Weekend fall family fun: Homeland Creamery

My tiny dancer had a performance this weekend at a farm not too far down the road that we know well.

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Not her actual performance. That’s just for funzies. They were having a fall festival, complete with vendors, food and fun. And of course, the ice cream shop was open.

My girls are into hayrides these days, and Homeland Creamery has a neat one: lots of pretty scenery and even a quick history lesson about the farm.

There were some neat vendors there, with homemade organic soaps, baked goods, woodwork, and even dried flower bouquets.

We even got to feed and pet a baby alpaca.

And look at this adorable calf!

We even got some homemade honey and some ice cream. A fantastic time was had by all! And if you have never been to Homeland Creamery in Julian, NC, you should definitely check that out.

Fall fun for the whole family: Smith Hollow Farms

Fall fun for the whole family: Smith Hollow Farms

We have recently taken a good look around and realized the younger members of the Lumber family are growing up…too fast. We have been trying to take the time to make some memories, and we’ve also been trying to explore some of our local area as well.

The little Lumbers have been asking to visit a pumpkin patch, and while there are two pumpkin patches within a short drive of our house, we decided to check out Smith Hollow Farm in Kernersville.

These two sweet sisters had a blast! They got to meet and even feed some of the farm’s many animals.

They both rode horses (It was the Littlest Lumber’s for the first time!!)

They also went on a hayride and got their faces painted.

We enjoyed the food and enjoyed walking around the pretty farm. Did you know they have weddings there? We didn’t.

The oldest Lumber tried her hand at archery- her Pop Pop would be proud.

And before we left, we chose two pumpkins to bring home and carve.

It was a great trip and didn’t cost us a lot of money. We had a great time and plan to go back.

You should definitely check it out! You can find their website at http://www.smithhollowfarm.com.

Join us next week for some fun fall crafts!

Grocery shopping with Instacart: A Simplified Experience

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I don’t know about you guys, but I absolutely hate grocery shopping. I make a list, I go to the store, and somehow I come home an hour later and find out that I managed to forget some of my most important purchases.

Grrrrr.

And how many of you have tried to grocery shop with your toddler or preschooler, only to have them get restless/fuss about wanting things/make the trip take twice as long? Shopping with little children can be super stressful, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Don’t let the sweet face fool you- she has a black belt in temper-tantrum throwing.

There’s this fantastic app called Instacart and it makes shopping with kids super easy. In fact it makes shopping easy in general.

All you have to do is this:

  1. just log onto the Instacart site or download the app.
  2. choose your local participating store,
  3. shop for your groceries,
  4. and submit your order.

That’s seriously it! I promise!

You may choose to have your groceries delivered, or you may pick them up. The store will even bring them out and load them up for you!

You don’t even have to leave the vehicle…or unbuckle your little one from their carseat. It’s amazing.

Now, everyone please pop on over to the Instacart site and check it out! It’s a game changer!

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Simplify Saturday: Meal Planning Made Easier

Simplify Saturday: Meal Planning Made Easier

As a busy mother of two with a full time job and a part-time business on the side, I know a thing or two about how difficult it is to cook. I also know that when you’re not prepared, it’s a lot easier to justify running to the drive through, where you end up spending money and making choices that aren’t the healthiest.

Once during the school year, we went over our monthly bank statement to discover we’d spent $400 that month on eating out. We were shocked…and vowed to do better. We are now doing an experiment in our house- we write on the calendar each time we eat out, and write down each time we cook at home. This is helping us keep track of how much we are spending, but also on how often we are eating at home.

I’d also like to share some other things you can do to ensure that meal times run more smoothly in your home.

1. Keep staple ingredients in your pantry at all times.

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Who else here has started following a recipe, only to find that you were missing one or two ingredients you needed? Isn’t it frustrating? Think about your family’s favorite things to eat at home, and isolate the ingredients that are common in those recipes. Then, make sure you keep a stockpile of those ingredients in your pantry and fridge.

2. Plan ahead as often as possible

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Planning ahead means that you already have a good idea of what you are going to cook for that week. I have tried to plan two weeks of meals at a time, but sometimes life happens and we don’t stick to it entirely. I’ve now started planning for one week at a time, and planning based on what I have in the pantry, fridge and freezer that week. This way, I am taking our weekly activities into account as well. Gymnastics on Tuesdays? Use the crock pot so it isn’t as time consuming and there is little clean up. Church on Wednesday night?How about salads for dinner? You get the idea.

3. Clean as you go

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Do you ever find that there is a giant mess in your kitchen after you cook, and you often do not get to it until hours later? I have had to wake up early before to clean the kitchen from the night before. One way that I handle this are to fill the sink with soapy water and wash/rinse utensils as I’m cooking. I can also soak bowls and pans before popping them into the dishwasher. The second thing I do is to reuse a bowl from meal prepping to put food scraps or trash in. Having a trash bowl saves me trips to the compost bin or trash can. I use a dish that I’ve already used so I’m cutting down on dirty dishes. It doesn’t sound like a huge deal, but it really helps.

4. Pre-prepare as much as possible

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I’ve reached a point in my life where I’ve realized I need to spend a little more money at the grocery store to get pre-chopped vegetables once in awhile. I initially felt silly about this, but then I realized it truly does save me a lot of time and prep work in the kitchen.

What have you done to simplify your cooking at home? Please comment below and share your tips with me 🙂

 

Have a wonderful weekend.

 

 

 

 

Simplify Saturdays: Self-care and taking time for you

Simplify Saturdays: Self-care and taking time for you

Most of us are guilty of working too much, and sacrificing all of our time for everyone else. There is nothing wrong with working hard or giving time to others; in fact, those things are great. But sometimes you do need to take a little time for yourself.

Finding time for you can be difficult amidst all your other demands, but there are a few ways you can sneak in a little “you-time.”

1. Wake up a little earlier

Waking up about 15 or 20 minutes earlier can allow you a little time for yourself. Read a book, go for a walk, or enjoy a cup of coffee on your porch.

2. Evaluate how you spend your time

Is there anything you do each day that wastes your time? I waste a lot of time on my Smartphone each day. By eliminating some of that, I have been able to spend more time on things that make me happy.

3. Delegate those chores

You can’t do everything. I’m the worst for trying to do it all. Delegate some of those chores to your kids. Kids can help with laundry or loading the dishes. Kids can help pick up toys and straighten up the house. Trying to do everything will only stress you out and steal all your time.

5. Learn to say no

Overextending yourself by taking on too much results in stress and no free time. Free up some time by saying no.

When you carve out a bit of time for yourself, think about the things that bring you joy. Whatever makes you feel renewed and happy, do it. Don’t feel guilty about taking time for you. Take time for yourself and be more relaxed.

Have a wonderful weekend.