Quick & Easy Banana Muffins

I’ve had several favorite peanut butter banana muffin recipes, but I’ve been on a chia seed kick lately! They are an amazing superfood  full of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients.  I’ve been putting them in my smoothies, but decided to get a little creative this morning and throw together a recipe for some yummy banana muffins that my 2 year old and I could enjoy!

The chia seeds and coconut oil are completely optional, but they super healthy and beneficial!  They are great ingredients to start incorporating into your daily diets!

Ingredients

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  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 tbs peanut butter
  • 1 cup greek yogurt (I used vanilla because that was in my fridge)
  • 2 eggs (farm fresh is best!)
  • 2 cups oats
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1.5 tbs baking powder
  • 1 tbs baking soda
  • 2 tbs chia seeds (optional)
  • 3 tbs coconut oil (optional, but strongly encouraged!)

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DIY Natural Deodorant

deodorant

There have been a lot of rumors swirling around about how deodorants and antiperspirants can be a cause of breast cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease, so I did some research to find out why…

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is no solid scientific proof that deodorants and antiperspirants are a cause of breast cancer; however, parabens (used as a preservative in deodorants) have been proven to mimic estrogen, which can promote the growth of breast cancer cells.  That’s enough to make me worry.  Breastcancer.org states that 1 in 8 women (that reach the age of 70) will develop an invasive form of breast cancer.

Antiperspirants contain aluminum that is engineered to plug up the sweat ducts.  Alzheimer’s patients have a much higher content of aluminum in the brain making the correlation seem pretty suspicious.  The Alzheimer’s Association predict a 44% increase in the disease growth by 2025!

While there is no concrete evidence that deodorants and antiperspirants cause these incredibly devastating diseases, the rise in people contracting these diseases is eerie.  Clearly, we’re doing something wrong!

Why we don’t need antiperspirants and deodorants

Our bodies are made to sweat.  Other than keeping our bodies cool in warm climates, sweating is a natural detox.  Antiperspirants clog up our sweat ducts, preventing the toxins from being released and putting aluminum on your skin to be absorbed into your system.

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DIY Toy Shelf

My husband and I found this great detailed table at a garage sale marked for $5 and we couldn’t pass it up!  It was a little beaten up, but we both saw potential for something great!..but for what, neither of us knew.  It sat unused in our living room for quite a while until we moved into our new house and I decided what we were going to do with it.

 

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At 2 years old, we decided it was time to get rid of our son’s nursery and give him a big boy room!  A huge milestone for this mama!  He, like any 2 year old boy, LOVES Thomas the Train–or as we like to call it at our house, the choo choo train.  We had already bought him this great little Thomas play mat that came with a mini choo choo train, so that was my inspiration.  We found a great toddler bed set at K-Mart and ordered some wall stickers from Amazon.  It has come together perfectly!

I’ll be honest…my kid is a little bit spoiled!  We have toys in every room of the house and we’re running out of corners and boxes to stuff them away in!  I decided that I wanted to use this table as a practical and cute way to help with this problem!  Lucky for me, the shelves were the perfect height for these canvas boxes that we found at Big Lots for $5!

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The Stinky Truth…Cleaning Cloth Diapers

When people find out that I cloth diaper, their immediate reaction is always the same– “Eww.”  So let me clear some things up right away.

No, changing a dirty diaper is not my favorite thing to do.

No, I do not touch poo more often than anyone who uses disposables does.

No, I do not have little poo particles swimming around in my washing machine.

And, no, it’s really not that big of a deal.

Cloth diapering is no more disgusting than picking up after your dog on a walk.  And if you don’t pick up after your dog on a walk, you’re just a bad neighbor!  In many ways, I find that using cloth is significantly LESS disgusting than disposables for several reasons:

  1. I’m not contributing an enormous amount of hazardous waste to landfills.
  2. I NEVER have to deal with poo-splosions…in turn…
  3. I never have to deal with poo stains on clothes.
  4. Cloth diapers absorb the stinky smell, unlike disposables.

I thought I would share my method of cleaning cloth diapers for those that are thinking about making the switch to show how easy it can be.

The Stash

This is my set-up…

ez change

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My New Best Friend…the Crock Pot

I don’t know what kind of stigma I had against the crock pot, but I was afraid to use one for several years.  My husband and I bought one a couple years ago, before our son was born, and it sat idly in our kitchen cabinet for much too long.

