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Making Good Choices in Your Home

I love this and this is so true! We. as parents, must be vigilant about what we allow in our homes and around our children! Everything they are exposed to is shaping them into the adults they will become.

You are the books you read,

the films you watch

the music you listen too

the people you spend time with

and the conversations you engage in

choose wisely

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Getting in the right mindset to simplify… setting up routines

It seems like our lives can get so hectic so quickly without us realizing it is even happening. I know that I seem to get one thing running smoothly but then ten other things seem to just fall off the track and then everything turns to CHAOS.

For me, the very first thing I need to do before starting this process is to find a little time for me & God… I often find that life feels overwhelming when I haven’t been able to have any quiet time for myself. I have tried getting up earlier but that just isn’t working out right now, I often would take a few minutes after lunch when the baby was down for a nap but our school routines have been out of whack since adding a new kiddo, when the time bedtime rolls around I am worn out. I do find little bits of time here and there to have little chats with God but I just haven’t been able to have my devotional time and I think that may be part of the reason that I am feeling so overwhelmed.

When something is frustrating me I often go to Him in prayer and ask Him to help me and show me ways that I can change or that we can change as a family. I ask Him to give me wisdom and guidance about the changes and things we need to work on so that they will benefit everyone.

Where do we start when it seems like everything is the problem?

We use this process in our home for a lot of different problems, part of it we even use for teaching the kids to make good choices. I’ll give a couple of examples of how we have used this system in the past.

1. STOP and identify the problem.

This might be the most difficult part of the whole process because sometimes it can be difficult to actually narrow down what the problem actually is when you are feeling overwhelmed. Many times there are multiple problems and sometimes the problems are not actually what we think they are. If you do find yourself with a multitude of problems then just try to focus on the biggest one first and work on ONE AT A TIME or you may find yourself even more overwhelmed and frustrated.

Maybe your mornings are very hectic and it just feels like you can’t get anywhere on time. What’s the problem?

Continue reading “Getting in the right mindset to simplify… setting up routines”
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Bella’s Ultimate Tuna Salad

The girls have been practicing their Home EC skills and we are their Guinea pigs… thankfully most of their experiments turn out well and are pretty tasty.

This is a tuna salad recipe that they had in their lesson but we changed it up a bit to fit our tastes. Ms. Bella took the lead on getting this prepared by checking before school to make sure we had boiled eggs and she set the cream cheese out to soften.

Ms. Caitlyn served up some celery and carrot sticks with homemade ranch dip and some pickles. Some of the kiddos ate it with crackers and others made sandwiches.

Bella’s Ultimate Tuna Salad

Continue reading “Bella’s Ultimate Tuna Salad”
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Easy Peasy Sourdough Pancakes and Waffles

We have a breakfast schedule set up to help keep things running smoothly here which means that every Thursday we have Pancakes and then on some weekends we have Waffles. I also love our sourdough and kefir so we adjusted our original pancake recipe to incorporate these. This recipe is so easy that my girls make it by themselves.

Easy Peasy Sourdough Pancakes and Waffles

Ingredients:

Dry:

  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 t baking powder **
  • 1 t. baking soda **
  • 1/2  t salt
  • 2 T monk fruit or honey (if using honey then add it to the wet ingredients)

Wet:

  • 1 c. sourdough starter or discard
  • 1 – 1 1/2 c. milk or plain kefir, add a little more if it seems too thick
  • 2 eggs, beaten (for fluffier waffles separate the eggs and beat the whites in a separate bowl. gently fold into the batter and cook as directed.)
  • 3 T cooking oil
  • 1-2 t. vanilla, optional

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients, Add the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and stir just until well moistened.  (The finished product will be tough if it is over-stirred.)

FOR PANCAKES:

Heat a greased griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle. Flip when the top is bubbly. Don’t mash down! Cook just until the other side is browned.

FOR WAFFLES:

Preheat your waffle iron. Spray the iron with cooking spray and then pour about 1/3 cup of batter onto the iron. Cook as directed or until the steaming stops.

These can also be frozen and reheated in the microwave or toaster.

*You can also stir in chocolate chips, berries, nuts or anything else you desire.

** If you mix the batter up the night before you need to wait until the next day to add these. Make sure to stir in well and let sit for 5-10 minutes before using the batter. A longer ferment for the batter may improve the digestibility and health of the sourdough.


**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. If you happen to click through a link and make a purchase we may earn a teensy-weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission. This means that we can keep bringing you great recipes, ideas, and tips for FREE! Click HERE for a full disclaimer.

 –Thank you!

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Don’t forget your meal for New Year’s!

Have you gotten all the supplies you need for your New Year’s meal yet? If not, you better grab them quick before they are sold out!

Here are a few of our favorite recipes for our traditional New Year’s Meal:

New Year’s Meal:

Brown Sugar & Honey Glazed Ham

Black Eyed Peas,

Greens

Hoe Cakes 

Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

What are your family’s favorite recipes for the New Year? Do you have any special traditions?

Here is another post we found about the luck associated with the traditional New Year’s Meal.

Here is an older Menu Planning post for the first week of the year which has a lot of our favorite meals included!

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Oh, Baby! It’s Cold Outside!

It’s been a little chilly here in Florida but I’m sure that it’s even chillier in other parts of the country right now. We have been told that this may be the coldest Christmas since the early 80s! Will we see any snow? That is the question on all the kiddos’ minds right now.

When it’s chilly outside we love to keep warm with some hot soups and such. Here are a few of our family favorites!

You can also check out some of our no-fuss crockpot meals for an easy dinner on cold days when you don’t feel like doing much.

What are your family’s go-to soups for this chilly season?

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Getting your calendar organized!

Do you ever feel like you are running a day late and a dollar short? I know this past year or two have been like that for me. Our lives were completely turned upside down for a bit and it has taken me quite a while to figure out which way was up. I have found a lot of comfort in going back to some of our old routines and they are helping us to get better organized.

It’s almost a new year so I am trying my best to get our home running even smoother which will help alleviate a lot of the stress that we have around here.

