Weekend Links

{Keeper of the Home}

Links for this week:

Should Sustainability Be Part of The Food Pyramid? @ Sustainable Dish

The Most Underrated Sound in Our Society @ Becoming Minimalist

Garden Veggie Chicken Skillet Recipe {Quick, Easy, Healthy, and Delicious} @ Heavenly Homemakers

Believing in Purity When You Don’t Feel Pure @ (in)courage

When it All Seems Overwhelming @ Intentional By Grace

Good Night Lotion @ Modern Alternative Mama

Why we don’t talk about miscarriage {and why I AM} @ Life Your Way

What To Do When Women Seem Scary @ A Holy Experience

What is your favorite part of spring?

40+ Freezer Meal Recipes

A well-stocked freezer helps families eat nourishing meals more frequently. Try one - or more! - of these 40 freezer meal recipes for your family!By Stacy Karen, Contributing Writer

The afternoon and early evening can be a stressful time in many homes. Keeping kids happy and getting dinner on that tables, all while being fatigued from the day, can be difficult.

To tell you the truth, I don’t make dinner at dinner time if I can help it! Instead, I do the most work intensive parts of dinner prep at other times.

Freezer meals help cut down on some of the burden and are a great time saver for busy moms.

A well-stocked freezer often enables families to eat nourishing meals more frequently.

Methods

Once-a-Month Meals: Cook a month’s worth of dinners on one or two days.

As -You-Go: Prepare double meals whenever possible. For example, when making lasagna for dinner, make two instead of one. Serve one and freeze the second for another night.

Meal Components: Prepare various components of meals and store for future use. Some examples include: seasoned ground beef (such as this taco meat), cooked and shredded chicken, bulk pasta sauce, rice, and so on. Having these in the freezer makes it much faster to put meals together.

Regardless of your freezer preparation method, here are some nourishing freezer meal recipes to try:

A well-stocked freezer helps families eat nourishing meals more frequently. Try one - or more! - of these 40 freezer meal recipes for your family!

Soups

Creamy Chicken Soup (Dairy-Free, GAPS Intro, AIP) @ How We Flourish

Perfect Meatball Soup (GAPS Intro/AIP) @ How We Flourish

Freezer-friendly Taco Soup Recipe @ Simply Rebekah

Vegetable Beef Soup @ Beauty in the Mess

Nourishing Potato Cheddar Soup @ Riddlelove

Slow Cooker Beef and Root Stew @ Riddlelove

Family Favorite Potato Soup @ A Delightful Home

A well-stocked freezer helps families eat nourishing meals more frequently. Try one - or more! - of these 40 freezer meal recipes for your family!

Mains

Freezer Lasagna @ Virginia George

Garlic White Lasagne Recipe @ Simply Rebekah

Honey-Mustard Baked Chicken @ Simply Rebekah

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Spinach Pie @ Mama & Baby Love

Freezer Friendly, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free Mini Meatloaf @ Mama & Baby Love

Tinga @ A Delightful Home

Whole-Wheat Pizza Pockets @ 100 Days of Real Food

Chicken Enchilada Casserole @ 100 Days of Real Food

Honey Dijon Chicken Casserole @ Kitchen Stewardship

Make-Ahead Frozen Meatballs @ Food Renegade

Chicken Broccoli Rice Casserole @ Money Saving Mom

Burger Patties for the Freezer @ Good Cheap Eats

Chocolate Chili @ A Delightful Home

Layered Cheesy Salsa Enchiladas @ Heavenly Homemakers

Homemade Frozen Pizza @ Heavenly Homemakers

Shrimp (or Chicken) Green Bean Casserole Recipe @ Empowered Sustenance

Spicy, Pesto and Sundried Tomato Meatloaf Muffins @ Better with Cake

A well-stocked freezer helps families eat nourishing meals more frequently. Try one - or more! - of these 40 freezer meal recipes for your family!

Image courtesy of Ten at the Table

Sides & Meal Components

Homemade Freezer Biscuits @ Ten at the Table

Cheesy Jalapeño Poppers @ Ten at the Table

Roasted Tomatoes @ A Delightful Home

Marinara Sauce @ A Delightful Home

Freezer Pickles @ Authentic Simplicity

Make-Ahead Twice-Baked Potatoes @ Food.com

Bulk Taco Meat @ Once a Month Meals

A well-stocked freezer helps families eat nourishing meals more frequently. Try one - or more! - of these 40 freezer meal recipes for your family!

