4 great meal planning apps

Does cooking dinner totally stress you out? These 4 meal planning apps have helped me save time cooking health, kid-friendly meals.

We’ve just begun our meal planning challenge and my hubby & I have been creating a core list of recipes we know ( and enjoy) cooking & eating.

What I’ve found to be the keys to meal planning are:

+ finding easy to cook recipes your family loves ( and that are healthy)

+ planning on making those meals during the week

+ preparing to make the meals ahead of time

Meal prep is something that we home cooks tend to not know much about. Or at least, I was never taught how to meal prep. Nor to cook! When my amazing home-cook-mama got in cooking mode, the whole family knew not to bother her. She would cook elaborate meals that were incredible ( she’s a fellow Brit so we had lots of roasts) but they were very time consuming for her and stressful.

While I wish that I too could whip up elaborate English meals like she did, I’m happier with finding easy to make recipes that are my allergy-prone family can eat and enjoy.

Thankfully, there are lots of great ( free and affordable) meal planning apps that have helped us plan better, and learn how to do meal prep.

In today’s post, I wanted to share with you a few of my fav and hope that in the comments you’ll let me know what your favorite meal planning apps are!

My Favorite Meal Planning Apps 

Plate Joy is perhaps my favorite of all the apps I’ve tried. While it’s not a free service, you do get a free trial and it’s really worth doing. I actually got an extended trial so I could thoroughly review it before I wrote this post, and I plan on signing up for the paid version too. ( site note: I’m not an affiliate at the time of this writing but may sign up at some point).

When you sign up for Plate Joy, you let the service/app know what types of dietary requirements you have, plus how many members are in your family. It then curates easy to make and healthy meals for you based on your desires. For us, we are pescatarians ( we eat seafood but no other form of meat) so we got a mix between vegetarian and fish recipes. I really loved the array of breakfast options, as well as savory and sweet snacks. 

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As part of your membership, the service also generates shopping lists and adds recipes to pdf format, which is a fantastic feature; you can simply download the pdf of your week’s meals to your phone or iBook app ( or Dropbox) or print it off.

Plate Joy costs around 12 dollars a month and it has a free trial period.

Another app I enjoy is Meal Plan by Filibaba. If you and your family are vegetarian ( or flexitarian and looking for more veggie recipes), you will like this app! Meal Plan essentially curates vegetarian recipes from its other apps ( Filibaba is a Swedish company that creates recipe apps) based on which meal plan you choose. I really like the New Basics and Budget Meals plans. From vegan palak paneer to mac and cheese, this meal planning app has a good selection of kid-friendly vegan meals.

This app has both a free and paid version, and I use the free one.

Jamie Oliver’s Ultimate Recipes app is another family favorite. We invested in the paid one, and it’s well worth the 7 or so dollars we paid to get access to hundreds of his recipes, with visual step by step guides to cooking each meal. From ‘retro chocolate bananas’ to shrimp kebabs, this app has something for everyone, especially kids!

If you don’t want to buy the paid app, you can get the free version, which has a selection of recipes available once a week for you to choose from.

The last meal planning app I enjoy using is Yummly. This free app curates recipes based on what types of cuisine you enjoy. I found a really good avocado, spinach, and carmalized onion quesadilla recipe I made the other day, which sold me on using Yummly more often. The down side is the app sends you to other places to get the recipes-ie blogs- and it took me a while to find the blogger’s actual recipe. Maybe it was just that particular blogger that had a somewhat disorganized blog post but it was slightly frustrating. There are also ads in the app.

What meal planning apps and resources do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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Join our free holistic meal planning challenge!

 

Looking to cook more meals at home but not sure where to begin? Join our free challenge and get curated resources and tips on how to plan healthy meals!

It was a night like pretty much any other. We had been running errands all day, and when we got home, we basically all said in unison ‘I’m hungry!’.

And like usual, we had nothing planned. No meal prep whatsoever, and nothing in the freezer we could throw together. To top it all off, no restaurant in our area was open so take away wasn’t an option.

We ended up having spaghetti for dinner and my husband makes a mean arrabiata sauce. The thing is that we tend to eat the exact same meals day in and day out, with zero variety. 

With this in mind, my husband and I have decided to challenge ourselves to learning one new doable recipe per week that we can then add into our meal planning options, and then learn to plan ahead and get the ingredients in necessary to make dinner 4-5 times per week.

If you too are struggling with a limited repertoire of go-to meals and meal planning feels almost impossible, join our month-long meal planning challenge!

I’ll be sharing here on the blog and on Instagram curated resources ( recipes), tips, and other suggestions that we’re finding helpful as we begin learning to cook more dinners at home. Share with us your progress by using the hashtag #holisticmealplanning on Instagram so we can learn from you and give you support along the way!

You may also like…5 superfoods to boost your health

Where To Begin

Your first action step is to find 5 blogs, books, or apps filled with health recipes that meat your family’s dietary requirements. Jamie Oliver’s app is a great start, as are his books.

These five recipe resources will be where you then plan one new recipe to try each week. You can absolutely try more than one, but the goal here is to make this doable and affordable.

What meal do you plan on making this week? Leave a comment below and let us know! And don’t forget to tag your photos on Instagram with #holisticmealplanning so we can take a peak at what you made! 

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5 must-have superfoods for your holistic kitchen

These must-have superfoods are affordable and tasty!

