mindful living, effortless style

Yesterday we recapped our very favorite MPMK ideas for living and parenting better in 2013, today I’m bringing back another favorite – my two favorite nutritionists, Megan and Katie, from Prescribe Nutrition – to give us all a crash course on how to quickly get in the habit of eating to look and feel better this spring.

You may remember that around this time last year, I had the opportunity to participate in Prescribe Nutrition’s phenomenal online nutrition course (psst – get 20% off with code: MPMK20).  Here’s what I had to say about it back then:

After having S I struggled with exhaustion, head aches, and mood swings.  At first I tried to figure it out on my own, then I sought help through my general physician, OBGYN, and even a naturopath. But I never found the solid answers I was looking for.

Of course, I assumed that at least some of it had to be due to diet.  But until completing this program I had no idea how much. And here’s the part where I “keep it real”.  It wasn’t a cake walk (either literally or figuratively).  It was hard - especially the first week when my body was craving all the processed foods and sugar I usually fed it.

But I did it – what’s more I got my husband to do it too and we both felt SO MUCH better at the end of two weeks. When telling people about it I would say that I didn’t necessarily feel like I was ready to run a marathon but I did generally feel happier and less tired.

I also realized once I began the program that previously I’d been experiencing chronic stomach pains and bloating at night.  They’d become so commonplace that I didn’t even notice them, or think about doing anything to avoid them.  Then I started my 15 days, those symptoms disappeared, and I felt amazing.

Finally, the most profound outcome of this experiment has been how it’s affected me as a mother. Without the headaches and exhaustion, I’m so much more fun!  And I’m connecting with my kiddos in new ways – which is a huge gift and exactly what I was hoping to gain from the experience.

Prescribe Nutrition is once again offering the course this year on March 3rd (which, full disclosure, I’m once again an eager affiliate for) and I’ll give you all the goods at the end of this post.  

But for those that saw “nutrition” and immediately thought “sign me up!”, let me throw out the registration link now.

Go here and be sure to enter the code MPMK20 for your 20% discount!

Now here’s Katie with her…

5-step plan to jump starting a better eating routine for springRead More

Happy New Year guys!  Along with making one of our recommended family resolutions and celebrating with these ideas for the kids, I’m also ringing in 2014 with a pre-natal massage. (Way to start the year off – am I right?)

In case you’re also looking to start 2014 on the right foot, I thought I’d provide you with some of our best resources on living happier and healthier in the coming year.

In no particular order, here are our top 6 ideasRead More

Now that Christmas is over, the inevitable question lingers – what to do with all those new toys?  Never fear, our in-house professional organizer Annie has us covered with some pro tips and she’s here today to help us launch our month-long mission to make 2014 our best year yet. Here are her pearls of wisdom…

If you feel you’re in an ever-losing battle with your children’s games and toys, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. I’ve encountered few families who haven’t had some difficulty navigating the toy jungle.

Before we talk toy storage, I would be remiss if I didn’t call your attention to quantity. It is vastly important that the amount of toys and games your child has to play with is reasonable.

Not only does having a crazy amount of toys create chaos and intrude upon the likelihood that you or your children will be able to maintain order of them, it also overwhelms kids. They’re human, just like you and I. Their attention spans may be slightly less expansive, but they can still only do one thing at a time.

You can encourage healthy play, more effectively teach clean-up skills, and actually keep your kids more entertained if you Read More

It’s that time of year again, when we all take a deep breath and vow to make a fresh start.  And to help you out, we’ve got some big, exciting news to share today!

Last year around this time we launched our handbook to leading a more simplified life, Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life: The Quick Start Guide. It was a huge success and we’ve since sold over 10,000 copies.

But I also heard from you guys that you would like some handy-dandy printables to go along with your newly-formed action plans. So I’ve been working hard to make that wish a reality for 2014. Introducing…

Awesome 2014 printable pack for your home management binder, personal planner, or sheets just to stick on the fridge.  Includes menu planning, calendars, cleaning checklists and more!

The Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life Printables Pack

Only $7.99

Get the PDF file:

Add to Cart

Special Offer:

Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life eBook & 2014 Printables Pack

Only $9.97

Get the PDF files:

Add to Cart

Get the Kindle version here.

Get the Nook version here.

(Read more about POYEL: The Quick Start Guide eBook here.)

 

*Note: this special bundle is for the PDF of the eBook and the printables.  A similar bundle for the kindle version of the eBook and the printables will be released in the next few days. To be alerted to this, be sure to sign up for the MPMK Newsletter!

Inside our new 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 8.5size.

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:

Awesome 2014 printable pack for your home management binder, personal planner, or sheets just to stick on the fridge.  Includes menu planning, calendars, cleaning checklists and more!

A Daily Checklist

A simple one page form that breaks your day up into easily manageable chunks.  There are check-off boxes (for that sense of satisfaction when you complete a task) as well as designated areas for the day’s menu ideas and appointments.  This one is a great candidate for laminating and using over and over with a fine-tip dry erase marker.

Awesome 2014 printable pack for your home management binder, personal planner, or sheets just to stick on the fridge.  Includes menu planning, calendars, cleaning checklists and more!

Your Week at a Glance

Conveniently spread across two vertical pages, this gives you a spot to record all of your appointments for the week along with any special reminders you need to leave for yourself in the “notes” section.  There are also spots for your dinner plans and cleaning objectives for each day.  It’s everything you want to accomplish in your week all in one spot.

Awesome 2014 printable pack for your home management binder, personal planner, or sheets just to stick on the fridge.  Includes menu planning, calendars, cleaning checklists and more!

Weekly Meal Plan Worksheet

Designed to help you quickly and efficiently get your weekly meal planning done.  Includes sections for all 7 days of the week as well as areas for breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas so nothing gets overlooked.  Keep it in your planner or stick it on the fridge for a visual reminder each morning of what needs to be prepped for that night’s dinner.

Two Types of Weekly Cleaning Worksheets

In the Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life eBook, we cover two different types of cleaning systems for two different types of people: the cleaning schedule vs. the cleaning checklist.  In this printable pack, we’ve provided both so you can try each out and see which suits you best.

Weekly Cleaning Schedule Template

Much like the Weekly Meal Planning Worksheet, the cleaning schedule visually lays out everything you need to accomplish for the week to keep your house looking good.  Assign one major task or room of your house to each day of the week and complete with your daily and infrequent tasks (drawn from the master cleaning checklist).

Weekly Cleaning Checklist Template

While still including sections for daily and infrequent tasks, this option breaks down all of the cleaning tasks for the week into those that will take 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 – 60 minutes, or 1 hour or more.  The idea being that whenever you find yourself with a little time to clean, you can quickly check the list for what hasn’t been done yet that week and get to work.

*Printing Note: Since you won’t need both the “Weekly Cleaning” worksheet and the “Weekly Cleaning Checklist” – the intention is to choose one or the other and this must be done for double-sided printing to turn out correctly. When printing, in the pages box, either enter “1 – 6, 8 – 38″ OR “1 – 5, 7 – 38″.

Filled-In Weekly Cleaning Schedule & Checklist

Along with the blank worksheets, you’ll also get versions of both the Weekly Cleaning Schedule and Checklist filled-in with suggested chores for each section.

Awesome 2014 printable pack for your home management binder, personal planner, or sheets just to stick on the fridge.  Includes menu planning, calendars, cleaning checklists and more!

12 Months of Pre-Dated Calendar Pages

Along with squaring away your everyday and your week, it’s always helpful to get a look at your month as well so we’ve included pre-dated calendars for each month in 2014. Like the weekly calendar, these are spread out over two vertical pages (no turning to view required).

