How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}By Stacy Karen, Contributing Writer

Chances are you will encounter some type of insect or bug bite during the summer. There are lots of ways to treat such bites, but today I want to share one very effective treatment that utilizes the wonderful herb, plantain. 

Many people hear the word “plantain” and think of a small banana-like fruit. And yes, that is a plantain, but not the kind of plantain I am referring to. 

The herb called plantain is actually a green plant, often considered a weed (but it is a very useful weed and one you might want to keep around).

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Image by Phuong Tran

Plantain is thought to draw toxins and infections from the body.

It also heals cuts or wounds. (Learn more about plantain and other ways to use it here). 

A wonderful way to get the benefits of plantain is to create a plantain salve. It is very easy (instructions for making plantain salve can be found here). The only problem with it is that you must plan ahead and make time to infuse the oil and prepare the salve. 

Another very simple method of using plantain is to make a poultice. This requires very little forethought, except having a plant (or dried herb) nearby. And it is very effective. 

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice

 To create a plantain poultice, the plantain needs to be mashed and placed against the skin. Today I will share three methods for creating a plantain poultice. 

All of these poultices are beneficial for treating the following:

  • bug bites
  • bee stings
  • infections
  • poison ivy and oak (a plantain wash would also help here)
  • cuts and scrapes

Bonus: Plantain has even been know to aid in the removal of slivers, due to it’s drawing properties. 

1. The chew-it-up method

This method  sounds quite horrible, I admit, but it is excellent during an emergency. 

Simply pick a few plantain leaves, rinse off (if necessary), chew the leaves for a while and spit them out. 

Place this chewed up mass on affected area. (You get the added benefit of saliva to aid in healing!) It may be necessary to form the chewed up plantain into a ball before placing on the skin.  

Wrap with a bandage and leave on the skin for a few hours. Use new plantain every few hours and keep this protocol up for a couple of days, if needed. 

2. Powdered herb method

Grind dried plantain into a powder and mix with a little water to form a paste. 

Place paste on affected area and cover with a bandage or medical tape.

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Dried plantain ground into powder (mostly)

3. Food processor or blender method

Blend fresh plantain leaves in a food processor. (Only add a tiny amount of water if needed; just enough to get it to blend. If you have a high powered blender, you might not need any water at all.) 

Place this mash in the center of a piece of cheesecloth and fold the sides of the cloth around the mash to form a little package. Place cheesecloth/plantain pack on affected area. Can be taped on with medical tape if needed, or wrapped with muslin. Use new plantain every couple of hours and keep up the poultice for a few days if needed. 

How to Make (and Use) a Plantain Poultice {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Do you have experience with making a plantain poultice? If so, I’d love to hear what you used it for.

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When I’m Caught in the Rip Current of People Pleasing

When I'm Caught in the Rip Current of People Pleasing

Today I’m honored to be a part of Lysa TerKeurst’s “The Best Yes” Blog Tour, along with many other fabulous bloggers. Learn more here - http://goo.gl/bQVJW0

Our lives seem to be one bumpy, gravelly mess of road work lately, like we’ve living in a construction zone.

It’s this season of transition we’re in–  trying to get planted in a new community, changing up how we do homeschool, settling in to a recently purchased home, and moving forward with some big business changes.

Along with that, we’ve altered our family’s regular routine and some of our roles, and well, it feels like there ought to have been flashing orange signs warning us “Detour Ahead”.

I’m no good at detours. These unfamiliar, unexpected routes we end up taking when life shifts and changes.

I forget that they can be more complicated, require more concentration, and usually take more time. I have to leave more margin in my life during these hectic seasons, for the unexpected and the delays, so I don’t run through my days perpetually late, stressed and breathless.

(Which in reality equates to losing it on my kids, snapping at my husband, forgetting important dates, or putting milk in the pantry instead of the fridge.)

It’s that whole margin thing that really trips me up.

I rarely live with margin in my life. You know, that extra allowance of time and space to be used as we need it.

Instead, I’m usually pushing the limits, trying to see how much I can stuff inside these finite hours and days, until they begin to bulge and tear and come literally undone, full to overflowing with so many “good” things, but clearly more than they were intended to hold.

Saying yes all the time won't make me a Wonder Woman, it will make me a worn out woman. - Lysa TerKeurst

Reading “The Best Yes” was a reminder I desperately needed.

It showed me clearly that I was struggling, yet again, with taking on too much. With trying to please everyone. With feeling burdened by endless demands. With saying “yes” out of obligation.

It’s ironic, actually, that I’m writing this post right now. With all that’s on my plate, I should have been saying a gracious “no” to the many requests and opportunities that come through my inbox each week as a blogger. Not because this wasn’t an opportunity worth taking, or a book that I didn’t want to read (because I did), but because I was already maxed out, barely holding myself up.

And yet, I still said “Of course, I’d be happy to!”, not only to this opportunity but several others of late. (Which clearly shows just how much I actually needed to read this book right now — so thanks for asking me, Lysa! How did you know? :)

I’ve been struggling with insomnia at night recently, common for me in seasons of stress, and so I keep pulling this book out in those quiet, late night hours as sleep eludes me.

Among other things, it is revealing my motivations for saying yes, and they aren’t so pretty. Fear. People pleasing. Anxiety. Guilt. Ambition.

I’m reminded that each time I let myself say yes to the wrong things, I’m equally saying no to something else.

This is inevitable. Our lives can only contain so much, and so each yes also represents a no, and on the flip side, each time we thoughtfully say no, we grant ourselves margin and permission to say a resounding yes to something better down the road.

Right now, each time I say another guilty, fearful yes, I am forcing myself to say “no” to something far more important — Sleep and rest. More quality time with my kids and husband. More energy for my relationships. Exercise. A tidy and peaceful home. Steadier moods and emotions. A phone call with a girlfriend. Remembering a family member’s birthday.

