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Green Living

    5 Lessons From Touring A Canning Facility

    **Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Refreshingly Real. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

    I love learning new things. This year I’ve had the opportunity to take two farm tours–one of an organic dairy farm and one of a tomato farm. Each of these experiences have left me sitting in a pool of lessons that have directly influenced how I make my family grocery purchases and my meal planning. How? By imparting some super amazing lessons on me that I’m sharing with you today!

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    Yes, Black People Need To Wear Sunscreen

    This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links. For more details on what this means, please check out the PR and Disclosures page.

    I can’t count how many times I’ve been asked if black people need to wear sunscreen. At the same time, I can’t count how many times I’ve had sunburn. It’s a common misconception that black people don’t burn in the sun and that we don’t need sunscreen. We do. Everyone does.

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    Nursing Moms & Dairy Cows: 6 Things They Have In Common

    I’m a wannabe country girl who can’t give up the city so when I had the opportunity to hang out with some dairy cows on one of Organic Valley’s farms, I jumped at the chance. I’m still breastfeeding BC and while I was away from him, I was on the pump. Naturally as I hung out with the dairy cows, I realized that they had quite a few things in common with nursing moms.

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    5 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites

    5 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites Plus an Essential Oils Tick Repellent Spray Recipe
    This post contains affiliate links. For more information on what this means, please check out the PR & Disclosure page.

    I am going to be honest with you. This girl was never really afraid of bugs when I was younger. I didn’t even know what a tick was to even be worried. But now, ticks are constantly in the news and on my social media feeds. Parents posting, “is this a bull’s-eye rash from a tick bite?” or “Do these symptoms sounds like Lyme Disease?” and so on. I didn’t even know how many different species of ticks there actually are. The best way to not get bit by a tick is to take precaution before heading outside. Check out these 5 ways to avoid tick bites.

    1. Know Where Ticks Live

    Earlier this week there was a Facebook post from my local TV station about a shrub that ticks love to live in, the Japanese Barberry. According to the article, the shrub acts as a nursery for deer ticks, which can carry Lyme Disease. Pennsylvania is home to one-third of all Lyme Disease cases in the United States, and studies have shown that not only are more deer ticks found in Barberry patches, those ticks are more apt to carry Lyme.

    According to Terminix, ticks love moist and humid environments, but they can adapt to any number of different areas. I feel like no matter where you live, you could find a tick. Check out these maps from the CDC and find out what kind of tick is prevalent in your area.

    2. Always Use a Tick Prevention Spray

    There isn’t a fool-proof prevention spray that 100% deters ticks, so I always like to go with the all-natural route first. I make a homemade tick prevention spray using my Young Living oils. I use lemongrass and eucalyptus oils mixed with a small amount of water in a metal spray bottle. This mix gets sprayed on my family before we head outdoors. I spray from feet to head because I feel like ticks are more likely to get on your feet, but truly they can jump on anywhere.

    5 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites and an Essential Oil Tick Repellent Spray Recipe

    You can also check out other bug sprays at your local stores for body and clothing. Please be aware of the amount of DEET and Permethrin used. There should be at least 20-30% DEET to be effective, but DEET makes me nervous with the kids, so I use cautiously. As for Permethrin, there needs to be 0.5% to be effective for tick prevention. Products with Permethrin in them are NOT safe for the body, only clothing.

    3. Play in Sunny Areas

    Ticks are less likely to be in dry, sunny areas. When you are planning to build or set up a playground in your yard, choose a sunny area that dries out easily. Same with any outdoor furniture. Stay away from thick, wooded areas. If you do have to venture into the woods, wear proper clothing, prevention sprays and try to stay on a cleared path.

    4. Wear Proper Clothing

    I know. I know. If it is hot out, the last thing I want to think about wearing are pants and long sleeves. But if I am going to be around high grass, a wooded area, or actually in the woods, then it is best that I wear long sleeves, pants and a hat to prevent ticks from getting on exposed skin. If you have long hair, braid it or make sure to pull it in a ponytail. You don’t want a tick hitching a ride on your hair.

