A FREE Way to Help Your Kids Learn This Summer!

Have you checked out ABCmouse yet? If not, I definitely recommend that you take advantage of this fun freebie! It’s a great way to help your kids learn. :)

abc mouse free trial!

Obviously my kids are old and huge and they no longer like to sit in my lap and learn letter sounds while playing fun computer games. But still, I went through the process of setting up an account to see how easy it is (and how easy it is to cancel!). Both were simple!! And in the meantime, I played with a few of the learning games to see if it was worth your time to set this up for your kiddos.

Oh yes. It’s worth your time. This learning app is fantastic, fun, and for 30 whole days – FREE! What a great way to enjoy some fun learning this summer with your little ones.

If my kids were still little, I would sign all four of them up for this. This is exactly the kind of learning fun they loved during those little years. And it is the kind of computer time I loved to let them enjoy. It’s safe, adorable, easy to navigate, and of course, educational. (You don’t have to tell your kids that part though!)

You can sign up here to help your kids learn with the ABCmouse freebie!

These links are my affiliate links.

2 Bonuses with your Simple Meals Subscription this Thursday!

Thursday is an exciting day for many of us now! That’s the day we send our the newest Planning Packets to all of our Simple Meals subscribers. I have more to say about this upcoming Thursday, but…

Chew on that for just a minute. You can get a detailed (yet simple) meal planning packet in your inbox every single Thursday! Ahhhhh, think of the relief that will provide you.

Well anyway, what I actually popped on here to say is that this week’s email with planning packet will include not one but two bonuses for the upcoming holidays. They will save you oodles of time and stress, and of course, they will make your house will smell like cinnamon!

simple-meals-holiday-bonus-packets

Already a member? Watch for your Holiday Bonuses in your regular email this Thursday!

Not a member yet and want to get these freebies along with all the other great benefits of being a Simple Meals Subscriber? Get your Simple Meals subscription by Wednesday night so you can enjoy it all!

join-simple-meals-now

 

Simple Meals
Your yearly subscription equips you with a 52 week's worth of meal plans, grocery guide, recipes, and bonus tips, plus you get over $60 worth of bonus eBooks! Your Simple Meals plan will arrive in your inbox each Thursday morning.
Price: $52.00

 

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You’ve Never Colored Like This Before (Win the Coolest Coloring Book Ever!)

Get out your favorite markers or crayons. We all need them for this, AndHeDrew’s Book of Coloring.

A few months ago I discovered that grown-up coloring books are wonderful and amazing. But that wonderment and amazement have just been taken to a new level because of this:

andhedrew

See, the pages in this coloring book all flow together into one cohesive design. Color each page individually, then take them out of the book and place them side by side by side by side – in any order. Every page fits together with all the other pages – can you even imagine? I think this is genius.

AndHeDrew is the guy who just so happens to be my site designer. Yeah, someday I’ll be able to say, “I knew him when…”

Malachi and I are having so much fun coloring these pages together. He said, and I quote, “These are amazing. We need to color all of these then get a bunch more…”

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As we finish the pages, Malachi has been hanging them up on his Lego Room wall.

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See how they all fit together like a puzzle? It truly amazes me. I can’t imagine the time it took to design these pages. But yay me. I get to color them. (With my son. Perfection.)

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Definitely check out AndHeDrew’s Book of Coloring for your family!

AndHeDrew is giving away one printed copy of his Book of Coloring plus two digital copies! Enter the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win. I’ll select three random winners on Wednesday, September 14.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

5-Minute Low Sugar Peanut Butter Ice Cream (No-Sugar Option!)

Of all the low sugar, no churn ice creams I’ve tried and loved, I like this Peanut Butter Ice Cream the best.

Low Sugar Peanut Butter Ice Cream

This time around, I tried using only stevia. The result?? Well…if you’re used to not eating any sugar, a stevia-only ice cream will taste very good to you. But if you’re used to sugar or even maple syrup? A stevia-only ice cream will only taste so-so.

