Monday, June 30, 2014

Meatless Monday: Berry Good!

Summer berries-delicious and a great source of so many necessary vitamins.  Today's post will have your mouth watering from the pictures alone.

Raspberry Almond Scones from Two Peas and Their Pod might get your hands a little messy, but oh is it worth it.  These pretty scones are perfect for breakfast (especially on the go), or for a dressed up brunch you can impress your friends and family by making.  They look like they came from a fancy bakery somewhere.  Don't be fooled by their looks though-they are super easy to make.  Give it a try this weekend-we promise you'll be happy you did!

Another dish that's almost too pretty to eat-Fresh Strawberry Cobbler from Chocolate, Chocolate and More.  So glad southern belle, Joan, chose to do more than just chocolate creations, because there is nothing better than fresh cobbler for dessert on a hot summer evening.  Add ice cream to take this dessert to the next level!  Thank you, ma'am!

These Very Berry Muffins are a colorful and tasty way to start your morning.  Sally's Baking Addiction is welcomed with open arms (as are her other muffin recipes) as a great kick start to your day.  Mix and match with your berries of choice for a killer combination.

Mouth watering yet?  They are almost too pretty to eat...almost!

Check out other great Meatless Monday dishes and desserts on our Meatless Monday Pinterest board.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle-Aluminum

Aluminium cans can be recycled at your curbside pickup, and Americans actually do a pretty decent job of recycling this material, but we can continue to do a better job by reusing cans and other aluminum materials  around our house in many great ways.  According to, less than 1% of the total US waste stream was made up of aluminum cans, however the energy required to replace that 1% of waste would be enough to meet the electricity needs of Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and Seattle combined!  Keep America Beautiful states that recycling 1 aluminum can could save the approximate amount of energy needed to run your television for 3 hours-just one little can!

So, in honor of these statistics, we've found some creative and useful ways to reuse cans and other metal items in your own household to keep these items out of the trash.

Have some old aluminum bakeware?  Cookie sheets can be turned into cute message boards for the kitchen.  Cupcake tins can be great drawer organizers or paint holders for the artist in your family.
courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Courtesy of Domestic Charm
As for reusing aluminum cans, the possibilities are endless.  Everything from functional organization to decor, food serving and kitchen ideas to gardening containers-take a look at these great ideas (also found on our Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Pinterest Board).
Drawer organizer and Art Supply organizer from HGTV

Can tabs to coordinate outfits from Ideabottle and a scarf organizer from HGTV
4th of July Windsock, 3 Tiered Vase, Hydrangea Vase Collection can all be found at Under The Table and Dreaming; Twig Vase from Simple Homemade
Fruit and Cupcake Pedestals can be found with many other crafts from this page on Under The Table and Dreaming
Biscuit cutter and wine rack from Real Simple
Wall garden (can also be used for herbs) and flower caddy from Under The Table and Dreaming

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ear Infections & What To Do

Now that summer is here and the kids are swimming in the pool more, it's common for swimmer's ear to develop.  Swimmer's ear is the inflammation of the external ear canal and is caused when water is retained in the ear., part of the American Association of Pediatrics, recommends using a preventative solution of 70% alcohol solution (rubbing alcohol) or a mixture of 1/2 parts rubbing alcohol, 1/2 parts white vinegar, if your child is susceptible to this problem.

Swimmer's ear and other ear infections can be very painful to experience.  Signs to look for include your child complaining about pain in their ears, tugging on the ears, signs of irritability or more crying than usual (especially when lying down), trouble sleeping or hearing, fever, loss of appetite, or fluid draining from the ears.  If you notice pus or fluid coming from the ears, it means the eardrum has ruptured.  Simply wipe away the fluid with a clean cloth and avoid plugging with cotton, as retained pus can further cause irritation and infection.

Like most illnesses, ways to avoid ear infections can come down to frequent hand washing (to eliminate the spreading of germs).  This is especially true during fall and winter months, where common colds and illnesses are rampant, but good hand washing should be put into action year round for both you, your child, and anyone else who comes into contact with your family, such as a day care provider, teacher, classmates, or other family members.  Second hand smoke has also been linked to a variety of childhood illnesses and it is recommended you keep your child away from exposure. also encourages breastfeeding for at least the first 6 months as many antibodies in breast milk can help developing immune systems fight off infections and illnesses.

If you believe your child has an ear infection, be aware that many doctors may take a "wait and see" approach and not immediately prescribe antibiotics unless their is a pressing need or the infection takes place in a young infant.  Reasons for this may be that the infection is caused by a virus and antibiotics won't do anything or doctors fear the overuse of drugs can lead to bacteria developing resistance to the medicine.  They may ask you to wait and observe your child over a 48-72 hour time frame before they will prescribe anything.  Tylenol and a clean, warm compresses can help alleviate some of the pain your child is experiencing.  It is still a good idea to take your child to the doctor if you suspect an ear infection, as they can examine the ear to make sure the eardrum is still intact and or decide if it has been cause by a virus or bacteria.

photo courtesy of

Monday, June 23, 2014

Meatless Monday: Grill Master Edition

It's Monday again, time to start the week off right with some delicious meatless recipes!  Seems like most evenings you can smell someone grilling something, so tonight, why not let it be you!

We'll kick things off with a tasty Moroccan- inspired side dish from Dinners and Dreams.  Her Mushroom Skewers are packed with flavor featuring harissa, a Moroccan red pepper sauce.  Remember to soak your skewers before putting your veggies on them as they will quickly catch on fire from the grill.

