Thursday, April 27, 2017

Healthy Food Swaps

I'm not the healthiest person on the planet.  I've repeatedly admitted my love of all things sweet.  However, I like to think I do a fairly good job of eating somewhat healthy foods the majority of the time.  I do believe in balance and not depriving oneself because if I tell myself something is completely off limits then I just find myself wanting it even more.  The "always want what you can't have" mentality I suppose.  It's difficult to cook "healthy" meals for a family who doesn't share the same desire to avoid certain foods.  Pasta for example.   I like pasta, but that's one thing I could eat a lot less of and be completely happy.  I'd rather skip the noodles and have a glass of wine instead.  My family on the other hand would never dream of eating zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash with their marinara sauce.  So, I've learned a few simple swaps that I have been able to incorporate in our daily meals...some of which we all eat and others I swap out just for me.  Making a few simple swaps makes me feel better about indulging in delicious treats like this and this and this!

I already briefly touched on this swap, but it's one I use quite a bit because it's easy for me to make whole wheat pasta noodles for the boys, and then quickly spiralize a zucchini for myself.  I have and love this spiralizer.  A lot of people boil their zucchini noddles, but I find that makes them very soggy.   I prefer the crunchy texture of raw zoodles, and by the time I pour the hot spaghetti sauce over them they soften just enough for my liking.

Spaghetti squash is also another delicious swap for standard pasta.  I use this one less often simply because it requires me to really plan and think about cooking the squash in advance...and I usually don't have my act together to do that. It's really not that hard, it just means I have to throw it in the oven earlier then I would normally start dinner so that it's fully cooked and ready when it's time to eat.

Sour Cream:
We have been using plain greek yogurt in place of sour cream for a long time, and NO one has complained about it.  That's a huge win for this household and our picky eaters!

I have been using whole wheat flour in place of all purpose flour on most things I bake for a while, but it was definitely one of those swaps I could tell a difference in.  Things weren't as fluffy or airy as they were with regular white flour.  But, that all changed when I discovered whole wheat pastry flour!  I love this stuff!  It's so finely ground and it's really hard to tell a difference between this flour and all purpose.

Oil / Butter:
There are several good swaps for vegetable/canola oil.  For baking, applesauce is a popular swap.  I also often use extra light olive oil in place of vegetable oil.  It has a very mild flavor, if any flavor at all and is great for muffins, pancakes, breads, etc where you definitely don't want an olive taste coming through.  Of course regular extra virgin olive oil is great for cooking.  Other oil swaps I love for cooking are coconut oil, sesame oil, and avocado oil.  I love this avocado oil spray instead of Pam!

Brown rice is an easy substitution for regular white rice.  The downside of brown rice is that it takes a lot longer to cook.  Usually about 40-45 min on the stovetop.  I have been using my Instant Pot a lot lately to make brown rice in 22 min!  Such a time saver if I don't have time to wait.  Another grain I use in place of rice is quinoa.  Quinoa has a nutty flavor, which I love, but my husband isn't such a fan.  So, if I'm subbing rice for quinoa in something, I usually make sure there are lots of spices to help mask the flavor.  Mexican casserole type dishes are great!  If I'm in a rush, I like this brown rice/quinoa blend.  It's pre-cooked, so I can throw it in a casserole quickly and move on with my day!   I've also seen it available at Target.  A 3rd sub for rice is cauliflower.  This one requires a little more prep work because you have to cut/wash the cauliflower then run it through the food processor or grate it by hand.  A few weeks ago I happened to see pre-grated cauliflower in the produce section of Hy-Vee!  Oh happy day!  So much of a time saver!  Now it's so much easier to make this simple swap, especially if I'm preparing cauliflower rice just for myself.

Whole wheat bread is delicious!  This is one thing my boys eat and love.  I can't even remember the last time I purchased regular white bread (with the exception of hamburger buns).  Aldi and Sprouts both have a good organic whole grain bread that isn't terrible expensive.  We don't go through it super fast, so I keep it in the freezer and that helps the freshness since there are no preservatives.

