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Can “No,” be Kind?

August 29, 2016


Can “No” Be Kind?

We put so much pressure on ourselves as moms, don’t we? In a time where little kid birthday parties can look like they required a full year to plan and a bank loan, comparison comes easy. Ok, that may be exaggerating a bit, but you get my drift. Facebook is a huge means of comparison. We somehow forget that it’s not indicative of real, everyday life. Honestly, how often does or how long can your home look Pinterest perfect when you have small children living in them? That pressure translates into many facets of our mom and wife lives. Everyone has needs but not everyone’s needs are solely ours to fulfill. We extend ourselves so thin that there are days that I look at the clock and count down until I can crawl into bed. Are ya with me?

Saying “no,” can make us feel almost inferior or like we “should,” be able to juggle another obligation onto our already overflowing plate. Why don’t we feel ok with ourselves if we aren’t overloaded to the gills? Why is it so difficult to be honest and say that we are sinking right now and simply cannot take on an extra duty? I know not everyone struggles with saying no or feeling inferior, but I do, too often. It is possible to say no while being kind and compassionate. A lot of times we need to give ourselves permission, and not put unrealistic expectations on ourselves. We do it to ourselves. After all, we say more negative things to ourselves than anyone else does.

We are not failures if we don’t have the perfect home, children, marriage, if we don’t serve in a bunch of ministries, volunteer regularly, etc. There is no such thing as perfect since we are not Jesus. We are actually serving ourselves and our family better when we aren’t running on fumes. We can end up doing many things mediocre or more things wonderfully. Oh priorities, there you are again. There are people in our lives that require and deserve more than mediocre. We need to give ourselves permission to say no to some things. Then, we can give more of ourselves to the best and most important parts and people in our lives. Our marriages can only be put on the back burner so many times and our children will never be the age they are now, again. Truly believing these things will help you say no from a place without guilt or shame. There is so much freedom in that. Knowing you are not spreading yourself too thin and giving more to your most precious relationships will help the “no’s,” be kind. Release the mommy guilt. As a quote I’ve heard and bring to my own mind on a regular basis says, “I can have the courage to be bold and assertive while still being humble.” When playing a name game and finding an adjective that starts with the same letter of your name, mine was “timid Tiana.” Enough said, this is real for me. If you aren’t “bold Betty,” maybe you want to print out that quote and put it on your bathroom mirror. Say it out loud everyday until you believe it and see it working out in your life. Talk to Jesus about it. You can be grateful for saying “no.” There will be different seasons where you can do more of this or that. Make the most of yourself for your family. Besides, adding yet another thing to your calendar that you will do begrudgingly is not kind or honest. Do what you can with a pure heart that doesn’t cost those you dearly love.

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Lemon Basil Vinaigrette

July 11, 2016



-2 Handfuls of fresh basil

-1-2 cloves of garlic

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-4 Tablespoons of olive oil

-4 Tablespoons of fresh squeezed lemon

-2 Tablespoons of water

-1-2 Tablespoons coconut aminos (you could substitute with honey), optional

-2 Tablespoons of whole, plain yogurt, optional

Throw everything in the blender & viola!

I’ve been trying to incorporate more herbs into our food. This is a nice dressing for a summer salad and the basil isn’t too overpowering. If you really like savory, leave out the coconut aminos/honey. If you like your dressing creamy, use the yogurt. It tastes great with or without the yogurt. I didn’t measure everything exactly, so, you might want to play with the amounts.

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Tinkering Around

May 3, 2016

ladder living ladder kids ladder hall ladder frames ladder upcycle


Okay, so, I’ve been getting my hands on a few projects lately. It’s fun to tinker around a bit and to try to channel some artsy fartsy into my life. Upcycle sort of pieces have started to arise from our garage. My poor husband, you should see our garage. I shut it as quickly as possible so my neighbors don’t think we are hoarders or something. If I can get some free or inexpensive furniture type stuff on Craigslist while only needing a few things from Home Depot, why not? Right? It’s kind of fun . . .  most of the time anyhow. I’m 100% the no nonsense, novice type of DIY-er. If it’s too involved, I quickly say to myself, “not going to happen.” I’m nothing like my cousin at! She’s Aaaa-mazing! Her talent has me in awe! Seriously guys, she could turn DIY or interior decorating into a full time career. She could be on one of those decorating tv shows. Back to the beginner though. . . That’s me.

I picked up a free ladder courtesy of a craigslist posting. All I did was  sand and stain it. Remember the no nonsense part? ? I’ve thought of several ways to use it. I’m not sure what I like the best yet.  What do you think? It could be used in the kids room to hold blankets and little things. The living room for throw blankets and such. It could be used in the bedroom for scarves, belts and those sort of accessories. It could be hung on the wall, probably horizontally. That creates a shelf, as a way to highlight pictures or knick knacks for a gallery wall or just to be an extra frame piece to add pizazz to framed pictures. The picture with the frames in it takes a little imagination to think about what nice, matching frames and pictures would look like floating in the negative space of the ladder. So, what’s your vote? I’d love to hear!

