Little Family on the Big Lake

Basement Renovation

We have started a major project! I thought I would take you along for the ride. This project is going to take some time so I will post when I have updates. We are doing a basement renovation. The plan is to take a wall down between our family room and our extra room to form a playroom/family room combo.

We started this project a few weeks ago by taking down the wall between the two rooms. Right after things started picking up with the Covid-19 virus in Minnesota, we started to social distance ourselves. Both my husband and I are in the health care field. I am able to work at home but he still goes into work. While we are doing what we can during this time, it has made it rather hard to take the next steps in the basement renovation, which is getting supplies. We do not want to be going out in public unless it’s absolutely necessary, so we are on hold until we can go out again.

However, lets jump into the progress we have made so far!

 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.

Tools List

Below are a list of the tools I used for the first stage of this project.

Taking down the walls

The first task in this basement renovation is taking down the wall between the two rooms. In the past the extra room down here was used as a guest room, but it tended to just collect all of our clutter. The room does not have an egress window so it can’t be an official bedroom. While having a guest space is nice, it is only used once per year. So we decided that using the room as a play room would be a much better use. We do plan on putting in a Murphy bed, so stay tuned for that project.

Taking the walls down was pretty easy. The walls are a cardboard-like material. I found it best to try to loosen the nails on the studs and peal back the boards. The wall materials are not easy to nail into, they are bowing, and they have very obvious seams (over which the previous owners just put a piece of trim up). Needless to say, the look isn’t great. We have decided to replace all of these walls with drywall.

The first thing I did was take down the cardboard on each side of the walls.

basement renovation starting walls.
basement renovation taking down walls

Layers of the cardboard walls.

Assessing the wall

When I started this project, I had a feeling that this wall was not load bearing. I reached this conclusion a number of ways. The first is that these walls are not original to the house, so probably not carrying a structural load. The second is that there is a railroad tie running the length our our house and being used as the central beam. In our laundry room there is a steal post holding up the rail road tie, so I hoped there was a similar one in this wall. The third was that this wall was very poorly constructed and would move when I pressed on it. A solid wall shouldn’t do that.

I did proceed with caution and assessed at each step. If you are unsure about a wall or if it is structural, ask a contractor or engineer for help.

basement renovation

The tops of the studs are notched and nailed in with one nail. They are definitely not supporting the weight of the house so they are safe to take down. I also found a steel post within the wall, which is holding up the rail road tie. I will obviously be leaving this in place.

And the wall is done. Don’t you love that orange? We don’t and will be painting that wall.

Fixing the floor

After I removed the wall, there was a gap left in the carpet tiles and some holes left by the bolts. I used some extra caulk that I had to fill the holes. Then I removed the tiles around the gap. My father in law just happened to find a box of carpet tiles that look exactly like ours at a garage sale a couple years ago. I have held on to them all this time and now they are coming in handy. They are just a peal and stick so I pulled up the old ones and put down the new ones.

basement renovation flooring

Once we were done taking down the walls, we removed the cardboard from the rest of the walls, but left the studs up.

Beam insulation

So one of the projects we have been putting off and finally decided to take action on was our basement walls. There is a crack running horizontally on two of the walls. This is a big job and we got the professionals in to help. We talked to two different companies who both said our walls are in grade 2 wall failure and needed beams to help support them. Below is one of the beams and we had 11 in total installed. While this was a huge expense and one that surprised us, we decided to move ahead with the project. If we left it, it would be a bigger, more costly project later on. We also wanted to get this done before we started fixing up the basement.

You can see the gap in the picture below between the beam and the wall. There should not be a gap…hence the need for a beam to hold the wall up.

basement renovation steel beams

Once we are able to get supplies we will move forward with putting up drywall and finish the basement renovation. I’ll keep you posted on the progress. Any thoughts or questions, let me know in the comments below!

While your here checkout our bathroom reno on a budget!

Homemade recycled paper

I have been pondering what to do with all of our shredded paper for a while now because it’s starting to build up. I am looking more and more like a hoarder! With limited recycling options in town, I wanted to get creative. So I decided to make my own homemade recycled paper! I made paper a long time ago for a girl scout project, so I thought it would be pretty easy to make again.

