Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

24 Random Acts of Christmas Kindness for Kids @ Coffee Cups and Crayons

One Thing My Soul is Begging Me to Do @ chatting at the sky

3 Variations of the Traditional Holiday Cheese Ball @ GNOWFGLINS

The Verse That You Need Taped To Your Refrigerator @ The Better Mom

Why Coca-Cola’s Fairlife Milk Isn’t so Fair @ Primal Pastures

Warm and Comforting Acorn Squash Breakfast Porridge @ Red and Honey

The Habit of Generosity: 3 Ways Giving Beats Receiving @ Michael Hyatt

I Want a Literal Seventh Day @ A Deeper Story

Merry Christmas to all of our wonderful readers! We hope you have a joyous holiday celebration!

Broccoli and Potato Frittata Recipe

Broccoli and Potato Frittata Recipe {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

By Leigh Ann Dutton, Contributing Writer

Breakfast is an important part of our family’s day. I have two little boys who can eat as much as grown adults.

Often on play dates, I pray that no eating will be involved. It’s silly, but the amount of food my little munchkins can put down always blows our new friends’ minds. Family members sit and watch our children eat in utter amazement and wonder aloud where the food goes!

Keeping my boys fed is a challenge for me. Quite honestly? It’s one of the hardest parts of parenting for me right now.

Saying that out loud feels so silly. I’m sure there are harder parts of parenting, but right now, this is just where I’m at.

Anyway, back to breakfast. Because my family requires a lot of food throughout the day, I’m always on the lookout for super filling, nutrition-packed breakfast ideas.

One morning while doing the Whole 30 Challenge, I woke up in desperate need of something other than scrambled eggs, fried eggs, hard-boiled eggs, or … oh the amount of eggs we consumed on this challenge!

So I did something quite typical and created something that sounded good in my mind. And out came one of the most memorable breakfasts we’ve had to date.

The only complaint I received was that I didn’t make enough. Go figure!

My 1-year-old loved this frittata and ignored his fruit (usually his favorite) entirely. My 3-year-old said, “This is the best breakfast ever, Mom!”

Quite the accolades for a sleep deprived mama!

The best part? I didn’t have to feed them a single snack before lunch! This Broccoli and Potato Frittata kept my boys full and satisfied all morning. Score!

If you’re looking for a simple recipe that packs a bunch of nutrition to add to your breakfast recipe list, then add this one. You won’t regret it. It’s delicious, simple to make, and did I mention delicious? Just checking.

Broccoli and Potato Frittata Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 cup broccoli, chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream (coconut cream works too)
  • 1/8 cup water
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • Parsley, to taste
  • 1 potato, shredded

Method

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a 10-inch cast iron skillet, melt your coconut oil over medium-high heat.

Add the onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds to 1 minute. You want to get that nice garlic aroma without burning the garlic.

Toss your broccoli into the pan and continue cooking for five minutes or until your broccoli is soft.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, water, salt and pepper, and turmeric. Stir in the shredded potato.

Once your broccoli has softened, pour the egg mixture into the hot pan. Give it a quick, gentle stir and sprinkle parsley lightly across the frittata.

Then, let it sit on the heat for two minutes or until the edges start to set.

Turn your burner off and pop the skillet into your preheated oven for 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked all the way through.

What is one of your favorite breakfast recipes?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Best Classic Eggnog – Easy, no-cook, refined sugar free

 

Best Classic Eggnog {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Guest post by Dena Norton

Eggnog seems to be a love-hate thing.

Well, starting now, it’s a love-LOVE thing.

This easy, classic eggnog recipe is thick and rich, with the perfect amount of natural sweetness and warm holiday spice — eggnog fans and skeptics alike will find it irresistible!

Real Eggnog

The raw cream and pastured egg yolks give it a beautiful color and creamy texture; the honey and maple syrup add it a light, natural sweetness; and the nutmeg and cloves bring in just enough warm, holiday spice.

Add all those together, and this truly is the ultimate holiday beverage! (If chocolate’s more your style, check out my other favorite holiday drink!)

As a child, I looked forward to eggnog each Christmas season. The funny thing was, I never wanted more than a couple of sips of it. As an adult, I’ve realized the turnoff is because “eggnog” in the dairy case at the grocery store is overly sweet, artificially flavored, and nothing like the real thing.

In preparation for this post, I bought a carton of eggnog just to give it one more try.  The color and flavor was so fake, I could hardly swallow it. And it’s no wonder – here’s what was on the ingredient list:

Milk, Cream, Skim Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup, Sugar, Egg Yolks, Less than 2% of Natural and Artificial Flavors, Nutmeg, Guar Gum, Carrageenan, Mono- and Diglycerides, Annatto and Turmeric.

