September 27, 2012

Preschool Inspiration

My oldest has just reached the age where she is considered a preschooler! We don't do any sort of formal preschool around here - but I thought it would be fun to do more activities with her. 

We read lots of books, paint with watercolors and play with playdough. She craves more though, so why not delve in some preschool activities! I researched some fun things we could do and put it all here to you can be inspired too!

  1.  Colored Wheel  - this looks simple enough to make! Cut a circle out, divide into six spaces and color each one different. Then color the tips of a clothespin and write the color on the pin. Have your child match colors. Good for learning colors and fine motor skills!
  2. Homemade Finger Paints! Looks super easy and fun for preschoolers and toddlers alike! :)
  3. Cloud Dough. This looks really fun and easy to make.
  4. Sorting colored buttons! This is a great way to keep your preschooler or toddler occupied for awhile. Purchase a bag of buttons and let them sort them into a egg carton. 

    5.  Rock Alphabet -  These are for sell but they look simple enough to make. The hard part would   be finding 26 flat stones. After that paint them and have fun learning your letters!
    6.  Colored Vinegar drops on Baking Soda - I can't wait to do this one with Gianna. The drops fizz as they land in the baking soda. How fun!
    7.  Brown Bear Head and Tail Matching - These books are easy to come by at thrift stores. There are different ones you could use as well. Great for teaching colors!
    8. Matching Color Shades - This is a great frugal and fun activity. Looks like I know what I will be grabbing at Home Depot next time we are there!

Make sure to check out more ideas on pinterest. You fill find more than you need! Thanks for stopping by!

September 24, 2012

Well, Excuse me!


Please excuse my absence over here! 

I haven't been too busy, or sick with a pregnancy or moving or anything like that! Just plain 'ol uninspired. I have not had the motivation or excitement to cook or experiment with anything  in the kitchen - in fact, I dread being in the kitchen these days. And that's ok! I joke that as soon as I started a food blog I didn't want to cook anymore, and that's very close to the truth. 

So it's not a food blog anymore. It's going to be a "whatever is interesting at the moment" blog - or else it might sit here forever!

Being a stay at home mom is really hard sometimes - this blog has been a helpful outlet for me, easing the drudgery of day to day life and giving me a little to look forward to. Toddlers sometimes, just sometimes make you go a little crazy staying home everyday!

Now that the weather is turning don't you feel like sewing  and crafting? Im getting there - as soon as my children get over the flu and my husband gets home from traveling we will continue on with our lives! 

Now for a little glimpse into what we've got going on (or hope too, anyways!):

1. My daughter loves Cinderella and this tutorial looks almost too easy to pass up! If I can find some blue fabric on sale I think I will make this for her halloween costume. I can just picture the immense joy this dress will bring her. Little girls are too much fun.

2.  Homemade deodorant. This recipe rocks. Regular deodorant causes me to break out (not to mention the link to breast cancer, ewww) and natural deodorant doesn't hold a finger to this stuff. I love it, and you can make it smell great with essential oils - can't wait to whip up a new batch. :)

3. Almond Flour Pizza crust. Doesn't that pizza look delicious? I have been craving a good pizza and Domino's gluten free pizza doesn't really cut it - not to mention all the starches, rice flour, sugar, Avicel and Calcium Propionate in it. What is Avicel anyways? I tried googling it to see and couldn't really find anything about it? straaange.

4. Ever read "He Leadeth Me" by Fr. Walter Ciszek? It's this priest story of surviving a communist labor camp for 15 years I think? I just started it and have heard great things about it. Im hoping it will be inspiring - because it's not just my cooking that has been blah lately - my spiritual life is sorely lacking. I don't feel like praying, I don't want to pray and it all seems so dry. I know times like these are a test and are supposed to be a gift - but I would love for God to take it back - it's a huge cross and struggle for me.  So what do you do when you feel spiritually dry?

St. Rose of Lima, Pray for us!
If anything, St. Rose of Lima's words have carried me through this evening, thank you St. Rose. You rock. 