Therefore!! I suggest using a combination of both. Sweetening your ice cream with mostly stevia (to give it the sweetness it needs) and a tiny bit of maple syrup (to take away any bitterness) seems to be the perfect combination. The second time I made this, instead of using only stevia, I used 2 droppers full of stevia and 1 Tablespoon of real maple syrup. Boom. Major hit – even with others who are used to eating sugar!

As always, feel free to sweeten this according to your preferences, needs, and tastes. I’m just thankful I can continue to make low sugar, super lazy ice cream in fun varieties! What a fun treat!

Low (or no!) Sugar Peanut Butter Ice Cream

5-Minute Peanut Butter Ice Cream (No-Sugar Option!)
 
Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • ¾ cup natural peanut butter (I use homemade, creamy)
  • 3 droppers full of liquid stevia (or 3-4 Tablespoons real maple syrup or a combination of some stevia and some syrup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions
  1. Blend ingredients together with a hand mixer or in a high power blender until they have thickened - but have not yet turned into stiff whipped cream. (The mixture should still be runny.)
  2. Pour mixture into a small casserole dish.
  3. Cover and freeze for about three hours.
  4. Scoop and serve right away.
  5. If ice cream is left in the freezer overnight, you may need to let it sit on the counter a few minutes before serving!

Low Sugar No Churn Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Other Low Sugar, No Churn Ice Cream Recipes:

Have you tried any of these recipes? Someone suggested adding some arrowroot powder to the mix to make the ice cream more scoopable. I’ve not tried it because I’m out of arrowroot. What are you finding that is working for you with these ice cream recipes?

Fun Groupon Coupons (I didn’t know about these!)

I’ve decided this is the time of year to buy stuff. Time to buy school supplies, books, shoes, and food. (Always food. Always.)

As I’m searching around for the best deals on all of these so that I can be prepared for a new school year without going broke, learning that there is such a thing as Groupon Coupons piqued my interest.

groupon

Groupon Coupon has partnered with many other businesses to offer coupons for places like Barnes and Noble, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, Footlocker, JCPenney, Kohls, and the list goes on and on.

It’s very exciting, so if you shop online, before you make your final purchases be sure to check your coupon options at Groupon Coupons to see if you can score extra savings. I’m finding coupons for just about every store I typically purchase from. Scoring extra savings on top of sale prices is really helpful! There are also plenty of printable coupons to be had, so before you head to out the door to do in-store Back-to-School shopping, be sure to click over to Groupon Coupons to see what you find.

Yay for more ways to save money!!

This post is sponsored by Groupon Coupons.

Attention: Everyone With Hands and Feet! FREE Pocket Size BeeSilk Hard Lotion!

If you have hands or feet that tend to get dry and cracked – you are really going to want to perk up to this. Come to think of it, if you have hands and feet at all – you need this. After all, who of us doesn’t from time to time struggle with dry skin? And then there are those of us who have chronically dry skin that can result in cracks in the fingers, toes, and heels.

If you’ve been around here long, you know my story. I suffered from terribly dry, rashy hands for my entire life until I was sent a sample of BeeSilk Hard Lotion Bar to try. I rubbed it on and immediately that little bar changed my hands and feet forever.

You know how I get sarcastic every once in a while around here? (Ha. Every once in a while.) Well when I say BeeSilk saved my hands there is zero sarcasm or exaggeration. I love this stuff and will never be without it.

Guess what’s happening today and tomorrow? We can all get a free lotion bar! (Offer expires at midnight Tuesday, July 19.)

