Month: September 2019

Exploring Lester Park

This past weekend, Little One and I explored Lester Park, which is one of my favorite parks in Duluth. It is often overlooked by tourists and has more of a local vibe. Due to this, it is not normally crowded and there is plenty of space for activities. I know there are many trails I have not yet explored in the park (future blog posts?). For my trip this time I stuck close to the rivers and checked out the beautiful waterfalls pictured below. Of course, we also played on the play ground!

Lester Park features two rivers – Lester River and Amity Creek. Both have amazing views and a host of waterfalls. When entering the park from the parking lot, you must walk over a beautiful stone bridge. The bridge is also a part of the historic past of Duluth.

Activities

There are so many activities to take part in. You can enjoy hiking, water falling, and biking. There are also picnic areas with grills, a delightful play ground, and ball area. The play ground features a couple slides, a ‘rope bridge’-like structure, and plenty of climbing opportunities. There is a rock wall feature that the kids can climb that has little wilderness animals carved into it. Very cute!

During the winter, there are many groomed trails for cross country skiing. Head to the Duluth parks website for updates on grooming and trail conditions. There is also a large open area that would be great for snow shoeing or making a snowman.

There is so much to do in this park, I highly suggest you check it out!

Getting There

Lester Park can be found at 61st Avenue East & Superior Street in Duluth. You can find out more information about Lester Park on the Duluth Parks website. You can reach Lester Park via the Lakewalk trail. If you’re taking the trail, once you cross the river take a left and head up the road a bit to the park entrance. If you take a right off the bridge it will take you down to Brighton Beach, which is also a fabulous park.

This is a little shorter post then I normally write, but I just had to share this little gem on the North Shore. Have you ever been to Lester Park? What did you think?

For more North Shore adventures, check out my post on Gooseberry Falls and Lutsen Mountain.

Exploring Lester Park River stream
Waterfall
Moss
forest path
Exploring Lester Park, water fall and bridge.

Homemade Peanut Butter

As you may have noticed by now, we try to live a zero waste lifestyle. For example, we have slowly been substituting the items we would purchase and finding a zero waste alternative. This week our zero waste switch is peanut butter! I love peanut butter. It’s one of those items that if I were stranded on a desert island, it would be my food choice. Because of this, we go through a lot of peanut butter and many plastic tubs. So join me on this journey to make delicious and easy homemade peanut butter!

Peanuts

The first step in homemade peanut butter is finding peanuts. For this I headed to the bulk bin at my food co-op. This is a great option because you can get just the amount that you need. If you don’t have access to something like this, I know there are other stores that sell peanuts in bulk. Try these on Amazon if you can’t get them local.

There are two types of peanuts available. The first is the regular peanuts that are roasted and normally salted. The second are those that are meant for making peanut butter. My whole food co-op had one bin for each, making my choice really easy.

getting peanuts for bulk bin
Making the Peanut Butter

Homemade peanut butter is really easy to make…if you have the right tools. For this recipe, a food processor is a must. An interesting note: some co-ops have a machine that will make the peanut butter for you in the store!

Simply place the amount of peanuts you want into the food processor (I used about three cups). Blend until creamy. This can take a while but it will come together. It was really chunky when I first started and thought I had done something wrong. It took between 7-10 minutes to form a smooth consistency. I ended up adding a bit of olive oil and salt to my peanut butter mixture to enhance the flavor.

Peanuts in a food processor
finished peanut butter in food processor
Enjoy

That’s it! Easy, right? Now no more buying plastic jars of peanut butter that are full of other ingredients that you don’t need.

What do you think – can you make the switch to homemade peanut butter? Let me know in the comments below! I found this to be way easy and I am kicking myself for not making the switch sooner. Oh well, better late then never!

Next, see my last post about a zero waste switch to shampoo bar.

DIY Chair Update

DIY Chair Update

If you have read my past posts, you probably know that I am all about the 5 R’s: recycle, reuse, reduce, rot, and refuse. We have been wanting to replace our dining chairs for a while, but didn’t want to purchase anything new. I wanted to reuse and recycle some chairs that needed a new home. I have been looking on my Facebook shop and swap page for a while now and finally found some. These were originally from IKEA (similar to these ones) but I got them from a community member whose daughter happened to go to the same day care as my son – gotta love small towns! These chairs were in somewhat rough shape when we got them but with some TLC, we made them much better! Continue reading for my DIY chair update.

Cleaning Them Up

The first thing we did when we got the chairs home was give them a good scrub with our DIY all-purpose cleaner. We also took the slip covers off the chairs.

I love the construction of these chairs. They have four screws on the bottom, which makes popping off the chair pads really easy.

Dirty Chair
DIY Chair Update, Dirty Chair Leg
DIY chair update, Cleaned Chair Leg

A couple of the slip covers were marked up and way beyond repair. With a toddler, I also didn’t want white chair covers for the reason you see below!

DIY chair update, Messy slip cover
New Chair Covers

So the chairs I got have slip covers on them. I wanted to replace them so off to the fabric store once again :). I found this lovely blue fabric in the outdoor section of the fabric store. It was 50% off and I also got 20% off at the register. Yay for sales!

Upon getting the fabric home, I ditched the idea of making slip covers for just reupholstering the chairs. I got extra fabric so if I ever need to update the chairs, I can. I also purchased outdoor fabric in a dark color. This will be more durable then the canvas fabric that was previously on the chair. They are also easier to wash off.

To upholster the chairs, I first removed the chair covers. I then laid the chair cushion on the fabric. Next I cut the fabric to have a 3 inch edge all the way around.

Working from the middle of the edge, I stapled the fabric to the underside of the chair. I did the middle on each of the 4 sides pulling the fabric tight. I then worked around the other sides. Next I finished the corners, pulling them tight so there were no folds.

