farmers market bounty

Green Living: Eating Clean On a Budget

Eating clean – it’s the best and most clear cut way to describe what it means to limit your intake of pesticides. There seems to be an ongoing debate in mainstream media whether eating organic food actually makes a difference. A highly referenced 2012 Stanford study claims that there are no obvious health benefits to eating produce labelled organic. Can that really be so? Has history not taught us that ingesting insecticides, among other chemicals, causes increased risk of cancer, birth defects, and other health issues?

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Beautiful beets grown on a friend’s “beyond organic” farm in rural Pennsylvania.

If you’re anything like me you too are skeptical of recent headlines counterclaiming the benefits of eating organic. If you’re also like me, you know that choosing the big O also means paying significantly more for your fresh greens and fruits. So what’s a budget conscious health savvy vegetarian to do?!

Let me introduce you to the saving grace of shopping organic: The dirty dozen and clean fifteen. If you’re anything beyond a green living novice, these two lists are probably already part of your shopping arsenal. But if they’re not – be ready to take screenshots of the graphic below.

So what are these lists? Each year the EWG, aka Environmental Working Group, puts out a list of the 12 crops that have tested highest on the pesticide scale, as well as the 15 that are lowest. Continue reading

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I’m Back!

It’s been over 6 months since I published my last post and sooooo much has happened since then.

Since August’s birth in early 2015 I’ve found it difficult to get back into the swing of blogging. Learning how to be a mama, struggling with nursing, perfecting the art of changing diapers, all while working full time, kept me busy and away from writing. But that’s all about to change! Having entered a new chapter of my life, one complete with my fur babies and a bouncing off the walls toddler, I want to get back into sharing the highs and lows of living a conscious lifestyle in the city.

me and august

Life has a way of catching us off guard. Having moved into a new apartment in the spring, and then unexpectedly transitioning to becoming a single parent, this last season has had its fair share of trials. But God is good. Life is good. And I’m keeping my chin up! I’ll share more about what’s happening in my marriage some other time. For now I’m just here to say, “Hello! I’m back!” Can’t wait to share with you what I’m working on, things I’m dreaming about, and all the goofy little things in between.

 

August Year One

augustine year one

It’s been twelve months since the birth of Augustine.

Twelve months since we learned to swaddle, sway, and sweet talk. Twelve months of changing diapers, sorting toys, and counting sheep. Twelve months of learning the ropes, building up confidence, and settling into parenthood. Twelve months of prayers, patience, giggles, and dreams. Twelve months of learning to love deeper, higher, and without limits.

It’s been twelve months since our lives changed forever, and for the better, which is why we’re celebrating our first twelve months as the mom and dad of Augustine.

Happy birthday to our little jelly bean!

All About Butter

Butter photo by Lydia Krupinski

If you thought this post would be about the fatty deliciousness of the dubious cooking ingredient, think again! In our family Butter takes on a new meaning in the form of a goofy, wiggly, snack stalking Boston Terrier.

This sweet sweet boy’s adoption anniversary is fast approaching. Adopted from The Anti-Cruelty Society on Valentine’s Day 2011, Butter is now 7 years old and officially a canine senior.

bow-tieButter photo by Lydia Krupinski

This little guy’s adventure started with us on New Year’s week. At the end of 2010 I had declared that it was time to adopt a buddy for Peanut. We had been fostering for a year and Peanut proved he’d make an excellent big brother to a shelter pup. When considering what kind of dog we wanted to adopt we knew we’d want someone as similar to Peanut in size and play style as possible. He loved wrestling with other small, smoosh faced dogs, so I had my sights set on another brachycephalic breed. We’d let the right dog come to us. It was the very next day that I met Butter at The Anti-Cruelty Society.

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Photo by Megan Saul Photography

August’s Nursery: First Edition

It’s been exactly a year since we converted our bedroom into a nursery for our little jelly belly. I was three weeks away from my due date and a maddening urge to nest hit me. I had made a plan for the space but hadn’t done much beyond having David put up the crib and pop some art on the wall. One year later his space has undergone a multitude of changes, which is when it occurred to me, I never shared the first edition!

Photo by Megan Saul Photography

Photo by Megan Saul Photography

We live in a vintage one bedroom in Chicago’s populous and energetic Lakeview neighborhood. Our flat is sizable for the area – we have a sun room, formal dining room, large kitchen and a living room with built-ins and a fireplace (just for show though!). When we found out we were pregnant in May of 2014 we decided we’d work with the space we have rather than moving into a larger apartment. We love the character and location of our current place and knew that to find a two bedroom even remotely as cute in such a good neighborhood would be a long shot. So we decided to stay!

 

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DIY Gilded Baby Print Ornament

We are so excited about August’s first Christmas! How will he regard the feast, the presents, the stockings, the caroling?!

This important milestone is one that we’ll probably remember more than him, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t pull out all the stops for our little merry jelly belly. For this first baby-centric-Christmas we’ll be continuing some long-standing family traditions, while throwing in some new ones just for August. The first – an annual handmade Christmas ornament.

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To help inspire this sentimental tree trimming  I sifted through pin after pin on Pinterest but quickly found the tutorials lacking. Many of the handmade ornaments were too crafty looking (I know – there is such a thing I swear!). I wanted August’s first ornament to capture this important milestone while still retaining a modern classy feel. I really liked the idea of capturing a hand or foot print but instead of the traditional pressing method I opted for a different technique: embossing. This way I could capture his tiny digits without creating something too cliche. Continue reading

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Give Back Friday

Instead of giving into mass consumerism on black Friday, our little family is starting a new tradition: Give Back Friday.

We’ve been collecting donations from family and friends all month long so that we can create winter warmth kits for the homeless. We’ll be hitting the streets of downtown Chicago the day after Thanksgiving to share some basic provisions with people in need.

Each winter warmth kit will include gently used gloves, a hat, and scarf – the sheer basics for staving off some of the cruel Chicago chill. We’ll also include a new pair of thick socks, a gift card to a nearby cafe, and a hand written note of encouragement. But that’s not all. It’s also about the personal touch.

winter warmth

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