Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Soap for Goodness Sake -- Giveaway

I stumbled across this cute little online shop a few months ago, and just knew my readers would love this place. Soap for Goodness Sake is a one man show (well, lady actually).   Kathy Byrd, with the support of her husband John began making soaps and cosmetics back in 2001.  She studied toxins and their effects on people carefully and worked to keep harmful chemicals out of her products.

There are so many natural and organic products to chose from, and even organic baby products.  I was spoiled a while back, when I lived in Colorado.  These types of products were readily available at the corner Whole Foods (because their was practically a Whole Foods on every corner).  However in rural Maryland finding healthy, organic products is hard.  Next to impossible it seems with out traveling a long distance to find them.

What I love about Soap for Goodness Sake:

  • It's a small family company, run by a wife with the support of her husband.
  • There are so many products to choose from and her prices are very reasonable.
  • Shipping is also reasonable, which makes shopping here worthwhile.
  • She lists the ingredients of each product right on the website.  Are you a label reader? Me too. She provides it all so you can chose what product is best for you.
  • She's easy to reach.  Have a question?  Ask her. She's fabulous at checking her email, and gets back fast.
Kathy sent me a lovely shampoo and conditioner to try out.  The Exactly Geranium and Ylang Ylang Organic Shampoo and matching conditioner. My daughter and I are both using it, and it leaves our hair so soft and easy to manage.  My daughter's hair is especially tough, she has tight curls that can be a bear to manage.  This conditioner makes her hair so easy to comb out.  It smells lovely too.  I love the light fragrance I can smell when I kiss the top of her head. I also love knowing that there are no harmful chemicals, so I feel safe knowing she is using it.

We're doing a quick giveaway this week!  One lucky winner will receive a $15 gift certificate to Soaps for Goodness Sake.  Fill out the rafflecopter entry form below for your chance to win. If it's taking a long time to load (which it does sometimes) click here for my back up post. It loads faster!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, April 29, 2013

Menu Plan Monday

What a week last week was.  I didn't even get any of my posts in.  Chicken death, acquiring new chickens..house hunting, taking the kids to the aquarium.  It was an insane week last week.  Hopefully this week settles down, and I can get stuff done.  I doubt it, but one can hope.  Right?

Anyway, enough of that here's what we're eating this week.  I am so glad we do these menu plans...because when life is insane, it's nice to not have to worry about dinner.  Right?

Monday: Spring Slaw with Smoked Shrimp
Tuesday: Caribbean Seafood Stew
Wednesday: Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken
Thursday: Crispy Chicken Wings
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: My birthday, busy day
Sunday: Hubby's birthday, out for maryland crabs!

Things I'd like to make if I have time:

  • Strawberry Honey Lime Spritzer
  • Grain Free Granola Bars
  • Honey Biscuits

  • Shopping List: Totaled to just about $100
    Chicken thighs/breast
    feta cheese
    2lb bag of shrimp
    bag of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage)
    bag of organic onions
    heavy cream
    1lb of white fish (what's on sale, think haddock, cod, halibut)
    Wax paper
    dried cranberries (no sugar)
    bag of oranges
    bag of carrots
    chicken wings bulk
    frozen broccoli

    Linking back to Organizing Junkie

    Monday, April 22, 2013

    Menu Plan Monday

    We're getting to the part of the month where we're scraping the bottom of the barrel.  We have only $60 to spend on groceries this week, and here's what we're doing with that.

    Monday: Grilled Chicken leftovers
    Tuesday: Cold dinner, chicken salad on the go
    Wednesday: Taco night
    Thursday: Leftovers
    Friday: Primal Chicken Nuggets and Sweet Potato Fries
    Saturday: Grilling time!!

    Linking back to Organizing Junkie

    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    Gluten Free Banana Muffins

    I found this recipe the other day browsing the internet for healthy yummies to make for the family.  I tweaked it just a bit to suit my tastes and it was amazing, so here I am sharing it with you!

    Here's what you'll need:

    • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/4 maple syrup (or honey)
    • 3/4 cup coconut flour
    • 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp. baking soda

    Optional things to include:
    • 1/2 cup raisins
    • 1/2 chocolate chips
    • 1/2 crushed walnuts or pecans

    Pick one!


    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and line muffin tin with muffin papers, OR grease muffin tins with coconut oil.
    2. Mix bananas, applesauce, and syrup in a bowl. 
    3. When mixture is smooth, add dry ingredients.
    4. Fold in any of the optional ingredients you choose, and then fill muffin tins 3/4's the way full.
    5. Bake for 30 minutes.

