Orange, Chicken and Walnut Salad

Sweet and salty tastes make this protein packed salad satisfying and delicious

The Secret to Better Tasting Coffee

Make better tasting coffee - no sugary syrups required!

DIY Pretend Doctor Kit

Make a functional pretend doctor kit for your favorite little ones.

Farm Girl Apron Tutorial

Turn old jeans into a cute gardening apron with this tutorial.

Wine Cork Pendants

Turn used wine corks into cute charms.

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Great Big Before: Meet the Farmhouse

Earlier this month, I did a full and proper tour of the Creative Green Living townhouse. We sold that house at the end of September and moved into our new house in the next town over in October. So while I've been calling the old house is "The Townhouse," the new house is being called "The Farmhouse." Not because it came with a farm (it didn't) but because I've got big plans for our backyard to turn into a microfarm. That and "modern farmhouse" is the aesthetic I'm going for in the makeovers and decor.

And boy-o-boy will there be makeovers!

We basically bought this house for two reasons:
  1. I desperately wanted a yard
  2. I need projects to work on and write about for the next few years. 
So, let's meet The Farmhouse shall we?

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

{Recipe} Overnight Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Can't get enough pumpkin pie in your life? This tasty pumpkin pie oatmeal cooks in your programmable crockpot or rice cooker (this is the one I used) to have a healthy, hearty breakfast ready for you when you wake up. Cooking the oatmeal with the maple syrup helps the sweet flavor permeate the oatmeal - feel free to top it with just a bit more when you serve it.


  • 5 cups oatmeal*
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp vanilla*
  • 2/3 cup raisins*
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup 
*I recommend purchasing these ingredients as organic where available to avoid GMOs, pervasive pesticides and/or questionable farming practices.

Yield: 8 servings

Nutrition information is approximate and may vary based on the freshness and brand of your ingredients. Nutrition information calculated at: Calorie Count.


  1. Stir all ingredients together in a programmable slow cooker or rice cooker (I used my Aroma pot).
  2. If using a slow cooker, set it to cook on high for 45 minutes or on low for 3 hours before the time you want it to be ready. If using a rice cooker, set it to the brown rice setting to be ready at the appointed time. 
Did you forget to load the slow cooker before you went to bed? That's ok! Just stir it all together and cook on the brown rice setting in the your rice cooker or on high in your slow cooker for 45 minutes. 

While you can cook oatmeal faster than this on the stove, the slower cooking method lets the pumpkin and maple flavors permeate the oats and raisins for a more flavorful dish.

Like this recipe? Don't forget to pin it for later!

About the Author: 
Carissa is a green lifestyle expert and mom to two kids. The owner and lead writer for Creative Green Living, she is also the author of two e-books including the best-selling beverage cookbook, Infused: Recipes for Herb & Fruit Infused Water, Tea and More. You can also find her recipes featured in The Non-GMO Cookbook as well as in periodicals like Urban Farm Magazine. Her goal is to empower families to make healthier choices that are easy, taste great and are fun!
Follow her on PinterestInstagramTwitter or join the Creative Green Living community group on Facebook.

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top 10 Tips for Flying with Kids

Traveling on an airplane with babies or small kids can be an adventure for sure. I grew up as a frequent child traveler. As a mom, I have traveled on an airplane several times with my own kids. Here are my top tips for keeping your trip low stress and helping you, your kids and your luggage arrive with all of your hair in tact.

10 Best Tips for Traveling with Kids
(from a mom whose been there!)

Use your stroller

Even if your kid normally walks everywhere. Even if you are a babywearing ninja. If they fit in your stroller, bring it.

In addition to containing your child (and saving your back), your stroller can be a convenient place to keep all of your things all together. Keep your diaper bag, kiddo, coats and any other carry ons conveniently sequestered on their own little portable island. We personally have a Bumbleride Indie 4 - and it's perfect for both every day use and traveling. (you can read my full Indie 4 review here)

Have a connecting flight? Your stroller is invaluable for toting everything quickly from point A to point B. You'll be able to load up your kids and your things and book it to your next flight faster than little legs would be able to travel on their own.

Protect your investment: Get a stroller bag

Now that your trusty stroller has gotten you to your gate, you'll need to fold it up to get it on the plane. Nothing will put visible wear on your stroller like baggage handlers. 

Buy a bag to protect your investment -especially if you have a nice stroller.

A huge duffel bag or plain stroller bag is better than nothing but even better is a padded stroller bag. We have the Bumbleride Travel Bag and I LOVE it. It protects my stroller really nicely and rolls up to easily carry through the airport as well. I love that it gets my stroller from point A to point B in great condition. Check out my video above for a demo of the travel bag we have.

Use a stroller compatible diaper bag

When we fly, we carry on one bag just for the baby, one bag for our older child (a backpack that he wears) and one bag that my husband and I share. To help make transporting the baby bag easier, we got a Skip Hop Dash Messenger Diaper Bag. It has special clips that attach it to your stroller - and then it unclips easily if I want to carry it like a messenger bag. This particular bag has a lot of big pockets both inside and outside - perfect for holding cell phones, water bottles, baby food and more.

