The best zero waste holiday gift guide
The Best Zero Waste Holiday Gift Ideas (Part 1)

**This is part one of a two part zero waste gift guide series for The Best Zero Waste Holiday Gift Ideas. Part one includes items for purchase and part two is ALL handmade/DIY**

“Zero Waste” may just seem like another buzzword right now, but it is so much more than another trend. Choosing to lead a more zero waste lifestyle opens up our minds and hearts to so much more than we ever imagined. When our family made the switch to a zero waste lifestyle and home, everything in our lives changed for the better. We became more conscious of our consumer decisions, we reduced our waste by well over 70% (that’s huge!) and we slowly but surely began to live more intentionally.

This Christmas, you have the opportunity to give the gift of so more than a “material good”. These gifts are INSPIRING. Who would you like to inspire this year?

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sustainable fashion for children
Sustainable Shopping for Children’s Clothes: A Full Guide!

A Full Guide to Sustainable Shopping for Children’s Clothes

For the past 365 days, our followers and friends have witnessed our family go through the beautiful transition to a sustainable, mindful and minimal way of living. This transition started with one crazy and chaotic place: MY CLOSET. Before having children, and maybe even that first year while dealing with postpartum depression, I had a serious shopping addiction.

Mix a shopping addiction with zero knowledge into the horrific conditions of the fast fashion industry, and you got yourself a pretty ugly situation.

The research into sustainable, fair trade and mindful consumerism started about 18 months ago, and I have been absolutely hooked ever since. As a result, I took my time learning and understanding how much of the system works and took these tips and tricks to my own closet.

I swear…once I tackled that monster, everything else seemed to fall into place. Our kitchen, pantry, and even living room followed suit. One particular place that I have really come to love is the bedroom of my twin toddlers which features an open closet. Their closet is exactly what a child’s closet should look like:

Sweet, Simple and Easy to Work With.

By choosing each piece carefully and mindfully, I was able to create a sort of capsule wardrobe for my children without much work. It’s interesting how taking our time with selection, taking into account how many times the child will wear each piece, and sizing up for longer use can really transform any closet into a fully “usable” sustainable closet. So many times, we forget that clothes are meant to be worn over and over again until their life cycle has ended and not just a trend to toss away. Choosing wisely can mean the difference between a closet that works for you or against you.

If you are ready to explore the magical world of sustainable, second hand, fair trade (and more!) fashion for kids, look no further than this Full Guide to Sustainable Shopping for Children’s Clothes!

Saving Money While Saving the World!

First Up: Help Clothes to Reach The End of Their Lifecycle #30Wears and Beyond

Sustainable Shopping for Children's Clothes

Second-Hand Finds: From their heads to their toes!

First of all, what some of you may (or may not) know about our family is that we shop primarily second hand. Our sons clothes are 100% from my grandmother and mother’s garage sale finds since birth, and we did not start to introduce “new” clothing until every single last piece of their amazing finds had reached the end of their cycle with the boys. This simply means that my sons grew out of them all quite fast – as most children do.

This is something that we all need to keep in mind as parents. Children grow quickly.

Too quickly for new clothes to have any chance of sustainability in a child’s closet. 

The most sustainable and eco-friendly thing that you can do as a consumer of children’s fashion is to shop second hand, vintage, rentals or any other means to help the clothes reach the end of their life cycles. Our goal here is to use and wear these materials as many times as possible before recycling or upcycling. We are talking about sustainability here and this is the facts: Nothing is more sustainable than what has already been made.

I am in no way saying that you shouldn’t feel free to support the many fair trade, ethical, eco-friendly and even upcycled brands out there. Just keep in mind that adding second-hand items to your children’s closets will genuinely help a pretty big crisis that we are facing in the world today.

Second Hand Shopping

Second Hand Online Shops

  • ThredUP: The Largest Kids‘ Consignment and Thrift Store Online

  • Kid’s Dress Smart: Where 60% of proceeds of every sale sent directly to Children’s Charities

  • Kidizen: Kidizen is your resale marketplace to buy, sell, and swap your kid’s clothing, gear, toys, decor and more.

  • Little Luxuries: Gently worn, preloved, secondhand designer children and baby clothing brands

  • Baby Outfitter: Everything listed on Baby Outfitter is “like new” and they are very picky about selections and what they will sell!

  • Loopster UK: Where quality kid’s clothes live on

  • Facebook MarketPlace: A gem that has saved us a ton of money on everything from wooden toys to emergency shoes when our kids both shot up 2 sizes in under a month!

