Simple City Life

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Reduce Waste and Save Money This School Year.

When things cost a few pennies at a time, we seem to ignore it. When you start to add those pennies up, you can really start to see the savings. Since using a waste free lunch system, we never have to purchase throwaway items. However we did have to by some large gallon toss bags for freezer meals and the cost killed me! With us being on such a tight budget, I am so glad I have that extra money to put towards field trips and family fun!



If that chart motivates to you change up your back to school lunches- checkout these great options from ECOlunchboxes. We have been using the Three In One for the last year and LOVE it! It looks brand new still. We have added the Blue Water Bento this year. I am excited to use it and so far love the size. 





Eco Chic Furoshiki Bento Box Kit 
The original eco lunchbag from Japan sewn from colorful fair trade textiles hand-printed by artisans using wooden blocks and wax batik techniques. Includes 2 solo bento.
$69.99
Buy Now





















 Oval + Cup
This super-classy 2-piece lunch set includes a large oval container plus a smaller cup that's ideal for sauces, dips or other wet foods.
$25.99
Buy Now
Three-In-One
With three nesting containers, this lunchbox is ideal for school lunches. Most kids pack a sandwich and two side dishes, this ensures their food won't get mixed up!
$27.99
Buy Now
Solo Cube
This is a classic reusable sandwich box, durable and light-weight, but without the plastic!
$40.00/ 2pk
Buy Now

~Courtney

Blue Water Bento Lunch Kit
This is a fantastic leak-proof lunchbox without plastic! The silicone lid and the quirky screen-printed lunch bag are a crowd favorite.
$36.00
Buy Now

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Drawstring Studio, handmade pillows for your home. #supporthandmade

I have been blessed to know so any great artist here in Milwaukee! Today I am so excited see my friend Danielle of  Drawstring Studio on Zulily today. Danielle is friend and neighbor double bonus! She makes most adorable home decor for you childs bedroom. Check her out today on Zulily as well as her regular shop, Drawstring Studio
Way to Go, Danielle, I wish you tons of sales friend! 
~Courtney

Friday, August 15, 2014

{Fashion Friday} Back To School Style with Umi Shoes

We have been purchasing Umi shoes for several years now. After we moved to Milwaukee a friend and fellow bargain hunter told me about this great shoe company and their warehouse sale here in the Milwaukee area. I hadn't heard of them before this. I took this friends advise and visited the sale. Needless to say it was love at first sight. Completely adorable shoes for girls and boys! I was in love and thrilled to find a quality brand that gave boys great options shoes.
Fast forward a couple years and we are still in love with this brand and proud to be ambassadors with Umi Shoes. I get so excited every season to see what new styles they have come out as well as what shoes we will pick out for the boys. I desire to be a minimalist, but fail regularly. However, I have put my foot down on excessive amounts of shoes for the kids. One reason is they can never find the matches! So eliminating several pairs helps them be responsible and keep better track of their shoes.  Secondly, their feet are still growing. We tend to wear our shoes until they do not fit, then we can move up to the next size.  Third, I do not have the space for extra shoe storage- one of the joys of living in a small space. Last year Owen wore his Umi shoes every day for school. From the first day until the month before school was out. He loved them and you could tell when we finally had to toss them. I was impressed to see these shoes take such a beating for 8 month straight. They held up amazingly well for a kid who is rough on everything he touches, not to mention they walk to school every day and three days a week to Tae Kwon Do.

This year we have two crazy boys who will be sporting their Umi's to and from school this year. Owen loved his shoes from last year that he picked out a similar pair, the Glenn II. This shoe is so handsome yet comfortable and easy to get on and off quickly. I love that he picked such a classic and grown up looking shoe. He is turning into such a little man!

For Raichlen I picked the Cameron, a slip on tennis shoe. Since this is his first year in school, I wanted to make sure he wouldn't have a pair of shoes that would require extra tying. He is going to have so much to take in, I do not want him detracted with laces. They are also very lightweight and will be easy for him to work around the classroom in.since they spend a lot of time on the floor. So far he has given these shoe a big thumbs up and love running around in them.
 As you can see these shoes get a big thumbs up from Raichlen! Visit Umi Shoes and check out all their wonderful styles for your little ones. You can also connect with them on Facebook and Twitter, where you will be in the know for all their sales and contests!

