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Gardening Essentials to Buy at the Dollar Store

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When you are living on a budget but want to expand your garden, then you need to go to the Dollar Store! Over the past couple of years, I have seen the Dollar Store expand their garden supplies from tiny pots and watering cans to decent sized pots, watering cans with the longer spout, seeds, tools, gloves and even small bags of soil! This is where I needed to be shopping to get my garden going for this year.

The must have that I picked up first was the watering can with the narrow spout. I prefer this kind of spout for my small indoor pots because I can control the water flow. To buy this type at Walmart or Lowe’s will run you at least $10.

Next, I picked up some pots for my seedlings. The ones I picked up are 6″ pots which after I am done with transplanting my seedlings to bigger pots, I will use these pots to transplant my herbs. There were bigger pots that I plan on picking up this week once I have my garden plans set. At Home Depot, a 6″ pot starts at $2  so you can basically get one free at the Dollar Store.

Then, I found a hanging basket and liner which will be great for the wild flower seeds that I purchased as well. I love the look of a hanging baskets on porches to bring out the colors of a house. What I don’t like is the price at Walmart starting at $8 for a small one. I can’t wait to watch my flowers bloom in my new hanging basket!

Other things that you can find to get your garden started is gardening tools like a shovel and rake, gardening gloves and kneeling pads. I have all of these from previous years of gardening so I didn’t need to buy them this year but it is a great resource for someone just starting on their green thumb journey or someone needing to replace their tools.

Last week, I talked about the variety of seeds that you can buy at the dollar store. Out of convenience, I picked up seed packets for carrots and lettuce at Walmart which were $1.49 and $1.69 each so I could have picked up a third packet if I bought them at the Dollar Store! If you want to read my post about starting from seeds here is the post: Plant Seeds to Save The Earth

The only thing that I did not purchase at the Dollar Store was my soil. Since I will be doing my gardening from pots, I prefer to use Miracle Grow potting soil because it has the added nutrients my plants will need.

I can’t wait to continue to journal my garden as the season continues! Fill me in on some of your gardening tips below!

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Stuffed Peppers Instant Pot Printable Recipe

With the start of my garden, I have been craving veggie based meals to feed my family. Then our local grocery store had ground beef on sale. Instead of using the beef for Taco Tuesday, I decided to make Stuffed Peppers because it was satisfy my veggie craving while making something different for the family.

Being obsessed with my Instant Pot, I adapted my recipe to be made in my Instant Pot so that I could just set it and do something else while it cooked. This was super easy and yummy to eat. I hope your family enjoys it as well!

Stuffed Peppers Instant Pot Recipe

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

An easy and healthy meal made in your pressure cooker.


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cups of rice, cooked
  • 4-6 peppers
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes WITH sauce
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of oil

Directions

  1. Cut the tops of the peppers off and clean the insides from seeds. The, chop the pepper tops up to be added to the mixture.
  2. Set the Instant Pot to saute and saute peppers, onions and garlic until translucent. Drain oil from pot.
  3. In a bowl, mix ground beef, rice, onions, peppers, garlic, salt and pepper.
  4. Stuff the peppers with the mixture. Set the peppers on the insert in the Instant Pot. You do not want to set the pepper directly into the pot without the insert!
  5. Place some of the diced tomatoes and sauce on top of each pepper. Add the rest to the pot along with a 1/2 can of water from the tomato can.
  6. Set the Instant Pot to manual for 12 minutes. This is when I like to make additional rice because I like my mixture with the tomato sauce and rice on the side.
  7. When the peppers are done cooking, open the top and add the cheese on top of the peppers. Place the top back on for 2 minutes to allow the cheese to melt.
  8. Serve and enjoy!

oatmeal cookies

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Hobby Your Way To Happiness

Hobby Your Way to Happiness

Hobbies are a great way to lose oneself in something that they enjoy while relaxing their stresses and mind.

Starting in high school, people and jobs would ask me if I had any hobbies but I had no idea if I had any hobbies or really what a hobby was. My idea of a hobby was collecting things like baseball cards (which as a kid I had binders full of baseball cards) or making model cars. As a kid, hobbies seemed like something boys did not girls.

