Monday, March 31, 2014

Carnival of Natural Mothering: Dear Mama

Carnival of Natural Mothering
April 2014: What You Wish You Knew

Remember when you got your first positive pregnancy test? What do you wish that woman knew? Write a letter of love and encouragement to that awesome mama just starting her journey.


Dear Mama-to-be,

First of all, you are going to be the most amazing mama!

Even though the next 9 months seem like they will go on forever, they will fly by. Savor every single moment. Enjoy the journey! Do not worry about reading all of those books you are going to purchase and receive from others. Pick a good book focused on natural birth and go with that one. Otherwise, save the other breastfeeding, parenting, baby care books for the first few months when you will spend most of your days on the couch with a beautiful baby in your arms.

Your thirst for knowledge will make you want to learn everything you can before the baby arrives. All of those books, articles, and blog posts have nothing on your intuition. Connect with the baby during the pregnancy, focus on a natural birth and trust in your motherly instinct. Your instinct and intuition will get you through any situation.

Wear the baby as much as you can! Wear him to sleep, to breastfeed, and just because. Once he starts sitting up, crawling, and walking, you will miss the days when he was a tiny baby and you could just hold him for hours. Wear the baby everywhere!

Remember, you are going to be the most amazing mama!




>> What would you tell yourself as you were starting out your pregnancy??

Growing Your Own Food with Gro-ables

This post brought to you by Gro-ables. All opinions are 100% mine.

Every year, I learn more and more about gardening and make bigger and bigger plans. The back yard garden will continue as in previous years. The front yard container garden that I started last year will be expanded. And, I am still formulating my plans for an edible front yard garden (if only the deer and critters would not eat my plants). That being said, I would still call myself an amateur gardener. I look at friends and others who have elaborate gardens and I yearn for more knowledge and experience. When you would like to start a garden, but fear that you do not have the knowledge and experience, Miracle-Gro Gro-ables pre-packaged seed pods offer an easy way to grow your own herbs and vegetables from seed.

Miracle-Gro Gro-ables are seed pods that are designed to simplify the growing process so that it is not overwhelming and confusion. Soil types, sunlight requirements, and spacing can be overwhelming, even to an experienced gardener. After selecting about 10 types of seeds for the garden, even I get overwhelmed by all of these requirements. This new product from Miracle-Gro guarantees the seeds to grow, when used as directed. Seeds are available in herbs and vegetable varieties. I love the ease of planting seeds for as little as $1.29-$1.49 per seed pod. This is very affordable when you consider the cost of seedlings and grown plants.
Globe Tomato photo 12_MG_Tomato_5506_1209002_V01_zps3fb9ae29.jpg

I will be growing Cilantro and Globe Tomatoes. I hope to use both in a simple homemade salsa recipe.

Easy Salsa Recipe

1 cup of globe tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup of onion, chopped
1 tbsp cilantro, chopped
1 tsp jalapeno, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Dash of salt

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve with tortilla chips.

I am already getting excited about some of the warmer days that we have had. Seed catalogs have been pursed and the garden planning has begun. Miracle-Gro Gro-ables are a great way to amend the seeds I saved from last year to guarantee great results.

Visit Sponsor's Site

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Beech Nut 100% Natural Baby Food [Review]

I adopted the philosophy that homemade is always better a few years ago and planned on making my own baby food. After reading Baby Led Weaning, I mandated that no baby food (pureed foods) will be fed to the baby and there will be no spoon feeding! I now realize that I went a little over the top with my new-mommy goals. After wanting to give the baby yogurt and homemade carrot souffle, I realized that I would have to spoon feed it. I relaxed a bit. Seeing the baby love all of these foods that I was spoon feeding him opened up a whole new world of natural baby food that I shut out prematurely. Beech-Nut just came out with their natural baby food line: natural ingredients, no additives or preservatives, minimal processing, and just what the label says.

