Why We Use Natural Toothpaste for Kids and Our Favorite Brands

Have you looked at the ingredients in your toothpaste lately? Here’s why we chose natural toothpaste for kids (and adults) and why you might want to do the same. Xylitol toothpaste has long been my go to when it comes to my kids. Enjoy this list of xylitol kids toothpaste my kids like best.mom and daughter brushing teeth with natural toothpaste for kids

**This post contains affiliate links which means I earn me a small commission on your purchase.**

Why We Use Natural Toothpaste for Kids and Our Favorite Brands

Take a look at the ingredients in your kids’ toothpaste. Sadly, many are full of toxic ingredients that I’d really rather keep out of their bodies. Tricolsan, aspartame, artificial colors, microbeads and more are often found in toothpastes. You can read more here, if you’re curious about why these ingredients should be avoided. But in general, these ingredients are linked to cancer, are considered endocrine disruptors, and also have an impact on ADHD and bacterial resistance. With healthier options readily available, it’s just not worth the risk in my opinion.

Why use Xylitol Toothpaste?

Fluoride or no fluoride is a personal choice. You can find research pros and cons (I really like the discussion of pros and cons of fluoride in this article, by the way), but my personal choice is to find toothpaste the uses xylitol instead of fluoride. Xylitol is a sugar alcohol found in many plants like corn or birchwood. It can be used in food as sugar substitute (safety of using it in this manner is up for debate).

A study published in 2014 National Center for Biotechnology Information claims that xylitol “has been found to be promising in reducing dental caries disease and also reversing the process of early caries” and that while further study is needed, the “benefits it offers are literally worth salivating over.” Source

A word of caution about xylitol: it’s often derived from GMO corn, so if you’re trying to avoid GMOs, you’ll want to consider where the xylitol came from. Birchwood xylitol is generally considered safer than corn xylitol.

Xylitol Kids Toothpaste We’ve Used and Love

natural toothpaste for kids from NOW Foods

I’ve written about NOW Foods xylitol toothpaste before. It comes in three flavors, Strawberry Splash, Bubblegum Splash, and Orange Splash. It’s non-GMO, naturally sweetened with xylitol, and fluoride & SLS-free. My kids have tried all three flavors and agree that the Bubblegum Splash ($4.99 on Amazon!) is their favorite. I really like the Xyli-White for myself, if you’re also in the market for a natural toothpaste for older kids or adults.

Coral Kids Fluoride Free Toothpaste

We’ve used this toothpaste for a long time. I buy it from Azure Standard for a pretty good price. Coral Kids uses xylitol and contains no fluoride and no sodium lauryl sulfate. It also contains a unique whole food mineral complex from eco-safe corals that are supposed to be very good for teeth. You can also by the Coral Kids toothpaste on Amazon.

red headed girl brushing her teeth with natural toothpaste for kids

Tom’s of Maine Toothpaste for Kids

Another favorite natural toothpaste for kids that my kids like is Tom’s of Maine Silly Strawberry Toothpaste ($12 for a two pack on Amazon) for kids. It’s fluoride free and uses calcium and silica to clean. It does not have xylitol but it does contain sodium lauryl sulfate. Just a heads up on that.

More Natural Toothpaste for Kids Options that Look Great

We haven’t personally used some of the options in this Amazon ad, but they have great reviews and look like options my kids would like. If you’ve used them, chime in below and tell me your thoughts.


Do you use xylitol toothpaste for another natural toothpaste for kids? I’d love to hear what ingredients you avoid and which toothpaste you love!

If you liked this post, on natural toothpaste for kids, you might like these too:

Natural Cleaning Products + 5 easy recipes for everyday use

Natural Goodness for your Tween’s Sink

10 Quick and Easy Recipes for Homemade Personal Care Products

Green Your Easter with these Healthier Easter Basket Swaps

 If you’re looking for ideas for a healthier Easter Basket, you’ve come to the right place! Make some of these swaps this year and skip the artificial food colors, flavors, and high fructose corn syrup. You can also make some easy choices to reduce plastic waste too. Here’s to a Healthier Easter this year!Healthier Easter Basket Candy Swaps

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.*

Green Your Easter with these Healthier Easter Basket Swaps

I’m so glad that more food companies are starting to listen to consumers. When my kids were little, I had to look far and wide to find find treats without all the junk. Holidays focused on candy and unhealthy crap like Easter really made my head spin. Luckily, it’s easy than ever to make healthier choices for Easter and on candy in general.

Good reasons to avoid artificial food colors, flavors and high fructose corn syrup.

There are many good reasons to avoid artificial food colors, flavors and high fructose corn syrup too. Did you know that artificial food colors and flavors are linked to ADHD in children – not necessarily causing the ADHD, but rather causing problems in all children. You can read about it in medical journals. The topic has been widely studied. Some food dyes are carcinogenic and have been banned in cosmetics, yet still show up in food! Why are we feeding this crap to our kids and eating it ourselves?

High fructose corn syrup is everywhere – not only has our intake of sugar skyrocketed in recent years, but it’s also full of chemical contaminants that are harmful to our bodies as well. Dr. Mark Hyman explains on Huffington Post why cutting HFCS out of our diet could be the single best thing we do for our health. You should read this article. It’s really good.

Easter candy without artificial food colors and high fructose corn syrup

I challenge you to make a healthier swaps this Easter.

Take a look at ingredient lists and see if you can’t find better options to give your children. Here are a few healthier Easter Swaps I found for you this year. I tried many of these items at Expo West recently and was happy to bring home samples for my kids to taste test too.

