Weekend Links

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Links I loved this week:

Why I (Desperately) Need Friends @ Accidentally Green

Dear Kids: Why Wait till Marriage — What No One Tells You & What I Wish Someone Had Told Me @ A Holy Experience

How to Make Rose Water @ A Delightful Home

Five Responses to Extreme Poverty @ Shaun Groves 

Praying for Your Children On Purpose @ The Better Mom 

Eggplant Salad with Meatballs @ My Humble Kitchen

4 things you don’t have to do with your money @ The Art of Simple 

ITA #53 – No More Mommy Brain – Finding the Time for Learning – An Interview with Stephanie Langford and Erin Odom @ Inspired To Action

Are you getting your free bundle next week? 

I hope so! But maybe I should back up, because you haven’t heard what’s going on… 

Our newest Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle is coming out in just a few short days (watch for it this Wednesday, Sept.10th!). This year we’re giving our readers a really fun way to actually earn a bundle for themselves, completely free! 

Here’s how it works:

  1. Sign up here with your email, and you’ll get a referral code.
  2. Share that referral code with your friends and family.
  3. If 1 signs up, you get a $5 discount, which is sweet in and of itself. Get 5 to sign up, and you get our free series of 12 healthy living webinars with popular bloggers. Get just 10 to sign up, your bundle is FREE! 

There are only a few more days to take advantage of this, so go do it now! 

freebundle

September 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 and we’re so grateful for each of them. Here are our sponsors for this month!

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

Tropical Traditions | America’s Source for Coconut Oil

The Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle | Take Control of Your Health!

The Healthy Lunch BoxSandwich-free Secrets to Packing a Real Food Lunch

MadeOn Hard Lotion | Hard Lotion For Dry Skin

How is your September starting? Are you starting to see a change in the weather where you are?

A Day in the Life: Andrea {Stay-at-Home Mom to Teenagers}

A Day in the Life {Keeper of the Home}

By Andrea Green, Contributing Writer

I captured our day in the life on the first day of school for my girls. This first day of school is extra special in our house because my oldest daughter is a senior this year.

Just typing that brings me to tears. My goal for this year is to soak up every moment I have with both girls at home.

So this is how our day goes:

5:45 a.m. 

I’m out of bed and head straight to the coffee pot.

Armed with coffee I head into the girls’ room and let the dogs out of their crates and turn them loose in the backyard.

5:55 a.m.

I hear the first girl get in the shower so I whip them up breakfast: French toast, cantaloupe and milk.

6:20 a.m.

Breakfast is finished, so I start on the lunches.

 A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Couscous with roasted vegetables, watermelon, cheese slices and a little Annie’s Homegrown snack mix.

I also pack up Healthy No-Bake Energy Balls and a large water bottle.

Both girls do sports after school and so are gone from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. I find the energy balls help give them the energy they need.

What this picture doesn’t tell you:

Although my girls enjoyed the couscous salad, they both report back that everyone at the lunch table thought their lunch was “weird.” Although these comments always get under my skin, I’m grateful to have two girls who will eat more than a PB&J sandwich.

On the other hand, everyone wants to know if they will share their energy balls.

7:00 a.m.

I take the girls’ first day of school picture realizing that next year I’ll only have one sweet face smiling at me from the front porch step.

 A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

I take a deep breath and savor this moment before watching them drive off to school.

7:05 a.m.

It’s time to take care of my two other charges.

A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Meet Nina and Copper. The girls worked at odd jobs around the house to “earn” Copper’s adoption fee.

What this picture doesn’t tell you:

Nina came into our lives 8 months ago. In December we purchased my husband’s grandmother’s house when she moved into assisted living.

Once our GG (nickname for great-grandmother) moved, she could no longer care for her dog. We now have Nina part-time and bring her to GG’s to visit her for several hours everyday.

7:40 a.m.

The dogs and I are back from our walk and I realize I have 20 minutes to shower and get dressed. Looks like it is going to be a ponytail day!

8:00 a.m.

 The workmen start to show up at the house.

The house we purchased is a one bedroom. We are trying to make it a 3 bedroom. This is not for the faint of heart.

8:30 a.m.

After a 30-minute meeting and walk-through with the contractor, I need to load Nina up in the car and deliver her to GG.

9:10 a.m.

On my way home from GG’s, I hit the local grocery store.

A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

What this picture doesn’t tell you:

I’m in a white shirt. Apparently when I lifted Nina out of the car, she had muddy paws. Not realizing this, I am now cruising the grocery store with mud streaks all over my front and I have no idea.

Also, what you don’t see: I am in a white and gray striped skirt.

I don’t realize it, but I am cruising around the store with a dryer sheet stuck to my booty.

Mud streaks down the front. Dryer sheet stuck to the back.

It isn’t until I get home that I catch my reflection in the front hall mirror and see the mud streaks.

The same mirror reveals to me the dryer sheet.

It’s just a suggestion, but if you don’t have one, you might want to get a mirror. It’ll point these things out to you even if no one at the grocery store has the heart to.

10:00 a.m.

I’m taking tennis lessons! Knowing that my years as a full-time mom are quickly coming to an end, I’ve decided to learn how to play tennis. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, and I’m finally doing it!

11:15 a.m.

I’m back home AND I’M ALONE IN THE HOUSE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THREE MONTHS!!!!

Since I have my website, I decide to sit down and answer e-mails, work on finding deals, and indulge in a bit of Facebook!

1:00 p.m.

Knowing that the whole family will be going different directions tonight, I put my P.F. Chang’s Lettuce Wrap Copycat Recipe in the Crockpot. It’s a family favorite and everyone will be able to help themselves.

1:45 p.m.

My oldest daughter gets home from school. She is only taking 5 AP classes this year, so she gets out early.

We decide to get her school supply shopping done.

A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

3:00 p.m.

School supply shopping is done for one kiddo, and she is off to her cross country practice.

3:15 p.m.

Nina needs to be picked up from her visit with GG.

A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

3:45 p.m.

I realize I never bought milk at the grocery store so I quickly go back to pick up a gallon.

4:00 p.m.

Rice is my favorite side dish to go with our lettuce wraps, so I decide to put some in the rice cooker.

We are out. I then remember that just yesterday I received this text:

A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Let’s review. I’ve been to the grocery store twice today. Not going back a third for rice. We’ll go without.

5:00 p.m.

I decide to catch the last half hour of volleyball practice since I need to pick up my youngest daughter.

5:45 p.m.

Everyone is home… for 15 minutes. My husband takes my oldest daughter shoe shopping for new cross country shoes.

My youngest daughter and I sit down to eat.

A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Thanks to the renovations, we have no place to eat inside. We are enjoying eating on the patio.

