Mom-Hacks: Family Summer Travel Tips

Mom-Hacks: Family Summer Travel Tips

We’ve still got quite a bit of summertime left, which means there is still plenty of time for vaca — YAY! While packing for trips with littles can feel a little overwhelming, hopefully this list of tips, tricks, and product recs will make it feel a little more manageable. We polled a few of our favorite seasoned family travelers for their must-haves, and threw in a few of our own. Here’s the run-down for a peaceful trip!

Travel entertainment

These Water WOW! reveal pads from Melissa & Doug provide HOURS of entertainment, with just two pieces: the “paintbrush” and the book. Leave the box of crayons and markers (and MESS!) at home.

CozyPhones headphones speak for themselves. With different animal options, there’s a style for every kiddo. They actually stay in place, and can act a bit as noise-cancelling, too, with the additional light compression around the ears. (This link can get you two for less, if you have two little ones!)

If your kiddos are anything like ours, they are YEARNING to be in charge of something. (Let’s be honest… they want to control everything.) BUT, start small, give them a bag and make them responsible for it. These backpacks from Herschel could suit them just right, and these design choices, you just stop it. Plus, it lightens Mama’s load. Win/win!

Be all about that snack life. Bring along a few new snacks as a fun treat! (But, have a few ol’ trusties around, just in case, too.)

You don’t have to pack the kitchen sink.

Chances are, wherever you’re going, you can find a local store to buy a lot of the necessities: diapers, wipes, sunscreen, sand toys, etc. If it’s taking up too much room in your suitcase for air travel or in the backseat of your car for a roadtrip, plan to purchase once you arrive.

If visiting family or friends, find out what large gear items are available to you. There are companies that will rent certain items as well, like Baby’s Away, which might be a good option to consider. They offer most larger items, such as strollers, travel cribs, high chairs, etc., but you can check out each destination they serve for a comprehensive list.

It’s hard not to over-pack clothes. So hard. For ourselves, and the little ones, especially because those little rompers are just TOO CUTE. However, if you’re going somewhere with laundry onsite, there’s space to cut back the number of outfits you’re packing along. Instead, try opting for individual pieces that can be mixed and matched to coordinate different outfits. So, for instance, if there was an applesauce catastrophe on baby’s shirt, but the shorts are cool, you can salvage at least the bottom half for another wear.

For the Beach Bums.

Hydration is key on those hot, sunny days. What you put in “Mommy’s Sippy Cup” is totally up to you, but making sure that drink stays cool and refreshing is everything. If this Yeti Rambler isn’t currently part of your every day, it certainly should be. A day at the beach could be a good excuse to splurge on this!

Shade is key at the beach, especially for the little ones. We love this beach tent from Pacific Breeze as it’s lightweight yet spacious. Pro tip: do a dry run assembly at home before you get to the beach so you know how to pop it up. Either that, or try to park it next to another one on the beach so if you need a hand, you can ask for one. It’s simple once you get the hang of it, but the first time or two it can be a little tricky, especially against those beautiful coastal breezes! This one easily fits 2-4+ kiddos and 2 adults, perfect when someone needs a mid-day nap or a shady snack break.

Speaking of the tent, bring a dry paintbrush to dust pesky sand off feet and legs before kids go tromping in. (You’re at the beach, it’s impossible to keep it ALL out, but this definitely keeps it a little tidier. And you know how we moms appreciate a good tidy.) The bristles are just strong enough to knock the sand off without causing any additional pain to a sensitive sunburn. #momwin

Lastly, this is not beach travel related, but rather something to take with you anytime you’re flying and checking luggage: throw a clean pair of underwear and a toothbrush for each family member in your carry on. It only takes losing your luggage one time to learn that lesson… 😉

We hope this is helpful. Have a great vacation!



PS, This blog contains some affiliate links. We only recommend products that we have tried and can vouch for, and we are happy to get to share them with you! XO

Small Biz Spotlight: Your Sisters Closet Keeper

Small Biz Spotlight: Your Sisters Closet Keeper

In a few words, who is Your Sisters Closet Keeper?

We specialize in editing and organizing your personal space to create a more functional, useful and joyful home.

Tell us one thing about yourselves that we may not know.

Nikki: I live on a farm with 20 chickens and 2 dogs

Megan: I worked for Diane von Furstenberg in NYC and absolutely love the city life.

In other words we couldn’t be more opposite.😂

We love that you two are sisters by marriage. Why did you two decide to work together?

Our strengths work well together. Nikki is the organizer and Megan is the editor, but we’ve both learned from each other how to do the other’s job.

We’re also best friends. We joke that we feel like we were in the womb together instead of our husbands. Nikki gives me a shot of adrenaline every time I’m with her and I level her out. In short we just genuinely love being together.

There is something powerful in women coming together, and starting a business. What has been the most rewarding aspect of this partnership?

There’s an aspect of this that feeds our soul. On the surface it may seem like a simple thing we do, but it truly can be life changing. The time we get together and with other women allows us to go through the baggage of our lives together – literally and metaphorically. It’s a bit like therapy. It’s healing.

Why is YSCK so important for Greenville’s mom community?

Let’s be honest, we’re all working incredibly hard to keep all aspects of our lives afloat. When you can minimize the amount of stuff in your life and organize it in a way that works in your favor you can do more and be more for everyone else.

It’s definitely an investment to have us come in but it pays off in more ways than you can imagine.

Check out this Before…

…and After!!!!!

What is the most fulfilling part of what you do?

The reactions and the relationships, hands down. It’s not easy to open up your mess to other people, we totally get that. But the one reaction we’ve received with all of our clients was how much fun we have when we do it. And each one has asked us back to do more than what they initially hired us for. Each time we leave a job we honestly feel like we’ve added another sister to our family.

