Author Archive

Freebie Friday January 30, 2015

Friday, January 30th, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice we discussed our m challenge book for January, Wheat Belly, I republished our fruit-infused water recipes which are a great way to ditch the juice boxes, and we introduced our special m challenge Notebook Syllabus where you can find all the articles we’ve published for the challenge as well as other links to inspire and inform! In addition, Shaina shared with us a recipe for French King’s Cake, which would make a fun for a family tradition, and I had the privilege of interviewing author Karen Joy Fowler about We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves for our first Sundays With Writers of 2015.

You’ll also want to check out week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Health & Beauty
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: January 31February 6
31st – Lakeshore Learning: Create a Masquerade Mask, 11 am – 3 pm
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Ditch the Juice Box: Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

This was originally published in July of 2013 and goes so well with our focus challenge on health that I thought you’d enjoy it again – fruit-infused water is refreshing any time of the year!

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

Back-to-school means back to the grind of packing lunches. Today I wanted to share a healthy alternative to juice boxes and recipes for creating a fun fruit-infused water for lunches any time of the year. Fruit infused waters are frugal, fun, and a healthy alternative to the traditional juice box.

Packing a healthy lunch is always a top priority in our house. You may recall my fun lunch box station that I created in our house just for this reason? I am happy to say that this lunchbox system is still performing so well in our house and I am looking forward to packing lunches with it again.

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

What is Fruit-Infused Water?

Have you ever infused water before? It truly could not be easier and you can mix up any flavors that you love and personalize these to your own personal taste. Pictured above are some mix-in ideas we tried in our house. We purchased mint, basil, berries, limes, oranges, and lemons to create different flavor combinations for fun fruit waters. We like to keep things simple with just plain water, but you can also make it a little sweet with a little liquid stevia.

Seltzer can also be a fun switch-up, but carbonated drinks are always a gamble in our lunchbox, since they tend to get a lot of shaking and movement on the way to school!

I am displaying these in mason jars to show the colors, but when placed in your child’s lunchbox, I would recommend a leak-proof stainless steel water bottle or thermos to keep these nice & cold. Here are a couple of fun options that Walmart stocks! (Stainless Steel Water Bottle, Flip-Top Water Bottle, &  Silver One Red Stainless Steel)

How Long Does Fruit-Infused Water Last?

Fruit-infused water is best enjoyed after two-four hours or after it has had a chance to infuse overnight. The length of time it lasts depends entirely on the type of fruit and herbs you use. Basil, for example, only lasts for three days while heartier varieties like rosemary or thyme can last up to seven days.

You can reuse the same fruit and add another batch of fresh water over it once you have gone through your first batch.  The fruit can be used (typically) up to three times, but it will also depend on the freshness of the fruits you are using. If the fruit starts to look bad, it’s best to toss it and start with a fresh batch.

Citrus fruits are best cut fresh for your batches because the rind can add bitterness to your fruit-infusions. I like to keep my lemons, limes, and oranges fresh for that reason while reusing my berries for several batches.

It is really a matter of preference though and once you get the hang of making your own batches of fruit-infused water you will have a better idea of timelines.

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

Fruit Infused Water Combinations

The beauty of making your own infused waters is that you can create any combination that your heart desires and add as little or as much fruits and herbs into your drink as you like!  Get inspired by the fruits and herbs that are on sale that week in the supermarket flier to help inspire new combinations and keep your fruit-infused waters frugal!

If the recipe calls for muddling, it just means bruising your fruit or herbs to release the flavors. I just use a wooden spoon for this.

