I’m Kristie. Mom to three girls (Yes, you read that right. And, no, we are not going to try for a boy!). I’m the resident chaos coordinator. Sharer of recipes. Opinion giver of products + services for kids + girl moms. Content writer. Laundry doer. Boo-boo kisser. More about me + product review info + sponsored post info

  • Mommy Works At Home

    How to Use Pinterest for Your Mom Blog

    Pinterest is a BIGGIE. If you’re not familiar with Pinterest, all it really is is an electronic bulletin board where you can pin the ideas you come across so you can access them later.

    Pinterest is a Search Engine

    Here’s the thing about Pinterest, though. While it seems like it’s just a big electronic bulletin board, it’s really a search engine.

    In fact, it’s the second largest search engine (ONLY second to Google).

    This has a lot of implications for your mom blog, but essentially, if you manage it right (with SEO, etc.) when you pin your posts to Pinterest, you have the opportunity for search engines like Google to rank your Pinterest pins + you have the opportunity for your audience that is searching on Pinterest to find your post pins.

    How Pinterest Can Work for Your Mom Blog

    Super quick example. For all three of my daughters’ first birthdays, I POURED over hundreds (if not thousands) of party themes + ideas. I planned all three of their parties from Pinterest pins.

    MORE importantly for you, I bought a lot of the products I needed for the parties because I found it through Pinterest.

    I have to say that TONS of MOMS are all OVER PINTEREST.

    Whether your biz is product or service based, Pinterest works. AND if you are a mom blogger or pro of ANY kind, you need to be where your potential clients are – + they are on PINTEREST.

    Here’s how it might go down.

    A mom is searching for 1st birthday party theme ideas. They see your pin for a guide with 100s of 1st birthday party theme ideas. They click on the pic you pinned. They click on the guide pic that opens up OR they click on the website below that says where the pic is from + voila they’re reading your guide.

    Keep in mind that your guide + the pic that you’ve posted to Pinterest sits on your blog.

    As they peruse your fab guide, they realize that you sell some of the fabulous theme items (or offer the theme services) that you feature in your oh-so helpful guide. They buy said products (or book your services). A SALE + all because they came across a picture you posted on Pinterest that led them to a guide that led them to the products/services you’re selling that they want to buy.

    Pinterest for Mom Service Businesses

    Remember, Pinterest works just as well for services. If you offer a guide on the top 100 ways to throw a big 1st birthday on a small budget + you’re a party planner, you’re setting yourself up to land some business.

    Now it goes a lot deeper than this because people can turn around + pin your pins, which again is how the word spreads + how sales numbers get a boost.

    How to Put Pinterest to Work For Your Mom Blog

    From a business owner’s perspective, this is what you want to do to share your content. First, open an account on Pinterest.

    You can use your personal Pinterest account or open an account for your business/blog. That’s up to you. One thing, you want to do is create boards for your pins.

    When you post a pic with your blog posts (which every blog post should have a picture), you can then pin this picture to your Pinterest account on the appropriate board.

    Complete each section of the pin, starting with a keyword rich title, fill in a keyword rich description + input the link that takes them directly to the content where it sits on your blog.

    If you’re offering a free guide or download of some sort through the pin or as a content upgrade from the post, you want to mention this in the pin description as well.

    In other words, try to add a call to action to the description, so you can get them to click on your pins.

    Pin it and you’re done. It’s now searchable, pinnable + shareable.

    Create Visual Content for Pinterest

    Another thing you can do is create “a teaser” pic. This is where you choose a photo + use a site like PicMonkey or Canva to add some text to the photo. You take the same steps to get it on Pinterest + it can have the same effect.

    Pinterest also offers promoted pins now, so you can pay to promote specific pins. It’s a great way to share your free opt-in + get moms to JUMP. ON. YOUR. LIST.

    You can pin your posts manually or you can schedule pins using a tool like Tailwind. If you use my link, you get your first month for free. I use Tailwind + love it.

    Not only should you be pinning to your own boards, but you should be pinning to group boards, too.

    Find + join group boards that cater to the moms you’re trying to attract. When you’re a member of a group board, you can pin your pins to the board—getting it in front of an audience that you might not have an opportunity to get in front of otherwise.

