Working from home while supporting your organic product values!!

I don’t share this often, but I also don’t want to withhold this opportunity from anyone! Did you know that you can earn some income from home, while supporting your made in USA, organic, safe product values? With an improved website, improved compensation program, and NEW CBD LINE, Poofy Organics has never looked better in terms of an opportunity for YOU!!! Whether you’d like to earn some extra grocery money each month, or become the “bread winner” for your family, the opportunity is there. And I’d feel bad if I didn’t let you know….  There are several links wrapped up within this one, ANY questions, let me know!

Why I love Barefoot Books!

UPDATE: I am no longer an Ambassador as of 1/1/19, but I still LOVE the books very much & will continue to purchase them as a customer!

I’ve fallen so in love with our Barefoot Books collection that the rest of our collection really doesn’t seem to have much to offer. It all started when my Mom gifted my kiddos the Yoga cards deck. I had never heard of Barefoot Books prior to that. Seeing my 2 kiddos who rarely sit still, doing breathing exercises & practicing Double Downward Dog, I thought to myself: I wonder what else this company offers??  And the answer was: SO MUCH. Raising kids in rural WI means I need to make an effort to expose them to other cultures, and it is something that is very important to me to make a priority. We travel as much as possible, but what I LOVE about books is it brings a whole new world right to us, at home, usually in bed snuggled up together. Little-by-little we have added to our Barefoot library, and there is not a single book I do not find to be a great addition.  They are so colorful, from cover to cover, they are vibrant, beautifully illustrated & just truly great stories! If I had to pick a favorite, which is not easy, I would have to say it’s the Barefoot Book of Earth Tales. It features fabulous nature-inspired tales from several different cultures, and I just adore the lessons it weaves into these fabulous stories. We also have, and have thoroughly enjoyed, the Barefoot Books of:  Children, Animals, Pirates, Princesses, and there are still so many more that we have not yet added to our library.


Puzzles are an absolute favorite way to spend time together. We have several of their puzzles & love them! We have the 100 piece princess puzzle, which is definitely on the challenging side, even for me, but we manage to get it together. We also have & love: Growing a Garden (below) & the Fairy House (which I see is no longer available). There are many more puzzles available!


Games. I ADORE their games, for 1 main reason: they are cooperative, not competitive, what a fabulous idea……! We recently added The Fairy Game & it has been a big hit.


Before that we played the heck out of Dinosaur Escape. We also own Simple Math Lotto & Earth Science Bingo. And I cannot recommend Alphabet Go Fish highly enough. We took this with us on our trip to Belize last January, and we played soooo many games of it. It’s perfect for taking along in your purse, and we pulled it out numerous times when we had to wait for food in a restaurant, in an airport, etc, and it was fun, educational, and really helped pass the time for my less than patient kiddos.


YES, they are printed in China, this is the only part I dislike, and some of you may be surprised & turned off even, wondering why I would go against my made in USA mission?? I really, truly feel these books are THAT great, that I’m willing to overlook this detail. Also, they have a strong sustainability mission, and I truly believe are trying their very best to have the least environmental impact possible.

ABOUT: Our commitment to green business practices grows from the Barefoot team and our Ambassador community’s deep-rooted desire to lessen our impact on the planet. From sustainably sourced paper to vegetable-based ink, the materials that make up our books are ones that you can feel good about having in your classroom or home. Want to learn more? Find out how we’ve planted trees across the globe, and read on to learn how our production processes are contributing to a more sustainable future.


Paper is core to a publisher’s business. We want to protect the world’s remaining ancient forests and ensure that the forestry and paper manufacture undertaken on behalf of Barefoot Books is ethical and legal. The welfare of the people involved in and affected by the supply of paper to Barefoot Books is also of paramount importance to us.

Our printers do not use paper that contains pulp from illegal or unsustainable sources in the manufacture of our books. We use paper that has been graded 3* by the PREPS Grading System or certified by the FSC, the gold standard in forest management and responsibly sourced paper. We continue to work with our suppliers to improve the environmental credentials of our products. Our board books and activity books are made using recycled paper.


All of the ink used by our printers is vegetable based.

Manufacturing Standards

Barefoot Books supports a common, internationally recognized social accountability standard to cover working conditions, health and safety issues, remuneration, working hours and the prohibition of the use of child and forced labor . It’s called the CARE Process. It is the standard used by the global toy industry and is managed by their industry body, the International Council of Toy Industries (ICTI). All of our printing partners carry ICTI CARE certification.


Our print suppliers have systems in place to feed paper offcuts and wastage back into their supply chain. Our packaging is made from recycled material and recycled again after use. We recycle as much as possible in our own offices.

Transporting books from the manufacturer to our warehouse

We tailor print runs to fill shipping containers. This reduces the number of sea and land journeys made on Barefoot Books’ behalf, allowing us control and reduce our carbon footprint.


I love that you can shop by age, subject or format and they offer great gift sets & story collections (Compassionate Citizens Set, on my list!). I find the website to be very organized and easy to navigate!

Sodium borate in personal care?! My thoughts…

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Poofy Organics is releasing a new CBD cream, and it’s oh so exciting!! One concern with this cream is that it contains sodium borate as an ingredient, yes, BORAX!! I’ve been very vocal in speaking out against this as an ingredient in homemade laundry soap, which it is often a main ingredient of, for many years now. Why have I taken this stance? Mainly because of EWG, the Environmental Working Group, and the bad score they give it & the concerns they raise. However, over the years I’ve learned to take their findings with “a grain of salt”. My mantra on EWG over the years has developed into: it’s a good starting point, it’s not the end all & be all on any given topic.  They do rate sodium borate a moderately high 5-6, but they also give a 5 to clove bud essential oil… Those of us who’ve done our due diligence on EO’s know it’s about proper dilution & usage, and my research on sodium borate has lead me to the same conclusion….

Ingredients in Poofy’s soon-to-be-released CBD cream: Organic Unrefined Shea Butter, Organic Aloe Vera, Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, Organic Beeswax, MSM, Terpenes (Eucalyptol, Humulene, Nerolidol, Terpineol), CBD Isolate, Sodium Borate, Vitamin E (non-gmo)

ALL the concerns I can find for sodium borate are in regards to its  powder form, inhaling it, like in powder laundry detergent. But I cannot find concerns when using it topically…. Stephanie from Chemical of the Day is a very trusted source of mine, I’ve never disagreed with anything she’s shared, and she says topical is okay…


Here’s a post by a skin care company using it in their cream as well, I feel they have good points:


I’ve searched & searched for legitimate concerns when it comes to using it topically via a cream, and cannot find anything other than a few bloggers referencing EWG & saying they don’t want to take a chance. I’ve searched PubMed & other sources as well & can’t find anything on the topic. After speaking with Kristina about this personally, I learned that she feels it’s absolutely necessary to making this the most effective product it can be. She can’t divulge proprietary info of course, but she shared with me that the amount used is teeny, tiny per jar, like teeny. And of course she researched the heck out of it too, she wouldn’t put anything in any of her products that she wasn’t 100% confident in. The CBD cream is not like a typical lotion where it’s just supposed to moisturize, it needs to deliver the beneficial ingredients where they need to go, and she’s spent months looking for the right ingredient to do that, the sodium borate is it… The typical emulsifying wax used in the other lotions isn’t effective enough. Wellness Mama has a decent read on the debate too.

Another good read:

We have a thread going in our Poofy Guides group on this topic currently, and there are a lot of good comments!