"Our Lord and Savior lifted up his voice and said with incomparable majesty: “Let all men know that grace comes after tribulation. Let them know that without the burden of afflictions it is impossible to reach the height of grace. Let them know that the gifts of grace increase as the struggles increase. Let men take care not to stray and be deceived. This is the only true stairway to paradise, and without the cross they can find no road to climb to heaven”. - S. Rose of Lima

September 3, 2012

Making your own Salad Dressing

One of the first things we changed about our diet was making our own salad dressings. It takes minutes to prepare and homemade dressings are so delicious. My children will eat every bite of their veggies if they are covered in homemade dressing. 

Nutrition wise, homemade dressing is far superior to store-bought. The Olive Oil and vinegar will supply you with a dose of vitamin E, antioxidants and enzymes - compared to the rancid soy bean oils, MSG, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, and a many other ingredients listed in commercial salad dressings. 

The best part - it's simple and anyone can do it! So ditch those bottles of dressing and nourish your body with a wonderful salad topped with homemade dressing!

If you click here and here you will find some great salad dressing recipes. At first I had to have a recipe until I got the hang of it. Now I throw in all the ingredients until it taste right. Being so busy these days with two toddlers, it's about all I can manage!

Our Simple Salad Dressing Routine:


Grab an old jar and throw in these ingredients:

2 parts Extra Virgin Olive oil

1 part vinegar. You can use ANY vinegar or combination you like. Here is what we use:
balsamic, raw apple cider vinegar, red wine or white wine.  

A squeeze of mustard. You can use whatever you have: dijon, spicy, regular. 

A dash or two of salt.

Honey or maple syrup to sweeten.

That's it! Make sure to taste it and add more oil, vinegar or whatever you want. Dressings can be made really fancy or really simple. We keep it simple. Occasionally I will follow a recipe for a nice salad, but this is what we do most of the time. 

Another great thing, you can't mess it up! If you accidentally add too much vinegar or salt, it's easy to add more oil to balance the flavor. It also works the other way around. Have fun and play with the flavors a bit. You will enjoy it!

"If you are discouraged it is a sign of pride because it shows you trust in your own power. Your self-sufficiency, your selfishness and your intellectual pride will inhibit His coming to live in your heart because God cannot fill what is already full. It is as simple as that."
              – Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

August 23, 2012

Doomed to a Life of Dentist Bills...

I was peeled over in pain exams week of my Sophomore year in college. My teeth were killing me. I could barely eat, let alone focus on studying the pain was so severe. Having no money to see anyone I had my roommate call her dad so that he could prescribe me an antibiotic to kill the infection in my tooth. My parents paid for a root canal as soon as I got home. But this was only the beginning.

Four years and one baby later the dentist told me I had eleven cavities and needed another root canal. The only reason I went into the dentist was because my teeth were hurting so bad I couldn't take it anymore. This was while eating a low fat and highly refined sugar and grain diet. I had lost weight on Weight Watchers prior to getting married and followed the same principles after getting married and having a baby. We owed thousands to the dentist that year.

I figured it was the pregnancy, right? People were telling me that being pregnant is a strain on your body and your teeth might suffer. I was told that if you don't have enough nutrients for the baby, they will be taken from your teeth. Also, my family has bad teeth. I figured that I didn't have a choice, I was going to have bad teeth. My pregnancy confirmed it. I was doomed to a life of dentist bills. 

Enter Weston A. Price. A dentist who changed my life. 

When my daughter was eight months old I started reading the work of the Weston Price Foundation. I couldn't stop reading. It hit me - the research, the wisdom, all of it - I couldn't ignore it or stop reading!

Weston Price was dentist who, in the 1920's traveled the world studying people's teeth. Not just anyone's teeth, though! He studied certain indigenous cultures on what they ate and what their teeth looked like. He found that some people did not suffer tooth decay and yet others suffered terribly. What he discovered was amazing. The research is now continued through the Weston Price Foundation.

What the foundation had to say was mind blowing. Butter, lard and saturated fats are good for you? What's cod liver oil? Babies should eat raw egg yolks? Organ meats are nutritional powerhouses? We need to prepare our grains? Raw milk, whaaaaat?

