Search This Blog

Thursday, March 28, 2013

We went from "Failure" to THRIVING! Find out HOW!

Many of you have been following the struggles of our youngest daughter, Baby B, and her "designation" as failure to thrive.

Baby B, tonight at dinner <3
She will be 10 months on April 1st. She has seen her pediatrician for weekly to bi weekly weight checks since she was 4 months old. Up until the middle of February, she was a mere 10 and 1/2 pounds. Yes, that's 10 and 1/2 lbs at 9 months old. 

She has seen an immunologist, a gastroenterologist, and a nutritionist. She has always been what I would describe as a "good eater", but still failed to gain weight. In fact, she regularly lost weight. She has had extensive bloodwork done, and was tested for both cystic fibrosis and celiac disease  

Between her last two visits with the Gastroenterologist, she went from almost 12 pounds, back down below 11lbs. As I described in my previous post about her condition
her ped was at the point of placing a naso gastric tube  when I decided to just try the gluten free diet. 

Reasons NOT to try gluten free for a possible Celiac infants: 

* if there is a pending endoscopy, the results could show a false negative without gluten actually in the system 

*  there are only a few formulas that actually contain gluten, most do not. Also, there is little evidence that gluten is transferred from breastmilk. so depending on the age of the infant, there is little likelihood they are consuming much gluten anyway. 

* many pre made GF foods are highly processed, so can be even less safe for infants if you don't have the time or energy to cook and bake from scratch. 

baby B, earlier in the week, enjoying a GF cooksimple meal

For us, the switch to gluten free was a huge success. In just under 5 weeks, baby B gained 4 pounds and was over 14 lbs!! <3 

She is now maintaining between 14 and 15 pounds. Also what I fail to believe is a coincidence; her hair is finally growing in and she suddenly has 2 teeth! In other words, she is now thriving!

I am going to be starting an Adventures in Gluten Free series to share recipes, tips, and products that have worked for us in the event that are other mamas or papas out there going through the same thing, or just attempting to switch their kiddos over to a GF diet.   

TRUE Celiac Disease diagnosis: 

* because she suffers from an immune disorder , the blood test for Celiac is inconclusive

* the only way to get a true diagnosis, is with an endoscopy. Her GI recommends we re visit this option at or around 24 months, but as stated above, we will need to reintroduce gluten for this to be accurate. 

* there is also a genetic test, which while it does not "test" for Celiac Disease; it can be a rule out. Negative results would mean it is NOT possible for that person to suffer from Celiac disease. Versus a positive result which would mean that we would have to do the endoscopy as recommended by the GI. 
We had this genetic test done last week, and are still awaiting results. Should Baby B's results come back negative, our Dr is recommending we continue on the gluten free since there has been such a good response. Just because she may not be a true Celiac, does not mean she cannot suffer from gluten intolerance. 

Celiac Disease vs Gluten Intolerance  (from

 Celiac disease is, by definition, a condition in which the intestinal wall is damaged as a result of eating gluten. It is a chronic illness in which the symptoms wax and wane for reasons that are not yet understood.

 On the other hand, gluten sensitivity is characterized by antigliadin antibodies. This condition afflicts at least 12% of the general population and is found in patients with a wide variety of autoimmune diseases...These patients are mounting an immune response to the most common food in the western diet, yet many practitioners consider gluten sensitivity to be a non-specific finding, frequently counseling patients to ignore these test results.

Mommy, What is Celiac Disease? Childrens' book

 * Untreated celiac disease carries an added risk for a wide variety of additional autoimmune diseases. The most likely cause of this predisposition to additional autoimmune disease is a condition sometimes referred to as leaky gut syndrome. We know that gluten causes intestinal damage. We also know that this damage allows large undigested and partly digested proteins to leak into the bloodstream through the damaged intestinal wall. This leakage results in immune system production of antibodies to attack these foreign proteins as if they were invading microbes... we are producing antibodies that attack both the foreign food proteins that are leaked into our blood through the damaged intestinal wall, and similar amino acid sequences in our own tissues, often resulting in further autoimmune disease (s). 

