DIY Easy Burlap Bunting

One of the simplest and most versatile projects I’ve done so far is my burlap bunting.  I originally made this for Lincoln’s Nursery, but then ended up using it mostly for my craft show booth.

DIY Burlap Bunting Tutorial-quick and easy, made in 10 minutes!

It was super easy to make….took me about 10 minutes total!  So now that I’ve been planning Lincoln’s Wild West Cowboy Birthday Party, I decided I could use a little more.  So Millie and I made a little more this week.  It was the perfect project for her to help with because it is very hard to mess it up!

DIY Burlap Bunting Tutorial-quick and easy, made in 10 minutes!

You’ll need a strip of burlap, the width depending on how long you want your flags to be.  Use a ruler to draw triangles across the burlap.  Where applicable, I pulled some of the burlap strands out after cutting, to reduce fraying.  You’ll also need some painter’s tape, white paint, a paintbrush, a glue stick, a length of twine {long enough for your completed bunting}, some newspaper for underneath your burlap, and a hot glue gun.

DIY Burlap Bunting Tutorial-quick and easy, made in 10 minutes!

 Divide your cut triangles into two equal stacks….one will be striped, one will be polka-dotted.  To make the polka dots, simply dip the end of your glue stick in paint and transfer to your triangles, evenly spacing out the dots.  Let dry completely.

For your striped triangles, use your painter’s tape, starting at the top, to make evenly spaced stripes down the triangle.  Paint the spaces in-between the tape, making sure you have even coverage and you paint over the edges of the tape {to create crisp lines}.

DIY Burlap Bunting Tutorial-quick and easy, made in 10 minutes!

When still wet, peel off your painter’s tape and let dry completely.  Using the hot glue gun, draw a line of glue along the top edge of the back side of your triangles {alternating striped and polka dotted}, and glue down the twine.  I left about an inch in between each triangle so they would have plenty of room to fold on top of each other for storage.

DIY Burlap Bunting Tutorial-quick and easy, made in 10 minutes!

And tada!  After this quick and simple burlap bunting project you have a beautiful piece of decor just waiting for a place on your mantle, door, wall, etc.

DIY Burlap Bunting Tutorial-quick and easy, made in 10 minutes!

Stay tuned next week to see how I used the bunting at Lincoln’s Cowboy party!

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Do’s and Don’ts of Planning a First Birthday Party

We go all out for a first birthday party around here.  Jayna had a colorful Crayola Crayon bash and Millie had a super fun Very Hungry Caterpillar party.  Now, it’s Lincoln’s turn and I’m having a blast planning a little boy’s first birthday party.  Since I’m on my third round of these parties, I’ve figured out a few Do’s and Don’ts of planning a first birthday party, and I thought I’d share them with you.
The Do's and Don'ts of Planning a First Birthday Party


Invite your adult friends – let’s face it, your toddler doesn’t have friends….invite the people you enjoy!

Go simple – the baby’s not going to remember it anyway OR

Go big – this might be your only chance to choose the theme before Frozen and Ninja Turtle themed parties take over

Feed your pint sized guests – include appropriate food for any little ones attending….cheese cubes, quartered grapes, mini club crackers, fishies and great to have out and already cut and prepped to save your guests the hassle.

Try to provide a quiet space for your youngest guests to hang, or even older toddlers who need a break from the stimulation….even a quiet corner with some toddler toys is fine.

Keep it short!  Your birthday baby is going to crash quickly from the stimulation and the cake, so keep it well under 2 hours

Consider asking your guests to bring a book for your little’s library, bring a new pair of pajamas to donate to needy kids, or just write a small note at the bottom of your invitation about refraining from gifts.  Your child probably doesn’t need 15 new “plastic things” that you probably don’t really want in the first place and they will never miss! “Your presence is your present to Baby!” Even if you include something like this on your invitation, expect a few traditionalists to still bring Baby a little something.  If a few do this, find a place a little out of the way to open the gift in front of just that guest, or put aside to open later…and don’t forget a thank you note!


Stress over the little stuff…especially if there are a bunch of other toddlers attending.  Crumbs will be dropped, juice will spill.