I couldn't stop researching and researching. It changed my life forever. Finally some information about health and nutrition that made sense. It was not a fad diet, a trick to get you to buy something or one doctor's opinion. The Weston Price Foundation is a non-profit research institute. What they are saying is truly amazing and counter cultural.

When my daughter was 13 months old we conceived again. Needless to say, I was concerned about my teeth at this point. I was ready for more cavities, more dentist bills.

Throughout the pregnancy I ate plenty of raw milk, pastured meats with all the fat, tons of butter, some cod liver oil, soaked grains, eggs and veggies. I still had my fair share of sweets. Try keeping those away from a pregnant lady!

After my son was born I went back to the dentist for our usual check up. Not one cavity from the entire pregnancy. I was ecstatic! I could also tell my teeth were stronger and less sensitive to hot and cold.  My teeth have been feeling great ever since we changed our diet - something I never thought could happen!

At times when I start to eat a little more sugar than usual I can feel my teeth starting to hurt. I know it's a sign to back off a little. I take some cod liver oil and pour me a glass of raw milk. It usually stops hurting within 20 minutes.

Thank you to my favorite dentist, Weston Price! You rock!

Linking up at Fat Tuesday, Pennywise Platter and Fill Those Jars Friday 

August 17, 2012

The Easiest Way To Sprout Beans

Having grown up in mini Mexico, beans are a comfort food. I could eat them every day, they taste so good! On another hand they take a little effort and time to traditionally prepare them. And lets face it, who wants to spend more time in the kitchen? Let's figure out this traditional cooking the lazy easy way!

I can got into many reasons why it's best to sprout or soak your beans before you eat them, but others have done the research for me! I know they are easier to digest,  have more nutrients and don't cause gas when they're sprouted or soaked. Now we're talking.

Did I mention it's so easy to sprout your beans? It takes some planning, but well worth the effort to get the most out of this nutrient dense and frugal food. 

To make it frugal and easy, we:

  1. Buy beans in bulk. If you have access to Azure Standard or another food co-op it's a great way to save on beans. You may also be able to find them in the bulk section of your store. 

     2. Spout in bulk. I make sure to spout, cook and freeze enough beans for a few meals. It cuts down
         on the kitchen time. 

The Laziest Easiest Way to Spout Beans:

1. Grab your gallon jar or large bowl and fill half with beans.

2. Cover the beans with water and add an acid medium such as: apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, whey, kefir or yogurt. 1-2 tablespoons should be enough.  This is an important step.

3. Soak the beans overnight. Drain and let the beans sit in a colander near or in the kitchen sink.

4. A few times a day rinse and mix the beans.

5. Watch them sprout! Depending on the bean it may take 1 to 4 days to start showing little sprouts. Once the sprouts are about 1/4 - 1/2 inch you can cook them. Enjoy!

Linking up at Fight Back Friday, Fill Those Jars Friday, Pennywise Platter and Simple Lives Thursday

August 9, 2012

Martha and Mary: The Dignity and Drudgery of Housework

This is a guest post written by one of the lovely mothers who writes for the Soul Gardening Journal, a ministry for mothers. If you like what you read, please sign up to receive a journal and make a donation if you can, it's a wonderful cause!

When we think about the big picture, it’s easy to see how motherhood is a wonderful and worthy vocation: tending beautiful fresh souls, forming responsible citizens, partaking in God’s creativity through the conception of children. But it’s so easy to get mired in the details. How is it that dishes breed and multiply when your back is turned? And then there’s my white plastic kitchen floor that has to be wiped and re-wiped all day. (Why would anyone put white plastic flooring in a kitchen? Don’t they know what people do in kitchens?) These chores make me resentful, because they don’t have a permanent result. They don’t serve any purpose except perhaps to spare the world from dreadful new diseases that might be breeding in my kitchen.

These are the chores that we mothers repeat over and over, never completing, never perfecting, that like the poor are always with us: the endless rounds of dishes, the endless sweeping and wiping of floors. If I am not careful, they can embitter my heart, till I am grumbling like Martha in the Gospel, “It’s just not fair! Why should I spend my precious hours and waste my expensive education standing in front of a sink, folding laundry, peeling vegetables.