One of my best organizational tools over the past several years has been our Cozi Calendar. I also like to keep a large calendar handy for everyone to access so there is less confusion about what is happening and who needs to be where and when they need to be there. I haven’t tried out some of the newer scheduling systems because the one I currently use seems to work pretty well for us and I don’t really want to try to implement a lot of new changes while we are still trying to find our way back to ‘NORMAL‘.

We do pretty well about keeping our doctor appointments and such straight but sometimes it’s the other things that get overlooked… I actually almost forgot one of the kid’s birthdays last month! Thankfully I had already bought the supplies I needed so I was able to pull it all together fairly quickly.

Continue reading “Getting your calendar organized!”
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Made From Scratch Gifts

Are you tired of wasting your money on gifts that just aren’t appreciated? Or maybe you’ve noticed that your dollar just doesn’t stretch as far as it used to?

Well, here are a few gifts that are sure to be well-loved and appreciated!

These are always a hit around our home and everyone who gets any as gifts always ask for more!

Apple Butter

Apple Pie Filling For Canning

Canned Pumpkin

Crockpot Applesauce

Crockpot Pumpkin Butter

Easy Crockpot Apple Butter

Fudge — Always a Winner!

Continue reading “Made From Scratch Gifts”
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It’s Just About Fudgin’ Time!

It’s just about that time of year when I need to get started on my Christmas Fudge. I definitely need to get it made before the Polar Express Party so we can share it with our family and friends who may come to visit.

Here are the recipe links for the fudge flavors that we have made in the past:

The Milk Chocolate Fudge has several flavor variations to try.

Butter Pecan Fudge

Easy Peanut Butter Fudge

Milk Chocolate Fudge (Christmas Fudge) — several flavor variations!

Peanut Butter Fudge

Peppermint Bark

Red Velvet Fudge

I am hoping to try a couple of new flavors this year… maybe even an egg nog flavor! It’s always fun trying out new flavors and sometimes we have great success while others are total flops but we have fun trying!

Here are some of the other candies that we make around this time of year as well:

Caramel Pecan Candies

Chocolate Covered Eggs (updated with more flavors!) (shape into balls for Christmas Candy)

Chocolate-Dipped Goodies

Crockpot Chocolate Peanut Clusters aka Reindeer Poop

Haystacks aka Noodle Cookies (2 versions here) 

We hope you find these recipes easy to use and we pray that you have a blessed holiday season!

Let us know in the comments what your favorite Christmas Candy is!

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Give a Clutter-Free Gift Without Breaking The Bank!

Are you trying to find the perfect gift for someone on your list this year?

With the economy the way it is many of us have drastically cut back on gifting as we just don’t have the money left after paying for the basic necessities. Why not make sure that you give a gift that is sure to be appreciated?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret that many people are afraid to tell anyone… I don’t know why it is so hard to say but we love our friends and our families but CLUTTER is driving us CRAZY and Christmas seems to bring another level of CRAZINESS with it. Some of us, myself included, are drowning in the CHAOS of LIFE right now and the holidays can get very overwhelming!

I’ve seen many posts in many different groups about people asking for these kinds of clutter-free gifts and really these make a lot of sense in a lot of ways. I know many of us have been trying to simplify our lives and our homes so many of these ideas would help to keep the clutter out of our homes but allow us to benefit in so many ways.

Zoo/Museum Memberships

I know our family loves going to the zoo or the museum and these would be awesome gifts… maybe someone you know would like this as well. If we had an aquarium near us that would be amazing as well.

There have been a couple of times that we’ve received tickets to go to local places and we have had an amazing time… without the thoughtfulness or generosity of others, we would not have been able to have those experiences.

Online Subscriptions

Another idea is to gift a subscription or membership for a service that someone may use or need. In our home, we love using various programs but many of them have also had to increase their prices.

We also love using our Amazon prime for videos as well as a couple of other companies as we don’t have any TV service here.

Continue reading “Give a Clutter-Free Gift Without Breaking The Bank!”
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December 2022 Menu

I know I haven’t posted a menu in a while but I figured I could post the one I just made up. This was made using the free printable meal planner I have HERE. You will see that we have certain things that rotate on a set schedule but we do try to keep our dinners a little varied to keep everyone happy.

DayBreakfastLunchDinnerSnacksDesserts
Sunday
12/4
Eggs, hash browns, sausage, English muffins Fried chicken, potato salad, baked beans  Fruit 
Monday    Cereal/Oatmeal scrambled egg sandwichesSteak/Sweet N Sour Meatballs, Mac N Cheese, Baked Potato Fruit 
Tuesday
St. Nicholas Day
  Santa Pancakes  PB&J sandwiches, fruit  Leftovers Fruit 
Wednesday FULL MOON Muffins, Bagels, or Toast W/Eggs and Cheesy Gritssoup, grilled cheese, fruit slices, rice pudding  Homemade pizzas Fruit 
Thursday  French Toast, FruitChicken Salad, sliced tomatoes & cucumbers, lettuce  Loaded potato soup, crackers Fruit 
Friday  Cereal/Oatmeal  LeftoversSalmon/Chicken Patties, Mashed Caulitaters, Creamed Peas, pineapple slices Fruit   
Saturday   Make Sourdough Donuts or English Muffins Chicken Stir Fry, Fried Rice, Egg Rolls, steamed veggies, sauce Fruit 

Notes:

DayBreakfastLunchDinnerSnacksDesserts
Sunday 12/11  Monkey Bread, Eggs & Grits   Cheddar Chicken, potatoes, veggies Fruit 
Monday   Cereal/Oatmeal  egg salad sandwiches, veggies  Homemade pizzas Fruit 
TuesdayFrench Toast, Fruit  PB&J sandwiches, fruitTaco ring, salad  Fruit 
Wednesday  Blueberry Oatmeal Bread, scrambled eggs  Soup,
Grilled Cheese
Sandwiches, french fries Fruit 
Thursday  Pancakes, Fruit  tuna salad sandwiches, fresh veggies  Spaghetti, Salad, Garlic Cheesy pull-apart bread Fruit 
Friday  Cereal/Oatmeal  LeftoversBacon-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, mashed potatoes, veggies Fruit 
Saturday POLAR EXPRESS!  Waffles, Eggs, Bacon SEE MENUFruitFudge
Cookies

