Chicken Quesadillas

chicken quesadillas

These chicken quesadillas are an easy week night favorite in my house.  They take no time at all to make and we always have leftovers for the lunch the next day.  The tortillas are perfectly crispy and the filling is cheesy and delicious.  They reheat well in the toaster oven, too! Before I share the recipe, I want to give you some ideas for additional ingredients.  My kiddos like them with just seasoning, chicken and cheese in the tortilla, but I like to add a few things to make them extra delicious.  I add sauteed mushrooms, sweet peppers and onions Continue Reading →

Homemade Anti-Aging Moisturizer

Easy-to-make homemade anti-aging moisturizer.  Simple and natural.

Several years ago I began to notice fine lines appearing around my eyes and between my eyebrows from years of “thoughtful expression”.  At the time I had no idea that making a homemade anti-aging moisturizer was even possible so I tried several store-bought anti-aging creams and serums. Unfortunately, many of the store-bought creams contain ingredients that irritate my sensitive skin. When I began using essential oils, I knew there had to be one that worked well for reducing wrinkles.  Of course, frankincense is a wonderful oil for skin care products, but it is fairly expensive and sometimes out of stock. Continue Reading →

Potato Puffs

potato puffs

We eat a lot of potatoes.  Mostly because we like them and they are filling.  Partly because potatoes — even organic ones — are inexpensive.  And there are so many varieties and colors.  Have you tried purple fingerling potatoes?  They are a mouthful of awesome roasted in the oven with olive oil and good salt. You know what else is a mouthful of awesome?  Potato puffs.  They are super tasty and are a wonderful way to use leftovers.  I occasionally make too many mashed potatoes.  These potato puffs are a great way to use leftover mashed potatoes for a completely Continue Reading →

Are Essential Oils Safe?

are essential oils safe

Are essential oils safe?  You probably use essential oils or know someone who uses essential oils.  Essential oils are the latest thing in natural wellness.  Sort of.  Essential oils have actually been around for as long as plants have existed and have been used by humans for natural wellness throughout recorded history.   I have been thrilled and concerned at the same time by the recent increase in use of essential oils.  I’m glad that many people are taking charge of their wellness and seeking natural sources of healing, but I’m worried that we as consumers are apt to over use Continue Reading →

Natural Alternative to Dryer Sheets

natural alternative to dryer sheets dryer balls

As I’ve made the transition to a natural and less toxic lifestyle, one of my conventional indulgences has been dryer sheets.  I love the way they make my clothes feel and smell.  I’ve tried fragrance-free dryer sheets, but recently discovered that even fragrance-free dryer sheets contain toxins.  I decided to get serious about it and search for a natural alternative to dryer sheets.  There is no reason to continue to add to my family’s toxic load from sources that I can control! As I researched, one option continued to pop up over and over.  Wool dryer balls seemed to be a natural-living Continue Reading →

Simple Sweet Pepper Frittata

Sweet Pepper Frittata

If you’re looking for a simple weeknight meal that’s easy on the grocery budget, put this Sweet Pepper Frittata recipe on your go-to list!  This recipes takes just a few minutes to prep and feeds my family of five with leftover for lunch the next day. If you’re like us and don’t eat meat every night, this is a perfectly filling vegetarian dish.  The texture is fluffy and the taste is a savory with enough sweetness from the peppers to balance it nicely.  This has quickly become a family favorite around my house. This sweet pepper frittata is as beautiful Continue Reading →

Ten Reasons To Go Grain Free

10-Reasons-To-Go-Grain-Free-FB

  Have you gone grain free or are you considering going grain free?  Maybe you have friends or family members who are going grain free.  You’ve probably heard of the paleo or primal diet and you might know already that those are grain-free ways of life.  What’s the big deal about grains? Grains have only been a part of the human diet for about 10000 years.  That’s not a very long time in the course of human evolution.  Simply put, we were not made to easily digest grains.  However, if you are a follower of a traditional, Weston A. Price Continue Reading →

What’s Wrong With Common Core Math

what's wrong with common core

What’s Wrong With Common Core? Before you read this post, check out this problem.  Did the common core method of calculation make sense to you?  It did to me.  But, that doesn’t mean I’m rushing to teach my homeschooled children how to do calculations in this way. Common Core math attempts to teach children the ‘why’ behind the ‘how’ of solving a math problem.  This is good, because it sets a solid foundation for algebra, trigonometry and calculus later on.  We all want our children to be prepared for higher level math.  There is no reason that advanced high school Continue Reading →

