Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip with Apples
Recipes

Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip

Greek Yogurt Fruit Dip

I love simple recipes that require very little time and effort; yet taste amazing!  This is one of those recipes!

greek yogurt fruit dip
cool whip, greek yogurt, instant pudding mix

Ingredients:

  • 1- 2lb tub Cabot Greek vanilla bean yogurt
  • 1- 8 oz package lite cool whip
  • 1- 3.4 oz package instant french vanilla pudding

Directions:

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the greek yogurt and cool whip. Stir until well mixed
  • Add all of the instant pudding powder to the yogurt/cool whip mixture.
  • Stir well.
  • Refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Lick the spoon (optional).

***Tip: Save the yogurt and cool whip containers to use if you plan to package the dip up to take somewhere. 

apple dipped in fruit dip

This fruit dip is perfect for any type of fruit, but I especially love it with strawberries or apples. You can serve vanilla wafers or graham crackers to dip in it as well.

title image for 25 things to throw away today
Simple Living

25 Things to throw away TODAY!

title image for 25 things to throw away today

Clutter stresses me out.  Period.  There are few things that I despise more than going to look for something, only to end up digging through boxes of junk and not being able to find what I need.  What is even the point of hoarding all this stuff if you can never find what you need?

If you are at a point where you are fed up with the clutter and you want to start cleaning out today…then this list is for you.  

Before you even read this list and start running around your home to find stuff to throw away…stop right now.  First, find an area to act as your ‘command station’.  In your command station place three large boxes (possibly 4).  Use one for trash, one for recyclables, one for donate, and one for selling (optional).  

The selling box is optional, because that means you will need to take some extra work to take pictures of the object, post it for sale, and then meet with a buyer.  If you do not feel like doing all of that, then just stick to the three box method.  Now you are ready!

25 things to throw away….RIGHT NOW

  1. excessive number of coffee mugs
  2. mismatched, stained, or unused food containers
  3. multiple vases
  4. random or outdated electronics and cords
  5. old movies/ DVDs
  6. clothes that you don’t wear or that don’t fit
  7. shoes that are worn out or that you do not wear anymore
  8. mismatched socks
  9. unused or broken toys/games
  10. worn out or old sets of sheets/linens
  11. old glasses
  12. outdated makeup
  13. dried up nail polish, old nail clippers/files
  14. unused perfumes/ colognes
  15. hair accessories that you don’t use
  16. samples of any kind
  17. multiple bottles of shower gels or lotions (if you don’t use the brand)
  18. old medications
  19. expired foods (from your fridge and pantry)
  20. magazines 
  21. takeout menus (most are online)
  22. excessive pens, pencils, and markers
  23. cleaning products that you don’t use
  24. instruction manuals (most are online)
  25. old planners or calendars

This list is not a complete fix.  Purging and de-cluttering an entire home is not a quick or easy process.  I have been actively working for the last few months to reduce clutter…and I’m still not finished.  I have also made a commitment to reduce the amount of stuff that gets brought into our home.  There really is no point in purging, de-cluttering, and organizing if we just plan to buy more stuff to fill the space.  

Now GO!! See how much you can get rid of.  Feel the weight of your clutter being lifted from your shoulders as you fill your boxes. 

Just promise me that you won’t leave those boxes sit there for the next month.  Take them to the trash, recycling center, or donation center immediately.   

waking up early pinterest graphic and blog title image
Simple Living

8 Things that I do in the morning…while the rest of the house is asleep.

waking up early pinterest graphic and blog title image

8 Things that I do in the morning….to start my day off right. 

You do not have to be a morning person to benefit from waking up early.  You also don’t have to commit to doing it every day.  Waking up early is a great way to start your day off right.  I’m talking about waking up while the rest of your family is sleeping soundly in their beds.

My home is rarely quiet, so I find it peaceful to have some early morning ‘me time’ while the rest of the house is asleep.  (Okay-I shouldn’t say that everyone else is asleep.  My husband wakes up early too…earlier than me.  He leaves for the gym at 4am on most mornings…I think he might actually be the real hero in this story…).

Anyway- here are 8 things that I like to do first thing in the morning.

