6 Ways Sun Basket Will Save Your Life

If visions of soggy cheese pizza dance through your head when you hear the phrase “meal-from-a-box,” you’re in for a satisfying surprise with Sun Basket. The good-for-you meal kit service delivers (in a box) sustainably-sourced, organic ingredients and delicious, easy recipes. Read on to find out how Sun Basket is giving fast food a brand new image while helping to make you a whole lot healthier and get 50% off your first order

1. Healthy Menus for Picky Palettes
Whether you’re following a Paleo diet, your mini is gluten-free, or your family is exploring vegetarianism, there’s a recipe for you. How it works: Simply choose three recipes per week for two to four people from any of the classic meal plans (Chef’s Choice, Rise and Shine Breakfast, Paleo, Gluten Free, or Vegetarian). Best part? You can mix and match recipes to suit your family’s needs.

2. Undercover Veggies
Foodies of all ages will love the Family Menu (2 or 4 meals a week that feed four people; $9.99/serving). Each kit includes one recipe per week created by Chef Tyler Florence of the Food Network, who is known for sneakily hiding veggies in kid-appealing dishes. Think: summer squash and black bean tacos with cabbage slaw and turkey and spinach meatballs with corkscrew pasta and marinara.

3. Pure Produce, No Fillers
Sun Basket, which currently ships to most zip codes in the United States, minus AK, HI, MT, and parts of NM, fills each kit with 100 percent certified USDA organic ingredients, free from hormones, toxic fertilizers, pesticides and genetic engineering. The result is a completely natural product that you’ll leap to share with the littles.

4. Less Cook Time, More Decompress Time
Since each Sun Basket meal can be whipped up in under 30 minutes, you have more time to squeeze in a heart-saving workout or soul-saving hugs from your kids. Or, you can take a nap…that’s good for your health, too!

5. Nutritionist-Approved
In addition to being designed by award-winning Chef Justine Kelly, all recipes are vetted by an in-house nutritionist. All meals are between 500–800 calories, and balanced with nutrient–dense produce, whole grains, protein and good fats.

6. Teeny Carbon Footprint
It’s no secret that by saving Mama Earth we’re saving ourselves. Sun Basket agrees, which is why their packaging is 100 percent recyclable and compostable. For example, the insulation is made from recycled water bottles and the ice packs are made from a gel that’s 98 percent water and 2 percent organic cotton!!

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11 Easy Ways to Surprise Your Kids for Wacky Wednesday

When it comes to goofy, no one knows quite how to embarrass like a “cool” mom or dad. Garner some affectionate eye rolls and squeals of delight with these fun and silly actions perfect for when you just feel like doing something different. All of them can be done spontaneously and are all about family time. Scroll down to get inspired.

photo: Harsha K R via flickr 

1. Eat breakfast outside. We know you’ve done breakfast for dinner before, but what about doing a quick picnic breakfast on your front lawn or front stoop?

2. A quick playdate. If you’ve got school-aged kids (or kids in daycare) and the policy allows, surprise your kiddo by joining them for lunch. Not enough time to do a lunch break? See if you can meet up for the first ten minutes of recess.

photo: cegoh via pixabay

3. Plan a surprise trip. It doesn’t have to be a whole vacation, you could just pack a bag and head to the zoo for the day. Just don’t tell them where you’re going. Up the game by offering little clues. For example, if you’re heading to the zoo, hand them a small toy animal, put a stuffed animal in the car seat next to them, and feed them animal crackers.

4. Nest. Build a fort in the living room and bring your tablet or laptop inside to watch a movie.

photo: Pexels via pixabay

5. Did somebody say ice cream? Eat dessert first.

6. No work day. If you can swing it, take the day off work (this is perfect for summertime) and spend an unplanned day with the kids.

photo: Viktor Karppinen via flickr

7. You can dance if you want to! Drop everything and start a freeze-dance party. Play music and then stop it at random intervals so everyone can“freeze” in place.

