Beeswax Wraps

The plastic lids to our glass food storage containers (which are my favorite containers and the only ones I use!) are starting to crack. At first, I didn’t mind seeing a crack here or there in the lids because they still “worked” pretty well. I didn’t see a need to rush out and buy replacements, but then, a piece of a blue plastic lid broke off and fell into our food when I was putting leftovers away.

Gross.

That does not spark joy for me.

I’m already not crazy about how much plastic we use on a regular basis, and I certainly don’t want to worry about plastic pieces ending up in our food. So, I got rid of the ones with cracks.

These containers need covers, though. My options were to order the replacement lids (which can be found online), use aluminum foil, plastic wrap, a plate, and so on. Trying to bring mindfulness to all areas of my life, I thought about it while and ultimately decided to try food wraps made from beeswax.

Beeswax wraps seem like they would be the perfect, sustainable solution for food storage. They can be used over and over (just not for meats) and conform to fit containers of different sizes. Not having to spend time searching the cabinet for an exact-match container lid sounds good to me, too!

Though they are new to me, beeswax wraps for food storage have been around for a long time. There are tons of DIY instructions online for making beeswax wraps, but I thought I’d try some that were pre-made to test them out first. And, so far, so good!

They’re not the same as a tight-fitting container lid, of course, but they do get the job done! They are easy to clean (simply wash in cold water) and to store.

The ones I purchased are made with fabric that is a little thicker than the DIY versions I have seen, so I’m really curious how a thinner fabric might work instead. (I put making my own beeswax wraps on my list of things to try in the near future.)

Would you try using beeswax wraps or have you already? Which brands have you tried? Have you made your own?

I’d love to know!

~Melissa

We ran out of toothpaste, so I made some!

Rather than going to the store to purchase more, I thought I’d try to make my own toothpaste.

There are a few reasons I wanted to try making my own toothpaste:

#1 – I feel absolutely HORRIBLE every time I throw away an empty plastic toothpaste tube. I know that plastic is going to sit in a landfill FOREVER. I thought if I could make my own toothpaste at home, we could stop throwing all of those plastic tubes into the trash, and it would be a small step toward cutting back on the trash our family creates.

#2 – I don’t really understand what’s in most of the toothpaste we buy or why it’s in there. PEG-12?? Sodium lauryl sulfate?? Sodium saccharin?? This stuff just doesn’t sound like it’s very good for us.

#3 – If it works out, I figure we will save a little money — the cost of all the ingredients together is much less expensive than store-bought options.

So, I decided to give it a go, and…the entire process took a lot less time (and was a lot less messy) than I thought. It was actually really easy.


Here are the steps I followed:

STEP 1: Gather the ingredients. (I used: coconut oil, baking soda, and peppermint essential oil.)

STEP 2: Pre-measure each ingredient and set it aside. (For this batch I used: 10 tbsp of coconut oil, 5 tbsp of baking soda, and about 10 drops of peppermint essential oil — I say “about” because we started with 10, and then my husband snuck in a few more.)

STEP 3: In a bowl combine the coconut oil and baking soda, a little of each at a time until it forms a paste. Add the essential oil and continue to stir it all together until thoroughly combined.

STEP 4: Transfer to a storage container.

And that’s it.

It was really very simple.


My initial reactions after trying it:

* I thought maybe the texture of the paste might be too different from what I was used to, but it wasn’t. The texture reminded me of a natural, brand-name toothpaste that I had tried before.

* The flavor was nice, not too overpowering, definitely minty.

* It just so happened that I had a cup of coffee right before I made the toothpaste. (I didn’t plan that, but it worked out to be a good test!) Once I finished brushing, I asked my husband to smell my breath for me — I was curious if he could smell the peppermint and if any of the coffee smell might be lingering. He just smelled peppermint, and no coffee!

* My teeth felt soooo smooth afterwards.


Moving forward, we (the grown ups in the house) will try it out for a while and see what we notice. I have a dentist appointment coming up in a couple of weeks, and I’m going to ask him what he thinks about this kind of toothpaste compared to store-bought. I’m also really curious to know how long the batch is going to last us.

I’d like to try out other recipes in the future. I know some people make theirs with a lot less baking soda or use different oils, for example.

Is this something you might try? Have you already made your own toothpaste before? What do you use?

~Melissa

A House that Love Built

We found some time this week for a fun family project (and finally got around to using a cookie house kit we purchased back in December!).

Before we started, I swapped some of the candies that came in the kit with pink and purple ones from our candy jar to make it feel a little more Valentine’s Day-ish.

My husband and I helped “construct” the house and handled of most of the icing, and then our little one took over all of the decorating!

He had so much fun with it, really concentrating on where to put each candy piece. (We noticed that some of the candy did manage to find its way to his mouth before it could become decoration! Shhh!)

Then, “teeee daaahh!” (as our son says), we finished making our family’s first Valentine’s Day project!

Once the house was finished, we cheered and clapped (took a quick photo of it), and then we had even more fun tearing it down and eating it together.

It was such a wonderful moment of hygge, so cozy and fun.