As I face the reality of the yucky motivations behind some of my “yes” decisions, I’m convicted that “no” needs to play a greater role in my vocabulary.

And what Lysa is gently reminding me in these late-night, lamp-lit reading sessions is that when “no” is said appropriately, it makes time and space for the very BEST “yes” choices.

Do you see what I mean? We feel bad for saying no, because we think that’s what a good mom (or wife or Christian or friend or daughter) does. So we say “yes” all the time, never daring to let anyone down.

But ultimately, we let even more people down when we do that. And even worse? We often let the most important people down.  

I know I'm caught in the rip current of people pleasing when I dread saying yes but feel powerless to say no. - Lysa TerKeurst

 

One of the concepts that jumped out at me most in this book is the power of a “small no”.

Here’s how Lysa defines it:

“I’ve learned there is power in the small no if only we’ll choose to use it. The power is in saying no before things grow to the place where a no becomes even harder to give, more painful than if given early on, or so much is already put in motion that now the no feels nearly impossible to realistically implement.

As I talked with friends about this concept of the small no, there’s an interesting dynamic at play each time a small no should be given. Almost without exception it’s when the minute we receive a request we know deep down our answer should be no. But we delay – as if delay will somehow make this request go away so we dont’ have to deal with it

I know it feels like either delaying your no or just saying yes and dealing with the consequences would be better than saying no. Boy, do I ever understand that dilemma. Most of us were raised to be nice. And somehow we’ve taken up the notion that saying no is not nice. But what if small nos can be given in such a way they become a gift rather than a curse?

Taken from The Best Yes

Whoosh… did you see that? It was a massive weight that just flew right off of my shoulders.

I really, really love this. When we give small, immediate nos to things we know in our hearts we shouldn’t give a yes to, they become a gift to us, instead of ultimately becoming a burden. 

I can’t tell you how much I struggle with making decisions. I delay, put things off, think the decision will get clearer later, give people vague answers. Particularly if it’s a decision I think will disappoint or displease someone, I tend to delay even more.

It’s very difficult for me to make clear, firm nos. But make them I must.

I appreciate Lysa’s wise admonishment that even as we do this, we shouldn’t go to the extreme and turn our nos into weapons, karate-chopping away at people and their requests.

Her gentle suggestions for saying no firmly, but kindly and lovingly, resonated with me…

  • While my heart wants to say yes, the reality of my time makes this a no.
  • I’m sorry but I can’t give it the attention it deserves.
  • While I would love to _____, my previous commitments of _____ makes this one of those seasons when I must decline lovely invitations. But thank you for thinking of me.

Is anybody else releasing a deep exhale of gratefulness for the permission to graciously and purposefully choose what we say no to, so that we can save our yes for the best things?

“The Best Yes” is now avaialble in bookstores, and online in both paperbackKindle and audiobook format.

What is the hardest part of decision making for you? Saying yes when you should be saying no? Putting it off? 

I received this book for the purpose of review. This post includes affiliate links. 

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

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This week’s top deals:

Food Processor

Get the lowest price to date and a great deal on this Hamilton Beach 70740 8-Cup Food Processor for just $28 or this Hamilton Beach 70450 8-Cup Food Processor for just $26.99.   Remember you get FREE shipping on orders over $35!  

Or if you haven’t yet tried Amazon Prime, sign up for a 30-day trial and get FREE 2-day shipping!

Coconut water kids

Vita Coco Kids Coconut Water Variety Pack, 6 Ounce Containers (Pack of 18) are on sale for $16.75.  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Save 20% when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Remember you get FREE shipping on orders over $35!  

*If you’re an Amazon Prime with Amazon Mom member, you’ll actually save 20% on Subscribe & Save items when you place 5 or more orders in a month.

Brain_Booster_Tea

Bulk Herb Store is having a 20% Off Store-wide Sale until August 22nd with coupon code SUMMER14. (click the big black Black Friday Summer Sale button)

As well they have 30% off some Customer Favorites and 40% off some bulk items.  They have some other great savings until the end of August while supplies last.  Here are just a few:

  • Brain Booster Tea regular $12.95 for 1/2 lb on sale for $9.07.  Use coupon code AUGBOO
  • Liver Cleanse Tinture regular $14.95 for 1/2 lb on sale for $10.47.  Use coupon code AUGLIV
  • Beginner’s Herb Kit  $59.95.  If purchased separately these herbs would cost $102.80.  By buying this kit you will save $42.85
  • Journey Back to Health Kit $79.85  If purchased separately these products would cost $101.45.  By buying this kit you will save $21.50

sea_salt-Check out some of the Mountain Rose Herbs specials for this month:

  • Alfalfa Leaf 40% Off – 1 lb for only $5.70
  • Nutmeg Powder 40% Off – 1 lb for only $21.60
  • Fine Sea Salt 25% Off – 1 lb for $2.63
  • Echinacea Purpurea Root 25% Off – 1 lb for $15.75

From Scratch

Read the August/September issue, and if you enjoy it, click on the button at the top of the page that offers a free subscription to From Scratch Magazine.

FOSaleHeader

From Nature With Love is having a sale! 40% Off All In-Stock Standard Fragrance and Flavor Oils (especially great for making soaps or other homemade cosmetics)! Choose the Summer Sale banner (second one down on the home page.) 

They have several other items on sale as well.  It would be worth your while to check them out!

Mount-Hagen-Organic-Coffee-Caf-757922116141

Vitacost is having a coffee sale, up to 40% off. There are plenty of organic and fair-trade coffees included in the sale.  As well they have 20% off Rice & Whole Grains.  Check the deals out including the one I’ve listed below:

QuinoaVitacost Whole Food Quinoa – Non-GMO and Gluten Free – 16 oz (454 g) for just $5.31  

New to Vitacost? Get a $10 off $30 coupon through my link

FREE Kindle ebooks

Household DIY

Household DIY: Save Time and Money with Do It Yourself Hints & Tips on Furniture, Clothes, Pests, Stains, Residues, Odors and More! (note: prices can change at any time so please check before purchasing)

school lunch gluten free

School Lunches: 21 Delicious Gluten Free Recipes (note: prices can change at any time so please check before purchasing)

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-August-19

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!