7:00 p.m.

Kiddo number 2 needs her school supplies so we are back at the office supply store.

7:45 p.m.

Don’t be jealous, but my man does dishes.

A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

8:00 p.m.

My favorite spot and how you’ll find me most evenings.

A Day in the Life: Andrea {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Do you have teens? Do you find it is hard to get everyone home for dinner at the same time?

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!

A Back-to-School Change for our Family & How I’m Getting Ready for School Lunches (plus Cinnamon-Raisin Quick Bread)

A Back-to-School Change for our Family & How I'm Getting Ready for School Lunches (plus Cinnamon-Raisin Quick Bread)The school year is upon us. And didn’t it happen so fast? Where did the summer go? 

For our family, this is a novel year.

We’re trying out a special program, just for homeschoolers in our area. It’s called Innovations, and it means that our two biggest (Abbie, 9 1/2 and Caden, 7 years old) will be attending “school” twice a week. 

In a nutshell, the program functions sort of like small one-room schoolhouse, with a max of 16 kids per class and one teacher. Each child is guided along in interest-driven, “lifestyle of learning” type projects according to their own skill level, current interests, parent’s goals, etc. They’ll do research, create models or structures, put together presentations for their classmates, write reports, code programs, start businesses, make masterpieces and much more. Sometimes the teacher will find ways to help students collaborate. Other times they’ll be on their own, but alongside other children of mixed ages (Gr.1 right up into high school). 

It’s an experiment for us, really. They’ll have two full days a week in class, then three days home.

For the past five years, we’ve never had the children in any sort of classroom except for a few brief co-op stints, but since we love the model of the classroom (both the lack of structured curriculum, the interest-driven learning, and the multi-age format together with siblings), we’re excited to give it a try. Johanna will still be 100% at home for Kindergarten, along with the toddler, Kepler

So not only will this shake up our traditional home educating approach, but it means that for the first time ever I’ll be making school lunches. I have to confess — it feels a bit bizarre! I’m so used to simply cleaning out the leftovers, making smoothies or sandwiches, setting out fresh fruits and veggies from the fridge, or just scrambling up a pan of eggs. 

square stuff inside caden's lunchkit

Since we’ve known that the children would be enrolled in this classroom for about a month now, I’ve begun to stock up and prepare with bags, containers, bottles, and all the things that will make lunches easier. 

One of my main goals is to keep the waste as minimal as possible. I’m aiming to have a nice collection of reusable bags and containers of various types and sizes, so that we can avoid having to use baggies, plastic wrap, or one-time containers that ultimately end up in the garbage.

My primary reason is because I like to tread lightly and make eco-friendly choices whenever possible, and teach my kids to do the same. A secondary reason is to save money by not buying disposable items. It can make a big difference over the course of a year!

Since we’re new to this whole school lunch thing, I’m just beginning to get stocked up on what we need, but here’s what we’ve got so far:

reusable bags and napkins

I picked up these awesome Planet Wise sandwich bags and snack bags when they went on discount at Nicki’s Diapers. Usually around $6 each, I picked them all up on 50% off, so $2.99 plus free shipping. I did check and there are a few left (click SALE then “Closeout sales!”).

The flowered napkins in the front are just cloth napkins that we’ve had for ages, but I figure they’re just fine to send along with them instead of napkins or paper towels. I might see if I can find something a little less flowery, though, for Caden. I’m thinking he might appreciate that (“awww, Mom! Girly napkins, again?”).

containers and ice packs

These are some of the containers and ice packs I have so far. The awesome green collapsible container and the cute green ice packs came from Sweetbottoms Baby. I’ve got plenty of mason jars and they’re always handy for food. The blue ice packs and green-lidded plastic containers are just from a local store, and will do until I can get my hands on something else.

Ideally, I’d like to buy some stainless steel containers with lids rather than use plastic. I’m eyeing ones like these or these. I’d also like to get a stainless steel thermos so that the kids can bring a warm dish like soup in the winter.

water bottles

For drinks, we’ll stick with stainless steel water bottles (several Kleen Kanteen, one Eco Vessel, one Safe Sporter, etc.). We have lots in our home, this is just a sampling. Our kids mostly drink water and milk anyways (other than smoothies or if I make a special drink on occasion), so no need to buy juice boxes and certainly no need for buying bottles of water.

A Back-to-School Change for our Family & How I'm Getting Ready for School Lunches (plus Cinnamon-Raisin Quick Bread)

Finding school lunch inspiration

One book that has inspired me is Lisa Leake’s new one, 100 Days of Real Food: How We Did It, What We Learned, and 100 Easy, Wholesome Recipes Your Family Will Love.

You may know her from the popular website, also called 100 Days of Real Food. She shares a lot about making healthy, real food lunches for kids, how to pack them, tips for what to put in them, and more.

In her new cookbook, she also gives some fantastic recipes, packing ideas, and then a really useful chart for how to put together school lunches. She suggests that you combine a main dish (usually has protein) with a produce item (fruit or veg) with a snack (often nuts or whole grains), and a whole bunch of ideas to choose from to make your own mix-and-match combinations. I think her chart will really help to take some of the thinking out of lunch prep!

Cinnamon Raisen Quick Bread2

Here is one of Lisa’s many school lunch examples – and below is the recipe for the Cinnamon-Raisin Quick Bread (used with permission from her book) that you see made into a sandwich with cream cheese in this lunch example. I know my kids will love this and her recommendation to use it for french toast sounds amazing.

Cinnamon Raisin Quick Bread Recipe

I know that many you are still in the early part of your journey into eating real food as a family (which is awesome, by the way — I am a huge fan of making slow and steady changes, and I am so happy that you’re here!).

Believe me when I say I’ve read a LOT of healthy recipe books over the past 10 years, and 100 Days of Real Food stands out clearly as one of the best, and has definitely become a new go-to recommendation for me to those who need a starting place. She walks you through all of the concepts and important information, offers a ton of tips for making it easier to eat real food instead of processed or convenience foods, and then offers 100 recipes to help you make it happen.

One of my favorite things about Lisa’s approach to food is that it’s very simple, unfussy and family-friendly. She uses shortcuts (that still fit within her real food “rules”) to make things easier and faster. I even found a delicious homemade tomato sauce recipe that was perfect for using up the oodles of fresh tomatoes coming out of my garden last week, and it was such a quick and simple way to preserve them for the winter, without canning them.

Looking for more back-to-school recipes inspiration? Check these out:

How do you do school lunches? I’d love to know which containers you like best, and what foods or combinations work best for your kids!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {Mom of three: 5, 3, and 2-week-old}

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Jessica Smartt, Contributing Writer

If you read my title, you might be thinking: of course it’s an overwhelming day. She has a 2-week-old baby!! Was she thinking it would be otherwise!?