I first intended to make this as a project to do with my Little One. However, it ended up being too delicate of a project for a one year old. My first try ended up with lots of little finger prints that dented the paper. After this first attempt I realized it would be a perfect activity for older children.

Materials

Making paper is a pretty simple process and you can use simple tools you already have around your home. The toughest part is getting a screen. Your local hardware store would have some, or even take a look around your garage, maybe there is a spare screen you forgot about. I got mine from my father-in-law, who has a window and screen repair business. I did learn that using a metal screen is better then using a plastic-based screen.

Making a Deckle

The screen is needed to make the deckle. I’ll link a couple of videos on how to make one and where to purchase one. I made one by using a screen and an old photo frame from the dollar store. First I popped the glass out and the metal pieces that hold the backing on. I did this with a pair of pliers. Next I used a hot glue gun to glue the edge of the screen to the edge of the frame. Once it dried I used duct tape over the raw edge of the screen and over the sides of the picture frame. It’s not my prettiest work but it will do.

Supplies

The supplies you will need are…

There are many tutorials out there on how to make paper. I watched this video before I started. However, I wanted to try a couple different methods. The first is that I wanted to keep this as eco-friendly as possible, and that means not using paper towel. Instead I used old bath towels and flour sack cloth…lots and lots of them. I used a big bath towel on the counter top and flour sack cloth towel to lay the paper on.

Many of the tutorials out there make use of a second screen. I found an easy way around this that involves flipping it onto the towel.

homemade recycled paper

Making the Paper

Making homemade recycled paper is really simple. Place a hand full of shredded paper into the blender. You can also add colored paper and newspaper to change the color of the paper. I just stuck to my shredded paper simply because I have a lot of it! Next, add water to the blender. You need quite a bit, but don’t over fill the blender. Blend until it gets to a consistency you like. It took 20-40 seconds for me. See my before and after pictures below.

homemade recycled paper
homemade recycled paper

Creating the Paper

This next part is really fun. I used my sink and filled it with a couple of inches of water and put the deckle in the water. Then I poured the paper mixture on to the deckle. Spread out the mixture on the deckle, using your fingers to spread the mixture over the deckle in an even layer. Next, raise the deckle out of the water and shake it to even out the layer and let the excess water drip off.

homemade recycled paper

Drying the Paper

Flip the deckle over on top of a bath towel and flour sack towel. With the deckle still down, use a sponge to wick away some of the water and squeeze it back into the sink. Continue until you are no longer getting water out of the paper. Carefully take the deckle off the paper and place it to the side.

Next, fold the other half of the flour sack towel over the paper and press it with an iron. Keeping the towel folded, flip the towel over and press the other side of the paper. Flip again and gently fold back the flour sack towel. Use a cutting board or some other large flat service and place it on top of the paper. Flip it over and then gently pull back the flour sack towel. Finally transfer the paper onto a dry towel and leave it to dry. See the photos below for reference.

homemade recycling paper
Iron homemade recycled paper
finished homemade recycled paper

That’s it, your homemade paper is officially done! I plan on using the paper for cards/notes and as coloring paper for Little One. What do you think? Will you turn your own shredded paper into homemade recycled paper? Let me know of any tips or tricks you may have in the comments below!

Feel like more DIYing? Check out my homemade beeswax wraps.

April Bullet Journal

April is just a few short weeks away! For the sake of you planners out there, I got my April bullet journal ready way ahead of time. I don’t know about you but April always seems to be my busiest month next to December. Regardless, spring is on the way and with the warmer days the snow is starting to melt and flowers are starting to pop up. The first ones are usually daffodils and irises. However, in regards to the bullet journal, the month of April is dedicated to the delightful daisy.

I also tried something a little different this month and decided to use watercolor. I found out that I loved it! It was so easy and it didn’t bleed through like some of the markers do. First, I did a test page just to make sure it would be okay on my paper. I found that I had to use a very light hand or the paper would get all crinkly.

I have taken inspiration from Shayda Campbell and if you are new to watercolor, check out her tutorials. While she doesn’t have her April bullet journal spread out yet, I did take inspiration from her previous layouts.

Watercolor

So as mentioned above, I used watercolor for this month’s spread. This could easily be done with a kids water color pallet, but if you are going to start water coloring, I’ll link some suggestions below. I purchased these paints while I was in college, and although I really don’t watercolor often, they have lasted a long time. I used Yellow Ochre for the center of the daisies and a mixture of Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, and Viridian Hue to create the leaves.