What I Wish I Could Have Told My Pregnant Self

What I Wish I Could Have Told My Pregnant Self {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Hilary Bernstein, Contributing Writer

This post is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical conditions; talk to your doctor or midwife about pregnancy, postpartum and newborn concerns.

You know how hindsight is 20/20? I wish I had a way to talk to myself when I was pregnant with my first child. There’s so much I want to share. You know what I’d say?

I know how scared you are. I know you know absolutely nothing about bringing up babies, but that’s OK. Relax. You’re going to be a good mommy. You’ll figure things out – that’s what moms do.

About doctors

It’s great that you’re obsessing so concerned about natural childbirth and if you can do it or not. But relax a little. Yes, you’ll need to know relaxation techniques. (Read and practice your Bradley books!But each birthing process is unique and you’ll never be able to prepare for exactly what happens.

Find a different doctor. You shouldn’t have to prove to your OB that you can get through labor and delivery without an epidural. If she’s not supportive and only wants to do things the way she’s “always done things” do yourself a big favor – find someone who is a little more cooperative.

What I Wish I Could Have Told My Pregnant Self {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Speaking of doctors, look carefully into pediatricians. I know you don’t want to take the time. I know you think that any doctor would be fine. And I know you want to trust your friends who are moms. But you are going to have different opinions on issues like vaccines.

If you can find a pediatrician who practices integrative medicine, you’ll be very pleased. If there’s no one like that in your community, try to find a seasoned doc with a laid-back personality. (They’re out there.)

About sleep

You know how I’ve encouraged you to relax? I’ll say it again. Relax. Please don’t get worked up about sleep schedules.

 At least not reliably.

You are going to be really, really tired. That’s OK. Give yourself at least one month to rest. There are times when you won’t know how to make your baby stop crying. If those piercing wails are literally driving you crazy, it’s OK to put him or her in a crib and walk away for a couple minutes. (And if you’re feeling really out of sorts, please talk to your doctor about it. He or she will be able to help you.)

What I Wish I Could Have Told My Pregnant Self {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Even though everyone and their sister will ask you if your newborn is sleeping through the night – and then give you advice how to get your baby to sleep for 12 hour stretches – learn really quickly to smile and nod.

For some reason, everyone who sees your baby will fixate on the sleep issue. Your baby will sleep someday. I promise. (It will happen in a year or so.) Being a bad sleeper doesn’t mean your baby is bad – or smart or not so smart or anything. He or she is just a bad sleeper for right now.

Please don’t be terrified of co-sleeping. I know you have read so many parenting books and you don’t want to mess this up – you want to parent by the letter. But relax and be careful. Letting your child cry it out in another room is torture for everyone – you, your spouse, your baby and your neighbors. Your baby just wants to be close to his or her mama.

You know how you are nurturing him or her right now in your womb? Your baby loves that. Your sweet baby only knows how to be close to you. That’s how God has designed things. It’s beautiful. Please try to tune out the very westernized notion of putting your baby in a crib in a separate room and expecting him or her to sleep all night long like you and your exhausted husband.

Invest in a bedside co-sleeper bassinet so you can keep your little one right beside you. You won’t have to worry about a monitor, and you’ll hear when he or she is hungry. And you won’t have to get out of bed and stumble down the hall in the middle of the night.

What I Wish I Could Have Told My Pregnant Self {KeeperoftheHome.org}

About spoiling

You may read about the idea that you can spoil your baby – or you might hear it from others.

But Mama-to-be, you can not spoil your baby.

You’ve heard all these notions that you can spoil your child through demand feedings and a lack of sleep schedules and cuddles … those notions are wrong. God designed babies to crave their mother’s milk. God designed babies to need their mamas. And God designed mothers to long to be close to their babies and nurture them. That’s part of the beauty of motherhood.

Don’t be afraid to follow your God-given instincts. Relax. You won’t spoil your baby. Kiss that baby as much as you want. You’ll never say “I love you” too much.

What I Wish I Could Have Told My Pregnant Self {KeeperoftheHome.org}

I promise this season of life is going to go by in the blink of an eye. Your boobs will get sore. You will be tired. You won’t know how you can endure one more minute of wailing. You’ll think it’s absolutely ridiculous that the one accomplishment of your day is finding time to take a shower. You won’t understand how you have to muster up enough energy to cook dinner. But this time will not last forever.

At the risk of ruining some surprises, when you bring your son home (Yes! That baby wiggling, wriggling and kicking right now? He’s a boy!) from the hospital, within the first 15 minutes you’ll watch a school bus drop off the neighborhood children from school. You will weep. You’ll look at your newborn, sleeping soundly in your arms, and you’ll know that before you know it, you’ll be sending him off to kindergarten. You’ll cry so much that your tears will fall all over that precious baby’s face.

What I Wish I Could Have Told My Pregnant Self {KeeperoftheHome.org}

And you know what? Your motherly instinct is right. That wee babe will be starting school before you even know it.

You’ll wonder how the time passed so quickly.

You’ll wonder why you didn’t relax a little more and spend more time just soaking in the miracle of newborn babies.

You’ll long to hold that teensy little one in your arms again.

You’ll wish you could still breathe in the wonderful fragrance of a new baby.

And you’ll be grateful for motherhood and how God has given you the privilege to watch the miracle of how this one very special child will grow and change and mature.

If you’re a mom, what advice do you wish you would have known when you were expecting your first baby?

 Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, it helps to support this site, so thanks!

Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

My Princess Problem @ A Deeper Story

What the Church & Christians Need to Know About Suicide & Mental Health @ A Holy Experience

Cobb Salad Recipe – A Fresh Main Dish Meal @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop 

A Staying Prayer for Mothers of College Freshmen @ chatting at the sky

On The Difference One Letter Makes @ (in)courage 

Simple Peach and Honey Ice Cream @ The Nourishing Gourmet 

Spend More Time with People Who Lift You Up (and lift them right back) @ Be More with Less

Learning to fight {and why we argue in front of our kids} @ Life Your Way 

You know those awesome ebook bundles we create? 

Well, we’ve got another one coming up shortly! 

I can’t tell you a lot of details yet, but just know that it’s packed full of the tools you need for living a healthy lifestyle, and our team believes this is truly our most spectacular bundle yet. Details coming soon, I promise! 

Until then, would you take less than a minute to let us give some of your thoughts about the bundle? (it’s super easy)

Answer our short survey here : http://bit.ly/1AjZqye
Psstt… everybody you fills out the survey will get a special thank you once the bundle is released. :)

What are some ways that you are shown you’re loved?

Healthy Back-to-School Lunches Made Easy!

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Kelly Smith, Contributing Writer

Ready to get your lunchbox groove on? Oh yeah! It’s that time of year again … back-to-school season! And whether you homeschool, or your children attend school outside of the home, having a plan for what to serve (or pack) for lunch makes getting ready for the busy school year a whole lot easier!

Of course, it can be a real challenge to come up with healthy lunch ideas day after day. And let’s face it, as adults, we (often times, more so than our kids) get tired of the “same-old same-old” lunch.

Creating a collection of these recipes also provides a wider array of nutritious options.

So, to help us in our quest to provide the best nutrition to fuel our children’s growing bodies, I’ve put together some of my favorite family-friendly lunch ideas, recipes and a few healthy snack options too. My hope is that these recipes, tips and ideas will provide you with lots of inspiration for creating healthy lunches that your whole family will love! 

Just Wrap It!

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Wraps (a.k.a. Roll-Ups) are a tasty, fun and attractive alternative to the traditional sandwich. We love the wrap! In fact, my kids have eaten foods they normally turn down when I roll it up in a tortilla. Apparently, the cute little roll-up makes everything look and taste yummier! 
5 Sweet & Savory Lunch Wrap Recipes
BLT Wraps
Meatless Chickpea Wraps
Ranch Chicken Wraps

Beyond PB&J …

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Break free from the typical lunchbox sandwich by serving healthy and delicious sandwich fillings like these:
Avocado Egg Salad

BBQ Chicken
Carrot & Cheddar

Grilled Chicken Salad

“Ditch the ‘Wich” Lunch Ideas

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Non-sandwich lunch options are not only great for those who are gluten-free or grain-free, but they also provide a healthy escape for anyone experiencing sandwich boredom!
Bread-Free Alternatives for Healthy Lunches On the Go
10 Delicious Non-Sandwich Lunch Ideas
20 Allergy-Friendly Non-Sandwich Lunches

From Leftovers to Lunch

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Talk about convenient! Packing dinner leftovers for lunch is one of the easiest methods for ensuring a delicious healthy lunch. Here are a few of our favorite leftovers that taste great cold the next day:
3 Easy Lunches Using Leftovers
Better than Fast Food Chicken Nuggets (with ranch for dipping)
• Grilled Chicken or Turkey (w ith ranch for dipping)
Meatball Subs

Healthy Homemade “Lunchables”

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}
The lure of those unhealthy packaged lunchables is convenience. But there’s no need sacrifice good nutrition when you can create easy homemade lunchables that are far more nutritious and afforadable!
3 Healthy Homemade Lunchable Recipes
DIY Homemade Lunchables
Homemade vs. Store-Bought Lunchables

Go for a Dip!

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Looking for a change of pace? Nutritious dips and spreads make a great light lunch, or add several satisfying sides for a heartier meal.
5 Healthy Lunch Dips
Easy Greek Hummus
“MOMveeta” Cheese Dip
Veggie Confetti Spread

Of course, crackers make a great edible lunch utensil for scooping up healthy dips or topping with meats, cheeses and more! A few of our favorites include:
Multi-Seed Grain-Free Crackers
Simple Grain-Free Herb Crackers
Sourdough Wheat Crackers
Whole Grain Spelt Thins

Sensational Salads

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Most adults, and many kids, enjoy a good salad for lunch, especially when it’s packed with a high-protein add-in like leftover grilled meats. So be sure to check out our post 25 Healthy & Delicious Summer Salads for a whole host of delicious salad options perfect for lunch or dinner.

Satisfying Sides

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Wholesome sides add an extra boost of nutrition and help to satisfy a hearty appetite. Here are just a few ideas for rounding out lunch with a healthy side or two:
Fresh Fruit – Apple slices, melon, grapes, strawberries, pineapple, etc.
Fresh Veggies – Carrots, zucchini sticks, cucumber slices, bell peppers, broccoli florets, etc. For an extra treat, serve raw veggies with Homemade Ranch Dressing.
Grass-fed Cheese – Made from wholesome milk from pastured cows, grass-fed cheese is perfect on sandwiches, with crackers or makes a wonderful addition to fresh fruit kabobs or ham and apple wraps.
Whole Milk Yogurt – A creamy nutritious treat, whole milk or coconut milk yogurt provides a wealth of good nutrition and important probiotics.

Healthy Lunchbox Snacks

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}
Adding a healthy snack makes lunchtime extra special. Here’s a few of our favorites:
Crispy nut mixes like High Protein Trail Mix or Sprouted Trail Mix.
Healthy cookie treats like Raw Cookie Dough Bites or Vanilla-Coconut Macaroons.
Homemade fruit leather like Homemade Fruit by the Foot or Cultured Fruit Leather.
Nutritious snack bars like Homemade KIND Fruit & Nut Bars or Whole Grain Granola Bars.
Wholesome fruit muffins like Whole Grain Strawberry Chia Muffins or Grain-Free Strawberry Shortcake Muffins.

