Clay and I had this brilliant idea for a product. Only, we didn't have the time, resources or energy to develop it. I said, "You know that now that we've thought of it, the idea will float around until it lands in someone else's brain and they develop it..." And I was okay with that, I just hoped it would happen quickly because I really wanted to use it! And guess what? It did.
UPDATE: Some people have ordered directly from the links below, which is okay, but they don't get you the good price! Use THIS LINK and click "Invite Friends," then add yourself. That way you'll get the party prices too, which are at least half the price of the store snacks!
Sam and Vivi love freeze dried fruits and veggies and I get them as often as I feel I can afford it. I usually reserve them for car trips, weddings, church or other events where I need something delicious enough to keep their attention, but not messy. Kid snacks can be kind of tricky when you don't do processed food (no dried cereal for us, it's sad). Freeze dried foods are the best solution I've found yet. The only drawback is the price ($5-6/oz., Ouch!), but I've just figured out how to get them for half that!
Along with wanting to feed my family something more than soup, I've been wanting to try sourdough bread. I did manage to get back into the habit of weekly bread making and have been making my standard whole wheat recipe, which we love. But, I'm intrigued by sourdough and have been meaning to try it for quite some time. I know that yeast isn't that great for you, but fermented things are supposed to be good for you, so I'm guessing sourdough is better for you, right? Clearly, I haven't done a lot of research on the subject yet, but I'm taking an e-course that will hopefully fill in the gaps. Ideally, I'd love to learn all about sourdough at the elbow of some grandma who's been making it her whole life. I learn best when I learn from another person. But, I'm hoping this course will be second best to the bread-making grandma. They have videos along with written information and a forum where you ask questions.
I'm excited to try things beyond bread, things I'm pretty sure I'd never be brave enough try just straight out a recipe book. You start out with an intro to sourdough, instructions on making a starter, then maintaining said starter, then it gets into the fun recipes; tortillas, English muffins, crepes, crackers, gingerbread, pizza, even chocolate cake! I'll keep you posted about my sourdough adventures and let you know how I fare. If you want to join me, the course is "pay what you can," so it's affordable for everyone. Wish me luck!
This post is sponsored by GNOWFGLINS eCourse, where you can learn the art of mastering traditional cooking methods and sourdough! Check out the Sourdough eCourse and join me on the journey; I'll race you to the chocolate cake!
There are only four of us in the family, and only three that eat solid food, so you would think getting a healthy dinner on the table on a regular basis wouldn't be so much of a challenge. You would think... But ever since Vivian's birth my plan of attack has been to make an enormous vat of soup and have us eat that until it runs out or we get sick of it. I haven't been quite able to get my act together enough to have a coherent meal prepared each night yet.
I decided to try out one of my newer sponsors, Plan to Eat. I love anything that involves lists and planning. I love organizing, even if I'm not always all that organized. This site gives you your own account where you can import recipes from a bazillion recipe sites as well as add your own. One thing I love is that you can import and then adapt the recipe to your own style. So, I might find some delicious plum crisp recipe, but want to make it with whole wheat flour and honey, instead of white flour and sugar (true story, and it was SO good). So, I just change the recipe in my account and then, the really fun part, you can pick from your stash of recipes and create a meal plan for a week or month or however long and it will create a shopping list for you!!
I have yet to discover all the tricks it can do, but so far, I'm liking it. Oh, and another great feature is that you can link up with people you know (or whose cooking sounds yummy) and swipe some of their recipes! My name on the site is progressivepioneer, if you want to find my recipes (I'm still in the process of adding them). And please link up to me! I'd love some more delicious and healthy recipes! And I think my family would love something besides soup for dinner...
I know I said I wasn't going to do a monthly sponsor post, but I just had to give a little shout out to this month's sponsors.
I must say, I do have the loveliest sponsors:)
Here are this month's lovely sponsors, along with something I particularly love from each of them. You can click on the image to see more about it.
Hypnobabies: I have really enjoyed this whole program and would really recommend taking the class from one of their instructors if you have one close by. You get a whole bunch of CDs to listen to and my favorite have been the daily affirmations and the Visualizing Your Birth CDs. Both are so powerful and I think, have gone a long way in creating a really positive outlook for me. Hazelnut Kids: Delicious, high quality and safe art supplies!
