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Zucchini Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies {Freezer Meal}

I love this easy healthy breakfast idea: Chocolate Chip Zucchini Breakfast Cookies. These healthy make ahead breakfast cookies are great fresh or also as a freezer meal.  Zucchini for breakfast!? Yep. And bananas, oats, and nut butter, too. All in one transportable, super nutritious, tasty COOKIE. My kids fight over

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From Freezer to Table Recipe Correction

Hey guys! Dropping in real quick today with message for people who own (or plan to own) our cookbook, From Freezer to Table. We are so proud of this book and stand behind every recipe that is in it. However, because we want you have the best experience possible while cooking from

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5 Ways Chronic Illness Healed Me

Today, I want to introduce you to Donna Harris, a podcaster and photographer out of the St. Louis area. She recently interviewed me in a podcast episode titled, From Disordered Eating to Enjoying Meals, where I share about the struggle I had with food and exercise in my 20s and

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Sale Alert! Best Bluehost Discount of the Year!

Hey guys! Just dropping in real quick today because there is a great blogging deal coming down the pipe that we wanted to prep you for. So, if you’re interested in any type of online business, blog, or website, keep reading. If not, peace out girl scout. Simply put: If

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Kitchen Favorites: Gadgets

Welcome to day five of our weeklong series: Kitchen Favorites. Each day we will feature a category of kitchen items that we either use and personally recommend or that come highly reviewed from a trusted source. You can find all of these recommendations in one place on our Kitchen Resources

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Win Our Cookbook and a Cute Hostess Basket! {EXPIRED}

We’ve got goodies for you to win this week, including our cookbook and more! But, first…want to know how to make the #1 most popular recipe on our website for your family OR to take to your next potluck? I’ll show you how to throw together a super crowd-pleasing casserole

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“Cheeseburger” Instant Pot Pasta

Cheeseburger Instant Pot Pasta is an easy, one pot meal is full of flavor and sure to please little ones and grow ups alike. Around my house any kind of spaghetti dish is sure to be a hit. If it involves some kind of pasta and some kind of red

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freezer meals, freezer containers

6 No-Fail Steps to Making Delicious Freezer Meals

Your freezer meals can and should taste like fresh meals if you follow these 6 simple, no-fail steps. This post has been adapted from our cookbook called From Freezer to Table: 75+ Simple, Whole Foods Recipes for Gathering, Cooking, and Sharing. Polly and I have both been freezer cooking for our

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Join Our Recipe Testing Team

Hey Friends! Do you love to cook? Need some fresh meal ideas? Rachel and I are in the thick of recipe testing for our forthcoming cookbook, From Freezer to Cooker, and we could use your help. Especially if you own a slow cooker or an Instant Pot. Why a Recipe

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Merry Christmas!

“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices…” Merry Christmas, Thriving Home friends. Like many of you, we are using this week to rest and spend time with our families. Everything will be back in action in 2018!

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Monster Cookies

This Monster Cookie recipe has been tucked away in my recipe stash for years. You’ll find that this cookie is easy to make and your people will gobble them up. My memory is a little fuzzy on where I originally got this recipe. I think I snagged it at my friend,

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Pray for Las Vegas

Friends, our hearts are heavy and our prayers are accompanied with tears for the people of Las Vegas. So many people in our country today are broken, fearful, and grieving. There are simply no words adequate to bring comfort and peace in a time such as this. Join us as we

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3 Minute Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast is so simple that it almost doesn’t feel worthy of a post. When I feel my body itching for some nutrition and I’m not wanting to munch on my kids’ lunch scraps, this is often what I end up making. I mean, can I even call it a recipe?

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Sour Cream and Cheese Biscuits-4

Cheddar and Sour Cream Biscuits

Cheddar and sour cream biscuits. Need I say more? OK, I will. They were great and a super easy side dish. If I would have had green onions on hand I would have tossed a few in there as well but they were good without them. What surprised me was

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Keeping the Big Things Big (and the Small Things Small)

“Martha, if your heart stops beating, do you want us to restart it?” I could hardly believe the question that the doctor had just asked my grandmother (technically my husband’s grandmother but family is family.) As much as I was caught off guard by the question, I was even more

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Publishing a Cookbook: Photography (Part One)

As promised, we are doing our best to keep you in the loop with our upcoming cookbook that is set to be released this fall. So far we have shared about: 1. What our cookbook is all about 2. The First Steps to Publishing a Cookbook 3. Editors and Closing Day 4. Recipe

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Christmas Break

Christmas Break

Hey Everyone! Just wanted to let you know that Rachel and I are in the middle of a small blog break over the holidays. We’ll be back after the new year. If you are missing us just a tad too much, you can still follow along on Instagram. Polly’s been keeping

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Happy Birthday to ME! (And a Gift to YOU!)

Hey Lovely Ladies! Today is my birthday. While 34 seems like an uneventful year to celebrate, I’m doing a little something-something to bring a little birthday cheer to the day. Because I love you dear readers, I want to do a fun little giveaway. But you have to act soon.

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5 Reminders for the Sleep Deprived Mom (or Dad!)

My third kid was about two months old and I was TIRED. So very tired. The newborn honeymoon stage had worn off only to be replaced by an accumulation of sleep deprivation. One night, after already being up multiple times, I was woken up by my husband talking. However, he

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Making Baby Food in Bulk: Save Time & Money

Disclaimer: This post was created in partnership with Frigidaire Gallery. But the opinions are all ours! Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our

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2 Ways to Store or Freeze Muffins

Muffins are my jam. I love them. So much that I took time in photoshop to express my deep affection for them. To save time and money, anytime you make muffins, just double the batch and cook up twice as many. I rarely make a single batch and almost always have

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Our Bedtime Routine… Gone Wrong

Three year olds. Man, they are tough. Like, bring you to the brink of a crazy-person tough. We love them because they are ours and they are pretty darn cute–especially when they sleep. But oh my goodness. Three year olds. Something has happened in our home with our three year

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New Blogger Shoutout

New Blogger Shoutout

One of our growing passions about blogging as a part-time job is helping new bloggers get a strong start. We’ve learned so much along the way and love to help others take the next step in their blogging careers. In an effort to give some brand spankin’ new blogs a jump

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Spinach and Bacon Quiche {Freezer Meal}

This freezer friendly spinach and bacon quiche recipe has been circulating in my home for quite a while now. You guys, it is SO good. I wish I could say it was healthy but I can assure you it wouldn’t be on the weight watchers website. However, with the exception of

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8 Tips to Keep in Mind When Taking Meals to Others

This past month has been quite eventful for us. From being on bedrest for a few weeks and now juggling life with a newborn, it has been nothing short of exhausting. One of the biggest blessings in this season has been from the friends and family who have provided us with

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Ramblings on the Third Pregnancy

Well friends, baby number three has been cooking for a good 27 weeks now. For our readers who appreciate a bit of oversharing, I thought I’d write somewhat of a stream-of-thought post detailing some of the ups, downs and observations of my third pregnancy. Bigger, Faster I’ve noticed a trend

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mini meatloaf muffins

The Best Review of a Recipe I’ve Ever Gotten

Last week I got THE single best (and most hilarious) review of a recipe I’ve ever gotten in my entire life. Listen to the end of this audio clip from my two neighbor girls (there’s a slight pause in the middle, so hang tight) and you’ll understand why…   Backstory:

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"Real Food Meets Reality" Menu Plan

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: December 7-13

Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia) Ever wonder what our phrase “real food meets reality” means? Here’s the deal. Our recipes and menu plans feature as many homemade meals made from whole foods (ones that have been minimally processed) as possible.This “real food” philosophy of eating helps cut down on the amount of sugar, salt, preservatives, trans

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5 (Slightly Shallow) Things I’m Thankful for Right Now

Happy Thanksgiving, Friends! I hope you are busy catching up with family, eating a bit too much and doing your best to avoid the one particular family member or person that you can only handle so much of. I mean, I of course don’t have one of those but I hear

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"Real Food Meets Reality" Menu Plan

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: December 1-6

Sponsored by Hy-Vee (Columbia) I know, I know, I know…it’s hard to think past Thanksgiving right now. I’ll be honest. I’m hosting for the first time (read more about my decision here) and I’ve only got turkey on the brain. But, alas, dinner must still come after said holiday. So,

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Rachel and friends

Confession: I’m 37 & I’ve Never Made a Turkey

So here’s the thing. I’m 37 years old. I run a food blog of sorts. I’m a self-professed foodie. One of my few hobbies is reading cooking magazines and books. The only TV you’ll ever catch me watching during the day would be a Food Network show. And I’ve never made a

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Thankful Turkeys: A Meaningful (& Easy) Thanksgiving Craft

I love crafting with a purpose. These “Thankful Turkeys” as I’ve named them not only got my kids cutting, gluing and using their creative skills but they also gave us an excuse to articulate some things we are thankful for. Doing this craft together stirred up conversation about why we

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5 Devotional Books Our Family is Loving

5 Devotional Books Our Family Is Loving

There are so many things my husband, Nathan, and I find ourselves regretting that we do or say as parents. But, one that I’m fairly confident we will not regret is taking the time to read to our children–especially books that encourage them to have a bigger, truer view of our

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Grilled Balsamic Herb Chicken {Freezer Meal}

Freezer Friendly Balsamic Herb Grilled Chicken is moist, tender, and packed with flavor through and through. This easy grilling recipe be turned into a freezer meal and is a great recipe for groups of people. What more can you ask for in a chicken recipe!? Grilling season isn’t quite over

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"Real Food Meets Reality" Menu Plan

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: October 12-18

Sponsored by Hy-Vee Columbia Weekly meal planning is hands-down one of the best ways to save time, money, and to eat healthier. Here’s why. Check back every Friday for healthy and easy recipes that your whole family will enjoy. Weekly Menu Plan (FF) = Indicates a freezer-friendly recipe. Save time

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"Real Food Meets Reality" Menu Plan

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: October 5-11

Sponsored by Hy-Vee Columbia Weekly meal planning is hands-down one of the best ways to save time, money, and to eat healthier. Here’s why. Check back every Friday for healthy and easy recipes that your whole family will enjoy. Weekly Menu Plan (*FF) = Indicates a freezer-friendly recipe. Save time

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"Real Food Meets Reality" Menu Plan

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: September 28-October 4

Sponsored by Hy-Vee Columbia Weekly meal planning is hands-down one of the best ways to save time, money, and to eat healthier. Here’s why. Check back every Friday for healthy and easy recipes that your whole family will enjoy. Weekly Menu Plan (*FF) = Indicates a freezer-friendly recipe. Save time

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The Easiest Baked Mac & Cheese {Freezer Meal}

Another Mac and Cheese recipe? Really? (Uh-hem, Rachel, you’ve already got the 5-Ingredient Mac and A Better Mac and Cheese in your Recipe Index.) Really. Here’s why this one is worth yet another Mac and Cheese post. I’ve found the easiest way to make baked mac ever, and my family loves

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"Real Food Meets Reality" Menu Plan

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: Sept. 14-20

Meal planning is SO worth your time. You’ll find that having a plan in place saves you time, money, and helps you eat healthier throughout the week. That’s why we’re excited to announce some upgrades to our weekly menu plans that we think you’ll find helpful. Here’s what you’ll notice starting next week:

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Invest in healthy living resources

Healthy Living Small Step #8: Invest in Resources

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. (Note: Some affiliate links included.) Confession I’m a quitter. When I get overwhelmed by something or don’t understand it, I have a tendency to just give it up altogether. I hate feeling dumb or inadequate. When I

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Healthy Living Small Step #7: Rethink How You Make Coffee

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. I have a coffee dilemma. Maybe you do too. The dilemma in my conscience for years has been a struggle between my great love of morning coffee vs. the dangers of plastic in my coffeemaker. You see,

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Healthy Living Small Step #6: Make Your Own All-Purpose Cleaner

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series HERE. Making your own household cleaner really is super easy. You can not only save money but also avoid any extra chemicals you may not want floating around your house. Why Make Your Own Cleaning Products?