Here are a few of our favorite combinations we tried:

Blueberry & Mint

2 cups blueberries

2 sprigs of mint, muddled

2 quarts of water

Strawberry & Basil

10 strawberries, thinly sliced

3 basil leaves, torn into quarters and muddled

2 quarts of water

Citrus Blend

1 orange, thinly sliced

1 lime, thinly sliced

1/2 a lemon, thinly sliced

2 quarts water

Just The Berries

10 strawberries, thinly sliced

2 cups blueberries, slightly muddled

2 quarts water

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes

Fruit-Infused Water Recipes
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ditch the juice box and create a healthy fruit-infused water for your child's lunchbox. Check out our fun flavor combinations in my blog post!
Ingredients
  • Fruit & Herbs (check the blog post for combination ideas)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • Ice
  • Wooden Spoon
  • Pitcher
Instructions
  1. Place the fruit and herbs, in the bottom of your pitcher and muddle with a wooden spoon, if directed.
  2. Fill the pitcher with water, cover, and refrigerate two hours or overnight, for maximum flavor.
  3. Fill a glass or thermos with ice. Pour your fruit infused water over the ice and enjoy!

Have you infused water before? What is your favorite infused water combination?

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m challenge: Wheat Belly Book Discussion

Thursday, January 29th, 2015

Wheat Belly by William Davis

I hope that you have been enjoying the m challenge this month and the information we showcased on health & wellness this month. Many apologies for the delay in our WHEAT BELLY discussion. Between having my home renovated and some family things going on, I got a little behind on our discussion. That said, I finished the book and really loved it.  Despite this topic being a little on the dry side for me, there was a lot of humour to keep me entertained while being educated on what wheat does to our systems. It was a good one to listen to on audiobook while I tackled my chores.

As you guys know I eat gluten-free almost 100% of the time, with a few indulgences around the holidays and the occasional, “JUST GIVE ME REAL PIZZA,” moments. For me, it has been transformative in so many ways. My stomach is finally quiet,  my skin is no longer as rashy, I have more energy, and even my hairdresser has remarked on how my hair doesn’t even feel the same.  Although I never had the colonoscopy to find out if I am celiac, it does run in my family, and I am aware that gluten does something to my body that isn’t good.  The change for me has been really transformative. I feel like me again.

WHEAT BELLY focuses on the quality of the wheat that we now consume and how removing wheat from your diet can help you to lose weight and live longer. The scientific research that supported this book as well as patient studies showcased not only the difference in the health of our body, but also how eating clean can help you mentally too.

Although every study and patient situation in this book seemed to have remarkable differences in their health without the gluten, I tend to not be an extremist when it comes to diet planning unless you have a health reason (like having celiac disease) that might not benefit from my, “all things in moderation,” planning.

The most interesting part for me about this book though were the studies on mental health, particularly the schizophrenia study, that showcased how much better patients did mentally with a wheat-free diet. I know that I have felt sluggish and out of sorts when I overload on carbs, but I never realized the benefits of wheat-free eating if you were suffering from a mental illness.

Dr. William Davis

On the Wheat Belly diet you eliminate all wheat, including bread, pasta, cereal, pretzels, doughnuts, etc. You may not eat anything made with wheat, barley, rye, spelt, or certain oats.

Unlike a gluten-free diet, Dr. William Davis cautions against simply replacing these items with “gluten-free” versions, which often contain cornstarch, rice starch, potato starch, or tapioca starch and will not aid in weight loss. The doctor says they trigger the same blood sugar response as gluten from wheat.

As someone who eats gluten-free, I have to agree that I don’t always feel great when I eat products that are gluten-free replacements. I try to eat these in moderation and make smart decisions. Unless it is gluten-free Girl Scout Cookies which happened to be my new discovery this year. If it is those, than I will do the best I can. *ahem*

Davis also suggests cutting out high-fructose corn syrup, sucrose, salt, sugary foods, rice, potatoes, soda, fruit juice, dried fruit, legumes, and more. You should also avoid trans fats, fried foods, and cured meats on this plan.