From Andrea: A lot of public concern comes from the chemical misunderstanding between boric acid and sodium borate. Sodium borate is a natural salt mineral, while boric acid is harmful and toxic.

From Anita: Sodium borate is in contact solution.

In conclusion: It’s essential to keep an open mind about all ingredients. Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it’s perfect. Just because 1 source says it’s terrible doesn’t mean that’s the case in 100% of circumstances. With this new CBD line, you’re going to have to do some research. Is CBD right for you? I can’t tell you with 100% certainty. Is the Poofy Organics CBD cream among the absolute best possible choices for a topical cream should you decide it is a product you need? I can say with certainty YES.

Nashville, oh how I loved thee…..

I had a chance to go to Nashville for a weekend, here’s what I loved about it…. Mainly: I love how they honor their long, vibrant history, while making way for their new history. The absolute best way to see the city- a trolley tour. I ended up buying the 2 day pass, it was $34 for one day, $44 for 2 days. You can get on/off at any of the 15 stops & spend as much time as you’d like there. So long as you’re back by the last pick-up of the day around 5pm you’re good to go. I felt like the trolley took the place for any need for a taxi/uber to get around the city as well. I feel like this photo shows the juxtaposition I’m trying to get at: old meets new…. I like it though! They say ~100 people/day  move to the city! Between the need for housing for them, and the need for hotels for the millions of visitors each year, there is a lot of construction!

Below, the iconic Broadway Avenue, you see a crane on the horizon just about any which way you look.




above, the war memorial


New hotel or apartments going up directly across from Ryman


Below: coffee dripping all day in the lobby of our hotel. They guarantee to deliver to your room within 10 min of your request, and they did!


Room service coffee below:


The city is so full of random gorgeousness:






Above sculptures are in a round-about in the city center. The same artist sculpted Athena at the Parthenon. This display was the center of many protests for many months. Our trolley tour guide said he say church groups here daily for a long time, covering certain parts up with sheets, making large diapers. Finally it died down.

Random fact: Nashville is a MAJOR bachelorette/bachelor party destination. They estimate that income is twice that of all sporting events combined in any given year! You’ll see a lot of this:


And some of this….


They need to pedal to keep the alternator in the thing going, trolley dude said they often stall out & annoy all around….

Below: the only 1:1 scale replica of THE Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Nashville is known as Music City, USA. But also as Athens of the South. Why? Their #1 industry is health care. #2: music. #3: education. They shadow the same values Athens, Greece held near & dear centuries ago. The Parthenon was built during their centennial celebration, which you can read about here:




Larger than life!



40 foot, gold-gilded statue of Athena?! Yes, why not?




Casts of what is left of the original statues in Athens, Greece.

My Hubby: well, I guess you can cross Greece off your bucket list now…. Lol 🙂

Below, trying to take in some authentic cuisine. I had lobster bisque, crayfish tail risotto, and duck empanadas (not sure where those are authentic to, but they sounded good & were). These were off the appetizer menu, I couldn’t eat even 1/2 of it, they don’t skimp on their portions!



Below is an iconic Nashville spot. It was pointed out to us from a few blocks away on our trolley tour. The next day we went to have breakfast at Biscuit Love, a must-eat destination we were told. Well, the line snaked out the door way too far for my liking so we went to a juice bar instead, I had a green smoothie. But a block away we found this spot, glad we stopped for a quick pic!





The State Capitol building sits atop a gorgeous, green, rolling hill.



50 bell towers representing the 50 states, with 95 bells inside, representing the 95 counties in TN. On the hour the bells ring out an iconic song, and then the bell outside the Governor’s window up the hill responds with 1 ding.



Again, just love the ‘old meets new’ feel the city has.



Contemplating life atop a rooftop bar, my 1st ever Moonshine drink. My pal Dana volunteered to go fetch us a drink. I told her what i wanted & she came back with this bucket! I almost finished it, not quite 🙂

All in all, I had a great weekend. I’m a huge fan of slow travel, and believe you can’t really experience much in a few short days, but really feel the trolley tour gave us a great overview of the city’s rich history, as well as the opportunity to do some quick exploring. Within days of returning I bought concert tickets for my Hubby & I to go see our favorite band there for 3 nights over Labor Day. So yes, you can say the city made an impression on me, and I will be back!!!!





The case FOR supporting the MLM business model

The title should continue with: when the products are great!

In my 6+ years of blogging, I’ve seen my fair share of disdain for MLM (Middle Level Marketing) companies. A quick Google search will lead you to plenty of articles against supporting a MLM company. This is not one of those articles. I wanted to share my thoughts as to why you should not lump all of them together nor turn your back on them entirely…. Believe me, I’ve also built up my share of disdain for certain companies myself!  From time-to-time I see posts: looking for non-MLM recommendations for baby shampoo (just a random example). Here’s why I think you’re missing out by lumping ALL MLM’s together.

My motto: ingredients speak for themselves, they just need a voice. I am that voice. I have spent years looking into every personal care company I see. And in my opinion, Poofy Organics is the best of the best. You can look at this list here to see my Best-of-the-Best, So-So, and Not Recommend Lists: Of those on my Best-of-the-Best, Poofy is the only direct sales/MLM/network marketing option in that category.

I’ve been a “Guide”/affiliate/Rep with Poofy for 4 years now. The fact that Poofy has ~500 of us Guides sharing our love for these products & all they stand for, with our friends, family, co-workers, means Poofy continues to grow at a slow but steady pace. This means they are able to offer more USDA certified organic products than any other line on the market. This means that every time we vote with our $$ & make a purchase, they need to re-order supplies from their wholesaler. Our vote with our dollars means more organic ingredients in demand. That means an organic farmer continues his/her livelihood of growing  the organic crop they specialize in.

Every product you purchase has a wholesale & retail cost. When Kristina first launched Poofy Organics over a decade ago, she offered her products in a traditional brick & mortar way, to a bunch of Whole Foods on the East Coast (Poofy is located in NJ). So yes, it was convenient that you could swing by Whole Foods & pick up a select handful of  Poofy products. But only if you were on the E. Coast would you even see them. Or only if you found out about Poofy’s retail website somehow would you even have heard of them. Now, with ~600 products, there’s no way any brick & mortar could stock even a portion of their great offerings.

I know from my hours of volunteer staffing in my food co-op that we markup personal care products 70% there. Yes, 70%! Most retail mark-up is at LEAST 50%…. So while yes, I earn 25% of your purchase when you shop via my Poofy link, it’s nowhere near the 50-75%+ mark-up you are paying for items you’re buying off the shelves elsewhere.

Poofy is different in many ways. There is no push to get out there & recruit others. Many never recruit anyone. Poofy is not interested in exponential growth like many other MLM’s, they want to get as big as possible, as fast as possible. Poofy doesn’t. Kristina, the owner & product creator at Poofy, wants to continue making products by hand, and is very proud of the fact that all products are hand-poured and hand-labeled, in addition to being hand-made. Also, our 25% commission is far less than many companies. Earning 50%+ commission with other MLM companies is more of the norm than not. Kristina believes in keeping Poofy prices as low as possible so as many people as possible can afford them. I urge you to do some price comparisons with other companies, both MLM & non. You’ll find higher price tags for products with few or zero organic ingredients.

