Monday, December 31, 2012

Living Without An Oven {BONUS} Skillet Lasagna Recipe

Posted by Heather Shields On 8:50 AM | 1 comment
You might remember my post mentioning my dryer and oven dying simultaneously. We already have chosen to go microwave free, so adding no oven to that mix felt disastrous at first! If I had leftovers to reheat I would pop them in the oven. Need to crisp something up? Oven. Baked ziti, lasagna, casserole, cornbread, muffins, french toast sticks. Oven, oven, oven. Needless to say I've had to improvise quite a bit. I actually reheated a slice of pizza on the stove. It worked out pretty well, I must say! Cheese was all melty, and the crust actually crisped back up!

This has also meant that I've had to either eliminate or change-up certain family staples. Take lasagna for example. Can you possibly make a good lasagna with only your stovetop?? Before my oven catastrophe I would have said no, but now... YES! I stumbled across another phenomenal blog, a foodie blog called Mel's Kitchen Cafe, and I fell in love. I've tried a handful of her recipes so far, and the Simple & Meaty Skillet Lasagna is one of our favorites.

Not only is it just as good as lasagna from the oven, but the method in which it is cooked means that it takes no longer than a boxed dinner. But the health benefits of it being homemade, and being able to eliminate all the toxic additives to a boxed dinner, are unsurpassed. So enjoy the recipe! I did tweak it just a little, but that was simply to adjust the consistency to one more close to that of our family lasagna. The dots of ricotta throughout are simply heavenly! Make sure you use good quality ricotta! Bon appetite!

Mel's final product. YUM!

Meaty Skillet Lasagna

  • 3 cans (14.5oz) pureed tomatoes
  • 1 can (8oz) tomato sauce
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves crushed or minced
  • salt to taste
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbs dried basil
  • 1/2 Tbs dried oregano
  • 1/2 lb ground italian sausage, mild or sweet
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 12 curly edged lasagna noodles, broken into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 3/4 cup ricotta ( NOT low-fat!)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and red pepper flakes and stir until the garlic becomes fragrant and pepper tickles your nose... less than a minute. Watch that the garlic doesn't start to brown or burn! Add the meat and stir to combine with the onion, garlic, and pepper. Brown until there is no pink left in the meat.

Add the tomatoes and spices and stir everything to combine. Add the broken lasagna noodles, stir again, and bump the heat up to medium-high. Stir often and cook until the pasta is al dente.

Remove pan from the heat and stir in half the mozzarella and parm, drop dollops of the ricotta all over the pan, and sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and parm. Serve and enjoy!



Lil Helper Cloth Diaper Review

Posted by Heather Shields On 6:44 AM | 4 comments
After cloth diapering 4 children, it takes something extra special to wow you. You would think that with as many brands are out there, as many different types of diapers that are available, that true innovation would be hard to come by. But Lil Helper has managed to do that!

When I got Lil Helper's one-size charcoal bamboo diaper in the mail I was doing a happy dance. All of my littles have been super heavy wetters, and this makes nighttime diapering a pain in the butt (pun intended). They've leaked through most diapers, even sposies, and even laying them down with a butt that is so fluffy is lifts their tail-end off the bed doesn't always help. On top of the heavy wetting is the issue os ammonia build-up. It happens to all cloth diaper mamas eventually, especially once your stash is built up to the point that you only need to wash your diaper every couple of days. The Lil Helper charcoal bamboo inserts are THE ANSWER! Here's some detailed info on them from their site.



  •  Keep Your Baby Feeling Dry: The charcoal liners can hold more than 180 ml of liquid and the great part is that your child will still feel dry. Keeping your child’s skin dry is the best way to remedy diaper rashes- charcoal bamboo’s wicking ability let’s you do just that. 
  •  Let’s You Air-Out Your Baby: Most pediatricians suggest that it is best to let your baby go commando or without a diaper. This is highly impractical. The leak resistant organic cotton/bamboo cover will let your baby’s skin breath while still providing protection.
  • Rash Creams Not Necessary: Rash prevention creams are supposed to create a water-barrier to keep your baby’s skin dry. But before application if your child is not thoroughly dry you could worsen the rash by trapping moisture on your child’s bum. You do not need any rash cream while using our charcoal bamboo cloth diapers. Our natural materials will keep your baby dry and well ventilated.
  • No Ammonia Smell: The charcoal present in our cloth diaper neutralizes most of the ammonia in your baby’s urine. You will no longer smell the strong odour of ammonia coming out of your baby’s diaper the next time you change them. Ammonia also worsens a child’s diaper rash- thankfully the charcoal takes care of this miscreant as well.
  • Soothing: The organic, hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial qualities of charcoal bamboo are best suited to soothe your baby's nasty diaper rash.

