I went to Target the other day and saw the cutest little face potters for plants that I wanted to get for this windowsill, but then I saw the price tag & said ope, nevermind, and placed it back.
I headed down to Menards and picked up a small stack of these Terra cotta planters for $0.78 each & asked my husband to decorate them for me instead. These first two he made for me are awesome! I can’t wait to see what the rest will turn out like. I want to go back and get a bunch more for the kids & I to decorate also! We have plenty of empty windowsill space to fill with our purposeful art, herbs, & houseplants.
Instead of blowing a bunch of money at Target to get what everyone else has, I was able to save a ton of money & get custom planters instead. You can do ANYTHING with these. Decorate them ANY way you want. Let your imagination run wild. They’ll end up looking way cuter than anything you can find at Target, plus no one else in the world will have the same one as you!
We had our parents (minus my mom ☹️) & Kaden over tonight to celebrate Moses’ birthday. We were supposed to last weekend, but most of our family had a cough and/or runny nose, so we postponed to tonight, but unfortunately my mom tested positive for covid today so she stayed home.
My original plan was supposed to be a grill-out, but since it rained on & off all day, we moved it inside instead so I just threw something small together.
I used our tree stump cake stand from our fall forest wedding for a homemade chocolate cake. I made little “s’mores cups” out of garden seed starter cups & filled a fall mini loaf pan with gummy bears. I grabbed a stuffed squirrel we had & had the kids find me some sticks to place in a vase for decor.
I found these cute little cake toppers on Amazon and just stuck them in cute. My dad commented that it looked better than the ones I get from a bakery which made me sooooo happy to hear & really proud of my hardwork.
We ordered a variety tray of Subway sandwiches since our food menu changed on us. I also put out Pretzel twig sticks, wild berry mix my dad brought, and some babybel cheeses that I drew spots on to look like ladybugs.
I found this cute woodland theme party set on Amazon. They were adorable.
I made the garland finding photos on Pinterest that looked similar to the plates. I printed them out, glued them to construction paper, them laminated them & cut into individual pieces. I used a hole puncher to make holes and tried some yarn through to hang up. It barely took any time at all and looked really cute.
Moses was pretty nervous by the candle. He took a few bites of his piece before throwing it on the floor.
The handsome guest of honor with his super adorable “I’m Ukrainian, what’s your superpower?” Shirt.
It was really small, but it was only his first so realistically he had no idea what that whole shindig was for. It was still cute though and I hope everyone had a nice evening celebrating my Mosie Man.
Niko told me that I am “the best mom in the world” when he came home from work which really meant so much to me. He knows how hard I am on myself about being a mom & always thinking I’m not good enough/not doing enough so that really meant the world to me. I just hope the kids think it, that’s what really matters.
Happy Monday! I know I’m the odd man out here, but I LOVE Mondays! Especially if the weather is as beautiful as it was today.
Monday is the start of a brand new week. A fresh slate. Getting back to my 4:30-5 am routine that I honestly enjoy. I’ve recently given myself permission to sleep in on the weekends which really helps restore my soul more than I knew I needed.
Anyway, not everyone shares my enthusiasm for Mondays. So I wanted to share my very favorite Vegetable Pot Pie recipe with you in case you need a super mindless (& meatless) meal to make.
You will need:
1 box of store-bought pie crust (2 included), thawed to room-temp
2 (10.5 oz) cans of Cream of Potato Soup
3 bags of Frozen Mixed Vegetables, heated
1/2 cup milk
Salt, pepper, & thyme to your liking
First, preheat your oven to 375°
In a large bowl mix together 2 10.5 oz cans of Cream of Potato soup, 3 bags of Frozen Mixed Vegetables (I heat before adding to mixture), a half cup of milk, salt & pepper to your liking, throw some thyme in that bowl, and mix it all up.
Put 1 thawed-out, store-bought pie crust in your pie pan (you’re welcome to make your own if you want, but we’re going for mindless over here). Slowly scoop in your mixture until it’s all in there nice.
Place your second pie crust right on top and squish it around gently until it looks pretty. Add a fun design or letter (I like to do M for our last name) if you want, or just a slit works too. Beat an egg, brush it on top and pop that in the oven for 45 minutes.
When it comes out, let it cool for a few minutes. Cut into slices, dish it out, & enjoy.