Sometimes for a quick lunch, I'll whip up some tuna salad, but using so much mayonnaise does not exactly make a healthy meal.  If I have an avocado handy, I'll mash it up and use much less mayo, if any at all.  I also like to use dijon mustard to help less the amount of mayo I use.  I love dijon and avocado in egg salad as well.  When I do use mayonnaise, I have been loving this avocado mayo!

Popcorn can be a great healthy snack, but the microwave kind is junk.  Along with lots of added calories and fat, most microwave popcorns contain chemicals in the ingredients as well as in the bags themselves.  When exposed to high heat (i.e. the microwave), the grease-repelling chemicals that line the popcorn bag, can leach into your popcorn.  Yuck!  We have this air popper and the boys love to much on freshly popped popcorn with a little salt and real butter.  Another treat is to cook popcorn on the stovetop with a little bit of coconut oil!  Delish!

This is one of those swaps that I do on my own in this household.  No one else seems to share my love of nut milks, but I LOVE almond, coconut, and cashew milks!  LOVE!  I mostly use them for smoothies, but every now and then I'll use them for baking and no one has caught onto me yet. ;)  My current fave for making smoothies and chai tea lattes is Silk Unsweetened Coconut & Almond.  Only 35 calories per cup!

Short and sweet...sweet potatoes have a higher amount of antioxidants and nutrients then regular russet potatoes.  So, while I don't see anything wrong in having regular white potatoes from time to time, swapping them for sweet potatoes in beef stew, roast, or just as a baked potato, would give your meal an added nutritional boost.

Regular table salt tastes good, but that's about it.  It doesn't do much nutritionally for your body.  Switching it for celtic sea salt is such an easy swap, and another one that no one has rebelled against at Casa de French.  Celtic sea salt contains lots and lots of trace minerals.  Our bodies need some salt to maintain sufficient sodium levels and ensure there is proper fluid balance in our cells.  Sea salt contains natural electrolytes which are important for our health.  Not getting enough salt in your diet could actually hurt your digestive health by throwing off your production of stomach acid.  If you want to get really fancy, you could get pink himalayan sea salt, which contains all of the 84 elements found in our bodies.  Celtic sea salt contains around 60 elements.  It is grayish in color and is often moist to the touch.

Cocoa powder:
Trading out your regular Hershey's cocoa powder for the more natural cacao powder will be nutritionally beneficial without sacrificing on flavor.  Regular cocoa powder is made by roasting the beans at a high temperature, which in turn lowers the overall nutritional value.  Cacao powder is made by cold-pressing un-roasted cocoa beans, thereby maintaining the natural, nutritional value.  Those studies you've heard of that claim chocolate is good for you are not referring to the chocolate bar at the checkout counter.   Sorry.  They are referring to natural cacao powder.  Cacao is high is antioxidants and contains several minerals such as magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium, zinc, manganese, and copper.  And the best part can't taste the difference!

What are some of the healthy food swaps you make?

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Beckham's 3rd Birthday: Tractors

Finally, I am getting around to sharing Beckham's 3rd birthday with you all!  This little munchkin is obsessed with tractors of ALL tractors as well as any sort of construction vehicles.  It's amazing how many I pass on a daily basis, just driving down the road.  I never paid any attention until I had a little guy in the back seat point and holler at!  He has as much excitement to see the 987th tractor as he did the first one of the day.  So, you guessed it...tractor party it is!