  • Pros The real info, from me? These diapers are AH-mazing! No ammonia smell when you walk into the baby's room in the morning. No leaks. No twisted or bunched inserts because they snap in place at both ends, no having to dig in a pocket for a lost insert, no stains, no bulky diapers that make your baby waddle or impede their ability to learn to walk, definitely trim enough and absorbent enough to wear for a day out and about, and the BEST fitting diaper I think I've ever tried! Seriously, my 16 month old is only on the second set of rise snaps, and there is another one down, and two more up! The waist in snug, and with the overlapping snaps even your littlest one can fit. Officially they range from 7lbs to 35lbs, but that seems to be the standard among most diapers, and I know this one will stretch beyond that size, as well as fit snugger in every growing stage.


    Want more Lil Helper awesomeness? They also carry soft, silky, bamboo wipes (truly luxurious! You wouldn't be amiss to use them as a pampering washcloth for mama instead of a poop swiper for baby's bottom. Not that I would do that or anything. Nope. Not me.), zippered or drawstring wetbags, and mats for the crib or on the go changes. The wetbags hold 3-4 diapers, and the drawstring type that I tried has been great. No leaks, and the bag draws up nice and tight so it keeps odors contained.

    Have I said enough good things yet? Not quite. On top of producing a top-notch diaper, Lil Helper is also extending a helping hand to babies in need. For every 3 Lil Helper diapers that are purchased, another will be donated to a baby in need. The program is called Baby Do Good and these donations happen on a monthly basis. You can read the heart-warming stories on their blog. To read more about why Lil Helper started their program and to have any other questions about it answered you can check out the Baby Do Good page on their website. Thank you for giving back Lil Helper, we applaud you!

    Cons Cons? Hmmmm, I want to give everyone a fair and honest review here, and that really does mean no cons. I haven't found a single thing about the diaper, wipes, or wetbag that I don't like.

    Hands down, Lil Helper has become my favorite new diaper. It's solved so many bothersome problems for us, and there is nothing like the peace of mind knowing you don't have to worry about finding ammonia burns on your baby's bum in the morning. It gives you both a better night's sleep!

    Wednesday, December 12, 2012

    We have a winner!

    Posted by Heather Shields On 6:32 PM | No comments
    Thank you to everyone who entered, our sponsors, and Jessica Allen for hosting this series! Minimalist Mama was our winner and she is ecstatic! Stay tuned for more holiday fun and giveaways!

    Friday, December 7, 2012

    Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens...

    Posted by Heather Shields On 12:12 PM | No comments
    Today I want to share some positivity. In this season of hustle and bustle, finding the perfect sale, gimme's, gotta-get-it's, and keeping up with the Joneses... take a minute and appreciate all that you have and hold dear.

    friday favorite things | finding joy

     Here is my list


    1. My Family You see that header? It's the group of pictures at the top of my blog. Those people make my world go round. Not money. Not things. And if, for some reason, we were unable to wrap presents or trim a tree this year, I know we would all be fine. Because we have each-other.
    2. My Kuerig This one makes me chuckle, and it might make you raise an eyebrow. But the reality is that I'm a slow starter in the morning. Ever tried to start slow with 4 kids and a hubby circling round you with requests and needs before your feet even hit the floor? It's not pretty. My Kuerig makes it bearable.
    3. Our Home My husband and I have been renters for years. His job moved us around, we chose a few moves, and so there was no point in buying our family home. We made that change this year, and at the start of the summer we moved into our first home. It feels amazing knowing that not only is our money not being wasted, but I can do my wife thing and make it FEEL like a home!
    4. Creative Outlets I'm a right brain human through and through. I am left handed, terrible at math, and love to express myself creatively. I write, I sew, I sing, play with makeup and do weird things with my hair, all in the name of creativity. But it's me, and I am so thankful that I have found activities that I connect with that help channel my energy.
    5. 8 Year of Marriage... with a lifetime more to come In a country where the divorce rate is 50%, and most marriages end by the 7th year, I feel like we've accomplished something spectacular having made it to 8. We have definitely grown closer over the last year, and even with our ups and downs I look forward to spending every day of the rest of my life with my husband. With a few girl's nights our thrown in there. ;)
    6. Friends This might look a little far down on my list {and after the Keurig to boot!} but my friends are such an intrinsic part of my life. I talk or text at least 1 of them on a daily basis, they have held me up through some of the hardest times, and stood beside me when I felt like I was on top of the world. Some of them I have never met in person, but if I saw them tomorrow at the grocery store there would be zero weirdness. Sometimes we'll go weeks or months without talking... and then pickup right where we left off. My friends are perfect for me, and I endeavor to be just as well suited for them!
    7. My God "So the last shall be first, and the first shall be last." Matthew 20:16 I leave off with my thankfulness for my God, my faith, not because I thought of it last, and not because I'm more thankful for the rest of these than Him. No, I want this to be last thing you read. I am so thankful that inspite of how badly I screw up on a daily basis I have a God that loves me, forgives me, and constantly gives me new opportunities to challenge myself and grow in Him. 
    What are you thankful for today?