And you’re right! When Stephanie told us that September would be the “day in the life” posts again, I thought about taking the month off, as I knew I’d have a little one. But I remembered how much I enjoyed Erin’s post from a few years ago with a newborn. I figured my post would be at least slightly entertaining, and besides, I liked the idea of having something to look back on and remember from these chaotic days.

I guess I wasn’t prepared for exactly how chaotic things would feel, and that it would be the kind of day I wasn’t sure I wanted to broadcast to an audience!

As I said, I have a 2-week old baby. We are thrilled to the moon and back to have sweet Ellie Marie .. .her birthday was an incredibly crazy day. We’re so glad to have her home with us. But of course, she’s a baby, so our nights and days are busy.

Start of the day

2:30 a.m.

My “day” started in the early morning hours for a 2:30 a.m. feeding.

5:30 a.m.

The sweetie woke again and, despite my best snuggling and swaddling efforts, decided she was wide awake. (Why are they always cute and perky at night?!)

7:30 a.m.

I nurse her again and just when the two of us finally settle into sleep, I hear the boys waking up. Even in my exhaustion, I have to smile as I hear the older one ask, “Ty, what’d ya dream about last night?” So cute.

My husband (the kind soul) went to manage the two boys (who are 5 and 3) so I could sleep a little longer.

8:00 a.m.

I shower while the boys watch “Wild Kratts” (one of the few shows we let our kids watch). TV is not a usual part of our mornings, but since having Ellie, it has allowed me some margin in my mornings, and I’ve decided I’m okay with it for a time. Before the shower I grab a fistful of Cheerios so I don’t faint from hunger. Breastfeeding makes me starving.

8:20 a.m.

I’m out of the shower, and Ellie is still sleeping, so I start making breakfast. It’s oatmeal day. Peaches and raisins for the boys, and berries and cinnamon for me. Those of us with food allergies have a side of all-natural sausage, and the rest have eggs.

While I’m stirring oatmeal, frying eggs, filling water bottles, and making hubby’s sandwich, I hear Ellie starting to fuss. Fortunately the 3-year-old comes over to soothe her.

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Moments like these are joy to my sleep-deprived soul.

8:45 a.m.

I’m blow-drying my hair when I see a slug crawling across the bathroom floor. Yes, disgusting. But also, a teaching moment.

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

The boys examine him squish him a little too hard. When we’re done in the bathroom, I tidy up a little, stopping briefly to chat with the boys about discussing their body parts in public. (Sigh.)

9:00 a.m.

My sister (who lives in our neighborhood) arrives with her kids for a play date. I am so grateful to have my sisters – both of them – and some wonderful friends in our neighborhood. Really makes the days better!

Usually the play time is a smattering of semi-unsupervised rough and tumble boy-play, but today my sister is ambitious, and brought along the supplies for cornstarch painting.

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

The kids are thoroughly entertained for a good 23 minutes. Not bad, right?

9:45 a.m.

The baby is hungry again, so I nurse her outside, in the driveway. I wouldn’t have ever done that with my first, but now? Why not.

10:00 a.m.

A family friend drops by with some games her older kids don’t use anymore. Do we want to look through them? The kids rifle through old Yahtzee pieces on the sidewalk while the moms chat.

10:45 a.m.

Our company is gone, and I’m starving again. I feel like I eat three lunches and two dinners while I’m nursing. The baby’s starting to fuss, and the boys are starting to wrestle, but I manage to shovel in a few spoonfuls of chicken salad on pita chips before things get completely crazy.

11:00 a.m.

I can’t believe it’s only 11:00. I’m already daydreaming about nap time and the chance to close my eyes for a bit. The 3-year-old has been beckoning me to see his little project upstairs, so I go admire the “bed” he’s created with his stuffed animals.

Meanwhile the baby, who seems to have her days and nights thoroughly confused, has settled into a nice deep sleep. The boys and I work on a puzzle, then Snap Circuits, and then we all play a game of “Trouble,” which goes nicely for about seventeen minutes, and then erupts in pushing and tears. Ironic, no?

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

12:00 p.m.

Around noon, I start making lunches.

As the boys start eating, I hear the baby awake … with a dirty diaper. I change it and put her in the Ergo carrier. Suddenly, I can’t stand the the sticky, crumbly, gritty mess on the kitchen floor for another second. With the baby in the wrap, I sweep and mop the floor.

When I finish, the baby has fallen asleep in the wrap, and the 3-year-old is having a meltdown. Seems like a good breaking point for the whole house to enjoy some rest time. Besides, my eyes are starting to feel that deep, glazed-over sort of fatigue.

I put the sleeping baby down and take the boys upstairs. We read two stories, they collect their stuffed “friends” (all 874 of them) and head to their respective spaces to rest. The older one won’t sleep but entertains himself with lots of independent “rest time” activities.

I’m heading back downstairs for – finally – the chance to close my eyes. My feet land on the final step when I hear little Ellie waking up. Big sigh.

I feed her. I change her. I shush her. She’s crying. Repeat, times about 4.5. She’s still crying.

Okay, I’ll be honest. We’re both crying. Me, sort of begging the baby and God for just 20 minutes of rest. I try her in all the various sleep-inducing baby swings and devices we have, to no luck.

Finally, I give up hope that either of us are going to nap. It’s been about an hour, so Sam, the oldest, is done his rest time. I call him downstairs, and we work on some coloring pages. After about 30 minutes, my younger son’s rest is over, too.

A Totally Overwhelmed Day In The Life: Jessica {KeeperoftheHome.org}

The boys start making a “fort” with the kitchen chairs. It’s all cute and fun until one of them informs me that a chair rail has splintered apart.

And then I’m suddenly thankful for two things about my sweet husband: One, that he does not get all upset about things like broken chairs, and two, that he can fix about anything with super glue. I make a mental note to put the broken chair pieces away before they’re used as daggers.

As I clean up some of the pieces, I notice that ants have invaded the trash can. “It’s ant day!” the kids announce. They get way too excited about mounds of indoor ants.

2:30 p.m.

By now the boys are hungry, so they enjoy a snack of bacon and homemade granola bars. Not a typical snack, but sort of seems fitting for the day we’re having.

After snack, Sam asks me for the 157th time today if he can watch “Mighty Machines,” the one with a tow truck. My resolve has weakened, and I agree. Yes, if you’re counting, this is the second time in six hours my kids are watching TV. But if the baby stays asleep, maybe I can close my eyes for just a few seconds…

I put the show on, lay my head on a sofa pillow, and just like clockwork, the baby stirs and starts to cry.