 - also from

Questions about if your child has Celiac disease? Check out and call your pediatrician today! 

Stay TUNED for our Adventures in Gluten Free recipe and product series! 

In the meantime, stay on top of our menu by following Babies A and B on Pinterest 
and NNM on Facebook 


Monday, March 25, 2013

Hot Tamale!!!! Yep, A GIVEAWAY!!

As many of you know, our house is newly gluten free because our two youngest, babies A and B, have been recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease. In an effort to make our menu choices as quick and healthy as possible, we were granted the wonderful opportunity to check out some top choices by cooksimple. 

Check out how cooksimple began: 

The story of cooksimple™ founder Keith Lauver is one that resonates with many people. Keith was in his early 30s with a new baby at home, traveling weekly for work, eating out most nights, and paying little regard to his personal health. In November 2002, he walked into a clinic for a life insurance medical exam and walked out with three numbers that changed his life: Cholesterol=260, Triglycerides=586, Weight=194. What did these numbers equate to? Keith was considered twice as likely to die as the “average guy.”
This wake-up call convinced Keith to make some major changes...Taking control of what he was eating was the key to building a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. 

...The company was founded on the principle that people will eat healthier if doing so is tasty, easy, and accessible. cooksimple™ has designed a product line to do just that by removing the largest barrier for everyone: the lack of time to cook at home. The recipes are a breeze to prepare, flavorful, satisfying, and inexpensive, while also delivering superior nutrition.

from their website,

So, Can cooksimple really impress me twice in a row? Let's see! 
Last night we tried the tamale pie; 

Ok, so clearly I am NOT a food photographer ;) but here's what you get with the Tamale Pie kit

Like the white bean chili, you need to add ground meat, and this time, diced tomatoes. I didn't have any ground meat on hand this time, so I pulled some pork chops from the freezer and again, stuck them in the crock-pot in the am with the can of diced tomatoes. 

Right before I was ready to make the pie, I took them out and shredded them quickly with a fork, gave them a quick chop, and threw them back in the slow cooker. 

What did I have to do next, you ask? Add the spice packet and some water.

Yep, that's it. 

I waited for it to bubble, as instructed, and at the last minute, added the instructed amount of shredded cheese. Here's what it looked like; 

Now you'll see that there is also a cornbread topping for this dish, so again, super easy to prepare, and then just you pour it over top- 19 minutes later..... BAM:


So, we were SO impressed with the White Bean Chili  , that I think I psyched myself out for this one. I served this, as I did the chili, with a simple arugula salad with balsamic honey dressing. 

I really enjoyed the chili/tamale part of this dish. A little more of almost a curry-ish taste to this one, but was a nice compliment to the peppery arugula. I was not, however, a fan of the cornbread topping. A bit to thick and dense for me. I think if I made this again, I might only use half of the cornbread mixture overtop. 

Hubby and Sissy on the other hand, LOVED the cornbread! 

Other pluses: 

* Made enough to feed 5 of us. For 2 nights! ;) 
* Everyone enjoyed it: Mom, Dad, Sissy, Baby A (2 yo ) and Baby B (10 mo) 
* Again, SO EASY! (LOVE THAT!) 

2nd night (tonight)- we had the leftovers heated and topped with sour cream and salsa and dipped blue corn chips into it. DELISH! <3 

baby A enjoying her tamale pie with shredded cheese, blue corn chips, and Silk Chocolate Milk

Baby B enjoying hers chopped up with some shredded cheese and some water!