Forget to write thank you notes on behalf of your child.  Even a simple “Thank you for coming!” type note will let your guests know how much their presence meant to you.

Stick to your guest count.  There will always be guests who aren’t able to come at the last minute {sick kids!}, or who forget to RSVP and show up anyway.  Plan for a few extra guests when it comes to seating, food and favors.

Plan your party at peak hours…aka “Naptime”.  Most toddlers have a morning nap {around 10ish} and an afternoon nap {around 1 or so}.  Definitely plan around your child’s nap times, so the birthday baby will be in good spirits for the entire party!

 –Forget to take some pictures!  Enjoy the party, but do snap a few shots of the cake smashing and other festivities.
Enjoy your little one’s first birthday!
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How to Eat to Lose Weight

I promised you last week I’d tell you about my eating plan the past few months, which helped me lose 30lbs in 15 weeks.  I really didn’t diet.  I wanted to jumpstart my metabolism, eat healthier and cleaner, but mostly just make a change to our lifestyle in general.

What to eat in order to lose 30lbs in 15 weeks

Dave and I both got FitBits for Christmas, but really started using them the past few months to track what we eat, how many steps we take a day, how much water we drink, and to participate in challenges that keep us motivated.  My goals were to walk 10,000 steps a day and burn 2,200 calories a day.  The food tracker for me is key though.  It’s pretty accurate about calories and everything, but honestly, I don’t even worry too much about that.  I just found that in general, if I wrote down what I ate every day, I ate healthier, and less.  I need the accountability, and even if I was just tracking it for myself, writing it down really helped.

In addition to tracking my food, I participated in weekly challenges put out by my trainers on Facebook.  Some of the challenges were:

Drink 100oz of water A DAY for ONE WEEK

Cut out DAIRY for ONE WEEK

Eat a FULL SERVING of veggies at EVERY meal for ONE WEEK

Cut out SUGAR for ONE WEEK



Here’s a sample of one of my No Carb/No Dairy recipes that was a HUGE hit in the house!

Mustard Thyme Chicken with Coconut Oil Sauteed Broccoli-eat to lose weight

Mustard Thyme Chicken with Broccoli sautéed in Coconut Oil

2 Tbsp spicy mustard {or dijon}, 2 Tbsp honey, 2 tsp Thyme….whisk together and brush on top of chicken {enough for 3 breasts cut in half}….bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Broccoli was sautéed in coconut oil only!

I also randomly did a couple of Paleo weeks courtesy of the eMeals Paleo Meal Plan.  I found that I could lose about 4 lbs a week every time I did this, in addition to my bootcamp classes.  Again, a nice little jumpstart for my motivation!

In general, my “meal plan” has been:

Breakfast: 1/2cup egg whites, 1/2 c veggies for an egg white omelet with a side of strawberries {1cup}

Lunch: Huge salad with a head of lettuce, an avocado, a tomato, red onion, a hard boiled egg {white part only} and balsamic vinegar for dressing

Dinner: chicken and veggies {like above}

I’ve had a few “cheat” days {or vacations….} and have had a few minor setbacks, but overall have been able to maintain now that I’ve learned how to eat to lose weight.  I’m hoping to do a cleanse next week {after the stress/fun of planning Lincoln’s party is over} and get back on it hard…I’ve got about 16lbs left until my goal weight.  Leave me a comment if you’d like me to keep you posted on how I’m doing, and the meals/workouts that are successful for me!

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9 “Non-Junky” Party Favor Ideas

Planning a birthday bash is stressful.  Good stress though, you know?  I LOVE planning parties for my kiddos.  The more themed, the better!  I think it all goes back to my curriculum planning days of being a preschool teacher….I loved those themed units too!

Although I’m a firm believer that favors are NOT a neccesity after a party, sometimes it’s nice to send a little “thank you” home with the guests, and when it ties into the theme….even better. My least favorite party favors are the plastic junky ones that don’t serve a purpose, don’t fit the party theme, and just end up thrown away. What a waste. So I’m committed to having functional and cute favors at the parties I throw. Here are some ideas that I found on Pinterest that I think are the epitome of function, fun, and class!