Windsor & Newton Cotman Water Colors

Water Brush Pen

April Monthly Spreads

I have kept my monthly spreads similar to last months, but I made a couple of changes. The first is that I have new quotes – I love adding quotes to my bullet journal. The first one is one of my all time favorites because it is such a great way to illustrate the power of perspective. I also thought that it went well with the daisy, considering some people think this delightful flower is a weed.

The other big change is that I did away with my usual monthly habit tracker. I found I wasn’t filling it out because I was having to flip around too much from my weekly spreads. So this month I added a simpler habit tracker to each of my weekly spreads.

I also included a packing list because we are planning on visiting family over Easter and it is just myself and my son going. So I need to be extra organized travelling by myself.

All these little changes this month will hopefully help me continue to reach my goals. A great thing about bullet journals is that they can cater to each person’s individual needs.

April bullet journal
April bullet journal calendar lay out
April bullet journal packing list and brain bump
April bullet journal weekly spread

That’s it for the April bullet journal spread! Let me know what you think about it in the comments below. If you recreate any of these spread, please tag me on Facebook – I would love to see your work!

Check out my 2020 bullet journal set up!

Eco Friendly Easter Ideas

11 Eco friendly Easter Ideas

This year we are trying to make a greener Easter basket for our Little One. So I thought I would share some Eco friendly Easter ideas to include in your basket for your kiddos!

Play Dough

Homemade play dough is so much fun to play with and is a great eco-friendly option for your Little One’s Easter basket. There are many simple recipes like this one on Pinterest. This year for Easter I want to try to make play dough using homemade natural dyes. So stay tuned to see how it goes…

Felt Animals/Food items

Little One has so much fun playing with his play food. These felt food are items are very enjoyable and are great for creating little chefs!

Wooden Cars

Wooden cars can bring a lot of excitement for Little One’s play time. These ones are a great size and would be very easy to hide in a scavenger hunt. We personally love these cars because they are easy to pack and take on trips with us.

Chalk

Chalk is a great option for an Easter basket. It gets kids outside and lets their creativity soar! The best part is once a rain storm comes along (or a hose), the canvas is cleared and the next masterpiece can be created.

Art and Craft Supplies

Arts and craft supplies are always great to give. Have you tried these honey sticks? Fun fact – they are made out of beeswax!

Green Kid Craft Box

This is a favorite of mine – it’s the Green Kid craft box. In the box there are a couple of activities that are created to engage your child. These boxes are a great option for an eco-friendly Easter treat.

Pass for an Activity

Passes for an activity is always great fun, too. Do you have a local children’s museum, zoo, or aquarium? If not, something as simple as going to the movie theater or creating a themed home movie party can make memories. Doing an activity can be so much fun!

Seeds and Gardening Tools

Seeds and gardening tools are great for the spring. Kids love to help out and gardening is a great way to get them outside. There are a couple of great options, likes these wood and metal ones, or these recycled plastic ones. You could also try these seed bombs, which are so easy to plant and you get to watch the flowers grow!

Sand Toys

These sand toys are great for playing outside. The bucket would also make a useful Easter basket. The toys are made out of recycled milk jugs, which makes it a green option. These baskets are also built to last and are so much sturdier then the ones you can find in the dollar stores.

DIY Veggie Garden

I made this felt veggie garden for Little One last year for Easter. It’s so cute and Little One really enjoys planting and harvesting the veggies from the garden. In addition to just being fun, this garden can be an educational opportunity for Little One’s expanding mind.

Candies from Bulk Bin

If you are wanting to give sweet treats, go the waste-free route and try a bulk bin. Our local co-op has some great options and if you bring your own container, you cut out the plastic.

I encourage you to change up the Easter basket this year and try some greener alternatives. It’s easy to just go buy the big bag of jelly beans, but these ideas switch up the normal routine and give great eco-friendly alternatives! Do you have any other Eco Friendly Easter ideas? Let me know in the comments below.