  • YumEarth Candy – YumEarth candy was the first healthier candy I ever found for my kids. They’ve been making lollipops for years, but their line is a lot bigger. Their candy contains no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial dyes or flavors, and is also made with no soy, no egg, and no dairy.
  • Spry Gum & Mints – Most sugar-free gum contains aspartame, another ingredient I like to avoid. Spry gum is made with xylitol and is also free of dyes and artificial flavors. Do you look for xylitol in your toothpaste and gum too?
  • Wholesome Candy – more organic candy options! My kids live the Wholesome fish and also the Wholesome cinnamon gummy bears. I brought back samples from Expo West that they were only too happy to devour.
  • Black Forest Candy –  More candy from Expo West that my kids were only too happy to sample. They liked the gummy bears and the sour candy I brought home so I’m added it to this list of healthier swaps as well!
  • Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups – I’ve long loved the Justin’s dark peanut butter cups. They also have white chocolate, milk chocolate, and they’re coming out with an almond butter cup in June as well! Justin products are currently being certified by Project NonGMO and they are also free of high fructose corn syrup, and artificial food dyes and flavors as well. You can find Justin’s in the health food aisle at HyVee or order them online at Amazon.
  • Surf Sweets Organic Jelly Beans – Want organic jelly jeans? Surf Sweet’s got you covered! These yummy little candies are free from artificial dyes, flavors, and high fructose corn syrup, so they get my vote of approval too.
  • Chocolates from ALDI –  If you’re a long time blog reader, you know I really like ALDI. We’re big fans of the seasonal items they come out with ever year. I always buy a milk chocolate bunny for each of my kids, and usually get a few other fun chocolate items from them as well. Their cocoa is responsibly sourced and ALDI quit adding artificial food dyes and artificial flavors to their food several years ago.


grow your own easter basket grass

Reduce plastic with these Healthier Easter Basket Ideas

Another way you can make healthier choices this Easter is to reduce the amount of plastic you buy. Instead of using plastic grass that gets thrown away, grow your own this year! You only need a week, so there’s still time to do this fun activity with your kids. Or if growing your own Easter basket grass isn’t for you, buy recyclable paper grass instead. You can find it on Amazon and also at Walmart.

I’m also a big fan of using multi-purpose containers for Easter Baskets. We’ve used terracotta pots before and then turned them into pretty spring planters, and I’m a big fan of these steel buckets too. You can find them at Menards, farm supply stories, or order one on Amazon and have it delivered directly to your door.

surf sweet organic jelly beans

Simply Real Foods Market – $35 order gets you FREE RAW HONEY!

Have you heard of Simply Real Foods Market? They are another online source for NonGMO food products, beauty and personal care items, and pet care as well. I learned about them at Shiftcon a few weeks ago. With a low price guarantee and no membership fees, Simply Real Foods Market can be a great source for hard to find healthier food options.

Simply Real Foods Market has a pretty sweet deal right now! Buy $35 worth of items from them and they’ll send you a free 16 ounce jar of certified organic raw honey. You can find a lot of the candy items I mentioned above at SRFM as well (at cheaper prices than Amazon!). Shipping is FREE with a $50 order. Order by Thursday, March 22 for guaranteed Easter delivery. Find all their Easter goodies here. And don’t forget to sign up for their newsletter so you always know when they’re running another awesome special.free honey at Simply Real Foods Market

These are a few ways we’re enjoying a healthier Easter this year. I hope they inspire you to make a few positive changes as well.

What are you doing to make your Easter a little healthier this year?

If you liked this post on Healthier Easter Basket Swaps, you might like these too:

Grow your own Easter Basket Grass

Yummy side dish and dessert options for your Easter meal

Don’t forget the toothbrush in your Easter basket

healthier Easter basket candy

Green Enough by Leah Segedie: A book review + giveaway

If you want a home that’s GREEN ENOUGH to be healthy, and CHILL enough to be happy, you need to read GREEN ENOUGH by Leah Segedie. Read to the end – I’m giving away one copy of Green Enough to a lucky winner!Green Enough by Leah Segedie

*I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a commission if you purchase through them.*

Green Enough by Leah Segedie: A book review + giveaway

I first Leah Segedie several years ago when I attended the first ever ShiftCon, an eco-wellness social media conference held in Orange County, California. I was blown away by that first ShiftCon. Full of social media influencers and scientists, I learned so much about all aspects of green living, including farming, health, and wellnes. It was the first time I’ve been surrounded by so many like-minded people, and I have made the conference a priority every year since.

I’m happy to share information about Leah’s new book, Green Enough, today! This down to earth book is right up my alley. It makes me laugh and gives me hope all at the same time. It’s hard to navigate the green world. Sometimes I think it would be easier to stick my head in the sand and my fingers in my ears so I don’t have to pay attention to what’s going on around me.

But that’s really not a good idea. So, if like me, you are trying to make the best of a dirty situation, you’ll like the straightforward approach in Green Enough by Leah Segedie.

If you want a home that's GREEN ENOUGH to be healthy, and CHILL enough to be happy, you need to read GREEN ENOUGH by Leah Segedie. Wondering what this new book is about? Read my review of Green Enough and enter to win a copy for yourself!

What you’ll find In Green Enough by Leah Segedie

  • A straight forward, common sense approach to food, packaging, cookware, beauty products
  • A call out by name, of well known food companies who make bad, better, and best food products
  • 50 mom & kid friendly recipes that are also easy to make
  • A list of things to do right now to reduce chemical exposure at home, room by room.
  • Science facts for non-scientists from John Peterson Myers, chief scientist of Environmental Health Sciences
  • Easy to understand green parenting tips from Dr. Tanya Altmann, Assistant Clinical Professor at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital

Excerpt from Green Enough

You will laugh. You will cry. Leah is as hilarious in writing as she is in person. But note, if you’re offended by cussing, this might not be the book for you. She does drop the occasional F bomb, which I actually appreciate. Following is Leah’s explanation of the numbers on the bottom of your plastic containers. Here’s an easy to understand guide with useful explanations.

BREAKING THE CODEGreen Enough Plastics Guide_preview

Here’s a quick-reference rundown on those teeny tiny numbers on plastics.

#1: PET or PETE (polyethylene teraphthalate). Bottled water comes in this plastic, which is designed for single use so it’s not especially strong. As with all plastics, heat is a problem. When you leave a plastic bottle sitting in the sun or your hot car, you’re effectively helping all those chemicals leach into your water. Plus, bacteria can accumulate with repeated refills, so don’t reuse—recycle.