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"Real Food Meets Reality" Menu Plan

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu Plan: Sept 6-12

A major key to eating healthier and saving money is meal planning. When I plan my meals, I feel less stress throughout the week, spend less time and money at the grocery store, and usually serve my family a fairly well-rounded diet throughout the week. My hope is that my

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Healthy Living Small Step #2: Get More Rest

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series here. What’s more important to good health: nutrition, exercise or getting good sleep? The answer: They all three form a triangle of good health. All three affect the other, and we absolutely can’t ignore any of them

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10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living: Step One

Healthy Living Small Step #1: Go One Day Without Processed Foods

Start at the beginning of our 10 Small Steps Toward Healthy Living series here. (Note: Some affiliate links included.) Our Family’s Journey Toward Real Food My husband and I used to be fast food and convenience food (think store-bought frozen pizzas and lasagnas) junkies a little over a decade ago.

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The 4 Essential Habits of Healthy Families (FREE E-course!)

Like me, I’m sure you worry a lot about the health and fitness of your family! You want everyone to eat good, wholesome food. You want to have plenty of energy. And you’re suspicious of all the unnatural chemicals in the products you use around the house, not to mention

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Corn and Blueberry Salad

Corn and Blueberry Salad

Guest post by Sarah from The Pajama Chef. You guys are going to love her and her recipe! She’s so sweet and has a real talent for really good food. Hey everyone! I’m so glad that Rachel and Polly asked me to guest post on Thriving Home today… and not

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Shout Out to the Newbie Bloggers: Round 1

Shout Out to the Newbie Bloggers: Round 1

One of our growing passions about blogging as a part-time job is helping new bloggers get a strong start. We’ve learned so much along the way and love to help others take the next step in their blogging careers. In an effort to give some brand-spankin-new blogs some face time and

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Mini Meatloaf Muffins

These Mini Meatloaf Muffins are a freezer meal that have already made its way into the regular rotation of family meals in our house. Everyone loved them! Don’t believe me, just listen to the raving review from my friend Kelley’s kids: https://thrivinghomeblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Rachels-Meatloaf.m4a Plus, this easy dinner idea has some sneaky

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Fun Blogger Moment!

Fun Blogger Moment!

In case you didn’t see this today… One of our recipes, Whole Wheat Spinach Lasagna, got some well-deserved recognition on the TODAY Show Website! Fun stuff, huh? I must say, The TODAY show sniffed out a great recipe. I was a bit skeptical of the slow cooker whole wheat lasagna

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Why Shred Your Own Cheese?

“Why would I waste time shredding my own cheese when I can just buy a bag of pre-shredded cheese?” Three Answers: 1) It Saves Money 2) You Can Avoid Consuming Unnecessary Additives 3) Shredded Cheese Tastes Better Reason One to Shred Your Own Cheese: It Saves Money! For most people,

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Real Food Menu: September 7-14

“Real Food Meets Reality” Menu: January 4-10

Happy New Year everyone! I’m ready to get back to meal planning each week to save money, time at the store, and to eat healthier. To eat more real food at home, I’m planning to utilize my slow cooker and bread machine more this year. If you’re in the same

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Pedometer Challenge Part 3: Kick It Up A Notch!

Updated and reposted from January 2013 Check out Part 1 of the Pedometer Challenge Series to find out how to join in and Part 2 to get motivated to move more. Most of us (not all) could stand to move our bodies more. Yes? I’ve been making the case the

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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas, Thriving Home Friends! As a gift to you, we are giving away 25 copies of our Family Christmas Devotional. Yes, it is a bit late to use it this year but we wanted to get it in your hands so you’ll be ready for next year. The first

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Giveaway Winner!!! (And another chance to win $100)

Giveaway Winner!!! (And another chance to win $100)

We have a winner! Our Favorite Things Stocking Giveaway goes to…. Katie from Jacksboro, TN!!! A lot of goodies are headed your way, Katie! For the rest of those who entered, don’t be too bummed. You still have a chance to win $100 gift card to Macy’s. Good luck!  

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Make these homemade instant oatmeal packs ahead of time to enjoy a healthy and quick breakfast. Perfect for busy school mornings!

Homemade Instant Oatmeal Packets (Personalized for Everyone!)

My mom called me one day. “Rachel, I have this great idea for me and your family, and I think you could blog about it!” Friends, it’s time to confess. This blog really is a family affair. Here’s the break-down in case you’re interested: Husband = taste-tester, listener, encourager, editor,

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Favorite Things Stocking Giveaway + Blog Hop! ($520+ Value!)

WE ARE PUMPED. Behold, you are experiencing our BIGGEST GIVEAWAY OF THE YEAR. Actually EVER on Thriving Home. We have put together a collection of our favorites and are giddy with excitement to pass all of these on to one super-duper-extremely-lucky reader. Wait. It gets better. And so do your

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13 Thanksgiving Sides

13 Favorite Thanksgiving Meal Sides

Best part of the Thanksgiving Meal in my humble opinion? Why, the sides, of course! We’re not hosting Thanksgiving this year, but I do have to bring a side to each family’s meal. That got me looking through all our recipes and thinking which ones would be delicious for any

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Connect with Us!

Don’t miss out one what we are up to on Thriving Home (AND what we are up to actually IN our homes.) We do our best to keep up with social media outlets and hope you are following along in your media outlet of choice. Here is where you can

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Light & Easy Penne Rosa Pasta: 15 Minute One-Pot Dinner

Many nights of the week, I’m looking for a meal that I can pull together in just minutes and that doesn’t dirty up the kitchen. Penne Rosa Pasta fits the bill! Plus, this cheesy and filling pasta dish is also light and tasty! I like to steam some broccoli florets

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Autumn Chowder: Comfort in a Bowl {Freezer Meal}

Done. I will be making Autumn Chowder every fall from here on out. My friend Jeannette has been singing the praises of this soup for quite some time, but I didn’t believe her until I tried it for myself last week. Autumn Chowder is full of vegetables, yet has a

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Pancake Picture Poll Results

OK, OK, you’ve made your point! The poll results are in on which pancake picture was better. Picture One: Or Picture Two: Turns out you like the first pumpkin pancake picture by a loooong shot. I was wrong, Rachel was right. Blah blah blah. Maybe next we will show you

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Reader Poll: Pumpkin Pancake Picture Problems

Guys. The pancakes have come between us. Between Rachel and me that is. See, the deal is we can’t agree which picture of our pumpkin pancakes is the best. She likes one and I like the other. In fact we both feel very differently as to which is the best

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Make Ahead Lunch Wraps

Make-Ahead Lunch Wraps…So Simple!

Lunch wraps are nutritious, hearty, and completely adaptable to whatever your family might like in them! It’s a curious thing how my blogging works most weeks. I find myself “writing” elaborate, detailed posts about a parenting issue or a book I’m reading or even a theological issue from time to

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Real Food Menu Plan: September 1-7

Real Food Menu: September 28-October 4

Oh boy! This next week is the first time I’ll have been away from my family in a very long time…and it’s for three whole nights. My best friends from high school/college are meeting up in Colorado for a reunion in the mountains. I’m simultaneously super excited and nervous. So,

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Flourless Banana Muffin Recipe

Flourless Banana Muffins (Gluten-Free Recipe) {Freezer Meal}

Warning: This post may introduce you to some ingredients that you don’t recognize. But, let me assure you that it’s worth giving these Flourless Banana Muffins a shot because they are absolutely moist and delicious! Plus, Flourless Banana Muffins are thrown together in the blender in no time, which means

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Real Food Menu: September 7-14

Real Food Menu Plan: September 21-27

Dinner Sunday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Wheat Rolls, green salad, watermelon Monday: Tacos (with homemade seasoning), guacamole and chips, grapes Tuesday: Clean out the freezer/fridge night Wednesday: BFD*: Blueberry Pumpkin Baked French Toast, No-Fail Bacon, Green Smoothie Thursday: Cobb Salad Friday: Beefy Baked Ravioli, peas, fruit salad Saturday: Mini Chicken

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My Friend Candace’s Transformation

My Friend Candace’s Transformation

I posted this story about two years ago. But, I love, love, love how inspiring in a holistic way my friend Candace’s story is. If you’re needing some motivation for change in your life when it comes to diet and exercise, let her wise and honest words encourage you. Reposted

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Real Food Menu: September 7-14

Real Food Menu Plan: September 14-20

I think as moms, we often worry about our kids getting enough fruits and vegetables in their diets. I especially want my little people to stay healthy as we enter into flu season. As you’ll notice with my recipes, I often up the nutrition of typical dishes in a sneaky

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Whole Grain Pizza Bread

Whole Grain Pizza Bread {Freezer Meal}

I feel silly posting this as new, exciting recipe. Because many of you already make this, right? But, Whole Grain Pizza Bread actually is kind of a new, exciting thing recently discovered in our house! Like so many of our favorites, this recipe requires few ingredients, takes only about 20 minutes,

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homemade whole wheat egg noodles

Homemade Whole Wheat Egg Noodles

My 5-year-old daughter and I threw these together one afternoon in about 15 minutes. I know it looks fancy or difficult, but I ASSURE you that you can do this. These homemade whole wheat egg noodles are cheap, healthy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious. All my favorites in one recipe! My kids

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The One Where I Admit I Can’t Do It All

I’ve been struggling with headaches for two years now–ever since I was done nursing my my last child. They seem to have gotten more frequent–about once a week I end up in bed. I’ve linked them to lack of sleep, sitting at my computer/behind the wheel, lifting kids, and stress

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Field of Dreams: A Family Business Venture

My mom (i.e. the real pioneer woman) has a dream. It’s a pretty cool dream. It might help to see this picture of my mom, me, and my little sister from my childhood first. See, my mom has always had a thing for pumpkins. And she won first prize at

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50+ Delicious Recipes for Summer Produce

50+ Delicious Recipes for Summer Produce

The garden harvest is in full swing in these parts. I bet many of you are already lining your counters with your produce. Like me, though, do you sometimes let summer veggies and fruits go to waste because you don’t know what to do with it all? Well, I have

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Small Bites Board

Small Bites Board

Summer lunches need to accomplish two goals around here: 1) Feed a small army of kids something quick and healthy and 2) use up garden produce or what I have around the kitchen. The Small Bites Board does just that. It also doubles as an easy appetizer idea when company

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A Safe, Cheap, and Effective Sunscreen for the Whole Family

Updated from May 2013. I thought this post might be helpful again for those moms out there like me who want a safe, effective, and cheap sunscreen… Every year I find myself doing new research on the best and most affordable sunscreen that will keep my family protected this summer.