There ya go! A super, duper easy and affordable weeknight meal that is both kid & meat-eating husband approved. You can add cheese or other spices if you want as well. It’s also a meal that is easy enough for older children to learn how to make on their own!
Helpful tip: use the cooking time for homework or chores. Try to get as much of your to-do list crossed off before the timer goes off. The more you can get accomplished before dinner, the less you’ll be left with at the end of the night.
What is your favorite mindless meal 🍽 to make on the weeknights?
Happy Mothers Day to all the mama’s out there! I hope that today was wonderful for you.
I started Mothers Day weekend off at my parents house. My dad made a French toast, fresh fruit, and potatoes breakfast for my mom & I on Saturday.
After breakfast, my mom & I went to our favorite local flower farmer annual plant sale. I am so happy about my picks. We got them planted today (Sunday) and I cannot wait to see them grow! I swear her flowers just take root so much better than anything I’ve gotten anywhere else around town!
After the plant sale, Niko & I took the kids out to the annual Chili Cook Off & Dessert Auction at church. I REALLY enjoyed the vegetarian chili. My mother in law told me that she would ask the woman who made it for the recipe for me.
The dessert auction was fun. I couldn’t believe how much some of these families paid for these homemade desserts! One cake went for over $1000! It was to raise money for the Youth Mission Trip. (My father in law let us know today that the entire trip is paid in full thanks to the auction!) Next year I really want to enter a dessert or two into the auction. I wonder how much mine would go for?! 🤔
My father in law made & entered a “Strawberry Fields Forever” strawberry shortcake filled with real strawberries 🍓 and topped with a homemade strawberry glaze. He bid on & won that for us all to share. It was SO yummy! My mother in law bid on chocolate chip cookies for us to share. We also ended up bringing home a red velvet & cream cheese frosting cake.
We bought plain white photo frames. I wrote Happy Mothers Day in the center & the girls signed all of their names and colored with Sharpies. After they were finished, we printed out photos of Moses & the girls and put them inside of the frames.
Mia & I had gone to Trader Joe’s the afternoon beforehand to buy several bouquets of flower arrangements. I took the arrangements apart and I laid all of the flowers on the table for the girls to make new bouquets for the Babas (Ukrainian word for grandma 👵🏼) except for the roses (since they had thorns) which I split 3 ways evenly.
They ended up turning out really cute! I thought this was a super fun way for the girls to be involved. I loved doing this with Mia at Findlay Market last year and really wanted to be able to make it possible for all of the girls to create real bouquets together to gift to their Babas for Mothers Day and thought this would be the easiest and less stressful way to accomplish that.
We assembled all of our gifts together and packed them up for each Baba.
I wish I would have gotten a picture of all of the completed bouquets. They were really pretty. Both my mom & Ali were really impressed with the girls work. I really hope that we made them feel special today.
Mia & Ella each made me a few things. Mia made me a cupcake 🧁 at The Mad Potter & a really cute card. Ella made me a mushroom 🍄 at The Mad Potter, a clay bowl in art class, a bouquet of paper flowers each listing different reasons why she loves me, & a box of “coupons” for me to cash in for various things like hugs, a walk around the block, or helping me out around the house.
We went to church, then out to lunch with my husband’s parents, sister, & her two children: Noah & Milana.
The cousin crew! Ella, Sasha & Moses, Athena, Mia & Milana, Noah. I can’t believe how big they are all getting.
One of my favorite gifts I received (from Kaden) was my Ukrainian mosaic butterfly 🦋 to add to my garden.
Of course I have my Ukrainian flag flying proudly. Then I added the sunflowers for the bad-ass Ukrainian woman who was giving out sunflower seeds to the occupiers so when they die sunflowers will grow. I moved the blue & yellow flower over to this space to go along with the Ukrainian tribute to my people.
I love love love the way that it looks! The butterfly really pulls it together. I got my new plants into the ground and I can’t wait to watch them grow through the season.
Well, after this busy weekend, I’m so exhausted I can barely keep my eyes open to finish writing this so I’m going to call it a night. 5 am will be here in the blink of an eye.
As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to an end I just wanted to share with you our small DIY gifts the girls made for their teachers.
Ella made a clipboard for her teacher, Mr. Vample. Mia made a clipboard for her teacher Mrs. Mcgahan.
They also made a clipboard for our “bus mom,” Mrs. Mace, because she is just the sweetest and has helped our girls (and many other kiddos) get safely to & from the bus stop each day which we certainly appreciate.