When I first asked Beckham what he wanted for his birthday party, he was very specific..."I want a John Deere tractor party with 'nilla cupcakes and girls there".  This was great!  I love a kid who can make decisions!  However, a couple of weeks later, he started changing his tune.  He decided that he did NOT want a party.  NO cake, NO ice cream, NO girls!  Typical 2 year old, #amiright?  "NO, NO, NO!"  I'm honestly not sure what changed his mind, but he was dead set on not having a party at all.  As a mom who loves throwing parties for her kids, I couldn't let his birthday pass without a party.  Maybe it was a little selfish on my part, but I planned on having a party whether he wanted to or not.  He eventually suggested that maybe it could be Mama's party and I would share my presents with him.  I tried to explain that for Mama's birthday, I usually get presents like earrings and shoes...but he was confident that for this party I would be getting tractors and I would share with him.  And, he was right ;)

So, we went with it!  Our guest list was just family and close friends, so I really didn't care if he ended up throwing a huge fit the day of his party, but he actually did very well!  He was rather frowny-faced in the beginning, mainly because everyone had arrived before he woke up from nap, so he was greeted by a large crowd and he wasn't fond of that.  But, he quickly warmed up and enjoyed himself.  When it came time to open presents, he had forgotten it was supposed to be Mama's party, and had no problems ripping the paper off to see what was inside!

Cake time proved to be a little more of a challenge.  He was excited to see his tractor cake with 'nilla cupcakes, but when everyone started singing "Happy Birthday", he hung his head and covered his face!  I've never seen a kid do that before!  It was funny, cute, and puzzling all at the same time.  He's not usually a shy kid, so this was rather unusual behavior.

At any rate, once the song was over, he perked right back up and devoured some cake!

Let's talk about the cake:  The tractor was made up of 39 cupcakes.  I covered a large, flattened cardboard box with aluminum foil and used it as the cake board.  All in all, it was pretty easy to ice the cupcakes and arrange them in the right order.  I iced each cupcake individually and then just smushed them together slightly once they were in place.  I piped icing directly onto the cake board for the exhaust pipe and smoke.  I happened to have some leftover Wilton Sugar Sheets so I piped "John Deere" on the sugar sheet and laid it over the yellow strip of icing on the tractor.  You could definitely pipe straight onto the icing, but I used the sheet since I already had it.

Food:  We went with farm-themed, Beckham-approved, finger foods for this party.  They included Lil Smokies (Pig Pen), Rice Krispie treats (hay bales), fruit tray (produce stance), corn on the cob (corn field), guac and chips (rubble and muck), and deviled eggs (farm fresh eggs).  I found the free printable labels here on pinterest and just photoshopped the food titles onto each one before printing.

Decor:  Yellow and green crepe paper were flanked by yellow and green balloons to get everyone in a tractor mood!  Despite his aversion to having a party, Beckham really enjoyed helping me decorate, so I had to leave his contribution ;)  

Other fun touches:
Yellow plastic silverware wrapped in green napkins to look like corn
Lemonade "fueling station"
Tractor plates and napkins

Party Favors:  Small pots with flower seeds and tractor stickers were available for guests to take home.  A dump truck carried fruit punch pouches for the kiddos to grab if they got thirsty.

I usually make my kiddos a shirt each year for their birthday (you can see my tutorial here), but I came across this one and I just could't resist.  It was too perfect for him, so I broke my tradition and bought it.

And, you know by now that the Frenches can't have a birthday party without our beloved bounce house!  It's always a crowd pleaser!  We bought ours a few years ago and it has been worth every penny!  We have it set up in our basement and the kids go down there on rainy or cold days to burn some energy.  It's expensive, but if you consider the cost of renting one a couple of times a year, it more then pays for itself in the first year you own it.  Best purchase ever!

All in all it was a pretty fun party!  I can't believe my baby is THREE!  It just doesn't seem possible.  Love you Beckham!  You definitely make life a lot more fun!

Related Posts:
**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission if items are purchased.  This does not affect the price you pay but it does help me maintain my blog!  Thank you!

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Fluffy Slime

We are BIG into sensory play around here.  My kiddos love kinetic sand and play with it on the daily.  It's become a permanent part of my kitchen counter because every time I attempt to put it away, they drag it out again within an hour.  We prefer the Kinetic Build sand because it sticks together a little bit better and makes less of a mess (yay!).  They also love play-doh, Mad Matter, Floam, DIY slime, and anything else that is squishy.  We make our slime recipe quite often and if you haven't attempted it yet, you should really check it out!