 

Are you looking to incorporate more superfoods into your family’s diet? In today’s post, we’re going to go over some of our family’s personal favs and their benefits, plus how you can incorporate them into your daily regime.

1.) Turmeric

Part of the ginger family, turmeric is pretty epic in its ability to heal everything from wounds to gastrointestinal issues. When I was studying at an Ayurvedic clinic in India, I remember the Doctor explaining to me how turmeric is used throughout Indian cuisine not just because it adds colour and a light flavour to food, but because of its health properties.

Curcumin- one of the beneficial compounds of turmeric-has the ability to actually kill cancer cells, according to research by Dr. Sharon Mckenna from the Cork Cancer Research Center.

We take turmeric both in capsule form ( it’s commonly used here to treat stomach cramps) and also cook with it. Kaya likes to have it on her eggs as its not an overpowering flavor and tastes quite good on the yolk. I also add loads of it into soups and even pasta sauce!

2.) Cayenne Pepper ( capsicum)

Famed student of the legendary herbalist Dr. Christopher, Dr. Richard Schulze is probably the world’s biggest enthusiast about cayenne pepper. From relieving joint pain to increasing circulation and even healing ulcers, cayenne pepper does it all. Or at least it almost does it all!

Is this why so many cultures consume spicy food?

3.) Coconut Oil

Growing up in Europe caused me to fall in love with olive oil. But when I discovered coconut oil, I was hooked! Now, we cook most of our food with organic coconut oil from local coconuts.

This miraculous oil has sadly become used less where I live ( Thailand) and has been replaced with cheap, highly processed palm oil. But due to international interest in its health benefits, coconut oil is making a comeback here and growing in popularity by the day internationally.

Lauric acid ( a compound in coconut oil) is converted into monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin is antibacterial and antiviral. The healthy fatty acids in coconut oil make it an excellent moisturizer and conditioner. It’s also delicious, so you can use it to replace your usual cooking oil. Some people actually add it to their coffee!

4.) Schizandra

Master herbalist Ron Teeguarden’s favorite herb, schizandra is the ‘herb that does it all’. When our family lived in Korea, we could buy the dried berries at almost all supermarkets as it is consumed in tea form throughout Korea and other parts of Asia. However, Schizandra isn’t well known in the West.

Schizandra is revered for its rejuvinating and skin beautifying properties. Whenever I take it in capsule or tea form, I never need to moisturize. My skin feels soft and people claim I look younger. It is also claimed to help concentration and has energizing properties. This is absolutely me all-time favorite supplement to take and it’s a must-have!

You can also add tried schizandra berries to honey and take a teaspoon of the mixture each day. My daughter just eats the berries plain, and so does my husband, but I think most kids won’t like the taste of them as they are quite sour and bitter.

Related Post: Our Favorite Natural Skincare Products 

5.) Yerba Mate

The best way to start the day, in my humble opinion, is with a piping hot mug of yerba mate. It’s an antioxidant powerhouse with an ORAC value of 6000 units ( fyi, that is huge). On top op it being healthy, it is the ultimate pick-me-up.

Professor Elvira de Meija from the University of Illinois has stated, ‘ “The caffeine derivatives in mate tea not only induced death in human colon cancer cells, they also reduced important markers of inflammation.”

The world is filled with superfoods of many varieties and that can easily be incorporated into your daily diet. The ones I’ve listed above are a great starting ground and have been invaluable to our family’s journey to wellness.

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How to create a home apothecary

 

Tips on how to create your own home apothecary with natural remedies ( like herbs and essential oils)

Creating our home apothecary has been a fun journey for our family. As we learned more and more about herbs, we wanted to have home remedies available to help any ailment we encountered. We began learning about local herbs and how important they are to Thai cuisine, and we also started stocking up on essential oils and Chinese herbal combinations that we have had help us balance our moods and improve our health.

 

While our home apothecary is still a work in progress, today I wanted to share with you some tips on how to begin creating your own!

 

1.) Learn about local plants, herbs, and remedies

We don’t live in North America, so it was integral for us to start learning about herbs native to Thailand. There are some that are universally renowned for their healing properties ( like ginger and holy basil) while others have no latin name ( that I could find) are only found here or in South East Asia. I started by asking friends about the various herbs in their gardens or that grew near my house, and asked how they used them.

You’ll most likely find many medicinal plants growing in your area. Start by researching and asking local herbalist about those that are indigenous to your area and how you can cultivate and preserve them, plus their uses.

 

2.) Create a list of common treatable ailments 

Does your child suffer from asthma or a food allergy? Do you struggle with falling asleep at night?

Start by making a list of things you’re family are struggling with, both physical and mental issues. Focus on alleviating reoccuring issues as well as minor cuts, scrapes, wounds, etc that can happen to us all.

Related post: 5 basic steps to a healthier home

3.) Allot an area in your home to your apothecary

Our home apothecary is located near the kitchen and is easily accessible. Our daughter has her own stash of kid-safe essential oil blends that she put inside a toy box. She regularly gives guests a tour of our apothecary, and highlights her essential oil area!

Stock up on empty bottles and containers for herbal blends and preparations, and put them in your apothecary section after they’re filled and labeled.

 

4.) Begin educating yourself on natural remedies 

One of the most important things we can all do in today’s world is to begin learning as much as we can about holistic nutrition and natural health & wellness. This starts by becoming inquisitive and doing research, and talking with local herbalists and holistic health practitioners. But you can also learn much on your own through reading books and enrolling in online or local classes.