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Can Women (and Men) Have It All?

Guest post by my husband, Nathan. In many respects, Indra K. Nooyi is an enormously successful woman. The 58 year-old CEO of PepsiCo, the second largest food and beverage business on the planet, often ranks highly on the list of the world’s most powerful women and top executives in general.

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Making My Summer at Home with Kids Count

Read my much more updated post called “Make Your Summer at Home Count with Kids” here. Today is my 1st grade son’s last day of school (finally!). After one last trip to the Dollar Store this morning, I’m ready! Summer provides a magical (well, at least at first) and unique

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Real Food Menu Plan: September 1-7

Real Food Menu Plan: June 1-7

Ah, June. The garden lettuce and kale is abundant, and my green peas are beginning to produce. I’m ready for fresh, summer salads and lots of grilling. In fact, I’m collecting lots of Real Food Grilling recipes on this pin board. So, here’s what’s on the docket (and the grill)

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Rachel’s Favorite Recipes

If you’re around me for long, you know that I love talking food and swapping recipes. The thing is…that Polly girl stole most of my favorite Thriving Home recipes in her Polly’s Favorite Recipes post (I guess that’s the privilege of going first). Never fear, though. I’ve got a few

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how to cook bacon

The No-Fail Way to Cook Bacon

For years I tried to cook bacon either in a frying pan or the microwave. What a holy greasy mess! But, I learned a well-known secret a while back. I promise you’ll have perfect bacon every time without the clean up! This oven method makes prepping favorites like Southwest Chicken

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Protein Lunch Bowl

Protein Lunch Bowl (Gluten-Free)

Looking for a quick and healthy lunch option? As moms, our lunch doesn’t have to consist of leftover sandwich triangles from our kids’ plates and a rogue baby carrot or two we find left in the vegetable drawer. With a few simple ingredients in the pantry and fridge, you can

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Homemade Chicken Nuggets

5 Updated Recipes You’ll Want to Try

Polly and I have been working our way back through our recipe index and updating some of our favorite recipe posts. Today, I want to highlight five of our most recently updated healthy recipes that I think you’ll want to give a try. Chicken Parmesan Casserole With only 5 or

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alphabet soup preschool learning activity

Alphabet Soup: Preschool Learning Game

Dinner is going–pots boiling, oven cranked and chopping knife in hand. And the only thing the kids want is to be near mommy. I mean right on top of me. Know that feeling? Years ago, we coined the term “counter activities” in our house. These are small learning activities that

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Let’s Talk Tantrums

I used to think that tantrums were a result of incompetent parenting. When I would hear those piercing toddler screams from three isles away at a store, my childless self declared that I would have control over my children unlike that mother who has lost all authority over her 3

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diy scented soap bars

DIY Scented Soap Bars

by Jessica Ellingsworth of Mayvn, Contributing Author A recent school family project assignment had my daughters and I wondering what to conquer. “Let’s make soap!” one of them suggested. What?! Jessica here, and after a little research I have a fun and easy Spring project to whip up with kids

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A Mother’s Day Special: 25 Encouraging Verse Cards

We’ve got a Mother’s Day special for you on a very special and inexpensive gift! About a year ago, Polly and I had our uber-talented designer friend, Christine Busch, design an adorable little set of 25 printable verse cards called On the Job Meditations for Moms…because, well, we personally needed

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Real Food Menu Plan: September 1-7

Menu Plan: April 13-19

Dinner: Sunday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast, green salad with Balsamic Parmesan Dressing Monday: Chicken Piccata, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Roasted Asparagus, sliced strawberries Tuesday: Leftovers Wednesday: BFD*: Oven Omelet (with added veggies), whole wheat toast, chopped fruit Thursday: (kids only) Pizzadillas, green peas, apple slices Friday: Barbequed Lime Shrimp and Corn

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Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins (GF)

Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins Recipe (GF) {Freezer Meal}

Republished and updated from September 2012 You may be wondering what the heck coconut flour is and why I would bother baking muffins with it. First off, these Coconut Flour Pumpkin Muffins are worth making simply because they are so good. Even my health-food-craze-resistant husband admitted such. But, beyond the

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Real Food Menu Plan: September 1-7

Menu Plan: March 23-29

Dinner: Sunday: Pork Tenderloin with Seasoned Rub, hash brown casserole, steamed broccoli, cantaloupe Monday: Make-your-own pizza (using this whole wheat dough and this pizza sauce) Tuesday: Leftovers Wednesday: BFD*: Seriously Sweet Potato Pancakes, all-natural bacon, fruit salad Thursday: Honey-Garlic Grilled Chicken, Balsamic Sweet Potatoes, brown rice Friday: Grilled chicken sandwiches

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safe way to show youtube videos

Mom Hack: Safest Way to Show Youtube Videos to Kids

Do you like to watch Youtube videos with your kids? Or are you a teacher in some capacity and show Youtube videos to children? If so, you may find this tip helpful that my friend, Christine, sent me. SafeShare.TV provides the safest way to show Youtube videos to kids. Generating

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How to Refinish an Old Lamp

How to Refurbish an Old Lamp

It’s high time I introduce you to my dad. Although a former U.S. Marshal, I’ve always known him to be an artist and innovator at heart. From photographer to writer to architect/builder of our childhood playhouse, my dad is the most creative (and perfectionist) person I’ve ever met. He seriously

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Give Your Kids a Box

“Find something to do. Now.” “We don’t have anything to do here, Mom!” Have you been privy to this absolutely absurd statement from your child before? I have a closet overflowing with games, puzzles, Legos, and craft stuff, and they can’t seem to find anything to do. But…but…when I hand

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Let’s Be a Blessing

Dear Thriving Home Friends, Polly here. As I write these very words a huge lump is about to burst out of my throat. I have been presented with a great need of a friend of a friend that I want to do something about. I don’t write posts like this

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An Open Letter from a Doula About Her Miscarriage

Guest post by Holli Best Four years ago this month our family of three experienced a miscarriage. It was my second pregnancy, and we learned we were pregnant around New Years. My confidence was already a bit shaky because I never got a really good pregnancy test. The second pink

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Real Food Menu Plan: September 1-7

Menu Plan: February 16-22

Dinner: Sunday: Calzones (using this Whole Wheat Pizza Dough), peas, apple slices Monday: Brisket*, wheat dinner rolls, sweet potatoes, green salad Tuesday: leftovers Wednesday: Apple Cinnamon Baked French Toast, Green Smoothie Thursday: 5-Ingredient Mac and Cheese, steamed carrots Friday: Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole, steamed broccoli Saturday: One Pot

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Five Ways to Make Your House Less Desirable to Thieves

Guest posting for us today is my good friend, Ashley. As you will read in her post, she has learned some tough life lessons that she wanted to pass on. As a small town (and slightly naive) girl myself, I have found this information to be super helpful! A few

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The Oh-So-Average Snow Day

Sometimes snow days look like this or this or this. But, let’s be honest, the majority of the time they don’t look like blog or Facebook pictures, do they? After the third impossibly cold snow day in a row and now a sick kid, here’s how today has unfolded… There’s

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Indoor Snow Day Activities

7 Indoor Snow Day Activities for Kids

Guest post by Rachel Johnson These cold winter days can feel long and dreary for everyone, especially our little ones. Although snow days can be fun, they can be disappointing when it is too cold to actually go out to play in the snow. If your kids are like mine,

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Easy Cheap Science Birthday Party: Mentos and Diet Coke Experiment.

Science Birthday Party: Mentos and Diet Coke Explosion

As I’ve been sharing in Easy and Cheap Science Birthday Party: A Complete Guide, I planned three science experiments for the kids including this grand finale, the Mentos and Diet Coke Explosion. It. was. pure. awesomeness. My dad captured the action well in this series of shots… I explained to

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valentine's day scavenger hunt for kids

Valentine’s Day Scavenger Hunt for Kids

A couple I work with have been doing a Valentine’s Scavenger Hunt for their kids as long as I’ve known them. It began when their kids were very young, but, now that all of them are teenagers, it still continues. The mom told me that her kids used to get

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Indoor Snow Play (for REALLY Cold Snow Days)

Does your weather look anything like this today? Folks, I live in Missouri, not Alaska. We don’t really know what to do with ourselves. We cancel school. My neighborhood streets are barren. Everyone is afraid to go outside. And, as all moms with kids at home know, this kind of

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10 Holiday Activities at Family Gatherings

6 Easy and Fun Holiday Activities at Family Gatherings

The Christmas spirit doesn’t have to stop after December 25! Here are a few easy ideas to do with family throughout the Christmas break, especially at gatherings. 1. Make a birthday cake for Jesus at Christmas. Here is our go-to Homemade Chocolate Cake recipe from Ina Garten. We make it

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Apple Fig Walnut Tiny Tart {Pie in a Jar Recipe}

by Jessica Ellingsworth of Mayvn, Contributing Author If eating pie during the holidays is wrong, then I don’t wanna be right. Jessica here, and I, for one, love pie…but don’t like the over-richness that can accompany it. In my latest TH installment, I am giving pie a petite (and healthier!)