Awesome 2014 printable pack for your home management binder, personal planner, or sheets just to stick on the fridge.  Includes menu planning, calendars, cleaning checklists and more!

Master Cleaning List

Finally, to be kept as a reference in the back of your planner, we’ve included a Master Cleaning List with columns to categorize chores into “daily”, “weekly”, “bi-weekly”, “monthly”, “quarterly” and “semi-annual” tasks.

Filled-In Master Cleaning List

Just like with the Weekly Cleaning Schedule and the Weekly Cleaning Checklist, you’ll also receive a suggested list of chores for each of the categories mentioned above along with the blank template.

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Remember, when you purchase the printables pack, you will receive all 38 pages (including the cheerful cover) in BOTH the 8.5″ x 11″ and the 5.5″ x 8.5″ sizes, all for one low price!

You can print the pages to be used individually.  Or you can choose the duplex/double-sided printing option on your printer (or at a local printing store) and pop everything into a binder or small personal planner – see note below on double-sided printing.

If you really want to get fancy, you can even invest in a discbound puncher (affiliate link) and use the 5.5″ x 8.5″ size with a planner like these Martha Stewart versions.

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Awesome 2014 printable pack for your home management binder, personal planner, or sheets just to stick on the fridge.  Includes menu planning, calendars, cleaning checklists and more!

The Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life Printables Pack

Only $7.99

Get the PDF file:

Add to Cart

Special Offer:

Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life eBook & 2014 Printables Pack

Only $9.97

Get the PDF files:

Add to Cart

Get the Kindle version here.

Get the Nook version here.

(Read more about POYEL: The Quick Start Guide eBook here.)

 

 *Note: this special bundle is for the PDF of the eBook and the printables.  A similar bundle for the kindle version of the eBook and the printables will be released in the next few days. To be alerted to this, be sure to sign up for the MPMK Newsletter!

I decided to offer the printables as a separate product so that everyone who bought the POYEL eBook last year could still get in on the fun.

However, because I want to encourage you to get started down your path to a more simplified life with every tool at your disposal…

Purchase the Project Organize Your ENTIRE Life: the Quick Start Guide eBook AND the POYEL Printables Pack and get 71% off the eBook!

$14.98 $9.97 for both

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*Printing Note: Since you won’t need both the “Weekly Cleaning” worksheet and the “Weekly Cleaning Checklist” – the intention is to choose one or the other and this must be done for double-sided printing to turn out correctly. When printing, in the pages box, either enter “1 – 6, 8 – 38″ OR “1 – 5, 7 – 38″.

P.S. If you’re interested in the planners and accessories featured in the photos above, they are Martha Stewart and can be purchased in-store at Staples or on-line through the following affiliate links:

 

Have you noticed we’re getting a little jazzed for New Year’s Eve around here?  This is the first year I’ve really considered doing something special with the kids and my brain has been nearly exploding with the possibilities.

Today we’re sharing our top 10 ideas from around the web for spending the night celebrating as a family.

Ready? Here we go…

1) Make Countdown Bags to Be Opened Each Hour

We Love the look of these bags from The Idea Room.  Unfortuantely, there doesn’t seem to be an updated 2014 version of the printables but you can use them as some pretty inspiration to make bags of your own.  And for ideas on what to put inside each one, check out and these 16 Countdown Goodie Bag Ideas from Inner Child Fun.

2) Make a Family New Year’s Resolution

Our list of the Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Families is full of great ideas on how to grow closer in 2014 and it’s one of my favorite posts from all of 2013! (I’m working on a fun project to help with #3 on the list too – so stay tuned.)

3) Start a Tradition: Fill Out the Same Printable Each Year

Of course, New Year’s Eve is a great time to look both backward and forward with the family.  Get the kids to each fill out this lovely printable from Wonderful Joy Ahead and repeat each year from now on.

