theCOZYgreenCOCOON

Headed towards back to the basics living.


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A Merry Heart

I believe that words have power. Usually I think of strength and positivity or perhaps the negative impact a thought can have as it plays itself over and over in our minds. Serious subject matter.  But a couple of days ago, words brought a smile to my lips and dare I say some much needed laughter to my heart.

Let me start by saying: “I am not a morning person”, followed with “I’ve been waking up the last several weeks between 3:30 and 5 am each morning absolutely starving.” Not just hungry, STARVING! After dragging myself out of bed, through the cold dark house I pour myself a bowl of cereal and then pour myself back into bed. I wake a couple hours later ready to go for another round. By eleven o’clock you’d think I hadn’t seen food in weeks! It’s getting a tad old. I’m running out of ideas for nutritious, filling food to eat!

So when I had this random (or God-sent) memory of a line from a much-loved movie pop into my brain…well, I just couldn’t help but smile. I hope you will too. (It’s my life captured in a fantastic epic movie.) And then I got myself some fruit and a bagel and enjoyed my next meal of the day.

Enjoy the clip!

If you’ve got any nutritious filling food ideas I would LOVE to hear them!Really!

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Buying Organic: When it’s Worth that extra Buck or Two

Do you ever have such a great day that you think you might actually need a tutorial on how to land from 50 feet in the air? I seriously could have used it myself yesterday-we got to see an u/s of  our first baby due in September. My heart was blown away, but as I was drifting down in a bubble of happiness I remembered that we had one other stop before we headed back home. The grocery store. And not just any grocery store but Whole Foods Market. Now I’m thankful for WF, especially when spring has not yet sprung and there are no Farmer’s Markets to speak of and my summer garden is merely a twinkle in my eye, but whew it sure can cause your pocket-book to take a hit. **Note to self: Must learning canning and freezing techniques this summer.

So, in order to give my baby (not mention dear old self) the best nutrition minus nasty chemicals all while trying to save a buck or two, I refer back to my list of the “Dirty Dozen.” (Insert ominous sounding noise here.) I’m guessing you might already have seen this list but possibly not referred to in this way. It’s the name given by the Environmental Working Group to fruits & veggies known to have the highest amounts of chemicals in them. There is also a list known as the “Clean 15”.  These include produce that have relatively lower amounts of chemicals in them. So if you can’t afford to buy every last bit of your food organic these lists will at least let you know where you get the most bang for your nutritional dollar.

I think the easiest way to keep track of what’s what is to download and print the small pocket-sized list offered on the EWG website. If you have an iphone they also have a free app that you can download. (Oh you lucky soul!)  I carry the print version right behind my debit card in my wallet. It has saved us more than a few dollars and headaches trying to remember if something was worth that extra dollar or two.

One other thought to help you know if something is worth buying organic or not is to consider how much of it your family consumes. If you eat, say a ton of tomatoes, then even though it’s listed as one of the Clean 15, it MIGHT  be worth it to buy organic just because of the sheer volume consumed.

Also consider buying frozen fruits & veggies over fresh ones when out of season. The idea is that frozen produce is grown and picked at peak growing season for that particular item so less chemicals are used to grow it than the fresh ones available now because they are being grown out of season and trucked from far away.

Here’s the list below. Do any surprise you?

Dirty Dozen:

  1. Peach
  2. Apple
  3. Bell Pepper
  4. Celery
  5. Nectarine
  6. Strawberries
  7. Cherries
  8. Kale
  9. Lettuce
  10. Grapes (imported)
  11. Carrot
  12. Pear

Clean 15

  1. Onion
  2. Avacado
  3. Sweet Corn
  4. Pineapple
  5. Mango
  6. Asparagus
  7. Sweet Peas
  8. Kiwi
  9. Cabbage
  10. Eggplant
  11. Papaya
  12. Watermelon
  13. Broccoli
  14. Tomato
  15. Sweet Potato

There’s also a complete list of where all the different fruits and veggies rank, if you click here.


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Never too late to organize!