Desserts

Frozen Banana Bites @ Keeper of the Home

Blueberry Freezer Pie @ A Delightful Home

Raw Coconut Creme Pie with Coconut Fudge Crust @ Riddlelove

Chocolate Banana Freezer Pie @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream (Grain Free, Gluten Free) @ Deliciously Organic

Whole Wheat Banana Bread @ Better with Cake

A well-stocked freezer helps families eat nourishing meals more frequently. Try one - or more! - of these 40 freezer meal recipes for your family!

Image courtesy of Richly Rooted

Breakfast Ideas

10 Make-Ahead Breakfast Freezer Ideas @ Richly Rooted

15 Freezer Burrito Hacks @ The Nourishing Gourmet

DIY Freezer Smoothie Packs @ Live Simply

Homemade Frozen Hash Brown Patties @ Heavenly Homemakers

Breakfast Casserole Bites @ 100 Days of Real Food

Examples & Resources

8 Healthy Freezer Crockpot meals in 75 Minutes @ New Leaf Wellness

17 Freezer Meal Prep Sessions @ New Leaf Wellness

10 Recipes to Freeze for School Lunches @ 100 Days of Real Food

Freezer Cooking Planners @ Money Saving Mom

Freezer Cooking and Real Food, Are They Compatible?@ Kitchen Stewardship

How to Turn a Regular Recipe into a Freezer Recipe @ Money Saving Mom

GAPS Diet Batch Cooking @ How We Flourish

7 shortcuts to preparing a full month of meals @ Intoxicated on Life

Easiest Freezer Cooking I’ve Ever Done (Gluten-Free Costco Meal Plan) @ A Delightful Home

Do you find freezer cooking helpful in managing the dinner-time crazy?

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!

How to Naturally Boost Your Iron Levels

Suffering from iron deficiency? Not sure if you're suffering from low iron? Here's some natural ways to boost your iron levels. Plus information on iron deficiency & pregnancy.

Though I’ve been somewhat low in iron in previous pregnancies, this was the first time I truly felt the physical effects of the deficiency.

And in fact, this isn’t only a pregnancy-related issue, but being low in iron be a common struggle for women as we routinely lose blood (and therefore iron) with our monthly cycle. Many women are low or deficient in iron without actually realizing that’s the problem.

Ensuring that we maintain strong iron stores is crucial for our overall health and well being, and in seasons of pregnancy, it just becomes that much more important. With the expansion of our blood supply needed to nourish the baby and supply the placenta, our iron levels must increase or else we’ll quickly find ourselves anemic, or at least borderline anemic (where you experience some of the effects, even if a test doesn’t official declare you to have anemia).

This winter, as I neared the end of my first trimester, I was struggling with repeated colds and flus, which tend to plague me each time I’m newly pregnant (it’s normal for the immune system to be suppressed during pregnancy).

But along with that, I had other strange symptoms that were throwing me for a loop and seemed unrelated to the viruses I was battling.

They included:

  • Shortness of breath (this became obvious when I repeatedly found myself winded or much more tired than I normally would be from something only moderately strenuous)
  • My heart beating very quickly, especially at night when I was trying to fall asleep. It was difficult to relax because of this.
  • A general sense of fatigue that seemed to hang over me the whole day, no matter what I did.
  • And it’s possible that my recurring illnesses were exacerbated by my iron deficiency, as it can make you more susceptible to infection

8654376004_a1daa88021_b

Image by buboplague

Here’s a list of signs that you may be low in iron:

Extreme fatigue
Pale skin
Weakness
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Frequent infections
Headache
Dizziness or lightheadedness
Cold hands and feet
Inflammation or soreness of your tongue
Brittle nails
Fast heartbeat
Unusual cravings for non-nutritive substances, such as ice, dirt or starch
Poor appetite, especially in infants and children with iron deficiency anemia
An uncomfortable tingling or crawling feeling in your legs (restless legs syndrome)
taken from Mayo Clinic website

It’s worth noting that children can become iron deficient as well, and this can actually harm their growth and development, so if you suspect iron deficiency in your child, it’s well worth getting them checked out to rule it out or know so that you can be proactive about increasing their iron intake.