We want YOU to enjoy a gluten free night on cooksimple as well! So HERE is how YOU can WIN:  

Mandatory Entries:
* Subscribe to NNM via Google Friend Connect and comment below that you have done so
* Follow NNM on Facebook (already a follower? that's ok! It counts!) Just comment on our wall by naming a cooksimple kit "flavor"
* Follow cooksimple on Facebook and comment on their wall that NNM sent you 

Additional Entries: 

In order to keep track of all additional entries, for each entry completed, you MUST comment below here that you have done so (other wise I can't track everyone!) :

* FOLLOW NNM on Twitter 
* FOLLOW cooksimple on Twitter 
* TWEET this giveaway using #NurturingtheNaturalMama #giveaway and tag @mymackey and @cooksimplemeals 
* FOLLOW NNM on Pinterest 
* FOLLOW cooksimple on  Pinterest 
* RE PIN this giveaway 

Aaaaand GO! Goodluck! WINNER will be chosen at random Friday March 29th at 8pm, EST  

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Natural Dental Care is HERE! Review and GIVEAWAY!

That's right, you heard me! Featured in the 2013 Eco Baby Gear Buying Guide from Green Child Magazine

via Instagram @mymackey

Jack n Jill Natural Toothpaste and dental care supplies! Review and GIVEAWAY to follow! Stay tuned! 

In the meantime, be sure to follow Jack n Jill on Facebook, Twitter, and on the web and let them know NurturingtheNaturalMama sent ya! 

CookSimple: Can Gluten Free Chili really be easy and delicious?

I recently received some samples from CookSimple when they discovered we had entered the gluten free world, thanks to babies A and B! I was delighted at the prospect of an easy, healthy weeknight meal. 

Being new to gluten free, I feel I have been doing pretty well in our dinner combinations, without straying too far from our usual menu. For example, one night a week we always had pasta as an easy dinner, and now we just substitute gluten free pasta. Most nights though, we stick to our usual: some kind of meat and a vegetable. Occasionally, we include a starch- so we're not really missing out on too much. 

But the cooksimple products I received all have only one or two ingredients you need to add, and each contain all actual, readable ingredients: spices, beans, etc. I was pleased from the start. 

So last night I made the white bean chili . The box called for me to add shredded chicken, or any meat of my choice. The recommendation was a rotisserie chicken for the easiest option since it is precooked. I chose to use the boneless chicken thighs I had in the freezer. 

via Instagram @mymackey

So yesterday morning, while I waited for the coffee to brew, I threw the thighs in my crockpot with a chopped onion, about 1/2 c of barbecue sauce, and a splash of raw apple cider vinegar. By the time I was ready to make dinner, chicken was done and easily shredded with a fork. 

The box calls for you to boil the packet with 4 cups of milk (or water)- I chose milk. 

Then add your meat and simmer for about 20 minutes. 

No, for real.... like, that's it! :) 

this is what you see when you open the box
I was a bit skeptical about the amount in the box. We had 5 of the 6 of us home, so I was unsure that the seemingly tiny box would feed our whole family. Again, a pleasant surprise, was that it fed us last night AND tonight! WOOT WOOT! Any busy mom LOVES leftovers! 

Both nights I served the chili with a simple arugula salad, which I got from a dinner I had with Michelle Collins from the Economical Eater, and my new favorite Ken's Chefs Reserve Creamy Balsamic with Honey salad dressing! YUM! 

I found the chili ended up super creamy, just spicy enough (if you want SUPER spicy- you'll need to add some crushed red pepper, or what we opted for: Hot salsa!), no bizarre "boxed food" aftertaste, and something that I can't wait to make again to put over nachos! There has GOT to be gluten free nachos right???? ;) 

To give you an idea of how it turned out as a family meal: 

Sissy (age 16 and picky ;)) ate it in a tortilla (she is NOT GF) and ate 3 of them! ;) 

Hubby ate 2 bowls... last night AND tonight!

Baby A (age 2 and 1/2) ate hers topped with sour cream and had a second bowl today with lunch with some cubes of cheddar cheese. No weird faces or complaints ;)

Baby B (age 10 months) ate mostly the chicken. squished around the beans. I would say that's pretty age appropriate ;) 

So in conclusion: a wonderful success! This weekend: Tamale Pie  and I can't wait! Stay tuned, because one more review and there will be a GIVEAWAY for you to try your own cooksimple meal! 