  1. Drink Water-  This is the very first thing that I do when I wake up.  I keep a large reusable cup by my bedside.  I refill it every night before bed.  After a good night sleep, I always wake up feeling like a shriveled up raisin.  Before I even have to think about starting my day, I pick up my cup and slurp down 10-16 oz of water.  After I get a little bit of water back in my body, it is then straight to the coffee pot for me!  
  2. Stretch-  You have been lying still for 7-8 hours.  Waking up over the course of a couple of minutes by stretching in bed is a great way to get your body (and mind) ready for the day ahead. 
  3. Get myself dressed and ready for the day-  So this one might seem obvious, but stick with me.  On the days that I wake up early, I am able to put on my makeup without having to look over my shoulder every 30 seconds to make sure my toddler isn’t dipping my brushes in the toilet.  Also, since my husband and I share a bathroom, I am able to get ready without my husband constantly in my way.  It is so nice to be able to get ready faster, without distraction, and actually look a bit more put together!
  4. Start a load of laundry-  There is always laundry to be done.  If I put laundry in the washer on my early mornings, it is ready to be moved over to the dryer before I leave for work.  Then, when I get home from work, I just fluff the laundry for a few minutes in the dryer and it is ready to fold. 
  5. Tidy up-  This doesn’t take long since I do most of the picking up and putting things away when I make my rounds through the house in the evenings.  Morning tidying for me usually just includes putting away dishes that are on the drying rack or in the dishwasher.
  6. Plan for the day-  I am a person that loves having a plan.  Waking up early allows me to plan for my day before things get busy.  I will open my work and personal calendar to see if I have any meetings or appointments.  Then, I take the time to physically write out an itemized to-do list.  I will write down every little thing that I hope to accomplish during my day. 
  7. Get one thing done on my to do list-  If the baby is still asleep, I will then use this time to cross one thing off of my to-do list….because half of the fun of a to-do list is getting to cross things off of it. 
  8. Personal/Self care- Now that I seem busier than ever with work and family, I find myself wondering, ‘when do other busy people have time to pluck their eyebrows or file their nails??’.  I use my early morning time for things like this.  Finally, if I don’t really have anything to do…(or more likely…just don’t have motivation to do anything)…I will sometimes sit in the quiet and enjoy my cup of coffee while doing absolutely NOTHING!

Some people like the saying ‘the early bird gets the worm’. I prefer the saying, ‘The tired Momma gets to drink her coffee in peace and quiet.’

striving for simple

Interested in seeing if waking up early can make a difference for you? Try waking up just one hour earlier on one day this week.  I guarantee that once you roll out of bed and rub the sleepies out of your eyes, you will enjoy it!

 

Simple Living

My simple method for keeping a home clutter free.

My simple method for keeping a home clutter free

Something in, something out

title for blog post

If you’re like me, you feel like you’re always organizing your cabinets, drawers, and closets.  You get everything in its perfect place.  Then, a few weeks later, everything is overflowing and disorganized again. 

How does that happen?? 

There are many things that happen on a regular basis that hinder our best efforts to stay organized.  One of the major things is that we are constantly accumulating more stuff!  My closets and cabinets do not magically get bigger just because I have purchased more things.  No wonder it always seems like my closets are going to explode.  

The first thing that I did in order to get more organized was to purge everything that I hadn’t touched, used, or worn in over a year.  That means I made it through all 4 seasons, birthdays, holidays, nights out, without ever needing it.  This purging process did not happen over night.  I used a systematic method and spread the work out over a month or so.  More on that in a different post!!

After I spent so many hours clearing my clutter, I was determined to keep things that way. 

So begins the enforcement of my something in, something out rule.  Every time that we come home with a new item that needs a ‘home’ in a cabinet, drawer, or closet- something old must first be removed from there before the item can be put away. 

Once we decide what item is going to be the ‘something out’, we then have to decide what to do with it.  The items has 4 possible places to go.

  • Donate- I keep a donate box in my garage.  Once the box gets full, I pop it in my trunk and drop it off in a donation bin at my local grocery store. 
  • Recycle-  If the item that I am getting rid of has no use to anyone, but is made of a recyclable material…then that’s where it goes.
  • Trash-  Only if there is no use for the item, not able to be recycled, or broken and unable to be fixed.
  • Re-purpose-  Sometimes I pull items out of cabinets or closets that would have a nice use somewhere else in my home.  If this happens, I re-purpose the item and place it in its new home.

Finally- when I feel like we are starting to slack with the something in – something out rule, I will briefly implement a one thing in, two things out rule to actively reduce clutter. 

The ultimate goal is to get to a place where you realize that you really don’t need lots of new items.  You will start to reflect closer on the items that you purchase.  You will start to consider if the item you are looking at purchasing is actually worth getting rid of something else in your home (often times the answer is no).  This will lead to a more content feeling with the items that you own…and less of a desire to purchase new items just for the sake of buying stuff. 

caramel apple bar
DIY

DIY Caramel Apple Bar

DIY Caramel Apple Bar

Perfect for a fall party buffet!

Disclosure- Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on purchase.

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This past weekend, we had a fall party with lots of friends and family.  I wanted to have a simple, yet, custom sweets area.  I decided to construct a DIY Caramel Apple Bar.  I had accumulated tons of yummy apples from my Fall CSA and this would be the perfect time to use them.

