Book Review {Little Walks, Big Adventures by Erin Buhr}

I recently was gifted a copy of the book “Little Walks, Big Adventures: 50+ Ideas for Exploring with Toddlers” by Erin Buhr. As you can imagine, I was really excited to receive this book from the publisher. I don’t know about you, but I find myself going to the same places and doing the same things with my 4.5-year-old over and over again. The activities Buhr presents in the book are helpful in getting out of that rut!

Little Walks, Big Adventure book by Erin Buhr

Who is the “Little Walks, Big Adventures” for?

I recommend “Little Walks, Big Adventures” for anyone who interacts with toddlers, from parents to teachers. Even though the book is geared towards toddlers 15-36 months, I can see myself adding most of these activities into what I’m already doing with Coen. Reading through the book, I found myself repeatedly saying, “Oh, I want to try this activity.”

If you want to instill a sense of wonder about our world while fostering cognitive and motor skills in your day-to-day with your toddler(s), “Little Walks, Big Adventures” is an absolutely wonderful resource for you!

What is the book about?

“Little Walks, Big Adventures” gives the reader a well-rounded introduction to getting outside of the home and/or school environment in order to learn and discover. In addition to encouraging exploring the world with your toddler(s), the book also provides ample learning opportunities.

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

Applying the activities

I was pleasantly surprised to discover some of what we already do included in the book. One of those is a walk at the art museum. We visit Crystal Bridges quite frequently, so I’m excited to try out some of the activities suggested in the book. I believe they will help deepen Coen’s experience and interaction with the art.

Crystal Bridges is a great place for a hike or an art walk!

The activities are all presented with thoughtful care. Each begins with details on what to bring along, what to take into consideration, and what to notice before or during the activity or walk. This section helps you prepare for situations you may not have already considered.

While most of the walks take you into the outdoors or your community, many activities can be adapted for using indoors if necessary.

Minimal materials, BIG impact

The activities in this book are simple yet impactful. They require few materials, most of which are things you will find around the house or on the walk itself. The activities themselves are extremely flexible and adaptable. “Little Walks, Big Adventures” is a great resource for finding themed activities even if you don’t incorporate a walk. The walks and activities are set up to be independent of each other–you don’t have to do one for the other to have an impact.

Be sure to check out Erin’s blog, Bambini Travel for more great ideas and to buy the book!

Anniversary Adventures {Devil’s Den State Park}

This year our anniversary kind of snuck up on me. I wasn’t even upset when Jeremy was scrambling around trying to make last-minute anniversary plans. I was in the same boat. What should we do? Where should we go? Who is going to be available to watch Coen at the last minute? Finally, I told him that all I really wanted was to go eat breakfast and then hike together as a family.

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

I picked out a trail that I’ve been wanting to explore myself before taking my Girls Who Hike group out on, but Jeremy balked at the distance from our house. I was disappointed and annoyed, and I let it be known, but I agreed to go hike somewhere closer. Compromise. It’s kind of important in marriage. Also, apparently, important in anniversary planning.

By the time we go in the car to head out for breakfast, I was already in a better mood. Feeling better about the hike since it was a new trail at least. We were going to hike at Devil’s Den, a local state park that I’ve hiked at before, but a trail I hadn’t been on yet.

Breakfast at The Farmer’s Table

Farmer's Table breakfast for our 11th anniversary Farmer's Table breakfast for our 11th anniversary

I perked up even more once I realized that The Farmer’s Table was now serving vegan pancakes! Coen loves pancakes, but we usually don’t order them at restaurants since he can’t have dairy. I ordered the pancakes to split and added an egg and bacon on the side. Jeremy got the Arkansawyer which came with regular pancakes and just about everything else.

Farmer's Table breakfast for our 11th anniversary

Once we had our fill of breakfast, we set off for the trail.

The road Jeremy decided to take got us to the trailhead more quickly, but it also involved several hairpin curves. I’d never driven to Devil’s Den that way and started to get a little queasy. Luckily, the curves ended and we arrived at the visitor’s center without incident (ie: I wasn’t revisited by my breakfast).