4) Eat Sparkly Jell-O Treats

Kids love Jell-O and adding a little sparkle makes it all the more special.  What puts it totally over the edge? Push pops! Check out our recipe for Sparkling Jell-O Push Pops (and don’t miss the grown-up version from Perpetually Engaged).

5) Make Family Vision Boards

Traditional resolutions a little too pedestrian for your brood? I’m over on eHow’s Mom Channel this week sharing a vision board project for families I think you’ll love (great hands on craft for the kids plus magnetized chalkboard to make our homes look chic).

Read More

Have you given any thought to your New Year’s Eve plans? Since having kids, we keep it pretty low key (“Wake me up when the ball drops!”), but it’s still nice to commemorate the occasion with a special treat. Steph asked me if I could come up with a spin on champagne jello shots for the holiday (she was inspired by a post at Perpetually Engaged) and I was all over it! Read More

image source

When you think “kid-friendly holiday”, New Year’s Eve probably isn’t the first thing that springs to mind.  But just because the kids might not last long enough to see the ball drop, doesn’t mean they can’t participate.  In fact, New Year’s Eve is a great time to come together and set some family goals for the upcoming year.

In case you need a little help, we’ve put together a handy list of our Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Families.  You’ll notice that a lot of the items on the list are things that you’re probably resolving to do for yourself this year – we just added a family twist!

Get Outside More

If you’re a regular here, you may remember when I had the pleasure of attending an amazing talk on raising creative kids in a hurried world by Nancy Blakey. The entire presentation was fantastic but during the two hours or so of talking, there was a statement that really stood out: 90% of our best childhood memories Read More

I had grand ambitions of baking a fancy madeira wine cake for each of my neighbors this year… guess how far I’ve gotten.

I think, instead, I’m going to make a batch or two of these over-sized chocolate marshmallows with the kids and gift a few to each neighbor.  I love Janssen’s idea of putting them on a stick and adding them to a decorative bag filled with hot cocoa mix in the bottom!

If you’re looking for a quick, easy, and impressive holiday treat, might I suggest these marshmallows?

They’re a surprisingly gratifying project, and useful in all manner of ways. You can drop them in a cup of hot cocoa to make it instantly special, you can add them to a holiday treat plate for some fun variety, or package them up individually. Also, they are simple for kids to help with and I’ve never met a child who doesn’t like marshmallows (at least none that live in my house).

By the way, I got these extra-large marshmallows at Wal-mart (they are 2+ inches tall), but if you can only find regular large marshmallows, those will work just fine too.

To make, you will need: Read More

Handmade wrapping paper is a labor of love, but the process is all part of giving a gift that is special and meaningful.  Get the kids involved and let them wrap special gifts for siblings or grandparents with their own handmade gift wrap.  This project is great for cold winter evenings when we’re stuck inside!

Plus, this simple stenciled wrapping paper looks elegant and is so easy that it’s even toddler appropriate.

Start with a piece of kraft paper.  I love painting on kraft paper because Read More

Not to freak you out or anything, but we’re under the 2 week mark until Christmas. Have you finished up your shopping yet?  Most years stocking stuffers are one of the last things I get around to buying because I’m never quite sure what to get. I want items that are inexpensive but will still lead to engaged, quality play – not junk that will liter my house. This time around, though, I find myself with the opposite problem – I’ve found too many great options.

While I struggle to narrow down my list, I thought I’d share it with you all in case you’re still in need of a small item or two.  You’ll find something for every kind of kid here – enjoy!

The Game Player

You already know from our “Top Picks for Family Game Night” gift guide that I’m a big proponent of games and puzzles – both those you can play as a family and those that can be played alone for quiet time or on-the-go.  Here are a few compact selections that will fit nicely in a stocking.