    Sunday, December 2, 2012

    Handmade Holidays {Pinterest in pintastic!}

    Posted by Heather Shields On 10:08 PM | 1 comment
    I think 99% of the planet has discovered the awesomeness that is Pinterest. There is such a huge plethora of information from recipes, to health and beauty, to LOL memes, and everything in between.

    In keeping with our Handmade Christmas series, I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Pinterest projects. Some of these I plan to use myself, some I only wish I could complete! Enjoy!

    Teacup Candles My mom collects teacups, and so this one immediately caught my attention. Every year the adults in my family throw names into a hat and everyone draws their Secret Santa. I knew if I got my mom's name I would be making this, but alas, I might have to wait until Mother's Day. You could find beautiful cups at a thirft store or garage sales, and even with the cost of the wax, you are spending mere pennies for a beautiful handmade gift!


    Fuzzy Slippers These are just yummy! Whatever fabric your {recipient's} heart desires, coupled with soft, sumptuous insides.. anyone would be delighted to receive these!


    Pajama Pants If you're like me, you buy your kids Christmas PJs every year. This year I'm going to make them myself, save a few $$, and have WAY more cherished memories because of it!


    Cute Bags Have a teen, young adult, or grown woman on your list? Make them a bag. You simply can't go wrong! And my favorite thing about this is you can personalize the style and functionality for the person in mind.



    Trendy Pillows Everyone loves when their home is warm, inviting, and beautiful. Giving your friend or loved one a beautiful handmade pillow that compliments their home is so thoughtful!


    Handmade Bracelets This is a lovely collection of easy to make bracelets. Woman - Jewelry = WIN!


    Fun Fleece Hats Little ones will have so much fun with these easy peasy to make fleece hats! Even if you don't live in a super cold climate, they'll don them and have FUN!


    Coffee Cozy FINALLY! A gift you can give a man! Or woman. Well, maybe some men would dig the fleece hats as much as kids, but this one can go to a may-un. Macho it up with buttons, boy colors, and he can wrap his decaf mocha latte with nonfat whip in testosterone infused style.


    Earbud Case Say you have a Sister. I do. Say she is connected with her ipod like it's her umbilical cord and it's still attached. Mine does. Say she doesn't always keep up with her headphones so well. Mind doesn't. Or that, perhaps, when she comes to visit your kids take her earbuds and rip them, chew them, or jump on them. Mine don't... but yours probably do. This nifty little gift is a way to help your sister keep up with her earbuds, and away from your kids. Yours. Not mine. Because mine don't do that kind of thing.


    There are so many fantastic ideas on Pinterest, and I hope you garner some inspiration from my ideas! Follow me on Pinterest through any of the above links, and keep up with my new pins!

    Saturday, December 1, 2012


    I am pleased to welcome you to the 3rd annual Merry Fluffy Christmas Giveaway Hop hosted by And Then There Were 5. There are over 50 blogs participating, including yours truly,each with sensational prize packages worth $50 or more. Be sure to scroll down and visit each blog and enter their giveaways as well.
    Sneaky Green's prize package is comprised of 3 smashing diapers from amazing companies who go above and beyond in their charity work. You get your choice of color/print/fabric when you win this fluffy prize.
    Our lucky winner will receive our package worth $64.90.
    This package includes...



    Little Bee Co. Cloth Diaper {review posted HERE}
    SRP $23.95
    The Little Bee Co. is all about giving back. For every diaper purchased through their company, another is donated to a baby in need. These purchased culminate in diaper drops delivered round the world. 



    Lil Helper Diaper {review coming SOON!}
    SRP $25.95
    Lil Helper is another fantastic charitable company. For every diaper purchased through their company, another is donated to a baby in need. With unique spec's, like charcoal inserts, you don't want to miss this one!



    Glowbug Diaper {review coming SOON!}
    SRP $15
    Glowbug cloth diapers sells their expertly made diaper in packages ONLY. This saves you money, and you know that each diaper is handcrafted with quality care. 