We bought each clipboard at the Dollar Tree for $1.25 each, and the rest of the materials we had at home already.
Getting teacher gifts doesn’t have to be pricey. It doesn’t have to out-do any of the other parents. You don’t have to break your budget. It isn’t a competition to be the “favorite” student, or parent. Your kid can color on a rock, or put nature together to form a portrait of their teacher. They can color a card. Kids are so creative- the possibilities are endless if you let them take the lead.
Your child just showing their teacher they care and appreciate them enough to take the time out of their busy play to make them a small gift is ENOUGH. Gifts are meant to be from the heart & that’s exactly where a homemade gift comes from ❤.
My sweet Mia recently decided that she is going vegetarian! My husband recently told me that he is going pescatarian! Hooray! We are taking another giant step closer to being a completely meat-free home!
My mom also recently told me about these “Blue Zone People” who eat very little meat and live to be over 100 years old. I’m not a fad-diet person, or a diet person at all if we’re being honest, but if it involves no meat, I’m a supporter!
However, all three share a lack of enthusiasm when it comes to “fake meat,” or meat alternatives. I, for one, LOVE ❤ “fake meat,” but that is probably for the first time in my life, I can eat something that resembles meat without being afraid of eating it. We aren’t supposed to put dead things inside living things 🤷🏼♀️.
[ ❇ FUN FACT: I did not eat meat growing up due to a very debilitating phobia of vomit (better known as emetophobia), but did not classify myself as vegetarian because my diet consisted of strictly noodles, butter, and cheese until I met my husband. So basically, I was a carb-ivore. 😂]
I became determined to find recipes that make “fake meat” more appetizing to keep them from losing their interest in going meat-free and provide a variety of healthy AND large-family affordable meatless meals, using mostly ingredients we keep regularly stocked in our pantry. Using what you already have is the MOST eco-friendly thing you can do.
Let’s Get Cooking
◾ Fresh Ingredients:
1 Yellow onion
1 Green pepper
1 Yellow pepper
1 large tomato
1 LB. “Meatless Grind”
◾ Pantry Ingredients:
3 TBSP olive oil
1 Carton vegetable broth
3 TBSP tomato paste
1 TSP dried oregano
2 TSP dried basil
1 TSP garlic powder
1/2 TSP black pepper
Salt to taste
1 Cup brown rice
Get Prepared – Begin heating 3 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in your Dutch Oven pan (I prefer Lodge brand) + chop all veggies.
Dump in your peppers & onions, after a few minutes add the tomatoes, cooking for another minute or so.
Scoot your veggies over against the sides and add your meatless grind into the center & cover. Stir grind, cover. Stir grind, cover. Eventually you will mix all of the meatless grind in with the veggies as it cooks.
Add your 3 TBSP tomato paste, stir. Add 1 carton of vegetable broth, stir. Add 1 TSP oregano, 2 TSP basil, 1 TSP garlic powder, 1/2 TSP black pepper, + salt to taste, stir.
Bring the temp down to low, cover + let simmer for 20 minutes.
Add 1 Cup brown rice. Cover + cook until rice is finished.
Serve, paired with a crusty bread. We chose French Baguette.
Found this recipe delicious? Please consider sharing! Make sure to subscribe for more easy & affordable meat-free recipes!
My youngest baby is already about to turn 1 year old in just a few weeks! It is hard to believe this time last year I was perfecting every last detail of her nursery makeover before she arrived.
I never got to design Kaden’s nursery since we lived with my parents at the time he was born and they made the executive decisions about what was purchased for his nursery.
I never got to design Ella’s nursery, and as we added more and more girls, we just sort of left the dull pink color and mismatched furniture for all of the girls. I finally decided to design the nursery that I wanted and would love, and learned that I really don’t care for pink all that much, especially as a wall color.
My DIY Dream Nursery
This bed has made it through all 5 of my babies. It’s time is certainly coming to an end, but for now, I’m still loving all of its beauty.
This nursing chair has also made it through all 5 of my children, and 2 of my cousins before them. It came with an ottoman, which was well loved, but very large and in a small home, every inch of space counts. So it was freecycled, and hopefully loved.
I have always preferred hand created art over store bought art. I want my home filled with unique items that no one else in the world has. Basic is an insult in my vocabulary, so I prefer to be anything but.
I made this dream catcher to match my fall + earth inspired nursery with hemp and ribbons. I think it pulled the room together with its color palette.