Be sure to follow cooksimple on FacebookPinterest and Twitter and tell them NurturingtheNaturalMama sent you! 

You can also get many of the items mentioned here at the NurtureMe Store

Have you tried cooksimple meals? Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Orange Rhino Update: I'm Failing ;) Are YOU doing the Challenge?

So I am determined... and I mean: d.e.t.e.r.m.i.n.e.d to become a non-yeller. Shortly after the new year, I signed on to participate in the Orange Rhino Challenge . Sounded simple: start with a goal of 30 days without yelling. 

As you can see by my ticker to the LEFT: I suck. Yep, I'm a yeller. I've always been a yeller. Don't get me wrong, I am NOT giving up. I have no doubt I WILL become a non yeller... it's just clearly not going to happen overnight. 

Also please do not be mistaken: I am not a screamer... I do not torment my children by yelling 24/7... and nor do I ever (and I mean EVER) berate my children when I do yell. I am simply a loud person anyways (ask Hubby ;P) and when my children don't listen... which is seemingly all the time... I feel like talking LOUDER (ok, yelling) will somehow get them to HEAR me, even though it has clearly yet to actually work! 

photo from the Orange Rhino on Facebook

The kids have been patient with me. Despite my inability thus far to complete a full 7 day stretch, I DO see improvement! I am at the point where I can at least catch myself (if my kids don't catch me first by yelling "Orange Rhino!") As always, I have no shame in apologizing to my kids- they know all too well that I am NOT perfect. But I hope in some way this helps them as they get older. 

Giving the illusion that you're perfect, or a perfect parent, in my opinion just sets them up for failure when they make a mistake, or feel "imperfect". Also, they know how to apologize. Lord knows they've heard one enough! ;)  

 At our last Family Appreciation Night  we unveiled the Orange Rhino Challenge and each child got their own Rhino to remind ME, Hubby, and themselves- that yelling is not ok. We keep each other in check. 

I have also recently ordered some orange gear in hopes this will help me on my quest to become a non yeller: 

something for Spiderman

something for Baby B

and something for Baby A

 Hopefully the orange in my face will be enough of a reminder now that I'll keep my voice down. Orange Rhino had a recent post up about "the emergency yell"- do you agree?

How are YOU doing with your goals so far for 2013? Share them here, on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter


Easter Books for Kids: Are YOU sending the right message?

Want some nice Easter books for your kidlets that have a nice balance between explaining the real story and the Easter bunny? Here are the ones we have in OUR house and are enjoying this week and next ;) 

The Easter Storywithout needing much explanation, tells the true story of Easter

The Story of Easter   has great pictures, and also sticks more closely to the true story of Easter

What is Easter?   is a great compromise! A light, rhyming, fun tale that differentiates between the Easter bunny, jelly beans, dressing up- and the story of Jesus' resurrection. 

 In other news: 

Our kiddos are getting some new books in their Easter baskets this year, so I thought I'd share for those of you that can benefit; 

Standing on My Own Two Feet    
 This has been Spidermans' favorite book since I first bought it for him when he was just over a year old. All the pages are torn and now there are two missing, so he is getting a brand new copy in his basket! <3 This is a great tale that compares the child's two feet- with his/her two homes, two schedules, etc. and that mom and dad both love him/her no matter what <3

Mommy, What is Celiac Disease?  

This one is obviously going to be for baby A (well, and Baby B- but she won't appreciate it yet ;)) I just found it on Pinterest the other day, and thought to look it up today! I will keep you posted once I get it in how good of a read it is for the little ones! <3

Easter In Our House: 

I typically boycott all the hullabaloo that goes along with the commercialization of Easter. Not for any religious opposition, but simply because I hate it. I hate spending money on cheap crap . I avoid candy like the plague, because frankly, my kids go insane. We decorate eggs, and the "Easter bunny" hides them around the house. 

