DIY Body Sugar Scrub

Continuing on with the slow pace of either eliminating the plastic in my home or finding uses for the things already in the house to avoid them getting into our oceans.. I needed some more body scrub!

Equipped with a plastic container from my last purchase I started cruising the internet to understand what makes a good sugar scrub. After some dozen articles and blogs about the best things to use, I was able to collaborate on a recipe that not only matched my preferences perfectly, but I already had everything in the house!

DIY sugar scrub

My Homemade Sugar Scrub included:

1 Cup Brown Sugar

1/2 Cup Coconut Oil

1/2 Cup Coffee grounds

2 Tsp Vanilla

Mix everything together until well blended and store in a container that can be sealed. My general rule with scrubs is use them no more than twice a week.

Your shower will smell like sweet sweet coffee in the morning! It’s a great way to wake up.

DIY Sugar scrub

Review: Sustainable Earth 100% Recycled Toilet Paper

I will begin by saying… Transitioning to recycled fiber toilet paper was not as easy as I expected it to be… Sure there is plenty of products available but 99% of them come in plastic packaging… Which as you know contradicts what I’m trying to do here.

This post contains affiliate links, I may receive a small commission if you use the link to purchase a product.

Sustainable Earth 100% Recycled Toilet Paper

Sustainable Earth 100% Recycled Toilet Paper

Finally I was able to find Sustainable Earth by Staples available in a box and tissue paper. I did the math, and the price for this toilet paper is on par with other brands with the added bonuses of being made from 100% recycled fibers and at least 40% post consumer. Another added bonus that I wasn’t expecting was that it is made in Canada!

You can find the product HERE on the Staples website. Staples also offers cash back to Ebates members, sign up HERE.

Now for the dirty work… The reviewing process. I went in with a ton of optimism but also with the awareness that I have certain requirements for things that touch my derriere... To the hand it definitely is not as soft as the Costco sized toilet paper I’ve become used to, but the overall feel during use was the same for both products when comparing.

The edge sustainable earth has is that it’s nice and thick! No laser cut sheets like you’ll find in a shopping mall, this stuff is the real deal and will get the job done before it starts dissolving.

I do wish that the rolls were bigger.. Again used to my big Costco sized rolls, and it’s going to feel like we’re constantly changing the roll.

Aside from the smaller rolls and being a little rough this is a solid product, and I will continue to purchase it.

While I was researching recycled toilet paper options online, there was some concern brought up about traces of BPA being found in these types of recycled toilet papers, due to the fact that there is BPA in receipt paper that we get from retailers, which is then recycled into these sorts of products. The good news is that the general consensus is that there’s not enough BPA to do any harm to our bodies, so the benefits still outweigh the negative aspects of the product.

I’m hopeful this will become more popular and it will become available in stores, currently only available online.

Review: Nutro Wholesome Essentials Cat Food

I received the opportunity to get a full bag of Nurto Wholesome Essential cat food for my girls to try. Although I received the bag for free, the following review is an honest opinion on the brand.

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I applaud the fact that chicken was the #1 ingredient and it appears they have removed a lot of the garbage that can be found in mainstream cat foods. My girls can be pick eaters at time, and prior attempts to get them off the “junk food” brands have failed so I was curious to see how they would like the biscuits.

I probably wasn’t the best to take on this food for testing due to the fact that both my cats have vet grade food that I couldn’t just simply eliminate from their diet, so I was adding this bowl to the collection of food that was already at their disposal….

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Overall, however, the food went over very well! Even with an overwhelming amount of choices on the floor, it was still eaten rather quickly. I wasn’t a huge fan of the shape of the food due to a slight comparison to .. maggots … but that was fine, in the end the cats don’t care.

I would recommend this cat food to anyone looking to be able to read and pronounce all the ingredients in their cat’s food. I sadly won’t be making this a regular purchase, again due to one cat having dirty teeth and the other having issues with UTI’s HOWEVER they did enjoy it, and we ever get to a place where those issues are managed- I will definitely consider this brand.