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Interview with Author Rachel Jankovic

Have you heard of author, blogger and mom of six, Rachel Jankovic? She penned two fantastically brief and poignant parenting books I’ve reviewed: Loving the Little Years and her latest release, Fit to Burst. If you have children at home, put a show on for the kids (and don’t feel

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"Real Food Meets Reality" Menu Plan

Real Food Menu Plan: December 1-7

Dinner: Sunday: Italian Sausage and Tortellini Soup, whole grain baguette, Crock Pot Cran-Apple Sauce Monday: Grilled Balsamic Bruschetta Chicken Sandwiches, green salad, pear slices Tuesday: Spring Salad with Chicken and Honey Mustard Dressing (use leftover chicken), baked sweet potatoes Wednesday: leftovers/clean out fridge Thursday: Parmesan Quinoa Bites, Oven Roasted Broccoli, fruit

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Game Night: Make Your Own “Apples to Apples”

It’s no secret. I LOVE games. Especially ones that make a group laugh and make memories together, like the Rate Your Mate Game or The Question Game. Today, I’ve got another DIY oldie but goodie that my family has played time and again. Remember that popular board game Apples to

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Oven Roasted Broccoli Recipe

Friends, take me seriously when I tell you that cooking broccoli this way will convert your family into broccoli eaters. Want proof? My husband who has turned his nose up at broccoli his entire life now scoops a generous portion of this onto his plate. My two-year-old repeated the phrase,

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Meatballs with Sneaky Veggies {Freezer Meal}

These meatballs are full of flavor and packed with sneaky nutrition thanks to the finely chopped carrot, onion, garlic, and parsley. Our entire family loves them! When I make these, I usually double the recipe and freeze half of them for future lunches or dinners. They make such a great

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The Thankful Tree: A Thanksgiving Craft and Centerpiece

Here’s a craft that I think is worth it: The Thankful Tree. In the rush of preparing a meal, socializing, and entertaining (or restraining?) a house full of little kids, it gave our extended family (ages 2-60) just a moment to reflect on why we had gathered. It focused our

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Gift Idea for a New Mom: Nursing Time Box

Reposted from January 2012 Here’s a frugal, easy and useful gift idea for a new mom… A friend of mine had her third baby a few weeks ago and is now at home with the infant and her two other small children. As I prepared a meal to take to

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Family Devotional Cootie Catcher

Easy Family Devotional Activity: Make a “Verse Catcher”

You know you have a great babysitter when you come home and she’s playing “Psalm Catcher” with the kids. Remember those paper thingy-ma-bobbers that we made in grade school called “Cootie Catchers”? It’s the same concept, except our sitter had listed Psalms to look up on the inside. The kids

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I’m a Broken Parent Today

Note: I wrote this cathartic piece for myself earlier this week. I went ahead and posted it today, though, on the off chance there are a few other parents out there who need to these reminders, too. The rest of the day and week went better after this self-reflection and

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Jack-O-Lantern Jars

Jack-O-Lantern Jars

Repost from 2012 A few nights ago I was getting the itch to do a little crafting. I honestly can’t remember where this original idea came from but my vision was to paint the inside of some mason jars, add a face to the outside, put a candle in them,

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Real Food Menu Plan: September 29 – October 5

Real Food Menu Plan: September 29 – October 5

Dinner: Sunday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Wheat Dinner Rolls, peas, grapes Monday: leftover pot roast sandwiches, veggies and hummus, apple slices Tuesday: My Favorite Cobb Salad, pineapple Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner: Chocolate Zucchini Waffles (note: I use 100% whole wheat and use a little stevia in place of the sugar

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Easy Halloween Party Games

3 Easy Halloween Game Ideas: Perfect for School Parties!

Reposted from October 2012 I love thinking of and running games for kids…really people of any age. So, when I saw Katie’s awesome post at Kitchen Stewardship about Easy School Halloween Party Ideas, I put my own thinking cap on. Over the years I’ve worked with kids in various settings–camp

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Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Honey Balsamic Reduction

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Bacon & Honey Balsamic Reduction

By Jessica Ellingsworth, Contributing Writer Mention the words ‘brussels sprouts’ and the responses can be polarizing. I hear anything from, “ohmygoodness, LOVE them!” to “Um, I am not a fan of those baby-cabbage things.” Jessica from Mayvn here, and whether you are a fan or not, this slightly sweet-salty recipe

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garden greek salad

Garden Greek Salad Recipe

It’s not often I get addicted to a salad and can’t stop eating it. But, I did with this Garden Greek Salad. (Oh, and this one, too.) Who doesn’t want to be addicted to veggies?!? You can make this simple salad almost any way you like it. Here’s another version I

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Real Food Menu: September 8-14

Real Food Menu: September 8-14

Dinner: Sunday: Garden Vegetable and Lentil Soup, Honey Wheat Bread, apple slices Monday: Crispy Baked Drumsticks with Honey-Mustard Dipping Sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, Garden Greek Salad (recipe coming Monday!), grapes Tuesday: leftovers Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner: Pumpkin Protein Waffles, Egg Cups, Bright Red Juice Thursday: BLTs on homemade wheat sandwich

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A Sign in My Life

Sometimes lessons about what is most important in life come in the form of signs. Not miraculous signs from God like the pillar of smoke or the parting of the Red Sea that the Israelites witnessed. Not like the disciples watching Jesus being transfigured on a mountain. But, a sign

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homemade wheat sandwich bread

Homemade Wheat Sandwich Bread: A Complete Guide

I’ve always been afraid of the fickle beast. That’s what my friend, Carla, and I call yeast. Good homemade bread without a bread maker has eluded me for years, because I could never get the yeast or recipe or something just right. That all changed recently. One of my best

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Updated Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

Updated Spinach Lasagna Roll Ups

  Just wanted you all to know that I’ve updated one of my favorite meals in our recipe index: Spinach Lasagna Rolls. Check it out for updated pictures and recipe tweaks!

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Real Food Menu Plan: August 25-31

Real Food Menu Plan: August 25-31

Dinner: Sunday: BLTs on homemade wheat sandwich bread (recipe coming this week!), veggies and hummus, fresh peach slices Monday: Chicken Chopped Salad, whole wheat dinner rolls, cantaloupe Tuesday: leftovers Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner: Whole Grain Zucchini Pancakes, scrambled eggs, Banana Split Smoothie Thursday: Grilled cheese on homemade wheat bread, leftover Tomato

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Roasted Potatoes and Carrots Recipe

Roasted Purple Potatoes and Carrots

Have you ever had purple potatoes? My son picked them out at Natural Grocer a few weeks ago (that’s one of my keys to getting the kids to try new foods) and they were delightful. The bluish-purple hue popped against the carrots when I served them. And, since you eat

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Real Food Menu Plan: August 18-24

Real Food Menu Plan: August 18-24

Dinner: Sunday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast, Honey Wheat Bread, salad Monday: leftovers Tuesday: Baked Nachos, fruit salad Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner: Fake-Out Starbucks Breakfast Sandwiches, Tropical Pumpkin Smoothie Thursday: Grilled Balsamic Chicken Bruschetta, Oven Roasted Vegetables, cantaloupe Friday: Baked Greek Scampi (recipe to come) over whole wheat thin spaghetti, steamed

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Parenting Book Review: Fit to Burst by Rachel Jankovic

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here. You may know that Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic was

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Real Food Menu: August 11-17

Real Food Menu: August 11-17

Dinner: Sunday: Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps, watermelon Monday: leftovers Tuesday: Rice and Bean Bowls (brown rice, black beans, salsa, plain yogurt or sour cream, shredded cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, avocado), roasted sweet potatoes, grapes Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner: Whole Wheat Sweet Potato Pancakes*, Oven Omelet, and Green Smoothie (*I’ll use

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Did Apple Go Too Far? (Guest Post by Rachel’s Husband)

Guest post by my husband, Nathan. As a mom who struggles to get off the computer or my phone daily and focus on my kids (gah…mom guilt just thinking about it), I found my husband’s guest post today particularly thought-provoking. A little background on my man: Nathan and I met

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Banana Split Power Smoothie

Banana Split Power Smoothie

Want a healthy snack to power you through the morning or afternoon? Oh my. Please give this smoothie a try (or this one or this one or this one.) My entire family can vouch for the “strawberry milkshake”-flavored deliciousness of this Banana Split Power Smoothie. P.S. Don’t be weirded out

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Real Food Menu Plan: August 4-10

Real Food Menu Plan: August 4-10

Dinner: Sunday: Roasted Chicken and Vegetables, whole wheat stuffing, strawberries Monday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, green leaf salad, apple or pear slices (Note: I will use the chicken bones/neck from Sunday’s chicken to make Homemade Stock and used the leftover chicken in this soup. Very economical!) Tuesday: Rosemary Shrimp Scampi,

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Easy Whole Grain Zucchini Pancakes {Freezer Meal}

Here’s an easy breakfast idea for ya. Our freezer friendly whole grain zucchini pancakes pack a yummy punch! Enjoy using up some fresh zucchini and serving your family a wholesome breakfast. Double the batch and make them a freezer meal!  Lesson learned from making Whole Grain Zucchini Pancakes: Double the

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Breath Prayers

It’s been one of those days. Well, even one of those weeks. Yesterday I came down with my second round of mastitis in the past two months. Last night when I was feeling my worst, plagued with chills, fever, headache, and a very sore body, my 3 month old decided

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"Real Food Meets Reality" Menu Plan

My Vacation Menu Plan: Make-Ahead Meals To Go

We’re going on vacation in a few weeks. Although we’ll eat out some, I plan to take much of our own food to save money on meals. So, I’m working ahead on meals that my family loves and that I can just pull out of the fridge or freezer throughout

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Parenting Inspiration for Real Life

Recognize this picture? Well, I know most of you probably don’t recognize my family, per se, but recognize what’s going on here? This was taken several years ago, but I love it because it shows us as a REAL family. Toddler tantrum, tired baby, and me with my stay-at-home mom

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What Supplements Does Your Family Take? (We Take These 4…)

What Supplements Does Your Family Take? (We Take These 4…)

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links of products that I personally use and/or fully support. I give you full permission to make fun of me for this. My husband for sure does already. Want to know what I fall asleep reading many nights of the week, besides cooking magazines? Articles

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The BEST Safe and Effective Sunscreens for Kids

The BEST Safe and Effective Sunscreens for Kids

Every year I find myself doing new research on the best and most affordable sunscreen that will keep my family protected this summer. The good news is that the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization that rates the safety of cosmetics and other household products based on their ingredient list,

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How to Make a Chore Chart

How to Make a Chore Chart (a.k.a. Swift Kick in the Pants Chart)

You’re probably not like me. You probably don’t sweep your kitchen mostly just when you notice the ants beneath the kids’ stools nibbling on crumbs. You probably don’t check off everything else on your to do list but “swish the toilets”. And, I’m sure you don’t make a discrete pile

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What Do You Really Need to Buy?

What Do You Really Need to Buy?