    {NOTE... please read before attempting to enter! Rafflecopter is having issues with some versions of Internet Explorer properly loading the forms. If you are having an issue with my raffloecopter form, try another browser (if you have one available). If you still are having troubles PLEASE let me know and I will see what I can do!}

    a Rafflecopter giveaway
    This giveaway listed at Blog Giveaway Directory

    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Handmade Holidays Tutorial {Cloth Baby Wipes}

    Posted by Heather Shields On 8:14 PM | No comments

    During the holidays we might be tempted to dig ourselves deeply into debt. Buying Furbies and Barbies, Power-wheels and Ipods. Buying any and every hot item to satisfy the whims of our children, spouses, and loved ones.

    But what if... 

    Our gifts were born of love, instead of luxury.

    Our hands contributed more to our giving than our gas tanks.

    Inspiration, rather than lists, lead the way to finding that perfect something for that perfect someone.

    We put more time and effort into handcrafting heartfelt gifts for those we love, rather than filling up the space under our trees with miscellaneous store-bought goodies just to fill up that space.

    I would LOVE to help you make that happen! I plan to have a series of tutorials, aiding you in finding inspiration, and instruction, to make some lovely gifts for your loved ones this holiday season. Here is the first of those tutorials!

    {HANDMADE BABY WIPES/WASHCLOTHS TUTORIAL}

    What you're going to need
    • 2 colors of contrasting fabrics (I used flannel for both sides, but you can also use terrycloth, velour, or any soft, yummy, absorbant material)
    • thread (I used contrasting colors for my thread as well, purple on the top spool, and blue on the bottom. It added a really cool effect, and gave different color to each side of the cloths)
    • wipe box lid (to use as a pattern for your cloths)
    • fabric sheers or rotary cutter
    • fabric marker
    • Complimenting color bias tape (not pictured here)


    Step 1 Start with laying your fabric pieces right side together. Fold this over so you end up with wrong sides of the same fabric touching. This will double your cutting efforts!


    Step 2 Trace your wipe lid across your folded fabric, getting the pieces as close together as possible. Mine were actually touching so that in making 1 cut I was actually shaping the left side of 1 wipe, and the right side of the other.


    Step 3 Cut the sides and tops of your traced wipes. When you have these cut, your bottom will be connected. slide your sheers in between this fold and cut across. Like so.


    Step 4 Your fabric is already in the right position, so now it's time to sew! Check that your machine is threaded properly and start halfway down one of the long sides of the wipe sewing the 2 fabric pieces together. Leave a 1 inch section unsewn, so you can turn the wipe rightside out.


    Step 5 This is what it will look like. Be sure to trim any excess fabric from the edges.


    Step 6 Turn the wipe rightside out by poking your finger into one of the corners and working it through the hole that your left on the side. Continue this with all the corners, tugging gently to get all the fabric out.


    Step 7 You will be left with a small hole in the side. Simply tuck this in on itself to line up with the rest of the edge and begin stitching at this location.


    Step 8 Now stitch around the entire edge, as close to the edge as you can get. you can use a more decorative stitch if you so desire. And voila, you're done! Lather, rinse, repeat, and you'll have a handmade set of baby wipes/washcloths in minutes!


    Step 9 To add an extra handmade touch and really make your gift pop get a piece of complimenting bias tape. Measure and cut to go around the wipes with about an inch overlapping. Stitch the ends together with a contrasting thread and a decorative stitch and you have a BEAUTIFUL, thoughtful, well put together gift that you can be proud to give to any parent!


    Friday, November 9, 2012

    The Little Bee Co. {Bamboo Solids Diaper Review}

    Posted by Heather Shields On 3:15 PM | 3 comments

    When I think of cloth diapers I think of beautifully patterned, fluffy, squishy goodness. I think of well stocked diaper stashes, and endless supplies of absorbent inserts. Unfortunately, for alot of the world their diaper supplies aren't quite so cushy, and in lieu of diapers they use old cloths, or sometimes nothing at all. 

    Enter The Little Bee Co.

    Where soft bums are scare, and babies are lacking in squishy goodness, The Little Bee Co. is helping. Every diaper that is purchased through their company is matched with another diaper donated to an orphan in need. They have done diaper drops in China, Russia, the US, East Africa, South America, and more. The mission statement "Bee changed and change the world" is one they take seriously. With names like Honduran Sunrise, Cambodian Blush, and Turkish Moon, each of their vibrantly colored diapers is named for a place where children are desperately in need.