You are also invited to win a 60$ gift card from Umi Shoes right here! Just enter the rafflecopter form below! Best of luck and have a great back to school! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Back To School Fashion with Tea Collection

I remember getting my back to school outfits. Do you? I loved this one outfit that was a plaid sweater vest with matching maroon cords. I wore it all the time. I can still remember what I felt like in that outfit. I felt on top of the world. Now that I'm a mom, I get to provide that feeling for my littles. I love shopping through Te Collections new fall line. We have been shopping Tea for several years. I am the farthest thing from a fashionista, and I am a very thrifty shopper, but Tea gets me every time. I am able to justify spending a little more because I know that these clothing pieces will wash and wear wonderfully. No strange shrinking or stretching. Not to mention these items are always my kids favorite pieces to wear. I simply adore this below. The bright colors are perfect for school as well as fall pictures.

Tea Collection Momma's Gone City Boy Set


  Since are are a uniform school, the boys are not able to wear those bright colors every day. How ever on uniform optional days, you better believe they are sporting many colors! Tea Collection also offers plenty of solid staples. We have a very simple dress code requiring khaki, blue or black pants as well as white and blue tops. Knowing the great quality of these pieces, I am willing to add some of these basics to their wardrobe. 
Tea Collection Purity Tee 3-PackTea Collection Slim Twill Cargo Pants
So, while you are shopping for back to school clothes, take a look at Tea Collection beautiful selection.

~Courtney

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Candied Pecan & Kale Salad With Blake's All Natural. #BlakesPairing

This summer has been a busy one. I typically spend my summers refereeing between the kids and relaxing in the yard. I believe a combination between the children getting older and the poor weather, we have been out and about more than ever this summer. On one hand it has been great, the kids have built several memories, while time has move quickly on this long summer break  But the other hand is that house hold duties have taken the back burner, especially dinner! Not that I totally mind, since I am not the biggest fan  being in the kitchen all day. ;)

Since discovering Blake's All Natural Foods, I have loved having the convenience of freezer meals without the guilt!  When you read through their story, you feel like you are going back in time, witnessing a piece of their history. Learning about the precious details they have taken to preserve their family recipes and have passed them onto you, the consumer. Each meals is made to perfection, by hand with all natural and organic ingredients. Owen is in love with their gluten free options, Gluten Free Chicken Pot Pie and Shepherds Pie. He has been know to request one of these meals for breakfast. I have also used Blake's in the kids lunches on occasion and love using them for those unplanned, rushed evenings. Everyone can pick their favorite, yet we can all sit down and enjoy a meal together. Blake's meals work wonderfully when paired with a scrumptious salad. With this strange fall like weather, I love making a rich and hearty salad. This salad has quickly become a favorite around this house, I am sure you will love it too!

Candied Pecan & Kale Salad

Dressing Ingredients:
1 Avocado
2 T. raw olive oil
half  lemon juiced
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1 t. honey
salt to taste.

Salad Ingredients:

4-5 kale leaves, stem removes, chopped.
4 dried figs, chopped
1/4 c. candied pecans, store bought or homemade
hemp seeds 

Add dressing ingredients to food processor or blender. Mix well. This dressing is very thick. Set aside. Wash and dry your chopped kale. Toss in mixing bowl and add a few spoonfuls of dressing, massage into the kale giving it a light coating, add more if necessary.  Top with chopped figs, pecans and hemp seeds. Serve with your favorite Blake's Meal and enjoy! (Can be stored in the fridge for a couple days.)


Blake's has recently launched a few brand new meals that pair wonderfully with this salad. My favorite is the Chicken and Dumplings. Seriously, it is so delicious! I may have indulged last month during that time of month. Elliott is driven to the Tater Tot Casserole. Next time you are in Target, grab a couple  meals and hang up your apron for the evening. You will be so happy! 

To celebrate these new meals, I am giving away, to one lucky reader 5 free Blake's Meals! All you have to do is enter below in the comments. 

Enter by telling me:

What Blake's Meals you will try first. -one entry
Follow Simple City Life on Instagram. -one entry
Follow Simple City Life on Facebook. -one entry
Share this giveaway on Pinterest, Twitter or Facebook and leave your link. - one entry

Cheers!
Courtney






Monday, August 11, 2014

when happiness happens.

Between my days of chasing the kids, keeping house, cooking dinner, managing the budget and running other household things, you can look right over the happy moments. In the midst of all that chaos, it's can be difficult to slow down and let the happiness happen. When I take time to think about the moments in my day that make me the happiest, they are the moments that just happen. There is no explanation, no force, just pure and natural happiness. You can not create happiness, you can only enjoy it as the moments unfold. When I sit back and look over each day since becoming a mother, I can honestly say that the happiest moments occur first thing in the morning. Each of our babies have woken up in our bed, with sleepy grunts and stretches, you can not help but feel complete joy and happiness.  

