This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. With lots of travel planned and our garden overflowing, we decided our standard Blue Apron delivery of three meals a week might get a little overwhelming, so we switched to the four-person, two-meals-a-week Family Plan a few times this summer. One of the more charming surprises of this particular plan (besides all the delicious foooooooood), was the inclusion of a weekly "Kids' Cooking Camp." Every week, our box included cooking activities, games and challenges for the boys to try. It was a really great idea. One week covered easy food prep techniques (peeling garlic, washing produce, rolling pizza dough), another week challenged us to keep the dinner table a family-focused, screen-free zone (that was harder on the grown-ups than the kids), yet another taught kids what grows in what season and why it matters; all summer kids were encouraged to submit recipes and... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Wisdom Panel® Canine DNA Tests. Beau's original adoption listing said he was a mix of Miniature Schnauzer and Yorkshire Terrier. We have no idea if his owners gave that description when they surrendered him to the shelter, or if it was just a guess made by a vet or the rescue group or what. We do know that the "Schnauzer" part seemed to mostly be based on his pre-haircut appearance, because once his fur was groomed it was clear his actual snout wasn't all that Schnauzer-like after all. His foster mom agreed, and added her personal guess of terrier breeds mixed with wire-haired Dachshund, based on his legs and feet. Our vet said he was all terrier: Yorkie, Jack Russell, Cairn, and probably a good smattering of others. When I would play around with online tools and surveys based on his physical appearance, I would... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Hologic, Inc., the makers of the Genius 3D MAMMOGRAPHY exam. This Sunday is National Cancer Survivors Day, and while cancer has managed to take quite a lot from our family over the years, I’m super grateful for the One That Got Away. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer back when I was pregnant with Noah. A lump, a mammogram, a biopsy, a mastectomy. A terribly all-too-common story—one in every eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime—albeit with the silver lining of early detection. When breast cancer is found early, the five-year survival rate is nearly 100 percent. Of course, when you’re in the throes of a suspected cancer diagnosis, it’s always a terrifying timeline. How long has it been there before anyone noticed? How fast is it growing while we wait for results? How early is early enough? This year marks her... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Blue Apron. I just had to do math on my fingers to figure out how long we've been using the Blue Apron service. It was either that or count the recipe cards, which, I mean: Hahahaha. It's been about 19 months, a whole bunch of posts and even more awesome meals. Less shopping and food waste, fun recipes to choose from, excellent and unusual ingredients, impeccable customer service. And my hippie side appreciates how hard the company works to constantly improve/streamline/reduce the packaging and sources food from sustainable fisheries and humane, responsible farms. Definitely makes how CONVENIENT the service is feel like even less of a trade-off. (And yes, I am typing this praise of my own genuine authentic free will and not because of some required list of talking points. SO THERE.) And now, for something maybe slightly different, I present 20 completely random... Read more →


This post is sponsored by CANIDAE®. When we adopted Beau, his foster mom gave us a small container of his current food, just enough for us to transition him over to the food of our choice. She said this, then paused, and asked if we'd mind telling her what food we planned to use. When I told her I was thinking about trying CANIDAE®, she looked visibly relieved. "OH GOOD," she said, before going on to describe some other dog food options using some rather colorful adjectives. She also gave us a slow feeder bowl, as Beau was prone to scarfing food down so quickly he'd barf it all back up. He was also highly protective of his food, so we'd need to remind the kids not to interfere while he ate. All pretty standard rescue behavior; after all, he'd been one of waaaay too many dogs at his original... Read more →


This post is sponsored by The Bouqs Company. So the lovely folks at The Bouqs Company asked if I would like to write another post for them, and like last time, included codes for two of their glorious sustainably and volcano-grown bouquets as part of the deal. Unlike last time, however, I did not order the flowers for myself. Okay, that sentence makes it sound used my good fortune to spoil my mom or my sisters or surprise one of my friends. Which would have really nice of me! They probably would have really appreciated that! Had I done that. Which I did not. No, this time I simply forwarded the codes to my husband, like OH HEY LOOKIT COUGH HINT HINT WHEEZE. Happy early Mother's Day. Or happy random Tuesday. Your call, honey. Now Jason is a wonderful husband who loves to send gifts and little surprises, and who... Read more →


This post is sponsored by The Crock-Pot® Brand. I received my very first Crock-Pot® slow cooker at my bridal shower. We didn't register for anything and really didn't want a ton of stuff, but a slow cooker was one of the few items I requested my mother and future MIL suggest if anyone asked for a specific idea. (Being completely broke college students with loans and rent and two big do-it-ourselves moves scheduled within our first six months of married life, we admittedly hoped the lack of registry would signal that HEY CASH WOULD BE GREAT to our friends and family.) (Most people got the hint. Everybody else bought us the exact same set of casserole dishes.) Today, we own three different slow cookers: small, medium, and large. Clearly, we have truly arrived. When I was little, my mom would make these beef-and-vegetable stews in her slow cooker that even... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Blue Apron Wine. This is the sponsored post I was born to write. Wine. Wine wine wine-y wine. Oh look, more wine. In summary, wine. The end. Okay not really. But oh, what a happy delivery this was. Six 500ml bottles (about 2/3 the size of a regular bottle), three whites, three reds, each one selected to pair with our upcoming meals from Blue Apron Proper. Delivered right to our door like some kind of boozy Christmas miracle. Along with some dinner-time reading for wine nerds. (We are totally the nerds who read every word about the wine and vineyard, attempted to identify each of the listed flavors and notes, and saved the cards of our favorites so we can track them down -- or wines like them -- for much re-purchasing.) We're actually not big white wine drinkers, and I admit I was worried... Read more →


This post is sponsored by YNAB. A little over a year ago (and thus, easily a decade too late), I finally got off my butt and went through the incorporation process. AMALAH LLC officially exists, and all my monies -- this here blog, plus my many assorted ongoing and on/off writing/copywriting contract gig -- now flow through an LLC, right into my very own Grown-Up Business Checking Account. And then the monies flow back out, sadly, usually in the form of estimated tax payments (boo), contributing my share to our household budget, and general other business expenses (drinks on meeee). (It's called NETWORKING. And it's IMPORTANT.) My husband is good at creating budgets. The maths and the categories and the pie charts bleeding red all over the place because we spent HOW MUCH on movie tickets last month? (It's called STAR WARS. And it was VITALLY ESSENTIAL.) I'm actually very... Read more →


This post is sponsored by Natural Cycles There was a time in my 20s – like there was/is/will be a time in your 20s – when I briefly enjoyed being “ahead of the curve”, technology-wise. After leaving for college with a new budget laptop that broke constantly and only a vague understanding of the internet (TUBES), I tackled my steep learning curve and learned to embrace new gadgets and tech and before I knew it, I was suddenly considered tech-savvy by friends, coworkers, and family. Not that the benchmark was set all that incredibly high, back then. I knew how to troubleshoot my parents’ printer and modem, I knew how to use a bunch of software programs and HTML, and I could patiently explain the concept of digital cameras and why no, you don’t just “pop the roll of film” somewhere into a computer like a disk or CD-ROM to... Read more →