Category Archives: Natural Home

Clean Beauty for Tweens and Teens

It’s been about eight years since I started the process of removing chemicals from my home and beauty products. Beauty was one of the last things I switched because I felt like it was a big expense but my mom’s cancer diagnosis and learning the things I could do to prevent it was a big motivator for me. I’ve learned a lot in the last seven years and have slowly made the switch. I can’t control genetics or biology. But what I can control is my home environment, food and what we use on our bodies.

Rilyn is almost 11 and has entered into a new stage of really caring about what she looks like. She wants the smelly bath soap, hair styling products and, recently, makeup. I want to get her started on the right foot with clean, toxic-free products so I’ve been on the hunt.

If you’ve never used EWG’s Skin Deep database, I HIGHLY recommend checking out your favorite products. It rates them on a scale of 1-10, 1 being the best and 10 being the worst for you as far as ingredients go. They also have products that are EWG Verified which are the absolute safest for you. I like to stay within the “green” and always steer clear of “fragrance”. Sometimes, a product will rate “green” but still has ingredients I’m not comfortable with. Do your research and make a decision based on your comfort level.

A set of these products in a bag (like this for guys or this for girls with a set of brushes) would be a great gift for your tween or teen! Here are a breakdown of the brands and the products they have that your tween or teen would love!



This brand tweens will love because of the bright colorful packaging, while I love they have so many EWG certified products. Here are some of my favorite products:

Vanilla Vibes Shimmer Lotion

Reflect Lip Gloss Trio Set

Vanilla Vibes Cleansing Body Wash

Refreshing Papaya and Strawberry Seed Facial Scrub

Glossay High Shine Lip Gloss

Envision Eyeshadow Palette



Pacifica is 100% vegan and cruelty free. They have several EWG certified products, however many of their products don’t rate in the green level. It’s up to you for your comfort level in products. Here are my favorites and ones I feel comfortable with Rilyn using.

Most colorful eyeshadows rate very high on the toxic scale, but Pacifica’s eyeshadows rate in the green level and still offer some colors that tweens are drawn to!

Crystal Matrix Eyeshadow Palette

Beachy Punk Eyeshadow Palette

Pink Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

Stellar Gaze Length & Strength Mascara



If you are looking for deodorant, soap and body wash that both boys and girls would like, check out Schmidt’s! Unfortunately, many of their products contain fragrance. However, any of the white labeled deodorants do not. My favorite is Bergamot and Lime.



Beautycounter has made a name for itself in clean beauty products and fighting for more legislation that would clean up the beauty industry. Some of their products don’t list in the green, however most all of their products rate very low or are EWG certified. Here are my favorite products for tweens and teens. I have the best Beautycounter rep, Maddy (Cory Kreitzer). She took over her mom’s business when she recently lost her battle with cancer. 

Jellies – brights

Jellies – shimmers

Beyond Gloss

Dew Skin Tinted Moisturizer (a good start to foundation)

Counterman line (great for guys)



Honest is a GREAT starter brand and very cost effective! They make my favorite mascara and blush. Not all of their products rate in the “green” on the EWG scale, so do your research and choose based on your comfort level.

Extreme Length Mascara and Lash Primer

Creme Cheek Blush

Eyeshadow Palette 

Tinted lip balm

Let me know which products you’ll let your tween or teen try! Also, drop in the comments any other suggestions!


My New Favorite CLEAN Makeup

For years, I have been on a journey to remove chemicals from my home. It all started with learning how to clean my home with vinegar and baking soda at MOPS when my kids were little.

In 2013, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and I became much more passionate about removing toxins from our house. While my family has tested negative for BRCA, it still runs in our family for the last three generations. 

To date, I use all natural products in cleaning (Norwex) and doing our laundry. We eat whole foods, eating organic when we can. I switched out our shampoo and conditioner and we use mineral deoderant

Up until recently, I had switched everything except my makeup. I felt like it was too expensive to make the switch. But my face started breaking out and felt so dry and I couldn’t find clean moisturizers that really moisturized and didn’t dry me out by days end.

My mom introduced me to Annmarie Skin Care line and I was hooked after one day. It’s oil-based makeup so my skin feels so good and it lasts all day! You might be thinking, “Oil?! For my face?!” Yes! It really does clean and moisturize skin. I absolutely love their mineral foundation. It moisturizes my face while providing great coverage. You actually mix the mineral powder and oil together before applying, so you can decide how heavy you want your coverage to be. I feel like it softens my skin tone, covering up blemishes and moisturizing my skin at the same time. And I feel great about what I’m putting on my skin!

As far as cancer is concerned, I can’t control genetics or biology. But what I can control is my home environment, food and what we use on our bodies. If you’re looking to make a switch to clean, all natural makeup, then I would highly suggest you check out Annmarie.

The Only Baby Gate You Will Ever Need

The Only Baby Gate You Will Ever Need |

This post contains affiliate links. Should you choose to purchase from these links you'll receive tried and true products I love While supporting Everyday Small Things at no added cost to you!

This post is in no way sponsored by Retract-A-Gate; they have no idea I even exist. I am just that big of a fan and wanted you to know about this awesome baby gate that makes a mom’s life easier!

The Only Baby Gate You Will Ever Need | EverydaySmallThings.comI’m not one to fawn over baby gates, but this gate is the best thing since sliced bread and I had to share it with you!