Quick! Someone needs to let whoever makes up the official  ” month of organization”  know that  we are all still organizing out here in the rest of the  world. I knew I  missed the boat but have been studiously working at organizing my kitchen “command center”  anyways. I hope to have pics posted tomorrow or the next day. Not that I’m the world’s greatest organizer mind you, but I find that when I see someone else organizing it motivates me, and I just have to pass it on!

I must say I felt a sense of relief and understanding with Amy over at  Mod Podge Rocks when I saw her  recent post on a really creative (and recycled) organizer project from  Creative Home Expressions. I also saw an awesome giveaway over at Prudent Baby for this tempting  book “Sew & Stow: 31 Fun Sewing Projects to Carry, Hold, and Organize Your Stuff, Your Home, and Yourself!”


(Oh I could soooo use this book right now, so I hope you can forgive me for posting so I can get an extra entry.) And honestly this is one of my favorite sites so I thought you might enjoy!

It’s easy to enter the contest, just leave a comment, no strings attached. I’m all about blog giveaways! (They are great because you don’t get spam when you enter and many are drawn randomly.)  Besides who couldn’t use some help with organizing ideas???


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Drumroll Please…..

Oh baby-it’s a baby! A wonderful bouncing, giggling, chubby cheeked little blessing from heaven has found itself headed our way after much ado. And we couldn’t be more excited or more thankful! I had my first ob visit today-it was filled with relief. Relief that everything is going just the way it should be. I don’t remember the last time I was so excited and yet so worried at the same time!

As I write this I find my mind going rather blank, surprisingly. I always thought when the time came I would just be bursting with emotion and words but I find myself rather solemn and just thankful. Thankful for the gift I know I have been given. A gift I wasn’t sure was ever going to grace my doorstep in all honesty. (I’d like to say that having my first child at 30 was exactly how we planned it-but that would be stretching the truth to say the least.) Now that the time is here I just couldn’t be happier-okay, I’m guessing I can be-like say when the little one pops out sometime in the fall and I get to hold him (yes I’ve decided it’s a boy, DH is convinced it’s a girl) or the first time he smiles at me. Aaawwww, I can’t wait!!!!! Where are my kleenex (ahem, my sustainable one-time use hankies)? Yipee!


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Last Minute Valentine’s Day Idea #3: Love Jar

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and you don’t have a lot of craft supplies? You don’t consider yourself crafty? Ah ha, this is the Homemade Valentine’s Day gift for you to do. Seriously all you need is a jar with a lid , a piece of paper cut into small strips, a pen and  your heart and you can make a jar of “Love Preserves.” I guarantee that the recipient  you make this for will really love it.  I made one for my now husband a couple of years before we married and he still has it almost 10 years later!

Get as creative as you want. I made him a new one this year and it includes reasons I think he makes a great husband and will make a great dad.   You could also  make one for your kids and how special they are to you-especially teens, they may not say much but I bet you they would read them when you weren’t around-or make a joint one from you and your kids with reasons you love your husband/their dad.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Gather your supplies: jar,paper,scissors/cutter,and pen.

Write your messages on the paper strips.

Fold and place in jar. Give it a shake.

Decorate the lid if desired and attach a note with a ribbon or string. Watch for the recipient’s face to light up when they realize what it is.


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Valentine’s Day Idea #2: Bake Cookies-Peanut Butter Blossom Cookies that is!

Okay this takes a bit more planning unless you keep a stocked pantry-although many of the ingredients are fairly common I would say. And who doesn’t love a cookie? I honestly don’t think I’ve ever met someone who doesn’t like cookies. I have met a few people who don’t like chocolate-it’s beyond my ability to truly grasp the idea  but I have met them. So, if you like cookies and you like peanut butter and you like chocolate-these cookies are a no brainer! They remind me of a Reese’s Pieces cup. Yum! My aunt used to make these at Christmas when I was little. DH had never had them until I made them this Christmas. His response after the first bite: “And you’re just now making these?!?” Needless to say they didn’t last long.