9 Ideas for Non-Junky Party Favors from Palmettos and Pigtails

My favorite types of party favors are the completely useful ones.  The ones that are cute, good quality, and functional after the party too.  I still see little girls in my neighborhood wearing our “Mermaid Pearl” hair clips after Millie’s Mermaid Party.

 Source: Palmettos and Pigtails

Not only was this Dr. Suess party so cute, but the party favors were colorful socks and Dr. Suess books.

Source: Catch my Party

I’m sure the parents at this party liked the Lego soap favors.  What a clever {and handy} thing to send home with a bunch of rowdy {and dirty} kiddos!

Source: The Rockin Boys Club

My second favorite type of party favor is one that is fun for the kids, but still good quality or really creative. For example, these little jars that went home after a circus themed party are adorable, and the possibilities for later use are endless!

Source: Pink Pistachio

I love how this mom recycled her bits and pieces of old crayons to make colorful new ones as party favors.  What an easy and free way to say “thanks” to your guests!  Just a quick note though, I made these once and had a terrible time getting the crayon residue out of the silicone mold…you may want to think twice about putting food in them afterwards!

Source: Treasures for Tots

And oh my goodness, the party favor from this Batman party was such a simple idea, and I’m sure the kiddos loved being able to “signal” for Batman after the party.  And even when they tire of that, the flashlight can be used around the house later.

Source: MyLitter

When I threw a Candyland-themed party for Jayna, the kids really appreciated the candy dessert bar we had set out.  The parents? Not so much.  So I appeased them by providing toothbrush and toothpaste favors!  {Packs of 4 at the dollar store!}

Source: Palmettos and Pigtails

When all else fails, go with edibles.  When my kids get candy, snacks or treats at parties, I either let them indulge right then and there, or I automatically have an easy excuse to whisk it away {i.e., “no snacks in the car,” “let’s see how well you nap, first,” “hmmmm….maybe for dessert…”}  Either way, out of sight, out of mind!  But if you go the edible route, go creative!

 Source: Palmettos and Pigtails

Source: Chickabug

 Hope these non-junky party favor ideas will help you out during your next party planning session!

Got an idea for a non-junky party favor?  Leave a comment or a picture and I’ll share it with my readers too!

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American Sniper DVD Giveaway

I, for one, have been surrounded by military on both sides of my family.  Stretching as far back as we can research, the brave soldiers of my family have fought at home and abroad to keep our country safe.

In honor of Memorial Day next weekend, I’m proud to be hosting a giveaway for a copy of the “American Sniper” DVD/BluRay.  With 2 readers winning a copy of this critically acclaimed film, this will make the perfect gift to honor a soldier in your life.

American Sniper DVD/BluRay Giveaway

Here’s the synopsis from the press release:

From director Clint Eastwood comes “American Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle, whose skills as a sniper made him a hero on the battlefield. But there was much more to him than his skill as a sharpshooter.

Navy SEAL Chris Kyle is sent to Iraq with only one mission: to protect his brothers-in-arms. His pinpoint accuracy saves countless lives on the battlefield, and as stories of his courageous exploits spread, he earns the nickname “Legend.” However, his reputation is also growing behind enemy lines, putting a price on his head and making him a prime target of insurgents. He is also facing a different kind of battle on the home front: striving to be a good husband and father from halfway around the world.

Despite the danger, as well as the toll on his family at home, Chris serves through four harrowing tours of duty in Iraq, personifying the spirit of the SEAL creed to “leave no one behind.” But upon returning to his wife, Taya (Sienna Miller), and kids, Chris finds that it is the war he can’t leave behind.

And for those of you who don’t win the giveaway…

Warner Bros. has graciously offered to donate up to one million dollars to the Wounded Warrior Project!  A dollar from each “American Sniper” DVD sale will go directly to programs and services that meet the needs of injured servicemen and women.  So we aren’t just buying a great movie; we’re helping those who were injured fighting for our country.

So if you’d like to purchase the DVD of “American Sniper,” here is the link

American Sniper Giveaway from Palmettos and Pigtails

If you’d like to enter the giveaway, it ends on Tuesday, May 20th!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

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How I Lost 30 LBS in 15 weeks

Mornin’ y’all!