8. Regift at home. Have each person choose an item from their room to give to another member of the family. Spend time wrapping them and do a family-wide gift exchange.

photo: Camilla Nilsson via flickr 

9. Wear something backwards or upside down. (Come on, your preschooler does it all the time!) You can also have the kids pick out your outfit for the day. Or just wear PJs all day long (slippers, too!)

10. Have a talent show. Let each member of the family choose what they want to showcase for the “audience.”

photo: Brian Dewey via flickr

11. Get outfitted. Fill a box with hats, scarves, capes, silly wigs, old jewelry, neckties, sunglasses, etc. and play dress up. Stage a funny family photo shoot and a parade.

12. Make a wish. Make a book of wishes and let everyone write down their top three. Revisit the list in a month and see if any of the wishes have come true.

Beanstalk NE Fremont is celebrating its fourth birthday and we’re celebrating in style. Bring the whole family for kid-friendly fun including: • Face painting (10 am-4pm) • Raffle prizes from Beanstalk and neighboring businesses • Sidewalk sale on Saturday and in-store special discounts taking place all weekend up to 50% off Our Montavilla location will be hosting a store wide sale all weekend (up to 50% off) with raffle give-a-ways on Saturday as well. A portion of the proceeds from our sidewalk sale will support the fundraising efforts of local area schools. For more information, please visit beanstalkpdx.com. We hope to see you there!photo: Beanstalk 

13. Get a facial! Do some face painting in the middle of the day. Let the kids paint your face too. 

14. Take a glow bath. Want to wash that face paint off now? Take a (non-toxic) glow-in-the-dark bath. See the tutorial here. Or if you’re in the mood for a shower, take one with your raincoat on. Hot out? Try washing your hair with a hose on the lawn.

photo: Melanie Holtsman via flickr

15. Sleep in. Have a camp out in your living room: the whole family sleeps in sleeping bags and you can roast marshmallows on the kitchen stove. Co-sleep like you mean it. 

What are your wacky or fun ideas for surprising the kids? Share your ideas in the comments below! 

—Amber Guetebier with Sandy Pelto, Henrik Pelto, Steve Pelto & Ken Pelto

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11 Best Meal Delivery Apps for Families

Most Amazon Prime users easily can extol the virtues of Prime membership, but it’s likely that few know about using the Amazon Prime Now app to order meal delivery via Amazon Restaurants, which can deliver dinner to your door in an hour or less. Now available in more than a dozen cities and with select restaurant partners, Prime members also can use Alexa’s voice-shopping function on their Amazon Echo or Echo Dot to re-order previously ordered meals by saying a restaurant name or cuisine type. Best of all, delivery is free to Prime members.

Available for iOS and Android.

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Beach Hack for Parents

Sandcastle building, swimming, and lounging in the sun: a beach trip is truly summer at its best. Don’t let your next trip bum you out, though: we’ve got ways to make sure you stay cool, protect your assets and even keep sand out of your car (well, kinda). Click through the gallery for 15 ideas that will make your next trip to the beach so much easier.

Chill the Sunscreen

Once you’ve lathered your kid up, stash the sunscreen in the cooler, where it will be nice and cool for the next application. You’ll lower his body temperature and keep him sun safe at the same time, and grown-ups will enjoy this welcome chill, too.

photo: Jen via flickr

Do you have any beach hacks to share? Tell us in a comment below!

—Natasha Davis & Amber Guetebier



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Apps For Parents with Sick Kids

When it comes to tackling family health and wellness, proper preparation and education are often more than half the battle. The British Red Cross has developed a clever app, Baby and Child First Aid, that’s chockfull of useful video tutorials and easy-to-follow advice that cover what to do when various ailments or medical crises arise. The app also lets parents record their child’s medication needs, and includes a list of tips and a handy checklist. While the emergency numbers in the app are for UK users, the information and advice are useful to anyone, anywhere in the world.

Available for iOS and Android, Free.

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15 Earth-Friendly Websites

Good news, Kermit! Being green just got a whole lot easier. In order to help you respect your mother (earth), we’ve created the ultimate list of eco-friendly websites. Each one is brimming with trusted resources and creative ideas to help you create a lifestyle that’s not only natural but practical too. Scroll down to see them all.