Beech-Nut 100% Natural Baby Food               ($1.09)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
100% natural ingredients
Not certified organic
No additives, preservatives, or colors

Delicious taste

First and foremost, this new line of baby from Beech-Nut is made from 100% natural ingredients. No artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. When the label says Just Honeycrisp Apples, the ingredients list only lists honeycrisp apples! Beech-Nut uses "just gentle cooking" to retain the most nutrients without adding excess water or preservatives. They imported this technology from Italy. What is gentle cooking?
  1. Close-to-home ingredients 
  2. Cold puree (raw fruits and vegetables pureed before cooking)
  3. No artificial preservatives (excess air is removed)
  4. Gently cooked (indirect heat with a double boiler method)
  5. Jar (BPA-free glass jars)
As a mother who is focused on natural and organic foods for her baby, I am pleased with Beech-Nut's gentle cooking method. I love that the ingredients are high quality, are gently cooked, and go into glass jars. 

I have a confession! Shh...don't tell the Baby Led Weaning world...Beech-Nut's new line of 100% natural baby food was the first actual jarred baby food that my baby ate. Yes! After 5+ months of Baby Led Weaning, I finally gave him jarred baby food. Why? Because I was impressed by the high quality, natural and simple ingredients and the cooking process. I would like to see Beech-Nut release an organic line.
Out of the 40 new delicious flavors, we received the following to sample:
  1. Beets, Pear & Pomegranate
  2. Just Carrots
  3. Just Honeycrisp Apples
  4. Just Spinach, Zucchini & Peas
The colors were vibrant! Just like they would be if I cooked the same ingredients at home. I tried a little bit before I gave to the baby (this mama was curious!). Just Carrots reminded me of my homemade Carrot Souffle. Just Honeycrisp Apples were one of the best apple sauces I have tasted. And my favorite was the Beets, Pear & Pomegranate. We have yet to try Just Spinach, Zucchini & Peas. The baby liked all of the flavors also. He ate the whole jar of Beets, pear & Pomegranate in one sitting (each jar contains 2 servings). Just Carrots made it through a couple of meals (opened jars should be refrigerated and used within 2 days). 

The new Beech-Nut line will be available in stores, including Kroger, Meijer, Wal-Mart, and Publix in Spring 2014. Suggested retail price of a 4.25oz bottle is $1.09. Visit Beech-Nut for more information about the new flavors. Beech-Nut's new 100% natural baby food line is affordable and wholesome. 

Disclosure: This post is part of a sponsored campaign with Beech-Nut and MomSelect. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Opulent Monsters Pattern & Fabric Kits [Giveaway]

Sponsored By: Opulent Monsters
Hosted By: Mami's 3 Little Monkeys

Opulent Monsters was created while Crystal was pregnant with her third child. She was on the journey of looking into cloth diapering and decided to make them herself as she has been sewing for over 20 years. She quickly fell in love with the cloth diaper community and became obsessed with the cuteness of all the cloth diapers out there. She made and awesome all-in-one design and loved it, OMMO was made by Crystal out of her pure love for cloth diapering and the necessities for something easy to use while chasing around her other two children. She has been drafting patterns since the 90's and loves to pass on her knowledge and tricks to others who would like to learn. Crystal now has four children.

Sarh at Mami's 3 Little Monkeys has made three pairs of Monster Bunz. You can read her full review here.

Two very lucky winners will be able to chose their own sewing pattern of choice from Opulent Monsters as well as three (3) sewing kits per winner! For the fabric kit, the winners will be allowed to choose which size of Monster Bunz they would like to make with the kit and for which gender(s) they would like their kits for. 

This giveaway is open Worldwide (void where prohibited), but please note that winners outside of the US will be responsible for shipping fees. Canadian entrants MUST complete the mandatory skills test. 

This giveaway will end on April 7th at 11:59pm CST. Two winners will be chosen at random via the entry form, winning entries will be verified and the winners will be notified via email. Winners will have 48 hours in which to respond to these emails or a new winner(s) will be chosen. 