Notes:

DayBreakfastLunchDinnerSnacksDesserts
Sunday
12/18
  Biscuits n gravy/Sausage/Eggs   Breakfast for Dinner Fruit 
Monday   Cereal/Oatmeal  scrambled egg sandwiches  Tortellini Soup, buttered bread Fruit 
Tuesday  French Toast, Fruit  PB&J sandwiches, fruit  Easy Bean Tostadas, Rice, Salad Fruit 
Wednesday  Muffins, Bagels, or Toast W/Eggs and Cheesy Gritssoup, grilled cheese, fruit slices, rice puddingShepherd’s pie, fried cabbage, beer bread, fried apples Fruit 
ThursdayPancakes, FruitChicken Salad, sliced tomatoes & cucumbers, lettuce  Homemade Pizzas Fruit 
Friday  Cereal/Oatmeal  Leftovers  Alice Springs Chicken, salad, baked potatoes Fruit 
Saturday Christmas Eve  Make Sourdough Donuts or English Muffins   Fruit 

Notes:

DayBreakfastLunchDinnerSnacksDesserts
Sunday
12/25 CHRISTMAS
Cinnamon Rolls, SCRAMBLED EGGS, SAUSAGE, OR BACON   SEE MENU  
Monday
  Cereal/Oatmeal egg salad sandwiches, veggiesLeftovers Fruit 
Tuesday French Toast, FruitPB&J sandwiches, fruitTacos or Taco Soup, Rice, Chips Fruit 
Wednesday  Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread, scrambled eggs  LeftoversMississippi Pot Roast, mashed potatoes or egg noodles, veggies, milk Fruit 
ThursdayPancakes, Fruit  tuna salad sandwiches, fresh veggiesCreamed Spinach & Bacon-Smothered Chicken, salad, garlic bread Fruit 
Friday  Cereal/Oatmeal  Leftovers  Sloppy Joes, French Fries, Slaw Fruit 
Saturday
NEW YEARS EVE
  Cheese Danish, eggs, bacon Crunchy Chicken, Squash Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, or potato cakes Fruit 

Notes:

Some days are left blank to allow us to use up some of our pantry and freezer supplies. You can check out some other meal-planning posts HERE and HERE.

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St. Nicholas Day is just around the corner!

We are trying our best to get back into some of our routines and traditions around here but it’s been tough going with one thing after another. I do plan to do a little something special for St. Nicholas Day and we hope to get our tree up then as well. I had thought about doing our Polar Express Party on St. Nicholas Day but it falls in the middle of the week so that wouldn’t work out well for anyone right now.

We won’t be doing anything really spectacular but I’m sure the kids will be excited anyway. I did manage to snag a couple of bags of chocolate coins a couple of weeks ago too so I’m hoping they won’t have melted by the time St. Nicholas Day gets here.

I just wanted to post this in case anyone else wanted to try to do something a little extra special… maybe you will have a chance to grab some things over the weekend to start a new family tradition. Maybe we can schedule a quick drive around town to look at Christmas lights or something as well.

Here are a few posts from previous years:

We usually make Santa Pancakes and I think we did something a little different last year but I can’t remember what we did for sure as it was so crazy then.

Before you think that you couldn’t possibly pull anything like this off because something always goes wrong here’s another post about how our day really went on a previous St. Nicholas Day:

Whether you celebrate or not we hope you have a great St. Nicholas Day and we pray that you are blessed beyond measure during this holiday season!

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12 Days of Cookies – Day 1

Here are some of our favorite Cookie Recipes:

Day 1:

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Day 2:

No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

Day 3:

Haystacks aka Noodle Cookies (2 versions here)

Day 4:

Easy Sugar Cookies (We also added some butterscotch and some white chocolate chips to a few and they were delicious.)

Continue reading “12 Days of Cookies – Day 1”
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Christmas Cookie Countdown!

No matter what kind of cookie you like, I think we have you covered!

Here are some of our most favorite cookie recipes:

5 ingredient chocolate chip cookies

7 layer cookies

Blonde Brownies

Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Easy Sugar Cookies (We also added some butterscotch and some white chocolate chips to a few and they were delicious.)

Granny’s Chocolate Chip Cookies

Haystacks aka Noodle Cookies (2 versions here)

Hot Dog Cookies

Lazy Dazy Cookie Cake

Mudballs recipe

No-Bake Oatmeal Cookies

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut Butter Cake Mix Cookies

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Wheels

Peanut Butter Cracker Cookies

Pizzelles

Rice Krispie Treats

Rolo Cookies

Russian Tea Cakes (These are a holiday favorite here at our house.)

S’mores

SOFT AND CHEWY GINGER MOLASSES COOKIES

If you need even more ideas be sure to check out this post:

Santa’s Top 10 Favorite Cookies That Can Be Made Ahead of Time!

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Save your washers!!

Y’all I’ve been so busy and haven’t had time to post but I had to quickly let everyone know about this little gadget that has saved us so many headaches and has probably saved the life of our washing machine on more than one occasion!

As you know we’ve had one issue after another with this house and I mentioned before about our well issues. We get A LOT of sediment in the water lines… I mean beaucoup amounts!!!

We use our Berkey to filter our drinking water and that works wonderfully but some of the appliances, mostly the washer, can’t cope with all the sediment. Our washer would constantly give us the ‘LO FLO’ error message. I knew that meant that I needed to clean/replace the filter in the washer hose.


**This post does contain some affiliate and/or referral links to products and/or services that we use. If you happen to click through a link and make a purchase we may earn a teensy-weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission. This means that we can keep bringing you great recipes, ideas, and tips for FREE! Click HERE for a full disclaimer. –Thank you!


Last year, when I wasn’t able to be here very much I couldn’t predict when this would happen. Thankfully I found this in-line filter system which has saved us so much time and hassle.

When the error message pops up I can instantly check the filter without needing to pull the heavy washer out from the wall and wriggle behind it which is very awkward and painful.