Devil’s Den Trail

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

We decided to hike the Devil’s Den trail, a 1.5 mile loop that features caves, rock formations and some falls. The caves are currently closed due to white nose syndrome, but there is still plenty to explore.

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

As we begun our hike, we discussed the trail markings and leave no trace with Coen as a refresher. At the beginning of a hike, I always bring up the fact that we cannot take any trail treasures home with us. For Coen, the most tempting things to bring home are rocks and sticks. I let him know that we can take a picture of any rock he likes instead of trying to take them home with us.

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

Most of the time this goes over well, and Coen moves along happily after taking a photo. However, he did come across one really cool stick that he wanted to bring home with him. It looked like a pickaxe and even I had to admit it was not like the sticks in our yard. (Another thing we tell him is that there are plenty of sticks in our yard at home).

After we took a photo of a not-so-thrilled Coen with the stick, we moved on.

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

Even though the caves were closed, I was glad that I brought our headlamps on this hike. There were still plenty of deep, dark places to explore further. At one point, Jeremy wanted to go down into one such area while Coen wanted to go up and over. So we handed off the headlamp and began to climb.

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

Once we were on top of the rocks Jeremy was under, we were rewarded with a great view of some frozen falls. We were even more thrilled to find a downed tree to use as a bridge to reach the falls.

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

We were enjoying ourselves so much that we kind of forgot that Jeremy might be wondering where we were. As I was repeating to Coen to please leave the icicles for others to enjoy, I heard a familiar whistle. I hollered back towards where we had left Jeremy to let him know we were okay. He ran up to us, breathless and obviously concerned. It was a reminder that we always have someone looking out for our wellbeing and safety.

We started to get pelted by the birds and that was our cue to head back towards the trail.

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

While we were stopped to take a break and eat a snack, a mom coming down the trail noticed me trying to get a family selfie and offered to take a picture for us. We seem to meet the kindest, most affable people when we’re in the outdoors. Another family took our photo on the bridge by Twin Falls after I offered to do the same for them.

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

I have to admit that the hike we ended up taking was a pretty great one. I’m glad that we spent our anniversary in nature with the whole family. I’m looking forward to spending even more weekends out on the trails in Northwest Arkansas in the coming months!

Hiking at the Devil's Den Self-Guided Trail for our 11th anniversary

Thanks for reading! You may also want to read about the 10K Women Trail Project or my newfound Trail Tribe.

My Trail Tribe {Indian Rockhouse Trail Hike}

Wander without wifi is weak | julianne {gray}

Walking in the woods is a way that I clear my mind, get inspiration, and both connect–with God, nature, the world at large–and disconnect–from social media, the news, daily stress. It’s a complete reset for me and something I had come to think of as a solitary activity. I should mention, this wasn’t always the case. I grew up camping and hiking with my parents, my siblings–big sister and two younger brothers, my grandparents, and very often, all of my cousins on my dad’s side. It was a family affair.

Trail signage along the Indian Rockhouse trail

Buffalo Point was where we spent much of our time camping and hiking. The Indian Rockhouse Trail was one of our favorites, but I admit I hadn’t been back there since childhood.

My Newfound Hiking Sisterhood

My newfound trail tribe at the Indian Rockhouse Trail
Photo by Kaci Stringer aka @wanderrwomann

Now that I’m a Trailblazer for the 10,000 Women Trail Project and the newly minted 2018 Girls Who Hike ambassador for Arkansas, I’m beginning to hike with a new kind of family. The experiences I’ve had so far have taught me that I need this tribe of women who love being together in the outdoors. It doesn’t matter that some of us are faster than others, or that some of us have been hiking all of our lives and others have just picked it up. We get each other. That’s really all that matters. I have enjoyed spending time with every one of the ladies I’ve met on this journey so far, and I cannot wait to meet even more of you!

Not much water flowing along the Indian Rockhouse trail, but we found some icicles

Saturday I hosted the very first official Girls Who Hike Arkansas meet up. I rolled up to the trailhead at 9:30 a.m. hoping that at least a handful of the women who had selected “Going” on our Facebook event would turn up. I was so shocked when 10 other women came out for our Indian Rockhouse Hike in 20 degree weather! Talk about troopers!