It is a petty problem, I admit, especially in light of the more heroic and difficult things mothers do—beside childbirth, for instance. But so many hours of our day go into these brainless tasks. We need to know that our hours are not being wasted, that we are making a difference in the world. The solution, of course, is very simple. It lies in converting our heart so that we can be both Martha and Mary, sitting at the Master’s feet AND getting supper on. Serving, but serving with love. Tying the toddler’s shoelaces with sweet patience, rather than “AAAAAACK (shriek) PUSH your foot in! PUSH it!”

When I was 16, I stayed at Madonna House, a community of lay people who live and work together and serve the poor. Madonna House has built a whole spirituality around work, teaching that the “duty of the moment” is God’s very will for you, and that work is a holy thing, even if it’s not personally fulfilling. I remember a lovely woman named Kathleen pinning back her long dark hair and rolling up her sleeves, to work. “You know,” she said, smiling, “I love cleaning. When we clean we are helping to restore the world. We are transforming it in Christ.” She began to wipe down the industrial kitchen so gracefully, so peacefully.

“Any work you do for a selfless purpose, without thought of profit, is actually a form of prayer… Do we not hallow places by our very commitment to them?” These words are from a secular vegetarian cookbook (Laurel’s Kitchen) When I read them they sent a shiver down my back as they resonated with the Catholic fibres of my soul. To “hallow a place,” to make it holy. Surely we can make our homes holy by the attitude we bring to them, turning the sink and floors into an altar, the food and laundry into sacraments? This is the permanent gift we desire so much to give. Long after our children have forgotten whether or not the laundry got put away, or whether supper was peanut-butter sandwiches, they will remember their mother. Was she always fretting and anxious, grumpy and irritable? Or was she peaceful and kind because she knew that love was more important than laundry?

 —Mary, the Canadian.

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August 6, 2012

Chewy Brownies that You Won't Want to Share!

It is very important to me that my brownies are chewy. Very chewy. We takes our sweets seriously around here and this is our favorite, chewy brownie recipe! In fact, we've never had better! It reminds me of back in the day when I used to buy Ghirardelli's brownie mix because it was the only chewy brownie out there. Homemade brownies would never cut it, but not anymore!  I mean, how can you go wrong when you mix chocolate chips with peanut and almond butter? You won't be able to stop eating these!

Chewy Almond Butter Brownies

1/2 c. Almond Butter
1/2 c.Natural Peanut Butter
1 egg
1/2 c. Honey
 1/4 c. Cocoa Powder
1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 - 1 c. Chocolate Chips (depending on your sweet tooth!)

The way in which these are baked is very important. I have made these over and over to perfect the chewy aspect of brownies. So follow carefully!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix together all ingredients in a mixer. Grease 8 x 8 glass baking dish with coconut oil or butter. Make sure to grease well. (I am not sure how an aluminum or stainless pan will turn out.)  

Now this is important: After spooning batter into pan, scrape most of the batter to the middle to make it look like a hill. Most of the batter need to be in the middle of the glass dish. If you do not do this, the batter will rise up the side and it will be uneven and dry. (who knows why it does this, but I have had success with the hilltop brownies!) They come out very even and chewy.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool and enjoy with a glass of raw milk!

"The cross is the greatest gift God could bestow on His Elect on earth.  There is nothing so necessary, so beneficial, so sweet, or so glorious as to suffer something for Jesus. If you suffer as you ought, the cross will become a precious yoke that Jesus will carry with you."
        -  St. Louis de Montfort

Linking up at Fill Those Jars Friday Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday and  Real Food Wednesday.

August 1, 2012

Go Ahead, Have a Little Muffin with your Butter

I dare you. It's so good you can't just eat one. 

 These are my go-to, memorized, crowd pleasing muffins. They are just sweet enough to eat as a breakfast muffin, and perfect for a birthday party cupcake topped with icing. They will please the people who never want to touch a gluten free bake good or healthy desert! They won't even know they have been duped! 

