Archives for January 2013

Do You Know: Are Costco Roses Organic?

Are Costco Roses Organic

Do you shop Costco because of the organic selection? If so, do you know: Are Costco Roses Organic?

I only ask because there is this pesky holiday coming up in about a week and you may be considering getting a few dozen for your sweetie.

While I enjoy the romantic sentiment of roses, I’ll admit I’ve told my husband I’d rather have a plant. I recognize that might not qualify me as a romantic. I get it. I’m completely too practical for my own good.

So, are Costco roses organic?

No. However, they are Rainforest Alliance Certified. What does that mean:

  • Use of pesticides is minimized
  • Wildlife habitats are protected
  • Use of composting and recycling to minimize waste
  • Water conservation takes place
  • Workers receive decent wages

Overall, you can feel pretty good about picking up roses at Costco. Plus, the price of $16.99 for 2 dozen long stemmed roses is a great deal.

35 No Candy Valentine’s Day Ideas

Ideas for Valentines that don't include candy

I love Valentine’s Day. How can you not love a holiday all about love?

What I don’t love about Valentine’s Day? The significant amount of candy that gets passed around. That’s why I’ve come up with 35 No Candy Valentine’s Day Ideas.

You can find lots of inexpensive items for creating Valentines with your kids. Some of these are perfect for handing out to the whole class, while other ideas might be something you’d like to craft yourself to surprise your kids with on Valentine’s Day.

Most of these items can be purchased inexpensively at the dollar store or the dollar section of your Target. However, if I found a few unique items you may want to consider {the stick-on mustaches and solar grasshoppers are my favorite!}

Get out the construction paper, markers and glue and create something together. “Handmade and thoughtful” beats “manufactured and mass produced” any day. For each Valentine idea, I made sure to include a sentiment that you can integrate into your Valentines.

35 No Candy Valentine's Day Ideas.jpg

Here are 35 No Candy Valentine’s Day Card and Gift Ideas:

1. Cutie Clementines – “You sure are a cutie” Print out labels and stick to rind. {it will be peeled off anyway.}
2. Burt’s Bees Lip Balm“Bee Mine”
3.  Buttons – “You are cute as a button”
4. Coloring Books – “You color my world”
5. Crayons“You color my world”
6. Glow Sticks“You make my heart glow”
7. Stickers“Stuck on You”
8. Solar Cars“You make my heart race”

9. Bubbles“You blow me away”
10. Straws – “You’re Str-awesome!”
11. Ruler“You Rule!”
12. Bookmark – “How did you know I want you as my Valentine? Did you READ my mind?”
13. Colored Pens – “You are ALL WRITE!”
14. Toy Planes – “You are just PLANE awesome!”
15. Magnifying Glass“I’ve had my eye on you”
16. Highlighters – “You are the HIGHLIGHT of my life”
17. Magnets – “You have magnetic attraction”
18. Glitter – “You make the world sparkle”
19. Hair bows – “Life without you would be hair raising!”
20. Rubber balls “You put the bounce in my step!”
21. Toothbrush – “You make me smile”

Solar Powered Grasshopper Kit

Solar Powered Grasshoppers

22. Solar Grasshopper“You make my heart leap”
23. Erasers – “Make no mistake: I want you for my Valentine.”
24. Friendship Bracelet – “Our class would knot be the same without you”
25. Books 
26. Plastic Shovel – “I dig you”
27. Jump Rope – “You make my heart jump for joy”
28. Notebook – “Take note: I want you to be my Valentine”
29. Puzzles – “It’s not hard to figure out: I want you as my Valentine”
30. Paint Sample – “We love hue”
31. Burn a CD – “You Rock Valentine”
32. Apples – “You are the apple of my eye” Choose apples with stems so you can attach the message with ribbon
33. Packet of Flower Seeds – “Pick Me!”

Fake stick-on MustachesStick on Mustaches

34. Stick-on Mustaches“I mustache you to be my Valentine”
35. Card Games – “You are such a card, Valentine!” 

What ideas do you have that you would include on this list?