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Little did I know, I had a hobby since I could read…. reading books. As soon as I could walk to the library, I spent so many hours reading books at the library and then taking books home and reading until the wee hours of the morning. My mom loves to tell the story that I loved to read so much that while walking down the street, I was reading and walked into a pole….

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Yes I found my hobby but I didn’t know it. In my 20s, my hobby evolved to crocheting which has turned into my handmade business. In the past few years, my hobby is gardening because I love to see what I can grow and my family can eat. I still love to read but I don’t have the time to always read so I listen to a lot of audio books. My stress release that I found in crocheting was lost for a while because the business aspect replaced the fun aspect. Now that I have Evie to crochet fun things for, crocheting has become fun again.

Without my hobbies, I wouldn’t have been able to make it through some of the most stressful situations in my life. My hobbies are what brought me happiness and released the stress that my mind and body were feeling at the time.

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Reasons to have a hobby: 

  1. Helps to relieve the stress your mind and body feels on a daily basis
  2. Helps to encourage you to challenge your mind with different tasks
  3. Helps you take a break from your daily tasks
  4. Helps you to explore new hobbies and evolve as a person
  5. Helps with anxiety and depression

Helps to relieve the stress your mind and body feels on a daily basis: 

The body and mind need time to destress everyday. Without this destressing time, the body fills with negative feelings and thoughts which is not healthy. A hobby naturally boosts your positivity about yourself and life which releases the stress brought on by the negative.

Helps to encourage you to challenge your mind with different tasks:

A hobby challenges a person to find new ways to accomplish their hobby. For example, a knitter will finish one project and will search for a new, more difficult pattern to accomplish next. The brain wants to be challenged and learn new things which a hobby aids in accomplishing.

Helps you take a break from your daily tasks:

Everyone needs a break from their daily routine or life becomes mundane and dull. When life becomes dull, a person becomes bored and can become depressed. Even a 5 minute break enjoying your hobby can aid in changing things up and keep your day fresh.

Helps you to explore new hobbies and evolve as a person:

Over the years, your hobbies can stay the same or they can evolve into a new hobby. Someone that loves to paint, may learn a new painting technique or a new type of art. Learning new hobbies or techniques helps a person evolve mentally and physically (depending on the type of hobby).

Helps with anxiety and depression:

As someone who has suffered from both anxiety and depression since I was a teen, having a hobby that I enjoyed has helped relieve both of these. Keeping yourself busy with a hobby helps to calm your nerves and anxiety by having your mind distracted with the current task you are enjoying. When you are involved mentally and physically, there leaves little room for your depression to creep in at that moment. Over time, your mind will learn to release the anxiety and depression while you are involved with your hobby.

There are so many different hobbies that people can have that have so many healthy and happiness benefits. You can practice yoga or meditation. You can work out at a gym or walk around your neighborhood. You can read books or draw/paint pictures. You can build model cars or rebuild classic cars. You can crochet, knit or sew special things for people in your life. The possibilities are endless and here is a list of 40 hobbies you can try today! Here is a PDF printable of the list: 50 Hobbies To Try

50 Hobbies To Try

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Mother’s Day DIY Q-Tip Canvas Gift

15 Dinner Ideas for You and Your Dad

Moms love receiving gifts, especially handmade gifts that were made with love by their children or grandchildren. Whether you are an adult looking for a special, budget friendly gift to make you mom or a parent looking to have your children make a gift for mom or grandma, this DIY Q-tip canvas gift is one that is easy and adorable.

The great thing about this gift is that you can make is as simple as saying mom or make it more complex with mom’s favorite quote or song lyrics!

Supplies Needed:

Canvas (size of your choice, my example is

Paint (I prefer a dark and light color to contrast)

Qtips

Double Sided Tape

Print out of the word(s) you want to create on the canvas

Directions:

  1. Cut out the letters to the words you want on your canvas.
  2. Place the tape on the backside of the letters and position them on the canvas.
  3. Take one color (darker color works better) and q-tip the paint all over the canvas. Let it dry.
  4. Apply the second color once the first color is dry.
  5. Once both colors are dry and set, removed the letter.
  6. You can either frame the canvas or attach something to hang the canvas.
  7. Wrap it up and give it to the special woman in your life!

