Does Gentle Discipline Work?

Does Gentle Discipline Work

I first read about gentle discipline when my oldest child was nearing his first birthday.  I had practiced attachment parenting from the beginning, but hadn’t given much thought to discipline.  I knew from my my own upbringing and my education in psychology and sociology that physical punishment was not right for our family, but I had no idea how to discipline without the use of spanking, time outs and other punitive tools.  No one had modeled it for me and I did not know what to do instead. After arming myself with information and finding a supportive friend and a Continue Reading →

Cherry Vanilla Smoothie

cherry vanilla smoothie

My kiddos love smoothies.  Sunday mornings are smoothie time in my house.  We typically make blueberry, mango/pineapple and strawberry, but this time we all wanted something different.  This cherry vanilla smoothie was perfect for giving us a bit of change from our usual smoothie routine. My cherry vanilla smoothie is sweet, tart and creamy.  The background vanilla flavor reminded us all of frozen yogurt.  In fact, we froze the last bit of it and it turned out nicely.  We’ll definitely be making it again as a dessert, with the addition of a little more honey. Here is the recipe! Many Continue Reading →

How I Stopped My IBS Naturally

How To Cure IBS Naturally 1

Sudden Onset of IBS  My IBS began suddenly after the birth of my first child when I was 22 years old.  At my six week post-natal check up, I talked with the doctor about my constant stomach upset.  She told me it was my hormones regulating and that I would be fine after a few months.  I didn’t worry too much because I had already noticed a connection with my menstrual cycle and my digestive system. After a few months, my stomach issues became cyclical, alternating between IBS-D and IBS-C.  I went to a different doctor because I knew it Continue Reading →

Paleo Meal Plans

Paleo Meal Plans

Paleo Meal Plans Over the past few years, I’ve discovered that the Paleo diet (the primal version) is the way of eating that benefits my family the most.  As we transitioned from a Standard American Diet to a Real Food Diet, the hardest thing wasn’t giving up our favorite grain-and-sugar filled foods.  No, the most difficult thing was meal planning! I’ve always used meal plans to save money, time and curb wastefulness. Meal plans are definitely worth using, especially if you are on a budget or don’t have time to plan meals and shop for food on a day-by-day basis. Because Continue Reading →

Easy Homemade Body Wash

Easy Homemade Body Wash

Have you looked at the ingredients in your favorite body wash?  I have.  It’s not pretty.   I have to admit that I love scented body wash.  I had very sensitive skin as a child and was only allowed to use Ivory and Pure and Natural soaps.   Before liquid body wash was a thing, my friends all smelled like Caress and Dial.  I wanted to smell like soap, too, but those soaps irritated my skin. By the time I got to college, body wash had taken over the soap market and Bath and Body Works was my favorite store. Continue Reading →

Easy Homemade Pie Crust Recipe

homemade pie crust recipe

We all need a good, but simple homemade pie crust recipe in our recipe box, don’t we?  I don’t know why, but people seem intimidated by the thought of making a pie crust from scratch.  It’s one of the most basic things a home cook can make, yet few of us do it ourselves.   My pie crust has only four simple ingredients for a savory pie and one important rule — keep the ingredients cold.  That’s the key to a flaky crust.   My pie crust is made with sprouted flour because it’s easier to digest.  Find out more here.  You Continue Reading →

Fearless Parenting

parenting anxiety

If you are a parent chances are you’ve spent more than a little time worrying about your children.  It’s normal and it’s healthy to be concerned about the safety and well-being of our children.  We are given a great responsibility when we are blessed with children and those of us who take our responsibility seriously are likely to have some concerns about keeping our kids safe. The problem begins when we worry so much that we become anxious or we make decisions based solely on the emotion of fear.  Fearful parenting clouds our judgment and leads us to parent in Continue Reading →

Homemade Toothpaste

homemade toothpaste

As I strive to live a simpler, more natural lifestyle, I am replacing many personal hygiene products with natural and/or homemade alternatives.  I prefer not to use toothpaste that contains fluoride (find out why) and though I have used a few favorite natural, store-bought toothpastes (here’s my fav) many of them contain xylitol which leaves an unpleasant artificial-sweetener-flavor in my mouth.  I prefer the simple, clean taste that my homemade toothpaste leaves behind. My recipe for homemade toothpaste has just four ingredients:  coconut oil, baking soda, peppermint essential oil and thieves essential oil. (You can experiment with other flavors!) I chose Continue Reading →

Flourless Chocolate Cake

flourless chocolate cake

Oh man.  This cake is trouble, you guys.  I want to make it all the time.  I want to eat it all the time.  I want you to try it so you can join me.   Before I post the recipe for this lovely chocolate dream, let’s talk sweeteners for a minute.  Because I follow a traditional food diet at home I don’t like to use refined sugar when baking.  However, I keep organic sugar on hand for making kombucha and I’ve found that the finished flourless chocolate cake has a better texture when made with granulated organic sugar than Continue Reading →

How To Get Books for a Dollar or Less

books for less than a dollar

About a decade ago I developed a bad habit.  I joined several book clubs and got tons of books for a low price.  I did this over and over and amassed quite a library.  I was always on the lookout for inexpensive books on Amazon and I never passed up the clearance tables at the bookstore.  Add to that my collection of homeschooling textbooks, workbooks, chapter books, etc and you can imagine that my bookshelves were overflowing in a short time. About my love of books, I’ve comforted myself with the thought that at least I don’t collect shoes or Continue Reading →

Coping With Miscarriage

coping with miscarriage

  Twelve years ago this month I suffered the miscarriage of my second pregnancy.  I was 13 weeks into the pregnancy and feeling pretty confident as I moved into the second trimester.  My morning sickness (and a few other symptoms) had begun to diminish and I was ready to enjoy the next phase of the pregnancy. On the morning before my 13 week appointment, I noticed spotting.  An ultrasound performed later that day revealed that my baby had stopped growing about three weeks earlier and that the pregnancy was ending.  (I’ll write my miscarriage story at another time because today Continue Reading →

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 →

Potato Puffs

Quick and Easy 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

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    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

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 “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 →