What women in your lives inspire you the most, and why?

Megan: Genuinely all of the women around me have inspired me lately. I see how much passion, emotion, grace, strength, capability, drive, patience and love we all carry around. Amidst life’s troubles I see women wake up every day and move forward like a boss. Women are incredible creatures in my opinion. My mom, my grandmother, our mother in law, my sisters and my daughter all inspire me the most though.

Nikki: I would have to say moms inspire me. Especially because I am not one yet. Watching my friends become moms has really changed my perspective on my own mother. I guess you never realize growing up all that they juggle and being able to watch my friends go from wives to moms has helped me appreciate all that a mother sacrifices for herself, her husband and her children.

Describe your perfect day.

Megan: An early fall day, windows open, candles lit, music on high and cooking in my kitchen. Time to myself for the afternoon and ending with a house full of people eating and drinking good food and good wine into the night.

Nikki: A day on vacation with nothing on the agenda other than spending time with my family and enjoying time to rest and unwind.

What is the one thing you need in your day in order to get through it? (coffee, music, a certain food, excercise…)

Megan: my vitamins, good music, a Starbucks frappacino and a little grace for myself and others. That wasn’t one thing, but I need them all.😂

Nikki: My vitamins and my cell phone.

What benefits will you provide to Greenville moms when they hire you?

I think the biggest benefit from what we do is a sense of control in the chaos of everyday life. It’s a huge weight lifted off when your options are minimized down to just the items that you use. On top of that it brings a sense of calmness to walk in and see things in order (and be able to keep things up easily). You will most definitely experience the joy of having a fresh outlook on your home and personal space

For more information on YSCK, follow Megan & Nikki on Instagram!

Baby Gear Breakdown: Newborn Sleep Essentials

Baby Gear Breakdown: Newborn Sleep Essentials

Meet our newest series on the blog: Baby Gear Breakdown! Every few weeks, we are going to take a deep dive into a brand or baby gear item, and break it on down for you. We do this weekly on our Instagram page with Product Rec Tuesday, but we’re going to start devoting some air space to it here, too. We hope it’s helpful for you!

In our line of work, we are constantly asked by moms what it is that they REALLY need for their newborn. With so many products and so many tools (ahem, google, we’re talking to you), it is hard to not over buy the first time around. Our goal with Product Rec Tuesday and Baby Gear Breakdown is to give all of you new mamas something to refer to when putting together your registry, to help you pinpoint what items will work best for you and help you answer some of the “why this over that?” questions you may have. Once all of the essentials are knocked out, and your nursery is stocked, you can begin to save some money for the future months, years ahead. Sound good?!?

First up is newborn sleep essentials. Over the first few months, mama, you’re tired, and baby is up feeding every 2-3 hours. You need a sleep solution that is super safe and can hang out right next to your bed. (And within arms reach so you can check for breathing and signs of life every 20 minutes!)

The safest options for overnight sleep are the baby’s crib in your room or a standalone bassinet. A bassinet insert in a travel crib is a great option for naps when baby can be supervised. The bassinet insert can allow for a 2-in-1 functionality from a larger ticket item, but it will not have the bells and whistles of a free standing bassinet. The free standing bassinets tend to swivel so they can be moved even closer to mama in bed, and have soft side rails that push down so getting baby in and out is a breeze, even for a post-partum, recovering mama.

Here is the breakdown of a few of our favorite sleep spots:

The BABYBJORN Cradle is designed for newborns up to 6 months, and provides baby with a safe and comfortable place to sleep anywhere in your home. The cradle is compact, cozy, breathable mesh that soothes your baby with soft rocking motions. Parents can rock the Cradle themselves or let their baby’s movements gently move the Cradle back and forth.

The Halo Bassinest Swivel Sleeper is the only bassinet that rotates 360 degrees for the ultimate in convenience and safety. Now your little one can sleep as close as you like, while still safely in his own separate sleep area, reducing the risks associated with bed-sharing. Again, super safe, breathable mesh for the baby to sleep comfortably. Safe for up to 6 months.

The DockATot is great because you can put it in bed next to you while baby sleeps. The Deluxe+ Dock is great for baby ages 0-8 months. It offers a comfy spot that lets baby rest, lounge, play, cuddle, do tummy time and get diaper changes. Due to the raised tube design and breathable and hypoallergenic materials, it offers parents a safe way to co-sleep with their babies (be sure to review and follow all the Sleep Safety guidelines on their website). Deluxe+ Docks are lightweight and portable, allowing for easy travel.

The Fisher Price Rock n’ Play Sleeper is a great short term solution. Need a quick solution for your crying newborn? Enter the Rock ‘n Play. It’s been called a life saver before, with just the right angle, relaxing music, sounds and hands-free rocking to soothe baby to sleep. When baby’s ready to play, songs, sound effects and linkable clacker toy to keep baby busy and entertained. the extra-deep seat and breathable mesh sides make the Auto Rock ‘n Play Sleeper a dream! Safe for up to 4 months or until baby can roll/push up to sit.

A few other notes about baby’s sleep:

-American Academy of Pediatrics recommends baby sleep in the same room as Mother until 12 months old; this was recently extended from 6 months.

-Pacifiers are proven to reduce the risk of SIDS.

-For overnight sleep, use a swaddle that you can be sure will stay in place; velcro or zippers are best. Try as you might, it’s nearly impossible to get a swaddle blanket to wrap as snugly as the nurses at the hospital! Check out SwaddleMe & Love to Dream Swaddle UP.

-All blankets and stuffed animals should be kept out of the crib until at least a year, and bumpers are a no-go.

-Cool humidifiers can help promote air quality conducive to sleep. Try Crane!