The diet outlines that you can eat:

Vegetables
Some fruit (namely berries, apples, oranges), but much less of “sugary fruit” (pineapple, papaya, mango, banana)
Unlimited raw nuts, plant-based oils such as olive, avocado, coconut, and cocoa butter
Grass-fed, humanely raised meat and eggs
Full-fat cheese
Ground flaxseed

You can also eat limited quantities of:

Full-fat, unsweetened cottage cheese, yogurt, milk, and butter
Soy in its fermented forms: tofu, tempeh, miso, and natto
Olives, avocados, pickled vegetables, and raw seeds
After you’ve transitioned off wheat, you may eat limited quantities of other whole grains, such as quinoa, millet, amaranth, and chia, as well as beans.

As far as alcohol goes, wheat-brewed beers are definitely off the list, but Davis does support red wine for its heart-healthy benefits. You can read more on the Wheat Belly blog.

Although I don’t eat like this for weight-loss,  I can honestly say that I eat like this almost all of the time for my health.  At first, the transition was hard. I felt like I was detoxing those first few weeks. Over time though, and as so many other diets support clean eating pop up, it has become easier and easier. Almost everyone I know eats like this now.  As a disclaimer, although I choose to eat like this for myself, my husband and family still eat as usual except for the meals we share together. Why? Because ain’t nobody got time for cooking one meal, let alone two meals.

I’m curious for those who read this one what you thought about it? Were there any big moments in this book that made you think or have you considered/done/are doing a diet like this? Feel free to chat in the comments below!

*This post contains affiliate links!

Amy’s Notebook 01.28.15: The m challenge Focus on Health Syllabus

Wednesday, January 28th, 2015

m-challenge Note: As a wrap-up of each month’s m challenge theme, we will be using the last Notebook of the month as a sort of “Cliffs Notes” edition of the challenge – a place where you can find a list of all the articles we’ve published for the challenge, as well as more inspiration and links from the web around the challenge theme. Our hope is that this will serve as a one stop shopping for the theme that you can refer to as well as catch up on in case you’ve missed anything!

January m challenge: Focus on Health

Recipes:

Healthy Links:

Stay in Shape via Living Well Spending Less

Source: Living Well Spending Less

 

Five smart ways to get motivated and stay in shape–without breaking the bank!

You’ll definitely find something to help you focus on health in this huge list of 101 ideas for simple, healthy changes.

25 exercise playlists – I can’t be without music in my workouts!

Great tips on how to get your energy back.

The only 12 exercises you need to get in shape.

22 simple ways to start eating healthier this year.

Healthy Lunch Ideas via Back to Her Roots

Source: Back to Her Roots

 

Healthy, easy, and quick lunch ideas.

32 healthy cooking tips for any level of cook!

11 DIY protein bar recipes.

How to shop healthy – the dos and don’ts for healthy grocery shopping.

12 healthy salad dressing recipes to jump start you to healthy eating in 2015.

Healthy smoothie recipes that are fast and easy.

18 mason jar salads – love these as a fun, healthy lunch idea!

amys_notebook

I hope you enjoyed this notebook, a collection of gathered links all around our m challenge about focusing on our health. Nothing brings me more joy than to highlight other fabulous bloggers. Follow me on Pinterest for daily inspiration!

 

Apron Full of Giveaways 01.27.15

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Waxed canvas apron via Etsy

Source: Artifact Bag Co.,  $145.00

 

Welcome to our Apron Full of Giveaways! I hope everyone is having a great week this week! As we do each week, here is our round-up of giveaways for our readers. We hope that this is beneficial to you and your family! Please let us know if you guys win anything- I love to hear the success stories!

Below are the contest links-if you are hosting a contest please link it up below. Sorry, we are not giving away the aprons just showcasing them! Please put your site name and then what type of contest you are hosting. For example, “MomAdvice (Kid’s Movies).”

Good luck to each of you!

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Sundays With Writers: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Sundays With Writers

It’s so good to be back to Sundays With Writers and sharing my first interview for 2015. Over my two week holiday, I read several really incredible books and one of those books happened to be,  WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES by Karen Joy Fowler.  I read about it in this fantastic list of 6 interesting and very different novels that are worth your time on Hollywood Housewife. Laura always has some unbelievably great picks so I knew that if she said this was worth my time, it would be. I avoided all reviews of the book and dug into it.

