Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

"I've got peace like a river in my soul."- Elizabeth Mitchell

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Conscious Gifting and Menus

One of our goals as a family is to make a difference in this beautiful world and our local community. During the holidays I feel like there are more opportunities to strive for this goal.  One of ways we work towards this goal is the way we buy gifts.  This year we made 4 guidelines on our gift giving.  We must buy gifts that are either......

1. Local
2. Handmade
3. Eco-friendly
4. Educational (books)

In our world at this time I believe that we need to be way more responsible for our consumerism and our footprint on this planet.  By buying locally we are keeping the dollars in our community and during these tough economic times we need this more than ever.  Really there are a few hundred reasons why buying locally or handmade is better for our country, planet, and ourselves.  Some of the reasons why my husband and I have decided to do this are.....supporting our local small businesses and artists,  lessening our carbon footprint by buying things that are NOT shipped from over seas,  staying away from toxic plastic yucky toys and gifts,  and buying/making things that are unique, thoughtful, and with LOVE.  I am also making a few handmade gifts myself which I am having a ton of fun with.

Now, I must say that I did buy a couple clothing items that were not from a local store or locally made.  Which was kind of a bummer but I needed to get these items and the sale was amazing! BUT I do feel like I am doing an awesome job with the rest of the gifts.  I'm making the right steps and maybe in a few years I will be making my own clothes or shopping all local.  Plus, small steps will make it easier to achieve my big goals in the future.  Taking the steps towards my goal of conscious gifting and sustainable living is what feels right to me and I am glad we are doing this.

There are a couple items that my son is wanting for Christmas that we really want to get him and that I am hoping we find locally.  One being a telescope.  There are a couple locally owned toy stores in our area that I will check out first.  The other being books.  Of course I will buy any books I can through our local bookstore. We also look for eco-friendly options instead of plastic yucky toys.  Now a days, you can find lots of toys made out of recycled plastics or non-toxic materials and I hope to find these at a locally owned store as well.  This has been an extremely fun challenge for us, one I hope we do year round when thinking about gifts for people.

Have you thought about conscious gifting this year?

For fun, I posted pictures from Christmas last year!
These last two photos are my favorites.  On the left, Ayden is hugging on my aunt and uncle's doggie!  On the right, he is on the rocking horse that once was my mother's and all her siblings.  It is still being enjoyed in the family!
On to this week's menu.  Which is a little sparse since we will be out of town a few nights.


MONDAY:  Spaghetti bake with mushrooms, olives, and broccoli

TUESDAY:  Veggie Stir fry over brown rice

WEDNESDAY:  Leftover and a big salad

THURSDAY:  Out of town

FRIDAY:  Out of town

SATURDAY:  Out of town

SUNDAY:  Creamy Fettuccine with Brussels Sprouts & Mushrooms

For more meal plan inspirations, visit I'm An Organized Junkie every Monday.


"May peace be your gift at Christmas and your blessing all year through!" -Author Unknown

Monday, November 21, 2011

Winter Crops and Menus

I waited till the last minute to finish but I did it.  I got all of our winter crop in our backyard garden done and in the ground.  Garlic, shallots, kale, spinach, and broccoli are in the ground and ready to grow.   Grow my little green babies...grow so you can nourish our bodies and souls in the spring!   I love that we are able to grow in the winter and I love that we do it!  Every year we do more and more to live that sustainable life that we strive for!  I am excited for our little family!

For fun a picture of two of the three of my amazing boys!
The busy days and magical moments of the holidays are upon us now.  I do believe that they get more magical when you have children.  Watching the pure and true excitement of the holidays through their eyes is pretty much amazing and heart melting.   Such a warm wonderful time when we can gather with our loved ones and celebrate what is important and good!  Thanksgiving is this week and I look forward to all the special quiet family time we have coming up.  Here is our menu for the holiday week!


MONDAY:  Grilled cheese with homemade tomato basil soup

TUESDAY:  Cod with Fennel Butter, Kale & Quinoa Pilaf, and sauteed green beans

WEDNESDAY:  Homemade pizza and a green salad

THURSDAY:  HAPPY THANKSGIVING!  Bringing to my family gathering:  Green Bean Casserole (we use fresh green beans instead of frozen), Autumn Chopped Salad (omit the bacon), and Homemade Apple Pie

FRIDAY:  Leftovers and a big salad

SATURDAY:  Crockpot Potato & Leek Soup (recipe coming soon)

SUNDAY:  Salmon salad and leftover soup

Pumpkin Bread (One last batch before the season ends!)
Apple Cookies
Canning Apple Butter

What are you cooking this week?


