10 Free Things To Do This Summer

photo credit: Smoke Trails via photopin (license)

It’s summer and everyone is ready to get out of the house and have some fun. Today’s post is 10 ways to have a great time without spending a penny, a win win.

  1. Story time at Barnes and Noble– Sit and listen to a story this summer. We love to go to Barnes and Noble and listen to stories once a week, and afterward we work on a craft or coloring. It’s totally free, unless Mom or Dad takes a trip to the in store Starbucks.
  2. Check out the library – Following up on story time, libraries offer story times, movies, and other great programs or activities during the week.
  3. Museum passes – If your library offers museum passes, take advantage! These are fabulous. Our library gives us access to two Children’s Museums and many others in our area. We can take up to 6 people with each pass! Visit your local library to find out more.
  4. Visit a farmer’s market – A great place to see and learn about colorful produce and flowers.
  5. Summer festivals – If it’s a summer staple, there is a festival for it! We went to a Red, White, and Blueberry Festival with blueberries as far as the eye can see.
  6. Fourth of July Fireworks – A must for the summer, pack a blanket and snacks.
  7. Be a hometown tourist – Take a fresh look at your hometown. What sights would you like to see if you were visiting for the first time?  Historical sites are often public places or parks and no cost.
  8. Take a nature hike – My daughter, Lillie, is amazed by the sights and sounds in the park when we go on the trails, she points to trees, flowers, and squirrels. Take time to look at the surroundings, or use a bird watching app, like this one from Cornell University.
  9. Movie night – Invite friends over, make popcorn, and watch a favorite movie. After all, no school in the morning.
  10. Visit a farm – During the week, we have a farm that is open to visitors for free (on the weekend you pay a small entry fee). We visit the farm stand, say hi to the goats and horses, and see apples growing on the trees.

Bonus ideas (not free but still fun!)

  1. The Philadelphia Art Museum offers a pay what you wish day twice a month. This is a chance for families to visit the museum without spending the $20 per adult and $14 per youth admission rates. Check to see if your museum does the same thing! Great for big families with older kids. Now cue the Rocky theme song.
  2. Visit a kids gym for open play, some offer free time for $5. It’s much cheaper than membership costs.
  3. Pack a picnic – pack up lunch and a big blanket and head to the backyard or a park.
  4. Put on a play or create a movie. With iPhones and iPads everyone can make a movie at home.

Save the cash for vacation and enjoy each day of summer!

5 Lunch Ideas Under 400 Calories

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

Looking for healthy lunch options under 400 calories? Here they are!  The calorie counts for these 5 lunches are for specific brands, be sure to look at the packaging for the food you are preparing. Personally, I do not count vegetables, if you want to, add them but the amounts wouldn’t be too much.
Some of these ideas work best when you cook ingredients the night before, assemble and are ready to heat for lunch.

Stir-fry – 366 Calories

  • Steamed vegetables – Free
  • Trader Joe’s Baked Tofu – 150 Calories
  • 1 Cup Brown Rice – 216 Calories

Veggie Burger & Baked Potato – 360 Calories

  • Garden Burger – 100 Calories
  • Arnold’s Whole Wheat Sandwich Thins – 100 Calories
  • Spinach – Free
  • Condiments – 50 Calories
  • Baked Potato – 110 Calories
  • Salsa – 50 Calories

Soup and Salad – 300 Calories

  • 2 Cups Lentil Soup – 200 Calories
  • 2 Cups Mixed Greens with Veggies – Free
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian Salad Dressing – 50 Calories
  • Croutons – 50

PB&J and Apple – 372 Calories

  • 2 Slices Ezekiel Bread – 160 Calories
  • 1 Tablespoon Natural Peanut Butter – 90 Calories
  • 1 Tablespoon raspberry jam – 50 Calories
  • Medium Red Apple – 72 Calories

Veggie Stuffed Pita – 320 Calories

  • Arnold’s Whole Wheat Pita – 200 Calories
  • Lettuce, Cucumber, Shredded Carrots, Sprouts – Free
  • 2 Tablespoons Hummus – 50 Calories
  • 1/4 Cup Chickpeas – 70 Calories

Do you think you’ll make any of these lunches?  Share your feed back in the comments below.


Guacamole | Recipe

Guacamole Recipe

This recipe is not from me, it’s from my husband. He’s become the guacamole making pro in the house. I love when someone else cooks for me, so I welcome this healthy dish any day of the week.


  • 2 Avocados
  • 1/2 Onion, diced
  • 1 Tomato, diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic, minced
  • Juice of 1 Lime
  • Cayenne pepper, to taste
  • Salt, pinch


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Mash with fork or potato masher until desired consistency is achieved.
  3. Add a bit of salt, a pinch at a time until you like it. Keep in mind that tortilla chips are often salty.

You can also add half a jalapeno pepper to the guacamole but we like it without.

The Health Benefits of Chocolate

Image copyright EverJean.

Chocolate is my favorite treat. I most especially love dark chocolate. So today I’d like to share a few health benefits of chocolate and a couple of interesting facts. Remember all good things in moderation. :)

  1. Dark chocolate is good for your heart. It helps by lowering blood pressure and reducing cholesterol.
  2. Chocolate releases endorphins which makes you happy. :)
  3. Chocolate contains flavonoids which help protect your body from environmental factors.
  4. Want to learn how Hershey’s makes chocolate? Watch the video on their website here.
  5. “It’s a common myth that chocolate aggravates acne. Experiments conducted at the University of Pennsylvania and the U.S. Naval Academy found that consumption of chocolate — even frequent daily dietary intake — had no effect on the incidence of acne. Professional dermatologists today do not link acne with diet.” – Source



How to Easily Add Greens To Your Diet

How to Add Greens To Your Diet

Greens are a super food, full of nutrients and fiber. Getting enough greens can be difficult but there are sneaky ways to get them in. Here are a few tips to help you get them into your diet.

One way I like to incorporate spinach is with pasta. You can do this by boiling your pasta as directed and, in the last minute, toss two big handfuls of spinach into the boiling water. When you drain the pasta the spinach will be mixed in already. You’ll be surprised how it cooks down. This way you can get two cups of spinach into your meal without really noticing. You can top with sauce as usual. Adding fresh basil will help add flavor as well.

Another way to get spinach into your diet is with green smoothies. You can read about how to make them in my post here. Don’t let the green color turn you away. You don’t taste the spinach but your body will get all of the good stuff.

Add greens to an omelet. A great way to get vegetables in at breakfast time is to make an omelet with veggies. Saute mushrooms, onions, peppers, spinach, broccoli, whatever vegetable you like until they are lightly cooked and place in the middle of your omelet with your cheese.

Mix spinach in with rice. Similar to the pasta idea, add spinach to cooked rice. The steam from the hot rice will wilt the spinach. Use vegetable broth to cook the rice and add your favorite seasonings.

Mix dark greens in with your salad and try to eat a salad with dinner everyday. Make it your mission to mix up the toppings and dressings. Keep your salad options fresh and it won’t be a chore to eat them.

What are your favorite ways to add greens to your diet? I’d love to hear your tips and suggestions.