Today was a day for rambling through the woods and enjoying the tiny glimpses of spring coming into our lives. It’s hard to believe May begins at the end of this week. The chilly air continues and the hats and gloves still can’t be put away. At least there is some order in the kitchen as I have discovered the one thing that makes everything easier when it comes to meal prep.

An empty sink.

It’s so simple. As long as my sink is empty and clean, I can get the next meal done. The counters will never be completely clear, but if the sink is clean, another feast can be served. Try it…tell me if it works for you in your kitchen.

Family dinner plan


On the menu this week…

Sunday: Grilled Rib Eye, salad and Back to Nature macaroni (we used to buy Annie’s shells until they got bought up by General Mills, who is actively against GMO labelling. I still miss Annie’s, but I like to think my purchasing power has some leverage. Yours does too.)

Monday: Meatless Monday Omelets. This may be one of Madison’s favorite meals.

Tuesday: Honey Lime Drumsticks (recipe), Corn and Grilled Polenta.

Wednesday: Weather looks good for grilled swordfish, Alexia Oven Fries and salad. (recipe)

Thursday: Coconut Chicken Strips (recipe), Jasmine Rice and Sesame Broccoli. (If your kids don’t like coconut, you can make this mild version of homemade chicken nuggets.)

Friday: An extra set of hands arrive in the form of my mother-in-law as I disappear into the depths of the semi-annual Parent Talk Sale this weekend! Pizza night for the family.

Saturday: Family dinner out

Sunday: Beef chili. We have one more eye of the round roast to use up in our freezer (from our 1/4 cow share). I can’t bring myself to make a true roast so I’ll chop it up and make one last chili for the season.

Honey Lime Drumsticks


What’s on deck in your kitchen this week? Do you have a homemaking tip that makes life easier in your kitchen? 
Monday meal plan to help organize family dinner

For more inspiration, see three years of past dinner plan here,

my Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of posts.

Making jam is easier than we think.

Drizzle extravagantly. Reading those words solidified that I was going to love my newest cookbook. With a focus on real food and family friendly dinners, Aimèe Wimbush-Bourque’s new cookbook Brown Eggs and Jam Jars is a delight for the home cook. It’s approachable way of using fresh and local ingredients makes nearly everything doable. I say nearly as I am not lucky enough to have maple trees in my backyard for fresh maple water. Maybe at our next house…

I’ve been reading Aimèe’s recipes at Simple Bites for nearly five years. Her food blog was one of the first that I followed, and I often recommend her recipes to friends. Over the past year, it’s been fun to watch the behind-the-scenes of making a cookbook on Aimée’s Instagram account. I pre-ordered the book and was so excited when it arrived on my very snowy doorstep.

Radish butter appetizer for spring

As I devoured the stories of urban homesteading, I started thinking of our spring garden, healthy ideas for the kids lunch boxes and was quickly reminded by my husband that owning chickens are not in our near future. Good thing we live in a town with a poultry farm.

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars is a cookbook for people wanting to cook from scratch, without it feeling like too much effort. The ingredient lists are not too long and generally available in most grocery stores. The measurements are in both American and Canadian, (she is Canadian by the way!)

Maple Marshmallows

My kids picked this to make first!

As an avid cook, I’m always excited when I learn new things in a cookbook. Here’s a few of my favorite tidbits so far:

  1. I’ve never heard of low-carbon cooking or hypercooking. Apparently it’s the new trend in eco-conscious cooking.
  2. The ring of a large mason jar is the perfect size to cut the dough for butter tarts.
  3. I’m questioning my store bought eggs as I’ve noticed the skin has been really thin lately…
  4. Buckwheat flour for those pancakes on the cover is on my grocery list.
  5. Sunday’s breakfast plan now includes Coconut Cream Baked Oatmeal.
  6. Le Creuset baking dishes are
  7. My spring garden is going to have baby spinach, radishes and more herbs this year.
  8. It’s okay to talk to kids about where meat comes from and why we eat it…
  9. Yet I’m inspired to eat more meatless meals.
  10. …you’ll have to read the book to discover you own new bites of knowledge.