-A sound machine can not only help lull baby to sleep, but it can also mask sounds in the room to help keep her asleep. We love Dohm and Hatch Baby!

What sleeping arrangement works best for your little one! We’d love to know!

XO and Sweet Dreams,


Simple, Subtle Self-Care Tips

Simple, Subtle Self-Care Tips

Contributed by: Ashley Taylor

New parents quickly find themselves squarely focused on caring for their child. Their own needs are often all but abandoned in the pursuit of parenthood. This is an understandable situation, as a baby is helpless and completely dependent on its parents. In our busy lives, it seems that the only way to provide appropriate care for your child is to deprive yourself of your care. Although it is not easy, it is important to make sure that your life is healthy and that you provide yourself with the fuel and tools to be the best parent possible. Making time for self-care is one of the best ways for someone to strengthen themselves as a parent.

All about self-care

Self-care in general is any supportive action that we take for ourselves. Self-care can take many forms, from pampering to rest, from exercise to taking a night class. Regardless of the form it takes, self-care makes us comfortable and happy. When we are satisfied with our place in life, our stress levels decrease, which immediately benefits our children and strengthens our families. Although pampering can be a component of self-care, it’s not frivolous or selfish. Happiness is important for effective parenting. Parenting is hard work! When we reward ourselves from time to time, we are able to recharge ourselves for the next round of challenges.

While many may think of self-care as getting a massage or meditating, there are more subtle ways to incorporate a sense of happiness in one’s life that may be easier for new parents to pursue. Decluttering one’s home is a way to reduce stress. Although you may be busy caring for your child, and the child may be the cause of a lot of the clutter you may have, seize opportunities to minimize and organize your things. Here are some simple ways to create a simpler home.

–        Only buy what you need. With new children, it’s tempting to buy every toy and gadget on the market. You want the best for your child so you can ensure that they develop and are happy. The more you buy, however, the more things pile up and become unruly. As a bonus, if you rein in your spending, you can add money into you budget for the future.

–        As your baby grows, purge along the way. Clothing, toys, outgrown diapers and books are some examples of baby things that can accumulate. Box up what you do not need and donate or discard it.

–        Don’t forget to purge your things as well. Apply a decluttering philosophy across the board in your home. Make rules such as you cannot buy a household good – like a coffee mug – without discarding two similar items.

Sleep is precious, so make sure it’s maximized

If you are a parent of a newborn, you have likely learned how your sleep is a luxury. Invest the time and effort in making sure that your bedroom is a sanctuary of sleep. Try to keep your room minimally decorated and as distraction-free as possible. Avoid the TV trap – a TV in the bedroom will only tempt you to stay up late binging Netflix. And put that phone down before you go to bed! Many people toss away minutes and hours of sleep staring at their phone while they’re wasting time on social media or just browsing the web. It has become our default idle activity, but it is senseless when your sleep hours are limited.

Make sure that you can control the light in your room to make it sufficiently dark for optimal sleep. Invest in a sound machine as a way to soothe your night – just make sure you can still hear the baby monitor.

Parenting is difficult, but self-care can help lessen the burden. Get as much rest as you can and keep your homelife organized, and you’ll have tackled two simple ways to do something nice for yourself.

About the Author: Ashley Taylor

Ashley Taylor is a freelance writer, photographer, and advocate for people with disabilities. She created to provide information and resources to other parents with disabilities. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.

Visit Ashley’s website for further information and resources!


Top Picks for Outdoor Play

Top Picks for Outdoor Play

It’s officially summer, which means more fresh air for everyone, and definitely more outdoor playtime — HIP HIP!! However, we know just being outside isn’t always enough for kiddos and you need activity options to keep the “I’m soooo booooreddd” whines at bay. Here’s a roundup of our favorite outdoor activity sets that are sure to keep your little one engaged AND give you a breather as you watch over them… maybe with your feet up and a glass of rose in hand?!?

Sand and Water Table

We love this for a few reasons: 1) it’s both a water and sand table (SCORE!) 2) it’s easy to fill and super lightweight, 3) it comes with a tight fit cover to keep it dry when the kiddos aren’t using it and 4) it’s aesthetically not like most play tables, it actually looks great!


HugglePod HangOut

Have you ever wanted a special little play space for your children? What about one that is both indoor and outdoor, and travels easily?!
Meet the HugglePod HangOut by @hearthsong. This brilliant, safe design is roomy enough for kids to climb inside and hang out! The tent has three porthole-style windows, a velcro flap door, and a cozy removable cushion that’s stuffed with recycled polyfill. Your littles will have so much to do in this space- play, read, listen to music, whatever their imaginations dream up! It also comes with a string of LED lights and an easy-to-reach on/off switch. This is a product that we without question have added to our cart, and purchased! It’s an absolute no brainer.


My First Garden Planter

It’s that time to start your gardening, and who couldn’t use a little helper?!

Meet “My First Garden Planter”. It not only comes with the planter, the table also includes all of the accessories! This planter is deep enough to hold tomato plants, lettuce, peppers, and more, creating a learning experience from seedlings to harvest. Great for patios, decks, or any outdoor space where you want to start a garden!

Inflatable Water Slide

You didn’t think we’d forget the water slide, did you?! When it comes to summer, one thing comes to mind: water, and lots of it! We are fans of this particular one because of its easy use, storage and sturdy vinyl.

You’ll only need to attach a garden hose to this heavy-duty slide, and the kids will whiz along the padded, misted, 12’L pathway and get the additional treat of coming to a splashing halt in a water-filled pool. (You May to buy their dual-action Electric Pump to inflate and deflate). With this slide, @hearthsong created a perfect combination of kids, water, and energy into one. P.S. this product is on sale right now!