 

must-see sights in europe

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Plant Seeds to Save Earth and Money

25 Poppasome Tokens of Appreciation

Its Earth Day and what better way to celebrate than by starting a garden! An added bonus to starting a garden is the money you save by growing your own herbs, vegetables and fruits.

For most of my life, I have loved flowers and gardens but was plagued with a black thumb. Any living plant I tried to grow, failed and died pretty quickly. Either, I forgot to water or I over watered and killed the plants.Even with the consistent failing at growing plants, I kept on trying over and over again.

Through much perseverance, I have turned my black thumb into a green thumb. Last year, I planted cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, Bok choy, beans and squash. Also, I planted so many beautiful flowers. The cucumbers, some of the peppers, bok choy and squash were bought and planted as seedling plants. The tomatoes, rest of the peppers, lettuce and beans were started as seeds.

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Starting the plants as seeds was a first time thing for me and I didn’t realize how fast and how many of seedlings grow from these tiny seeds. I ended up with SOOOOOO many tomato and pepper plants that we couldn’t keep up with all of them. Danyella was in her glory to be able to go pick and eat her tomatoes whenever she wanted all summer long.

I did have some failures like my bok choy and squash. I didn’t know that squash needed some help with their fruition in order to grow. Plus, I didn’t know that bok choy would bolt so quickly and I couldn’t keep up with it.

This year, thanks to Target, Walmart and the Dollar store, I have expanded my list of plants which I am starting all from seeds. At Walmart and Target, I found herbs in little tins that come with the seeds and starter pellets. The great thing about these kits is that the herbs can continue to grow indoors in these tins, all year-long. Now, I can cook with fresh herbs like Thyme, Basil, Cilantro, Oregano and Sage!

I bought seeds like tomato, snap peas, and beans plus the seed starting trays at the dollar store. These are great because you only need them for a short period of time. I bought the seed starter pellets for $4 at Walmart and have lots of seedlings already started. I have leftover seeds from last year and need to buy a few more types of seeds for this year.

Instead of buying tons of trays, I am recycling egg cartons, milk containers and things to start my seeds or make into pots. This not only saves me money but saves the Earth from more trash to be collected in a trash dump.

My challenge this year is going to be to make my garden grow all in pots. I am fearful of planting a garden in the yard because we share it with the unruly neighbors whose kids don’t have any respect for other people’s property. Living on the second floor, I have lots of outdoor steps leading up to our door to utilize with pots. I plan on using every space possible to grow my garden and save money this summer with our fresh veggies and trying a strawberry plant for the first time this year!

Total for seeds, pellets and eventually soil for my pots will still cost less than going to the store and buying these fruits and veggies at the store.

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Are you ready to start a garden today?

 

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Super Easy Lactation No Bake Bites

Photo Apr 20, 5 27 06 PM

I am an exclusively pumping mama so I know that keeping my breastmilk supply is super important. A few weeks ago, my supply took a huge dive and I have no idea why. I haven’t had any diet changes or anything that I would think that would change my supply so I did research on what helps with increasing a mother’s supply. There are a list of different foods and supplements that can help so I decided to put them together into one of my energy bites.

After 2 days of eating one of these bites every time I pumped resulted in my supply getting back to normal and after a week of doing this my supply increased about 1-2 ounces per session! This was amazing to me!

Notes about the recipe: I used dip mixes for fruit dips that I found in the baking and spices aisle of the grocery store to roll the bites in to make them tastier but they are still delish without the garnish. Also, for an extra crunch, I use crunchy peanut butter.

You can keep the bites in the fridge for up to a week or put into the freezer and defrost them for the day if you want to make a large batch!

*Please note that I am not a medical professional or lactation consultant, just a breastfeeding mother who found a recipe that works for me and wanted to share with all of you!