So yes, I am earning 25% of your Poofy purchase instead of Whole Foods earning 75%. Are you seriously going to hold that against me for telling you about this great line? Are you seriously not going to consider these products, which I consider the best of the best on the market, because it’s an “MLM”. I really hope you’ll reconsider… The ingredients speak for themselves, and Poofy uses the finest organic ingredients on the market. In addition, you can shop directly from Poofy is you choose, you don’t have to purchase through a Guide as many other companies force you to do, even if you don’t know one. So you can go straight to & make your purchase there, they don’t pay out commission to anyone for that purchase. But I hope you’ll consider using my link, so I can keep on doing what I’m doing: researching the safest, best, made in USA products on the market. Here’s my link 🙂




The Washcloth Shop Products I Love


Of the 3 R’s most of us are likely familiar with: reduce, reuse, recycle, I firmly believe that reducing is the most important. I’m on a never-ending journey to constantly use less. There is ALWAYS that next “something” on my list that I can improve upon. A few months ago I made the change to reusable cloth menstrual pads (will link to that review below). A few months ago I made the change to cloth t.p/wipes for myself! This is an area that I will admit even myself cringed at a few short years ago!

But eventually you just get there…. I cloth diapered both my kids, a total of ~4 years between the 2 of them. I washed a lot of diapers, and I washed a lot of cloth wipes with those diapers! I’m currently using these just for myself, and just for “#1 (pee), but that accounts for most of my t.p usage, so I’m very, very happy to make this switch. I’m not pressing my daughter to switch at all (she’s 5) but I’m hoping she’ll choose to make the switch on her own, so she can be like her Mommy 🙂 Otherwise, I share my home with 2 boys, my Hubby & Son, so they use very little paper! It was just a matter of time before I came to peace with the idea of using cloth myself, and I’m so, so happy with this switch! A pic of my organic, flannel, super soft, toilet “paper” (NOT!).  Thanks to my request, Anne switched to organic material, I don’t really want to wipe the most sensitive part of my body with anything else…..

 A  set of 5 wipes are $12. They are made from organic flannel  (fabric meets GOTS certification -100% organic cotton flannel fabric using only low impact, organic dyes). Also, sewn with GOTS certified organic cotton thread. Flannel wipes are perfect for personal cloth (toilet paper), napkins, baby wipes, etc. Available in 7 or 8″ sizes! I keep a small garbage can w/ lid next to my 2 toilets, and toss the wipes in there after each use. When I’m down to just a few, I wash them, this happens a couple times/week. No, they don’t get stinky, no one in the family notices them sitting there!
Other items I own & love from Anne:
Her Essential Oil pouches are not just for Eo’s you can use them for a variety of goods. Anne usually offers around 10 of these to each buying club, in different, gorgeous yarns for $10 each. Personally, I can’t imagine how long it would take me to make 1 of these, it would end up being $199 worth of labor for me to figure it out 🙂 Anne LOVES what she does, and it shows! Here’s an example of what I packed in 1 of mine for a trip I was taking:
I originally did a review of her reusable Swiffer pad way back in Nov of 2013! I”m still using & loving them! Did you know, you can flip them inside out when one side is all dirty/dusty, and use that side before laundering?! Great hack! She usually offers around a dozen of these per buying club, at just $8 each!
I also use Anne’s washcloths (middle of the pic  in blue/white). I have a stack of ~15 or so. They do fade over time & do tear over the years, and I’m talking years. So maybe once/year I buy a 1/2 dozen or so new ones to replenish my stack, and the worst of the lot get turned into rag bag material (Hubby might use to check oil, etc). I got my stack of white thermal bamboo “tissues” (top right) from a different vendor who no longer offers her products, so Anne has picked up the slack there & started to offer those too. I have not used a “Kleenex” in years! The cloth napkins in this pic are also from that other vendor, but you can use any of Anne’s wipes as napkins too. I’m sharing this pic to show you what it looks like to make a conversion to cloth dish products, napkins, “Kleenex”.
Here is a link to what will be available to the upcoming June buying club:
You can comment ‘sold’ on any item(s) you want for the June order beginning at 10am CENTRAL on 6/1, with a deadline of 6/10 @ midnight central.
As mentioned above, my review of a WI-made, reusable cloth menstrual pad offering. I could not be happier with this switch (6m out now!):

Jolene’s UPDATED safe make-up GUIDE!!

After a lot of requests, Jolene has updated her recommended make-up options! If you should choose Poofy you can take 10% off your 1st order, via rebate, let me know if you have any questions! I’m so so thankful that she volunteered the time to do this! I do not wear make-up myself, so this guide is a huge help!



My Poofy Organics link:


Buying club extras

EMAIL ME YOUR LIST: I pull & pack up your order & send you an invoice with your total. You pay (PayPal, direct bank transfer, check), I ship via USPS flat/regional rate. Next order will be June 1st-10th, and you can get whatever you want from the 25-30 vendors who will be offered at that time.

BAREFOOT BOOKS: These are printed in China, the only non-US vendor of the 30 I offered in addition to Onyx containers. I just LOVE everything I’ve gotten from them for  my kids & appreciate their sustainability mission which you can read about here, as well as check out the books, games, puzzle listed below. Many of the books come with CD’s as well, these truly are gems. If you don’t see anything on the list you’d like, but would like some new books at any time, please use the following affiliate link to do your shopping, I appreciate it.


All the following listed at 50% off:

Out of the Blue (hardcover)@$8.00

Board Books:

Baby Talk @$3.50

Starlight Sailor @$7.50




1x Campfire Smores Lip balm @ $3.50




3x $9.95 (cheapest place you can buy it, it is $13.95 via Amazon)




Organic bamboo Ice teethers 1x angel @$12.95 ea (used to be $25). She is liquidating her stock, no more are being made. One of these buying clubs there will be no more….



NATURAL SPRINKLES COMPANY: NOW 20% OFF PRICES LISTED BELOW (except those already marked down in dent/bent section): (Fb album with the following specific ones). Note: they are not in glass jars, they are now in compostable plastic containers. Website w/ ingredients, etc:

1x 4 OZ little miss sunshine @$11

Bent/dent/partial sprinkles (the orders come in 2x 1 oz containers, some of these had 1 of those spill but the other was fine): 1x 1 oz neon pearls @$3, 1x 1 oz hot pink pearls @$3, 1x 1 oz B-day medley @$4, 1x 1 oz hot pink pearls that had a couple neon pearls end up mixed in @$3





Shampoo $18ea: 1x citrus,  1x lemongrass

6x 2 oz glass jars @$4ea



Earthpaste tubes @$6.50ea: 3x lemon, 1x spearmint

Toothpowder: 1x splashing citrus, 1x peppermint @$12.99ea (marked down to $8.99ea)

REDUCED toothpowder (they sent these by mistake): 2x black licorice @$6 (normally $12.99!)

1x 8.25oz onion salt @$9.95

1x 4.75oz Real Salt @$4.04



2×8 oz Whole Black Peppercorns @$10.75ea

4 oz Euc Glob @ 1/2 price @ $11.50 (was $23, label isn’t perfect as something else in the box broke & spilled on it).




Naked (no box) @$5.65: 2x forest shampoo, 3x garden shampoo

Boxed @$6.15: 1 unscented calendula baby



Set of 4 Simple Elegance ice tea 9.5×9 @$35.95

2x straw brushes @$4.50 ea




Adult brushes @$3 ea: 12 ultra soft, 9 soft, 11 medium (assorted colors)

10x 5 blade razors @ $8.99 ($4 off, normally $12.99!)

