mindful living, effortless style

DIY cleaners and beauty products that will save me money, keep toxins out of the house, and help the environment?  Yes, please.  I’m loving this roundup Kristin put together for us.  Now I just have to decided what to make this weekend – foaming hand wash, a few two-ingredient spa treatments, toilet bombs, or all of the above.

Going green doesn’t have to mean a whole-life overhaul.  If we all make simple little changes, we can make a difference in the condition of the planet we leave for our children.  I know change is hard, but let’s baby-step it.

Subbing out products with it’s green counterpart is easier than you think.  Take foaming hand soap, for example, I go through a bottle a month in every bathroom.  That adds up!  And think of the plastic bottles I’m leaving behind.

This DIY Foaming Hand Soap by Beauty and Bedlam takes about 5 minutes to make and $1 of supplies will last a year.  I’m in!

We rounded up 15 genius ideas for going green with some easy DIYs.  Most ideas are so simple, it’s a matter of minutes to make a change and save money while you’re doing it. Read More

In other news, I’ve been having lots of fun writing about my pregnancy for eHow’s Mom Channel lately.  My latest post, Talking to Your Kids About a New Baby, is no exception.

Check it out for all my ideas on prepping my 5-year-old and 3-year-old for our impending arrival. Be sure to read to the end to find out their suggested name for the new baby – it’ll make you smile, I promise.

Question of the Day

What’s the best advice you received about prepping your kids for a new baby?

A good St. Patrick’s Day recipe contains one of three things:

  1. a rainbow theme
  2. a green theme
  3. classic Irish ingredients

Let’s face it, a little Bailey’s can go a long way towards greatness too.  Today I’ve gathered up 17 of my all-time favorite St. Patrick’s Day treats.

Some are perfect for making with the kids (might I suggest the Rainbow Bread, Rainbow Pudding Pops, or Green Velvet Cupcakes?).  Some are great for celebrating with adults – the Boozy Thin Mint Milkshake is calling my name, or would be if not for the pesky detail of currently being 35 weeks pregnant.

Some will make a memorable dinner with a little effort (feed a crowd with the Beef and Stout Pie or make individual Corned Beef Pies) and some are unbelievably simple (doesn’t get easier than the Lucky Breakfast).

Whichever recipe you chose, all are sure to delight – enjoy!

  1. Happy St. Patrick’s Day Ice Cream Jell-O via The Food Librarian.
  2. Rainbow Bread via Not Just a Housewife.
  3. Irish Coffee Sundae via tablespoon.
  4. MPMK’s own Happy Green Smoothie. Read More

It’s time for St. Patricks Day books! Any time I flip over the calendar to see a new month, I know it’s time to start requesting holiday books from the library.

With the Irish holiday just around the corner, these ten St. Patrick’s Day books are perfect for celebrating all things green and gold.

Whether you’re looking for an informational book about the holiday, a classic folk tale, or just a fun tale of a tricky leprechaun, one (or more) of these books will fit the bill for your preschool or elementary-age child.

  1. There Once Was a Man Named Michael Finnegan by Mary Ann Hoberman and Nadine Bernard Westcott – This hilariously illustrated version of the song is perfect for preschoolers and early elementary-aged children. Not only will it tickle their funny bones, but I also think it’s important for kids to be familiar with classic folk songs.
  2. Jamie O’Rourke and the Big Potato by Tomie dePaola – I always appreciate when beloved authors write books that work for the holidays too; it’s so comforting to see familiar illustrations in a new story. His retelling of a popular folktale recounts lazy Jamie O’Rourke’s dismay when his wife – who does all the work in the house – is injured and Jamie fears they may starve. Until he happens on a leprechaun and thinks he might be able to provide without doing any work himself. Read More

I’ve never tried making kale chips at home, have you?  Typically my go-to for getting some leafy greens in the kids is a smoothie – but that’s getting a little old (and a little cold) for winter.  

I love how easy this recipe is and Kaley says her littles gobble up these healthy chips.  Make sure you read to the end for her suggested flavor variations.

Would you like your kids to eat a little healthier? Do you have issues getting them to eat enough dark leafy greens? Do you wish they would actually ask to eat kale?

If you answered yes to any of those questions, then this recipe is for you. In less than 20 minutes, you can cook up some irresistibly crispy kale chips that will have your kids begging for more. Seriously. Read More

I’ve got some very good news to share today.  Parenting guru, Today Show expert, and MPMK favorite Amy McCready is once again offering up

FREE Positive Parenting Webinar to MPMK readers next Thursday, February 20th at both 10am PST/1pm EST and 6pm PST/9 pm EST.