#2: HDPE (high-density polyethylene). Typically opaque with a lower risk of leaching, so many consider it safe. Best to avoid reusing; most curbside recycling programs will pick it up.

#3: V or PVC (vinyl). Used to make detergent bottles and some food wraps. Never cook with or burn this plastic. May contain phthalates, which are linked to numerous health issues, and DEHA, which can be carcinogenic with long-term exposure. Most curbside recycling programs do not accept PVC.

#4: LDPE (low-density polyethylene). It’s found in squeezable bottles, frozen food and bread bags, and some food wraps. Curbside recycling programs typically do not accept it. Considered safer, but concern about endocrine-disrupting chemicals is mounting, particularly when it comes to use with fatty foods like cheese and ham.

#5: Polypropylene. Used to make yogurt containers and bottles for ketchup and syrup, this plastic is becoming more accepted by curbside recycle programs. It’s safe to reuse if it’s in good condition and you avoid exposing it to heat.

#6: Polystyrene. Used to make meat trays and those squeaky egg cartons. It’s bad for the environment because it is notoriously difficult to recycle,and it’s bad for us because it leaches potentially toxic chemicals (especially when heated). Most recycling programs won’t accept it.

#7: Other, Miscellaneous. All of the plastics that don’t fit into the other categories are placed in the 7 category. It ’s a mixed bag of plastics that includes polycarbonate, which contains the toxic bisphenol-A (BPA) and plant based alternatives. The best and the worste are here. Use caution.

Reprinted from Green Enough by Leah Segedie. Copyright ©2018 by Leah Segedie. By permission of Rodale Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Available wherever books are sold.

Green Enough by Leah Segedie

Win a copy of Green Enough!

If your’e interested in reducing exposure to chemicals at home or want to start eating a healthier diet, this book is for you. Can order it today! It’s available at my favorite Amazon for under $16.00. You can also win a copy here! I have two copies and will mail one to a lucky winner! All you have to do is leave a comment on this post answering the following question.

What is one question, or struggle, you have with going green?

Please note: *Winner must reside in the US. Contest ends at 11:59 pm on April 2 and winner will be notified by email.*

For more green living tips, check out these posts

Do you know what’s in your home cleaning products?

5 Easy recipes for everyday cleaners

Green carpet cleaning

DIY fruit & veggie wash

How to eat organic on a budget

Must know tips for saving on organic meat

Instant Pot Chocolate Pudding with Fresh Berries & Extra Omega 3s

Want to feed your family a fun dessert that’s as healthy as it is delicious? If so, check out this fun Instant Pot Chocolate Pudding with Fresh Berries and Extra Omega 3s! With this recipe, you don’t have to feel guilty about serving dessert.jars of healthy instant pot chocolate pudding with fresh berries

*Many thanks to Barleans for sponsoring this Instant Pot Chocolate Pudding recipe post. All opinions are mine.*

Instant Pot Chocolate Pudding with Fresh Berries

My family often calls me the anti-sweet mom because I rarely serve dessert. First of all, I don’t want to cook it. Second, I try to stay away from added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Luckily, with this recipe, you don’t have to feel guilty. Refined sugar free, we also make it dairy free by using almond milk. I’m getting serious about cutting dairy out of my eldest daughter’s diet. She has had eczema her whole life and it is just not going away. We’re trying a lot of new things this year, and one is to significantly reduce her dairy intake. But don’t worry, if you don’t like almond milk, you can also use regular ole cow’s milk instead. I recommend organic, grass-fed, whole milk in this recipe too.6 jars of healthy instant pot chocolate pudding with berries and extra omega 3s

Wondering how to make chocolate pudding in the Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker?

It’s not that hard and it doesn’t take much active effort on your part. You will need to cool it for at least six hours in the fridge to get it to set right, though, so keep that in mind if you want to make this recipe. It’s best made the day before you want to serve it. By the way, links in this post are affiliate links which means I’ll earn a small commission on your purchase.

You’ll need a blender and an Instant Pot, of course. I recently upgraded to an 8 quart Instant Pot and love it even more than I loved my 6 quart version. The 8 quart gives me the ability to cook slightly larger portions, and with six hungry people in the family, that’s pretty important! If you have a 6 quart electric pressure cooker this recipe will still work just fine.

jars with homemade chocolate pudding mix

To make chocolate pudding in an Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker all you have to do is blend the ingredients in a blender, then pour into 8 ounce glass jelly jars. Put the lids and rings on the jars.

jars on a trivet in instant pot Then, place the jars on a trivet inside your instant pot. Pour one cup of water in the instant pot and cook on high pressure for 5 minutes. After it’s finished cooking, manually release the pressure and use tongs to remove the jars. They’ll be hot so be careful when you remove them. Also, the jars might seal during cooking, so you might have to remove the lids with a knife.

5 jelly jars of instant pot chocolate pudding, spoons, and berries

Cool in the fridge for at least six hours, or overnight. Before serving, give the jars a good shake, then serve with fresh berries and a sprinkle of  Barleans Flax, Chia, Coconut Blend. This Barleans Raw Energy blend is a great way to add extra protein, fiber, and omega-3s to your diet. We love adding it to smoothies and our morning yogurt parfaits.  You’ll also use Barleans Butter Flavored Organic Coconut oil in this recipe. The coconut oil is a dairy free alternative to butter and we love using it in all sorts of recipes too.

Yields 6 servings

Serves 8 ounce jars

Instant Pot Chocolate Pudding with Fresh Berries

Delicious and healthy homemade pudding made right in your Instant Pot!