Yuck, can you see all that sediment? All I had to do was to cut off the water supply, unscrew the filter, rinse it out, and then put it back on. Once I turned the water back on then the washer was ready to go again. I’m so glad that this catches all of that before it makes it to the washer because changing the washer hose filters takes me a lot longer to do.

It’s hard to see but the water is nice and clear in this picture and hopefully I won’t have to do this again until next year. There was a little bit of sediment back in there as soon as I turned the water on again.

I seriously hate to think what all this is doing to our other appliances like the hot water heater. When it gets bad I end up replacing the tank kits in the toilets and everything as well so we keep a couple of those on hand… this is not normal but apparently there is nothing we can do unless we had a ton of money to drill a new well and hope it didn’t have the same issues.

We probably need to look into buying a larger filter for the whole house so we don’t have to keep replacing shower heads, toilet kits, and the such but I just haven’t had a chance to research them yet.

Just this week we’ve had issues with our AC which was installed new but apparently was never registered by the company and therefore the warranty was never put into effect so that means we will most likely be out of pocket for the repairs. We never received the paperwork for anything as we didn’t sign off on the house being completed because it really wasn’t ever completed properly but that’s a story that may never have a happy ending.

We are currently under a tropical storm watch as we have a crazy storm headed our way. Sending major prayers to all of those down south of us that are still dealing with the devastation that Ian left behind!

Anyway we hope you are all having a great week and staying safe!

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Orange Kefir Smoothie

I don’t know if you have gotten in on the Kefir craze or not but we’ve been drinking it for a bit now and we love it! The slight tang reminds me a bit of buttermilk and we weren’t really crazy at first but now we can’t seem to get enough of it.

The kids are especially fond of their water kefir but we make and use a lot of milk kefir as well. We were doing a lot of different smoothies but the kids got a bit bored with my lack of creativity until recently.

Continue reading “Orange Kefir Smoothie”
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Cakes and more cakes

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any cake pics but here are a few of our latest creations. Some of these may have been posted before but I figured I’d share them just in case they weren’t.

I have another post coming soon about the cute chicken cakes.

Continue reading “Cakes and more cakes”
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Spice Jar Fruit Fly Trap

Fruit fly traps

You need:

Old spice container

Dish soap

Vinegar (ACV or homemade fruit scrap vinegar work best)

Directions:

Tape off all but a couple of holes in the lid.

Fill the jar about halfway with vinegar.

Add one drop of dish soap.

Put the lid on the jar.

Place in area where fruit flies have been seen and wait.

Empty every 1-2 weeks, or as needed.

You can also use an old cup with a lid and a straw that has been cut in half.

Place the vinegar and dish soap in the cup.

Put the lid on.

Secure the straw with tape so that it is suspended above the liquid.

The flies will get in but won’t find their way back out… just make sure to label it so no one gets curious and takes a sip… yuck!

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Homeschool Activities for a 1 to 2-year-old and Our Daily Schedule plus a Weekly Preschool Schedule

How in the world do we keep little miss occupied so we can get some school work done?

Homeschooling any number of kids can be difficult at times but when you add a baby or toddler to the mix it can get really crazy. Some days are easier than others as she is pretty good at keeping herself entertained but other days she can be extremely clingy and doesn’t want to be ‘left out’. We have to come up with some clever tricks to keep her entertained at times and sometimes we just take turns having someone play with her to keep her happy, although we don’t give in to every little whine or cry because sometimes she will figure out a way to entertain herself without us.

We have the basic routines that we have tried to stick to, even through the rough year that we had last year. During our numerous in-patient stays, I did my best to keep her routine as similar to our home routine as I could. It was difficult but it helped us both tremendously. Big sister also kept the kiddos at home on a regular schedule and that helped keep some of the chaos to a minimum.

Now that we are home and doing well we really had to get a little bit stricter with our routines as we’ve had a lot of adjustments to make. Shyanne missed her big brothers and sisters and they missed her but sometimes they get on each other’s nerves just as all siblings do. It’s a normal part of having a big family but it can lead to many distractions which are not good when we need to get certain things accomplished.

The basic areas we try to include in her daily schedule are:

  • Life Skills/Character Development
  • Language/Communication
  • Math
  • Science/STEM/Sensory
  • PT/OT (Gross/Fine Motor Skills)
  • Art/Music
Continue reading “Homeschool Activities for a 1 to 2-year-old and Our Daily Schedule plus a Weekly Preschool Schedule”
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Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

Continue reading “Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies”
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Sweet Onion Sauce

I usually try to make this the day before we need it or at least a few hours ahead of time so that the flavors can meld together but if you need to use right away it’s still delicious.

This makes a big batch… about 2-3 cups worth… so you may want to half it if you don’t need as much.

We reuse some old squirt bottle from other condiments to store this in once it has cooled down. I have also kept it in glass jars but they are a little more difficult to control when pouring.

This is great on sandwiches and can be used as a salad dressing as well. My family has put it on a variety of different foods and even used it as a dip for chips or in place of ketchup on their fries!

Tip: blend your onion in the food processor or blender and add a bit of the water to it so it gets smooth!

Continue reading “Sweet Onion Sauce”
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Sourdough Battered Squash Blossoms

Oh my! How did I not know that fried squash blossoms were a thing?

I just happened to search for ways to use squash blossoms the other day as we have several veggies starting to ripen and it seemed such a waste for those big beautiful blossoms to just wither away. That’s when I found out that fried squash blossoms were a thing and I had to give them a try.

Continue reading “Sourdough Battered Squash Blossoms”
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The ‘Ten Fingers, Ten Toes’ Book Is a Game Changer!

I have done more than my fair share of research on Down Syndrome and ways to help with development when my older son came into our family. I never expected that ten years later we would be blessed with another very special addition. When we learned of her diagnosis I began researching more and buying more books geared towards babies and younger children.

We all know that our brains and central nervous system dictate all of our functions so I was terrified of her multiple diagnoses and many of the doctors were not very optimistic either. I knew I would need as many tools and resources as I could find to help her reach her full potential.

