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How Do You Organize Recipes?

I don’t know about you, but I have attempted many ways when it comes to organizing recipes. I have purchased cookbooks and tagged recipes I enjoyed. I have gone the binder route, placing printed recipes and ones cut from magazines into paper protectors putting them behind the appropriate section, i.e. breakfast, poultry, desserts, and so forth. And like many I am pinning away recipes to try on Pinterest. All of these ways are good, but there is another way that I have found even better and this way is through Evernote.

Evernote is a revolutionary way to take notes on your phone, ipad, and/or computer. The process is simple. Once you create your account, you can add notebooks, notes within the notebooks, and tags to your notes. You can even add audio and pictures directly to your notes. You can share your notes with family and friends as well. I have a recipe notebook along with several other notebooks through Evernote. To my recipe notebook, I add the recipe I have created, discovered online, or found in a magazine and tag it with words such as breakfast, dinner, dessert, paleo, poultry, etc. If I have any pictures, I will add them to the note as well. If it is a recipe I have found online, I add the url to the note in case I need to refer back to it or ask the blogger or cook a question regarding the recipe.

I absolutely love organizing my recipes this way for so many recipes. Here are a few…

1. I have access to my recipes wherever I am. If I am traveling, in the grocery store, or sharing a recipe with friends, I am able to view my recipes.

2. Through the search option, I can locate recipes quickly. I don’t know about you, but I have spent too much time thumbing my way through many cookbooks searching for a recipe.

3. When someone asks me for a recipe, I can easily share it through text or email by hitting the share button.

4. I can type notes as I cook from the recipes as reminders for next time.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I still love to look through a good cookbook or cooking magazine, but once I find my go to recipes or ones I want to try, they are filed away in my Evernote recipe notebook. How do you organize your recipes? Have you tried organizing them Evernote? If you haven’t, I highly suggest you should. If you have, what are your favorite things about Evernote?



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“Why Is It Just With Me?”

“Why is it just with me?” I do not know about you, but as a mom I have this question many times during the week. The kids are with their dad running to the store and dad returns to tell you how perfect they were. You pick the kids up from school and the teachers brag on how well-behaved your children have been . The kids leave for the weekend to be with their grandparents and when you pick them up they call your kids “sweet angels”. Yep, these are a few of the scenarios I have lived through and have many more to share if you would like to hear.  🙂

I am not sure if it is because I am home with them more or what, but my sons like to have the most tantrums, fights and crazy moments with me more than anyone else. Even my husband will say in confusion, “I just don’t understand.” (Feels good to know someone sees it, too, and I am not crazy. LOL. ) Well I didn’t understand either until I started thinking more about it, reading a few articles and talking with other moms.

Here a few things I have learned. These have encouraged me and I hope they encourage you if you are experiencing any mom vs. kids’ moments.

1. Your kids feel safer with you so any feelings and emotions they don’t share with others, they decide to share with you. Yep, mom you are their safe place and in their safe place they will let their emotions free.

2. Your kids are literally with you more, which means the more time with you the more opportunities for crazy to arise.

3. Your kids, especially if they are between the ages of 2 to 5, see every day as a day to test boundaries. When they are in an unfamiliar place, they are more likely to play it safe, but when they are in the familiar the greater likelihood for them to take the risk and push the boundaries you have set. So moms, stay strong and keep the boundaries set in your home. Let your “no” be “no” and your “yes” be “yes”. The more consistent you are, the more your kids will realize that they cannot move the boundaries no matter how much they try.

Therefore, when you are feeling defeated and/or asking yourself “why is it just with me”, realize it is not you. You are not defeated. You are not failing as a mom. You just happen to be the person that your child feels safest with and is usually with the most. Despite how hard the day may be, try to realize this. In the next crazy moment as your kids are pushing the boundaries and/or letting their emotions free, remind yourself that you are their safe place. Remember every day you have the opportunity to keep the boundaries in place. Take being the safe place as a gift. Take every day to stay strong and keep the boundaries set. And most importantly, take every day to love them through and through. This doesn’t fix the chaos, but I pray and hope it may encourage you to see things differently in the midst of it all.