    The nutrition facts were based off this recipe making 20 muffins.  I love how it rated it a C+ in nutrition, crazy nutritionists!  Anyway,  enjoy!

    Monday, April 15, 2013

    Menu Plan Monday

    This week's plan is somewhat simple.  We're always super busy at the beginning of the week, and I'm ready for the business to stop already.  It will soon, and we can slow down as the warmer weather comes.  Also, I'm mourning the loss of winter vegetables.  Spaghetti squash is no longer available at the grocery store, which just reaffirms my goal to grow all I will want/need for the following year. I love the earthy warm flavors of winter vegetables, and honestly, I'm not a fan of spring veggies..hence why I threw in one more winter casserole this week.  I'll get there, when it's hot.  As for now, I'm going to enjoy what earthy root veggies I can get my hands on.

    Monday: Spaghetti with italian sausage
    Tuesday: Salad to go
    Wednesday: Creamy Primal Chicken and Sweet Potato Casserole
    Thursday: Bourbon Mustard Pork Chops
    Friday: Leftovers
    Saturday: Grilled Chicken thighs -- Cook out!

    Linking back to Organizing Junkie

    Thursday, April 11, 2013

    Prosperity Candle Review and Giveaway

    The Journey of a Candle

    I'm so happy to introduce you to a very special candle company.  Prosperity Candle is not just a candle company, they are a social enterprise with a mission to empower women who have suffered the effects of war, and help them rebuild their lives through entrepreneurship. Prosperity Candle trains women in candle production, teaches them entrepreneurial skills to build and manage their business.  The company's focus is on creating real and sustainable market opportunities for women, as they believe that the key component to poverty alleviation is market-based solutions that complement traditional aid. I'd like to introduce you to one of the many women this company has helped.

    Meet Moo Kho.  Born in Thailand, she was taken back to Burma when she was barely four years old by her grandmother, leaving behind her mother and father.  She was not reunited with her mother for another 15 years, at which time her father had tragically died. While in Burma, she experienced the horror of her village burned down, and people brutally killed in front of her.  She fled the country and settled in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border.

    In 2008, Moo Koh, her husband and their young daughter arrived in the United States. It was part of a resettlement program in Springfield, Massachusetts coordinated by the Lutheran Family Services. Shortly after moving, she gave birth to twin daughters.  Today, Moo Kho proudly shares her accomplishments including having just been ordained as a minister in her Burmese church in Springfield.  When asked about her dreams, she quietly replies, "I am a servant of God.  Whatever God asks of me, that is what I will do."

    Moo Koh works along side other women from Burma in their studio in West Springfield, Massachusetts. For many of these women, this is their first job and most of them have just started to learn English.  They produce a large number of candles, carefully pouring wax and trimming wicks.  Prosperity Candle is expanding, and has a pilot program in Haiti, and in Iraq.

    I was sent a Peace, Prosperity, Opportunity Travel Tin to sample, straight from the studio in Springfield.  The fragrance of the candle was lovely.  Strong, but not overwhelming, I could even smell the fragrance when the candle wasn't lit.  This candle's fragrance filled my home, better than almost any candle I've tried.

    Now you get a chance to win a sample, too!  The winner of this giveaway gets one recycled bottle candle pictured below. Enter the Rafflecopter form below to try this awesome candle.  Please know it's taking a bit to load, if you don't see it below and need to hurry click here for the faster loading post.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

    Ten Reasons to grow a Vegetable Garden

    I look forward each year to growing my own vegetables.  Here's a few reasons to give it a go if you haven't already.

