A Few of My Favorite Things {in September}

Disclosure: I was not paid to endorse any of these products or services. However, this post does contain some affiliate links. This means that if you purchase any of these items through my links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale. I’ll never share a product or link to a product that I don’t have personal experience with, though.

I am SO bad about starting a new series on my blogs and then letting them wither and die in their little internet corners! But I do love the idea of a My Favorite Things series, mostly because I read them on other blogs and often find new things that I end up loving. So after a few months hiatus, it’s back!

In my last post, I wrote about how much I was loving my pour over coffee method. The key to a good pour over coffee, besides getting your technique down, is starting with really good quality coffee. A few weeks ago I got a delivery from Craft Coffee. After answering a few questions about your coffee preferences, they send you samplings of coffees that match your profile. All the coffees are hand-roasted by independent coffee roasters from a variety of small American businesses. The beans are fresh roasted for your order. It’s the freshest coffee I’ve ever had, and every variety I’ve tried is delicious. This one is my favorite so far:

Craft Coffee

A subscription would make a great gift for that hard-to-buy for person who loves coffee, but has already received every iteration of Starbucks gift card from you for every birthday and holiday (and if you use the code c6z-tyx you’ll get 15% off).

I tend to stay away from natural peanut butters. Other than Sunbutter (which I tolerate and Eli loves more than actual peanut butter), I only eat Jif. It’s what I grew up eating and it’s what tastes good to me. And then I spied this:

B. Happy Peanut Butter

B. Happy “Don’t Worry” peanut butter, made with coconut, almonds, and dark chocolate. I can. not. stop. eating it. Like, it’s going to turn into a problem. A very delicious problem.

Moving away from food you eat to food you read about … Jenny Rosenstrach, the voice behind one of my favorite cooking blogs, has a new book out.

Family dinners at home are so important to me, and over the years I’ve gotten meal planning down to a science. That doesn’t mean I don’t need inspiration to stay on track, though. In Dinner: The Playbook, Jenny gives you the down low on how to master the art of the family meal. Even if you walk through the valley of  small children and picky eaters, you will fear dinner no more. This book and its words will comfort you.

Finally, these shoes, man. I bought them in black for our trip to Spain. I wanted something comfortable but cute. I cringed a little at the price, but I’ve gotten every penny’s worth out of them. They look cute with everything – shorts, dresses, jeans, yoga pants – and feel like slippers (Although I must warn you – I had one awful day in Philly breaking them in. After that they were amazing. I find they run true to size, maybe even on the large size. I typically wear a 7 or 7 1/2 and ordered these in a 7).  I wore them all summer, and now they’re taking me into fall. Plus, it makes me happy looking down at them and knowing these shoes have walked cathedrals, castles … and Target.

What are some of your favorite things right now?


Green BEAN Delivery: Fresh, Local Foods at Your Door {$15 Promo Code!}

Green BEAN bin contents

Disclosure: Green BEAN Delivery provided me with a free bin in exchange for a review of their service. All thoughts and opinions are mine.

For years I was a loyal Green BEAN customer. And then, suddenly, I wasn’t. I cancelled the service shortly before we moved into our temporary housing with the best intentions to start it up again once we were settled in the new house. And, well … you know what they say about a certain path and the best intentions!

Are you familiar with Green BEAN Delivery? They are a local company that delivers top-notch organic and all-natural produce and food items to your front door. It’s been so fun watching Green BEAN grow in the midwest, both literally and figuratively. Many of the items offered are grown or made locally, including fruits and veggies from Green BEAN’s own Feel Good Farm in Sheridan, Indiana. I remember when they first started out here in Indy, and now they’ve grown to add delivery areas throughout the midwest, including Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Missouri. Beyond the jobs they provide and the farmers and artisans they support, they’re also very active in the community. They partner with local food banks and sponsor the Constant Canned Food Drive.

Of course, the most important thing to you is the food. Is it good? Is there a decent selection? Is it affordable? The answer is yes, yes, and yes. I recently reopened my account, thanks to the kind nudge from the good people at Green BEAN.

The service is very easy to use. You simply open up an account by clicking on the “Sign-Up Now” link on the Green BEAN homepage. Choose the size of bin you’d like to receive, and how often you’d like to receive it (weekly or biweekly). For our somewhat vegetable-averse family of 4, the small bin, delivered biweekly, is perfect. You’ll receive an email a few days before your delivery date in which you can customize and add to your bin. Then, on your delivery day, your bin of goodness will magically appear on your doorstep!

Green BEAN delivery

Here’s my last bin. Behold, $35 of produce and $13 of add-on grocery items:

Green BEAN fruit and vegetable bin

I’ve got local sweet corn, peppers, beets, tomatoes, cucumber, onions, and green beans. I also have pears, garlic, bananas, plums, and peaches. I added on some of my favorite bread from Scholars Inn Bakehouse (for my daily summer lunch of tomato sandwiches), and treated myself to something I’ve been wanting to try for ages: curtido from Indy’s Fermenti Artisans (it’s amazing, by the way).