    5 Ways to Avoid Tick Bites Plus an Essential Oils Tick Repellent Spray Recipe

    5. Shower After You are Finished Outside

    Make sure you check over your whole body while showering to ensure ticks are not present. Be sure to check warm spots on your body like behind your ears, under your armpits and between your fingers and toes. Ticks are tiny and can look like a freckle if you are not careful.

    Have you ever had a tick bite? If so, where do you live? What was your outcome? Check out this other post about eco-friendly pesticides for more bug information!

    Easy Ways To Start A Garden With Kids

    Prior to having children, you only had to answer to yourself (well sometimes your parents, I suppose). But you were an adult and you did what you wanted to do. So if you wanted to grow a garden, you went ahead and did it! But now, as a parent, you probably have kids that will question your every move. They will ask “how” and “why” maybe 10,000 times a day and sometimes the answers are too hard to explain (or you are just too tired – I get it). But I’m here for you! I’m about to break down gardening with your kids so it’s easy breezy. Growing a garden from start to finish with your kids is a great family bonding experience and will allow everyone to appreciate what is on the dinner table each night a little more.

    It Takes a Village

    There are lessons to be learned throughout the whole process of growing a garden. The first thing to learn is that sometimes it takes a village for the garden to come to life. Every family member involved plays their own role. There are many jobs to be passed out, so start with these:

    Designer: Someone has to figure out the exact place where the garden will grow. Somewhere that has good soil (or will be able to place something to hold the good soil), where sun is most of the time and a place where you can easily get water to for helping the plants grow. The designer could also be the engineer if you need to build a garden box.

    Earth Mover: The Earth movers either till up the ground so you are able to plant in nice dirt, or they are the people who move dirt into your garden box area. Dirt is heavy, but it is also great to play in. This could be an “everyone job” and everyone in the family could chip in with moving dirt around.

    Seeders: The seeders dig the row for the seeds to be place and bury them deep into the soil. They need to space out the seeds to give the plants enough room to grow, but they also have to be aware of just how big of a space they are working with.

    Artist:  The artist could make plant markers so you know where you planted your seeds. They could be made out of painted rocks, colored wooden spoons or even sticks with special markings on it. Whatever is chosen, just make sure it can withstand the weather and water.

    Water Team:  This team has an important job and I believe it should be an everyone duty. The water team makes sure the plants get the right amount of water to help them grow. Not too much or too little. Without water, the seeds won’t spout into yummy fruits and/or vegetables. Everyone needs to communicate who is watering and when so you don’t over water the plants.

    Weed Pullers: The weed pullers have to keep the garden area free of unwanted growth. Sometimes grass, flowers or other weeds will want to grow in your garden too so it is best to pull those out so your produce has room to grow.

    Produce Picker: This is an awesome job. They get to pick the final result of what you have grown from the plant. They should also bring it in the house and wash it so it is ready to go for lunch or dinner!

    Growing a garden might be intimidating but doing it with kids may be even more scarier! Follow these tips on how to make growing a garden a family event.

    Growing a Garden is Not a Race

    After your garden is put into the ground, it may take some time for your family to see the first sprout of a plant. Patience is often hard to teach but gardening can be a great example. Use your garden to show how plants live, from seed to plant to produce and seed again. Share these moments with every member of your family, no matter the age, because gardening is a hobby that can be enjoyed for years. When you do finally have your produce, of course eat, store or freeze whatever you harvest but remember that your village may like to have some extras too. Share your produce with neighbors or swap with other gardeners. Someone may have something that you like to eat that you didn’t plant or your children may want to try something new (yay!).

    Enjoy the Time Together

    When you have something that your whole family is involved in, at home, it is wonderful. There are no long car rides or practices. It is just getting down and dirty, in the soil, in your yard. Your kids will cherish the memories they have of your garden and you will enjoy the time you have together. And don’t forget, they may enjoy their home-grown produce more than store bought since they grew it themselves!