My mom recently came across a recipe for fluffy slime, so of course we had to give it a whirl.  It was so fun and the boys LOVED it!


3 cups shaving cream
2-2.5 Tbs contact lens solution (MUST contain boric acid)
2 (4 oz) containers Elmer's white glue
food coloring (optional)


In a large bowl, measure the shaving cream, then add glue and mix to combine.

If you are adding food coloring, add it before you add the contact solution.   It will be easier to mix the color thoroughly prior to adding the slime activating ingredient!

Slowly add contact solution, continuing to stir until you get the desired consistency.  The original recipe called for 5 tablespoons of contact solution, but we ended up using a lot less then that.  2-2 1/2 tablespoons seemed perfect for us.  That's the thing about slime though...I don't think there is a perfect recipe that comes out exactly the same each time.  So, you just have to mix and feel and decide when it seems like it's a good consistency.  Measuring out shaving cream is not an exact science, so use the measurements as an approximate guide and wing it!

We questioned whether the shave gel would work as well as the shave cream, and honestly we couldn't tell a difference!  They both seemed to have the same consistency once everything was mixed together.

Another interesting find was that it turns into regular slime after a while.  We put it in baggies to store it and a few days later it appeared to have lost it's fluff and was more the texture of standard slime.  Here's a pic of the freshly made fluffy slime (right) and the week old slime (left)  Can you see the difference?  The good news is that it was still super fun to play with even after it lost it's fluff, so you basically get 2 slimes in 1!

If your kids like squishing things through their little fingers, then you should definitely add this to your "to do" list for the weekend!  It would be perfect for a rainy day to keep the boredom at bay!

Side note, this slime was pretty easy to clean up.  It washed off easily with soap and water, and the little bit that did get on their clothes, washed out.  However, if you are adding food coloring, the coloring might stain, so it's probably best to have them wear play clothes!

 **Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission.  This does not affect the price you pay but it does help me maintain my blog!

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

DIY: Tassel Earrings

Hey everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!  We spent ours with family and friends, which is always nice...ate some yummy food (too much I might add); kiddos hunted some eggs, had a water balloon fight, and ate their share of candy.  It was super fun, and we were so lucky to have great weather!

Moving onto today's topic, TASSELS!  Tassels are hot right now, appearing on everything from purses, to shoes, to shirts, and more!  They are fun and flouncy and are an easy way to add pops of color to your wardrobe.  It's hard to tell in the pic, buy I am wearing my DIY tassel earrings in our Easter picture above.

Today I am going to show you how I made these super cute tassle earrings!  It's so easy, I'm kind of embarrassed to even explain it to you.

I found these premade tassels at Joann Crafts, and they come in a 2 pack.  At my store, they also had a few other colors:

I went with blue because I always choose blue.  Always.  I have more blue in my closet then any other color!  Blue has been my favorite color for as long as I can remember, so I always choose blue!

You'll need tassels, earring hooks, jump rings (small metal rings, also sold in the jewelry aisle), and needle nose pliers.

So, remember when I said this is so simple it's almost embarrassing to tell you about it?  Well, here are the instructions:

1. Using the pliers, open the jump ring slightly
2. Slide the earring hook and the hassle onto the jump ring
3. Close the jump ring with the pliers
4. Insert into your ear and marvel at your craftiness!

Super easy, huh?  This would be a fun teacher gift...teacher appreciation week is coming up!  These tassels would also be fun at the end of a long necklace.  So many possibilities.......

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission.  This does not affect the price you pay but it does help me maintain my blog.  Thank you!

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Friday, April 14, 2017

Heavenly Coconut Cream Layered Dessert

I come from a family of coconut lovers.  For generations, we have enjoyed and devoured coconut.  My grandfather even joked that he would eat dog shit if it was covered in coconut.  I really hope he was kidding about that.  Sorry if that just ruined coconut for you!  I really hope it didn't because coconut is sooooooooo amazing!