When I was pregnant with my first baby, I was very much looking forward to registering. I couldn’t wait to pick out all the fun baby gear that we would soon need. As I geared up to traverse the aisles, I quickly realized how little I knew about what I

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How to Transplant (or Plant) Blueberries

How to Transplant (or Plant) Blueberries

This spring, I received a very special gift from my parents who were moving–FIVE BLUEBERRY BUSHES from their backyard! These bushes are about three years old, so they are already producing quite a few blueberries each year but still have some growing to do. After doing some major research about

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Menu Plan: May 19-25

Menu Plan: May 19-25

Dinners: Sunday:  Broiled Parmesan Tilapia, corn on the cob, Roasted Asparagus, apple slices Monday: Meatball Subs, green salad, kiwi fruit Tuesday: leftovers Wednesday: Breakfast for Dinner: Sweet Potato French Toast, bacon, Green Smoothie Thursday: Whole wheat spaghetti with marinara, green beans, fruit salad Friday: Szechuan Steak Stir-Fry, brown rice, green

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Growing Pains

Growing Pains

This post comes from my good friend, Sara. After reading it on her blog, Sara J. Writes, I immediately texted her and asked if I could share it. I hope you find Sara’s honesty and humor as refreshing as I do.  Growing Pains When I was little I would get

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Meet Heather: Mother and Mesothelioma Survivor

Meet Heather: Mother and Mesothelioma Survivor

Heather Von St. James, a mother and survivor of a deadly cancer called mesothelioma, contacted us a few months ago with her story. She’s passionate about raising awareness about this 100% preventable disease and giving those affected by it hope. Here’s a bit of her story and where she found

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Menu Plan: May 5-11

Menu Plan: May 5-11

I decided to pull out the crock pot this week and take full advantage of it, since I’ve got some busy work days ahead. The Pot Roast and the Mexican Chicken are two no-fail recipes I’ve used for years. Dinners: Sunday: Slow Cooker Pot Roast with potatoes and sweet potatoes,

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Pinterest Recipe Successes: April Edition

Pinterest Recipe Successes: April Edition

Each month, I’m hoping to connect you to my favorite recipes I’ve made from my Pinterest boards. Check out Pinterest Successes: February 2013 and the one from March 2013 for more ideas. I’m a few days late on this April Edition, but here it is none-the-less. Last month I made

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4 Ways to Go Green for the Glory of God

4 Easy Ways to Go Green for the Glory of God

It’s a day after Earth Day and I have a confession to make. I think Earth Day should have less to do with whether or not Global Warming exists and more to do with what God instructs humanity to do with what He’s given us. The Bible teaches that we

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Are Your Cosmetics Safe?

One of the things I’ve been learning on our family’s journey to a healthier home is that not all cosmetics and personal care products on the market are safe.  Everything from baby shampoo to sunscreen to the mascara you wear may contain chemicals that are toxic for the human body.

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Unexpected and Cheap Toys That Have Stood the Test of Time

Unexpected and Cheap Toys That Have Stood the Test of Time

When I’m at a friend’s house, I often like to know what toys their kids have enjoyed for the longest.  It’s almost without fail that the simplest ones are the favorites. The big, expensive ones with lights and sounds get old (or break) quickly. The same is true around here.

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Friday Funny

Friday Funny

Just wanted to share a funny picture from last weekend. This was caught when both my daughter and our dog were chasing bubbles around our yard. They somehow how the same expression on their faces! Hope this brings a smile to your Friday!  

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3 Key Ways to Save Money and Eat Healthier

3 Key Ways To Save Money and Eat Healthier

I’m about to make a statement that you might strongly disagree with.  But, I’ll do it anyway…and hopefully convince you. I think having healthy homemade food (vs. eating processed convenience food or fast food) for most meals is doable and is a huge benefit to you and your family. Not

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My Story: Marathons and MS

My Story: Marathons and MS

Guest post by Beth Lewis Things doctors told me before I was actually diagnosed with multiple sclerosis: “Stress.” “Possibly an ocular migraine? There’s nothing wrong with your eye.” “Stress.” “You’re a marathon runner, Beth! Of course you’re tired!” “Stress.” “You probably just banged a nerve.” Before my dad and I

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“On Purpose” from Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

“On Purpose” from Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

Not only is Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing by Sally Lloyd-Jones something kids of a wide age range can enjoy, but it’s something that stirs my own heart every time I read it. In fact, I’ve been reading one each morning before most of the kids are up. It’s

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Pinterest Recipe Successes: March 2013 Edition

Pinterest Recipe Successes: March 2013 Edition

Each month, I’m hoping to connect you to my favorite recipes I’ve made from my Pinterest boards. Check out Pinterest Successes: February 2013 here. This month was a busy one, so I haven’t had a chance to try as many new ones. But, these four were outstanding! Cheesy Chicken and

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Menu Plans: March 17-22

Menu Plans: March 17-22

Dinners: Sunday: A Better Mac and Cheese*, steamed broccoli and carrots, strawberries Monday: pizza, peas, apple slices Tuesday: Yellow Bows of Texas* (chili mac with lots of veggies), whole wheat bowtie pasta, salad, clementines Wednesday: Oven Omelet, whole wheat toast, Green Smoothie Thursday: leftovers Friday: Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas*, salad,

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Thought-Provoking Quotes for Parents

Thought-Provoking Quotes for Parents

In six years’ time, our family went from this… To this… No, I’m not pointing out my husband’s drastic hair change. Although, like the addition of two more children, it was a much welcomed change. 🙂 Yes, it’s gone by fast so far. All those veteran parents who have told

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Practical Ideas for Teaching Children to Give

Practical Ideas for Teaching Children to Give

How kids learn to view and use their material possessions from early on has eternal significance in their lives. Today, I want to explore where we as parents can begin when cultivating a giving heart in our children. I write this for myself as much as for anyone else, since

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Menu Plans: March 3-9

Menu Plans: March 3-9

Dinners: Sunday: Kid-Tastic Pizzadillas, sweet potatoes, strawberries Monday: Firecracker Salmon, Roasted Asparagus, brown rice, pineapple Tuesday: Cheesy Chicken and Wild Rice Casserole*, peas, pear slices Wednesday: Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes, scrambled eggs, Tropical Smoothie Thursday: leftovers Friday: Broccoli Cheddar Soup, Whole Wheat Flax Bread (in bread machine), raw veggies and hummus,

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Snow Ice Cream Recipe (or Snow Frappacino)

Snow Ice Cream Recipe (or Snow Frappuccino!)

Who doesn’t love those sugar-filled icy cups of frappy goodness at Starbucks, really? But, at nearly $4 a pop and a whopping 50 grams of sugar and 240 calories in each one (that’s the plain coffee ones–I’m not even counting the dolled up Mocha or Caramel Fraps), why not make

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Strawberry Pina Colada Smoothie Recipe

Strawberry Pina Colada Smoothie Recipe: A Taste of Summer

After a beautiful week with tons of snow, I’ve had my fill of winter. Our family is officially ready for summer. But since we have to wait a few more months, I thought, “Why not bring a little summer to us?” That’s what inspired this family-friendly strawberry pina colada recipe

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Pinterest Recipe Successes: February 2013 Edition

Pinterest Recipe Successes: February 2013 Edition

We Pinterest users know how quickly our recipe boards can fill up, never to be utilized again. I’m on a mission to cook through many of the recipes I’ve saved, and try to report the ones with successful results. By the way, you can follow my boards here and Polly’s

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Menu Plan: February 10-16

Menu Plan: February 10-16

Dinners: Sunday: Beef Brisket*, Baked Beans*, Asian Slaw Monday: (didn’t get to this last week) Tuna Patties on mini wheat buns with Homemade Tartar Sauce, raw veggies and chips with hummus Tuesday: Baked Nachos, fruit salad Wednesday: leftovers, baked sweet potato Thursday: scrambled eggs, whole wheat toast, Tropical Smoothie Friday:

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Menu Plan: February 3-9

Menu Plan: February 3-9

Dinners: Sunday: Super Bowl Party! I’ll make one or two of these foods…probably the Layered Taco Dip, fruit salad, and Powerball Cookies. Monday: Tuna Patties on mini wheat buns with Homemade Tartar Sauce, raw veggies and chips with hummus Tuesday: Tacos, guacamole, fruit salad Wednesday: leftovers, baked sweet potato Thursday:

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Menu Plan: January 27 – February 2

Menu Plan: January 27 – February 2

Dinners: Monday: Whole Wheat Rotini with Marinara Sauce/Fresh Parm, steamed broccoli and carrots, apple slices Tuesday: Ham and Potato Soup*, whole wheat baguette, salad, mango slices Wednesday: French Dip sandwiches, Oven Fries, hummus & raw veggies, cantaloupe Thursday: leftovers, steamed broccoli, pear slices Friday: Rosemary Shrimp Scampi, brown rice, baked

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Rachel’s 2013 Book List

Here are some of the books I’d like to finish or read in 2013. Part of my job at my church is to help identity good parenting resources, so you’ll notice my list is rather “parenting book” heavy. My fun reading usually comes in the form of blogs and magazines,

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Menu Plan: January 21-27

Menu Plan: January 21-27

This week is officially “Use Up What Is In My Freezer, Fridge and Pantry Week”! Care to join me? I’m trying hard to save more money on groceries. I figure a great first place to start is by being creative with what I have on hand already. So, I dug

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Why I Won’t Throw My Kid a Pinterest Birthday Party

Why I Won’t Throw My Kid a Pinterest Birthday Party

I have a confession to make. My son just turned 6 this week. And…I dropped the ball, so to speak, on planning a big basketball birthday party like he had originally asked for. There are so many moms out there who are far more creative than me. It’s easy to look

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The Story of Kaitlyn: From Health-Conscious Childhood to College

The Story of Kaitlyn: From Health-Conscious Childhood to College

I’ve often wondered if by cooking and teaching my kids about “real” food—non-processed, whole food that is as close to it’s original form as possible—is a futile battle in my kids’ lives. Won’t they eventually be won over by the combined multi-billion dollar advertising campaigns of fast food and junk

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Menu Plan: January 14-20

Menu Plan: January 14-20

I’m back on the bandwagon for meal planning this week! I made Food and Wine‘s Tomato Bisque on New Year’s Eve and it was to die for; so it’s on tap again this week. Add a little hot sauce to kick it up a notch, if you want. I’m also

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Pedometer Challenge Part 3: How to Kick It Up a Notch

Pedometer Challenge Part 3: How to Kick It Up a Notch

Check out Part 1 of the Pedometer Challenge Series to find out how to join in andand Part 2 to get motivated to move more. Most of us (not all) could stand to move our bodies more. Yes? I’ve been making the case this month that wearing a pedometer is

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The Pedometer Challenge: Step It Up in 2013!

The Pedometer Challenge: Step It Up in 2013!

Need a little motivation to either start exercising or to “kick up” your current routine? I may have a fun, easy, and cheap solution for you. In fact, my friend, Candace, kick-started a major transformation because of what I like to call The Pedometer Challenge. You must read her story

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Healthy (and Delicious!) Christmas Morning Breakfast Ideas

Healthy (and Delicious!) Christmas Morning Breakfast Ideas

One of my favorite Christmas traditions that was passed down from my family is making a big ole breakfast after we open presents on Christmas morning. Here are a few of our healthier breakfast favorites that you might consider adding to your own Christmas morning menu. Oven Omelet Making eggs

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Save Money at Christmas: Throw a Toy Swap!

Save Money at Christmas: Throw a Toy Swap!