This is pretty much a sandbox on steroids. This one is from KidKraft, one of our favorite manufacturers known for their quality craftsmanship and dedication to creating fun pieces that allow children to use their imagination while they explore through play. This sandbox comes with an attached chalkboard that will invite kiddos to create different backdrops and scenery as they play. There are hooks around the perimeter to hang toys to keep the sand box nice and tidy, and with attached seats and an option to add a canopy, what more could you need!?!


Like these?? Stay tuned with us on Product Rec Tuesday! Every week, we pick a theme and share some of our favorite product recommendations to help make your life as a mama a little easier. Be sure you’re following us along on Instagram and Facebook for all the goodies!


P.S., this post may contain affiliate links, but know that we only share the products we have tried ourselves that we can vouch for 100%!

Basics of Babyproofing

Basics of Babyproofing

So, your baby is on the move. Prepare for the influx rush of feelings… equal parts “YESSS! Go, baby, Go!” and “NOOO! My baby’s not a baby anymore!” and “Oh, shit, now what?!?”


Here is just a of a handful of our childproofing tips, along with some favorite safeguarding products, to help you kickstart your defense strategy. If you want an extra hand or set of eyes, this is one of our favorite services to offer parents: a childproofing walkthrough, consultation, and personalized recommendation report specific to your home and family. We can do this virtually or in person — just let us know, we’d be happy to help you! #peaceofmind

Now to the goods…

General Rules of Thumb

To start, get low.

Before you even begin to map your install or determine which projects to tackle first, get down to baby’s eye level and look around at the world through their lens. (It feels a little insane to crawl around your home on your hands in knees, but just trust us.) At the earliest stage, we are looking to protect them while crawling/rolling around, pulling up on furniture, and starting to put things into their mouth. Think corners and foreheads, fingers and drawers, choking hazards, etc. This is a good rule of thumb to follow as baby grows and her needs and interests change… get low, so you can beat her to the danger.  (Wouldn’t it be easier to just wrap ’em up in bubble wrap?!? 😉)

These bumpers are outstanding. They are made with a food-grade rubber, so if you have a biter, they’re safe and they won’t break off into chunks like traditional foam bumpers. Genius! Bink Bumpy Connect




Prioritize the projects.

Do not feel like you have to cover every single surface of your home with furniture bumpers and cabinet locks the moment little one shows signs of mobility. Prioritize the projects that require the earliest attention (like bumpers, gates, furniture anchors, locking low-level cabinetry, etc.) and save the things that are out of reach and install those when it’s time (like door knob covers, upper drawer locks, etc.) If it cannot be reached, save yourselves the frustration of living and working around additional locks and barriers… only do that for as long as you need to, and not a day more! 😊

When you are ready to lock things up, we recommend these magnetic locks. No hardware installation necessary, and they actually work. (If you misplace the magnet key, and regular magnet will work!) Jambini Magnetic Cabinet Locks




Create kid-free zones.

Along those same lines, rather than spending a lot of time and energy (and money!) on padding every item in your home, consider temporarily moving big furniture/accessory pieces out of the kid-friendly area and blocking off those areas with a handle lock or play yard/baby gates.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors.

At a bare minimum, you need one smoke detector and one carbon monoxide detector on each floor, preferably near the bedrooms. Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide mixes with the air and doesn’t necessarily rise, so it’s best to place these detectors around knee/waist height; think about the level at which your little ones nose will be when sleeping. If they are curious about the device, you can always place a little higher on the wall out of their reach.

Common Living Areas.

I recently read a stat that stated that a child is sent to the ER every 30 minutes due to a TV tip-over. THIRTY. MINUTES. That is crazy! This type of accident is absolutely preventable. If you have a free standing TV (a.k.a., it’s not mounted to the wall) it needs to either be anchored to the wall or to the table it’s sitting on. Any furniture anchor will do the trick.

You can use those same anchors to attach large furniture pieces to the wall as well: consoles, dressers, hutches, media tables/entertainment centers, etc. Any piece of furniture, especially those with drawers that can be used as stepping stones aiding in the tip, should be anchored to the wall.


There are several different hazards in the kitchen, but the ones that pose the biggest threats are sharp utensils, cleaning supplies, and heat/fire from appliances.

Keep sharp items (knives, peelers, mandolins, meat shredders/thermometers, etc.) and any toxic or cleaning agents out of reach by moving all of these items up to a high-level cabinet or on a top shelf in the pantry.

If you have low stove knobs, be sure to conceal them with plastic covers.

Windows and Blinds.

Blind cords are one of the most overlooked hazards in a home, but the solution is simple: either trim or tie them up. The strings should be independent of one another; if they are connected at the bottom with a knot or a connecter piece, remove and let them operate freely. The knot can create a noose-like loop, and the connector can become a choking hazard; both are considered huge dangers. Consider tying up the loose strings with a hook, or using a tool like the Bink Up & Away… our personal favorite.

Ensure that the area below windows is clear and there are no items little one could scootch over to use as a stool to boost up into the window well. Lock closed windows; if you have them open to enjoy these nice spring/summer days, make sure a watchful eye is keeping tot clear of the area.

Curtains can be avoided if not already installed. Little ones often find them interesting, and the hanging rod, end caps, and hardware all become potential dangers as they tug and play. If installed, you can tuck them away with a curtain hook.

Hands down, the safest kind of window treatment is a pull-down shade. These often come with the black-out feature which is perfect for bedrooms… win/win.

