**This post is part of a sponsored opportunity with Refreshingly Real. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
I have a confession: I often forget to take the frozen meat out of the freezer to defrost in time for me to make dinner. I know, what am I thinking, right? Last week I was tired of asking my husband to bring home dinner because I again forgot to take the meat out. So I pulled out this ground feta and basil chicken sausage I’d gotten from Sprouts, put it in some water and it defrosted in about an hour.
**Disclaimer: This post is sponsored on behalf of Juicy Juice. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Fall is in the air! Ok, it’s not. It’s still in the 90s here in Atlanta but that doesn’t mean that we aren’t in the full swing of all things fall–this includes loving on some apples! Apple picking is one of our favorite activities but what do you do with all the apples? Here’s a suggestion: make an apple pie smoothie!
Anything made by a Grandma is typically guaranteed to be delicious. My Grandmothers are no longer with us, but my husband still has one of his and she makes the BEST peach cobbler. She may not be from the south where the peaches are always perfect, but she is from the north where Grandma’s cobbler is always perfect!
Kielbasa is a kid favorite dinner staple in my house. Personally, my favorite dinners are meals that everything is available in my pantry. My second favorite meals are one pot meals. Less dishes. That is why this one pot kielbasa dinner is a sure-fire dinner win for everyone!
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!
Vegan Peanut Butter & Chocolate Smoothie
Ready to boost your milk supply, satisfy your chocolate cravings while being mindful of your waistline?
I use vanilla that's been sweetened.
Chocolate VeganSmart Protein
Ground Flax Seed
You can use regular flax seeds too.
Measure out ingredients and add to blender.
**Optional: Add ice to get desired consistency.
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
- 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?
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:
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?
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.
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.
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?
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!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
I used organic butter
old fashioned rolled oats
white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In a bowl, beat the butter and sugars on medium high until they're light and fluffy.
In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
Once the butter and sugar is fluffy, add the egg and the vanilla continuing to beat.
With the mixer on slow, gradually add the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture until combined.
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.
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.
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.
Know someone with a gluten allergy but in need of cookies? Share this recipe with them and show them some love!
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. 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 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.
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 so be sure to get started on your outfits! Need some more inspiration? Check out some of the other participants in the blog hop!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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!