In contrast, real eggnog like this one, made with the highest quality wholesome ingredients, is altogether outstanding!

Best Classic Eggnog {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Eggnog is the Perfect (Easy!) Holiday Treat!

The other thing I love about this recipe is that it’s so easy, your kids could make it (hey, there’s an idea!). Unlike some eggnog recipes, it requires no cooking – just toss everything in the blender and give it a whirl. I chill it for a few hours in the blender pitcher, then give it another quick blend just before serving.

The end product is plenty thick and creamy for my liking, but you could also whip some extra cream and fold it in just before serving if that’s your thing.

If my first batch of eggnog hadn’t vanished so quickly, I would have tried some out in the ice cream machine, too. I can’t imagine it being anything but fabulous.

I love this classic eggnog any time of day, but it’s really wonderful cuddled up by the fire with your husband and a few holiday cookies after the kids go to bed.

Best Classic Eggnog {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Best Classic Eggnog (easy, no-cook, refined sugar free)
 
Recipe type: Beverage
Ingredients
  • 2 cups raw cream (or 1 cup milk + 1 cup heavy cream)
  • 8 pastured egg yolks
  • 2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 dash ground nutmeg to taste, plus more for garnish
  • 1 generous pinch ground cloves to taste
  • pinch sea salt
Instructions
  1. Blend all ingredients, first on low for about 20 seconds, then on high for another 20 seconds. Chill before serving (I chill mine in the pitcher attachment for my blender, then give it a quick whirl just before serving).
  2. Serve chilled in small glasses with a dash of ground nutmeg on top.
Notes
This recipe makes approximately 30 oz. It's plenty thick for my liking but, if you want to add even more thick, creamy goodness, fold in a bit of whipped cream just before serving.

For more favorite (healthy) holiday recipes, check out my new ebook!

25 Favorite Healthy Holiday Recipes

Have you made homemade eggnog? What are your favorite ways to enjoy this classic holiday beverage?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

PlanToEat-150x150This post is sponsored by Plan To Eat. If you know you need to make strides towards regular meal planning and you’re looking for a tool to make it easier, I highly recommend you check out Plan To Eat’s virtual tour. Sign up for a free 30-day trial to see how it works and then take advantage of their Black Friday sale at the end of November to get 50% off your subscription! Plan To Eat was born from a desire to eat real food — great food — prepared at home, together as a family. Plan to Eat is an online menu planner that uses your recipes, scheduled for the days you want them, automatically generating your grocery list, organized the way you like to shop. Eat well. Eat together.

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products You Really Use

real deals 700px post image

This week’s top deals:

Hape dishesList Price $29.99 On sale $16.45  Hape – Playfully Delicious – Gourmet Kitchen Starter Set – Play Set  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

hape scootList Price $79.99 On Sale $42.23  Hape Scoot Around Ride On  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. 

mini microscope

**Great stocking idea!!** List Price $2.99 niceEshop Mini 45X 2,LED Pocket Microscope Magnifier Loupe with LED Light Adjustable Illuminator. FREE shipping. Stephanie’s note: This isn’t on sale, but it doesn’t need to be, it’s so affordable! Each of my kids will be getting one of these really fun pocket microscopes in their stocking. I know my little explorers are going to be over the moon when they see these!

bulletList Price $59.99 On Sale $49.99 Magic Bullet MBR-1701 17-Piece Express Mixing Set  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. 

abe

Save up to 50% On any of these Gifts for Foodies at Abe’s Market.  Expires December 16th (Today!)

modern

$183 in Free Products with a Qualifying Order at ModernWellness:  You can receive two or more of the following items with a qualifying order. The Modern Essentials book is like the Bible of essential oils. It gives clear instructions on how to use essential oils in your home (ie: what oils to use for what ailments). You can also receive a free Petal Diffuser which helps dispense oils into the air to uplift the mood, open airways, and kill airborne pathogens. This month you can also receive a free 15ml bottle of Frankincense which is considered to be the King of Oils or Liquid Gold. Learn more and order here: http://bit.ly/1Gf1RFs

Having your own membership would allow you to order at anytime and get the products at the wholesale price. It does not obligate you to purchase a certain amount or sale anything. It’s like a Costco or Sam’s Club membership…it just gives you access to wholesale prices. :) You can view the Product Catalog here: http://www.modernwellness.com/pdf/doTERRA-Product-Catalog.pdf

perego

 Up to 45% Off Perego on Zulily.  Expires Today! (December 16, 2014)

bob oats

As low as $13.02 ($3.26/bag) Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Whole Grain, Steel Cut Oats, 24-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4) is on sale for $15.32.  Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

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lego sunshine

List Price $19.99 On Sale $14.00 LEGO Friends 41026 Sunshine Harvest.  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. 

photiveList Price $69.95 On Sale $26.95  Photive 50 Watt 6 Port USB Desktop Rapid Charger. Intelligent USB Charger with Auto Detect Technology.  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. Stephanie’s note: These multi-plug USB chargers are super handy.

