Since we just got home from a big trip, I’m finding that I don’t have a lot of ready-made foods on hand. It’s only 71° today (super nice!) and the temps are supposed to start creeping up during the next few days. Therefore, I decided to have a spur of the moment baking/cooking marathon before my kitchen gets too hot. In other words: Look out, kids. I’m getting ready to dirty lots of dishes for you to wash.
I’ll take pictures to post Saturday so that I can share how this goes.
Here’s what I have in mind to make, based on what I have on hand in my freezers, fridge, and pantry:
- Easy Breakfast Casserole
- Giant Breakfast Cookies
- Breakfast Burritos (depending on if I feel like making tortillas or not)
- Peanut Butter Chocolate Granola
- Fruit Pizza (for our breakfast tomorrow)
- Chicken Patty Sandwiches
- Almond Flour Muffins
I’ll either make all of it, some of it, other stuff instead, or all of the above. How’s that for being non-committal?
Doing any extra cooking this weekend? Or are you traveling instead?
It’s that time again – the best time to make a Tropical Traditions purchase. When they offer free shipping, and you pair that with their sale price items, you can get quite a deal!
I just searched their site pretty thoroughly and didn’t find many sale prices I couldn’t pass up. Although, their Organic Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is buy one get one free. This means that you can get two 32-ounce jars of their highest quality coconut oil (my very favorite!) for just $20 per jar.
But what I’m really interested in is using this free shipping deal to stock up on our favorite bars of soap.
All of their soaps are awesome – I think we’ve used just about all of the varieties they offer. But my favorite and most used (and the only bar of soap I let touch the skin of Malachi, my eight year old who struggles with eczema, is the Unscented Coconut Soap. It’s pure, clean, fresh – perfection. We use it to wash Malachi’s hair too. It is multi-purpose!
Because I am often asked which soap I use that does not hurt Malachi’s eczema, here’s are the details: If you click over to the Natural Soaps page, you’ll need to scroll toward the bottom to find the Coconut Soap I’m talking about. I love all of their soaps, but to be safe (and to save money) I buy the 10 pack of Unscented Coconut Soap. Below, I posted a screen shot so you can see exactly what I get. I even placed a lovely purple arrow beside the one that is the best deal that I order.
So there you have it. It’s free shipping weekend and Tropical Traditions, and I’m getting 10 bars of soap. If you have any questions about the soap and how it effects eczema, please do let me know! I’m so thankful to find a soap I trust for Malachi’s very sensitive skin.
Use the code 171355 at check-out to receive free shipping.
When you click through and purchase through the links in this post, new customers also receive a free Virgin Coconut Oil Book (included automatically). As a thank you, I then receive a gift certificate for referring you. I love how Tropical Traditions offers so many perks like this and great products too!
After eight days on the road, we are now home. Bags are unpacked (mostly). Pictures are uploaded. Now I can finally find the time to tell you all the details of our family service trip to Colorado!
First I wanted to tell you a little bit about how this trip came to be. With the idea in mind that we, as a family of six, would take a mission trip somewhere, sometime - we began to pray together about a year and a half ago about where and when God would send us. While we waited for answers and direction, each time Matt had the opportunity to do an extra job for someone (painting, repairing, building, etc.) he and the boys would head out to work on the project together. The money they earned from each of these jobs went into a special account, reserved especially for our Family Mission Fund. (Avon and Margaret, you’ll be happy to know that your projects were among those that helped make this trip possible. Thank you!!)
About six months ago, Matt and I sat down to look at the calendar and to narrow down some options based on where we felt God was leading us. Because of holidays, family events, summer camps, basketball season, and two soccer seasons (spring and fall), we had exactly one open week during the entire year of 2013. That very week, we had a wedding to attend in the Denver area. What if, we decided, our family service trip took us to Denver?
Long story short, God just took it from there. He orchestrated every single detail, put in place service opportunities on just the right days we needed them, and absolutely knocked our socks off with His goodness and plans for us. In addition, He helped prepare our hearts and gave us guidance as we prepared our kids to take a trip like this. Learning to be selfless? Remembering that what we were heading out to do was meant to be an encouragement to others - and that blessing others would be a blessing for us as well? This is what we talked often to our boys about in the weeks leading up to the trip.