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Role Play

Role Playing is to assume the role of another character…to pretend to be someone for a moment. It is something all kids find themselves doing, whether they are superheroes flying through the backyard or teachers who have all their stuff animals as students in the classroom. My boys role play as lions and dinosaurs on a daily basis, which means my background noise is literally a constant roar. I know that most of the role play is pretend and birthed from their imaginations, which I absolutely love watching, but what if we took the role play to real life. For instance, what if you role played behaviors, communication techniques, and so forth. And what if role playing became a reality. Well, since our soon-to-be two year old is starting to communicate so well, we have been performing real life role play. (Seems like an oxymoron I know, but work with me.) One example is to role play sharing. We literally have a toy and pretend the other wants it. Then use words, not hitting or yanking the toy from the other person, but asking for the toy with manners. After practicing some we move on to the next thing. But what is absolutely amazing is when the real life scenario comes and the younger brother discovers the older brother’s favorite t-rex. In this moment, I bring the role play to reality. As the older brother is running to tackle the younger brother for his toy, I say or shout (lol), “Just ask him for it…simply try asking him for it like we have practiced.” The older brother takes a step back and says, “Can I please have my toy?” and the younger brother gives it to him. It is a wow, OMG moment not just for me, but for them as they realize that what we have been preforming actually works in real life. We role play other things like asking for food, giving each other space, how to act in a store, what to do when adults are talking, etc. Now the truth is that there will be moments when little brother gets tackled down to the ground, but that does not take the wow from the moments when he doesn’t. I do my best to celebrate the moments when what we have practiced in role play comes to fruition. A simple pat on the back, hug and “you did so great” goes a long way. Our kids love affirmation. Here is what I do know…kids love to play and pretend, so why not play and practice real life. Give it a try. Play with them too. Who knows you might get the role of that famous cook or CEO!

Is there something your kids need to practice or role play? Do you have any role play suggestions? 😉

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Survive the Summer with Kids by Guest Blogger Kari Leblanc

I am thrilled today to have Kari Leblanc as my first guest blogger. She is a woman I admire in so many ways. She is an amazing wife, mom to five children, cook, friend, blogger and most importantly loves Jesus with all her heart. Today she is providing us with some great tips for how to make it during the summer with the kids at home. If anyone knows her, they can vouch that Kari is a mom who is “on top of her game” to say the least! I hope her tips help you this summer. You can glean more of her wisdom for her blog Convos with Kari.


Thanks so much to my sweet friend Jen who asked me to write a blog post on how to survive and thrive in the summer with littles 🙂 I’m honored! I’ve been working on our summer schedule for the last couple weeks. Summer is a fun season, but it can easily be purposeless since everyone is usually ready for the break from the normal routine.

My most important tips for summer are to PLAN & BE FLEXIBLE. I need a plan so days don’t fly by in a blur of video games and t.v. and I need to be flexible for the days that something comes up. This is my plan for our summer. I hope it helps you!

7:30 – 8:00 am Breakfast
(My kids don’t sleep very late…) Everyone usually wanders into the living room for their daily devos once they’re up. I put my oldest son in charge of breakfast for the summer. He’ll get some simple cooking practice and he’s usually the first one up 🙂 We made a list of easy breakfast options that he can handle and that everyone likes (some days it’s just “take the cereal boxes out of the pantry”). While he’s doing that, I can get my head wrapped around the day. 🙂

9:30 – 11:30 am
Time for our daily-themed activity! *See below

11:30 am – 12:00 pm Lunch
Back home for lunches or Chick-Fil-A with friends 🙂 My oldest is in charge of lunches this summer. She will also get some simple cooking practice (and responsibility practice. 😉

12:30 – 3:00 pm
This is the hottest and laziest part of our day. We usually need a break from whatever we did that morning and we all have a full belly. 🙂 During this time, the littles may take a nap or have a rest time, everyone reads for 30 minutes to 1 hour (based on their age) or they may all lay in the living room and watch a movie. This is also when I prep dinner.

3:00 pm Snack
We have a small snack to signal the official end of rest time and get ready for the rest of our day.

3:00 – 6:00 pm
I think of this part of the day as Free Play. My kids love to play hide & seek, ride bikes, draw with sidewalk chalk, etc…

6:30 pm Dinner 
After dinner is unofficial family time since Dad is done with work (typically). We have family devotions once a week, we may rent a movie or visit friends.

I found this idea for daily themes on Pinterest which gave me some general direction for planning. I love it! This is what we’ll be doing every weekday morning:
M – Make Something Monday – Look through Pinterest to find lots of easy crafts and keep simple art supplies on hand.

T – Take a Trip Tuesday – On these days, we visit cool, free places around our city. Google family activities or sights in your city and keep the list handy. Nothing fancy, just  something to explore.

W – Wet & Wild Wednesday – Make a weekly visit to the splash park, pool or pull out the slip-n-slide & sprinkler.