This next recipe is a perfect dish, especially when you need a meal in a hurry.  It's nutritious, delicious, and a great meal that will leave you satisfied.  Grilled Zucchini and Eggplant Parmesan from the Cookin' Canuck takes 10 minutes or less to prepare AND cook!  It's also a perfect dish to make when you have just a little bit of left over spaghetti sauce, and don't want pasta again.

Speaking of fast, this next recipe again, takes 10 minutes or less to prepare and cook.  It's almost too good to be true!  The kids, especially, will love this one!  Grilled Tomato-Basil Pita Pizzas from Kraft, a fun way to get the kids to the dinner table.

This last recipe is stuffed with everything...literally.  Veggies, spices, protein, you name it, it's got it, with a name to match!   Grilled Tex-Mex Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins from Half Baked Harvest...a healthy alternative to yummy potato skins by using sweet potatoes, and chocked full of flavor thanks to Tieghan, a talented, young foodie.  Try them out for yourself!

Feel free to comment about which recipe is your favorite on our Facebook page-happy eating!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Natural Bug Repellants

As the weather warms up and we find ourselves outside more, we might also find ourselves cutting that outside time short because of pesky bugs.  Besides being annoying and causing a harrassing itch, mosquitoes, ticks, and other insects can carry disease. By following these simple tips, you can safely and naturally repel bugs from your yard and home, or anywhere you may go, all summer long.

The first thought you have when working to keep bugs away is to simply apply a bug spray, however more studies are coming out warning us of a chemical called DEET that is commonly used in many sprays on the market.  DEET is an insecticide that can affect the nervous system and is very toxic to birds and aquatic life.  The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you do not use products containing DEET on children under the age of 2 months, and limiting the application of DEET on children over 2 months to one time a day.  Washing your and your children's hands after application is also highly recommended, as is washing your child's body after you return inside.

If you are still interested in using a spray, spray pump bottles are recommended over aerosol cans, according to WebMD, as less inhalation of chemicals will result from the spray pump.  There are a wide range of products out that are DEET free, many made by baby specific companies, like the ones below.
Top Row-California Baby, Badger Balm, Honest Company, Bite Blocker; Bottom Row-Babyganics, Burt's Bees
You can also make your own homemade, DEET free spray, by mixing essential oils that naturally repel insects like lavender, citronella, and clove.  Wellness Mama has some great recipes as does The Prairie Homestead, on how to make your own bug sprays.

If you find that you have a lot of mosquitoes around your yard, try planting some different herbs like mint, and rosemary or other foliage like lemongrass and marigolds, that serve double duty by adding pretty color and keeping pests away.  One Kings Lane gives some other great examples of colorful plants to choose from. 

You say you don't have a green thumb?  Simply eliminating standing water (mosquitoes thrive with even a quarter inch of water) from bird baths, gutters, or potted plants will help reduce the number of creatures from your yard.  Fans also help keep bugs at bay as they wind they create is too powerful for their little wings to navigate through.

And if you find that you're going to be ankle or knee high in plants, say because you're hiking or cutting an overgrown lawn...then long pants and long sleeves are your best bet.  Just wait until dusk or later to avoid overheating.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Meatless Monday: Picnic Style

With the warm weather and kids out of school, take the time to enjoy the outdoors by having a picnic.  You can go to the park or even spread a table cloth out in your yard (or even in your house if it's raining).   Today's picnic inspired menu is easy and delicious!

A red raspberry salad from Taste and Tell is a great new salad recipe to try.  The sweet raspberry dressing and multiple fruits tossed in, will satisfy you as a great meal starter.

This yummy balsamic pasta with veggies from Bake Your Day can be served warm or cool, which makes it a perfect recipe for any picnic!  And as Cassie suggests, you can use any leftover veggies so you can customize this based on what you have in your fridge!

To top everything off on a sweet note, these chocolate dipped elephant ears are the perfect balance to this picnic meal.  From eatwell101, these 3 little ingredients form a delicious dessert.

For more Meatless Monday recipes check out our Pinterest board.  Here's to a Happy Monday!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Meatless Monday: Mushroom Inspired Super-Foods

These new Meatless Monday recipes disguise a great veggie like mushrooms, into some irresistible and delicious entrees that the whole family can enjoy. Mushrooms have been considered a super-food as they are a great source of vitamin D and calcium and are one of the greatest foods to help boost your immune system.  According to, cooking them brings out more muscle building potassium, as opposed to eating them raw, which might help babies and young children, chew and swallow them more easily.  The following recipes are a great way to use the grill and step outside to enjoy the beginning of a new summer month!

First, are these absolutely scrumptious Mini Portobello Burgers from Country Living. Treat you and your family to an outside dinner with these perfect-sized burgers and enjoy summer before it gets too hot.
Mini Portobello Burgers
Vegetable Kabobs, from Life As Mom blogger, Jessica Fisher, are also a great grilling meal that are made just perfect with some mushrooms thrown into the mix (with such pretty colors, maybe the kiddos won't even notice they're eating healthy stuff)!

Substituting the meat in a kid-favorite meal for a meatless option is another yummy way to introduce this super-food into your child's diet. This yummy Mushroom Parmesan spin from KitchMe is an exceptional recipe that you and your family can enjoy.

Mushroom Parmesan

To see more recipes for this amazing super-food check out our Pinterest Meatless Monday board. Have a happy Monday filled with good eating!