5x 5 blade replacement blades  (4/pack) @$14.99ea

10x 3 blade razors @$6.50 ($2 off, normally $8.50)




4x laundry paste samples @$5 (enough for 6-12 loads)



Gum @$3/pack or a 6pk for $15: 1x cinn,  5x coffee, 6x ginger

Mints @$3.50/pack: 1x cinnamon



2 oz jars tallow balm @$18ea: 1x Sweet Girl

1x tickled lip gloss @$16



Lotion @$16:  1x orange/patchouli

1x Tanning Oil @ $14

Deo @$11ea: 1x patchouli/clove


$3 BB cream in light, medium, dark

$3 blush samples: blush, blushing, blushingly, blushful

$3 powder foundation samples: Peace, Love, Hope, Focus, Truth, Harmony

$5 Skin Hero lotion samples (formerly known as Ciao Eczema), 10ml jar, enough for several uses


JESS toothpaste already made:

3x no calcium 4 oz jars @$7ea (NORMALLY $8): 2x strawberry, 1x grape

1x no calcium 8 oz jar @$14 (NORMALLY $16): orange/vanilla

10x 4 oz w/ calcium, ready to be flavored to your choice of: orange, lemon, strawberry, blueberry, grape, vanilla, cinnamon, peppermint, spearmint, bubblegum, or any combo of those @$7.50 (NORMALLY $8)











You Better Belize It!

When asking my Son last night, what he missed about Belize, he said… Belize. Indeed, it has a special place in the heart of each member of my family & we are already planning our trip for next year.




I’m sharing personal stories & even photos of my children & took quite a bit of time to type this all up! Why? Traveling is so, so important to me & I want to share the experiences that made me value it more than ever with you. In hopes maybe I’ll motivate 1 person to get out there & see a new chunk of the world. Raising my kids in rural Wisco, cultural diversity is not something we are strong in. Books can only teach us so much about other humans & cultures, it’s going to visit & making connections & friends with others is priceless & extremely important to me.  I share experiences that aren’t your everyday experience here in Wisco. I’m also happy to provide more specifics for anyone interested in traveling to Belize. I did about a year of research before we went. Little-by-little, reaching out in various groups for advice. While the following is quite lengthy, it is a small fraction of my actual experience. I cherry-picked my most meaningful tidbits. But really, truly, it’s all the details that did not make the cut for this post that are absolutely priceless too.

Pre-trip planning: I started researching Belize almost a full year before we went. I booked our lodging in May, our airfare in early Oct. I’m extremely grateful to not suffer from anxiety except for 1 area: going to the dentist (I have a long list of reasons why). I have always LOVED to travel, and get so, so excited about it. This trip was the 1st ever that I had a few semi-major bouts of anxiety in the day or 2 leading up to us leaving. It didn’t help that we had a completely random, but quite stressful event happen here in Wisco on our own property, a car plunging into the frozen river in our front yard (all ended well, the couple was okay, but we all were quite shook up over it). Then there were the headlines that caught my eye: family of 5 from the US dies in charter plane crash in Costa Rica. Tourist bus plunges off cliff in Mexico, several dead. And I suddenly, and for the 1st time ever, 2nd guessed myself. What the heck was I doing putting my 4 & 6 year olds on a plane to head to Central America?! Was I crazy to think this was a good idea? What if we all died there, my entire family? I really, truly had that feeling for the 1st time ever that I did not want to leave my house. A day before we were to leave for 2.5 weeks. But I got over it. A: I’d been planning this for most of an entire year. B: it was all paid for, no way I was going to forfeit our expenses & stay home out of fear. C: the realist in me shone through: accidents can happen leaving our driveway to go the store to get gallon of milk. We never know when it will be our last day, and I sure the heck want to see as much of this gorgeous planet as I can before my time is up. And I’m so thankful & grateful to be home safe & sound, typing this up from the comforts of my own bed, able to reflect on our amazing trip. The thought of NOT going due to fear makes me want to cry, that is no life to live.

We spent 7 nights on the mainland with a rental car & did quite a bit of exploring. Then we headed to Ambergris Caye for 5 nights, and ended with 4 nights on Caye Caulker.

My 1st Facebook update:

We made it to Belize safely! Super long day, up at 4:30am, left Milwaukee 7am, got off that plane & straight on to the next one in Dallas (40 min from time plane A touched down, and plane B took off, they need to lock plane B 10min before take-off, so we had 30 min, which was plenty of time!). 6 hrs of flight time total, long lines to get through immigration, loaded up into a rental car, an hour & half drive & finally to our home for the next week. Kids have already hit the pool & we just hit happy hour for a tropical drink next to the pool. It’s only 75 here, a bit chilly everyone says 🙂 We’ll take it! It was zero & snowing & so drab & dreary when we left Wisco. I LOVE the vibrancy of the culture & landscape here. The drive from the airport to San Ignacio is wonderful!


Our trip got off to the most amazing start when we found these ruins just up the hill from where we were staying in San Ignacio. We had arrived near dark the night before, after a suuuuper long day of traveling (up at 4:30am is never fun), but there we were, in Belize by 4:30pm! So 1st order of business day 1 was to find a grocery store. While checking out the options in town, we saw a brown sign that said Archaeological site so thought okay, let’s go check it out. This literally is on the edge of town, and I’m not joking we had the entire place to ourselves for an hour & a half. It was $30 USD to get in, we got approached & asked if we’d like a guided tour for $40 USD & politely declined. Little did we know we’d have the entire place to ourselves & the ability to explore all structures at free will!

My kiddos exploring as they liked. Until my Son SWORE he saw a scorpion scuttle into a crack in the rocks. They both stuck a bit closer after that!


They are still unearthing many of the sites after they were reclaimed by the jungle when the Mayans suddenly disappeared. What happened to them is still a mystery….


Plaza A:


Our 2nd full day in Belize, we drove 6 miles up the road to visit some more well-known ruins, just 1 mile from the Guatemalan border!


This community was built over the course of TWO THOUSAND years. And is just now being re-discovered. Some areas were blocked off with tin & barbwire, we overheard someone saying that area was waiting for the next digging season to see what was underneath. One of the tallest (likely the 2nd tallest at this time) manmade structure in Belize!

You take a hand-cranked ferry that can hold up to 4 cars across a small river to get to these ruins. This is me driving the rental we had for a week onto the ferry. Everyone but the driver had to exit.  So there I was, telling my Husband & 2 kids to get out of the vehicle, I’d see them on the other side. I honestly was a bit nervous loading up onto it, but it went very smoothly & the man guiding me into place said I was an excellent driver. There are very few people doing self-guided tours as we did, but I feel we had so many more fun experiences than if we’d hired someone to take us everywhere as many tourists do.  I thought the rental price for a week was quite reasonable, $600 included full insurance coverage. We had read that gasoline was expensive, but it wasn’t until we topped off our 1st ½ empty take &  it cost $90 USD that I realized how serious they are. No more belly aching about it being $40-$50 to fill my vehicle in WI if it is on fumes, it would be $100 in Belize. But being a small country, we only went through about a tank& half of gas in a week, and I was happy with how much exploring we did.

Waiting for the ferry!



 The amazing thing is they’re still finding more Mayan ruins all the time! I developed a sudden desire to be an archaeologist. I think it’s a bit too late for a new career, so I’m hoping 1 of my kids will take it up & I’ll tag along… We can hope, right?!  I didn’t know I had a fear of heights until I was 26. I climbed to the top of ChichenItza in Mexico,  I knew it was a climb, and it was fine going up. But once I got up, and realized how high up it was, and how steep it was going back down, my knees started shaking & my heart started pounding. I couldn’t enjoy the view I had worked so hard for because my body was telling me to get the heck down from there as quickly as possible. So here I was, 12 years & 2 children later, and it was time to put my fear of heights to the test again. It was so, so refreshing & amazing watching my kiddos climb without fear. We saw ZERO other children here. Yet there mine were at the top of the world! It makes me so proud, yet it’s hard not to worry that they’re going to trip & fall & tumble to their death, you know, the brain of a Mom. I’m confident in their climbing because they have been going on pretty serious hikes with us since before they could walk. They are sure-footed, and I’m there to say go slow, go slow, a million times over. But still, there were some ledges a little too narrow for my liking. But, we did it. And it was amazing. I may have sprouted a few new gray hairs on this one though!