With certain disabilities like Down Syndrome and Dandy-Walker Malformation, the brain can be adversely affected. Both of these conditions usually cause some degree of developmental delays along with various health issues. The degree of disability will vary from individual to individual so there is no ‘one size fits all’ therapy program to use. When you add in the diagnosis of Hydrocephalus with chromosomal abnormalities and other birth defects there is an even greater chance of severe delays and disabilities.

Even with all of my other research, I’d never even heard of neuroplasticity training before Shyanne was born but I had been doing some research for therapy ideas when I came across this book. (Maybe I had read it somewhere but forgot?) I wish I’d had this book for my first child as I could’ve learned ways to help all of my children with their development.

Ten Fingers Ten Toes Twenty Things Everyone Needs to Know: Neuroplasticity for Children** by Karen Pryor PT DPT Ph.D. 

Continue reading “The ‘Ten Fingers, Ten Toes’ Book Is a Game Changer!”
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He hears our cries…

I was scrolling Facebook with my morning coffee when I came across this post. It touched my heart and gave me a reminder of just how wonderful our Father is!

‘I stood at the kitchen sink washing a bottle, listening to my baby cry from the living room. He was safe in his crib, his diaper had just been changed, but he was hungry. I hated hearing my baby cry, but I knew he was okay. And though he couldn’t understand it, I was preparing exactly what he needed, what he was crying for. In just a few minutes, with a full bottle in hand, I would pick him up and his cries would stop.

Standing over that kitchen sink, my heart realized how many times I have been in his place. I’ve been crying—safe and loved—but crying out to my God. My prayers shouting to Him exactly what I wanted, what I needed, but they were met with silence.

I couldn’t see Him. I didn’t recognize the work He was doing. And though I couldn’t understand it, He was preparing exactly what I needed, what I was crying for.

If you have found yourself in a season of crying out to God, wondering where He is or what He’s doing, remember that your Father in Heaven loves you more than you can imagine. He’s standing in the next room, listening to your cries, preparing what you need.

You have not been abandoned. You are not alone. Your God is at work. He hears your cries.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
(2 Corinthians 4:18, NIV’

Loving our Lord with Kelsey Scism

I hope this touches someone’s heart today. Remember that He knows our every need before we even speak them.


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10 Smart Ways To Spend That Tax Refund

This post might be a little bit late to catch some of you but I do believe that with the various delays the IRS has had this year, there may be many who haven’t gotten their tax refunds yet. If you have, maybe you haven’t spent it and you are trying to think of sensible ways to spend it. Here are a few of the things that we are using ours on:

Photo by Oleg Magni on Pexels.com
Continue reading “10 Smart Ways To Spend That Tax Refund”
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Jumping Back Into Normal… well, almost

It’s been such a blessing to be home for the past few months. We have been trying to put the events from last year in our memory but the reality is that we will never be able to completely forget the health scare that we faced with our little one. It has helped us to see just how truly blessed we are to have such a beautiful family and we have been reminded of just how precious life is… and how quickly things can change.

Continue reading “Jumping Back Into Normal… well, almost”
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How We Pack For Extended Hospital Stays

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long while but it seems that I just never have enough time to get it started or completed. I’m going to try to dedicate 10-15 minutes/day until it’s written. I’ll also add to the post as needed. This was actually started a few months ago but I just now got around to finishing it.

Continue reading “How We Pack For Extended Hospital Stays”
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Shyanne’s 1st Heartiversary

Hey y’all, I know I’ve been a bit MIA and I apologize. It’s been really crazy around here and I’ve been in the hospital more than out with Shyanne as she goes through chemo. She is currently on Day 13 of Round 5 with one more round to go! You can read her latest update here.

Continue reading “Shyanne’s 1st Heartiversary”
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Clinic Visit

Shyanne had a quick clinic visit today for a dressing change and labs. Everything went well with the exception of one lumen is not giving blood return so well will have to have that addressed next week when we return for admission.

Continue reading “Clinic Visit”
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2021-2022 Weekly Lesson Plans: ‘Remote’ Schooling During a Crisis (Updated)

How we will use these lesson plans:

This year is a little different for us as Baby Shyanne is undergoing chemotherapy for AML and Momma is away at the hospital with her which makes our schooling a bit complicated but we will find a way. These are the lessons that we have come up with to make life easier for everyone who is helping out at home. I plan to print out copies of worksheets and such for each child’s binders when I am home but in the event that I am not able to anyone can see what needs to be completed for the week.

(Its hard to believe that the featured photo was taken just a couple of weeks before we got her AML diagnosis… how fast life can change!)

I basically took the books and activities that we wanted to include for this next year and then figured out approximately how many lessons were in each one. We plan to school for the 3-4 weeks while we are inpatient and then take a week or so off when Shyanne and Mommy are home. I know that we will be schooling for 36-40 weeks this time around so I just tried to divide them up as equally as possible… Will we finish them all? Probably not but we’ll have fun trying.

I will continue to update this as more books and activities come in or if we make any changes to the plans. (We may switch out our math curriculum when I get a better idea of how well everyone can work independently.) We hope you can find ideas to use in your own homeschooling experience. We happened to have a lot of these resources already available as I have WAY TOO MUCH homeschooling stuff… please don’t tell my husband I said that ya’ll! You can also find lots of FREE resources HERE and under the Homeschool Tab.

Continue reading “2021-2022 Weekly Lesson Plans: ‘Remote’ Schooling During a Crisis (Updated)”
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Remote homeschooling

I know that many of you have had to try virtual/remote learning over the past year. Some have liked it and some have not. We were homeschoolers before the pandemic and continue to do so through our latest crisis.

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Counting our blessings

This was actually meant to publish back in March but for one reason or another it didn’t. A lot has happened since then … the biggest thing being Shyanne’s leukemia diagnosis.

Hey everybody! We hope you all are doing well… everyone here is doing pretty good.

The kiddos have been catching up on school work. They’ve not been too happy to double up in some lessons but they are getting it done. One of the younger boys said that he knows we need to work a bit harder to catch up for the days when we didn’t do anything because we were going through a ‘crisis’. That just goes to show that kids know more than they let on.