March Bullet Journal

March Bullet Journal

Spring is coming ever closer, and this month is dedicated to one of spring’s early arrivals – the daffodil! In my March bullet journal setup I drew these lovely daffodils and included some quotes. Both of the ones I chose seem to be about winter being chased away…just maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something…

This month I have taken inspiration from Shayda Campbell and her lovely March bullet journal spread. I have, of course, modified it to meet my needs.

I started the new year with a renewed vigor in reaching my goals and using my bullet journal to keep track of everything. So far it has really helped me and I have found that my blogging spreads are very useful.

March cover page March bullet journal
March calendar

This month I changed up my spread for the beginning of the month by reducing the size of my calendar. I really don’t need as much space for my calendar, hence the change. This allowed for more space to do another sketch and quote. I didn’t like how my first attempt went, so I took a page out of the back of my journal, did a new design, and used washi tap to cover my mistake.

This month’s budget tracker is much the same as last month. I just decided to add these cute banners to head my sections.

March habit tracker

Finally, I have my weekly spread. I changed this up a bit. I found that I was getting mixed up with the menu going alongside the events as I had it last month. So this month I placed the menu in a different section. Hopefully it works better!

March weekly spread March bullet journal

Final Thoughts

So that is my March bullet journal set up. You can check out my full 2020 set up here. Is there something else you would like to see in the bullet journal? Any spread ideas? Let me know in the comments below.

Zero Waste Laundry Soap

zero waste laundry soap

We have been on a mission to make zero waste switches in our home. This mission is filled with goals to create a healthier home and make better choices for the environment. One area that we have been focusing on recently is the laundry. I have written about our zero waste laundry essentials but I wanted to do a larger review of the zero waste laundry soap we have been using.

We recently started using Tru Earth laundry detergent and they rock! These are so easy to use and smell great! I’m seriously recommending them to everyone. Below I thought I would walk you through the ordering process, how to use them, and tell you about some things I have learned along the way.

 Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliated links. As a Tru Earth 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.

Ordering

These awesome Eco friendly laundry detergent strips can be ordered at tru.earth. They have a couple options for ordering. You can purchase a single package or use a subscription service, which offers huge savings. There are a several package amounts, including 8 loads, 32 loads, 64 loads or 384 loads. I know that was quite a jump. However, the first subscriptions are more of a monthly and the large one is for a year. There are also three scent options: fresh linen, fragrance free and one that is formulated for babies.

At first I was a bit unsure about getting laundry detergent sent to me. I was worried about all the extra wasteful packaging that would be coming with it. To my delight, however, there was not much. The laundry strips were shipped in their normal box (I’ll include a photo below) with my husband’s hand for size reference. It is a slim, recyclable envelope that had our address label on the back. The box was a bit dinged and dented here and there from the mail but the contents inside were untouched. This box was a nice size and it was able to fit in our mail box. If you don’t have to deal with snow this isn’t really an issue, but we have lost more than one package to a snow bank!

I do recommend that if you find one you like, get the big box. Then there is that much less energy going into shipping your product.

Tru Earth laundry soap package

Using Tru Earth Laundry Detergent

Using Tru Earth Laundry detergent couldn’t be easier. Before throwing your laundry in, tear off one strip of the laundry soap along the perforated line and toss it into the bottom of the washer. Next, add your laundry and then run your cycle as normal…it’s that easy!

Tru Earth recommends that you use one strip for one load. However, if you have a really small load that has one shirt in it or something of that nature, I recommend tearing the strip in half.

The Smell

I normally go for unscented laundry soap, but I wanted to try the fresh linen scent that was available. It smells so fresh and clean! I don’t really notice too much scent on my laundry after they have been dried but it was wonderful coming out of the washer. I did order some unscented strips to try next month, so I will update this post when I give it a go.

Stains

So stains are going to happen, as much as we would like pristine clothes all the time. I have a couple of examples but I did not go out and try every stain. Could you image that project? Yikes.

The first stain I tested was a raspberry stain on a light green shirt. I didn’t treat it at all and the stain came right out the first time. The second stain was a red sauce stain, which did not come out the first try and I had to use my stain remover.

I have one more story and it involves our toddler. If you don’t have kids jump ahead to the next paragraph. If you do, keep reading…you have been warned.