For breastfed babies, the best thing that a mom can do is to up her own iron intake, to ensure that baby is getting plenty of it through her milk, at least until that baby begins eating solids and then you can ensure that they are also consuming iron rich foods in their diet.

There are blood tests to check for iron deficiency, and this is useful, but you want to make sure that the doctor or midwife checks both your iron blood levels (hemoglobin and hematocrit) as well as your iron stores (by testing your serum ferritin – probably the most reliable test). Once your stores begin to dip, even if your blood levels are still good, you can move into a state of deficiency quickly, particularly when you are pregnant.

88877342_23d714636f_o

Image by stefan koopmans

Addressing my own iron deficiency

After speaking to my midwife about it and researching a little, I concluded that low iron was the culprit and went straight out to purchase a bottle of my very favorite iron supplement, Floradix.

I use this supplement because a) it’s a highly reputable brand and recommended by several naturopathic doctors I respect, b) the iron is extremely absorbable and works very quickly, and c) it does not go along with those horribly uncomfortable side effects that other iron supplements are notorious for (constipation, nausea, etc.).

I have also had good experience in the past with the liquid herbal iron supplement from Trilight Health (and I love their other pregnancy-safe formulas – I’m currently using the mineral one).

After just a few days, I began to feel more like myself again. After a month of going through my large bottle, I felt fantastic and back to normal.

Fast forward two months… our family is currently working and living this winter/spring in Europe (follow us on Instagram here). At present, we just recently finished up a month of renting a home in a small town in France. After recognizing some of these very same iron deficiency symptoms creeping up again the past week or two, I began going to various pharmacies (which in France carry both conventional and natural remedies side by side).

But to my dismay, no one had ever heard of Floradix, nor could I even find a single type of liquid iron, let alone one that was plant and herb based, which would be gentle on my system.

In desperation (for real – the 300-year old house we were living in had 3 flights of very steep steps and I was huffing and puffing each of the ten times that I went up and down them every day – it felt a little pathetic!), I decided to figure out how I could boost my iron using just food sources and whatever else I could get my hands on until I can buy a proper iron supplement.

6973915798_bbcbe492a9_b

Image by freecandy13

As a huge proponent of using real food to nourish the body whenever possible, my plan was to eat as many foods naturally high in iron as possible.

Animal foods high in iron

  • Liver. This is the superstar, traditional foods iron-booster. If you can find a way that you don’t mind eating it, this is a first choice for boosting iron levels. Both beef liver and chicken liver are helpful.
  • Beef. Good old red meat has high iron levels
  • Lamb
  • Oysters and clams
  • Eggs and turkey (not nearly as high as others, but higher than some animal foods)

3809899480_078fd44d95_o

Image by Eric Neitzel

Plant foods high in iron

  • Dark leafy greens, particularly spinach and swiss chard (lightly cooked is best)
  • Beans & legumes – lentils, chickpeas, navy beans, kidney beans, lima beans.
  • Some dried fruits, particularly apricots (choose unsulphered), and also dried peaches, prunes and raisins.
  • Quinoa
  • Pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds

3524733073_db060f12d2_o

Image by Gee I Jane

Other sources of iron

  • Seaweeds – Spirulina is especially high, and nori, dulse, and kelp are also helpful. Our family adds powdered spirulina and kelp to things like smoothies, and we also like to eat toasted, lightly salted sheets of dried nori (like sushi paper).
  • Blackstrap molasses
  • Herbal teas and infusions that you make yourself – Nettle, Yellow Dock and Dandelion are all good choices, but before using any herbal remedy, make sure you do your research to know what’s safe and what isn’t. I do know that Nettle in particular is safe in pregnancy and included in many nourishing teas for this purpose.

Make sure that you absorb it

There are people who will tell you that you should focus on plant sources of iron, and others (mostly traditional foods or paleo/primal advocates) who will insist that animal-sourced iron is the way to go.

