What to Put in Military Care Packages

Do you have a service member in your family that needs some love this holiday season?  Are you wondering what to put in military care packages? When I was little, my father was in the Naval Reserves.  I have fond memories of him in his shiny black shoes and spiffy white hat.  I was too young to understand much about war or what military men and women were dedicating themselves to.  As an adult, I have a better understanding of the sacrifices of these brave men and woman.  They dedicate so much of their lives to protecting and serving our nation … [Read more...]

Cheese Board Ideas for Delicious Entertaining Made Easy!

These cheese board ideas have been sponsored by Stella Cheese but the content and opinions expressed here are my own. Everyone has different traditions regarding the holidays.  For some people, black Friday shopping is a ton of fun.  Others enjoy caroling or Elf on the Shelf.  For me, the things that make holidays most memorable are food and family.  We just spent a week with out of town guests that we haven't seen in two years.  Our week was full of fun times and LOTS of food!  Since I have a serious cheese addiction, I will tell you right … [Read more...]

How to Prepare for Company so Your Guests Feel at Home!

Fall is finally here and the holidays are fast approaching. Now is the season for visiting friends and family and you may be wondering how to prepare for company so they feel at home during their visit.  As much as I hate to think about it, the chaos of the holidays will be here very quickly!  Shopping, baking, wrapping and holiday parties are a lot of fun but add them to an already hectic schedule and you get one really stressed out mama.  One of the things I really enjoy about the holidays is having company to cook for but having house guests … [Read more...]

5 Awesome Reasons to Feed Organic Food to Teenagers

This post about organic food is sponsored by Annie's Homegrown  but all opinions expressed here are my own. Whenever I see commercials for organic food, there always seems to be babies in it.  Or maybe a few toddlers and a stray preschooler or two. Rarely do I see commercials for organic food that feature teenagers.  I always wonder why that is?  Sure, I started feeding my kids organic food when they were babies but they don't magically just grow out of their need for the highest quality natural and organic food.  In fact, I think there are … [Read more...]

How to Make Nature Walks with Kids More Educational

Are you considering nature walks with kids this weekend? When my children were younger, we spent a lot of time outside.  Mainly because I was a stay at home mom and any mess they made outside was one that I didn't have to clean up.  They could also be loud, run around like maniacs and tire themselves out so they would take a good nap.  Outside time every day kept us all sane!  I was also very passionate about their education, even at a young age.  While I didn't home school, I made sure to find something that we could learn about every day.  … [Read more...]

10 Eco Friendly Date Ideas to Help Your Love Life Go Green!

Many, many years ago, I met a wonderful man who wooed me with flowers, cute little love notes, walks through town holding my hand, and other romantic yet simple gestures.  We weren't necessarily thinking about eco friendly date ideas.  We were just poor! We laughed, snuggled, and skipped a few classes while we relished our budding relationship.  Fast forward 25 years, 2 kids, a few jobs and a whole lot of stress and my husband and I have lost a bit of the romance we used to have in our relationship.   Weeks are long, the kids are annoying, the … [Read more...]

Why Pack a Lunch for Work? Here are 5 Awesome Reasons!

Thank you Healthy Choice for sponsoring this why pack a lunch discussion. Visit your local retailer to pick up your own Healthy Choice Simply Cafe Steamer or Original Cafe Steamer meal today! Every morning, my husband leaves for work at 6 AM.  And every day (or just about every day) he walks out the door with his handy, dandy little lunch box.  No, it doesn't have cartoon characters on it like it did when he was a kid.  But, nevertheless, it contains a healthy lunch along with real silverware and a cloth napkin. He has been doing this ever … [Read more...]

5 Ways to Preserve Hot Peppers for Spicy Meals All Year Long!

As we move into late August, the heat loving plants are thriving and I am looking for ways to preserve hot peppers.  In late spring I planted many different varieties of these spicy little buggers...jalapenos, habaneros, seranos and many more.  Of course, I couldn't just plane ONE of each of these varieties...oh no!  I had to plant at least two of everything I bought.  Which means that as we head into late summer and early fall I now have so many hot peppers I don't even know what to do with them all.  For months I have been giving them to … [Read more...]

How to hike with kids and actually enjoy it!

Summer is drawing to a close and Fall will be sneaking in soon.  Once the days start to cool off, my husband and I enjoy finding time to head out into the woods for some quality hiking trips.  We had to learn years ago how to hike with kids since we have no family around to play babysitter for us.  And truthfully I WANT my kids out in nature with us.  Yes, hiking with kids isn't always as much fun as hiking with just adults.  They tend to be slower, louder, and more prone to tripping or getting hurt.  However, I am a firm believer in the idea … [Read more...]

Eco Friendly Children: They only learn what their parents teach them!