Second Hand Shops Nearest You (Physical Stores)

  • The Thrift Shopper Website: Simply type in your zip code and a huge directory of nearest consignment shops, goodwill shops and so forth will come up for you to check out!

  • Thriftigo APP: Download this app to keep second-hand store information readily available on your phone wherever you are!

  • Thrift Store Listings: Another helpful directory of local thrift stores based on your location.

Rental Companies for Sustainable Children’s Clothes

Renting clothes is such a fantastic way to stay sustainable but also have fun! From birthday parties to photoshoots, you can have exactly what you want and return back to the company for the item to make another child (and parent) happy!

  • Rainey’s Closet: Just one look at this gorgeous website and you will know that you can find just about any precious and gorgeous piece for any occasion. From fairy dresses, formal dresses and adorable bow and ties….you cannot go wrong with this rental service for any special occasion.

  • The Borrowed Boutique: Another gorgeous rental service that has a bit more clothing for boys as I noticed. I even saw a top hat!

  • Sylette Co: Another great rental company located in sunny Los Angelos!

  • Magical Clothing Rental Canada: A gorgeous rental store for our Canadian friends! Thousands to choose from and easy return service.

  • Bundlee UK: A very cool and more laid back version of the rental service for our UK friends. You can find pretty much everything on this rental site!

  • Circos Rental for Kids and Maternity: This rental is for kids up to 2 years old and new mamas in Europe!

Sustainable Shopping for Children's Clothes

Guide to Sustainable Shopping for Children’s Clothes

Shopping For New Clothes: Tips & Tricks

While second hand will forever have a special place in my heart, I will say that there is something quite special about finding that *perfect* piece of clothing that just meets every single one of your needs without having to go through countless shops and racks. Sometimes, no matter how long you look, you will not find that particular item that you need second hand. Do not fear; these tips will help you to keep your sustainable goals in check while also saving money and a few headaches along the way.

Sustainable Shopping for Children's Clothes

Alessandro in a brand new Petit Tembo sweatshirt that just exceeded all of our expectations. 

Go For the Basics

While the flashing shoes and tasselled shirts may intrigue your child at the shop, I urge you to get the basics down first before thinking of going with any trends. Basics include solid and durable t-shirts, long sleeves, sweaters, zip-ups, leggings, thermals, dungarees, rain suits/all-weather suits, rain boots, barefoot shoes, all-weather breathable hats, gloves, circular scarves, durable and warm socks, and any imperative weather gear for where you are living.
Each one of these basics should come in a solid or easy to clean print. While I always recommend going second hand with most of any child’s closet, some superb brands offer these basics. One brand that I always check out sale season (late summer and late winter) is Patagonia. They have, by far, the best layering pieces that I have encountered. I stock up during sale season, and I always keep on eye out for them when second-hand shopping.

Size Up 1-2 Sizes

One of the easiest things that you can do to help your child’s clothes have a longer (and happier!) life is to have them worn as much as possible!

One easy way to do this is by sizing up 1-2 sizes, depending on your child. I personally size up 2 sizes for the boys and it has worked beautifully. This year we’ve only had to purchase 2 pairs of pants and 2 extra sweatshirts for the chilly weather. By sizing up, I saved a significant amount of money!
While my sons currently fit in a size 2T, I only search for 4T and even have all of our collaborations send over the larger sizes. Any parent can easily roll up or hem the clothes to fit the child at the time and let them out over the years. You do not have to be any sort of professional tailor here, I promise you! I do the simple roll-up method, and it works like a charm.

Sustainable Shopping for Children's Clothes

Guide to Sustainable Shopping for Children’s Clothes

Ask The Question: How Many Times Will This Be Worn?

While we will be asking many questions along the way, this first question will help you to steer clear of any items that you should save for the RENTAL category. If you hold up an item and cannot guarantee that your child will hit at least 30 wears, then simply put it down and step away from the item (this is a wonderful trick to work for parents too!).
If you can guarantee that the item will be work 30+ times, then you can move on to the following questions…

Two Key Follow Up Questions

Here are two key questions to ask before adding the item to your little one’s closet for the most sustainable and ethical approach:

  • Who made this and under what conditions? A simple question that should be asked before purchasing any item. Most importantly, a sustainable company will have this information readily available to you without any trouble whatsoever. In fact, the good guys want to share this information with you more than anything!
  • What is this made of? Take a look at the tag and check out the fabrics. Is it organic? Synthetic? Does it contain flame retardants? All very good questions to answer before allowing the item into your home and opening your wallet to support the brand.
a child picks his mother a flower

Guide to Sustainable Shopping for Children’s Clothes

Always Choose Natural Fibers over Synthetic

Linen, Cotton (organic is best) and hemp are some of the best materials for children’s clothing. Synthetic materials do have a place in fashion for durable swimsuits and even winter jackets, but try your best to keep these purchases for the second-hand category. We want to aim to decrease the use of plastic in the fashion industry and your money truly does make a huge difference.