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FREE Kindle eBooks:

(Note: Prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing)

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How to Teach Your Child: Simple Tools for Homeschool Moms [Kindle Edition]
cheap mealsCheap Meals: Budget Friendly Family Recipes Cookbook with Tasty and Money Saving $5 Dishes [Kindle Edition]

baby foodDIY Baby Food: The Fastest, Easiest And Most Healthy DIY Baby Food Recipes (Homemade Baby Food – All Natural – Organic Recipes – Healthy Infants) [Kindle Edition]

minimalistMinimalist Wardrobe: Declutter Your Wardrobe and Look Fabulous For Less! [Kindle Edition]

homemade Christmas

Homemade Christmas Gifts: 14 Gift Ideas & DIY Home Decor [Kindle Edition]

socksKnitting Socks: How to Knit Socks Like a Pro with Clear Pictures: (Knitting – Knitting for Beginners – Socks – Knitting Patterns) [Kindle Edition]

This week’s best coupons:

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Find a deal you love? Share it! Pin this week’s post, tweet it, or share on Facebook.

Want to get these deals in your inbox each week?

Sign up for our once-a-week “real deals” email. It comes out each Tuesday morning.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!
About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!

“Seasons Greetings” Homemade Gift in a Jar

"Seasons Greetings" Homemade Gift in a Jar {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

By Kelly Smith, Contributing Writer

When it comes to holiday gift-giving, there are few things as special as receiving a gift handmade with love. It’s a simple, thoughtful way to show you care, and really expresses the true spirit of the holidays – giving from the heart!

Of course, there are all kinds of gifts you can make from scratch – from crafts to candles to body care – but my family’s favorite Christmas tradition is to select a few of our favorite recipes and turn them into Delicious Homemade Holiday Gifts in a Jar.

One of the gifts we’re excited to share with our friends and neighbors this Christmas is a flavorful All-Purpose Seasoning Mix that’s perfect for seasoning poultry, seafood and veggies. In fact, the recipe is based on the seasoning I use for my Savory Slow Cooker Roast Chicken.

How to Make “Seasons Greetings” Homemade Gifts in a Jar:

This All-Purpose Seasoning Mix is a super simple gift to put to together.

 All you’ll need is a few herbs and seasonings, some 4-ounce size mason jars, and of course, an assortment of festive ribbons and tags. Plus, I’m sharing some printable recipe cards you can also include with this gift as well. (See Step Four below.)

"Seasons Greetings" Homemade Gift in a Jar {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Step One: Make the All-Purpose Seasoning Mix

To make four 4-ounce size mason jar gifts, combine the following ingredients in a small bowl:

• 2/3 cup Fine Sea Salt

• 1/3 cup Dried Parsley

• 3 tablespoons Paprika

• 3 tablespoons Onion Powder

• 3 tablespoons Garlic Powder

• 3 tablespoons Dried Rosemary

• 3 tablespoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper

"Seasons Greetings" Homemade Gift in a Jar {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Step Two: Add the Seasoning Mix to Mason Jars

Using a tablespoon, evenly divide the all-purpose seasoning mix among four 4-ounce size mason jars.

"Seasons Greetings" Homemade Gift in a Jar {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Step Three: Decorate the Gift Jars

Cut out holiday-themed paper in circles the same size as the mason jar’s lid. Then, place the paper on top of the lid and seal the jar with the ring. To make it even more festive, add a decorative ribbon and gift tag. A few jingle bells also add to the fun and festivities!

"Seasons Greetings" Homemade Gift in a Jar {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

Step Four: Spread Some Delicious Holiday Cheer

My favorite way to give this gift is to include a recipe that uses this savory all-purpose seasoning mix. That way, my gift recipients have a delicious recipe for putting this seasoning mix to good use!

To make it easier for you, I’m providing free recipe cards that you can include with this homemade gift in a jar. I like to tuck the recipe card into our family greeting card, and then place the jar of seasoning mix into a recycled gift bag along with our holiday card to make it easier to transport the gift. Then, we have fun delivering this delicious gift to our friends, neighbors and family.

Looking for more homemade holiday gift-in-a-jar recipes and ideas?