Aimée personally granted me a copy to giveaway to my readers. Since I have a blogger crush it was especially exciting for me to get a personal email from her. I even remember meeting another Canadian blogger at a conference once and I had one of those, “you know her?!” moments. The other blogger said Aimèe was just a delightful in person and I’m sure you will also see this in the stories of she shares of her family and home in her cookbook.

Brown Eggs and Jam Jars CookbookPlease leave a comment below if you are interested to win a copy of the book. Open to both US and Canadian residents. A winner will be chosen after the comments close on February 21st.


You can also order Brown Eggs and Jam Jars over on Amazon. (affiliate link). Note- I bought my own book and this is an unsponsored post. I hope you will enjoy the book too. 

healthy living tips in the new yearI remember reading emails about the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle when Madison was in the hospital in September. Scanning emails were a welcomed distraction from her surgery and slow recovery. Messages from friends and family were so needed during that tough week. One morning, I got a quick break and sat outside for the first time in days. In that quiet space I decided to buy the Healthy Living Bundle and do what I can to keep our family healthy.

No surprise here, out of the 74 ebooks, the ones that really spoke to me during our hospital stay were the alternative health ones. It was western medicine that saved Madison, but I truly believe in the power of preventative medicine. I wondered what else we could be doing to keep ourselves grounded and immune systems topped off as we headed into a busy year.

Fast forward a couple months, and I have read through a couple of these books. The Essentials of Essential Oils was super helpful as I made the leap into adding essential oils into our daily routine. {Thank you Nikki and Kathy!} The Traditional Remedies for Modern Families may become your favorite too with easy to follow suggestions and recipes.

For all of the meal planning fans here, there are 14 ebooks to help you create real food meals, new smoothie recipes and maybe find a new love for kale.

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is available again for 48 hours only. I didn’t share it with my readers last time around since we were otherwise busy with Madison’s recovery. There are a lot of these ebook bundles around so please know I only share ones I think are useful.

The eCourses in the Bundle

The BEST part of this bundle is the eCourses. Now that I’ve tried out Essential Oils for a short while, I’m going to take the course in January. I’m excited to learn more ways to use EO besides getting JJ to sleep through the night. {You don’t have to do everything all at once with the bundle, you can do it on your own terms.} The Essential Oils course is normally $95 so getting that alone for $29 is a HUGE discount. 

In September I bought the bundle on my own and even splurged on the Kindle files. The extra $10 was worth it to me to make accessing my ebooks easy on either my laptop or iPad. (When you buy the bundle, there is a short video sharing how to transfer the Kindle/mobi files from your desktop to your computer. I also added the Kindle app to my Mac laptop so I could easily read at my desk too.) There is also a handy Getting Started information package included in your purchase so you don’t feel overwhelmed with all this new information at your fingertips. Over 18,000 people bought this package last September so it’s been brought back for a very quick sale!

When? 12 a.m. EST Monday, December 29 until 11:59 p.m. EST Tuesday, December 30

What? 74 eBooks and 6 audio & eCourses, PLUS over $140 worth of bonus products you’ll really use!

Where? Purchase the bundle HERE.

How much? Well now, that’s the best part. The entire package is worth $1140, and it’s selling for less than $30.

If you are ready to invest in your health for 2015, now is the time to get started. The sale is only for 48 hours so time is ticking. Plus you will get some fun bonuses too (I love the hard lotion bar I got from Made On!) that are valued over $130. The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle will only be on sale for 2 days only – from 12am EST on Monday, December 29 until 11:59pm EST on Tuesday, December 30.

photo credit: gauteh via photopin cc

It’s time for you to get the Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle and live your healthiest year yet.

Disclosure: I have included affiliate links in this post. Read the fine print about this bundle and read the answers to frequently asked questions about the bundle.