Keep important items on you

Between checking in with your airline, getting through security and getting on the plane, you'll keep needing your driver's license (or other government issued ID) and your boarding passes. You'll also want easy access to money or credit cards. Digging in your bag for your wallet is a pain and fanny packs are so 1989. Be sure to keep these items stashed in your pockets or in a FlipBelt for easy access. Using the FlipBelt also gives me more wardrobe versatility because I won't have to wear pants with pockets in order to keep important items close at hand. On our recent trip, I had my phone, my ID, credit card, cash and my son's medicine in my FlipBelt to pull out as needed.

Stay hydrated

Between lots of walking and the dry air circulating on the aircraft, it's easy to get dehydrated. Bring your own stainless steel water bottle and keep it filled to encourage drinking. Because of the liquid prohibitions, you'll need to bring it through the TSA check point empty but you can fill it up once you get to the other side. My favorite water bottle for grown ups is the Klean Kanteen Wide Insulated Water Bottle and for kids we love the Crocodile Creek stainless steel water bottles.

Snacks, snacks, snacks

Nothing is worse than a cranky kid on a plane. Being hungry (along with the other stresses of traveling) brings out the worst in everyone - especially kids. Pack a personalized lunch box (We love LunchBots) for each member of your party with an assortment of healthy snacks. Some of our travel favorites are apples, plantain chips, string cheese, sandwiches, bananas, trail mix and dried fruit.

If you are traveling with a baby, you are also allowed to bring pumped breastmilk, formula or baby food in excess of the normal amount of liquid permitted. Just be sure to pack all your baby liquid/gel/soft food needs in one bag and declare them at the TSA checkpoint. For my baby, I'm a fan of Happy Family Squeeze Pouches for his snacks.

Have a plan to pop ears

While most adults can pop their ears on command, kids usually need a bit of help. If you're still nursing, nursing for take off and landing will help your baby pop their ears. I like to wear my NuRoo Nursing Scarf when I fly as it makes an easy modesty shield for me without creating a huge tent over the baby (check out the helpful video above if you're unsure how to use it without flashing!).

For older kids or babies who are no longer nursing, a sippy cup with a straw (The Safe Sippy is my favorite) is a good option. Big kids can also suck on hard candy to help their ears pop.

Plan activities

Figure out ahead of time how you and your kids will pass the time on your flight. We usually bring a mix of digital and analog activities: games and movies downloaded onto our tablet, coloring books, crayons, blank paper and some small (quiet) age appropriate toys. Airplanes can be rather loud, so be sure to bring a set of headphones for watching movies or hearing any of the sounds coming out of your your device.

Pack extras -of everything

The only way to outsmart Murphy is to plan for his arrival. Bring extra diapers, clothes, a shirt for mom, cash, etc. If an accident happens or you get delayed, you'll be glad you did.

(want cute disposable diapers like I have? I get them from Honest Company - these are my favorite disposable dipes. Not only are they planet and baby friendlier than traditional disposables, but they are darn cute! You can even try them for free!)

Avoid getting sick by keeping clean

I am not a germaphobe. I do, however, want to do everything possible to avoid having my kids be sick while we are on vacation. While washing your hands with soap and water is always preferable to using sanitizer, we also make liberal use of sanitizing spray to clean both our hands as well as the trays and handles of the seats in our areas. When choosing a sanitizer, look for one that does not use the toxic ingredient, Triclosan. My favorite hand sanitizer spray is Everyone Coconut and Lemon Hand Sanitizer Spray - not only does it use safe ingredients but it smells like lemon meringue pie!

I hope these tips help keep you safe and sane as you are traveling with your little ones! Have another great tip for traveling with kiddos? Leave it in the comments!

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Downton Abbey Tea Parties: They're Back!

This post is brought to you by Cost Plus World Market

Downton Abbey is my favorite. My best friend and I have been doing weekly Downton Abbey tea parties for several years. This year is the farewell season (sob!) and despite the fact that she just moved 7,500 miles away to Thailand, we're planning on keeping up the tradition. 

What's a tea party without a tea set?

When I was in grad school I collected vintage tea cups. Now? I collect Downton Abbey tea set items from World Market. Not only are they beautiful but they are durable enough that we let our kids play tea party with us and nothing has broken yet.

I already have most of this beautiful tea set (which sells out every year - so if you want one, don't delay!) and this year they are adding more pieces. I'm most excited about the sugar bowl and creamer set .

Be sure to check out the full Downton Abbey shop from World Market.

Black Friday

If there were ever a store I would want to be first in line for on Black Friday, it's World Market. At each store, the first 100 people in line on Friday, Saturday and Sunday will get an exclusive Downton Abbey cup. There is a new design each day, so go all three days for the set!

If you make a $20 purchase on any of those three days, you'll also get a free Downton Abbey tote bag (while supplies last). Again, there is a new design each day so don't feel shy about coming back the next day! Get all the info about the Black Friday Sales here.

#DotheDownton Online Tea Party

Finally, I want to invite you to join me and a gaggle of your favorite bloggers and Downton Abbey fans for an online virtual tea party on December 6th! For full details and to RSVP (there are prizes involved for RSVPd guests!) visit A Night Owl.