How to get the lingering smell out of your Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is currently one of my favorite appliances. This system can make solid frozen chicken breasts in 22 minutes…. It had me at “Hello”

It didn’t take long before I noticed some lingering smells… No matter how much I washed it, you could smell the last thing I cooked in it. Smelling salsa while making mac and cheese wasn’t really what I was going for.

Since clearly the pressure cooking was infusing the metal with smells, I started looking into ways to cook my pot into like new. An easy cleaning method is put 1 Part Water, 1 Part Vinegar and 1/2 a lemon sliced up into the pot, set to the Steam setting for 2 minutes and let this amazing pot do the rest!

After the clean… SPOTLESS

After the clean… SPOTLESS

9 Quart Instant Pot
Before the clean. You can see the residue from past projects.

Before the clean. You can see the residue from past projects.

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Once completed, remove the rubber rim to ensure it can dry fully and you will find yourself with a nice fresh cleaning Instant pot ready for your next adventure!

Getting rid of plastic in your home (and keeping it out)

Getting Rid of Waste

I knew the process of eliminating plastic in my life would be a slow one… Anxiously waiting for items to empty out so you can feel proud of the fact that you can see progress.

I received a real sense of accomplishment when I was cleaning out my spice cabinet, virtually all single use plastic items have been eliminated, never to return again! 4 bags of spices remain to get through along with some larger plastic containers (however these will never see a landfill or be shipped off to a poor developing country to be “recycled.”) The big ones have already come in handy for replenishing the cabinet and allowing this corner of the kitchen (that used to be filled with small single use plastic shakers or bags to be 90% waste free.

All that remains of single use plastic bags in my spice cabinet.

All that remains of single use plastic bags in my spice cabinet.

It’s a small accomplishment but overall still one to be proud of, now every time I refill a container I think about the fact that it’s one less container in a landfill or ocean, one less new container needed to be manufactured for my consumption.

Plastic containers which will continue to be refilled

Plastic containers which will continue to be refilled

A reused plastic container.

A reused plastic container.

These little victories add up on a personal scale and even more so when I see people around me starting to do the same thing. Shortly after I switched from margarine in a big plastic tub to buying real butter wrapped in parchment paper, my mother did the same. I have people approaching me asking for advice for certain products, recipes or alternative items for the home. I’m hopeful that the momentum will continue in hopes that we will leave a healthier world behind.




7 Reasons Why You Should Adopt a Rabbit

And 7 reasons why you shouldn’t.

Flemish Giant Rabbits

Bunnies are some of the cutest creatures on the planet! (In my opinion) When I met my boyfriend he came with a little black rabbit and I was immediately in love. When she passed away from old age we really didn’t waste any time to expand our family again. The adoption agency we went through had SO many bunnies to choose from, we chose a bonded pair of Flemish giants Pepper (black one) and Clover (brown one).

With so many adorable bun buns up for adoption I wanted to take some time to talk about these amazing creatures in hopes I can inspire someone to take a bun home. The decision, however, should not be made lightly. Along with reasons to adopt a bunny I will also list off the reasons why someone shouldn’t adopt one.

Clover enjoying a hosta and our cat looking so confused!

Clover enjoying a hosta and our cat looking so confused!

Reasons to Adopt a Rabbit:

  1. You have someone to share your snack with. Want an apple but don’t want to eat the whole thing? No problem, cut it up and share with your bun!

  2. They have unique personalities. The character can be seen very quickly and not one is the same.

  3. Their litter is compostable and will do great things for your garden!

  4. They are clean animals and are easily litter trained.

  5. They are the softest thing you’ll ever touch.

  6. They are very social and won’t ignore you like a cat.

  7. Little lawn mowers! Some supervised outside time is a ton of fun and you get a free (albeit not even) lawn mow and manure!

Overall rabbits are great, however they are a lot of work. Now for some reasons a rabbit may not be for you.

They love chewing on boxes! And using them as houses… And eating their houses.