    I was given the opportunity to try one of their Bee Changed Bamboo Solids diapers, and I have to say it is the softest thing I have EVER felt! The PUL outter is a stunning blue, called African Rain. The inner is a soft, plush, cozy bamboo fleece. Each Bee Changed Bamboo diaper comes with 2 microfiber inserts, or for a few more dollars you can upgrade to hemp and organic cotton inserts. There are 12 different colors to choose from, and this is a one size diaper that will bring your baby home from the hospital, and keep them dry until they are potty trained.
    I made sure to give my new fluff a proper test run, so after prepping the hemp inserts I set my princess up for some sweet dreams in her new Bee Changed diaper. I used both inserts, and by morning they were heavily wet, but not thoroughly soaked. And this is with a sippy of milk before bed! Her sheets were dry, and when I picked her up in the morning, my shirt stayed dry too. (You cloth mamas know the dread of a wet spot on your shirt before that first morning diaper change!)

    Next up was a several hour outing to the grocery store. Moving around presents a whole other host of obstacles to cloth diapering because the pressure of sitting on the diaper, as opposed to the light weight of sleeping, tends to squish out liquid from the inserts, and more times than I care to admit I've had to change my kiddos clothes because of diaper mishaps. We were in car seats, in shopping carts, and back in the carseat for a good 3 hours (without a change) and when I got home her clothes were still completely dry!

    I don't have a single complaint about our Little Bee Co. diaper, and with the adorable Bee Change tag on the back, I found myself wanting to hike up her dress to show off the adorable saying and the gorgeous color. This is one of our new favorites! The inserts are also contoured, and fit in all of my other pockets. Score!



    I feel blessed to live in a country where we are able to provide for our family so well. We are not rich, but our babies are always taken care of. I can only wish the same for every child around the world. You can purchase diapers from The Little Bee Co. in good conscience, knowing your little ones bottom will be clean and dry, and at the same time you are providing for another precious baby somewhere in the world. 

    To keep an eye on The Little Bee Co. continuing diaper drops check out there Diaper Drops page.

    I want to leave you with a Bible verse that is quoted on the Bee Changed Mission Statement page, and I urge you to watch the video below that goes into further detail about The Little Bee Co.'s mission.



    "Religion that God our Father accepts as Pure and Faultless is to care for orphans"
    James 1:27

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    No GMOs & Prop 37

    Posted by Heather Shields On 6:32 PM | No comments

    Yes, I live in the South. A long, long, long… long way from California. But with the elections being done, the votes having been cast, and federal, state, city, and county officials finding their places in office, there was a proposition, Prop 37, way out west, that I had my eye on.

    Prop 37 would have required all retailers and food and beverage companies to label genetically modified ingredients. For the life of me I can’t think of one. single. reason. not to have our food properly labeled. Except for this. Ignorance is bliss. I didn’t say it was a good reason, but that is the only plausible explanation. It’s easier to stick your head in the sand and play the part of the proverbial ostrich than to meet with change head on and be called into action.

    Is that who we are as a nation? Do we prefer to ignore important information in favor of convenience? I guess we really have become the fast food nation.

    I shake my head, and hope that some day soon America will realize that knowledge is power. Well, to be clear, prop 37 was only defeated by a small margin, and considering the powerhouse companies fighting against it (Monsanto, Hershey Co., etc) that’s not a bad loss. It was close. Next time, I hope it wins by a landslide. 

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    Happy Halloween!

    Posted by Heather Shields On 5:57 AM | No comments
    Have you ever seen a more accurate pumpkin carving? I haven't.


    Monday, October 29, 2012

    Sneaky Green Tip #4

    Posted by Heather Shields On 4:25 PM | No comments
    While scrounging in the cupboards tonight, trying to pull dinner together with what I have on hand, I realized a very simple, very yummy substitution that I've never made. So now, I'm sharing my lightbulb moment with you.

    SWAP QUINOA FOR RICE!

    It's really that simple. While it does take longer than instant rice, 10-15min, it's a higher quality grain. It's also an easy way to add some variety to your family's diet.

    Here's what I'm making.

    Hamburger Broccoli Casserole

    14oz portion Cream of Something soup
    1lb grass fed ground beef
    1 onion, chopped
    6 cups frozen broccoli, prepared
    1 cup uncooked quinoa
    2.5 cups bone broth
    1tsp Italian seasoning
    1Tbs liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
    1/2 tsp onion powder
    1tsp salt
    1/2 tsp black pepper

    Combine 2 cups of the bone broth with the quinoa. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 10-15min. Mean while brown ground beef and onion in a medium skillet. When the onions and beef are cooked through drain, and then add the COS soup, spices, liquid aminos, and quinoa. Layer broccoli in bottom of a large casserole dish and top with beef/soup mixture. Sprinkle grated Parmesan on top and bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes, until hot and bubbly. Enjoy!!