As a reader, I love a good surprise.

And this book was SO surprising….much like that delicious twist in GONE GIRL where you flipped the page and you were like, “Wait! WHAT?!”

After I finished it, I had to track down Karen Joy Fowler to see if she could share with us a little bit more about herself and her book.  Although this was a tricky interview to do, there are no spoilers in this interview.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Meet the Cooke family. Our narrator is Rosemary Cooke. As a child, she never stopped talking; as a young woman, she has wrapped herself in silence: the silence of intentional forgetting, of protective cover. Something happened, something so awful she has buried it in the recesses of her mind. Now her adored older brother is a fugitive, wanted by the FBI for domestic terrorism. And her once lively mother is a shell of her former self, her clever and imperious father now a distant, brooding man. And Fern, Rosemary’s beloved sister, her accomplice in all their childhood mischief? Fern’s is a fate the family, in all their innocence, could never have imagined.

This is one of those books that you want others to read just so you can talk through it. I avoided reading any reviews on this and I am so glad I did because half of the fun in this one was making sense of this unusual family and just what makes them so unusual. So beautifully executed that it reads like a memoir, it was such an enjoyable and believable read that I will spend the rest of the night trying to find all of the inspiration behind this novel and reading more about how many of these cases featured were true. Although the execution of delivering the information in a mixed up timeline can be confusing for the reader, the originality of this unique & heartbreaking story made this a book that I just couldn’t put down.

I’m not the only one who loved this book though! WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES has won the Pen/Faulkner Award for 2014 and was nominated for a 2014 Nebula Award as well.  The book was also shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize- it’s that good!

Grab a cup of coffee and let’s chat with Karen Joy Fowler this morning about this intriguing book. Remember, no spoilers, friends!

Karen Joy Fowler

You have the unbelievable gift of writing books that cover a wide range of genres beautifully, which I find quite amazing as a reader. Would you find writing in one genre to be monotonous? Do you have a favorite genre that you feel most comfortable in?

I feel most comfortable between genres.  Actually I feel most comfortable when I don’t think about genre at all, but just do whatever seems best to me for the story at hand.  My recollection of the children’s room in the library where I grew up is that books weren’t separated by genre – none of that space rocket on the spine, cowboy hat on the spine that I found in later libraries.  So it was years before I understood that genre mattered, because it never had to me.

WE ARE ALL COMPLETELY BESIDE OURSELVES explores the topic of animal testing for medical purposes and tells this story of what was happening in the ‘70’s in a truly unique way. How did you decide that this was a subject you wanted to tackle and what types of research did you have to do to prepare for this book? Did your father’s work as a psychology professor who studied animal behavior contribute to you wanting to explore this topic further?

My father’s work and my childhood perceptions of it, as best I can remember them, gave me the confidence to think I maybe could write this book, even though I had no experience or knowledge of chimpanzees beyond the basic when I started it.   The idea came during a conversation I was having with my daughter about my father’s work.  I comforted myself that, if I didn’t know much about chimps, at least I knew a lot about psychologists.  That gave me the nerve needed to begin the reading and research required.

Did writing this book change any of your own views about animal rights? Were you able to relate to one of the characters, in particular, and their viewpoint about animal rights?

I was always an animal rights advocate, but writing the book really expanded my sense of that.  Before I did the research I was most sympathetic to those animals with traits I could identify as human-like, those whose intelligence seemed to echo human intelligence.  I was well into the book before I took a closer look at my own assumptions.  Doing the research widened my circle of empathy as well as my fascination and respect for the cognitive abilities of our fellow creatures.

A few centuries back, Jeremy Bentham said:  the question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer? Why should the law refuse its protection to any sensitive being?… The time will come when humanity will extend its mantle over everything which breathes… “

I wonder if things have taken a bit longer than Bentham expected.