Bird and Little Bird: I really want to make one of these patterns when life slows down a bit. I think I like this kit with the reds and oranges the best. What do you think?
Lusa Organics: Though it's so hard to pick, I think their Tofani soap is my favorite. It has a little patchouli in it, but doesn't give you that "Woah, a hippie just walked into the room!" smell. It's really subtle and earthy, and smells good on guys and gals.
Aurora Shoe Co: I have and love their New Chinese style shoes, but I'm also loving this West Indian style. The Blue Egg: This little gypsy witch is so sweet, I also love the Winter Girl and her Squirrel print.
Seed Pod: Jessica back from her vacation, so you can order a pattern that will be emailed over in a jiffy. And check out the Sweetpod Flickr group to see some of the amazing carriers people are creating. And maybe get inspired to make your own! I've got my pattern and materials and am just waiting for a rainy day to get started!
Eco Lunch Gear: I'm really digging these sandwich wraps because they open up to be completely flat. You could use them as a little place mat and you can adjust it to fit whatever size sandwich you have- clever!
No Plastic!: If I could, I would get the whole set of these fantastic air and water-tight stainless steel containers, one in every size!
Conscious Kids: I love the idea of a deck of 52 cards, with an activity for each week to help your family grow and learn together.
Thanks so much to our wonderful sponsors, and thanks to you all for choosing to support ethical, creative, family-run businesses!
We have so many great sponsors this month, and quite a few are new, which is exciting. Let me introduce you!
First, I have to show you two goodies that came in the mail, both from current sponsors. I recently opened up the option of trades in exchange for sponsorship; I've been trying to make it as accessible as possible for smaller businesses. And this has been so fun for me, because, of course, I only take on sponsors whose stuff I already adore anyway. Below is a kit from Jessica at SeedPod Craft Studio. She has this brilliant design for a baby carrier called the SweetPod and she sent me a kit to sew one myself! I'm a little intimidated, but she assures me that beginning seamstresses have been able to turn out beautiful carriers. And after looking over the pattern and the instructions, which are quite detailed and easy-to-follow, I feel quite a bit more encouraged. Stay tuned to see how I do!
Another treat is this beautiful soft rabbit rattle from Dress Me Up. I've often admired online the things she creates, but the pictures are nothing compared to holding one in my hands. I was genuinely impressed with the craftsmanship and the quality of the materials. Everything is organic and so soft, but sturdy. And I love the simple, modern design that still remains rather classic and timeless. I love picturing Vivian holding this in her chubby little hands:)
Euphoria Baby is another new sponsor (they also have a maternity store). I recently got some Bummis covers from them that are SO sweet! The reviews and explanations of the different diapers on their site are really helpful when trying to figure out which system and type meets your needs. I got a few infant covers because I remember that even with the BumGenius ones folded to the smallest size they were still quite bulky around Sam's little newborn bird legs (though they worked great after the first couple months). I was going to go the practical route and only get green spotted or frog pattern covers in case we have a boy next. But the flower print was too hard to resist!
I was introduced to Moon Over Maize by a birth educator and love their designs. You can see lots of their beautiful jewelry in last week's giveaway or in their shop.
And, of course, you know how nuts I am about my Aurora Shoes. I'm so happy to have them as a sponsor this month. If I'm going to spend my hard earned money, I love to see it going to companies like these where I know I'm supporting ethical practices and family-run businesses. And, of course, knowing that I'm getting a quality item that will last and last is certainly worth something too!
I've been in the process of collecting picture frames whenever I'm at the thrift store to start displaying our collection of art, which has previously been decorating a dusty corner of the basement and not doing anyone any good. I've got my eye on some prints from The Blue Egg, maybe for Sam's room, or the kitchen, or maybe my new craft room (I need to show you the craft room, it's so exciting!).
The Vintage Pearl is another wonderful, family-run business that creates unique and customizable jewelry. This is the kind of company I turn to when I need the perfect gift.