For the next few posts, I’ll detail each day of our trip (with some other posts sprinkled in). Everytime I share the details about our trip with a friend, I find myself spilling out excited words faster than my mouth can say them. To say that this trip was amazing is an understatement. God made this experience incredible for our family, and we pray that those we were in contact with were blessed by our family even more.
We arrived in the Denver area last Wednesday. (We were able to stay with friends every night but one, which was wonderful.) Thursday, we got up and headed to Boulder to meet our college friends Benny and Niki. (Like how I didn’t say, “Old college friends?” C’mon. We are all totally young.)
Benny and Niki operate the SEVENS ministry – sharing God’s love with street people in Boulder. They feed them, talk to them, listen to them, and pray with them. They give them new socks, bottles of water, and daily do whatever they feel God leading them to do for these people.
We began our day with them by taking everything out of one of their SEVENS storage closests so that it could be reorganized.
Items in boxes were sorted and put away for easier access: hand warmers, socks, backpacks, food items, sleeping bags, and much more.
Because he was the lightest among us, Malachi was given the job of climbing on top of the fridge to place a bag of socks for storage on a high shelf. Now that’s not something a kid gets to do everyday. :)
Our kids, along with two of Benny and Niki’s kids, filled backpacks with socks so that they can take them downtown to hand out at a later date.
Once the closet was finished, we made an assembly line to fill gallon-sized zipper bags with items like water, socks, granola bars, applesauce, and other snacks. They will keep these on hand for later needs.
All jobs finished and cleaned up, we all headed out for a late lunch on the Pearl Street Mall. This is the area where Benny spends most of his street ministry time. After lunch, we were able to meet some of the street people who have become friends with the Nowells, listen to street performers, and walk the area to learn more about the ministry.
It was a tremendous blessing to our family to spend the day working with and learning from the Nowells. I didn’t see how any of our other service days could be as rich as this one. As it turns out, God had much more in store for us…
The more my kids learn in the kitchen, the more helpful they are, the more confident they become with recipes, and the more willing they are to eat new foods. I think it is so very important to teach your kids to cook! So important, in fact, that I’ve written two books to help make it easy for you to teach your kids kitchen skills. For one week only, I’ve chopped the price of the downloadable books in half, and knocked a nice chunk off our printed versions too.
Do you have younger kids at your house? Then you’ll want:
Teaching Your Kids to Cook – For Parents of Kids Ages 2-12
Are your kids bigger and able to read and learn on their own? They will love:
Learn to Cook – Because You Gotta Eat
Have a mixture of big and little kids at your house? How about a package deal?
Teaching Your Kids to Cook and Learn to Cook Downloadable Book Package (Best Deal!!)
Teaching Your Kids to Cook and Learn to Cook Printed Book Package
(Price includes shipping – U.S. only please!)
You can take a look at samples of each of these books, plus learn more details about what they include by following this link. If you have questions about which book is best for your family, email or leave a comment on this post. (My two middle boys, when they were ages 10 and 12 worked through Learn to Cook on their own last year and are now very confident in the kitchen!)
These sale prices are good only through Thursday, May 30. Grab these books, and get your kids into the kitchen!
It’s no secret that I love Tropical Traditions. Their coconut oil is the best I’ve found. Read this article to learn lots of uses for coconut oil.
Besides their coconut oil, I absolutely love their Palm Shortening!! What? (you might be thinking) Shortening??!! Isn’t shortening evil?? Regular ol’ shortening that you find at the store is NOT good for us. It is hydrogenated, not easily digested, and not a healthy fat at all.
But Palm Shortening – especially this high quality palm shortening from Tropical Traditions? I completely trust it. It is not hydrogenated. It is not a trans fat. Our bodies recognize it and can utilize it. It can be heated to high temperatures and will not go rancid. Palm Shortening is wonderful and healthy!