I’d forgotten how fun it was to customize a bin to my liking, and to add some of my favorite local treats to round out my bin. Why did I wait so long to start it up again? I have no idea, but I’m glad to be back on the Green BEAN Delivery wagon again.

Now, I know you have some questions, but I’ve heard them from friends and family before …

What if I don’t like the service? What am I committing to?

If you don’t like it or feel like you’re not getting your money’s worth, you simply cancel the service. You’re not locked into any contract and you can quit at anytime.

What if I like it, but even biweekly is too much produce for me? What if I’m going to be out of town/too busy/not cooking for awhile? What if the grocery budget gets tight towards the end of the month?

You can always cancel a delivery, or even multiple deliveries, via the Green BEAN website. In fact, I do it frequently. I typically only order 1 bin a month, and supplement with regular grocery shopping in between. There’s absolutely no penalty in doing so.

What if I don’t like what’s going to be in my bin? What if I’m extremely picky? What if I have allergy issues in my family?

When you get your email with your delivery information for your upcoming bin, you’ll see a selection of products already in your bin for you. You can certainly take the bin as it comes, but you can also customize it to your heart’s/belly’s content. Hate kale? Not a problem, sub a fruit or veggie you love, or increase the quantity of something else that’s already in your bin. It’s very easy to do as well. Have allergies or dietary restrictions? You can search for items by category, including kosher, gluten free,  vegan, vegetarian, and dairy free products.

What if I’m not happy with something in my bin? What if my bread is moldy, the milk’s gone bad, or my squash got squashed?

It happens (though not very often). Shoot Green BEAN’s customer service an email. They’ll make it right.

I’m pleased as punch to be able to offer you a special discount code for $15 off your first bin. Use the code 15JLNml when placing your first order for the discount. (Note: this code expires one week from today on 8/29/14) So, seriously, what are you waiting for?! Order up that bin and tell me about your favorite items so I can add them to my next bin!







Six Suggests: The OK To Wake! Alarm Clock & Night-Light. (Not life-changing, but close. If you’re a fan of sleep, that is.)


Last Christmas, Mike and I decided to do something different to make our gift-giving to the kids a little more thoughtful and budget-friendly.  We went with a set number of gifts, and each gift fell under a category in the adage: "Something you want, something you need, something you wear, something you read."

When it came time to choose something Eli "needed," we stretched the concept into something we needed.  Sleep.  As in, more of it.

While Elena is content to snooze away until 9 a.m. if you let her, Eli has always been an early riser.  Not butt-crack of dawn awful, but early enough for us to grumble.  Around here, anything before 7 a.m., especially on a weekend, is unacceptable.  For the most part, Eli can handle 7 a.m.  He has this odd quirk, though, in that every 6 – 8 weeks his internal clock gradually bumps itself back.  He wakes up at 6:50 a.m., then a few days later it's 6:35 a.m., until we cry "Uncle!" at 6 a.m.  It's a rough two weeks or so, and then magically his clock resets itself and he's back to waking up at a civilized hour.

In the past, when he'd hit these early cycles, we'd spend a fitful 45 minutes to an hour walking him back to his room, telling him to stay in bed, falling back into our bed and hoping for the best.  Sure, we could caved and just gotten up (it's not like any of us were getting any more sleep), but there are precious few parenting principles I hold my ground on.  Sleep is one of them.

One day I came across the OK to Wake! Alarm Clock and Night-Light.  It's a combination clock/night-light that's designed to let kids who can't tell time yet know when it's okay to wake up and approach their peacefully slumbering parents.  The clock features a nifty set of controls that allow you to set what time that might be in your family.  The clock glows yellow during sleeping time, functioning nicely as a night-light.  When it's okay to get out of bed, it changes to green.  

We ended up going with a slightly amped-up version made by the same company (in the photo above, being guarded over by Brobee) that displays the traditional clock face along with the digital time, in hopes that one day the boy might actually be able to tell time.  One of my affiliates, Savvy Source, is offering the digital version at 49% off until midnight on Thursday, May 5th.

This is by far one of the best children's products we've purchased in the last year.  I love it when cute and functional coexist.  Does Eli still wake up too early for our liking?  Uh, yes.  But now he knows to leave us be until his clock is green.  Does he come barreling out of his room at 7:00 a.m. on the dot squealing, "My clock is green!  My clock is green!"?  Yes, again, but somehow that's infinitely cuter and more bearable than waking up at 6:55 a.m. with a preschooler an inch away from your face. 

Disclosure:  I am a Savvy Source affiliate, which means if you purchase a clock through the link in this post, I earn a percentage of the sale.  However, I would recommend this nifty little clock regardless.  I had this post fluttering around in my head for weeks and then BAM!  It coincided with this great deal.  Honest to goodness.

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