Fast Veggie and Bean Recipe

A quick delicious veggie recipe sure to please the whole family.

Let’s say bye-bye to Summer together with this delicious veggie toss up meal.

It can be a side or the main dish, up to you!

Either way, it’s delicious, you will definitely be going back for seconds.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large Garlic clove roughly chopped
  • 1 can of drained Red beans (pink or white would also be super tasty)
  • 1 large Zucchini cubed(or even yellow squash)
  • 4 plum tomatoes cubed (or 2 larger tomatoes) you could use canned if needed, I would say ½ a can
  • 1 quarter of Red onion rough chopped (or sweet onion)
  • 2 handfuls of fresh Baby spinach (you could use frozen spinach too)

Directions:

This first step is the most important step as it creates the most amazing flavor.

Heat up your sauté pan and add some butter or oil. Once it’s nice and hot, add in the garlic and onion.

Once that beautiful fragrance starts to perfume the kitchen, the garlic starts to melt, and the onion begins to soften up, add in the zucchini. Stir.

From here until the end, keep on medium to medium high heat.

Your zucchini will start to soften – approximately 5-7 minutes, at this point, add in the tomatoes. Give a nice stir then let cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Now, add in the baby spinach and the can of drained beans. Stir and let sit for 3 minutes or until the baby spinach is wilted and the beans heated through.

Add a dash of salt and pepper.

Mix.

Serve.

That’s it! Fast. Easy. Healthy. Delicious.

We served this with some fresh corn on the cob. Delish!

Enjoy 🙂

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Mouth Watering Spiced Potatoes

Mouth Watering Spiced Potatoes

This recipe has become a go to for me lately, especially when I need some comfort food.

Being a mom can be really hard sometimes! And a bowl of these spiced potatoes puts a little smile on my face.

It’s probably one of the very very few recipes that I put this much work into, that’s how much I love it.  This recipe makes me think of my sister because we perfected the technique together, so it’s even more heart warming for me. I love you little pea 🙂

Okay so here is the recipe in my traditional fashion.

Makes roughly 4 large portions

Ingredients:

  • 6 red potatoes (you could definitely use yellow potato (6) or russet potato (4 if they are really big)
  • ⅓-½ bunch of cilantro depending on how much you like it
  • Oil of your choice (avocado, olive, even coconut oil would be awesome)
  • 4 eggs (1 egg per serving) leave egg out if vegan
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder, cayenne pepper, paprika, and curry powder (I would say a dash of salt and pepper and about 1 tsp of the rest depending on your taste.)
    • Feel free to omit cayenne pepper if you don’t want spicy

Directions:

  1. Cube or dice the potatoes (the smaller you cut, the faster it cooks)
  2. In a bowl add cut potatoes then drizzle enough oil so that it lightly covers all potatoes
  3. Finely chop cilantro
  4. Add all spices and cilantro
  5. Mix thoroughly
  6. Cook either in oven or by sautéing
    • For me, sauté is faster (about 25 min) but I have to be more present. The trick with this way is to add a little water and cover with lid at first so that it steam cooks at about medium temp depending on your stove. Then once you see potatoes becoming a little mushy, take off the lid and turn up the heat to high just to crisp it up.  
    • If I’m too busy with the kids, I’ll pop in oven for about 45 min or when potatoes are cooked through. At the end just broil for a few minutes to crisp them.
  7. Once potatoes are cooked, I make fried eggs where the white cooked but the yolk is a bit runny.

To serve, I put a nice helping of potatoes then the fried egg on top. You can add extra cilantro as garnish you like.

I cut open the egg and the rich delicious yellow ooey gooey yolk spills over the potatoes.

Last step, gobble it up!  

Enjoy!

Xo,

Elizabeth

6 Reasons Why You Should be Coloring With Your Kids

6 Reasons Why You Should be Coloring With Your Kids

Okay so we’ve all read that adult coloring is highly beneficial, but do you know why?

Coloring is great for kids, but do you know why?

Coloring is great for you to do with your kids, but do you know why?

Let’s break it down !