Eco Lunch Gear is a returning sponsor, and I'm so happy to have them back! We're doing lots more out-of-doors dining and their wraps and bags are the perfect thing. Of course, they're also perfect for school and work lunches, but who's thinking about that now that it's summer?!
No Plastic is another supplier of great, reusable food containers. If you're looking for some quality, air/water-tight stainless steel, this is the place to get it. It took us awhile to completely phase all the plastic containers out of our house, but a piece at a time we finally got all the plastic swapped out for stainless steel and glass and I feel so good about it.
Mamma4Earth is hosting a giveaway in the next week or two that you won't want to miss. Her knitted creations are so darling and make the perfect gift that will be treasured and loved for years and years. Handmade things just have a way of sticking around. They're sturdier and there's just something about them that lets kids know that they're special. Each one is unique, no assembly line manufacturing here. Each little critter has love knit right into it! You can even knit your own lion from one of her patterns (though her prices for already-knit creations are really reasonable).
Some delicious LuSa Organics soaps arrived in the mail last week. I could smell them as soon as I picked up the box! Oh, they are SO yummy! In fact, they smell so good I might be tempted to use them even if they weren't full of natural, good-for-you ingredients. But, of course they are; nothing but the purest goes into LuSa's products, from their lotion bars, to their baby products, to those good-enough-to-eat soaps. Once you try them, you will seriously never go back.
Annie's creations at Bird and Little Bird just make me smile every time I see them. Hers are exactly the kind of toys I want my kids playing with. How can they not grow up into sensitive, thoughtful adults with good taste after spending a childhood among friends like the Semi-Fantastic Mr. Fox and the Mostly Marvelous Ms. Rabbit? They're even more special when you make them yourself from one of her patterns or kits...
Please take a moment to visit our sponsors, and next time you're in the market for something they offer, consider supporting them, their values and their families.
Rebecca and Susan over at Hand Full have some fun discounts and promotions for you:
Such a good time to be investing in some sweet, handmade clothes for your little ones!
PS They also have a new blog that's a fun read; full of cute clothes, yummy recipes and adorable kids.
PPS Just had to mention ONE more thing! Remember those wonderful shoes I raved about? I'm not sure if it's too late, but Alyssa is giving away a pair on her Keep it Real blog. Pop over and see if there's still time to enter!
Where did the month go?! It's almost the end and I haven't introduced you to our wonderful sponsors yet! And there are so many wonderful sales, giveaways and discounts (see below) in honor of Earth Day, too! Without further ado, here they are:
I'm so excited to have Bella Luna Toys as a sponsor, not only because they offer the loveliest Waldorf- inspired toys, but because they're based in Maine, only minutes from where we used to live! I learned this after discovering her wonderful shop online. Small world! And through the end of the month you can enter the code PIONEER10 for 10% off any order, anything in their shop!
Hazelnut Kids is also offering 10% off with the code PP10 and will be doing a giveaway soon! You can join Hazelnut Kids on facebook for exclusive offers and discounts (I recently saw a 40% off code for some Plan Toys dolls...) Sam has the toys above and loves them!
Handfull is one of our newest sponsors and makes the loveliest, handmade children's clothes. I could easily dress our little Vivian head to toe in these sweet creations! And until April 29th, when you purchase something from their shop you get a free eco-gift in celebration of Earth Day!
And if you didn't win the Kids Konserve giveaway, don't fret, you can still get 15% off any order with the code EARTH15, and you can get a free 20oz. stainless steel bottle with any order placed in April! Happy Earth Day indeed!
Ivory Bill is also a new "sponsor," though you may already know them:)
Hip Mountain Mama is having a huge Earth Day sale until this Friday. Check out their shop for some fantastic deals on everything from clothes to toys to cloth diapers. You can also get a free reusable tote with the code "Earth Day" on any order over $30.
And don't forget the oldies, but goodies, the faithful wonderful sponsors that have been with us for a few months:
Thanks so much to our wonderful sponsors who are creating lovely things in an ethical and Earth-conscious way. Show them a little love this month!