Natural fibers are best for the environment and your children for so many reasons:

  • Natural fibers cause much less (or zero) irritation to skin.
  • Natura fibers are much less resource-intensive to produce and manufacture.
  • Synthetic materials “shed” microplastics that have been found sneaking their way into our very own drinking water.
  • Many synthetic materials use toxic production processes that are harmful to the waterways, the garment workers and the person who wears the item.

Learn How to Mend, Repair and Upcycle

One of the best ways to help to reduce waste your very own home is to learn just a few simple tricks of the trade. This can be as simple as learning how to sew, hem, patch and upcycle old clothes and broken items around the house. Like we always say, there is nothing more sustainable than what you already own!

You can find a local sewing class, take a few online lessons via youtube or even host a little “trade” party! I have actually been to a few fun coffee dates where my friend’s mother and grandmother would come and they would teach us something fun like knitting, baking an epic cake or even tips & tricks to help with the little ones. These are marvelous gifts to learn from the hand of an expert and I cannot tell you how much I cherished learning these skills from these amazing women.

Guide to Shopping Sustainably for Kids

Guide to Sustainable Shopping for Children’s Clothes

There you have it! Just a few helpful ways to shop with a more mindful and sustainable approach. I promise you; once you start you will be absolutely amazed at how GREAT it feels to be part of the sustainable movement. We need you. The World needs us to be much more mindful and conscious of our consumer decisions. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and I would love to hear your own tips and tricks to sustainable living!

p.s. Check out our top 5 sustainable and ethical children’s brands here!

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homemade turmeric Playdoh
Homemade Playdoh with Turmeric Powder

Homemade Playdoh with Turmeric Powder

Spoiler Alert: The Video (below) of our family making playdoh was our FIRST ever attempt!! It was so much easier than I had anticipated and I am thrilled to share this extremely easy homemade recipe with you all today. Homemade playdoh with turmeric powder….it’s genius.

I first heard about this recipe while researching Waldorf and Montessori ideas for toddlers and then it just seemed to follow me around everywhere. Just a few days ago I had one of my favorite Instagram Zero Waste Gals @PlantedInTheWoods post photos of her making playdoh with beetroot and turmeric powder and I thought to myself…ok…It’s time we do this!!

I do hope you all enjoy this recipe; it was so much fun!

Homemade Turmeric Playdoh

We like to keep our waste low by using things that we already have around the house to play with the playdoh. The boys love to use their knives, forks, and spoons from the kitchen as well as various seeds, dried fruit, rocks, sticks and even feathers from their nature table.

With just 20 minutes set aside (and enough food coloring or powders to go around), you can very well make an entire rainbow of playdoh for your children to enjoy! The dough will last about 3 months if stored properly.

Homemade Turmeric Playdoh

What are the Benefits of Playdoh??

  • Enhances Fine Motor Skills! The constant rolling, squishing, flattening and molding of the playdoh strengthens and develops the child’s hands.
  • Improves Pre-Writing Skills by improving the pincer grip.
  • Imagination and Creativity with the unlimited possibilities that await them!
  • Soothes and Calms the child; Allows for concentration and a new way to express emotions.
  • Hand-Eye Coordination
  • Increases Curiosity; by blending colors and building whatever their heart desires!
Homemade Playdoh with Turmeric

Homemade Turmeric Powder Playdoh

This is such a short and sweet treat for your kiddos; just mix together the ingredients, knead and you have your very own homemade (and natural!) playdoh 🙂
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Print Pin Rate
Course: how to
Keyword: all natural, homemade playdoh, toxic free, zero waste parenting
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes
Servings: 1 large ball
Cost: A few dollars

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup salt
  • 1 tbsp citric acid
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp turmeric powder Less or more; depending on the color you want
  • 3/4 cup boiling water

Instructions

  • Start by combining the flour, salt, citric acid, oil and turmeric powder. Mix well and adjust the turmeric powder as needed for your color choice. Feel free to swap the powder out for some food coloring; just use as much as you wish for the color of choice.
  • Once well mixed, add in the 3/4 cup of boiling water. The water will take right to the mixture and seem like not enough but it is perfect; just begin to mix together until dough forms. I like to use my hands in the bowl and then transfer the playdoh to the countertop to knead.
  • Knead and knead until the dough is nice and smooth. Store in a wax wrap or an airtight container to keep. It will last about 3 months if properly taken care of!