    Serves 6

    Sunday, October 28, 2012

    Football has been ruling my life!

    Posted by Heather Shields On 1:12 PM | No comments
    Baby mermaids are the best!
    Hello again lovely readers! I know posts have been few and far between over the last 2 weeks, but football was ruling my life. My 7 year old's football team made the playoffs so they bumped practices to 3 times a week, as well as game days. I was eating, sleeping, and breathing football. 

     Halloween is Wednesday, and I am trying to pull together costumes for my 1 and 2 year old. I would love to hear some ideas for {quick & easy} homemade costumes for a girl and boy. I was originally going to do matching witch costumes for myself and baby girl, but I think the time has passed to be able to do that. The 2 year old has no opinion at all on his costume. He loves Thomas and Cars 2, and I asked if he wanted to be either one and I was met with a resounding, "No!" So I'm at a bit of a loss. I think this calls for a Pinterest intervention. :) Last year I managed to put together a last minute mermaid costume for Sissy, and a few years ago I made a super easy SUPER adorable gnome costume for my then 1year old boy.

    My green monster and garden gnomes in 2010
    So show me pics, give me your ideas, spam me with links for cute, easy, cheap or free homemade costume ideas.

    Sunday, October 21, 2012

    Five years ago today...

    Posted by Heather Shields On 8:35 PM | No comments


    Today is my Luke's 5th birthday. Five years ago today I became a mother of 2. A mama of boy(s), plural. A mother to one blue-eyed blondie, and a brown-eyed brown-haired daddy-look-alike. An entire pregnancy spent in worry about whether I could possibly love another baby as much as I loved my first was put to rest.

    He is our chunky monkey, our Lukey Pookey, our Bubby, our Bubba, our funny, sweet, loving, rough and tumble bruiser all-boy 5 year old. We love you Luke!!


    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday

    Posted by Heather Shields On 9:22 AM | 1 comment
    And then I woke up. And realized I have 4 kids, 7 pets, 1 large messy husband and my house will never be perfect.

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Life Happens

    Posted by Heather Shields On 8:31 PM | 1 comment

    I've been absent for a few days and felt I owed you, the readers, an explanation.

    I think it's safe to say that I am a Mommy Blogger. A heroic, albeit underrated, class of bloggers. We fight the battles of daily life, of spilled sippy cups, and potty training. Teething and breast-feeding. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, ball parks, and ballet studios. We wash, dry, fold, and hang our clothes while airing our dirty laundry to you, the lucky and hopefully entertained readers. 

    The crux of being a Mommy Blogger is that we are always fighting the battles of daily life. We yearn to be heard, to voice our opinions, and use words with more than 2 repeating syllables. And yet, those spills and mishaps and schedules take precedence over our precious blogs. Our family's need for fulfillment and nurturing ultimately trumps our desire for a creative outlet. 

    Last week I was in the ER. Last night my baby girl decided to wake up as I was going to bed and not fall back to sleep until 4:30 this morning. So on two hours of sleep I dressed my big boy, sent him off to school, rinsed dishes, washed laundry, made a run to the store for toilet paper and a new broom, picked the big boy up from school, read 2 books with the kids, dressed the big one for football, sat through 2 hours of football practice with the other 3 kiddos, endured non-stop screaming from baby-girl on the way home, and finally I have spent the last 2 hours with her waking up and screaming, falling asleep, waking up and screaming, and finally falling back asleep.

    And now I'm here. My little place. Where I can let flow my creative juices and allow my brain to expand beyond a 7 year old level. And still, I am a Mommy Blogger. I'm smack in the middle of fighting the battle of daily life. You will probably encounter {many} typos. At times I may sound incoherent {because I am}. But I always give to you, my readers, what's left of me at the end of the day or during those stolen quiet moments {when someone is undoubtedly painting my walls with red fingernail polish}. Those are some of my most prized parts. The little nuggets of wisdom that I've gleaned from a day of hard fought battles and harder won wars. My precious time, when I could be snuggling my husband or catching up on episodes of Parenthood. And the private inner me that my children are too young to recognize, friends are too busy to connect with, and my husband is too male to get. I continue to cultivate that part of myself in hopes of helping, healing, and entertaining you. My readers.

    So please remember, I am Mommy first. Blogger second.