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  • Daily Life

    It’s Flu Season, Ya’ll

    With my oldest daughter in Kindergarten this year + my middle daughter still in pre-school, it seems like they bring home ALL. THE. GERMS.

    We try washing hands. We use oils. We get the flu shot.

    Sometimes, it feels as if none of this works. In our school system there’s been an increased number of students with influenza-like illness that attend my daughter’s school. 

    Health Department Recommendations for the Flu

    The Health Department recommends that you + your family members take the following steps to protect yourselves + others from influenza + other respiratory illnesses:

    Vaccinate

    They recommend vaccinating your child + yourself against influenza this year + every year.

    I know this a controversial topic for some. I believe in the flu vaccination. I vaccinate myself. I vaccinate my children + my husband, who is an Army Officer, also gets the vaccination every year.

    I know it doesn’t protect us against every strain of the flu but so far it has kept all of us from coming down with the flu for the past 6 years.

    Wash your hands often with soap and water

    Nothing fights germs, even flu germs, like good old-fashioned soap + water. It is especially important to wash hands after coughing or sneezing.

    Teach your children to wash their hands frequently with soap + water for 20 seconds. We sing the Happy Birthday song twice 🙂 Be sure to set a good example by doing this yourself. 

    If soap and water are not available, alcohol-based hand sanitizers are also effective in the war against germs.

    Cover coughs + sneezes with a tissue 

    After coughing + sneezing into a tissue, throw it in the trash right away. If tissues are not available, cover coughs + sneezes with the upper sleeve of your shirt.

    Avoid touching your eyes, nose + mouth

    Germy hands that touch eyes, noses + mouths (openings into our bodies) is how germs are spread. My husband is forever reminding our girls to keep their hands away from mouths, noses + eyes.

    Try to avoid close contact with individuals who have flu symptoms

    If you know someone has the flu, stay away from them! I know this is easier said than done sometimes.

    Plus, there are those people that like to show up at work or school hacking all over the place + you cannot control that.

    Monitor your child for signs of illness

    Flu symptoms are different than cold systems. The flu usually hits like a ton of bricks–all of a sudden.

    Flu symptoms to watch for:

    • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
    • Cough
    • Sore throat
    • Runny nose or stuffy nose
    • Muscle or body aches
    • Headaches
    • Fatigue
    • Vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

    Keep your sick kiddos home

    If your child has flu-like symptoms or is sent home from school with flu-like symptoms, keep your child home + away from others until the child has been symptom free + without fever for at least 24 hours (i.e. he or she should not attend school, school functions, sporting or extracurricular activities, or leave the home except to seek medical attention).

    I know this is slightly unrealistic if you have other children at home but try sequestering them to a bedroom + sanitize the crap out of the rest of your house + their quarantine area once they are feeling better.

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  • Daily Life

    Tips To Be A More Productive Mommy

    This blog post contains affiliate links. I may earn a small commission to fund my coffee drinking habit if you use these links to make a purchase. It does not cost you anything extra +  you’ll keep me supplied in caffeine. It’s a win for everyone, really.

    Do you often think about what you would do with even just one extra hour in your day?

    Squeezing more time out of the ‘ole 24 hours a day — especially if you cook for your family every day, keep your house clean(ish) + hold down a job to pay all the bills — is hard.

    You’ve tried googling “productivity tips” but you see ideas suited for C-level executives or young singles with boundless energy, not real moms like you.

    I have something that just might help, something created by women + moms who understand that you’re looking for practical productivity solutions that can work in your world.

    It’s called The Ultimate Productivity Bundle and it was created curated by real people with real life responsibilities just like you: they have families, work part- or full-time jobs or run businesses, don’t have personal assistants or the budget for hiring lots of extra help. 

    They want to help you (+ themselves) conquer your to-do list, free up more time for yourself + reach your goals.

    When you buy The Ultimate Productivity Bundle you’ll get access to:

    • 5 eBooks
    • 14 eCourses + videos
    • 26 printables + workbooks

    The bundle is only available for 6 days!

    Check out the Ultimate Productivity Bundle to see if it is for you.

    You also have the option to buy “cheat sheets” with your bundle. This is a game changer, because with these time-saving cheat sheets, you can review all the bundle’s material in less than half the time + then dive deeper into the topics that are most interesting to you.