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How To Get a Free Pocket Sized BeeSilk Lotion Bar:

  1. Click here to get to the special “BeeSilk Hard Lotion Bar” page.
  2. Put the bar (regularly $6.95) in your cart. Use the code HHJuly at check-out and the entire amount will turn to $0!
  3. Pay a minimal shipping fee when completing your order.
  4. Wait anxiously for your bar to arrive.
  5. Rub on your BeeSilk and watch your hands and feet become soft and smooth right away.
  6. Be very, very happy and relieved and love BeeSilk forever.
  7. Or even better…

How to Get Free Shipping with your Free BeeSilk Lotion Bar

I love freebie deals like this, but I much prefer to avoid shipping fees. Here’s what I’m doing:

MadeOn offers free shipping on orders over $45. Since I already know I love and use many MadeOn products, I will fill my cart with a few other of my favorite items to go along with the free lotion bar. Then I can get the freebie with free shipping too! I’ll get…

  • BeeSilk Refills
  • BeeSilk Sticks (for my purse)
  • Natural Lip Balm

I have to have plenty of these products on hand at all time because our whole family uses them – plus our oldest takes his own stash to the dorm.

Enjoy your freebie!! Don’t forget that this offer ends Tuesday, July 19 at midnight, so don’t put it off!

Get the FREE BeeSilk Pocket Sized Lotion Bar here.

This post includes my affiliate links.

Easy Crustless Skillet Pizza

My profound conclusion after eating grain-free for three weeks is this:

No matter who we are, we could all stand to eat fewer grains. But no one should have to give up pizza.

Pizza is what I’ve missed the most, which is funny since I don’t typically eat much pizza anyway. I’ve given up on trying to figure this out.

I haven’t been very interested in finding lots of substitutes for many grain based foods and have instead focused on eating many meals that are naturally grain free (like egg and veggie scrambles, roast with veggies, grilled chicken with veggies, or loaded chef salads). That type of meal is very simple, so working three times as hard to make a grain free pizza crust didn’t appeal to me at all. But I did really want some pizza.

What’s a girl to do?

Aha! I have a Crustless Pizza Pie recipe right here on my site that is so easy my 11-year old can make it without help. But of course.

With that “problem” solved, I then had to figure out how to avoid heating up the house. Could I make this Crustless Pizza without turning on the oven on a super hot day? But of course.

Cast Iron Skillet to the rescue. (I have one like this that I use daily. You never know how long sale prices will last, but this one is 79% off right now!!!)

I began by “baking” the cream cheese layer over low heat on my stove-top. I almost got distracted and let it get too hot, but caught it just in time before it scorched. Phew.

skillet pizza1 (1)
In the meantime, I browned hamburger meat in a small pan. I kept the pizza pie veggie-less this time, knowing we would be eating salad and veggies on the side.

After cooking the cream cheese layer for about 10 minutes, I topped it with sauce and meat, then covered it for a few minutes to heat through.

Skillet Pizza

Then I piled on the cheese, covered it for about 2 minutes so it would melt, then we dug in. It completely met my need for pizza. Who even needs crust?? Especially when there is cream cheese involved.

Easy Crustless Skillet Pizza

Easy Crustless Skillet Pizza

Easy Crustless Skillet Pizza
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella, cheddar, or colby jack cheese
  • Any meat or veggie toppings you like
Instructions
  1. In a medium-sized bowl mix cream cheese, eggs, pepper, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese until creamy.
  2. Spread mixture into a 10-12 inch cast iron skillet.
  3. Cover and cook over low heat on the stove-top for about 10 minutes, checking every few minutes to be sure it isn't scorching.
  4. In the meantime, prepare pizza toppings.
  5. Spread pizza sauce over hot cream cheese layer.
  6. Top with any meat, veggies, and cheese you like.
  7. Cover and cook over low heat for 5-10 more minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.

No matter if you are a grain-free eater or not, I encourage you to make this easy skillet pizza! This was a great meal for our entire family and easy to serve with a tossed salad, fresh fruit, and raw veggies.

My Grain-Free Journey Update

The latest visit with my doctor assures me that I’m on the road to great health and will not have to eat grain-free forever!!! In the meantime, I’m learning that eating grain-free allows a person to eat loads of vegetables and other nutrient packed foods. So even when I add the grains back in, I’m going to continue on with many of the new habits I’m learning because they are so nourishing.