For those of you who know me personally, you already know that I am in the final stages of  losing ALL of my baby {and pre-baby} weight.  After the girls were born, I was able to lose the baby weight, but it took me a long time since I was attempting to do it all on my own.

This past January, I joined a local bootcamp class with some neighborhood friends twice a week.  I was super intimidated at first….sure I would be the chunkiest and most out-of-shape.  And I couldn’t even really use the “I just had a baby” excuse, as Lincoln was 8 months old!  But I showed up, and I had nothing to worry about.  It was mostly women, all shapes and sizes, and abilities.  We were all lined up on mats facing the instructor, so no one was really watching anyone but him.  The trainer pushes me further than I’d ever go myself, but doesn’t have that stereotypical military bootcamp style that I was terrified of.  He doesn’t yell at me at all, yet somehow I still want to do those 100 squats!!!

So I thought I’d give you some examples of the exercises that we do in a typical class.  Feel free to pin these for later…I like to pull them up on my computer when I workout at home for a quick guide.

I know it’s not healthy to obsess over daily weight fluctuations, but I find it extremely motivating to take complete measurements every month.  Luckily, my Bootcamp trainer does this for me, but here is an easy chart to print out…all you need is a fabric {flexible} measuring tape and a scale-use the same one every time!

Weight Loss and Measurement Progress Tracker

Source: To Insanity and Back

Click here to download and print the FREE measurement tracker.

And now for some workouts!

Here is the quick 6 minute arm workout that I do if I have no equipment and no time. Click Here to see clips of each of the 9 moves…

 Source: Lifting Revolution

This is a sample of what we do in Bootcamp…It’s intense and hard work, but everybody just pushes through at their own pace.

And on my off days, I try to make it to the gym and I do this treadmill routine {which I used when I rocked off 45 pounds after I had Jayna}.

Next week, when I’m back from Vegas, I’ll share with you the nutritional tricks I used to help me lose the baby weight!

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BI-LO Giftcard Giveaway for Mother’s Day

Y’all, Mother’s Day is in one week.  One week!  It sneaks up on me every year, but I’m on top of my game this time around!  Dave and I snuck away this week to get a little R&R in Las Vegas, but I’m all set with cards and flowers and whatnots for the special women in my life.

And good news for you, I’ve got not one. Not two.  But THREE $50 gift cards to BI-LO to help you out with your Mother’s Day purchases this year.

Win one of THREE $50 BI-LO gift cards plus free recipes for Mother's Day Brunch!

BI-LO is showing its appreciation for all moms by offering discounts on the essentials to make the day extra special for Mom, yet still convenient for shoppers to get everything in one place. This year BI-LO’s Mother’s Day specials include their Triple Layer Chocolate Cake ($9.99), Chocolate Covered Strawberries ($7), Message Cookie ($7.99); and starting May 4, premium dozen rose bunch ($10).  What a steal!  {I promise that the roses that you see on the side of the road will be waaaaaaay more than that!}

Win one of THREE $50 BI-LO gift cards plus free recipes for Mother's Day Brunch!

In addition, BI-LO has created the perfect Mother’s Day Brunch menu that I’m sharing with you this morning.  On the menu:

Organic Veggie Frittata

Mom’s Perfect Parfait

Pomegranate Mimosa

Win one of THREE $50 BI-LO gift cards plus free recipes for Mother's Day Brunch!

Click here to download the full menu with pictures!

Ok, so since Mother’s Day is this coming Sunday, we are going to make this a quick and easy BI-LO giftcard giveaway!  Four simple ways to enter the giveaway!  Follow me and/or BI-LO on social media, and tweet about the giveaway daily!  Easy Peasy, Mac and Cheesy.

Giveaway ENDS at Midnight on Wednesday, May 6th!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good Luck!

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May 2015 Cleaning Calendar

I cannot believe that it’s May already!  School is already winding down for us and we are gearing up for yet another really busy summer.  Dave and I are kicking off the month with a spur-of-the moment trip to Las Vegas for business and a little R&R.  We are so blessed that my parents are just a phone call {and a couple hours} away, and are happy to join our circus for a few days so Dave and I can enjoy some time together!  Needless to say, it’s much overdue, and we are so excited!