So I woke up one morning and our Little One had been quite sick. Unfortunately, his diaper did not contain all of his sick and his pajama bottoms and top were messy. I, of course, threw them into the wash. The top, which was less messy then the bottoms, came out in great condition and the stain was completely removed. The bottoms were not quite so lucky. I put my stain remover on them and threw them in the wash again with another load. This time the stain came out!

Zero waste laundry soap

Allergens/Sensitive Skin

We do not have allergens in my home, so I called upon my dear mother to be my test subject (sorry, Mom). She has been in a constant battle to find products that do not cause her irritation. She tried our fresh linen laundry soap first and did, unfortunately, break out. Many times it’s the fragrance that make her break out, so I have ordered the fragrance free strips and hopefully she will be a willing test subject once again.

So if you have sensitive skin or allergens, I recommend still trying the fragrance-free option in the small package first.

Tru Earth does say on their website that they are paraben-free, phosphate-free, and vegan. The zero waste laundry soap is also free of added dyes, chlorine bleach, and free of 1,4 dioxane.

Final Thoughts

Tru Earth zero waste laundry soap is fantastic. It does a great job cleaning and is better for the environment than the large plastic containers of liquid detergent. While slightly more expensive than some of the store brands, the ease of use and subscription services makes it easy peasy.

If you would to mare your laundry routine Eco Friendly in other ways check out my zero waste laundry essentials post.

Have you tried Tru earth zero waste laundry soap? Let me know of your experiences in the comments below!

Tru Earth Laundry Strips

DIY Play Tent

Last winter I made this DIY play gym to engage my little one and keep him active. However, like all baby items, he quickly outgrew this play gym. Me being me, I wanted to purpose it into something that Little One can use now that he is walking and running around. I figured he needs areas in our home that are just for him. He loves creating little spaces for himself with pillows and blankets so I decided to turn the play gym into a play tent!

You can check out my post here on my DIY play gym for instructions on how to make its wooden structure. Hindsight being 20/20, I would now go back and make the legs longer to make the structure taller and wider. However, not wanting to basically remake the play gym I decided to work with what I have.

There are four elements to making this DIY play tent: the back, the two triangle sides, the front (which has an opening), and the floor. I will do my best to describe the process of making the tent, but I do not have exact measurements as I drafted the tent on the gym and pinned accordingly. Let’s get started!

If you are newer to sewing check out my guide to sewing terminology.

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.

Materials

Process

When I started to make the tent, I didn’t really know how to go about it because the two legs are slightly offset from each other, making it uneven. To solve this I laid out my fabric on the floor. I placed my play gym on the floor on top of the fabric. Next, I turned the gym over at the top edge to get an estimate of how much fabric I would need. I cut the fabric, leaving very large seam allowances so I could have room to draft the tent.

My next step was to cut out the triangle pieces for the sides. I placed the sides of the play gym on my laid out fabric and cut a large triangle, leaving large seam allowances.

Then I placed the fabric inside out over the play gym and used my pins to place the pieces together. I was able to move the fabric around and repin to get a nice tight fit (see the picture below). I left a gap at the top for the tops of the legs to peek through. I will finish those seams later.

Pinning DIY play tent

Stitching

Using the pins as guides, I stitched up the side seams, right sides together. I then flipped the tent right side out and placed it back on the play gym. You can see in the photo below that there is some extra fabric at the top. I trimmed the fabric back to leave a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Next, I folded the fabric over and created a hem by turning the fabric 1/4 inch then turning it 1/4 inch again, then stitching along the edge of the folded fabric. This will create a nice finished edge.

DIY play tent

Tent Flaps

To create the tent flaps I found the center front of the tent. Then I cut a straight line from the bottom of the tent up towards the top about two-thirds of the way. I didn’t use an exact measurement; instead I just left enough space for Little One to get into the tent. Next I wanted to finish the edges of where I just cut so the fabric wouldn’t unravel.

To do this I cut a piece of fabric 3 inches wide and double the length of the flap that I just cut. Then I pressed the strip in half, as pictured below.

Creating edging for DIY play tent

I pinned the strip along of the edge of the tent flap. Stitch along the edge leaving a 1/4 inch seam allowance. I then finished the edge with the serger. Then press it flat with the iron.

Pin edging on DIY play tent
Finished edge on DIY play tent

I also finished the inside seams with the serger, but you could use a small zigzag stitch instead.