Although honestly, I'm not sure even my kids believe the some big bunny comes tromping though our house to hide EGGS! But whatever, the hunt is fun, and the kids get baskets at the breakfast table. Here is what we did last year: 

 We decorated our eggs (which we then eat btw- nothing goes to waste here!) We got biodegradable easter grass and each basket ($1.00 section at Target) hold 2 pieces of egg shaped sidewalk chalk, and they each got a new chapstick (also the $1.00 section at Target).  

Two easy, and low waste, and NO CANDY Easter baskets for less then $10.00. 

What have you done to "green up" your Easter? 

photo compliments of Christine Barney

And don't forget! You can always find items featured here in the blog, and others that are NNM approved at the NurtureMe Store  


Friday, March 15, 2013


NNM has some EXCITING NEWS! We have no exceeded the 500 mark in our # of "LIKES" on Facebook!

 This may seem rather trivial, but our # of "LIKES" and subscribers actually enables us to provide you with more great guest post articles, thus more information, and of course, more deals and GIVEAWAYS!! In celebration of reaching 500 likes, I will be posting a #giveaway starting Monday March 18th, so STAY TUNED!

Thank you to all our readers, we hope we provide you weekly with plenty of deals & steals, as well as posts that you find inspiring and informative. 

Besides what we post here on blogger, you can also find a plethora of tips, deals and steals on our FB page, and on Pinterest

Please always feel free to email us with your comments/questions/suggestions at: 

-NurturingtheNaturalMama <3 

Thursday, March 14, 2013

NEW Items received today! Review & Giveaway from CookSimple

Check out the new items I received today: 

Gluten free cooking kits from CookSimple that I can't WAIT to review! One of these kits will be offered as a GIVEAWAY!!! That is, ifffffff I can part with them ;) 

Stay tuned! 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

SAVE Marine Animals: Yep, there's an APP for that!

Dolphins and Other Underwater Friends Will Be Nurtured Through EnviroPop App
guest post by AppLabsDigital, Inc. 

photo courtesy of AppLabsDigital

A lot of marine animals are facing extinction because of man-made pollutants and hazards. It is sad that
while these marine treasures are given to us as gifts to be valued and taken care of, man is depressingly
harming them. Worse still, man is actually one of the reasons why certain species are facing extinction.

Dolphins are one of the marine species that are being endangered because of man's own recreational
menace. Trawl nets trap the dolphins when they are swimming across the ocean, and even if they manage
to escape the nets, they will still acquire serious cuts and wounds which can cause them to die. Marine
pollution such as cyanide and oil spill from tankers also poison the dolphins and cause them health
problems that greatly affect their reproduction and velocity.

We love watching dolphins when they trail boats and when they shepherd people that are mounted on
ships. Hoping that these aquatic wonders will not be wiped out soon, World Wide Fund for Nature
(WWF-Philippines) and AppLabs Digital Studios Inc. are bringing an environmental application called
EnviroPop to the app nation. This altruistic project takes advantage of the modern technology to impart
learning and awareness to smart phone users.

EnviroPop is puzzle game which showcases six different marine species (including the beloved Dolly the
Dolphin!) stuck between marine hazards and pollutants. The gameplay is very easy as players only need
to tap at least three hazards and swipe them off the screen within a minute.
The objective of the app is to inform users about WWF-Philippines' advocacy to conserve the marine
biodiversity and to save the endangered sea creatures. One of the educational tools found in the app
is “Enviropedia” where users can view the importance of the featured endangered sea animals to the
submerged ecosystem. Users can also learn about the marine pollutants that are posing a threat to the
marine biodiversity.

EnviroPop is available on iTunes now for only $0.99

photo courtesy of AppLabsDigital
For every download of the environmental app, proceeds will swim its way into WWF-Philippines' marine conservation program fund. This fund will help aid the status of our dissipating marine biodiversity. The app isn't just created to bring entertainment for people, but also to encourage them to learn and do their part.

You can find the Enviropop App on Facebook and Twitter

For more INFO:

EnviroPop App
EnviroPop Full Version on iTunes
EnviroPop Lite Version on iTunes
AppLabs Digital Studios Inc

Be sure to like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter, and tell them NNM sent you! Enjoy!