    1.  It's eco-friendly.  The food you grew in your back yard didn't travel 100 miles (or more) to get to your table. It's local food at it's finest, and is just a few steps away from your kitchen.
    2. It's healthy.  You know what you've put into your vegetables, what you have or haven't sprayed on them.  It will also encourage you to eat your own vegetables because you worked hard to get them!
    3. It's exercise.  Ever dig a hole?  What about digging up a hole garden? It's a work out! Weeding is too.  Gardening gets you outside, enjoy the fresh air. If you live in a hot climate like I do, make sure you do your digging and weeding first thing in the morning before the heat hits, and feel the benefits of a good work out the rest of your day.
    4. It's educational. I homeschool so I find the educational value in everything. We're beginning a botany unit study and it's perfect to start our own seeds in and watch them grow.  Great timing, too.
    5. It's cheap. This should have been #1 right? Done right with proper planning gardening can be cheap. It can be expensive, too. Ever read the $64 tomato?  If you're looking to stretch your budget, get your seeds, and get moving.  Seeds can be as cheap as $1 a packet, and you can get so much food for that dollar.
    6. It's delicious. Any food you grow yourself is going to taste better than the bland stuff they sell at the store.  The kinds of vegetables they sell at the grocery store are usually varieties created to have a long shelf life so they can survive their trek to you.  Try new varieties or even old heirlooms that were created to taste good. Imagine... a red tomato. It's a marvelous thing.
    7. It's a silent protest. I have lot's of issues with the FDA, and food in American in general.  When I grow my own food I don't buy it from someone else. Period. Don't like what's going on with food politics?  Stick it to the man, and grow it yourself. 
    8. It's therapeutic.  Kids been yelling all day?  Boss get on your nerves at work?  Go outside, and pick at your garden. Listen to the birds, the kids playing in the neighborhood and unwind.  I always feel better after I get my evening pickins in.
    9. It's beautiful. I love gardens of all kinds.  I have seen some breathtaking vegetable gardens.  Don't forget to mix in flowers and herbs in your garden.  Marigolds to keep the rabbits gone, some nasturtiums because they're yummy, and any other small little flower to attract bees and other pollinators to your back yard grocery store.
    10. It's communal. I have swapped seeds with neighbors on both sides, and across the street.  We trade heirloom seeds, garlic, whatever we have on hand just to help each other have a beautiful variety of things to grow.  We also talk about solutions to problems we all might have.  Bottom line, it gets us talking and builds community.

    Do you have a horrid brown thumb?  Next best solution to a back yard vegetable garden is joining a CSA.  Find a farmer, and keep it local!

    Monday, April 8, 2013

    Menu Plan Monday

    Busy week this week, and lots of food to squeeze in during the week.  Here's our plan that ended up being less than $100 in groceries for the week.  Here's a picture of my husband's Citrus Cumin Pork Chops, the recipe will be up soon!!

    Monday: Pan Roasted Chicken ThighsTuesday: Chicken Salad to go
    Wednesday: Italian Sausage and spaghetti
    Thursday: Citrus Cumin Pork Chops
    Friday: Primal Pizza
    Saturday: Butter Chicken
    Sunday: Leftovers

    Here's a breakfast treat I've been craving that I'll make at some point this week: Paleo Oatmeal

    Linking back to Organizing Junkie.

    Friday, April 5, 2013

    Rain Barrels -- Green Projects

    Here is a simple weekend project. Instead of paying a couple hundred bucks I don't have, I think we'll make one of these after the coop is finished.

    Mr. Sexy Voice...

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Dealing with Cancer as a New Mother - A Guest Post

    I'd like to introduce you to to Heather Von St. James, a cancer survivor.  I know this isn't a green topic, but it's one of the heart to me.  My mother is also a cancer survivor, and cancer touches everyone.  Everyone.  We all need a story of hope, and triumph now and then, and here's one that will lift your heart.  For my friend Su, who's just beginning her battle, I hope this story gives you courage.  I think of you every day and the fight you're about to begin.

    Here is Heather's story:

    Dealing With Cancer as a New Mother
    My Daughter Gave me The Courage to Triumph over Cancer
    My daughter, who is only seven years old, frequently tells people the following words: "I saved my moms life." She says these words automatically, in the same way that she tells me when she is hungry or that she is not feeling well. Her feelings about saving my life are so much a part of her nature that she says the words without even thinking about them ahead of time. A few individuals may think her words are greatly exaggerated, but these persons simply do not comprehend the underlying truth of my daughter's words. Nevertheless, I am always the first person to let people know that Lily's words are absolutely correct.   

    Cameron, my dear husband, and I never discussed the possibility of having children until we were married for seven years. I was already 35 years old, and I felt a certain amount of anxiety about the idea of having a baby at an older age. I really did not know how long we would need to wait before I got pregnant, but, after only three months after we decided to have a baby, and after taking three pregnancy tests, we received the news! I was definitely pregnant, and I was going to have the experience of being a MOM!  Whenever I reflect upon how quickly I began to act like a mother, I always start to laugh. I used to place my hand on my stomach and rub it because I knew that our tiny baby was slowly developing. I know I thought of many different things as I contemplated the thought of being a mother. What type of mommy would I be to our child? Would my baby think it was fun to spend time with me? Would I be strict enough to instill my child with good values? Would I be too strict? The only thing I really knew, more than any other thought that was floating around in my brain at the time, was that the most important thing was for me to be an excellent mother. 

