Mint: One Plant – Many Uses


Over the summer, The Highchair Organizer family decided to plant a few items in a small garden in our yard. Of all the items we decided to plant, I must say that mint has been my favorite.  Now if you listen to my husband he would have you to believe that mint “is just a weed”.  However, after doing a little research and spending a lot of time with this beautiful green plant over the summer, I beg to differ. In fact, I have found my uses for mint including multiple learning opportunities for the kids.

1. Mint Infused Watermint 4

I purchased this infuser from for less than $20.  I must say that it has been one of the best purchases that I have made in a long time.  About once a week I pull fresh mint from our garden.  I take about 2-3 sprigs of the mint, wash it well, and then put in the infuser. I then fill the pitcher with water.  My kids love the taste and it encourages them to drink more water.  The fresh mint infused water is energizing and tasty.  The kids like the fact that they grew the mint and that it “makes the water taste good”.

2. Learning activity for the kids

My 6 year old and 2 year old are very proud of their little garden. And since they are particularly fond of the mint, I decided to turn it into a learning activity.  With my 2 year old we discuss the color of the mint.  We talk about the texture of the mint and how it smells. While at the highchair, I let her glue (with a glue stick of course) pieces of the mint onto construction paper as a project.  She had a blast!

Growing the mint (which by the way is almost impossible to kill) was my 6 year old’s responsibility.  His summer science project was to water it and to pick it for mommy when I needed it.  We discuss how water, good soil, and sun shine are necessary for a healthy plant.

3. Healthy you-healthy kids

mint 2

I was courious about the health benefits of mint.  Did you know mint has long been used to ease stomach pains?  Simply steep in water and make into a tea.  Drinking mint infused water can be energizing and refreshing.  It is a natural stimulant.  The smell alone can aid in getting your brain functioning at a higher level. Take fresh leaves and sniff for a mild decongestant if you have a cold. And as I mentioned earlier, the refreshing flavor gives plain water a boost. This encourages you and the kids to drink more water.

4. Planting & Gardening

All mints thrive near pools of water, lakes, rivers, and cool moist spots in partial shade. In general, mints tolerate a wide range of conditions, and can also be grown in full sun.

I will warn you that mint is fast-growing, extending their reach along surfaces through a network of strong roots. Due to their speedy growth, one plant of each desired mint, along with a little care, will provide more than enough mint for home use. Some mint species are more invasive than others. Even with the less invasive mints, care should be taken when mixing any mint with any other plants, lest the mint take over. To control mints in an open environment, they should be planted in deep, bottomless containers sunk in the ground, or planted above ground in tubs and barrels. However, if you do not mind the spread, mint will make your back yard smell fresh and aromatic.

5. Aromatherapy

The smell of mint always reminds me of summer.  To get that summertime fragrance in the house take a hand-full of the mint leaves and put in a pot of simmering water.  The heat will release the mint oil and the refreshing scent of the mint will fill the room.

6. Favor

Mint adds a great flavor to cold or hot tea.  Simply drop a few leaves into your next cup of tea.  Chop up a few leaves and toss in your green salad for a bold flavor. Mix a couple of leaves into your lemonade for an refreshing 3In closing, I hope that you have learned a little more about mint.  Let us know if you have any more uses for this beautiful plant that we have not listed above. Enjoy!


Healthy Eating Essentials


Hello Highchair Organizer audience! My name is Lauren Pickens. I am a fellow lifestyle blogger and writer, and I am proud to introduce my first guest blog on this site. Today I thought that I would share some of my personal secrets to something that we all struggle with, healthy eating. As I am a college student, I try to keep the base of my diet as natural as possible to keep up with my busy lifestyle. However, due to time and budget constraints it can become easy to eat processed unhealthy foods. Below, I have listed three items that I make sure to have in my kitchen at all time that make eating healthy meals easy and affordable whether you are making meals for a single person or a family.

1. Avocados


Photo credit: Farmanac
This super food will get you full and satisfied in no time. There are so many ways to eat them. You can make some easy guacamole with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and fresh salsa. Or, add a few slices to a turkey sandwich to make it more filling.
My personal favorite way to eat avocados is put them on top of whole grain toast for breakfast. When they are ripe (when the avocado can be easily squeezed), just put it directly on your toast and sprinkle it with a little salt and pepper to taste. This is perfect for those days when you need to throw something healthy together for breakfast!

2. Detox tea

Black tea

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons
If you are a tea lover, then you should give detox tea a try. The brand Yogi makes detox teas in a variety of different flavors. You can find this brand at Walmart and all major grocery chains, and a box goes for an average of about three to five dollars. They are all natural and are a healthier alternative for morning coffee on days that you feel a little sluggish or lethargic.
Detox tea can help to cleanse your body and regulate the digestive system. I can really tell the difference when I drink it 3-5 times a week. If you have gone through a week of unhealthy or binge eating, drinking detox tea every day for a week can help you get back on track.