I’m heading to church camp next week (packing a lot of my own food), and afterward hope to find time to share some great new (to me) nourishing food tips I’m learning!

This Health Challenge Week in Review, Plus our Giveaway Winners and More!

As the week draws to a close, I wanted to recap and play catch-up. I’m anxious to share what YOU are doing during this first Health Challenge Week!

First, I didn’t draw and post giveaway winners on Wednesday like I said I would. Here you go!

stainless steel strainer

The winners are:

1) Margaret: Mommyischief
2) Melissa: mjeaustin@
3) Tina: teenyfrye@
4) Harriet Glassco: angelhg278@
5) Lisa W: waltonlisa12@

Ladies, please email me with your full name and address and I’ll forward your information on for your prize!

Don’t forget, you can get 60%  ECALOO Stainless Steel Super Fine Mesh Strainers when you use the code KDAYWV4U through September 15, 2016.

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Win a $100 Gift Card!

I’m thrilled that so many are joining me for the April Health Challenge! We’ve been chatting this week and I’ve been so encouraged to hear the variety of healthy choices all of you are making.

Take note! No one is trying to change everything at the same time. Each person is simply choosing something to focus on to do better. Isn’t that a breath of fresh air? You can do this!!

When I sent a message to all the Health Challenge Members, asking “What is one thing you’ve done for your health during the past 24 hours?” here are some of the responses I got:

  • Ate a variety of fruits and vegetables at meals throughout the day.
  • Rebounding on my cellerciser!!!!
  • I walked on the treadmill (rainy day!) for 30 minutes.
  • Took a nice, long (hour +) walk with 3 good friends.  So we got exercise plus fellowship time :)
  • I made time in my day to go for a run.
  • Drinking more water!
  • I made some meals for the freezer (from your Eat Right Away books ;-) ). No need for last minute Sonic stops after co-op. Yay!!
  • No sugar today!
  • I’m riding my bike with my almost 7 year old every day we can. She is good at reminding me.
  • I got 7 hours of sleep!

The responses keep coming in and they are so encouraging! Everyone keep it up!

Want to join us? Sign up for the April Health Challenge here and get started. Being healthy is more fun when we’re working at it together.

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I’ve been resting all week (partly because I planned it and partly because I came down with a cold and didn’t have a choice). My main health focus this month is to rest and recover from a very busy winter. I aim to stay home as much as possible because my health very much depends on it.

We’re enjoying some amazing food this week – simply because real food tastes so incredibly good. Elias (age 14) has become an expert Strawberry Cheesecake Parfait maker. We’ve enjoyed Scrambled Cheesy Eggs with fresh fruit. We made Homemade Stir-and-Pour Bread this week. Cantaloupe is especially sweet right now. Homemade Guacamole is the finest way to eat an avocado.

I just can’t say enough about the joy and health benefit of eating simple, real food. Don’t make it hard. Just buy real food. Eat real food. Enjoy real food.

groceries 411

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Last but not least, Paula at Lilla Rose wanted to be sure you knew about the April special! Get a FREE pair of Bobby Pins with any order over $50!

Lilla Rose April bobby special

Here’s this month’s gorgeous Flexi-of-the-Month

Dogwood collage

Thanks to all who have joined Health Challenge Week One!

Have a fantastic, health focused weekend!

This Week in Food ~ the I Bought Out Aldi Edition

This week was a huge grocery purchase week. We are now well-stocked on just about every staple, we have oodles of fruits and veggies, and if I want to, I can make my Real Food “Velveeta” and Rotel Dip every day for a month.

Real Food Velveeta and Rotel Dip

You want this recipe.

