Paint it Black (or White)

Ever since we moved into our home over five years ago I've been wanting to pain our oak trim white. It's one of those projects that no one really wants to tackle because it's just so huge, yet it would make such a dramatic difference in the look of our home. Well, a couple weeks ago I finally got my wish! We ended up hiring someone to do the work because #life, and I could not be happier. We also painted the built-in bookshelves in our living room which as really opened up the whole space.

I love the crisp contrast of black and white, and despite how common it's becoming, we love the modern farmhouse feel. Always have, always will! Next on our list for our living space is painting the interior doors (I vote black, my man says white but he will come around!) and the front door (mint green? turquoise?). Then we will tackle the windows. Deciding between painting the slats black or replacing the windows with full-pane. Our last project is wood floors! Here are some of my inspirations (find them all here!):

I love the giant glass door because our living room, dining room and foyer are open but lacking in natural light. However, I am a little concerned about having our front door be completely see-through.... 

The windows are another source of debate... black slats or full pane? We have full pane windows in our master, and they let in so much more light! But again, I love the contrast of the black and white. 

I'll definitely be mixing it up with our front door, and will most likely go with something more green like the top image. The exterior of our door is currently grey, so a little bit of color will help spruce up both the front porch and the entryway which now contains a vintage piano (that will shortly be painted white, ha!). More updates this summer! 

Green Home 01 I Cleaning

When we found out we were pregnant with Elliot one of the first things we did was switch out our Clorox Cleanup for a green cleaner. We had already switched out our soaps and shampoos to "green" options (read: popular brands that we thought were chemical-free but were really just synthetics based on plant components...), but we realized that we needed to start creating a truly chemical-free home. I knew that I didn't want our babe to be exposed to harsh chemicals... on his clothes, in the air. We also learned that our plug in air fresheners were laced with formaldehyde which totally blew me away and made me even more passionate to find healthy alternatives! I'm a researcher by nature so you know I scoured the internet for other options, DIYs and the best of the best for what we should use.

Fast forward three years later and we have achieved our goal. Zero chemicals, all plants, and a super clean home and great smelling home all at the same time. We use plant-based cleaners to clean the whole house, including the sink after we prepare food and meats. And yes it gets it super clean!! Added bonus is that our cleaning supplies are delivered directly to my door and I get $75 back every month to spend on whatever I want. (Insert praise hands emoji!) I love me some Target, but they've never given me $75 just for buying stuff I use every day anyway. And my house smells like a chai latte instead of harsh chemicals and bleach! #winning.

Here are some of our chemical-free cleaning favorites!
+ Thieves Household Cleaner: We use this for the ENTIRE house! Counters, floors, bathrooms, stovetop, showers, commodes, literally everything. This is super affordable because you use 1 capful per 16oz spray bottle for the majority of cleaning. If we really need a heavy degreaser we use 2 capfuls. 
+ DIY Counter Cleaner: Sometimes I also use a DIY version with Thieves essential oil, Lemon essential oil and a little bit of castille soap on our glass cooktop when it gets sticky!
+ DIY Mirror Cleaner: Combine 1 capful Thieves Household Cleaner, 5 drops Citrus Fresh essential oil blend, 1 tsp white vinegar, and 3 cups water in a glass spray bottle.
+ Thieves Dish Soap and Dishwasher Powder: I also mix a bit of the dish soap with a little of the Thieves cleaner and water in a roller ball to spot treat stains on our clothes (helloooo little ones starting solids)!
+ Thieves Foaming Hand soap (kitchen) and Lavender Foaming Hand soap (bathrooms)
+ Thieves Laundry soap: This super concentrated laundry soap is my favorite! It gets our clothes super clean without chemical surfactants and artificial scents, and it is safe for HE washers! You only need 1/4 capful, so it lasts forever. Added bonus is that it is safe for cloth diapers! 
+ Wool dryer balls: We use these instead of dryer sheets and add essential oils to make our clothes and linens smell great! They help cut the static (use more dryer balls for loads with lots of fleece or static-prone fabrics) without adding crazy chemicals to your clothes. Peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus are some of my favorites to add to the dryer balls.