Repost from Nov. 21, 2011 Want to clean out all the toys that have lost their luster in your house? How about get some free Christmas gifts for your kids? What if you could do both of those things while having a fun night out with your friends? If you

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Fun Christmas Game for Couples

Fun Christmas Game for Couples

Re-posted from Dec. 14, 2011 Looking for a fun game for couples to play at your work, church, or family Christmas party this year? This is our go-to Christmas game with our small group Bible study groups each year. We get a nice “date night” gift card for the winners

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10 Holiday Books to Read with Your Kids

10 Fantastic Holiday Books to Read to Your Kids

Guest post by Rachel Johnson from Somebody Come and Play Reading with children, especially with my daughter, is one of my ultimate favorites in life. There is nothing quite like connecting with a child over a great piece of literature. Watching their eyes light up as their eager hands turn

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Kid-Friendly, Healthy, and Simple Breakfast Recipes

Kid-Friendly, Healthy, and Simple Breakfast Recipes

Hi everyone! You might think I’d be blogging about simple dinner ideas today according to the image above, huh? Nope. I’m actually sharing some of Thriving Home’s most popular family-friendly and freezer-friendly breakfast recipes over at Simplified Pantry today. That’s because Mystie at Simplified Pantry has already written a book

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How to Clean Produce Naturally and Save Money

How to Clean Produce Naturally and Save Money

Want to know the kitchen tip that has been THE most helpful one I’ve tried in a very long time? I’m sharing How to Clean Produce Naturally and Save Money at Kitchen Stewardship today. Not only has this new method saved us money, but it’s also helping our family eat

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3 Questions to Ask a Child Who Has Done Wrong

3 Questions to Ask a Child Who Has Done Wrong

Note: You may want to read the full blog post on this topic called How to Cultivate a Heart That Obeys: Strategies for Dealing with a Whiny, Insolent Child first. Proverbs 6:23 says, “Correction and instruction are the way to life….” Did you know that spending time correcting our children

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Video from Rachel: Top 10 Toddler Books

Whether it’s for Christmas, a birthday, or just picking books out at the library, I hope you find these Top 10 Toddler Book recommendations helpful as you’re selecting books to read to your little ones. Here we are in all our morning glory at home. Bed heads on the sick

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Easy Halloween Party Games

Easy and Cheap Halloween Party Game Ideas (+ Free Printable)

I love thinking of and running games for kids…really people of any age. So, when I saw Katie’s awesome post at Kitchen Stewardship about Easy School Halloween Party Ideas, I put my own thinking cap on. Over the years I’ve worked with kids in various settings–camp counselor, babysitter, teacher, children’s

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DIY Stainless Steel Cleaner

DIY Stainless Steel Appliance Cleaner

With six little grimmy hands running around my house, our stainless steel refrigerator and dishwasher get embarrassingly nasty. Fingerprints are everywhere! Want to see? And these pictures don’t even show the half of it! It looks much worse in person. I’ve never known what to do about cleaning my stainless

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The Pain of the Shot

The Pain of the Shot

Yesterday my youngest little guy, Ben, age 23 months, was so sick. High fever, listless, clingy. I took him to the doctor, and he determined Ben needed some heavy-duty antibiotic shots. These shots are some of the most painful ones a kid can get, from what I understand (and remember

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How to Cook Corn on the Cob in the Microwave

Thank you to my mother-in-law for this quick trick on how to cook corn on the cob in the microwave! Did you know that cooking corn on the cob doesn’t require dirtying up a pot, heating up the kitchen, or waiting for a gallon of water to boil? I sure

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Menu Plan: October 1-7

Menu Plan: October 1-7

This week, I’ll be making some meals for my freezer club (the Baked Lasagna and Pork Tenderloin) and eating some I receive (Cobb Salad and the Italian Soup). These meals are tried and true around our house and guaranteed winners. I’m also excited to try a new recipe from an

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Easy DIY Fruit Fly Traps

My kitchen is overrun with fruit flies this time of year. They buzz around our bananas, land in my wine, and I even got one stuck down in my ear one time! They drive me nuts! Here are two, DIY methods that I’ve found effective to getting rid of those

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Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

Thoughts to Make Your Heart Sing

I know there are many of us out there who love to sing the praises of The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones, especially the new collectors edition (at right) that includes the audio version. It’s been one of the most influential and perhaps life-changing children’s Bibles I’ve seen in

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Baked Cheesy Spinach Tortellini

Baked Cheesy Spinach Tortellini {Freezer Meal}

Need a 25-minute four-ingredient dish for dinner that everyone will love? Baked Cheesy Spinach Tortellini is it! Baked Cheesy Spinach Tortellini is a vegetarian spin-off of my Baked Beef Ravioli. It’s meatless but oh-so-filling. Plus, it’s also a great way to use up leftover frozen or fresh spinach and sneak

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2 “No Skin Off Your Back” Online Money-Savers

2 “No Skin Off Your Back” Online Money-Savers

I’m not a big sucker for online programs and deals most of the time. I hate giving out my personal info or having more things on my computer to keep up with. I always say no to credit card offers. You get the picture. But, I have found two online

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Blog Love: Rachel’s Current Favs

Blog Love: Rachel’s Current Favs

This post was a hard one for me. There is so much great (and bad) content online now. I am a lover of blogs and find it amazing that we can learn from one another around the world in such an informal way today! I divided my Blog Love into

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Candace’s Transformation Story

Candace’s Transformation Story

Meet Candace. She’s my friend from work. Kids and adults alike love her. (Don’t you already?) She’s truly one of the most beautiful women I know inside and out. Today, I want to share with you about the transformation Candace has gone through over the past two years. It dawned

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Reader Question: How Do I Handle My Picky 2-Year-Old?

Reader Question: How Do I Handle My Picky 2-Year-Old?

A friend of mine and reader of the blog emailed me a while back with several great questions about helping her picky eater, as well as incorporating healthy foods into their family’s diet. These are the same questions I was asking, researching, and anxious over only four years ago myself

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healthy peanut butter cup smoothie

Peanut Butter Cup Smoothie Recipe {Freezer Meal}

Peanut butter and chocolate are two of my great loves in life. Is it possible that this combo can actually be good for you? The good news is peanut butter and chocolate can be nutritious if eaten in moderation and in their real food form (and if you’re not allergic

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I Declare War On…

I Declare War On…

…my impatience with my kids. That’s right. I’ve HAD it with my impatience. (Yes, my husband already pointed out the irony of my impatience with my impatience.) My little people mean way too much to me to carry on with business as usual. Want to read more about my ugly

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Menu Plan for August 5-11

Menu Plan for August 5-11

Below is what we’ve got on tap for this coming week for our “as close to real food with some convenience thrown in” kid-friendly menu. I thought some pictures of the ones I’ve made might be helpful in deciding if you want to attempt any of these ideas. Even though

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Easy blender hummus recipe

Simple Blender Hummus Recipe

Note: I originally shared this recipe as a guest post over at Kitchen Stewardship. You should check out her blog, if you get a chance. I’ve learned so much from Katie and consider her site one of my favorite resources. Hummus is quite notably a weakness for me. I spend

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Green Smoothie Recipe

“Even Your Husband Will Love It” Green Smoothie Recipe

My husband is originally a small town farm boy who would never think, “I’d love a green smoothie for breakfast.” But, after years of shoving a smoothie in his hand as he heads out the door, he’s come around.  In fact, he requests a smoothie most days.  This Green Smoothie

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Asian Slaw Salad Recipe

Asian Slaw Recipe: No MSG Included!

You know that delicious slaw salad made from Oriental Ramen Noodles? You know…the one full of processed ingredients and MSG? Well, my friend Carla took a stab at making a homemade (read: real food) version of that dressing and I tweaked the whole recipe just a bit recently. Now the

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easy kid activities at home

10 Summer Boredom Busters: Easy Kid Activities at Home

I don’t know about where you live, but it’s been blistering hot in these here parts for weeks on end. Too hot to play outside for most of the day, in fact, unless water is involved.  When you have three small kids at home all day, especially an energetic 5-year-old

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3 Tips for Less Stressful Travel with Little Kids

3 Tips for Less Stressful Travel with Little Kids

Vacation season is in full swing and I thought this might be an appropriate time to repost these tips for an easier road trip. I’d love to hear any tips you’ve found helpful in the comment section, as well.  I know I need these reminders! Our family has gone from

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Exercise at Home: More 10 Minute Online Workouts

Exercise at Home: More 10 Minute Online Workouts

As I’ve said several times I’m sure, at this stage in life exercising at home or outside works out best for me.  It’s both free and requires no travel time! Honestly, I post these quick workout videos I have done and like for my own future reference. But, I figure

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10 verses to pray for fathers

A Non-Traditional Father’s Day Gift: Commit to Pray for Dad

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.” -Billy Graham  Like many women out there, I struggle with what to get my husband for Father’s Day. Grilling tools? An iphone accessory? Gift cards? Some dads are

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Rachel’s Picks: Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Rachel’s Picks: Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Father’s Day is almost upon us! It’s not too late to make some last minute Amazon or other online orders, though. Here are a few of my picks based on what I know the men in my life like. Steve Jobs – My husband, I and many of our guy

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Free Online 10 Minute Workout Videos

Free Online 10 Minute Workout Videos

As a mom of three young kids, I love finding cheap, easy ways to sneak in exercise. I already posted a free 30 minute Body Sculpting Workout by Jillian Michaels via Hulu and some of my favorite exercise DVDs.  Fitsugar is another website with tons of challenging 10 minute exercise

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Rosemary Shrimp Scampi

Years ago I found this Rosemary Shrimp Scampi Skewers recipe in Cooking Light Magazine.  Since then it’s been a highly requested “home run” recipe from my Freezer Club and from my kids. This super easy, light, fresh-tasting entree makes a perfect summer meal. You’ll see in my pictures that we

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Menu Plan for May 14-20

Menu Plan for May 14-20

One of my kids is struggling with yet another pretty bad eczema outbreak, so I’m trying to go dairy-free for a few weeks to see if it helps.  Below is our mostly DF menu.  I will use almond or rice milk in lieu of cow’s milk in recipes and avoid

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Country French Omelet Recipe & Review of Ina Garten’s Cookbook

Country French Omelet Recipe & Review of Ina Garten’s Cookbook

This past week, I finally got to indulge in one of my favorite past times: reading cookbooks.  (My husband didn’t nickname me a “ferdie”–foodie + nerd–for nothing after all.)  After playing and grabbing some books for the kids at the library, I dragged everyone upstairs to the back of the

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healthy sweet potato french toast

Sweet Potato French Toast Recipe

As you may have gleaned by now, my family loves a good breakfast and I love sneaking veggies in my kids’ meals any way I can.  Here’s a recipe that accomplishes both.  When you use the blender to combine the eggs, milk, and sweet potato mixture, no one will ever

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Psalm 23 in Action: The Good Shepherd vs. A Monster

Psalm 23 in Action: The Good Shepherd vs. A Monster

My 5-year-old quietly traipsed downstairs. “Mommy, I keep seeing a monster in my mind and it won’t go away.” There are times when my kids use stall tactics at bedtime. You know, like, “I need to go potty!”, “I need a drink,” or “My toe hurts.”  I could tell this