1GirlieGirl Army
You’d like to go green, but you think it means giving up all your glamazon gear. Think again. GirlieGirl Army is a website dedicated to making the world sustainably beautiful. You’ll find tips for consigning and shopping vintage, discover the new and cool “green” fashion brands, pick up natural wellness tips and more. The contributor list is impressive, ranging from vegan chefs to doulas and fashionistas.

2. Healthy Child Healthy World
After Nancy and James Chuda lost their only daughter to non-genetic cancer most likely caused by maternal exposure to pesticides, they took action. From diligently working to influence policy makers and legislation to demanding corporate accountability from manufacturers, the Chuda’s non-profit supports parents in their efforts to create safe and healthy environments. This organization is a go-to resource for trusted brands, products, and healthy living solutions.

3. TreeHugger
The hard-working editors and experts at TreeHugger strive to be a one-stop shop for green news, solutions and product information. You can sign up for a weekly or daily newsletter in order to dtay up-to-date on topics such as design, tech, business, living and science.

4. The Green Mama
Ready to take a seat on the go-green caravan? It’s time for you to meet the Green Mama, more formally known as Manda Aufochs Gillespie. She specializes in helping her clients make fun and easily maintainable healthy lifestyle changes. We love her because she jokes about the “green police,” a label she saves for people who are more eager to judge than to support. Here’s a green mama with whom we can all relate!

Online: thegreenmama.com


5. Mothering
Beware, this site has so much useful information, you could end up browsing for hours. Yes even (gasp!) right through nap time! We especially like the active forums that range from buying and selling gently-used goods to an age-based Q&A. Simply sign up to meet thousands of like-minded parents.

Online: mothering.com


6. Living Pretty Naturally
Filled with helpful tips on how to treat your body from inside out, suggestions on how to cook foods that are best for natural beauty, and what not to put on your face, Living Pretty Naturally is where you’ll want to go for a killer sugar scrub recipe or for the latest natural cosmetics reviews. There’s a section for him, her, and even baby!     

Online: livingprettynaturally.com  


7. The Eco-Friendly Family
We love this site because it’s designed with the modern family in mind. From cool new products to how to keep it eco-chic, the Eco-Friendly Family is a go-to resource for people who don’t want to sacrifice style in their quest to help save the planet.

Extra Eco-Credit: You’ll find a ton of DIY tutorials that are actually easy to do.

Online: theecofriendlyfamily.com


8. Groovy Green Livin’
Started by a self-proclaimed “recovering attorney” Groovy Green Livin’ is a website devoted to helping people make simple changes which lead to a greener life. What exactly does that mean? Author Lori Popkewitz Alpe outlines six steps to help get you started, which include switching to non-toxic cleaners and saying goodbye to paper towels. 

Online: groovygreenlivin.com


9. Peace Love Organic Mom
Filled with product and service reviews and saving tips and coupons, PLOM is a great resource for parents that want to start their path to greener pastures.

Extra Eco-Credit: Explore PLOM’s Pinterest page for vegan desserts, eco-friendly party ideas, and more.  

Online: peaceloveorganicmom.com


10. Environmental Working Group
If you want straight facts without the frills, the Environmental Working Group is where you’ll find them. EWG has a simple mission—to empower people to live healthier lives in a healthier environment. They tackle key issues in energy, farming, and consumer products, and their investigations are eye-opening.

Extra Eco-Credit: Their consumer guide section is one of the best. From sunscreen to pesticides in produce, you’ll find an environmental “grade” on over 80,000 products. We especially love their Skin Deep Cosmetics database.

Online: ewg.com


11. Kitchen Stewardship
Don’t be fooled by the name, this website is more than just green smoothies and tips on how to keep your kitchen stocked with organic fruits and veggies (although it’s a great resource for those too!). The site also includes countless product reviews and tons of tips on how to eat well and spend less while entertaining, packing healthy lunches, and feeding kids with food allergies.

