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    Vegan Peanut Butter & Chocolate Smoothie

    Chocolate has been my strongest craving to date since breastfeeding BC. Instead of giving into my cravings, I've been making these vegan peanut butter & chocolate smoothies that are god for me courtesy of VeganSmart protein.
    I received compensation for my opinion on VeganSmart. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

    Smoothies are the bane of our household. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hear, “Mommy can I make a smoothie?” Not only do they make it super easy to hide veggies in, but they taste really great too. As I’ve been losing weight while boosting my milk supply, I’ve become pretty well-versed in the art of the smoothie so I’m excited to share one of my favorite recipes here for one that kills your chocolate cravings.

    Satisfy Your Chocolate Cravings

    It never fails that whenever I have a baby and I’m trying to get my life right, chocolate cravings hit. And they hit hard too! My favorite ways to satisfy these cravings are with Oreo’s, Snickers Bars, brownies, Peanut M&M’s and Reese’s Peanut Butter cups. There’s something about the combination of the peanut butter and chocolate that just warms my stomach while making me feel so good!

    Mama Has Goals Y’all!!

    I do. Already this year I’m down close to 25lbs and I’m making health my way of life. While I do believe in having everything in moderation, your girl just isn’t ready for moderation JUST yet. But you know what I can do? I can substitute the unhealthy things with the healthy things until I can practice moderation. That’s why I am loving this smoothie I accidentally stumbled into!

    Chocolate has been my strongest craving to date since breastfeeding BC. Instead of giving into my cravings, I've been making these vegan peanut butter & chocolate smoothies that are god for me courtesy of VeganSmart protein.

    Vegan Peanut Butter & Chocolate Smoothie

    Ready to boost your milk supply, satisfy your chocolate cravings while being mindful of your waistline? 

    Course Drinks
    Keyword Smoothie
    Servings 1 person

    Ingredients

    • 8 oz Almond Milk I use vanilla that's been sweetened.
    • 1 scoop Chocolate VeganSmart Protein
    • 1 tbsp Peanut Butter
    • 1 tsp Honey
    • 2 tsbp Ground Flax Seed You can use regular flax seeds too.
    • Ice

    Instructions

    1. Measure out ingredients and add to blender.

    2. Blend. 

    3. **Optional: Add ice to get desired consistency.

    4. Enjoy!

    Why I Choose VeganSmart Protein

    I once left a protein shake in the shaker for like 3 days or something. When I opened it, it smelled like death was brewing in there. Really. It then occurred to me that I was putting this into my body! Yeah, terrible.

    VeganSmart is a plant-based protein powder and contains the following:

    • 20g Non-GMO Protein
    • 6g Dietary Fiber
    • No Cholesterol
    • Zero Trans Fat
    • Dairy & Soy Free
    • Gluten Free
    • Whole Food Complex
    • Vitamins & Minerals
    • Omega 3
    • Prebiotics
    • Digestive Enzymes

    Because of the nutrition that’s in there, I feel safe giving it to my kids as well.

    What has been one of your “bad” cravings post-baby? How did you navigate it?

     

    Saving For Summer Camp — A How To Guide

    Are you ready to make sure your kids (and your bank accounts) have the summer of their dreams? Check out these incredible tips on saving for summer camp that are sure to make your budgets a breeze.

    Last week Christine talked about the summer camp mom guilt she felt when looking at the prices for the programs her daughter wanted to attend. While my little isn’t quite there yet, I’m already mentally preparing and saving for summer camp. Friends and family have already shared some of the costs for kids activities so I know I’m going to have a good sized cushion!

    While the price tag may seem daunting, there is hope to making saving for summer camp both a feasible and family affair. Again make this process a FAMILY AFFAIR. It’s never too early to not only teach your children about money, but the importance of savings. Delayed gratification and patience are essential to learn in our world that wants everything instantly. Here are a few tips to teach your children while enrolling them in the summer camps that their little hearts’ desire:

    Are you ready to make sure your kids (and your bank accounts) have the summer of their dreams? Check out these incredible tips on saving for summer camp that are sure to make your budgets a breeze.

    IDENTIFY THE TOP 3 CAMPS

    Look at the summer camp catalog from local recreation departments, schools, and churches. Talk to your children about the cost of each. For older children, have a cap on the amount to be spent so they can understand how to make decisions with limited resources. You won’t feel like the bad parent for saying “we can’t afford this”. Pose questions like “Will space camp and basketball camp both fit in your budget?”