Baby Gates

Before you even shop for a gate, there are a few things to cover first:
-Pressure-mounted/tension gates are totally appropriate for the bottom of staircases, but should never be used on the tops. Hardware-mounted gates are the only way to go for the top.
-Note if you have wall-to-wall, wall-to-banister, or banister-to-banister connection as that will dictate the style of gate you need.
-Measure, and then measure again. Not just the width of the stairwell, but the height as well, paying special attention to handrails or anything that might obstruct the installation. Most standard doorway openings are between 30-32″, but there are several gate options that extend to fit larger or smaller. Something we hear time and time again is that parents initially think to order the extra-tall gate -thinking more coverage the better, makes sense- but then it doesn’t fit because the wall is either too short or the handrail/hardware from the handrail is in the way. Gates come in different lengths and heights, make sure the one you get will fit your space and suit your needs!

Door stoppers.

The plastic end cap on metal spring door stoppers can be pulled off relatively easily; if you have any of these, consider removing and replacing with a single piece stopper.

Mommy’s Helper Door Jamb Stoppers

Electrical Outlets.

There are two basic ways to safeguard electrical outlets: a childproof outlet cover and outlet plugs. Should you use individual plugs, be sure to keep an eye that they are not easily removed as they can become a choking hazard.

Jambini Outlet Cover

Mommy’s Helper Outlet Plugs

We hope this is helpful information. If we can help make your childproofing journey any less stressful, please let us know by emailing us at!

*This post includes some affiliate links.


Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

Spring Cleaning with Essential Oils

By Taylor Elliott, Owner of Palmettos & Sunshine

Birds are chirping at all hours of the day but especially the morning. It’s a delightful sound to wake up to and I love watching my son run to the window to see if he can see our resident cardinal outside. Azaleas and other spring annuals are in full bloom, pollen counts are high, gentle rain showers are coming more frequently, and my personal favorite warmer weather and sunshine has arrived. It’s Spring!! And with that fresh bright direct sunlight, I can see the handprints on the windows and the dust on the blinds that I’ve let build up all Winter. Whoops.

It’s a time of year when a lot of us start to tackle some larger cleaning projects that we’ve been putting off. Whether it’s cleaning out garages, organizing pantries, starting a 30-day detox program, or finally getting to those dirty baseboards, Spring has almost become synonymous with cleaning. But what if in our efforts to make our homes cleaner and a respite for ourselves, friends, and family, we are actually inflicting more harm than doing good?

 Dangers of Typical Household Cleaners

Here is the quick low-down:

  • On average, most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, most homes have air pollution 2 to 5 times greater than the air outside – mostly due to the toxic chemicals in household cleaners. So while we may think we are avoiding toxins by spending time indoors, our efforts are backfiring.
  • The Environmental Working Group warns that many cleaners are pollutants that contribute to smog, reduce the quality of drinking water, and are toxic to animals. When I stop to think about it, it seems pretty strange that I should need to wear a mask, or in the case of cleaning an oven even leave the house, while using a typical household cleaning item – particularly since I will be showering and eating in those same places later in the day!
  • Unfortunately, children often experience these harmful chemicals in higher doses than adults. They are more vulnerable to chemical exposure particularly during fetal developmental stages. In addition, younger children have higher respiratory rates than adults, therefore they absorb more air contaminants per units of weight

But take heart! Seriously, we have options now! There are so many fragrance-free and more organic or natural options readily available. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming or scary task to get that stuff out of your home. Take things one item at a time if you need and switch to safer brands. Better yet, start making your own using essential oils. I promise, it’s much easier than it seems and it is generally more cost effective.

How are Essential Oils Effective Cleaning Agents?

Let’s start with the basics, what are essential oils and how are the effective in cleaning my home?

Essential oils are naturally occurring volatile aromatic compounds found in various parts of plants (seeds, flowers, roots, bark, and others). These compounds serve protective, regenerative, and reproductive purposes vital for the plants survival. They help protect the plants, participate in plant pollination, and provide plants their distinctive aromas. Essential oils are highly concentrated when distilled for purity, potency, and efficacy.

Each oil can have hundreds of individual constituents that provide specific aromas and benefits and embody protective properties, allowing them to be used to support human emotional, mental, and physical healing. Each constituent has its own distinct structure (shape, size, arrangement of chemical bonds is unique). The different constituents in an essential oil determine both the oil’s aroma and the benefits it offers. It is these chemical constituents that give certain essential oils powerful disinfecting and cleansing properties. For example, essential oils that have monoterpene alcohols as a part of their make-up are known to be antimicrobial, cleansing, gentle, and mild (basic favorites here are lavender, melaleuca/tea tree, and frankincense).

In short: Organic chemical constituents that occur naturally in nature are what manufactured cleaning agents are created in the lab to replicate.

Basic Cleaning with Essential Oil DIY Recipes

Thanks for reading this far everyone! Obviously there is a lot more information about typical household cleaners and chemical constituents of essential oils but I imagine a lot of you are saying. . . gracious. . . get to the recipes already. I wanted to make sure that I provided a bit of background that hopefully lends some insight into why I’ve switched to essential oils in our household.

Ingredients to have on-hand

  • Baking Soda – eliminates and absorbs odor. Use to clean countertops, sinks, and tubs.
  • White Vinegar – contains natural antifungal and antibacterial properties. Cuts grease and dissolves mineral deposits
  • Castile Soap – lifts dirt, cuts grease, eliminates tough stains.
  • Salt – effective scouring agent. Pour salt mixed with hot water down the kitchen sink to deodorize and keep grease from building up.
  • Fractionated Coconut Oil or Olive Oil – natural cleaner and polisher

