Posted in Family Daily Wellness & Checklists, Family Health & Wellness, Simple Habits

Focus On Your Well-Being, Loves!

Writing you during the Covid-19 home lockdowns with some free resources and encouragement to look after your well-being! I know it is hard to try and figure out a “new normal” and balance, transitioning to perhaps working from home AND helping your kids learn from home, too. Take solace in the fact that we are all in this together–lean on one another, have extra grace with yourself, and focus on what you can control! (and might I suggest having some general wellness “goals” for the day, rather than hour-by-hour rigid rules).

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Free Wellness Printables:

I usually am pretty scheduled and like to keep to a detailed routine, but right now, I am ramping up the grace and flexibility. It’s what we all need most!

I am however still being very intentional with minding our health & wellness. Making sure we are taking care of our:

  • physical
  • emotional
  • mental
  • spiritual
  • & healthy home needs each day.

And because it helps keep a little bit of normalcy, we’ve been filling in a daily checklist that we all work to create together (a very loose “schedule” filled in with our won goals, and whatever amazing resources are available online that day! Today was free beginner karate class, a behind-the-scenes at the zoo, and a drawing class!). These templates have been a great guide for our family, and wanted to share them with you, as well.

You can use the editable template and personalize it to your/your family goals, or the pre-filled template for some examples in each category that might help guide you.

 

(Free download! Includes the “Daily Checklist” and “Daily Wellness Goals” worksheets). Let me know how they work out for you! And please share with friends & family, tagging Make Simple Happen.

I love the advice from many, many educators out there: “At the end of all of this, your kids’ mental health (and yours too!) will be more important than their academic skills. And how they FELT during this time will stay with them long after the memory of what they DID during these crazy months. So keep that in mind, every single day.”

Lots of love to you and your families! This too shall pass.

xo

-Amber

Posted in Back to School Wellness, Family Health & Wellness, Uncategorized

Sustainable & Healthy School Essentials!

Sharing some of our favorite SUSTAINABLE Waste-Free (ie: reusable, recyclable and/or compostable) School Favorites, particularly for lunch and snack, for this new school year… or whenever you are on-the-go with your littles. I happen to also own a Yumbox for myself–it’s like my personal Smorgasbord away from home!

Sure, you invest a little more $ up front on reusable options, but I assure you, you save lots of money in the long run , and provide your kids with healthier non-plastic options, while simultaneously helping mother earth 🌍! 

P.S. I added lots of promo codes for even more savings. Scroll down…

Sustainable Lunches

Our family’s purchasing decisions come down to the following criteria:

1. Safety (clean & safe ingredients and/or materials for our bodies and endocrine systems. That means no known carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals),

2. Ethics of the Company (Transparency of the ingredients, and ALL of them, Sustainability efforts for packaging and products, Certified BCorps, and Certified Leaping Bunny–cruelty free, are a bonus! I will always support these companies first).

3. Likability. We actually have to use and love the products before I will invest in additional options, or recommend to friends and family!

Here are our most favorite On-the-Go Kid Essentials:

  1. Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Waterbottles--Super Durable, fun patterns, and a really cool Bcorp and sustainbility-focused company.
  2. YumBox bento boxes–All food safe materials, BPA-free and phthalate-free. And they are easy to open for littles, everything stays in their individual compartment without leaking, and you can throw the trays in the dishwasher! LOVE ours. They also fit in almost all popular brand lunch bags, with a flat icepack and a little room to spare. Use code “Try20” for 20% off your first purchase online.
  3. LunchSkins Dishwasher-safe reusable bags can be used again and again (I personally like the zipper tops, over the velcro), and their recyclable/compostable paper bags are easy to use once and toss responsibly. This is good for super little ones who may accidentally lose or toss the reusable ones 😉 Use code “2019LS” for 10% off online. You can also find them at Target!
  4. Stasher Bags!  The coolest sealable food-grade silicone reusable bags–they come in many fun sizes and colors AND are dishwasher safe on the top rack. We have obsessed over these for a long time now. Bonus: A women-owned, certified BCorp and of member of “1% for the Planet” (1% of all sales go to high-impact non-profits that protect our oceans).

