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!
When I began meal prepping, I used “themes” to help me plan meals since too many choices cause me to feel too overwhelmed. Taco Tuesday is a pretty household common theme, but even when you switch up your ingredients frequently, tacos/burritos/burrito bowls can get overdone after so long.
For last night’s “Taco Tuesday” I made a Meatless Mexican Rice Casserole just to change it up a little. It’s a super easy pantry staple meal that can be versatile depending on what you have/what your family eats.
It was really easy to throw it together and really yummy! Everyone especially enjoyed the homemade tortilla chips! I personally would have enjoyed a bit more heat, but since more kids than adults were eating it, I kept it super mild. Next time I will also add onion.
Let’s Get Cooking
For the casserole, you’re going to need:
14 oz Not Chicken Broth
1 cup Jasmine rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup sour cream
1 jar salsa of choice (*I used a chunky-ish garden style)
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can pinto beans
Cilantro (*fresh is better, but dried works also!)
Salt & pepper to liking
Cheese (*I used Monterey Jack)
For the chips, you’re going to need:
Tortilla shells cut into quarters (I use corn)
Vegetable oil for frying
1. • Add rice and butter to pot, stir frequently until butter is all melted. • Once melted, add Not Chicken Broth & bring to a boil. • Once boiling; cover with lid, reduce heat, & set timer for 20 minutes.
2. Mix together the canned ingredients, salsa, and cilantro in a large bowl while the rice cooks.
3. • Once rice is finished cooking, move to a cold burner & fluff with a fork. Stir in sour cream. • Stir in contents from large bowl + salt & pepper until completely mixed together. • Top with cheese. • Bake 30 minutes uncovered at 375° in a 9×13 dish.
4. • While casserole is cooking, fry your quarter-cut tortillas in batches until they resemble golden tan chips (they harden more and more as they dry). • Sprinkle sea salt after each batch.
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 ❤.
I went to the Oakley Kroger the other night with Moses. That place is HUGE! As we were walking (aka me walking & wearing all 23+ pounds of him) inside we decided to check out the outside floral section and I ended up buying a cherry tomato starter plant & a strawberry starter plant.
When we got home it was too late to start a gardening project, so I set them aside for the next morning.
When I went to plant them, I came to the conclusion that I really didn’t want to plant food that we plan to eat near our trash cans, even with a fence separating them. So I figured out a new solution!
I moved the raised bed into this space along the fence.
I thought that it looked a little out of place by itself, so I built a little rock pathway with rocks out of the stockpile I already had.
Once I had all the rock placement laid out, I began collecting these mosaic tiles around my back yard. I had originally had them in the gravel patio area, but I think that they will be much more appreciated over here.
I’ve got a pretty good start going, but I definitely need to continue picking more out to make sure the spaces in between are really full.
I also moved this little red bird bath from a different garden space in my yard. It makes more sense over here since the hose can reach here, but not where it was previously.
I planted the cherry tomatoes in the middle container and strawberries to the right. I am going to plant lettuce in the container to the left when it isn’t raining.
To be completed:
• Finish filling in mosaic pieces between rock spaces.
• Plant a creeping flower in the tower growing up the sides.
• Weed and prepare the right side near the fence to sculpt out a garden bed + plant some flowers.
• Trim bush to the left side and sculpt out garden bed + plant some flowers.
• Create fun garden stakes with the kids for each container.
• Find and/or make more garden decor to personalize it more!
Just a small, spur of the moment project I wanted to document on here. I hope you like it and it Inspires you to do some gardening yourself! Gardening can be really, really therapeutic as well as a great work out & way to connect with nature.
Are you big into gardening, or a beginner? Have you tried raised garden beds or container gardens? What kind of things do you like to grow?
When Ella was a baby, we went through ALL of the brands of baby wipes available on the market. No matter what brand we tried, her “diaper rashes” got worse and worse. Huggies were by far the most harmful brand to her skin.
We eventually learned that diaper rashes are NOT normal, and are in fact chemical burns caused by the wipes. So I began making my own baby wipes, which completely stopped the rashes. The only time new rashes appeared were when she went to family members houses that still used store-bought wipes.
I have been making my own baby wipes ever since for all of my babies born after her, and have since switched to cloth diapering after learning how dangerous disposable diapers are for babies health as well.
Making your own wipes is inexpensive, easy to do, and SAFE for your babies.
Phenoxyethanol – harmful to children’s health including adverse effects to the central and peripheral nervous system, skin irritation, lung irritation, toxic to kidneys and liver,
Benzyl Alcohol – causes irritations and rashes and inflammation on the skin of young children including: irritation, severe itching, reddening of skin, loss of sensation, eye irritations, vision problems, pain, peeling skin, heat burn.
Formaldehyde – carcinogenic to humans. Causes cancer and contact dermatitis including blisters, scales, thickening of skin, leathery skin, asthma, respiratory problems, eye, nose, and throat irritations, conjunctival irritation, allergies, low blood pressure, headaches, irregular breathing, abnormalities of heart rhythm, unconsciousness, restlessness, loss of red blood cells.