Notes

**Do not dispose of the playdoh when it has reached the end of its life. Instead, check out these awesome tips from WonderBrains for old playdoh!

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A Simple Story of Our Ikea Kitchen
A Simple Story of Our Ikea Kitchen

The first kitchen that I had as a new mother cost us 300 bucks on Facebook marketplace. It actually came with our bed and closet included. To be honest, that still hurt us financially at the time. We were that broke. I distinctly remember Martin going from a head of dark brown hair to a head of grey from the stress.

I created my first cooking video in that kitchen; surrounded by my infant twin sons in bouncy chairs, a 12-year-old laptop that somehow still turned on and hope. I don’t know why really….but I had hope that I could do this. I taught Martin how to be Vegan (although, to be honest, he is a vegetarian) in that kitchen. He was introduced to smoothies, hummus, my trusty seeds, beans and nuts that I crushed, blended and whipped into meals that he devoured.

He always made sure to tell me how yummy it all was.

My sons taught themselves how to eat in that old kitchen and their love of food grew and grew daily: with every green drink, blended dip, and steamed veggie.

A Simple Story of Our Ikea Kitchen

Story of Our Ikea Kitchen

To this day, they let me know how yummy it all is with loud moans and YUMMMMMs that makes my heart smile.

I took recipe photos with my used and abused iPhone and posted them with such excitement: to me, they looked just as good as those fancy ones you see all over Pinterest. We may have upgraded our kitchen during our move from one apartment to another but the food tastes the same. It’s all the same. No amount of fancy can change that.

It took us 2 full years to save for this kitchen and we are grateful for it every single day….but we never once spoke ill of our first kitchen.

the old kitchen

The first kitchen will always be super special to us

She was, and will always be, our first. ♥️

To anyone out there who is stuck in a comparison trap: the heavy burden that social media puts on our self-worth….I just want you to know that wherever you are, you can do it. You can dream. You can have hope. I promise you.

You can ask the universe to grant your wishes. You can manifest and see the positive.

I hope you enjoyed this super short and simple story of our Ikea Kitchen!

Ikea Kitchen
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busting the perfect motherhood myth
Perfect Motherhood Myth BUSTED

Whoa now hey now….what makes you think I have this mom thing and/or life thing figured out?? 🤣😅

Sometimes I receive messages from moms or teens from around the world that just lights up my soul. They are full of thank you’s and stories of how our family inspired them to produce less waste, shop sustainably or even give some plant-based recipes a try.

While these messages make me swoon over my followers and motivate me to carry on, I am also met with so many “perfect” comments that I just must address today.

“How do you make it look so easy!?” Or “How are you not losing your mind with two toddlers?” and even “Sometimes I feel so useless when I see women like you pulling it all off”. Ah. Ahhhh. My heart. I have failed you.

Let’s bust this Perfect Motherhood Myth once and for all!

busting the perfect motherhood myth

So….I have a new promise.

Not one of sustainability, zero waste or veganism…..this new promise is about checking in with reality.

Each week I am going to share 10 truths with you from my week: I hope this not only gives you a deeper insight into my reality, but also the realization that social media 100% NOT the full picture.

😍Here we goooooo!

1. I haven’t had a proper shower for longer than 4 minutes in over 10 days. Send help.
2. I gave my children 4 popsicles today to shut them up for just a few minutes so I could think straight.
3. Martin and I do not sleep in the same bed in the summer. I need a fan when I sleep and he gets sick instantly. Sorry, bro.
4. I keep vegan pizzas in my freezer for mom emergency situations and somehow that emergency situation happens every single week 😅
5. As soon as the boys turned 2, my sex drive went from 60 to 0 overnight.

busting the perfect motherhood myth

6. Sometimes, when the boys are being so insane and I have lost all hope of my parenting skills, I make them sit next to me while I read parenting books until we figure it out 🤣🤣🤣🤣.

7. Mom Facebook groups scare me.
8. I haven’t worked out in 3 weeks and I don’t feel bad at all.
9. I just found out that I over water my plants. 😭😭
10. Yesterday I ran out of clean cloth diapers so the boys went naked for 6 hours until they dried in the sun. 😆

So there you have it! Thursday Truths.