Adult Coloring Benefits:

  1. Reduces stress and anxiety by inducing the same state as meditation
  2. By reducing stress, in effect, you can boost your immune system and stabilize blood pressure
  3. Improves brain function by requiring activation of both the left and right hemispheres
  4. Improves focus and concentration
  5. Improves sleep (if done as a screen free activity before bed)
  6. Allows for a creative outlet

Data does suggest there is a caveat to the above mentioned benefits however. Preliminary research shows these benefits may only be seen when coloring mandalas, not freestyle on a blank sheet of paper.

(Source)

Here and here are hundreds of free mandala printables to choose from.

They aren’t only for adults though.

My daughter loves to color her princess pages, but she also loves coloring mandalas with me.

Here is an example of a mandala if you’ve never seen one:

Source

You can also buy coloring books on Amazon or at many local stores such as Walmart, Target, Michaels, Barnes and Nobles, and even the Dollar stores!

Besides the 6 reasons mentioned above, here are extra benefits from coloring.

Child Coloring Benefits:

  1. Improves fine motor skills
  2. Helps with finger strength and handwriting
  3. Allows for creativity
  4. Enables self expression
  5. Increases hand strength
  6. Color recognition
  7. Spatial understanding
  8. Improves hand eye coordination
  9. Increases confidence
  10. Encourages patience
  11. Stress relief for little ones too!

In a child’s case, the benefits are experienced regardless of media and methods.

Coloring Together Benefits

  1. Bonding time, one on one
  2. Being able to see how and what your child is feeling through their artwork.
  3. Ability to be creative and work as a team
  4. Enjoying being a kid with your kid and seeing things from their perspective
  5. Having fun and being silly, laughter is some of the best medicine 🙂

While these lists name a few benefits, there are many more!

The ones mentioned should be reason enough to start coloring with your kids.

Encourage your kids to color and create as often as possible.

Happy coloring!

Xo,

Elizabeth

#BahamasStrong and My Toddler

Hi Mamas,

I just published a post on tot school and I emphasized the importance of using every day life as a teacher.

Here’s a great example!

As you may be aware Hurricane Dorian wreaked havoc on the Bahamas, particularly Abaco and Grand Bahama.

It hit as a category 5 hurricane which means it has sustained winds of over 155 mph.

The Bahamas is suffering and many parts have been decimated.

I’m a native Floridian and know first hand the fear of going through a hurricane, the feeling of being out of control, being at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Never before has a storm like this occurred. Not only was it a Category 5, but it stayed parked over the islands for more than a day and a half!

Here is a satellite image:

Source

At least 20 lives have been lost and the current state is being described as apocalyptic and catastrophic.

I was going to donate to a Go Fund Me page in order to help the relief effort but then I stopped.

I can use this a learning experience for my daughter.

We had to prepare for the storm because we didn’t know if it was going to hit Florida or not. My daughter participated in all the prep work that had to be done from shopping for items such as water and canned goods to watching her dad put up the shutters.

She asked a lot of questions!

We were happy to answer every single one.

Fast forward.

The storm didn’t hit. We just had a bit of rain and wind.

My daughter knows “it turned”.

She also knows it went to a place and caused a lot of “hurt” and “took away a lot of people’s things”.

Today, I’m going to bring her shopping for relief items that are desperately needed. Mind you, we don’t have much money to spend, but I want her to know that any difference no matter how small is still a difference.

I want her to know that action, action is what is needed. The quote, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” by Edmund Burke is so true. I want her to not only know this quote, but feel it.

I want her to feel empathy, to feel compassion, to feel kindness even if it is for someone who’ve never met and lives hundreds of miles away.

I want to teach her how blessed we are but that is not always true for others and on top of that, we will face hardships also.

I think for her to donate items to the Bahamas Relief Effort is a great place to start.

https://www.bahamas.com/relief

Xo,

Elizabeth

Must Have Homeschool Resources

Who you must follow if you homeschool littles

Hello mamas!

We plan on homeschooling both our littles but before we start “serious”, more structured homeschooling with an actual curriculum and routine, we do something called Tot School or Toddler Homeschool.

What is that exactly?