Th – Thinking Thursday – I keep a list of simple science experiments for my older kids and fun worksheets for the younger ones.

F – Fresh & Fun Friday – This day is reserved for whatever I can come up with… Maybe we bake something together, have a Just Dance contest on the Wii, a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood… Just be creative!

Besides this, we’ve got guitar lessons, football camp and swimming lessons that we’ll also fit in.

Have a plan, be flexible and anticipate a great summer with your kids!!


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Who doesn’t like a good deal especially when it is free. There are two websites I follow to stay alerted of freebies. The first website is Smart Apps for Kids. What I love about this site is that it provides an option to receive an email when free apps are available. Most of the apps are educational and pop-up advertisement free. Some of the educational apps are linked to parent apps that provide progress of your child’s learning. The apps are not just for small children either; there are free apps for elementary and junior high age children, too. If you have children, you need to sign up for this Free App Alert. The site also offers other parent friendly information about deals, educational tips, etc.

free app

The second website I check out frequently is  A Frugal Chick. A Frugal Chick’s site is full of great deals and freebies. I like her tag line, too….”living well without going broke.” If you are wanting to try out a product, she shares ways of testing out the product for free. She also keeps you updated of the best deals at your local stores and restaurants. Her website is full of coupons and store and shopping deals. Through the website, you can sign up to receive email alerts for deals and freebies.


Now go and enjoy some free stuff and good deals today. Happy Tip Tuesday!

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Tarnished Silver

Last week at a mom’s group I attend, we finished a study by Ann Voskamp called “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.” I was in and out of the study having certain statements grasp me and others slip by. To sum up the book, the author encourages you to live in grace, to see all as grace, and to bring thanksgiving in everything. Recapping the study this past week, I began to really think about the depth of thanksgiving and appreciating now. When I write “depth”, I am talking about taking thanksgiving from a general thanks to a specific detailed thanks. From a “thank you for my boys” to a “thank you for today as I laid next to the boys and talked about their favorite part of the day.” Practicing this next level of thanksgiving has been challenging to me, but so worth taking the time and effort to really think through details of what I am thankful for today. For me it is like polishing tarnished silver. Tarnished sliver is not appealing to the eye and is not something you go to grab to use for a dinner party. However, with a little time and polishing, that silver can become the centerpiece at the table. Taking the time to “polish” the people, things, and moments in your everyday reminds you of their beauty. Discovering the details of moments, people, and things in your now and giving thanks for them brings a joyful contentment to your life. I am not saying that I have arrived at the level I want to be with a thankful and grace-filled heart for my now, but that is my desire. I desire to take note of the bee buzzing around a flower, my sons sitting together reading a book with a mess of toys around them, or an almond milk latte that I sip in the coffee shop. These are moments I do not want to rush pass, but to pause and polish these moments to bring their beauty to light. For the beauty is there, we just have to take time and energy to realize it. I am not sure what your today looks like, but I encourage you to take a moment to pause and notice the details of the people who surround you or the moments you encounter. Give thanks for them and I guarantee a joy will fill your heart, soul and mind.


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Couch vs. Floor – Tip Tuesday

Couch versus floor…what on earth am I writing about. What is most comfortable? Preference of sitting? Well actually neither of those questions. As a stay-at-home mom of two young boys, I have noticed the difference of the couch versus the floor from the perspective of parenting. I have always been one to sit on the floor or lie in the grass as some like my husband might say I have some hippie tendencies. Hahaha. As a parent this “hippie” characteristic has been beneficial as I have watched the difference I have interacting with the kids from the couch versus from the floor. On the couch I am met with distractions and limits such as the nearness of my phone, the t.v. remote and the ability for my kids and I to really have room to play. On the floor playtime has endless possibilities. We can toss the ball, build legos, pretend play with dinosaurs, and, of course, tackle as I believe this is an innate feature of all boys. I am not saying that if you are sitting on the couch or your recliner you are disconnected from your kids. I am saying that for me the decision to move from the couch to the floor creates undistracted face-to-face playtime. As soon as I plant myself on the floor, the boys are immediately jumping on top of me. It is as if their eyes discover my placement, there bodies say, “Let’s jump on Mom!” I step into their world when I am on the floor. If you have young ones, I would like to suggest to you to take time to move from the couch to the floor and see what you discover as your kids come rushing towards you. It is a beautiful moment when you step out of your world and into theirs. But remember, sit on the floor with caution as they could come rushing in to tackle you!