Disclosure: All Natural Katie and all other participating bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment of these prizes. Prizes will be shipped by Opulent Monster, any winner(s) outside of the USA will be responsible for paying their own shipping. If you have any questions please contact Sarh at

Royal Fluff OS Pocket Diaper [Giveaway]

Royal Fluff cloth diapers bring you a fleecy soft interior and an ultra-comfortable trim fit. Royal Fluff pocket cloth diapers are your standard pocket diapers with extra features that make them the diaper that I will reach for first. Two rows of snaps, with 4 snaps on each side, paired with elastic at the back, give Royal Fluff diapers a great fit. Enter below to win a One Size (OS) Pocket Cloth Diaper from Royal Fluff.

Please use the Rafflecopter entry form below. Open to the US only. All entries will be verified. Duplicate and invalid entries will be deleted. 

Royal Fluff OS Pocket Cloth Diaper (ARV $23.99)
All Natural Katie is not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Royal Fluff OS Pocket Diaper [Review]

My stash of cloth diapers is made up of many different brands of cloth diapers, types of cloth diapers, fabrics, and closures. I love discovering a new cloth diaper brand. While I do have my preferences for cloth diaper closures and types, my biggest focus is on the fit of the cloth diaper. The baby is crawling and walking with assistance, so the fit of the cloth diaper is very important to me. Movement can make some even the best fitting cloth diapers shit and gape. This is where good fit equals no leaks. I look for a tight, but comfortable fit. Royal Fluff cloth diapers bring you a fleecy soft interior and an ultra-comfortable trim fit.

OS Pocket Cloth Diaper               ($23.99)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
2 rows of top snaps for great fit
Slightly big at waist
Back elastic for great fit

4 snaps on each side (no wing droop)

Cloth diaper model: 11 month old boy, ~20 lbs, on the longer and skinnier side.

Royal Fluff One Size (OS) Pocket Diapers fit most babies from 9-32 lbs. Lots of snaps allow you to customize the rise. There are 4 snaps on each side to prevent wing droop. I prefer diapers with two rows of snaps on each side because I find that they fit better and tend to stay in place on a crawler or a walker. The diaper is made from a waterproof PUL outer and a soft polyester fleece interior. I love how soft the interior fabric is. Royal Fluff diapers would be perfect for a baby who prefers softer materials against their skin because of sensitive skin or sensory processing disorders.

The back of the diaper has elastic on it to ensure there are no blow outs. The elastic is on both the outer PUL and inner polyester fleece. The two rows of snaps on each side, plus the back elastic, allowed for a great fit around my baby. Although the diaper can fit babies from 9 lbs, I would wait until my baby is bigger. Even at around 20 lbs, the diaper is a little loose around the waist on my skinny 11 month old boy. Cross-over snaps could be a great feature to add to this diaper to make it truly versatile for any baby.

The pocket is large enough to add additional inserts. I have been using the Royal Fluff pocket diaper with a doubled for trips outside the home that lasts for at least 2-3 hours. I have not had any issues with leaks. Then again, the great fit of the diaper and appropriate insert stuffing help to ensure that.

Royal Fluff pocket cloth diapers are your standard pocket diapers with extra features that make them the diaper that I will reach for first. I have also been using the Royal Fluff pocket diaper as a cover with an organic cotton flat tri-folded inside. Royal Fluff OS pocket diapers are a great investment for your cloth diaper stash.

Royal Fluff Coupon Code: use BLOGLOVE20 to get 20% off your cloth diaper purchase through April 15.

Enter to win a Royal Fluff OS Pocket cloth diaper.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free to facilitate this review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Natural Yoga Mat Cleaner Spray [Review]

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

I never thought about cleaning my yoga mat until someone mentioned it one day during a class. I did recall that my previous yoga instructor recommended washing the yoga mat right after purchase to make it more sticky. Downward Dogs are hard to do with a slick mat. She recommended using a mild soap and soaking in a bath tub. For a one-time cleaning, not too bad. For a regular cleaning, this would become tedious. I needed something quick and easy. Yoginiology Cleansing Natural Yoga Mat Spray is the #1 yoga mat cleaner spray made from natural ingredients and essential oils.

