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Natural Goodness Blog

  • May Flowers: How to Grow Your Own Milk Carton Garden

    The old saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers”. Unless you live in New England, that is. Around these parts it’s more like “April snow showers bring May mud puddles”.  But just because our neck of the woods was a little slow to enter Spring this year, doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some pretty May blooms. All you’ll need is a recycled milk jug, some potting soil, seeds or seedlings and you can create your own indoor or outdoor planters.

    Use-Milk-Jugs-as-Planters

    How to Make a Milk Carton Garden:

    • Save one (or more) Oakhurst milk jugs (either gallon or half gallon size work best) and clean thoroughly.
    • Cut the milk jug in half width-wise, and use a nail or another sharp implement to poke a few holes in the bottom of the jug for drainage.
    • OPTIONAL: Get creative! Decorate your planter using paint, markers or stickers or even let the colors of the flowers speak for themselves and get clever with the display!

    Milk Jug Flowers

    •  Add a layer of potting soil to the bottom of your planter.
    • Sprinkle seeds over the soil and cover to appropriate depth (follow planting instructions on seed pack).
    • Alternatively, you could also buy seedlings and transplant them into the milk jug planter.
    • Choose a location to display your milk carton garden. If you choose to keep your planter inside, make sure you place the milk jug on a plate or tray to catch the drainage from the soil. Don’t forget to water regularly!

    boy watering milk jug garden

  • Join us at the Portland Mom & Baby Expo!

    Mother’s Day is just around the corner and we plan to celebrate at the Portland Mom & Baby Expo, which will be held Friday, May 6th from Noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday, May 7th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Portland Expo Center (239 Park Ave.) in Portland, Maine. The cost for admission is $5 for adults. Kids and babies are free and all seminars during the Expo are free.

    PortlandMomandBabyLogo-300x300

    The event is really shaping up to be a great one and we’re excited to be there to help support you on your journey to becoming a mom, whether it’s for the first time or the second or third time.

    We invite you to stop by our booth (#411) this weekend where we’ll be giving away free smoothie recipe books containing four delicious and easy-to-make smoothie recipes to help you better manage morning sickness and stay hydrated now and after your baby is born. Don’t think we’ll stop there, we’ll also be giving away smoothie Mason jar Mugs and we’ll be raffling off a Nutri-Ninja so you can make delicious smoothies at home. And no event would be complete without our wonderful mascot, Oakie who will be on hand to interact with the younger members of the family.

    During this all-important time we know eating healthy is a primary focus and you’re paying close attention to what you eat and drink because you want what’s best for your baby. Milk and dairy products are an excellent source of nutrition for expectant moms and the USDA even recommends that pregnant women consume three cups of nonfat or low-fat milk or other dairy products each day.

    So, while dairy may not seem like the obvious choice of things to add to your diet during pregnancy, it’s a no-brainer. Dairy products are excellent dietary sources of calcium, protein and vitamin D — all of which are important dietary needs while you’re pregnant. Fortunately, Oakhurst milk has all of those awesome nutrients along with potassium, phosphorus, vitamin B12, niacin, vitamin A and riboflavin. AND our first Farmer’s Pledge guarantees that we’ve never used artificial growth hormone in our milk and we never will.

    BlueberrySmoothie

    Need more convincing? Let’s explore further why protein calcium and vitamin D are such an integral part of your daily diet when you’re expecting:

    Protein is a vital building block for your body and your developing baby. It’s used to build bones, create skin, hair and muscles. Protein positively affects fetal tissue growth including the brain and mom’s breast and uterine tissue. It also plays an important role in increasing blood supply. Experts recommend 75 to 100 grams of protein per day. Did you know each 8-ounce glass of milk contains 8 grams of protein? That’s 2 grams more protein than what is in a large egg! If you don’t love the taste of milk, add it to your smoothie for a delicious and convenient way to get those 8 ounces in.

