Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Wordless Wednesday October 31st, 2012: Pumpkin Time!

Breastfeeding a baby, dressed as a pumpkin dressed as a bunny, on a hayride. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Meal Plan Monday: October 29th, 2012


Butternut Squash Sauce Spaghetti

Potato Leek Soup

Homemade Pizza

Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Pan Gravy

Palek Paneer 

Minestrone Soup and Baguettes

2-3 carrots; chopped
1-2 celery stalks; diced
2 garlic clove; minced
1 pint jar crushed tomatoes
2 qts veggie broth
2 cups cooked white beans
1 qt frozen green beans
salt and pepper
16 oz gluten free noodles; prepared
2 cups kale, chopped
1/2 cup grated Parmesan

In a large pot, saute carrot, celery, onion and garlic over medium heat until they begin to brown. Add tomatoes and their liquid  and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the broth and cannellini beans and bring to a simmer. Add the green beans and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.
Add noodles and kale and stir until wilted. Salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle the soup into bowls and sprinkle with the Parmesan.

Meal Plan Monday

Friday, October 26, 2012

Natural Parents Network Holiday Giveaway: The Babywearing Workout

This is a joint giveaway between Natural Parents Network and many other natural parenting sites. You may enter for all of the giveaways at one site only. Please find the section marked "Win it!" for the mandatory entry and optional bonus entries.
Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide

Welcome to the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide!

Natural Parents Network, www.trueconfessionsofarealmommy.blogspot.com, and 24 other natural parenting bloggers are giving away 89 items perfect for gifting for the holidays as part of the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide. The combined total value of all of the items is $2,550. Have you finished your holiday shopping? The NPN Holiday Gift Guide is a great opportunity to complete your gift-giving purchases for family and friends, while supporting many naturally-minded small businesses. The companies who have provided items for giveaway are almost exclusively made up of small businesses or work-at-home families. Please stop back to enter the giveaway. The Rafflecopter entry system will be live November 1 on this post (and on every post participating in the Gift Guide). Please visit some of the other review posts listed below and read about the fabulous companies offering giveaways in the Natural Parents Network Holiday Gift Guide.

We love our babies, and most of us need to show love to our bodies. Get the best of both worlds when you strap on your favorite carrier and join Kelli Roschak, Mama and creator of the workout, in her Babywearing Workout. Enjoy getting your sweat on while keeping baby happy, and maybe even getting them to sleep! The video starts out with some handy wearing tips and eases baby into the moving groove. I am especially fond of how she modifies mid movement to adapt to her child's needs.

The workout is simple enough, the benefits coming from getting you up and moving and the continued weight resistance as your baby grows. None of the movements are jarring or difficult. You may need to modify for yourself, but the exercises involved are easy to do that with. L3 mostly had a blast, I just hope Kelli comes up with a back wearing video next!

Our Rafflecopter entry system is now open.

MANDATORY ENTRY: In the box provided in the first Rafflecopter entry, tell us where you would have your prize shipped if you are one of the winners. You must enter your name and email address while leaving a comment in the Rafflecopter system for your entry to count.
Leave a valid email address so we can contact you if you win. Email addresses in Rafflecopter are not made publicly visible. Please leave the same valid email address in your mandatory comment so we can verify entries.

This is part of a larger giveaway hosted by Natural Parents Network. You may enter the whole giveaway at one site only, and we'll be recording IP addresses to ensure that there are no duplicate entries. That said, please do visit and enjoy all of the participating sites!

Please note that each entrant can win only one prize, and NPN will be randomly assigning prizes to the winners. One of the giveaway questions asks which are your top five prizes so we can try to match winners to their preferences.

See the Rafflecopter entry system for bonus entries to increase your chance of winning after completing the mandatory entry. All bonus entries are entered directly into Rafflecopter. Give it a try, and email sponsorship {at} naturalparentsnetwork.com or leave a comment if you have any questions!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thank you for your interest in the Natural Parents Network Gift Guide! We invite you to read the reviews of other participating bloggers and return to enter the giveaway between November 1 and 25. Many of the giveaway items are open worldwide!

Here are the participating sites and companies. (Reviews go live between October 25 and October 31, and all links will be live by November 1.) We’ve included any coupon codes the companies have offered so you can get your holiday shopping under way!

Publishing on Thursday, October 25, 2012

Publishing on Friday, October 26, 2012

Publishing on Saturday, October 27, 2012

Publishing on Sunday, October 28, 2012

Publishing on Monday, October 29, 2012

Publishing on Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Publishing on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Disclosure: Our reviewer received a sample product
for review purposes.
Some links are affiliate links.
We try to seek out only products we think you would find
relevant and useful to your life as a natural parent.
If we don't like a product, we won't be recommending it to you.
See our full disclosure policy here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Wordless Wednesday October 24th, 2012: Smiles!