10 minPrep Time

5 minCook Time

15 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Blend milk, eggs, honey, vanilla, melted coconut oil, cocoa, gelatin, and flax seed blend for about a minute until nicely combined.
  2. Pour the pudding mixture evenly into 6 half pint jars and put the lids on the jars.
  3. Put the trivet in your Instant Pot and add 1 cup water. Then place the jars of pudding on the trivet. Lock the Instant Pot and cook on High Manual for 5 minutes.
  4. Once the Instant Pot beeps, turn the machine off and unplug. Manually release the pressure by carefully venting the machine.
  5. Once it has depressurized, open the Instant Pot and carefully remove the jars - they will be hot!
  6. Cool in the fridge for at least 6 hours, shaking occasionally to help them set.
  7. Top with fresh berries and a another sprinkle of Barlean's Flax, Chia, Coconut blend.
  8. Enjoy!
Recipe Type: dessert
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If you liked this Instant Pot Chocolate Pudding recipe, you might like these recipes too:

Old Fashioned Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

How to Cook Dried Beans in the Instant Pot {soaked or unsoaked}

Instant Pot Beef Roast with Rigatoni

Company Worthy Pork Roast with Garlic & Rosemary

Instant Pot Chocolate Pudding cooked in individual glass jars with fresh berries & extra omega 3s

Make Sure to Stop at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Labeled the most popular tourist attraction in Iowa by Time Magazine and TripAdvisor The Iowa 80 Trucking Museum is a fun stop if you’re driving across Iowa on Interstate 80, or happen to be in the area. It’s also a free museum (donations happily accepted), so there’s no reason to skip it!

old concrete truck at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Make Sure to Stop at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

I was happy for the diversion earlier in the week at the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum in Walcott, Iowa! We drive by this place all the time and I never even knew it was there.  But it was really quite neat. Not at all what I expected, but very neat nonetheless.

Let me give you a quick tour of some of the things we enjoyed most.electric milk truck at iowa 80 trucking museumAn electric milk truck from the turn of the century – it delivered fresh milk in Chicago for many years. Why could they succeed with electric trucks in the early 1900s but we can’t figure it out today??

mail truck on skiis at the Iowa 80 trucking museumA US Mail truck on skis… 😉 I love to ski. This really cracked me up.

THE wrecker from the movie Fried Green Tomatoes! I don’t really remember the movie much, but it’s still pretty cool, eh?

Wooden peg truck wheels at the Iowa 80 Trucking MuseumPeg wheels made out of wood, anyone? Eh, no thanks…

my 3 cute kids at the Iowa 80 Trucking MuseumThree of my super cute children. I can’t resist an opportunity to show them off! I can’t believe how big they’re all getting!!

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Worth a Visit – Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

If you’d like to pop in to the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum, their summer hours (from Memorial Day through Labor Day) are Monday – Saturday 9 am – 5 pm, and Sundays noon – 5pm. In the winter, they’re closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, otherwise the hours are the same.

I appreciate museums like the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum. My small children enjoyed it, I enjoyed it, and it is free if you can’t give a donation. I’m sure everyone has times in their lives when they could use a little free entertainment. This is a fun place to go. Make sure you stop by.

Looking for more attractions in Iowa? Here are some of our favorite places to visit.

American Gothic House Center

Wild Cat Den

Buddy Holly Crash Site

Central Discount Grocery in Kalona

Iowa 80 Trucking Museum

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears Recipe

Fresh asparagus is one of the finest treats of spring. While my favorite way to eat asparagus is an easy roast in the oven, these Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears make a lovely treat for a more formal table.Asparagus Spears with Cream Cheese & Parmesan

*This posts contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission on your purchase.*

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears

ingredients for cream cheese and parmesan asparagus spears

Puff pastry, fresh asparagus, cream cheese, Parmesan, and egg are all the ingredients you need to make this crowd pleaser. If helps if the cream cheese is at room temperature, but the puff pastry rolls out better if it’s cold.

prepping the asparagus spears

To make these delicious little spears, roll out the puff pastry, spread cream cheese on it, and cut it into thin strips. Trim the bottom of the asparagus, and peel a little bit if the spears are really fat.  Then, simple roll one sprig of asparagus around the puff pastry. Once all of the pasty is used, brush a little egg on the spears, and then sprinkle parmesan cheese on top. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 12-15 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown. By the way, if you need a nice baking sheet, I love these half baking sheets from Nordic Ware! I use them for everything – love them for sheet pan dinners. My favorite micro-plane also comes in very handy, as does this pizza cutter.asparagus spears

Your guests will love this easy recipe. It makes a great side dish or a nice appetizer too. Here’s your printable recipe for this delicious side dish or appetizer.

cream cheese and parmesan aspargus cigars

Yields 4-6 side dish servings

Serves 2 -3 spears per person

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Cigars Recipe

This fun recipe is a delicious way to eat asparagus. It makes a fun side dish or a great appetizer as well.

10 minPrep Time

12 minCook Time

22 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe
Recipe Image

Ingredients

  • 5 ounces puff pastry sheets
  • flour for dusting
  • 10 pieces asparagus
  • 1-2 ounces cream cheese
  • one egg, beaten
  • 2 TBS parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Roll the puff pastry sheet out into a 10" x 6" rectangle.
  3. Cover with cream cheese.
  4. Cut the sheet into 10 thin strips.
  5. Roll each strip around one spear of asparagus.
  6. Brush with egg and top with parmesan cheese.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
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Like this recipe for Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears? You might also like these fun spring recipes as well.

Strawberry & Rhubarb Crisp

Strawberry Yogurt Cupcakes

My Grandmas’s Secret Strawberry Shortcake Recipe

Homemade Fruit Popsicles – Fla-vor-ice healthified

What’s your favorite way to eat asparagus? Enjoy this recipe!

Cream Cheese & Parmesan Asparagus Spears

 

How to Grow Your Own Easter Basket Grass

It’s fun and easy to grow your own Easter Grass!  And it doesn’t even take that all. You only need a few supplies and about a week! So keep reading and try something new this year. Your kids will have a lot fun with this easy Easter project.Grow Your Own Easter Basket Grass with this tutorial. You only need a few days!