There are so many great alternatives to one-time-use ziplocks and paper sacks in the marketplace these days—let’s make this school year a much more sustainable and healthier one for all! 👌👌👌⭕️⭕️

Reach out with any questions! Much love, Amber

Posted in Back to School Wellness, Family Health & Wellness

Kicking off a Healthy & Sustainable School Year!

{Back to School} Post 1: Let’s jump right into it and chat GERMS, shall we? 🤢

The dreaded Fall & Winter bugs that creep in after our kids head back to school, the weather changes, and our children go hours without washing hands and being surrounded by five hundred other germy littles. 🤭 best to be proactive now and give our kids a strong defense! 💪🏻

🍎🍓🥦🥕 On the DAILY: What is proven time and time again to strengthen immune systems big and small?

👉 Flooding our bodies daily with tons of (and a wide variety of) fruits and veggies from God’s green earth, along with staying hydrated 💦 and getting plenty of rest 💤. (More on how we get in our daily recommended produce servings below)

🍯 IMMUNE BOOSTERS: sharing a few of my natural and safe “supplements” below.

I am so encouraged that pediatricians are also really coming around to more natural remedies. Last year when my kids got the flu, Kaiser actually emailed me a list of things to do INSTEAD of Tamiflu. And two of those are my fav recommendations:

1️⃣ Manuka Honey 🍯 (or any LOCAL honey!)
2️⃣ Black Elderberry Syrup (Store bought or homemade—recipe in the comments)

Why they work:
Raw Honey is naturally antiviral and antibacterial!!! Amazing power of 🐝‘s!!! It also contains enzymes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals (like b vitamins and folates, your body needs). It’s even been shown to reduce seasonal allergies—if using a local raw honey, because it gives your body a small dose of local plants and flowers the bees have pollenated to build up an immunity, almost how a vaccine works.

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It calms a sore throat like no other. Diluted Honey is actually one of the main ingredients in the natural cough syrups like Zarabee’s. It’s more cost efficient to make some decaf tea and with a little lemon and honey than buying the “medicine”. (Never give honey to a child younger than one year). We eat 1/2 to 1 spoonful of honey per day during the height of the cold and flu seasons. Either a local brand or Manuka Doctor honey from New Zealand, purchased from Costco, actually!

🍓 Elderberry is shown to boost the immune system and shorten the length of viruses, such as the flu, as well as helping relieve symptoms. (I’ll post some studies in the comments). Dark Berries in general have tons of antioxidants and proteins that help repair cells, strengthen the cell walls, and fight free radicals and viruses from penetrating the cells, therefore, keeping your body’s defense strong against germs and illness in general!

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👉 Homemade elderberry syrup is amazing, but as it gains popularity, it can be very hard to find fresh/dried elderberries in stock (I know because I called every Natural Grocers, Sprouts and Whole Foods in town last winter trying to snag some). There are some pre-made brands (like the Sambucol pictured) that can be found in natural grocery stores and even some drug stores now. I also like the lozenges with added vitamin c.

🍇🍓🍎🍌🥦To get the most variety and daily recommended fruits and veggies, we take JuicePlus as a family. It’s made all the difference in cutting down on sick days and helping us survive winters. No artificial supplements your body can’t absorb or process, just 30 (yes 30!!) fruits and vegetables and grains in the form of juice powder per day that heal your cells and round out a whole food based meal plan. Reach out to me with any questions on this. I have been taking JuicePlus since college, and now the hubs and my children all love and reap the benefits, as well.

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👉 Ok, now your turn. Tell me what you brew or diffuse or purchase to ward off germs or treat colds and viruses! Ready, Go! (feel free to share in the comments).🚦

*I am NOT a doctor. None of this should be considered medical advice, just lessons learned over the years based on personal experience and studies of natural remedies. Consult your doctor with questions and such. Xo

Natural Lice Prevention

{Back to School} Post 2: LICE PREVENTION

Kid stuff can just be so gross right?! 🤢 But ‘tis the season for lice outbreaks at school! They love the first few weeks back when all the little bodies are in one classroom snuggling in reading corners 📚😝.