Scrambled down and then back up in the Indian Rockhouse to reach the cave

Not only did they not mind the cold, they made every bit of the day fun!

Introducing a new series!

Icicles along the Indian Rockhouse Trail

Being outdoors gives me a lot of inspiration, but there are also a lot of people who have inspired me to get outdoors, to go further, to push harder, and to even try my hand at inspiring others to get outside as well. The more I talk to these women that come out and hike with me, the more I am in awe of them and their stories.

Inside the Indian Rockhouse

I want to share those stories, with their explicit permission, of course. I’ve decided to begin a series highlighting these amazing women, all that they have overcome to get to where they are and WHY they were/are drawn to the outdoors. I haven’t decided how this series will be presented yet, and I would absolutely love your feedback on this. Would you rather it be a blog series, a podcast, or a video series? I’m open to any and all suggestions. I just want to get this rolling because I know you will be inspired by these women as much as I am!

You may also be interested in reading my post about the 10,000 Women Trail Project — Click here.

Chihuly in the Forest

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

You may have read my original post on Chihuly at Crystal Bridges and wondered why I’m posting about it again. I just can’t get enough of the beautiful artwork–I’ve been back to Chihuly in the Forest twice now. Plus, I’m partnering with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art  to get the word out that this magical art in the forest will disappear at the stroke of 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 27. That means you only have today and tomorrow to view the exhibition before it goes!

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

You may remember from my post that I particularly enjoyed the Chihuly in the Forest installations. It just makes sense for this nature-inspired art to be on display in a natural, outdoor setting. The natural light and forest surroundings give life to these works in a way that no other setting could. Seeing it through different seasons has been fun because each time I go it’s like it’s a completely new exhibition.

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

“I’m always inspired to exhibit my work in various types of environments, from museums and gardens around the world, to unique indoor settings. I’m always looking to push the boundaries of the medium of glass in terms of color, form, scale, and light, all of which are essential elements of my work.” -Dale Chihuly

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

I recently went back to view the exhibition with my family and took advantage of the opportunity to not only show the artwork to my family, but to get them outdoors for a 10K Women Trail Project hike! Two birds, one stone, er, ticket. This holiday weekend is the perfect time to go see these breathtaking works of glass!

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges ends November 27

Until the Chihuly in the Forest exhibition closes, a ticket is required to access the North Forest Trail. The price of admission is $10 for adults, but children age 18 and under are admitted for free. Once the exhibition closes, the trail will be opened back up for all to access and will link back to the Razorback Greenway as before. If you are not able make it to the exhibition before Monday, 11/27, don’t worry, there is still a lot of wonderful art to see and experience along the outdoor trails. One of my favorites is the Fly’s Eye Dome on the North Lawn Trail.

Fly's Eye Dome on view at Crystal Bridges

Fly's Eye Dome on view at Crystal Bridges

Have you been to see the Chihuly exhibition? Let me know what you think! If you haven’t, go today and then come back and tell me your impressions!

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A Year of Adventure {10K Women Trail Project}

Hike More, Smile More! Register for the 10K Women Trail Project

I’m so excited to announce that I have been selected as a Trailblazer for the 10K Women Trail Project! The 10K Women Trail Project is an initiative through Hike it Baby and is made possible by a Force of Nature grant from REI. What is the 10K Women Trail Project all about? Our main goal is to get more women and girls out hiking all over the United States.

Sunset Hike at Hobbs State Park
We kicked off the project with a sunset hike at Hobbs State Park!
Hike More, Smile More

If you are in Northwest Arkansas or any of the surrounding areas, I would love for you to come hike with me! The project kicked off on November 1 and continues through September of 2018, so if you can’t come on a hike right away there’s plenty of time to get outdoors and join in on the project. I will be hosting at least one hike per month.