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Flourless Banana Oat Muffins

March 15, 2016


These muffins can be changed up in several ways. Add whatever kind of fruit you like. I always use ripe, brown spotted bananas for the sweetness and also add anything from strawberries to figs. You can also use any kinds of nuts or seeds that you desire. I usually use sunflower seeds because they are pretty cost effective and also add some healthy fats and protein. You could also put some nut butter instead of nuts or seeds. I don’t use any sugar, but, if you need some extra you can use your choice of honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc.  Lately I have had these in my fridge pretty much at all times. It’s a nice, easy, clean snack for the kiddos. When the kids take their afternoon nap, I love having a muffin and hot tea. I make these muffins in my blender. I’m sure they could be done in a mixer.

Oat Muffins:

  • 2 and a half Cups of Rolled Oats
  • handful of greens (kale, spinach, power greens, etc.)
  • 1t of Baking Soda
  • 2t of Baking Powder
  • 4T Chia Seeds (optional)
  • 3-5T Nuts or Seeds (presoak them for at least 30 minutes, up to  overnight, if you wish or have trouble with digesting nuts/seeds.)
  • 1/2 Cup of Unsweetened Applesauce
  • 1 Cup of Plain Yogurt or your choice of (dairy or dairy free) Milk
  • 1-2 Ripe Bananas with brown spots
  • 1/2-1 Cup Fruit of your choice (I often use frozen strawberries, cranberries, figs or whatever fruit I have on hand. I still have goji berries on my list to try in the muffins.)
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2T Butter, Ghee or Oil
  • 1/2 cup Honey, Maple Syrup, Coconut Sugar if needed (I only use a little sweetener if I know we’ll have guests eating them that might want sweeter muffins)

To Make:

  1. Put all the dry ingredients in your blender. That would be the rolled oats, greens, baking soda, baking powder, chia seeds and nuts/seeds. After those ingredients are ground up then you can add the wet ingredients. That’s all the remaining ingredients.
  2. Put into muffin/cupcake tins and place in pre-heated 375 degree oven for 25-40 minutes. The bake time is the tough part here. My oven takes 40 minutes but, I know other peoples ovens have been finished just before 30 minutes. You might have to check them every few minutes after 25 minutes the first time you bake them to get a good idea of what time is best for your oven.
  3. Let cool enough to eat, spread a little butter, ghee, coconut oil, jam or nut butter on top and enjoy!

* If you use milk instead of yogurt and your batter is a little runny, just let the batter sit for 5-10 minutes and it will thicken. Conversely, if your batter is too thick, add a little bit of filtered water(half a cup at a time) until you get the desired consistency.


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Making Coconut Milk From Shredded Coconut

March 9, 2016

shredded coconut & coconut milk

Making coconut milk from shredded coconut is pretty simple. The longest part is waiting for your water to cool so you can put it in the blender. I just start it when I’ll be doing other things in the kitchen. It’s more economical than buying the boxes of coconut milk. Making your own also alleviates the concern of added ingredients like carrageenan or anything else. If you have a Trader Joe’s close to you, you can get a bag of organic shredded coconut for $1.99 right now. Target also has organic shredded coconut for a good price. Here are the steps:

  1. Bring 2 and a half cups of water to an almost boil.
  2. Add 2 cups of shredded coconut.
  3. Let cool and dump into the blender. Blend for about 30 seconds or so.
  4. Dump into a nut bag(in picture below) or something similar and squeeze out all the water/coconut milk back into your pot and then into the container you want to store it in.
    nut bag
  5. Repeat the steps 1 through 4 again with the same shreds you already used.

I will then freeze the shreds, after I have used them the two times to make my milk, for smoothies. I save a lot of glass jars that we buy from applesauce, pickles, etc. to use for things like my coconut milk, freezing beans, smoothies for the kids, etc. Sometimes the coconut milk will have small parts that solidify in the fridge. Those are super yummy to eat. My daughter and I love to eat them. I mostly use coconut milk for my hot tea and when the hot tea mixes with the milk, it melts wonderfully. I think it taste better than any coconut milk that I’ve tasted from a box and t’s a little creamier. Yum!

Im very happy with the size and usability of my nut bag. I bought it here:

*there are some affiliate links. If you purchase through these links I may get to add a few coins to my kids piggy banks. This won’t charge you any extra than it would if you went straight to the site to purchase yourself. We thank you in advance for your support!

I use Viglink for my affiliate links.