Bottom Piece

The final part of making this tent is creating the bottom. I thought a lot about how to finish up the bottom of the tent. At first I thought I would make some straps that would tie around the legs. However, in the end I decided that making a pad/floor for the entire bottom of the tent would be best. I also added batting to make it a bit softer. We do have hardwood floors so this step made the tent more cozy.

To make the bottom I cut two pieces of fabric roughly 27×24 inches. I also cut batting to the same measurements. I had scraps of batting that I layered, though it definitely would have been easier to use a solid piece of batting. Instead, I wanted to use what I had on hand.

Lay out the pieces of batting on one of the pieces of the bottom fabric, as pictured below. Do a basting stitch around the four edges. This will help keep the batting in place when attaching it to the tent.

Adding batting to DIY play tent

Stitching the Bottom Piece

This next part can be a bit tricky. It’s best to work one side at a time. Hold the bottom piece with the batting closest to you and with the batting facing out. Place the side of the tent right side facing you, and finally place the other piece of the bottom with the right side facing you. This will create a bit of a sandwich effect like in the picture below. Stitch along the side leaving 1/4 inch seam allowance. Stop stitching 1/4 inch from the edge to allow for the turn. When you’re done with one side move on to the next, following the same technique. The front is different so save that side for last.

Sandwiching play tent sides and bottom together.

For the front, pin from each of the corners for about 5 inches to the tent flap and stitch in the same method as above. This should leave a gap in the center of the floor piece. Now it’s time to flip the tent right side out using this large gap. Place it on the play gym and adjust as needed This is the time to make any alterations because once you close up the gap they will not be able to be made. Once everything is as it should be, pin and stitch up the gap using a stop stitch. There should be some extra pieces of the tent flap hems that are not included in the tent bottom. You can do a little hem on these two pieces just like the hem for the top pieces where the legs peek through.

Final Thoughts

The final step is to enjoy and play! I finished this DIY play tent during one of Little One’s nap times and had it set out for him when he came downstairs. He immediately ran to it and climbed inside and has been playing with it frequently ever since! This was a bit for me to figure out how to make it but now that I have the process down it was fairly easy. Also, one of the nice things with this DIY play tent is that it can fold flat for easy storage.

What do you think of this play tent? Let me know in the comments below.

6 Ways your Toddler can Help with Laundry

6 ways your toddler can help with laundry

Toddlers love to help out around the house. One area that is easy for them to help with is laundry. Laundry can be one of those tasks that can feel quite mundane. However, with the help of a toddler it can go from a chore to an exciting new adventure. Below are 6 ways your toddler can help with laundry. Teaching children at a young age to participate in housekeeping can build skills, grow independence, and keep them entertained.

 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.

Filling Laundry Baskets

The first task that Little One can help with when starting laundry is filling up the laundry baskets. He takes the clothing that is in the hamper and puts it in the basket to be taken to the washing machine. This is done with varying degrees of success – some days Little One throws the laundry around more then them ending up in the basket. When this happens I try to turn it into a game where we toss the clothes in like a mini game of basketball! I am going to include a couple links to some laundry baskets made of natural materials. Check out this wicker one, a jumbo wicker one, and this cotton rope one. They are all great options.

Pushing Laundry Baskets

This is Little One’s favorite task when it comes to laundry. He gets to push the laundry baskets across the floor and toward the laundry room. We pretend that they are cars or trains that go zooming down the hallway. This is a really physical task and makes Little One feel really strong. It is also a great task for developing gross motor skills.

Loading Dryer

This is a great activity if you have a front loading dryer. I’ll hand whatever item needs to be dried to Little One and he will toss it into the dryer. It’s really simple but keeps him involved and stops him from wandering around in the laundry room and getting into mischief. This is great for smaller items like socks but can be challenging for larger items, such as sheets.

Adding Laundry Detergent

If you use liquid or powdered laundry detergent, I would not recommend letting your Little One help with this. However, we recently switched to these great zero waste laundry strips that just tear off and get thrown into the drum. It is so easy for Little One to throw it into the washer. We also have a glass top, so he can watch the clothes spinning for a bit. We are all about the cheep thrills!