The GBG It Works for Me

“The GBG: It Works for Me” is a weekly series. It’s all about that thing you’ve started doing that you’d wish you’d known you should be doing all along.

Solutions, quick tips, and shortcuts. Time savers and sanity savers. It’ll all be right here.

Have a solution, tip, or time saver of your own? Let me know by filling out this form, I’ll try then share!


Bread Machine Honey Whole Wheat Soft Pretzel Bites

Bread Machine Honey Whole Wheat Soft Pretzel Bites.jpg

One of my favorite appliances for creating whole foods for my family is my bread machine. If you have a bread machine, try these Honey Whole Wheat Soft Pretzel Bites and you will quickly find out why. They are fun to make and the “hard” part of the recipe – the proofing of the yeast and the rising of the dough – are taken care of for you. Simply put the ingredients in the bread machine, set it on dough cycle, and in less than two hours you have the perfect dough!

Recently, Lisa asked this question on my Facebook Page:

Bread Machine Question

I love my Zojirushi. I’ve had it for 13 years and I give it a work-out! I know that you can get cheaper bread machines. However, this is the one I have, so I can only attest to it’s wonderfulness!

Hints for getting the most out of your bread machine:

  • Even though you are using a bread machine, you are still baking! That means you need to be meticulous in your measurements. Make sure you Measure Your Flour the right way every time to get the best results.
  • If you aren’t getting great results with your bread machine, use the dough cycle and bake it in the oven. The dough cycle allows you to add more flour or water if need be before baking. Plus, you can use a thermometer in your oven to ensure the correct temperature setting.

These pretzel bites use White Whole Wheat flour. Have you baked with it before? It is lighter in taste than Whole Wheat Flour, but has the same nutritional punch. If you’ve never baked with it before, grab a bag! In the recipe, I use half all purpose flour and half white whole wheat. However, you can make this with all white whole wheat flour, the texture will just be heavier.

Now, if you haven’t used your bread machine in a while, now is the time to pull it out and use it to make Honey Whole Wheat Soft Pretzel Bites.

Bread Machine Honey Whole Wheat Pretzel Bites


  • 9 ounces water
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups organic unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/2 cup baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • coarse salt


  1. Add water, both flours, honey and yeast to the bread machine pan in the order suggested by your bread machine manufacturer.
  2. Select dough setting.
  3. When dough cycle is complete, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
  4. Divide dough into 8 equal balls. One at a time, roll balls into a 20 inch rope. Cut rope into 1/2 inch pretzel bites. Repeat until all dough has been cut into bites.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  6. In a saucepan, bring water and baking soda to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
  7. Drop pretzels a few at a time into water and poach for just 10 - 15 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.
  8. Place pretzel bites onto a large, greased baking sheet.
  9. Beat egg and water together. Brush tops of bites with egg wash then sprinkle with salt.
  10. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until golden brown.

These need to be stored in an airtight container. Although in my house, they disappear so quickly, I’ve never had to store them in anything!

Simple Recipe for Homemade Ginger Tea

Homemade Ginger Tea

Making homemade ginger tea could not be simpler, and with its many health benefits, we find ourselves making it frequently throughout the winter months.

Ginger tea is great to drink at any time, but we definitely drink it when feeling under the weather. Ginger is known to soothe cramps, treat and prevent motion sickness, calm an upset stomach, and ease congestion.

As I mentioned previously, when illness strikes our house, I always have my girls partake in the doctor approved home remedy that actually fights colds : gargle with salt water. However, what I didn’t mention is my girls hate to gargle with salt water. But, they love to drink ginger tea. So my approach is two-fold. First, they have to gargle. Then they get the ginger tea and what my friend Karen calls the “coochie coos”. Meaning all the snuggles and TLC they can stand.