Photo Apr 20, 4 49 44 PM

Lactation No Bake Bites

  • Servings: 24
  • Difficulty: super easy
  • Print

A super easy, no bake snack that aids in increasing breastmilk supply for breastfeeding moms.


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of peanut, almond or a butter of your choice
  • 2 tablespoons of warm water
  • 1/2 cup of oats
  • 1/3 cup honey, preferred raw for lactation increase
  • 1/3 cup of ground flaxseed
  • 2 teaspoons of ground brewer’s yeast
  • garnish for rolling the bites in ie: fruit dip mix, mini chocolate chips, coconut flakes, raisins, etc

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, mix the butter of your choice and the water until the butter is softened.
  2. Add the honey and mix well.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Put an oil like olive or coconut on your hands for the next part for an easier time: Take a tablespoon of the mixture, roll it into a ball (this is where is gets sticky and messy), then roll the ball into your garnish.
  5. Place the garnished bite onto a baking sheet with parchment paper lining.
  6. Put the bites on the baking sheet into the fridge to firm up. In about an hour they are ready to eat!

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Write It Out: Put Your Feelings on Paper

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Have you ever gotten to a point in your life that you have kept so much bottled up inside that you feel like a volcano ready to explode? Maybe the person you need to talk to is not around to express your feelings? Do you feel like you have no one to talk to about what is going on in your life? There are more than one reason a person holds in their feelings instead of expressing them but writing them out is a way of getting those feelings out.

Lately, I have had a lot going on in my personal life that only a few people know about. This situation has been playing over and over in my mind until I get to the point of wanting to scream my head off. Thankfully, I have had a few close friends and family to listen to me talk about this situation… over and over. I have tried to talk to the person that is involved with the situation but that is like talking to a brick wall.

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My solution to getting my feelings out without annoying the hell out of my friends and family or getting frustrated for talking to a wall… write it out! I have been journal writing since high school because a counselor suggested it as a way to express my feelings without having to talk about them. I won’t lie, I can go long periods without writing in my journal because things are either going so well that I don’t feel the need to write OR things are so bad that I am to numb to write.

When I write my out my feelings, I feel a sense of relief afterwards. Sometimes this relief is short-lived… a few hours or it can last a few days or weeks. No matter how long this relief lasts for the fact that I am able to express my feelings is the healthy aspect of living a positive life. Yes, we all have negativity in our lives whether we want it our not but it is how we handle this negativity that makes the difference in living a positive life. Journal writing helps turn those negative feelings we are dealing with into a positive way of expression.

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Journal writing can aid in keeping you connected with your mind and body aka mindfulness. It can keep your mind focused on goals that need or want to be accomplished. Taking the time to write in a journal teaches self-discipline to do a task when you feel a trigger coming that needs to be expressed. Journal writing has healing benefits for people with depression, anxiety and sleep disorders because it helps to calm the mind. This is just some of the benefits of journal writing!

 

I used to and still do love writing with a pen and paper. Just the feeling of releasing my feelings while the ink glides across the paper. Seeing those words come to life is just a magical feeling. Unfortunately, my hands do not want to cooperate with writing with a pen and paper. After a few minutes of writing, my hands end up in a lot of pain so I have started making my journal writing digital. I use google drive to make my documents because it is free and I can use it among all my devices. Like last night, I needed to write my feelings out so I was able to grab my phone, open the app and type away until I felt better.

So, whether you need a pen and paper or a computer/tablet/phone to write your feelings, it doesn’t matter as long as you write your feelings out. Good feelings, bad feelings… all feelings matter and feel great when you write them down. I encourage you to start writing today!

Writing your feelings out in a journal keeps your POSITIVE life on track. Take a few minutes to write down the good, the bad or the ugly and release it to the universe.

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Baby Prints DIY Mason Jar Vase

With Mother’s Day less than a month away, I wanted to find a cute way to make a gift for the grandmothers that incorporated the baby. Everyone loves baby hands and feet, so why not use them as a print. With a simple mason jar, some paint I had in the house and the baby’s hands and feet…. a Mother’s Day gift was born!