    FIGURE OUT THE SAVINGS PLAN THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOU

    Pinterest has tons of creative money saving challenges. These I highly encourage because they do not require huge shifts in your budget immediately:

    • Envelope Challenge: Number the envelops from 1-25. The number on the outside of the envelop is what should be deposited. 25 envelops = $325; 50 envelops = $1275
    • Penny Challenge: Day 1 deposit $0.01, Day 2 deposit $0.02, Day 365 deposit $3.65. After making 365 deposits, total savings $668
    • 30 Day Challenge: If you are on a time crunch and want to save quickly, Day 1 save $1, Day 2 save $2, Day 30 save $30. Total Savings $465

    Keep in mind, the right savings plan for your family can be a hybrid of any of the above, or make adjustments to meet the goal amount for summer camp.

    LASTLY, MAKE SAVING FUN!

    Draw a thermometer, create a shadow box, make deposits at your family meetings. You want to keep everyone encouraged and excited about what you’re working towards. Having a physical representation showing where they are in saving for summer camp can help a lot!

    Do you have family meetings about the money impact of your children’s desires? What money saving strategy do you think your kids will engage the most with?

     

    Are you ready to make sure your kids (and your bank accounts) have the summer of their dreams? Check out these incredible tips on saving for summer camp that are sure to make your budgets a breeze.

    January 2018: What We’re Loving This Month

    I have received some form of compensation for sharing my thoughts on these products. All thoughts, opinions and pictures are my own. The links in this post are affiliate links which means that I get a small percentage from all purchases made through the links. Happy reading!

    This year I wanted to start a new monthly series of the things that my family and I really loving. I’m often asked about these things so I figure, why not proactively share, right? I wanted to have this post up by the end of January BUT multiple virus’ hit my family as I was heading out of town for a conference and I was delayed but alas, here is what we’re loving this January.

    SoapSox Bath Toy

    This month abc and I did an in depth investigation of the letter “A” so naturally we did lots of activities with alligators. We used her hand to paint one and since she LOVES taking all of her toys into the shower, it was nice for her to have this SoapSox Bath Toy Hunter the Gator. I love it because she likes to use ALL the soap in one shower and I can essentially fill Hunter the Gator up with some soap and wash her with her toy. She wins because she loves having him in the bathtub with her. It’s a win-win all around.

    CLEARinse Nasal Cleansing System

    Can I be honest? Of course I can… it’s my site lol!!!

    I hate the Nose Frieda. I always thought that thing was gross. Effective maybe but bleh. With abc I turned our nose syringe into a netti pot for her and that worked wonders but just in time for cold and flu season we got this CLEARinse Nasal Cleaning System for BC. I love it because I can shoot the saline solution up his nose. He hates it but it’s so effective that he knows relief is coming when I break it out.

    Playfoam

    After getting kinetic sand stuck in the depths of our carpets and then slime all over the place, I was a little over having these sensory play things in my house. Yes, I know the kids need something to play with but my nerves around the never ending mess… Anyway, we got this Playfoam that’s pretty amazing–namely because it’s clean! But I love using it with abc and I’s lessons because it makes her letters turn into 3D fun. It’s a really interesting feel too. It’s really light and fluffy but also kind of dense.

    MunchMitt

    My poor baby is teething HARD. He loves to chew on his hands so covering them with this MunchMitt is everything that we needed. Not only does it have the textured areas that massage his gums, but it also has his favorite sound in there (crinkling plastic) so he’s really engaged. I love this thing.

    Mommy Sized Snack & Drink Boxes

    As a nursing mom I’m pretty much always thirsty and hungry. I have life sized thirst and hunger. My kids have these Drink Boxes that we got last summer and I tried using them but there just wasn’t enough space in there for the amount of water that I needed. They have a 12oz version just for me! Oh, and then they have a matching Snack Box too! The best part is that these are BPA-free and totally eco-friendly.

    What are some products you couldn’t live without in January?

    Gluten-Free White Chocolate Oatmeal Cookie Recipe

    Looking for a delicious gluten-free cookie? Look no further than this white chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe which is sure to delight your taste buds!

    Oatmeal raisin cookies are some of my favorite cookies ever. I’m always trying to figure out new ways to make them and I tried someone’s white chocolate oatmeal cookie and I wanted to try and make some myself. And I did.