Best Essential Oils for Cleaning

  • Arborvitae – Antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial, stimulant
    • Repel bugs and insects and kill airborne pathogens
  • Lemon – Antiseptic, antioxidant, antibacterial, disinfectant, degreaser
    • Eliminate airborne odors, polish wood furniture, remove grease/residue
  • Lime – Antiseptic, antioxidant, antibacterial, tonic, detoxifier, disinfectant
    • support healthy immune function, purify skin/hair, remove grease spots
  • Melaleuca – Antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-parasitic, antiviral, analgesic, decongestant
    • Clean & disinfect wounds, protect against environmental threats, freshen/purify air
  • Juniper Berry -Detoxifier, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, anti-parasitic
    • Cleanse and purify air with calming/grounding effect
  • Wild Orange – Energizing, sedative, anti-carcinoma, carminative, antiseptic
    • Cleanse kitchen and bathroom surfaces, purify air with revitalizing aroma, polish furniture
  • Peppermint – Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, expectorant, antispasmodic
    • Freshen breath and kill bacteria, repel bugs and insects, stay alert
  • Purify Cleansing Blend – Lemon, Lime, Fir, Pine, Citronella, Melaleuca, Cilantro
    • Kill germs and microbes on surfaces or in air, eliminate odors
  • OnGuard Protective Blend- Wild Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus, Rosemary
    • Kill germs and airborne pathogens, immune booster, antiseptic cleaner

Favorite and Most-Used Recipes

The Best All Purpose Lemon Cleaner

2 cups water

1 ½ cups vinegar

1 tsp castile soap

10 drops Lemon

5 drops Melaleuca

10 drops OnGuard

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a glass container and mix well. Spray on the surface you’d like to clean and wipe off with cloth. Ideal uses: shine stainless steel, remove grime from microwaves, freshen the garbage disposal, deep clean appliances like washing machine or refrigerator. Shake well before each use.  NOTE: You can also use OnGuard Cleaner Concentrate and water.

Hand Soap

2 tbsp. unscented castile soap

1 tbsp. fractionated coconut oil

10 drops essential oil (like OnGuard, Lemon, Wild Orange, or Bergamot)


Instructions: Pour soap and fractionated coconut oil in bottle, add essential oils, slowly add water until full leaving room for pump.

Citrus Dish Soap

2 cups castile soap

20 drops Lime

20 drops Lemon

6 drops Citrus Bliss

Instructions: Fill large glass bottle with soap, add essential oils, shake before each use.

Fabric Softener

1 64 oz. bag Epsom Salt

40 drops Lavender

20 drops Lemon

30 drops Melaleuca

Instructions: Pour salt into a large glass container with lid, add EOS and stir to combine. Use ½ cup for medium to large loads in wash cycle.

Liquid Laundry Detergent

1 cup castile soap

1 cup baking soda

1/3 cup coarse salt

7L hot water

20 drops dōTERRA EOs

Instructions: Whisk together in large bucket and portion into containers as needed. Shake before each use.

Disinfecting Toilet Bowl Cleaner

10 drops Melaleuca

15 drop Eucalyptus

¼ cup white vinegar

½ cup baking soda

Instructions: Add ingredients directly into the bowl and scrub as the vinegar and baking soda react. If needed, let sit for an hour and then scrub.

Tub & Shower Cleaning Gel

1 cup vinegar

½ cup unscented castile soap

10 drops Lemon

Instructions: Combine ingredients in squeeze bottle and shake well. Squeeze on desired area, scrub and let sit for 2 hours. Rinse.

Soft Scrub Bathroom Cleaner

¾ rounded cup baking soda

¼ cup unscented liquid castile soap

1 tablespoon water

1 tablespoon vinegar

5–10 drops Lemon oil

Instructions: In bowl, combine baking soda and castile soap. Add water and stir. Add vinegar and essential oil. The consistency should be a soft paste. Store in airtight container. Add ingredients directly to partially drained bowl. As it reacts, scrub toilet.

Garbage Disposal Refresher

2 cups baking soda

1 cup salt

½ cup water

⅓ cup unscented liquid castile soap

30 drops Lemon oil

Instructions: Combine baking soda and salt into a bowl. Add castile soap and essential oil to the mixture. Add water one tablespoon at a time while stirring with hands until it forms the consistency of damp sand. Added too much water? Not to fret, just add a bit more baking soda until the mixture sticks together some. Using a tablespoon measuring spoon, pack the mixture tightly and then place on parchment paper. Let it dry for 24 hours or until they are hard. Put into a glass jar and use the next time you do dishes! Just add 1-3 refreshers in the disposal when you turn it on.

Tips for Keeping It Clean

Once you’ve spent time and energy getting your house all spiffed up and are breathing in the bonus side benefits of essential oils (think a lighter, less anxious, uplifted mood dissipating throughout) you’re going to want to keep it that way! Here are a few ideas to keep in your routine.

  • Keep plants that naturally clean the air
    • Peace Lily, Eucalyptus, English Ivy, Boston Fern, Spider Plant
  • Take your shoes off.
    • Prevent the contaminants that you likely walked through (playgrounds, subways, public restrooms, sidewalks, gas stations) from getting past the door.
  • Use natural cleaners such as the recipes listed above
  • Vacuum Regularly – dust mites can hold on to bacteria and unpleasant smells.
  • Change your air filter at least every 3 months (and put in a drop of Wild Orange) to keep dust mites and bacteria away. Especially important if you have pets. Also consider running fans frequently and open windows when you can.
  • Replace toxic air fresheners & diffuse Essential Oils
    • Purify, OnGuard, Juniper Berry, Lemon, Lime, or Melaleuca (Tea Tree) all have purifying properties as well as immune boosting, calming, or uplifting side benefits.
    • Add a drop of essential oil to the inside of the toilet paper roll for a fresh scent with every spin
    • Add a drop of peppermint to the bowl when the bathroom smells grosser than it did earlier

Additional Resources

If you’re interested in learning more about essential oils and the myriad of ways they can assist in creating a healthier home and lifestyle, I’d love to hear from you! I’d be happy to discuss your needs and help you determine the products that serve you best.