Yoginiology Cleansing Yoga Mat Spray       (8 oz, $19.99)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Contains natural ingredients
Contains Potassium Sorbate
Made in the USA

Quick and easy application

Mat retains stickiness

After a recent yoga workout, I could no longer look at the dark blue yoga mat with white patches on it from my hands and feet. "Probably dead skin cells," I thought. Eww! I took out the Yoginiology Cleansing Natural Yoga Mat Spray and started cleaning one side of the yoga mat. I wanted to see how it worked. The spray bottle was easy to use and very sturdy. The instructions on the bottle directed me to spray a wet cloth with the spray and then rub on the yoga mat. I did just that.

I applied some elbow grease because my yoga mat has a dimple pattern and I wanted to be sure to get all of the dirt in between each crevice out. When I looked at the white rag I was using, I noticed it was not white anymore (check out the photo to the right). Part of this was the dirt on the mat that is not visible to the naked eye, but mostly, the color transferred from the mat to the wet rag. When I scrubbed with just a wet rag, the color still transferred. Therefore, I do not think this is attributable to the cleaner. Once the yoga mat dried, the area that I cleaned looked....clean! The mat looked brand new. I must remember to clean the mat more often.

Ingredients: water, pure coconut derived surfactant, citrus oil derived from orange, organic New Mexican lavender, potassium sorbate.

I love that Yoginiology Cleansing Natural Yoga Mat Spray contains essential oils as the scenting agents. The lavender and orange combination is a great match. The scent does not linger. I am okay with this. The natural scent makes it pleasant to clean my yoga mat. Since one of the ingredients is water, a preservative is needed. Potassium Sorbate is used as the preservatives. I would like to see the yoga mat cleaner spray be preservative-free since there is some toxicity associated with preservatives.

The yoga mat looks cleaner. The air smells fresher. I will be cleaning the yoga mat a lot more often now that I have an effective natural yoga mat cleaner. The 8 oz spray bottle will last me a long time. If you practice yoga on a regular basis, do not forget about cleaning the yoga mat. Yoginiology Cleansing Natural Yoga Mat Spray is your best friend for keeping your yoga mats and props naturally clean.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own.

Beyond the Seam $50 GC [Giveaway]

Welcome to the Beyond the Seam Giveaway!

Sponsored By: Beyond the Seam 

One lucky reader will win a $50 GC to Beyond the Seam! 

I am in love with the collection of handmade magnetic fabric alphabets and math sets that are bright and colorful. The perfect sensory toys for your babies, toddlers, and kids. Beyond the Seam also creates other fun toys for any child. If you would like to learn more about Beyond the Seam, read Mami's 3 Little Monkeys' review

Discount Code
Use code 3LITTLEMONKEYS to receive FREE SHIPPING on your order from Beyond the Seam

Simply complete entries through the Giveaway Tools entry form below for your chance to win, the more entries you complete, the better your odds of winning will be. Giveaway is open Worldwide (void where prohibited) to those whom are at least 18 years of age and it will end on April 1st at 11:59pm CST. One winner will be chosen at random through the Giveaway Tools entry form, winners entries will be verified and winner will be notified via email. Winner will have 48 hours in which to respond or a new winner will be chosen. 

Disclosure: All Natural Katie and all other participating bloggers are not responsible for the fulfillment of the prize, nor have they been compensated for this publication. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Sarh at

Friday, March 14, 2014

Incandescent Light Bulb Ban

With her red wagon in tow, 8-year old Jill uses her lighting smarts to talk some sense into her parents, who are still using (far too many) traditional incandescent light bulbs in their home. Watch the intervention go down to see how Jill helps her family save money, time and energy with the three alternative lighting choices available to them. Learn more about the lighting choices available to you at Sylvania.

>> Have you been saving incandescent light bulbs in light of the 2014 ban??

Disclaimer: This post contains a sponsored link. By viewing the video, I will receive small compensation to support this blog at no additional cost to you. Regardless, I feature and recommend only brands and products that I myself would use.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

All About Blanks $25 GC [Giveaway]

Sponsored By:

All About Blanks is a shop that offers fabric products with embroidery designs. You can purchase just about any fabric product like clothing for babies, towels and aprons for the kitchen, table linens, and lots of different tote bags. If you would like to know what Mami's 3 Little Monkeys thought about All About Blanks, check out the review here.