My Single Ingredient Natural Laundry Detergent

natural laundry detergent

It’s no secret that store-bought laundry detergent is not the healthiest of products.  From sulfates to dioxanes to fragrances, conventional laundry detergents are sudsing up a toxic soup in your washing machine. If you’re like me, sensitive skin complicates the problem even further. While I haven’t had a skin rash from laundry detergent in a while due to careful avoidance, I know that exposure to certain brands will leave my skin burning and itching for days.  But, even the unscented detergents have less-than-desirable ingredients. I’ve tried for years to find a natural laundry detergent that I liked, to no avail. Continue Reading →

Essential Oil Giveaway — Citrus Fresh — WINNER ANNOUNCED!

essential oil giveaway citrus fresh

Winner Announcement: The winner of this giveaway, chosen by Random.org, is Jessica V.!  Congrats! My new favorite essential oil blend is citrus fresh. Citrus Fresh is a blend of orange, tangerine, mandarin, grapefruit, lemon and spearmint oils.  It has clean citrus scent that is lovely in the diffuser or applied topically, diluted in a bit of olive or coconut oil. The benefits of citrus fresh include immunity support and emotional wellness.  According to the Essential Oils Pocket Reference, Citrus Fresh can promote creativity and lessen anxiety. For me, inhalation of Citrus Fresh is uplifting.  It’s my “happiness in a bottle”. Continue Reading →

Pineapple Shrimp Stir Fry

Pineapple Shrimp Stir Fry

First of all, this one was a kid-pleaser.  Does anything else matter? Oh.  Okay. This pineapple shrimp stir fry is a sweet and savory summer supper.  The pineapple gives it both a sweetness and tangy-ness that is unforgettable.  I would like to tell you that it took me hours to create and prepare this masterpiece, but truthfully I had pineapple, I had shrimp, I had veggies and I had hungry boys. I got creative and prayed that it would work.   It did! This one will be on the easy summer meals list for years to come!     Many of Continue Reading →

$1000 Cash Giveaway

July Giveaway

 Yes.  You read that correctly.  This is a $1000 Cash Giveaway.  That’s one-thousand US dollars in CASH.  Will that cover your summer weekend get-away?  How about back-to-school for the kiddos?  Or maybe something else you’ve been saving for? I’ve teamed up with an amazing group of bloggers to offer my lovely readers a chance to win $1000 in cash (sent directly to your PayPal account) because, well, you’re worth it!   So, what would you do with a $1000 extra bucks this summer?  I’d ramp up my essential oil stash, for sure.  But, since it’s better to give than to receive, Continue Reading →

Homemade Mouthwash

homemade mouthwash

 As I work to replace all of the conventional, store-bought hygiene products in my home with natural ones, I have given up some products that I once used because I can’t find a suitable replacement.  Mouthwash was one of those products.  I hadn’t considered making a homemade mouthwash before now, but I had checked out a popular brand of natural mouthwash only to find that it contained sorbitol and xylitol, both of which make me feel sick when ingested in even the smallest amounts.  So, I gave up mouthwash altogether, and I’ve missed it. I make my own toothpaste.  I make Continue Reading →

Safe Essential Oils for Children

safe essential oils for children

  Young Living has just taken the guesswork out of knowing which essential oils are safe essential oils for children!  When I use essential oils on my children, I am always careful to use them in the correct dilution so that they are not too strong for their little bodies.   Young Living has created several new blends of essential oils for some of the more common uses of essential oils on children.  From bugs bites to sniffles to focus to digestive support, this new essential oil blend kit is a safe way to give your children the benefit of Continue Reading →

Natural Remedy for Smelly Feet and Shoes

natural_remedy_for_smelly_feet

I am the mother of a teen-aged athlete.  I know foot odor. And, while I would love to hide from this fact, I experience foot odor myself.  I’m not a fan of socks.  If going to work barefoot was socially acceptable, I’d be just fine.  But it’s not and so most of the time I wear shoes without socks or hosiery to get as close to barefoot as possible.  I often slip my shoes off under my desk, usually without even realizing that I’ve done it! Until the smell alerts me. I can wear a new pair of shoes without Continue Reading →