Eco friendly children are not born, they're made.  My husband and I are avid outdoor lovers and some of the best times we have had as a family have taken place in the woods.  Hiking, camping, kayaking, and gardening are all considered favorite family activities. I'm lucky my kids enjoy tagging along on our outdoor adventures (most of the time!). Maybe it's because from the time they could walk (or even just sit in a backpack) they have been out in the woods.  When we hike they know to leave the indigenous wildlife, rocks, sticks and whatnot … [Read more...]

Creative Uses for Lemon Balm When it Takes Over Your Garden!

Several years ago I decided I wanted to grow lemon balm.  Great idea, right?  Well, now I am constantly looking for new uses for lemon balm because the stuff is growing like a weed and taking over the back of my house.  Seriously.  Why can't I get my cucumbers and squash to grow like this?   Growing lemon balm might have been a great idea but it requires near-daily maintenance to make sure it stays where I put it.  If you have a ton of lemon balm in your own yard, here are a few things I have found so far to do with it. Creative Uses for Lemon … [Read more...]

What is the True Meaning of Friendship in a World that Moves Too Fast?

This post about what is the true meaning of friendship has been sponsored by Ricola swiss herbs throat drops and Social Stars but all opinions are my own. #RicolaCrowd #FriendshipDay When we are young, it's easy to make friends.  You spend hours hanging out with them at school, go to their birthday parties, and ride your bike aimlessly through the neighborhood with them.  As you get older, there are sleepovers, long phone conversations and extracurricular activities that you both enjoy together.  Friendships are easier to make because as a … [Read more...]

Advice for My Teenage Daughter as She Begins High School

This post about advice for my teenage daughter has been sponsored by Ricola swiss herbs throat drops and Social Stars but all opinions are my own. #RicolaCrowd Last week, I attended my daughter's 8th-grade award ceremony.  It's hard to believe that my baby girl will be entering into high school in just 10 more weeks.  What happened to my little side kick with those pudgy legs and cute blond curls?  Where is the courageous little kindergartner who got on that school bus without a single backward glance for her crying mother?  I miss that … [Read more...]

Raising Green Kids in a Not So Green World

Raising green kids isn't an easy task in this throwaway, disposable society.  As parents, we spend a lot of time teaching our children things we feel they will need to know when they get older.  We teach them their colors and how to count and spell.  We teach them to say please and thank you and to always use good manners at the table.  Maybe you teach them about God, how to be compassionate, and to take care of those people who are less fortunate than they are.  But have you ever stopped to teach them how to care for our planet?  Have you … [Read more...]

“Where Does Meat Come From?”: How to Answer Your Child’s Questions

When I tell people that my kids have been to a slaughter house they look at me like I'm insane.  (It was empty except for a couple deer carcasses in the refrigerator and spotlessly clean....) However, from the time my children were incredibly young, I answered their ' where does meat come from ?' questions quite honestly.  They have been coming with me to the farm for meat pickups since they were young and know that the animals we see there will eventually end up on our plates.  You might think that's harsh but too many children today are … [Read more...]

How to Eliminate Clutter and Improve Emotional Health

In a recent conversation with my mom, she told me she is trying to clean out her house and get rid of some things. For my mom, learning how to eliminate clutter is quite a chore…she is a packrat and still has things like my old prom corsage and 50 years worth of cookbooks! It got me to thinking: why do we keep the things we do? To hold on to the memories? Because we feel guilty throwing them away?  You are not the only person who needs to learn how to eliminate clutter from their lives.  The average American house size has more than doubled … [Read more...]

Simple Meditation Tips for Mindful Living

One of my goals for the new year is to stop multitasking and learn to focus my mind on one thing at a time.  I want to quiet my mind from the chaos that is constantly scrolling through it and decided to share some simple meditation tips if you want to join me.  My husband has been going to the Shambhala Meditation Center for about a year now and has found it incredibly helpful on his journey to mindful living.  What is mindful living?  It is basically the state of keeping your mind on the present moment. Is your mind clouded with thoughts about … [Read more...]

Best Tips for Decluttering Your Child’s Room

Want to know the best tips for decluttering your child's room?  Keep reading and see what I have learned over the years! My kids, like most everyone elses, have WAY too many toys.  They are scattered from their bedrooms to the playroom into the living room and occasionally make their way into my office.  I get tired of seeing them, frankly, and we need to start sorting through this mess before the holidays.  Since my kids have November and December birthdays there is a HUGE influx of STUFF into my house during the fall and winter.  Decluttering … [Read more...]

Cookie Baking Tips for Beginners: For Perfect Cookies Every Time!

When I was young, I was lucky enough to have a mom who loved to bake.  I remember when I was about 6 or 7, I would go to school with my homemade lunch and kids would pay me a quarter just for me to give them homemade cookies from my mom.  I had a nice little side business going there for a while!  I truly love making cookies from scratch and am trying to instill that love of baking in my own kids.  But, I know there are a lot of people who were not raised with Betty Crocker for a mom.  If you don't learn from a mom, where to you learn to make … [Read more...]