If you’ve heard anything about the production of palm oil and how it negatively effects our environment – displacing human and animal populations, we do have reason to be concerned. However, I want you to know that you can trust Tropical Traditions to be safe, environmentally friendly, and careful. Here’s what they have to say about it:
Tropical Traditions Organic Palm Shortening comes from small scale family farms in South America. These farmers are certified by ProForest, which ensures that they meet strict social, environmental and technical criteria. With regard to environmental criteria, the assessments are carried out at the landscape and operational level at both the farms and processing facilities. These assessments cover environmental impact on the soil, water, air, biodiversity and local communities. The lands the farmers use are not lands that were deforested. The lands used to grow the palm fruit are lands previously used for agricultural purposes (cattle, rice, banana).
Today, Tropical Traditions is giving away a gallon-sized bucket of their organic Palm Shortening! Interested in winning this great prize? Tropical Traditions requires their giveaway winners to be on their newsletter list, so if you haven’t already, head on over and sign up for the Tropical Traditions Newsletter. I love receiving them because I always stay informed of their sales that way. :) Once you’ve done that, leave a comment on this post for a chance to win.
I’ll draw a random winner on Tuesday, May 28. Be watching for a post stating the winner as you will be responsible for contacting me if your name is chosen!
Disclaimer: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.
We were on our way home from Kansas City after a weekend event our boys had participated in. The event had been awesome, our boys had done great, and we were all flying high. Except for Asa (our 15 year old) and me. It appeared that the two of us were coming down with the flu. Our throats hurt, our chests burned, and we both began to get feverish. Our eyes were red and achy. Our heads pounded.
(Great story so far, eh?)
We were both a little bit hungry, although nothing really sounded good to eat. We had packed food, but all of it seemed too difficult to eat. Funny how the normally simple act of chewing takes so much energy when you’re sick. All I could think of was, “I just want a smoothie.” (Well, and “I just want my bed.” But out on the interstate, a few hours from home, that was not an option.)
Matt, bless his heart, was determined to find his feverish bride a smoothie. We finally managed to find a place that had some decent options (without too many funky, sugary ingredients). I chose a pineapple mango variety and aside from the fact that it was cold and made my chills just a little bit more miserable – I had never enjoyed a smoothie more. It was so refreshing. It was just what Asa and I needed. We slept the rest of the way home.
Asa and I are all better now. In fact, this all happened a couple of months ago. But ever since, I’ve been craving a Pineapple Mango Smoothie. I typically make my smoothies with berries – which we love. But the refreshment that comes from pineapple, mango, and orange juice all blended up in a glass? I knew I needed to recreate this treasure.
It’s not hard to make – you just need five simple ingredients. Add a little maple syrup or stevia if it’s not sweet enough for you. We think it’s sweet enough as is. Coconut milk makes it taste great and offers a dairy free option if you need it. We like it with plain, whole milk yogurt. I think I may make these every single day this summer.
Pineapple Mango Smoothie
1 1/2 cups frozen mango chunks
1 1/2 cups frozen pineapple chunks
1 cup orange juice
2 cups plain yogurt or coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor together. Blend until smooth. Makes 4-6 servings.
What’s your favorite fruit smoothie combination? For the record, I don’t recommend getting the flu before trying this. It’s much more fun to eat when you can hold your head up off the pillow.
The following is a guest post from Sara. Consideration was received for the editing and publishing of this article. I appreciate what she shares in regard to helping our kids learn to save money!
In Proverbs 22:6, the Bible tells us very specifically to: “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” The Bible wants parents to teach their children the ways of the world – including how to make smart money choices. Teaching children to save and spend wisely is essential to raising healthy kids, as it leads to smarter financial choices when they’re older.
Responsibility Leads to Reward
Children can be earning what they receive. In the adult world, in order to collect money, you have to work hard for it. This reality is sometimes overlooked by parents, who simply want to provide their children with what they need and want. In order to prepare children for the future, make sure they understand they’ll also need to work hard for new items and money.