This Heavenly Coconut Cream Layered Dessert ranks up there as one of my all time favorite desserts.  It's DELISH to say the least!  We usually have it around Easter time, but it's a perfect dessert for any occasion, and would be great for a pot luck. We even passed this recipe on to the caterer at my brother's rehearsal dinner.  This was one of his favorite desserts, so at his request, she made it for the first time.  She was amazed at how delicious it was and everyone at the party seemed to love it, so she has since added it to her list of catered dessert offerings!

So, I'm not kidding when I say you are definitely missing out on one of the best things in life until you have made this decadent dessert!!!!!  You are either going to love me or hate me for sharing this with you.  It's one of those things I have to save for special occasions because I want to eat the ENTIRE pan!


1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cold butter, cubed (I used salted butter)
1/2 cup chopped pecans

2 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
8 oz whipped topping, divided (can use Cool Whip, Tru Whip
or make your own whipped cream)

2 small (3 1/2 oz) packages coconut cream instant pudding mix
3 cups milk (whole or 2% preferred)

1 cup coconut, toasted

Preheat your oven to 350°.  Start by making the pudding so it has time to set.  Mix milk and pudding packages until completely combined.  

I usually put the pudding mix and milk in a tightly sealed tupperware container and shake it like a Polaroid picture...until it is mixed well.  Refrigerate to let it set up.  

Using a pastry cutter or a fork, cut the butter into the flour until it is crumbly.  Mix in the chopped pecans.  

Press mixture firmly into the bottom of a greased 9x13 baking dish.  Bake 20-22 minutes until lightly golden.  Cool completely.

I love this Coconut Oil Spray from Trader Joes!  Much better then Pam.

Spread coconut on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 8-10 minutes, until lightly golden.  Set aside to cool.

Using a mixer, cream together the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla until fully combined.  Lightly fold in 1/2 of the whipped cream and spread evenly on the cooled pecan crust.

Spread the chilled coconut pudding evenly over the cream cheese layer.  Top with the remaining whipped cream and then sprinkle with the toasted coconut.  Chill for 4 hours or overnight.  Store in the refrigerator.  Enjoy!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Workin' It Wednesday: Spring Cleaning

Hey guys!  It's time for another Workin' It Wednesday, where I link up with Erika and Shay to talk about how busy moms keep it together!  This month's topic is Spring Cleaning.  If I'm being totally honest, I hate cleaning.  I LOVE having a clean house, but I hate actually cleaning it.  Especially since it seems like a wasted effort when toys are strewn about or OJ is spilled on the floor shortly after I do take the time to clean.  I splurge on having a lady come clean my house once a month and it is HEAVEN!  She does an amazing job and I just do minimal "maintenance" cleaning in between her visits.  I save the deep cleaning for her, and I'm only slightly guilty about that!

Spring cleaning is a little more intense then daily or weekly cleaning.  And for that, I despise spring cleaning even more.  However, to me, spring cleaning also represents going through and getting rid of things you don't need anymore.  I get great pleasure from purging and organizing, so that's what I am going to focus on for today's post.  ORGANIZATION!  We all know there are dust bunnies under the couch that desperately need to be swept and fan blades that could use a wiping, but I'm just not in the mood for that right now.  So, I'm going to talk about something that gets me all warm and fuzzy inside!

I have recently made my way through most of the closets in this house in an effort to get rid of things we don't need/use and organize what remains.  We downsized when we moved into this house, so it's been a bit of an adjustment and I find myself trying to cram all of our same old stuff into smaller spaces.  Instead of being efficient, it's just making me crazy.  I don't like clutter, but by the look of my closets you'd never know that.  I also think that time has a lot to do with how the closets ended the way the did.  Actually, I should say lack of time.  I quickly throw something in there, to deal with it at a later time, and then that time never comes.  Then, I throw something else in there and something else until the entire closet is filled with "things I need to get to one day".