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Sponsored post disclosure: I was compensated by Cost Plus World Market for telling you about these promotions. Love of Downton Abbey and enthusiasm for tea parties is entirely my own. I only share information about events and products I truly enjoy and think my readers will, too. See my full sponsored post policy for more information.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

{Recipe} One-Pot Black Bean and Bacon Soup

One pot dishes are my favorite.  The last thing I want to do on a chilly night is a lot of dishes.  Mostly I just want to curl up on the couch with a good book, so anything to simplify dinner is a must.  This soup is quick and easy, and the bacon and chipotle powder adds a nice richness to the soup.  

Don't skimp on your bacon.  High quality definitely makes a difference here,  and you will probably never go back to cheap bacon again.  Trust me, good bacon is worth the extra price.  

Friday, November 20, 2015

What to Do if Your Kids Get Sick Over the Holidays

This post is brought to you by Amwell

Have you ever gone out of town for the holidays and suddenly one of your kids starts acting funny? Not funny like: they ate too much fruitcake and are running around grandma's house with underwear on their heads. Funny like: weirdly lethargic, coughing and now they are starting to run a fever. That kind of funny - minus the "funny" part. 

What do you do? If you're out of town and not familiar with the area it can feel overwhelming. Very few clinics are open during the holidays and the ones that are (read: the emergency room) are going to charge you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars to sit and wait for several hours before letting you talk to anyone other than a triage nurse.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

How to Make a Simple DIY Birthstone Bracelet

How to make a DIY birthstone bracelet - what a great gift idea for my mom!

Hi, everybody! I'm Paige from Little Nostalgia and I'm really excited to share a jewelry tutorial with you today. We're quickly rolling into Thanksgiving and it's time to get some gifts made so they can go under trees and into stockings. We're all busy so I'll get right to it: this bracelet is fast, easy, cute, and customizable. I used my birthstone (blue topaz) and a sapphire blue that I WISH was my birthstone instead, but you can personalize with any color your recipient will like. You can also combine birthstones if you have this in mind for a mom or grandma. It could also be a friendship bracelet! See? So many gift-giving possibilities. Let's get to the tutorial.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

{Recipe} The Best Homemade Chicken Soup

best chicken soup recipe from scratch

There are a lot of things you can do with a whole chicken but one of my favorite things to do is make soup in my Crockpot because it's easy, delicious and super healthy. By starting with the whole chicken, you don't need to add chicken broth - the chicken makes the broth for you! It turns out absolutely divine and is perfect as leftovers or to freeze for later.

I use my slow cooker to make this because it's more energy efficient than using my stove. This isn't a magical "set it and forget it for 8 hours" recipe but it requires very minimal work from you - which is perfect for a day when you'll be home working on other stuff. Your soup can cook while you toodle around your house working on other projects.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

My Favorite Gadgets for Healthy Meal Prep

Last year when we started Whole 30 for the first time, I got lots of questions about Whole 30, cooking from scratch and if there were any ways to make preparing healthy foods at home any easier. The good news, there ARE lots gadgets that make the process of cooking from scratch faster and easier! 

I recently partnered with eBay to put together a must-have gadgets guide that make healthy eating easier - with lots of links to buy my suggested products both new and used on eBay! If you love healthy foods from home - or are trying to think of Christmas present ideas for yourself or a friend that encourage healthy eating, this is the guide for you! There is no needs to spend hours making healthy food for your family when these tools can save you so much time!

Click here to check out my guide: Gadgets that Make Healthy Eating Easier!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

My Suburban Townhouse Home Tour

Step inside Carissa's cozy suburban townhome to see their kid friendly and eco-friendly decor! The rooms are a mix of traditional, eclectic and vintage. Get links to all the before and after makeovers and see how far you can really go on a real world budget!

Have you ever seen a blogger do a home tour? I totally have and you know what I thought?

I thought: I could never do one of those. 

Because the truth is that I'm a mom and I also work full time - and I have two tiny roommates (that would be my children) that make keeping my house tidy really really hard. So when you see pictures of a clean, neatly styled room in a post I wrote, it's probably because I cleaned that room only solely for the purpose of photographing it. In fact, a friend of mine came over one time and said "you know, from your website, you'd never know that your house actually looks like this." This, of course, meant like a 5 year old and a baby had "helped decorate" and several days of dishes were piled in my sink. Sigh.

But then we decided to sell our house

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Non-Toxic Way to Get Rid of Ants Naturally

Finding ants in your home is not something anyone looks forward to. Once you notice an ant invasion (even if it is just 5-10 ants that made their way in), it is critical to stop it right away. Luckily, it shouldn't take very long and once your home is treated you will keep ants out for a while! This solution is totally natural and non-toxic with no need to get poisonous ant killer involved.


  • Peppermint Essential Oil
    (you can buy my favorite brand of oil directly from me or on Amazon)
  • Cotton balls
  • Vacuum
  • Dry mop (if ants are in an area with a hard floor)
  • Surface cleaner
Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links.