My Thrive Market Haul

If you're like me, you love peeking into other people's refrigerators and pantries. Just me? ;) It's one of my favorite things to watch online or read blogs about. Because I love sharing fun brands and healthy food I'm loving, I thought I'd film an unboxing of what we got from Thrive Market this month. If you don't already know about Thrive Market, you need to. I have a whole post about it here and have a page dedicated to it on my site here. 

I love feeding our family healthy foods, but can't afford a lot of the stuff I'd normally want! Enter Thrive Market, and it's made shopping for healthy food that much easier and less expensive. 

Side note, please forgive my shakey camera skills and when I'm out of focus at the end...and the screaming baby ;) Haha! First try at anything is always going to be pretty choppy, right? Please leave your best video tips in the comments! ;) 

 

And because Thrive Market is so generous and I love you so much, I want you to enjoy trying it for free to see if you love it just as much as we do! 

The Pursuit of Less: An Update

It wasn't until recently that I realized just how streamlined my home has become. We have minimal toys, minimal decor, etc. and honestly even with less stuff, it still feels overrun and crowded in our home sometimes! I didn't realize it until I was in someone else's home that was much more filled than mine. It didn't feel overwhelming to me because it obviously reflected that persons style and values, but I learned something from that experience.

  1. Everyone has their own values, toys in their place and hidden might not be everyone's #1 value and that's okay.
  2. My home really is a place of respite and peace for me. As I looked around our home and assessed it with fresh eyes, I realized that it was in fact simple, as I had hoped! It wasn't but 48 hours later that two people mentioned the same thing to me - how clean and simple our home feels. That made my heart so happy because in this whole journey, that has been a big priority for me.
  3. My heart truly does lust after the things I know I don't really need. I was amazed at how quickly I began thinking I needed almost everything that I saw in the home I visited. I had to really wrestle with my heart for a couple of days after and remind myself WHY I am searching for simplicity and less in my life in a culture that practices little to no self control with wants and desires. 
     

Now that we've moved to our new home, there are so many things I want to do decor and organization wise. I've learned that it can't all be done at once and that is a good thing. The extra time to think things through gives me more confidence when I finally do purchase something because I know that it is going to serve our family long term. Some qualifiers I like to think through before purchasing something new are:

  • How will this item serve me/my family?
  • Does it serve our values or hinder them?
  • Does this item add joy and beauty to our home or life?
  • Does it simplify my systems or add more to my plate? (ie. one more thing to clean, maintenance, etc.)
  • Will it cause me anxiety or relieve me or stress? (for example, our pantry organization - total stress reliever to know everything has a place)

Here are a few pictures of some systems we have in place to make sure things look tidy and not overrun with "stuff" -- 

These boards are where we display Reaghan's art, prayer letters and our preschool curriculum. Christmas cards will go here as well. We take pictures of Reaghan's art about every two weeks then throw it away. 

We keep our journals, books and Bibles in these slots, and movies and other things in the drawers.

The other wall in our living room

We just added this 6-cube shelf and I'm in love! I'd been wanting something like this for a while and it's the perfect spot to keep books we're reading a lot lately, and fits our Montessori values which I love :) 

This used to be our entertainment center and I love the craftsmanship of this piece. 

And the inside! We get a ton of storage out of it and obviously could fill it even more if needed, which is great. The top houses all our Simply Learning supplies! 

Do you relate to any of my sentiments with keeping things simple in your home, mind, schedule, etc? 

Purple Beet and Yogurt Pouches (Toddler Approved!)

I know I'm not the only one who's toddler isn't a huge fan of vegetables. Reaghan loves salad (must have dressing on it of course) but other than that, she definitely ate way more veggies as a baby then she does now! Instead of getting too bummed about it, I try to incorporate all the nutrients she needs within a week - rather than worrying about her getting everything in one day.

Also, I hide veggies. I don't love this idea, but since I know it's normal to be a little wary of vegetables as a toddler, I don't mind it that much. I think the key is to keep offering all different kinds of foods, flavors and textures as your kids grow up so they have the opportunity to try different things and come to enjoy them at the right age. For now, though, we love adding vegetables to muffins, smoothies, popsicles and pouches! 