Is organization a love language?  If so, it would be mine.  I am very at peace when things are in their designated spots.  I've had to learn to let go of a lot of these desires after having children.  They don't seem to have the same love of organization.  Go figure.  One thing I desperately needed to organize was my shoes.  This wall of my closet had a mirror and 2 hooks, but it seemed I could take advantage of the space better then this.  As you can see, I needed a better plan for this pile of shoes I accumulated ;)  I went to Home Depot and spent a lot of time in the shelving aisle talking to one of the employees.  I came home with this ClosetMaid shelving system.   I got 2 shelf tracks, a hanging track, wire shelves, and brackets.  They were able to cut the shelves for me in the store, so all I had to do once I got home was screw in a few screws and attach everything together.  It was super easy to install!  I like that the shelves are adjustable so I can make them taller for boots and shorter for sandals if I choose to.

My dad helped me build this shoe rack ages ago, and I have used it ever since.  It was slightly too long for this closet, so Adam helped me shave off a few inches on each dowel rod and I gave it a fresh coat of paint.  Now, it fits much better and isn't so cramped in this space.  And it still holds 4 pairs of shoes per row!

I also wanted a better way to organize my scarves and purses.  I used to keep my scarves in the hall coat closet, but then I would forget to grab one on my way out.  I found this ClosetMaid shoe organizer at Home Depot and it was the perfect solution!  The cubbies are small enough to hold my scarves and flip flops and they are much easier to see and access!

Here's an overview of both sides.  I used Command hooks to hang my sunhats and various boxes to organize things like bras, socks, tank tops, etc.  Pay no attention to the other side of the closet.  I have attempted to organize his side, buuuuuut...... Remember when I said other members of my family don't share my love of organization?  Yeah.

On to the kids' rooms.  I went through both boys' clothes and tried to weed out things that were too small, or that they just refused to wear.  I have been intrigued by the whole capsule wardrobe movement, but I am too much of a chicken to try it on myself.  I thought about trying it out on the boys, but I haven't pulled the trigger yet.  Honestly, Chase has pretty much determined his own capsule wardrobe.  He has a handful of shirts/pants that he wears every single week, some even more then once in the same week.  I know the people at his school probably think he desperately needs some new clothes, but with a closetful of them, he choses the SAME things every day.  I gave up trying to fight that battle 2 years ago.  #justdontcare

And, Beckham gets a ton of hand me downs, so I wasn't sure how to start a capsule with him.  They both need a lot of grimy clothes that I don't care about because we get dirty around here A LOT.  They play outside all the time, so while I love it when they look cute in their polos and plaid shorts, I also appreciate having clothes that can get dirty without making me insane.  So, with all of that in mind, I tried to weed out as many things as possible...things that were too small or too big for their current little bodies; things that they wouldn't wear if their lives depended on it; things that were just taking up space.  Somehow, Beckham ended up with so many different pairs of pajamas, but he only wore about 5-6 pairs.  The rest just sat in the drawer, getting pushed around to find the favorites.  So, out they came.  And the drawer is much more organized and peaceful without the clutter of unworn pjs.  Old pants were discarded and replaced with shorts in anticipation of spring (although a few favorite pairs of pants remain).

Purging is so refreshing isn't it?  I also tackled the junk drawers.  How do we end up with so many random pieces of paper and pens?  I have no idea where they come from.

Other places in our house I plan on directing my focus to are the laundry room / craft storage area, toy room (I recently organized this-see the post here-, but after receiving gifts for Beckham's birthday, I feel the need to weed through things again and donate what they don't play with regularly), pantry, refrigerator (I'm dreading that one), and last but not least...the basement.  That could take me a while.  The good thing about organizing is you can do a little at a time to avoid feeling overwhelmed.  Pick a drawer and start going through it.  Pretty soon, you'll be motivated to pick another drawer, and another!