In the book, Lowell is something of an extremist, but I am quite sympathetic to him.

It is rare for a novel to take me by surprise, but you carefully crafted the first portion of your book with a big reveal halfway through that simply shocked me. It is actually preventing me from asking you questions I would like to because half of the joy of reading your book was in the discovery of this surprising twist. Did you always know that you wanted to set this story up in this way for your readers?

Yes, before I had written a word, I’d planned to withhold this crucial bit of information until partway in.  My reasons for doing so were not just for the surprise, although I like that side effect.   My reasons were the same as the ones Rosemary offers when the reveal finally happens.

Your book reads like a memoir to me and the way you crafted the story through Rosemary’s eyes made me check the listed genre again after I was done to make sure this wasn’t a true story. Was it easy to create Rosemary’s voice for this book? How hard was it to develop the psychological angle of the loss of Rosemary’s sister?

Having never remotely gone through anything like Rosemary’s life, I was forced to simply imagine it all.  I could do the research I felt I needed for Fern (and besides, I’m never inside Fern’s head, so an outside, researched view will do.)  But creating Rosemary was the most difficult, and also the most fun, part of the book for me.  I find that most difficult and most fun often go together.

If you could tell anyone to read one book (other than your own) what would that book be?

I’m not sure I can answer this question.  It would depend on the anyone – I don’t think books are a one-size-fits-all sort of thing.   But a current enthusiasm is Kelly Link’s new short story collection, GET IN TROUBLE.  Coming out in February.  I will be so happy if you all buy and read it.

You can connect with Karen Joy Fowler on her website and become a fan on GoodReads! I’m always thankful for these moments with writers and I hope you will pick up this amazing book! You can always connect with me on GoodReads,through our books section of our site, and you can read our entire Sundays With Writers series for more author profiles. Happy reading, friends!

*This post contains affiliate links!

 

It’s the 3 Little Things: A New Podcast to Love, Mad for Laura, & Moving Documentaries

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

It's the 3 Little Things

Happy Friday, friends! This week has been a little crazy as our little ’60’s home is being renovated…I know…again. I have always grown up in a one bathroom home and to have an extra half bath in our house has been a delightful luxury. Things are about to get a bit more luxurious though thanks to All-Pro Renovations as they add a shower in our guest bathroom this week. You can’t even imagine my excitement that we will have TWO showers. I also am remembering how hard it was to juggle a family and one bathroom and have come to appreciate the luxuries of multiple bathrooms all the more.

On a superficial note, I am also quite excited about the pretty subway tiled walls, hex tiled flooring, and pretty painted planks that are going on the ceiling. I can’t wait to show you soon since I have NO DOUBT this will be on the happy list in just a couple of short weeks!

A couple of fun housekeeping things on MomAdvice. First, Sundays With Writers is back for the new year on Sunday with a VERY special writer who is sharing a little of her heart and the story behind her book with us. In all honesty, I can’t believe she answered my email so this is a really special one for me. Secondly, our Wheat Belly discussion is on my schedule for Monday and I’m very excited to be sharing my thoughts on that book with you. Third, it was requested that I continue sharing my book reviews with you here so on the last Friday of each month, plan to meet me here for a monthly recap of what I’m reading each month instead of the happy list. Yay! 

Here’s the happy for this week!

Invisibilia

A New Podcast Addiction

Although I have had to say farewell to my Serial podcast addiction, I am able to handle it so much better than I expected thanks to the new Invisibilia podcast.  Invisibilia (Latin for “all the invisible things”) explores the intangible forces that shape human behavior – things like ideas, beliefs, assumptions and emotions. Although, I have to say, that description sounds quite drier than what it actually is.

Each week there is a subject of exploration and real people who struggle with it.  I listened to, “The Secret History of Thoughts,” and “Fearless,” which shared the story of people who struggled with things like thoughts or fears (or lack thereof)  and then the show shares the scientific & psychological research behind each topic. It kind of reminds me of Oprah meets This American Life. I really have enjoyed the first two episodes immensely and can’t wait to listen in on the next one today!