We eat ours with butter. Lots of butter. If you have 30 minutes to spare then you can make these all-star muffins!



Vanilla Bomb Cakes {GAPS, Paleo}

6 eggs
3 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup melted coconut oil or butter
1/2 cup sifted coconut flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt coconut oil. Combine eggs, vanilla, sea salt, baking soda and honey in mixer or bowl. Blend well. Add sifted coconut flour. Mix together and slowly add melted coconut oil. I often have to "whip" mine to smooth out the lumps and incorporate all the coconut flour. It will be the consistency of cake batter. Keep mixing if your batter is lumpy or separated. Bake for 15 minutes. Makes 10 - 12 cupcakes. 


Linking up at Pennywise Platter

"Joy must be one of the pivots of our life. It is the token of a generous personality. Sometimes it is also a mantle that clothes a life of sacrifice and self-giving. A person who has this gift often reaches high summits. He or she is like a sun in a community. Let those who suffer find in us comforting angels." - Blessed Mother Teresa

July 31, 2012

Living in My Ideal World

Ideally I would not buy icecream. Ideally we would not eat out so often. Ideally my children would not know what chocolate chips or juice taste like. Ideally they would eat dinner with a smile on their face and ask for more spinach.

I have sure felt like this!
Lately things have not been ideal.

What is ideal anyway? What is your ideal diet? 

Is it Paleo? GAPS? Low Carb? Low Fat? High Fat?

Or simply eating a traditional diet? Soaking all your grains and drinking raw milk. Oh, and don't forget pastured meats. Haven't you heard about how harmful it is to eat conventional beef?

It's so easy to get wrapped up in our food choices. Only organic, no grains, free-range, raw milk, etc. We can get lost in all the choices and "better" options for us. Better for us, better for the animals, better for the earth. It also makes us feel good. Feel good that we are making better choices.

But is it really better? 

When I start to look at other people's grocery cart and cringe when all I see is processed food, I need to take a step back. It is not better for me at this point. 

If eating healthy or choosing different eating habits for my family is causing me to judge others in the least bit then it's not better. 

Just because I cook a traditional diet for my family does not make me a better mother.

There are very loving, God-fearing, self sacrificing, selfless and generous mother's who: buy cereal, candy, fast food, boxed lunches, chocolate milk, chips and who have never stepped one foot into a health food store.

 Our food choices do not define who we are. They certainly do not define our motherhood.

It has taken me awhile to learn that although it is a wonderful thing to take care of our bodies and make healthy food choices, what is better is to  develop a healthy attitude about it. 

Being ok with less than ideal, eating out, loving more, bringing a friend a meal, eating cake, having a glass of wine, smiling and laughing over lunch, sharing your faith over the dinner table, inviting your neighbor for tea, and yes, enjoying your favorite icecream and thanking God for it!

I'm OK with compromises, I have to be. I do not live in an ideal world and I never will! We cannot add one day to our lives that God does not plan for us. So let's make the most of it!

  “The only thing I really wish for
 ...Is to love until I die of love.”
              - St. Thérèse

Linking up at Simple Lives Thursday and  Real Food Wednesday

July 29, 2012

Cod Liver Oil: A Testimony {guest post}

My name is Sarah and I am a wife of a soldier. We have to two small boys with a little one on the way. My family and I started on the GAPS diet this February. It was a scary and hard decision to make, but I knew that God was calling us in that direction. A little ways into the diet, I was playing with my youngest. As he laughed I saw a spot on his bottom tooth, and my heart sank. In my mind I was picturing a visit to the dentist with him. I balked at the idea. I could literally feel shudders and a repeat of his hospital stay when he had pneumonia at two and half months. It was to date, the worst experience of my life, and definitely of his. I wanted to spare him any type of trauma, as he still isn't over everything he went through at the hospital. 