10K Women Trail Project Tulip Tree Trail Hike
Second hike of the project, exploring the grounds around Crystal Bridges

Look for all of my planned hikes on my Facebook page or in my new Facebook group, Ozark Women Blazing Trails. I look forward to meeting other hiking enthusiasts. While the project focuses on getting women out to hike, men and boys are welcome to come along!

The first *official* hike of the 10K Women Trail Project at Tanyard Creek Nature Trail
The first *official* hike of the project at Tanyard Creek Nature Trail
Not from Northwest Arkansas?

You can still register for the 10K Women Trail Project and start hiking with your girlfriends! Once you’ve registered you can start logging hikes in which at least one other woman or girl accompanies you. Register here. Be sure to use the following hashtags when you post to social media: #forceofnature #hikeitbaby #10kwomentrailproject #togetherwehike

Who will you inspire to get out on the trails? Tell me in the comments or share you favorite trail to hike!

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Joy in the morning

Your memory's the sunshine every new day brings

I still find it difficult to put into words how the loss of my father has impacted me, but at the same time, I can’t write about this summer without speaking to that loss. I miss my dad, and yet a part of me still doesn’t really believe that he is gone. Shock and the suddenness of his death contribute to that disbelief. I feel guilty when I enjoy things these days, or when I feel happy. It’s part of why I haven’t posted much since he died at the end of June. It made me feel guilty when I thought about coming on here to post about all of the fun things we did this summer. I know that my dad would want me to keep doing these things and keep making memories for Coen instead of stagnating in my grief, but I still can’t help but feel guilty for moving on with my life.

Mom & Dad before dad’s high school reunion

Don’t get me wrong; there are days when all I can do is cry, even when I want to and need to hold myself together. Other days I feel guilty for not grieving enough or for feeling happy about good things that are happening.

In the days that followed my father’s death I started listening to the original Nickel Creek album on repeat. There is really no reason why other than the fact that the songs are soothing to my soul and bring me comfort. Coen got into it too, and now anytime I switch to something else he invariably asks for “the fox song” and we’ll go right back to listening to those sweet and soothing bluegrass melodies.

The song When You Come Back Down is not about death, but it always makes me think of my dad. The song is about letting someone spread their wings and follow their dreams even though you want to hold onto them and keep them with you. I know that does not describe every parent/child relationship, but it is indeed the way both of my parents were with me and my siblings.

The line, “Your memory’s the sunshine every new day brings” is a kicker for a whole other reason though.

Not long after my dad died, I read an article about a woman who documented her parents going through terminal cancer at the same time. Her dad told her to look for him in the rainbows. I would never wish terminal cancer or disease on my dad (my family has faced its fair share), but I do wish that I had been able to talk to him and say goodbye.

I may not have had the chance to hear him tell me where to look for him after he was gone, but I do have a trove of memories of my dad. One thing about him that never changed was that he was an early riser and a morning person.

Because of that I’ve decided that I will look for him in the dawning of every new day.

Unlike my dad, I am not a morning person. However, I choose now to make mornings about joy and spending time with my dad’s memory. Instead of grumbling when my early riser comes into my room demanding breakfast, I am determined to smile, get up and enjoy that time with him.

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.” -Psalm 30:5

Or, as Cool Hand Luke puts it in their song, The Fires of Life:
“Weeping may last through the night–the longest night of your life–I can promise you that rejoicing comes in the morning.”

I’m holding onto that promise.

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Chihuly at Crystal Bridges

 

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges August 16-November 13Last week I had the opportunity to visit the new Chihuly exhibition at Crystal Bridges Museum of Modern Art. While I try to view as many of the temporary exhibitions as possible, this was my first time attending a media preview for an exhibit.

As embarrassing as it is to admit, before this exhibition I had only had heard of Chihuly and his art on Frasier (yes, the television series). However, even I knew that this was a very special kind of artwork on display. It is unlike anything else that has been brought to the museum before. Looking back through my photos I can’t help but get chills again.