Monday, March 11, 2013

2013 Eco Baby Gear Buying Guide that's FREE? Count me IN!

Green Child Magazine is in their 3rd year of publication! This bi monthly, online only magazine has been connecting parents with green options for their family with the goal of getting us back to raising our children the way nature intended.

I just got my SNEAK PEEK of the SPRING issue, which comes out TOMORROW! Inside you'll find (just to name a few):

cover photo, compliments of Green Child Magazine

* the 2013 Eco Baby Gear Buying Guide
includes essentials in carriers, creams, nursery accessories and MORE!

* a nice SHOUT OUT to our local friends, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope

* ways to celebrate Earth Day- OUTSIDE <3 and a fun game from Nature Rocks
we all know it's important to get our kiddos outside, but it can prove difficult with working families and busy kids. Earth Day can be a great excuse and GCM shows you easy ways to get out and have FUN!

* tips for breastfeeding premature babies
breastfeeding can be more difficult with premies, but is more important than ever! 

* 10 ways to join Screen Free Week April 29- May 5th
omg, after the winter we've had here in Maine: my family cannot WAIT for SCREEN FREE week!


from The Green Child Magazine on Facebook


You can also find them on Facebook 


Let them know you're NEW and that NurturingtheNaturalMama sent you! 

Don't forget to make sure you're also following US on; 


Comment below, or on FB or Twitter with your favorite part of the Green Child Magazine website!  

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Strong Marriages Beget Strong Families

Your Marriage Isn't About YOU: And other things I've learned the second time around....

Let's start at the beginning: I was married in 2005 to my high school sweetheart. We had been together by that time, going on 11 years.

We filed for divorce in 2006. 

I know, I know... Not much better than Britney Spears, right? 

So FAST FORWARD to 2009 when I marry my now husband, conveniently for purposes of the blog, called "hubby" ;) When we decided to get married, having both been divorced and both having children, we knew this had to be a calculated move. We decided to truly commit to one another, and to assist us in cementing this ideal, we wrote our own vows. 
Now, perhaps the words "truly commit" sound rather redundant when talking about marriage...

While I can only speak for myself (meaning I'm not sure Hubby would relate verbatim to what I'm going to express here): I am certain that the commitment is what was missing from my first marriage. And no fault of my ex husbands. We had been together so long that marriage was just the next step! I was 24 when we got engaged... dreaming about getting married... I couldn't wait to plan the wedding... and then just naively expected that everything else would be immediate and always happy. To break it down to its' simplest form: I was a selfish brat. I expected the hardest part of being married to be planning the wedding. Epic Fail.

I didn't know then what I know now: Marriage is work. Marriage is HARD work. MY marriage is NOT about ME. 

 It is work, just like parenting. But, just like parenting, it can be infinitely rewarding. In retrospect, I had spent too much time (even in the beginning of my current marriage) being a bit of a feminist. My emotional struggle with "giving in" and my holding onto own expectations were overwhelming my ability to be a good wife. 

Attempting to put all of this into words that make sense is proving harder than I thought! But sometime right before the birth of Baby B  ,I learned the term helpmeet and it changed my marriage;

It was learning the true meaning of this seemingly strange word that gave me the emotional permission to work for my marriage instead of expecting it to work for me. 

 I had spent so long working (emotionally) at not becoming someone's doormat, that I felt like if I had to work at my marriage, I was somehow "settling" or jeopardizing my womanhood. Enveloping the role of helpmeet has made me feel more like a wife than ever before! For someone who struggles with anxiety, feeling like a "good" wife in turn makes me feel like a better mom, I feel like I accomplish more during the day, I am more motivated, I am happier... it even makes me feel more, dare I say, sexy! Ok, ok, so I still have quite a few pounds to lose before I feel really sexy ;) But putting all the emotional energy that I was using toward "not being a doormat" and redirecting it toward showing unyielding appreciation, love, and affection to my husband has improved our marriage, and our family, dramatically.