Begin by purchasing a few books or ebooks on wellness subjects that interest you and that help you with the current ailments you’re facing. Your local library is a great place to start, and you can also check out the super useful herbalism and essential oils book & course bundle from Ultimate Bundles, which includes discounted courses and totally free essential oils. I’m a proud affiliate of it and have already purchased mine! One of the courses ( from the Herbal Academy of New England) is a total must-have if you’re wanting to create an herbal materia medica so you can start documenting herbs and plants in your area.

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A Great Resource For Homemakers


It’s not like you expected homemaking to be a piece of cake.

But you had no idea you’d be so tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed, right?

I’ve often felt the same way. When I first became a wife and mom years ago, I needed GPS to find my way around the kitchen. Oh, and developing systems to efficiently handle laundry and cleaning? Um… do I have to answer that?

Homemaking is filled with mundane tasks that never end, but here’s the thing: do you want to spend more time overwhelmed by things you don’t enjoy?

No, no, you do not.

So what if you could find resources to help you become better at homemaking (and maybe even learn to love it)?

Well, look no further, because I found something that might be just what you need: The Ultimate Homemaking Bundle.

For six days only, everything you need (and then some) is in one fabulous package, for the most affordable price ever. (Seriously, just wait until I tell you the price.)

This year’s edition of the Ultimate Homemaking Bundle includes 50 ebooks, 21 eCourses, 14 printables, 2 videos, 2 audios, 2 summits, and 1 membership site.

These top-quality resources cover everythingyou need to make homemaking and mothering feel less stressful… quick & healthy recipes, homemaking printables, cleaning tips, sizzling date night ideas, parenting helps, and so much more.

For less than the cost of a meal out (and you won’t need to be rescued by drive-thru after this!), you’ll get a complete library to help you:

  • Cook up wholesome recipes for your family
  • Build stronger relationships with your kids (even your teens)
  • Discover speedy cleaning routines for the toughest messes
  • Rekindle the romance in your marriage
  • Put self-care back into your life
  • and finally enjoy homemaking.

Plus, it comes with over $290 worth of bonus offers from companies you’ll love (this is one of my favorite parts).

You sort of need to see it to believe it, but the package includes 106 digital products and it’s worth over $1980!

Besides being so incredibly helpful, one of the things I like best about the bundle is the price. By offering it for a short time only, they’re able to give you access to over $1980 worth of amazing products for a whopping 97% off!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Visit their website, take a quick look at all the goodness that comes in this package, then click the “Get my copy now!” button to go through their simple and secure 3-step checkout process.
  2. You’ll receive an email with a login to their online access portal, where you’ll begin downloading your eBooks, signing up for your eCourses, and redeeming your free bonus offers.
  3. Use their Getting Started Guide to pick the topic you want to tackle first and start your stress-less homemaking journey!

The most important detail, though, is that this bundle is available for just six days! After Monday night, May 1st, the sale ends and you’d have to buy all of these products individually.

I’d hate for you to miss out, so click here  to learn more or buy the bundle.

It’s even backed by a 100% happiness guarantee, so you can make sure it’s right for you.

No one should have to feel overwhelmed by homemaking because it costs too much or they can’t get the help they need.

Becoming efficient as a homemaker is one thing. Fully embracing all the messy moments and hard times and loving it (most days) is another. But it’s not out of reach.

Learn more or get your bundle HERE.

(Psst… the bundle goes away at 11:59pm Eastern on Monday, May 1st, so don’t wait!)

What’s Included

 

Creativity

  • A Mom’s Guide to Better Photos: A Beginning Photography Class for Moms With Any Type of Camera by Meg Calton ($99.00)
  • Adventures in Bible Journaling: An Extensive Beginner’s Guide to Art and Bible Journaling by Bethany Floyd ($18.97)
  • Bible Verse Coloring Through the Year by Carisa Hinson ($7.00)
  • Creative Sparks: 30 Daily Prompts for Creatives by Jennie Moraitis ($10.99)
  • DIY Art Journal – Your Jump Start to Creativity Volume 2 by Kimberlee Stokes ($12.00)
  • Mother’s Little Helper: Clean Up Your Photos with Photoshop Elements by Melissa Shanhun ($30.00)
  • The Garden Therapy Coloring Book by Stephanie Rose ($4.99)
  • The Spaghetti Shots: How to Take Better Photos of Your Kids During Everyday Life by Courtney Westlake ($6.99)

Faith

  • Curious Living Summit by Logan Wolfram ($29.99)
  • Delight in the Word of God, Volume 1 – Favorite Scriptures: A Devotional Coloring Book/Journal for Adults & Teens by JoDitt Williams ($8.99)
  • Discover God’s Calling for Your Life by Laura Krokos ($9.99)
  • Everlasting Joy Bundle by LaToya Edwards ($10.00)
  • Matters of the Heart: a 52-Week Scripture Memorization Journey for Women by Carlie Kercheval ($10.00)
  • Minding Your Mouth: A Biblical Study on Taming the Tongue  by Jenn Thorson ($7.99)
  • My One Thing Alone: Going Deeper with Jesus Together by Asheritah Ciuciu ($36.00)
  • Praying the Promises of the Cross: A 40-Day Prayer Journal by Arabah Joy ($12.00)
  • Putting God First: How to Make God the #1 Priority in Every Area of Your Life by Brittany Ann ($6.95)
  • Reset: 31 Days of Real Joy Right Now by Marie Osborne ($9.99)
  • The Dig for Kids: James by Patrick and Ruth Schwenk ($4.99)
  • The Glorious Ordinary: An Invitation to Study God’s Word in Your Everday by Sarah Frazer ($10.00)