  • Eeboo Color Go Fish Playing Cards $8.00 (2+ years) – This beautiful card set uses colors instead of the traditional numbers for Go Fish. This was one of the very first games I started playing with my son. It was easy for him to understand since no numbers or reading were involved and helped him learn his colors.  He still enjoys playing it 3 years later at age 5.  Eboo doesn’t stop with Go Fish either, they also have lovely Old Maid, Crazy Faces (like crazy 8s), Animal Rummy, and Hearts playing sets for the littles.

P.S. for beginner card players, check out this little hands card holder too!

  • IQ Twist $9.99 (6+ years) – This compact, award-winning multi-level logic game contains 100 challenges suitable for all ages. It’s ideal for building critical thinking skills during long car rides or quiet time.
  • Crocodile Creek Travel Puzzles starting $4.66 (5+ years) – I especially love the look and easy storage/travel capabilities of these travel 100 piece puzzles and at the price they make great stocking stuffers.
  • Rush Hour Jr. by Thinkfun $15.20 (5+ years) – This is going in my 5 year old’s stocking this year. It’s a unique kind of single-player logic game that received a national award from Mensa and is used in elementary school math classes. Plus my car-lover will think it’s flat-out fun. Also check out the regular version for older kids!

The Adventurer

If you’ve got a little explorer at home with a taste for adventure and a thirst for knowledge, check out these fun picks.

  • Toobs starting at $6.33 (3+ years) - After our Make Like a Montessori Mama: Animal Activities post a few years ago, I knew I needed to get C some small animal figurines as soon as possible.  A quick Amazon search revealed exactly what I was looking for – Toobs.  Not only is the handy container the perfect shape for a stocking, there are a million themes to choose from.  Whether your little one are into the arctic, zoo babies, trains, pirates, dinosaurs, North American Wildlife, or the wonders of the world – there’s a Toob out there for them. Read More

Janssen’s with us today sharing one of her favorite Christmas crafts from her childhood.  I love the idea of using these around candles on a table or as an extra-special gift topper. And don’t worry, she’s got tips on how to avoid a sticky mess.

I remember making these as a child, but we used tiny tart pans, so I never made them myself until last year (because I didn’t OWN tart pans, tiny or otherwise). Then I thought, Read More

Having a regular family game night is a great tradition to strengthen the family unit. Not only does it ensure time for connecting with each other, it also gets your kids in the habit of communicating with you – something that will pay-off big time when they’re older.

Plus, with the right game, it can be really fun! Below you’ll find a selection of games the whole family will love, including some to help you start your a game night ritual even with your youngest kiddos.

Don’t forget – you can check out all 10 of our 2013 Gift Guides here!

Once again this year, I’m heading up each list with my favorites from all the picks – here, ordered by age, are my top 7 Picks for Family Game Night (scroll down for full details on each):

  1. Eeboo Color Go Fish Playing Cards $8.00 (2+ years)
  2. Hoot Owl Hoot Cooperative Board Game $15.99 (3+ years)
  3. Spot It! Educational Set (4 – 7 years) $44.85
  4. Zingo $17.99 (4 – 8 years)
  5. Qwirkle $19.21 (5+ years)
  6. Rory’s Story Cubes Complete Set: Original, Actions & Voyages $20.02 (5+ years)
  7. HedBanz $7.99 (6+ years)

Read on for 37 of my favorite picks for family game night, broken down into:

  • Highly Acclaimed Games
  • Games Especially for Toddlers & Pre-Readers
  • Classic Games Recommended by Age

Special Note: In an effort to help you out as much as possible this year, I’ve included both prices and age recommendations for each item. Please take the age ranges as just that – recommendations – you know you’re child best after all!  

Also, this time of year prices can fluctuate quite dramatically.  So if you see something a little outside of your price range, it might not be a bad idea to click over and check  it out anyway – you may get lucky and catch a sale.

Along those lines, I’m doing my best this year to keep our readers up-to-date on any sales I see on our gift guide items.  To be in the loop, be sure to follow us on facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

Ready for the big list? Here we go… Read More

Baby, it’s cold outside. And that means it’s the perfect weather for a hot cocoa bar. And eggnog… So why not combine the two?