God was providing for us, however, as I had just read an article from Sarah at  The Healthy Home Economist, that she healed her son's cavity using fermented cod liver oil from Green Pastures. I had my husband look at our son's tooth and I told him I was going to order the cod liver oil. If it worked, awesome! If not, cod liver oil is good for brain function. When it arrived I got a baby spoon out, filled it up and gave it to my baby. Surprise, surprise! He loved it! As my sister-in-law appropriately said in regards to this, "He's a garbage disposal of nasty!" I couldn't agree more because I struggled to get it down! All my troubles paid off with visible results occurring just a week later! The spot on his tooth was smaller, and even my "doubting Thomas" husband agreed that it was so. Of all the results that I have seen while being on the GAPS diet, the effects of fermented cod liver oil is by far the most amazing! 

This experience has left me in complete awe of God. Last year I would have thought that this sounded way too far fetched, but it makes so much sense that God would provide a natural way of healing cavities. We knit our bones back together after they break for goodness sakes, so why couldn't we heal a decaying tooth? 

Fermented cod liver oil does more than just heal cavities. This February and March were brutal months in Colorado, as far as respiratory viruses go. I worried that my little one would succumb to pneumonia again this year. I asked God to give me a way to protect him from a repeat. When friends were continually taking their feverish babies into the doctors for earaches and horrible coughs, my kids were okay. A friend of mine took her son in (he's a couple months older than my youngest) and he was on the brink of pneumonia. I knew if my son was going to get a repeat of pneumonia, it would be soon. I was hoping that the cod liver oil strengthened his immune system enough that he would be alright. When my kids did get the inevitable cold, the worst that happened was my oldest got earaches in both ears (which I treated with garlic oil). No antibiotics were needed and I didn't take them to the doctor. I know with that mommy instinct that mothers get, that things would have been a lot worse had we not been taking cod liver oil!   

Sarah is a dear friend of mine from way back when. She is a wonderful, God fearing Momma who does so much for her children. I am always inspired and uplifted every time I speak with her. I asked her to share a little bit about her experience on the GAPS diet and taking fermented cod liver oil. Sarah has seen many improvements in her family's health and will be a regular guest here sharing about her experiences! Don't forget to leave her some comment love!

July 26, 2012

7 Quick Takes Friday 7/27

---- 1 ----

We basically stopped in our tracks to plan a huge birthday party this week. I threw it by myself because it was a Tuesday morning party - and as usual, I went a little over my head! It was fun nonetheless! If you want some frugal tips on throwing a huge Teddy Bear's picnic, read all about it! We made these yummy chocolate cupcakes, they were a hit with the kids!

---- 2 ----

I can't believe my little girl is turning 3 on Sunday. More than that, I can't believe I have been a mom for 3 years! It's the hardest thing I have ever done. I thought walking across the country would have been it, or maybe those two times I gave birth. Nope. Just the day to day of being a mom. These kids have helped me grow immensely as a person, especially Gianna. She pulls new tricks on me everyday! Lately I have been calling her my Cinderella. It has made her the happiest little princess. 

Two weeks to three years old!

---- 3 ----

I have been completely unmotivated in the kitchen these days. I hadn't menu planned in a looong time. I always feel a little lost and uncreative in the kitchen when I don't plan - so I forced myself to do it this week. It feels so good to have it down along with a shopping list.  I would love to make a "Menu Planning Monday" weekly post, mostly to keep myself motivated - so here's our menu if you are stumped in the kitchen too!

Friday: Shrimp Stir Fry
                 - make chicken stock

Saturday: Roasted Chicken, baked butternut squash, cucumber salad. 
                 - soak and sprout black and pinto beans

Sunday: Beef Pot Roast in the crock pot,  Greek salad, sweet potato bites.
               Gianna's Birthday cake: Carrot Cake with Coconut Cream Frosting. This cake and frosting combo is amazing!   

Monday: Black Bean Soup. 
                 - soak brown rice   

Tuesday: Mexican Brown Rice casserole. 

Wednesday: Veggie Heavy Chili

(let me know if this is something you would like to see on a more regular basis)

---- 4 ----

A young man named Andrew Moore has been on my mind all week. He was walking with the Pro-Life group Crossroads when he was hit by a car and killed instantly. This was the walk that I met my husband on. The cause is very near and dear to my heart. He died while praying the rosary. His dad write a moving tribute to his son, please read if you have the time. I keep thinking about those who are there to greet in heaven. May the souls of the faithful departed rest in peace, amen.