They love chewing on boxes! And using them as houses… And eating their houses.

Reasons NOT to Adopt a Rabbit:

  1. Maintenance, if you’re not ready to change a litter box daily or every other day, a rabbit may not be for you. They poop A LOT.

  2. If you’re allergic to hay: that’s their main food source.

  3. If you’re busy: Bunnies are very social creatures and can get lonely and depressed if left alone for too long.

  4. If you’re a clean freak…. There’s always shavings and hay everywhere.. Everywhere.

  5. If you have hardwood floor. Bunnies don’t have pads on their feeties like cats do so they can’t get traction on hard floors. Carpet all the way! Also, bunnies do NOT belong in a cage. They need to hop, stretch and roam- give them space! If you’re not ready to let them own your house, a bunny is not for you.

  6. They love cord. They find them. They destroy them.

  7. They can break your heart… We lost miss Clover suddenly due to an inner ear infection. She was gone within 48 hours from when the symptoms started. Even getting her to the vet and getting medication as quick as possible wasn’t enough to stop it. Rabbits also have sensitive tummies and can have issues quite quickly that can be fatal. And we lost Pepper almost as fast 4 months later from suspected kidney failure. You need to be strong to handle the heartbreak.

He looks dead but I promise this means he’s a happy boy!

He looks dead but I promise this means he’s a happy boy!

To summarize: Rabbits are great, but make sure you’re ready for that much poop. And I’m sure as you have seen in my photos, your floor will only be clean for about 20 minutes after you vacuum. A thing to remember as well is that these adorable creatures are prey animals so make sure that any other animals in the house know these cuties are friends not food.

Make them safe, happy and healthy. They’ll thank you with nose boops, flops and the occasional lick and it’s amazing.

Going Zero Waste

I’ve always been an advocate for avoiding overly processed foods or products that have an obscene amount of packaging, mainly for financial gains but now I’ve joined my generation in the efforts be become zero waste. (Or at the very least, as little waste as possible)

My beautiful collection of Mason jars

My beautiful collection of Mason jars

Some things I’m finding it difficult, my municipality requires me to put my kitty’s poops in a plastic bag before disposing (I get it, that urine is filled with bacteria), so until the day comes that Halifax figures out how to use animal poop as energy I am trapped in a cycle of plastic bags.

This however, has not deterred me from making as many changes as I can to reduce my waste and plastic use. Its a very slow process but slow is best because the whole process can be very overwhelming… You don’t realize how much plastic you use until you look around. The bathroom is a terrible place for plastic waste (mainly for sanitary reasons) from makeup to the toothpaste and body wash it’s all encased in a plastic shell.

It’s a slow change over in the bathroom, I have found a cosmetic company that makes their containers out of Bamboo (bonus points for being Canadian) https://elatebeauty.com/ they are also cruelty free and vegan and the containers are reusable!

For soap… I exclusively use bar soap which thankfully comes in a cardboard box, I also dabble in homemade soaps from my local market when I can. The shampoo and boyfriend’s body wash however is something I have yet to tackle.

Lastly toothpaste…. I’ve read articles on people making their own to avoid the waste, this is certainly something I intent to look into but I am still a little ways out for that step.

My kitchen has been my main focus, I love to cook and bake as it is so leveling up my skills by making homemade condiments, breads and sauces has been an easy transition. I was pleased when I looked in my fridge the other day and the only single use plastics were the milk jug and a package of bacon.

The pantry has been incredibly easy with stores like the Bulk Barn allowing me to bring in my own containers which keeps things affordable. Costco is also my best friend with having nice big 10KG bags of flour to take home and utilize.

I’ve also started reusing as many containers as possible, reminds me of the memes you see of trying to find the butter an Grandma’s because she has leftovers in all her reused containers! I remember my mom talking about her mother saving the wax paper that came in the cereal boxes to wrap sandwiches in.. This is me.

The cake business will most likely be my last venture once I get my personal waste use down, I know there will be challenges with freshness that will come up so I’ll be taking that one step by step.

