Saturday, August 31, 2013

Smoothie Saturday: Dole Pineapple Whip Inspired Smoothie

Dole Pineapple Whips are apparently the talk of Disney World, and while we missed this treat on our one-day stop at the most magical place on earth this summer, I decided to at least try the treat.

You can find knock-off recipes online, but I thought it very easy to transform it into my morning smoothie.

Dole whip inspired smoothieBlend:
1 c Dole pineapple chunks
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2-1 c vanilla almond milk

Sunday, August 18, 2013

5 family-friendly hikes around Indianapolis

Lately we've been blessed with a few more weekend days with my husband, so we've been hitting the road to find some of the best hiking areas within a drive of Indianapolis.

1) Eagle Creek Park: Located on the northwest side of Indianapolis, Eagle Creek is not lacking for things to do: from hiking trails to fishing and boating to naturalist activities. The only downside it seems is that everyone in town has discovered it. There is an entrance fee, and be prepared to pay more if you don't live in Marian County.

2) Mounds State Park: A short trek up I-69 into Anderson, Mounds State Park is packed with history, a great kid-friendly interpretive center, camping, and hours of trails. I will say even the "rigorous" ones were good for my five-year-old; it's more about the incline of the steps than anything.  It's home to earthworks by the Adena-Hopewell people dating to 160 B.C. We were charged a $5 entrance fee for the car.

3) Morgan-Monroe State Forest: Tucked off of State Road 37 in Martinsville, Morgan-Monroe State Forest is on our repeat list for a day of picnicing and hiking and perhaps camping. The kids loved the more challenging switchback trails and rivers interrupted by bursts of sunshine. There is no entrance fee.

4) Southeastway Park: Just past I-74 in southeast Indianapolis, Southeastway Park is a great stop for southsiders who feel the need to hike but can't commit to a long hike or drive time. We discovered this park when looking for native wetlands for a patch our Brownie troop was looking on. No entrance fee; and there are wonderful programs throughout the year, including the annual BugFest coming up on Aug. 25.

5) Holiday Park: In North Indianapolis off of Spring Mill Road, Holiday Park has been an easy excursion for us since we discovered it a few years ago with a day care field trip. They have a fabulous nature center, trails and programs for young children. No entrance fee.

Have you found other areas to hike in and around Indianapolis? Share your favorites.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Earn Brownie badges at the farmer's market

Taking your Brownie troop (or just your scout for starters) to the farmer's market is a great, practically free way to meet Brownie badge requirements this fall or spring.

Budget-friendly and a great way to connect with your community, not to mention local, farmer's markets are a great resource to look into if you're trying to creatively wrap up some badge requirements.

I never thought about using farmer's markets in that regard, until my daughter decided she wanted to earn the Money Manager Brownie badge was on my daughter's wish list of badges to earn this year. Trouble was, other girls didn't agree, so we decided we'd work on it from home. We were able to complete requirements one and two - shopping for items (practicing making change) and grocery shopping - in our weekly trip to our local farmer's market.

I gave my daughter my weekly budget and let her determine what we'd be buying. Noting the cantaloupe and watermelons as we walked in, I told her to mark the price and she'd have to make sure she'd have it at the end of the shopping trip, as I wasn't about to carry both melons around the booths! We talked as we went about differences in prices and what was better deals, etc. She actually enjoyed taking charge of the shopping list - and to be honest, the money - and I was so happy that the vendors were so patient with her as she made her choices.

Other Brownie badges you can work on at the farmer's market - or after you've completed your shopping:

My Best Self: 

  • Activity #2 - Try three new foods that are good for you. 


  • Activity #3: Try sniffing out three different foods. 
  • Activity #4: Do a taste test with salty, sweet, bitter and sour foods.


  • Activity #1: What's in that snack - talk with vendors about what's in their jams, salsas, breads or granolas.
  • Activity #2: Make a veggie face.
  • Activity #3: Create a snack for a group - like fruit kebabs!

If I can give one tip though, plan your trip for the last hour of the farmer's market, as shoppers are often fewer. It's easier to track your girls and the vendors may be able to help your girls more.