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  • Girl Birthday Parties,  Product + Service Reviews

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 1st Birthday Party for a Girl

    Last Sunday, we did it. We hosted our third daughter’s 1st birthday party. That’s right. Her 1st birthday party is in the books.

    AND, two daughters went before her.

    This time around I kept it sweet + simple. (I might have gone a little teeny-tiny bit overboard with the first two. Don’t judge me.)

    Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 1st Birthday Invitations

    For 1st birthdays I always do a real, tangible invitation on card stock. They’re personalized + customized. Generally, I order them from a designer that also prints them + then ships them to me — envelopes included!

    After their 1st birthdays, evite, Punchbowl + Paperless Post invitations it is!

    This time, however, I took too long to figure out the theme so I ran out of time to order invitations to be printed + shipped my way.

    Instead, I bought a template/file from an Etsy seller. I downloaded it + customized it + then uploaded it to print at a local printer.

    Venue

    We also did things a little bit different when it came to location. We had the first two 1st birthdays in our home. This time, we opted to rent the Art Room at a beautiful local community center.

    The rental fee was reasonable, unlike some of the other locations I considered. It was also sort of a blank canvas where we could decorate as much or as little as we wanted.

    Bonus is they included chairs + tables in the cost of the rental. I did have to pay for the linens that covered the tables. Again, it was a minor cost.

    Food + Drinks

    We catered the food this time as opposed to buying + making the food ourselves or ordering pizza. We catered it from our favorite local gourmet Mexican place — Coyote Grille.

    The food was amazing + it included them delivering + setting up the food.

    We bought our own drinks, cups, plates, forks, etc.

    Cakes

    Simply Desserts did our first two girls’ 1st birthday cakes + smash cakes also did Emmy’s cakes. They are ah-mazing + delicious!

    I paid a little extra to have the main cake + the smash cake delivered. It is the best money I could ever spend to ensure nothing happens to the cakes.

    Plus, they set the cakes up for me + add the cake topper.

    Decorations



    This is another area where I toned it waaaaaaay down 🙂

    We decorated her high chair with a skirt + ONE banner. My sister-in-law was going to make it but something came up so I ordered it + a ONE banner from Amazon.

    We added an entire roll of tulle to it to make it fuller + to get it to reach around her high chair tray.

    I also ordered a star mylar balloon, latex balloons filled with star confetti + we added a Princess mylar + some white latex balloons to fill out the balloon bouquet that we attached to the back of her high chair.

    I also ordered + hung two star banners (pink, gold + white). My sister-in-law usually makes the banner too but something came up.

    She had a plastic mat under her high chair (requisite Twinkle Twinkle Little Star theme), along with cups, plates, dessert plates + napkins.

    I added gold plastic forks + spoons.

    Like her sisters, she also had a chalkboard sign (by Grace Notes Lettering on Etsy) listing her stats as a one-year-old.

    Voila. Decorations complete.

    It might be tough to be the third child 🙂

    Birthday Girl Outfit

    She had to have a themed outfit for the occasion — of course! I bought gold sequin pants (which were a huge hit). Everyone commented on her pants as they arrived at the party.

    I ordered a Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 1 Onesie from an Etsy (Noelle by Design) seller + gold sequin shoes from Amazon. We topped it off with a little sequin crown with a 1 on it.

    Music + Entertainment

    We brought in our Bluetooth speakers + played kids’ music from my husband’s iPhone. We also hired a facepainter from our neighborhood to paint the kids faces.

    I bought a star craft for the kids + had oversized coloring sheets + mini crayon packs on the two kids’ tables to entertain the kids that came to the party.

    Most of the kids at the party have moves so they danced to the music on the “dance floor” space in between the kids’ tables + the cocktail tables that were set up for the adults.

    All in all, everyone had a lot of fun. It was a fun + sparkly theme + totally different from the 1st birthday parties we threw for the first two girls.

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  • Activities for Girls,  Gifts for Girls,  Valentine's Day for Girls

    14 Ways to Tell Your Kids You Love Them on Valentine’s Day

    It’s 3 simple little words — I love you — yet actions speak louder than words, right? This Valentine’s Day, instead of actually speaking the words, you can show your kids how much you love them.

    It’s the little things that count.

    Here are some creative ideas to get you started.