Then be sure to check out “The Best Homemade Holiday Gifts in a Jar” and “Delicious Homemade Holiday Gifts in a Jar.”

"Seasons Greetings" Homemade Gift in a Jar {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

What are your favorite homemade gifts to make or receive?

Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

Gut Bacteria Might Guide The Workings Of Our Minds @ NPR

What if We’re Supposed to *Be* the Good News We’re So Desperate for When it Comes to Race Relations in America? @ Lisa-Jo Baker

Thumbprint Cookies (Grain Free, Paleo, Primal, Gluten Free, Gaps) @ Deliciously Organic

It’s December, What Can You Stop Doing This Christmas? @ Shalom Mama

I needed to see her @ Sarah Bessey

Double Chocolate Peppermint Cookies (Paleo, Nut Free) @ Primally Inspired

The Manager in My Home & the Five Words that Changed Everything @ Hands Free Mama

The Power Of A Child @ Shaun Groves

In what ways do you focus on loving others during the holiday season?

6 Cleansing Foods You Should Be Eating This Winter

What we eat and drink can provide natural ways to support, cleanse, and nourish ourselves. It's so important to clean out our bodies and really support our immune systems during the winter. These 6 cleansing foods are just the thing to include in your diet this winter!
Guest post by Lisa Grace Byrne, MPH

Oh, winter! If you are living in the Northern hemisphere (particularly the areas where winter means cold), easing into the winter season with warmth and grace can feel a little challenging.

Songs fill the airways touting that this is “the most wonderful time of the year!” and … while there is a lot of wonderful in winter, this is also a season that brings busier-than-usual schedules, excess sugar, heavier foods, and an increase in colds/flus.

Of all the seasons, winter is an especially important time to boost ourselves with natural supports.

Our kidneys and adrenal glands need some special TLC for the extra work they do during these months.

  • The kidneys filter our blood to balance the body’s acidity levels and help maintain appropriate water and electrolyte balance.
  • Our adrenal glands respond to the stress and pressures of our daily lives by producing adrenaline and cortisol — two potent chemicals that can do damage if overused in our bodies.

What we eat and drink can provide natural ways to support, cleanse, and nourish ourselves.

The winter months are a perfect time to add cleansing and immune-boosting foods to your menu.  Here are a handful of foods to bring into your winter days for more health, vitality, and restoration.

Excellent Supports for Winter Wellness

Sweet Roots: Beets, Carrots, Sweet Potatoes, Yams

Sweet root vegetables are particularly good in the winter season when our body craves natural sweet tastes and heavier meals.  These nutrient rich foods are delicious roasted or made into a purée soup.

Fruits

The following fruits offer excellent sources of nutrients.  For the winter months, the heavier, sweeter, and more sour types of fruits are good ones to choose: citrus {orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime}, avocado, mango, banana, pineapple, and apple.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 fats help to strengthen your immune system, reduce cellular inflammation, and may help reduce incidences of depression.  The following are good sources of omega 3 fatty acids to add to your winter diet: salmon, herring, anchovies, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, walnuts, and pastured eggs.

Garlic

Your liver enzymes can be activated by eating garlic.  These enzymes help to filter out toxins from your body.  Garlic also stimulates circulation and helps the body to cleanse itself efficiently.  It is a wonderful immune builder in the flu and cold season.

Dark Leafy Greens

Broccoli, spinach, kale, swiss chard, and collards have lots of chlorophyll which helps your body eliminate toxins and support your liver.  These greens, along with watercress and arugula lettuce, help to flush out your system while still giving you plenty of minerals to keep your system strong.

Spices

With the increase in heavier foods, be sure to increase spices that help keep digestion lively.  Many of these spices have the added benefit of boosting your immune system because they are antibacterial: turmeric, coriander, cumin, ginger, fennel, and cinnamon.  Make the following Healing Spice Mix below to keep on hand.

Healing Spice Mix
 
Ingredients
  • 3 tsp ground Indian turmeric
  • 3 tsp ground cumin
  • 3 tsp ground Indian coriander
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1 tsp powdered ginger
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
Instructions
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and store in an air-tight container.  It will store nicely for up to 6 months, depending on the quality of your spices.  Add to simple soups, sautéed vegetables, or to omelets and casseroles.  You can also mix with your favorite tea for a healing, warm beverage.

By focusing on adding in cleansing foods and drinks on a regular basis, you will naturally “crowd out” the less desirable stuff.  Instead of focusing on restricting your choices, focus on the positive things you want to bring in to your diet.

It is the small acts of care that we do consistently that make the most difference in the long run.