At this point it almost seems cruel. I pick her up to feed her, and the tears start falling. Call it the hormones, or the lack of sleep, or whatever, but I’m starting to feel really overwhelmed. I call my mom. She commiserates with me, and we decide a cup of coffee would make the afternoon a little brighter.

3:00 p.m.

The doorbell rings. It’s my aunt, who’s in town and wants to meet the baby. I answer the door looking like the stereotypical mom of a newborn: I’m crying, holding a snotty wad of toilet paper, balancing a nursing baby under a receiving blanket, and the TV’s blaring a kids’ show in the background. We share a good laugh.

What a help my aunt is: rocking the baby to sleep, chatting with the two boys, telling me that, why, no, I don’t look like a garbage truck just ran me over four times.

But I’ll be honest - the rest of the day is kind of a blur. My notes sort of fade off, and I think I stopped taking pictures.

The boys spent the afternoon playing out in the sandbox, my aunt held the baby, and I … well, I’m not exactly sure what I was doing. Probably wandering around the house like a sleep-deprived zombie, pretending to clean house.

4:30 p.m.

A friend arrived with dinner: a gorgeous salad with grilled chicken and berries. Bless the dear souls who bring meals for new mothers. I never want to forget how helpful it is. (I even came up with a list of suggestions for my friends. How helpful of me, right?!)

A Day in the Life {Keeper of the Home}

6:00 p.m.

The heavens opened, and my husband arrived home. I honestly cannot remember if we all ate together, or if we had already eaten before he got there. But I do remember shortly after, I said to him, “I’m going to faint if I don’t lay down for a little.” And – what a real man I married – he snuggled our daughter in the driveway while admiring the boys’ fishing tackle boxes.

After 20 minutes, I feel a little more like a human and less like a dish rag. We bathe the boys and put them to bed, I nurse the baby, and then I ask my husband if he minds if I take a little walk around the neighborhood for some fresh air. Of course, he agrees.

As I walk around, I’m grateful for the solitude, the perfect weather, and the chance to stretch my legs.

As I think about my day, I’m humbled that something so wonderful as a newborn baby can stretch me and stress me so much. It seems every time I log onto Facebook or listen to the news, I see so many serious, tragic, difficult things happening.

It’s so humbling that my “breaking points” are silly things like missed naps and toddler tantrums.

Still, the truth remains – His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

It sounds like a cliche phrase. But it’s not to me. It’s very real. It was made very real during those difficult moments of Ellie’s birth a few weeks ago. And I find it to be still true in these days of new-motherhood, when I wonder how in the world I’ll balance the fatigue and the hormones and manage to home school and somehow still enjoy this stage…His strength is right there!

How do you deal with fatigue as a mom?

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:

coconut milk

As low as $1.58-$1.85 a can  Natural Value Coconut Milk, 13.5 Ounce Cans (Pack of 12) is on sale for $22.28 

Save 5-15 % with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $18.94-$22.28 ($1.58-$1.85/can).  

Get FREE Shipping with a qualifying order of $25 or more. *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.

maple syrup

 As low as $14.66-$16.29 Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup, Grade B, 32-Ounce on sale for $17.25 

Amazon’s lowest price to-date!  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $14.66-$16.29.  Don’t forget your FREE Shipping with a qualifying order of $25 or more. *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.

babyganics

As low as $3.80-$4.69 a bottle: Babyganics Bubble Bath, Chamomile Verbena, 20 oz (Pack of 2)  on sale for $11.88

Save $2.50 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $7.60-$9.38 ($3.80-$4.69 a bottle). Don’t forget your FREE Shipping with a qualifying order.  *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.

kids garden

Kids garden Tool set with Tote for just $7.99

Search for cart fillers for items to help you reach the $35 FREE Super Saver Shipping level.  Or if you haven’t yet tried Amazon Prime, sign up for a 30-day trial and get FREE 2-day shipping!

eco tools

EcoTools 6 Piece Essential Eye Brush Set for just $5.29

On sale for $7.29 as an Add-on Item.  Save $2 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in)

Family fun

 
Sign up for a FREE subscription to Family Fun magazine.  

kettle

As low as $3.29-$3.76 per bag: Kettle Brand Potato Chips Sea Salt, 13-Ounce (Pack of 5) on sale for $23.53

Save 15% when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $16.47-$18.82.  ($3.29-$3.76/bag)

Don’t forget your FREE shipping on qualifying orders over $25.  

chia

As low as $5.94- $6.99 a bag: Bob’s Red Mill Chia Seeds, 16-Ounce Bags (Pack of 4) is on sale for $27.96

Amazon’s lowest price to-date!  Save 5% with Subscribe & Save.  Save 15% as an Amazon Mom member.  Pay just $23.77-$27.96 ($5.94-$6.99/bag).  Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25. 

FREE Kindle ebooks

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

home remedies

Essential Home Remedies: Staying Healthy With Simple, Natural Home Remedies From The Pantry And The Garden  

These Kindle ebooks are on for less than a $1 (at the time of this post):

sugar free

Sugar-Free All Day – The Modern Sugar Detox Eating Guide for Eliminating Process: Looking to eliminate processed sugar from your diet 

kids paleo

 Paleo Recipes For Kids – Family Friendly Recipes For Delectable Cuisine 

deliciousDelicious & Healthy Paleo Recipes: 44 Paleo Diet Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners, Snacks & Desserts  

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A Day in the Life: Kelly {Food Blogger & Cookbook Author}

A Day in the Life {Keeper of the Home}

By Kelly Smith, Contributing Writer

Five years ago if someone would have told me that I was soon to become a grain-free food blogger and cookbook author, I would have replied, “what in the world?” 

That’s because I had no idea that anyone wrote about food outside of the arena of cookbooks and cooking magazines. On top of that, at the time, the term “grain-free” would have been as foreign to me as mise en placewas the first time I heard it. 

Fast forward to today, and I can honestly say that it’s been the Lord who has led me on this amazing journey to be able to do something that I absolutely love … develop, photograph and share nourishing gluten-free and grain-free recipes for precious families across the globe.

So when Stephanie asked her contributor team to share a “Day in the Life” story. I immediately knew that I would share the fun and not-always-so-fun adventures of a being a food blogger and cookbook author.

Day in the Life of a Food Blogger and Cookbook Author

6:30 a.m.

There’s no sleeping in around here. With two active boys, a just as active hubby, a soon-to-be-published cookbook to finish, a blog to write and a house to manage, when the alarm sounds it’s time to get to work! 

8:30 a.m.