Peapod grocery delivery.

Grocery shopping takes on new meaning once you have a child. You have to plan your trips around naps and you may not be able to go as often as you once did. You also need a lot more stuff. Switching to home delivery of your groceries can free up so much time, and money. No more buying incidental items, no more adding things the kids are asking for. I have used Peapod grocery delivery for a long time, going back to my Boston College days. We had a dorm room with a kitchen, but no one had a car. I still remember getting groceries delivered and I thought it was the coolest thing.

Peapod is actually turning 25 this year. They were ahead of the trend on home delivery. New this year is the expanded Pick-Up Service, which means you can order groceries and pick them up at the store when you are out and about. No need to stay home during the delivery window. You can learn more about my experience with the Stop and Shop/Peapod pick-up service here.

As you head into the holiday baking season, here’s a quick tip. There are huge sales on staple baking ingredients coming up the weeks before Thanksgiving. It’s the best time of year to stock up on flours, sugars and baking supplies. Even spices that never go on sale can be found at a discount. Getting a large ordered delivered is so much easier than trying to do it with multiple children in tow. I also remember to add in other heavy items when I do online orders, like seltzer cans and distilled water.

Peapod 25th Anniversary Celebration. Switch to getting groceries delivered to your door step!

Want to try out online ordering? Peapod is offering one of my readers a $25 gift card. Who doesn’t like free groceries?! Did you know they have over 15,000 items in their online shopping site?

Please use the Rafflecopter to enter below. Contest will close November 21st at midnight. US Residents only. Winner will be notified via email and have 48 hours to claim their prize.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy shopping!

Disclosure: Peapod provided gift cards to me to facilitate this review. All opinions shared here are my own.

After an amazing trip to San Francisco, it’s back to reality and making dinner. Last year this post for easy summer dinners was a big hit and we are starting to work of this list again. I can see our dinners slowly moving into the pattern of something grilled and a salad on the side.

The kids favorite meals involve “making” something themselves. I’m going to try out some new taco themes and see if they work for everyone. This week will have a fish taco night, future weeks will include a greek and mexican themed dinners.

On the Menu…

Monday~ Cobb salad. The kids like hard boiled eggs so I’m going to see if this could be a new summer dinner for us. It’s an easy meatless meal for a summer night if you leave out the chicken.

bbq chicken cobb salad

Isn’t this salad beautiful?! {source}

Tuesday~ Fish Taco Night.

Wednesday~ Pulled pork sandwiches. The kids are always ravenous after swim class so I need dinner ready. Now.

Thursday~ Grilled Chicken with Barley Corn Salad. The perfect recipe to use up the red onion, avocado and cilantro in the fridge.

Friday~ Pizza night!

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.


Borrow instead of buying

Today I ask you to consider borrowing instead of buying. What little, or big, items could you borrow for a short time from a neighbor or friend. Can you knock on a neighbor’s door and borrow their hand mixer? Do you have a shovel you can lend a neighbor to plant some trees? Can you let my sister borrow a crib until hers arrives from Hawaii?

All these borrowing ideas are true stories in my little world. Borrowing can build community among neighbors. However, it also helps slow the flow of extra items in our homes. Some people only need a hand mixer a couple of times a year, and I am happy to lend mine out. From kitchen gadgets to baby gear, there are possibly a few items you could borrow instead of buying.

Today is Earth Day. I ask you to consider the idea of borrowing more often. It’s one small way you can reduce the build up of stuff in our homes.