I’m such a fan of Amy that I try to host these free training sessions about every 3 months.  But with the baby prep, I haven’t hosted one since Read More

I’m over at eHow’s Mom Channel this week talking about my top 10 books for every expectant parent.  The list spans reads on everything from picking the perfect baby name and helping dads to prepare to books on mindful parenting with young children and preparing kids for a new sibling.  Come check out the full list here.

P.S. Did you know that facebook has recently drastically changed the way pages like MPMK can share with their followers? Even if you’re a fan of the MPMK facebook page, only a portion of our posts and updates are showing up in your feed these days.

 

Sign up for the MPMK Newsletter and get a Free 6 week Meal Plan - 42 dinners, no repeats!

 

So how do you continue to get all of our parenting, playtime, organization, and recipe ideas?  Sign up for the MPMK newsletter!

You’ll get all of our best stuff plus exclusive content just for our subscribers, including a Free 6 week meal plan.

Our roasted chickpeas snack post (or roasted garbonzo beans, if you prefer) from last year was so popular that we thought you guys might appreciated even more ideas for how to incorporate chickpeas into your day – especially with recent studies showing that consuming fiber-packed chickpeas leads to consuming less processed snacks during your day.  Here’s Natalie with 10 new chickpea recipes!

I’m a poor planner when it comes to lunch time. I tend to assume that when I open the fridge, a suitable lunch will magically appear. When we’re out of our usual leftovers, I try to head to our pantry for inspiration (instead of giving in and heading to Chik-fil-A). I usually keep a few extra cans of beans around for just this sort of dilemma.

Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) offer a variety of options for quick lunching. I’ve come up with ten ideas for you here, but there are endless combinations for lunches with chickpeas as your base.

10 Easy Chickpea Lunches

  • Your favorite soup topped with roasted chickpeas. Remember these roasted chickpeas? They give the perfect crunch to your smooth winter soup. I love the smoky roasted chickpeas with this soup especially. Serve with some crusty bread. If you haven’t roasted the chickpeas ahead of time, you could certainly add some regular chickpeas to any soup for extra fiber and protein too. (Shown in the background of the photo above.) Read More

With the overwhelming popularity of our Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life Planner Printables, it has become pretty clear to me that you guys appreciate a printable or two that will help you simplify and streamline your life (peeps after my own heart).

With that in mind, I’ve joined forces with some of my favorite organizational bloggers to put together a 1-week only offer to get the POYEL printables along with nearly 300 other organizational printables for 85% off their retail price.  We’re calling it the Printable Love Pack and it’s our way of showing you guys a little love this Valentine’s Day. The pack’s retail value is $132 but for 7 days only, we’re offering it up for only $20…

THIS BUNDLE SALE IS NOW CLOSED, CLICK HERE TO GET THE PROJECT ORGANIZE YOUR ENTIRE LIFE 38 PAGE PRINTABLES PACK ALONG WITH THE EBOOK FOR 71% OFF.

 Project Organize Your Entire Life (POYEL) 2014 Planner Printables ($7.99) 38 pages

2014POYELprintablesphotos6403

Inside the 38 page printables pack, you’ll find everything you need to manage every aspect of your day-to-day life from cleaning and meal-planning, to scheduling and that never ending to-do list. There’s something for everyone here including two different cleaning systems (are you more of a checklist person or a calendar cleaner?) as well as all the printables in both an 8.5″ x 11″ size AND a 5.5″ x 8.5” size.

So whether you’re looking to create a home management binder, want to use these in your personal planner you carry around in your bag, or just want a meal plan/to-do list/cleaning chart to stick on the fridge – we’ve got you covered! There are tons of options in this 38 page printable pack – use them all or pick and choose exactly what you need. There’s even a suggested daily cleaning checklist, weekly cleaning schedule, and master cleaning list included.

Here’s a look at everything you’ll get:

  • A Daily To-Do List with spots for morning, afternoon, and evening as well as appointments and menu ideas
  • A weekly planning calendar
  • A weekly meal planning worksheet
  • Two types of weekly cleaning worksheets
  • Filled-In weekly cleaning schedule & checklist
  • 12 months of pre-dated calendar pages
  • Both a blank master cleaning checklist and a filled-in version

When the folks at eHow’s mom channel asked me to come up with a Valentine photography project that kids could make for their parents, I knew I wanted to it to be something parents could actually use.

Check out my super simple DIY bookmark tutorial here and have a great weekend watching the olympics with the kiddos this weekend!  The hubby and I are both sick with the flu so that’s it from for today.

P.S. Did you know that facebook has recently drastically changed the way pages like MPMK can share with their followers? Even if you’re a fan of the MPMK facebook page, only a portion of our posts and updates are showing up in your feed these days.

 

Sign up for the MPMK Newsletter and get a Free 6 week Meal Plan - 42 dinners, no repeats!