For Valentine’s Day I just switched out the Hershey’s Kisses for heart-shaped Dove chocolates.  If giving as a gift, put them in a pretty tin, wrap them in craft paper with a pretty ribbon and note, or just put them on a pretty plate-honestly I doubt your recipient will care much about the packaging once they’ve tried the cookies. Hope you have a delicious time making them, just remember to leave a few for your intended recipient (;  xoxo

**Looking to make these a little healthier? Try substituting shortening for canola oil, milk chocolate for dark chocolate and whole wheat flour for all purpose.

The Goods:

  • 48 HERSHEY’S KISSES Brand Milk Chocolates
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 3/4 cup REESE’S Creamy Peanut Butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Granulated sugar
The Grind:

1. Heat oven to 375°F. Remove wrappers from chocolates.

2. Beat shortening and peanut butter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture.

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar; place on ungreased cookie sheet.

4. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Immediately press a chocolate into center of each cookie; cookie will crack around edges. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely. About 4 dozen cookies.

For more nutritional info and ideas, visit the Hershey’s Kitchen, where I got this delicious recipe from.


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Last Minute Valentine’s Day Idea #1

There is a buzz of excitement around our house these days-and I must say it has had me distracted to no end-thus no posts for the last few days. Finally, today, I feel like I’ve managed to recover sufficiently and rescue my brain before it backed out of the driveway along with my former life. Promise to post next week with a full explanation, but for now I wanted to share a last minute V-day idea I came up with to send to my mom. She loves pictures of her family and says she reads and re-reads cards she receives. She always has a little display of cards people have sent her from the most recent holiday/event.

I saw an idea for something like this  in a magazine a year or two ago and have wanted to make it since. I didn’t have the directions so I improvised. It’s great because it’s very portable and reads like a card but would be easy to hang for display. You could improvise the photos for drawings your kids made or with a list of things you love about the recipient-maybe you could hang it over a child’s bed for a few days? The directions follow-hope you like! If you’re looking for some other great crafty ideas then check out this idea from How does She…-so creative! Can’t wait to make one of my own! Also love this idea from Pretty Partridge. You could give as a gift but also looks nice just as a decoration in a pretty bowl-maybe you could write sweet or inspirational sayings on them for a little v-day pick me up.

Supplies I used:

  • (10)  6” x6” pieces of pretty paper
  • (7) 5”x 5” pieces  of complementary paper to be used as backgrounds for heart-shaped photos
  • (7) photos cut into a Heart Shape
  • Approximately 3 feet of ribbon/string of Choice
  • Letter Stamps/Ink Pad or Writing utensil of choice
  • Glue Stick
  • Hole Punch
  • Ruler
  • Scissors/Paper Cutter

To Make:

  1. Grab the pictures you want to use.  Create a heart-shaped template (or use a box of chocolates-yum!) and trace the shape on the pictures you’re going to use. Cut out the pictures.
  2. Pick your coordinating paper. I used three different patterns but two or even four would look great I think. Cut the background paper into 6” square pieces. Then cut the  photo border paper into 5” square pieces. If you want a place to write a message or title for your card then make sure to cut extra 6” squares. You can use leftover scraps to make title strips.
  3. Glue the photos on the 5” squares and then glue these on the 6” squares.
  4. Measure 3” down on each side of each 6” square. Mark with a pencil, then punch holes over marks. Now you’ve got your place to thread your ribbon.
  5. Lay your 6” squares in the order you want them to be read and go ahead and write/stamp your message/card title.
  6. Thread your ribbon from front to back (as seen in the photo). You want a line of ribbon running behind each 6” square. Be sure to leave a few inches of extra length ribbon  on each end for tying the card and then later as a way to hang the banner. Don’t tie the ribbon off, leave it loose.
  7. Fold the top card face down, then flip the folded piece to the left, now right and then left to create an accordion type of card. Now you can tighten up the ribbon just enough to get rid of any slack in the middle.
  8. Tie your ribbon pieces together in a pretty bow. Wah-lah! You’ve got yourself a quick& easy personal card and festive banner in one.