Making Halloween

Welcome to the October 2012 Simplicity Parenting Carnival: Holidays
This post was written as part of the monthly Simplicity Parenting Carnival hosted by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM. This month we are discussing how we simplify the holiday season. Be sure to read to the end to see a list of the rest of the excellent carnival contributors.

I love Halloween! Dressing up, getting goofy and a little scary, candy, cute kids running around with many variations of "Trick or Treat!" But, that doesn't mean we have to spend a lot to enjoy ourselves! We like to mix commercial costume apparel with on hand pieces or thrift store finds. We also have no qualms with reusing a theme!

Our first Halloween with L1 we found a pea pod bunting and wore Mike's culinary school uniforms. 

Our first Halloween with L2 we started our Star Wars theme. Our  little Ewok was a  second hand bear suit with some scrap fur and a leather vest.
(Yes, I know better than to use this kind of outfit in the carseat now.)
More thrift store finds as well as a jedi tunic that was really just a bolt of muslin fabric! The robes were made from  fabric a friend found while downsizing their stash.
Because Jedis were baby wearers too!
Reusing the bolt of muslin to fashion pirate shirts, adding party favor accessories.  My rainbow fairy  is courtesy of a hippy wardrobe and some borrowed wings!

There is no need to overspend or even create more waste with a brand new retail costume every year. This year my boys have chosen whole new costume ideas, so we are on the lookout to pieces to complete them. I can't wait to see how they turn out! Where do your costumes come from?

Thanks for reading the Simplicity Parenting Blog Carnival! We hope you’ll take time to read these other great contributors’ posts: SimParCarButton150x150
  • Choosing Your Battles - Molly at Molly Makes Do talks about ways to keep your holidays simple and remain on speaking terms with your relatives.
  • Making Halloween - JW at True Confessions of a Real Mommy says “No need to spend a lot this Halloween! Check out some easy, frugal ideas for dressing your family up!”
  • Hibernating During Halcyon - Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children and her family are gearing up for the Halcyon celebrations and enjoying some quiet time as a family.
  • Savoring Family Time (or, Simple Homemade Gifts) - Emily at S.A.H.M. i AM is trying to prepare for the holidays early so she can slow down and enjoy time with her family as the days grow shorter and a new baby enters their lives.
  • 7 Green Gifts for Toddlers - Shannon at GrowingSlower shares unique green gift ideas for kids this holiday season that are sure to be green mom approved.
  • Less is More: Simplifying the Holidays to Make Room for More of What Matters - Amy at Anktangle shares a few easy strategies she uses to keep the holidays manageable, stress-free, and fun!
  • buy nothing x-mas? - mama lola at bear & lion describes what christmas is all about to her and her family; treats, music, crafts and LOVE!
  • DIY holiday fun - Justine at The Lone Home Ranger revels in thrifting for and making her own holiday gifts and decorations.
Thanks to all the fabulous writers and readers for being a part of our simplicity parenting community! Stop by The Lone Home Ranger and S.A.H.M. i AM to see how to join us for a future carnival.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Meal Plan Monday: October 22nd, 2012

Seems like we are ready for some of our favorite comfort foods this week. Fall is in full swing, and we are cozying up with our daily afternoon tea just to warm up after playing.

Mom’s Healthy Italian Lentils and Pasta Recipe

Masaman Curry

New World Shrimp

Chicken Enchiladas

Baked Ziti


Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Meal Plan Monday

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Sustainable Living: Balancing Price and Ethics

Welcome to the October 2012 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Ethical Shopping Choices This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about how they make purchasing choices.
If you have ever had a chance to check out our meal plans, you know we eat pretty well. What you may not know is that I do it on a pretty limited budget (less than $1 person/meal). So,  I have to constantly make choices that balance values, nutrition, and budget.

Picking blueberries.
We choose to do what we can to first choose local. We live in the Pacific Northwest, so it is easier than many places. I was able to save up a bit over the summer to make a bulk purchase of dry goods that were mostly local and organic through a group. We frequent farmer's markets and a local produce stand where we meet the owners and hope we can trust their answers. Because we get to know our sources, we stand a better chance at getting a better deal.
Things like rice and pasta fill our bellies for longer periods, and there just isn't a local source for these. If there is, the price difference is so drastic, I can't justify it. My budget isn't just there to help manage our funds, it IS our funds, and when it is gone, that is it. So, if I can feed my family 4 times with imported over once with the local, then so be it.

