pup. When we leave him for too long at home or if he is just extra anxious he goes to the bathroom on our carpet. First of all I cannot wait to have hardwood instead of carpet. This will solve most of our home pet problems when this gets changed over... Until then, we have carpet and a pet to clean up after!

This last one was a poop. It wasn't hard either. TMI? Sorry...

I got most of it off with a cloth... but the brown smelly colour was still there.

I know baking soda rids pups smells. I use it weekly before I vacuum the carpet. So I figured I would sprinkle some of that on. Then I remembered a grass stain that our little cookie had on her shirt. I took it off with baking soda and vinegar... just let it sit there for an hour.

I tried this on the carpet. Let it sit for 2 hours (for extra mess removal hoping with my fingers crossed) and wiped the area up. Don't let the mixture sit for longer then that as it will bleach the carpet. The smell and brown stain was gone! Phew! I can officially stop buying pet stain removers that are so costly and cannot be good to breath in due to the extra smells they add.

Pet Stain and Smell Remover:
Baking soda

Happy natural thrifty living!