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn a small commission if you purchase through my links.*

How to grow your own Easter Basket Grass in less than a week!

Growing your own Easter basket grass is pretty simple process that anyone can do. I’m thrilled that we’re growing our own Easter basket grass this year instead of buying plastic stuff that ends up in the landfill. Growing your own wheat grass baskets has long been a tradition in Waldorf homeschooling circles as a way to welcome spring, and we enjoy it a lot!

Welcome Spring - How to make Waldorf Wheat Grass Baskets-cora

Supplies needed to grow your own Easter Basket Grass

  • Baskets – we picked up 88 cent baskets at Goodwill the other day. They had tons to choose from in all price ranges. I made my kids stick to the 88 cent baskets though because I’m cheap like that. We also have used these metal buckets and love them as well. They are fabulous for repurposing after Easter and using for lots of other projects.
  • Organic potting soil
  • Plastic wrap {or plastic liners for the baskets}
  • Wheat Berries {soaked in water for 24 hours prior} OR grass seed would work fine, too. Wheat berries are the product of the wheat plant and are ground to make flour. You should be able to find them in the organic or bulk section of your grocery store, or you can buy a bag of Bob’s Red Mill wheat berries on Amazon too and have them shipped to your house in two days if you have Amazon Prime.
  • Spray bottle


The most important step: soak the wheat berries overnightWelcome Spring - How to make Waldorf Wheat Grass Baskets-meabh

Mae sure to soak the wheat berries overnight. The night before you plan to start your basket, place the wheat berries in a bowl and cover them with water to soak overnight. I used about 10 cups of wheat berries for the six baskets we made and we had enough to do many  more baskets. Make sure the water covers them completely as they will soak it all up. You can get wheat berries from the bulk section at the grocery store, from a health food store, Amish store, or Azure Standard – you can even order them on Amazon Prime and have them at your door in 2 days. They’re actually a pantry staple I always have on hand since I grind them to make my own flour for bread I bake, like this whole wheat potato bread.

How to make waldorf wheat grass baskets to welcome spring

  • Then, line a basket with plastic wrap if you don’t have a basket liner.
  • Add a couple inches of soil, and then top with the soaked wheat berries.
  • Make sure the berries are still nice and moist. If not, spritz them with a water sprayer.
  • Cover them with plastic wrap to keep in the moisture.
  • Make sure to keep spritzing the berries with water. Don’t let them dry out or they won’t grow.

How to Make Waldorf Wheat Grass Baskets-day 2

On the very next day after you’ve planted the berries, you should already notice them growing! Make sure to keep them moist as they grow. Just keep spraying them with water. You might have to water them every day.

And that’s it – that’s all there is to it.

Here’s how quick it is to grow your own Easter Basket Grass!

Grow your own Easter Wheat Grass Basket

See how fast this grass grows! 4-5 days is all you need my friends! What are you waiting for?

If you liked this post on how to grow your own Easter basket grass, you may like these too:

Waldorf Wheat Grass Baskets

 hand-dying play silks with kool-aid,

Ukrainian egg decorating,

winter solstice spiral

May Day Pole Dancing.

It's actually a lot easier to grow your own Easter Grass than you may think. And it doesn't even take that all. All you need is a few supplies and about a week! So keep reading and try something new this year!

Welcome Spring! We’re glad you’re back. We’re looking forward to warmth and light.

Beautiful Bee Friendly Plants For Your Landscape + Easy Ways Save the Bees

If you’re looking for easy ways to help save the bees, check out this long list of bee friendly plants and learn about the Beesponsible® and National Wildlife Federation’s pollinator-friendly, pesticide-free gardening efforts called Don’t Kill My Buzz. It’s easy to take action and help save the bees. You CAN make a difference.Bee Friendly Plants to Add to your Landscape & Garden

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Beesponsible®. The opinions and text are all mine. #DontKillMyBuzz #ad

Beautiful Bee Friendly Plants for Your Landscape + Easy Ways Save the Bees

Bees are amazing creatures and we can thank them for nearly 1/3 of the food we eat because of their ability to pollinate plants. Honeybees also provide us with amazing healing and healthy honey. Sadly, bee populations are declining at a rapid rate. They’re very threatened and need our help. Luckily, it’s not that hard to do right by bees.bee friendly flowers to add to your garden: sunflowers, zinnias, marigolds

Bee Friendly Plants to Beautify your Yard

One super easy, and beautiful way to help save the bees is to plant bee friendly plants in your landscape and garden. Not only do the plants provide food for the bees, but they also help our gardens thrive.  You can have a big impact on bees simply by adding bee friendly plants: flowers, shrubs, herbs, and even trees to your landscape. The plants below are perfect for my gardening zone, Zone 5. To find bee friendly plants for your area, check out the interactive map found here.

  • Sunflower
  • Coneflower
  • Black-Eyed Susan
  • Bee Balm
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Lavender
  • Aster
  • Poppy
  • Zinnia
  • Bachelor Button
  • Russian Sage
  • Goldenrod
  • Hyssop
  • Highbush Blueberry
  • Common Redbud

**Try to add an early spring flower (like crocus and borage) to your landscape soon, to give the bees a pick-me-up after the long winter!**

Herbs Bees Love

Herbs are ridiculously easy to grow and bees love them too, especially if you let them flower. Every year I look for my volunteer chives. As soon as they flower, the bees swarm them. It’s beautiful to watch and I don’t have to do anything at all to grow the chives. In fact, I didn’t even plant the chives in the spot they return to each year in the first place! They just appeared there one year and I decided to let them grow year after year. If you can, add a few useful herbs to your landscape or garden. You will be rewarded not only with happy bees, but yummy food you can use to cook with!

  • Chives
  • Mint
  • Marjoram
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Not only are many of these flowers, herbs, bushes, and trees bee friendly, but many of them also make amazing companion plants. You definitely want companion plants in your garden not only to attract beneficial pollinators like bees, but to ward off bad bugs too. Learn more about companion plants here.