Well,for us, it is learning through play and everyday activities.

For example, my daughter knew how to count to 10 by the time she was 18 months not because of worksheets, but because we would count with anything we were playing with: dolls, cars, crayons.

Even doing laundry, we would count shirts or dresses.

Another example is colors. We would say and practice just by playing. She learned them all by 12 months.

We did this for shapes, animals, you get the idea.

If you can really implement and invite in the concept that everything is a teaching opportunity be it indoors or outdoors, imaginary play, cooking, even driving, you will see the endless number of learning opportunities.

As she got older, I challenged her more and started incorporating educational toys. Here are a few examples (always as a game, never as a mandatory task):

Ever since she turned three, I started introducing more structure in the sense of what I wanted her to learn.

Here is an objective sheet I made.

It has all the things I wanted her to know by the time she turned 4.5.

Why 4.5?

Because that’s the age that we would officially enrolling her as a student with the State.

I printed a couple copies of my Objectives Sheet, putting one in our playroom and one in the kitchen so that I could always reference easily as a quick reminder of things to teach her while playing.

Around the time she turned 3.5, I started introducing printables such as worksheets, flash cards, and themed arts and crafts activities.

I would and still do print them on Sundays and use them throughout the week. Again, not scheduled on a specific time table, but when the opportunity arises during the day such as when baby brother naps for example.  

This works for now, but we will probably go a little further by the time she is 4. She is showing signs that she is ready to be challenged more and is ready for higher complexity activities as well as a more structured routine.  

Here are a couple examples of what she worked on a couple weeks ago:

She had to put the story in order.

She had to copy the pattern with her snap cubes

She had to put the number of color cubes or counters that corresponded to the number on the sheet.

I’m passionate about personal finance and budgeting, so I keep to a budget for homeschooling supplies. Believe me, it takes every ounce of strength I have to not clear out the school supplies section at the dollar store, Walmart, oh and don’t get me started on the little $1-$5 front section in Target.

There are a few sites that I found that have a ton of free resources. These have been a huge component of my Tot School toolbox.  The worksheets above are found in the resources below!

Number 1

The first one is Tot Schooling

This one is probably my favorite. And they just started a YouTube channel. Yay!

  1. Everything is free! There are paid options for bundles, but so far I haven’t needed it.
  2. The site is easy to navigate
  3. Tot Schooling has options for toddlers, preschoolers, and kindergarteners
  4. I love the extensive choice of Themes and they are beautifully alphabetized.
  5. There is a great selection of Seasonal/ Holiday printables to choose from.

They are my go-to for printables.

I have yet to be disappointed and always find what I’m looking for.  

Many times I find something I didn’t think of and all of a sudden am inspired and excited to share something new with my daughter that wasn’t originally planned.

Besides, the website and now YouTube channel, I follow them on Pinterest.

You can also follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Number 2

The second site I really enjoy is 1+1+1=1.

I follow them on Pinterest, but you can find them on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter as well in addition to their website and blog.

Okay so this site has a TON of resources. I found it overwhelming and hard to navigate at first. It could just be me, but take your time going through the site and getting a feel for it. It will save some frustration later on.

This is a just a screenshot of the “All Printables” Tab.

I love that everything is free. Of course there are paid memberships and bundles you can always enjoy if you decide to do so.

Check out this right away if you haven’t already and start utilizing all they have to offer for your little ones from toddlers to first grade.

Other Fantastic Resources:

Jaime Reimer @ Hands on As We Grow

Homeschool Giveaways and Freebies

Fun Learning for Kids

This Reading Mama

Tara @ Homeschool Preschool

Busy Toddler

Nicole @ Modern Preschool

From ABCs to ACTs

A Dab of Glue Will Do

Planes and Balloons

Amanda @ This Crafty Mom

This list is by no means complete, but it’s a really great start for any homeschooling mama.

I follow all these on Pinterest, but I’m sure they also have other social media options.

Check it out, I hope you find something inspiring, educational, and fun.

Xo,

Elizabeth

A Beautiful Poem for Our Daughters

Hi mamas,

My sister shared this beautiful poem with me. It is about daughters, but I think this applies to all women.