This post was inspired by the new book, All You Need is Less. I received a copy to review by my stories shared here are my own. {affiliate link}

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for #CollectiveBias and its advertiser. #WalgreensOlogy
Tips for Under the Bathroom Sink Organization

Time for some spring cleaning everyone! Every March I tackle a few organizing challenges and up first is the bathroom. In my Organization Pinterest Board, I noticed one pin has over 5,000 repins- it’s an Under the Sink Organization pin. I had two thoughts about this. One, I wish all the traffic was going to my site, and two, why doesn’t my bathroom sink look like this?! Now is the time to clear out the clutter and restock with some new cleaning supplies from Ology, which is endorsed by one of my favorite organizations, Healthy Child, Healthy World. The Ology product line uses sustainable raw materials, doesn’t test on animals and uses a variety of natural ingredients.

Ology endorsed by Healthy Child Healthy World

Just a few weeks ago I bought my own Ology product- toothpaste. We buy the same natural toothpaste but I noticed the Ology brand next to my usual one. I compared the ingredients and they were nearly identical so I gave it a try. Turns out I like the Ology toothpaste, and the lower price. When I started my bathroom organization product, I decided to give the Ology cleaning products a shot. There’s just something satisfying about having all the cleaning things match too, don’t you think?

Walgreens Ology Shopping Trip

I have to say I had fun doing this shopping trip. As I went from the beauty aisle to get some Ology Castile Soap (for my homemade soap recipe) and then to the cleaning aisle, I was impressed with how many Ology products Walgreens now carries. It’s a line of products for those of us who are trying to avoid using products with parabens, phthalates, fragrances, triclosan and a few other nasty ingredients. They are safe for me, but more importantly, they help maintain my healthy home for the whole family.

Armed with new cleaning supplies, in very cute packages, I started the big purge under the sink. It was a little scary down there and I was able to toss a lot of old cleaning supplies. If I hadn’t used it in six months, I decided it was safe to say it was time to get rid of it. I also found six empty spray bottles for creating my own cleaners. Clearly I had high hopes, but it’s just not something that I’m able to do these days. Once everything was sorted, cleaned and repurposed, it was time to set up a new system.

Create Cute Labels for Drawer Organizers

My advice for tackling an organization project, take the time to make it pretty. It may seem silly to make fancy labels, but I think the better it looks from the start, the more likely you are to maintain it. I made the labels above using PicMonkey and printed them out on sticker paper. You can also print them out on regular paper and laminate them with packing tape. The drawers fit so well and help use the space more efficiently. I think I’ll buy one more and label it Baby and include the wipes and a couple of diapers.

Label cleaning bottles from the top to easily identify them

The only tricky thing with having all your cleaning bottles match is you can’t see which is which when they are down low. Time for p-touch labels! I may move my all-purpose cleaner to the kitchen, but for now I like having all of them lined up. Yes, that’s how we Type-A people work.

Keep cleaning rags handy to wash the bathroom

The worst offenders under the sink were the towels and rags. I bought two drawers to contain them and I love how easy it is for me to reach for a rag when I need to spray down the bathroom after the three-year old goes potty by himself…and misses. If paper towels are more your thing, the Ology paper products are all tree free.

If you want to learn a little more about Ology, you can watch this fun YouTube video and get a quick flashback to Melrose Place…

Here’s a peek at the full before and after shot…oh my is it better!

Before and After Under the Sink Organization

 What organization project is next on your list?

Welcome back to the meal plan. After not writing one last week I’m back and happy to have the week of dinners figured out. Even though it wasn’t written down and we didn’t go hungry as we are still working through our 1/4 of a cow. I did realize that I still appreciate having the dinners planned out in advance, and the time it takes on Sunday is totally worth it.

I have two new meal planning resources to share with you today as well. The first is an article in Boston Globe magazine written by fellow Boston blogger Christine Koh, also the author of one of my latest reads, Minimalist Parenting. The article shares 4 great sites to check out for more dinner ideas. I would agree with #4–my Pinterest boards is one of my first stops as I plan the menu for the week ahead.

