mindful living, effortless style

Listen up parents – I’ve got some big, important things to share today and I just know you’re going to love all of them.

First, an awesome giveaway in which, drumroll please…

Win a Microsoft Surface!


One lucky MPMK reader is going to win a brand new Surface!

Bet that got your attention, huh?  My husband just bought our family’s first Surface about a month ago and we really love it so when I found out I’d be working with Microsoft on their Bing in the Classroom campaign, I had the idea that it might be fun to give one away.

Of course, I’m going to need something from you guys in return. But don’t worry, it’s super easy AND it’s going to benefit you, your kids, and your kids’ schools in a big, big way.

Ready? Here it is…

Step 1: Click over and learn about BING IN THE CLASSROOM.

Step 2: Enter the Rafflecopter below
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Step 3: Learn how to bring #AdFreeSearch to your school as well as how to earn free Surface tablets for your classrooms. Read More

Why is it that I can never get enough when it comes to easy meal planning systems? I know I really only need one, but I’m still fascinated to see how everyone else makes dinner time work for them.  

Today our contributor Kaley is teaming up with our newest sponsor, Post-it® Brand, and using some of their uber cool new organizational products from the Home Collection by Post-it® Brand, Scotch Brand® and Command Brands to set up a meal planning system of her own.

I have to say, this one is mighty impressive! I’m especially loving the idea for tracking what’s in the freezer – I lose so much food to freezer burn in there… I think I might have to find a new spot for some of the kids’ artwork so I can create this bad boy on my own fridge.

Its 5 o’clock, and I have no idea what I am going to fix for dinner. Again. The baby is crying and my 4 year old is whining at my feet about being hungry.

The fridge is a jumbled mess of food but I feel like there is nothing in there to make into a presentable meal. I had a recipe I wanted to try, but I can’t remember if it is saved on my smart phone, or on Pinterest, or maybe tucked into a binder where I have been stashing all of the pages I tear out of magazines.

In other words, I am a hot mess.

Meal Planning 101 with Post-Its

Are you feeling my pain on this one?

A friend of mine was telling me that she plans her meals a month in advance, and dinners are a breeze in her house because she is so organized.

Easy breezy is exactly what I need so I decided to give meal planning a shot. It has got to be better than what I have been doing, which is basically flying by the seat of my pants. And resorting to the old stand-by “breakfast for dinner” more times than I’d like to admit. (Which is a great one, by the way, when you are really in a pinch!)

But I couldn’t decide on a system. All digital versus the 3 ring binder versus the wall. While they each seemed to have some definite pros and cons, Read More

It’s no secret we love DIY play dough, slime, and other sensory activities around here.  Hands-on play not only leads to increased creativity and fine-motor development (which is important for things like writing), it’s also a fabulous boredom buster.

Play dough and sensory boxes are some of our go-to activities when the weather is bad or mom needs some time to pay bills, do laundry, etc.

Recently the folks over at eHow’s Mom Channel asked me to roundup some of my favorite playtime posts (written either for them, or here on MPMK) and I just couldn’t resist focusing on sensory play.

Included in my top 10 sensory activities are:

  • Jell-O play dough
  • Edible peanut butter play dough
  • Cloud dough
  • Scented, Glitter Slime
  • Making Snowmen Inside
  • A Veggie Garden Sensory Box
  • Rainbow Rice
  • and more!

Check out my full list of Top 10 Sensory Activities for Kids and bookmark it for when you need it – you’ll be happy you did!

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.

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.

Ever since we moved into our new home, I’ve had an ‘outdoors in’ approach to decorating. We love our backyard and enjoy the large windows that seem to bring nature into every room. This spring, I started really playing up this aspect by adding more and more houseplants to our formal living room.

Easy to care for, succulents have played a prominent role in my decorating-with-nature strategy. I don’t have the best track record with keeping indoor plants alive, but I have found that most succulents are easy to care for and don’t require a lot of maintenance or specialized knowledge. And best of all, they are a quick fix for adding an element of nature to nearly any spot in your home.