May 2015 Cleaning Calendar - Palmettos and PigtailsClick on the picture above, or on this link to download your own copy of the May 2015 Cleaning Calendar!  Stay tuned this week for an AMAZING giveaway just in time for Mother’s Day!

Happy Cleaning!

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{Free Printables} The Best Chapter Books for Girls

One of my favorite school initiatives that Jayna has gotten into this year is reading 100 books per quarter.  Now, Jayna is quite the reader.  Despite only being in kindergarten, she can read on at least a 3rd grade level, maybe more.  Her favorite types of books to read are chapter mysteries, like A to Z MysteriesMagic Treehouse, and Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew {which are the elementary-aged adventures of our favorite female sleuth}.  I don’t mind them because quite often the mysteries involve learning about science, history or geography as well, not to mention problem solving skills.  And I love the vocabulary she learns….”Mom, do you know the difference between a tomb and a sarcophagus?”  Seriously.

Luckily, her school allows her to count each chapter as a book on her countdown each quarter, and she is well on her way to reading over 500 books/chapters this year!  And I have no doubt she will read even more this summer.  But to widen her reading scope, I’ve been searching for some new and different titles for her to enjoy….specifically chapter books for girls.  It’s tricky to find ones that are appropriate for 6 year olds {language, innuendo, intensity, protagonist’s attitude, etc.}.  Thank goodness for Pinterest.  Here are some sites I found that have hundreds of chapter books for girls listed!

Source: Real Food Enthusiast

Source: What Do We Do All Day

Source: Pragmatic Mom

Source: I Think We Could Be Friends

I love the age-appropriate descriptions on this site! Source: Modern Mrs. Darcy

I’m sure there are a ton more out there, but I thought these would be a great place to start!  And this summer, in addition to everything else on our Summer Bucket List , we’ll be reading 100 books!  And this year, I’m printing out two of my Summer Reading Checklists….one for the family, and one just for Jayna!

Free Printable Summer Reading Lists from PalmettosandPigtails.comI made these printable lists a couple of years ago…before Jayna was reading on her own.  It was so fun to keep track of the books we read over the summer. Click on the pictures to download the doc and print away!Free Printable Summer Reading Lists from PalmettosandPigtails.comFree Printable Summer Reading Lists from PalmettosandPigtails.comDo you love it?  PLEASE feel free to pin these!  {Hover over each with your mouse, and the little PIN button should show up automatically!}

What were your favorite books to read growing up?

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6 Ways to Clean Out the Medicine Cabinet

With spring cleaning season officially here, I’m up to my ears in small {and big} organizational projects.  You know, in my spare time…  I’ve been slowly photographing all of my kids’ artwork so I can thin out the massive pile of drawings, paintings and handprint art that’s accumulated.  I’m hoping to create a Shutterfly photo album for each kid featuring my favorites of their creations.  Another big project that has been on my back burner for a long time, is to clean out the medicine cabinet.

logoHow to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired MedicationOk.  Confession time.  About 10 years ago {insert sheepish face here}, I inherited a bunch of my late great aunts’ household items.  Included in those items were two plastic containers filled with band aides, gauze, and other basic first aid supplies.  I was excited to have a ready-made first aid kit, so I stuck it at the top of our linen closet and promptly forgot about it.  When I was cleaning out the other day, I realized that most of the items in these old bins were no longer usable.  The bandages have lost their adhesive abilities, and all of the topical treatments have {really} expired.  And since I had long ago forgotten about those supplies, I had already bought duplicates of almost everything anyway.

How to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired MedicationWe have a storage cabinet over our master toilet that houses all of our medications and {current} first aid supplies.  But again, over the years, we’ve collected so many bottles and boxes of stuff, that there really isn’t any rhyme or reason to the cabinet.  Because of the disorganization, it’s easier to just buy new rather than searching for what we have already.  So we have many duplicates of over the counter items.  Not to mention the prescriptions that we’ve acquired after numerous medical and dental procedures, including birthing three children!  Some of these I can’t remember what were used for, and some were already expired.  Time to clean out the medicine cabinet.

And how do you dispose of un-needed or expired medication anyway?  The American Recall Center has  the following tips on how to safely clean out the medicine cabinet.