Set up a weekly allowance for your kids. Designate some chores to your child and let them know they’ll receive their allowance at the end of the week. Much like a job, your child will be required to do well, in order to receive their paycheck on payday.
Make Saving Fun
Children may want to run right to the candy store to spend their money, so it’s your job to remind them that saving their funds will result in more expensive items. The first step in creating a smart saver is to make saving a fun and creative experience. You may want to paint a piggy bank or old jar with your child. They can store their money here and watch as it fills to the top.
When children are saving for something specific, the process becomes a lot more fun. Ask your child what they really want, like a new computer or tablet. These items aren’t cheap and will require that your child saves for a long time. When their jar does become full, take them to purchase the item or to the bank to make a deposit into their account.
The bank is a fun place for children to learn about money. Bank tellers often keep small candies and suckers to give to children, making the trip rewarding. If this is your child’s first visit to the bank, don’t be afraid to ask the teller to introduce themselves and explain what they do. This is also a great time to explain how interest works and how money grows slowly in the bank, so it’s worth it to save for a long time.
The Big Payoff
Shopping is the big payoff, because it’s the time kids finally get to spend some of the cash they’ve been saving. Your child has worked hard, saved enough, and is finally ready to make a purchase. At this point, you can teach good shopping habits. Introduce children to the world of coupons. If it’s a new computer or electronic they want, search for Alienware coupons and other coupon deals at NerdWallet. They’ll begin to see how a single coupon can result in hundreds of dollars in savings.
Finally, when your child has scrimped and saved for an item, they’re more likely to take better care of it. This is your big payoff. You’ve been a really great parent by teaching your kids the value of a dollar. Now they’re being more respectful to their possessions. Plus, they’ll be ready to start saving for something else right away!
We could have saved up for a cruise. We could have taken our kids to a theme park. And shucks, maybe we will do one or both someday. But after the week we have experienced, I’m not sure anything could compare to the fun we’ve had, the memories we’ve made, and the blessings we’ve received.
Since last Wednesday, we have been hitting various places in the Denver area and in Colorado Springs, serving in various ministries as God opened doors for us. We’re still not home, and therefore I’m not able to sit down and write out all of the details yet.
Yes, Malachi is wearing a vanilla wafer box (helmet?) on his head. Who says serving isn’t tons of fun?!
We have learned so much, have met so many wonderful people, and have reacquainted with many that we haven’t seen in years. We have had experiences we never could have had in our small town, seen sites and people that have made our hearts hurt, and been able to serve in ways that have brought us so much joy.
Beyond ministry opportunities, we were blessed to attend the wedding of one of the ladies on our YC soccer team. On the walk from the ceremony to the reception, we turned around and saw two young ladies that we haven’t seen for way too long. I admit it. I cried. We LOVE these girls. By the way: The one in the purple dress? I was her first grade teacher. Yep, taught that girl to read, I did. A few billion years later, she’s all grown up and I have four big kids. Great times.
Okay, that’s all I have time to share right now! I have loads of pictures, and thousands of words to share with you about this trip. Details are coming in a few days. I can’t thank God enough for this trip. His goodness constantly amazes me. How good it is to be a part of His family!
Share how God is working in your life on your blog, then come link up with us here. If you don’t have a blog, be sure to leave a comment letting us know what you’re grateful for! Please read through the Gratituesday Guidelines so that you understand what kinds of posts you can link up to share here. Posts that are linked but do not fit our Gratituesday theme will be deleted.
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It just so happened that I was scheduled to host my 11 Bunco friends last week the day before leaving for our trip. With lots to do before taking off, I decided I’d better keep refreshments super simple. You know, because otherwise I would have done something really fancy and elaborate. (Yeah, right.)
As I was putting out the spread, I thought all the colors looked so pretty. And so, out came the camera.
Here’s what I made:
- Black Bean Salsa with corn chips
- Cream Cheese Fruit Dip with apple slices, strawberries, and pineapple
- Chocolate Chip Cookies made into mini muffins
- Water with lemon and lime slices
It was easy, fun, and yummy. What are your favorite snack foods to serve at a get-together?