I wanted to share it with all of you.

Here is the link to the poem only:

Sarah Kay: If I Should Have a Daughter

And if interested, here is the link to the whole Ted Talk:

If I Should Have a Daughter

In a three minute poem, Sarah Kay is able to touch on some real issues we all as moms will have to help our daughters through. Her words are able to connect with you on a deeper level and I hope to share this with my daughter in toddler sized pieces.

I truly believe it is never too early to start planting the seeds of self-love, self-respect, and self-confidence.

Enjoy!

Xo,

Elizabeth

Need a one pot, quick, and easy vegan meal?

Need a one pot, quick, and easy vegan meal?

Here you go 🙂

Chickpea Tomato Rice

Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups brown rice (or your rice of choice)
  • 1 cup of greens more or less  (Spinach, Kale, etc)
  • Spices: salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin powder, turmeric powder, and paprika (about a dash of everything but add per your tastes)
  • Optional: about ⅓ bunch chopped fresh cilantro  

This makes three good sized portions, so tweak as needed for your family.

Directions:

Cook rice per usual.

I cooked it in a large sauté pan but a skillet or large pot will do.

Once the rice is cooked, I add in the can of chickpeas and the can of fire roasted tomatoes.

I then add my spinach.

Finally, I add my spices, topped with cilantro, and put the top on.

I turned off the heat and let everything blend together.

That’s it!

Serve.

Note: Some optional things you could add are sautéed onions, hard-boiled eggs, and any vegetable really that you have lying around such as sweet bell peppers or mushrooms.

You will find most of my recipes to be quick and easy.

And you’ll find my measurements to be very unscientific haha!

If you try this recipe, let me know what you think  

Xo,

Elizabeth

P.S. – The photo shown is without spinach, my daughter politely requested no spinach tonight. I agreed because I was so over the moon that she liked it and wanted to eat it. For my picky eater, that’s huge! Hey I’ve learned to pick and choose my battles.

How to Organize Once and For All

Introduction to a 5 Part Series

Hello mamas!

My kids’ playroom used to look like this on a daily basis no matter how many times I cleaned up:

I had tried so many different strategies of organizing, but nothing worked long term.

It can be super frustrating when you can’t find anything, not to mention painful when you step on legos or Barbie’s bed. Ouch!

We never dared to enter the playroom at night, when all is dark. Who knows what sharp edges and dried out play doh may be lurking there. Haha!

After one too many stabs in the feet and lost doll accessories, I decided to test out implementing a process I used when I worked as a project manager. (Yep, I had a job before full time mommy haha!)

Timing is perfect because baby boy is starting to roll and put things in his mouth. Eek!

Guess what? Lo and behold! Magic!

Yessssss.

The process I’m talking about is designed to help a company reduce waste and run more efficiently.

Surprisingly, testing it for myself, I see it can easily and perfectly be applied to organizing the home; for example: playrooms, bedrooms, or living rooms.

The process is called 5S Methodology or the 5S System.

Maybe you’ve used it before not even realizing it’s a vital aspect of a business’ survival.

So without further ado, the 5 components of the 5S system are:

  1. Sort
  2. Straighten
  3. Shine
  4. Standardize
  5. Sustain

I made this while doing arts and crafts time with my toddler. She was so curious about what I was making and she asked if she could color in the circles.

Sure why not! She did pretty good!

Fun Fact:

It is commonly believed that the Japanese created this system, but it seems Toyota adopted and revised the theory when visiting Ford facilities in the 1950s.

Henry Ford had originally created the system and called it CANDO. The acronym stands for:

  • Cleaning up
  • Arranging
  • Neatness
  • Discipline
  • Ongoing improvement

(Source: https://quality-one.com/5s/)

It doesn’t really matter who started it back then, we can all benefit from it today!

While it’s meant to help a business, here is how it can help your family.

  1. Sorting reduces clutter
  2. Straightening gives everything a place and therefore order.
  3. Shining keeps things clean and easier to spot mess aka spilled drinks, leaking glue or glitter, and leftover snacks
  4. Standardizing gives you a process, via checklists for example, to measure and maintain the previous steps.
  5. Sustaining will help you to be consistent in maintaining all that has been set up in the previous steps.