What are your truths?? How would you bust the perfect motherhood myth?

busting the perfect motherhood myth
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the first time I met a turkey
The First Time I Met A Turkey: Go Vegan

I didn’t meet my first Turkey until I was 29 years old. Well….alive that is.

I had consumed these creatures for over 25 years without an ounce of awareness. I didn’t even know what they truly LOOKED like.

I assumed my mother’s Thanksgiving decorations were all I needed to know.

When I finally did get to properly meet one, I was with Martin and we were on a hike in the mountains. Halfway up, there was a little farm and I could hear pigs squealing and cows mooing so loudly that it actually shook me. I ran over to see what was going on and there was a group of Turkeys pissing off some cows. Not just any cows, but Mama cows who were just trying to feed their babes.

the first time I met a turkey

The turkeys were getting way too close (like dude, she will stomp on you!) and could care less. They wanted whatever was growing near this space.

I told Martin I had never really seen a turkey before and he laughed,

“They are funny things” and he walked over to them. I followed.

They came right up to me and allowed me to pet them and they purred! They were quite funny little things.  A very cute personality and hunger for all things plants, bugs, and berries.

We hung out with some the other day and this fella kept trying to steal the dandelions from between my toes.

feeding turkeys

I dig Turkeys. They don’t belong on our plates. They belong in the fields purring, pissing other creatures off, and living their best “quite funny” lives. Just like us.

P.s. Please be aware that male Turkeys like to impress their women by taking on other animals.

Like….”Look at me Sharon, I’m a sexy beast of a Turkey!”.

They have been known to chase after humans to show off. If you find yourself in this situation, the best advice I can give is to be as large and imposing as possible (but do no harm of course). This will usually make them move along. Just act like a bear. This rarely happens, but the last thing I need is a Wonder Mama being chased down by a big turkey.

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camping adventure with children
Camping Adventure with Children (Sustainable and Ethical Travel Series)

Our family just got home from a wonderful camping trip and I was able to film lots and lots for you all!

All of our prior arrangements were thrown out the window when the rain rolled in and stayed North (exactly where we were headed!) so we had to adapt and head South instead. We ended up staying at Lago di Garda and had such a magical time with the rock covered lake.

Come join us on our camping adventure with children; from washing cloth diapers to sleeping in our van!

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How Good Plug-In for Non-Toxic Baby Products
A Parent’s Best Friend: The FREE HowGood Plug-In to Help You Identify Non-Toxic Baby Products and Shop Smarter!

The HowGood Plug-In is Here to Save The Day!

I remember the day my sons were born clear as day. The first scream cracked my entire foundation. The second scream followed about 10 seconds later and my entire world was shattered. A mother of twins was born! Everything that seemed important to me before was hazy and so far in the past. The present moment was all that mattered. This very moment of holding my sons to my chest and providing my breast milk for the first time in my life. It was surreal.

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a child picks his mother a flower
A Child Picks His Mother A Flower

A child picks his mother a flower and hands it to her with a big smile. She looks into his eyes, then at the flower, and smells it. She smells it and giggles as she places it in her pocket because it is too precious a gift to be left behind.

When she gets home and peels those sweaty clothes off her tired body, she takes no notice of the wilted flower that has fallen to the ground from her pocket. This magical flower lies there and humbly awaits her attention.

Her children sleep at last, surrounding her with legs and arms as she slowly wiggles out so that she can have a much needed shower, reading time or maybe even a cup of chamomile tea. Her legs tread slow as the exhaustion settles into her body.

She picks up a pillow here, a toy car there and, without even realising she is doing it, begins to sweep the floor. These motions are like breathing to her now.

As she walks to the kitchen, she sees it. .
The flower from this morning. The gift from her child.

She picks it up and smells it again, but this time she takes a much deeper inhale. As her breath deepens, she is overcome with love and gratitude. How has the Universe been so kind to her? How innocent are these children she has… How sweet. How absolutely pure of heart to gift her such a flower?

The tea takes time to brew as the flower stays cuddled in her fingers. Every detail of this flower is now known to her.

As quick as she could muster her hands to move… She switches off the stove. Her tired feet take her back to the slumber of barefeet, tiny fingers and light breathing….

She cuddles right back into the embrace of what seems like a million years of love. Back into the little arms of her Universe.

a child picks his mother a flower

A child picks his mother a flower

p.s. If you enjoyed this, I highly recommend checking out our other stories:

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