    1. Start out their day with heart-shaped red velvet pancakes for breakfast. Add whip cream to top it off with a special treat.
    2. Pack their lunch (if it falls on a school day). Add a special love note that simply says, “I love you” or “I hope you have a great day!”
    3. Put a surprise in their lunch, such as a sweet treat, that they can share with a few of their friends at school.
    4. Decorate their lunch bags with paper heart doilies, Valentine’s Day stickers, or both. Go on a dinner date with your child. You can treat them to dinner at their favorite restaurant or try out a new spot.
    5. Write a sweet, silly or heartfelt poem to your child about love, Valentine’s Day, how your child is special to you + how much you love them + why you love them.
    6. Pull out a picture of your child with you when they were a baby to show to them.
    7. Take your daughter(s) with you to the nail salon or spa for a mani-pedi. Ooooolala!
    8. Plan a Valentine’s Day theme scavenger hunt. Britni over at Play. Party. Plan. offers a free printable + instructions on how to set up this Valentine’s Day themed scavenger hunt.
    9. Let your child create the dinner menu with you + help you prepare the meal. You can stick to age-appropriate help such as stirring, mixing + adding ingredients.
    10. Go on a dinner date with your child. You can treat them to dinner at their favorite restaurant or try out a new spot.
    11. Make a heart shaped pizza + decorate with toppings that are shaped like hearts, Xs + Os.
    12. Host an ice cream sundae bar, where your child can make their own ice cream sundae, complete with Valentine’s candy like red hot, M&Ms, Hershey kisses + more!the toppings.
    13. Read your child her favorite bedtime story.
    14. Serve your child heart shaped cookies + a glass of milk in bed. (Then have them brush their teeth!)

    Saying I love you doesn’t have to be a fancy or expensive gesture. Use one, two or all of these ways to show your kids how much you love them on Valentine’s Day (+ every day, really). 

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  • Daily Life

    Speed Up Your Family’s Morning Routine

    Do you dread the busy mornings, when everyone trips over each other in the kitchen + bathroom, it’s an ongoing struggle to get coffee made, kids dressed + fed + grown-ups showered + packed up in time for work?

    Are backpacks often misplaced, busses missed + people generally annoyed + disheveled?

    Instead of stressing about the mad morning rush, focus on how you can get things to run more smoothly by becoming more organized in the first place.

    Tackle the Week’s Lunch Plans

    Most every kid enjoys pizza Fridays in the school cafeteria. Unless you’re dealing with food allergies, you can plan for your children to buy lunch at the end of each week.

    Then, Monday can be another bought-lunch day, with kids eating school lunches while you’re out at the grocery store, stocking up for brown-bagged lunches on Tuesday, Wednesday + Thursday.

    Check the Weather

    Nothing like dressing your kids in long pants in time to realize that rain is about to start pummeling everything just as they’re heading out the door… or seeing them emerge from their rooms dressed in shorts on an unexpectedly chilly September morning.

    Take a minute to look at the weekly forecast. Then, check again the night before. Weather tends to be unpredictable at times.

    Keep Up with Laundry

    Laundry procrastination leaves everyone feeling disorganized + chaotic in the morning. Laundry is one of those background tasks.

    If you’re going to be home, you can easily throw in a load no matter what else you may be doing. Enlist older kids for laundry duty as well.

    It helps to categorize clothing, not only by color but by wearer. This way, the folder of the laundry can fill up baskets quickly without trying to figure out whose socks belong to whom.

    I’ll be honest. I don’t sort laundry. Unless it’s delicate or hand wash, one big scoop of laundry goes into the washer, then into the dryer + then gets folded, hung + put away. Not sorting can also save a lot of time.

    Make Productive Shortcuts

    Since we’re discussing laundry… suppose you just cleaned + dried a load of laundry. Now you don’t have time to fold it.

    A time-saving shortcut would be to carry the basket of clean clothing up to the person’s room whose laundry it is. This way, in the morning if they’re missing a favorite pair of jeans, you can direct them to the basket of clothes.

    Lay Out Clothing the Night Before

    Set out or have your kids set out complete outfits the night before. This alleviates everyone trying to figure out what they’re going to wear when they can be getting dressed instead. All they have to do is get up + get dressed.