Second tip is from The Kitchen Hour podcast hosted by Megan Francis of the blog, The Happiest Home. I love listening to podcasts while I’m doing dishes at night or folding a load of laundry. It can be a great way to learn something new, or just get a good laugh. In the most recent podcast, Megan interviewed Jenny Rosenstrach of Dinner, A Love Story. Jenny’s blog and book of the same name shares her love for the family dinner, and appreciates the challenges of getting it all done. I love her easy recipes that don’t take a ton of effort, but instead leave more time for relaxing at the dinner table.

On the menu this week…

Meal plan March week 1

Got a favorite podcast? Leave a note in the comment section.

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.

Happy October everyone! This week’s meal plan features freezer meals from Wildtree, the kid’s favorite dinner and prep for our friend’s annual pumpkin carving party. The freezer meal has become a life saver as I have a lot less time to cook with three kids four and under. The baby is always hungry as I’m prepping dinner so having the majority of dinner prepared is a huge help.

I generally make my freezer meals at the Wildtree workshops friends are hosting. If you want to do it on your own, these are two resources I would recommend.


From Your Freezer to Your Family: Slow Cooker Freezer Recipes eCookbook — $9.99

Not Your Mother’s Make-Ahead and Freeze Cookbook  (currently 60% off in Amazon bargain books!)

Neat-os reusable bags

Neat-os Reusable Bag Set (chop onions and peppers and store in these reusable bags) Don’t miss their cute snack size bags too. Kids can decorate their own and use them in their lunch box.

The hard part about freezer meals is always going to be finding some time to prep the meals. If you can, set aside a half hour and just start with two meals your family would like. I bet it will be so helpful on some busy weeknight, it will motivate you to try to make more.

Monday Meal Plan Oct 6th with Freezer Meals and more inspiration

Sunday~ Italian beef roast (slow cooker Wildtree freezer meal), steamed carrots, polenta. Apple crisp for dessert!

Monday~ Baked haddock with mushrooms and tomatoes, green beans and rice.

Tuesday~ Chicken nuggets, butternut squash and pasta

Wednesday~ Chicken tortilla soup (freezer meal) and cornbread

Thurday~ CORN {Clean Out Refrigerator Night}

Friday~ Pizza night

For more inspiration, see my past menus here, or the Pinterest board here, or OrgJunkie for a link-up of meal plans.

As I continue my maternity leave this month, I wanted to share this recipe from Kristina, the writer behind The Greening of Westford. I am a huge fan of coconut oil; it was my belly butter of choice during my nine months of being pregnant. This is an easy recipe and I hope you find it useful!

If you are looking for more natural replacements for beauty products, I have THE ONE!  Coconut oil is an amazing ingredient.  You can cook with it and use it as part of your beauty routine! It is becoming a regular item on grocery store shelves as well.

This little mixture can be used as a moisturizer, eye makeup remover and eye cream.

Coconut Oil Moisturizer

1/2 cup Coconut oil
1/2 tsp Vitamin E (optional)


Place the coconut oil and vitamin E in a bowl.   Whip with an electric mixer until it is like whipped cream or frosting (about 5-10 minutes).

Vitamin E oil is used as a preservative.  However, if you don’t already have some, don’t bother.  Coconut oil has a pretty long shelf-life as is.   Some people find it easier to melt the coconut oil first, and then whip it as it cools.  If you prefer this method, you can melt the coconut oil in your microwave or over a double boiler.

Place in a pretty jar and you are done!


I put this on my body as a moisturizer after showering.  When I remove my eye makeup at night, I put a small amount on my eyes and wipe the make-up away.  A little remains which moisturizes that delicate skin around your eyes beautifully.

In the summer, this mixture may turn to liquid.   You could store it in the fridge to keep it more solid, but totally your preference.  In colder months, you may have to scrape at it a bit, but it melts quickly with the warmth of your hands.

Have you tried coconut oil in other beauty treatments?

About the Author

Kristina Greene is the founder and editor of The Greening Of Westford blog.  She focuses on practical eco-friendly actions anyone can do to save time, money, aggravation, oh, and the planet!  Connect with her through her blog, facebook and twitter.