After making breakfast and seeing everyone off to work and school, it’s time to fill up with God’s Word and a cup of caffeinated tea. (The former jumpstarts my spirit, the latter my tired body.) Then it’s time to check my to-do list to see how much I can get done before it’s time to pick-up the boys from school, facilitate homework, transport them to after school activities … and of course, make dinner!

A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

8:30 to 10:45 a.m.

Today, I am working to perfect a new pumpkin bar recipe for my upcoming grain-free baking cookbook. I’ve been developing, perfecting and photographing more than 100 recipes for this book since February and as you can see above, it’s not always easy.

In fact, there are many days the word “FAIL,” “BOO!” or “NO” is scrawled across my recipe journal. However like many others, I usually learn a lot more from my failures, than I do from my immediate successes. It’s the failures that challenge me the most to work harder, and to learn to better translate my culinary skills and passion for cooking and baking into masterful grain-free creations.

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

10:45 a.m.

After two failed attempts at getting those pumpkin bars right, I give it one more try before lunch. This time, I make an adjustment based on a similar problem that I had when trying to perfect my pumpkin bread recipe – too much flour. (When using moist, dense ingredients like pumpkin, achieving the right balance often requires less flour to keep the bread –or in this case bars– light and fluffy.)  

So after making another adjustment to the almond flour measurement, the third time is definitely a charm! These bars taste just like a pumpkin bar should: full of rich pumpkin spice flavor with a light, moist crumb that is oh-so delicious! Hooray!

Of course, I will test this finalized recipe at least 2 to 3 more times to ensure it consistently performs well, because that’s what a makes a good recipe great! (And it’s part of the curse of being a perfectionist – always wanting everything to be absolutely perfect!)

11:30 a.m.

In the meantime, since this recipe is definitely a keeper, it’s time to have a quick lunch, put a load of laundry into the washer, get our favorite garlic chicken into the Crock-Pot, and then take a photo of these little beauties!

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

12:15 to 1:30 p.m.

You know all those beautiful food shots that you “pin,” or simply can’t stop staring at and wish you could lick your computer screen? Well, the behind-the-scenes scoop is … beautiful photos take lots of time to set-up. The food must be carefully plated and the table carefully styled so it not only adds further beauty to the food itself, but so it also tells an inviting story. A good food shot should make you feel like you’re about to be transported into an amazing experience … an experience rich in flavor and warm with emotion.

Of course, the real story comes alive through the lens of the camera, and the better you can become at learning all the essentials of taking a good photograph, the better the story you can tell and the more appealing your recipes become to readers. That’s why investing in food photography lessons, reading great books on photography, studying the photos of other food photographers you love and having a great camera and professional quality lens are a must for really learning the art of bringing food to life. It’s an art that I am definitely passionate about and am continually striving to learn as much as I can. 

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

What does the final shot above say to you? I hope it says: “Welcome home, my dear one! Come sit down, and enjoy a delicious pumpkin treat – baked just for you!”

That might sound a little silly, but it’s what I love most about food blogging – the opportunity to create easy, delicious recipes that bring families together. It’s worth all the time and energy and passion I pour into my blog, my cookbooks and the everyday meals I make for my family and friends.

To me, good food is more than just physical nourishment, it’s the catalyst for bringing families and friends together to break bread and to share their lives with one another.

1:30 to 2:45 p.m.

It’s time to download all the photos to my computer and spend some time reviewing them to determine the best shot to use for my upcoming cookbook. I also spent some time taking many of the other photos you see in this post, so those have to be downloaded and my notes about this glorious day transcribed into this post, which hopefully, you’re still reading (smile). 

2:45 p.m.

And now it’s time to leave behind the HUGE mess I just made and go gather the troops from school. Then head back home to tackle homework, snack breaks and of course, get back into the car to run everyone to their various afterschool activities.

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

3:00 p.m. 

While homework is underway, I attempt to make a dent in the piles of dishes that I’ve created. Yes, being a food blogger results in LOTS and lots of dishes. In fact, there’s a continual stream of dishes (or maybe a better word would be “ocean” of dishes) around here. 

And since my “magical dish fairy” (a.k.a. my mom) isn’t visiting, I’m on my own. Sure, the boys would help, if I asked them, because doing dishes is definitely more fun than homework. Well, maybe not?

But before I can finish the dishes, a sweet face appears with a simple question … “Mom, when do we get to eat those pumpkin bars?” I guess all that photo styling worked … those bars really do look inviting and delicious. Oh course, the aroma – oh, that pumpkin spice aroma! – I guess it was just too much to expect the boys to wait until after homework was completed to indulge in these tasty little treats!

 A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

This is truly the best part about being a food blogger … bringing a smile to the faces of those I love, and hoping that the many delicious GF recipes I share bring smiles to the faces of all those you love as well!

4:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Snack time was a hit! Homework is done (and the dishes too)! Now, it’s time for baseball practice and piano. Then back home for a quick and easy slow cooker dinner, followed by our family devotional, as well as some fun and relaxing family time!

8:00 to 10:30 p.m.

Boys are tucked in, prayers said, and it’s time to finish this post, review the last of my cookbook photos, and then spend some quality time with my amazing hubby who’s hard work and encouragement are the reasons I’m able to do what I love the most – be a full-time wife, mom, homemaker and food blogger.

10:30 p.m.

It’s time to say goodnight! My hubby and I spend some time reading God’s Word together and praying – remembering the many blessings we are so thankful for and asking God to continue to use us for His glory. It truly is a blessing to be able to not only share delicious recipes, but more importantly, to encourage us all to not seek healthy living just for the sake of good health, but so that we can use our lives to better serve the Lord and others in everything we do!

P.S. If you’d like to be receive my weekly newsletter with lots of delicious, healthy grain-free recipes and free weekly whole food meal plans, please feel free to join The Nourishing Home Community. I’ll also be sharing more about my new cookbook – Everyday Grain-Free Baking – which is set to release in bookstores nationwide (and online) in January 2015.

  A Day in the Life: Kelly {KeeperoftheHome.org}

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!

 

Weekend Links

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Links for this week:

Are We Being Bullied to Think a Certain Way? @ Commonsense Christianity

Service is Free to Offer but Incredibly Valuable: Lessons from and Airport Shuttle Driver @ Art of Non-Conformity

Fudgy Chocolate Tarts @ Against All Grain

On racism, injustice and having the hard conversations @ Life Your Way 

What Love Never Does @ chatting at the sky 

Simple Thai Basil – Coconut Chicken @ Food Renegade

Always In Pursuit {7 Ways to Be More Content} @ Living Well Spending Less

What is Your Typical Day? @ Shaun Groves

 

Beginners-Luck

*And a few notes from Stephanie… 

A Special Green Smoothie Recipe Just for You! 