Continue reading “Counting our blessings”
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It all came crashing down

Here is a blog post about our 10 month old baby’s most recent diagnosis of leukemia:

shyannethelittlegirlwhocould.wordpress.com/2021/05/07/it-all-came-crashing-down/

Here is the link to the GoFundMe that has been set up for us:

https://gofund.me/0855a1f6

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Depression Tips

I saw this post on Facebook the other day and I thought it was such good advice:

DEPRESSION TIPS

Shower.

Not a bath, a shower. Use water as hot or cold as you like. You don’t even need to wash. Just get in under the water and let it run over you for a while. Sit on the floor if you gotta.

Moisturize everything.

Use whatever lotion you like. Unscented? Dollar store lotion? Fancy 48 hour lotion that makes you smell like a field of wildflowers? Use whatever you want, and use it all over your entire dermis.

Put on clean, comfortable clothes.

Continue reading “Depression Tips”
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Our recent Amazon purchases

As you all know I’ve always been partial to Amazon because you don’t need to leave your house, or couch, to get what you need. While this isn’t always a good thing to have everything just a click away it has been very useful during this COVID pandemic. Here are just a few of our favorite purchases lately:

Baby

Isn’t this the cutest?
Continue reading “Our recent Amazon purchases”
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White Chocolate Fudge

This is a family favorite that is so easy to adapt to make your own unique fudge flavors. You can add crushed cookies and/or candies to this to make it extra special as well as adding colorings to customize it for different holidays or occasions. The possibilities are endless!

Continue reading “White Chocolate Fudge”
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Getting back in the groove

Well, to say that 2020 was a challenging year would be an understatement. It was a year full of surprises (both good and bad), unbelievable stresses, and so much more than I could have ever imagined.

On top of everything we had just gotten married (we celebrated our 1 year anniversary on December 25th!!) and found out that we were expecting. That in itself can be quite stressful but we were also dealing with our new house issues (which seem to be never-ending) and it felt like things kept hitting us one right after another.

In January of 2020, we learned that our pregnancy was extremely high risk and the odds of making it to term and having our baby survive birth were very grim. I also began experiencing some pregnancy-related issues with my thyroid and blood pressure which I’d never had issues with before.

I seriously felt like I was losing my mind and felt completely helpless about everything. I was doing my best to ‘hold it together’ and kept myself busy working on our new house so we could get moved in.

Then the COVID pandemic took over and so many restrictions were put into place. We moved into our home during the beginning of it and all the hopes we had of celebrating our accomplishments with friends and family were dashed.

Continue reading “Getting back in the groove”
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Cookies N’ Creme Fudge

This is yet another adaptation of our family favorite fudge recipe. I didn’t get a picture because the fudge disappeared so fast I didn’t have a chance! I will definitely be making this again and will try to snap a picture when I do. I plan to test out some more flavor variations throughout the year as well.

Cookies N’ Creme Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 7-ounce jar of marshmallow creme
  • 1 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 – 1 c. crushed oreos or similar cookie (you could also experiment with different cookies/candy bars for your own unique flavor)

Directions:

Line 8 x 8 pan with wax paper.

Combine marshmallow creme, sugar, milk, butter, and salt over medium heat.

Bring to a full boil. Boil five minutes, stirring constantly.

Working quickly, remove from heat and stir in white chocolate chips. Stir until melted and smooth.

Gently fold in the crushed cookies or candy of your choice.

Pour into prepared pan.

Gently tap/shake your pan to remove air bubbles.

Chill for two hours.

Cut into 2-inch pieces and store in airtight containers.

Note: Can also be made in cupcake liners for individual servings.

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Colds, a collapsed well, and some deep cleaning

It’s New Year’s Eve and I, along with many others, will be glad to be putting 2020 behind me. It was a rough year in so many ways. We did have quite a few good things that came from it, like our beautiful baby girl, but it seemed like something new and even more ominous was lurking behind every corner.

Such a cutie!
Continue reading “Colds, a collapsed well, and some deep cleaning”
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Red Velvet Fudge

This is a new family favorite as my daughter brought home some red velvet fudge she had found at a gas station. The challenge was on to adapt our recipe to include this new flavor and it’s been a hit so far.

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Loaded Potato Soup

Looking for the perfect potato soup recipe? Look no further as you’ve found it!

I love soup, especially on a cold day, but we haven’t had many cold days here lately. Please don’t take that as a complaint because I’m not complaining in the least bit. I make this soup once or twice a year and everyone always loves it.

This recipe could probably be adapted to a crockpot but I have not attempted that yet. I will update the post if I do though. Mr Awesome often says he doesn’t get enough taters in his soup so I’ve started using a 5 pound bag of yellow potatoes each time I make this. Continue reading “Loaded Potato Soup”

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Cookies

Looking for some easy to make, made from scratch recipes to share with your family and friends? Look no further… these are tried and true recipes from our family to yours!

TIP: A lot of these cookie recipes can be made ahead of time and the dough can be rolled into balls and frozen for later!

Cookie Recipe Links:

Continue reading “Cookies”

Homeschooling made simpler

When I first began homeschooling I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I had seen a few homeschooling families on TV shows and they pretty much did ‘school at home’ so that was what I tried to recreate in my home… I failed miserably.

I was getting stressed and we did not have a great environment for learning… it wasn’t what I had envisioned at all and I was so frustrated! I was struggling and beginning to doubt that this was really the best thing for our family at that time.

It was then that I found the Easy Peasy All-in-one Homeschool site… I fell in love instantly and so did my kiddos. The site has been through several changes since then but we always seem to fall back to that when we are stuck or feeling overwhelmed! We are still using it now for some independent learning and the kids all enjoy working on their lessons without being completely dependent on the internet for our lessons.

I also began researching other methods and have always been drawn toward the Montessori and Charlotte Mason styles. I have always considered our style to be a bit relaxed but over the past two years we’ve had a different kind of style… I’m not sure what you would call this but it definitely hasn’t been the most enjoyable learning environment. Sure, some parts are super exciting but others are lacking and seem extremely boring. More Montessori links HERE.