Seed packets of sunflowers and other flowers to help save the bees as part of the #Beesponsible Don't Kill My Buzz campaign

More Easy Ways to Help Save the Bees

Even if you can’t add a few beautiful plants to your landscape, there are lots of other ways to get involved. Following are a few more ways to help bees.

Don’t use Pesticides or Herbicides

Chemicals on your yard or in your garden are very harmful to bees. If at all possible, stay away from pesticides and herbicides at your house. I know a lot of people hate dandelions and clover for some reason, but bees really love them. If you can embrace native plants and leave the weeds alone, the bees in your area will be a lot happier.

bee friendly habitat

Set up a Bee-Friendly Habitat

It’s not that hard to set up bee-friendly habitats. Besides plants, all they need is shelter and water. You can buy a little bee house, make sure they can access water they can’t drown in, and plant a few of the plants I shared above to make sure they have food. Super easy, right? Learn how easy it is to set up a bee-friendly habitat here.

potatoes, lettuce, peas, dill, cabbage from the garden and a bee house

Buy responsible food

Think about the impact your food has on bees. Food produced with lots of chemicals is not healthy for bees and in my opinion, isn’t healthy for people either. If you can, add some organic food to your diet. Meet the farmers who grow your food and talk with them about their growing methods. Make conscious decisions to buy food that’s grown with fewer chemicals. The bees will thank you!

Become a Bee Keeper

Keeping bees is a great way to help bees and is something I am doing for the first time this year. I’m so excited to get my first hive of bees in early April. I have a lot to learn about keeping bees, but I’m really excited. Not only is it a helpful for the bee population, but in Iowa, people who keep bees can register with the state to let farmers know they need to be careful with their chemical applications in the fields all around us. I’m not sure how that will work out yet, but I’ll keep you posted.

#Beesponsible Don't Kill My Buzz Selfie

Support Beesponsible® and National Wildlife Federation’s pollinator-friendly, pesticide-free gardening efforts, Don’t Kill My Buzz

On March 5, Beesponsible® and the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) kicked off “Don’t Kill My Buzz,” a campaign to support NWF’s pollinator-friendly, pesticide-free gardening efforts! You can help buy doing any of the simple tasks I shared above. You can also help in more ways:

  • Buy an amazing (and soft) “Don’t Kill My Buzz” t-shirt on Beesponsible®. I’m sporting mine in the photo above. You’ll get a nice t-shirt, and Beesponsible® will donate $5 from every t-shirt sale to NWF.
  • After you get your shirt, share or RT a selfie in your shirt and Beesponsible® will donate $1 for each share and RT to NWF (up to $100,000). Make sure to tag @Beesponsible and use #DontKillMyBuzz.
  • You can also share steps you’re taking to help the bees on social media. Again, make sure to tag @Beesponsible and use #DontKillMyBuzz, so Beesponsible® can donate another $1 to NWF (up to $100,000).

To learn more about how you can help the bees and the Beesponsible® program, head over here! There’s lots of great information on their website. How do you help bees?

Beautiful Bee Friendly Plants For Your Landscape

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Beesponsible®. The opinions and text are all mine.

Kid Friendly Activities in Philadelphia that Adults will Enjoy too!

I highly recommend taking a family trip to Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love. There are so many amazing history lessons and fun things for people of all ages to enjoy. Here are our favorite kid friendly activities in Philadelphia. Don’t miss any of them!Philadelphia skyline from the interstate

Kid Friendly Activities in Philadelphia that Adults will Enjoy too!!

Philadelphia is one place I always wanted to visit. I’m a history junkie and really love seeing historically relevant sites. I was pretty darn thrilled when a great, great friend moved to Philly several years ago. That gave me a justifiable excuse to visit (as well as a free place to stay) and I packed up my four kids for two different road trips to the area. We had a great time during each visit. At the time we were homeschooling and the kids learned so much while we were having fun. Here’s a list of the many kid friendly activities in Philadelphia that adults will also love!Independence Hall Philadelphia

1. Independence Hall

What visit to Philadelphia is complete without seeing the birth place of the United States? Independence Hall is part of the US National Park System and is a free visit. Take a guided tour to see the original US constitution, the exact rooms where the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution were both signed. Tickets are free, but entrance to Independence Hall is by timed entry ticket only from March through December. No tickets are necessary in January and February. You can reserve tickets in advance for a small fee $1.50 per ticket). Learn more about tickets to Independence Hall here.

Independence Hall photo op Philadelphia

Don’t let the thrilled look on my kids’ faces fool you for a minute. They did enjoy visiting Constitution Center and Independence Hall. They also loved earning the Junior Ranger Badge from the National Park Service that we MADE them do. 😀 If you’re heading to Philly with your kids, I recommend finding all the cheesy photo ops you can and forcing them to post. Very amusing for parents…dress up in Independence Visitor's Center

2. Liberty Bell

Ok, so this isn’t the real Liberty Bell, but we did go see it. It looks just like that one only you can’t touch it.  🙂 Make sure you also stop in the Independence Visitor’s Center with your kids and let them touch and feel exhibits.

Earning junior ranger badges in Independence Visitor's Center Philadelphia

That’s also where you can get the Junior Ranger booklets for your kids! My kids really enjoyed the dress up. Independence Hall, the Visitor’s Center, and the Liberty Bell are very close to each other. You’ll walk from once to the next.

3. United States Mint

Another one of our favorite kid friendly activities in Philadelphia is taking a free tour of the US Mint! Also located very close to Independence Hall, this 45 minute self guided tour will show you how the US Treasury makes coins! It’s not quite as sexy as learning about making millions of dollars worth of bills, but we enjoyed our time there a lot! Tours run Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., but the doors close at 4:15 pm. The Mint is located at 151 N. Independence Mall East (on 5th Street between Arch Street and Race Street).

The Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia Kid Friendly Activities in Philadelphia that Adults will Enjoy too!