Extra Eco-Credit: We also love Kitchen Stewardship’s YouTube channel, perfect for when you’re in the mood to watch rather than read.

Online: kitchenstewardship.com


12. Happy Mothering
This site feels like a visit to an old friend’s house. The host, Chrystal, is a mother of two and began her journey towards a more natural lifestyle after being diagnosed with (and beating!) melanoma in February 2007. Her site is full of creative ideas on how to take a more holistic approach to everyday family life. It’s practical and reliable, just like that childhood friend.

Extra Eco-Credit: Happy Mothering has a great section on Essential Oils, and how to incorporate them into your home.

Online: happymothering.com


13. Mother Earth News
If you’ve ever had a chance to flip through the magazine you know Mother Earth News is stocked with tons of information on how to live a more earth-conscious life. The website is no different. Browse sections dedicated to topics such as Homesteading and Livestock, Natural Health, and DIY projects, or watch videos on organic gardening before finding recipes for fresh, healthy eats.

Extra Eco-Credit: There’s also a podcast! Click here to find out more.

Online: motherearthnews.com


14. Petite Planet
This site is filled with fun, sustainable crafting ideas, toy and gadget reviews, as well as first-hand accounts from moms in the know. Browse the various categories, which include health, bath & beauty, feeding, clothing and green design.

Online: petiteplanet.com


15. Eartheasy
The professionals have arrived. The founders of Eartheasy have been living off the land for more than 30 years, which led them to create a website focused on bringing sustainable solutions to a wider audience. There’s a vast shop filled with everything from kitchen utensils to water filtration systems, and a blog with helpful articles and posts on all sorts of eco-friendly topics.

Online: eartheasy.com

Want more? Check out Red Tricycle’s 2016 Green Living Power Moms.

Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.

—Gabby Cullen & Aimee Della Bitta

Feature photo: Simply Bike via Flickr

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Seeing Color, a Resource That Offers Hope & Celebrates Culture

You do your best to lead by example: show empathy, be kind and don’t judge a book by its cover. But, what if you did see (ok, examine) the cover and used your examination to delve beyond the surface? That’s the exact question three women in D.C. are asking with their new resource, Seeing Color. The website, a compilation of essays on empathy, motherhood, and culture, challenges you to see color and to celebrate it. Find out why Seeing Color is a game-changer in 2017 and how it’ll make you feel slightly uncomfortable—in all the best ways possible.

What’s Seeing Color?
Color is actually an acronym for Celebrates, Open Dialogue, Loves, Offers Hope and Reconciles. Pretty smart, right? The project’s vision is to challenge readers to go beyond the surface or color of one’s skin and to celebrate the differences that make us who we are. The savvy women behind this website aim to create a dialogue that helps the greater community move closer towards social justice, community development and compassion.

So, Let’s Talk About How to Create a Dialogue
What better way to create an open, inclusive conversation around community, culture and color than to invite diverse stories? That’s just what Seeing Color is all about. You’ll find essays about the rich history of DC to social currency to motherhood. You may not agree with all of the perspective—or even be able to relate to them—but we promise you will get a taste of something new that’s thought provoking and sincere.

Don’t Take It From Us
The women behind the website, Autumn, Malisa and Ayren (Ayren also is the brains behind Red Tricycle DC), recently told us about how Seeing Color came to be and what readers can expect in the future. Read on to hear straight from them.

Red Tricycle: Tell us how you three women met
Seeing Color: Being present in the community really brought us together.  Autumn met Malisa at a community cultural kids program, and then met Ayren at church.  Autumn really connected with both these other amazing women who were fellow moms who also had a genuine love for people and commitment to somehow positively impacting the world.  Now we are the three amigos maximizing life by experiencing adventures together and being intentional about creating change.