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Highlights of Our Easter Weekend

Highlights of Our Easter Weekend

Happy Belated Easter from our family to yours!  I don’t share these kinds of posts very often at TH, but I thought today I’d tell you a bit about our Easter weekend and give you a little window into our family’s life.  Here are a few highlights:

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Mommy’s Store: Where Playing Leads to Learning

Mommy’s Store: Where Playing Leads to Learning

When it rains it pours.  Not only was one of my original posts, Busy Night Recipes: Cheap, Easy, Healthy, Kid-Friendly Meals, featured at Meet Penny today.  But, I am also featured today on one of my newest favorite blogs, I Can Teach My Child. Jenae, the author of I Can

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Menu Plans for This Week

Menu Plans for This Week

Dinners: Monday: spaghetti with meat sauce, Wheat Bread with Flaxseed, baked sweet potato Tuesday: Easy Cheesy Mexican Chicken over brown rice, salad Wednesday:  leftovers in quesadillas, salad Thursday: A Better Mac and Cheese, steamed broccoli with cheese Friday: Chicken Piccatta, mashed potatoes, salad Saturday: Cobb Salad (with leftover Chicken Piccatta

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3 Prayer and Devotional Links to Start Your Week

3 Prayer and Devotional Links to Start Your Week

Morning Dedication This post is about one of my favorite morning prayers from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions.  If you don’t have this book, I highly recommend it.  You can find some of the prayers in it at the website Puritan Prayers. The Music

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4 Mistakes I’ve Already Made As a Parent

4 Mistakes I’ve Already Made As a Parent

One of my fears in writing a blog called Thriving Home and that sometimes speaks to parenting issues is that you’d get the ridiculous impression that I somehow have my act all together as a mother.  Excuse me while I have a good belly laugh at the thought. Bah, ha,

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Pick-Me-Up Real Food Snacks

Pick-Me-Up Real Food Snacks

It’s 2 p.m., your eye lids are heavy, and you’re jonesing for a little snacky-snack.  If you’re like me, you’re likely to fall into the snack crap trap at this point in the day.  Your willpower is weak and only junk (read: processed, packaged, trans-fat loaded) food calls your name.

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Instant Homemade Breakfast Sandwich

As I mentioned in a recent post called Healthy Breakfast Ideas, not only is breakfast my favorite meal of the day, but science tells us it’s the most important for our health.  So today I share with you yet another one of our family’s quick breakfasts–Instant Breakfast Sandwiches. When you

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Free 30 Minute Total Body Sculpting Workout at Home

Free 30 Minute Total Body Sculpting Workout at Home

As you may know, I’m all about sneaky exercise or working out at home using exercise videos at this stage of life.  Both save time and money, two of my top values as a stay-at-home mom of little kids.  I’ve recently discovered the free workouts on Hulu and love them.

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Menu Plan

Menu Plan Ideas for Next Week

In case you’re looking for some ideas for what to feed your crew this week, here’s what’s on tap for us.  The food with an asterisk (*) are ones that I or a freezer club friend prepared in bulk and froze ahead of time.  I didn’t want you to think

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In The Kitchen: Rachel’s Faves

In The Kitchen: Rachel’s Faves

Disclosure: Affiliate links included. I am a sucker for kitchen tools and appliances!  These are a few of my favorites that I use regularly in my own home. 1) Microplane 40020 Classic Zester/Grater I use this for all kinds of things, such as… …grating raw carrot or apple for my baby. 

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Mommy Spotlight: Erika

Mommy Spotlight: Erika

Whether a first-time mommy or a weathered veteran, we believe every mother has some valuable wisdom that she’s gleaned along this crazy journey we call parenting. Mommy Spotlight highlights a mom who is striving to create a thriving home in her own unique way.  Today, we introduce you to Erika,

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Healthy Breakfast Ideas (That Might Help You Lose Weight)

Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal of the day.  And I have good scientific reasoning to support my preference. You may have heard this before, but there is a significant amount of research that says people who skip breakfast are more likely to become overweight and develop several risk

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Sneaky Valentine’s Treat: Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

I know there are times that a healthy treat isn’t warranted…especially on holidays. But, the deal with these Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough Truffles is that they are decadent, delicious and healthy.  So, why not make them today for your family as a special (and sneaky healthy way) to say “I love

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Here’s How We Roll: A Quick Healthy Lunch Idea

Here’s How We Roll: A Quick Healthy Lunch Idea

My mom used to say she felt like a short order cook when my three siblings and I were young.  Now I understand.  There’s only so many battles I can fight in one day with the little people, and the lunch menu isn’t one I usually choose.  Although I encourage

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I Heart Trader Joe’s: Why and What We Buy

I Heart Trader Joe’s: Why and What We Buy

I heart Trader Joe’s.  Who doesn’t, really? They’re the full package if you ask me.  Here’s why they’ve stolen my heart and what favorite TJ’s products make a (smallish) dent in my grocery bill. Three Things I Love About TJ’s 1 – They are a competitive, ethical corporation yet retain their

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On the Job Meditations for Moms

On the Job Meditations for Moms

A dark, short silhouette hovers over you and whispers “Mommy. Why are you still asleep?”  You mutter a dry throat grunt in response, while your hand searches the end table for your glasses forged in 1999.  Once your sight is restored, you eye the glowing green numbers of the clock…6:05. 

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southwest chicken tenders

Southwest Chicken and Bacon Wraps – A Parent and Kid Favorite!

Bacon, marinated grilled chicken, two kinds of cheese, lettuce, and tomatoes wrapped in a tortilla with ranch salsa sauce.  What’s not to love about the Southwest Bacon and Chicken Wrap? This recipe began with an attempt to recreate one of our family’s favorite dishes from one of our favorite local

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Sneaky Exercise for Busy Moms

Sneaky Exercise for Busy Moms

It’s a new year and, like many of you, with it comes a renewed commitment to take care of my body. The main problem I’ve had the last few years is fitting in exercise while caring for several small kids at home and working part-time. The days of swinging by

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A Must-Read for Moms: Loving the Little Years

Note: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Read our full disclosure policy here. I Like Order. Do You? My poor sweet, patient husband. I nearly

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Blog Planner

Blog Planner

For me, blog ideas come in waves. There are seasons where I can’t get enough time in the day to carry out all of my ideas and projects and then there are dry seasons where I wonder if I’ll ever have anything to blog about again. I need to do

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Fun Christmas Game for Couples (+ Free Printable)

Fun Christmas Game for Couples (+ Free Printable)

I’m known as the “game girl” around these parts.  Man alive, I love a good game or fun question in a group, especially ones that get people laughing or connecting in a social situation.  As an aside, I married a man who typically has an adverse reaction to group games

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Photoshop Fun: Actions

Photoshop Fun: Actions

Because of projects I have to do for my job, I have Photoshop on my computer. However, I hardly ever use it for my personal photos. Pretty much because it’s super intimidating and I always get stuck trying to do the simplest things. I’d rather edit my photos in my

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Cobb Salad

My Favorite Cobb Salad

I received this Cobb Salad as a fresh meal* for our Freezer Club this week. It is colorful, complex in flavor and texture, and a crowd-pleaser. Hope you enjoy this easy and healthy recipe! *In case you’re wondering about the “fresh meal” concept…each round of Freezer Club, we try to have

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little kids at home

My Not So Edited Life

Ironically, as much as I love it, social media like blogs, Facebook, and Pinterest overwhelm me at times.  I can sometimes feel like I’m falling so short of where I should be as a mom, homemaker, wife, Christian, etc.  People–me included–post ideas, pictures or status updates that often show the

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More Pumpkin Recipes

More Pumpkin Recipes

Yesterday I reposted the most popular recipe on my blog called Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins. Since it’s fall in all it’s glory and Halloween is around the corner, I thought I’d refer you to a few other pumpkin recipes here on Healthy Refuge. 1) Tropical and Pumpkin Smoothie 2) Whole

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Oven Fries Recipe

Oven Fries with a Secret Ingredient

Oven Fries are one of our favorite side dishes. The secret ingredient in this oven fry recipe is a bit of sugar!  It really makes a difference in taste.  I serve these alongside things like Mini Chicken Burgers with Herbs, Super Sloppy Joes, and Mini Freezable Crab Cakes.  

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This Might Be My Favorite Morning Prayer

This Might Be My Favorite Morning Prayer

The prayer below is something I’ve returned to for years now.  It’s from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers and Devotions or from this website that has some of those Puritan prayers listed.  My favorite line has to be the last one: “May I speak each word

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Pumpkin Apple Cider

Pumpkin Apple Cider

Here’s a healthy spin on a fall favorite.  I tweaked this recipe in EveryDay with Racheal Ray magazine, opting out of the alcohol since it was for my kids.  We loved it, plus it’s a great way to sneak in a vegetable.  It tasted like a pumpkin muffin in a

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Whole Grain Pancake Mix

Homemade Whole Grain Pancake Mix {Freezer Meal}

Our family loves pancakes, like Seriously Sweet Potato Pancakes and Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes.  But, sometimes I don’t have time to make those and I just want a quick dry mix on hand.  Unfortunately, the pancake mixes at the grocery store have a ton of unrecognizable and highly processed ingredients.

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sangria recipe

Meet My Mom and Her Sangria Recipe

Meet my mom.  She’s a cross between the Pioneer Woman and Alton Brown.  With a garden and yard full of about 35 varieties of vegetables, fruits, and nuts and a “nothing goes to waste” mentality, mom comes up with the most creative food concoctions.  Get this.  Not only does she

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chocolate sweet potato banana bread recipe

Chocolate Sweet Potato Banana Bread {Freezer Meal}

I had leftover pureed sweet potato and several overripe bananas in the freezer to use up.  This bread was the result.  It’s similar to my Banana Pumpkin Muffins but with some added cocoa.  I love using cocoa powder in recipes like this because a) it adds chocolate-y decadence without the

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Ham and Bean Soup Recipe

Ham and Bean Soup–Cheap, Hearty and Healthy!