My good friend Pinterest opened my eyes to the beauty of crock pot meals very recently, however. Since having our second child and again taking on the task of being a stay-at-home mom, not at all realizing how incredibly different two babies is than one, dinner has become more of a challenge than I ever could have imagined.  I came across several posts about preparing several crock pot meals at once and freezing them, so all that it takes to make dinner for the next couple of weeks is dumping a bag into the pot!

I HAD to try it!  I had my husband “babysit” for a couple hours so that I had plenty of space and alone time to get everything chopped, portioned, and bagged.  Trying to keep my 2 year old out of the kitchen and MYSELF from running to my 2 month old every time I heard a peep was not the easiest task, but I am glad I did it!  The meals turned out wonderfully!  In fact, there was enough in each bag for two dinners and at least one lunch for either my husband or me.  Six bags lasted two weeks!

I just made another batch of meals this past Sunday and thought that I would share some of the recipes that I found on Pinterest and in the crock pot recipe books I found laying around.  I hope you enjoy them as much as we have

Combine all ingredients for each meal into a gallon freezer bag, mix it together, push out all the remaining air, and freeze!  Simple as that!  When ever you’re ready for a meal, put the bag in the refrigerator the night before so that it can thaw (or just run it under some hot water if you forget…GUILTY).  And there you have it…you’ve got a hassle free, family dinner ready to go!

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Honey…more than Pooh’s favorite snack

I don’t know about you, but as soon as my kids were born, all of the money that I had spent on myself previously seemed like nothing but waste.  Of course we ladies still need to indulge and pamper ourselves every once in a while to keep our sanity.  Pampering nowadays consists of half a bottle of wine and maybe an interrupted hour to take a nice, hot bubble bath.  Spending obscene amounts of money on beauty products just didn’t make sense to me anymore.  It’s easy to find affordable beauty products, but looking at the labels is a bit scary.  Do I really want all that junk that I can’t even pronounce seeping into my face?!  I don’t think so!  I started looking for alternatives and what I found was a little shocking.

honey

Honey.

You know, what bees make.  The same sticky sweetener I have in my kitchen to put in my tea.  All of the research I did to find the easiest, all natural face and body wash lead me back to honey.

So…how does it work?

Have you ever seen The Bee Movie?  I justify watching it as much as I do because I have a 2 year old, but let me tell you, Jerry Seinfeld knew what he was doing with that movie!  Basically, it divulges into the life of worker bees and all of the work that goes into making honey.  Pretty empowering stuff.  Anyways, there is some merit to what I am getting at.

Bees use nectar and nectar contains over 600 different compounds.  Honey contains an enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide, which is a gentle antiseptic.  Basically, when you put honey in your beauty products, it actually cleans!  It also contains other antioxidants, which help eliminate free radicals and encourage growth of new tissue.  That means that it heals irritated and damaged skin and also prevents scarring.  Honey is a natural humectant which means that it attracts and retains moisture, leaving your skin hydrated and fresh!

What skins types does it work on?

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How it began

coupons

I haven’t been a couponer my whole life.  Saving money wasn’t even close a priority when it came to shopping.  Actually, I used to be petrified of clearance sections.  Me, having perhaps a tiny case of OCD, would look at the mess and disorganization of the racks and shelves and immediately get overwhelmed.  My mom could spend hours in the clearance section.  My grandma raids the sales racks throughout the year to put together overflowing boxes of STUFF as Christmas gifts.

That was not me.

I used to think that only little old ladies used coupons.  I mean really, 35 cents here, 50 cents there…that doesn’t really add up to much, right? Is it even really worth the time to find the coupons and cut them from the paper just to save a buck or two?

It wasn’t until we got rid of our cable and I was looking for mindless TV shows to watch on Netflix that I found “Extreme Couponing”, and I decided to watch for a laugh.  But wait…these people were getting over $700 worth of items for like eight bucks.  Totally not possible. But I had to keep watching.  These people had stock piles of food that could last them up to a year and they’re telling me that they paid $25 for the loot! No way! I became addicted.  How was this possible?

My curiosity kicked into overdrive and I started researching.  I came across blog after blog of people proving to me that it is possible!  There is a science to it and (believe it or not) you can save money…A LOT of money!

So, I started taking notes.  Tips and tricks on how to get started with couponing.  I started small.  Getting two newspapers every Sunday and looking through the coupon books to see if they had money savers for the things that we normally eat.  The first time I used coupons at the grocery store, I think it saved us about $4.  My husband, being the overwhelmingly caring and supportive man that he is, told me how proud he was of me.  It was like a spark went off in my head!  Four bucks?  That’s nothing…next time I’ll make it ten!

From there it escalated…quickly. Read more