Let’s do this Mom, we’re waiting!

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You can pay $100+USD per person, per excursion to go with a guide, or you can pay $10/adult to walk into these places yourself (kids were always ½ price).


Looking from one end to the other, breathtaking: yesn

Having all of that under our belt within 48 hrs in country, I truly felt how special Belize was! We had so many more days, as so much more to do!

Day 3: St. Herman’s Cave! Below is a photo of the entrance to the cave. You hike through the jungle for 10 minutes or so, along a trail, but that was fun in & of itself. Then down into the cave, then in. The sun was out that day & it was HOT! The shade that the jungle canopy provides is priceless, it seriously prevents you from feeling like you’re withering. And the cave, with a stream running through it, cool & refreshing of course! The stream turns to a river eventually, and you can carry a tube in with a guide & tube the cave/river & even see Mayan sacrificial skeletons that are preserved there along the way, if you want to. Many do, it’s a popular tourist attractions. We were able to hike several hundred yards into this cave with no guide. Motto of this trip: conquering our fears. For me= fear of heights, fear of caves. For the kids, they know no fear, and it’s refreshing! I worked hard to not let my fears come to the surface, but every now & then they would notice I was a bit worried or skeptical, and we would all say: be brave, be brave.

St. Herman’s Cave


We followed our cave/jungle hike with a dip in the Blue Hole up the road, your ticket to Herman’s gets you free entry to swim at the Hole. So cool & refreshing! Had an interesting chat with a couple of expats who had relocated from our neighboring states of MI& MN, as well as a family visiting from Panama. I just love the variety of people we met at each & every stop we made!


The  Belize Zoo. We’d seen it highly recommended from various sources, so wanted to check it out!


Above: Not the clearest pic, but I so love this one of my girl. The zoo prides itself on not having concrete walls to keep the animals in, they do their best to provide as natural a habitat as possible, which means lots of chicken wire & various fences. It was definitely a fun visit! I loved their hand painted signs all over the place, many of them comical, it’s always good to laugh. We felt slightly sad after reading the sign that said their jaguar was on loan to the Milwaukee zoo, we were in Belize to escape January in Wisco, and this poor animal had to spend its winter there!

Below is a pic of a Howler monkey at the zoo, we did see some outside of the zoo too, at a preserve which I discuss below, and up the road from there at a place we spent 1 night.


Getting around in country—Belize is a tiny country, and that is part of the appeal for sure. It is quite easy to navigate. We’re not smart phone users, so my Hubby purchased a Belize map update for our GPS via Amazon. This absolutely came in handy! There are 3 main highways, one going the hour & a half west from Belize City to the Guatemalan border, and another going north & south. Once you get off those main, paved roads, you’ll find yourself on dirt, pothole-ridden roads which are rarely marked, nor are the landmarks you’re trying to find.

Seriously, you’d think there would be a sign for Big Rock Falls off the dirt road, but no. You just have to know where to turn. The map says it’s 10 miles, and you’ve driven an hour & feel you definitely should be there by now. You consider, or do, turn around because you think you must’ve passed it. But 2 miles the other way you finally see a local who says no lady, it’s back the other way, you were close. Turn by the sign to Gaia resort (just a random example), go 2 miles down that dirt road & when it forks at the tree, stay right. You don’t want to drive your car too far after that, look for somewhere to pull over & then walk. And yes, we did find many great spots eventually, and if they were easy to get to, we wouldn’t have had them to ourselves as much as we did! Over & over we surprised people that we were showing up without a guide. Being self-guided has many advantages such as not having to be on someone else’s clock. But at the same time, they are soooo knowledgeable & I loved the couple times we did have a walkabout an area with a local. I learned SO much.

One cool place we randomly stumbled across while out trying to find some waterfalls was a resort owned by Francis Ford Coppola (Blacaneoux), he owns 2 in Belize & they’re regarded as some of the best places the country has to offer in terms of lodging & food. We stopped for lunch not having a clue about any of this, but when I looked at the menu I noticed the difference: salads with organic arugula & veggies grown on the property there. The menu was amazing & the food was excellent. The place is located above the falls we hiked down, and they run the resort off hydroelectricity they produce themselves along the river!


It was a slightly treacherous hike to get down to the waterfall, slippery granite rocks, a less than maintained trail with crumbling handrails, but my kids didn’t skip a beat. As with so many places, we discovered that getting there early in the day makes a big difference in how many people are there. Having kids who get up no later than 7am & are ready to GO helps with that. So we had this place to ourselves for an hour or so then people started showing up. Once again, ZERO kids, zero families. The looks my kids got were always priceless, the adults did take note of these adventurous 4 & 6 (almost 7) year olds. They made me very proud!




Looked a lot like Northern Wisco. Granite rocks/ledges & even pine trees among the palms!



The day after the falls (and we visited more falls up the road from here), we had a special day at the Community Baboon Sanctuary in Bermuda Landing, ½ hr north of Belize City & the zoo. I don’t think this is something that is on the radar of most travelers, but it was a special place for us to visit because it was created with the help of a man from my home town here in Wisco, way back in the ‘60’s. It started as an effort between 10 or so landowners, to preserve the habitat of the Howler monkeys. From our Guide we learned they were not baboons, just had been dubbed so by the locals, baboons live in Africa. Presently, ~250 landowners are working together to preseve the territory. The local guy who helped start this sanctuary passed away in 2017, he was in his late 70’s & was a very respected wise elder from my small town, so it meant a lot to me to go visit this place that he went to many January’s of his life! We arrived & were told we had to have a Guide, no self-Guided tours.  We were told our Guide was eating breakfast & would be with us shortly.

A group of 2 families from Denmark arrived off of a cruise ship with a tour guide of their own for the few hours they had free from the ship, and they joined us on our walkabout. There were 3 kids in their group, a bit older than my kids, I’d say between 8-12, and they knew no English so it was fun to hear their Mamas translate what our Rastafarian Guide was saying about the flora & fauna of the area. My Son spotted some iguanas & pointed them out to our Guide, gaining him some major bonus points. Guide explained how it took 7 years for this one troop of monkeys to gain his trust to come down out of the trees (the women & children at least, the males no!) & eat from his hands & those of the people with him. We also learned monkeys don’t usually eat bananas, it’s a stereotype, bananas don’t grow in the depths of the jungle, they’re short & get choked out by the competition. But once turned onto them, they do fall in love! We were done with our walkabout & our Guide presented my Son with a piece of aloe he broke off from a plant in the visitor center ( a small thatched hut), for some ant bites my Son had received. Our Rasta Guide says, what’s your name Son. Orion he says. The look on the Guides face was priceless, I’ll never forget it: MY Son is Orion, he’s 1.5 years old. It was a very special connection. He took my hands into his & said: Bless you Mama, bless you. He told me how he had studied the nebulas & Orion was the farthest unobstructed view into the sky that we are able to see as humans. Something like that anyway. I told him how throughout my pregnancy it was ever-present, no matter where we went & whenever we looked up, Orion’s belt was there. He pulled me in & again: Bless you Mama. It was so powerful for me to connect with this Man in this way!