Although it’s hot and humid in these parts, I decided to make ham and bean soup tonight.  How could I refuse my 4-year-old who requested beans for dinner? Plus, did you know beans are considered a “superfood” now because of all their health benefits? This Ham and Bean Soup turned

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Zucchini Succotash

Ever notice how vegetables like zucchini are either feast or famine? This month the zucchini feast is on.  Check out my mom’s garden where I inherit much of the fruit of her vines.  I did not, however, inherit her green thumb. Isn’t she amazing? Now, back to zucchini.  What do

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copabanana cake

Eat Your Copa, Copabanana {Freezer Meal}

Everybody now…Eat your Copa (CO!), Copabanana (Copabanana!). It’s the hottest cake north of Havana (here). Thanks for the inspiration, Barry, for the dessert I made tonight*. I had the kids cheering “Mom is great! She feeds us banana cake!” after dinner. You can bet we’ll be having this Copabanana Cake

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DIY Corn Muffin Mix

I like me a good corn muffin.  Don’t you?  But not all corn muffins are created equal. When you buy a boxed mix at the store, for instance, you’re getting trans fats, additives, and ingredients that have been stripped of their nutritional value.  When you make this recipe below, you’ll

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Serving Up More Than Overcooked Baby Goo

Serving Up More Than Overcooked Baby Goo

Have you ever smelled or tasted jarred baby food?  Especially the peas or green beans?  It’s enough to make you throw up a little in your mouth.  If you ask me (and I know you didn’t, but since you’re on my blog I’ll tell you anyway), processed baby food is

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crispy baked drumsticks

Crispy Baked Drumsticks {Freezer Meal}

Drum roll for the drumsticks, please. These guys rock! First off, they are cheapola. I got a couple of packages of five free-range, all-natural drumsticks for $2.66 each. Add in that this recipe is particularly tasty, kid-friendly (not too spicy), easy to make, and healthy…and I’ve found a new recipe

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Chicken Penne Pasta with Asparagus and Peppers

I first posted this recipe quite a while ago.  But, since it’s asparagus season, I thought it was high time to bring it into the spotlight again.  One of the ways to have cheap, healthy meals is to base them around produce that is in season.  Here is a simple

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Simple Learning Activity: Sorting in an Egg Carton

Simple Learning Activity: Sorting in an Egg Carton

I’m a teacher by training, a former children’s ministry director, and a current mom of three.  Like many of you, I understand the importance of and enjoy the teaching of my 2 and 4-year-olds. Am I alone in saying, though, that I disdain complicated activities that require a lot of

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Spinach Lasagna Rolls are the perfect meal for large groups. With fresh and natural ingredients, it also makes a great freezer meal!

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups {Freezer Meal}

Spinach Lasagna Roll-Ups are one of my favorite vegetarian freezer meals. Although, I have been known to put cooked chicken there on occasion. Either way, they make a great family dinner. Listen, peeps.  Some of you may think my kids eat anything.  Boy, are you wrong.  I try to offer

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Pizza Pockets {Freezer Meal}

Pizza Pockets, Pizza Stromboli, A Better Mac and Cheese, and more recipes like these are frequenting my blog. Can you tell what my kids like? Yep, pizza and pasta. What red-blooded American kid (or adult) doesn’t like some form of them? Pizza Pockets turned out to be a fun recipe

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A Quick Morning Prayer

A Quick Morning Prayer

This isn’t an extremely profound thought, but it’s a good reminder for me that I thought I’d share.  (You see, I have this habit of forgetting good things if I don’t write about them, share them with others, and then re-read them again.  A blog is handy in that way.)

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Sick Day Fun: Play Dough, Mr. Potato Head, and Me

Sick Day Fun: Play Dough, Mr. Potato Head, and Me

Having three small sick kids at home in the winter can be a bit of a challenge at times. Ok, if I’m honest…sick or not and winter or not, staying home with small kids is a challenge.  I can often get discouraged at how much “teaching, rebuking, correcting and training

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Sweet Potato Quick Biscuits

Sweet Potato Quick Biscuits {Freezer Meal}

As you might know, I love finding ways to sneak more vegetables into food for my kids.  One of our favorite and fast side dishes is Sweet Potato Quick Biscuits. The sweet potato adds moisture and a hint of sweetness, and the whole grain mix makes them more nutritious than

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pancake recipe

Whole Wheat Sourdough Pancakes

One of the next baby steps I’d like to take toward better nutrition is soaking the grains I use in recipes.  I hadn’t even heard of doing this until recently.  Here is one simple explanation of the health benefits of doing this.  Here is another.  My first stab at the

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healthy smoothie recipe

Tropical and Pumpkin (Yes, Pumpkin) Smoothie

Our family loves, loves, loves smoothies.  And, I’ve found them to be a great way to get veggies, as well as fruits, in to our diet.  Here’s one that your whole family will like (just don’t mention the pumpkin part, right?): Tropical and Pumpkin Smoothie Serves: 4     1

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Guest Blogger: Natural Parenting Does NOT Have to Be Expensive

Guest Blogger: Natural Parenting Does NOT Have to Be Expensive

Although I admit I’m not as “natural” of a parent as she (i.e. I love my epidurals and hospital births and disposable diapers still), I admire and have learned much from my friend, Holli, about living more simply.  Here is a post she recently wrote on her blog Thoughtful Parenting

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Banana Pumpkin Bread or Muffins {Freezer Meal}

Updated and republished from October 2010 Breakfast, snack, or dessert…this bread, mini bread, muffin, or mini-muffin recipe fits the bill. This bread is moist, nutritious yet has enough good-for-you fat (from coconut oil) and sweetness to taste delicious! I altered this Basic Banana Bread recipe from Cooking Light Magazine and plan

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Vegetarian Tortilla Soup - A 10 minute one pot wonder!

Tortilla Soup: A Healthy Freezer Meal

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup is a meatless “one pot wonder” This easy dinner idea takes about 10 minutes to make, feeds a crowd, and only gets better the longer it sits. Make it ahead and freeze for later. Great meal idea for groups. It’s also great freezer meal. I have this

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Why the Mediterranean Diet?

Why the Mediterranean Diet?

Why the Mediterranean diet (at least for my family…as much as we can)?  Here’s why: “A recent analysis of more than 1.5 million healthy adults demonstrated that following a Mediterranean diet was associated with a reduced risk of overall and cardiovascular mortality, a reduced incidence of cancer and cancer mortality,

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Parmesan and Cracker Crusted Tilapia

Parmesan and Cracker Crusted Tilapia is hands-down my favorite tilapia recipe ever. Crispy, moist, and full of flavor! You can’t go wrong here. Freezer Meal Instructions: Bread the fish and freeze unbaked. When ready to cook, thaw in the fridge overnight and bake according to instructions below.

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Roasted Lemon-Garlic Chicken and Veggies

Roasted Lemon-Garlic Chicken with Veggies {Freezer Meal}

  Talk about simple, delicious, and yet another great way to use up veggies in your fridge or garden. This was a well-rounded, light-tasting dinner that required little work on my part. In fact, I just finished making 48 more servings for my freezer club this afternoon. You can read

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Juicing at Home

Juicing at Home

Here’s a great, short article about the benefits of juicing at home for you and your family.  We regularly juice a few times a week.  My kids love it, and I feel like it’s an easy way to get fresh fruits and veggies in them.  I encourage you to pass

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Latest Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists

Latest Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen Lists

If you’re doing your best to reduce your family’s exposure to pesticides*, you’ll find the link below to this wallet guide and/or Iphone app handy.  Here are the latest lists from the Environmental Working Group (EWG):  http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php *Here’s why it’s SO important to avoid as much exposure to pesticides as

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Lesson Learned: Getting My Preschooler to Eat

Lesson Learned: Getting My Preschooler to Eat

Just wanted to pass along a little tip I gleaned tonight.  If you have a wonderful picky-strong-willed-often-distracted preschooler like I do (or someone in that genre of little person), you know that mealtime can be quite a struggle at times.  Temper tantrums, whining, looks of disgust, or any combination of

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Straight from the Medical Mainstream…Finally!

Straight from the Medical Mainstream…Finally!

If you aren’t convinced yet, the article below is exactly why our family is trying to eat organic meat, dairy and produce, avoid household/cosmetic chemicals, and never microwave in plastics.  As this article points out, avoiding chemicals is especially important when pregnant because a fetus is more vulnerable and affected

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Yummy Fish Sticks {Freezer Meal}

No, I’m not dead.  Just pregnant with Baby #3 and coming off a few months of feeling sick, exhausted, and nauseated at just about any smell in the kitchen.  So, the idea of writing a food blog has been the last thing on my mind, unfortunately.  Although I’m not feeling

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Easy Cheesy Mexican Chicken - A slow cooker recipe

Easy Cheesy Mexican Chicken: A Slow Cooker Recipe {Freezer Meal}

Desperately trying not to go to the store again, last night’s dinner was another “use up what’s in the freezer, refrigerator and pantry” meal. Thankfully, it turned out quite good and was very filling and easy, easy, easy!  Seriously, pass this one along to the college students in your life.

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Kid-Friendly Trail Mix

Kid-Friendly Trail Mix

Below is recipe for the Trail Mix we made at my 3-year-old son’s Cooking Birthday Party yesterday.  Each kid received a ziplock bag.  Then, we passed around bowls that contained each individual ingredient with a serving spoon or scoop.  On each bowl was a post-it note telling the kids/moms exactly

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Creamy Corn Chowder: A Lighter Version {Freezer Meal}

It’s a winter day fit for Creamy Corn Chowder, I say.  Why?  Here’s a peek out my front door. With a wind chill of something like -4 degrees and several inches of snow, soup was a must for lunch today.  I tried out a quick and healthy Corn Chowder recipe

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homemade balsamic salad dressing

Balsamic Parmesan Salad Dressing

Have you ever picked up and read the back of the salad dressing bottles in the grocery story? Let me tell you. It’s just weird. Would you ever want to dump soybean oil, potassium sorbate (?) or calcium disodium EDTA (?), for example, on your carefully prepared greens? Me neither.

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A Few of My Favorite Snacks…

A Few of My Favorite Snacks…

If you’re like me, you fall into the snack crap trap.  About the time in the day when you want a snack, only junk food calls your name!  Look, if I’m honest, I’m just as vulnerable (maybe more so because of my sweet tooth) as the next person.  My husband

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Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas

Cheesy Chicken and Black Bean Enchiladas {Freezer Meal}

This recipe is a great meal idea for large groups or a family dinner. The only thing that can make this dish better is that it’s a freezer meal! With the chicken, beans, vegetables, and whole wheat tortillas, you’re getting some great lean protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Here’s my

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Firecracker Asian Salmon - A healthy and deeply flavorful marinated fish recipe.

Firecracker Asian Salmon: Grilled or Roasted {Freezer Meal}

You’re lucky, my friends.  I’m slowly revealing our top Freezer Club recipes to you because I like you (and you’re really nice to read my blog).  Tonight, I made an old kid-friendly, heart-healthy stand-by called Firecracker Asian Salmon. This one was always voted as a home run recipe by my

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Roasted Vegetables

Build Roast it, and they will come eat. I’ve found this mantra to be so true over the years–from Brussel Sprouts to Asparagus to Purple Potatoes and Carrots to Broccoli. My young kids will try just about anything roasted! And, this simple recipe for Roasted Vegetables is the key. The

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Don’t Take the Pomegranate For Granted

Don’t Take the Pomegranate For Granted

Pomegranates are down to $2 right now at my store, so I felt obliged to give one a try.  I’ve always loved the sweet, juicy seeds but was too intimidated to peel the strange-looking, bulbous fruit.  However, it really wasn’t difficult or messy.  I just got a bowl of water,

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