Finances

  • 31 Days to Radically Reduce Your Expenses: Less Stress, More Savings by Kalyn Brooke ($7.39)
  • A Zero Budget Christmas: How to Make Christmas Memorable with Little Money by Kristen Glover ($8.99)
  • Financial Goals Workbook by Krystal Sadler ($10.00)
  • How to Be Frugal: A Guided 10 Unit Course That Will Teach You How to Be Frugal Online, In the Store, and In Your Home by Jennifer Roskamp ($99.00)
  • How to Coupon Effectively: How to Save $5,200 Per Year in Just 2 Hours Per Week by Lauren Greutman ($9.99)
  • Living Well & Spending Zero by Ruth Soukup ($12.99)
  • Real Life Money Plan: Designing a Money Plan to Fit Your Real Life by Jessi Fearon ($49.00)
  • Thrifty & Thriving: More Life for Less Money  by Victoria Huizinga ($5.99)

Home

  • Cozy Minimalist Decorating Class by Myquillyn Smith ($39.00)
  • Don’t Wait, Decorate!: An Encouraging Guide to Decorating by Chelsea Coulston ($24.00)
  • Yellow Prairie Academy Lesson 1: The Living Room – How to Create a Cozy, Pulled-Together Feel in Your Own Living Room. by Janna Allbritton ($25.00)

In the Kitchen

  • Feeding Toddlers: A Pediatrician’s Guide to Happy and Healthy Mealtimes  by Dr. Orlena Kerek ($9.99)
  • Table Talk: Family Dinner Conversation Starters by Sarah Avila ($3.99)
  • The Well Ordered Kitchen Basic Version  by Caroline Allen ($6.99)
  • What’s 4 Dinner Challenge Meal Planning eCourse by Erin Odom and Holly Dvorak ($47.00)

Intentional Living

  • 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life by Crystal Paine ($4.99)
  • 30 Days to a Simpler Life eCourse by Brian Gardner ($15.00)
  • A Peaceful Home by Crystal Brothers ($39.00)
  • Design Your Destiny [Goal Setting Workbook] by Kimberly Job ($9.99)
  • How to Achieve Your Goals and Create a Life You Love by Aby Garvey ($12.00)
  • I Love My Home: A Guide to the Balanced, Home-Centered Life You Dream by Verónica Serrano ($7.90)
  • Productivity and Well-Being eCourse by Lisa Grace Byrne ($47.00)
  • The Inspired to Action Planner by Kat Lee ($15.00)
  • Your Morning Manual: A Guide & Workbook for Resetting & Maximizing Your Mornings by Emily Bredeson ($15.00)

Marriage

  • 52 Date Cards by The Dating Divas ($6.97)
  • Boost Your Libido Course by Sheila Gregoire ($39.00)
  • Great Dates with Your Mate: Romantic Conversation Starters by Laurie Kehler ($5.99)
  • Making Big Life Changes Together: Pursuing Your Dreams as a Couple by Haley Stewart ($3.99)
  • Rekindling Romance eKit: 7 Ideas to Help Reignite the Spark by Jami Balmet ($11.95)

Motherhood

  • Beautiful Paradox: Musings, Marvelings and Strategies of a Special Needs Parent by Jessica Graham ($4.99)
  • Becoming a Deliberate Mom: A Reflective Parenting Workbook by Jennifer Bly ($15.00)
  • Boundaries and Margins Webinar by Saren Loosli ($15.00)
  • Engage: Simple Activity Plans to Engage Your Preschooler by Jamie Reimer ($12.00)
  • Everyday Hope: Real Encouragement for Worn & Weary Moms by Kayse Pratt ($7.99)
  • Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood by Bonnie Way ($7.65)
  • Parenting Manual 101 by Becky Mansfield & Rachel Norman ($34.00)
  • Sorta Awesome: Homemaking Confessions! by Megan Tietz ($5.00)
  • Sorta Awesome: Mothering to the Max by Megan Tietz ($5.00)
  • Steady Days: A Journey Toward Intentional, Professional Motherhood by Jamie Martin ($11.95)
  • The Better Listening Workbook: Parenting Tips, Activities and Exercises to Turn Your Child Into an Amazing Listener by Lauren Tamm ($5.99)
  • The Mom Conference Complete Package: 20 Interviews by Experts by Desi Ward and Saren Loosli ($87.00)
  • The Mom Reality: What Parenting Books Never Tell You by Erin Myers ($4.99)
  • The Temper Toolkit: How to Take Control of Your Temper Before You Lose it! by Lisa-Jo Baker ($29.00)