I could not get over how lush it is everywhere, coming from the frozen tundra back home, where nothing is green, this was exactly what I needed to see:


From there, we traveled a few miles up the road to the Black Orchid Resort, turns out, this was a special place for us…. My kids made a friend. It was so, so sweet. She gingerly approached my kids with her blonde-haired Barbie dolls.  They shyly tried to ignore until they no longer could…. She is the granddaughter of the owner of the Black Orchid Resort. She came to join us on the boat we had permission to fish from, I asked her: is it okay with your Mommy and/or Daddy that you’re here with us? She said: this is my Daddy’s boat! Okay, okay then I thought. She stuck with us & shortly thereafter, my Hubby handed her a  pole with a fish on it! She caught a catfish!! She jumped for joy at catching this fish. She hugged me over & over, she was sooo excited, said it was her 1st fish ever!


On the islands, we spent most of our time being beach-bums, and it was wonderful! My Son & Hubby fished from the piers on a daily basis, my daughter can sit & build sand castles for hours on end! The color of the water is unbelievable, impossible to accurately capture!


Below is a drone photo of the famous “Split” on Caye Caulker, a hurricane split the island in 1/2 in the early ’60’s!

Caye Caulker Belize Barrier Reef aerial

Below was one of our very favorite days at the beach. We were just lamenting the lack of kids, we saw very few as fellow travelers, and where were the locals? In school of course! Around 3pm the kiddos got out of school, and many local families joined us at the beach. It was so much fun!


Building sandcastles, or burying an Ariel doll, is a universal language. One of these girls did not speak English, or Spanish, yet we didn’t need a common language to have fun!


Nothing like laying on a beach & watch sailboats pass by, and knowing that it’s -10 back home in Wisco!


FOOD: a few of our favorites: 

Garnaches! Photo taken from Google images. Small, round, hard shell corn tortillas topped with beans, shredded meat, a mound of cheese, pico de gallo (salsa), lots of cilantro. Yummmmmmm. These were so delicious, and as always when you eat as the locals do, these were one of the cheapest things on the menu, around $1.50 each. (photo below from Google images)


Pupusas- our last night on Ambergris we were talking to a 70 year old man who had recently moved to Belize, from Iowa where my Dad & Step Mom live, so they hit it off big time. He asked our dinner plans & we were going to eat up leftovers but he talked us into meeting him at his favorite local spot a few blocks away. He said the chicken soup was amazing & the rest of the food was great too. We got there & they informed us that on Sunday night they only offer Pupusa’s, a local specialty. They had just fired up the outdoor grill & were getting ready to make the 1st ones of the night. He assured us they were good & we should stick around & give them a try & I’m so, so glad we did! They’re basically like a Hot Pocket, but with corn flour dough. A native woman stood there & grabbed a ball of dough out of a huge bowl & patted out tortilla in her hands, then filled them with your choice of ingredients. My kids & I turned our chairs towards the grill & watched her make them,  and I made sure to remind them how cool it was that we could watch our food being made for us right in front of our eyes,  and I could tell it made her proud. We went for the mixed ones which had beans, pork & lots of cheese, I’m not sure what all else was in there, I just know they were so, so good. She patted on another tortilla dough ball to completely cover all ingredients then cooked it on the grill. After a while the cheese started to ooze out & the smell made us all hungry. Each plate had 2 of them on it & that was  the perfect amount, I was pleasantly stuffed. They offer it with a fermented cabbage kinda’ thing & some sort of red sauce, it wasn’t spicy, wasn’t Ketchupy, kinda blah really but that’s what all the locals put on it so we did too.

We were some of the 1st people there for dinner that evening,  but as time went on, the place filled up, and we realized we were the only non-locals there. I can say, this meal meant a lot to me. It’s hard to get a truly authentic experience while traveling, and I felt this was one. When we were ready to leave I wanted to thank the cook who made our meal & as I got close to her she dropped the Pupusa she was making from her hands & came over & pulled me in close for a tight hug & kissed me on each cheek. THESE are the priceless experiences that make traveling so, so important: connecting with other humans who we feel we likely have very little in common with. You realize that we have more in common than not. We’re both women. Mothers (likely, assuming she was, don’t know that for sure but good chance). We want to feed our family & friends good food. We want to have safe drinking water. We connected briefly over this meal, and it made my heart skip a beat. The bill for our meal was $40 USD, for 6 adults & 2 kids, with 2 rounds of beer & ice cream for the kids! So many meals in life are forgettable, and then there are those that are not. I will never forget my Pupusa experience. And I will be trying to make them myself soon!

I did not take photos there, but these taken from Google images look exactly like what I would’ve taken myself. Below, a Pupusa grill:


Complete with the relish & mystery red sauce:


Food shopping– I enjoyed shopping via different stops, I’ve found I appreciate it more when I work harder for it. It’s so easy to get used to the convenience of 1-stop shopping, places like Costco have everything we need!  And I was shocked while staying on Isla Mujeres in Mexico last year that they had a super, super store to rival a Costco, that surprised me, and yes, it was convenient.  You won’t find those in Belize. Even the largest Supermarkets we found were pretty tiny, housing the very basics. But I came to appreciate making several stops to get what I needed for the day. I walked 3-5 blocks from where we were staying on Ambergris to get 1-2 days worth of supplies, taking 2 empty backpacks with me. In just 2 blocks worth of vendors, I was able to stop at the meat shop for some ground burger or chicken breasts, and was surprised that they were very reasonably prices. Then to the bakery owned by French expats, where I picked up a loaf of bread, some buns one day, sweet treats another day, it was all soooo good. Then on the corner was the produce guy, with a huge selection of fruits & veggies. THEN my last stop was the “supermarket” to get our other meal items. They manage to have a little of everything, and thankfully my kids aren’t too picky, I turn to staples such as spaghetti, tacos, I did an excellent chicken alfredo one night. Comfort food basically, but different than back home based on what I was able to find. On the island #2, Caye Caulker, I asked for tortillas at the corner store. No, the Chinese storeowner answered. You get tortillas 2 blocks down, just past the school, you’ll see a small tortilla sign. And sure enough, I saw the tortilla sign, saw some ladies sitting outside, selling random items at a pop-up tent: I hear you’re the ladies to get tortillas from? Yes, flour or corn? Both. Come back in 20 minutes, we’ll have them. And sure enough, come back 20 min later & they are fresh & hot, they lasted us our 4 nights there: tacos, breakfast burritos, leftover chicken strips made into wraps. You name it, we wrap it! What you appreciate about shopping this way: I talked to a whole lot more people than I would’ve if I was at a huge shopping center, likely the cashier wouldn’t have even made small talk there. I think human connections are very valuable, and gained an even stronger sense of that. And I felt more appreciative of the food after schlepping it back to our home by pack pack. The harder you work for something, the more you appreciate it! I was very adamant about no waste too, even more-so than I am here at home, any leftovers got saved & re-purposed in a future meal.

We ate out every 3-5 days, and made it special!

Below is view while eating lobster ceviche & sipping a precious glass of wine. Wine is VERY expensive in Belize, they only make a cashew wine in country (I did not try it, should have, will next time). You can buy a huge bottle of Belizian Rum for $12, same size bottle of wine is $35.




AN EARTHQUAKE!!!! We were just a few miles north of Belize City, less than ½ mile inland from the coast when this stuck. My Hubby: that was a train. Me: we’ve been here 6 nights, when have you heard or seen a train? Not at all. It was an earthquake!!!