    I’m a self-professed cookie monster and connoisseur and I must say that this white chocolate chip cookie recipe came out soooooooo good that it’s not even funny. The best part was that I tried this recipe out when the kids weren’t here and I didn’t have to share them!!! I know, I’m terrible but whatever.

    This recipe calls for coconut flour making them gluten-free for my friends with allergies to wheat. It’s important to note that in order for these to truly be gluten-free, your oatmeal cannot be contaminated with wheat so just check your labels.

    White Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

    A delicious and almost nutritious year round treat! 

    Course Dessert
    Cuisine American
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 15 minutes
    Total Time 35 minutes

    Ingredients

    • 2 sticks unsalted butter I used organic butter
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 cup coconut flour
    • 3/4 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 2.5 cups old fashioned rolled oats
    • 1 cup white chocolate chips

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper. 

    2. In a bowl, beat the butter and sugars on medium high until they're light and fluffy.

    3. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. 

    4. Once the butter and sugar is fluffy, add the egg and the vanilla continuing to beat. 

    5. With the mixer on slow, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture until combined.

    6. Slowly add the oats in 1/2 cup increments. Make sure to scrape down the inside of the bowl with a spatula and mix on slow until combined. Add white chocolate chips. 

    7. Form the dough into 28 equal balls and arrange on the baking sheet. Leave lots of space in between them. Use your fingers to mash down the dough balls to be about 1/2" thick discs.

    8. Place cookie sheet on the middle rack and bake for about 15 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Allow cookies to cool on the cookie sheet. 

    9. Enjoy.

    Know someone with a gluten allergy but in need of cookies? Share this recipe with them and show them some love!

    Because I care, I'm going to share this delicious recipe with the masses!Click To Tweet

    Looking for a delicious gluten-free cookie? Look no further than this white chocolate oatmeal cookie recipe which is sure to delight your taste buds!

    Sew What Do I Wear Valentine’s Day Edition

    Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion.
    This post contains affiliate links which means I receive a small percentage from purchases made through the links.

    Can you believe that Valentine’s Day is already right around the corner? When I was growing up, my dad was the best Valentine in the world–even while I was in college. He would send me these tins of popcorn in a personalized tin which was so big for me because I have a name you can’t find on key chains. Or he would send gift cards to places that he knew I would love like Barnes & Noble, MAC, Macy’s, etc.

    But since adulthood hit, aka when I became a mom, things have changed. Until meeting my husband, mini was my favorite Valentine. When the brought her to me like this, I burst into tears because she was so perfect. Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion.And yes, I still have the hat and Valentine. Since then, my family has grown and so has my love for celebrating days devoted to love.

    Sew What Do I Wear: Valentine’s Day Edition

    Mama hasn’t been feeling so hot for awhile and we found out that I’ve been brewing a new little Valentine! So we’ll be playing it pretty low-key since my energy levels are off aka non-existent. Comfort is the name of the game right now but that doesn’t mean that I want to sacrifice being sexy! I mean, Beyonce said it best when she said “Keep it like how it was so he can never say how it used to be”. And honestly, I like looking pretty and feeling good for me!

    Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion.

    Valentine’s Day M4M Mama Ava & P4P Peg Legs

    To make my Valentine’s Day outfit, I modified the Made for Mermaids Mama Ava a bit. This pattern comes with a scoop and v-neck options along with the typical sleeve lengths. I made the v-neck but made it lower cut and more off the shoulder. I made it with a curved hem and extended it by 2 inches. I wanted a longer tunic look. Ok, I really wanted a dress but I didn’t have enough material. I got this fabric from Hancock Fabrics as they were going out of business. I watched it literally for a year before buying and just knew it would be perfect for some kind of Valentine’s Day sweater.

    Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion. Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion. Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion.

    Because I’m well endowed in the assets, I modified the Peg Legs to be higher waist by increasing the rise by 2 inches. That was the only modification that I made on these.

    Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion. Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion. Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion. Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Sew, what will you wear? I've created a comfy yet sexy outfit by my favorite pattern makers that make perfect patterns for plus size fashion.

    Valentine’s Day is right around the corner so be sure to get started on your outfits! Need some more inspiration? Check out some of the other participants in the blog hop!