3. Spinach


Photo credit: michelle@TNS
This leafy green vegetable is full of vitamins, iron, and calcium. You can incorporate spinach into all three meals of the day in order to create colorful and healthy dishes.
Breakfast: Adding spinach to a smoothie can be an easy way to create a great tasting green smoothie. Blend together about five pieces of ice, three strawberries, one banana, a handful of spinach, and about a ½ cup of water or soy milk. Green smoothies can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t tried one, but this recipe is great because the sweetness of the fruit camouflages any taste of the spinach.
Lunch: For an easy lunch salad; I toss together freshly washed spinach leaves, dried cranberries, some feta cheese, and a bit of balsamic vinaigrette.
Dinner: Spinach is great to add into any pasta dish and works well with a variety of sauces, including pesto and cream based sauces. When you have boiled the pasta just cook the spinach down in a separate pan with a bit of coconut or olive oil and add it to the dish once you have added the sauce that you are using. This simple addition turns an ordinary pasta dish into a more health conscious alternative.

Follow me on Twitter at @laurenpickens92, and tell me in the comments below if you have any holy grail food items!

Parents, do you have this number?


National Poison Help Line

1-800-222-1222 is the telephone number for every poison center in the United States. Call this number 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to talk to a poison expert. Call right away if you have a poison emergency. Also call if you have a question about a poison or about poison prevention.

More than 2 million poisonings are reported each year to the 57 poison control centers across the country. More than 90 percent of these poisonings occur in the home. The majority of non-fatal poisonings occur in children younger than six years old. And, poisonings are one of the leading causes of death among adults.

For more information on poison control visit








Who has time for reading…YOU do!

Experts suggest reading with your child for at least 20 minutes each day.  If your days are anything like mine, 20 minutes can sometimes be almost impossible to squeeze in. Parents often compliment me on my children’s vocabulary. My son is 5 years old and is in Kindergarten.  He reads on a 2nd grade level and loves books.  My daughter just turned 2 and speaks extremely well.  She always has a board book in her possession and loves “story time”.  I credit their vocabulary and love for books to my consistent focus on making sure they are around books as much as possible. Here are a few suggestions on how we manage to get at least 20 minutes of reading time in our day-everyday. These few simple principles have worked in our family and I have shared them with many other families and they too find them successful.  I challenge each of you to try them with your family and let me know how it goes.

1. Keep a Sight Word List in a sheet protector in your car

Sight wordsHere is an example of one of my son’s Sight Word sheets.  I store them in the back of the passenger’s car seat.  He grabs one each day on our way to school and reads the words to me.  I make sure he is pronouncing them correctly and that he knows them. Our commute to school is at least 20 minutes, so I know he is getting at least 20 minutes of reading into his day.  On the way home from school (or after-school care) he reads a beginner reading book.  If he does not know a word, he will spell it to me and I will assist him with it.


2. While you prepare dinner allow your children to read books at the highchair and/or dinner table


I keep small board books in The Highchair Organizer ( While I am preparing dinner (this takes at least 20 minutes), I pull a book out for my daughter and she “reads” them.  She is only 2 and too young to read, but she thinks she is reading although she is only flipping through the pages and looking at pictures. This is developing her love for books.  If you have older children, allow them to sit at the dinner table and read while you prepare dinner.

3. Have your older child read to your younger child

We have implemented story time in our family.  My 5 year old gets to pick out a book that he gets to read to my 2 year old. While he is reading to her, mom and dad will read something to ourselves.  Now our children see their parents spending time with a book as well.

4. Read a book to your children at night time

This one is pretty easy.  We read one book at night to the children right before bed.

As you can see, with these few principles in place, you can make sure your children are getting that recommended 20 minutes of reading in each day.

Volunteer much?

Giving back is something I always try to do…in some form or fashion.  My passion for the past 3 years has been working with a non-profit organization called Not By Bread AloneNot By Bread Alone gives food boxes to 70 families in need each week – no questions asked.  Why this is important to me is simple.  As a girl, my grandmother would always say to me “You don’t know where you’re going. You only know where you’ve been.”  Simply stated you don’t know where this game called life will take you.  You only know of the fortunes you’ve had in the past. With that in mind each Friday for 2 hours I assist in making and passing out food boxes.


It is never too early to get your children involved in volunteering.  My 2-year daughter goes with me each week while I volunteer.  While she is too young to officially “help”, she is not too young to understand what we are doing.  My dedication to the project instills in her the spirit of volunteerism. Getting involved in volunteering at a young age can set a life-long pattern of advancing the common good. There are many great opportunities for community service for kids that will expand their social circle, teach them empathy and compassion, and increase their chances of success in life.

Encourage your kids to start by looking into volunteer opportunities with the organizations closest to them. Their school may have a volunteer program that can arrange placements for them. Perhaps they could volunteer at a local library or community center? Joining a scouting organization is another great way to find opportunities to give back to the community. Whatever the organization, whatever the cause, giving back is a good thing!