The stars are decals that I found on Etsy. They were very easy to put on and made a huge difference in the room.
I have had this shelving unit since my oldest was a toddler and housed his VHS & DVD collection. I asked my husband to hang them on the wall instead. I love being able to have my cloth diapers on display, easily accessible, yet stylish at the same time. I spent a long time finding the perfect additions to style these shelves and I have to say, as simple as it is, this is probably my favorite wall in the house.
When my husband came to America this was his dresser which we were gifted by his parents. The shelf I have had since Ella was a baby which I picked up at the thrift store.
I chose to omit a changing table this time around and use a Moses changing basket instead which I highly recommend. We didn’t have enough space for a changing table, and quite honestly, over a span of 4 kids, it was only used about 6 months per kid, if that. I decided to convert my changing table into a hutch for my dining room. I love being able to take the Moses basket easily from room to room. And it takes up no extra space.
The Llama toy basket came Target.
This shelf I had a bit of trouble styling, but I love the wood and simplicity of it.
The lamp came from Target. The Adventure sign came from Hobby Lobby.
Small houses require a lot of additional storage anywhere you can add it. This cloth storage unit added some extra storage and fit well in this room’s color palette.
This was an additional step that everyone thought I was silly for adding, especially at around $15 a piece, but I think small details are important in the big picture. Why redo an entire room and leave those ugly plastic ones? Especially when we want to be a plastic-free home! I think they look beautiful in this room, and with the amount of money I saved shopping my home, using mostly what we already had, I figured that I could splurge a little on the cover plates I wanted.
I loved these animal hangers from Hobby Lobby. I got them during a 50% hanging decor sale making them less than $5 a piece. They went so well in here and add even a little bit more extra storage space. Every little bit counts in a small house!
So that’s my DIY Dream Nursery! I loved designing it and I love the feel that it has brought to our home. If you love it as much as I do, I ask that you please share!
Be sure to check back for more home makeovers as I share each room!!
A few years ago during the worst of my grief depression following the death of my son’s father, I began what I later learned as “Swedish Death Cleaning.”
Swedish Death Cleaning is the idea of clearing out all of the clutter from your home in order to leave less of a burden on your loved ones when you die to make it simpler on them.
I began obsessively tossing everything in my home and organizing everything perfectly in the event that I would pass. I wanted everything to be in order (even controlling from my grave, I see 🤪) so that when I was gone they would be able to find everything easily and they wouldn’t have to go through any of my things.
I got rid of almost everything in my home and found that a huge part of my stress had gone away. I found that my children actually played with the toys they had left. I found that every item left in my home has a purpose, and is used. I found that having a completely decluttered and organized home significantly cut down on waste. I found that it is much easier to thoroughly clean when you have less to move.
I learned that holding onto items for the off chance that I “might” fit in something one day or “might” use it one day even though we haven’t used it once in years was only creating extra unnecessary clutter. Why was I holding onto it? What purpose did it serve sitting in a corner or on a shelf being stored away. We aren’t supposed to hoard earthly treasures. We should give freely when we can, and if we have things that we truly are not using, we should offer it up to someone who could use it now.
With my 30th birthday approaching as well as the holiday season that will also soon be upon us, I thought I would create a gift guide to make shopping for the minimalist woman 😘 in your life a little easier.
A Gift Guide for the Minimalist Woman in your Life
Personal Care Gift Card (Massage, nail appointment, hair appointment, a facial. 💆🏼♀️💇🏼♀️ [ ⚠️TIP: Find out what salon the miminalist woman in your life uses before purchasing a gift card.]
A new candle🕯
Take care of one bill, expense, or outstanding debt. 💵 No matter how big or how small, its always nice to feel less financially stressed.
A grocery store gift card, or take grocery shopping! 🧁 It’s always nice to be able to get some things outside your family food budget.
A gasoline gift card ⛽
A new plant 🌿 real or faux!
Offer to help with something that needs finished! 🙌🏼 From finishing a project together to getting the laundry caught up for her, there’s always so much to do & not enough time to do it. An extra set of hands can be greatly appreciated.
Offer to babysit 🤱🏼
Provide an already prepared meal that is heat-able in the oven or crockpot for a night off from cooking, with minimal cleaning. OR go out for a meal. 🥗 [ ⚠️TIP: find out dietary restrictions ahead of time!]
