4: Creating a Natural Home and the Importance of Gratitude with Sarah UmmYusuff

I'm thrilled to have my first-ever blogging friend on the podcast today! Sarah UmmYusuf from naturesnutureblog.com shares how she took baby steps to make her home non-toxic and how she solves problems with natural home remedies. This episode will also fill you in on how and why she started her blog and how she created a gratitude practice with her children.

Creating a Natural Home & the Importance of Gratitude with Sara UmmYusuf

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About Sarah

Sarah UmmYusuf is a non-toxic living mentor and teacher who loves helping people take charge of their family’s health. She created Nature’s Nurture in 2011 to document her journey to a non-toxic home and to give others the confidence and peace of mind they need to protect their families from harmful chemicals. When she’s not busy reading product labels or making her own cleaning products, you can find her chasing after her three kiddos and drinking lots and lots of coffee.

Episode Recap

In this episode, Sarah shares with us her passion for having a natural and green home and the small baby steps she took to get there, and how it also led to her starting her blog in 2011. We talk about that work/life balance as a work-at-home mom and how she was able to launch her blog during nap time and when the kids were asleep, and how she and her husband work together to make her blog successful. She also shares her top tips and advice for overwhelmed moms who are looking for friendship and connection and how she created a practice of gratitude with her children. Some tips you are really going to love, mamas!

How she started her blog

Her motivation for sacrificing nap time and sleep time to do her blog was the passion for sharing her passion for natural living to help others be the healthiest they can be. Natural home remedies have changed her life, and she wants to help others do the same. The monetary gain was second – a desire to provide an alternative to the status quo.

What about living naturally changed her life?

  • It was having complete control over what she brought into her house and life.
  • We've gotten so used to thinking that being sick and having allergies and autoimmune diseases is normal. This is the 21st century, and she doesn't think we should still be dealing with these issues.
  • And it's not just what we are eating that's harming us – it's the chemicals and products that we bring into our homes. And that's an easy thing to fix because we have total control over it.
  • The long-term effects can build up over time and really wreak havoc on our health.
  • It's about being proactive with our health – educate and empower them.
  • She is a teacher by trade (grades 2 and 4 and comes from a family of teachers), so her blog was a form of teaching for her.

Blogging became “me time” 

  • Being in Facebook groups with other moms made mothering so much easier for her
  • Connecting with other moms has helped her tremendously
  • That we still need that village to help us raise our kids, and doing it online today is a huge blessing

How her natural home works

  • She buys dish soap because she hasn't found a recipe that works, but everything else she makes with just a few simple ingredients!
  • We don't actually need 14 different products for cleaning, just a few will do.
  • Take baby steps – replace one product at a time by either making it or buying it.
  • She's still working through her house to replace toxic cleaners, and it's been 10 years! So doing it slowly is totally okay.
  • She's replaced Teflon pans with cast iron and stainless steel and plastic food storage, too. But in full disclosure, she still has a teflon-coated pancake griddle because she hasn't found a product to replace that yet.
  • She hasn't been able to figure out to get rid of Ziploc bags yet, and wants to so she can be more eco-friendly. But nothing has been as convenient yet.
  • She does like the beeswax food wraps to replace the plastic wrap
  • Why get rid of aluminum foil? It has been linked to neurological toxicity – linking it to Alzheimer's and dementia.
  • She uses silicone rubber mats to line baking dishes
  • She uses baking soda or salt to get stuff that's hard to scrub off of dishes and in the bathtub
  • She uses baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, and salt to make most of her cleaning supplies
  • She steeps her vinegar in citrus peels to help with the stink of it, but says you do get used to the vinegar smell of homemade cleaning supplies
  • She highly recommends microfiber cloths – they buff, scrub, dust, and clean. A staple in her natural household!

It's not about being perfect – give yourself grace, mamas

  • “Do what you can with what you have, where you are.” Do what you can at that moment, don't put too much pressure on yourself.
  • So much pressure online and we feel like we have to do it all, but we don't.
  • It's about balance, not about being extreme.

Keep the Natural Process Simple

  • She says if she had nothing else and was starting over, she'd use microfiber cloths because they do everything! Clean, buff, shine, dust
  • She has a passion for making the whole process simple

Working with her husband

  • Her and her husband have now each other since they were kids and are high school sweethearts
  • He created her blog and app – Nature's Nurture
  • He does have a full-time job, but he works on the back end of her website when he's at home
  • They mesh and get along really well, so working together has been a natural fit
  • They've been married for 15 years, and if they could get away for a trip without the kids, they would probably just choose to sleep!

Best advice for overwhelmed moms

  • Take life one step at a time
  • Take one task you can do and do that one thing. Small steps end up taking you far when you look back in a year or two.
  • Celebrate the small wins
  • Give yourself a pat on the back – build yourself up and refrain from putting yourself down
  • Motivational speaker, Lisa Nichols, says that we expect others to celebrate us more than we celebrate ourselves. Learn to celebrate yourself!
  • Women especially expect our husbands/partners to tell us we are beautiful, but we don't tell to ourselves. Instead, we pick our own bodies apart.
  • She's reading a lot about the inner voice online, and she catches herself saying something negative and is now able to stop herself.
  • Instead, stop and think about what you did well today and what you're grateful for. Have a gratitude journal and make it a practice.
  • Living in gratitude helps you to live in the present moment, which really reduces stress and helps you to be happier and more content.
  • Gratitude changes your whole outlook on your life – even keep a gratitude list for each child.
  • She went to a parenting workshop that was really helpful to help her focus on her kids' good qualities more than what we need to correct and change.

Raising kids in this digital age

  • We remember growing up with no cell phones and only having a pay phone or having to stop
  • We can get so caught up in the hustle, and it's more important now than
  • Our kids are more unhappy than any other generation

How to Practice Gratitude at Home with Kids

  • Make gratitude and solitude a family practice to teach your kids, too.
  • Brene Brown talks about her family's gratitude practice in her book, The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting. They share what they're grateful for around the dinner table.
  • In the parenting workshop she attended, the speaker said that the single most important thing to building resiliency for our kids is gratitude!
  • Having faith has helped Sarah to ground her sense of purpose, which is another factor in resiliency. She believes it's very important for children to know what their purpose is for their lives.
  • We talked about how important it is as a mom, especially to connect back to yourself, as it is easy to lose ourselves in taking care of our children.
Creating a Natural Home and the Importance of Gratitude with Sarah UmmYusuf on The Merry Messy Moms Show Podcast

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