Who goes to Aldi and buys several cases of food? This girl. (And also this girl’s 14-year old son because he was in Lincoln with me for doctor appointments and was therefore stuck shopping with his mother. At least it was food-related shopping.)

aldi1162

I hardly ever get to go to Aldi. I price-match from their ad every week, but actually going to the Aldi store is rare for me since the nearest store is an hour away. Therefore, I get a little bit ridiculous when I do get to go. I bought two cases of their version of Rotel. It’s a must-have so I can make the above mentioned dip, as well as this amazing Spicy Mac and Cheese. I also bought a case of pasta sauce and a case of tomato sauce. It was a cart full of tomatoes.

Spicy Mac and Cheese 3

You want this recipe too.

In addition, I bought several cans of beans, peaches, and some specialty coffees for my family as a treat. I bought grilled chicken and prepared soup for Asa’s dorm fridge. I grabbed sliced cheese, apples, grape tomatoes, raspberries, and blueberries. Oh, and that sparkling water? It was a great price so we bought a case of that too! The boys have had fun lately making this Sparkling Juice Drink, so we took advantage of the price. You’ll also see brown sugar in the picture. You can read more about that here.

aldi1161

I had just come off an enormously busy weekend, then made this trip to Lincoln – so had made plans to take Tuesday off to rest and refresh. Therefore…pizza. It’s a fun treat, we ate fruits and veggies with it, and I’ve determined that if you don’t read the ingredient list, it isn’t nearly as harmful to your health. (Don’t listen to a thing I say.) Resting on Tuesday was marvelous. The pizza was so-so.

aldi1163

Later in the week, I went to Walmart to do some price-matching because I can’t not stock up when there is a good price on food we love. I bought no less than 18 boxes of cream cheese. Dude. It price matched for $1.18 and I had nine coupons to get $1.00 off two. 68¢ for cream cheese? Yes. Times 18. We will easily use it all before it goes bad.

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Pineapple Fluff Salad is a favorite cream cheese user-upper at our house.

Pineapple Fluff

It goes without saying that Stevia Sweetened Cream Cheese Frosting is amazing.

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Enough about cream cheese. You want to see my 11-year old chef. He doubles as an FBI agent, thus the suit.

malachi cooking1

He and I ate up (kind of but not quite literally) the free Knife Skills for Kids course. Then we started working our way through Katie’s Kids Cook Real Food Course.

I will admit to you that when Katie from Kitchen Stewardship emailed telling me about her new eCourse, I got a little sad. Wait! thought I. I wanted to put together a kids’ cooking eCourse! But then I quickly turned around and realized, Dude! Katie did all the hard work! Your job here is done. Boom diggity, check that off the to-do list.

In short, it took about 7 seconds for me to go from sad to excited. I’ll move on to other projects on my list and do the simple work of saying, Look what Katie made! Her eCourse is more amazing than I could have, would have created. It’s thorough but basic, detailed but simple. It covers every age group and cooking skill level from beginner to intermediate to advanced. It includes 45 professionally created videos, 2 recipe eBooks, and 250+ pages of downloadable material, flash cards, and lesson plans.

So Malachi, who still fits in my lap (barely), has been joining me at the computer where we are working our way through the Kids Cook Real Food course. Inspired, we head to the kitchen to take selfies.

malachi cooking2

We’ve also gotten to work on Malachi’s kitchen skills. From start to finish, this kid turned out a double batch of his favorite Chocolate Chocolate Chip Muffins (while his hot stuff dad rinsed some dishes).

malachi cooking3

I fully intended to give a shout out for the Kids Cook Real Food course earlier last week, but cream cheese and rotel bulk purchases detained me. So you should know that today is the final day to sign up for the class. It’s rockin’. Work yourself out of a job while your kids take over your kitchen and find themselves prepared for cooking success in the future.

Saturday morning we headed out the door while it was still dark for basketball games out of town. I made Ham and Egg Breakfast Bowls to go with Malachi’s muffins. There were only four of us home at the time, so only making 9 Ham and Egg Bowls seemed really strange. The picture quality is terrible since the kitchen was fairly dark, but I highly recommend you checking out this easy breakfast idea.