Here are a few of my favorite trends for incorporating succulents into my home decor: Read More

Top Image Credit (cropped, text and other photos added below): © Nicola | 04.09.11 | CC by 2.0

My son LOVES play dough. I mean, really. It’s almost an obsession. And you know what? I don’t blame him. I remember loving play dough as a kid, myself. There’s just something magical about it. It’s a blank slate of 3D creativity.

Besides, I can’t think of a better obsession for a pre-schooler. We all know that children (and adults, for that matter) learn best when their senses are engaged. Think about it. Many of our favorite memories are associated with one or more of our senses–like the smell of our Mother’s perfume, or the taste of our favorite meal.

By giving our kiddos the opportunity to explore their senses, we are developing their cognitive, emotional, physical and creative abilities–and having fun at the very same time. (Imagine that!)

So. Now that we know how much play dough can benefit our kids, how do we maximize their play-time? Read More

I know the weather in many parts of the country is bad right now. (Thoughts and prayers especially to everyone dealing with extreme weather. I lived in Nashville for 5 years and the tornados absolutely terrified me!)

But here in Seattle, you know the city pretty much known as Rain Capital USA, it’s blue skies and 81 degrees – on the first day of May! I’m predicting a hot summer, which means it’s time to update the wardrobe. Out with the sweaters and in with the tank tops.

I’m curious, do you guys follow trends when it comes to buying clothes each season? I mostly just hit the stores and pick up a few things that jump out at me. It’s a non-system that works for me for the most part.  Every once in a while, though, a few of my favorite mom friends will have the same (or similar) cute army jacket and I’ll feel like I missed the boat.

In case that’s happened to you too, here’s a quick little video from our newest sponsor, Marshalls, on the hottest trends for spring.

What’s your favorite mom-friendly trend for spring?

You’ve heard it said that the days are long but the years are short.  If you are a mom, you’ve experienced this to be true.  When the kids are little, you spend your days constantly feeding, changing, wiping, fixing, answering and the list goes on.  Raising kids takes a LOT of work!  But, they are growing up before our eyes and with each passing year those little tasks we’re needed for diminishes.

For those of you that don’t know, I’m a mom of two boys (13 and 11) and a nine year old girl.  I can hardly believe that I have a teenager.  So, you can trust me when I say it goes by fast!  So fast, in fact, that I sense the urgency in spending time with them.  Not just casual time (even though that’s important) but one-on-one time.  I’m talking about the times that they will remember as they grow older.

The world we live in is all about multi-tasking.  We order in a drive-through and eat while we are driving to sports practice.  We use our smart phones to answer emails while we sit on the couch with the kids.  I’m challenging us to throw away this multi-tasking concept so we can give our children undivided attention.  All our lives are different, so maybe this will happen once a day, once a week or once a month.  Whatever it is, make it quality.  Make it count. Read More

I don’t know about you, but my baubles always end up all over the place. Probably because I am constantly trying to keep up with a toddler and an 8 month-old.  But even on my dresser, where most of my jewelry accumulates, I have no place to collect it all the stray pieces.

Enter: the Trinket Dish. I saw something similar at Anthropologie and thought it would make the perfect Mother’s Day gift (I know I’d want one). Plus, it’s so easy to make.

First I scoured our local dollar store for Read More

It’s Teacher Appreciation week next week - do you have something special picked out for the educators in your kids’ lives? If not we’ve totally got you covered with an easy DIY you can use to appreciate a teacher, for Mother’s Day, or even as a hostess thank-you gift.  Here’s Janssen with the full details…

One of the things that makes me happiest in the spring is live plants. They look so vibrant and remind me that winter really is winding down.

Whether you’re looking for a simple Mother’s Day gift or a teacher gift for this week or the end of school, these useful and pretty chalkboard pots are perfect. (Speaking as a former elementary school librarian, your child’s teacher probably doesn’t need another candle or more lotion). Read More

Happy “Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work” Day! I don’t know about you guys, but I have vivid memories of participating in this as a kid – back when it was just “Take Your Daughter to Work” Day. It always got the wheels in my brain turning – asking myself who did I look up to, who and what did I eventually want to be?