What we eat and drink can provide natural ways to support, cleanse, and nourish ourselves. It's so important to clean out our bodies and really support our immune systems during the winter. These 6 cleansing foods are just the thing to include in your diet this winter, as you work at caring for yourself and your health!
Want to learn more power-packed tips designed specifically for busy moms?  Consider joining our circle of women in learning small shifts that lead to calmer, more energized, and more deeply connected living.

Replenish 365 is a year-long transformative experience that delivers smart, science-backed and soul-honoring teaching modules within a vibrant, worldwide community of support.  This is our most robust and generous offering and registration only happens once a year!

Check out the details here.

 Stephanie’s note: I actually took this class, paying out of my own pocket for it last year. I wanted to give myself a year to focus in on how I care for myself and to give myself permission to make my health more of a priority.

I feel like the course is so well done, and Lisa is just absolutely caring and personable. She is able to make each woman in the group feel like they are truly loved and cared for and that they are in a safe place to explore their struggles and needs. I so appreciate that about her. She is just full of knowledge and even with all of my own study into health and nutrition, I felt like I learned so very much from her that I could implement for better overall health and wellness in my life.

I actually can’t wait to go back and re-do some of the course units, to get even more out of them. I’m grateful that I chose to do the course and I highly recommend it for anyone who feels burnt out, stressed, stuck, overwhelmed, struggling with health issues, or like you’re just not caring well for yourself. This course is for you! :)

Lisa Grace Byrne, MPH is a mom of three, founder of WellGrounded Life and a trusted authority on women’s vitality and wellbeing.  She is a passionate speaker, teacher, and mentor, and recently published the bestseller, Replenish: Experience Radiant Calm and True Vitality in Your Everyday Life.  She has a degree from Cal Poly State University, SLO in Biochemistry with an emphasis in Nutrition and Metabolism.  She also holds a Masters in Public Health degree from Boston University and she is a Certified Holistic Health Coach through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition in conjunction with Columbia University.

Top photo by Eliza Adam
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Healthy Ways To Handle Seasons of Stress

 

Healthy Ways To Handle Seasons of Stress {KeeperOfTheHome.org}

By Jessica Smartt, Contributing Writer

Are you in a busy or even difficult season of life? Are you looking for healthy ways to survive (and even thrive) during these days? Look no further for help!

Maybe, in full disclosure, I should first list all the unhealthy ways of dealing with stress. Because trust me, people, I’ve thoroughly experimented with these, too. These may include (but are not limited to) taking it out on your husband and kids, eating potato chips and snickerdoodles way into the night, and becoming an anxious wreck. Again, trust me. None of these help.

So what do you do during stressful seasons?

Right now I’m nursing a newborn, homeschooling a kindergartener, making virtually all our meals from scratch because of my son’s severe food allergies, and it’s my husband’s busy season of work, so many days it’s sunup to sundown with just me and the three kids. Of course, Christmas is approaching, and much as we try to keep it Jesus-centered, it’s still an extra load of teaching, cleaning, entertaining, special events, and buying a few gifts that mean something and aren’t a waste of money.

On paper, I realize these stresses are basically good things, and just life. I know many of you (and me, too) have faced struggles much more exhausting and stressful than these.

A few things do help. They may seem cliche or obvious, but think about each item as you read it. Are you doing it? Would it be helpful?

Here are a few thing that help me:

  • Understand your personality, and find small ways to meet your own needs. I’m interested (okay, maybe a tad obsessed) with the Myers-Briggs personality tests. I’m an ESTJ, and I’ve realized when I’m stressed, I need two things: people and structure. A very practical way this manifests itself is that during a busy season, I make time to see my friends, and I need to make some lists. That feeds me. What is your most basic need? Can you think of a small way to meet that need today?
  • Take a calming detox bath. After my emotional miscarriage, my mom had me take a lavender epsom salt bath. It was amazing, and I took a few recently during my post-partum recovery.
  • Think of a quote that motivates you, and put it on your fridge. I recently shared the quote that’s keeping me motivated these days. Sometimes during chaotic seasons my fridge becomes littered with little snippets of inspiration.
  • Practice deep yoga breathing. I know, I know…how cliche can I get here?? But seriously, in moments when my toddlers are poking me, the house is a mess, I’m worried about my son’s health, etc. etc., taking ten slow deep breaths does calm me.
  • Use music in the home. My two favorite Pandora stations are Audrey Assad and “Lullaby Radio.”
  • Along these lines, if you play music or sing, do that. I have an old upright piano in the living room that unfortunately has been relegated to decorative uses more than function. Well, the other day I sat down and played a few hymns. It was amazing how the whole house calmed down. Drag out the old guitar, violin, etc, and play.
  • Enjoy a comforting food or drink. I’m not encouraging crazy unhealthy eating, but I think there is some value in “comfort foods.” There is truly scientific evidence of the positive way some foods impact the body. Bluntly put, stressful times may not be the time to embark on a rigorous diet. You may need to give yourself some temporary “nutritional grace,” if that’s such a thing.
  • Get outside.  Last night we had a record low in NC of 15 degrees. But guess what? The kids were still bundled up in the morning to enjoy a little sun.
  • Decide to let some responsibilities slide, and don’t beat yourself up with guilt over the rest. In this current busy season, here is what I do: breastfeed and care for a baby, home school my kids, and make homemade meals (I’ve started planning a whole month of real-food dinners at a time). Here is what I’ve let slide: working out, housekeeping, a rigorous schedule for my blog, and my appearance. As a good Southern girl, this one is killing me). But it’s just a season.