Palmettos & Sunshine

10 Ways to Spring Clean with Lemon

10 Day Essential Oil Cleaning Challenge

BONUS: In the month of May, starter kits like the Home Essentials or Natural Solutions Kit earns you free green cleaning and immune boosting powerhouses: On Guard Sanitizing Mist, On Guard Essential Oil, Whitening Toothpaste, and Wild Orange Essential Oil.

About the Author: Taylor Elliott, Owner Palmettos & Sunshine

Hi! I am Taylor Elliott, a native Floridian living in the upstate of South Carolina, an introvert on most days, a mom, sister, wife, friend, entrepreneur, and community member among other roles. I love basking in the sunlight, finding adventures near and far, and hanging out with my tribe. My previous careers have involved civil engineering, program management, business consulting, and account management. Now I spend my time teaching individuals and groups the power of essential oils, how to use them to transition from toxic household items, and growing an independent entrepreneurial team through business consulting.

It was never my intention to join dōTERRA® as a wellness advocate and begin to build a business but I believe that things and ideas only fall on people when they are ready to take on a new venture. My goals shifted in a manner that made me want to be a leader of a community that would support and build one another in our various endeavors and encourage each other to truly be our best selves.


MomBiz Spotlight: Q&A with Paula Hoss, Founder of CLN & DRTY

Q&A with Paula Hoss, Founder of CLN&DRTY


How was the CLN & DRTY brand born?

There were two distinct moments that brought CLN&DRTY into life…

The first moment was in 2014. My first daughter, Juniper, was just a few months old. It was summer, we were about to go on a walk, and I had sprayed a drug store sunscreen all over my body. I picked her up, and since she was teething, she immediately started chewing on my shoulder. At that moment, I realized that she was ingesting all of the chemicals that I had just sprayed on myself.

That evening, I searched how to make a natural sunscreen at home. I purchased all the supplies online: non-nano zinc oxide, shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, essential oils and I got to work. I ended up with a dozen containers of sunscreen and knowing that I wouldn’t go through that in a year, I posted on Facebook to see if anyone would want to purchase them and they sold out immediately.

The next year, I made a few more batches and sold through it again.

In Spring of 2016, I was pregnant with my second daughter, Rowan, and had to take an early maternity leave for health reasons. Friends were already asking for the sunscreen and since many of them were in different states and even in different countries, I realized that I had to find a way to take their payments and field their orders.

One evening, after Juniper went to bed, I sat down and just got to work. I created a logo, launched a quick website and took some product photos. The orders for the sunscreen started pouring in from my friends and family. Soon they were asking for other natural products: deodorants, body butters and facial skincare products.

Over the Summer of 2016, CLN&DRTY Natural Skincare started to boom as my belly grew. Rowan was born in August and it soon became clear that CLN&DRTY was on track to become a viable and even successful business.

On the day that I was supposed to return to work from my maternity leave, I went in and told my boss that I wasn’t going to return and instead was going to follow CLN&DRTY full force. My entire team applauded and supported me and I haven’t looked back since!


When did you realize the difference natural makes and why?

I struggled with painful, embarrassing, cystic acne for years. I had tried everything from drying lotions to harsh 3-step systems… from expensive prestige brands to pretty much anything I could find at the drug store and nothing really seemed to work.

Around the time I launched CLN&DRTY, I began experimenting with natural skincare formulation. Since we obviously don’t test on animals, I began testing the formulas on myself. The earliest trials were products with organic argan and rosehip oils, apple cider vinegar and witch hazel toners and aloe vera based moisturizers.

Slowly, my skin started improving. And, within just a few short months, it was completely clear. I felt like I had found an absolute miracle cure for something that had been just so embarrassing for years. I started sharing my story with my customers and they started seeing the same results!

That’s when our skincare products really took off, when people started spreading the word about our products.


What’s your go-to product you use every day? 

The first skincare product that we ever formulated, and my favorite to this day is the Luxury Anti-Aging Oil for Combination Skin. It’s so simple: organic argan oil, organic rosehip oil, tea tree oil and lavender oil. It’s a game changer as a daily moisturizer and can be used both day and night. You can even use it as a hair oil and a body moisturizer if you’re in a pinch. Our customers call it “liquid gold,” and I totally agree!


Do you have a simple miracle product/ingredient that you’ve discovered?

I’m just so amazed how a simple ingredient like a good quality tea tree oil can make a huge difference in the skin of someone who has been suffering with stubborn acne. Conventional products tend to use salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide, which can work for some people, but can also be incredibly harsh and drying for others. And when you dry out oily skin, it tends to fight back and increase sebum production, therefore increasing acne. It’s vicious cycle.

It’s awesome how putting an oil, like tea tree, onto your skin (in a diluted form with other healthy carrier oils), can really mellow out your skin, help it relax and get back to normal.


Do you have advice for people who want to start using more natural products but might be daunted by the ingredient list on bottles?

Start small. Don’t believe a company that tells you to throw out everything in your medicine cabinet and start over with an elaborate skincare regimen.

If you run out of your moisturizer, find a natural one to replace it with. If you’re in the market for a new toner, research natural alternatives. Ask your friends who have similar skin types to you what they love and find unbiased reviews of that company. Don’t be afraid to contact the company and ask them questions! Start by buying one product from a trusted company and try it out with your existing skincare regimen. Go from there and see what works and what doesn’t.


Advice for keeping clear skin with a busy life and schedule?

Invest in high quality products that you love! Find products that you look forward to using at the end of the day and feel like you’re pampering and treating yourself rather than a chore. Also, keep the products simple. All you really need is a great cleanser, toner and moisturizer. If you can do those three steps twice a day, you’ll be golden.