Choosing a Lunch Storage System

Looking for some quality options for packing your healthy lunch creations? I tested out several of the top lunchboxes in my special back-to-school post, Which Lunch Box Food Storage System is Right for Your Family?and I’ve provided an overview of the benefits and drawbacks of each system tested. So if you’ve been searching for the right lunch storage system for your family, I hope this helps make it a bit easier.

More Lunch Packing Tips & Recipes

Getting organized to pack a healthy lunch couldn’t be easier with these helpful tips and even more wholesome recipes:
5 Tips for Planning Healthy Lunches Kids Love!
How to Create a Healthy Back-to-School Meal Plan
Healthy Real Food Lunch Ideas for Real Kids
100 Days of Real Food School Lunch Recipe Round-Up

I hope these helpful tips, ideas and recipes for healthy back-to-school lunches inspire you to create a wide variety of nutritious lunches for you and your children with far more ease and a lot less stress! 

Healthy Back to School Lunches Made Easy {KeeperoftheHome.org}

If you have some ideas about healthy back-to-school lunches, we would love to hear them!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. When you buy through our links, it helps to support this site, so thanks!

The Busy Mom’s Guide to Fast, East & Healthy Back-to-School Breakfasts {with 70 recipes!}

The Busy Mom's Guide to Fast, East & Healthy Back-to-School Breakfasts {with 70 recipes!}

With back-to-school already in full swing for some Americans, and starting up in less than 4 weeks here in Canada, it seemed like we should talk about breakfasts for those busy school mornings.

Especially for those that need to get out of the door by a certain time, but even for those of us who need to get a move on with our homeschool day, it’s oh-so-tempting to throw another breakfast of toast or store-bought cereal on the table and call it done. 

Of course, we know that’s not best. Kids (and their mamas) need to start the day strong, with protein, good fats, fruit or veggies, and whole grains. A hearty, well-rounded first meal of the day paves the way for steadier moods, stable blood sugar, more energy, quicker thinking, better learning, and even a quicker metabolism. 

But the thought of making something substantial first thing can feel daunting. What we really need are fast and easy recipes, still full of nutrition and goodness, that we can work into our mornings without causing extra stress, or dishes for that matter. 

I did some scouring through Pinterest, to see what I could find. And truth is, there are a TON of great recipes out there for your morning meal. But so many of the roundups aren’t terribly selective or careful in their picks. They seem a bit haphazard, or based more on pretty pictures than on healthy ingredients, kid-appeal, or hands-on cooking time. 

I thought this post would be simple to create, but I spent literally hours and hours, scouring the recipes out there, to find these 70 that fit my super-picky criteria: 

  1. Only real, whole food ingredients. Nothing processed or pre-made. Minimal sugar (and preferably unrefined, or a recipe where you could swap in the better stuff easily). Lots of good protein and fats to start things off right. 
  2. Genuine kid appeal. Now personally, I’m all for that gorgeous Leek, Asparagus and Goat Cheese Mini Quiche with fresh thyme sprinkled on top. Hook me up. But my kids? Not so much. They’ll take a plain plate of scrambled eggs over the fancy stuff any day. I wasn’t going for gourmet or foodie, nor did I want recipes that looked all fun and cutesy, but would realistically take way too long for the average mom. 
  3. Fast and easy to prepare. Or, something that has a make-ahead component (crockpot, freezer meals, baking that could be done ahead and in large batches, etc.). I aimed for a maximum cooking time of 20 minutes, start to finish (and ideally only 10-15), unless it was something that could be pre-mixed and then stuck in the oven first thing, so that it cooks away while you get the crew up and ready for the day.

The recipes in this post actually fit my criteria. I know, because I looked through the ingredients and instructions on every one (and some of them I’ve made myself). 

Not only that, but I only chose recipes I could actually see myself using in my own home. Not just pinning to my Breakfast board, never to be looked at again. 

chocolate and banana nut butter blast smoothie

My tips for getting real food, healthy, nourishing breakfasts ready in a hurry

With four young kids, homeschooling, and running several businesses out of our home, things get busy and hairy around here some mornings. I occasionally bemoan the fact that I’m not comfortable just buying cereal and setting out bowls and a jug of milk. Some days, I wish I was. 

But I’ve learned to make wholesome breakfasts with relatively little fuss, with this handful of strategies that work pretty well for me most days.

  1. Have a plan. This could be a proper breakfast meal plan for each day of the week, or it could be determining each night what you’ll eat the next morning. Just plan something. 
  2. Start the night before. If you get yourself into the habit of this one thing, it will revolutionize your mornings. Set some oatmeal to soak, dump ingredients in the crockpot, get a double batch of muffins baking while you watch Call the Midwife, put some frozen fruit into the fridge to thaw, or even just set the table. Whatever. Just do something in advance. 
  3. Always make extra. If I’m making muffins or quick breads, I always double or triple the recipe and freeze the extras. Same goes for anytime I make pancakes or waffles, and we pop them in the toaster for quick food on busy days. If I’m baking potatoes for dinner, I throw in a few extras so that I can chop and fry them up with eggs the next morning. 
  4. Keep something in the freezer. We always, at bare minimum, have frozen fruit for smoothies, and can use whatever liquid exists in the house (yogurt, kefir, milk, coconut milk). When I’m on the ball, we also have extras like bacon or pancakes or sausages already in the freezer. 
  5. Always have ingredients for simple meals. Which leads me to the fact that simply having what you need on hand takes away a lot of the fuss. I try to always have rolled oats, nuts and seeds, dried fruit, natural sweeteners, fresh or frozen fruit, some sort of dairy (milk, yogurt, kefir), flour (nut flour or else kamut flour), baking basics, and plenty of eggs. With these things in the house, we’ve always got something to eat, even if it’s just plain old oatmeal with milk, or a plate of scrambled eggs. 
  6. Make-ahead items will save you on rushed mornings. Especially if I know that we’ll be having some busier-than-usual mornings, I try to think ahead a few days before, and prepare something that will be easy on the day of. Grab-and-go foods like bars, breakfast cookies, muffins, frozen burritos or egg muffins, etc. work well. See lots of these recipes below. 

warm berry quinoa bowl

Warm Berry Quinoa Breakfast Bowl @ Happy Offerings

How I Usually Plan my Breakfast Menu 

I like to do a skeleton plan, where each week follows the same basic pattern, but I simply swap out the particular recipes. 