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Chicken Lettuce Wraps

March 3, 2016

Lettuce Wraps


I have had Coconut Aminos on my list for a long time as something to try. Let me just tell you, I should have tried it long ago! Yum-o! The label says it’s more of a soy sauce replacement. I’d describe it as being between a soy and teriyaki sauce replacement. It’s sweet, but super low in sugar. The story of the company I bought the aminos from say it’s a brother and sister who had diabetic parents and were inspired to make products that are diabetic friendly. Kind of sweet, right? And, sweet it tastes! My husband can attest to it’s yumminess. I was wondering if I might need to hide the bottle so it wasn’t gone in a week.  I like to make chicken in the crock pot sometimes, especially when I’m shredding it. I don’t know about you, but, I always feel like our chicken goes further when I shred it. Next time I’ll make a double batch and freeze half for another time. If you don’t want to do lettuce wraps or get tired of them, it’d be good with rice also.

For the filling:
  • 1- 1 and a 1/3 lb chicken ( I did breast tenders but, whatever you fancy I’m sure will work)
  • 1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 1/2 cup diced carrots
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger minced or jarred ginger
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼-1/3 cup coconut aminos
To serve:
  • Lettuce leaves (butter lettuce, romaine hearts or iceberg lettuce work well)
Dipping Sauce(optional):
mix together equal parts of coconut aminos and dijon mustard.
  1. Add the chicken, coconut aminos, ginger and garlic to the crock pot. Cook on low for 2 hours, let cool and shred chicken. I like don’t like my veggies getting soggy and don’t know if water chestnuts do, so, I add the carrots and water chestnuts toward the end. I only cook them with the chicken for the last 30-45 minutes. If you don’t care about crispy veggies, toss them in with everything else all together. Cook an additional half hour to an hour on low before you’re ready to eat.
  2. Scoop mixture onto lettuce leaves. If desired, dip in dipping sauce.

* I’ve found some places for Coconut Aminos to be quite expensive. The best price I’ve found so far is Azure Standard. The next best Sprout’s & Amazon is significantly more. I’m hoping Amazon with have more competitive pricing soon for aminos.

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Quick DIY Wall Project

January 28, 2016



 DIY Quick Wall Project

This is FAR from perfect, but, it’s not terrible. I am not one of those super crafty super moms that make the cutest DIY Pinterest worthy projects! I am the want-to-be DIY mom who pins what those moms actually make. I heard a term that made me laugh and thought was so clever, it’s “perfection paralysis.” That’s not me either, demanding perfection is not what prevents me from creating beautiful things for our home. I’m more of the, if it turns out somewhat decent and fulfills it’s purpose, it works for me. My husband differs on this because he’s very creative and artistic. He’s a graphic designer so he can create beautiful things I could never dream of creating. He just works so hard to provide for our family that he doesn’t have much time for fun projects. So, I thought I’d take a stab at something for our bare bedroom wall. I even loaded up the kids and took a trip to Home Depot without him. Home Depot is a far cry from the comfort and joy I get from the all alluring Target. Oh how Target mesmerizes me! I know where everything is there and can navigate the aisles with ease. That smooth sailing comes to an immediate halt when I park at that huge store with all the orange. I look for the people wearing the orange aprons and see them as my saving grace to possibly check off all that’s on my list of non familiar items. Plywood has to be over somewhere in that lumber section, right? Where’s the sign for plywood? I left the store with delight knowing I got everything on my list in one trip. Alright, now I might get somewhere.

I pretty much followed the instructions from this site, (Side note, I do hope to someday learn how to do those fancy back link or hyperlink(?) things where you just click on a word like “here,” and go directly to the link without me inserting a big, long link. Today isn’t that day.) I got the spray paint like she said to get even though her picture showed something different. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t end up with drip marks. I think the spray paint must be a good brand to get. I chose Rose Gold as my color of spray paint. I was worried that it might not be enough of a contrast, but, it worked. The stain she recommended was a nice color. I have plenty left to do several more projects. The friendly man at Home Depot cut the plywood in thirds for me, so, I have 2 more pieces waiting for me. I knew I wouldn’t need 3 for our wall. Having extra pieces in case the first turned out horrible was like having a (needed) security blanket for me. The first one came out decent enough for me to feel ok having it on the wall. It’s our bedroom, not the living room everyone sees all the time. My next one will have less angled and more straight lines to make the taping easier. Hopefully, it will be more symmetrical on round 2. Art isn’t supposed to be perfect, right? Actually even calling it “art,” is quite a stretch for me. It’s just my “little wall project.” The woman on the other blog can rightfully call it “wall art.” I like that it’s budget friendly and I was able to get it completely done during one nap. Have I ever told you that my kids are not those glorious sounding 2 hour nappers? I guess it’s not fair to say I got it 100% done. My husband put on the D Hangers and hung it on the wall. It’s kind of fun to learn a new term too, D Hangers. Who would have thought I’d know what that is? Not me. To complete the other 2 boards I have, I will just need to get more spray paint. Other than that I got everything for around $30. Three pieces for our walls for $30-40(with extra spray paint) sits well with me! Anybody else have any quick, inexpensive, novice level, DIY projects? My ears are wide open and waiting!