RT: How did this new project come about? Tell us about the evolution of your idea and why you chose to launch Seeing Color now.
SC: While Ayren and Autumn were at a coffee shop spending some time away from the kiddos in order to work on projects in their hearts, Autumn was side tracked with a vision for the need to inspire conversation on the topic of the differences that make up people in this world.  To choose to celebrate those differences.  Autumn was personally frustrated with the idea that somehow being color blind was ok. Using blog as a platform to communicate a positive message to SEE people, to SEE color and learn to love and celebrate it would help take our culture in a positive direction.

RT: How does your role as a mother shape the direction of Seeing Color?

“Once you become a mother, that role plays a role in everything you do.  Of course as we contemplate important world issues and the role of our faith, and race, and culture, we certainly consider what this means for our children.  It may not play a role in the content we choose to include in the site, but it definitely plays a role in our passion and perspective when it comes to writing on this topic.” —Autumn Swain

“Motherhood shapes my everything—from the things I buy at a store to the way I write. I often try to see things through the eyes of my kids, which works well for Seeing Color because we, in essence, are reinforcing the idea of childlike curiosity. Kids are quick to notice physical differences in people (I.e. “I am brown, but my line buddy is peach”). But they are even quicker to look past the surface differences of a person to focus on more altruistic characteristics like friendship, fears, hobbies, and loyalty. When you acknowledge someone’s exterior, but then make a conscious effort to dig deeper, you get to the heart of a person; it amazes me everyday that kids just naturally get that, while we as adults struggle tremendously with the concept.” —Ayren Jackson-Cannady

“It hard for me to separate being a mother from anything else I do. The experiences I have with people are had through the prism of motherhood, usually with my children present, so the content of my thoughts about my interactions with others often includes children.” —Malisa Payne

RT: What can we expect from Seeing Color in the near future?
SC: Stories from people of all backgrounds that will challenge and inspire.  Contributions from men, women and youth regarding their experiences with “seeing color”.

RT: What do you hope to achieve with your new website?
SC: We hope to ignite new relationships that may otherwise not have been attempted or considered. Our hope is to motivate people to learn more about one another, be excited about engaging, and see real commitment to building unified communities.

We want all people to be able to benefit from reading the content. We want to inspire genuine conversation on the topic. We want to challenge people to consider how we all have limiting views and can benefit from learning from one another. We want people to know that our faith fuels our desire to volunteer our time away from family and other commitments in order to share a message of hope and love for people of different hues, experiences and preferences because it is so important for a more whole and healthy world.

RT: What’s your response to people who disagree with your stance or essays?
SC: Our response is to educate and empower people with information to expand their paradigm.  Understanding other people’s perspectives is very important to having a well-rounded reality.  We would encourage someone in disagreement to talk with someone of a different background and culture and get to know them.  When you know and value people from different backgrounds, you will no longer want to ignore their “color” and culture, but celebrate the uniqueness they have and the positive contribution difference adds to our world.

As Dr Suess says, “Don’t try so hard to fit in if you were born to stand out.”   Encouraging a colorblind society has nothing to do with looking at people equally.  It actually has the opposite affect.  Equality is embracing differences and acknowledges the equal beauty found in those differences.  Ignoring “color” is naturally viewing what someone has to offer as insignificant which does not support equality.

RT: Are you accepting submissions? What if someone wants to contribute?
SC: Yes! We would love to hear people’s stories and thoughts. If interested, people can email us at info@seeingcolor.net

Online: seeingcolor.net

Tell us—what do you think of Seeing Color? What do you find compelling about these stories?

— Erin Lem

photos courtesy of Seeing Color

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8 Things Your Kids Need to Know About Money by the Time They’re 10

When it comes to vital life skills, money management is right up there with teeth brushing and potty training. That’s why it’s never too early to start learning about buying, budgeting and compound interesting. Here are eight things kids can master now for future money success.

Photo: familytreasures via Flickr

1. Wants and needs are two different things. We need air, food, water, shelter and clothing. While Junior might beg to differ, we don’t need toy cars or princess crowns. Needs are the things we buy before we buy the things we want.

Make it make ‘cents’: Together with the kiddo, grab a bunch of old magazines and coupon mailers, cut out different pictures, and glue them on a sheet of paper so that you have a collage of wants and a collage of needs.