I’d love to hear from you. What helps you when you’re going through a stressful season?

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, we earn a small commission, which helps to keep this site going so that we can continue to offer free and useful content, so thanks!

Our family’s new addition {and why this was my best first trimester yet}

Our family's new addition {and why this was my best first trimester yet}

You’d think by number five I’d have learned how to announce this more creatively, but perhaps it’s that with each child, a smaller percentage of my brain seems to be left with full function. (I’m only half kidding on that.)

So I’ll just come right out with it and tell you we’re excited to announce there’s a new little Langford on the way, set to arrive sometime in June 2015!

As I said on my personal Facebook page:

Kepler would like a baby brother. Johanna wants a sister. Caden would like a dog. Abbie wants to be a mini mommy. Ryan wants a healthy baby. I’d like a full time house cleaner. Please?

That pretty much sums it up. It’s mostly a happy, chaotic pandemonium around here as this mama battles the last few weeks of that first trimester exhaustion.

I’m currently at 13 weeks and the fog is slowly starting to lift, though sometimes I’m still  just fighting to get through the day, and closing my eyes for the briefest hope of rest in between each math problem I help my 7 year old with. Are 10 second cat naps a real thing? I feel like they should be.

FullSizeRender

But, energy levels aside, I’ve been doing and feeling pretty well overall so far this pregnancy.

In fact, though I certainly didn’t avoid it altogether, I would have to say that I feel like this was the best I’ve ever made it through the morning sickness period.

I’m not one who struggles with extreme sickness (and for those who do, my most sincere sympathy!). I do, however, usually deal with nausea on a regular, on-and-off all day basis from about week 5-7 right up until week 12-16.

It’s varied a little with each baby, but typically I have to eat small, frequent meals to try to keep the nausea at bay, I experience strong aversions to various foods, I feel decent while eating but then usually quite sick within a couple minutes of finishing, and I often have moments when I have to push my food away or just get up from the table. Each pregnancy I typically throw up just a few times (only on my very worst days), and then just struggle with the constant waves of nausea the other days.

This pregnancy, however, has been different.

Not completely, of course. I still have to eat often or I begin to feel sick. I have dealt with a fair bit of indigestion (bloating, gas, heartburn, etc.), the one symptom I cannot seem to avoid no matter how hard I try. Some foods have still set me off a little (coffee, chocolate, tomatoes, etc.) and I’ve definitely craved carbs and starches like crazy. (Seriously, every night around 9:30 or 10pm, you’ll find me in my kitchen making a piece of toast with pesto and then cheese melted under the broiler. I have no idea why, but I seem to need it to get rid of that last bit of before-bed nausea so I can sleep.)

What’s particularly different is that the actual nausea has been rather minimal. The aversions haven’t been half as bad as usual. And even when the nausea comes, it is much, much more manageable than usual!

Why the difference, then? Why have I had less morning sickness this first trimester? I have a couple ideas.

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Vitamin B6

The first is that I’ve been taking a high quality B vitamin complex from the moment I found out and have taken it faithfully every single day so far, something I’ve never done before.

The one I’m using is from Garden of Life, and it’s a whole food, raw supplement, which contains a probiotic and enzyme blend for better digestion and an organic fruit and vegetable blend.

Why do I think this makes a difference? What many people don’t know is that the anti-nausea medications typically recommended to pregnant women contain high amounts of vitamin B6, which has been shown in studies to drastically reduce nausea in pregnancy. 