A book or cookbook 📚 (Find out dietary restrictions ahead of time).
A Kitchen Aide Stand Mixer attachment for the homemaking minimalist woman. There are so many neat attachments that make cooking or baking from scratch even easier!
Cute reusable grocery bags
Earrings from a local artist or Etsy.[ ⚠️TIP: Etsy can sometimes have long shipping times. Plan accordingly.]
Baked goods. 🍪 Homemade is always best.
A bag of coffee from a favorite local coffee shop
I hope that this list helped give you a few ideas for creative and useful minimalist gift giving for the woman in your life! 🎁
🙏🏼 PLEASE SHARE AND SUBSCRIBE! & Also check back for my Gift Guide for the Minimalist Children & Families, as well as my Gift Guide for the Minimalist Man!
One of my very favorite hobbies is planning, especially for events. I dream of the day we find our forever home with plenty of space to host many elaborate parties for the rest of our lives.
Throwing Mia a “socially distanced” birthday party was my first event since covid-19 began, and I was ecstatic to be party planning again! I was a bit further behind on time than I had hoped, but overall my first “socially disanced” party was a success.
I’m excited to take you along to join us for an afternoon tea!
I had so much fun making these invitations and I was really impressed with how they turned out.
I found a free teacup template online, printed it out and lightly traced onto white card stock. After that, I bordered it with pink and added a pink heart to each teacup.
I typed up the wording and cut out each one to be able to fit inside the hearts. Unfortunately, by the time I realized that it looks best if you cut along the individual letters, I was already on my last one 🤦🏼♀️ but now I know for the future! I wanted the letters to pop, so I used drafting dots to attempt to create that effect.
I made a hole behind the cup and two holes above the cup to be able to tie in a string for the teabag and a bow. I attached the string from a white & gold foiled Christmas string I already had and attached the teabag to the string using a stapler to give it a realistic look. I asked my friend to tie a perfect bow for me because she makes beautiful ones and mine are downright sloppy 😂.
I then bordered the pink with a brown to match the guest’s teabag and hide the strings behind the pink card stock and tie it all together.
The waffle fruit bowls were a big hit! I bought 1 box of 12 small waffle cone bowls and an already prepared fruit salad and divided it between the 12 waffle cone bowls. We also had a cream cheese fruit dip to be used as a sauce to drizzle on top of each bowl, or to dip your fruit skewer in.
I would have preferred to buy my flowers from my friend, Celeste, the owner & artist of Village General; but due to lack of time, I purchased two small, half-price, day-old bouquets and blended them together to create the look I was going for.
I found some Celestial Caffine-Free Fruit Tea Sampler to serve the children. I thought that fruit flavored tea would go over well with the children, and there were multiple really yummy options for them to choose from! Even my pickiest of all found a flavor he enjoyed!
I had tried desperately to find some colorful macaroons, but had no luck tracking any down. I decided to substitute my original plan with meringues instead and that worked out just fine.
I made the pressed flower sugar cookies that turned out very cute! The other two cookies were purchased: Frosted Sugar Cookies in pink & of course, Verona cookies because you can’t have tea without those!
The bottom layer was simply a few boxes of powdered donuts, nothing too fancy. I would have liked to get the mini powdered donuts, but one package of them cost as much as 4 packages of the large ones, so I decided to go with those for budget purposes.
My mom found very cute little tea party plates that really pulled the theme together and came in several different patterns to match the various colors. They have an entire tea party set as well, that would make it even more adorable!
More food that was unfortunately not photographed was:
Chicken Salad Crossant Sandwiches
Fairy Bread Sandwiches
Ham & Cheese Sandwiches
I found these plain white tea cups at the thrift store for 50 cents each. Each kid was given their own tea cup to decorate with sharpie to take home with them.
When decorating your own mugs or teacups with sharpies, it is important to bake them in the oven at 250°F for at least 2 hours so that the sharpie does not wash off.
I had planned to incorporate the tea cups into a game of having the children race with full tea cups of water to the fence and back while spilling the least amount of water, but tea went into the cups before I was able to get that far 🤦🏼♀️.
We also found many fun dress up ensembles at the thrift. The girls had a blast dressing up in boas, hats, and beads galore.
It was a really lovely day and I am very pleased with the turn out.
I cannot wait to begin planning for Thea’s FIRST birthday coming up in October (which if you know me, know that it is my FAVORITE month)! & Ella’s birthday in November!
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