So basically we clean our whole house with Thieves essential oil, ha! The Thieves oil is a really amazing blend of oils named after a band of thieves who robbed plague victims during the Black Plague. They were perfumers by trade and were forced to reveal their 'secrets' when apprehended. The Thieves blend contains cinnamon, clove, lemon, eucalyptus and rosemary oils that smells amazing and cleans all the things!  Plus, it is Gwyneth Paltrow recommended ;) We love to diffuse it with orange and black spruce or balsam fir, with orange and RC for respiratory support (great for after school!), with lemon and peppermint for a fresh and clean home. 

Click here to find out more about why we love essential oils and to start creating a chemical-free home of your own! 


Images by Morgan Blake for Golden Drop Society

Garden Plans

I love being in the garden. I love planting seeds or tiny plants, watering them and loving them, watching them grow, sitting back and enjoying the serenity of a beautiful green space. I think it has a lot to do with being part of Creation and connecting to the Creator, a theme we see a lot in the Bible. But that's just me and my thoughts ;)

Since we love to be outside and cultivate a space of our own, one of our biggest house projects is our yard. When we moved in the landscaping had basically been untended for five or more years, so we had our work cut out for us! Since moving in, we've removed large obstructive shrubs, graded the backyard for drainage and laid a flagstone patio. It's finally time to get to some of the more fun, aesthetic type projects, and I'm so excited! 



We are going for a practical and functional space that will double as a garden and a place to entertain. You can find all the inspiration posts here, but so far our plans include:

+ Six raised garden beds with chicken wire screens (DIY with plans coming soon!), gravel between the beds and a stack stone fire pit in the middle (DIY hack coming soon!)
+ Blueberry bushes lining the exterior of the garden near the edge of the house
+ A modern mix of greenery including a mixture of ferns, creeping jenny, boxwood and herbs. We already have two white ceramic hanging planters (similar here) to fill with greenery, and I'm thinking whitewashed terra-cotta planters or perhaps these zinc planters for the back porch to tie in with the flagstone. Would love to plant a variety of white bulbs as well to keep the color scheme minimal and add more texture. 
+ A few galvanized planters for daffodils and tulips... because they are so pretty! I mean... because the garden needs flowers for cross pollination (if my husband asks) ;) #multipurpose
+ String lights to add ambiance to the space, natch. We also have this vintage iron chandelier that I plan to add solar string lights to and hang on a shepherd's hook just outside the garden space. 

Also loving these gold hanging planters (1, 2, 3) either to add some texture or just to hang in the sunroom. Would be a cute Easter gift or Mother's Day gift too! Swoon! Can't wait to update you guys when we get it all done!!

DIY Citrus Laundry Soap

When it comes to chemical-free laundry options, I love my Thieves laundry soap. It smells amazing, cleans our clothes (especially Elliot's school clothes!) and lasts forever. All of the other commercially available options (even the 'green' ones) are so overpowering with their scents, and sadly those chemical-laden perfumes that smell good are SO bad for our bodies. If I ever run out of my Thieves soap, though I follow a simple recipe to make my own and can customize the scent as well!

You will need:
• 1.5 cups of Borax 
• 1.5 cups of Washing Soda (in combo with Borax here)
• 1.5 cups of Baking Soda 
• 1 Bar of soap
• 20 drops total of essential oils - I used grapefruit and lemon

1. Grate the soap with a cheese grater.
2. In a large bowl, mix the borax, washing soda, and baking soda.
3. Toss half of the grated soap into a food processor. Add about 1/2 cup of the powdered mixture from the bowl. This allows you the food processor to process the soap into smaller pieces without sticking to the blades. Repeat using the rest of the grated soap.
4. Blend until mixed. Add your essential oils and blend again.  
5. Take the grated soap mixture out of the food processor and add it to the large bowl. Store in a glass container with a wide mouth.

To use, just add 1-2 tablespoons to each load of laundry! You can either place it directly in the washer before you add your clothes (recommended) or use it in the detergent receptacle. You can also add about 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar to the load to act as a fabric softener. When it comes to drying, I love adding 5-6 wool dryer balls to our loads to cut the static. I usually add a few drops of peppermint oil to each dryer ball! So fresh and clean! 

This also makes a cute addition to a gift for a new mama as this is a gentle cleaner for newborn clothes and even cloth diapers. Choose calming essential oils like lavender, orange, Gentle baby or Peace and Calming blends. More about essential oils here