Mia â€Ē Deer Park Lil Cats Cheer Season â€Ē 2021

Although our Cheer Season *officially* ended the last weekend of October, we had our Lil Cats Award Ceremony tonight to wrap up this year’s season!

Mia LOVED cheer! It is exactly where she belongs. She just has the most beautiful spirit. She is just so happy to be alive and looks for the good in every situation. Everywhere she goes, she carries a big smile on her face and strives to be a good role model for both her siblings at home and other students at school. Cheer really is the perfect sport for her.

Mia looked so cute in her practice uniform. Practice was on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays. She had a practice uniform and a practice bow.

Her real uniform was even cuter, however we found out quickly at the first game that Mia’s uniform was a bit too small for her. Luckily, we were able to switch out her uniform for a larger size before the next game.

Her uniform bow was glittery Deer Park colors and had her name. In the warmer months, the uniform was sleeveless. In the colder months, she wore a long sleeve crop top and black leggings underneath. In October, we switched to Pink pom-poms and socks to show our support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

I even wore my own Cheer “uniform” to every one of Mia’s games, although I did alternate between jeans & black leggings depending on my mood (and if we’re being honest, what was clean ðŸĪŠ).

She looked so cute in action down on the field.

Mia and the other Lil Cat Cheerleaders got to be in the Homecoming Parade. The younger cheerleaders rode on the trailer throwing out candy while the older cheerleaders walked behind performing cheers.

Our football team made it to the Super Bowl this year! We lost our first game to Clermont North Eastern, then went completely undefeated until the Superbowl where we unfortunately lost to CNE again. It was such a great season and it felt really good leaving each game winners!

Mia is front & center 😍

Our Lil Cats did a Trunk or Treat in the parking lot at the High School. Since Mia was Hermione Granger for Halloween, we decided to go with a Harry Potter trunk theme.

Don’t mind the dirty trunk 😂 #RealMomLife

For end of season gifts for Mia’s coaches, we got each of them a super cute initial mug from Target, along with a $10 gift card to Starbucks.

Mia decorated each bag for her coaches and we found these adorable “Thanks a Latte” cards at Target that she wrote a special message inside and signed. We found the “Have a cup of Cheer” printables in Deer Park colors, and tied them to each mug to pull it all together.

Mia showing off her Cheer Trophy!

This was such a great season and we cannot wait until next year! I would love to get her into Tumbling or Gymnastics in the off seasons to keep her motivation and interest going. I really think if she sticks with it, she could go really far in Cheer.

It’s time to hang up the poms until next Fall. Up next: Winter Roller Derby!

Halloween 2021

Wow, it’s been awhile since I have updated my blog! Between a new baby, two toddlers, school, cheer, and overall life- I haven’t had much time to put here. I do want to be more intentional about updating as the moments are passing me by so quickly. It’s true what they say: the days are long, but the years are short.

Anyway, I was happy to have a normal Halloween again. The kids had a blast. Sasha was just in awe. It was really her first Halloween that she actually understood the concept.

I didn’t do as much this year as I had hoped to do, but it’s been a busy last few months and trying to do activities with a baby isn’t always the easiest. We had a nice Halloween though as a family and the kids were happy and thats what really matters.

Decorations

I did a bit more decorating around the house and on the porch, but I never got around to take any photos.

I also decluttered all of the older decor that I chose not to use this year.

Trick or Treats

We made this delicious Halloween Trail Mix

  • Honey Nut Cheerios
  • Caramel Popcorn with Peanuts
  • Candy Corn
  • Candy Pumpkins
  • Flipz White Chocolate Pretzels
  • Candy (baking) eyeballs
  • Honey Bourbon Roasted Cashews
  • Chex Mix Peanut Butter Muddy Buddies
  • Reese’s Pieces
  • White Chocolate Chips

These Candy Corn Bagels were super cute and easy to make using room temperature cream cheese and organic food coloring.