Personally, I think it’s wise to include a mixture of both kinds of iron, as each person will absorb them differently. The more variety you give your body, the more likely that you will get enough overall.

It is worth noting that the iron in plant foods (called “non-heme iron”) is not always as easily absorbed by the body as that in animal foods. However, when consumed alongside Vitamin C, it becomes much more useable.

So whenever you eat these iron-rich plant foods, be sure to make sure you eat something with vitamin C at the same time – fresh citrus is a great choice, berries, bell peppers, etc.

fruits-oranges-3397

Image by tinyography

It also helps to pay attention to your digestion. The better your gut is working, the more that you’ll take in all of the nutrients in what you eat. Taking probiotics, eating cultured and fermented foods daily, reducing sugar in your diet – all of these things and more can help your gut to function as it should.

Also, consider reducing grain intake temporarily, or making sure that you only consume grains that are soaked, sprouted or sourdough to reduce their phytic acid content, as both phytic and oxalic acid  (found in some raw veggies, such as spinach or broccoli, so eat them lightly cooked instead) interfere with iron absorption.

Reducing tea and coffee consumption is also wise, especially not having it after an iron-rich meal. Milk can also interfere with iron absorption so again, try not to have dairy and iron-rich foods too close together. For more specific suggestions on increasing iron absorption, read this post.

Pregnant or not, it’s just wise to keep your iron levels up.

It doesn’t need to be a stressful or particularly calculated thing, but more a matter of making sure you’re including iron-rich foods in your diet on a regular basis.

If you are deficient, it’s wise to supplement first (though I’d recommend at least a chat with your doctor or midwife before doing anything at all), and then make sure you are purposeful about maintaining your iron levels for future prevention. You don’t want to let your iron deficiency become a bigger issue or lead to further complications in the meantime.

What have you found to be effective for boosting your iron levels?

Top image from tulumba

Disclaimer: I am not a certified medical professional of any kind and am not qualified to give you medical advice, to diagnose any illness or prescribe treatment. My goal is to help to educate and inspire you to take responsibility for your own family’s health and make informed choices of your own, not to consult you on medical treatment.

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

real deals 700px post image

This week’s top deals:

kids

Two FREE Summer Bowling Games for Kids Sign up for two free vouchers for bowling for each of your children here! (Shoe rental not included.)  (Hat tip to Money Saving Mom)

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.12.37 PM

Abe’s Market: Cereal Cups on sale for just $2 each.  20% off New Superfood Cereals for a limited time only.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.20.13 PM

Organic Apple Cider Vinegar just $4.69 (12 oz. bottle).  List price: $14.27. After Subscribe and Save: $4.69.   Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.  Get it for as low as $3.99 if you use Subscribe and Save for 5 or more items per month.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.25.23 PM

 

Organic Rainforest Blend Fair Trade Coffee K-Cups just $0.29 each.   List price: $30.25.  After Subscribe and Save and 15% off Amazon clipped coupon: $23.53- $26.90.  (Hat tip to Jungle Deals and Steals!)  FREE shipping with qualifying orders.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.28.51 PM

Seventh Generation Disinfecting Multipurpose Wipes just $0.07/count.   List Price: $50.20. After Subscribe and Save: $29.58.  FREE shipping with qualifying orders.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.31.54 PM

Dr. Bronner’s Castille Liquid Mild Baby Soap just $0.44/ounce.  List price: $63.99.  After Subscribe and Save: $57.49.  FREE shipping with qualifying orders.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.39.24 PM

Tom’s of Maine Natural Deodorant Sticks $4.07 Each.  Various scents available at this price. List price: $40.41. After Subscribe and Save: $24.45.  FREE shipping with qualifying orders.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.42.01 PM

Zarbee’s Children’s Grape Cough Syrup $5.68/ 4 oz. bottles.  List price: $7.99.  Sale price: $5.68.

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.48.42 PM

Muir Glen Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil $2.17/28 oz. cans.  List price: $32.52. After Subscribe and Save and 15% Amazon Clipped Coupon.  FREE shipping with qualifying order.

FREE Kindle Ebooks:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.15.49 AM

Gluten Free Diet Cookbook

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.14.19 AM

50 Easy Ways to Clean and Organize Your Home

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.16.34 AM

Get Started with Homeschooling

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.28.55 AM

The Adventures of Geraldine Woolkins

(Hat tip to Money Saving Mom for help in finding these!)