How awesome and adorable is this mama?!? Learn more about Paula and get your hands on some CLN&DRTY products by following her along on Facebook, Instagram, or visit her website!

Benefits of Chiropractic Care During Pregnancy

Q&A by Dr. April Lundy, D.C., Harmony Chiropractic Center in Roswell, GA


Is it safe to be adjusted while pregnant?
Yes! Chiropractic adjustments are specific and gentle. There are chiropractors that specialize in this area and achieve higher learning to better serve mothers. Webster certification is one way and it is
through the ICPA- International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Finding someone with experience and knowledge is key when choosing your Chiropractor during pre and post-natal care. Not all providers are comfortable with adjusting during pregnancy nor do all understand what goes into caring for a mother during this time. Www.icpa4kids.orgwill lead you to a doctor that is in your area.


What can chiropractors help with? Isn’t pain and being uncomfortable a part of the process and normal?
Chiropractic can help with many common discomforts. Pain is not considered normal, but more of a signal from the body. A list of common problems that Chiropractic may help are listed below:

-Constant nausea and vomiting
-Shoulder pain
-Wrist pain/carpal tunnel
-Rib pain
-Round ligament pain
-Low back and pelvic pain
-Pubic symphysis dysfunction
-Numbness and tingling
-Posture and gait (the waddle)
-Baby positioning (breech, transverse, posterior)


How do adjustments work while pregnant?
Chiropractors who see pregnant women have special pillows that allow for the mother to lay face down. There are also adjustments that can be made to the table that allow for the comfort of the mother.


How can Chiropractic help with baby positioning?
The baby’s position is crucial to an optimal birth and through the Webster technique Chiropractors can help balance the pelvis, sacrum, and spine to allow for all the surrounding muscles and ligaments to relax, balance, and allow for optimal movement and positioning for baby. Not to mention, the mother is more comfortable when baby is in the best position.


What about post-partum care? How long should I wait?
Post-partum care is just as important as prenatal care. Getting your pelvis re-aligned after birth is AMAZING! Also, the changes you start to have in your upper back and neck are intense from holding and feeding the baby. If you have had a vaginal birth without complications, adjustments can be as early as when you leave the hospital. If you have a cesarean, then waiting about 4-6 weeks for a full body adjustment is best.


Why should I get my baby checked?
In my opinion, all babies need to be checked. Noticed I said “checked” there – not all babies need an adjustment. But most parents need guidance as to what to look for and when to bring baby in for their first checkup. Deliveries with forceps, caesarean, suction, long labors, and mal positioned babies need to be checked and possibly adjusted in most cases. The most common reasons are torticolis, plagiocephaly, ear infections, colic, reflux, constipation, difficult latching, and traumas. A good resource for more information again is the ICPA. They have many research articles to support adjustments and provide evidence-based research in support of family chiropractic care.


For more information from Harmony or Dr. April, please visit their website or follow along on Facebook!

About the Author:

Dr. April Lundy, D.C., Harmony Chiropractic, Roswell, GA

Dr. April obtained her Doctorate of Chiropractic in 2007 from Life University. She also holds a bachelor of science in Exercise Sports Science with a concentration in Sports Medicine from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She is a fellow member of the American Pregnancy Association and the International Chiropractic Pediatric Association. Dr. April is dedicated to promoting the body’s natural ability to heal itself if given the chance. Chiropractic is about healing better, not just feeling better. Exercise, nutrition, rest, spinal, mental and emotional health play an important role in achieving optimal well-being. Dr. April is married to Ryan Lundy and is a mother to Damian, Alexandra, and Victoria.




Introducing: Motherhood Collective

Introducing: Motherhood Collective

Your Milk Shoppe is beyond thrilled to share this little thing we’ve been working on for you mamas. Please meet our newest baby, Motherhood Collective!

Motherhood is tough. Rewarding and wonderful, all of those things — of course — but it’s really, REALLY tough. And honestly, somedays, most days, we don’t do ourselves any favors. Try as we might to NOT play the games… mom-guilt, doubt, the comparison game, what have you… we ALL fall victim from time to time. We compare ourselves, our kids, our lives… taking tallies. Well, we say to hell with all that.

This is a time when we should be clinging to each other for dear life, pumping each other up and celebrating each other’s wins, and commiserating over our fails. Whether you have fifteen kids or one, you work in your home or out of it, a few things are true about each and every one of us. We are mentally clocked into momming every hour of every single day. We are in a constant state of worrying if we’re doing all right by them — if we’re doing right by ourselves. We feel depleted by the end of most days, yet also more fulfilled than we ever have in our entire lives.

We get it.

The adage “it takes a village” is such a hallmark phrase because it’s true: IT DOES. No one can do this alone. Not even Gal Gadot, and she’s freakin’ WonderWoman.

So, how can we help? Consider us your village. Whether you’re a mom that is still on the hunt for her tribe, or one that is super seasoned and has wisdom to impart, you have a place in this village.

What can you expect from Motherhood Collective?

-Social events, like yoga brunch and Mom’s night out, (MOMosas, anyone??)

-Classes and workshops with specialists on topics to help make your parenting journey just a little bit easier. (Think Q&A’s with sleep consultants and behavioral specialists for those terrib… I mean terrific twos, and of course, parent prep workshops led by your favorite YMS mamas. :))

-Real-life, real-raw, mom-talk. Stories from you and from us about things like momming through IVF, learning your child has developmental differences, battling PPD and balancing multiples, and any and everything in between.

Overall, you can expect solidarity and support from this collective of women, both in your backyard and all over the country.

Our mission is to give you all of the tools in your toolbox that you need in order to be the best version of you. Empowering you with education, support and community, we aim to leave you better than we found you.

Welcome to Motherhood Collective, your sisterhood in motherhood. We’re glad you’re here. ❤



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