We weren’t rushing or worried about the mess.

We were spontaneous and creative and totally device free (until we needed a phone to take the picture — and that was it!), spending some fun, quality time together as a family.

I couldn’t dream of a more perfect Valentine this year! ❤️

~Melissa

Our Bookworm Christmas Tree

This is our first Christmas together as a married couple, as our own family unit.

For the last few years of celebrating Christmas together, we’ve each been joining in the other’s family traditions. Whether it’s cookie baking, the way we do gift exchanges, or just where and when we gather with everyone to spend time together.

The his and hers of it all has become ours.

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Still, it’s also nice to have a tradition or a special experience that is uniquely our own.  Something special that starts with us, that we might be able to pass on to our own children someday.

Things like this, however, can’t be forced or over-planned. The best family traditions are the ones that come from the heart and that the heart keeps going year after year.

Well, our first new tradition came to us the other night. Sometimes we (and our friends) joke around about all of our books. We know of libraries and other people have used books to build a Christmas tree, so why not us?

We certainly had enough books on hand to give it a go.

Putting the tree together was more of a project, at first, than anything else. It was more of a “let’s see how this works” kind of thing.

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But when it was finished, we both loved it.

We both knew, in our hearts, that this was something we want to do together every year. Every year the tree will probably look a little different; we will most likely use different books to make it, build it in different locations, decorate it differently.

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So really, it’s that feeling in our hearts, the one we both felt when we stepped back together to look at the completed tree, that feeling is what will be the same. And it will be our own special tradition.

~Melissa

 

We’re Going to Turn Into Pumpkins!

It’s fall…and that means it’s pumpkin season!

If I wasn’t already aware of that fact, just a few minutes in the supermarket would be notification enough. Pumpkin spice has taken over! FullSizeRender-1

It’s just so exciting to try all of the pumpkin and pumpkin spice versions of our favorite foods. (I didn’t buy the pumpkin pasta sauce this time, but there’s always next week. Last year, I mixed it with an Alfredo sauce, and it was delicious!)

I’m trying some new pumpkin-flavored foods this year including the pumpkin spice oatmeal, yogurt, and almonds. They are all surprisingly delicious! (They even have pumpkin spice Jell-O…I was a bit undecided on that one. If I can think of a good recipe that calls for it between now and next week,FullSizeRender I might try it then.)

I’m trying my best to pace myself with all these pumpkin foods, but it’s hard to do when we know these goodies won’t be around for long. Each time I go to the store, I find something new that is pumpkin-flavored to try. It’s almost as much fun as going picking for real pumpkins!

~Melissa

Hot Summer Days and Silver Linings

It’s been hot this summer, like really hot, like immediately-melt-the-ice-in-your-drink hot. We’re talking humid, stifling, 90-degree temperatures for the last few days.

And our air conditioner is not working. (We’re in the process of fixing it. It seems like it is only in need of a small repair, not actually “broken.” At least, we hope.) So, over the last few days the coolest place in our home has been, well, outside.

It’s easy to “lose your cool” in uncomfortable situations like these, so it is really important to remember that they are temporary, fixable, and only uncomfortable, nothing more.

It isn’t always easy to do.

I was delighted (and distracted) when, while we were sitting outside trying to keep cool, Jonathan and I saw these stormy clouds roll in:

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The air had already cooled down a bit by then (outside, not inside the house!) and sitting outside, talking to each other and reading books (and writing a little for me), we were relaxed and enjoying our evening. I LOVE rain — and especially love rain in the summer, so the idea of a rainstorm helped me completely forget all about our air conditioner trouble.

But it didn’t rain.

Instead, this happened:

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And this:

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We looked at one another, and we knew that had our air conditioner been working properly, we would have been sealed up inside our house, missing all of this beautiful evening sky. We kept watching.

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The shapes of the clouds shifted. The colors became more intense, muted, they brightened and darkened, and danced across the sky.

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And if you look really closely, you can even see the silver linings.

~Melissa

Some men bring home flowers…

Some men bring home flowers; my husband brings home books.

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The very first flowers that Jonathan bought for me when we started dating. 🙂

Please don’t get me wrong. I really do like flowers and the way they look and smell, warming up the house, but my husband knows that I like books even more. He knows how much I love to read and how much I love to be surrounded by books.

I am a lucky girl.

To me, there is no more thoughtful or meaningful bouquet* that he could give than when he comes home with a new book, one that he picked up off of a shelf or ordered online just because he thought I would enjoy reading it.

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Some recent additions to our growing collection.

Before we met, we each had our own collection of books. Now that we are married, so is our book collection.

Each time he brings me a new book, or we find one together, the book represents something we are building together, something that started as two separate entities and is now one.

Whether hardcover or paperback, a brand-new bestseller or a used bookstore-find, each of those bouquets are all beautiful to me, and they brighten up our home more than any bunch of flowers could.

~Melissa

*When we really think about the definition and the origin of the word — how it comes form Old French meaning a “clump of trees” and how it represents something that is to be ceremonial or presented as a gift — isn’t a bouquet, after all, really the perfect way, literally and figuratively, to describe a book?