"Every gardener knows that under the cloak of winter  
lies a miracle...a seed waiting to sprout,  
a bulb opening to the light, a bud straining to unfurl.   
And the anticipation nurtures our dream." - Barbara Winkler 

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Slowing Down and Menus

Before I had kids I was always on the go, working two jobs, rushing to get here and there, and wanting more all the time.  The minute I found out I was pregnant with my first son, I forced myself to slow down.  Knowing there was a lot for me to learn and a lot of changing about to happen...I slowed down to embrace it all.  I wanted to embrace every second of my pregnancies....the amazing times and the uncomfortable times!  So that is what I did!  I knew my little ones would enter this world when he or she was ready so I did not feel rushed to go into labor.  Plus I wanted all the time in the world to prepare my body and mind for childbirth and motherhood.

Everyone I know who had kids before me, warned me of this time warp that was about to occur.  Everything happens at lightening speed!  I kept thinking to myself that everyone was just exaggerating.  Man.....they were SO right!  It's like the minute you bring your precious little one into this world a button gets pushed and everything starts happening fast.  This tiny little one that once was small enough to by in my belly will start growing and it happens in the blink of an eye.  So I kept it slow and I continue to keep it slow with my new little one.   Especially in these first few months of life.  We can never relive these first few moments with our children, so I have to let everything else go and just be a mom.  Being in the moment and soaking in these amazing souls that so blissfully call me their mother is exactly where I want to be.  The fast paced world can wait, I am raising my children here!  I am embracing every stage my new little baby boy is in and not rushing to get to the next stage.  He will get there when he is ready for now we are enjoying the rolie polie, raspberry sounds, grabbing on to toys, and laughing stage.

My first!  Look at how big he is now at 3 1/2 years!
My newest little!  Almost 5 months!  
And all this growing calls for some good healthy whole foods!  On to our menu of the week!

This week's MENU:

MONDAY:  Sauteed Cod with Garlic-Shallot Butter, Colcannon Potatoes, and steamed broccoli

TUESDAY-  Out to sushi

WEDNESDAY-  Veggie stir fry over brown rice

THURSDAY-  Fish tacos and black beans

FRIDAY-  Simple Vegetable Soup and a green salad

SATURDAY-  Memorial for my amazing great aunt who I miss dearly!

SUNDAY-  Healthy Tuna Melt, Spinach & Apple Salad, and Kale Chips (recipe coming soon)

What are you making this week?


Always kiss your children goodnight - even if they're already asleep.  -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween and Menus

My littles were cute as could be this year (but I think I will say this every year).   My oldest little man was Mario and his baby brother was Toad (toadstool).  My lovely friend's mom was so nice to make both of my boys' hats!  I can't wait to learn how to crochet so I can make hats like crazy! We had a little family/friend Halloween gathering to celebrate Asher's first Halloween and went trick or treating around the neighborhood!  One trick or treater, 10 adults, and 2 little babies!  My son needed a whole entourage of people while trick or treating.  It was fun even if all of us adults went......we are all kids at heart anyways!  My oldest little has been very shy about trick or treating the past couple years but this year he was all for it with no fear involved!  Except the fear of wearing his Mario mustache!  He was very iffy about this fake mustache being pasted on his face but after he realized how cool mustaches really are, he was sporting the thing!  There is something truly magical about watching your children in costume running through the leaves on a crisp fall night!  It brings such a smile to my face and reminds me why being a parent is honestly the biggest blessing of all!

Here are some pictures of our month long preparation for this fun holiday......crafts my children and I made, decorations I made, my favorite wreath that I have ever made, pumpkin hats my aunt made the boys, my favorite white pumpkins, our carved pumpkins, and Halloween night!  One of my favorite holidays ever!

I'm a little late posting my menu this week but that is how it goes as a mama sometimes!

This week's menu:

MONDAY:  Halloween feast:  Vegetarian chili, cornbread, and a green salad

TUESDAY:  Baked salmon, Gratin Potatoes, and a green salad

WEDNESDAY:  Leftovers and salmon salad

THURSDAY:  Out to dinner with the family

FRIDAY:  Zucchini, black bean, and rice skillet (we use fresh tomatoes instead of canned)

SATURDAY:  Broccoli Quiche (we will use mushrooms instead of bacon) using homemade whole wheat pie crust and green salad

SUNDAY:  Hungarian Mushroom Soup, Hearty Kale Salad (omit the bacon), and homemade whole wheat bread

 What are you cooking this week?


"Witch and ghost make merry on this last of dear October’s days."  -Author Unknown