In all the situations I ran through my mind of possible threats to my family while traveling, this one never crossed my mind & now I realize that it should have! Mainland Belize feels tremors from Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico quite a bit. What was unique about this quake was it was offshore between Belize & Jamaica & it triggered tsunami warnings for the islands of Ambergris & Caye Caulker. This was the night before we went to Ambergris, and that was one of my 1st thoughts after the quake rattled our room: what if we’re on an island & don’t have anywhere to go?  What do we do? Is there a warning system? Suddenly, on our last night on the mainland, after my kids were in bed (the tremors were felt around 9pm), just before we headed to spend 9 nights on islands, I had a whole new topic to research, one I’d never considered! I talked to our night watchman & he assured me there was nothing to worry about this night, but he admitted he’d be worried if he were on an island at that moment. I have since learned this general rule of thumb: during an earthquake, get the heck out of the building. After the earthquake, get up as high as you can if there is a tsunami threat.

And sure enough, when we got to Ambergris the next day, it was the talk of the island. Just about everyone had a story about the tsunami alert. Everyone was tsunami “hungover”, tired, yawning, it had been a long night for everyone there. Many locals contended that the coral reef barrier would break up any huge waves into smaller ones, and something like what happened in Indonesia was not possible in Belize. Thankfully, after 2 rounds of tremors, no more were felt,  all tsunami warnings were canceled pretty quickly, and NO injuries were reported to my knowledge! But oh my goodness, I definitely had a lot of new thoughts racing through my mind: were these just small pre-tremors, was “the big one” about to strike? We never, ever know & eventually we just move on & quit thinking about it. But this Wisco girl definitely had a wakeup call & reminder of who is in charge, and it ain’t this Mama, it’s Mama Earth. In hindsight, being there were no injuries or damage, it was an exciting footnote to our vacation! And it’s something I hope to never experience again!

Scalping my toe. Yes, this is graphic, but let it be a warning to you if you travel, or if you don’t: door stops are dangerous! I had been up less than 5 minutes on Sunday morning, a week+ since we’d been in country, I opened the glass door to our balcony to greet the new day. And bang, did not see that doorstop there.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lesson: bring waterproof band-aids/tape!

Near drowning: Woah, for those that remember the incident where those people went into the icy river by our house right before we came to Belize, just before we headed out on this trip. As if my Hubby didn’t have enough water karma, he saved a ~60 year old woman from drowning (possibly, hard to say someone else wouldn’t have saved her). Hubby & Son went fishing here on Caye Caulker around 7am (kiddo cannot sleep in past then, feels he’s missing something). By 8am they were back, both wide-eyed with a story to tell. The woman was getting pulled out by the current towards where they were fishing. She had greased up with sunscreen so was very slippery & not able to cling to the pilings she was occasionally coming across. She managed to make her way over to the wall they were fishing along, right along the split here on Caye Caulker. She was yelling for help. She made it to the wall, and he was able to reach his arms down & barely reach her. Her: I’m all covered in sunscreen, you can’t possibly pull me up… While she did get all scraped up from being drug up along the concrete wall, he pulled her to safety. She was very shaken up….

Weather: Variable, cloudy was slightly chilled. You definitely don’t want to go in the wet season, which is ~March-August, but the dry season is, well, dry! All the dirt roads kick up dust. When we rented golf carts on the islands, we ate dust.  And we did notice the effect on our respiratory systems, blowing our noses every morning, slight dry coughs, nothing serious though. The one day it did rain, our last day which was kinda’ a bummer, those dry clay roads turned super slick, like ice almost, so either way, the roads are treacherous, walking or driving! Highs were in the 70’s-80’s most days, but it was cloudy most of the time, which we appreciated! When the sun did come out full forced, it was SUPER intense, made you feel like you were withering up! Compared to what we were dealing with back home, we knew it was paradise! But I will be bringing some medium/heavy weight long-sleeves next time!

weather back home in Wisco:




Bedsharing- This is a challenge anytime we travel. At home I share a king size bed with my 2 kids, Hubby has his own king. Kids have dubbed our bed “paradise”, and we all know how kids are about routine. So stepping outside of our bedtime sleep routine is always a challenge. I wasn’t willing to do it when they were still napping, but now that we’re post-naps (we did have 2 out of 16 days traveling),  we make it work. I rearrange the room wherever we sleep, 90% of the time. When there is a choice of bed/rooms, I look for the one that largest bed and/or the one that is pushed up against a wall. If it doesn’t exist, I’ll rearrange myself to make it happen, which is possible most of the time. Then I’ll move some furniture to block off the other side, end tables, etc make excellent barricades from kiddos falling out of bed, I know in the coming years they’ll be transitioning to their own beds/rooms, then we’ll need even larger homes to keep us comfy. I’m okay with us just needing 2 decent beds at this time, it works for us! Especially in a foreign land, they depend on the fact that they can wake up & Mama is right there. If not, I’m in earshot should they awake. Myself, I woke up several times & had that: where am I feeling? I remembered I was in Belize & fell asleep with a smile on my face. NOW, since I’ve been home for a week I can say: every, single night, I have woken up wondering which bed I am in… I know this will fade soon.

CAR SEATS: My kids are 4.5 & almost 7. I decided on the Bubble Bum travel seats— and honestly, I’m not a fan. They just do not seem that secure. And both my kids complained just about daily of their butts being sore from the car seats. We did do quite a bit of sightseeing, but they were never in their car seats more than 2 hrs tops before getting out & doing some hiking or some sort of activity. The top shoulder belts definitely moved around.  While I as the driver was as careful as I possibly could be, it’s the other drivers we need to worry about. And indeed, we had someone pass us, meet oncoming traffic, have to take the ditch, meet oncoming bicyclists. I will be bringing more proper car seats for my kiddos next year, for sure!

FOOD: While I may gripe about the prices of organic food back here in Wisco, I was paying more, for less, in Belize. It pretty much was survival mode, organic was a secondary factor. Several times while out exploring in our rental car with our windows down, we’d get a whiff of that unique RoundUp smell, if you’ve smelled it once even, you won’t forget it, it is nasty! Most of the brush clearing we witnessed was being done the old-fashioned way, with a machete, some were using RoundUp…. So for us organic food loving folks, this is a challenge we face while traveling for sure. I did see an occasional USDA certified organic product, but they were very few & far between.

WATER! We appreciate our well water more than ever when we travel away from it. I LOATHE buying water, and am able to avoid having to go that route most of the time. But in Belize, just like in most countries, you do not drink what comes out of the tap. In Belize, most tap water has been chemically treated with chlorine, so it’s relatively safe to brush & shower with,  but all drinking water & rinsing of all veggies, etc  is with with bottled water. Every place we’ve stayed at least has 1 full 5 gal jug to get you started. Some places will keep you stocked for free, others make you pay for whatever you need after that 1st jug. It was $2.50 USD for a 5gal jug. And being used to our mineral-rich well water, bottled water is so sterile tasting & I’m just not a fan of it. But we have no problem getting by on it. It definitely makes rinsing sandy lettuce & cilantro more of a chore when you can’t just run your tap water over it. But it truly makes you realize how much water you’re using & conserve its use as much as possible.

To further the not taking water for granted topic, we got home & discovered our grey water drainage field leaving the house had frozen up while we were gone. We still had running water, and could still flush our toilets as this was on a different system, but could not take a bath, do dishes or laundry without it baking up into our utility room. It took my Hubby a day to get it thawed out, just a minor inconvenience, but again, put things into perspective for us!