What you can do NATURALLY:

•There are many pure essential oils that have been recommended as a repellant that bugs just don’t like. PEPPERMINT is probably my favorite because it also is invigorating for first thing in the morning before school. I place a few drops at the bottom of my kids’ hairlines. Smells good and wakes them up a bit so they are ready for learning. 😎 some of my teacher friends do this too! Along with wearing their hair in ponytails and buns all of Sept and Oct 👱‍♀️

Other recommendations for oils that bugs don’t like (but are still tolerable for human noses) are Rosemary and Eucalyptus. I’ve seen Marjoram as another one used in lice prevention, but friends tell me the smell is so strong (like oregano) and wouldn’t be great in or around hair. This is how I feel about Tea Tree oil, too. 👩🏽 But it is ok if you pair it with other good smelling oils like rosemary and lavender ☺️
****Please, please do your research on safe essential oil brands. I love DoTerra oils for their purity and safety. I do not recommend oils found over the counter at grocery stores as their sourcing, quality and ingredients is questionable. Connect with a knowledgeable essential oil educator (I would be happy to connect you with a few of my favs!) so you know safe dilution and and family-friendly options for oils.

•Rosemary Shampoo. We use and love “Fairy Tales” Rosemary Repel Shampoo. No toxins, harsh chemicals or pesticides. And no parabens, sulfates or phthalates 🙌 It has organic Rosemary, citronella and tea tree oils to naturally repel lice and it cleans well too. Some of my girlfriends also have found a hair gel for their boys in this same line that they use and love. You can find it at Amazon, Target, and many kids’ hair salons now too.

{Back to School} Post 3:

Helpful After-School Tips to keep kids healthy this school year 👦👧👶

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✂️Cut out wearing shoes in your home.

In fact, we have our kids shed all of their school-day items right at the front door, in little kid-level bins and baskets, including shoes 👟, backpacks 🎒, lunchboxes 👝, jackets 🧥 and hats 🧢.

Why? You limit the amount of germs and environmental chemicals that can be spread around your home, helping protect the whole family. (More on this below)

✂️ Have kids wash their hands right away.

Sounds so simple, but it is such a powerful way to help limit colds and flu, especially if your littles love an after-school snack first thing when returning home. It also washes away germs before they have a chance to run to their favorite toys or blankets, etc.
👉 Do you need antibacterial soap? NO! Studies show that simple soap, warm water, and washing for the duration of the “ABC’s” will do the trick, without creating super bugs and all the other negative side effects of “antibacterial” varieties. 💦 (We love the Everyone brand and Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap for washing hands).

✂️ Cut out sugary snacks and drinks and opt for a variety of fresh produce (eat the 🌈!!) and lots of water instead.

This will give your children a strong immune defense system! 💪🏻 We after-school smoothies and no-bake protein balls. I’ll add a few other ideas to the comments.

👟 Facts about shoe germs:

1️⃣. Your shoes tract in a ridiculous amount of BACTERIA:
In a study by the University of Arizona, researchers found 421,000 units of bacteria on the outside of the shoe, including E. coli, meningitis and diarrheal disease; Klebsiella pneumonia, a common source for wound and bloodstream infections as well as pneumonia; and Serratia ficaria, a rare cause of infections in the respiratory tract 🤢

👉And get this! Bacteria Lives On Shoes Longer! “After thorough researching, the University of Arizona found that bacteria live a very long time on shoes — longer than in most other places. They speculate the reason is because there is a continuous build up of new bacteria that feeds the growth of the existing bacteria.”

2️⃣. HERBICIDES/PESTICIDES: studies have also shown that shoes carry in dangerous chemicals used for lawn care, etc in higher concentrations than what is sprayed onto nonorganic crops, and tied to cancers and other major health issues.

3️⃣. LEAD AND OTHER HEAVY METALS: these are naturally occurring in the earth, yet exposure is linked to serious adverse health effects and many autoimmune diseases and lower IQ’s. We’ve worked hard to ban lead from the paint inside our home, so let’s not track it in on our shoes…

4️⃣. FECES: A University of Houston study found that coliforms, which are universally present in feces, are found on 96% of shoe soles. 💩🙀

As one author rights (article here) “Sure, exposure to some types of bacteria is actually a good thing as it builds up the body’s immunity and makes you stronger. However, most of the bacteria present on shoes is from fecal matter, and the truth is that most of it can be pretty harmful to your health. Therefore, medical experts advise that this be one place you skip purposeful exposure to help “boost your immunity.”

Sources: 6 Reasons to Remove Your Shoes 

 

STAY TUNED AS OUR BACK TO SCHOOL SERIES CONTINUES…