Chihuly in the Gallery

Chihuly in the Gallery at Crystal Bridges May 27 to June 2

Chihuly in the Gallery at Crystal Bridges May 27 to June 2

If you’ve ever wished you could go to New York and view the innovative window displays at Christmastime, you can get a spectacular taste right here in Arkansas. The multimedia display entitled “Winter Brilliance” was originally created for a Barneys New York holiday window. “It combines clear glass chandelier forms with a Christie’s 360 digitally-mapped lighting display and the musical composition by Hannis Brown, to produce an evocative, ice-like brilliance,” according to the press release for the exhibition. I simply cannot describe just how incredible this installation is–you must see and experience it for yourself!

Chihuly in the Gallery at Crystal Bridges May 27 to June 2

The gallery exhibition also includes many works that have never been displayed in a museum setting before. One piece of note is a weaving with fused glass that Dale Chihuly created in 1965 as an interior design student at the University of Washington in Seattle.

 Chihuly in the Gallery at Crystal Bridges May 27 to June 2

The brand new Glass on Glass series is also on display in a museum setting for the first time. These vibrant pieces are two- and three-dimensional works of sculpture and painting.

 Chihuly in the Gallery at Crystal Bridges May 27 to June 2
The artist Dale Chihuly with the Azure Icicle Chandelier

“Crystal Bridges is the only venue for this particular exhibition and many of the works are presented in a new way or for the first time. The works are inspired by th surrounding nature and unique architectural elements at the museum,” said Britt Cornett, Head of Exhibitions, Chihuly Studio.

Chihuly in the Forest

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges August 16-November 13

The “firsts” don’t stop there either. “This is the first indoor-outdoor exhibition for Crystal Bridges and the first time Chihuly’s works are on view in a natural forest setting,” said Lauren Haynes, Crystal Bridges’ Curator, Contemporary Art.

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges August 16-November 13

I particularly enjoyed the outdoor installations along the reopened North Forest Trail. It makes sense for this nature-inspired art to be on display in a natural, outdoor setting. The natural light and forest surroundings give life to these works in a way that no other setting could.

“I’m always inspired to exhibit my work in various types of environments, from museums and gardens around the world, to unique indoor settings. I’m always looking to push the boundaries of the medium of glass in terms of color, form, scale, and light, all of which are essential elements of my work.” -Dale Chihuly

 

Chihuly in the Forest at Crystal Bridges August 16-November 13

The temporary Chihuly: In the Gallery and in the Forest exhibition is on view June 3 through August 14. Admission is $20 for adults and includes the indoor and outdoor venue. Once the gallery portion closes, the cost drops to $10 for Chihuly in the Forest, which is on view August 16-November 13. No cost for museum members and youth ages 18 and under. 

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Easy No Poo Method How To

No, I’m not talking about your bathroom habits. I promise. Believe me, keeping up with my 3-year-old’s bathroom habits is more than enough “poo” for me. No, the no poo method I’m talking about is the practice of washing your hair without using shampoo. There are as many methods of no poo as there are people who choose to forgo shampoo. I’m just going to talk about what I know, the methods that I have tried, and how they did or didn’t work for me.

Try these easy, no fuss, no poo methods today using items already found in your home!

Try these easy, no fuss, no poo methods today using items already found in your home!

Co-Washing

I first tried this practice years ago when I started trying to learn how to work with my naturally curly hair instead of against it. I spent decades blow-drying, flat-ironing, and willing my hair straight. It always rebelled against me–frizz at any hint of moisture, poof that just wouldn’t be tamed, and curls with a mind of their own. I’m sure there are some other curly girls nodding their heads right now.

I wasn’t ready to go totally no poo so I tried co-washing, using conditioner to wash your hair instead of shampoo. I have very dry, coarse hair so I thought that this would work beautifully for me. The problem is that I also have an oily scalp. Yes, I’m so very blessed as to have combination skin and combination hair (it’s a thing, I may have just made it up, but it’s a thing). One of the points of the no poo method is that eventually you are able to go without washing your hair for longer periods. If you have hair like mine, washing it every day is the best way to kill it. So, when I was using conditioner to wash my hair, it was getting oilier quicker and I was actually having to wash it more often. I tried using shampoo every few washes to balance things back out, but eventually I just went back to using shampoo.

