30+ Quick & Easy Weeknight Meals

By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer I was going to start out by seeing if anyone could relate to that weeknight rush where you neglected to plan dinner properly and have to scramble at the last minute, but seriously – do I even need to ask? I know I’m not the only one. It happens far more frequently than I care to admit (though not quite as frequently now that I figured out how to make menu planning work with my type-B personality! Yeah!) I have slowly built […]

9 Hair Care Products You Can Make for Yourself

  By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer It’s routine for me now, but when I think about it I realize that I do a lot of DIY’ing. Mostly with kitchen and bathroom items. Sometimes it even feels as if I’m on a personal quest to put certain companies out of business. I mean, that would be a nice side effect in some cases (particularly the companies that malevolently market their junky products to unsuspecting consumers), but that’s not really the primary reason why I do it.  I […]

11 Fresh and Unique Green Salad Recipes

By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer  There’s just something so right about a fresh, in-season, mouth-watering green salad in the summer, don’t you think? I was raised by a mother who believed in eating seasonally, which meant that I never even knew that you *could* buy things like peaches, strawberries, and tender baby lettuce leaves in the dead of our Canadian winter. I thought they were strictly a summer-only treat. They were in our house, at least. That’s why I tend to especially enjoy salads in the […]

Why Quinoa Deserves a Permanent Spot in Your Diet (with recipe links!)

Image by Jennifer via Flickr CC By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer It was the year 2001. I was a high school kid on a short-term missions trip to Bolivia. We were doing a touristy day trip to Lake Titicaca, and I trepidatiously boarded a sketchy looking boat to go out on the lake for a little tour with my trip mates. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was in the very place where quinoa first originated thousands of years ago! I’m […]

DIY All-Purpose Cleaning Solution

By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer  Switching from mainstream cleaners to natural alternatives is honestly one of the easiest possible baby steps toward a greener, more natural life. Throw a few ingredients in a spray bottle and toss your Mr. Clean in the trash. It’s pretty much that simple, and the benefits far outweigh the 30 seconds of your time that it takes. In our home we don’t buy commercial cleaning products for anything (except for a natural dish soap). We make our own – and we reduce […]

3 Easy Ways to Make a House a Home (Urban Tickle Review & Giveaway!)

image credit By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer  We’ve spent the entire eleven years of our marriage traipsing around the country (and even the globe). We started out in a tiny bachelor basement apartment, with a white bed sheet hanging from the ceiling to divide our “bedroom” from the “living room.” Since then we have lived in a grand total of nine different places – a smorgasbord of apartments and houses, big and little. It can be really tough to make a boring old apartment or a […]

14 Types of Play to Stimulate a Child’s Creativity (Instead of Dumbing it Down)

By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer Kids are a lot smarter than toy manufacturers give them credit for these days. Unfortunately, the gimmicky blinking and flashing cheap battery-operated plastic toys that provide cheap entertainment are becoming more and more the norm, as classic types of play are sadly undervalued. In our mainstream culture, the purpose of toys is mostly to merely entertain. If it sings the alphabet, it’s an automatic bonus. Not much thought beyond that is given to the design and marketing of toys (aside […]

Hidden Dangers of Teflon Cookware: What You Need to Know

By Beth Ricci, Contributing Writer I grew up with many of my meals lovingly cooked in a Teflon frying pan, and I’m willing to bet you probably did, too. But are those frying pans the healthiest choices for our families? Is there new information on the scene that might give us reason to doubt the stovetop wonders? What are the hidden dangers of Teflon cookware? A brief history lesson… “Teflon” is the brand name for polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a man-made chemical accidentally invented in 1938 while Roy Plunkett was […]