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We arrived home to our wonderful Bountiful Basket order which had been dropped off by a sweet friend. We are so set for this week!!

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Would you believe, after all these grocery purchases, my brain actually had the audacity to think, “What do I need at the store?!?” when it started snowing heavily on Saturday night? I must be crazy. Relax, Brain. I’m pretty sure our family can eat for months with all the food we have on hand right now. Getting snowed in would not be a problem.

As it turns out, it snowed beautifully but we are not snowed in. It takes a lot to keep a Nebraskan from getting out and about after a big snow.

Here’s to a great week!

Do you get to shop at Aldi often (or ever)??

How I’m Preparing Now for Next Year’s Operation Christmas Child Project

Not that paying full price is altogether bad, but who wants to pay full price when you can…not pay full price?? That’s why I’m talking about next Christmas already. Look at me! I’m worse than department stores. They put their Christmas stuff out before Halloween. Well, I win. I’m putting this out there before Valentine’s Day. Hurry, folks! Only 352 days until Christmas. There’s not a moment to lose!

Family Christmas Pic

Figured I’d get my Christmas cards out early too.

Here’s why I’m talking about Christmas at the beginning of January:

This is the time to buy wrapping paper for next to nothing and get ready for next year’s Operation Christmas Child. It all goes back to that why pay full price thing. And I’m totally kidding about getting my Christmas cards out early. I don’t even get Christmas cards out at all because I’m that on top of my to-do list.

What is Operation Christmas Child?

We finally did it! After hearing about Operation Christmas Child for several years, our family jumped on board this year to participate, thanks to a friend in our homeschool group who planned our Christmas party around this service opportunity.

Have you heard of it? Does your family take part in the joy of giving this way? Through Operation Christmas Child, children in impoverished countries are provided with a gift at Christmastime. These gifts are supplied by people like you and me. Typically it is the only gift these children receive, so of course the kids are overjoyed to receive their box. Best yet, Samaritan’s Purse places a little book (written in the child’s language) inside each box titled “The Greatest Gift” and they follow up with the kids too. These boxes are not just fun. They provide an outreach opportunity for the local churches!

Preparing For Next Year’s Operation Christmas Child

I’m not affiliated with OCC in any way. I just love the program and found this to be a great way to serve with our kids. I thought I’d put a bug in your ear about it just in case this is a way you and your family can serve, too. But first – a bug in your ear? What a terrible cliche. I wrote that without thinking. Matt got a bug in his ear once (a moth. thanks for asking.) and had to go to the ER to have it removed. There’s nothing cute or fun about that, so why do we say, “let me put a bug in your ear”?? In other words, let me do something disgusting and memorable, incredibly annoying and slightly painful so that you can’t move on with life until you do this thing.

So, Operation Christmas Child. It’s just a suggestion. Do with this what you will. I hate bugs.

I mostly wrote this post to say:

Start looking now for items to fill Operation Christmas Child boxes.

It is so much fun to fill the shoe-boxes! Just think of the joy a child has when they open their box containing bright toys and games! We paid full price for the contents of our boxes this past November because I didn’t plan ahead to participate. Now that I know the kinds of items that work well I’m looking for sales, walking the clearance aisles, and grabbing goodies I know will work. Come time to fill boxes again, I’ll just have to grab bags out of my closet. How fun!

Preparing Now for Operation Christmas Child

Read here about the items that are best for filling shoe-boxes. Liquids are a no-go. I’ve already picked up small coloring books, toy cars, recorders, rings, stamps, and a little tea set. I’m watching for sales on socks and mittens. Come August, I’ll grab school supplies on sale. It’s just good to have this in the back of my mind when I come across a sale so I can pick up beneficial items at a good price.

Obviously, this idea works well for purchasing items to bless those in your own community, any time of the year. Consider the people you want to serve, and keep them in mind when you come across sales.

I want to hear if your family participates in Operation Christmas Child!

And don’t forget. Christmas will be here before you know it.

motionmailapp.com

I’m always here to help.