TWO Lucky readers will win a $25 GC to!

This giveaway is open to US residents whom are at least 18 years of age and it will end on March 26th at 11:59pm CST. To win, simply fulfill as many entries you'd like in the Giveaway Tools entry form below. Two winners will be chosen at random and their entries will be verified. The winners will be notified via email and will have 48 hours in which to respond or a new winner(s) will be chosen.

Good Luck!

Disclosure: All Natural Katie and all other participating blogs have not been compensated for this publication nor are they responsible for the fulfillment of the prizes. If you have any questions or would like to see your brand/products in a similar event please contact Sarh at

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Carrier Teething Pads [Giveaway]

Sustainable and upcycle Giveaway Hop hosted by @squishablebaby @themedianmommy.  All blogs are giving away #sustainable #upcycled items with ARV $15+.  Grand prize worth $230
Welcome to the Sustainable and Upcycle Giveaway Hop hosted by The Squishable Baby and The Median Mommy.  Join us in celebrating The Squishable Baby's 1 year blog anniversary.

In order to bring the importance of change and awareness to a larger audience, this hop focuses on items which were upcycled, can be reused  and are healthy for this earth. After you visit my giveaway, please make sure to visit the linky below and visit the other bloggers.  I am sure you will enjoy what they have to offer.  Each blogger has a minimum of a $15 prize to give away!
#greenbloggers visit the #sustainable #upcycle #giveawayhop hosted by @squishablebaby @themedianmommy  Win prizes for baby, mommy and the entire family!  ARV $230 #greenliving #organic #fairtrade
While you are giveaway hopping, make sure you enter the GRAND PRIZE for this event. This wonderful prize package worth $230 includes items for baby, mommy and the entire family! This prize package includes a custom upcycled wool soaker from Median Woolworks, a 6-pack of Woolzies Dryer Balls, a Wonderful Bambino Bamboo Fitted Diaper, 3 yummy fair trade and organic dark chocolate bars from sweetriot, A set of 2 soft and silky minky pads with a fleece backing from Pink Lemonade, Peachy Green AIO Bamboo Diaper and Nellies Laundry Soap from Caribou Baby NYC, A copy of Vinegar Fridays from Green Grandma, 1 large and 1 small wet bag by Spring Mountain Living, and wool and bamboo shorties from The Squishable Baby.


Enter below to win a pair of carrier teething pads from Made Just for You By Lisa, a luxury items shop on Etsy. This set of carrier teething pads are in the gender neutral frog print. Knit print on one side and a soft minky dot fabric on the other side.

Check out my review of these carrier teething pads
Carrier Teething Pads are a requirement if you ever wear your baby in a soft structured carrier. They keep drool off fabrics and give something for the babies to chew on. Teething pads can also be used with stroller and car seat straps.

Please use the Rafflecopter entry form below. Open to the US only. All entries will be verified. Duplicate and invalid entries will be deleted. 

Pair of Carrier Teething Pads (ARV $18.79)

The Squishable Baby, The Median Mommy, and the Sustainable and Upcycle Giveaway Hop bloggers are not responsible for sponsors who do not fulfill prize obligations.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Two Outfit Challenge [#CTWW]

This week's challenge:

This week, choose two outfits and wear them exclusively for the week. This does not include undergarments. To make this challenge work, do not wash clothes more often than usual. If you feel that your clothing needs freshening up, try hanging it in the bathroom while you shower ... or hang it outside for "airing". The idea is to see if we can live with less while maintaining water conservation and good environmental practices.

OR ... If you absolutely need more than two outfits this week, please do an analysis of your closet. How many items do you have? Where (which country) were they manufactured? Are you aware of the factory working conditions in that part of the world? What materials are used? Are any natural fibers dyed or bleached? If cotton is used, is it organic? Do any items include plastic (buttons, trim, etc.)? Take an honest look at your closet. Once you've gathered the results, how could you make your wardrobe more Eco-friendly?