Organizing & Systems

  • 14 Days to Opening Your Front Door to Guests by Dana White ($7.99)
  • 2017-2018 Yearly Personal Planner by Jolanthe Erb ($4.99)
  • Bullet Journaling for Book Lovers by Anne Bogel ($15.00)
  • Clean Mama’s Just One Page Kit by Becky Rapinchuk ($7.00)
  • Clutterfree with Kids: Change Your Thinking. Discover New Habits. Free Your Home. by Joshua Becker ($5.99)
  • Command Center 101: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating a Command Center that WORKS for Your Family by Meredith LeRoy ($5.00)
  • Creating Success At Home: Your Guide to Redefining Home, Conquering Clutter, Taking Back Time, Boosting Your Energy and Overcoming Decorating Fears by Sharon Hines ($3.99)
  • Family Chore System & Planner by Mandi Ehman ($17.00)
  • Life Your Way Complete Printables Download Pack by Mandi Ehman ($7.00)
  • Minimize the Mess: A Mother’s Guide to Simplifying the Home by Rachel Kratz ($2.99)
  • Overwhelm to Order: The Ultimate Homemaking Binder by Rachel Norman ($9.99)
  • Revive 30-Day Challenge by Jessica Fisher ($27.00)
  • Speed Clean the Deep Clean: A Collection of Time-Saving Cleaning Tutorials and Tips for Busy Moms by Katelyn Fagan ($4.99)
  • Sweet Life Planner: Vanilla Edition by Laura Smith ($35.00)
  • The Mindset of Organization: Take Back Your Home One Phase at a Time by Lisa Woodruff ($8.99)
  • The Paperless Home: How to Use Evernote to Organize Your Life by Abby Lawson ($32.00)
  • The Ultimate Spring Cleaning Hack Guide by Amy Bellgardt ($9.99)
  • Your Intentional Holiday: Heart & Home Planner by Victoria Osborn ($10.00)

Recipes

  • 10 Amazing Cakes To Make At Home For Under $20 by Samantha Jockel ($5.95)
  • Beef Dump Recipes by Sharla Kostelyk ($9.00)
  • Busy Mom’s Make-Ahead Breakfast Cookbook by Carrie Willard ($3.99)
  • Delicious Dinners in Under an Hour by Mique Provost ($9.99)
  • High Protein, No Powder: Protein Bars and Smoothies Made with Real Food by Tiffany Terczak ($15.00)
  • Low Sugar Treats, the Real Food Way by Laura Coppinger ($6.95)
  • Meat Free Slow Cooker Freezer Meals by Kelly McNelis ($3.99)
  • Morning Makeover: 14-Day Smoothie Challenge by Kari Newsom ($3.75)
  • Never Buy Bread Again: 20+ Homemade Bread Recipes by Laurie Neverman ($9.99)
  • Skinny Slow Cooker Recipes by Martha McKinnon ($12.99)
  • Slow Cooker Favorites by Lynn Walls ($4.99)
  • The Breakfast Revolution by Beth Ricci ($8.95)

Self-Care

  • 30 Days, 30 Ways for Mothers to Take Care of Themselves by Angela Henderson ($19.95)
  • Finlee and Me Self-Care for Mothers Workbook by Angela Henderson ($29.95)
  • Adore Your Wardrobe 14-Day “From Frustrating to Functional” Closet Makeover  by Kelly Snyder ($69.00)
  • Breathe: A Faith-Based Journey Toward Margin by Amy Blevins ($49.00)
  • F5 by Beth Learn ($19.95)
  • Happy You, Happy Family: Find Your Recipe for Happiness in the Chaos of Parenting Life by Kelly Holmes ($14.99)
  • Kitchen Time Action Pack: Healthy Moving to Help You Build Strength, Increase Flexibility, and Improve Energy While You Work in the Kitchen by Jen Hoffman ($29.97)
  • Mama’s Best Self: Where Frazzled Mama’s Find Peace by Amanda Rueter ($75.00)
  • The SAHM Wardrobe Basics Builder by Alison Lumbatis ($29.00)

Work + Life Balancee

  • Busy Moms Building: 12 Steps to Running Your Own Online Business for Busy Moms by Monica Froese ($29.00)
  • How to Land Your First Work-at-Home Job by Angie Nelson ($24.00)
  • Streamline Your Side-Hustle: A Comprehensive Guide to Balancing Your Blog with the Rest of Your Life by Erin Mellon ($15.00)
  • Stretched Too Thin: 10 Days to Overcoming the Hustle and Thriving as a Working Mom by Jessica Turner ($39.00)

Interested in learning more or grabbing your homemaking bundle now? Learn more or get your bundle HERE.

Oh wait! Did I mention they have included some totally free bonuses that rock?

 

  • $15 store credit from Cultivate What Matters, a place to get inspirational journals and planners (international shipping available)
  • Free 1 month subscription from Kiwi Crate, $20 value ($15 off $50 shop purchase for existing customers, shipping available to U.S. & Canada)
  • Free 1 month MightyFix shipment from Mighty Nest, $17 value ($15 store credit toward next add-on order for existing MightyFix subscribers, international shipping available)
  • One free project box from Detox Project Box so you can replace toxic items in your home, $25 value (shipping available to U.S. & Canada)
  • Free 1 month subscription from Bookroo, $18 value (box of past favorites for existing customers, international shipping available)
  • $15 store credit from Orglamix, which is an awesome cruelty-free natural makeup company (international shipping available)
  • $15 store credit from Strawesome so you can replace toxic plastic straws w/ a reusable one (international shipping available)
  • Digital download of the 2017 Hope Ink Calendar, $20+ value -or- $15 credit + 3 art prints from Hope Ink, $99 value (international shipping available)
  • Homeowner Lifetime Membership from HomeBinder, $120 value (digital)
  • Free 1 year annual membership from MollyGreen.com, one of my all-time fav magazines & apps for holistic homes, $29 value (digital)

Ready to get your bundle or learn more? Head on over HERE!