I’ve been collaborating lately with Jen and Jadah of Simple Green Smoothies, and in fact, my husband has recently started to have a daily green smoothie and is eagerly waiting for the 30-Day Green Smoothie Challenge to begin. 

Here at KOTH, we’ve been talking lately about our stories (and they’ve got a great one!), and in particular how we keep taking small, healthy steps towards achieving a “new normal” of feeling better through lifestyle and food changes we make. So it only seemed perfect to ask them if I could share one of their most popular recipes with you. 

The Beginner’s Luck green smoothie is a great starter smoothie. It’s full of iron, potassium and vitamins galore— and tastes like a tropical treat from all the island fruit. So head to the store and give this smoothie a try. We have a feeling you will be pleasantly surprised.

Beginner’s Luck Green Smoothie
Makes 32 oz | Serves 2

Ingredients
2 cups spinach, fresh
2 cups water
1 cup mango
1 cup pineapple
2 bananas

Directions
Tightly pack your leafy greens into a measuring cup and toss into blender. Add water and blend together until all leafy chunks are gone. Next add in mango, pineapple and bananas and blend again.

I have to say that we personally love this smoothie and have probably made it 3 times already this week. 

freebundle

Joining With Other Amazing Bloggers to Bring You the Best. Bundle. Ever! 

Together with Jen and Jadah, and 70+ other incredible authors, our new Ultimate Healthy Living Bundle 2014 will be available VERY soon… we’re so excited, we can barely contain it! 

Beyond the bundle itself (which I think you’ll be thrilled with), we’ve also been working behind the scenes on something very special. 

How would you like to get a $5 discount off of your bundle, or better yet, get a FREE bundle?! 

When you sign up here (email address only), you can join our Refer-a-Friend program. All the details are there, but you’ll see how easy it could be to actually earn yourself a free bundle this time around. I hope you do! 

 

 

It’s almost September! How do you plan to spend the last weekend of the summer?

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own)

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Guest post by Elsie Callender 

“What can I take to Heaven when I die?” I asked my mom, back when I wore dresses and pigtails every day, and my collection of American Girl Doll accessories was small, but precious.

“Nothing. You don’t take anything with you when you die,” Mom gave me the truth, straight up.

Surely… “What if I have things in my pockets?”

“Nope.”

“What if I’m holding my blankie?”

“No, your blankie will stay here.”

I reluctantly accepted this, yet my first instinct has always been to hang on to my stuff, as if it gives me security and adds inherent value to my life.

Gradually, with lots and lots of hands-on practice, I’m coming to understand that my quality of living improves with less stuff, rather than more.

I discovered that I enjoy an uncluttered life; that simplifying is rewarding and energizing. Last year I wrote a series of blog posts on simplifying, as I worked through different areas around my home: the linen closet, makeup drawer, shoes, and so on. Somewhere along the way my husband got on board, too, and now we actually think it’s fun to spend an afternoon simplifying a closet together! 

Recently we kicked our simplifying up about 12 notches when we made plans to move into a 600-square-foot cabin in Alabama. Even if we wanted to, we couldn’t take all of our stuff with us. 

So we simplify. 

In our pre-cabin days, our modus operandi  was to scan a pile of stuff and ask: “What can I pull out? What can I get rid of?” And we’d come up with one little bag of stuff to take to Goodwill. But in preparation for our move, we examined every single item we own with a critical eye, mentally interrogating it with the following questions:

  • Does this fit with the style of our new home?
  • Do we already have one?
  • Do we use this a lot? Is this worth taking up space for the amount or type of use this item gets?
  • Do we love it?
  • What would life be like without this item?

Many times, we realize our life would be better without the item in question, for any of these 10 reasons!

Here are some of the things we’ve eliminated through this interrogation process:

TV:  When our old, clunky one died, we decided to use my laptop as a TV until our student loans are paid off!

Entertainment center: The TV is gone, and the other items that used to go inside (DVDs, dish towels, vases, etc.) have been simplified, too!

Bedroom set: It won’t fit in the cabin, so we’ll be using a small dresser and finding a free-standing option for hang-up clothes.

Shelf decor: We’re only keeping the meaningful items, like the hand-carved wooden elephant from my great uncle!

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Clothes: This one’s fun, because if you only keep the items you love, you get to love how you look every day! 

Toiletries: We like to keep only a few natural products in use, and replace as needed. (See this post, and this one.)

Old “technology”: We had a baffling amount of old computer cords, cameras, and cellphones that needed to go.

Desk supplies: Why keep 50 pens and pencils when you only need 5? Or 2 staplers when 1 will do? 

Gift wrap: I plan to only keep on hand some brown kraft paper and a couple of different colors of ribbon–super versatile! We can buy a roll of Christmas paper if we feel the need when the time comes.

Magazines: I have stacks of glorious Real Simple magazines, but I rarely look through old issues. My plan is to cut out a few choice articles to keep in an idea binder, and recycle the rest of the stash.

Bedding: With only a small pull-out couch on the main level, and our queen bed in the loft, we don’t need more than a couple of pillows, sheet sets, and blankets.

Papers: We’ve purged tons of appliance instruction booklets and outdated warranties!

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Books: We’re big readers, but we decided to only keep our most treasured volumes (which still take up a couple of bookcases worth!). For the rest, we’ll borrow from the library or friends. 

Jars: For some reason, real foodies seem to think that every empty jar needs to be kept. From now on, I’m only keeping what I actually, currently use in my pantry. If I need more, I can always eat another jar of salsa

Video games: Some of the old ones can bring in a surprising amount of money on Amazonor eBay.

Extras: We had too many candles, mugs, dish towels, mixing bowls, etc. Cabinets in our cabin are prime real estate, so we’ll keep the minimum of items and just wash them or restock more often.

 And although we don’t plan on living in a small house long term, we want to maintain simplicity as a lifelong habit. 

Our Journey to Simple Living (and How to Begin Your Own) {KeeperoftheHome.org}

Begin Your Own Simple Living Journey

Even if you have no intention of moving, you can begin to enjoy the benefits of a simpler home after an afternoon–or just 20 minutes–of purging.  Don’t wait for your whole family to get on board! Start your simplifying journey now, with your own stuff, or the areas you have more control over.

The results are more tangible when you simplify with specific goals in mind. Think to yourself: “I want my clothes to fit on x number of hangers.” Or, “I want all of my papers to fit into this binder,” “I want my books to fit on x number of bookshelves.” Try using the “Rule of 10″ for simplifying your wardrobe!