Kindle Ebooks for Less than $1:

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 10.23.00 AM

The Organic Beauty Queen: 17 Natural, $5-Or-Less Body Butter Recipes

Screen Shot 2015-03-23 at 9.11.04 PM

Bath Bombs: Super Easy Natural and Organic Bath Bombs Recipes for Instant Relaxation, Reduced Stress, and Better Health

(Hat tip to Money Saving Mom for help in finding some of these!)

This Week’s Best Coupons:

(hat tip to The Greenbacks Gal!)

real-deals-pinterest-march-24

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!

Quick and Easy Chicken Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

This recipe for Chicken Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce is very easily adaptable. It can be made gluten and/or dairy free or not. It's entirely up to you! By Leigh Ann Dutton, Contributing Writer

The days are getting longer and my desire to spend a lot of time in the kitchen is beginning to dwindle. Wait, my desire to spend a lot of time in the kitchen always dwindles. I love to cook, but I don’t love to cook all day.

I’m always experimenting in the kitchen, which is a nice way of saying that I rarely have the right ingredients on hand when I need them even though I menu plan and try really, really hard to do better.

However, I’ve found that this season of “experimenting” has resulted in some really amazing recipes and concoctions. Since I follow a basic process for creating meals from scratch, this meal came out of my kitchen piping hot and completely delectable. Every single member of my family (ages 1 to 31) cleared their plates and went back for seconds.

I want to share my recipe for Chicken Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce because it was so good and you need to try it.

My family is currently gluten and dairy free because of my youngest; therefore this Chicken Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce can be made gluten and/or dairy free or not. It’s entirely up to you! This recipe is very easily adaptable.

This recipe for Chicken Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce is very easily adaptable. It can be made gluten and/or dairy free or not. It's entirely up to you!

Quick and Easy Chicken Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 Tablespoons coconut oil (or 2 Tablespoons olive oil + 2 Tablespoons butter)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 28-30 ounces of tomato sauce of your choice
  • 1 lb. chicken, cooked
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Dried basil, to taste (start with ½ a Tablespoon and work your way up)
  • Dried parsley, to taste (start with ½ a Tablespoon and work your way up)
  • 1 can of coconut milk (or heavy cream if you don't want dairy free, though the coconut milk is delectable!)
  • 1-1.5 lbs of your favorite pasta (spaghetti, linguine, etc. and choose gluten-free if you need to)
  • Grated Parmesan (optional)
Instructions
  1. Cook your pasta according to package instructions.
  2. Cook your chicken anyway you like. I used chicken tenders grilled with lemon pepper seasoning because that's what I had on hand. You could also use shredded chicken or pan-fry you diced chicken in a cast iron skillet with a little coconut oil.
  3. Melt coconut oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Then add the garlic and cooked chicken.
  4. Let your garlic cook for about 30 seconds. Then add tomato sauce, salt and pepper, basil, and parsley to your skillet. Stir to combine.
  5. A note on tomato sauce: You can use whatever tomato sauce you like! You can used canned tomato sauce, jarred spaghetti sauce, homemade spaghetti sauce, etc. It's really up to you. If you do use a plain tomato sauce, you'll want to adjust your seasonings a bit to compensate. Just do some taste-testing as you cook.
  6. Bring the sauce to a simmer. You can let your sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes to let the flavors develop, or you can move right into the next step. I let mine simmer when I have time.
  7. Add coconut milk to your sauce and stir well. Let it heat for a few minutes and then remove from heat.
  8. Combine pasta and sauce into a pot. Serve hot with a garnish of grated Parmesan cheese (optional) and a little parsley (optional).

This meal goes great with some homemade crusty bread and a tossed salad. Enjoy!

What about you? What is your favorite quick and easy meal?

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! 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.