The usual recommendation from doctors and obstetricians for women is Diclectan, at least in Canada (I believe you have something similar in the US but under a different name). B6 is one of the major ingredients. But I have a major problem with going that route and here’s why:

The primary ingredient (other than the vitamin B6) is doxylamine succinate. It works as both a mild sedative and antihistamine. It is a major ingredient in over-the-counter medications like Nyquil. While generally regarded as safe by the FDA in lower doses (they do not recommend high doses), and supposedly having an “A” in Brigg’s Reference Guide to Foetal and Neonatal Risk, it is NOT recommended for children under the age of 6 to take at all (and only in small doses under 12). It has side effects ranging from insomnia, hallucinations and dilated pupils, all the way to seizures and even cardiorespiratory arrest, and children are particularly susceptible to this possibly fatal side effect. Sources- 123.

So I’d like to know how we can consider this to be a safe medication for a pregnant woman when unknown amounts will reach her unborn, still-developing child, and we already know this drug is risky for children?

Secondly, take a gander at the non-medicinal ingredients in a pill like Diclectan: ammonium hydroxide, n-butyl-alcohol, carnauba wax powder, colloidal silicon dioxide, croscarmellose sodium, FD&C Red No. 27, denatured alcohol, FD&C Blue No. 2, hypromellose, isopropyl alcohol, magnesium stearate, magnesium trisilicate, methacrylic copolymer acid, microcrystalline cellulose 102, PEG 400, PEG 8000, polysorbate 80, propylene glycol, shellac glaze, simethicone, talc, and titanium dioxide.

Personally, I’d rather not take a pill like this and I wouldn’t recommend that you do, either. Especially when you can get highly absorbable B6 and other important B vitamins from a great supplement like this. If only I had known how much it would have helped me, I would have taken it with every pregnancy!

(Note: I know that a small percentage of women get so sick they’re losing weight and hospitalized and their baby is actually in danger, so I’m not really commenting on those situations. I’m talking about the more average woman dealing with uncomfortable and yucky symptoms, but not something as serious as hyperemis gravidarium. For that, I’ll defer to your doctor or midwife’s suggestions.)

Where to get this supplement:

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Magnesium

Though I’ve used this herbal tincture later in pregnancy, I’ve never used it right from the start. This time I ordered Original Herbal Minerals from TriLight Health almost immediately. It is especially high in calcium and magnesium, as well as a number of other minerals including trace minerals and some vitamins.

I’m not going to write a tome on it, because several bloggers have already covered it well, but there is mounting evidence to suggest that increased magnesium can help to counteract the symptoms of morning sickness. Some people suggest supplementing magnesium with magnesium oil, but I chose to stick with just the tincture. Here’s some more information from other bloggers:

As with anything, too much may not be a good thing. I always prefer to get my nutrients from food first, then whole food supplements second, and not overdo it. There is still some conflicting evidence so do your research and talk to your healthcare provider about it.

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Probiotics

I started taking these a few weeks in because while the vitamins and minerals were helping with the sickness, the indigestion, especially in the afternoons, evenings and while I was trying to fall asleep, was as bad as ever. I tried using digestive enzymes like I have in previous pregnancies but they didn’t really do the trick this time.

I figured that the more I could do to support a healthy gut, the better – so I made sure to take probiotics daily, plus have at least some yogurt or kefir (homemade, lots of live cultures) as well as raw sauerkraut or pickles daily.

The indigestion didn’t go away altogether, but I do feel like it lessened a little and became more bearable, plus anything that helps me to digest my food better and make sure I’m getting the nutrients out of what I eat and take is a huge bonus.

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Cod liver oil

I’m not sure what impact this had on my morning sickness, but I just mention it because you might want to know that it’s the 4th supplement I’ve taken on a daily basis. I take it for the natural (ie. non-synthetic) vitamin A and D as well as the fish oils (EPA, DHA, omegas). We use the fermented kind from Green Pastures for our whole family. The kids take the chocolcate cream, and I use the orange flavored capsules.

You can read more about why I think it’s a must-have supplement here.

When and how I get my supplements down

Do you struggle with even taking supplements in the first place? I do, too. For me, the key is finding my best time of day and being strict about making sure I do it then.

This is mornings right now, once I’ve gotten a bit of food into my stomach first thing (don’t do it on an empty stomach- recipe for disaster!). I get up and eat something with carbs that makes my tummy happy. Then, I take a couple supplements at once, before breakfast or while I’m cooking (I usually start with my Bs and probiotics). A while after breakfast, usually while I’m cleaning up or shortly after we begin homeschool, I take my second round which usually includes half of my daily mineral tincture, and then my cod liver oil capsules (I take the rest of the mineral tincture before bed, with my cheese toast).

For me, getting it all out of the way early, and working around my eating schedule, seems to keep my body happy with it and they don’t make me feel sick. But you have to find what works for you. Everyone is different. First thing in the morning is my best time, but for you it could be the middle of the afternoon, or right after dinner, or just before you climb into bed. I don’t worry too much about what the bottle tells me would be optimal, but instead focus more on “can I actually get (and keep) this down?”