Totally Awesome Target Gift Card Giveaway

Totally Awesome Target Giveaway

  Happy New Month, my lovely readers!  It’s finally May.  For many of you it means the school year is winding down and summer fun is on the way.  It’s time to plan your summer fun, buy adorable summer play clothes for the kiddos and maybe spruce up your home with sweet spring and summer colors. No matter what you are looking forward to, I’d bet you could find lots of helpful items at Target, right?   For my May giveaway, I’ve teamed up with some other wonderful bloggers to giveaway a $500 Target Gift Card to one lucky reader. Continue Reading →

April Giveaway: Cloth Diapering Essentials Kit

  It’s time for a new giveaway.  This one is for you, moms! I loved cloth diapers when my boys were babies.  Cloth diapering was better for the environment, my babies’ bottoms and my budget.  And it didn’t hurt that the plain white cloth diapers of the past had been replaced with adorable and colorful all-in-ones! I’m excited to help host this cloth diaper giveaway.  I hope that it helps one of you to stock up on cloth diaper essentials. Check out the products we’re giving away: Skip Hop Pronto Changing Station Earth Mama Angel Baby, Bottom Balm Redmond RealSalt Continue Reading →

Quinoa and Pecan Casserole

Quinoa Pecan Casserole

  Hello, comfort food! It’s nice to eat ya. Quinoa is one of my favorite side dishes, but recently I’ve been looking for more ways to make it a main dish.  We certainly aren’t vegetarian but we don’t want meat for dinner every evening either.  I’m always on the lookout for ways to make veggie nights a little more tasty.  My quinoa and pecan casserole fits the bill. Okay, once you read the recipe you’ll realize that this isn’t actually a vegetarian meal because I use bone broth to cook the quinoa.  But you could easily substitute water or, for Continue Reading →

Ginger Chicken Stir Fry

136

    I don’t make a lot of Asian-inspired dishes, but when I do they usually involve ginger and rice wine vinegar.  And it’s often some variation of a stir fry. I’m just creative that way.  When I decided to whip up this “what’s in the freezer that I can use?” dish, I found myself all out of rice wine vinegar, so I used red wine vinegar instead.  It was still very tasty! Combining the ginger and vinegar with other seasonings and a bit of honey makes for a flavorful, but light dish that is perfect for busy week nights. Continue Reading →

Connecting in the Busy Seasons

240

 “We are parenting two forty-year-old men and a frat boy.” –My husband  I’ve been mostly absent from my blog for about a month now.  Actually, it’s been since January 27th, exactly.  The day before that silly-faced kid in the picture above turned eight.  I remember the date, but I barely remember his 8th birthday.  There was something about an elusive cookie cake (should have made it myself, but I was busy!) a possible snow day and the floodgates at work bursting open into a fast-paced hiring seasoning.  This was the first of my children’s birthdays that I did not take Continue Reading →

February In Pictures

194

  Here’s what were up to in February!  We had some weather.   And then we had some different weather.   There was some brotherly competition and a smidgen of photo bombing.   Some sweet faces that make me very happy.   A cat, who sits by the light begging to be photographed, but occasionally turns camera-shy.   Some playground time . . .   . . . which is how the two of them survive a full weekend of this . . .   Many of my posts contain affiliate links for which I will receive a commission if Continue Reading →

Buttermilk Pancakes

Buttermilk Pancakes

  Fluffy.  Sweet. Buttery. Comfort.   Yes, please. I grew up eating pancakes made from a packet mix.  I could make ‘em myself by the time I was 10 and did so most Saturday mornings.   I had no idea what I was missing.  Nothing in a packet can hold a candle to hot-off-the-griddle (this one!) buttermilk pancakes.   I make my buttermilk pancakes with sprouted spelt flour, which is easier to digest and doesn’t make my body hurt the way that conventional flour does.  (Of course, you can substitute your favorite wheat flour for the sprouted spelt, but I Continue Reading →

Losing Weight with an Activity Tracker

Losing Weight with an activity tracker pin

I’ve posted before about my weight loss since changing to a real food diet.  Because my body was healing from a number of conditions, I didn’t push myself to exercise.  Instead, I allowed my body time to heal before adding new activity to my new healthy lifestyle.   After losing 45 pounds, I returned to the workforce full-time.  The building I work in has lots of stairs and last Spring my office was moved to the second floor of the building.  Because the main printer was on the first floor and I did a lot of printing, I was up Continue Reading →