If you feel overwhelmed don’t!

We will take it step by step, little by little.

More often than not, it’s a lot of work in the beginning because all our mess didn’t accumulate overnight.

So no worries, together, we will get it done while having fun. You will see!

Now that you have an overview and a general idea of the 5S Methodology, the 5 part series will discuss in detail, each of the 5 components, and how you can utilize them for your home and family.

I want you to digest this and get ready to get to work!

And keep Marry Poppins in mind, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun.”

Xo,

Elizabeth

How to Keep Toddler Quiet without Waking Baby

Would you like to be able to keep your toddler quiet without having to say “shhhh!”all the time?

Here is a tool you can use to avoid frustration and resentment on your end, toddler’s end, and baby’s.

I am guilty of one too many times getting frustrated with my toddler interrupting her baby brother’s naps, saying “quiet please! Your brother is sleeping!”

She cries.

Aaaaandddd he’s awake ugh!

Repeat said process again in 20 minutes since he never got his nap to begin with.

What’s that quote, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.”

Yeah that one.

Okay enough is enough.

Let’s remedy the problem.

I had an old set of plastic drawers but anything from a drawer to a bin, box, backpack, or basket will do.

Next, my daughter and I rounded up some fun quiet supplies and toys.

I explained to her what we were doing:

“We are setting up a quiet time supply area for you.”

Toddler: Why?

Me: “So that you have something to do while your brother naps.”

Toddler: Why?

Me: “Baby brother has to nap so that he is rested and not grumpy. Then we can play and be loud once he’s up.”

Toddler: “Okay mommy”.

I’ve found explaining and reasoning rather than commanding to be the most effective way of raising my daughter.

All that for another post 🙂

Me. “Okay so what can we include that’s quiet?”

Toddler: “Hmmmmm, I know mama!”

This is what we came up with:

  • Stickers
  • Notebooks
  • Blank paper
  • Crayons and colored pencils
  • Stamps
  • Books she is currently reading
  • Activity workbook
  • ABC magnet game (loooove this)
  • ABC Wooden puzzle creator (love!)
  • A few dolls

We stopped there.

I told her we will start with that for now and rotate for some new stuff in a couple weeks.

Done.

I explained to her that there are two rules for the quiet time drawers:

  1. It can only be used during baby brother’s nap (to keep it from getting old and boring)
  2. She has to be able to get the items out she wants by herself and play quietly on her own if mommy is still helping baby brother sleep
    • This is a big deal for my toddler as she usually wants me 24/7

Okay, test time.

Baby brother is ready for the afternoon nap.

Me: “Okay sweetie, it’s time for his nap. Do you know what that means?”

Toddler: “Yes mommy.”

She walks right over to the designated area, takes out what she wanted, and found a little spot next to where I was sitting with her brother.

My mouth drops open in wondrous amazement.

Yessssss.

If I wasn’t nursing, I’d totally be doing my happy dance right now.

He slept. She played. All are happy.

Sweet sweet success.

Do I expect it to always work out that well? No.

But now we have a practical tool to use that will hopefully reduce the amount of interrupted naps.

Pinterest is full of busy bins or quiet time bins, but for some reason I always found them overwhelming and complicated. Too much prep work is the vibe I got every time I went to try and recreate what I saw. So I just gave up before even trying.

What we did was simple. We used what we had already and put it one designated area, only to be used during naptime.

No fancy labels or printouts (I wish I had the time and energy for that)

Not a bunch of sensory bins or beautifully created felt books. (Man, those moms are super duper crafty)

The feeling of doing something where tangible results could be seen …priceless.

Not only that, my daughter felt in charge. She was responsible for choosing the items. She loved that.

That’s her area. She wants to keep it clean, tidy, and organized. There’s a life lesson there I think 🙂

Have you tried something like this?

Was it successful?

If not, keep it basic and try like we did.

It just might work out for you.

Xo,

Elizabeth

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