    Calcium: During pregnancy, mom can lose calcium from her bones to meet her growing bundle’s needs for this mineral. Calcium helps build baby’s developing bones and tooth buds. The USDA recommends 1,000 mg of calcium per day for expectant moms. One cup of low-fat milk provides 305mg of calcium, so drinking three cups each day can help mom meet most of her daily calcium needs while she’s pregnant.  So, drink up!

    Vitamin D: As New Englanders, we know all about the extensive research that teaches us all about the benefits of vitamin D on health; just a quick 10 minutes of exposure to the sun is thought to be enough to prevent deficiencies. In addition to staving off those winter blues, vitamin D plays an important role in immune function, healthy cell division and bone health.  According to the U.S. Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, pregnant and lactating women should consume 50 micrograms (2,000 IU) of Vitamin D, daily. One cup of fortified low-fat milk provides 117 IU of vitamin D, making it an excellent source! 

    Mom_Newborn

    We know keeping your nutrition needs in mind is not always an easy task — especially when you bring home a tiny human. We’re here to help and support you, so please stop by this weekend, say hello, and grab some smoothie recipes to ensure you are incorporating the nutrients you need!

     

  • Next Level Coffee: Three Delicious Ways to Get Your Caffeine Fix

    Whether you’re a busy mom, a worker bee, or an early riser, you probably rely on your daily caffeine fix. We realize for many of you, that involves a drive-thru or maybe even microwaving yesterday’s cup of coffee that you never had the chance to drink. BUT — for those days when you really need an extra kick and you have the luxury of an extra 10 minutes (!!) be sure to try one of these 3 “next level” coffee drinks that will really hit the spot.

    1.  Oakhurst Mocha Milk

    A combination of cream, sugar, Oakhurst Chocolate Milk and good old iced coffee, this decadent treat is sure to make your morning. Not to mention, it calls for chilled or “room temperature” coffee- something we know all moms have in abundance. No time to enjoy it? Just pop it in the fridge and enjoy whenever you get some down-time.

    Mocha Milk Main

     

    2.  Cinnamon Dolce Iced Coffee

    This recipe may take longer (see: aforementioned 10 minutes) and requires pulling together a few more ingredients; but boy, is it worth it! Plus, once you make the syrup you can store it and use it as needed for the next couple of weeks. If you’re addicted to iced coffee, this is your new staple.

    cinnamon dolce

     

    3.  Mexican Spice Mocha

    Last, but most definitely not least, is this Mexican Spice Mocha, which is really a cross between coffee and hot chocolate with a dash of cinnamon and chili powder. The perfect kick to get you ready to face the day. Delicioso!

    mexican mocha

     

     

  • Four Kid-Friendly Ways to Celebrate Earth Day

    Earth Day is fast approaching, and we know it may not excite your kiddos in the same way that a birthday or other gift-giving holiday does. But here at Oakhurst, we believe this holiday is worthy of enthusiasm, so why not add some fun activities/new family traditions to ensure Earth Day excitement for years to come.

    Here are four ways to celebrate:

    1.    Plant a Milk Jug Garden

    April in New England, mild winter or not, can have the whole family hankering for some fresh air. Add a little extra oxygen to your home by creating little greenhouses made of  recycled milk jugs. All you need are some scissors, seeds and soil and you’re on your way to a fun and educational craft for the kids. Get instructions, here.

     milk jug greenhouse

     

    2.    Start a Neighborhood Clean Up

    Picking up trash around your neighborhood or a local park is a great way to teach your kids the importance of taking care of the Earth and giving back to your neighbors. Arm your kids with plastic gloves and a trash picker/grabber and add the fun of some friendly competition to see who can pick up the most pieces of trash in one hour!

     

    3.    Remember your Reusables

    Always forgetting your reusable grocery bags in the car? Enlist the kids to help you decorate some of your own and they won’t let you walk into another store without their masterpiece(s) in tow. You can go the simple route with just a few fabric markers – or you can get really crafty with one of these 26 (more glamorous) ideas.