Determine your standards for each item in your home, and then mentally interrogate each thing to decide if it’s truly worth keeping.

The more I simplify, the more I realize that there are 5 main “problem areas” when it comes to things I should (but haven’t) purged. Perhaps you’ll recognize these roadblocks in your own simplifying process:

1. Stuff I have multiples of

I don’t need 10 T-shirts, 2 pairs of brown sandals, 4 tablecloths, 6 vases when less will do!

2. Stuff I’m sentimental about

I am a very nostalgic person and I tend to keep items for the sake of the memories attached. I’m learning to keep a few choice items, and then snap pictures of the rest before giving them away. 

3. Stuff that’s expensive

Do not hang on to something merely because it cost a lot of money for you–or someone else–to buy. If you begrudge the space and energy it takes up in your home, it will only weigh you down! Sell it. 

4. Stuff I’m lazy about

I keep stuff that I know I don’t want, simply because I’m too lazy to deal with it. If you run into this problem, you may need to treat these items as frogs and eat them first thing in the morning.

5. Stuff on hold

It’s painful, but I need to recognize that I will never get to every project, hobby, and fixer-upper that’s waiting around the house. Sometimes it’s better to take the materials to Goodwill and focus on just a few choice hobbies or projects. 

I think you’re going to love how your home feels when you start to clear it out. I think you’re going to love how you feel as you begin to loosen your grip on stuff, and as it loosens its grip on you! Dream about what you can do with the freedom of less stuff–travel the worldmake room for guests, or simply enjoy a more peaceful, intentional home.

Note: I’ve ignored the issue of kid clutter in this post, because our only “child” is a cat! For simplifying with kids, let me refer you to this post and this one.

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!

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!

Edible Landscaping: A Great Alternative to Traditional Landscaping

Edible Landscaping Ideas {KeeperoftheHome.org}

By Leigh Ann Dutton, Contributing Writer

I don’t dream of owning my own land. The very thought of tilling, sowing, and managing a large plot of land makes me hyperventilate. Throw in the idea of milking cows and herding pigs, and I just get overwhelmed.

Sure, it sounds great, but I’m not entirely sure this is God’s path for my family. At least not right now, and that’s okay!

However, I do want to steward the postage-stamp size plot of land the Lord has entrusted to me. I want to be as self-sufficient as I can with the resources I have.

I do want to grow my own food, harvest herbs from my backyard, and use table scraps to boost my garden soil. I dream of perhaps raising a few backyard chickens and harvesting my own honey one day.

But I wasn’t raised around fresh fruits and vegetables, and I barely know the difference between a weed and a flower – let alone that those weeds might have medicinal uses. I live where grass won’t grow, the climate is dry and harsh, and the winters are long and hard. The soil is filled with so much clay we could make pots for days.

With this call comes a willingness to take baby steps. A willingness to not accept the status quo, to look for new ways to do things, and work hard to learn all I can in order to be a good steward of my environment.

Just because I don’t live on a farm doesn’t mean I can’t live my own dreams, in my own way, with my own giftings.

A couple of years ago we had the opportunity to buy our first home. When we moved in, there were no trees and very few plants in the ground, which also means we have very little grass – just enough to keep us legal, I suppose.

As I’ve researched how best to care for the land God has given us, I couldn’t justify spending loads of money on pretty flowers that wouldn’t do anything except look pretty in my yard.

I knew I wanted a vegetable garden and I certainly wanted my home to be aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but it wasn’t until I started doing more reading around the web that I discovered edible landscaping as a viable option for my home!

Edible Landscaping Ideas {KeeperoftheHome.org}

What is Edible Landscaping?

Edible landscaping is the practical integration of food plants within an ornamental or decorative setting. The same design principles as for ornamental landscapes are used, while substituting edible plants such as lettuces, blueberries, vegetables and fruit trees for some of the otherwise unproductive plant material. (source)

Edible landscapes offer an alternative to traditional landscapes. Edible landscapes are a useful alternative to the traditional landscape because it serves numerous purposes instead of being solely ornamental.

Why I Love the Idea of Edible Landscaping

1. I can water with a purpose.

We have to water a lot! We live in a very, very, very dry climate where it rarely rains.

Since we pay the city a nice chunk of money each month for the water we use on our lawn, it’s nice to know that I can create a space that food is produced from all that watering! If I’m going to water, why not make it edible?

2. I can provide food for my family.

We buy local as often as we can, but the idea of providing my family with food that we grew ourselves is even more exciting and appealing.

3. I can make an income and/or give my family options for bartering.

Our community is full of people who are looking to trade goods. I could use the food that I grow for meeting other needs like raw milk, fresh eggs, or peaches.

Plus if I can grow enough to sell that would be so helpful! Our plot of land could definitely give us more than enough food for our family.

Or better yet, I could grow food to help others in my community who might be struggling to make ends meet. Now, that would be amazing!

4. I can attract wildlife.

The standard home is full of shade trees and shrubs that not only do not provide food for your family, but it makes less than stellar homes for wildlife.

Edible landscaping attracts bees, butterflies, and birds galore. I’m amazed at all the butterflies we’ve been able to watch this year just with the few additions we’ve been able to make!

Of course, we attract elk and bears too, but that just comes with the territory no matter what sort of landscaping we do.

5. I can be a good steward of creation.

We want to be good stewards of our environment. God has given us so many wonderful ways to create beauty around us. I want to take advantage of that as often as I’m able. Edible landscaping seems like a great option!

Edible Landscaping Ideas {KeeperoftheHome.org}

How do you create an edible landscape?

It’s not hard, believe it or not! If I can do it, anyone can!

1. Not everything in your yard has to be edible.

You can work in ornamental plants and trees as well. So rest your pretty little mind, you can keep your peonies and tulips. I sure did!

2. Start small and be patient.

Creating an edible landscape takes time. Each year purpose to add a little more to your landscape that’s edible.

For example, this year we needed to consider trees for our yard that would help provide shade for our home.

Where we live, Aspen trees spread like weeds. We took advantage of nature’s provisions and marked several Aspens we wanted to allow to grow instead of mowing them down each time we cut the grass. Yet on the other side of our home, there were no trees growing wild. We needed to buy one to plant.

We chose to plant an apple tree this year. Not only will it provide shade for our home, but it will also produce fruit for us to eat in the fall!

3. Think about your needs.

What does your yard need? Shade? Ground cover? Determine what you need, then research edibles that grow well in your area.

Some edible landscape ideas:

  • Fruit trees like apple or cherry
  • Fruiting shrubs like currants or blueberries
  • Cover plants like strawberries
  • Herbs like catnip, lemon balm, and lavender (here are the herbs I’m growing this year)
  • Edible flowers like pansies, nasturtiums, and lilac

4. Don’t forget to think long-term.

We made sure we didn’t allow any trees to come up or be planted in areas where we will need full sun for vegetables and fruiting shrubs to grow!