    Thursday, October 11, 2012

    Healthcare vs. Sickcare

    Posted by Heather Shields On 9:05 PM | 3 comments
    Credit: Prevention Matters
    I feel a bit silly writing about this as I wound up in the ER on Monday afternoon because I was sick. I was under the weather for a few days, but Monday I grew progressively worse throughout the day. I had a horrible coughing fit that led my throat to swell and I was having difficulties breathing. After running the kids to the neighbors house {thank God for good neighbors!} the hubby took me to the ER. Two breathing treatments, 1 steroid shot, and a lung X-ray later they told me I had bronchitis and sent me on my way with 3 prescriptions.

    Antibiotics, oral steroids, and a cough medicine.

    I hate prescriptions. I know they're necessary at times, but I have really begun to rebel against the Rx. Especially when it comes to my personal health. In much the same way that I feel the difference in my body when I eat unhealthy foods, I feel the difference between the "health" that prescription drugs bring and nutritional holistic healthcare give. There is a sense of overall well-being, health, vibrance, vitality that proper nutrition gives me. Treating a specific sickness with specific drugs fixes the symptoms, but doesn't make me healthier overall. Generally if I'm getting sick, something is lacking.

    So now that we're entrenched in cold & flu season, little ones noses are running and being slimed all over their sleeves, how do you beef up your immune system and stay healthy? After all, it's easier to focus on your healthcare now than to deal with sickcare later. Like me. *snort*


    • Increase your Vitamin C  We all know about the "recommended daily intake" of vitamins and minerals that are suggested. I also think it's safe to say that most people feel that if they pop a multi-vitamin and meet that suggested amount they are good to go. But did you know that the recommended levels of vitamins and minerals aren't meant to give you sufficient levels for health? Nope. It's only to keep you from being vitamin deficient. There is a HUGE gap between vitamin deficient and healthy. The RDI of Vitamin C is only 75mg. A single cup of raw bell pepper has 195.8% of your RDI of Vitamin C. Although you should be aware that cooking causes a breakdown in C, so it's best to eat raw. Vitamin C is also water soluble, which means your body does not store it for later use, and it's nearly impossible to have too much. It increases iron absorption, is a powerful antioxidant that helps your immune system fight off infection, and helps prevent gallstones! So how much should you aim for? If you're healthy, the Vitamin C Foundation recommends all people over the age of 3 get at least 3,000 mg per day. It's always better to get your vitamins through whole food sources, so here are some of the best Vitamin C foods.

    • Buy a Neti Pot  A What?? A neti pot is a container use to irrigate your sinus cavities. Your tilt your head, insert the tip of the pot into your nostril, and the salted water rushes through your sinuses, clearing away dirt, debris, bacteria, allergies, and sickness. It's slightly acidic pH level gives it an antibacterial effect. Seeing as there are a plethora of airborne bacteria that we encounter on a daily basis, and that number only rises during the colder months, daily nasal irrigation with a neti pot is a natural step to add to your heath routine.

    • Add a probiotic to your vitamin regiment Probiotics are a way to introduce good bacteria into your gut. They keep yeast levels at a minimum, fight off bad bacteria, and  several studies have shown that probiotics decrease the duration of colds and flu as well as regulate immunity in the respiratory system.

    • Wash Your Hands Elementary, right? But the key is actually doing it. We know that when we touch something someone else touched we're touching everything those other people touched as well. {Try saying that 3 times fast} So don't just lecture your kids on the hand-washing routine, but make sure that you're leading the way with your example.

    I'm not claiming that if you do these things you'll never get the sniffles, but every little bit helps. And each of these HAS been proven to be efficient in fighting off colds & flu. Four simple, easy, basic steps to take your healthcare into your own hands, before you wind up having to get sickcare. Like me. *snort*

    Tuesday, October 9, 2012

    Happy 1 Month Blogoversary to Me!

    Posted by Heather Shields On 11:15 AM | 2 comments
    September 9 was the launch for Sneaky Green, so happy 1 month Blogoversary to me!





    Bathroom {ART} Printables

    Posted by Heather Shields On 10:40 AM | No comments
    I wanted to share these printables with you guys. I found them at Tip Junkie and they are originally from Free Time Frolics. Tip Junkie is a phenomenal blog about crafting, life, and everything in between. I've never visited Free Time Frolics, but I will be now!

    I have boys. 3 boys. 4 if you count my husband. All 3 (4) are potty trained. All 3 {cough4cough} make a mess in the bathroom. I am printing out these out NOW, and hanging them as soon as I can switch around some frames. Not only are they so so cute, I will be hanging them directly over the toilet, which is conveniently next to the sink in hopes that my boys {coughandmancough} will improve on their bathroom etiquette without me having to turn into Queen Nag. I'm not very fond of her, and I think they like her even less.