Simple Recipe for Homemade Ginger Tea


  • 1 inch piece of ginger
  • 3 cups water
  • Honey (optional)


  1. Peel a 1 inch piece of ginger and slice it thinly.
  2. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat and add the ginger. If using, add honey to taste.
  4. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Enjoy!

Do you drink Homemade Ginger Tea? Do you use it for health reasons?

How to Stack Whole Foods Market Coupons

How to Use Coupons at Whole Foods Market {It'll Double Your Savings!}

If you are new to shopping Whole Foods Market, one of the best ways to save when shopping there is to stack a Whole Foods Market coupon with a Manufacturer’s coupon.

Every two months, Whole Foods Market comes out with coupons that are redeemable only in their store. You’ll find these in the Whole Deal circular at the front of the store or you can print them from home.

While these coupons are only available for a two month timeframe, they don’t expire for another month! So make sure to print while available, then enjoy the savings for an additional month!

Here’s where the big savings come in: Whole Foods Market allows you to use one Whole Foods coupon and one Manufacturer’s coupon on a product.

For example:

Stack Whole Foods Market Coupons

If Traditional Medicinal’s tea was on sale for $3.00/box, you could use the $1.00 off Traditional Medicinal’s Manufacturer’s coupon AND the $0.50 off Traditional Medicinals Whole Foods Market coupon. You would then save $1.50 off the $3.00 box – making it half price!

If you want to find out the weekly Whole Foods Market coupon stacks, I’ve got ya covered!

Need more Whole Foods Market shopping hints? Check out Tips on How to Save at Whole Foods Market.

The Doctor-Approved Home Remedy That Actually Fights Colds

Doctor Approved Home Remedy That Actually Fights Colds

If you’re starting to get sick, you need this home remedy that will actually fight a cold.   You won’t find this remedy on the shelves of Walgreens. Nope. You’ll find it in your kitchen.

My family knows that when they come to me complaining of a stuffy nose, sore throat or cough I am going to tell them one thing:

Gargle with salt water.

Studies have shown that dissolving 1/2 teaspoon salt in an 8 oz glass of warm water and gargling 3 times per day soothes inflamed tissues in the throat. It also loosens mucus which helps flush out allergens and bacterias. No pharmaceutical has come up with a product that fights a common cold better.

When your family comes down with a cold, hit the kitchen cabinets and avoid any over-the-counter medication side effects.

Now it’s your turn: What is your favorite home remedy for the common cold?

The GBG It Works for Me

“The GBG: It Works for Me” is a weekly series all about that thing you’ve started doing that you’d wish you’d known you should be doing all along.

Solutions, quick tips, and shortcuts. Time savers and sanity savers. It’ll all be right here.

Have a solution, tip, or time saver of your own? Let me know by filling out this form, I’ll try then share!

Feel Great: Herbal Teas That Detox

Herbal Teas That Detox

Herbal teas that detox tend to be popular this time of year. But detox needs are different for everyone, so how do you know which one is right for you?

Why Detox? Our bodies, through the liver,  have the natural means to flush out toxins. Adding a detox tea with the right herbs can help provide support for your liver and release more of the toxins.

What Herbs Support a Detox? There are several herbs that are reported to aide in detoxing the body. Here are some of the ingredients you’ll find and why you may want to try them.

Milk Thistle – The active ingredient found in milk thistle is silymarin, an antioxidant that protects against cell damage and stimulates repair of liver tissue. Because milk thistle helps repair the liver, it is often recommended when you’ve had a bit too much to drink. Try: Get Clean by Republic of Tea or Celestial Seasonings Natural Detox Wellness Tea

Dandelion Root –  The root of the dandelion is reported to support both liver and kidney functions. It acts as a diuretic so choose it to provide relief for minor digestive problems. Try:  Yogi Detox

Chicory Root – Chicory root has a mild laxative effect, increases bile from the gallbladder, and decreases swelling. Got bloat? You’ll want to try Traditional Medicinals Everyday Detox

 What herbal teas do you use to detox? Have you found it work?