1. Check with your local pharmacies and police stations for any “take back ” programs they may offer.  It’s a great way to safely dispose of prescription medication.

2. If you have to throw away your pills, do not flush them down the toilet or simply push them in the trash.  If you empty the medication into a sealed bag filled with used coffee grounds or kitty litter before putting in the trashcan, it will make the drugs unrecognizable to anyone who may be searching for them illegally after disposal.

3. Be sure to rip off or black out information on the prescription label.  Blacking out the name of the medication, your personal information and the doctor’s information will make the medicines unidentifiable and will protect your personal information.

4. Check expiration dates! Expired medical products can be less effective or harmful due to a change in chemical composition or decrease in potency.  For example, a humid bathroom cabinet can contribute to decreased effectiveness in medicines.  And never share prescription medication with other members of your household, you never know what medication allergies or reactions you may have.

5. When disposing of EpiPens, injectors, or other needles, be sure you have FDA approved needle disposal containers, which are made of heavy plastic and won’t puncture.  You can get these from your doctor, pharmacy or online.  Call your recycling center or medical facility, they will know where you can dispose of them.

6. Visit the website to learn about recalled meds, and sign up for the patient safety alert to get an alert if something pertaining to your medication is recalled.  And as always, be sure to ask your doctor plenty of questions about medications, side effects, etc.

How to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired Medication

I started out by taking EVERYTHING out of my medicine cabinet.  I wiped down the shelves and doors really well, and separated the expired and old medical stuff with the current.  Then I sorted everything into types of use.  My categories ended up being “Bandages” {Band Aides, Gauze and Neosporin}, “Cleaning” {Hydrogen Peroxide, etc.}, “Pain” {Aspirin and Ibuprofens}, “Allergy” {Benadryl and itch creams}, “Cold” {Nyquil, etc.}, “Eyes/Nose/Ears/Cough” {Nose Spray, Cough Drops, Eye Drops}, “Skin” {Bug Bite Relief, Sunburn, Warts}, “Feminine Care” {Self Explanatory…and I put them in a bin so they are more discrete}, “Thermometers/Dosage Cups” {I saved just a few medicine cups since most medications come with a new one}, “Foot Care” {gel soles, odor eaters}, “Kid” {with each other category that had children’s medication as well}, and “Gastro” {for belly issue meds}.

How to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired Medication

How to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired MedicationHow to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired MedicationHow to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired MedicationHow to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired Medication

I found some cute little canvas bins at Ikea that were perfect for separating categories, and holding  little stuff like rolls of medical tape and tubes of cream.  I also liked how all of my feminine care items could be a little more discrete in the cabinet.  Then I simply chose an area on each shelf for each category.  I placed categories that may overlap next to each other {i.e. “Pain” is next to “Allergy,” which is next to “Cold” so my Tylenol, Benadryl and Tylenol Cold & Flu can be near each other}.  I was sure to place somewhat safer items on the bottom shelf,  just in case one of the kids got into the cabinet.  I used wash tape and a permanent marker to label my categories on the shelves {and give a little pop of color}.  The other nice thing about using the Washi Tape, is that it’s easily removable, so I can reorganize later if needed.

 How to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired Medication

I also repurposed the old plastic bins that I had inherited, and filled them with emergency supplies for the car.  I included clean washcloths, bandages, cleanser spray, Neosporin, bug bite and sunburn relief, scissors, medical tape, a couple of tampons/pads, a couple of Q-tips in a tube to keep them clean, some anti-bacterial Band Aides,and a little chart I’ve had forever that gives you the basics of first aid {CPR, Heimlich Maneuver, etc.}.  I think I also might throw in a diaper/wipes, and a trash bag.

How to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired MedicationI’m quite pleased with the finished product.  And I’m so embarrassed about how much expired stuff we had {and were still using!!}.  So it’s a big weight off my shoulders to know exactly what supplies we have currently, and know that they are safe for my family.

How to Safely Clean Out Your Medicine Cabinet and Dispose of Expired Medication

I’ve listed some items in this blog that can be found on  Here are the quick links if you are interested in finding out more about them.

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As always, all opinions in the post are 100% my own.*