What local resources have you tapped into for creatively meeting badge requirements for your troop?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

10 reasons to love peppermint essential oil

Peppermint essential oil is what sold me on actually using essential oils as an alternative to prescription or over-the-counter medications.

While I'd dabbled in essential oils for stress relief, it wasn't until last summer, deep in a web relaunch-induced migraine and tossing a mini bottle around in my hand that I opted to do it. I dropped the oil in my hands. Rubbed my temples. And in minutes the headache was gone.

Funny thing is it wasn't just once. It worked over and over. And then the other day, cleaning out my desk, I found a bottle of headache medicine - expired 12/12 - that had long gathered dust.

The reality is quality peppermint oil - not the diluted stuff or extracts - really rocks and is so versatile.

Here are 10 reasons to LOVE peppermint essential oil:

  1. Headache relief. And on really bad days, I mix it with frankincense essential oil to "amp" it up.
  2. Helping nausea. Last fall was our first trip that we didn't buy Dramamine - and that's with us driving through the Smoky Mountains AND taking a boat trip. When in doubt, we use peppermint oil.
  3. Staying pumped. Peppermint essential oil is great to simply rub in your palms and breathe deeply when you are stressed or worn out. My daughter says it helps her work well at school, and she loves it in water at soccer practice.
  4. Keeping bugs at bay. Peppermint essential oil wards off ants, spiders and mice. (Thankfully the mice bit I haven't had to put to the test!)
  5. Aches and pains. Peppermint essential oil is great for muscle aches, pains and even arthritis.
  6. Slowing allergies. I use two drops each of peppermint, lavender and lemon essential oils in a veggie capsule when my allergies are at my worst.
  7. Cooling off. Peppermint essential oil in water is a great cooling spray on hot summer days.
  8. Stopping fever. When my kids come down with a fever, I rub peppermint essential oil on their feet and neck as often as needed. It makes a difference in minutes, and I don't have to wait the four to six hours I might need to do with Tylenol or ibuprofen. (And use of peppermint oil doesn't preclude you from using over the counter medications, either!)
  9. Freshen breath. 'Nuff said. (Personally I love the peppermint beadlets that doTERRA just came out with!)
  10. Making my son smile. My little guy likes peppermint on one foot, lemon on the other. I don't get it but it relaxes him and makes him happy. If he's happy, mom's happy!

Love peppermint oil too? Take doTERRA's Peppermint Challenge. Complete this form  and I'll send you a coupon to trade in a bottle (new, in use or empty) of peppermint essential oil for a bottle of doTERRA's brand. Offer ends Sept. 15.

Want to buy? Please consider checking out my affiliate link to buy peppermint or other essential oils.

Follow Robbie @ Going Green Mama's board Essential Oils on Pinterest.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Starting the School Year

In one hour my baby is officially a kindergartener. And I have to say I think I'm ready.

My sandwich bread for school lunches was baked the other night. We scoured our home for errant scissors and other school supplies that could be reused instead of re-purchased. I stocked up at the used uniform sale (of course, little boys pants are nowhere to be found...) We made sure our Cars towel was washed and ready for naptime and the old drippy personalized mug was cleaned up and ready for a school snacktime holder.

Sure, I didn't stock up on greener school supplies (this year our budget is tight) but I made use of what we had on hand, which I admit counts for a thing or two.

With two kids starting this year, it doesn't feel quite as smooth as years past, but I think I'm ready.

Now if I can just get them out the door in time...

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Making refrigerator pickles

This morning we took the dive and for the first time attempted to make our own refrigerator pickles. Finding a recipe that had ingredients we had on hand was a bit tough though. We settled on a "kid-friendly" recipe -- which was great until I realized I yanked most of my random dill the night before!

So we are attempting this recipe by substituting the 1 cup fresh oil with six drops dill essential oil that I had gotten from a summer pack and hadn't yet determined what to do with it. While my 8 year old has already declared we are on the way to Flavortown with this recipe, I think I'll wait until the cucumbers at least get into the fridge first! :)