Side note: I purchased an advanced copy of the bundle already and am loving it! I religiously buy every single bundle ( or practically every single one) from Ultimate Bundles because I’ve found them to be soooo helpful. It’s this reason that I’ve teamed up with them as an affiliate because I feel you can get so much out of these homemaking resources, as they will not only save you money but they are also geared to creating a holistic, intentional home. As an affiliate, I receive a small commission for every bundle sold. Billy and I are super picky about who we sign up with to promote, and feel 100 percent confidant about promoting the amazing resources from Ultimate Bundles as we buy and use them ourselves.

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6 Ways To Use Coconut Oil Outside of The Kitchen

6 ways to use coconut oil outside the kitchen and as part of your daily routine!

Fan of cooking with coconut oil? I know I am, and if you haven’t discovered how versatile this oil is ( both in and out of the kitchen), you’ve got to give it a try! We cook everything from eggs in it and use it as a butter substitute in baking.

You can also use coconut oil in your daily skincare regime and as a substitute for toxic things like (makeup remover or cold cream).

Conditioning Hair Treatment

I make a mixture of organic coconut oil, castor oil, and rosemary essential oil as a deep conditioning hair treatment. I started doing this after I went to a hair salon to get some highlights in my hair and they basically destroyed it. I dyed my hair back to its usual dark hue, but the texture was so brittle I knew I had to start attempting to restore it.

I therefore use this oil-based hair treatment and also take he shu wu, a Chinese herb that can help with hair growth and is purportedly taken to restore hair.

If you make a similar coconut oil hair treatment, leave it on for a few hours and then shampoo it twice to make sure all of the oil is out of your hair. The product- at least for me- is softer hair.

Makeup Remover

Coconut oil is by far the best makeup remover I’ve ever used! Simply put a little on a washcloth or damp paper towel and use it to remove your makeup prior to bed.

DIY Body Scrub

Do you like coffee? Would you like to make an easy peppermint mocha body scrub? I bet you would, and guess what the base of our recipe is? Well yes, coffee. But the hydration part is coconut oil.

Mix organic brown sugar, coffee, coconut oil, and one or two drops of high-quality peppermint essential oil together and put it in a glass jar in your bathroom. You can add as much coconut oil to this mixture as you wish as the texture and consistency of this scrub is down to your personal preference.

You may also like to read: Self-Care For Moms

DIY Coconut Oil Lip Scrub

Similar to the coffee scrub, this easy to use lip scrub consists of just two ingredients: brown sugar and a little coconut oil. Mix the two together til you get the desired consistency of your liking and use your finger to massage it on your lips. Wipe off the mixture with a wet clot when you’re finished.

Shaving Gel Replacement

I’ve been using coconut oil instead of shaving gel or soap for several months and it’s been an easy adjustment. Plus, no harsh chemicals or fake scents that are in shaving gel. But it’s again down to personal preference. You may prefer a foaming type of cream when you shave or a rich lather soap, but it’s worth trying coconut oil as a substitute.

DIY Charcoal Toothpaste

Our favorite way to use coconut oil in our daily regime is as the base for our home-made charcoal toothpaste. While this recipe will make your sink dirty, it will make your teeth pearly white and it’s sans fluoride.

Like with the other DIY recipes I listed, how much coconut oil and other ingredients you add depends on what texture you want it to be. The ingredients we use to make this are activated charcoal ( we open & use two capsules), coconut oil, baking soda, and essential oil of choice ( we mainly use peppermint). Mix these ingredients until desired consistency is reached, then have fun brushing your teeth! We love this DIY coconut oil toothpaste so much that we never buy toothpaste anymore as nothing we’ve found makes our teeth this white.

With regards to cleaning your sink post use, because the toothpaste is in a base of coconut oil, it’s rather easy to remove; simply use a sponge or damp paper towel to remove the charcoal remnants from your sink.

What do you use coconut oil for in your home? Leave a comment below and let us know!

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Self-Care for Moms: creating nourishing routines for yourself

Self-care routines for Moms! Nourishing routine ideas you can implement daily, even if you have little time.

Self-Care for Moms

Do you feel overwhelmed by your to do list, or are you in desperate need of time to yourself?

Whether we like to admit it or not, most of us Moms are hustling waaay too hard, both at work ( or in our businesses) and at home. We’ve got a house to clean and a family to feed, so how can we possibly fit in time for ourselves, right?

I know how it feels to be completely exhausted and emotionally depleted. I have vivid memories of how tired and ‘off’ I felt when our daughter was a toddler. I was nursing her 24/7 and my husband was working long hours, which meant I had little to no time to myself, whether to have time for creative hobbies or to just take a break.

Now that our daughter is older and my husband and I both work from home, it’s easier for me to focus on my self-care. However, even before we got to this point in our lives/businesses, I still managed to prioritize spending even a 20 minutes for myself.

In today’s post, I want to give you some ideas for creating self-care routines that work for you, whether you are a stay at home Mom, working Mom, or work from home Mom.

How Much Time Do You Have?

To start building regular self-care routines, you need to assess how much time you have to devote to yourself, and to your wellbeing. Back when our daughter was a toddler and Billy was frequently at work, I had little time. However, I still had some time each day to get in me-time…I just had to force myself to take that time off.

For starters, I realized that I needed to really prioritize that 20-40 minutes. My husband was totally on board, and understood that it was integral I got that time for self-care and creative time eachday. Plus, he wanted some time to bond alone with Kaya, so we decided that when he got home from work, I would head to a local coffee shop to study for a short creative course I was taking while he took Kaya to get a snack. We would then meet up for dinner, or we would cook at home.