    Make + Pack Lunches at Night

    Sometimes the last thing you want to do is start filling lunch boxes at 8 p.m. But if you make lunch prep part of dinner clean-up, you can organize everything so that you’re not awake at midnight worrying if you have enough cold cuts for everyone in the house to have lunch tomorrow.

    Take Shifts for the Bathroom

    If you’re short on bathrooms, the best way around this is to stagger wake-up times.

    For a smaller sized family, adults can wake up + use the bathroom first. Kids follow suit while Mom or Dad is downstairs making breakfast. So set the alarms accordingly.

    Bigger families should allow for the kids with the earliest schedules to use the bathroom first. Also, things like hair drying + make-up application for teen girls doesn’t need to happen in the bathroom, especially when others are waiting their turn.

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  • Daily Life,  Family Health,  Recipes

    How to Make Easy Healthy Family Meals

    Find some tips, hints + friendly reminders on how to make easy healthy family meals everyone is going to love. If you’re stumped for meal ideas or just want someone to do the meal planning for you, check out $5 meal plan.

    Yes, someone professionals plans your meals for just $5 per month! It’s sooooooooo worth it.

    Limit Processed Foods

    Even though we all love boxed mac and cheese, did you know it’s so easy to make from scratch?

    Just boil up some noodles, then drain. Add butter (grass fed is healthier), organic milk or half + half + some easy melting cheese like cheddar, American or even Parmesan if you want a little more tang in your mac.

    Turn the heat to low + stir until everything melts together into a yummy, gooey, cheesy sauce.

    There are plenty of other convenience foods, like instant oatmeal, that you can make from scratch without batting a brow. So much healthier… plus, cooking from scratch is good for the soul.

    Eat Yogurt with Everything

    Make plain yogurt a permanent item on your grocery shopping list. Learn how to cook with it + serve it as a side with breakfast, lunch + even dinner.

    Yogurt contains active cultures which give the gut flora a healthy boost. You can eat yogurt in the morning with fruit, nuts +/or granola.

    If you’re dipping cut-up veggies with lunch or as an afternoon snack, add a dollop of plain yogurt to your favorite ranch dressing.

    At dinner time, sub in plain yogurt for sour cream + serve with Mexican favorites like tacos + burritos, or add a spoon or two to your favorite vegetarian soup.

    Chicken tenderizes beautifully in yogurt and spices. What else can you think up to make with yogurt?

    Consider Seasonal Foods

    Do you enjoy gardening in the spring and summer?

    Cool to warm seasons like spring + fall bring nutrition in the form of cold loving veggies like lettuce, kale, broccoli, carrots, turnips, collards + spinach.

    Hot weather yields fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers + eggplant, to name a few.

    Even if you can’t find time for a backyard garden, you can make pit stops at the local farmer’s market on your way home from work or running errands.

    Stock up for the 5-day work week + keep a mental (or physical) checklist of what veggies are in your crisper so you won’t let anything go waste.

    Avoid Food Processed Powder

    Avoid any food that’s been processed into a powder and can fit into a box, pouch or carton. For example, those powdered gravy mixes that come to life when heated with water.

    Powdered lemonade or ice tea mixes are easy to replace by squeezing a few lemons into a pitcher of water, or brewing iced tea at home. Even those trendy designer “good for you” chips and crackers sprinkled with mysteriously addictive, flavored powders, should be minimized.

    The exception would be if you read the list of ingredients + find there’s only salt, pepper, natural spices + herbs.

    Avoid Overcooking

    Don’t overcook. Red meat should be cooked medium-rare to medium to ensure that pathogens are destroyed on the surface but the nutritional content remains in tact on the inside.

    Cooked vegetables should retain their color + be crisp, not flaccid. Stir-frying is better than boiling veggies, as vitamins and minerals leach into the cooking water which we usually toss instead of drink (consider drinking the cooking water next time you cook some spinach!).

    Soups should be simmered slowly rather than boiled rapidly, to retain the nutrients.

    Grass-fed Trumps Feed Lot

    More people are becoming aware of the crowded + disease-ridden conditions that animals on feed-lot farms must endure before they become food on our table or at the drive-through window of your favorite fast-food establishment.

    To get the most nourishment from meats, invest in a bulk meat share where you can freeze a large quantity of grass-fed beef, pork or free-range chicken in the name of your family’s health.