I purchased two bags of Kraft caramel bits and a super small food warmer (images link to the products on amazon!):



I then rummaged through my cabinets and found everything else that I needed.  That included kaboob sticks for poking the apples and toppings to sprinkle on the caramel after dipping.  I chose crushed peanuts, mini chocolate chips, sprinkles, almond slivers, toffee bits, and coconut flakes.  The possibilities for topping options are practically endless.

Check out the rest of my set up below!  YUMMMYYYY!

apple slice about to enter melted caramel2EEB27AC-FB36-49B0-8D25-B340B7B498ADtoppings for caramel apple bar37C5E5AE-A0A5-459D-BBF1-BA6113C2CDFB

My only complaint is that after letting the caramel in the warmer for a few hours, it began to taste a bit burnt.  I would suggest not melting and warming the caramel until the dessert portion of your party.

DIY

Fall Photo Set up

Fall Photo Set up

Happy Fall

For our end of the Fall party, we wanted a cute area to capture memories.  I decided to put together a fall-themed set up for pictures.  With the chilly weather on the forecast, we decided to set up indoors.

Disclosure- Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission on purchase.

photo of fall photo set up

I chose a plain wall in our mudroom.  We already had the bench in place.  Then surround the bench with all things fall!  We purchased bundles of corn stalks, small gourds, decorative field corn, pumpkins, and mums from our local plant farm and country store.  I strategically chose to host my fall party after Halloween.  This meant that all of the pumpkins, mums, and other decor at my local store were discounted by at least 50%.

 I purchased the banners from amazon.

Happy Fall Banner can be found here!

Chevron banner can be found here!

The photo area was a big hit at our party.  We now have tons of great photos to look back on as our kids grow up.  I plan to set something up at our future parties as well.

**Now that the party is over, it is time to tear my photo area down.  The mums will get planted somewhere in our garden to provide fall color for years to come.  As the gourds and pumpkins begin to rot, they will get taken down to our compost pile.  The decorative corn and cornstalks will get put in the compost pile as well.  Please don’t throw these types of things away.  They will decompose much better in a compost pile than they would in a land fill.**

Happy Fall Y’all

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Simple Living

6 months of buying nothing new

 

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6 Months of Buying Nothing New-

STARTS TODAY!

Our society seems to glamorize stuff.  Material goods are a status symbol to show other people how wealthy they are.  It is not just the rich that get caught up in buying things.  For me, when I take a look around our home, I am overwhelmed by how much we have accumulated.  We have only lived in our home for 5 years and we have multiple sets of living room furniture, dressers, rugs, plates, etc.  Most of these items we bought brand new, used for a few months, then saw something that we liked better….something that we just had to have!  I don’t even dare to think about how much money has been wasted on all of our purchases.  I’m not in the mood to cry tonight!

As I started a journey to live a more simple and content life, I realized that I needed to make some changes.  I decided to challenge myself to go 6 months without buying anything new.  ZERO shopping malls this holiday season for me!!

I have everything that I need (and more!) at this very moment to live comfortably.  In fact, most purchases that I have made in the past year have not been out of necessity, but instead, out of want.  I am able to look back on my purchases in the past year from various online stores.  It saddens me to see all of the ‘things’ that I have ordered, received, and then maybe used once before it ended up in a closet or cabinet.

This link from becomingminimalist.com does a great job of expressing many of the benefits of reducing consumerism, but I will summarize some of the reasons for you!

  1. Less debt
  2. Less time spent caring for possessions (fixing things, dusting tons of plastic items on a shelf)
  3. Less desire to upscale lifestyle norms
  4. Less environmental impact
  5. Less need to keep up with evolving trends
  6. Less pressure to impress with material possessions
  7. More generosity
  8. More contentment
  9. Greater ability to see through empty claims
  10. Greater realization that this world is not just material.

‘Excessive consumption promises happiness, but never delivers.’

My husband and I have gone on ‘spend freezes’ before to help reduce expenses, but we have never sustained this as a lifestyle.  My hope is that by trying this for 6 months, it will just become a normal way of life!

As I start this journey, I realize that I need to set some ground rules….and some exceptions to those rules.

  1. There will be no clothes or shoe shopping at retail stores.  I have plenty of clothes, so I really don’t need more.  If I find that I need something, I will plan to search consignment or thrift shops.
  2. Grocery store purchases will include groceries, medications, basic toiletries, and some of the very basic makeup that I wear.
  3. Since the holidays are almost here, gifts will be handmade or purchased from a small local business.  I may have to buy some supplies in order to make some of the gift ideas that I have.  Preferably, I will find some good experience gifts (like tickets to a show or a day at the zoo)!
  4. Any medical costs for family or pets will be taken care of normally.

I’m sure that there will be more rules as certain circumstances come up, but that is all I can think of for now!

Let me know your thoughts!  Would you consider going 6 months, 3 months, or even a week without buying anything new.