The baking soda/apple cider vinegar method

I started thinking about the no poo method again several months ago when I couldn’t seem to find a shampoo that worked with my hair anymore. Instead of spending a lot of money trying a bunch of different options, I decided to use what was already in my house and give true no poo a try.

There are websites and books dedicated to this topic if you want an in-depth explanation, but the no poo method is basically this–you wash your hair with baking soda and rinse with apple cider vinegar. You can make up batches of it for multiple uses, but I just made up what I was going to use before my shower and used it all in one washing. I have an old 16 oz Nalgene bottle that I use to mix up both the “shampoo” and the “conditioner.” You can use a cup, a jar, or even a cleaned out shampoo bottle.

What I do:

I take a tablespoon of baking soda and put it into the Nalgene bottle, and then add about a cup of water and shake it up really well. Then I pour it over my head little by little and massage it into my scalp just like with shampoo. Well, not “just like” shampoo because–no poo, no suds. Rinse it out.

After that I add about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to the bottle and dilute it with a cup of water. I pour it over my head and massage into my scalp. I add some essential oils at this point because who wants to smell like vinegar? I like rosemary, peppermint, and lavender essential oils for my hair.

Like I said, there are so many different methods. Even if you do the baking soda and apple cider vinegar method you may do it differently than me. I have not tried egg wash, bentonite clay, kefir, rye flour, or the ultimate no poo method–just water.

Deep Conditioning Mask

Try these easy, no fuss, no poo methods today using items already found in your home!

Try these easy, no fuss, no poo methods today using items already found in your home!

Because I have dry hair, this is something that I had to do from time to time even before I went no poo, but if you are doing any of the no poo methods, deep conditioning is a must.

Try these easy, no fuss, no poo methods today using items already found in your home!

I do a coconut oil mask once a month. I take about 3 tablespoons of coconut oil, add in about 5-6 drops of essential oils (again, I stick to rosemary, lavender and peppermint) and apply it to my dry hair. I give it about 30-45 minutes to do it’s magic, and then I wash it out.

This is the part when I go a bit off the no poo rails. I haven’t been able to successfully wash the mask out without using shampoo. Even with shampoo it goes a little like lather, rinse, repeat. Repeat. Repeat. I use a great sulfate-free shampoo that I really like so I don’t get too upset about it.

I hope this helps you to see that the no poo method can be simple and implemented with very few ingredients that you most likely already have. There’s more to taming my curly hair than just the no poo method, but I’ll have to share those another time!

 

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Gray Matter

Woods family church photo

During my junior year of high school I took a liking to the color gray. That’s not really a strong enough statement. It was a borderline obsession. Not just any shade of gray–a dark, charcoal gray. It was a time when my youngest brother, Russell, was battling an aggressive brain tumor. Maybe it was a manifestation of mourning.

Woods family church photo
The Woods crew (Russell is the sweet blond)

Biking at DeGray Lake State Park
If it was, I didn’t realize it at the time. Each time I went shopping I would come home with at least one item in a dark charcoal. Each time I reached into the closet I would invariably pick out an outfit with this color as the central theme. So pervasive was this color in my everyday wardrobe that a friend’s mother began calling that particular shade of gray, “Julianne Gray.” Soon, many of my friends were calling it the same. Even now, each time I’ve picked up a paint brush to paint the living room of the three houses we’ve owned, I have chosen a shade of gray (a much, much lighter shade).
Photo op at a rest stop in ArkansasFamily photo on the Carolina coast
It feels appropriate that I remember my little brother with the color gray. My parents gave Russell a family name: first name Russell, after my mom’s grandpa, Russell “Rusty” McGlothlin; and middle name, Gray, after my dad’s grandpa, Virgil Gray Davenport.

Russell with a posse of cousins
Russell with a posse of cousins
Russell after his treatments for brain tumor started
Russell and I after his treatments began in 1998.