So I thought today would be the perfect day to share with you an article I wrote for eHow on finding positive female role models for our girls.  I’d love it if you’d check it out and weigh-in on the topic!


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.

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.

You may remember that I was in a car accident about a month before giving birth. That’s left me with some residual back pain and orders not to exercise for a few weeks – which means that I’m relying solely on nutrition to help keep my energy levels up despite many feeding-filled, sleepless nights.

So guess who I’m turning to for help. My go-to nutritionists at Prescribe Nutrition, of course. They’ve got tons of useful stuff to share with us today, but first a special offer:

Get 20% off any course with the code: MPMK20


Combine “Get Balanced” with the Kids nutrition session “Kids Rule” and get $100 off with the code: MPMK

Tired.  Who’s tired? Oh right, everyone you talk to?

We engage in lots of conversations at Prescribe Nutrition. The topics span the gamut but one in particular strikes us like no other, and it’s the one that impacts virtually every aspect of our lives: work, relationships, attitude and mood, sleep, and at the core, the ability to be our best selves. That friends, is our energy.

We’ve surveyed the thousands of program participants at Prescribe Nutrition and it’s safe to say that 80% of everyone we talk to reports ‘more energy’ as something they’d desperately like back in their lives. So let’s talk about it AND how to get more energy in your life!

Why so low? Well there are a number of reasons why we feel depleted.  Usually starting with one (or both) of these two: Read More

 Who wants to win a Bissell Symphony All-in-One Vacuum and Steam Mop – raise your hand.  I have wanted a combo steam mop and vacuum for longer than I can remember.  Actually, scratch that, for pretty much exactly as long as I’ve had children.

Let’s face it, between food messes, art messes, and stomping in mud and dirt from outside, kids are rough on floors.  Which is why I was so excited when our latests sponsor, Bissell, offered up a couple of these steam mop vacuums to me and our contributor Alli as well as two for your guys!

Trying is believing when it comes to these things.  I thought the vacuum would be wimpy and our messes wouldn’t get fully cleaned. But I was wrong.  This is a hard-working, heavy duty machine that sucks up big messes (we’re talking large rubber bands) and leaves behind a spot-free, steam cleaned floor.

Read on for details on Alli’s experience with the Symphony as well as your chance to win!

We do a lot of crafts at our house. And I mean, A LOT.

So when I was asked to put the BISSELL Symphony All-In-One Vacuum and Steam Mop to the test on some of our craftier messes, I gladly accepted the challenge. Because, let’s be honest, my three-year-old son can make a mess to rival any other. And anything that can stand up to his messes, is worth its weight in gold. Read More

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to try a DIY project and I guarantee you’re going to adore this one. I want to make one for every mom I know! Here’s Alli with the details…

I am loving the “make your own mug” trend for two reasons:

1. There’s nothing better than a handmade gift.

2. It’s so amazingly EASY!

I mean, really. The possibilities are endless. I picked up one mug at the dollar store for this project, and I found myself wishing I’d grabbed a dozen.

I decided to go with a line from the Lorde song, “Royals.” You can call me queen bee…

To make, all you need is a mug and a Sharpee (or two). I went with black, and decided to add Read More

Mother’s Day is just a little over 3 weeks away, which means that if you’re looking to go handmade then now is the time to get planning.

Here are two of my favorite DIY projects from last year, both of which I put together for eHow’s Mom Channel:

Both activities are perfectly suited for the kids to help, or for you to tackle on your own once they’re in bed – enjoy!

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.

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.

Most of us busy parents are on the look out for new ways to squeeze extra nutrition into our growing kids. Around here, we love using our juicer and enjoying fresh fruit and veggie juice, but it’s not really something you can grab-and-go (well you can.. but not without cleaning out a clogged-up juicer later on in the day).

Fruit and veggie gummies are our latest solution for getting good nutrition in small, portable doses.

Not only are the fruits and veggies filled with vitamins, minerals and essential nutrients, these gummies have the power of gelatin as well! Gelatin is a source of dietary collagen and protein- it’s anti-inflammatory, known to improve digestion, promote healthy skin/hair/nails and more.

Read More