My biggest beef with baby gates is their awkwardness. When not being used, where does one store it? Behind a door? In a closet? Ugh…who has the time?! It would just end up being put off to the side and would fall over with the slightest breeze. (Maybe I’m being a little dramatic…but they were truly annoying)

With a home daycare and my own children being preschoolers, I only need baby gates for a portion of the day. At the end of the work day, I want to be able to put it away without tripping over it but that wasn’t realistic with the setup of my house.

I did a lot of research. A lot. Like a ridiculous amount of time spent researching baby gates. But I am so glad I did because I discovered the Retract-A-Gate.

These are my 6 favorite features of Retract-A-Gate.

  1. Retractable
    Yep, it does exactly what the name says! It rolls up into a nice frame that rarely gets in the way and you hardly notice it. I never have to “put it away” because it is always wrapped up nicely when not in use.
  1. Easy Install
    My dad came through on this one and installed all of our mounts. Super easy! The permanent install with hooks sticking out of the wall could be seen as a negative; but honestly, we don’t even notice them!
  1. Single handedly open and close the gate – quietly!
    There’s nothing like holding a crying baby and trying to get a gate open that is parent proof as well as baby proof. Squeeze here, then pull up, then push all while performing a rain dance…or something like that, and yet the darn thing still won’t open. Or naptime is in full swing and I need to open the gate but it makes so much noise that the baby wakes up. I never have to put a child down when opening up the Retract-A-Gate. I can single-handedly unlock, open and close the gate like a ninja.
  1. Move the gate around the house with ease.
    Retract-A-Gate comes with hooks that you mount to the wall. You can purchase extras so that you can move your gate around the house. We personally have two gates but 5 sets of mounts, so I can easily move the gate (again, single-handedly) to whichever room we’re in.
  1. Locks in place.
    This is probably where the most skepticism lies…does it really keep a kid from going through? If installed properly, I’m here to say, “Yes! Without a doubt!” My kids have pushed, pulled and even tried to climb under (yes, under) but were not successful. I have had these gates for a year now and have never had problems with a child escaping when the gate was locked.
  1. Great customer service
    Customer service isn’t something you normally receive with a baby gate, but this company is different! A few months after we received our Retract-A-Gates, one of the mounting hooks broke. It was a freak thing and Retract-A-Gate came through, sending us the new mount.

Have I convinced you yet? If you need to see it in action, check out this wobbly video that my daughter shot of me sharing how we use our Retract-A-Gate.

Fire Escape Plan :: You Should Have One

FireEscapeI never understood the importance of having, implementing and practicing a fire escape plan with your children until recently.  I run a home daycare and one requirement is a monthly fire escape plan practice.  I have to admit that inwardly I rolled my eyes and dragged my feet as my thought was, “If a fire were to start I would be in the same room as the kids and obviously they would try to escape it.”  So I halfheartedly came up with a meeting place thinking that was the most important piece.  I talked to the kids about if a fire happened we were to get outside and meet at our front tree.  However, I knew that we needed to actually practice it.

Gathering the children together near the front door, I talked through what we were going to do and told them when the fire alarm sounded we were to quickly exit the front door and meet at the front tree.  I pushed the button just to give them an idea of what sound we were listening for.  Everyone covered their ears and started giggling.

“Ok guys, this is going to be the real practice!  When the fire alarm sound happens, let’s go out the front door!”  I pressed the button and my 5 year old daughter led the pack out to the tree.  I began counting all of my heads and came up with one missing.  Surely not!  We were steps away from the door, where could they have gone?  So I look again and realize my three year old son is missing.  I glance around the yard thinking maybe he thought it would be funny to go elsewhere.  Nope, nowhere in sight.

I head inside calling “Landon!” Nothing.  I begin checking the rest of the house when I catch a glimpse of two little feet sticking out behind our big rocking chair in the basement.  There was my little guy, face down on the floor covering his ears.

My son had been afraid of the loud noise of the alarm and his first instinct, despite the fact that I was standing right next to him, was to run to the basement and hide behind a chair.

I could only imagine how this scenario could have ended horrifically if this had been the real thing.

If you’re anything like me, the idea of a fire escape plan has flitted through your mind as something that would be great to do if you had the time.  In my own head, I had hastily evaluated exits but never a strategy and I most certainly hadn’t communicated anything to my kids.

So how does one even begin?

Fire Escape Plan :: Everyday Small Things
Who needs fancy drawing skills?!

Here are 5 everyday small things you could do to prepare for a fire escape.
1. Make a simple drawing of your house and draw out a route.  Include your kids in this process!

2. Choose an outdoor meeting place (i.e. neighbor’s house, tree, mailbox, etc.) a safe distance in front of your house where everyone can meet.  Remember to include this location on your escape plan.

3. Talk through what the fire alarm sound means and what you should do if you hear it.

4. Practice. Practice. Practice.  With the alarm.  Every few months, press the alarm without telling your kids so they can practice how to process the situation.  One daycare provider shared that she cut out large pictures of fire and puts them in different exits so the kids have to practice going different directions if one way is blocked.

5. Once a year, do a practice drill during the night.  NFPA suggests preparing children by telling them that a practice alarm will be happening when they sleep as this helps them master the drill and not fear it.  Did you know that children tend to sleep through a fire alarm?  Check out this video.  Eye opening!

Fire Escape Plan :: Everyday Small ThingsEarlier this week, our dishwasher lost all power which made it a sad day in our household.  The electrician came to check it out and he found a corroded wire in the back that had completely melted the cap and could have caused more damage.  Seriously scary!  Just another reminder that you never know what could happen and being prepared is important.

Do you have an emergency plan in place?  Comment below sharing what your family does.