16 Cool & Healthy Summer Treats

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I have a little sugar problem. Actually, after completing my first Whole30, I discovered that I am seriously addicted to sugar. Nevertheless, life is short, and I believe wholeheartedly in (1) moderation and (2) making the best of the days I have numbered. That means we eat dessert on a fairly regular basis. However, I can sense my girls also cultivating their own sweet teeth tooths, and I'm not sure that's a road I want them to walk down. So, this summer, I've been looking for healthier … [Read more...]

Spinach Strawberry Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette

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Spring has finally sprung here in Tennessee, and with all the daffodils blooming and everything turning green, I've been craving salads. The March produce has been bountiful (and cheap!), so I just had to share with you one of my favorite spring salads. There's just something about the combination of sweet (from the strawberries) and tangy (from the balsamic vinaigrette) that makes this salad so delicious. You can throw in whatever ingredients you have on hand, but here's my favorite way … [Read more...]

Roasted Broccoli: A Kid-Approved, Seasonal Recipe

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Recently, I posted on how we're trying to incorporate more seasonal produce into our meal plans to improve our diet and save money. This month broccoli is on sale and in season, and at $0.99 a bunch, we're consuming a lot of this green antioxidant-rich veggie in our house. Most kids will eat broccoli smothered in cheese sauce {who am I kidding? I love the stuff, too!}, but it isn't very healthy. In the past, I've roasted potatoes, corn, even carrots, peppers, and onions, and I love the … [Read more...]

10 Easy Christmas Cookie Recipes: Start a New Family Tradition

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Traditions. I have fond childhood memories of Christmas time, most of which center around food--particularly sweets. Both of my grandmothers were excellent cooks: 1 for her cakes & pies, the other is still known for her Christmas candies. My mom is also a culinary extraordinaire, which leaves me without a chance. I can either carry on the family tradition in some small way or drop the ball. I want to preserve our family's longstanding tradition of cooking excellence and start a new … [Read more...]

5 Fun Fall Activities for Preschoolers

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One of "My Most Popular Posts" right now is "10 Fun Fall Crafts for Toddlers." That seems appropriate, yet all of images from that 2011 post have disappeared due to Pinterest's changes. Here's a 2013 update!These activities are all FRUGAL, FUN, & KID-FRIENDLY. I hope you'll try a few out with your kiddos! 1. Fall Nature CanvasWe actually made this one in September, but we keep replenishing our leaves as the old ones shrivel up. You need a foam board, straight pins, a shirt or paint to cover your … [Read more...]

Homemade Vanilla Extract–The Quick & Super Easy Version

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Making vanilla extract is probably the easiest do-it-yourself project you can do. If you like to give bottles away at Christmas time, then this recipe is for you! That is, unless you're super-planner-woman who can make a huge batch of vanilla in plenty of time to let it set for 2 months before distributing it to family and friends. Alas, I am not that woman, which I realized because I haven't made my own vanilla since 2011, the last time I used my vanilla extract recipe. Why? Because I … [Read more...]

How to Make Homemade Yogurt the Easy Way

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Cora enjoying a yogurt parfait with fresh blueberries & granolaIf your family eats a lot of yogurt like mine does, then chances are you've noticed how expensive it has gotten in the stores lately. We used to buy the individual cartons, but for economical reasons have switched to the 32-ounce tubs instead. Still, yogurt isn't cheap.But after finding a simple recipe for homemade yogurt that doesn't require purchasing a yogurt maker, I started making my own. I have been making our family's … [Read more...]

Salted Caramel Pumpkin Muffins, the Perfect Winter Pick-Me-Up

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One of my personal goals for 2013 is to actually make some of the things I've pinned on Pinterest. How many times do you pin something and NEVER get around to doing it. I have 55 boards and over 400 pins and, with the exception of the recipes pinned to my Menu Plan board, I have probably only tackled a handful of the crafts, decor, and recipes pinned. So, this month, because it's cold and I love muffins, I attempted Myra at My Blessed Life's Salted Caramel Pumpkin Muffins. {If you aren't … [Read more...]

Super Easy, "Healthier" Crockpot Apple Butter: A Fall Favorite!

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A few weeks ago, the girls and I visited a local apple orchard to pick apples. We had been reading books about apples and looking at the apple's different parts, so I thought a nice conclusion to our little unit study would be a visit to a place where apples come from (and no, not the grocery store!).  We spent about an hour walking among rows and rows of apple trees. We were only allowed to pick from the Red Delicious trees, but there were more than enough apples for our bags to hold. The trees … [Read more...]

Day 17: Making No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookies

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Curious about what we're doing? We're making time each day in the month of July to play with our kids. That might mean doing arts & crafts, splashing in the kiddy pool, or playing dress-up, but whatever you do; turn off the computer, silence the phone, and give your children your complete, undivided attention. You will be blessed!I have a sweet tooth and love to make desserts; however, it isn't often that I let the girls help me in the kitchen. Actually, Kate used to help me all the time, but … [Read more...]