Assembly

Finally I placed the chair pads on the chairs and flipped them upside down. I screwed the pad back on the the chair and just like that we had a finished chair.

This chair update was really quick and made a world of difference in our dining room. These chairs are sleeker then our old ones and take up way less space. With space at a premium in our small dining room, we improved our previous situation in a couple big ways.

Attaching the chair pad

So what do you think of this chair update? I think they turned out pretty good. I always encourage you to take a look at resources around you and see what you can reuse and turn into something new!

Next, check out my my post on Eco Friend Rules to Live By.

Switching to Family Cloth

Zero Waste Switch to family cloth

A couple years ago, I watched a YouTube clip about switching to family cloth. At the time I though it was a little crazy, like it just wasn’t for me. Fast forward to now, we as a family are trying to be more Eco-friendly, and this brought me back to family cloth.

It wasn’t weird to me for two reasons. The first involved reflecting on what everyone used before toilet paper was invented – they used cloth . The second reason is that I use cloth wipes for Little One during diaper changes. If it worked for our ancestors and it works for my Little One, then why can’t it work for me, too?

Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases. If you use them, I might be rewarded credit or a commission of the sale. Please note that I only recommend what I personally use and love and I always have my readers best interest at heart

Starting Out

After exploring multiple choices, I decided to make mine out of flannel fabric. So off to Joann’s I went! After much consideration I decided to go whimsical with the prints. I purchased 1 yard of each of the fabrics, one each for the upstairs bathroom and main floor bathroom. There was also a 70% off sale on flannels – I swear it was like Joann’s knew I was coming! I got both for under $5. If you don’t want to make your own cloths, try these. We have these flannel cloths for Little One and they work great!

Switching to Family Cloth
Preparing the Cloth

The first thing I did when I got the fabric home was prewash them. This is my rule whenever I bring new fabrics into my home. Next I pressed the fabric with an iron to prepare them for cutting. The pressing will ensure that the fabric is nice and flat for cutting. I used a mat, rotary cutter, and ruler to cut the fabric into 5.5 inch squares. You can decide on any size, but I found that this size made the most of my yard of fabric and is the relatively same size of a sheet of toilet paper. After cutting the squares, I surged each edge to prevent fraying during the next wash. If you don’t have access to a surger, you can perform a tight zig zag stitch or do a small rolled hem.

Making the Switch

I found two little round baskets at a garage sale and that is what I’m using to hold my clean cloths. Of course, you can use any container you like. I also added a wet bag to each of the bathrooms. Right now I am using my son’s wet bags (we have so many of them!). I may switch later to a container of some sort or a trash bin with a fabric liner.

One of the hardest transitions for me was remembering to throw the cloth in the wet bag and not the toilet! I haven’t actually done this but I did need to stop myself a couple times and throw it in the right place.

Washing

We are currently on a schedule of washing them 2 times a week. However, this would largely depend on the amount of cloths and your own cleaning schedule. I also don’t want them to smell so washing them more often wouldn’t be a bad thing. I wash them on a normal cycle with laundry detergent. The family cloth is added to the cloth diapers that we already wash and sorted out after the drying. Each of our cloths have a different pattern from everything else, which makes sorting really easy.

What About Guests?

So being a good hostess I wouldn’t want to make guests use family cloth, unless they are comfortable with it. We do still purchase toilet paper but have switched to a more Eco-friendly brand. They are a bit more expensive, but the payoff is that we use way less of it.

End Result

I love that we switched to family cloth. It feels so much better not flushing toilet paper every time. I also feel better not wasting so much money purchasing toilet paper.

Something that I think about a lot is what I am teaching my little one. For him while growing up, this will be normal. Other than when he is out and about in the community, he will be using family cloth from the time he was born. It is important for the environment that we make these small kinds of switches and stop being so wasteful. Teaching this to future generations is one of the essential practices to make an impact.

Have you considered switching to family cloth? Let me know your thoughts, comments or questions down below. Also, if you have already switched to family cloth, let me know how it is going!

Thinking about other Eco-friendly switches? Check out my post about switching to bar shampoo.

Zero Waste Switch to Family Cloth

Raise an Eco Conscious Child

How to Raise and Eco Conscious Child

My husband and I are trying to become more Eco Conscious, and with that, we are trying also to raise and Eco Conscious child. While Little One is only 15 months old right now, there are still things we can implement in our home to help with this. Here are our 5 tips on how to raise and Eco Conscious child.

Practice Eco Friendly principles in your own home

Children learn so much form their environment. if you practice environment-friendly principles in your home, your children, by extension, will also learn about these principles, too. Check out my post here about Eco-Friendly Rules to Live By.

Discuss It

Talk to your children about the importance of being Eco Friendly. Discuss specifically about what it means, how to do it, and why to do it. Ask them their ideas on how to be more Eco Friendly. Children are very insightful!

Encourage Learning, Experimenting, and Increasing Understanding

Encourage learning about the environment whenever possible. Whether in school, from books or on your travels, no opportunity should be wasted. I personally love the Green Kids Crafts Box for children, which encourages learning and experimenting.

Get them out and go for a hike or swimming. Allow them to examine the stick or the fish swimming around. Letting them explore their world will increase understanding and help develop a passion for preserving it.

Involve the in Changes

When you want to m them help you make a change, involve the kiddos. Have them help you with it. It helps them take ownership of the problem and the fix.

Be Politically Active

Go Vote! Vote for representatives who also care about the environment, and involve your child, too. Discuss the candidates, what they stand for and why you are choosing one over another. For as many small changes that we make at home, we really need organization on a large scale to make a big impact.

What other tips do you have for raising and Eco Conscious child? Le me know in the comments below!

How to Raise and Eco Conscious Child