     DIY shopping bags

     

    4.    Feed the Birds

    Where would Mother Nature be without animals? In addition to plants, animals play a crucial role in the health and well-being of our ecosystems. Why not show them a little loving on Earth Day by making this adorable birdfeeder craft; perfect for the little ones in the house. Bonus points for the enjoyment they’ll get from watching all the animals feed off their creations! Get step-by-step instructions on how to make them, here.

    birdfeeder craft

  • Three Recipes for an Easy and Impressive Easter Brunch

    Easter is early this year, so we want to help you get ahead with a simple, affordable and tasty brunch menu that will leave your guests (even if they’re just your kids) thinking you worked way harder than you actually did.

    We’ve lined up three courses: sweet, savory and drinkable. So, whether you’re adding to a table full of family-favored staples or creating a simple spread for a few people- these recipes are sure to please.

    Take a look and be sure to share your family favorites (and photos) on our Facebook page!

    Drinkable: Peach Almond Smoothie

    While most people don’t think about beverages when they’re drafting a brunch menu, we think mini-smoothies are the perfect starter course. They also happen to look adorable served up in festive glasses. This Peach Almond Smoothie is light, flavorful, delicious and pairs exceptionally well with both sweet and savory brunch items.

     PeachAlmondSmoothie

     Savory: Bacon, Egg and Cheese Brunch Ring

    Next up is something savory to fill up on. This bacon, egg and cheese brunch ring is beyond easy to make and SO. INCREDIBLY. YUMMY. Not to mention, it makes for a beautiful addition to your Easter table décor. Seriously, just try it- you won’t be disappointed.

    BaconEggCheeseBrunchRing

     

    Sweet: Strawberry Shortcake Trifles

    No brunch would be complete without a sweet little something and this Strawberry Shortcake Trifle fits the bill. Prepare this visually delightful recipe single-serve, in stemless wine glasses, or layer it in a traditional trifle dish for easy sharing. The recipe calls for Cool Whip, but we prefer the real deal using Oakhurst Heavy Cream. (For an easy, real-deal recipe, we look to Martha.)

    StrawberryShortcakeTrifles

  • Five St. Patrick’s Day Crafts Kids Will Love

    St. Patrick’s Day is just around the corner, and at first you might think of this particular day as an, a-hem, “adult” holiday…there’s plenty of fun to be had for the kiddos, too!

    Try one of these 5 cool crafts (and snacks) and celebrate with the little leprechauns in your life.

    1.   Skinny Shamrock Shake

    A healthy(er) twist on the traditional Shamrock Shake, this delicious milkshake is actually hiding a little bit of spinach. Shhhh- don’t tell the kids. AND don’t forget to use Oakhurst Milk.

    SkinnyShamrockShake

     

    2.    Pot O’ Gold Paper Chain

    This cute craft requires only construction paper and a stapler. It’s great for helping older toddlers and young school-age kids with their scissor skills. Add a pot o’ gold at the end, or just make a rainbow chain for some fun household decorations.

    PotOGoldPaperChain

     

    3.    Shamrock Hat

    Your littles will love playing leprechaun in this adorable shamrock hat. All you need is a paper plate, some scissors and green markers or paint for a fun St. Patrick’s Day craft that makes for some super cute pictures, as well!

    ShamrockHat

     

    4.    Rainbow Pudding

    Here’s another yummy snack idea that will definitely impress the little ones. This “Rainbow Pudding” is really just vanilla- but the added magic of food coloring makes for a very festive treat. This recipe calls for pudding made from scratch, but we promise we won’t tell if you make it from a box.

    RainbowPudding

     

    5.    Beaded Shamrocks

    This cool craft is great for developing fine motor skills in toddlers. Follow the instructions in the link to twist your pipe cleaners into shamrocks. Then, let the kids string beads for a fun St. Patrick’s Day keepsake.