I know I said I wasn't going to talk about cleaning, but since I hate cleaning (did I mention that already?), I wanted to share a couple of things that do make it a little easier on me.  First is my Dyson stick vacuum.  I use this beast multiple times a day and it's amazing!  It is basically a suped-up dust buster, but it has a long stick that allows me to stand upright and not bend over.  It also has a few different attachments that come in handy for cleaning different things.  I mainly use the regular vacuum attachment with the stick for sweeping under the kitchen table and around the kitchen.  I also use the brush attachment for cleaning out my car!  The best's cordless!  The charger is mounted to the wall for easy access and it is always fully charged, ready to go when I need it!

The 2nd thing that helps with the random dirt accumulation around here is our Roomba.  We've had ours for years, and it's sadly on it's last leg, but it's definitely a handy item to have around.  Ours is old and rather loud, so I try and click it on as I'm walking out the door to leave.  But, I've heard they have made great advancements in the technology so I'm sure they are more powerful and more quiet these days.  Some are even fancy enough that you can set a timer and they will automatically clean each day during that certain time!

Well, that was a much longer post then I originally intended!  Hopefully you made it through, or maybe you quit in the middle to start tackling your closet organization! ;)  What's your favorite spring cleaning ritual?

Be sure to tune in next month for Workin' It Wednesday when we chat about planning for a summer vacation!

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Easter Basket Ideas that are NOT Candy and are ALL Available on Amazon!

Easter is rather late this year, but it still seemed to sneak up on me!

I try to make an effort to be conscientious when it comes to purchases of holiday "stuff".  Christmas stockings, Valentine's boxes, and now Easter baskets are all easy to stock full of junk...but then that junk ends up around the house, broken, not being played with, and eventually in the trash.  Without being overly practical, I try to get things that my kids will actually use!

I realize this post is a little on the late side considering Easter is less than a week away, so I am making it easy and linking only items that are available on the one and only AMAZON!  If you are like most Americans, and have Prime, then you can have these dandys at your doorstep by the end of the week and you don't even have to leave your house!  What on earth did we do before Prime?  I have no idea.  I must have mentally blocked it out because life was so hard back then.  We had to walk to school, in the snow, uphill for 5 miles...AND physically go to a store to get things we needed/wanted.  Our children don't know how good they have it!

Let's get to it, shall we?  Here are a few things I rounded up for some Easter fun!

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Friday, April 7, 2017

Beckham's 2nd Birthday: Bug Party

Happy Friday folks!  I am continuing with my "Beckham's Birthdays" theme for the week and sharing his party details from last year:

TWO!  Ah, two.  So much fun, but also such a trying age.  Beckham has taken a liking to a little plastic ladybug (the one in this set), which he carries around in his little, clammy hand everywhere we go.  He sleeps with it, takes it in the car, and carries it around the house with him.  We misplace it A LOT, but so far, we have managed to keep finding it!  Actually, we have orange one and one red one.  He usually only gets one at a time incase one of them is permanently misplaced, then we will have a backup. ;)  And thank goodness for the backup.

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Beckham's 1st Birthday! Mustache Bash

In honor of Beckham's recent 3rd birthday, I am going back and sharing his past birthdays the same way I did for Chase. This week, I'll be posting his previous parties, and hopefully soon I'll be able to share his 3rd birthday party with you!


My little baby boy!  I can't believe you are 1.

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Monday, April 3, 2017

How Having My House Painted Made Me Thankful I'm Married

We had been wanting to paint the exterior of our old farmhouse ever since we moved in a year and a half ago.  A few months ago, we finally bit the bullet and did it!   I am very happy with the results, it is much brighter and has a more modern feel.  There is still a long list of improvements we want to accomplish (removing the random witch's cauldron from front yard is one of them), but little by little we are making this house our home.

In dealing with the painter and his lack of communication, I felt like I could have been filming a bizarre, twisted scene for He's Just Not That Into You.  I love my painter.  He did a great job.  But, I am very thankful that this was just a business transaction and not a relationship because I think I would have gone insane if my dealings with him lasted longer then a few weeks.

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