Although the kids have grown up, these morning moments have not stopped coming. Each one of the children wake up differently in their own special way. My youngest every morning climbs up on our bed and wiggles his way between Scott and I. He fills us with hugs and kisses. It is such a gift to wake up to. I catch glimpses of his newborn snuggles and it fill my heart. Owen, the middle man, always checks in on my side of the bed. He stands beside me, rubbing his eyes and stretching every muscle in his body. He was always moving like this when he was tiny. Now he is 8, tall and happy. I love his wake up calls and will miss them as he grows up. Elliott now 10, wakes up quietly. She reads for a while, then slowly walks into our room. Her eyes are still full of sleep and she is in those moments still my little sleepy baby tucked next to me in my bed. 

As much as I long for a master bedroom that is private and not the grand central station of our house, I wouldn't give up these moments for anything in this world. 

Where does your Happiness Happen?
~Courtney

This post was written in partnership with Happy Family as a member of their blogging team. I will receive a gift as a thank you. 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Simple Homemade Skin Care From Your Kitchen

Summer is by far my favorite season. I love everything about it! Being able to sit outside for hours, walk the city sights, hike nature trails, and soak in that beautiful sun. The only negative is all that exposure can take a toll on your skin. The air is full of free radicals, that can clog pores and that glorious sun can dry your skin out too. Not to mention if you are in the pool often, the harsh chemicals can really mess with your skin. When I can feel that my skin is in need of a little extra attention, I look no further than my pantry. There is no need to spend a ton of money on products that may be full of toxins. What products are great for skin care? Here is a list to get you started:

Lemons - to purify and clean, great for hands and feet
Baking Soda - cleaning and deodorizing. Great for scalp, feet and hands
Salt - for feet and hands, mixed with oils, is a great product for scrubbing your hands and feet
Sugar - can replace salt on dry sensitive skin
Coconut oil - gentle oil great for the whole body and teeth
Oatmeal - soothing for your whole body
Yogurt - nourishing and gentle, soothes irritated skin
Vinegar - helps soothe sunburn
Honey - great for acne and aging

Here area few simple recipes for your skin:

Yogurt with Honey and Oatmeal Mask:

1/2 cup oatmeal, finely ground
1 cup of Stonyfield Greek organic yogurt
2 T honey
essential oils of your choice. 2-4 drops. {I use Lavender and Tea Tree.} 

Blend all ingredients in a blender until nicely whipped. 
Apply to face. Rinse after 15 minutes. 
*For extra dry feet this can also be used as an overnight remedy. Coat feet in mask, wrap in plastic wrap, cover with socks and leave on overnight. Rinse in the morning and follow up with a foot scrub. 

Deodorizing Foot Scrub:

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup fine sea salt or brown sugar
3-4 drops tea tree essential oil

Place ingredients in a bowl, mix together with a fork until well blended. Massage into feet for a nice gentle moisturizing scrub.

Lavender and Lemon Hand Scrub:

1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sugar
juice of one lemon
2-4 drops lavender oil

Blend oil and sugar together until well blended. Add lemon juice and lavender. Massage into hands for a deep cleansing and moisturizing scrub. 

Enjoy the end of summer! Remember to keep your skin happy and toxin free.

~Courtney




This post was created in partnership with Stonyfield. All opinions are my own.

Friday, August 1, 2014

{Fashion Friday} Wearing Baby this Fall in Style - Boba Hoodie Review #bobaambassador



So it's August 1st, can you believe it? This summer has FLOWN by so quickly and I feel like I am still trying to catch up. I am totally in denial that fall is right around the corner and refuse to even look at all the pins being pinned to Pinterest regarding recipes with pumpkin and Autumn decor. I am however making an exception today to tell you baby wearing momma's out there about the Boba Hoodie you need for this fall and winter!
So Snugly!
Boba has quickly become my favorite baby carrier for my sweet Alamea, and all of us including her 11 year old sister has worn her with pride. We have had her in the carrier and wrap since she was teeny tiny and it has been fantastic. You can read more about the Boba Carrier 4G and the newborn insert here! Back in the early spring I received the Boba Hoodie in Grey for reiew and instantly loved it! And even though I am not looking forward to chillier weather, I am really excited to wear this Hoodie again this fall with my sweet girl