I will be sharing recipes as I find ones that work. I’m currently experimenting with my favorite snack- Beef Jerky along with a Mustard recipe that tastes like French’s … Still some work to be done on both.

Understanding Mononucleosis

So to say that the past couple of months have been challenging is an understatement… It all started at the beginning of October; we tragically lost our little girl Clover at the age of 2 and a half. (She’s below helping me mow the lawn back August <3 )

Clover

Next up: about a week later my father in law was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

Then of course the #3 was that I caught Mono… Grown woman caught the “kissing disease” I was thrilled. After a quick scan of the internet to better understand what is going on in my mouth and body I realized that there’s really not a lot of information available..

Things I learned from the internet:

  1. It’s spread by saliva.

  2. You get a fever.

  3. You get tired.

  4. You’re gonna be tired for awhile.

  5. Sore throat and headache.

Understanding Mono

Things I experienced:

  1. My throat was on fire.

  2. My lymph nodes swelled up so big it felt like there was 2 golf balls in my neck. It horrifically restricted my vocal cords.

  3. (TMI) I was producing so much phlegm every few hours I had to vomit to relieve myself. It was easy though- just took a deep breath, and away we went!

  4. Oh yeah I was tired… One day according to my Fitbit I slept for 16 hours.

  5. My head was on fire and no amount of drugs helped. Ice pack would bring some relief.

  6. The flu like symptoms (fever) were the easiest part of the whole experience.

  7. No brain power, couldn’t even read… I spent a week and a half playing idle games on my tablet when I wasn’t sleeping. Killed me.

Things I learned from my doctor and nurses I worked with:

  1. Yes, it is spread by saliva but it can be contracted as easily as touching a shopping cart. (infected person touches face then touches cart; I then proceed to touch cart and touch face) This realization on how easy it spreads was a relief, because looking at the internet information made me more confused and frustrated than anything: how did this happen? I don’t share drinks, I don’t kiss random strangers… How did this happen?

  2. You essentially have tonsillitis without being able to medicate it with antibiotics. The only thing you can do to recover is rest and hydration because it’s viral and not bacterial.

  3. Working an 8 hour day is impossible, and I was immediately pulled from work.

I couldn’t believe the extreme symptoms from Mono, with no ability to mediate it aside from some pain killers. The information available really sugar coated the whole experience- it was a personal hell.

I wanted to take some time to talk about it because it was so much more extreme than anything that is available on WebMD or whatever you choose to use to try to diagnose yourself while you wait at a walk-in clinic.

The biggest thing I learned through the whole experience was rest and hydration is the most important thing. Even after my energy came back, I could only do something for an hour or two before I needed a rest.

I was so lucky that I started to feel human again after about a week and a half when my taste buds came back I thought I was in the clear. Unfortunately, my doctor didn’t feel the same way. Giving that it’s a serious viral infection she only wanted me to start back up at work 3 days a week.. So for the rest of 2018 I’m only working Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s to give myself a day to recover after a day at work. It’s a weird feeling after working full time or very close to since I was 16, and I can’t take advantage of the days off like I would like to… But it’s giving me time to reflect and brainstorm life. I’ve been told by loved ones and physicians who barely know me that some of these extreme symptoms may have come on because I push myself too much… That was really food for thought because I’ve always been proud of my busy lifestyle. I guess as you get older it’s not as easy to keep going in all directions.

The rest of this year I’m going to work on improving myself physically and mentally and hopefully something like this won’t happen again.. (thankfully you can only get mono once in your life) I still can’t exercise much so I’m considering taking up light yoga and meditation.

One last thing I will say as well, I am so grateful to have a family doctor. In Nova Scotia it’s a rarity right now- most are stuck on wait lists because our family doctors are retiring faster than they are being recruited. I don’t know where I would be without her right now and as much as I know I need to tone down the amount of things I take on, I’d really like to help with attracting family doctors to Nova Scotia in the future.