    Pattern Testing: M4M Mama Cassie

    One of my favorite things about sewing is testing patterns–and then hacking said pattern that I tested. When I was selected to be a tester for my favorite pattern companies (Made for Mermaids/M4M and Patterns for Pirates/P4P) I was so.frickin.excited. As a plus-sized seamstress, trying to find patterns that were made with my curves in mind was near impossible. Sure, I could always just figure out the calculations on how to make them bigger but even that’s hard. And yes, I could always lose weight but let’s be real: that’s even harder! But my girls Megan and Judy always look out with these patterns that I always end up feeling beautiful in!

    Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack! Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack!

    The Mama Cassie

    One of the fashion trends I’m fully committed to this season is the off-the-shoulder look. I was previously hacking patterns to get the off-the-shoulder look that I wanted but when the call for testers went out for this pattern and the designer tagged me in it, I knew I had to be part of it. Mama Cassie was designed by Catherine Muzzatti–one of the designers for M4M and one my virtual sewing besties.

    Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack! Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack! Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack!

    The Options

    Mama Cassie comes with the off-the-shoulder and cold-shoulder options. I’ll be making one of the cold-shoulder options soon enough.

    Sleeves: Short, 3/4, and long–all hemmed.

    Length: Both straight and high-low versions of a maxi, mini, and peplum.

    I was assigned the short sleeve mini dress with the off-the-shoulder bodice (because Catherine is bae and knows my style!). I also did a high-low peplum and a crop top. Yes, chubby girls rock crop tops!

    Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack! Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack! Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack!

    My Mama Cassie Hack

    I’m a WAHM who lives for comfort, ease, coupled with style. When I saw this bodice I knew that I had to pair it with the P4P Mama Bear Joggers to create a jumper that I could both lounge in as well as look cute while out and about. Basically my goal in life is to always feel like I’m wearing PJ’s while looking like a million bucks. Based on my friends’ feedback on Facebook, I would say that I succeeded.

    Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack! Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack! Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack!

    The Hack

    I should have taken pictures but I didn’t–I’ll keep this in mind next time. But it was super easy. I constructed both the Mama Cassie and the Mama Bear Joggers as instructed (ok, not really… I normally freestyle it based on what I feel like doing but following the directions totally works!). Oh, it’s important to note that due to my “lovely lady humps” in the back, I did add 2″ to the rise in the back. And then I attached the waistbands in the same way I would have if the pants were a skirt. I did have to ease the waistband of the bodice so that it could stretch and fit the waistband of the pants. And then boom! It was done!

    Are you loving the off-the-shoulder trend? I do! Which is why I was so excited to test the M4M Mama Cassie! Check out the different options and my hack!

    Creating Comfort In A New Space

    Creating comfort for both kids and adults can be difficult but Brentwood Home offered a great solution. Oh, did I mention giveaway too?

    I love our new home and we’re almost completely settled. One of the things that I wanted to do differently was in how we created spaces that were both kid and adult friendly. I felt like our living room was constantly overrun with toys even though the kids had their own space and stepping on some random figurine in the middle of the night was not how I wanted my life to end.

    Creating Multiple Spaces of Comfort

    Everyone in our house loves to read so I wanted to have multiple reading nooks–especially now that I’m homeschooling. When I was growing up, one of my favorite spaces to read was on my beloved bean bag. I would toss a blanket over the scratchy exterior and just read for hours. As a mom, I always had dreams of my kids being readers so when Brentwood Home wanted to partner and I saw their lounger, I knew that my girls would fall in love. Next to one of our many bookshelves, we have this lounger where, yes, long hours of reading do actually take place.

    Creating comfort for both kids and adults can be difficult but Brentwood Home offered a great solution. Oh, did I mention giveaway too?

    Not that I don’t love the lounger, but mama is a little too big for it so I created a reading space in our room too. My mom found this beautiful chair for $20 and gifted it to us. It’s super comfy and I love drifting away in whatever new book I’m reading.

    Pillows Matter Too

    With abc becoming a big girl and wanting her bed set up like that of everyone else’s, I realized that as much as the proper pillow matters for me, it matters for them too. At two and a half, her little personality is quite developed and as much as she loves to cuddle with a PillowPet, they just make her too hot in the middle of the night. This pillow came with the lounger and she loves it. It’s the perfect size and weight for her and she doesn’t wake up in the middle of the night sweaty.

    Creating comfort for both kids and adults can be difficult but Brentwood Home offered a great solution. Oh, did I mention giveaway too?