Weekend Links

{Keeper of the Home}

Links for this week:

Can we have simple birthdays for our kids these days? @ The Art of Simple

A Dad “Stuck” with Daughters @ The Humbled Homemaker

Broiled Cod with Parsley Almond Pesto @ The Nourishing Home

What It’s Like To Go Without Complaining For A Month @ Fast Company

It’s OK to be Ordinary @ She Loves Magazine

Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce (Grain-Free) @ Deliciously Organic

try kindness first @ Steady Mom

Yes, Life is Risky—Dive in Anyway @ Michael Hyatt

It’s officially spring in the northern hemisphere! What are you planning for your garden?

4 Simple Steps to a Sustainable Household

Over the last several years, I've made lots of changes to create a more sustainable household. It all started with a few simple steps that anyone can take to create a more sustainable household:

By Nina Nelson, Contributing Writer

Over the last several years, I’ve made lots of changes to create a more sustainable household. And while I’d love to tell you that it all began as a means to reduce my family’s footprint and do our part to save the planet, it really started because we needed to save money.

You see, we were in debt, had two small kids and one on the way. I worked at a job I hated, but couldn’t quit and we knew that once the baby was born we wouldn’t be able to afford daycare for three. We were in a tough spot and something needed to be done.

Enter Financial Peace University, a program designed to help people get themselves out of debt with smart strategizing and hard work. It was exactly what we needed.

After our first class, my husband and I agreed that we needed to make some major changes in our home. As the person in our family who loves planning, researching and taking action, I took on the task of figuring out what could help us cut expenses as fast as possible.

And that’s when I discovered sustainability – the idea of living more naturally and creating a household that produces more than it consumes (or at the very least, consumes less). I loved it and as I began implementing sustainability suggestions, I watched our expenses drop.

Today, our household is drastically different than it was when I discovered the concept of sustainability. We’re big on natural DIY products and creating as little waste as possible. We started gardening. And we even moved our family of six into a bus for a year to see just how small we can live (turns out, quite small).

Over the last several years, I've made lots of changes to create a more sustainable household. It all started with a few simple steps that anyone can take to create a more sustainable household:

It all started with a few simple steps that anyone can take to create a more sustainable household:

1. Declare your decision.

I know this simple suggestion might sound too easy to some, but go with me. When you make the decision to make changes and tell people, it tends to happen. So when I saw that focusing on sustainability would help us in our journey to debt-freedom, I declared that that’s what we were going to do (to my husband, kids, family, friends, etc.).

2. Take inventory.

Just as we had to write down everything we made and spent for a month to see what was really going on with our finances, we had to do the same thing to see where we could make changes to a more sustainable lifestyle.

What I soon found was that we produced several bags of garbage each week, bought a lot of groceries in frivolous packaging and depended on electricity for just about everything.

Frankly, I was appalled at how wasteful our family was without even thinking about it (which is probably why we were so wasteful – we weren’t intentional about much). But. I knew that we could change that.

3. Set measurable goals.

Once I knew what we were working with, it was time to set goals. I wrote down the changes I knew would save us the most money (and get us closer to sustainability), like reducing waste and using less electricity.

But frankly, that was pretty vague and a little (ok, a lot) overwhelming.

So if you’ve taken your inventory and are writing out your sustainability goals, instead of saying that you want to reduce waste, for instance, I recommend setting more measurable goals:

  • Go down to the smallest garbage can your sanitary service offers (which probably will fit about two full garbage bags).
  • Cut food waste by eating leftovers before they go bad.
  • Create a compost pile/bin and put a bucket in the kitchen for compostable food scraps.
  • Switch from disposable diapers.
  • Line dry laundry whenever possible.

Now, it’s time to take action.

Over the last several years, I've made lots of changes to create a more sustainable household. It all started with a few simple steps that anyone can take to create a more sustainable household.

4. Create a sustainable plan.

(See what I did there?) The aim here is not just to set any plan, but one that you can keep up long-term. So instead of saying, “This week, we’re going to cut our waste in half, start composting and begin hanging our clothes to dry instead of using the dryer,” (which is what I said) you’re creating a plan you can actually succeed at.

What might that look like in action? Well, if your goal is to hang your clothes to dry 75% of the time, it might look like this:

  1. Get line drying location set up and ready to go.
  2. Procure all necessary supplies (namely, clothes pins).
  3. Hang two loads of laundry this week.
  4. Assess how it went: Did it take too much time? Were the kids any help? Is a certain time of day better?
  5. Hang three loads next week.
  6. Repeat with other goals.