All you need is a jar (I love the way mason jars look so that is what I picked), paint, a paint brush and a baby!

First, Paint a base coat onto the mason jar. I did 3 coats of white first, letting each coat dry for a few hours between.

Next, I attempted to get Evie’s handprints on to the jar with the yellow. She was less than cooperative because she just wanted to chew on her teething toy not play in paint. I let this sit for a few hours to dry.

Next, I printed Evie’s feet over the hand print to make a layered look. This does look cute on the ones where Evie let me roll her feet with the paint.

Last, I put daffodils in the jar to make a vase, but you can add some dirt and make this a planter or add their favorite candy for a candy jar. The possibilities are endless and they will love having a grandchild or child keepsake to decorate their house.

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A Letter To My Friends From an Infant’s Mom

Letter to My Friends

To All of My Friends,

Thank you for the support you have given me before I had this precious little baby that makes my whole world go round. Some of you are moms and some of you are not which means some of you understand what I am going through right now. My day, everyday, consists of taking care of this little person that relies solely on me to take care of their needs. This means lots of feedings, diaper changes and snuggles throughout the day and very little sleep.

I am sorry for not returning your calls or texts. I do see them and intend of getting back to you but I am usually in the throes of a baby related activity that I forget. When I remember again, it’s usually when I am awake for the 4am feeding which is not ideal to text someone to have a conversation. Then days go by and I remember again but feel guilty that I forgot so I don’t text or call you back because I have become a bad friend. I know many of you have given up on waiting for that text back and I am sorry. I am sorry that I have become a bad friend.

I see your fun times on Instagram and Facebook and wish I could be out having fun with you. My fun times are seeing my baby smile and giggle, to see their first roll over, being there for their first steps and when they speak their first word. My bottles are now filled with special booby juice instead of special grape juice. So when you have a drink, please have an extra one for me!

I don’t know when I can return to being a good friend again but I hope that when I am ready, you are willing to be my friend again. I look forward to have fun friend times again but right now my friend times are taken over with baby times. For those of you that are not mom’s yet, I will be there to support you when you are in the throes of Mommyhood. For my friends that are already mommies, I can’t wait to have playdates in the future.

I know that I am not a good friend right now but I am being the best Mommy that I can be. I am raising a precious child that will shape this world into a good world for all people. One day we will go out and have that glass of wine that I am dying for girly filled talking but until then enjoy your life and fun times.

Love,

Your Friend that is the Mommy to an Infant

To My Friends, I am sorry I am a bad friend but one day the baby will let me come out and play again.

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Baked Lemon Chicken Printable Recipe

This Baked Lemon Chicken has become a must have for Danyella who is my super-duper picky eater! This is a simple recipe which is great for a quick prep dinner. Danyella loves this chicken paired with baked or mashed potatoes and a veggie side (always my vegetarian!).

I used chicken quarters because it was on sale but using other chicken, such as boneless,  will adjust the cooking time to a shorter time frame. Please just watch and check your chicken temperature while cooking this recipe. Check the chart below to get an idea on cooking times for different chicken cuts.

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A fast prep chicken dish with delicious flavor.


Credit: kaella.net

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds chicken (cut of your choice)
  • 3 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 garlic cloves (pressed, chopped or sliced)
  • seasoning salt (to taste)
  • 1 lemon, sliced

Directions

  1. Set oven to 400 degrees. In a pan, melt butter and brown each side of the chicken piece (3-4 minutes per side).
  2. In a bowl, add the broth, honey, garlic and salt together. Whisk to get the ingredients to mix well.
  3. Add the chicken to a rimmed pan, pour the broth mixture over the chicken and set the lemon slices on top of the chicken.
  4. Bake the chicken for the recommended temperature: Breast, Bone In: 30 minutes, Boneless: 20 minutes, Quarter: 45 minutes, thigh 30 minutes, wings 30 minutes. Please use your good judgement in checking your chicken to be sure it is done and ready to serve.
  5. Serve and enjoy your Baked Lemon Chicken with your delicious sides!