4. Betsy Ross House

A quick walk from Independence Hall, you’ll find the Betsy Ross House where you can meet Betsy Ross, tour her house, and learn about her role in the new United States of America. We really enjoyed this tour because historical actors are so real and believable. I had to convince my youngest daughter that it wasn’t actually Betsy Ross. Unlike the activities I’ve mention thus far, there is a fee to tour the Betsy Ross House – $5 for adults and $4 for kids. Totally worth it, in my opinion.

Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia

Reading Terminal Market

What a great place to grab a bite to eat! Reading Terminal Market is one of the largest and oldest public markets in the US. Not only do they have tons of fabulous food, but they also have an indoor farmer’s market and lots of locally made products. I did some of my Christmas shopping here when we visited. The market is open daily from 8 am to 6 pm, except the Pennsylvania Dutch merchants who are closed on Sundays. You’ll find it near Macy’s at 51 North 12th Street. Be sure to keep a close eye on your kids. It’s a pretty crowded place.

Christmas Light Show at Macy's in Philadephia

Wanamaker Organ

If you’re into music, make sure to stop at Macy’s Center in downtown Philly. If you happen to go during Christmas time, the Christmas Light Show is absolutely amazing. My kids really enjoyed wandering around this enormous Macy’s store and seeing the huge Wanamaker Organ. I highly recommend visiting when the organ is playing – Monday through Saturday at noon; Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 5:30 pm; and each Wednesday and Friday at 7 pm. Learn more here!

the boats of the Seaport Museum in Philly shrouded in fog

Independence Seaport Museum

More kid friendly activities in Philadelphia that the entire family will enjoy include visiting the Seaport Museum! This fun and educational museum features many interactive exhibits about the history of boating in Philadelphia and beyond. The kids had fun climbing in and out of boats, sailing small electric boats inside, and also watching master boat makers build boats! It’s also near the downtown area, so pretty close by if you’re visiting downtown Philly.

Olympia and Becuna at Independence Seaport Museum

But our favorite part of the trip was climbing aboard the Becuna submarine and seeing how sailors lived underwater during WW2. Touring the Olympia to learn how sailors lived before WW1 was even more amazing. The Olympia was launched in 1892 and  is the oldest steel warship still afloat in the world. It was really neat comparing officer quarters to those of enlisted personnel. I highly recommend a visit to the Seaport Museum if you have time! Very fun and education.

 helicopter on the Battleship New Jersey

Battleship New Jersey

Battleship New Jersey was my son’s favorite activity in all of Philly. Though we had a great time everywhere we went, he loved this the most. This floating museum is not in in Pennsylvania at all. Instead, it’s on the Camden Waterfront in New Jersey, directly across the Delaware River from Penn’s Landing Philadelphia. Battleship New Jersey saw action in WW2, Vietnam, and the Korean War and was decommissioned in 1991. The kids loved this visit and it’s totally kid friendly! We climbed ladders, sat in the captain’s chair, learned about the weapons it used. It was a great day full of history lessons and another place in the Philly area you and your kids will really enjoy.

In all, Philadelphia is just full of amazing kid friendly activities that both kids and grownups will enjoy. So many rich history lessons and fun hands on learning activities! I highly recommend that you take a trip to the City of Brotherly Love in your lifetime. I hope we get to go back because there are more places I’d love to visit.

If you liked this post in kid friendly activities in Philadelphia, you might like these posts too!

Walking Boston’s Freedom Trail

Family Friendly Indoor Activities in the Twin Cities

What to know about visiting Neuschwanstein with kids

Planning a trip to Disney World on a Budget

 I’d love to hear what kid friendly activities in Philadelphia you would add to the list! Have you been?

Kid Friendly Activities in Philadelphia that Adults will Enjoy too! pin

 

February Grocery Audit – Family of 6 Grocery Budget

 Another look at our Family of 6 Grocery Budget! One of my goals for 2018 is to take more control of our family grocery budget to better understand our finances. At the end of January, I shared the first ever Grocery Audit, and today, I’m sharing part two in that series. Here’s my February 2018 Grocery Audit.

inside my fridge

*This post contains affiliate links which means I earn me a small commission on your purchase.*

February Grocery Audit – Family of 6 Grocery Budget

If you’re new to these posts, you might want to head over to January’s Grocery Audit and take a look at all of the details I shared about the USDA Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels. Last month, we spent a little over $800 to feed our family of six.. I thought $800 was a little more than we normally spend. Here’s how we compared in February.

Hy-Vee 2/4 TOTAL $26.27 (Super Bowl Sunday)

This is what happens when I’m out of town. This is my husband’s purchase. Ironically, I was at a ShiftCon – an Eco Wellness / Green Living Conference eating a 100% non-gmo diet when he bought all this stuff. LOL. Clearly, we’re not perfect.

  • French Onion Dip,  $3.69
  • Tyson Crispy Chicken Strips, $9.76
  • Doritos, $3.99
  • BBQ Potato Chips, $1.99
  • Ruffles, $3.99
  • Bananas, $1.09
  • Limes, $1.50

aldi grocery haul 2.6

ALDI 2/6 TOTAL $61.39

Missing receipt but took pictures. 🙂 I pretty much suck at keeping receipts.

HyVee grocery haul 26

Hy-Vee 2/6 TOTAL $26.39

Missing receipt but took pictures. New goal for March: Keep EVERY SINGLE receipt.