Eve was not designed to be exactly like Adam. She was designed to be his mirror opposite, possessing the other half of the qualities, responsibilities, and attributes which he lacked. Just like Adam and Eve's sexual organs were physically mirror opposites (one being internal and the other external) so were their their divine stewardship designed to be opposite but fit together perfectly to create life. Eve was Adam's complete spiritual equal, endowed with a saving power that was opposite from his.

Opposite but still equal. In its simplest terms: He envelopes his role (in OUR family, at THIS time) as leader, husband, father and breadwinner; and I envelope my role (again, in OUR family at THIS time) as wife, mother, and caretaker. 

We are by no means suddenly time traveling back to the 1950's. We just make it a point daily to bring everything back to our commitment to each other. Whether we are blissful, tired, bickering, or barely speaking ;) we both are committed.  Since I know that we are both working towards the same goal as a team, I feel comfortable letting go. 

That's right. I relinquished the control ;) and my life hasn't been happier. He is our leader. Like the mature lion in a pride, we look to him for our next step, our daily affirmations, and of course, the money for our bills! <3 

I find ways to appreciate my husband daily regardless of the type of day we're having. I find the most inspiration from Unveiled Wife  and Happy Wives Club

And this is a two way street. I do not feel depleted in any way. All the energy I expend is returned. I am replenished daily by hubby's appreciation and commitment to me and our family.

Our Family Appreciation Night  has been a way for us to extend the same display of commitment and appreciation to each and every member of the family. We all share responsibility and we all share LOVE <3 

How have YOU shown your spouse/partner/kids that you appreciate them today?? 

Give a SHOUT OUT your favorite site for FAMILY or relationship inspiration below! 

Simplifying the Holidays: ReVAMP those Easter baskets! (Re publish)

Avoid the basket of crap.

Yes, crap. Crap plastic, crap stuffed animals which will collect dust and never be looked at again, crap candy, and commercialized cards and other trinkets. This will save you money, piece of mind, and probably a few pounds on the scale :)

As I read the Eco-Easter basket ideas available through Celebrate Green today, it got me thinking about all of this..... well, crap. 

I described in Crafty Mama, how I simplified the Christmas holiday for my family this year. We, as a family, do not typically celebrate what I have branded as Hallmark holidays like Valentine's Day. However, this year my toddler did make adorable all-natural versions of the Rice Krispie treat at school, which were adorable and delicious (although I only got a bite, since he ate the rest lol)

So for Easter, what do you do? Do your kids really need a bucket full of chocolate and some marshmallow type substance pressed into the shapes of bunnies and chicks? Probably not (just a guess) :)

And no, they also do NOT need a real bunny for Easter! Bunnies and Easter DON'T MIX

Are there alternatives?

 YES! 1, which I did last year- No gifts. Have them paint some eggs with food coloring you already have in your house, then hide them, and my toddler had a blast finding all his eggs! That was enough for him, and my wallet.

My friend Christine, who wrote an article for REThinking Everything Magazine, came up with the following natural option for her toddler;

Other ideas include one natural toy, filling a small basket with some exotic fruits and a small handful of all natural candy or other treats they don't normally get. Grab a coloring book or some recycled paper and a pack of new crayons or markers (there are also natural options, like the ones available at Hip Mountain Mama) and create some Easter-theme crafts together.

You can find a lot to do/make/enjoy this Easter holiday that does not involve synthetic plastics, large stuffed animals, mass produced cards which waste paper, and the previously ever-popular basket full of candy!

Disclaimer: This short blog is focusing solely on the commercialization and artificiality of many holidays, I am well aware that there are religious implications which I am (purposely) completely ignoring.

Lastly, you WILL see me at some point before the end of April, enjoy my one decadent (albeit artificial and probably utterly disgusting if I ever took the time to read the label) Cadbury Cream Egg :) Spring just wouldn't be the same without it.

How do you simplify your holiday(s)? And what's your guilty pleasure?