    Toy Placement

    I think that what got us messed up in the old place was that we put ALL of the toys in the downstairs play area. This time we have them split up–all the fun toys are in their room and the developmental/supervision required toys are downstairs. Not that they don’t just <insert sarcasm> loooooove their developmental toys, these are often the ones that have the most pieces that could lead to my life flashing before my eyes if I step on one. Making sure that they clean up properly before moving on to the next activity has been key here.

    Creating comfort for both kids and adults can be difficult but Brentwood Home offered a great solution. Oh, did I mention giveaway too?

    Did I mention a giveaway?

    I love this lounger and pillow set so much I’m gifting it to one lucky reader! Enter pillow so that you can win!

    Creating comfort for both kids and adults can be difficult but Brentwood Home offered a great solution. Oh, did I mention giveaway too?
    Kids Lounger

    3 Safe DIY Drain-Cleaning Solutions

    Want to keep your drains clean and clear without the chemicals? Check out these 3 easy DIY natural drain-cleaning solutions.

    Cleaning drains doesn’t require a lot of effort, though it does require maintenance. It’s important to have regular upkeep to lower the frequency of common drain problems such as clogs, drain fly infestations, sink odors, etc. Many homeowners like using drain-cleaning solutions as part of their maintenance regimen.

    Some people use chemical-based solutions which can be dangerous–especially around pets and kids. A number of commercial drain cleaners have high concentration of chemicals and acids; which don’t bode well for your health and plumbing system. There are alternate cleaning solutions that you can totally create on your own and they’re safe to use.

    Please keep in mind that these mixtures are for general drain maintenance and aren’t effective in dealing with massive clogs. You should use plumbing tools such as cable augers and plungers for unclogging drains.

    3 Natural Drain-Cleaning Solutions

    1.Baking Soda And Vinegar

    Want to keep your drains clean and clear without the chemicals? Check out these 3 easy DIY natural drain-cleaning solutions. Ingredients

    *2 Cups of Baking Soda

    *1 Cup of White Vinegar

    *4 Cups of Boiling Water

    How to apply

    1. Pour a cup of baking soda directly down the drain hole.
    1. The next step is to pour 2 cups of boiling water. Baking soda and hot water is a good combination for removing grease and oils that have attached to the drain pipeline. Wait for 5 minutes before proceeding with the next step.
    1. After the designated waiting period; it’s time to pour the other cup of baking soda into the drain. This time, mix the baking soda with the cup of vinegar. You need to place a stopper into the drain hole and allow the solution to work. There will be a foaming reaction which is perfectly normal. This also means the mixture is taking effect. If you feel like you still need to apply the solution then do so.

    Want to keep your drains clean and clear without the chemicals? Check out these 3 easy DIY natural drain-cleaning solutions.

    2. Citrus fruits or extracts

    This solution is for those who have garbage disposals installed on their drains. It’s pretty straightforward so you don’t have to worry about mixing concoctions. For garbage disposal maintenance; you can use the solution discussed earlier.

    Ingredients

    *Citrus fruit peels (lemon, orange, or grapefruit) or fruit extracts

    Application:

    1. Cut your chosen fruit into small peels. Don’t attempt to place large fruit sizes into the garbage disposal since this will only lead to clogging.
    1. After you have prepared the small fruit slices, throw them to the disposal blades so that it will be grinded. The fruits will release a sweet fragrance that will eliminate the odour and keep the drain smelling fresh.
    1. If you plan on using extracts; then all you have to do is pour the liquid down the drain.

    3. Vinegar, Salt, and Borax Solution

    Want to keep your drains clean and clear without the chemicals? Check out these 3 easy DIY natural drain-cleaning solutions. Ingredients

    *1/4 Cup of Borax

    *1/4 Cup of Salt

    *1/2 Cup of Vinegar

    Applying the solution:

    1. Mix all the ingredients in a suitable container that can hold the entirety of the mixture.
    1. Simply pour the mixed solution into the drain. This can be used for clearing small clogs in the drains just like the baking soda mixture earlier.

    Do you DIY your cleaners? What’s your favorite concoction?

    Katie Jones is a writer and editor for Dr.Drip Pty Ltd. She is always excited and dedicated in creating informative blogs regarding home improvement, DIY plumbing, house maintenance, etc.

    **Photos courtesy of iStock.