Polypropylene – can cause dizziness, drowsiness, low blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, lung disease.
Viscose – Derived from wood pulp, the process to make viscose involves many harsh chemicals. Those chemicals cause coronary heart failure, birth defects, skin conditions, and cancer. Viscose is highly pollutable to our planet and has a devastating impact on forests, people, and animals.
Polyester – Polyester is absolutely detrimental to our environment. More than 70 million barrels of oil are used to make polyester each year. It is the biggest source of microplastic pollution in the oceans. Each time you wash polyester, up to 1900 fibres are washed off back into our water systems and oceans. It takes up to 200 ywars to biodegrade- that is more than 2 lifetimes. The production of polyester uses very harsh chemicals including carcinogens. Carcinogens generate skin problems and lung and heart cancer. Polyester causes chronic and severe respiratory infections. Causes rashes, itching, redness, eczema, and dermatitis. Causes allergies, chemical sensitivity, and other serious health problems. Lowers sperm count in men. Toxic to babies immune systems. Not breathable material.
Petrochemicals – Ethylene Oxide, 1,4-Dioxane, Polysorbate 20, Bis-PEG/PPG-16/16 PEG/PPG-16/16 Dimethicone, Potassium Laureth Phosphate, PEG-75 Lanolin, Ceteareth-20. These cause cancer, birth defects, headaches, respiratory irritation, and both female and male reproductive harm. They cause leukemia, lung cancer, nose, throat, and sinus cancer, blood and lymphatic cancer. Affect development of children including brain development, learning and behavioral problems. Using while pregnant will affect both you and your unborn baby.
Phthalates – usually found under the name “fragrance,” “perfume,” or “perfum.” This causes allergies, hormone disruptions, infertility, dermatitis, and respiratory distress. Causes damage to liver, kidneys, lungs, and reproductive system. Lowers sperm count and quality and lowers testosterone levels. Has a lasting impact on neurodevelopment including lower IQ, problems with attention and hyperactivity as well as poor social communication, depression, and aggression. Changes hormone levels, alters development of genitals. Causes breast cancer, obesity, thyroid problems, asthma, and metabolic issues.
These are just a few of the chemicals that are found in store-bought baby wipes including the brands you have put your trust into. As you can see, these are NOT safe for anyone, especially babies, yet they are marketed for mothers to use on their babies. The FDA is a scam, and should NEVER be trusted. Always do your own research before using anything, especially on the tiny humans you are responsible to take care of and keep safe.
Note: The “natural” wipes do not mean they are safe. There are few rules, regulations, or guidelines when it comes to a “natural” product. “Natural” does not make a product vegan, organic, non-toxic, cruelty or chemical free. Remember, crude oil is natural.
Water wipes would SEEM safe, but they contain grapefruit seed extract which may contain harmful contaminants meant to act as preservatives. Grapefruit seed extract is a general lable to hide: Benzetheonium Chloride, Methylparaben, and Triclosan. Water without a broad-spectrum preservation system cannot prevent the growth of mold and bacteria which can cause seriously infections. No cleansing agents, means that when babies poop it does not properly disinfect babies genitals. The poop residue left behind can cause skin irritation and leaves bacteria behind which can cause urinary tract infections, meningitis, septicaemia, and purulent conjunctivitis. Meningitis and septicaemia have been known to cause death in infants.
The ONLY way to know that the wipes that you are using on your baby are safe is to make them yourself. It sounds hard, but it is not at all!
How to Make Baby Wipes (Step by Step)
● Start by putting your dry wipes into your wipes container. You can also make reusable cloth ones which is a better option for our environmental waste and I hope to get to that point, however I currently use disposable wipes.
● Measure 2 cups of warm to hot water.
● Add 2 Tablespoons of Organic Coconut Oil.
● Add 1 Tablespoon of a non-toxic soap such as Young Living’s KidScents like I use, or Dr. Bronners Castile soap.
● Add 5 drops of Young Living’s Lavender Essential Oil (or any of their Seedling oils specifically for babies). Do NOT, I repeat DO NOT, use grocery store essential oils including those purchased on Amazon, Target, or Walmart- they are NOT pure and NOT safe to use especially on an infant or child.
Young Living is the ONLY essential oil company in the WORLD that has a Seed to Seal promise and conducts intensive testing to ensure that they are 100% safe to use.
● Mix together using your tablespoon to make sure you get all of the residue from the coconut oil and soap and don’t waste any.
● Pour mixture evenly over wipes container and leave upright for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, flip container over to sit for another 20 minutes. This spreads the mixture to absorb evenly.
It looks soapy when first poured, but it soaks into the wipes as it disperses over the setting time.
It is as easy as that! Takes a minute to mix up and pour, and a total of 40 minutes to settle. I suggest making them during nap times, or at night once baby has fallen asleep so you don’t find yourself needing wipes before they have set.