    To save money, eat smaller portions of meat, subbing in healthy veggie + fish alternatives.

    Make Your Own Stock + Broth

    Bone broth is trending right now, because people are once again realizing something that the old timers have known for generations. Animal bones contain important minerals that help strengthen our bones, protect our immune systems + nourish our bodies overall.

    Even better if the animal comes from a small local farm where it was permitted to graze on grass outside in the healing sunlight.

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  • Daily Life

    7 Tips to be Done with Dinner in Half an Hour or Less

    Whether you’re a working mom, single dad, parent who works from home or stay at home parent, there’s no doubt that keeping up with day to day responsibilities can be a challenge.

    With plans constantly in flux due to over-communication + over-scheduling, it’s getting more difficult to stay on top of things like dinner prep. And yet… your family insists on eating dinner EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT.

    Nightly take-out isn’t a healthy or cost effective option for most of us, which means you have to do something to keep up with this whole dinner thing.

    Are home cooked meals a priority for you despite the pressing demands of life? If it’s your goal to feed your family fresh food as often as possible while saving money + time, then read on for tips on how to plan, shop + prep to ensure that you can be done with dinner in half an hour or less.

    1. Keep Pre-Made Shopping Lists

    Anyone who doesn’t like shopping lists is leaving a huge time saver on the table. We all know the frustrating feeling of coming home from the grocery store to realize you failed to bring home some needed items.

    (“Darn it! I forgot half + half again!”)

    It’s worth keeping a running list in a central location like the kitchen, with a pen in easy reach. Family members can jot down items they may want, without having to send random texts at inconvenient times or make requests out loud that are soon forgotten.

    Even better… categorize your list. Some excellent planners take the time to type out a shopping list template that’s organized by grocery store department.

    Include the items you typically buy, such as milk, eggs, bread, meat, or lunch box favorites such as a type of juice box that your children prefer. Then, when it’s time to shop, you can print it out, check off what you need, add extras + be on your way.

    If you’re not a computer person, at least take a few moments to re-write the list that was posted in the kitchen, according to section, i.e. produce first, then deli, then meat + so forth, according to the physical layout of your favorite grocery store.

    If you’ve never done this, it may seem excessive at first. But you really will spend a lot less time fumbling around if you get your shopping list in ship-shape.

    2. Plan Ahead for Dinner in Half an Hour

    Have a weekly meal plan in place. It is one of the best ways to ensure that you can be done with dinner in half an hour or less.

    So if you usually grocery-shop on Monday, you might say to yourself: “Pork is on sale. I can get a roast + cook it in the crock pot.

    The leftovers become tacos for Tuesday.

    Mid-week we can have a vegetarian meal. Thursday is pot luck. Friday, we make homemade pizza.

    Then, before you leave, jot down all the items you’ll need to buy to make this happen. Some things, like veggies + sides, can be flexible. But if you have a general idea of how the week’s meals will go, you won’t flounder when it comes time to make dinner.

    3. Utilize Freezer Meals

    Make + freeze your family’s favorite meals ahead of time. Freezer meals are a huge time saver + almost any foods come to life pretty quickly thanks to modern conveniences like the microwave. Stock up your freezer with your favorite meals.

    4. Have Heat + Eat Options for a Busy Night

    Chicken nuggets warm up quickly in the toaster oven.

    Frozen French fries can be baked in less than 20 minutes, with easy tray cleanup after.

    Buy or make soup, then stash single or double servings in the freezer for use as needed. To thaw soup in a hurry, just run the frozen container under warm water.

    Then, place in a sauce pan with lid with a bit of water in the bottom + turn the stove on medium. When the soup begins to liquefy, lower the heat + stir occasionally to break up frozen chunks + warm up the contents.

    5. Stock Starches in the Fridge

    Rice, pasta + whole grain sides such as brown rice noodles make easy grab-and-go selections to cut significant time from dinner prep.

    For example, if you’re busy at work thinking ahead to dinner, you can mentally prep for a quick one-pot meal that involves a quick zap of some broccoli in the microwave, a sauté of chicken + the addition of pre-cooked noodles + sauce which can be added at the end.