For example: 

  • Monday – Oatmeal
  • Tuesday – Eggs 
  • Wednesday – Yogurt 
  • Thursday – Baking 
  • Friday –  Eggs
  • Saturday – Pancakes (waffles, french toast, etc.)
  • Sunday – Baked oatmeal or casserole 

The first week, we might eat Pear & Ginger Slow Cooker Oatmeal, then fried eggs with sourdough toast, then yogurt and fruit parfaits, then zucchini muffins, etc. The second week we would switch it up just a little and eat Cranberry, Nuts & Chia Fancy Oatmeal, then an omelet, then yogurt with homemade granola, then Bacon, Egg & Cheese Muffins, and you get the picture.

Same formula, slightly different recipes. This keeps your grocery list similar from week to week, allowing you to stock up on basics. It makes filling in that menu plan a cinch. And it keeps you from getting bored too easily. 

A few notes about the recipes below:

  1. Some recipes just list “sugar” or “brown sugar” (though many use sweeteners like honey and maple syrup or raw sugars like sucanat). Check out our guide to sweeteners and know that it’s incredibly easy to swap out one type of sweetener for another. 
  2. Though I was pretty careful about it, there’s the odd recipe that includes a fat I’m not so keen on. Check out this post to see which fats and oils I recommend

 

crockpot_applepie_oatmeal2_pm

 

Crockpot Apple Pie Oatmeal from Yankee Kitchen Ninja

Crockpot Wonders 

Pear and Ginger Slow Cooker Oatmeal @ Keeper of the Home

Crockpot Breakfast Risotto @ A Year of Slow Cooking

Overnight Oatmeal with Cranberries and Figs @ Food Network

Crockpot Apple Pie Oatmeal @ Yankee Kitchen Ninja

Crockpot Southwest Breakfast Casserole @ Cookie Monster Cooking

supremespinachandeggbreakfastsandwiches1

 

Supreme Spinach and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches from Foodie With Family

Make-Ahead 

Overnight Oats @ Kath Eats Real Food

Supreme Spinach and Egg Breakfast Sandwiches @ Foodie With Family

Pumpkin Breakfast Quinoa @ $5 Dollar Dinners

Oatmeal Waffles @ Good Cheap Eats

Whole Wheat Waffles @ 100 Days of Real Food

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Waffles @ Keeper of the Home

For all waffles,  just make ahead in a large batch and freeze, then re-heat in the toaster on the morning of. It’s like Eggo Waffles, but a million times better for you!

Banana-Creme-Brulee-Oatmeal-GF-DF

 

Banana Crem Brulee Oatmeal Bake from Keeper of the Home

Oatmeal (and Other Grain) Variations 

Fancy, Flavored Oatmeal Made 4 Ways @ Keeper of the Home

Banana Crem Brulee Oatmeal Bake @ Keeper of the Home

Carrot Cake Oatmeal @ An Edible Mosaic 

Apple Pie Quinoa Breakfast Bowl @ Love & Zest

Warm Berry Quinoa Breakfast Bowl @ Happy Offerings

Baked Oatmeal with Sweet Potato @ Natural Fertility and Wellness

The Nourished Kitchen’s Baked Oats with Pistaschios, Dried Figs & Honey @ GNOWFGLINS 

Apple Cinnamon Baked Oatmeal (soaked) @ GNOWFGLINS

Raspberry Baked Oatmeal @ Good Cheap Eats (with instructions for making ahead and freezing)

Tips for all baked oatmeal recipes:  These take a little while to bake in the morning, usually 30-45 minutes. Which sounds long, but it can work great for busy mornings if you do it like this — do 10 min. of prep the night before with most of the ingredients that can sit out overnight, finish up with a couple of minutes mixing in the last ingredients when you first get up in the morning and while the oven pre-heats, then bake while getting everyone ready. You’ll all be dressed and good to go by the time the oven timer beeps. Or, make enough on a Sunday that you have leftovers to reheat on Monday or Tuesday. Baked oatmeal is hearty and even our family of 6 can usually get 2 meals out of one large pan. 

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Primal Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins (grain free) from Holistically Engineered

Muffins {sweet & savory}

Gluten Free Oatmeal Muffins @ Fearless Dining

Primal Carrot Cake Breakfast Muffins (grain free) @ Holistically Engineered

Grain Free Cinnamon Raisin Muffins @ The Real Food Guide

Paleo Cranberry Orange Muffins (grain free) @ Cook Eat Paleo

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (gluten free) @ GNOWFGLINS 

Carrot Squash Muffins (gluten free) @ Natural Fertility and Wellness

How to Make the Best Muffins Ever (with many different flavor variations) @ Simple Bites

Gluten Free Blueberry Applesauce Muffins @ The Humbled Homemaker

Strawberry Coconut Muffins with Strawberry Cream Cheese (grain free) @ Just Making Noise 

Banana-Oat-Blender-Gluten-Free-Pancakes

 

Banana Oat Blender Pancakes from Mountain Mama Cooks

Super-Simple Pancakes 

3 Ingredient Pancakes (grain free) @ Recipe by Photo

Protein Packed Flour Free Breakfast Pancakes @ Fannetastic Food

Cheesy Leftover Mashed Potato Pancakes @ Just a Taste (grain free)

