The BEST Resolution for 2013

Happy New Year! Let’s talk about the BEST new year’s resolutions for 2013.

2013 is the year of the GREEN. Make your main goal for the year a commitment to being more eco-friendly. When you strive to be green, you fulfill resolutions every day. Whether you want to save money, lose weight, or have a positive impact on your community, being green has a solution for every goal.

green new year's resolutions

To help you get started, I’ve assembled 13 ways to incorporate natural living into your family.

PICK ONE and leave a comment to choose your resolution for 2013.

13. Recycling

12. Cloth Diapering

11. Avoiding GMO-Foods

10. Composting

9. Breastfeeding

8. Babywearing

7. Natural labor

6. Green cleaning supplies

5. Using cloth towels

4. Minimizing food waste

3. Reusing food storage containers

2. Enriching young minds

The #1 way to be more green in 2013 is to GROW GREEN THINGS!

1. Gardening

I’m on a mission to grow better kids and I’m planning to do this by raising gardeners. I am positive that a passion for gardening will improve life for the next generation. Not everyone who is green is going to change the world. A lot of people don’t want to change the world at all. However, a path of light footprints will leave the world a better place. You can start in your own home by making small changes to use your resources more effectively, and gradually tackling bigger and better challenges as being green gets easier.

When you set your mind on a green intention, let it grow.

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2012 Highlights from Eco Incognito

The best word to describe 2012 for our family is: BUSY! We watched Hannah grow into a delightfully spirited toddler, welcomed Audrey into the world, and purchased a new home. Time has raced by at lightning speed, but we have accomplished so much. I can see it as I look around our house, which Zac has transformed into a beautiful home. Each time my girls accomplish a new task, I’m inspired by their growth. I am also thrilled that this blog is burgeoning into a thriving social community on Twitter and Facebook. I love connecting with you all and am look forward to providing exciting new content in 2013!

I visited the archives and want to showcase YOUR FAVORITE POSTS from 2012. Thank you readers for taking the time to learn about the positive impact that Natural Parenting has on my family. Click on the links to read the posts below. Not surprisingly, these are my favorites, too!

There’s No Place Like Home

The Unspoken Rule of Babywearing

Put Some Dirt On It

Triage

Teflon Party Crashers

Reverse Tech Christmas

The Trash Man

We’re wrapping up the year with a visit from family. It is delightful to have our home filled with the people we care for the most during this special time of year. I hope that your final days of 2012 are peaceful and enjoyable. More than anything, I hope that you feel loved.

Happy New Year, friends!

How to Write the Perfect Thank You Note

In this digital age, a hand-written thank you note can make a bigger impact than ever. A thank you note is always welcome and should be one of the first things that you think of doing after receiving a gift. You can even send a thank you to a host of an event! The most thoughtful notes will start with a salutation and greeting. They should then list the gift and how you intend to use it. Finally, you can close with an intention to see the gifter again.

Tradition dictates that a thank you should go out within 24 hours of receiving a gift, but there are extensions for special circumstances like weddings or births. Any child that can make a legible mark should be encouraged to assist with writing the note or including a picture. For eco friendly options, you can choose a card printed on recycled paper, cut a calendar, or cut a favorite greeting card into a postcard to reuse.

thank you note

Example:

Dear Someone Special,

I hope you had a wonderful Holiday season! I was thrilled to receive your generous gift of ($). It was so thoughtful of you to think of our family at Christmastime. I’m planning to use the money to purchase a beautiful set of drapes that I’ve been eager to use as a decoration in my home. I also loved the delightful, handmade ornament that you sent for our tree. We hope to see you soon in the new year.

With love, (Fondly, Best, All our love,)

Happy Recipient

Merry Christmas! Ornament Show & Tell

You may already know that we are eagerly anticipating Christmas in my home if you read the post Why I Believe in Santa Claus. When my friend Jo-Lynne from Musings of a Housewife suggested an Ornament Show & Tell, I eagerly jumped at the chance to take pictures of our tree and stroll down memory lane. You can see the rest of the ornament show & tell from other bloggers by clicking the photo below.
Christmas Ornament Show & Tell with Musings of a Housewife
My Favorite Things

We’re celebrating back-t0-back Baby’s First Christmases in this house and I am overwhelmed with joy this season. This summer, we purchased a new home and my husband has worked feverishly to complete all the updates on our fixer-upper in time to host his family for the celebration. They are arriving today and tomorrow from Kansas and Seattle. We can’t wait to welcome them into our home! I’ve been ‘working’ with Hannah to learn how to say Merry Christmas by reciting the phrase each time we pass the tree, but she has yet to attempt it. I have faith that she will catch on soon since she seems as enthusiastic about the season as we are. I can hardly keep her away from the tree and, luckily, we’ve only lost 2 ornaments to the clamoring hands of TODZILLA.

This authentic Douglas Fir fills our foyer with the spirit of the season.