I’ve been wanting to make some changes so I’ve been going back through some of our past lessons and trying to take notes on what we really enjoyed and what we didn’t. I’ve also asked the kids what things they remember about the past few years of school and what they remembered and enjoyed. Using this information I have been putting together some notes on things we want to try again or try to incorporate into our school days.

In addition to the Easy Peasy site, I have been going back to the Simply Charlotte Mason site and checking out all of the FREE resources that they have. I plan to incorporate more of these principles into our daily routines to see if we can find that happy place we had before. We really love being able to combine as many subjects as possible and the kids seem to enjoy this method more as well. I’m hoping that this may also help some of the kids with the adjustments to our new living arrangements by making them feel more like a team… this would alleviate so much of the daily stress in our home and maybe help lower my blood pressure a little!

I know a lot has changed since we began homeschooling and a lot of things have changed with our family in the past couple of years. Nothing ever stays the same so we need to continue to adapt to these changes… the same thing happens in every area of our lives so it is important to continually reevaluate our situations and make changes when they are needed

What are some changes you would like to make in your homeschool?

Meal on the Go Breakfast Sandwiches

Some days are just a little crazy and we need something super simple to make for breakfast. Sandwiches are always a hit and they are usually pretty simple to through together.

These can be served as is or with fruit, they can also be eaten on the go and made ahead of time!

If you have some leftover pancakes or French Toast then these will help use that up and keep them from going to waste!

Meal on the Go Breakfast Sandwiches

Ingredients:

Use any combination of the following to create your own breakfast sandwich creation.

  • Bread:
    • Sandwich bread, toasted or plain
    • French Toast
    • English Muffins
    • Pancakes
    • Croissants
    • tortillas
    • Bagels
  • Eggs, cooked however you like them
  • Meat:
    • Bacon
    • Ham
    • Sausage
    • Lunchmeats
  • Cheese, your favorite
    • American
    • Swiss
    • provolone
    • pepper jack
    • farmers cheese
    • cream cheese
  • Condiments
    • Syrup
    • jelly
    • mayo
    • ketchup
    • mustard
    • hot sauce
    • salt and pepper
  • Veggies:
    • tomato
    • lettuce
    • onion
    • spinach
    • peppers

Directions:

Continue reading “Meal on the Go Breakfast Sandwiches”

Save the Dishes Oven Placard

I don’t know about your house but here we often have different people doing different things in the kitchen. One rule is that they need to check the oven before turning it on because sometimes people tend to ‘hide’ things in there and forget about them.

I’ve had many things that have been ruined because one person put a dish in there and the next person didn’t check it… most recently it was a plastic cover for one of my casserole dishes and the whole dish of peach cobbler that had been made for dinner… sigh.

This dish alone will cost me almost $40.00 ** to replace as I haven’t been able to find the lid sold separately… luckily the carrier is still alive!

More often than not it was my bread dough that was hanging out in there… minding its own business when someone would forget to check, even with the oven light on they forget, and then the temperature would go up and ruin the dough… (crying face).

Continue reading “Save the Dishes Oven Placard”

Did you know you can cook FROZEN ground beef in the Instant Pot?

Ground beef has gotten a bit more expensive here lately but it can still be stretched to make many different filling meals on a budget. I like to throw some in a pot in the morning so that it can be cooked before dinner and quickly made into a yummy dish. I like to add some finely chopped mushrooms to ours while cooking to add a little extra nutrition… the kids never notice!

Frozen ground beef in the Instant Pot

Did you know you can cook FROZEN ground beef in the Instant Pot? Here’s how → sl290.isrefer.com/go/ipbeef/happy2bmyownboss/

Here are a few of our favorite ways to use precooked hamburger meat:

Mrs. B’s Good Easy Pizza (this is a great way to use meat and vegetable leftovers)

45-minute spaghetti sauce (a family favorite)

Crockpot Taco Soup

Daddy Can’t-Wait Casserole

Easy Burrito Casserole

Goulash

Shepherd’s Pie in a Skillet

Mama’s Secret Spaghetti Sauce

Sloppy Joes

Taco Ring

Tater Tot Casserole

Tortilla Bowl Taco Salad

 

What are your favorite ways to use hamburger?

Homemade Sourdough English Muffins

We’ve been experimenting with sourdough recipes for a while now and this one has been a favorite of ours. It’s super easy to make but does have a bit of time required for rising so we usually start these the evening before we need them.

You can mix them by hand, use a stand mixer with a dough hook, or even mix them up in your breadmaker… we’ve tried them each way and they all turn out great. I like to put the dough in the oven for its long rise… be sure to leave the light on for it to keep it comfy!

These work great for breakfast sandwiches, mini pizzas, or with a bit of butter and jelly… yum!

This recipe may look a little tricky but once you made it a time a two you could probably do it in your sleep! If you don’t have a sourdough starter you can find tons of easy recipes online to start your own or you can buy some starter like we did HERE.** (Yes, that’s an affiliate link but it won’t cost you a penny more to use it.)

Homemade Sourdough English Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 c. active sourdough starter
  • 1 T. sugar or honey (we prefer to use local honey but that’s not really necessary)
  • 1 c. milk (I haven’t tried using milk kefir but it would probably work as well)
  • 1 t. salt
  • 3 c. all-purpose flour (may need a little more or less depending on the climate)
  • a bit of cornmeal of flour for dusting

Directions:

Continue reading “Homemade Sourdough English Muffins”

Progress towards goals, sweet treats, and a date night

This past weekend one of my sisters gave me a special treat… she offered to babysit so we could have a date night! This was unexpected but very much appreciated. Not only did she come down to babysit but she also sent me to get a manicure… something I haven’t done in quite a while.

I tried to resist but I was glad that she insisted because I really did need that little bit of quiet time without anyone else. It allowed me to clear my head a bit and make some plans for the next couple of weeks. I made a few goals to work on and tried to form a plan of action to achieve these goals while I was out and about by myself… I probably should’ve written some of this down but I didn’t.