Even though I stay at home with a baby every day, my thirst for fashion and looking stylish has not changed. I still think about how I present myself through my wardrobe and I still love to go shopping. Shopping does not mean that I necessary purchase anything. I like to look, select, and try on, but I seldom buy. Maybe it is the result of a one income household or maybe it is because I spend most of my days at home in yoga tights or maybe it is because I realized how big of a wardrobe I really had. I love nothing more than purchasing a new outfit, but when I run out of closet space, it is time to reconsider whether I really need another pair of jeans or another sweater. This week, I am participating in the Two Outfit Challenge. 

My goal was to select two outfits that can be mixed and matched. Since I usually wear outfits, especially jeans several times before washing, the "challenge" part of the challenge will be to only wear two outfits. This might even help to reduce the stack of clothes on the cedar chest that my husband hates so much. 

Outfit 1: Bootcut jeans, merino wool sweater

Outfit 2: Skinny jeans, white tank top, button-up sweater

Since the temperatures warmed up a little, I have been opening the windows in the breezeway and using the chairs as clothing racks. Why have I not been doing this all along? Growing up in Eastern Europe, my family hung clothes outside on clothes lines to "air out" in the sun every day. I will strive to do this more often during the warmer months.

Switching between two pairs of jeans was very easy for me. I have lost weight since being pregnant and giving birth; my pre-pregnancy jeans are all big on me except for a pair of skinny jeans and a new pair of bootcut jeans I purchased last year. Basically, only two pairs of jeans in my closet fit me now.

The two sweater limitation was difficult. I found myself wanting a little more variety than just two sweaters. After 4 days, I became sick of the same two sweaters. However, since I mostly stay at home during the days, it was not as hard as if I left the house every day. "Airing out" the sweaters was a must. Using the breezeway helped to keep the sweaters fresher than throwing them on the cedar chest (my usual practice).

Although the two outfit challenge was a little difficult for me in terms of a variety of clothing items that I am usually used to wearing, I believe I could move forward with something like a six item challenge or a 3-5 outfit challenge. The beauty of this challenge is that I can continue to do it every week or every month, choosing different outfits each time. My biggest lesson learned was using the breezeway with the windows open to "air out" clothing instead of washing it more frequently. 

>> Would you be able to only wear two outfits for one week??

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Guide to Best Yoga Poses: Just Do Yoga [Review]

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

Just as quickly as I exited the yoga world a few years ago, I jumped right back in. I practiced beginner to intermediate yoga on a weekly basis for almost one year. The Thursday evening class was exactly what I needed to combat the work stress. After the class moved out of our office building and to a newly build nearby gym, I was not getting the same results out of the practice sessions. My yoga instructor was amazing, but the atmosphere was different, not to mention the higher cost of the class.

Prenatal yoga rekindled my interest in yoga. I became eager to feel the peace and calm that I received after each practice. I wanted both a structured yoga program like a class and a reference that I could use if I needed to focus on a specific body part (taking care of babies will surely slide something out of alignment). Just Do Yoga: The Complete Guide to Best Yoga Poses is a comprehensive guide that allows me to quickly reference the best yoga moves for different parts of the body.

Just Do Yoga       ($22.35 Paperback, $5.49 Kindle)
Rating: total green check marks out of 5.

The Good
The Not So Good
Comprehensive reference
No summary page for pose flows
Suitable for beginners and pros

I believe that anyone can practice yoga and everyone should practice yoga. Yoga is versatile. The practice can be customized to each person's physical fitness and/or injuries. Yoga is more than physical poses; yoga is about uniting the mind, body, and soul to focus on peace, strength, and breathing. Breathing is one of the most importance aspects of yoga. Breathing helps us to reduce stress by finding our center and focus on the strength of our body.