Enter: a festive hot cocoa bar with spiced eggnog whipped cream. I’m a personal fan of whipped cream on cocoa, instead of marshmallows. And when you are going the whipped cream route, it HAS to be homemade.

To make the eggnog whipped cream, you will need: Read More

I don’t know about you, but around here December is a magical month filled with little surprises around every corner – whether it’s a new Christmas book from the library or an impromptu car ride to seek our some twinkly lights.

I’ve said before that, while I don’t regularly prepare bento-style lunches for the kids, I like to occasionally sneak one in here or there for a special (and healthy) treat… No doubt this easy-to-prepare lunch put together by our contributor Wendy will soon become one of our December surprises.

December has arrived and the excitement of the Christmas season has hit my home full-force. We’ve started our advent calendars, our decorations are going up a bit at a time and my kids are positively giddy from all the holiday fun. I enjoy the lead up to the big day as much as the holiday itself, and one of the ways I like to celebrate with my kids is to pack them fun Christmas lunches.

For this lunch, I included some of the icons of the season — gingerbread, Christmas trees and Santa — by making them from healthy and tasty ingredients. Here’s how to create one like it:

Thread sugar snap peas onto a bamboo skewer, then trim the ends to make a tree shape.

Begin by cutting two pieces of bamboo skewer to the same height as the biggest section of a divided lunch box. I’m using a PlanetBox Rover here, but you can use whatever lunch box your family prefers.

Thread sugar snap peas on one of the skewers. Start with a large pea pod and then add smaller and smaller pods until there is about a half inch of skewer left. The snap peas should Read More

photo source

Babies and young toddlers can be especially tough to shop for – it’s not like we can just ask them what they want.  Plus, kids develop differently and at different rates at this age.  Your best bet is to go for the tried-and-true toys that aim to build hand-eye coordination and fine and gross motor skills in an engaging but not over-stimulating way. Music is always good too.

Below you’ll find my top picks for babies and young toddlers. They’re not categorized like the other lists because they all cover a variety of developmental skills and ages but you should find plenty of options to make your baby or young toddler happy on Christmas morning!

Don’t forget – you can check out all 10 of our 2013 Gift Guides here!

Once again this year, I’m heading up each list with my favorites from all the picks – here, in no particular order, are my top 7 Developmental Toys for Babies & Young Toddlers (scroll down for full details on each):

  1. Lamaze Take Along Toys starting at $9.72 (0 – 2 years)
  2. Learn & Groove Musical Table $39.99 (3 months – 6 years)
  3. Fisher-Price Rainforest Jumperoo $89.00 (babies able to hold their head up – walking)
  4. Caterpillar and Friends Play Gym  $39.99 (0 – 2 years)
  5. Melissa & Doug Deluxe Bug Jug Fill & Spill Soft Baby Toy $18.43 (6 months – 4 years)
  6. Haul and Ride Truck $34.99 (1 – 3 years)
  7. Geometric Stacker  $13.79 (18 months – 4 years)

Read on for 27 of my favorite developmental toys for babies & young toddlers, including:

  • Floor Toys
  • Riding & Walking toys
  • Music Toys
  • Toys for Developing Fine-Motor Control, Gross-Motor Control, Concentration and Hand-Eye Coordination

Special Note: In an effort to help you out as much as possible this year, I’ve included both prices and age recommendations for each item.  Please take the age ranges as just that – recommendations – you know you’re child best after all!  

Also, this time of year prices can fluctuate quite dramatically.  So if you see something a little outside of your price range, it might not be a bad idea to click over and check  it out anyway – you may get lucky and catch a sale.

Along those lines, I’m doing my best this year to keep our readers up-to-date on any sales I see on our gift guide items.  To be in the loop, be sure to follow us on facebook and subscribe to our newsletter.

Ready for the big list? Here we go… Read More