    Do you garden with your kids? What’s your favorite tip to making it fun and interactive with them?

    5 Easy Ways To Go Green Right Now

    Living a green life isn't as hard as you would think. It isn't an "all or none" life either! Here are 5 easy steps to take to start reducing your carbon imprint in the world!
    This post contains Amazon Affiliate links. For more details on what this means please see my PR and Disclosure page.

    When people think of being crunchy, they normally have this extreme picture in their minds about how we live. While I would love to compost, ONLY cloth diaper, have an amazing garden where I grow everything myself as I walk around in my Birkenstocks, that’s not my life and there’s a reason my tagline is “practically green living”. Living a green life isn’t as hard as people would think–especially thanks to books like Leah Segedie’s book Green Enough–and it’s totally possible to make the changes you need to daily.

    Here are 5 things you can do today to get you started on reducing your carbon footprint by living a little more green:

    1. Use Reusable Totes When Going Grocery Shopping


    Yep. This is a super easy way to not only cut down on the amount of trash in your home but it makes it so that you don’t overspend–sometimes. But seriously. I know that there are these grocery bag savers out there and there are ways to recycle the bags but let’s be real here: it would be better if you DIDN’T have to recycle them because you didn’t use them to begin with! Ultimately, these bags normally end up in the trash OR recycling bin. But using cloth totes makes things way better for the environment since these aren’t going to be tossed anytime soon.

    Always forget them? Grab between 5-10 right now and toss them in your trunk. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

    2. Stop Trashing Recycle-able Items


    In our last house we had a HUGE recycle bin that was filled with various recycle-able items so this made it easy. Now? We only have trash so we have to take our recycling to the center itself. An extra step, yes. But worth it? Entirely. Check with your waste management company to see if they offer recycling as a service.

    Living a green life isn't as hard as you would think. It isn't an "all or none" life either! Here are 5 easy steps to take to start reducing your carbon imprint in the world!

    3. Stop Leaving The Lights On When You’re Not In The Room

    Yes, we often fuss at our kids for leaving the lights on for more than the environment. This has a two-fold benefit: your pockets and mother nature.

    Going green isn't as hard as you would think!Click To Tweet

    4. Turn The Water Off When You Aren’t Using It

    This is for when you’re washing dishes, brushing teeth, showering, etc. In GA we are in a constant state of drought so we really can’t afford water loss!

    5. Go Paperless With Your Bills

    In an ideal world we would be completely paperless but that’s not the one we live in right now. But turning off paper bills is one step in the right direction. Set an alert on your calendar for when bills are due and then pay them online.

    See? These aren’t too hard, right? 

    Don’t forget to share this so others can see how easy it is to go green!

    Preparing For A Successful 2017 With ShiftCon

    With the end of the year only a couple months away, I'm getting prepared for a successful 2017 with the help of ShiftCon. See why you should too!

    Can you believe that 2017 is less than 3 months away? I know, insane. It feels like it was just yesterday that I was celebrating my 1 year anniversary as a full time entrepreneur and now I’m preparing to wrap up my second year. My first year and a half has been an amazing whirlwind but it’s time to take things to the next level and I’m doing that with the help of ShiftCon.

    What Is ShiftCon?

    ShiftCon is the only conference that focuses on food, wellness, health, and the environment. This year’s conference will be held in one of my favorite places in the world–New Orleans, LA. I don’t know if I’m more excited about the food or the information. This conference is specifically for writers that focus staying true to their voice and niche while learning how to maximize their audience. There will be a mix of workshops, keynotes and parties that will make sure that attendees get the information needed.