The versatility of yoga lies in the countless poses for each area of the body. Julie Schoen used yoga to heal her chronic back pain after an accident. Her knowledge and wisdom are woven throughout "Just Do Yoga: The Complete Yoga Guide to the Best Yoga Poses for Total Mind and Body Bliss." This nearly 500-page book categorizes yoga moves by sections focused on different areas of the body. Over 120 poses are detailed and photographed in vinyasa style sequences. You can do just the pose or the vinyasa (flow) sequences.

I have been experienced back pain from holding, carrying, and wearing my 11 month old (~20 lbs). My upper and lower backs usually hurt at the end of the day. I read the "Just Do Yoga" introduction and then flipped to the Happy Back Yoga section. I like the introduction and words of wisdom at the beginning of each section. Each pose has a black and white photograph and a description. I like that the description includes modifications, if you need them.

I went through the Happy Back Flow 2 sequence of poses. Each page is devoted to a pose, so as you go through the sequence, you would have to stop before the next post and flip the page. I ended up putting something heavy over the page to keep the book open. Since I was familiar with the poses, I tried to remember a couple at a time so I could continue the flow sequence without stopping. I would like to see a summary page that either lists the name of each pose (once you begin to remember the names and the poses) and a page that has the pose photographs lined up. This would greatly help to go through the flow sequences without stopping.

"Just Do Yoga" is a great comprehensive guide for anyone looking to start a yoga practice, continue a previous practice, or just need a reference guide. The detailed descriptions, paired with photographs, are self-explanatory and easy to follow.

Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tips to Reduce Water Waste [#CTWW]

This week's challenge:

To begin, test your water conservation knowledge by taking this QUIZ

THEN ... Install at least one low-flow aerator on a faucet in your home. These are relatively inexpensive from hardware stores and are easily installed (just screw them on).

OR ... If you've already installed aerators on your faucets, choose one other way to conserve water this week. Need some ideas? Eat no meat, pork or poultry (they all require a lot of water to produce). Reduce or eliminate spending (except for true essentials). Keep a pitcher of drinking water in the refrigerator instead of running the tap. Review your water bill history to determine periods of high use and make plans to reduce during those times (it's also a good tool for determining leaks). Fix leaky faucets or toilets. Consider removing some of the lawn (or all of it) and planting native shrubs, plants, trees, etc. When refreshing your pet's water, or changing the water in a fish tank, use it to feed your plants. Get creative and find a way to reduce your water footprint.

I am starting off this post about water conservation by admitting that I have reduced focus on water conservation. It all started almost one year ago when I gave birth. Conserving water took a back seat to taking care of a baby 24x7. Ok, ok, for months, I stopped watching how much water we were using. We now had a little bundle of joy that required cloth diapers, washing dirty clothes, and baths. 

The CTWW challenges brought me back into focus though. The challenges are a little voice in the back of my head, reminding me to reduce my footprint on the world. This week's challenge sparked my thinking about water conservation. Here is a list of my action items to reduce our water footprint. Some of these have already been implemented and some will be implemented in the coming month.
  1. Reduce the amount of water used for washing cloth diapers by switching cycles.
  2. Reuse grey water to water indoor plants.
  3. Save grey water and add to water barrel for outdoor plants.
  4. Use rain barrel to water garden.
  5. Keep water pitcher in fridge.
  6. Vegetarian with a splash of vegan fast for lent (and potentially longer!).
  7. Do not water the lawn during the summer.
The most surprising action we already do is not watering the lawn during the summer. Why? Because in the 4.5 years we have lived in our house, we have never watered our lawn. How this slipped by my must-have-green-manicured-lawn husband, I do not know! But, I am not complaining!

My biggest goal for the Spring and the Summer is to fill the water barrel with grey water from household chores like water leftover from rinsing fruits and vegetables. I keep an old bowl and instead of running water and using a colander, I fill the bowl with water and wash everything in it. Sometimes, I have to refresh the water 2-3 times depending on how dirty the vegetables are, but the water will go into the watering can and/or rain barrel.

Awareness is the first step to finding creative ways to conserve water, our most precious resource. Just thinking about how much we use water on a daily basis, from hygiene to cooking and cleaning.

>> What are some ways that you conserve or can start conserving water??

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