cast iron skillet

Sarah – The Early Bird Mom

Sarah is mom to 4 boys and blogs at Early Bird Mom about how to increase productivity at home and in home business.

Good things to read.

Overdressed is the story of why most of America’s clothing is so cheap and the effects it is having on everything from our wallets, our manufacturing industry, and our over-stuffed closets. After reading this book, I understood why I have a terrible time finding anything in the stores that I want to buy. Maybe I’ll take up sewing.

Grace for the Good Girl – Letting Go of the Try-Hard Life was another impulse read for me. I apparently have been living under a virtual rock, only recently having discovered Emily’s blog, Chatting at the Sky. But after reading a couple blog posts, I was hooked on her honest, straightforward style. I feel like Emily could be my neighbor across the street. Emily encourages her readers to accept the grace that God has offered us, not just work so hard to be “good” when we can never really be good enough. Thank goodness we don’t have to be.

The Bible. I use the Bible daily to commune with God, to get advice, encouragement, and entertainment. Did you know there are a lot of great stories in there?

Good things to watch.

Good Eats. Now in syndication, I love Alton Brown’s witty scientific approach to cooking. There’s always a Good Eats episode waiting on our DVR.

19 Kids and Counting. This show is such a refreshing look at a real family. The Duggars are so likeable, real and encouraging to moms like me who are working hard to raise our children the best way we know how. Plus, they have the best adventures. Can you imagine taking that many kids all the way to China and Japan? It makes this mom of 4 shudder to think of the logistics that their trip required.

House Hunters. I guess I’m an HGTV junkie. This show really brings home how one’s expectations of a house are all relative. People in California will be thrilled to pay $1 million for a little bungalow that “needs work” while another couple in Mississippi gets a mansion for one quarter that price.

Good things to use.

Essential Oils. My collection of essential oils is used daily. I have found lavender to be a very effective remedy for seasonal allergies – better even than conventional allergy medicine. Peppermint applied to the temples stops most of my migraines in their tracks. Eucalyptus helps with congestion. I diffuse orange and lemon oils for a pick-me-up in the afternoon. Mountain Rose Herbs and Plant Therapy are two of my favorite places for essential oils.

Cast iron cookware. Cast iron is so useful in the kitchen. Clean up is fast – most of the time I can wipe my pans out with a paper towel or a little water and a washcloth. Due to the even distribution of heat, pancakes come out much better in cast iron than in a stainless steel pan.

Mason jars. I have several sizes of mason jars from 1 cup all the way up to a half gallon. They are in use all over my kitchen. I use jars to store iced tea, nuts, uncooked rice and popcorn, homemade yogurt, chicken stock, and leftovers. Since they are virtually indestructible, my kids use them as drinking glasses. You can bake in them, too! If you’re looking for quick decorating ideas, Pinterest has you covered as well.

You can also find Sarah on Twitter – @theEarlyBirdMom.

Tyler Tervooren – Advanced Riskologist

Tyler Tervooren writes about his attempts to learn and grow through embracing risks at

Good things to read

Man’s Search for Meaning. An incredible (and true) holocaust survivor story about what it means to find a purpose for your life. Personal finance advice that doesn’t suck.

Anything on paper. Because sometimes you just have to close your laptop.

Good things to watch.

Birds. No one watches birds these days. They’re pretty neat.

The Colbert Report. I don’t own a TV ; it’s the only way I know what’s going on in the world.

Your mouth. Seriously, there might be kids around!

Good things to use.

A cast iron skillet. Everything tastes better cooked in cast iron.

Your hands. It’s pretty incredible what you can make when you sit down and actually try.

A screwdriver. This modern marvel fixes almost every home improvement problem.

Tyler is also on Twitter.