 

So how do you continue to get all of our parenting, playtime, organization, and recipe ideas?  Sign up for the MPMK newsletter!

You’ll get all of our best stuff plus exclusive content just for our subscribers, including a Free 6 week meal plan.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and it’s one of my favorite holidays for arts and crafts. Don’t ask me why.

Maybe it’s the welcome diversion from everything Christmas. Maybe it’s the idea that we’re making gifts for the ones we love most. Regardless, I get giddy this time of year and love to come up with new things to make, especially decorations.

Lately, I’ve been trying to make decorations that will last - things that I can keep and look back on, as the years fly by (as they always seem to do). Last year we started a Valentine keepsake garland, which we contributed to again this year. And this year, I decided to make something with pictures that I could cherish forever.

I’m no stranger to Instagram and those pictures usually wind up being my favorites. How does that saying go? The best camera is the one you have with you? So, I decided to make a piece of Valentine’s art out of pictures of my loves. Read More

Looking for a fun Valentine’s Day activity for baby?  How about whipping up some healthy pancakes and letting your littles go wild decorating them with some equally nutritious toppers?  

We’re once again teaming up with Ella’s Kitchen to share with you some ideas on how to build good eaters through sensory play and today it’s all about the love.

The idea is a simple one – let baby learn about and build an interest in food through all of his or her senses, including touch!  By encouraging your baby to explore new foods tactilely, you’re helping to foster their interest in food in general and to grow adventurous and healthy eaters.

That’s a goal both Ella’s Kitchen and MPMK can get behind. Here’s Kristin with the full recipe and instructions…

When introducing new foods to babies, it’s important to go slow.  Just like adults, babies eat with all their senses.  Which means colorful packaging, yummy smells and smooth texture makes a new food experience Read More

Free Valentine Printables can be a busy parent’s best friend.

If you’re like me, you’d ideally plan out your child’s Valentines weeks in advance. Thanks to pinterest and a world of creative bloggers, we are inspired to create Valentine masterpieces.  There are some years that I just can’t pull my act together until a day or two before the classroom party and I end up scrambling.  If that’s you, we’ve got ya covered.

We’ve scoured the web and put together our 15 favorite free printable valentines ranging from the wow-all-my-friends projects to the oh-no-valentines-day-is-tomorrow ideas.

Mer Mag starts us off with an easy to make Valentine mailbox made out of a cracker box and duct tape to keep all your Valentine’s in.

15 Free Valentine Printables

  1. The Erupting Volcano Dinosaur Valentine by Fun at Home with Kids could possibly be the coolest thing to send to school!
  2. If you’re looking for something original, Read More

Since our post on homemade play dough made of Jell-O remains one of our most popular posts of all time, I thought you guys might enjoy another food-based play dough recipe. Once again, this is a recipe that results in a silky soft and incredible sweet smelling dough.

I’m over at eHow’s craft channel with a completely edible peanut butter play dough recipe that your littles are sure to love.  Go check it out and make yourself a batch this weekend.

P.S. Want some more sensory play ideas?  Check out…
  1. Christmas DIY play dough, aka Indoor Snowmen - actually a very different texture than traditional playdough (sticks together more like snow) and uses only 2 ingredients.
  2. Homemade play dough alternative #2: Dr. Suess’ Oobleck - a DIY slippery, slimy activity that kids love and comes complete with a classic companion book.
  3. Homemade play dough alternative #3: Rainbow Scented Glitter Slime - an alternative DIY slime recipe that engages multiple senses.
  4. How to Reap the Many Benefits of Play dough - a brief primer on play dough play tools and benefits.

P.P.S. Did you know that facebook has recently drastically changed the way pages like MPMK can share with their followers? Even if you’re a fan of the MPMK facebook page, only a portion of our posts and updates are showing up in your feed these days.

 

Sign up for the MPMK Newsletter and get a Free 6 week Meal Plan - 42 dinners, no repeats!

 

So how do you continue to get all of our parenting, playtime, organization, and recipe ideas?  Sign up for the MPMK newsletter!

You’ll get all of our best stuff plus exclusive content just for our subscribers, including a Free 6 week meal plan.

 

Valentine’s Day is just a few weeks away and the candy that comes with it has already started to find it’s way into our home. While I have no objection to a bit of chocolate and a few conversation hearts, I’d prefer to celebrate the holiday with a few healthier treats — and that’s where strawberries come in!

With their natural heart shape and pretty red color, strawberries are a perfect choice for Valentine’s day snacks. My kids love their  sweet flavor and since they’re packed with fiber and vitamin C I feel great about giving them any of these fun and tasty treats.

1) Strawberry Heart Fruit Kebabs

These simple fruit kebabs are pretty to look at and fun to eat. Read More