These Ghost Cookies were delicious and turned out adorable. Definitely a great beginner cookie-decorator cookie to start with.

Banana Ghosts were a super quick breakfast that was easy for before school. I dipped Bananas in Vanilla Bean Noosa then covered with coconut shreds and added two chocolate chips for eyes.

Activities

Shaw Farms Pumpkin Patch

Kings Island Halloween Haunt

Lil Cats Trunk or Treat

Costumes

That was our Halloween this year! We made it almost the entire two hours of trick or treating and the kids made out like bandits with the candy.

We all had a really great year and I am so thankful to have a regular Halloween back with my kids where the only masks were part of the costumes and kids gathered in groups of friends for a night of fun, being kids as they should.

DIY Baby Wipes | How-to & Why You Should

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.

Ingredients Found in Store-Bought Baby Wipes

Methylisothiazolinone – causes frequent outbreaks, scaly skin, skin burns, eye damage, dermatitis, allergies, and fluid-filled blisters.

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.

Formaldehyde appears under the names: Diazolidinyl Urea, DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Quaternium-15, Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-Bromo-2-Nitropropane-1,3-Diol (Bronopol), Polyoxymethylene Urea, 5-Bromo-5-Nitri-1,3 Dioxane, Methenamine, Glyoxal.

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.

(You can order Young Living products HERE)

● 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.

(You can order Young Living products HERE)

● 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.

The Wonderland Bar – Cincinnati

Anyone who knows me knows my love for Alice in Wonderland. As a person with multiple mental-illnesses (brain disorders as my mom calls them), I’ve always felt like Alice; like I don’t belong in this world.

If I could live in any world, it would absolutely hands-down be Wonderland. It has always had such a homey feel to me, and the words just speak to my soul. I’ve never cared much for princesses or finding my “prince charming.” Chasing white rabbits and trying to find out who I am has always been more my cup of tea.

Anytime Alice in Wonderland themed events happen in Cincinnati, I make it a point to be there! My mom and I made it a girls day of taking the older girls to lunch at Taziki then heading downtown for The Alice in Wonderland immersive experience.

“If you don’t know where you are going, then you can take any road.”

We started down the rabbit hole to the first bar.

The girls LOVED this room. Everything was backwards and upside down and they could not believe it.

“People who don’t think shouldn’t talk.”

“I haven’t the slightest idea.”

“Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

The chairs hanging from the ceiling was their favorite part in this room, as well as searching for all of the doorknobs throughout the room.

We went deeper into the rabbit hole through this corridor of clocks.

“If you knew time as well as I do, you wouldn’t talk about wasting it.”

Until finally, we landed in Wonderland.

“You may have noticed I’m not all there myself.”

The animated Cheshire Cat was so fun!

Each group was led back one at a time and seated at our tables. I was glad that we were the second group to go and I was able to get pictures without other guests in it.

Our table was so cute! The girls and I shared mocktails and my mom had the real cocktails.

“She gave herself very good advice (though she very seldom followed it)”

“If everyone minded their own business, the world would go around a great deal faster than it does.”

“I’m not strange, weird, off, nor crazy; my reality is just different than yours.”

In order to make our tea, we had to solve 3 riddles. Each time we got a riddle correct, we were given another ingredient to add.

We also had a fun drink where we painted in our foam with chocolate. I drew a mushroom. 🍄

Crochet was set up for the Queen of Hearts. During her part, we were on trial for stealing her tarts. When they picked Mia, she became so scared of losing her head that she began to cry.

“You’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret, all the best people are.”

I loved how similar the font here was to my tattoo. It made me feel right at home.

This really was such a fun experience and if you are able to, I highly suggest going.

They are offering experiences now through March. It is a mostly adult-only event, with a few Family Friendly opportunities as well which is the experience that we went for. I imagine the adult only experience is even better!

Tickets are $45 per person which includes drinks, treats, and an experience you won’t forget!