    BeadedShamrocks

  • Cream Isn’t Just for Coffee: 5 Recipes You Have to Try Right Now

    If you’re a coffee drinker, you know a little (or a lot) of cream makes your morning cup of  joe all the more delicious. Here at Oakhurst we are no strangers to the endless drool-worthy recipes that use cream- so, we’ve rounded up our five favorites, just for you:

    1.    Heavy Cream Biscuits

    (http://honestcooking.com/heavy-cream-biscuits/)

    Normally biscuits are a weekend treat, but this delicious recipe is ready in less than 30 minutes, so you can make them any day of the week. Yum!

    biscuits

    2.    Seared Scallops with Smoked Thyme Cream

    (http://www.oakhurstdairy.com/recipes/seared-scallops-with-smoked-thyme-cream)

    Love to cook? Having a date night in? This gourmet tasting recipe requires only 7 ingredients, including Oakhurst Heavy Cream

    scallops

     

    3.   Creamy Sundried Tomato and Spinach Pasta

    (http://www.thecookingjar.com/creamy-sun-dried-tomato-and-spinach-pasta/)

    Get your veggies in without sacrificing one ounce of flavor and richness with this easy to make and even easier to eat pasta recipe

     

    sundried tomato pasta

    4.    Panna Cotta

    (http://www.younminerecipes.com/recipe/panna-cotta/)

    Panna Cotta is a traditional Italian dessert that looks WAY fancier than it actually is. It takes only 5 ingredients, a few minutes and 4 hours of “chilling” time to make this incredible dessert that will wow your friends and family.

    panna cotta

     

    5.   Apricot Almond Baked Oatmeal

    (http://food52.com/recipes/31621-apricot-almond-baked-oatmeal)

    This delicious baked oatmeal is the perfect way to start a cozy winter day!

    oatmeal

  • Game Day Recipes to Get You Psyched for Sunday

    The big game is coming up this Sunday and whether your watching for the football, the halftime show or the ridiculous ads – there’s one thing we can all agree on- the food!

    We’ve pulled together 4 fantastic game day recipes that are easy to make and perfect for the whole family.

    1.    Homemade Soft Pretzel Bites

    (http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/homemade-soft-pretzel-bites/)

    A game-day classic, this homemade version is not only tasty, but also perfect for getting kids involved in the cooking!

     gameday pretzel bites

    2.    Sour Cream, Cheddar and Bacon Dip

    (http://oakhurstdairy.com/recipes/sour-cream-cheddar-and-bacon-dip)

    The name of this recipe pretty much says it all. I mean, how can you go wrong with cheddar and bacon? Grab some Oakhurst Sour Cream and quickly whip this up – it will be gone before the first quarter, guaranteed.

    BaconDip_mainBLOG 

    3.    Roasted Cauliflower Poppers

    (http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/recipes/appetizers-snacks/organic-roasted-cauliflower-poppers-recipe/)

    With all the indulgent snacks on the table, it’s a good idea to have at least SOMETHING containing a vegetable available. These cauliflower poppers are the perfect choice because you can’t even taste the healthy. 😉 Kid tested, parent approved!

     cauliflower poppers gameday

    4.    Football Whoopie Pies

    (http://thebakermama.com/recipes/football-whoopie-pies/)

    New Englanders love whoopie pies  and this recipe is just too cute to leave out of our game day lineup. Total prep and cook time is less than 45 minutes. Total eat time…TBD, but this won’t last long!

     gameday football whoopies

  • 6 Fun Tips for Making New Year’s Resolutions with Kids

    Most of us are pretty familiar with making New Year’s resolutions, but it can be a bit tricky when it comes to kids. Young kids may be too little to understand the concept of self-improvement, while older kids can be resistant to change or goal-setting. According to parents.com, the ideal age for helping your kids make resolutions is 7 to 12 years old.

    Whatever your children’s age, if you think they’re up for the task of making resolutions, here are 6 strategies to help guide them in their goal selection.

    1.  Walk the Walk
    The most important thing you can do in helping your kids make resolutions is to make some yourself, and be open and honest about your goals and your progress. Tell your kids about your plans for the year and how you hope to achieve them – then ask if they have anything they want to work on with you.