Little House: The First Five Novels

Little House: The First Five Novels (IN ONE!)

I had a bit of a Laura obsession when I was younger and I am thrilled to be seeing the Laura gleam in my daughter’s eyes now that we are reading these books together. For Christmas, I asked her grandparents to get her this Little House reissued classic from Barnes & Noble. The book costs a mere $18 and has the first five novels in one book. The inside has a calico print, it has a ribbon bookmark, and the pages have golden edges. It is just a treat for your bookshelf and a treat to read with your child.

Emily & I finished Little House in the Big Woods this week and we just started Little House on the Prairie a couple of nights ago.

I can really tell she caught the Laura bug when I was making her dinner last night and she said, “Oh, I wish we had our own pig so we could slaughter him like Laura’s family does.”

Ummmmm….

No.

After we finished reading it, I nestled the book with all of the other pretty classics I have been collecting and she pointed out the fact that 1. This was not a book for MY bookshelf and 2. Was I enjoying this book that was not my gift as much as I was enjoying the Taylor Swift CD that was not my gift in our car? I had to explain that I thought it might be easier to find the book on my shelf and we have to keep the CD ready for her so that I can play it right when she gets in the car off her bus.

I’m not sure she’s buying it- but I sure am loving her gifts this year! :)

Living On One Dollar

A Documentary for the Whole Family

Our family is still doing our Docu-Pizza nights and last week I stumbled upon this film, “Living on One Dollar,” that is currently on Netflix.  Four people take on the challenge of living on less than $1 a day in Guatemala. This challenge is something that 1.1 billion people face in our world every single day and they attempt to do just what they do on this amount of money. They show what it would be like to try to get a loan if this is your income, what it would be like to give up your schooling to keep your family fed, and the real issues that those in poverty face every single day.  This movie is so beautifully told and shot that it really brings perspective on just how lucky we are to live such a privileged life. I wouldn’t say it made me HAPPY (except the sweet, sweet ending), but it made me THINK A LOT about how we could do and be better. And that, of course, makes me happy.

We talked a lot about this one after it was done and  how we could be better stewards of all that God has given us.  After clearing out my pantry and fridge just days before,  it brought to light how much better we could be doing with eating at home and wasting less food.  This is a small switch that we all could do to free up more funds to give to those in need- what a wonderful thing.

It really is a good one for the whole family and I definitely recommend it over your next homemade pizza night!

*this post may contain affiliate links- I only recommend what I love though. Check out past editions of  It’s the 3 Little Things

Now it’s your turn! What’s making you happy this week?

Freebie Friday January 23, 2015

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

freebie friday Happy Freebie Friday, everyone! As always, we would like to thank Couponing 101 for assisting us with our freebies each week for loads of deals, savings, and freebies!

This week on MomAdvice we showcased not one, but two amazing guest post transformations in honor of our m challenge focus on health – Renee shares how she lost weight and keeps it off, and Ashley gives us ideas on incorporating healthy back into our lives! I’m focusing on the fridge and giving it a healthy makeover, along with a great no-bake energy bite recipe for the challenge. And then, in honor of the amazing Ultimate DIY Bundle available only through Sunday, I’m giving you a glimpse into how I went from a girl who thought she couldn’t make anything into a glue-gun-loving diy-er – and if I can, anyone can! And I hope you’ll check out this week’s edition of It’s the 3 Little Things to get your weekly dose of happy.

You can find lots of inspiring DIY, food, decorating and craft ideas in our popular Notebook, and be sure to check out all the contests you can enter on our weekly round-up of great giveaways, too.

