I Found Joy At The Dump

Joy At The Dump

Last month I was in Kenya. Nestled along the borders of Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania, I find this part of East Africa to be inhabited by some of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. It’s as if smiles are a permanent part of their facial features. It’s beautiful, really.

On last month’s excursion to this land of kindness, I went to a dump in Nakuru. I wasn’t scavenging for some trash to treasure pieces to craft a Pinterest masterpiece. No, I went to visit the people that dwelled there. You heard me right. There’s a whole community of people who call this dump “home.” Shocking as it sounds, I wish you could have witnessed it with me.

Happy-Kids

The wind was a blowing that day, and so the debris wafting about in the air caught my eye as did the pungent odors that reached my nose. It was a sensory explosion before I even left the confines of the van we were traveling in. Those marabou storks, though. They were everywhere, perched atop the piles of trash like they owned the place. Perhaps it actually was their territory seeing as how carrion and feces are their delicacy. … >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.

Powerful Michael Phelps Video

It’s St. Patrick’s Day, so perhaps your wearing a bit o’ green or downing a Guinness or enjoying some Irish soda bread and corned beef. Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you. Several members of our Team Petit Elefant, though, are swimming their hearts out at swim meets. Lots and lots of swim meets, today, tomorrow, and what feels like forever. It’s really something quite amazing, to witness all the hard work, time, sacrifices, physical strain, discipline and pancakes that are shaping these kids. They are developing a skill, a talent, for sure, but also character and stamina and wisdom. And we are tremendously proud of them. Parents who stand by and support these crazy kids? We are proud of them, too. Heck, we are them. Or they. Or, whatever.

swim meet In case you didn’t know before now, swimming is some gosh dang hard work. And in case you haven’t yet seen the new Under Armour ad featuring Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, we are sharing it with you today. Not just for the swimmers in your life, but for all the athletes, musicians, scholars, caregivers and loved ones you know that work their guts out (literally, in this case) to do their very very best, every single … >> find out more...

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

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DIY Make It: Clay Mask Recipe

Make it: your own detoxifying red clay mask recipe and DIY!

make it clay mask recipe
// This post is sponsored by Lionsgate to celebrate the opening of the movie The Divergent Series: Allegiant which opens this weekend in theaters.   As always thank you for being supportive of the sponsors that Petit Elefant running. //

Red Morrocan Clay mask
Have you read the Divergent Series?  It’s a collection of 4 books, young adult dystopian novels, based in post-apocalyptic Chicago, wherein individual personality and free will are rather heavily discouraged, (read: the leaders of the society will kill you dead if you make your own choices or exhibit a personality other than the one you were assigned).   The heroine, Beatrice Prior, or Tris (played by Shalene Woodley in the movies) likes making her own choices thankyouverymuch, and as a result spends her life on the run from the baddies.  In the 3rd movie in the series, Allegiant, Tris heads out the city of Chicago beyond the wall, to this place.
allegiant movie
Which looks suspiciously like beautiful Southern Utah to me.  Maybe the San Rafael Swell, which is known for its gorgeous red rock mountains.  And where there’s red rock, there’s red clay, and where there’s clay . … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Natural Deodorants: The Truth About If They Work

Natural deodorants: here’s my truth about my year-long experiment with aluminum-free deodorants.

 

natural deodorants

Guys.  We need to talk about natural deodorant. It’s a thing.  And there’s a lot of kerfuffle about whether or not natural deodorants work.  I’m sure you’ve read about how terrible regular deodorants are. How your aunt’s mom’s sister got breast cancer from using deodorant with aluminum.

I’m not here to dispute any of the aluminum arguments.  I’ve read all the research.  Aluminum isn’t awesome for you to ingest or apply topically, or to absorb into your skin.  It’s aluminum.

HOWEVER.  Some of us sweat like banshees.  Some of us being me, and me, and me.  Like ugly crying, but from my sweat glands.

 

soapwalla deodorant

So.  About a year ago I ended up in bed for a month with a life-threatening Lupus flare-up.  It was really bad. And the long and short of it is that my body basically reset itself while I was down.  I hardly ate, or opened my eyes for that matter, for a whole month, and of course, I didn’t wear deodorant.

As I came out of my illness, I decided a couple of things: I hadn’t had caffeine for … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

Living In The Third Largest Slum In The World

Living In The Third Largest Slum In The World

A slum is defined as a squalid and overcrowded urban street or district inhabited by very poor people.  If you’ve never visited such a place, then I’m sure the word “slum” conjures up all sorts of images from noise to filth. While there is merit in those thoughts, it would be ashamed to stop there, because you would be missing the greatest asset that gives life to such a place, and that’s the people.

Kids In Slum

I recently returned from my third trip to Kenya, a land that I love dearly. Each time I’ve visited Kibera, the third largest slum in the world nestled 5 kilometers from Nairobi’s city center. Two of those visits I actually lived in the slum. It proved to be a rich experience, because it gave me a taste, a glimpse, of what life is like in a place that is so foreign to my upbringing. It’s noisy. It’s dirty. It’s hard, but the people are gold. Their smiles and warmth melt away the rough edges of life in a place marked by hardship.

Getting Gas

The inhabitants of this slum used to live in a forested part of Nairobi that was pleasing to the eyes. It was a land >> find out more...

Jen Price

Jen currently makes her home between two continents, one in the great state of Texas and the other in a small town in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. She wears many hats such as wife, mother, photographer, storyteller, communications director, writer, traveler, and lover of dark chocolate. She writes for several websites including her personal blog, I Believe In Love, where she shares her creative ventures, her photography, and the stories of the orphans she loves on in S. Africa.