    2.  Be Positive
    As adults it’s easy to use New Year’s resolutions as an excuse to be hard on ourselves and call out our own faults but when it comes to kids, it’s important to stay positive! Make your resolutions more about what you can do to be better, rather than correcting existing flaws. Sometimes, it’s just a change of wording. Instead of “stop eating junk food”, try resolving to “make more homemade meals”.

     

    ResolutionsHomemadeMeal

     

    3.  Give them Guidance
    Ideally, kids are able to come up with their own resolutions but sometimes they need a little guidance. Try creating resolutions categories and encouraging them to make one goal for each category. Example categories could include things like: health/fitness, friendships, work/school and around the house.

    ResolutionsList1

     

     

    4.  Track their Progress
    Tracking progress helps kids keep their resolutions top of mind and also makes them feel great about how well they’re doing. A great way to do this is to break down resolutions into smaller goals (see: #3) and then use stickers or a star chart to acknowledge each time they accomplish one of their mini-goals.

    ResolutionsStarChart

     

    5.  Make it a Family Affair
    If kids are still skeptical about making their own resolutions, try creating a set of family resolutions. Do you want to play outside more as a family?  Take a trip together? Do a better job recycling? Creating family resolutions can help get everybody involved, even those too young or unwilling to create their own.

     

    6.  Start a Tradition
    Keeping resolution-making fun is what will really get the kids involved. Consider starting some resolution traditions like a family dinner out, a game night or even a special food treat that everyone shares while they make their goals for the new year.

    ResolutionsGameNight

     

  • 5 Creative and Affordable Holiday Gifts for Teachers

    As the holidays creep closer and closer, the list of people we’re expected to buy gifts for just gets longer and longer. While there is nothing more gratifying than giving someone a gift they love and deserve (and boy, do teachers deserve something nice!), the stress of picking something out can be overwhelming.

    So before you jump on Pinterest and get completely overwhelmed by all the Teacher Gift Ideas – we thought we’d scan through them for you, and then give you a summary of our favorites – and a couple tips for what to avoid.

     No matter what you buy for your kids’ teachers, it really is the thought that counts. But if you really want to go above and beyond, stay away from things like trinkets and home décor (unless you really know their personal style), as well as baked goods (they get SO many), and scented lotions and candles that are very much a matter of personal taste. 

     Still stumped on what to get? Here are our top 5 creative and affordable holiday gifts for teachers:

    1.   This super cute chapstick apple is a really fun gift for a teacher. It’s a little bit crafty, a lot affordable and has the bonus of offering the teacher something almost everyone loves – EOS chapstick!  http://www.thesuburbanmom.com/2015/08/03/an-apple-for-the-teacher-eos-teacher-gift/

    AppleEOS4Teacher

    2.  If you have somewhat older kids, capable of more advanced crafting, this DIY sharpie mug is pretty awesome. This particular version is dishwasher safe, making it way more practical than the first couple sets of instructions that were circulating the web. http://catchmyparty.com/blog/dishwasher-safe-sharpie-mug-diy

    MarkerMugForTeacher

     3.  A live plant is always a thoughtful gift, and can really help brighten a teacher’s classroom. This particular craft calls for a cute paint job on the pot that reminds teachers just how instrumental they are in helping kids grow. http://gigglesgalore.net/thanks-for-helping-me-grow-teacher/

    FlowerPotForTeacher

     4.  If you’re not into crafting or just don’t have the time, many teachers claim the nicest gifts they receive are handwritten notes from their students and their parents. It may seem small, but just telling a teacher how much you appreciate them can be the most meaningful gift of all.

     5.  For all the practical parents out there, you can never go wrong with an Amazon gift card, or a new set of markers, pencils or other classroom supplies. Some teachers have wish lists that they’ve created for their classrooms online, so don’t be afraid to ask them if there is something in particular they need.