All from my garden at my mom's house.
Firstly, just to balance between the Local and Organic/Humane categories is tricky.
We purchase produce through a CSA that works with not just local organic sources, but distant ones so we can treat ourselves to things like bananas and oranges.
After that, we just flat out can not afford to buy everything organic. We can't afford to always eat pastured, grass fed, free range, etcetera. But, I feel these are important things. So instead we choose to limit our meat intake, so we can splurge for that amazing grass fed beef roast. I think we only buy it twice a year, and it is a big occasion. I try to attend to the Dirty Dozen but have grace for the Clean Fifteen.

Fair Trade
We drink coffee every day. I think that for something we are going to consume every day, we are especially responsible to make sure it is clean, and sustainable. It took us a little bit to find a way to enjoy this morning ritual frugally as well as sustainably, but it seems to be becoming more common to find.  There have been times when we chose to go without over purchasing less responsible sources.

Our Garden
We work hard to supplement our budget with our own garden. We don't own our home, and only recently moved out of apartment living, so my garden is at my mom's house. I spend the fall preserving all the bounty I can get my hands on. This helps us enormously, and I am so grateful for the help my family is in creating that space and cultivating that.

Digging potatoes.

Doesn't that all sounds so great and idyllic?  It is all how we truly want to be. We do our best to manage it. But honestly: we are only partially there. There were times when groceries are a concern and we are scraping the back of the pantry for something to fill our children's bellies. For us, it all comes down to constantly reminding ourselves that we do not need a constant supply of any particular food, so we can be discernable when we do treat ourselves. If we can't afford to eat humanely raised meat every day then we don't need to be eating meat every day. By focusing on local in season. Choosing our priorities and doing the best we can with what we have. And counting our blessings with every bite we take.

Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: October 17th, 2012

Our unschool group dyed play silks!

Spice Up That Pumpkin!

Welcome to the Festival of Food Carnival. In celebration of autumn and Halloween, we're sharing recipe ideas for healthy treats, or anything you would enjoy this time of year. Hosted by Diary of a First Child and Hybrid Rasta Mama, you're welcome to join us next time, or if you have a previously published recipe you'd like to share, add it to the linky below.

That time of year has come again. Crisp air. Gorgeous leaf colors. Pumpkin EVERYTHING. Seriously. I love pumpkin. Lattes, scones, muffins, breads, doughnuts, chai... Oh so many sweet, sweet treats to indulge my love of pumpkin. Boy was I excited to come across this tasty dish. I tweeked it a bit, and tried a few things (including leaving out the mango nectar. Don't do that.) and now it is a perfect gluten and dairy free dinner for those blustery nights. You can even leave out the chicken for a vegan option that is every bit as good.

Thai-Style Pumpkin Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
6 chicken breasts - cubed
3 garlic cloves - minced
1 tbsp ginger
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
2-4 stalks celery - diced
2-4 carrots - diced
2c pumpkin
1/2c peanut butter
6c stock
1/2c mango nectar
1/2c lime juice
3 tbsp rice vinegar
1/2c cilantro - divided
1 can of coconut milk
1 tbsp cornstarch
2-4c rice
3 green onions - minced
1/2c peanuts - chopped

Cook chicken, garlic, ginger, and red pepper in skillet. Transfer to crock pot, add celery, carrot, pumpkin, peanut butter, stock, mango nectar, lime juice, rice vinegar, and 1/4c cilantro on HIGH. In separate bowl, combine cornstarch and coconut cream, add to soup and simmer on high until thickened. When ready to eat, ladle around rice, top with cilantro and peanuts.Please take a moment to visit the blogs of our other Festival of Food participants. The links in this list will be live by the end of the day, as participants are all in different time zones.
Stay connected! Be sure to "Like" the 
Festival of Food Carnival Facebook page.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meal Plan Monday: October 15th, 2012

It is my BIRTHDAY!

But, I still have to make dinner. A mommy's job is never done.

Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes

Shrimp Fried Rice and Stir Fry

Chicken and French Fries

Italian Sausage & White Bean Soup 
Olive oil 
1 lb. ground Italian sausage or veggie sausage
4 garlic cloves
1 diced yellow onion
2-3 celery stalks; diced
2-3 carrots; diced
4 cups chicken or veggie stock
3 cups of soaked & cooked Great Northern white beans (about two 15oz. cans, rinsed)
1 tsp salt
smattering of "italian" like herbs (oregano, thyme, rosemary, basil, whatever you like)
4 cups kale
Parmesan cheese

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, brown sausage. Drain, move to a bowl and set aside.
Reheat stockpot over medium heat, add olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté until veggies are tender. Add the sausage (any juices) back to the stockpot, two cups of water, the stock, beans, herbs, salt, pepper and a handful of parmesan cheese. Bring soup to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer covered for 8-10 minutes.
Turn off the heat. Stir in kale. Cover to allow spinach to wilt a few minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and top with more parmesan.

Meal Plan Monday