That brain tumor eventually did end his short life on this Earth, and the world has been grayer ever since. So in part, the name of my blog is a dedication to his sweet soul. More so than I ever realized before penning this post.  Save

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Five Reusable Food Storage Alternatives

Last year for Earth Day, I wrote about how small changes can make a big impact on the environment. As I mentioned last month, I want to start sharing some of the ways you can make small changes in your home. Today, I am highlighting my favorite reusable food storage options for in the kitchen and on the go.

Five handpicked reusable food storage options for in the kitchen and on the go. Safe, simple alternatives to common disposable items in your home.

These items will help you curb your use of plastic zip top bags, plastic wrap, and other disposable food storage items we all use in the kitchen.

Five handpicked reusable food storage options for in the kitchen and on the go. Safe, simple alternatives to common disposable items in your home.

Out with the zip top bags

Five handpicked reusable food storage options for in the kitchen and on the go. Safe, simple alternatives to common disposable items in your home.

The following contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase from the link I get a little cash to spend at the Farmer’s Market.

1. The first reusable storage item I ever purchased (besides glassware) was the Wrap-n-Mat. My go-to lunch for work was always a sandwich and the Wrap-n-Mat wraps right around your sandwich. It also doubles as a nice placemat which comes in handy, especially on picnics with kids. Even though I don’t pack a lunch for work anymore, this sandwich bag alternative still comes in handy. The plastic on the interior allows you to easily wipe it clean, and is BPA-free.

Five handpicked reusable food storage options for in the kitchen and on the go. Safe, simple alternatives to common disposable items in your home.

2. When I saw the spbang reusable snack bag featured on TheBabyGuyNYC Facebook page, I was already sold. Then I read that you can put it right in the dishwasher to clean it! I love the the ease of this bag. It’s great for snacks, but I’ve also been known to throw crayons or dry erase markers in it. It is easy enough for Coen to open himself and pretty durable. Plus, there’s space on the back for school lunch notes or just writing your name. Check them out here.

Five handpicked reusable food storage options for in the kitchen and on the go. Safe, simple alternatives to common disposable items in your home.

3. These reusable Lunchskins bags came in one of my Might Fix deliveries. If you don’t know about The Mighty Fix, it’s a subscription service through The Mighty Nest that delivers one green living product to your home every month. This delivery came with one sandwich bag and one smaller snack bag. Both have velcro closures and a spot to write your name. This is another item that is safe to wash in the dishwasher! Yay! (Just make sure to turn them inside out to air dry after washing).

 

4. AtMat SplatMat is where it’s at! Seriously! I discovered these super cute reusable bags on Instagram and soon after was the recipient of one of their giveaways! These are great for snacks or sandwiches and can be washed in the washer or dishwasher. They are also safe to throw in the dryer. I usually throw them in with towels and then turn them inside out to air dry. Coen loves the Batman theme bags!

So long, plastic wrap

Five handpicked reusable food storage options for in the kitchen and on the go. Safe, simple alternatives to common disposable items in your home.

5. Bee-ing able to leave the plastic baggies and plastic wrap behind has been a long time coming in our household. I can finally say we’ve kicked both habits though! Woo! The natural, sustainable and yes, green, alternative to plastic wrap is Bee’s Wrap. I love this stuff. It’s made with organic cotton muslin, beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. The antibacterial properties of the beeswax and jojoba oil help to keep food fresh and allow you to use the Bee’s Wrap again and again. Using it is super simple. Just use the warmth of your hands to help seal the Bee’s Wrap around bread, cheese, halved avocados, and bowls (no meat though, ew!). Then, wash it with cool soapy water and let it air dry. It folds up nice and small to store away until you need it again!

Five handpicked reusable food storage options for in the kitchen and on the go. Safe, simple alternatives to common disposable items in your home.

The Bee’s Wrap was another Mighty Fix item for me, but I also found it on Amazon, and locally at The Freckled Hen Farmhouse in Fayetteville. Also, be sure to head over to nwafoodie for another great post about beeswrap. Lyndi is a fellow Arkansas Women Blogger, and she’s talking about all things lovely for your kitchen!

Think you’ll give any of these reusable food storage options a try? If so, come back and let me know! I’d love to hear what you think. Most of all, just keep taking those small steps!

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