    The Agenda

    The conference takes place from Thursday, November 30, 2016 – Saturday, December 3, 2016. Here’s the line-up:

    Thursday, December 1st

    3:00-6:00 Registration & Expo with sponsors

    6:00-8:00pm Welcome ceremony–Sponsored by Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

    9:00-midnight Night on the town in New Orleans

    Friday, December 2nd

    6:30am Fitness Event–Yoga Class sponsored by Boiron

    8:00am Keynote breakfast with Ron Finley.

    9:30-9:45 Break with Vital Proteins & The Republic of Tea

    9:45-10:45 Sessions 1, 2, 3

    • Session 1–Dropping Science: Pete Myers of Environmental Sciences takes on endocrine disruption.
    • Session 2–You Built It, Now Make a Living From It: Email Monetization 101.
    • Session 3–The Race Forward: How Challenging Racial Stereotypes Benefit Eco-Friendly Industry Growth.

    10:45-11:00 Break with Vital Proteins & The Republic of Tea

    11:00-12:00pm Session 4, 5, 6

    • Session 4–Hashtags, Haters & the Human Heart: How to Get Your Story Out with Robyn O’Brien. Sponsored by Applegate.
    • Session 5–From Pitch to Publish: How to Navigate the Realm of Traditional Publishing.
    • Session 6–How to Successfully Pitch Traditional Media Outlets

    12:00-12:30 Break with Vital Proteins & The Republic of Tea

    12:30-2pm Keynote Lunch with Tieraona Low Dog, M.D. Sponsored by MegaFood

    2:00-4:00pm The Expo. Visit with over 50 brands in our expo room.

    4:00-5:00pm Session 7, 8, 9

    • Session 7–Search Engine Optimization
    • Session 8–Using Video to Build Your Brand.
    • Session 9–Hot Science: How Organic Agriculture is Improving Our Environment. Sponsored by The Organic Center.

    5pm-midnight Explore the City of New Orleans.

    Saturday, December 3rd

    6:30am Fitness Event.

    8:00-9:30am Keynote Panel: One Big Step for Better Food.

    9:30-9:45 Break with Vital Proteins and Republic of Tea

    9:45-10:45am Workshop 10, 11, 12

    • Session 10–What the F*ck Are We Eating? An Overview of Labels. Sponsored by American Grassfed Association.
    • Session 11–Stories, Not Selfies: Instagram Awesomeness for Influencers.
    • Session 12–Hot Science: How Organic Supports A Healthy You. Sponsored by The Organic Center.

    10:45-11:00am Break with Vital Proteins and Republic of Tea

    11:00-12:00 Session 13, 14, 15

    • Session 13–From Garbage Islands to Poisonous Plastics: Solutions to Safeguard Our Children’s, Health, Families, and the Ocean.
    • Session 14–How to Monetize Workshops Online & Off.
    • Session 15–Overcoming Obstacles: Savvy Tips with Budgeting Food, Travel & Parenting

    12:00-12:30pm Break with Vital Proteins and Republic of Tea

    12:30-2pm Keynote Lunch: Kickass Women in Business. This keynote lunch is sponsored byBeautycounter.

    2:00-4:00pm Sponsored Expo.

    4:00-5:30 Farewell Reception with thoughts from JP Sears and Leah Segedie.

    6:00pm Get out to explore New Orleans.

    With the end of the year only a couple months away, I'm getting prepared for a successful 2017 with the help of ShiftCon. See why you should too!

    My Expectations

    I started this site because I wanted to be able to share practical tips for living a green lifestyle. Some days I lose sight of this since my site has grown but this is still a very big part of my passion that I want shared here. I’m looking forward to so many of the sessions but my top 3 are:

    1. You Built It, Now Make a Living From It: Email Monetization 101
    2. The Race Forward: How Challenging Racial Stereotypes Benefit Eco-Friendly Industry Growth
    3. From Pitch to Publish: How to Navigate the Realm of Traditional Publishing

    Because I want to see you there, I’ve got a $50 off code for you when you register. Use the code “ICRUNCHYMOMMY” and meet me there!

    **Disclaimer: I received a complimentary registration in exchange for this post. My excitement is all my own though.**