Banana Oat Blender Pancakes @ Mountain Mama Cooks

Peanut Butter & Jelly Sourdough Pancakes @ GNOWFGLINS

Oven Pancake with Cinnamon Apples @ Good Cheap Eats

Protein Pancakes @ Keeper of the Home

Easy Quinoa Pancakes (gluten, sugar and dairy free) @ Keeper of the Home

Beginners-Luck

Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie from Simple Green Smoothies

Breakfast Through a Straw

Healthy Peanut Butter, Banana and Honey Milkshake @ An Edible Mosaic

Blueberry & Kale Smoothie @ Organize Yourself Skinny

Green Monster Smoothie @ Spoonful (use something like raisins for eyes instead)

Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie @ Simple Green Smoothies 

A Month of Smoothies – 31 Recipes Links @ Keeper of the Home (I didn’t include as many smoothie recipes here because you’ll find a great selection of them in this “Month of Smoothies” post from earlier in the summer)

Grain-Free-Instant-Brown-Sugar-Noatmeal

Grain Free Instant “Brown Sugar” N’Oatmeal from Holistically Engineered 

Totally Grain Free

Baked Cheddar Eggs and Potatoes @ Taste of Home

Poppy Seed Fruit Salad with Citrus Honey Glaze (might want to add extra nuts or some yogurt for more protein) @ Domestic Superhero

Power Breakfast Egg Meat Muffins @ The Healthy Foodie

Grain Free Instant “Brown Sugar” N’Oatmeal @ Holistically Engineered

Paleo Sweet Potato Muffins (Eggs, Nut and Grain Free) @ Tessa the Domestic Diva 

Italian Style Omelet Muffins @ Just Jessie B

Bacon, Egg and Cheese Muffins @ Cheeseslave (these are a favorite in our home)

ChocPBBars86L09

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars from 86 Lemons

On-the-Run {breakfast bars & other hand-held goodies}

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies Recipes @ How to Have it All

Oatmeal Raisin Quinoa Breakfast Cookies @ Running to the Kitchen 

How to Make the Most Delicious Granola Bars You’ve Ever Had @ Creative Green Living 

Fruit and Nut Bars @ Greatist

Chocolate Peanut Butter Breakfast Bars @ 86 Lemons (I would sub honey for the agave)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Breakfast Bars (gluten, dairy and egg free) @ The Humbled Homemaker

cottage cheese parfait

Cottage Cheese & Yogurt Parfait from Simple Bites

Healthy Cereals, Granolas & Parfaits

Cocoa Almond Crumbles @ GNOWFGLINS

Quinoa Granola (allergen free) @ Natural Fertility and Wellness

Pumpkin Spice Granola @ Simple Bites

Soaked Muesli with Fresh Fruit @ GNOWFGLINS

Berry Patriotic Parfait @ Greatist (you could really use any type of fresh fruit in the same way, and you could add in sprinkles of chopped nuts, seeds, or homemade granola to make it heartier)

Cottage Cheese & Yogurt Parfait @ Simple Bites

Granola Cereal or Bars (the perfect substitute for all those boxed cereals) @ 100 Days of Real Food

Homemade (Soaked) Granola @ Passionate Homemaking (this was one that I made for years)

Mexican-Egg-and-Sweet-Potato-Breakfast-Scramble-recipe-Taste-and-Tell-1

Mexican Egg and Sweet Potato Breakfast Scramble from Taste and Tell

Egg Based, Protein Packed

Quinoa Breakfast Hash Browns @ A Beautiful Mess (make these faster in the morning with quinoa you cooked the day before)

Quinoa Scramble @ Root and Blossom

ABC Frittata (apple, bacon, cheddar) @ Simple Bites (I would pre-grate the cheese and cook the bacon the night before to speed up the morning prep, then stick it in the oven while we got ready for the day)

Omelette Roll @ Moms Dish (this is such a neat idea for making an omelette that doesn’t require cooking supervision, and you could use any sort of fillings that you liked)

Mexican Egg and Sweet Potato Breakfast Scramble @ Taste and Tell

Four Herb Frittata Thin Egg Pancakes @ Just Making Noise (and I’m sure these would taste good even if you used dry herbs instead of fresh)

Make Breakfast Once a Week (egg skillet scramble variations) @ Mama & Baby Love 

mamrevolution

Still want more? 

25 Oatmeal Recipes Perfect for Back-to-School Breakfasts @ Keeper of the Home 

Get the ebook – The Breakfast Revolution: Recipes From Outside the Cereal Box (particularly great for those eating gluten free, but really, good for anyone)

Follow our Pinterest boards — Breakfast, Smoothies, Real Food Baking, and Grain Free Recipes

What breakfast recipes do you make most often for those busy school mornings? And what one recipe did you find to add to your repertoire?

Top image from Kevin Dooley

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

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This week’s top deals: 

method refillMethod Concentrated Laundry Detergent 85 load refill, Free & Clear, 34 fl oz for $13.53 with Subscribe & Save (or possibly as low as $12.10). Only the Free & Clear variety is priced this low. (Thanks, Jungle Deals and Steals)

And a few Back-to-School items, because it’s that time of year:

lunchboxorange

 

Smart Planet EC-34 Small 3-Compartment Eco Silicone Collapsible Lunch Box, Orange for just $8.96 (or pink for $9.16) and eligible for free shipping. I did a bit of comparing with other websites and this is a good price on these boxes (it’s regular $12.99 on Amazon and I saw it up to $14-16 in other places).

kids konserve

 

Kids Konserve KK074 Small Leak Proof Stainless Steel Round Food Containers, Magenta, Set of 2 for $11.77 (again, I cross checked this item across a few sites and this is a good price).

waterbottle

 

Eco-Friendly Wide Mouth 17 oz, 500 mL Stainless Steel Water Bottle – BPA Free, Brushed Metal Silver with free shipping for just $6.40!

towels

Coyuchi is having a 60% Off Summer Clearance Sale where you can find organic cotton towels for as low as $5.60.  They have other great items as well including sheets, pillows, rugs and t-shirts.  And if you sign up with your email then they will give you 15% off your next order.