Sometimes I would just go for a walk in our neighborhood, and other days ( on the weekend or holidays) I’d meet up with friends for lunch or dinner. Yes, I felt guilty for taking that off-time, as many Mothers do. But it was so integral for me, especially because I was just recovering from post partum depression.

If you’re a single parent or your partner is frequently gone on business trips, mission work, volunteering, or is an entrepreneur, you may have very little time each day ( or each week) to devote to yourself. But I’m guessing that you could still fit in time to listen to an audiobook or journal when your kids are napping or when you’re commuting back home from work. And if you have older kids, could then watch your little ones while you head to a local cafe or meditate in your room for a while?

If you’ve just had a baby and are breastfeeding 24/7, you may only have a few minutes to take time for yourself. Nap times for your baby may be a great time for you to nap! Or take a shower/bath. Or make yourself something nourishing to eat!

Write down approximately how much time you have each day for your creative hobbies or wellness activities.

If you still feel like there is no way you can do this daily, ask yourself: how much more productive will you be if you take this time for yourself? Will you feel refreshed afterwards, and therefore be a more relaxed/patient parent?

You may also like to read…3 Powerful Books on Simple Living

Finding What Self-Care Routines Work For You

Because we’re all unique and have different interests and desires, it’s important to create a self-care routine that’s right for you, and that’s also doable for you to fit into your schedule.

For me, I feel refueled when I pursue my creative and intellectual hobbies, whether I read a thought-provoking book or have a deep conversation with someone about art, philosophy, and travel.

When my daughter was a baby, I was frequently at home, so just taking time to go out ( even for a short walk) was so incredible. I felt revived and more content. And when I developed post partum depression, I started learning just how important taking the right herbs for my body and mind were to improving my condition; after seeing a traditional Chinese medicine doctor and getting the right herbs to treat the imbalance I was dealing with, I became healthier and happier, and realized that taking herbal medicine was a must-have part of my daily self-care routine. And something that took no time at all.

Many Moms feel like they’re missing a connection to like-minded women who deeply care about them and want to help them on their mothering journey. If you feel the same way, try prioritizing meeting up or talking with fellow holistic Moms. Apps like Hey! Vina can help you connect with people that share your interests in your local community.

In order to find out what self-care routine works for you, sit and think about what’s important to you, and what you’re missing right now in your life.

 

Ideas For Self-Care Routines 

If you’re stuck on what you could fit in time for each day to help you feel like the best version of yourself, here are some ideas:

+ 15 minute exercise routine ( like this one)

+ Take a yoga classes a few times a week ( or adopt a home-based yoga routine using an app like Gaia

+ Do a daily devotional 

+ Keep a daily journal

+ Meet up with friends once or twice a week and speak with them daily on the phone/messenger

+ Take a long bath

+ Meditate for 20 minutes

+ Devote a certain time each to prayer and reflection

+ Take an evening walk

+ Go out for coffee

+ Listen to an audiobook while commuting back from work

+ Listen to your favorite podcast when your kids are napping

+ Take naps when your baby naps!

 

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How to teach your kids about health and wellness

How to teach your kids about health and wellness

Perhaps what’s lacking most in today’s schools is that few teach children about wellness, health, and self care.

This is lack of attention being placed on eating a Whole Foods based diet and staying active has created a society that’s sick and out of shape, where cancer rates are skyrocketing and billions of dollars are spent on pharmaceuticals.

It’s therefore integral that parents begin to teach their kids how to adopt healthy eating and lifestyle habits.

The best way we can do this is to be an example, and to also devote a little time each week to learning more about herbalism, nutrition, and wellness. The more we learn, the more inspired and motivated we will be to begin adopting healthy habits ourselves, and our children will begin to see this lifestyle shift in our own lives, which may inspire them to also want to learn more about plant medicine and nutrition.

Keeping our children informed on why we’re eating certain foods and avoiding others is crucial. By letting them know of a recent study or book you’ve read or having them watch a documentary with you, you’re keeping them involved in the process and helping them understand they why behind your lifestyle choices. This will also help them too want to make informed decisions in every aspect of their lives.

Related Post: Helping your kids make healthier meal choices

Getting your kids to help you make herbal tinctures and tonics or when you prepare your meal is another key way to help your kids learn more, from a hands on perspective. Children that learn these life skills at an early age are more likely to turn into healthy adults later in life.

There are great books and games for children that are looking to learn more about health, such as the Herb Fairies audiobooks and Wild Craft board game.

How are you teaching your children about health and wellness? Leave your tips in the comments below!

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We we love simple living ( yet aren’t minimalists)

 

We we love simple living but don't consider ourselves minimalists.

Over the past few years, our family has learned first hand how wonderful ( and sometimes challenging) it can be to embrace a slower, simpler lifestyle.

At times, we scaled back out of necessity, and now, we choose to live simply. And yet, we don’t consider ourselves minimalists.

In fact, we enjoy collecting hard-to-find things, such as vintage toys and even TV shows from the 80s that Billy and I both enjoyed when we were kids. And everyone in our house is a gamer!

Nor do we want to have a house that’s got that uber sterile, everything-is-perfect type of vibe.

I prefer a house that looks likes its lived in, and so does Kaya and Billy.

None of us has a capsule wardrobe, nor do we want one. And owning a set amount of possessions is of no interest to us.