I have zero guarantees that any of these suggestions will be the magic ticket for you to avoid morning sickness, but I do know how helpful it is for me to learn from what’s working for other people. 

So that’s our news! Thanks for sharing our joy. :)

Top image by Frank de Kleine
Disclosure: This post includes affiliate links.

Real Deals: This Week’s Sales and Discounts on Natural Products

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This week’s top deals:

abacus

List Price $24.99 On Sale $18.11 Hape Alphabet Abacus.  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

sewList Price $129.00 On Sale $69.99 SINGER 2259 Tradition Easy-to-Use Free-Arm 19-Stitch Sewing Machine  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

rapunzel cocoa powder

Regular $8.55 On Sale $6.42 Rapunzel Pure Organic Cocoa Powder, 7.1 Ounce. Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order. Discount doesn’t show up until checkout. (Note: It’s not certified fair trade, as I usually prefer with any cocoa or chocolate products, but it is certified organic and they work with organic farmer cooperatives in a hand-to-hand trade program, so it sounds far better than most conventional cocoa.)

 

new chapter prenatal

Regular $45.97 On Sale $37.97  New Chapter Perfect Prenatal Multivitamin, 192 Tablets, Packaging May Vary. This is a GREAT price on these high quality, whole foods prenatal vitamins! It’s about $8 less than even Vitacost! Note that the discount won’t show up until checkout.

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25% off cases of Natural Value products – including organic tomato sauce, organic diced tomatoes, organic stoneground mustard, organic spaghetti noodles, organic coconut milk, organic canned beans, olives, and much more.

Look for the orange “25% off” flag to indicate that this particular product is eligible for the discount. The 25% won’t come off until checkout and it appears you can only use the coupon once.

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10% off select Nutiva products  - including organic coconut sugar, organic coconut flour, refined coconut oil, organic red palm shortening, organic chia seeds, and more.

This page lists all items eligible for the extra 10% off. Discount will show up at checkout. It appears this coupon can only be used once.

7th genList Price $12.14 On Sale $8.99 Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Detergent Powder, Mandarin and Sandalwood, 50 Ounce  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

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15% off select Kiss my Face beauty products including olive oil soaps, fluoride-free toothpaste, moisture shave cream, facial wash and more at Vitacost!

When you sign up through our link, you get a $10 coupon good off a $30 order! If you combined that $10 off with this promo, you could definitely stock up on a lot of soap or toothpaste for a great price, or consider items that might make nice stocking stuffers or be added to a gift basket.

ziggleList Price $49.99 On Sale $39.99 Radio Flyer Ziggle  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

legoList Price $19.99 On Sale $15.22 LEGO 4 x 4 Diving Boat  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order

duploList Price $29.99 On Sale $23.99  LEGO DUPLO Jake Peter Pan’s Visit 10526 Building Toy  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

burt's bees babyUp to 40% Off Burt’s Bees Baby items at Zulily.  Just type in Burt’s Bees Baby in their search bar.

frozenUp to 60% Off Frozen items at Zulily.  Just type Frozen in their search bar. (Stephanie’s note: Ok, I confess… this has NOTHING to do with natural living, but if your daughters are as Frozen-obsessed as mine, you might want to take a look.)

snapList Price $34.99 On Sale $20.99  Snap Circuits Jr. SC-100 Kit  Get FREE Shipping with qualifying order.

FREE Kindle eBooks:

(Note: Prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing)

live organicLive Organic (52 Brilliant Ideas) [Kindle Edition] 

best giftThe Very Best Gift [Kindle Edition]

shapes

Shapes and Scribbles: Learn how to use shapes to draw animals (Book 1 for beginners) [Kindle Edition]
slow cook

The Slow Cooker Bible: Low Carb Hearty and Savory Paleo Recipes For The Entire Family [Kindle Edition]
activitiesActivities for Kids: Free or Nearly Free Kids Activities That They Will Love! [Kindle Edition]

Kindle eBooks for Less Than $1:

Baker

The Baker’s Dozen: A Saint Nicholas Tale (15th Anniversary Edition, with Bonus Cookie Recipe and Pattern for St. Nicholas Christmas Cookies) [Kindle Edition]

sneeze

The Sneezing Christmas Tree [Kindle Edition]
(Note: Prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing)

This week’s best coupons:

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About prices: Though we do our very best to post only current deals and prices and to let you know when offers expire, companies can and do change their prices and offers at their own discretion, and we have no control over this. If you notice that a deal has changed, please let us know and we’ll change the post to alert other readers that something is no longer available. Thanks for understanding!