Take Items off Drying Rack

Little One loves taking clothes off the drying racks. It works best when they are smaller items, like his clothes or his cloth diapers. This activity allows him to reach and bend while taking the clothes off the rack and putting them in the laundry bin.

Help with Hangers

The last activity I do with Little One is hanging up the clothes. We do this one of two ways. I’ll stand by the closet and put a pile of hangers on the floor. He will hand me one and I’ll put a shirt on it and hang it in the closet. The other is if my hubby helps. I’ll put a shirt on a hanger and hand it to Little One, who will bring it over to my hubby who will hang it in the closet.

Does this process take a lot longer than if I were to do laundry on my own? Yes, it does. But Little One enjoys helping me so much that it makes it all worth it!

These activities are easy to keep Little One engaged and out of trouble when I need to get chores done.

Do you have any other tips on how your children help out with the laundry? Let me know in the comments below!

Zero Waste Laundry Essentials

Zero Waste Laundry Essentials

We have been hard at work the past couple of years finding zero waste solutions and more Eco friendly alternatives to keep our household running. One area that normally makes a lot of waste is laundry. Between all the plastic jugs of soap and the dryer sheets, over time it adds up to a lot! That’s not even mentioning the energy and water consumption. So this post contains zero waste laundry essentials to help cut the plastic and make your laundry routine greener.

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

Zero Waste Laundry Soap

The best way to cut out the plastic is switching to a zero waste laundry soap like the product from Tru Earth. Fortunately, there are more and more zero waste laundry soap options coming onto the market. I haven’t tried them all but I really like these ones. They are so easy to use – I only needed to place the paper in the washer and turn it on! Tru Earth also offers a subscription service so you don’t have to think about adding it to your shopping list.

Dryer Balls

Another way to cut waste from your laundry routine is to use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. The reason for this is because dryer balls are mostly made of wool while dryer sheets are plastic fibers. The dryer balls I linked to below are great for cutting out static. If you would like to add a fragrance to your dyer’s load, place a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil on the dryer balls.

Drying Rack

Cutting the use of your dryer is going to help so much in conserving energy. Try using a wood rack, like this one linked below, to dry your clothing. Some other tips of making your dryer more efficient include drying in larger loads or adding a dry towel to a smaller load.

Laundry Basket

If you are needing a new laundry basket, try one made of a natural material instead of plastic. If you already have a plastic basket, by all means keep on using it. Tossing out a perfectly good basket just creates more waste. But if you are needing a new one, consider transitioning into these wicker ones.

These zero waste laundry essentials will help you create a more Eco friendly laundry routine. Switching out your laundry detergent, using wool dryer balls, and hang drying your clothes can make a world of difference!

Do you have any other methods for creating a more Eco friendly laundry routine? Let me know in the comments below.

Looking for other Eco Friendly options? Go check out my Eco Friendly Living page next.

Plan with Me February

January has come to a close and its time to start a fresh new start, Plan with me for February as I set up my bullet journal. As in my January set up I will be using the monthly flower as inspiration. For the month of February it is violets. Violets hold a special place for me as they were my Grandmas favorite flower. So this month when I use my bullet journal I will have a daily reminder of her.

I got inspiration for using the monthly flowers from Shayda Campbell, if you haven’t already I highly suggest you take a look at her work. It’s awesome! I loved Shayda’s spreads for February but I used different set ups this time around.

On my cover page I started by using colored pencil, but I didn’t really like it so I switched to marker after that. I kept most of the spreads similar to that of my January spreads, but I added a meal planning section to my weekly spreads.

Spreads

Cover page with quote “Wherever life plants you bloom with grace.”

plan with me February

February calendar set up.

plan with me February calendar

Monthly expense tracker, I find it is easier to separated my spending in to 10 categories.

plan with me February expense tracker

Habit tracker and brain dump.

Weekly spreads, mine include a daily calendar, a weekly to do list, shopping list, posting tracker and menu planner.

plan with me February weekly spread

Final Thoughts

So this is the set up for my bullet journal. I hope you enjoyed this plan with me for February. Using a bullet journal has helped me stay organized and it has also giving me a creative outlet in designing the spreads. One of the things that I love the most about bullet journals that that it is so customizable. In January I found that I was having a really hard time with meals so for February I added a menu planner.

Do you bullet journal? Let me know in the comments below.