Easter Ideas Round Up

Easter Ideas Round-UpIt doesn’t feel like Spring quite yet around these parts, but it’s coming. I can feel it. It’s coming, and I for one, am ready to brighten things up around here and turn my thoughts toward Easter. Bright colors, fun crafts, beautiful desserts, fresh decor are all on my mind right now. Maybe I’ll start with one of these wonderful ideas from our archives, plus a link to a beautiful free download that’s just too pretty to resist.  Everything here is completely within reach and something to look forward to every year.

These little animal silhouette easter eggs are easy and obviously adorable. Kids will love this.

Animal Easter Eggs

If brunch is in your special plans, this frittata is an excellent choice. And there’s bacon.

Easter Brunch Frittata

You know you want some gorgeous printables from Just The Bees Knees.  They are absolute perfection.

Easter Watercolor Print

For dessert, this carrot cake is positively divine. Like, for reals. Pineapple, a glaze, and cream cheese frosting send it over the top. Easter Carrot Cake

 

Try your hand at these stunning Ukrainian Easter Eggs, for the adventurous crafter. You’ll love making these.

Ukrainian Easter Eggs

 

Enjoy all the beautiful things, friends. And don’t forget to check out last year’s Easter crafts round up for more of our … >> find out more...

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

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Oscar Night Fashion Favorites

oscars imageIt’s true I pay far more attention to the Oscars red carpet than I do to the actual show. I’m sure it was great, and I’m sure all the films represented are great, (my husband insists The Revenant is the most incredible film he’s seen) but I really just love the gowns and accessories and the handsome gents in their tuxedos and 3 piece suits. I mean, even Sylvester Stallone looks suave in a tux. A navy blue one at that. And Eddie Redmayne in a velvet jacket? Mmmmmmm. But back to the dresses. Though there were a few questionable Oscar looks last night, we’ll skip over those without naming names (Heidi Klum), and just talk about our very favorite Oscar night fashions.

oscars jennifer garner

{photo Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP}

Jennifer Garner. Forget that she’s wearing basic black. Her look is beautiful and classic.  The slightly asymmetrical neckline, echoed in the back as well, the draping at the skirt, the beading on the bodice, and the hidden slit all make for a classy, sophisticated, stunning look.  Her soft makeup (smokey eye + nude lips) and relaxed up-do with fab earrings and cuff bracelets? Can’t go wrong with any of it. Safe, maybe, but she looks confident and incredible.

oscars sofia vergara

{photo Jason Merritt/Getty Images}

Sofia Vergara. … >> find out more...

Kimberly

...by day, making a home where the buffalo roam. By night, pretty much the same thing, punctuated by the occasional fantasies of sunny beaches, italian movies and sparkling lemonade.

An Inspirational Motivational Quote For Your Week

Motivational quote time!

This week’s Quote Of The Week is from one of my personal favorites, Michael Phelps.  It kind of goes without saying that if you have a swimmer in the house, Michael Phelps is a huge inspiration.  Even if you’re not a swimmer or a swim fan, it’s hard not to be impressed with Michael Phelps.

Would you like to know something about Mr. Phelps?  In all his years of training, he only missed swim practice TWICE.  Once because he had his wisdom teeth removed, and another because he was snowed in and couldn’t get to the pool.  I don’t care who you are, that’s amazing.  I can barely drag myself on a walk around my neighborhood a few days a week.

Here’s an inspirational, motivational quote from Michael to help you on your way to achieving your dreams:

 

Motivational quote

 An Inspirational Motivational Quote For Your Week

So many people along the way,
whatever it is you aspire to do,
will tell you that it can’t be done.
But all it takes is imagination.
You dream.
You plan.
You reach. 
There will be obstacles.
There will be doubters.
There will be mistakes.
But with hard work,

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!

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12 Favorite Shows To Watch As A Family

What are your favorite shows to watch as a family?  We have quite a few, actually.  In fact, we’ve started instituting Family Movie Night every Sunday night after dinner.  I make a big, special dinner (including homemade dinner rolls) topped off with a tasty dessert like chocolate cake, or homemade apple pie with ice cream (that’s what we had last Sunday).  The idea is to make family time that’s separate and more special than the hurry-up-crazy we push through the of the rest of the week, and it’s so much fun.

 

favorite family shows to watch

 

We have a lot of favorite shows as a family, but we’re trying to branch out, watching something new every week.  Right now we’re working our way through the Disney classics, many of which my youngest has never seen.  Crazy!

Anyway, here’s a list of 12 Of Our Favorite Shows To Watch As A Family:

 

For Younger Kids

The Emperor’s New Groove -G

Hilarious movie about a selfish emperor and his royal sidekicks on adventures through the kingdom as the emperor learns to be more kind.

Chicken Run -G

Loosely based on the plot of the WWII movie The Great Escape, but with chickens. … >> find out more...

Allison

Well, hello there! I'm Allison Czarnecki, founder + editor of Petit Elefant, a blog all about style on a budget for every part of your life: style / home / travel / family. We do a lot of how-to beauty + style tutorials, travel posts, easy recipes, crazy home remodel projects, and cool (yes, cool) DIY crafts you'll totally want to try. I'm super happily married (to a hot Polish immigrant) and am the mother of two kids, a daughter and son, all of whom are featured here on the regular. We live in the country but we're a little bit rock + roll. Welcome!