Note: I want to lead off this week’s freebies by reminding you that although The Ultimate DIY Bundle I mentioned above costs money, it’s like getting over $1,100 worth of FREEBIES. For example: take one eCourse like the photography 101 ($60+ value) after purchasing the bundle at $34.95 (and that’s like a 50% sale) and all other 75 eBooks & eCourses are FREE. Not to mention the actual freebie bonuses like beautiful prints, cards, magazines and craft classes! Click here to learn more or buy.

Health & Beauty
Entertainment
This Week’s Freebie Events: January 2430
24th – Barnes & Noble: Join story time featuring I Love You Night and Day, 11 am
24th – Lakeshore Learning: Create a My Friends Photo Board, 11 am – 3 pm
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You CAN DIY!

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

You CAN DIY!

When I look back on my life, I can honestly tell you that never in a million years would I believe that I would be sharing tutorials on craft or DIY. I always had crafty ambitions, but seemed to lack that creative gene and talent to take my projects to the next level. My skill set was minimal, but the desire was  always there. When we had to be serious about penny pinching, after the loss of my husband’s job, that is when I knew that I needed to be serious about making the most of our home and to get serious about DIY-ing in our life.

There is nothing like a lack of money that can force you into getting creative.

You CAN DIY!

Each day I am a little prouder of the the things that we have crafted for our home. The comments that I get make me feel so good about the space we have created. My favorite thing people say is, “This house is just so YOU.” Making a house with lots of personality and individuality has always been a big goal of mine and it has been created with an awful lot of crafting over these years. Our house really is just *us* and it was achieved with hot glue, a lot of yarn, plenty of paint, and a strong desire for a house with individuality.

No sewing skills required!

Which is why I am so thrilled to share that I am selling my first eBook called, Easy DIY Crafts for Every Season, in The Ultimate DIY Bundle to help inspire you – from crafting for your home, to creating the perfect hostess gift, to celebrating all of life’s holidays. As someone as un-crafty as I was, this feels like a really big milestone paved with a lot of awful burn marks from poor hot glue planning. :)

Ultimate DIY Bundle

Ultimate DIY Bundle

The resources in this bundle are just the kind of resources that I wished I would have had at my fingertips when I was learning to decorate and craft for my home. It is the kind of resource that would have helped me achieve all that I really wanted to do on my small budget.

Ultimate DIY Bundle

For me, the photography books included really make this bundle special and worth the investment. Kristen Duke is one of my favorite photographers and I have been dying to learn from her. How awesome that Say NO to Auto is included in this bundle so that I can start taking better pictures of my crafts…and my kids?!  There is also Birthday Party Printables from Amy Locurto, The Ultimate Tassel Guide by Myquillyn Smith (aka, The Nester), Thrifty Decor Chick’s DIY Handbook by Sarah Saucedo, A Summer of Stories by Tsh Oxenreider, Easy Mod Podge Decor for Your Home by Amy Anderson, Infarrantly Creative Printable Collection by Beckie Farrant and SO much more!

You’ll gain access to a library full of 75+ eBooks and eCourses (like Photography 101 from the guys at Shoot, Fly, Shoot), PLUS free bonuses which include a Craftsy class worth up to $60! So, DIY + Freebies? You can see why I’d be excited to share this with you all, right?

*Sorry, this sale has ended!*

 

The Ultimate DIY Bundle, is a collection of carefully curated DIY eBooks and eCourses from the world’s leading authors and bloggers in the industry! For just $34.95 you’ll get access to over 75 eBooks and eCourses – and let me reassure you that this really is great value: the Ultimate Bundles team (who produced the resource) has spent MONTHS seeking out the most respected experts in the industry and asking them to contribute their premium-quality eBooks and eCourses. These really are the best of the best when it comes to DIY and crafting advice and information on topics like:

  • Home decor
  • Furniture painting
  • Photography
  • Chalk pastels
  • Handmade gifts
  • Homemade skincare products
  • Cake decorating
  • Photography and photo-editing
  • Paint colors and interior design

There’s no need to worry about information overload though: The Ultimate DIY Bundle comes with a complete guide to getting started, so that you can know exactly which resource to use for your specific crafting or DIY project and jump straight into it with confidence!