If you’re like me, you have to resist the urge to go all or nothing in the first week. Because as tempting as it is (and gratifying to see such a big change), it often ends in failure.

But when you take small, sustainable steps toward your goals (I have some how-tos and suggestions for you here), you’ll soon find that you’ve created the intentional household you set out to have.

Have you created a more sustainable household? What steps did you take?

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!

Blogelina Giveaway: Win a Seat In Blogelina’s “Profitable Blogging For Beginners” Class

150319blogelina

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have your own money-making blog? You want to start – but you just don’t know how? Or, maybe you have a blog that would like to take to the next level and start earning an income from it?

If you want to learn the basics of how to set up a blog, how to take your blogging to the next level, or how to begin earning money from your blog, this Blogelina’s “Profitable Blogging for Beginners” class is for you!

When you sign up for this class, here’s what you’ll get:

  • A FREE Blog Set-Up – Blogelina takes care of the techie side of the set-up so you don’t have to. All you have to do is just have to start blogging!
  • A FREE Year of Web Hosting
  • A 60-Page How-To Manual – packed with information that will help take the overwhelming out of starting your own blog
  • 4 weekly online class sessions where you can ask your questions and get personalized feedback
  • Blueprints, step-by-step tutorials, networking with other bloggers — everything you need to grow your blog.

This class will cover:

  • How to Get Your Blog Started on the Right Foot
  • Questions to Ask as You Begin Blogging
  • How To Actually Set Up A Blog
  • Why Your Blog Design is So Important
  • 9 Different Ways to Easily Monetize Your Blog
  • How to Draw Visitors to Your Blog
  • and so much more!

everythingyouneedwhite500.396

Blogelina has been featured on the Dave Ramsey show, and is well-known for their ability to help bloggers make a successful start. Hundreds of bloggers here have gone through this course in the past and taken away the tools to make their blogs a success.

Sign up for the Blogelina Profitable Blogging for Beginners class today!

*If you’re not 100% satisfied with your experience with Blogelina, you are free to walk away at any time during the class session! PLUS, you’ll get to keep your copy of the class manual and your free year of hosting – Blogelina will refund your money!

At Blogelina, they’re committed to helping bloggers start and build their own successful, profitable blogs.  Blogelina was started 5 years ago as a way to help other bloggers NOT make the same mistakes others do when starting their blogging career.  It’s their hope and dream to help other moms who want to stay at home with their kiddos be able to do that and still contribute to the family income through blogging!  Their 4-week blogging class has help hundreds of bloggers learn what it takes to start and run a profitable blog!

To enter to win 1 of 10 seats in Blogelina’s Popular 4-Week “Profitable Blogging For Beginners” Class, please fill out the form below. Good luck!

20 Christ-Centered Easter Ideas For Families

If you're hoping to celebrate a Christ-centered Easter, start now by planning a few activities that you'd like to implement.

By Jessica Smartt, Contributing Writer

When I was little, we always attended my grandmother’s church on Good Friday. They were Lutheran, and it was a somber, holy service. (Except for the time we sang a hymn with the line “I am but a worm” and we giggled all the way home. Until we were punished…)

Anyway, the part I will never get out of my head, as long as I live, was the end of the service. The room would get completely dark, and my uncle would come up with a hammer and bang a handful of nails into a wooden board. All you heard – a deafening bang, bang, bang of the hammer. With each blow, it all seemed uncomfortably…real.

Honestly, it was a good thing.

It made us remember, and be grateful, and – realize how special Easter was. Now that I have little ones, I want my little ones to “get it,” too. One thing I’ve been really surprised about since becoming a mom (among a long list of things, of course) is how these holidays never cease to sneak up on you and disappear before you hardly have a chance to make a batch of cookies. I feel like by the time I finally get around to hanging up the Christmas tree stand, there’s eleven days to Easter and I haven’t even mentioned it to my kids.

It takes a lot of conscious, dedicated work to celebrate the holidays in the right way with with our kids. But it’s worth it.

This year I rounded up some ideas for celebrating a Christ-centered Easter. Start now planning a few that you’d like to implement, and be sure to share other ideas that were (or are) meaningful to you in the comments!