*This just in! No Plastic has created a code where you can get 12% off any order over $100 until April 30th. Use the code "progressive" and stock up on sustainable supplies! January isn't the only time of year to make green resolutions:)
We have some new sponsors this month (scroll down for a discount code for Progressive Pioneer readers...) Little Pink House will make you a custom portrait - in felt! Did you see the one she made for Meg from Sew Liberated? What a treasure. And I love the print "Friends; "It's always good to know a friend is behind you, on good days and bad. Let Abby and Bear remind you of yours."
Firefly Children's Boutique just opened an online shop full of fun things for little ones from ruffly petticoats to onesies and footies in non-traditional colors (does anyone else get a little tired of baby blue and pink?). And you'll find pages and pages of great items on sale.Hometown Seeds, of the survival seeds that I raved about, is another new sponsor this month and their packs are on sale; there's enough to sow 3/4 of an acre of seeds in there!
Eco Lunch Gear, sponsor of last week's great giveaway, has all the snack bags and sandwich wraps you'll need. The great thing about reusable food storage items is that you only have to make the investment once, then you can simply enjoy being green, frugal and healthy! And as a thank you for all the sweet comments in the giveaway, they're offering a 10% discount to Progressive Pioneer readers! Just enter the code "pioneer" at checkout.
I'm really excited about one of our newest sponsors, Horizon Structures. They have some of the coolest chicken coops! They have tiny ones for just a few hens and larger ones for a bigger flock; my favorite is the "Push It" Chicken Coop. My dad built something like this once and moved it around the garden in the off season to fertilize. But this one is way more charming. Now you have absolutely no reason not to get a few hens and have your own fresh and tasty eggs. I really can't stomach the store bought ones anymore, our girls lay the most delicious eggs!
And finally, we just added the Holistic LDS Living Conference as a sponsor and I'm so excited to attend in June! I'll tell you a little more about it in another post; there are some excellent presenters. And it's not just for LDS folks, each hour you have the option of choosing between nine speakers and presentations throughout the day and there are SO many amazing topics and things to learn, from Tai Chi, to do-it-yourself herbal remedies, to the art of peaceful mothering. I wish I could be at all of the presentations at once!
A big thank you to our continuing sponsors; Hypnobabies (I'm starting my class this month!), Hazelnut Kids, Hip Mountain Mama, EC Wear (after a long winter of many layers of clothing, we kind of got lazy about ECing, but I'm all excited to get back into it this spring when running around in a t-shirt and leg warmers is much more do-able. Dare I even hope Sam may start using the potty permanently...?), and Boomerang (loved their great Valentine's Day episode, and they've got a new one out about Math, Power and Magic. With an intro like, "“Imagine, if you can, that magic and mathematics are one and the same… that deep underneath all the gooey times-tables, and long division molasses lies the power to turn invisible, step through time, and do other cool stuff to impress your friends…” how could you not get excited about math?).
I so appreciate the people behind these companies; their ethics and optimism, their positive contributions to the world and their delightful creativity. Please support them and other small businesses; especially in difficult economic times such as these, dollars spent on quality companies make all the difference.
Let me introduce you to some of the wonderful folks supporting Progressive Pioneer this month!
Of course, you know Hazelnut Kids after last week's wonderful giveaway. I wish we had a nesting house and Waldorf doll for each of you! Their website is lovely to stroll through and easy to navigate; you'll find plenty of treasures, all safe, green and guaranteed to fuel the imagination.
Boomerang audio adventures give your kids the chance to "sit in on an 'interview' with Henri Matisse... help solve the neighborhood detective's latest case, hear two young brothers grapple with the concept of gravity," and more! And today they're giving away a sweet Valentine's Day story! What a lovely way to spend part of the holiday, sipping hot cocoa with your little ones while listening to a story together- sounds like the beginning of a wonderful tradition! We have two to give away, so get your comments in! Hip Mountain Mama is new to Progressive Pioneer this month and I'm so excited to have them! They're basically your one-stop-shop for all the rad natural parenting stuff you've been coveting; mini Mobies, play silks, beautiful handmade clothing, yoga mats, cloth diapers, bamboo picnic ware... I could seriously go on and on; they have so much good stuff. Definitely worth a browse!