Does Oil-Pulling Work? My Oil Pulling Experiment–Week 6

does-oil-pulling-work-21-1024x1024

   Day 1 | Day 5 | Day 9 | Day 14 | Day 21 | Week 6 It’s been over 6 weeks since I started my oil-pulling experiment.  If you haven’t been reading along, I’ll give you some background. I started oil-pulling just to see what would happen.  I’ve heard wonderful things about the practice of oil-pulling and wanted to experience some of those great health effects myself.  I’ve read that oil-pulling can improve oral health, skin health, energy levels and even cure chronic disease.  I don’t have any chronic health issues, except stress and gluten induced IBS, so I didn’t need oil-pulling to work miracles. When I Continue Reading →

Real Food Diary Snapshot: What I Ate Yesterday #15

realfooddiary

Do you ever wonder what other real foodies eat?  I do.  And in case you do, too, once a week I’m going to share what I ate the day before.  It’s a food diary of sorts, although I don’t actually record what I eat each day.  I certainly don’t count calories or fat grams.  Mostly, I simply follow my cravings, because I believe that my body knows what it needs.   My Real Food Diary Snapshot is meant to be a peek into the diet of a real foodie and not the Gospel of Real Food According to Me.  Sometimes Continue Reading →

Why We Chose Not to Diagnose Our Son With Asperger’s Syndrome

Why-we-chose-not-to-diagnose-our-son-with-aspergers-syndrome

    My middle son (we’ll call him A) slid into the world effortlessly two days past his due date.  A is my rainbow baby–the first baby born after a miscarriage.  My previous pregnancy ended at 13 weeks with no warning.  As you might imagine, I was on pins and needles during the first trimester of my pregnancy with A.  I was afraid to get too attached.  Additionally, I experienced all-day nausea for most of the pregnancy.  It was my most difficult pregnancy by far.  By contrast, my labor with him was easy and his birth became a healing experience for Continue Reading →

Weekly Real Food Menu Plans #14

weekly-real-food-menu-plans-14

It’s Sunday and that means it’s time for my Weekly Real Food Menu Plans!  Each week I will list what we’re having for dinner Sunday-Saturday.  My family eats a real food diet at least 80% of the time, so if you’re looking for new ideas for real food dinners, you’ve come to the right place!   I know that a lot of you are trying to eat a real diet on a budget.  Grass-fed and pastured meats can be expensive if you don’t have a local source.  Fortunately, vegetarian meals can help to stretch your real food dollars!  For the Continue Reading →

Natural Stomach Virus Prevention

Natural-Stomach-Virus-Prevention

  Last week I gave you some great natural cold and flu prevention and therapy tips.  This week I’m sharing the best stomach virus prevention tips I have.  I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have a respiratory virus (cold) than a stomach virus.  When I have a cold, I still function during the day at a pretty high rate.  As long as I get enough sleep and I utilize my natural cold therapies and remedies, I don’t lose too much of my day to being sick. However, when I am hit with a stomach virus, my entire Continue Reading →

Free Home School Reading Resources

Free-Home-School-Reading-Resources

Home schooling doesn’t have to be an expensive venture.  There are plenty of resources to be found that are inexpensive and even FREE!  In the Free Home School Resources series I will share the wonderful, free home school resources that I’ve found.  The series will cover a different subject each week and highlight three-five free resources.  Check back every Thursday for the latest post in the series! FREE Home Schooling READING Resources 1.  Starfall– We love Starfall at my house!  Reading is fun when you use Starfall.  Tons of games at all different levels of learning.  And, they have a Continue Reading →

Why I Buy Grade B Maple Syrup

Why-I-Buy-Grade-B-Maple-Syrup

  Maple syrup.  It conjures feelings of warmth on a winter morning.   I bet you can almost taste the sweet syrup mixed with salty butter arranged artfully on a stack of pancakes.  *sigh* So.much.yum! But if you’ve never tasted maple syrup–if you’ve only experienced the syrup of wooden  houses and the Mrs.–you’re missing out! If you’ve tasted maple-flavored syrup or even Grade A maple syrup, then you still haven’t had the best that syrup has to offer. Do I sound a little too excited about syrup?  Yeah, maybe I am.  But let me tell you more about why Grade Continue Reading →