Here are some ways to make Easter Baskets meaningful:

If you're hoping to celebrate a Christ-centered Easter, start now by planning a few activities that you'd like to implement.

I love these ideas for celebrating with Easter foods:

A few crafts and projects I found interesting (and do-able!)

If you're hoping to celebrate a Christ-centered Easter, start now by planning a few activities that you'd like to implement.

Image courtesy of Kojo Designs

Finally, don’t forget to share the Easter story!

  • Include your favorite Easter verses in your letter to a sponsored child.
  • Deliver home-baked goods and an Easter card to neighbors. (We did this last year and our neighbors seemed to love it. We wrote out John 10:10 on the cards.)
  • Mail Easter-decorated cookies to friends and family.

So, how about you … how do you celebrate a Christ-centered Easter?

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!

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

real deals 700px post image

This week’s top deals:

abes

20% OFF Flours and Mixes at Abe’s Market. Plus FREE shipping on orders over $49.99. There is no date listed for when this deal ends so you may want to check it out quickly.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 2.15.02 PM

As Low as $12.94 for 1 Pound of Runa Amazon Guayusa Spice Tea, Organic Cinnamon – Lemongrass.   List price: $18.49.  After coupon & Subscribe and Save: $12.94.  Save 15% with the Amazon clipped coupon (must be logged in to access coupon).  Save an additional 15% with Subscribe and Save.  Get FREE shipping with qualifying order.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 2.23.16 PM

Hamilton Beach 59765 2 Speed Hand Blender on Sale for $18.45.  List price: $29.99.  Sale price: $18.45.   Free shipping with qualifying order.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 2.25.40 PM

As Low as $6.78 for 16 Ounce Bottle of McCormick Pure Vanilla Extract ($0.50/oz.)  Sale price: $7.98.  Save 15% with Subscribe and Save.   If you are an Amazon Prime member you will save 20% with Subscribe and Save, bringing the total cost of this product down to just $6.78.  Free shipping with qualifying order.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 2.30.04 PM

Scott Extra Soft Double Roll Tissue Paper (9 Count) (Pack of 4) for as Low as $0.36 per roll.   List price: $19.99.  Save $1 with Amazon clipped coupon (must be logged in to access).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe and Save (restrictions apply).  If you are an Amazon Prime member, you will receive 20% off with Subscribe and Save. Free shipping with qualifying order.  Final price: $13-$14.65.

sambazon

FREE Bottle of Sambazon’s new 100 Organic Juice.  Sign up for email promotions  and at the end of March you will receive a coupon for a FREE bottle of juice.  (Hat tip to Organic Deals)

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 2.34.13 PM

Rubbermaid 12 Piece Container Set just $19.86 on Amazon.   List price: $56.99.  Sale price: $19.86 currently.   This sale price is limited only and we don’t know how long it will last.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 2.42.21 PM

Just $3/each for Touched by Nature Organic Baby Bodysuits (Pack of 3) at Amazon.  List price: $24.99.  Sale price: $8.99 (Pack of 3).  Sale price subject to change at any time.

chemistry

Just $35 for I Heart O-Chem Molecular Model Set for Organic Chemistry on Amazon.   List price: $64.95.  Sale price: $35.  Price subject to change at any time.

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 2.51.04 PM

Just $29.99 for LEGO Classic Medium Creative Brick Box.  List price: $34.99. Sale price: $29.99.   Price subject to change at any time.

FREE Kindle eBooks:

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 10.58.04 AM

The Child Who Loves to Read: How to Teach Your Child to Love Reading at an Early Age

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 10.50.35 AM

Salads to Go: 7 Delicious Salad Recipes Made for On-The-Go Convenience

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 10.50.43 AM

40 Green Smoothie Recipes for Weight Loss and Detox

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.01.22 AM

Hearty Soups:  A Collection of Homemade Soups

Kindle eBooks for Less than $1:

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.02.55 AM

DIY Projects & Gift Ideas for Easter

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.03.01 AM

Fly For Free: How to Ear Free Flights Across the US and Around the World

Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.03.05 AM

Miss Minimalist: Inspiration to Downsize, Declutter, and Simplify

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-march-17

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!