Having a slower pace of life and prioritizing time spent with family is what we focus on.

To some, this does make us minimalists. And to others, it doesn’t.

You see, since the minimalist blogger scene has exploded, there have been subtle hints at what it minimalism should look like. While bloggers may say that there is no set of rules for the minimalist-seeker needs to follow, their is a sort of perception about what is and what is not a minimalist home.

Some say it’s owning 100 items. To others, it’s living in a tiny home or RV.

Related post: 3 powerful books on simple living

As I’ve stressed in our blog posts, labels are limiting, and I don’t like using them. If you want to downsize and find happiness in living simply, follow your instincts and do thatIf you want to have only 100 items in your home, you can do that too!

But don’t feel that you have to adopt a certain lifestyle just because your favorite blogger tells you ( directly or indirectly) that it’s the best way to go.

Instead, follow your intuition and your budget. Converse with your family members about what brings them joy, and make a list of the things that your family values above all else. Then, seek to prioritize that list.

Having a slow-home or a simple lifestyle looks different in each household that chooses to embrace that lifestyle, and the same goes for minimalism.

Do/Own What Sparks Joy 

One of the many reasons we love the Konmari method is because Marie Kondo places an emphasis on keeping in our lives that which sparks joy. Not owning a certain number of items or comparing your home to Marie’s. No.

She places an emphasis on keeping the things that bring you joy.

This is SO KEY because Marie is basically saying that we are all unique, and our homes and lives will reflect that!! In Japan-the land of otaku culture- many people collect figurines and other kawaii items. Perhaps those that collect items ( like we do) don’t actually mind having more belongings, nor having a ton of white space in their home.

And what about fellow bibliophiles who feel happy when surrounded by books? Do you need to suddenly rid your house of them because you haven’t gotten around to reading them all, or because your fav minimalist blogger tells you to?

Marie Kondo’s method of owning and keeping only that which sparks joy is a fantastic way of figuring out the route to having a home that sparks joy for you, and can help you kick comparisonitus out the door.

I consider her method a sort of practical minimalism that’s flexible and that varies individual to individual, which is why the Konmari method has been so life-changing for us.

 

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Holistic Homeschooling: How we unschool

 

Unschooling: a holistic form of education driven by a child's interests and unique way of learning.

Are you considering homeschooling or unschooling, but aren’t sure where to start?

I know it can feel overwhelming. At least, it did for us, particularly when Kaya turned 5 and was officially Kindergarten age. We had purchased a somewhat Waldorf-inspired curriculum for her that I thought we could loosely follow, but it was so overwhelming I basically had a panic attack, and we decided to find another way to teach.

If you’ve read some of our other posts, you know we’re not a fan of labels. I feel that they’re inadequate for most things in life, especially in home education, when the focus should be more about doing what’s right for our family and less about impressing others with our homeschooling choice.

But because we don’t follow a set curriculum and use various home education theories and styles, we could be considered unschoolers or eclectic homeschoolers. We value learning by doing, and take a slow-learning approach that’s Waldorf-inspired.

We’re combining several different methods to teach Kaya how to read and write. She has a reading program she follows called Reading Eggs, and she reads to us from the Bobs Books everynight. Reading Eggs has accompanying worksheets that are super helpful too, and she does the sheet that accompanies each lesson daily. We will be adding copywork to the mix soon, which is inspired from Charlotte Mason, and as Kaya’s writing ability grows, she will start doing notebooking, which is akin to journaling. And every evening, either Billy or myself read to Kaya before bed.

While they’re are numerous benefits to slow-learning, there can be immense pressure from society to have kids learn to read quickly and be on advanced levels of math and such at an early age. Waldorf education starts teaching children to read at around age 7, and unschoolers sometimes learn to read even later then that. This can lead to family members not understanding or being supportive because they compare what your child is doing to that of a kid in public or private school, and assume you’re doing something wrong.

In reality, there are various forms other educational theories, some which emphasize learning at a slower pace, and others, at a faster one.

I personally believe it really depends on the child and what works best for them. I was an early reader, and my husband struggled with it until he was older. We both ended up as writers, and he even has a degree in writing, so despite our differences, we basically arrived at the same place!

My sister homeschooled her three kids in a more traditional route, and perhaps because she is a scientist ( with a phD in chemistry), they are all very adept at advanced math and science, and one or two of them are studying medicine at University.

You may also like: Balancing Homeschooling and Working From Home

Homeschooling in a holistic way is going to look different in every household. We like to have structure in our daily education plan, which may be very different than many ‘unschoolers’. We also plan our days around Kaya’s extracurricular activities, such as her robotics classes and taekwondo, as well as when she goes to play with friends or at the various playrooms in Chiang Mai.

When Kaya gets older and we’ve finally moved to Canada, we’ll go on more field trips to museums and such, and dive deep into reading the classics together. Thomas Jefferson Education talks about the various learning phases children go through, and the scholar phase ( where they get into more academic subjects) is during the teen years, and this is something we plan of somewhat following, although we may get more academic sooner. There learning philosophy is very similar to Waldorf in how the early years are focused on play and home-life, and developing a curiosity for the world. This is the phase we’re currently in.

For now, we worldschool by traveling within South East Asia. Worldschooling is a concept that’s basically learning from the world around you, or it can be used to describe combining unschooling and travel. We talk about our journey as worldschoolers ( in the travel sense) on our other blog.

 

 

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