    Even though I experienced a very easy pregnancy, the experience soon became more difficult. Lily was a breech birth, and I had to have an unexpected emergency C-section. I am, to this very day, shocked when I think about the degree of emotion that overpowered me the first time I held Lily. In an instant, I recognized the fact that I was going give my baby daughter an abundant amount of love, security and joy. I had the desire to help her to attain her greatest potential in life. I wanted to be her teacher and coach. I wanted to give her all the love that I was capable of giving to another person. As soon as I had the experience of holding my daughter, everything else was insignificant. I knew that my future life was going to be focused on Lily. I did not want to ever let her go. This was an incredibly perfect moment. In fact, it was so flawless that it was impossible to imagine the turmoil that was about to come into my life.

    I received the devastating medical diagnosis of malignant pleural mesothelioma 3 ½ months after my daughter was born. Besides the bad news, my physician informed me that I would only live for 15 more months unless I began a treatment program right away. I thank God for the inner strength my husband possessed when he heard the negative report. As for myself, I was in a state of shock. I could only think about my daughter. I could not imagine Lily and Cameron living their lives without my presence. While all of these thoughts were racing through my head, my husband Cams paid close attention to the available options mentioned by my physician. Cameron didn't wait for as long as one minute to decide that we were going to travel to the place that offered the most drastic treatment plan. We went to Boston and met with a famous mesothelioma doctor who performed a complex surgical operation that involved removing my left lung, the lining of my heart and my diaphragm. I spent a total of 18 days in the hospital and an additional two weeks in an excellent Boston outpatient clinic. After this period passed, I traveled to my mom and dad's house to recuperate. I spent two months in South Dakota with my parents, who took care of Lily. At the end of the two-month period, I traveled back to my house in Minnesota to start chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

    I believe I did what any other mother would do in the same situation. I made sacrifices so that I could provide Lily with the care she needed while she was growing up. I had to spend one month away from Lily, which was very difficult. But, my little daughter enabled me to conquer my fears and undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

    When I think about my experience with mesothelioma, a type of cancer that has a survival rate of only 5 percent, I know that the thought of being a mom helped me to fight the battle. The reason why I was able to continue was because I knew that Lily was going to need me for a long time. So, when Lily tells people, "I saved my mom from dying," she is stating a true fact.

    Tuesday, April 2, 2013

    Rockfish is Sexy

    Our neighbor is a fisher, hunter type, and a generous one too (Hi Dan!!). A while back he came over with about 5 pounds of rockfish he had caught. We were so obliged to take it (thank you thank you thank you!!!). Rockfish is Maryland speak for striped sea bass, or sexy deliciousness.

    I found a great recipe, and simplified it because I really can't cook (I just pretend). This was the most delicious "stuff your face" rendition of rockfish I've had in a long time. You can impress your friends and make them think you're a fabulous cook, because this is amazing.

    Start off with about one and half to two pounds of fish.   I put mine in an 8x8 cooking dish, but the dish
    doesn't matter so long as the fish fits.

    Here's the list of ingredients you'll need:

    • 1/4 cup of butter, melted
    • 2 tbs lemon juice
    • 1/4 tsp dried parsley, a fist full of fresh parsley, chopped well.
    • Generous sprinkling of almond flour (about 1/4 cup)
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • and a dash of old bay because this is Maryland, and it's just wrong not to.

    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Melt the butter and mix in the lemon juice.  Pour the mixture on your fish.
    3. Sprinkle a generous amount of almond flour on top of your fish.  This turns into a yummy crust.  
    4. Add your salt and pepper on top of the fish, along with your old bay.  I went light on the old bay, seemed to be just enough.
    5. Sprinkle your parsley on top, and stick it in the oven for about 20 minutes uncovered.  Your fish is done when you can pull it apart with a fork, so if it doesn't flake easily, give it a few more minutes

    This fellah took me 30 minutes of cooking to get this lovely flaking.  The thicker your fish, the longer it takes.  We served ours up with a huge salad with some lemon garlic salad dressing just so we didn't mess with the awesome flavors too much.  I probably would have fried up some spinach if I wasn't the only one in the house that likes it.   The fish however was a hit with everyone.

    Monday, April 1, 2013

    Menu Plan Monday

    I already feel off this week. It's been a busy weekend and I didn't get to sit and plan like I need to.  Here's to the most thrown together menu plan yet. No fooling here...happy April Fool's day. :)

    Monday: Crockpot Chili
    Tuesday: Chicken and Mushrooms
    Wednesday: Taco night
    Thursday: Primal chicken nuggets, with broccoli and cheese
    Friday: Chicken Parm with spaghetti squash

    For more menus check out Organizing Junkie


    Related Posts with Thumbnails