I can't get over how gorgeous the color of these beet pouches are. I could just stare at them all day, haha. Reaghan of course thought they were so pretty which made them even more fun to eat.

It's important to me that the kids grow up liking different flavors and not getting used to just tasting sweetness. I think beets taste pretty earthy when steamed so I opted to sweeten these just a bit with one date, but no other added sweeteners! I tasted it myself, and it still tastes like beets, but I'd say that earthy flavor was cut a little by the date. This way she gets used to the flavor of the actual vegetable.

Everett isn't quite ready for solids (we might start in the next few weeks), but I'm excited to let him try these in a few months as well! 

Ingredients

  • 2 beets, (with stems and greens)
  • 1 pitted date
  • 1 plum (optional, we had them so we threw one in!)
  • 1 cup full fat or Greek yogurt

Instructions

  1. Heat about 1 cup of water in a medium sauce pan and place a steam basket inside the pot.
  2. Peel and quarter beets. Chop stems roughly and place beet quarters, stems and leaves in the steam basket. 
  3. Cover the pot and let the beets steam until they are tender and easily pierced by a knife. 
  4. Carefully scoop beets into a blender and add remaining ingredients.
  5. Blend until smooth. If your puree is a little too thick, add a bit of the water from the bottom of your pot. 

Notes:

  • Makes about 6 pouches
  • You can find disposable pouches like the ones we have here. If you don't have pouches you could definitely serve this as a smoothie or freeze for a festive popsicle!

How do you get veggies into your kids diet?

Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

Hey friends! It's been a minute since I've been able to sit down to write. Things have been crazy over here. If you don't know, I set aside Wednesday mornings to work. I have about 4 hours to get everything on my list done at a local Panera. I'm so grateful for that time, but don't have much time other than that to work on the blog! It's just the season I'm in....both kids are a full time job (duh!?) and by the time they go to bed I'm EXHAUSTED. I got sick twice in the last month, we were out of town, and this morning I sat in my car for 2 hours waiting for roadside assistance because I ran out of gas in my van. Who does that at age 28 by the way? It's shameful. Thankfully a police officer saw me and rescued me, oh my goodness. Anyway, all that to say - my typical Wednesdays have been spent sleeping off sickness or sitting on the side of the road. Side eyes on that one....


When we went out of town a couple weeks ago, we drove to Houston to see my sister and brother in law for the weekend. It was definitely harder to travel with two kids but in all honesty, the drives were fine - the biggest hiccup we encountered was with Reaghan being outside of her routine. She's SUCH a creature of her routine, so sharing a room with all of us wasn't really her cup of tea....even though it did mean I got to snuggle with her all night ;) 

Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

There were a few things that we did that I think made the drive much smoother for us. We're blessed that Everett does fine in his carseat, but sweet Rae was asking to get out of the car when we were only an hour in...yikes. Good thing we had lots of snacks and activities for her. So, if you're planning a long car trip any time soon, I thought I'd share how we kept ourselves sane and also some healthy snack ideas to curb the junk food binge that usually comes with road trips!

1. Stock your car with all the essentials

Extra wipes, diapers, change of clothes. I have a whole post on creating an emergency car kit for kids here. Just make sure that this is stocked and ready to go. 
 

2. Non-messy snacks

The last thing I wanted to do was see lots of crumbs all over Reaghan's carseat or have something spill all over her clothes. Not a huge deal if it happens but better if it doesn't. For example, we peeled our hard boiled eggs before we left, so we didn't have to deal with the mess of shells. We also kept all the snacks in a plastic bin for easily sliding in between the kids seats and to keep it all contained. Here's a list of the snacks we packed:

  • Cut up celery and peanut butter in a small container
  • Pre-peeled hard boiled eggs
  • Trail mix
  • Mini scones
  • Energy bites
  • Other ideas: frozen grapes, applesauce pouches, apples, plantain chips, lara bars 
Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids
Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

3. Secret activity bag

Stock up at the Dollar Tree or the Target $1 Spot on fun and easy car activities. Our Target was filled with amazing stuff so I kind of went a little crazy. All their Finding Dory and back to school stuff was out! We grabbed a Frozen Imagine Ink coloring book (huge hit, STILL playing with it 2+ weeks later), some Frozen matching cards, a ton of Grab & Go packs, a book of stickers, and snap numbers (another huge hit that we still play with!). I made sure to keep this bag out of Reaghan's sight and in the front seat. If she would start fussing/acting bored/done with one activity, I would pull out another one for her. We had a few of the Grab & Go Play Packs (a small coloring book with three crayons and stickers) left over after the trip which was perfect! I stuffed them into our car organizer and we will have them for another time. 