The Hoodie is designed to fit over your  Boba - Baby Carrier and Baby Wrap or any soft structured carrier to keep you and your sweet pea nice and warm. The Hoodie works with your baby either on the front or back. I have not actually tried wearing my little girl in the back yet because she is still pretty tiny in weight but am looking forward to wearing her in the back by September. The pull over Hoodie also has a hidden zipper on the side to give you more room to pull it on and off. The zipper is pretty easy to zip by yourself for the most part but I usually have my husband do it for me if he is with me. The Hoodie is so soft and made with terry blend of cotton and spandex and there are also thumb holes to keep your sleeve in place which is one of my favorite parts! My other favorite part of the Hoodie is how long it is and the nice waist band at the bottom.  I ordered the Xlarge which gives me plenty of room and space to move around in and not feel like there is too much fabric. I probably could have gone with the large but I really wanted it to be roomy.  I really love how the Hoodie keeps me and Alamea so warm and snugly on our walks around the park or around town, I don't have to worry about bundling her up too much because between my own body heat she stays really warm, I just would throw a hat on her little head if she needed.

 My only negative comment about the Hoodie is it really can't be worn by itself without the carrier, because of the slit for the baby's head, it just look really funny.And because I like it so much, I wish I had one that I could wear everyday!  I also think it would have been nice to have a front zip up option instead of a pull over. I still however have to give this Hoodie 2 thumbs up for those that are planning on wearing your baby lots in the colder months. It is a MUST!  Not only is the Hoodie incredibly practical I love the style and design of it, like I said I wish I could wear it everyday with or without the baby:) Just remember the Hoodie itself is not a carrier, but it goes over baby carriers:)
Boba Vest
It's totally worth every penny in my opinion! 
The $70.00 Boba Hoodie is offered in Black and Grey and is $70.00.
Boba also offers a Vest for $55.00 in black or grey.

Also be sure to check back in the next few weeks on my review of the BobaAir

Cheers,
Abbie


Thursday, July 31, 2014

Free Shipping from @TeaCollection! {One Day Only!}

Today Only: Free Shipping on All Purchases of $75 and Up
**This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

Tea Collection is gearing up for back to school shopping we're all clambering to get done. Shop Tea and have your child
all ready for back to school in style!
Today only, you can get free shipping on all purchases of $75 and up with code: JULYSHIP! 
Tea Collection Gesundheit Wardrobe Set
Now you can stock up on all of your favorites without worrying about the extra cost to ship that brimming package of beautiful, globally inspired outfits for your little ones. Be sure to use code: JULYSHIP at checkout. 

Happy Shopping! 
Courtney

Monday, July 28, 2014

I'm heading to @ShiftConMedia!

ShiftCon
When the event you are dying to attend sells out before you get a chance to beg your husband for a change to go, you want to curl up and cry. I was so green with envy of all the bloggers who received their tickets, I knew this would be a conference that I would stalk online, like ridiculously stalk. Blog conferences are super fun and I haven't been able to attend very many...well in truth, I have attended two. It's great to meet fellow bloggers, gain perspective, learn new things and network. What has set this conference way ahead of the rest, is that this conference is focused completely on my passions. They will be teaching  in depth about toxins in our world and what we can do to raise awareness. There will be ways to network with brands that are choosing the right path and eliminating harsh chemicals from their products and staying focused on the health of our whole being. Everything about this conference screams Courtney and Simple City Life. Well, last week, I saw that they opened up a few more tickets and to apply for a wait list. On a whim, I applied. I figured I would have some time to figure out how in the world I was going to afford this trip if a spot opened up.

Well, you can imagine my shock when Leah, aka@bookieboo, emailed me that a spot opened up. I had to discuss things over and took a leap of faith. By the next day I was officially registered for ShiftCon! I still am figuring out where the rest of my expenses will come from. I need to find a roommate and airfare too, but I have faith that this will all workout. I am hoping that I can book a few fall photography session to help cover the costs, so if you know someone in the Milwaukee area, send them my way! If this conference sounds just as amazing to you, you need to apply for waitlist ticket! They are making room and you could be in LA hanging out with me this October!

Some of the amazing people and organizations that will be attending are:
Healthy Child Healthy World
Safer Chemicals, Healthier Families
Dr. Alan Greene
Alicia Vooehies
Annie Urban
Stonyfield
Applegate Farms
Rudi's
...and so many more! 

I am looking forward to finding my voice. I have deep passions for everything at ShiftCon, but I need to gain my confidence in sharing it with my friends, family and my amazing readers.  I am hoping to shift into a new more confident blogger when I return. 

If you want to help me get to Shift Con- please email me at simplecitylifeblog@gmail.com. I am wiling to work my way there, and I would love to talk with you! I would estimate my expenses to be near 800$. I am willing to work with partial sponsorship or full- anything helps at this point! 

Do something wonderful today, 
Courtney