Tuesday, March 28, 2017

5 DIY Plant Ideas for Spring

I spent a lot of the winter season looking forward to spring and the return of outdoor gardening, but there are significant benefits to planting indoors, too. Along with adding design details and a great punch of color, house plants also help clean and filter the air inside your home. Plants can actually filter out mold spores, bacteria, and a variety of toxins, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Don't have a green thumb? Don't worry. Many of the indoor plants that help improve indoor air quality are also of fairly hardy stock. We have some mother-in-law's tongue plants prominently displayed in our home year round, but I've also been keeping my eye on some fun DIY planters to add into rotation this spring. In particular, I've been looking for projects that the kids would enjoy too. Here are a few of my favorites.

Recycled Faux Marble Planters
It's no surprise by now that I have a serious love for all things marble. But I also love that there is a recycled component to these faux marble planters that makes this DIY project even more green. The fact that succulents are low maintenance is an added bonus.

Fun Toy Planters
 This is technically another recycled DIY project. Try using one of your kiddos' old toys to make a modern and fun planter. I particularly like the idea of spray painting the toy gold for a chic look. Cam would be all over that.

Kids' Hair Planters
These silly hair planters double as science lessons for your kids. The grass will grow quickly, but you could also try planting a crazy succulent to give your kiddo's photo a fun looking hat.

Air Plants
There are so many different DIY projects out there for air plants. Check out this roundup that has a good range of easy to more complicated projects. You can't beat a plant that doesn't need to be watered! In addition, I think some of the hanging versions would be great clutter-free ways to add color to a child's room. Because, let's face it, probably the last thing they need is another tchotchke on their dressers.

Indoor Herb Garden
An herb garden is one of the first outdoor projects we get going in the spring. We have a sunny spot in our side yard, and we use big planters to grow my favorites for cooking. If you don't have the outdoor space or if you simply want a smaller version handy in your kitchen, think about planting a series of pots or organizing them on a tray. I like this DIY project that also offers extra space to store kitchen necessities.

Honestly, there are so many cute options, it's hard to pick a place to start. You can't go wrong with any of these low-maintenance DIY projects that serve double duty to keep your indoor air clean and give you a healthy boost for spring.

Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Bounds Heating & Air. Thanks for helping to support the sponsors who support us!

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Friday Five!!

We are gearing up for our spring break, so I'm keeping this week's Friday Five short and sweet. Between last minute shopping and packing, we've been ....

Cooking -- this is one of our family's favorite tastiest stews.

Reading -- the kids put a new book series on our Spring Bucket List, so we started this one this week.

Playing -- the kids are obsessed with my Words with Friends, so I've transitioned them to old school Scrabble.

Wanting -- I need some new spring booties and I'm kind of loving this blush pair.

Making -- we picked up this great sticker activity book at the Cooper Hewitt museum in New York and Cam has been working on it nonstop.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

5 Tips to Keep Spring Chores Green

Spring is finally here! That means my spring cleaning is in full force, but so is my effort to get the kiddos to help with chores. They have always had some sort of chore list, but as they get older, I feel like it's time to kick it up a notch. They are more capable of cleaning up after themselves.

But as I handed Cam a bottle of wipes to clean up her sink last week, I gave a second thought to what she was using to get the job done. I didn't really want her cute little six-year-old hands scrubbing chemicals everywhere. So I did a little research on how we can keep all of our spring chores a little greener this season.

Purchase Green Products
To start, trade out those chemical-laden products for a few green ones. You'll be keeping toxic chemicals away from you and your kids and out of the environment, too. There is a wide range of products available, but check out some of these tried and tested eco options. Also look for refillable products to help decrease the amount of plastic you're using.

Try a DIY Product
Still not happy with the green products commercially available? People swear by making their own. Trying a DIY product ensures you know exactly what you're using and helps the piggy bank too. How much time you need to make each product will vary, but start with these 25 recipes and see what is worth the effort.

Clean Indoor Air Naturally   

I love nothing more than opening every window in the house as soon as spring arrives! Letting all that fresh air in does everyone's mood so much good, and it helps sweep dust out as well. Stay away from chemical cleaners and air fresheners, though. If spring allergies prevent you from throwing the windows open, make sure you replace the HVAC filter before kicking the air on. It's always smart to service your system in advance, too.

Monday, March 20, 2017

2017 Spring Bucket List: 50+ Ideas to Put a Spring in Your Step!

Happy Spring Equinox!!! Despite the fact that we finally had some snow dumped on D.C. last week, the sun is out, the birds are chirping, and I'm going with spring. Which means .... new bucket list! We've been brainstorming up ideas for our annual seasonal list and I'm pretty excited to get started on this one. There are some old standbys, but the kids also came up with some pretty specific fun ideas for spring too. Have at it!

p.s. we knocked 30 items off of our Winter Bucket List -- not too shabby!

Friday, March 17, 2017

The Friday Five!!

I feel like I blinked and it's Friday again! We avoided a major snowstorm this week, but have had ridiculously freezing weather. I normally love getting out and about in the winter, but given that I was running in a tank top last week, I just couldn't bring myself to haul my winter gear back out again. So I feel like we've spent a lot of time indoors the last few days. No problem. We found a lot to do ....

Cooking -- we went to the Dead Rabbit last weekend for an Irish fix and the kids tried corned beef for the first time. They loved it so much that I made one of my fave easy recipes this week.

Reading -- we picked up Who Built That? Modern Houses: An Introduction to Modern Houses and Their Architects in New York this past weekend and we are all loving reading it together! I have an irrational dislike of Nicole Kidman, so I don't plan on watching the new show Big Little Lies. So, instead, I'm listening to the audiobook in the car. 

Playing -- the kids were obsessed with Monopoly Deal on our train trip. It's almost more cutthroat than the regular Monopoly!

Wanting -- I need some new slip ons for spring and have my eye on these gold Vans.

Making -- Cam's continued sewing everything in sight and has made several things from this cute accessories book this week.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Statue of Liberty + Ellis Island

We just spent a great long, albeit insanely freeing, weekend in NYC. In fact, it was so freaking cold that I hardly took any pictures -- my hands needed to stay bundled up! Nevertheless, I thought I'd share a few highlights of our trip. It had been a while since we'd taken the kids and a bunch of things just fell in place for a quick jaunt. So we took the kids up last Friday on the train, which was a first for them. It's so much easier than flying or driving (plus, we tested out a bunch of new travel games and activities, so keep your eyes peeled for an update post on those in advance of spring break!).

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Friday Five!!

We are headed out of town for a long weekend. Unfortunately we are headed into snow and cold weather, BUT, I'm still excited to get a little bit of a break for everyone. Before we packed up, here's what we were up to ....

Reading -- Kane has been reading Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back So You Want to Be a Jedi? and LOVES it. It seems like a great retelling and he gets a kick out of the jedi lessons, including some guided meditation techniques. And I just started Never Let Me Go.

Making -- Cam requested playdough this week, which we haven't done in forever. I whipped up a batch of her fave marbled glitter variety and she went to town.

Cooking -- did you catch our 30 Days of Dinner from this week? I still think the Fennel-Crusted Pork Chops with Potatoes and Shallots will be a monthly fave.

Wanting -- I've been painting my own nails for a while now, but I love to get one good mani every season. I kind of love this bright embellished cuticle mani.

Playing -- we've been playing a lot of games this week, but Just Desserts is one of our favorites. Maybe it's just because I can't have sugar.