 

Healthy Fridge Makeover {& No-Bake Energy Bites}

Thursday, January 22nd, 2015

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As I shared with you, when I attended college I lived on junk & convenience food and I had the inevitable “Freshman 15,” to prove it from my bad eating habits throughout the year. I only wish I knew how great I would have felt and how much better I would have performed if I had stocked my fridge with healthy options.

Now I know that there are healthy ideas for stocking your refrigerator – whether it’s a dorm sized mini-fridge, your first apartment fridge, or the huge family-sized fridge many of us graduate to – and I’m making sure that my kids do know that the foods that are good for your body are easy to keep on hand, too. In this healthy fridge makeover, I’m sharing easy ways to keep good-for-you foods within reach along with a recipe for a quick to make no-bake energy bite that you can mix up in a bowl for easy snacks on-the-go that both kids and adults love.

Healthy Fridge Makeover_2 Eggs- Eggs are the perfect food for starting your day out right or for a healthy late night snack. Did you know that you can prepare an egg easily in the microwave with no special equipment at all? Simply spray or grease a bowl to prepare it and crack two eggs in it with a tablespoon of milk and whisk well with a fork. Place your bowl of eggs in the microwave and cook for one minute. Give it another little scramble with your fork and then cook for thirty second intervals, until your eggs reach the desired consistency. That’s it! Don’t forget that you can add your own fun add-ins to this versatile food like chopped up veggies, cheeses, or meats.

Berries- Berries are a great item to keep on hand to eat as a side, to grab by the handful for a quick snack, mixed in with a cup of Greek yogurt, or as a topper to a bowl of instant oatmeal in the morning. Cut berries can also be added to a water bottle and then allowed to steep overnight to create a healthy & inexpensive infused water.

Veggies- Cut veggies are the perfect item to have on hand for a quick and healthy snack. Some of my favorites for snacking are peppers (in every color), carrot sticks, celery sticks, & cauliflower. Pair these veggies with your favorite dips like a nut butter with celery or dip them in hummus for an easy snack.

Nut Butters & Nuts- Nothing is quicker or easier than keeping a package of nuts on hand for snacking. Did you know that you can even freeze nuts? Grab an extra package and store it in your freezer, up to six months, to make sure they don’t go rancid. Try a new variety like almonds, pistachios, walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, or cashews for a little variety. These can also be added to bowls of instant oatmeal in the morning or mixed into a salad for a crunch topping.

Nut butters are great for an accompaniment to celery or cut apples. My own favorite nighttime snack is peanut butter on a slice of whole grain toast with a glass of almond milk before I go to bed. It’s a satisfying and inexpensive snack!

Hummus- There are many different flavors and varities now of hummus and it is the perfect snack or spread to add to pitas or even smeared as a topping for your favorite sandwich. My favorite variety is the Red Pepper Hummus with sliced cucumbers or pita for an effortless snack.

String Cheese- String cheese is one of those grab-and-go snacks that I love to keep on hand in our fridge. Chop these up to add to your eggs to add a little cheesiness to your egg dishes without investing in bags of shredded cheese or wrap cheese with whole grain bread and a little deli meat into a “sushi” roll for a quick sandwich that can make lunches special.

No_Bake_Energy_Bites Energy Bites- No-bake energy bites are a fun snack to have on hand when you are craving a treat with a little sweetness. We all adore these at my house! The best part is that they don’t require an oven or mixer, making these an easy treat to make…and to eat! Did I mention it tastes an awful like cookie dough too? Yum!

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No-Bake Energy Bites
Author: 
Recipe type: Snack
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16 bites
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 1 cup wheat germ
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
Instructions
  1. Mix everything above in a medium bowl until thoroughly incorporated.
  2. Let chill in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Once chilled, simply roll into balls.
  4. Store these in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to one week.

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