Another tip for activities is to bring a tray and some paper, stickers and crayons. This way the "mess" is contained and they have a flat surface to work on. Rae loved using her tray in the car. This is the one we use daily at home and love. 

Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids
Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

4. Healthy snacks for the drive back

I'm so thankful I thought of this, because we definitely needed it. Since we munched on most of our remaining snacks (the energy bites and scones went a long way) throughout the weekend, I went ahead and got some pouches and granola bars from Happy Baby. All organic and no added sugar. I even thought the granola bars were super yummy :) 

Making A Road Trip Easier with Kids

5. Empty grocery bags for trash

I've never thought of this before but it occurred to me right before our trip how annoying it is to have random trash in piles on the floor. I tied a bag to our cup holder and our car stayed clean, which made for a happy mama.


I know this will change as our kids get older, but a little planning ahead made for a much more enjoyable weekend-vacation for us! 

Do you have any other tips or tricks you'd add to this list?

The Ultimate Meal Planning Round Up

Okay, friends. This post is a long time coming. I actually started this draft one entire year ago, but for some reason abandoned it. I'm kind of glad I did because now I have some really great resources to share with you to make your life a whole lot more simple when it comes to feeding your family :) YAY!

The Ultimate Meal Planning Round Up ...resources to help you organize, save money and eat healthy! // Natasha Red

In our culture, busy is praised and slow is looked down upon. The proof is in so many studies - dinners around the table help families, children, productivity in school and work, and communities. Slowing down to connect with people over a meal is one of our biggest needs yet so neglected because of overwhelm and lack of planning. Whether you are kickstarting your meal planning journey, or need a little extra help to build upon your current routine - I hope these resources help you to get organized, save some money, and eat a little healthier. 

 

A few quick tips

  1. Recently we've been using Walmart Grocery (save $10 when using that link!). This is a free grocery pick up service. This is a must for simplifying your meal planing. Believe it or not, I actually don't love the grocery store, and not having to lug the kiddos along is such a blessing! We order our groceries online on Friday or Saturday and I have a little mommy break picking them up by myself on Sunday afternoons :) Kroger Click List is the same concept, so check for availability in your area! 
The Ultimate Meal Planning Round Up ...resources to help you organize, save money and eat healthy! // Natasha Red

2. On the topic of simplifying, have anything else you might need delivered to your home. This is super easy with Amazon Prime and Thrive Market. We have diapers delivered from Amazon on a subscription so we save money, and don't need to remember to re-order. I love Thrive Market too because it's 25-50% less on organic pantry and personal care products. We typically order every 4-6 weeks and stock up on our staples! Try Thrive Market for free and learn more here. 


Favorite resources from around the web

(click the photo to read the post)


My Meal Planning Posts

For those of you who are just dipping your toe in the water, check out the "Get Dinner on the Table" post below. 

For those of you who want to step it up and get a good system in place, "Meal Planning Made Simple Part One & Part Two" is for you. 


The Ultimate Meal Planning Round Up ...resources to help you organize, save money and eat healthy! // Natasha Red

Grab a meal planner

I can't end this post without sharing about the Seasonal Meal Planning Journals. The key to feeding your family simply is to plan ahead. It's the #1 challenge that women tell me they have when it comes to cooking at home. It's one of the easiest things we can implement yet one of the most neglected. 

What's in the SMP Journal?

  • 52 meal planning prompt sheets (breakfast, lunch + dinner), perforated for tearing out
  • 52 grocery list sheets, perforated for tearing out
  • Seasonal Produce List for every season
  • 16 Favorite Recipe Sections for each season
  • Size: 9 x 6"
  • Printed on thick white paper and perfect bound

I hope this is helpful for you! If you have other resources you love, share them with me!