Scott TP

Scott Naturals Toilet Paper, 12 Mega Rolls (Pack of 4) for $36.99 ($9.25/pack).  Save $2 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in)  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save and get FREE shipping on orders over $35.  If you’re an Amazon Prime with Amazon Mom member, you’ll actually save 20% on Subscribe & Save items when you place 5 or more orders in a month.

Bob's Flaxseed

Bob’s Red Mill Organic Whole Flaxseed Brown, 24-Ounce Packages (Pack of 4) for just $13.72 ($3.43/pack)  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save and get FREE shipping on orders over $35.  If you’re an Amazon Prime with Amazon Mom member, you’ll actually save 20% on Subscribe & Save items when you place 5 or more orders in a month.

pint jarsBall Heritage Collection Pint Jars with Lids and Bands, Green, Set of 6 for just $11.99 (reg. $14.99).  Get FREE shipping on orders over $35.

FREE Kindle ebooks:

Farmhouse Classics

Farmhouse Classics – Hearty Soups & Broths: 70 classic homemade soup and broth recipes straight from the farmhouse to your kitchen 

natural remedies

Natural Remedies – Heal And Protect Yourself Without Prescriptions By Using Natural Treatments, Home Remedies, And Ancient Primordial Cures

NOTE: The price of these ebooks could change at any time. Be sure to verify price before checking out.

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-August-12

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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!

5 Books Every Child Should Own

Looking for some new reads for your little ones? Check out my list!

5 Books Every Child Should Own {KeeperoftheHome.com}

By Jessica Smartt, Contributing Writer

I don’t have many vivid memories from my pre-teen years (gratefully, perhaps?). But a few memories randomly stick out, oddly clear and poignant in my mind.

For one, I’m perched on the peach-colored chair in the living room, my little miniature dachshund beside me. And I’m reading. And laughing.

Hysterical, nose-sniffling, tear-jerking laughter. Stacked up beside the chair was the reason: nearly a dozen Garfield the Cat cartoon books from the library. I’d page through them and just laugh and laugh, each incrementally getting more and more hysterical.

It’s odd – but if I pick up one of these books now, they’re not that funny. But then? To an awkward and shy “tweenager,” these books just touched something in my soul. Does that sound a bit dramatic for a book about a cartoon cat? Maybe. But they really did.

You might know what I’m talking about.

You know the books you’ve met, like friends, during that time or this season – and you know you will remember them forever.

It’s fun to think that our children will have the same sorts of fond memories from books. There are so many books out there – so many books on our shelves or on Amazon or at the library.

But today I’m sharing the good stuff -  a few books that my children seem to love and gravitate to. Why? These are books that let them know they are loved – by me, of course, but also by the One who made them.

    • Just In Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado – I dare you to read this without crying. What a precious little book that somehow captures just how you feel about your children, and what you really want them to know.
    • The Jesus Storybook Bible  by Sally Lloyd Jones – Though new, this Bible is quickly becoming a classic in many homes. If you own it, you know what I mean! Beautiful illustrations, inviting text … I love the way it reminds us all (tired mommies, too) that we are forever loved by the one Who made us.
    • You Are Special  by Max Lucado – This little book shares the powerful message that children are loved – regardless of what others may think of us. What a priceless lesson for little ones to grasp.
    • Little Visits With God by Allan Hart Jahsmann – My parents read us this book growing up. A year’s worth of family devotional reads, it touches on many important subjects including illness, death, cheating, worry, prayer. I love this book. 
    • The Lord Is My Shepherd by Hans Wilhelm – This is the words of peaceful Psalm 23, with child-like, captivating illustrations. My children always seem to dig this book up to read “one more time.”

 But often this is not an easy task!

5 Books Every Child Should Own {KeeperoftheHome.org}

I have recently released an eBook called How To Introduce Your Child To Jesus. Along with these 5 books, I share 20 more resources (books, music, movies, and more) that can make lasting imprints on our little ones, and point them to the One who made them.

And there’s more. If you’ve ever longed for guidance in passing on your faith with little ones, this is the book for you. In (what I hope is) a totally grace-filled, extremely practical, even humorous tone, I touch on:

  • My favorite devotionals for wearied moms
  • The seven common personalities in kids, and how to teach each type
  • How to make your child’s faith his or her own (and not just yours)
  • Tips for surviving and thriving in church with little ones
  • Examples of how to talk about Jesus in everyday life

How to Introduce Your Child to Jesus

Click here to learn more about How To Introduce Your Child To Jesus.

Do you have a favorite children’s book? What books do your kids seem to gravitate to?

 

 

Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

To be called Mommy @ Live Renewed

On Taking a Break From Being the Grownup @ chatting at the sky

Salted Caramel Drenched Coffee-Double Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel @ Primal Palate

A Fried Chicken Kind of Day @ A Deeper Story

A Compassionate Lens @ (in)courage

Summer Shish Kabob Marinades @ GNOWFGLINS

When Femininity Becomes a Bad Word @ The Better Mom

 The parenting books were wrong (and other good news for moms) @ Lisa-Jo Baker

August Sponsors

Are you looking for companies that share the same values you do? Here at Keeper of the Home we curate a fabulous selection of companies that fit well with our audience. Here are our sponsors this month!

Plan to Eat | Eating at Home is About to Get Easier

Tropical Traditions | America’s Source for Coconut Oil

Bundle of the Week | Ebook bundles available at the unbelievable price of just $7.40! A new one each week!

Better Than a Box | How to Transform Your Processed Foods Recipes into Whole Foods Favorites

MadeOn Hard Lotion | Hard Lotion For Dry Skin

What are some of your favorite ways to end the summer?