Random tidbits:

Tooth fairy—My Son lost a tooth in Belize! It was so fun. It had been loose for quite some time & we had discussed the scenario several times: Mom, what if I lose my tooth in Belize? Will the tooth fairy find me? What would she bring? Would we hold onto the tooth until we got home for our tooth fairy? Finally, after days of dangling, it came out. Kinda’ crazy story that it happened while he was sleeping. I got up to go pee in the wee hours of the morning & he sat up & said: Mom, my tooth is out, it was in my cheek. He was able to spit it out! We briefly discussed what to do & since it was close to morning I suggested we just hold onto it until the next night, so we could write her a note & present the tooth properly. That gave me a chance to write him a note the next day, in Spanish, stating the following: Of course I will find you wherever you may be when you lose a tooth. Here are a few dollars for you to buy yourself something. Love, the Tooth Fairy. She left ~ $5 Belize/$2.50 US in mostly coins under his pillow. It was sooooo cute to see/feel him wake up in the middle of the night & feel under his pillow! Of course he was up extra bright & early that morning (6:30-7 is his normal hour, it was 6am that day) to see what happened.

Violence in Belize—I got the question many times: is it safe in Belize? My response: Is it safe in Chicago? It all depends on the part of the country you’re in! Petty theft is your greatest concern. If you leave something outside overnight, there’s a good chance it will be gone in the morning. Most of the crime takes place in Belize City, at night, among the locals. All sources of info advise you to make sure you don’t find yourself in Belize City after dark, just as I wouldn’t want to be in certain parts of Chicago after dark. You fly in there, then you get the heck out. The fishing boat captain my Hubby went out with told him his brother had his throat slit by a woman he owed drug money to, and it was a small amount of money. There is definitely a huge drinking culture, and that’s where most of the trouble comes from: bar time, you invite your new friend to your place for a night cap, you pass out eventually, you wake up the next day missing your purse.

One plus to having young kids is we’re generally in bed by 9pm, and that keeps us out of a lot of trouble. Still yes, random acts of violence do occur in Belize, but as we all know they can occur anywhere! There was only 1 time both my Hubby & I felt uncomfortable with the locals. The place we stayed on the mainland for a week (San Ignacio) had a river running through it, just a few blocks from where we were staying. My Hubby & Son were so eager to do some fishing, Hubby hauled a bunch of gear down & wanted to put it to use. We saw locals frequenting the river banks on a daily basis, and one day decided we should stop & let the kids splash a bit & maybe do some fishing.  We had to cross the 1 lane bridge over the river to get to the place we were staying. As we were approaching the bridge& thinking of pulling in, we saw a group of 4 men, appeared to all be 20something’s, and we seemed to lock eyes, and they did not seem friendly, Hubby & I got the same vibe. Hubby said: go to the other side, let’s not go near those guys. So we went to the other side & chose the outer edge, giving the other locals that were there room. We got out & the kids were exploring the river banks, ready to start digging in the sand & building a castle at the very least. When suddenly we noticed those guys pulling in over by us. Immediately my Hubby said: kids, get in the car. I reiterated, YES, get in the car now, don’t even buckle up, just get in. And they knew it was serious. The dudes got out of their car as we were getting into ours, I locked the doors & immediately started driving away. They walked into the tall vegetation of the outskirts of the river.

It lead to an important conversation with our children, one I’ve tried to avoid, but is necessary eventually: not all humans are good, most are, but not all. And that we trust our gut & our heart. Both Mommy & Daddy’s gut said the same thing: get outta here NOW, we don’t 2nd guess that. Other than that, there was not 1 second that I felt uneasy in the presence of those around me. The people of Belize are so, so, so genuinely kind from the bottom of their heart, it restores your faith in humanity.

Mantra of life in Belize: Be brave. Go Slow. Relax. Enjoy your day. Life is good. And it felt so, so good to do just that, take it slow. I don’t wear a watch nor keep a phone on me, and clocks were rare to see. Time was loosely based on where the sun was in the sky, we didn’t have to be anywhere at any time, and it was exactly what I was looking for.  This sign hangs on the fence of the house we spent our 4 nights on Caye Caulker at.


Conclusion: We fell head over heels in love with the country, the people, the culture, all of it. I could go on & on, but this is already quite lengthy so I’ll leave it with these tidbits. We cannot wait to go back & hopefully spend twice as long. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about my adventures! And I hope you’ll share yours with me!

Below is our GPS tracker showing us where we went in country. We hope to go back next winter & do the north/south corridor, and spend even more time on Caye Caulker!


Heading back into Dallas, so gorgeous!



You better Belize it… We will be back!

Reusable Cloth Pad review: Party in my Pants!

WARNING: this post discusses menstruation & reusable options. I’ve had some people react negatively to this in the past. I understand this may not be an option all of you are interested in. If you are not, turn back, keep scrolling. If you are, read on please!

My “green” journey never ends. I continue to make changes I want, slowly but surely, as my budget allows. There is ALWAYS something on my list. I always look to what disposable items I’m using, and seek reusable alternatives for them. I used cloth diapers & wipes on my 2 kids. I use cloth napkins, “kleenex”, wash cloths. I did use a menstrual cup for awhile, The Keeper, but I just never fell in love with it. I liked that it was reusable, but that was about all I liked. I had been using organic cotton tampons & pads for the last couple of years. I liked that they were organic, had minimal plastic packaging, but they are quite pricey, and still disposable!

Then suddenly I realized it was time to move to cloth pads! I had seen Party in my Pants recommended in the past when this topic has come up. I clicked around their website a bit and when I learned they were based in my state of Wisco I was extra excited! They offer a huge assortment of shapes, sizes & patterns, organic & non.

My advice: definitely try at least 2 different options! I started with the Shebang Kit. It offers one of every size, I split it up between organic cotton & organic flannel. And I’m glad I did because I learned I like the flannel a bit more. It’s a bit softer. 1 month of using this kit & I knew what I needed to have on hand to make it through an entire cycle. I place another $120 order a week later & had enough for my 2nd cycle, with 2 to spare!

Pic: Shebang Kit, you pick the pattern & fabric.


So, here it is, my collection! I looooove the options for patterns! I was looking at Glad Rags previously, they are solid beige in color. Seriously. No patterns, just solid beige. What a terrible option for a reusable pad! You will find that most of the options from Party in my Pants are dark, bold, heavily patterned, PERFECT for this product! This stash is very new indeed & I will be happy to snap a pic a year from now to compare! Also, want to make sure you know you can fold them up like I did in the bottom center, perfect for your purse, etc.

Here’s what I have, all organic cotton or flannel, with a leak-proof nylon backing:

1 small, 1 mini-liner, 1 Luxe Liner, 4 medium, 3 large, 1 overnight, 2 super overnight.


CARE: They have a lot of info about this on their website! You can totally wash them with other laundry, but you should dry them on low. For that reason, I’ve kept them separate, as I’m not good at picking things out before tossing them in the dryer together.


I have heard from several of you who have used these for months, or years, and love them! I’ve also heard from some who prefer another brand for a variety of reasons. These DO have a nylon backing, so if you aren’t okay with that you’ll want to choose a different option. Everything that comes in contact with your skin is organic, so that’s what matters to me. The nylon backing helps ensure they are leak-proof.  Like with every other product recommendation I give, I do not expect 100% of you to love this as much as I do. But for me, it is working, I’m loving the product, the company, the feeling I’m voting with my dollars…



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