    So here's to hoping and sweet {FREE} bathroom art!

    Thanks Tip Junkie & Free Time Frolics!

    Instructions

    # 1
    Click the "inspired by" blog link and then simply right-click the image your want to save it to your computer. These will Print as an 8x10.




    Couldn't be easier, right? Print, Hang, Enjoy! 

    Green Fall Decorating Ideas

    Posted by Heather Shields On 7:02 AM | No comments
    Fall is in full swing here in the South! We woke up to 38 degree temperatures, and our highs haven't been out of the 60s for a few days. I love the consistently crispy cool temperatures! I love the leaves changing colors! I love seeing little fingers wrapped around steaming mugs of hot cocoa while we settle in for a movie night! And I love love love all the beautiful fall decorations!

    We started our decorating last week. We are going for a mostly Halloween look at the moment with spider webs and a skeleton, but I want to add several pumpkins. I found some beautiful green fall decorating ideas that I hope can inspire you to get in the fall spirit!

    The Traditional Look
    BHG Fall Front Entry

    I don't think you can get more all-inclusive than this style! Food, and foliage, and gourds, and hay...  BHG has incorporated nearly every nature aspect of fall here. The wreaths look easy to put together, and if you can get your hands on the wooden bushel baskets you're golden!

    The Simplistic Look

    Whether it's strung in a garland, surrounding a fragrant candle, used in making table-top topiaries, or simply piled high in a beautiful glass jar cranberries make the perfect fall decoration. Their deep red color just screams autumn, they are incredibly versatile, and did I mention they're beautiful?

    The Whimsical Look
    BHG Pumpkin Stepping Path

    And finally, another beautiful setup from BHG. I adore the look of all the pumpkins scattered in the walkway, and can you imagine the ambiance and warm glow that the jarred candles give the path at night? It's spectacular, and probably my favorite!

    Find other great homemakings tips @


    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Making Your Own Convenience Foods

    Posted by Heather Shields On 9:29 AM | 1 comment
    Luke helping me make oatmeal packets.
    As a busy mom whose husband works alot, there are plenty of times when I need convenience. When it comes to food convenience usually means that the food isn't nutritious, it's full of junk, and is likely to make my kids act crazy later. So what's a harebrained mom to do? Why make my own, of course!

    Years ago I stumbled across The Hillbilly Housewife. Her site first introduced me to homemade convenience foods. Before that day it never dawned on me that I could make my own taco seasoning, or a powdered "cream of" mix, or (eek!) corn-dogs! The first thing I made was corn-dogs. They weren't great, but they were edible, and the kids loved them. We've since changed the type of hotdogs we eat, and I would love to venture into that recipe again, but the point is that you can make these quick-fixes at home. And because you are controlling every ingredient, you can make them healthy and nourishing! Here are the ones I use in my house most often.

    Taco Seasoning

    • 1/2 cup chili powder
    • 1/4 cup onion powder
    • 1/8 cup cumin
    • 1 Tbs garlic powder
    • 1 Tbs paprika
    • 1 Tb salt
    • 2 tsp cornstarch
    Mix it up, shake it up, and use a few (3?) tablespoons per/lb of meat. 


    Cream of Everything Soup

    • 1/3 cup nonfat dried milk
    • 3/4 cup cornstarch
    • 4 Tbs dried minced onion
    • 1 tsp basil
    • 1 tsp thyme
    • 1 tsp pepper
    • 1 tsp salt
    Whisk together with 1 1/4 cup of appropriate stock (chicken, beef, veggie) over medium heat until thickened.

    Chocolate Syrup

    • 1 1/2 cups raw sugar
    • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 cup water
    • pinch of salt
    • 1 tsp vanilla
    Combine sugar, cocoa powder, water, and salt in a pan. Stir to combine and get rid of all lumps.Continue stirring while the sugar melts. Once your ingredients are boiling, turn the burner down a bit until your pan is just simmering. Let it go until you reach your desired consistency. Let your syrup cool before pouring it into a container to be stored.




    Brown Sugar Instant Oatmeal

    • 1 large container of quick cook oats (mine is 47oz)
    • brown sugar
    • salt
    • plastic baggies
    Into each plastic bag, measure out 1/2 cup of the oats, 1.5 Tbs of brown sugar, and a pinch of salt. Each bag is equivalent to 2 packets of store bought instant oatmeal. Even the baby eats at least 2 packets of store-bought, so this size works perfect for us. If you want them smaller, half the ingredients per bag.


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