With change finally in the air, it feels like a good day for a spring-themed edition of Worth Keeping In Your Pockets. Here are some fun, useful, or interesting things I've discovered that I think you might enjoy, too.
Getting organized: The transition to a new spring season always puts me in a cleaning and organizing mood. I suddenly notice areas in our home that have been a certain way for a long time but could be done better, and I find it very satisfying to transform them. Recently I got fed up with the metal bin we had on our kitchen counter that was being used to hold things like notepads and forms from school, pens, and other miscellaneous stuff. We have limited counter space in our kitchen as it is, and that bin was often crammed to the point of overflowing, which was making me feel claustrophobic when I was cooking. I finally got rid of the bin, and replaced it with a wall-mounted letter holder which we tucked away in an unused sliver of wall between a tall cabinet and the kitchen window. (The letter holder was a great deal from Sears, and looks very much like the more costly version I'd been admiring in the Pottery Barn catalogue.) All of the papers we need to keep at close reach are now neatly organized in there in some pretty file folders I found in the dollar bins at Target, and my kitchen counter suddenly seems bigger and less cluttered. Hooray!
A pop of colour: One of the easiest ways to bring the feeling of spring indoors this time of year is by switching out some heavier winter home accessories for some brightly-coloured, lighter ones. I recently replaced some tired-looking old throw cushions on our living room furniture with some fresh new ones, and the room suddenly looks much more cheerful and inviting. (Maggie the cat approves, too, as she now spends most of her day curled up with these new cushions, sleeping.) I found many great spring patterned pillows to choose from in stores like Pier One, Bouclair, and HomeSense.
Natural laundry soap: Our family switched to using all-natural laundry soap several years ago. We all have sensitive skin, and some of us are also sensitive to scents, so it was important to me to find a chemical- free soap that would be gentle and still do a good job of cleaning our clothes. Nellie's All-Natural Laundry Soda is my hands-down favourite now (although for some reason, Noah calls it "Margaret Soap".) It's a powder that dissolves well, cleans effectively, and rinses thoroughly out of our clothes so there is no residue left behind. I love that a relatively small tin of Nellie's does 100 loads of laundry and is good for both our sensitive skin and the environment. You can find Nellie's products at health food stores (I also buy the Oxygen Brightener, which is great for keeping whites white and for removing stains), or sometimes at Winners or HomeSense (where you can get it for a very good price when they have it).
Photo credit: FamilyFun Magazine
April Fool's Day fun: April 1st is just a couple of days away, and if you have kids who love getting pranked, you might have some fun with this cute idea I used to trick Noah and Will a few years ago. Simply print out this little doughnut seed packet and assemble it, then fill it with an O-shaped cereal. When I gave these little seed packets to the boys at breakfast, telling them I had found the perfect thing to plant in our garden that summer, their faces were a priceless mixture of disbelief and delight.
A homemade sports drink: With warmer weather in sight, kids will soon be running around playing outdoor sports again and training for the school track-and-field season. Here's a great idea for keeping them hydrated, suggested to me by our ND, Anita Kieswetter: You can make your own sports drink by simply mixing eight ounces of water, one tablespoon of orange juice, and a pinch of sea salt. This natural version does all the work of a store-bought sports drink, without all of the added sugar and artificial colours.
That's all I've got in my pockets for today! Wishing you all a happy week.