If the weather hadn’t been so chilly I might have stayed gone for a bit longer but I was freezing by the time I finished at the salon and ran a few errands so I headed back home… little ma’am was happy to have me back and she covered me with kisses when I returned.

Continue reading “Progress towards goals, sweet treats, and a date night”

The meanest mom in the world as a compliment

I have been called the meanest mother in the world so many times that I’ve lost track. This morning I happened across an article that had been printed in a newspaper some time ago… after reading it, I will now take ‘You’re the Meanest Mom in the World’ as a compliment.

May be an image of text

While trying to find a picture of this article I came across this:

The Meanest Mother in the World

This was an interesting post I found regarding this letter.

Broccoli Slaw

We love this recipe with many meals all year round… it is so good. Feel free to add your own favorite fruits/veggies or omit some if you don’t like them.

Broccoli Slaw

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 – 2 pounds of Broccoli, broken into small pieces without the large stems (or about 3 cups)
  • 2-3 carrots, thinly sliced or grated (we usually leave this out as we have some carrot haters here)
  • 1/3 c. Onion, red/green/white, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 c. Raisins/cranberries
  • 1/4 c. Almonds/nuts/sunflower kernels
  • 1/2 pound Bacon, cooked and crumbled

Dressing:

  • 2 T. vinegar (we use ACV or Red Wine Vinegar)
  • 1/2 c. Mayo
  • 2-3 T Sugar, Monkfruit, or Maple Syrup
  • 1/2 t. celery seed, optional
  • salt, and pepper to taste

Directions:

The broccoli needs to be washed and dried and then cut or sliced into small bitesize pieces.

Combine all of the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.

Add in the remaining ingredients and toss well.

Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours to let the flavors meld together… the longer it sits, the better it tastes but we have eaten it right away and it still tastes pretty good.

Getting in the right mindset to simplify… simplify your spaces

It seems like our lives can get so hectic so quickly without us realizing it is even happening. I know that I seem to get one thing running smoothly but then ten other things seem to just fall off the track and then everything turns to CHAOS. We need our homes to be comfortable and not a place we dread being.

For me, the very first thing I need to do before starting this process is to find a little time for me & God… I often find that life feels overwhelming when I haven’t been able to have any quiet time for myself. I have tried getting up earlier but that just isn’t working out right now, I often would take a few minutes after lunch when the baby was down for a nap but our school routines have been out of whack since adding a new kiddo, when the time bedtime rolls around I am worn out. I do find little bits of time here and there to have little chats with God but I just haven’t been able to have my devotional time and I think that may be part of the reason that I am feeling so overwhelmed.

When something is frustrating me I often go to Him in prayer and ask Him to help me and show me ways that I can change or that we can change as a family. I ask Him to give me wisdom and guidance about the changes and things we need to work on so that they will benefit everyone.

Where do we start when it seems like everything is the problem?

We use this process in our home for a lot of different problems, part of it we even use for teaching the kids to make good choices. I’ll give a couple of examples of how we have used this system in the past.

1. STOP and identify the problem.

This might be the most difficult part of the whole process because sometimes it can be difficult to actually narrow down what or where the problem actually is when you are feeling overwhelmed. Many times there are multiple problems and sometimes the problems are not actually what we think they are. If you do find yourself with a multitude of problems then just try to focus on the biggest one first and work on ONE AT A TIME or you may find yourself even more overwhelmed and frustrated.

Maybe your home just feels way too small and unorganized. What’s the biggest problem area? Well, the one that bothered me the most was the kitchen because that was where I spend the majority of my time.

Continue reading “Getting in the right mindset to simplify… simplify your spaces”

31 Ways To Go Plastic Free

I read about this Plastic-Free Challenge earlier this week but haven’t had a chance to post about it until now… If you’ve been following the blog you’ll know that I’ve mentioned that we’ve been extraordinarily busy this past couple of months and hopefully we’ll be able to share what we’ve been up to sometime later this month… it’s really exciting!

Back to the post though… part of my New Year’s goal was to start using less plastic and disposable items in our house. I know we probably won’t be a zero waste household anytime soon but I know that we can have really cut back on single-use plastic items in our home.

Just the other day I realized that our plastic storage containers have been disappearing. Where have they gone? Well, that’s a question that may never be answered but I do know that I really need to replace them. I’ve been looking at a few Plastic-Free options on Amazon and Walmart but haven’t decided what to get yet but I will need to find something soon.

I know that some things will not be replaced soon like our favorite lunch boxes but I have found some replacements for some time in the future. I have also been looking for non-plastic/non-glass replacements to the kids’ water bottles that they use at home. We do try our best to use reusable shopping bags when we go for groceries. I’ve even been suggesting that they need to add an option for using your own bags to the Walmart Grocery Pickup service but I don’t know if that will happen anytime soon.

Here are a few ideas of things we’ve replaced recently:

I know that there are some items that might hard to replace but there are new solutions coming out every day. Making these changes one at a time will make a difference and you may find that it saves you money as well!

Join the Plastic Free Challenge Today!

So many places around us are putting bans on plastics as well so this is something that everyone really needs to adjust to. It’s crazy to see the numbers on the plastic pollution crisis and our family wants to do our part to help out with this. With the Plastic Free Challenge, you can choose where you will be going plastic free, what you choose to refuse, and how long you choose to go plastic free.

This week I got an email from Life Without Plastic about their Plastic-Free Tooth Tabs which can replace those plastic toothpaste tubes and are packaged in a paper box. They also talked about their new Plastic-Free Lunch Boxes which were funded on Kickstarter. They also have a wide variety of Plastic-Free Containers for packing those delicious lunches in.

Take the Plastic Free July Challenge with www.goingzerowaste.com

Take the Plastic Free July Challenge with www.goingzerowaste.com

Here are a few more interesting articles I’ve found about this topic:

 

It’s not too late to join the Plastic Free Challenge Today!


**This post does contain affiliate links to products and/or services that we use. We may earn a teensy weensy small commission (at NO EXTRA cost to you) if a purchase is made through these links. These links help to support our family, our blog, and our homeschooling mission.

 –Thank you!