I’m raising cloth-diapered, hippie kids. Kids who LOVE to run around barefoot with no clothes on every chance they get. Especially my youngest two: Sasha & Athena.
I absolutely love their free spirits. I love that they are learning from a young age that all bodies are beautiful temples; that there is no reason to be ashamed of any part of your body.
Being a victim of religious abuse myself, it’s always been very important to me to teach my children that their bodies are theirs to cherish & what they choose to wear, or not wear, is not and will never be a “sin.” It will never insist that they “are asking” to be raped. It will never land them a place in “hell.” In my eyes, teaching your child to be ashamed of themselves & their bodies in the name of religion is far worse than my kids running around naked, the way they were BORN.
With that being said, naked kids tend to lead to extra accidents sometimes. My sweet Thea climbed up onto a cloth chair with her bare booty & accidentally peed all over it once she endured the climb. I had hoped that it was possibly a slip cover and I would be able to take it off and wash it, but no such luck.
Thats not a problem though because I have Thieves Household Cleaner!
In case you haven’t heard about Thieves yet, it is a “plant-based, ultra-concentrated, versatile solution that gives you a deep clean when scrubbing, de-greasing, spot cleaning, dusting, and more- all without harsh chemicals.” It is safe to use around your entire family including children and pets. It is also safe for all surfaces, including septic systems.
As a mom of many, especially 5 and under, using the safest ingredients around my home is my #1 priority. It is my job as a mother and wife to keep my home & family safe, and I take that job very seriously. With all of the physical & mental health risks of using traditional cleaning products or air freshening methods, I can rest well knowing I am using only the best products and putting my families health first without breaking the bank! Plus by replacing ALL of my other cleaning products with ONE bottle of cleaner, I significantly cut down on our family’s carbon footprint.
Click HERE to order your Thieves Household Cleaner
DIY Upholstery Cleaner
What you will need:
3/4 cup distilled water
1/4 cup white vinegar
1 tablespoon Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap
1/2 cupful of Thieves Household Cleaner
Once you make your mixture, grab a scrub brush, dip it in, and get scrubbing. Minimal effort is all you need, nothing vigorous. Scrub it all up and let it dry!
I planned on just cleaning up the accident, but while I had it off of its stand, I decided to give the whole cushion a good scrub down. It took off pet hair & marker stains beautifully. Plus it smells amazing and is 100% non-toxic.
Click HERE to order your Thieves Household Cleaner.
PS: Check out this scientific experiment seeing how well Thieves cleans compared to other well-known cleaning products! 😱
Click HERE to order your Thieves Household Cleaner!
Don’t forget that Spring Cleaning Season is right around the corner! Get those nasty chemical-riddled cleaning products out of your house and make the switch to Thieves Household Cleaner! Happy Cleaning!
Ella has now been a first-grader for 100 days (although with all of the remote learning we dealt with, it sure feels much longer than that) and to celebrate she decided to make a t-shirt with 100 gemstones in the shape of an “E” for Ella.
We used a youth pink craft shirt that we already had in our art supplies cabinet and purchased a large bag of gemstones from Michael’s.
First she counted out 100 of the gemstones that she wanted to use. I helped her draw a big block-letter “E” and she arranged the gemstones how she wanted them placed.
Once she got all of the gemstones placed, she used Gorilla Glue Crafting Glue to securely attach each one.
She was so proud of the outcome and was very excited to wear it to school today. She had gym, so she wore another shirt underneath so that she was able to take her gemstone shirt off so it didn’t get ruined during gym class and be able to put it back on afterwards.
We had fun making this shirt and it was very simple for a child of her age to be able to do mostly by herself.
I wonder if she will return home from school with her gemstones still in tact? 🤔😆
My husband and girls LOVE bananas, so lately I have been making a lot of banana flavored treats for my family.
This breakfast is healthy, delicious, and super simple to make with and for kids! Ella and I made this batch together for Sunday breakfast for our family.
This recipe makes 24 muffins- which is perfect for our large family. This recipe can be easily cut in half if your family size isn’t as large! Or you can make and freeze for an easy grab & go breakfast for those accidental last-minute mornings!
1 Stick vegan “butter”, softened (I use Earth’s Best!)
4 Over-ripe bananas
2 Cups flour
1 Cup light brown sugar
1 TSP salt
2 TSP cinnamon
2 TSP Pure Vanilla Extract
2 TSP baking soda
2 TSP baking powder
2 Cups oats
Wash hands ✋
Preheat oven to 400° + prepare muffin tins (reusable liners or spray with Pam Baking Spray w. Flour)
In your stand mixer bowl, mix together bananas, flour, and brown sugar.
Add in salt, cinnamon, vanilla, baking soda, and baking powder. Stir to combine.
Add oats, stir to combine.
Spoon batter into muffin tin + top with oats for decoration
Bake 15 minutes + let cool before serving
That’s it! So easy that kids can make these almost entirely by themselves!
I hope you enjoy your Vegan Banana Oat muffins! If you do, please share!
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.
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