Event takes place at 140 Marian Spencer Way, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 inside The Sample Space.

How to Clean your Upholstery with Thieves Household Cleaner

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! ðŸ˜ą

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!

100 Days of First Grade

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? ðŸĪ”😆

September 2020 Playhouse Tour

Happy Fall! It’s my favorite time of the year! With fall here, we’ll be able to spend much more time outside! The mosquitos this summer were no joke & kept us inside more than we liked. Being indoors in truly torturous to me, I need nature to breathe.

We have finally found the perfect permanent location for our playhouse & added a few new fun details that I am so excited to share!

Welcome to our Playhouse!

We moved the playhouse to the back of our “patio” gravel area. It is the perfect spot for it and my garden behind it makes it look even prettier when it is in full bloom.

The “hello” welcome mat is from Five Below. When I bought it the playground was on the driveway, so it looked much better. I’m going to have to create something better, but it was a cute mini mat and I am a total sucker for mini things.

I found this little “Play in the Dirt” garden sign in the Target “dollar” spot (why do they call it that when its mostly $3-$5 items?). I personally don’t like this tree here very much, and I will eventually change this out, but for now its cute enough.

The adorable white chairs were from the thrift store. I think that they fit perfectly at the little built in wooden table. Not shown is the built in wooden bench that is part of the wooden table.

The Welcome sign was also found in the Target “dollar” spot. I thought it was adorable for inside of their playhouse.

My husband added this solar powered chandelier light this weekend so that the girls can see play once it gets dark.  We bought it at Menards a few years ago for a gazebo that was destroyed by natural causes before we were ever able to get the lights up, so it’s been sitting on our basement untouched for years. It was the perfect addition to our playhouse!

I picked up this vintage rotary phone for free a couple weeks ago and the kids are in love with it! They spend their entire days taking turns “making phone calls.”

Call me old fashioned, but I preferred when phones were dumb. I’m a strong believer that “when phones were tied with a wire, humans were free.”

This is the solar light panel that is attached to the solar light inside the playhouse. My husband had to drill it into our playhouse in order to get the maximum amount of light hitting it, while also hiding all cords that are attached. I think that it makes it look more like a real home and reminds me of a mini satellite dish 😂.

This is the outside of the playhouse. The girls stand on the mat and place “their orders” for nature food. I have a pink solar powered light outside that looks BEAUTIFUL at night. It has tinkling string lights instead of a bulb and in my opinion works the best out of all of the solar lights that we have around our yard. Plus it’s the cutest one!

From this angle you can tell where the placement of the playhouse is. My garden isn’t looking so nice these days, but I cannot wait for all of my new perennials I planted this year to bloom in the spring!

Well, thats our playhouse as of September 2020. I hope you enjoyed the tour! I plan to decorate for Halloween, so check back for that mini update!

Please share + subscribe 🙏 😊

Have a beautiful day!

Surviving A Pandemic With Mental Illnesses | A Life I Deserve

As humans, it seems that we are rarely willing to agree on anything. The one thing we CAN all agree on, is that 2020 has been a rough year, especially for those battling with mental illness.

I haven’t smoked cigarettes in almost 2.5 years, yet I spend 85% of my day convincing myself not to smoke them. Each day is getting increasingly more difficult to convince myself not to pick that habit back up.

I haven’t used heroin in over 7.5 years, yet this year I have found myself fantasizing over the idea of making all of my physical + mental pain go away. Logically, I know that won’t work for long & it will only be a matter of time before I have all my current problems, plus a whole new set of them, which is what holds me back. When you know better, you do better. Getting and staying off heroin was far easier than 2020 for me.

Then the suicidal thoughts. Its a strange place to find yourself when you don’t want to live, but not ready to die, yet. It’s a lonely place to be. I have so much to be thankful for, yet I want to throw it all away so someone much kinder, happier, and more deserving can take my place. Someone who is more patient, someone more still. Someone who doesn’t have the long list of mental illnesses that I live with. Someone who isn’t set off over the simplest of things. Someone who won’t show them what the dark side of mental illness looks like. Someone who is nothing like me.