  • 3 organic peppers
  • uncured lunchmeat
  • organic kale (I’m trying not to buy clamshells to reduce the amount of plastic I buy, but it’s really, really hard!)
  • organic chocolate milk (We love this stuff. It’s a real treat.)

organic pizza kit from Costco

Costco 2/10 TOTAL $229.74

  • Organic OJ, $7.99
  • Organic 1/2 & 1/2, $5.79
  • Organic frozen blueberries, $9.89
  • Organic pizza kit, $7.99 (I had high hopes for this, but it was pretty nasty. I won’t buy it again.)
  • Organic frozen mango, $10.49
  • Clif Z Bars, $16.99
  • Organic frozen raspberries, $9.79
  • Raw Almonds, $12.99
  • Shredded Mozzarella, $10.49
  • Salame, $7.49
  • Stonyfield organic yogurt squeezer x2, $11.98
  • Organic frozen peas, $6.59
  • White Sharp Cheddar Cheese x 2, $21.58
  • Sliced havarti, $7.99
  • Organic EVOO, $15.49
  • Wild albacore tuna, $14.99
  • Bagels, $5.99
  • Organic hummus, $5.89
  • Organic tortilla chips, $4.49
  • Organic maple syrup, $10.99
  • Organic triscuits, $8.99
  • Organic granola, $4.89
  • Organic romaine lettuce, $3.99
  • Organic broccoli, $5.99

 

ALDI 2/11 TOTAL $62.77

  • Frozen shrimp, $4.99
  • Wild caught Alaska Salmon, $9.99
  • Almond milk, $1.99
  • Organic whole milk, $2.95
  • Organic apples $4.99
  • ABF lunchmeat x2, $6.58
  • Plain organic yogurt x2, $5.98
  • Mushrooms, $1.49
  • Limes, $1.69
  • Lemons, $2.89
  • Pineapples, $1.29
  • Organic grape tomatoes x2, $5.98
  • Organic brown eggs x2, $6.98
  • Organic bread, $3.99Organic groceries from Walmart grocery haul

WALMART 2/16 TOTAL $38.58

  • Organic potatoes x2, $7.92
  • Organic cauliflower, $3.46
  • Organic green onions, $1.38
  • Organic granola, $3.98
  • Organic cereal x2, $5.96
  • Organic kale, $3.56
  • Organic granola x2, $6.56
  • Organic apples, $5.76

aldi grocery haul to establish family of 6 grocery budget

ALDI 2/18 TOTAL $81.37

  • Frozen shrimp, $4.49
  • Wild caught Alaska Salmon, $9.99
  • Organic spaghetti noodles x2, $2.18
  • ABF Salami x2, $5.98
  • ABF lunchmeat x2, $6.58
  • Organic whole milk, $2.95
  • Navel oranges x3, $7.47
  • Yellow onions, $1.59
  • Red onions, $1.69
  • Mushrooms, $1.49
  • Organic plain yogurt x3, $5.97
  • Organic grape tomatoes, $2.49
  • Organic apples, $4.99
  • Organic brown eggs x3, $10.47

Costco 2/18 TOTAL $60 ish? 

Dan made a quick Costco and brought home organic frozen fruit, bagels, organic bread, organic tortilla chips. The receipt has vanished, so this is my best guess.

 family of 6 grocery budget aldi grocery haul

ALDI 2/25 TOTAL $98.47

  • Kettle Chips x2, $2.78
  • Organic Tortilla chips, $1.99
  • Organic diced canned tomatoes x2, %3.18
  • Extra sharp cheddar cheese x2, $3.58
  • Pistachio snack for starving child, $.99
  • Organic frozen berries x4, $11.56
  • Organic chocolate chips, $1.99 (first time I’ve seen organic chocolate chips at ALDI!)
  • Organic whole milk, $2.95
  • Organic granola bars x3, $5.57
  • Apple sauce pouches x2, $3.78
  • Oregano x3, $3.57
  • ABF lunchemat x2, $6.58
  • ABF bacon, $5.39
  • Bananas, $2.67
  • Mandarins, $2.49
  • Organic apples x2, 8.78
  • OJ, $1.99
  • Avocados x6, $3.54
  • Almond milk, $1.99
  • Navel oranges, $3.89
  • Bagels x2, $3.58
  • Organic bread, $3.99
  • Organic tomatoes, $3.29
  • Flour tortillas, $1.99
  • Dry pinto beans, $1.49
  • Cilantro, $.69
  • Cabbage, $1.49
  • Red Onions, $1.69

hyvee organic grocery haul

Hy-Vee 2/25 TOTAL $23.86

  • Organic unsalted butter, $7.99
  • Organic whole milk, $4.99
  • Organic plain yogurt x2, $5.57 (Used BOGO coupons but they didn’t credit me for the entire cost)
  • Bean sprouts, $1.89
  • Egg roll wrappers, $2.99 (Had to return these because they were moldy THE SAME DAY OF PURCHASE!) I was bummed to have to return the eggroll wrappers, because I had the egg roll filling all ready before I realized the wrappers were moldy. So we had egg roll bowls instead. They were pretty good, and probably a lot healthier than the pan fried egg rolls I usually make.
  • Snow peas, $3.47

Considerations for my Family of 6 Grocery Budget

  • I buy beef and pork by the animal from local farmers and don’t buy much meat at the grocery store. I raise my own meat chickens. So we eat a lot more meat than is reflected in my grocery purchases.
  • I have a well stocked pantry with many staples like dried beans, rice, and wheat which I buy in bulk quantities (25+ pounds) and store.
  • If I find a pantry staple on sale, I will likely buy a large quantity and store.
  • I have an aging egg laying chicken flock who better start laying me eggs again soon so I can stop buying them. There’s no comparison to farm fresh eggs from free-ranging birds! 🙂
  • I like to garden and can food. I currently have pickles, tomatoes, and salsa left over from last year still, but I just ran out of garlic and we ran out of potatoes and onions a while ago.
  • My kids pack a school lunch 4 out of 5 days each the week.

My best guess for our Family of 6 Grocery Budget for February is $708.84 which is ~ $100 less than we spent in January. $600 is generally what I try to spend on groceries each month, so we still have a little bit of work to do to get down to my goal.

If you liked my February Grocery Audit post, you might also like these posts:

Must know tips for buying organic meat on a budget

15 Things you must know to save money on organic food

Tips for ordering from Azure Standard

Budget Friendly & Healthy Snacks from ALDI

Top 10 Tips for saving money at the grocery store

I’d love to hear from you! How does your grocery spending compare to the USDA’s data? Have you started Grocery Audits yet? What are you learning?