    6. Plan + Shop for a Cooking Day

    This can be a Sunday morning, or any other day when you know you’ll be home. You can make more complicated meals like lasagna, casseroles, meat sauce, pot roast, stew, chili, soup, or something else that would take several hours to prepare + cook.

    Freeze in single or double portions to thaw + eat on another night.

    7. Clean as You Go

    When it comes time to hustle through dinner cooking, you can make easier work of the post-meal clean-up by tackling things as you go.

    Items like peelers, colanders + boiling pots don’t require much soap to get clean. So you can quickly wipe + rinse them directly after use.

    After chopping vegetables, wipe the knife on a clean cloth + store back in its proper place immediately (keeps people from cutting themselves, too).

    Waste not a moment in getting food out of the pan you cooked it in + running water into the pan to rinse + wipe before things get sticky + stuck.

    When all’s said and done, you’ll have only dinner plates, serving bowls + utensils to wash.

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  • Gifts for Girls,  Girl Birthday Parties

    The Kid Birthday Tradition I Do Every Year (For All 3 Girls)

    I am not HUGE on traditions but I am a bit nostalgic so as my oldest daughter was approaching her 1st birthday, I wanted to come up with a kid birthday tradition I could carry out for her from year to year.

    Kid Birthday Tradition Letter

    I picked something that is near + dear to my own heart, which is writing. I decided I would write her a letter each year on her birthday. I would share with her what she accomplished that particular year, what she was like, what she did, what was going on in her world.

    After writing the letter (usually with tears streaming down my face), I put it in an envelope + write the birthday she is celebrating that year. So a big number 1 for her 1st birthday.

    Kid Birthday Tradition Continues

    She just turned five this last September, so she has five letters in five envelopes tucked away in my drawer. As my second + then third daughters arrived, I carried on the tradition with them.

    (Well, not yet with my third because her first birthday is in a couple of weeks.)

    As my second daughter joined the tradition, I started adding their names and the birthday they are celebrating to the envelopes so they each have their own set.

    What to do with the Letters

    I haven’t quite decided if it’ll be at 18 or 21 or 25 yet, but at some point, I will stop writing the letters, place the envelopes in a pretty box + gift them to each of my daughters.

    I think they will enjoy reading their letters to see what they were like as they were growing up. Especially since it is through my eyes.

    By the way, I handwrite each of the letters + envelopes.

    I do this for a couple of reasons.

    1. The art of a handwritten notes/letters is lost
    2. I want my girls to see my handwriting
    3. A handwritten note/letter is so much more personal than a typed one

    Do you have a birthday tradition for your littles? What is it?

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  • Holidays for Girls,  Recipes,  Valentine's Day for Girls

    3 Valentine’s Day Foods + Goodies for Your Sweetie

    Food is LOVE  🧡🧡🧡

    It doesn’t have to be unhealthy food but it does have to be YUMMY food.

    Check out these foods + yummies especially for Valentine’s Day!

    Red Velvet Pancakes Mix

    Get creative this Valentine’s Day + spoil your honey with decadent + festive red velvet pancakes

    Delicious and colorful, this indulgent meal looks absolutely stunning on a beautiful tray for a special breakfast-in-bed treat.  Add a special touch + cut them into heart shapes with heart shape cookie cutters.

    These pancakes are extra decadent, studded with mini chocolate chips + drizzled with a cream cheese glaze. 

    Strawberry Fluff Graham Icebox Cake

    A delicious no-bake cake, filled with strawberry marshmallow fluffy layer featuring real strawberry marshmallows. 

    This yummy icebox cake takes minutes to whip up + no baking is required. 

    Luscious layers of graham, strawberry fluff mixed with cream cheese, topped with strawberries + whipped cream. 

    Just add whipped cream, real strawberries, cream cheese + butter. This is a four-layer frozen dessert that’ll keep your sweetie coming back for more!

    Make is a perfect V-Day treat by making it in a heart-shaped dish/pan!

    Gourmet Red Velvet Cupcakes

    Classic red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting are always a hit! 
    These cupcakes are so moist + the cocoa-buttermilk flavor will make you or your sweetie swoon.

    The mix features the decadent red velvet cupcake mix, naturally colored with red beets + pitaya powder + includes a light but lovely vanilla bean cream cheese frosting. 

    Makes 12 cupcakes. Bake them in a heart shaped muffin pan for an added special touch.

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