But in the midst of my latest stress-induced meltdown, I realized something really big that stopped me in my tracks.

I have 4 girls nearly 24/7.

4 girls who I have been isolated with inside a tiny house for the better half of a year.

4 girls who fight. & scream. & cry. & shriek. & yell. Usually all at the same time.

A newborn, turned infant, who is now running. Who has been attached to my hip since birth with no breaks.

An extremely high-strung, dangerously-fearless, independent, messy, busy toddler.

A half-day preschooler who we have to pile in a car (if you’ve ever watched this ordeal, you understand) to drop off, only to pile in a car again to pick up almost two hours later.

A very hyper-active 1st grader who I am now homeschooling 3 days a week. Who I can rarely bring into public due to behavioral reasons, especially without another adult present.

3 days at home, means 2 days at school. 2 days that start 30 minutes of each other, who because of covid cannot be dropped off together. With a baby & toddler who cry every time they sit in a parked car for any length of time. 2 days in a classroom with 6 other children with a teacher who doesn’t believe me that she displays every symptom of ADHD, and an ADHD test which is based entirely on what unrelated adults around her believe to be true.

Speech therapy appointments for my toddler.

Behavioral therapy appointments for my 1st grader.

Parent coaching appointments for myself.

Doctor appointments for all. Trying to find a dentist in our network that specializes in Pediatrics.

With not one break.

Not one single one.

I’m stretched far, far beyond what I can mentally handle. Yes, having so many children WAS my decision; but neither I, nor anyone else, planned for a global pandemic when planning for a family.

Nobody planned for this.

I am not alone in my struggle, but that does not make it easier.

When you live in a constant state of manic-depression, it is very hard to remember to be kind to yourself. It is difficult to see your worth and hold on to your will to live, if you can even find it.

I wrote this list of things I deserve in life, even if I don’t believe it yet. Someday I might.

And who knows, it may be exactly what someone needs to hear today.

We are all in this together âĪ

  • I deserve to be built up.
  • I deserve to share my feelings without feeling weak.
  • I deserve to be loved despite my imperfections.
  • I deserve respect.
  • I deserve to be happy.
  • I deserve adventure.
  • I deserve to plan for the best.
  • I deserve to feel beautiful.
  • I deserve help. I NEED help.
  • I deserve a break.
  • I deserve kindness, compassion, & grace.
  • I deserve mental health days.
  • I deserve to feel stressed.
  • I deserve to embrace progress over perfection.
  • I deserve to relax.
  • I deserve to stand up for myself.
  • I deserve to be heard.
  • I deserve to live.

And so do you. âĪ

Vegan Stuffed Pepper Soup | ONE POT | Easy + Affordable

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 âĪ “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 ðŸĪ·ðŸžâ€â™€ïļ.

[ ❇ 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 

â—ū Fresh Ingredients:

  • 1 Yellow onion
  • 1 Green pepper
  • 1 Yellow pepper
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 LB. “Meatless Grind”

â—ū 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

â—ū Instructions:

  1. Get Prepared – Begin heating 3 TBSP olive oil over medium heat in your Dutch Oven pan (I prefer Lodge brand) + chop all veggies.
  2. Dump in your peppers & onions, after a few minutes add the tomatoes, cooking for another minute or so.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Bring the temp down to low, cover + let simmer for 20 minutes.
  6. Add 1 Cup brown rice. Cover + cook until rice is finished.
  7. Serve, paired with a crusty bread. We chose French Baguette.

Enjoy 😘

Found this recipe delicious? Please consider sharing! Make sure to subscribe for more easy & affordable meat-free recipes!

Have a beautiful day ðŸĨ°

My DIY Dream Nursery | ON A BUDGET

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!!

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