---- 5 ----

I feel like that's it. I can't think of anything else now. The whole situation had definitely brought me to my knees a couple of times. Not in frustration or anger at God for allowing such a thing, but in deep appreciation for the gift of life. When something so tragic, such as the Colorado theater shooting, or Andrew's tragic death all I can do is think about this passage from Job 1:21.
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.”
 Indeed He gave, and He continues to give.  Thank you Lord for your many blessings, those seen and unseen.

----- 6 ----
On a much lighter note, I have a question! I have a little boy who is almost 15 months. He has been expressing himself a little more lately and exploring like crazy. He likes to get in the dirt about five different times a day! Im sure this is normal for little boys but I really don't know what to do about it! I could spend my whole day cleaning him up! Do I just do this and expect this dirty phase to not last long? Or do I let him be dirty all the time? What do you do?

---- 7 ----

Speaking of the dirty little boy! I caught him red handed. How can you resist that precious face?!

Have a blessed day!

Linking up at Conversiondiary.

Forty Five Kids - a Frugal Birthday Party!

There were forty five kids at my daughters birthday party yesterday. Forty five! It was fun and wild at the same time! I threw a Teddy Bear's Picnic for my beary special 3 year old. I feel incredibly blessed to know so many families with children, and the fact that they will celebrate with us! Parties can be very expensive, especially if you try to provide healthy food and drinks.

I will share with you my attempt at throwing a fun, frugal and somewhat healthy birthday party. :)


There is only so much you can do with forty five kids running around, so we tried our best! I wanted to keep it as simple and frugal as possible while still being fun for all of the kids.

The first thing I did was watch this in order to go on a bear hunt with all the kids:

It was a big hit, they loved it! I had them repeat the song phrases after me and they all participated!

 Then we read a few bear books, talked about our bear's names and what bears like to do for fun. Of course we had to read the well known, Teddy Bear's Picnic.
All I had to bring for this part was: a few picnic blankets, three books about bears and a few extra teddies in case someone forgot theirs. We got the books from the library so we didn't spend a dime on this part of the picnic!


My goal was to make this a frugal party - while still being fun. There are many ways to do this but let me show you how what we did.

I took a large cardboard box and cut the top to look like waves and spray painted it blue. I then made fishing poles out of sticks, string and clothespins. This was by far the kid's favorite. I enlisted help from my nephews to sit behind the box and help the children fish! As long as they threw their fish back in, they could fish as many times as the wanted!

{somewhat healthy}

Food can be the most expensive thing about a large birthday party. To keep it simple and frugal I had everyone bring an item to share for a "trail mix bar." That way, depending on a child's allergy restrictions or sugar limitations, everyone's needs were met! My sister in-law was so gracious and brought coconut water for everyone, what a treat! I also made and brought sweetened black tea.

The whole day before my daughter and I baked and baked cupcakes. It was really fun! We made a few batches of gluten free, honey sweetened chocolate cupcakes, and even more wheat flour cupcakes. A few mom's attending were either paleo, on the GAPS diet or had allergies. It was nice to have something for everyone. (well, almost everyone! I still can't figure out how to make cupcakes without eggs!)

I made cream cheese frosting and honey sweetened buttercream frosting, both of them to die for. At least that is how I feel about icing! (recipes to follow).

I did not ice the cupcakes beforehand, I brought it in bowls and let the children ice their own. It was really fun for the kids to get to do the icing on their own!

The party favors were the little fish  they caught. We cut the fish out of felt and I attached a honey stick to each one. I haven't met a kid who doesn't love honey sticks! After filling our bellies with chocolate we went down to the river front to have a swim. All in all, I would say it was great fun! Happy Birthday, my dear sweet Gianna!

"Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile."
- Blessed Mother Teresa

Linking up to Simple Lives Thursday, Fat Tuesday and Pennywise Platter
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