This authentic Douglas Fir fills our foyer with the spirit of the season.

Zac and I shared our first Christmas together in 2008. Our tree occupied most of the living room of our small apartment and we decked it with classic gold and red ornaments. Since that year, our family has furnished a delightful collection of ornaments to showcase along with a few of our favorites.

After the jump, I’m taking you between the boughs for a sneak peak at the ornaments I reach for first in the storage boxes. Plus, I’ve shared our Christmas e-card.

Merry Christmas friends and family!

Continue reading

Sticky Situations Facebook Contest – Wet Ones

A few weeks ago I entered a fun contest on Facebook for Sticky Situations. As a Mom of two under two, you can imagine that I find my way into those on a daily basis! Since you can win an iPad or Six Flags tickets for the family, I’m sharing with you so that you can enter, too!

Visit the Facebook page here to upload your photo and story for a chance to win: https://www.facebook.com/momcentral/app_248884015238315

Sticky Situations Contest

Even though it’s not literally sticky, this is my entry:

On Black Friday, I tried to keep up with the Holiday shopping deals and let my toddler have a little extra leeway with her toys. Needless to say, Hurricane Hannah stormed through the room and left a trail of sticky fingerprints all over the place. I deal with sticky situations like everything else… with a smile and a solution. A deep clean after bedtime was all it took to renew the room for another day with two under two.

hurricane hannah

Disclosure: I participated in a campaign on behalf of Mom Central Consulting for Wet Ones. I received a promotional item to thank me for participating.

Squooshi Reusable Food Pouches Review + GIVEAWAY

I’m so excited to introduce you to Squooshi reusable food pouches! They are an eco-friendly alternative to the handy puree dispensers that all our kids love. My favorite part is that the pouches boast a design of lovable animals that kids will love.

When I first saw food pouches in the baby aisle, I was skeptical. Since they were pricey and looked like a projectile food squeezer, I avoided buying any for my daughter until I started planning our recent flight to Florida. They looked so convenient, so I gave one a shot and she LOVED it. As soon as I knew that the dispenser was a sure-fire way to get my daughter to eat a healthy snack of fruits and veggies, I set out to find a way to make the snacks more affordable. I happily discovered the Squooshi.

The Squooshi is remarkably easy to clean and fill. It works just like a zip-lock baggie to seal in food at the bottom and comes with the same lock-tite fasteners you find on the disposable alternatives. You can fill your Squooshi with applesauce, yogurt, or a homemade puree. They will even go into the freezer! I prop mine on a bottle rack to dry, but you can also purchase a convenient wooden stand to dry yours.

squooshi reusable food pouch

I highly recommend using the Squooshi. A four pack costs about $18 and will pay for itself after just one jar of applesauce when you consider the pricey alternative of purchasing disposable food pouches again and again. Plus, they are better for the environment since there is no waste. If you do choose to purchase Plum Organics food pouches and you live in Chester County, I hope you will join my recycling brigade to collect and repurpose the pouches. Follow #ChescoPlumDrop and this blog for more information.

Get your Squooshis online here: http://squooshi.com/

GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

You can have a chance to win your very own set of four Squooshis to refill and enjoy over and over (because we all finish them for our kids) right now. Simply leave a comment letting me know what you’ll put in your Squooshi. You can search their website for inspiration by clicking here. This contest ends on December 28.

Disclosure: Thank you to Squooshi for the food pouches to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

Udi’s Gluten Free Cinnamon Toast Recipe

Ho ho ho! It’s time for delicious treats for the Holidays.

We are eager to get into the spirit of the season, but we are so busy that baking hasn’t been an option yet. I’m actively trying to promote health and wellness in our home, too. I’ve always tried to have a balanced diet, but recently I’ve taken my quest to a whole new level. Inspired by GMO news, friends with allergies, and a general quest for food that makes you feel good, I decided to try Udi’s Gluten Free products.

Last week Udi’s sent me a box of goodies for inspiration to create the perfect Christmas treat for my family. We’ve got old fashioned routes in our cooking (the cast iron skillet is king), but we are so pressed for time with our two little ones these days. I kept my treat super simple. In fact, you probably don’t even need a recipe to replicate this cinnamon toast!

Udis Christmas cinnamon toast

Step 1: Toast a slice of Udi’s Gluten Free bread.

Step 2: Use a cookie cutter to create a shape that fits your Holiday theme.

Step 3: Butter your toast.

Step 4: Lightly dust with a cinnamon/sugar mixture.

Step 5: Enjoy in front of a fire while basking in the glow of lights from the Christmas Tree. (Variations include listening to carols, playing cards with the family, or reading ‘Twas the night before Christmas.)

I truly hope that even if you are pressed for time, you can find delightful ways to fill your home with healthy snacks in the spirit of the season! Happy eating and Merry Christmas.

Disclosure: I received samples of Udi’s to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.