2. Save for a rainy day.
Or any day. As adults, we know the instant regret we feel from an instant gratification buy (i.e. that $25 latte). It’s a hard and fast lesson that kids can grasp, too.

Make it make ‘cents’: Separate your little one’s allowance into “spend money” and “save money” (two labeled jars make it easy). She can then decide to use up the spend money in one sitting or put it in the save jar until she has enough for a more expensive buy.

Photo: Steven Depolo via Flickr

3. In the real world, you don’t earn money for doing things you’re supposed to.
How nice would it be to get paid for making your bed, folding clothes, or cutting your grass? Alas, it’s not the case, so why do we lead kids on with chore-driven allowance? Consider giving them an allowance for extra work that they don’t normally do (i.e. helping cook dinner or washing the family pet).

Make it make ‘cents’: Charge your mini-money makers with organizing a lemonade stand to earn extra money. They’ll have a blast setting up shop and get a taste of what it’s like to have a job.

4. Even pennies matter.
It’s all about compound interest, ya’ll. The sooner you start saving money—even if it’s just pennies—the more you’ll save in the long run (it’s not rocket science, but does take a lot of discipline). If an eight-year-old saved a penny a day for 10 years, by the time he was 18 he’d have $3,650. Not too shabby.

Make it make ‘cents’: Skip penny banks. Kids can’t see the change adding up. Instead, use a clear Mason jar so that they can see and understand the value of saving.

Photo: Sarah Joy via Flickr

5. Money comes in different forms.
There are coins, paper bills, paper checks, debit and credit cards–and you use them all at different times for purchases. The idea of monetary variety is a hard one to grasp for the under 10 set, especially when you can buy things with “invisible money” (aka credit cards).

Make it make ‘cents’: Role playing with pretend money, checks and cards will help kids understand how each is used differently.

6. Shop around.
Embrace your picky eater’s selectivity and encourage her to use those skills to shop around. Smart buying is another way of saving and investing money.

Make it make cents: Make a game out of delaying gratification. Ask your kids to see how long they can wait before buying that shiny new object. They might only make it to the store entrance before wanting to turn around and make the purchase. Or, they might make it out the door and all the way home…and then realize they don’t really need it.

Photo: Behan via Flickr

7. Stick to your budget.
We know, we know—easier said than done. But, the sooner your kids are introduced to budgeting (making lists and plans about what they want to buy), the better. And the takeaway? They have the power to pick where their money goes.

Make it make ‘cents’: Create and label four money jars: “spend,” “save,” “share,” and “invest.” It’s up to your kiddo to decide where her money goes. Another fun way to practice budgeting? Play Monopoly!

8. Share!
Kids have great examples of $$$-stingy characters—think Scrooge, who no matter how much money he has, hoards it all to himself. Giving (even the smallest amount) to those who have less is a fundamental money lesson that kids, who are naturally empathetic, can really enjoy.

Make it make “cents”: Together, research and choose one charity to donate money to each month. It’s as simple as that.

How do you teach your kid about money? Tell us in the comments section below.

—Ayren Jackson-Cannady


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App and at ‘Em! Tech to Help Kickstart Your Day

Everyone knows that the key to starting off the day right is getting a good night’s sleep. For many, though, it’s not the sleeping part that’s a problem, it’s the waking part that’s a chore. Dubbed as the “waking up made easy” app, Sleep Cycle is an intelligent alarm clock that analyzes your sleep and wakes you in the lightest sleep phase—the natural way to wake up feeling rested and relaxed.

The app uses a patented technology that monitors sleep movements using sound or vibration analysis, then finds the optimal time to sound the alarm during a 30-minute window that ends at your set alarm time. Since you move differently in bed during the different phases, Sleep Cycle can use the microphone or accelerometer in your mobile device to monitor your movements and determine which sleep phase you are in.

The free version of the app provides detailed sleep statistics and sleep graphs, which can be exported to Excel for more detailed analysis.

Free on iTunes and Google Play

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