Think long-term when planting, but don’t let the long-term keep you from moving forward. Most everything can be moved around and around and around. Ask me how I know.

5. Think about using pots.

I love creating a welcoming front door for my family and guests. Why not use edibles like a decorative arrangement of herbs, a hanging tomato plant, or a pot of calendula, nasturtiums, and violas outside your front door?

If you’re not interested in transforming your entire yard using edible landscaping, you could incorporate edibles using pots instead.

Edible landscaping is a fun and useful way to spruce up your home while providing food for your family. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, and it certainly doesn’t have to be hard.

Next time you need to purchase a tree, add a shrub, or spruce up a corner of your yard, instead of running to local nursery for something merely ornamental, consider what could be pretty and edible! A simple search on the Internet is about all I ever need before making a decision for my yard.

What about you? What edibles do you have growing in your yard? Have you ever considered edible landscaping?

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: 

larabar

As low as $0.81-$0.94 per bar: LÄRABAR Fruit & Nut Food Bar, Carrot Cake, Gluten Free 1.6 oz Bars (Pack of 16) on sale for $19.99.  

Save an additional $4 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $12.99-$14.99 ($0.81-$0.94/bar).  Get FREE Shipping with a qualifying order of $25 or more.  

 

 

Bob's

As low as $2.97-$3.32 per bag: Bob’s Red Mill Oats Rolled Regular, 32-Ounce (Pack of 4) for just $13.96.  

Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $11.87-$13.26. ($2.97-$3.32/each) Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25.  

babyganics

As low as $6.13-$6.97 each: Babyganics Shampoo + Body Wash, Fragrance Free, 16 Fluid Ounce (Pack of 3) are on sale for $25.17.  

Save an additional $3 when you clip the coupon below the product description ( you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $18.39-$20.91 ($6.13-$6.97 each)  Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25. Packaging May Vary

Burt

As low as $5.95-$6.64 each: Burt’s Bees Fabulously Fresh Peppermint & Rosemary Body Wash, 12 Fluid Ounces on sale for $6.99.  

Save an additional 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $5.94-$6.64. Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25. 

paper towel

As low as $6.55-$6.63 per pack: Scott Naturals Paper Towels, Mega Roll, 8 Rolls, Packs of 4 (32 Rolls) on sale for $33.16.  

Save an additional $2 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $26.19-$26.50 ($6.55-$6.63/pack). Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25.

(But even better? Cut down on the paper in your kitchen altogether!)

laundryAs low as $3.69-$3.89 per pack: Dropps Laundry Detergent Pacs, Scent + Dye Free, 20 Loads (Pack of 3) on sale for $11.91.  

Save an additional $0.25 when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $11.08-$11.66 ($3.69-$3.89/pack). 

tomato

As low as $1.60-$1.82 per can: Natural Value Organic Tomato Sauce, 15 Ounce Cans (Pack of 12) on sale for $27.34.  

Save an additional 15%when you clip the coupon below the product description (you must be logged in).  Save 5-15% with Subscribe & Save.  Pay just $19.14-$21.82 ($1.60-$1.82/can). Don’t forget your FREE Shipping on qualifying orders over $25.

 

ERGOPetuniaPickleHeavHollandLg

ERGO Baby Carrier 20% Off at Nikki’s Diapers.  On sale for $116.00.  (reg. $145)  + Free Shipping. Click “SALE” then “Mama Items”. 

 

BOBA3GDusk

Or maybe you’d prefer their Boba Baby Carrier on sale for $99 (re. $125) + Free Shipping. Click “SALE” then “Mama Items”. 

MOBYblueindigo

Moby D Wrap Baby Carrier  45% Off while supplies last.  $32.97 (reg. $59.95) + Free Shipping. Click “SALE” then “Mama Items”. 

Snack_BlueCheckers-300x300Did you miss the Snack and Sandwich bags from Planet Wise, on 50% off at Nicki’s Diapers? I got mine last week (I got 3 snack, 3 sandwich) and they’re fantastic! There aren’t many colors/designs left, but for only $2.99 each (reg. $5.95) with FREE shipping, it’s a great deal anyways! Click “SALE” then “Snack Bag Sale”.

lunchkit

Fit & Fresh Kids’ Reusable Lunch Container Kit with Ice Packs, 14-Piece Set, BPA-Free for $13.98
 

slim snackSlim Snack: Fits in Lunchboxes Where Bulky Lunch Containers Don’t. SNACK BAG & POPSICLE ALL IN ONE! Bring Snacks to Work, School, Gym & Make Blender Pops! (Pack of 4) for $13.95  ($3.49 each).  

Just-a-Slice-SideHigh Protein, No Powder: Protein Bars & Smoothies Made with Real Food.  Save 25% on either the book package (reg. $13) or just the ebook itself (reg. $8).  Use coupon code LABORDAYPROTEIN.  Coupon valid through September 2, 2014.

FREE Kindle eBooks:

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

Looking for some healthy snack and lunch ideas for the back-to-school? Apparently you’re not the only one! Check out all these FREE Kindle books this week:

 

healthy snacks

 Healthy Snacks For Kids: Step-By-Step Easy And Delicious Snack Recipes

smart

SMART SCHOOL TIME RECIPES: The Breakfast, Snack, and Lunchbox Cookbook for Healthy Kids and Adults

walk

Walking for Weight Loss: Get in Shape, Feel Confident and be Healthier for life

GF

Gluten free: A Quick-start Guide To Living A Gluten-Free and Wheat-Free Diet (Over 100 Gluten-Free Recipes) 

paleo

Paleo: Gourmet Delicious Paleo Dessert Recipes for the Paleo Diet

grown upGrown-Up Recipes That Kids Love Too! 
quick Healthy Recipes For Toddlers: Keep Toddlers Interested With Recipes That Not Only Focus On Their Health But Excite Their Taste Buds Too. (Quick & Easy Recipes) 

 mon's guide
A Mom’s Guide to Making Homemade Baby Food: Easy, Healthy, and Affordable Homemade Baby Food Recipes 

NOTE: Kindle prices can change without notice, so please double check the price before purchasing any Kindle books!)

Still want more back-to-school recipes to make life easier?

Last week, Kelly shared Healthy Back-to-School Lunches Made Easy. My own post, The Busy Mom’s Guide to Fast, Easy & Healthy Back-to-School Breakfasts (with 70+ recipes) was also a hit!

This week’s best coupons:

real-deals-pinterest-August-26

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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!