Almost All The Truth

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Exploring how to improve and protect the health of our children and their world through living, learning, and parenting… I believe in the truth. I believe in seeking one’s own truth. Consistently seeking truth and putting that truth back into...

What's a fun way to repurpose household items into toys or crafts?

Do you know any great children's books that teach kids about being eco-friendly?

What organic or healthy snacks do your kids love? Please share a link to a recipe if you have one.

What's an easy, eco-friendly habit that could help families save money?

Brenna Burke

"Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without." I spend a lot of time looking at all of the different ways individuals, families, and our greater society can choose to make an impact on their health and environment. It always comes back to keeping the "3 Rs" in mind. What we choose to spend our money on and bring into our homes makes an enormous impact on our quality of lives. Going back to the basics of just what a truly eco-friendly life is will save all families money, time, and energy. I believe in small steps toward permanent change. It starts with awareness and education. Realizing that every action has a consequence, either positive or negative, is a beginning. Realizing what those consequences are lead one down a path toward a more eco-friendly life. Decide that you don't really need to buy something new, make the choice to reuse or recycle everything possible, and start becoming aware of what is possible.
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What's a great cleaning product you've discovered?

Brenna Burke

Making your own is definitely my favorite way to go. You know that you are keeping your family safe by using all non-toxic ingredients, it costs so much less, and you can put the kids to work without fear of exposing them to unnecessary chemicals. That is a win-win for everyone! The ingredients I always keep stocked to make a cleaner for any situation: Vinegar Baking Soda Castile Soap (I like Dr. Bronner's) and often essential oils like tea tree oil, lavender, or mint A general cleaner might be made with 1/4 cup white distilled vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap and 3/4 cup warm water, shake to blend. A soft scrub might be made with 1/2 cup baking soda and enough castile soap to make a frosting-like mixture. Add 10-15 drops of tea tree oil. The only cleaner I don't make myself is dishwasher detergent/soap. And I have yet to find one that I like commercially as well - still looking.
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What is your best tip for keeping the entryway clean and clutter-free?

Brenna Burke

We have a small, but useful closet in our entryway. Right now the kids have fabric baskets they put their belongings in and there is a small shelf to keep shoes on. It helps tremendously for the kids to know exactly where to put (and find again) their things when coming home.
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Can you share a favorite Valentines Day project or recipe that moms can do with kids under the age of 6?

Brenna Burke

One of my favorite things to do with young children is fingerprint crafts. We did a fun Valentine's Day craft using fingerprints last year. It is the perfect gift for short attention spans and lots of people to make cards for! http://www.almostallthetruth.com/parenting/make-things-monday-eco-valentines/
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Do you have any tips for managing the mail so that it does not pile up?

Brenna Burke

The most important way to manage the mail is to reduce the amount that comes in first. There are ways to get off the junk-mail lists, stop receiving catalogs, and opt for paperless billing. The next step is to have a designated place for mail once it comes in, even if it is on a hall table or an office desk, just as long as it is visible. The best choice is to open all mail as soon as it comes in. Recycle unneeded paper and envelopes, file bills to be paid and important papers to save, and take a note of any unwanted mail or catalogs to get off that list ASAP!
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What tips can you offer for closet organization?

Brenna Burke

Closet organization is the bane of my existence. We have an older house and closets were apparently not in fashion then. The best advice is to only buy what you need in the first place. After that, make sure you utilize the space you might have for things that aren't used daily.
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Do you have a recipe for a useful homemade cleaning product (detergent, soap, or other product)?

Brenna Burke

I am a little late, but it let me finish up the post that had been sitting in drafts for a while! Making your own household cleaning products is great for several reasons: (1) you know exactly what ingredients you are using in your home, around your kids and pets, and putting into the water supply, (2) when you use safe ingredients, you can let the kids help out with all of those fun jobs, (3) it is less expensive! Everything can be made from your choice of: Baking Soda Vinegar Optional Essential Oils Castile Soap and maybe citric acid in the dishwasher and washing soda in the washing machine..
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What are your tips for throwing a party that both adults and kids will enjoy?

Brenna Burke

We have an annual backyard BBQ every year that is designed to be a fun family event, as well as fun for our single and childless friends. The biggest tip, which I can't emphasize enough, is to plan, plan, plan in advance! Keeping it outdoors is another tip for a large group. We always have a big bouncy house, which I asked for their lead test results well in advance. Food is potluck style with us providing the main part of the meal, which we cater so no one is spending all their time at a grill. Everyone brings their contribution in a reusable dish, which we will wash for them after the party or they take home with them. We make homemade beer and sangria for the adults, which are labeled as such. We also make a special drink for the kids and provide water for everyone (not bottled water because of the waste). We provide enough places to sit in various locations so grandparents don't need to sit near the rowdy teens. ;) We have a place for trash and recycling that is easy to locate, but far enough away from the party. We keep everything casual and make sure to make everyone feel welcome. Use the kids to introduce their friends to any new children that might come or invite kids to play. Have little things like bubbles and sidewalk chalk available. Now I am looking forward to next year's BBQ! I am linking to my daughter's birthday party because it follows all the same principles as our BBQ. http://www.almostallthetruth.com/parenting/make-it-monday-a-butterfly-birthday-party/
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Can you recommend a children's book or series that's great for summer reading? Please include the ages it's appropriate for.

Brenna Burke

I love coming up with a summer reading list each year based on the interests of my child and his/her reading level. Drawing on reading lists from teachers, the local library, and browsing the bookstore, we make a list that is challenging, exciting, and rewarding. Younger children should have the opportunity to try loads of new picture books over the summer. Get a library card if you haven't already. Start with authors like Mercer Mayer, Maurice Sendak, Crockett Johnson, Dr. Seuss, Leo Lionni, Eric Carle, and other favorites. Great books and series for older children (5 & up): Commander Toad series Anything by Roald Dahl ‘Where The Mountain Meets The Moon’ is a new favorite Enid Blyton's series, The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree, and The Folk of the Faraway Tree The Magic Treehouse Series Anything by Beverly Cleary or EB White Harry Potter Percy Jackson The Mysterious Benedict Society
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