I can't help thinking of summer and warm grass on my feet every time I open up Raglan Guld's page. Maybe it's the dreamy picture of the girl in the field, but something about their pants just makes me want to go shopping at the farmer's market or stroll through the park. And what's really fun is that you can get them custom made to your exact size and in whatever fabric you like; brilliant!
For a chance to win the Valentine's story from Boomerang, just leave a comment below!
Congratulations Elle and Ashley Fuller; I'm emailing your stories now!
It really is a treat to partner with such wonderful companies. I'm grateful for their support and for yours as well! When thinking of those on your Christmas list this year, consider some our wonderful sponsors:
Reverie Daydream: This shop reminds me of strolling through the gorgeous boutiques when I lived in San Francisco. Do yourself a favor and take a little peek. There's also a 15% discount to Progressive Pioneer readers on any Reverie order with the coupon code "progressive." And you can get FREE SHIPPING on all US (domestic) orders.
Imagine Childhood: Every time I visit this shop I get excited for when Sam's just a little bit older and we can buy toys that I like to play with too! They have beautiful things for babies too, of course, but I'm talking model airplanes and marionette kits and animal track casting kits- SO rad!
ECOLunchboxes: So perfect for your kids' amazing teachers or for your hardworking spouse who could use a little lunchtime pick-me-up or for your kiddo to make lunches a little more special. I think you can still get the discount code if you follow them on twitter or facebook. Stock up now with the discount!
Wee Gallery: Did you know you can get free downloads on their blog? You can try out their images on your baby, research says that black and white images appeal most to babies and Wee Gallery has a whole collection of images that also appeal to the sophisticated adult eye as well.
Satch and Sol: It's been so chilly that I'm thinking of making more wool pants for Sam and he'll be sure to find some baby wool socks under the tree too. Wouldn't these felted slippers be the perfect thing for keeping little toesies warm?
Ottobre: And how about a subscription to Ottobre for the sewer in your life? Or maybe that's you:)
doTERRA: I've been keeping colds and flus at bay with doTERRA's OnGuard blend and totally swear by it. Cough drops for everyone!
I am always so grateful when a company wants to support Progressive Pioneer. These are companies I love to see thrive. Especially in sticky economic times like these, family run or mama-owned, sustainably-sourced companies need our support. Please show them a little love, especially this holiday season. We have so many choices, let's make our dollars talk by supporting great small businesses. Oh, and they make really fantastic stuff too!
Boba carriers are for kids up to four years! No more trying to squeeze them into that tiny baby carrier or getting wonky spine carrying them on your hip all the time. The fabric is organic, they have little foot straps for the kid's feet. AND they're offering free shipping ($3.99 off int'l orders) with the code "progressive." This is the kind of present you can get for your little one, but that's really for you, kind of like the fancy chocolate bars that show up in Sam's stocking...
ECO Lunchbox lunch kits are 100% plastic-free, waste-free, lead-free, BPA-free, PVC-free and vinyl free. Healthy people, healthy planet- hooray! And they're offering 15% off with the code "greengift." Sounds like the perfect gift for your kids to give to their friends, or for you to give to some little people in your life!
I'm totally trying Hypnobabies with our next one; my friend had a great experience using the program with her first baby. Their home study course is so thorough and there are classes popping up all over the place; I bet there's one near you!
Imagine Childhood just makes me excited to be a part of the beautiful process of being a parent and raising an inquisitive little explorer. Their shop is so full of things that remind me of the loveliness of childhood.
The Wooden Wagon is offering 10% off your purchase in the month of November with the code PRP1109. Early Christmas shopping anyone?
More fun ideas ideas for gifts are Wee Gallery's wall graphics, Bird and Little Bird's custom handmade fox, Satch & Sol's hitch and tie boots (their stuff is SO fantastic and, don't tell, but Sam is getting some little boots for Christmas!), and nothing says love like taking care of the health of your little ones, especially with delicious essential oils and OnGuard throat drops from doTerra (I am hooked on the throat drops, I now have one any time I'm in a large group of people) and finally, perhaps a little something handmade by you via an inspiring Ottobre design.
So check them out, go say hello and support the kinds of businesses you believe in!